Parishes: Elmsted

Pages 33-45

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

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IS the next parish northward from Hastingligh lastdescribed, taking its name, as many other places do, which are recorded in the survey of Domesday, from the quantity of elms growing in it, elm signifying in Saxon, that tree, and stede, a place. The manor of Hastingligh claims over some part of this parish, which part is within the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster.

THIS PARISH is situated in a lonely unfrequented part of the country, above the down hills, in a healthy air. It lies mostly on high ground, having continued hill and dale throughout it. The soil is but poor, and in general chalk, and much covered with flints, especially in the dales, where some of the earth is of a reddish cast. The church stands on a hill in the middle of it, having a green, with the village near it, among which is the court-lodge: and at a small distance westward, Helchin-bouse, belonging to Sir John Honywood, but now and for some time past inhabited by the Lushingtons. Lower down in the bottom is Evington-court, in a dull ineligible situation, to which however the present Sir John Honywood has added much, and laid out some park-grounds round it. At a small distance is a small heath, called Evington-lees, with several houses round it. At the southern bounds of the parish lie Botsham, and Holt, both belonging to Sir John Honywood. At the north-east corner of it, near Stone-street, is a hamlet called Northlye, the principal farm in which belongs to Mr. Richard Warlee, gent. of Canterbury, about half a mile from which is Deane, or Dane manor-house; and still further Dowles-farm, belonging to Mr. John Rigden, of Faversham; near Stone-street is the manor of Southligh, now called Mizlings, by which name only it is now known here; and near the same street is Arundel farm, belonging to Thomas Watkinson Payler, esq. and at the southern extremity of the parish, the manor-house of Dunders, with the lands belonging to it, called the Park, formerly belonging to the Graydons, of Fordwich, of whom they were purchased, and are now the property of the right hon. Matthew Robinson Morris, lord Rokeby, who resides at Horton. There are but two small coppice woods in this parish, lying at some distance from each other, in the middle part of it.

There is a fair kept yearly in this parish on St. James's day, the 25th of July.

THE MANOR OF ELMSTED was in the year 811 bought by archbishop Wlfred, of Cenulf, king of Mercia, for the benefit of Christ-church, in Canterbury, L. S. A. which letters meant, that it should be free, and privileged with the same liberties that Adisham was, when given to that church. These privileges were, to be freed from all secular services, excepting the trinoda necessitas of repelling invasions, and the repairing of bridges and fortifications. (fn. 1)

There is no mention of this manor in the survey of Domesday, under the title of the archbishop's lands, and of those held of him by knight's service, and yet I find mention of its being held of him in several records subsequent to that time; for soon afterwards it appears to have been so held by a family who assumed their name from it, one of whom, Hamo de Elmested, held it of the archbishop, by knight's service. But they were extinct here before the middle of king Henry III,'s reign, when the Heringods were become possessed of it, as appears by the Testa de Nevil, bearing for their arms, Gules, three herrings erect, two and one, or; as they were formerly in the windows of Newington church, near Sittingborne. John de Heringod held it at his death in the 41st year of that reign. His grandson, of the same name, died in the next reign of king Edward I. without male issue, leaving three daughters his coheirs, of whom, Grace married Philip de Hardres, of Hardres, in this county; Christiana married William de Kirkby; and Jane married Thomas Burgate, of Suffolk: but he had before his death, by a deed, which bears the form of a Latin will, and, is without a date, settled this manor, with the other lands in this neighbourhood, on the former of them, Philip de Hardres, a man of eminent repute of that time, in whose successors the manor of Elmsted remained till the 13th year of King James I. when Sir Thomas Hardres sold the manor of Dane court, an appendage to this of Elmsted, in the north-east part of this parish, to Cloake, and the manor of Elmsted itself to Thomas Marsh, gent. of Canterbury, whose son ton, whose great-grandson of the same name, at his death left it to his two sons, Richard and John, the former of whom was of Faversham, and left an only daughter Elizabeth, married to Mr. James Taylor, of Rodmersham, who in right of his wife became possessed of his moiety of it, and having in 1787 purchased the other moiety of John Lushington, of Helchin, in this parish, (son of Richard above-mentioned) became possessed of the whole of this manor, and continues owner of it at this time.

THE MANOR OF DANE, now called Deane-court, above-mentioned, remained in the name of Cloake for some time afterwards, and in 1652 Mr. Samuel Cloake held it. It afterwards passed into the name of Elwes, in which it continued down to John Elwes, esq. of Marcham, in Berkshire, who died in 1789, and by will gave it to his nephew Thomas Timms, esq. the present owner of it.

