Parishes: Sellindge

Pages 303-314

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

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NEXT to Limne, north-westward, lies the parish of Sellindge, written in Domesday, Sedlinges, and in later records as it is at present, both Sellinge, and Sellindge. The church and village are within the hundred of Street, being the greater part of it, and the remainder, being the northern part of it, within the hundred of Stowting.

THIS PARISH lies about six miles from Ashford, great part of it on high ground, and from the views over the neighbouring country is not an unpleasant situation in dry weather. It is two miles and an half long, and more than a mile and an half broad, and is watered by three streams, one of which rises at Postling, and is called the Old Stour, and being here joined by the two other streams from Stowting and Braborne, then flows on towards Ashford. In the centre of the parish, the Ashford road towards Hythe, leads across it over a common, called Sellindge-lees, having a number of houses built round it, Somerfield-hall standing on the side of it. About a quarter of a mile from the lees stands the church, upon the knoll of a hill, with the vicarage close to it, and a little farther on the other side of the stream, a hamlet of houses, called Stonehill. The soil of this parish is in general very wet and swampy. In the southern part it is mostly quarry stone, the middle a deep sand, and the rest a very stiff clay. The whole of it is very hilly, and the grounds in it mostly pasture. There is but very little coppice wood in it. There are two fairs held here annually, on May 21st and Oct. 11th, for horses, castle and pedlary.

There is a part of this parish, which lies in Romney Marsh and hundred of Worth, at a distance from the rest of it, is still called Tattenham, being situated between Dimchurch and Blackmanstone, in both which parishes likewise part of it lies. It formerly belonged to the Scots, of Scots-hall, afterwards to Smith, whence it passed to Hales, and Sir Edward Hales, bart. of St. Stephen's, some years since sold it to Geo. Gipps, esq. now M. P. for Canterbury.

William Tylle, alias Sellinge, a man of great reputation both for learning and wisdom, though Selling near Faversham has had the universal credit of his birth, was undoubtedly born in this parish, and most probably at Somefield, where his parents then resided. He became a monk at Christ-church, in Canterbury, on which, as was usual, he deserted his family name and took that of his birth-place. He was afterwards prior there, being elected in 1472, and died in 1495, after having been employed by king Henry VIII. in several embassies abroad. (fn. 1)

THE MANOR OF SELLINDGE was, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, anno 1080, part of the possessions of Hugo de Montfort, to whom William the Conqueror had given it, among many other estates, for his services on his expedition hither. Accordingly it is thus entered in that record, under the general title of his possessions:

In Estraites hundred, Herveus holds of Hugo, Sedlinges. Osuuard held it of king Edward. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is seven carucates. In demesne there are three carucates, and eight villeins, with twenty-five borderers having four carucates. There are two churches, and one mill of thirty pence, and thirty-six acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of six bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth eight pounds, and afterwards one hundred shillings, now seven pounds.

On the voluntary exile of Robert de Montfort, grandson of Hugh above-mentioned, in Henry I.'s reign, this manor, among the rest of his estates, came into the king's hands as an escheat. After which it appears to have been granted to William de Planers, a Norman, whose estates having been seized on by the king as escheats, king John, in his 6th year, granted this manor to Geoffry his natural son, (fn. 2) who died at Rochell, s. p. Upon which it was granted to William de Putot, who was succeeded in it by Hugh de Vinon, and in the 21st year of king Edward I. he claimed this manor before the justices itinerant, holding it by knight's service, of Dover castle, this being one of those fees which made up the barony, called the Constabularie, there. Soon after which this manor seems to have been divided into moieties, ONE OF WHICH was held by Peter Fitz-Reginald, who held it in capite by knight's service, at his death anno 16 king Edward II. After which it passed into the family of Fitz-Roger, as appears by the Book of Aid levied anno 20 Edward III. Sir Roger Fitz-Roger died possessed of a moiety of this manor in the 26th year of the above reign, holding it in capite, but his descendant Thomas Fitz-Roger dying s. p. in the 5th year of king Richard II. Elizabeth his sister entitled her husband John Bonneville to it; and on her death anno 2 Henry V. their son William Bonneville succeeded to it.

