Parishes: Capell

Pages 142-147

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.

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LIES the next parish south-eastward from Alkham, but within the hundred of Folkestone, taking its name from its having ever been esteemed a chapel, capella, to the church of Alkham. It is likewise called Capell le Ferne, and Capell by Folkestone, to distinguish it from another parish of the same name, near Tunbridge.

CAPELL lies upon the hills between Dover and Folkestone, but the situation of it is much less subject to them than the adjoining parishes above-described, especially about the church, which stands in the center of it, near which the fields are of a more even surface than is usual in this part of the county, and the lands are much more fertile, and of a higher rent. In this parish I first saw the shocks of wheat, whilst in the field, all covered in bad weather with bass matting, to secure them from the wet; which, I am informed, is a usual custom in this neighbourhood, though not much approved of by the most intelligent farmers in it. At a small distance southwest from the church is an estate, called Capell-sole farm, from a large pond close to it, belonging to Hughes Minet, esq. and now inhabited by Captain Ridley, of Dover. There is no village in it, the houses being dispersed singly throughout it. The high road from Folkestone to Dover goes over the high chalk cliffs, along the southern part of this parish, where the lands are open uninclosed downs, and are bounded by the above-mentioned cliffs on the sea shore. This part of the parish is part of the possessions of the archbishop of Canterbury, and within the liberty of the town of Folkestone. There is no fair held in the parish.

THE MANOR OF CAPELL, called likewise the manor of St. Mary le Merge, was antiently part of the possessions of Nigell de Muneville, whose descendant William de Muneville leaving an only daughter and heir, she carried it in marriage to William de Albrincis, or Averenches, whose son, of the sams name, leaving likewise an only daughter and heir Matilda, she entitled her husband Hamo de Crevequer to it. He left four daughters, of whom Elene, married to Bertram de Crioll, on the partition of their inheritance, entitled her husband to this manor, and he died possessed of it in the 23d year of Edward I. leaving two sons John and Bertram, who both died s.p. and a daughter Joane, who upon the death of the latter became his heir, and carried this manor, among the rest of her inheritance, in marriage to Sir Richard de Rokesle, whose eldest daughter and coheir Agnes entitled her husband Thomas de Poynings to the possession of it; in whose descendants it continued down to Sir Edward Poynings, of Westenhanger, (fn. 1) governor of Dover castle and lord warden, who in the 12th year of king Henry the's reign gave it in marriage with Mary, one of his natural daughters, to Thomas Fynes, lord Clinton and Saye, to whom this manor was confirmed in the 30th year of it. His son Edward, lord Clinton and Saye, in the reign of queen Mary, passed it away by sale to Mr. Henry Herdson; after which it continued in like manner as Folkestone, and his other estates in this neighbourhood, till the death of Sir Basill Dixwell, bart. of Brome, about the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign; soon after which Oliver Wright and others, under the direction of the court of chancery, in 1691, conveyed it to William Young, who pulled down the antient mansion of this manor, and built the present court-lodge of it. At his death he devised it to his son Nicholas young, who died unmarried; upon which it came to his sister Elizabeth, who had married first Henry Hughes, esq. by whom she had a daughter, married to the Rev. John Minet, of Eythorne; and 2dly, Wm. Veal, esq. of Dover; and on her death, by the entail of her father's will, it came to her son by her second husband, Young Veal, who by recovery in 1744, barred the future remainders. After his death it was sold in 1753, under a decree of chancery, to William Minet, esq. of London, who died possessed of it in 1767, and by will devised this manor, with Church and Capell-sole farms, and other lands belonging to it, to his nephew Hughes Minet, esq. of London, who is now the owner of them. (fn. 2) This manor is subject to a castle-guard rent to Dover castle.