THE YOKE OF EVINGTON is an estate and seat in the south-west part of this parish, over which the manor of Barton, near Canterbury, claims jurisdiction. The mansion of it, called Evington-court, was the inheritance of gentlemen of the same surname, who bore for their arms, Argent, a sess between three burganetts, or steel caps, azure; and in a book, copied out from antient deeds by William Glover, Somerset herald, afterwards in the possession of John Philipott, likewise Somerset, there was the copy of an old deed without date, in which William Fitzneal, called in Latin, Filius Nigelli, passed over some land to Ruallo de Valoigns, which is strengthened by the appendant testimony of one Robert de Evington, who was ancestor of the Evingtons, of Evington-court, of whom there is mention in the deeds of this place, both in the reigns of king Henry III. and king Edward I. After this family was extinct here, the Gays became possessed of it, a family originally descended out of France, where they were called Le Gay, and remained some time afterwards in the province of Normandy, from whence those of this name in Jersey and Guernsey descended, and from them again those of Hampshire, and one of them, before they had left off their French appellation, John le Gay, is mentioned in the leiger book of Horton priory, in this neighbourhood, as a benefactor to it. But to proceed; although Evington-court was not originally erected by the family of Gay, yet it was much improved by them with additional buildings, and in allusion to their name, both the wainscot and windows of it were adorned with nosegays. At length after the Gays, who bore for their arms, Gules, three lions rampant, argent, an orle of cross-croslets, fitchee, or. (fn. 2) had continued owners of this mansion till the beginning of the reign of king Henry VII. Humphry Gay, esq. alienated it to John Honywood, esq. of Sene, in Newington, near Hythe, and afterwards of St. Gregory's, Canterbury, where he died in 1557, and was buried in that cathedral.

The family of Honywood, antiently written Henewood, take their name from the manor of Henewood, in Postling, where they resided as early as Henry III.'s reign, when Edmund de Henewood, or Honywood, as the name was afterwards spelt, of that parish, was a liberal benefactor to the priory of Horton, and is mentioned as such in the leiger book of it. After which, as appears by their wills in the Prerogative-office, in Canterbury, they resided at Hythe, for which port several of them served in parliament, bearing for their arms, Argent, a chevron, between three hawks heads erased, azure; one of them, Thomas Honywood, died in the reign of king Edward IV. leaving a son John, by whose first wife descended the elder branch of this family, settled at Evington, and baronets; and by his second wife descended the younger branch of the Honywoods, seated at Petts, in Charing, and at Markshall, in Effex, which branch is now extinct. (fn. 3) John Honywood, esq. the eldest son of John above-mentioned, by his first wife, was the purchaser of Evington, where his grandson Sir Thomas Honywood resided. He died in 1622, and was buried at Elmsted, the burial place of this family. (fn. 4) He left by his first wife several sons and daughters; of the former, John succeeded him at Evington and Sene, and Edward was ancestor of Frazer Honywood, banker, of London, and of Malling abbey, who died s. p. in 1764. (fn. 5) Sir John Honywood, the eldest son, resided during his father's time at Sene, in Newington, and on his death removed to Evington. He served the office of sheriff in the 18th, 19th, and 20th years of king Charles I. Sir Edward Honywood, his eldest son, resided likewise at Evington, and was created a baronet on July 19, 1660. His great grandson Sir John Honywood, bart. at length in 1748, succeeded to the title and family estates, and afterwards resided at Evington, where he kept his shrievalty in 1752. On the death of his relation Frazer Honywood, esq. banker, of London, in 1764, he succeeded by his will to his seats at Malling abbey, and at Hampsted, in Middlesex, besides a large personal estate; after which he resided at times both here and at Hampsted, at which latter he died in 1781, æt. 71, and was buried with his ancestors in this church. He had been twice married; first to Annabella, daughter of William Goodenough, esq. of Langford, in Berk shire, whose issue will be mentioned hereafter; and secondly to Dorothy, daughter of Sir Edward Filmer, bart. of East Sutton, by whom he had two sons, Filmer Honywood, esq. of Marks-hall, in Essex, to which as well as other large estates in that county, and in this of Kent, he succeeded by the will of his relation Gen. Philip Honywood, and lately was M. P. for this county, and is at present unmarried; and John, late of All Souls college, Oxford, who married Miss Wake, daughter of Dr. Charles Wake, late prebendary of Westminster; and Mary, married to Willshire Emmett, esq. late of Wiarton. By his first wife Sir John Honywood had two sons and four daughters; William the eldest, was of Malling abbey, esq. and died in his father's life time, having married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Clack, of Wallingford, in Berkshire, by whom he had three sons and one daughter Annabella, married to R. G. D. Yate, esq of Gloucestershire; of the former, John was heir to his grandfather, and is the present baronet; William is now of Liminge, esq. and married Mary, sister of James Drake Brockman, esq. of Beechborough, and Edward married Sophia, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Long, of Suffolk. Edward, the second son, was in the army, and died without issue. The daughters were, Annabella, married to Edmund Filmer, rector of Crundal; and Thomasine, married to William Western Hugessen, esq. of Provenders, both since deceased. On Sir John Honywood's death in 1781, he was succeeded by his eldest grandson abovementioned, the present Sir John Honywood, bart. who resides at Evington, to which he has made great improvements and additions. He married Frances, one of the daughters of William, viscount Courtenay, by whom he has three daughters, Frances-Elizabeth, Charlotte-Dorothea, and Annabella-Christiana, and one son John, born in 1787. (fn. 6).