THE OTHER MOIETY of this manor, in king Edward II.'s reign, appears by the inquisitions taken of all the lands held by knight's service, to have been in the possession of Cicele de Beauchamp, and in the 17th year of the next reign of king Edward III. Sir John Beauchamp, of Hacche, in Somersetshire, died possessed of it, leaving John his son an infant, who died s. p. upon which, Gicele his sister, married to Turberville, and John Merrett, the son of Eleanor his other sister, shared his inheritance, and upon the partition of it, this moiety of Sellynge manor was allotted to the former, who held it in like manner as the other moiety was held by the Fitz-Rogers. (fn. 3) After which it passed into the family of Tiptoft, and anno 11 king Edward IV. it was found by inquisition, that John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, who had been beheaded the year before, for his adherence to the house of York, king Henry being at that time restored to his power, was possessed of it at his death. He left a son Edward, then an infant, who on king Edward's regaining the crown, was restored to his father's titles, but he died anno 3 Richard III. s. p. leaving his three aunts his heirs, of whom Joane, the second, married to Sir Edmund Inglethorpe, on the partition of their inheritance, became entitled to his moiety of this manor, and likewise to the other moiety afterwards by purchase from the heirs of Bonneville, and died possessed of the whole of it. After which it passed into the name of Morton, for I find Agnes Morton died possessed of this manor in the 9th year of Henry VIII. but in the 20th year of that reign Dorothy Filoll was become possessed of it, who that year assigned it over to trustees, and they sold it to Willoughbye, in which name it continued down to Sir Francis Willoughbye, who sold it to Ralph Heyman, esq. afterwards of Somerfield, in this parish, whose descendant Sir Peter Heyman, bart. at the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign, sold this manor, with his seat of Somerfield, and the rest of his estates in this parish and neighbourhood, to Thomas Gomeldon, esq. afterwards of Somerfield. After which this manor passed in like succession as that seat, as will be further related hereafter, to William Dicconson, esq. and Meliora his wife, whose trustees, an act having passed for the purpose, about the year 1776, sold this manor, with Somerfield, Haringe, and Wilmington, manors subordinate to it, in this parish and Limne, to Thomas Hayman, gent. afterwards of Somerfield, the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

HARINGE is a manor, lying at the southern boundaries of this parish, next to Limne, which seems to have been included in the description of the estate of Hugo de Montfort, in the record of Domesday transcribed above, on the exile of whose grandson, and his estates being seized on by the crown as elcheats, in king Henry I.'s reign, it was immediately afterwards granted to Hugh de Gurney, or Gournay, descended from him of the same name who is in the list of those who attended William the Conqueror in his expedition from Normandy hither. After that name was extinct here, the family of De Sharsted held it, one of whom, Robert de Sharsted, lived in the reigns of king Edward II. and III. and his heirs paid aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. one of whom was Henry Brockhull, of the family of Brockhull, in Saltwood, who likewise possessed some interest in Wilmington and Somerfield manors, in this parish, and in this name the property of it continued till the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign, when it was conveyed to Sir Edmund Inglethorp, owner of Sellindge manor as before mentioned, since which it has passed in like manner down to Thomas Hayman, gent. of Somerfield, the present owner of it.

THE MANORS OF WILMINGTON AND SOMERFIELD, formerly called Somerville, were antiently the property of a family of the name of Wilmington, who resided at the mansion of Somerville-court, one of whom, Stephen de Wilmington, held them in the reign of Edward I. by knight's service, of the castle of Dover, being part of those which made up the barony, called the Constabularie, there. Roger de Wilmington died possessed of them anno Io Edward III. leaving four daughters his coheirs, who married Orderne, Brockhull, Browning, and St. Laurence, and they shared these manors, then called the manor of Great Wilmington, (to distinguish it from another, called Little Wilmington, in Limne, which has always had the same owners) and Somerville between them. After which, on a partition made of their estates, these manors and this seat were allotted to St. Laurence. At length Katherine, daughter and sole heir of Thomas de St. Laurence, carried them in marriage to Sir William Apulderfield, who about the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign conveyed them to Ashburnham and Tylle, the latter of whom afterwards became by purchase possessed of the whole of it, of which Richard Tylle died possessed in the last year of king Richard III. anno 1485, and he by will devised his place in Sellynge, with the lands called Wilmington among others, to his eldest son William Tylle, whose grandson of the same name leaving one sole daughter and heir Elizabeth, she carried these manors and estates, about the middle of Henry VIII.'s reign, anno 1527, in marriage to Peter Heyman, esq. afterwards of Somerfield, whose lands were disgavelled by the act of 2 and 3 Edward VI. His descendant Henry Heyman, esq. of Somerfield, was created a baronet on April 12, 1641, anno 17 Charles I. being descended from Peter Heyman, one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to king Edward VI. they bore for their arms, Argent, on a chevron engrailed, azure, three cinquefoils, or, between three martlets, sable. (fn. 4). His son Sir Peter Heyman, bart. at the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign, alienated this seat of Somerfield, with the manors of Sellindge, Wilmington, and Haringe, to Thomas Gomeldon, esq of London, before which Sir Edward Walker, garter, had in 1662 granted arms and crest (with an augmentation) to William Gomeldon and Richard Gomeldon, both of London, (the former being afterwards sheriff of London anno 1670, 22 Charles II.) sons of Roger Gomeldon, merchant, supposed to be of the antient family of Gomeldon, which arms were, Or, on a fess wavy, gules, three mullets of the field; to which was added the augmentation of On a canton, azure, a fleur de lis, or. He served the office of sheriff in 1674, and afterwards began to rebuild this seat of Somerfield court, which he never lived to finish. In relation to which I have been assured, that Mr. Gomeldon, with Mr. Morris, of Horton, and Mr. Duncombe of the West, were private treasurers and managers to that unfortunate prince king James II. in his mercantile capacity, for not only whilst he was duke of York, but after he came to the crown, he carried on a considerable traffic as a merchant. When the king fled to France, it is said, they had a large balance in hand, which he soon afterwards demanded of them, but they set him at defiance for the recovery of it, so that it remained with them; and out of this money Morris paid for Horton manor, and built Mount Morris, as Gomeldon did Somerfield, and the third, who had by far the largest proportion for this share, added greatly to that accumulation of property, which the Duncombes afterwards possessed in the West of England. He died in 1703, leaving two sons, William and Richard, and a daughter Meliora, who on the deaths of both her brothers, s. p. became, by the entail of her father's will, entitled to these manors and estates, and entitled her husband, Thomas Stanley, esq. of Preston, in Lancashire, to them, but he having been attainted for treason in 1715, they became forfeited to the crown during their joint lives, and vested in the commissioners of forfeited estates, who sold their interest in them to Sir William Smith. Richard Stanley their son, in whom the inheritance of these estates remained, became on his father's death entitled to them, but being adjudged insane, he became subject to a commission of lunacy, in which state they continued till his death, s. p. when William Dicconson, esq. and Meliora his wife, became entitled to them, and they procured an act for vesting them in trustees for sale, and they accordingly soon afterwards conveyed these manors, with the seat now called Somerfield-ball, to Mr. Thomas Hayman, who rebuilt this seat, (which had remained unfinished from the time of its first building till then, and afterwards resided in it, and he is the present possessor of it.