CALDHAM, now usually called Coldham, from its cold and exposed situation, is a manor in the south-east part of this parish, which appears by records to have been antiently the patrimony of owners of the same name, who bore for their arms, Gules, a fess, ermine, between three martlets, argent; but before the reign of king Richard II. they had passed it away to Baker, a family of good account in this part of the county, having a peculiar chancel belonging to them in Folkestone church, who resided at it; and in this name it continued down to John Baker, of Caldham, who was gentleman porter of Calais in the reigns of Henry V. and VI. and bore for his arms, Argent, on a fess, nebulee, sable, a tower, triple-towered, of the first, between three keys of the second; perhaps in allusion to his office. He died without male issue in the 17th year of the latter reign, holding this manor in capite, and leaving five daughters his coheirs; and upon the division of their inheritance, Robert Brandred, in right of Joan his wife, the fourth daughter, became entitled to it; and their son Robert, about the latter end of king Henry VI. passed it away to Sir Thomas Browne, of Beechworth castle, whose descendant, Sir Anthony Browne, in the 33d year of king Henry VIII. exchanged it for other premises with that prince, who in his 36th year, granted it to William Wilsford, and others, citizens of London, to hold in capite; and they, in the 37th year of it, alienated it to John Tuston, esq. of Hothfield, whose grandson Sir Nicholas Tuston, knight and baronet, was by king Charles I. created Baron of Tuston and Earl of Thanet, in whose descendants it has continued down to the right hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet, the present owner of it.

SOTMERE is a manor, in the eastern part of this parish, which seems to have been once part of the possessions of the neighbouring abbey of St. Radigund, and after the dissolution of it in the 27th year of Henry VIII. to have been granted by the king, among the rest of the possessions of it, in his 29th year, to the archbishop Cranmer, who the year afterwards exchanged the scite of St. Radigund's, with almost all the rest of the estates of it, again with the king. After which, this manor being granted from the crown, passed at length into the family of Gibbs, originally of Devonshire, who settled first at Combe, in Hawking, and went from thence to Elmestone. Several of them lie buried in this church, and there is now in the chancel, a gravestone, with the figures of a man and woman in brass, with an inscription for John Gybbes and Mary his wyff, anno 1526. There is one shield of arms remaining, of four coats, first and fourth, two mascles in fess; second and third, two roses in like fess. From this name, after some intermediate owners, it was sold to Spencer, in which name it seems to have been about the time of the restoration of king Charles II. at length Alban Spencer, gent. who resided here, leaving three daughters his coheirs, Sarah, married to Mr. Richard Halford; Susannah, to Mr. R. Buck; and Mary, to Mr. Robert Gunsley Ayerst, clerk, they jointly succeeded to this manor. Mr. Richard Halford died possessed of his third part in 1766, and left it to his only son Richard, who sold it to Mr. Robert Finnis, of Dover, the present possessor of it. Mr. Robert Buck, on his death without issue, devised his third part to his niece Jane Ayerst; and her father, the Rev. Mr. Ayerst, in right of his wife, is the present owner of the remaining third part of it.

There has not been any court held for this manor for a great number of years past, though there were antient persons within these few years who remember its having been held.

The archbishop of Canterbury is entitled to lands in this parish, and within the liberty of the town of Folkestone, lying adjoining to the lands of Sotmere, and between them and the sea shore, called Abbots, alias Cliffe lands, as having once belonged to the abbey of St. Radigund's, which have been for many years held in lease by the owners of Sotmere manor.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about eighteen, casually sixteen.

CAPELL is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Dover.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of one isle and one chancel, having a low square tower at the west end.

This church was always esteemed as a chapel to the church of Alkham, and was given with it, by the name of the chapel of Mauregge, by Hamo de Crevequer, to the abbot and convent of St. Radigund, together with the advowson, to hold in free, pure and perpetual alms. After the dissolution of the monasteries in king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign, this chapel, with the church of Alkham, passed together, in manner as has been already related under that parish, in exchange to the archbishop of Canterbury and his successors, in which state it remains at this time, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of the vicarage of Alkham, with the chapel of Capell le Ferne, alias St. Mary le Merge, belonging to it.

It is not valued separately in the king's books, being included in the valuation of the vicarage of Alkham.

The great tithes of Sotmere and Capell wards, in this parish, (formerly part of the possessions of St. Radigund's), are held by lease for three lives, of the archbishop.

The lessee of the parsonage of Folkestone claims, as such, a certain portion of the great tithes of this parish.


  • 1. See more of the family of Poynings under Westenhanger.
  • 2. See more of the Minets under Eythorne.