HODIFORD, now usually called Great Hodiford, to distinguish it from an estate adjoining to it, called Little Hodiford, once part of the same, is a manor situated at the north-west boundary of this parish. It was antiently written Hodiworde, as appears by some charters in the register of Horton priory, and it once gave name to a family who resided here, one of whom was John de Hodiford. They were succeeded here by the Cardens, who were for some time possessed of it, and continued so till it was at length alienated, in queen Elizabeth's reign, by John Carden to James Cobbes, gent. of Aldington, who died in 1587. His grandson James Cobbe, in king Charles the 1st.'s reign, sold this manor to Thomas Godfrey, esq. who afterwards resided here, being the son of Thomas Godfrey, esq. of Lid, by his second wife; from whose first wife descended the Godfreys, of Heppington, and from his third wife those of Wye. (fn. 5) He died possessed of it in 1664; his grandson Thomas Godfrey, esq. likewise resided here, and died possessed of it in 1699, s. p. After which it became divided, Amye his sister possessing one part of it, called Little Hodiford, now in the possession of her descendant William Hugessen, esq. of Stodmarsh), and his first cousin Peter Godfrey, esq. of Woodford, possessing the other part of it, called Great Hodiford, in which the manor and seat were included. On his death, on the division of his estates, his eldest son Thomas Godfrey became entitled to this of Great Hodiford, which he by will in 1772, devised to Mr. David Gravier, who has since taken the name of Godfrey, and is the present owner of it.


WILLIAM FORDRED, by will in 1550, gave to this parish, among others, a proportion of the rents of 25 acres in St. Marrie's parish, in Romney Marsh, which portion is of the annual produce of 6l. 18s. 8d. to be distributed annually to the poor, and vested in certain trustees.

WILLIAM HEYMAN, by deed in 1624, gave the sixth part of 27 acres of marsh-land in Warehorne, now of the annual produce of 4l. 10s. to three poor householders and settled inhabitants, of honest behaviour, of this parish and Limne, to be nominated by his next heir male at the common law, or if such could not be found, then by the seossees of this charity. Two of the poor householders to be always of that parish most burthened with poor.

THERE ARE given by persons unknown, to the relief of the poor of this parish, six acres of land, four of which are known by the name of Roysfield, lying near the church. Likewise a house, called the Swan house, with two acres of land. Also two pieces of land, containing 13 acres and an half, called Great knoll, Little Knoll, and Little Barrington. All which are vested in the churchwardens and overseers, and are of the annual produce of 20l.

VALENTINE KNIGHT, gent. in 1614, gave by will 8s. to be paid yearly out of a farm, called the Pinn, in Bonnington, for the relief of the poor; which is vested in the churchwardens and overseers.

MRS. SARAH GODFREY. of Hammersmith, by deed in 1636, gave to the poor a house, called Pysyng's cottage, and one acre of land, vested in the churchwardens and overseers, of the annual value of 1l.

MRS. ELIZABETH LUDWELL, widow, by her will in 1765, gave the yearly sum of 1l. 6s. out of a tenement, to be distributed to the poor of this parish yearly on Christmas-day, vested in the churchwardens and overseers.

THOMAS GODFREY, ESQ of London, who was a great benefactor to the poor in his life-time, by paying yearly 40L. for placing four boys apprentices, and for putting twelve poor children to school, left by will in 1769 the sum of 5l. per annum, charged on his personal estate, to be distributed yearly to ten poor men and women of this parish, who do not receive alms, which is vested in the churchwardens and overseers, and his representative William Godfrey, esq. of London, still continues to pay 5l. per annum for 12 poor childrens' schooling; which sum was lately vested in Mrs. Elizabeth Lynch, formerly of Heyton, but since deceased.

The poor constantly relieved are about twenty-five, casually fifteen.

THE PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, contains two isles and two chancels, having a pointed turret at the west end. In the south chancel is a stone, having on it figures, with an inscription in brass, for John Bernys and Joane his wife. He died in 1440. Near it is a monument for Peter Heyman and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William Till having both their essigies kneeling thereon, with their arms cut in stone, but the colours gone. In the high chancel a memorial for Thomas Godfrey, only son of Peter Godfrey, late of Hodiford, obt. s. p. in 1699. A mural monument for Thomas Godfrey, esq. of Hodiford, who had twelve sons and four daughters. He lived forty-seven years in this parish, obt. 1664.

The gallery was built in 1630, at the cost of Walter Mantell, esq. of Horton priory, who had married Anne, daughter of Henry Hart, gent. of this parish. On the front is carved in wood, the coat of Mantell, with six quarterings. These Harts of Sellindge bore for their arms, Three harts heads, caboshed. (fn. 6)

The church of Sellindge seems to have been given by Hubert de Burgh, in king Henry III.'s reign, to the hospital of St. Mary, afterwards called the Maison Dieu, then lately founded by him in Dover. Notwithstanding which, in the 8th year of Richard II. it was become part of the possessions of the abbot of Pontiniac, to whom it was then appropriated, the vicarage not being taxed to the tenth, on account of the smallness of its income. How it came back again to the Maison Dieu, does not appear, but it continued part of the possessions of that hospital till the dissolution of it in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when it came into the hands of the crown, where the rectory or parsonage of this church remained till the 3d year of queen Elizabeth, who exchanged it, among other premises, with archbishop Parker, at which time it was valued to the archbishop at eight pounds per annum beyond reprises, except a yearly pension of five shillings to the archdeacon, in which state it continues at this time, being now part of the possessions of his grace the archbishop. But the advowson of the vicarage seems to have remained in the crown to this time, the king being still the patron of it.

This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 7l. 4s. 5d. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of fifty pounds. In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and forty-five. In 1645 it was valued at fifty pounds, communicants one hundred and eighty-eight. There is a vicaragehouse and twenty acres of glebe.

Church of Sellindge.

Or by whom presented.
The Crown. Richard Barnes, A. M. Oct. 2, 1612, and in 1629.
Richard Burton, A. M. April 9, 1638, obt. 1676.
Abdie Morris, A. B. June 8, 1676, obt. 1680.
Joshua Barton, clerk, Oct. 25, 1680, obt. 1705.
Laud Cade, LL. B. June 23, 1705, obt. June 1731.
John Head, A. M. August 9, 1731, obt. June 1754. (fn. 7)
John Edward Wilson, A. B. 1754, obt. 1761.
John Dawson, July 6, 1761, ob. July 1772.
Charles Moore, A. M. August, 1772, resigned 1778. (fn. 8)
John Conant, A. M. March, 1778, the present vicar. (fn. 9)


  • 1. See Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 2971.
  • 2. Rot. terr. Normannorum datis, N. 179.
  • 3. See Dugdale's Baronetage, vol. i. p. 253.
  • 4. Pedigrees of Heyman, Vistn. co. Kent, 1574 and 1619, and in Collins's and Kimber's Baronetage.
  • 5. See more of this family under Lid hereafter.
  • 6. There is a pedigree of the Harts in the Herald's office, marked D. 18, f. 122.
  • 7. In 1737 he was presented to the rectory of Burmarsh, which he held with this vicarage by dispensation.
  • 8. He was likewise rector of Cookstone, dioc. Roffen. which he held with this vicarage by dispensation. He resigned this vicarage on being presented to that of Boughton Blean, which he now holds with the rectory of Cookstone. Also a six preacher of Canterbory Cathedral.
  • 9. He holds the rectory of St. Peter's, Sandwich, with this rectory by dispensation.