BOTTSHAM, antiently and more properly written Bodesham, is a manor in the western part of this parish. About the year 687 Swabert, king of Kent, gave among others, three plough-lands in a place called Bodesham, to Eabba, abbess of Minister, in Thanet, and in the reign of king Edward the Consessor, one Ælgeric Bigg gave another part of it to the abbey of St. Augustine, by the description of the lands called Bodesham, on condition that Wade, his knight, should possess them during his life. (fn. 7) The former of these continued in the monastery till the reign of king Canute, when it was plundered and burnt by the Danes. After which the church and lands of the monastery of Minster, and those of Bodesham among them, were granted to St. Augustine's monastery, and remained, together with those given as above-mentioned by Ælgeric Bigg, part of the possessions of it at the taking of the survey of Domesday, in which record it is thus described:

In Limowart left, in Stotinges hundred, Gaufrid holds Bodesham of the abbot. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is two carucates, and there are, with eight borderers, wood for the pannage of fifteen hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth four pounds, and afterwards twenty shillings, now four pounds, A certain villein held it.

Hugh, abbot of St. Augustine, and his chapter, in the year 1110, granted to Hamo, steward of the king's houshold, this land of Bodesham, upon condition that he should, if there should be occasion, advise and assist him and his successors in any pleas brought against him by any baron, either in the county or in the king's court.

Hamo above-mentioned, whose surname was Crevequer, had come over into this kingdom with the Conqueror, and was rewarded afterwards with much land in this county, and was made sheriff of it during his life, from whence he was frequently stiled Hamo Vicecomes, or the sheriff. He lived till the middle of king Henry I.'s reign; and in his descendants it most probably remained till it came into the possession of the family of Gay, or Le Gay as they were sometimes written, owners of the yoke of Evington likewise, in which it continued till it was at length sold with it, in the beginning of Henry VII.'s reign, to Honywood, as has been fully mentioned before; in whose descendants it still remains, being now the property of Sir John Honywood, bart. of Evington.

IN THE REIGN of king Edward I. Thomas de Morines held half a knight's fee of the archbishop in Elmsted, which estate afterwards passed into the family of Haut, and in the reign of king Edward III. had acquired the name of the Manor Of Elmsted, alias SOUTHLIGH. In which family of Haut it continued down to Sir William Haut, of Bishopsborne, who lived in the reign of king Henry VIII. and left two daughters his coheirs, Elizabeth, married to Thomas Culpeper, of Bedgbury; and Jane, to Thomas Wyatt. The former of whom, in the division of their inheritance, (fn. 8) became possessed of it; from his heirs it passed by sale to Best, and from thence again to Rich. Hardres, esq. of Hardres, whose descendant Sir Tho. Hardres, possessed it in king James I.'s reign; at length, after some intermediate owners, it passed to Browning, whose descendant M. John Browning, of Yoklets, in Waltham, is the present owner of this manor.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about thirty, casually seventeen.

Elmsted is within the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Elham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. James, is a handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, having a low pointed wooden steeple at the west end, in which are six bells. The chancels are open, one towards the other, the spaces between the pillars not being filled up, which gives the whole a light and airy appearance. In the middle chancel, which is dedicated to St. James, are memorials for the Taylors, who intermarried with the Honywoods, and for the Lushingtons, of Helchin; one for John Cloke, gent. of Northlye, obt. 1617. In the east window is a shield of arms, first and fourth, A lion rampant, or; second, On a fess, argent, three eros-croslets; third, obliterated. In another compartment of the window is the figure of an antient man sitting, in robes lined with ermine, a large knotted staff in his left hand. The north chancel is called the parish chancel, in which is an elegant monument, of white marble, with the bust of the late Sir John Honywood, bart.(a gentleman whose worthy character is still remembered with the highest commendation and respect, by all who knew him). He died much lamented by his neighbours and the country in general in 1781; and on the pavement are numbers of gravestones for the family of Honywood and their relatives. The south chancel, dedicated to St. John, belongs to Evington, in which there are several monuments, and numbers of gravestones, the pavement being covered with them, for the Honywood family, some of which have inscriptions and figures on brasses remaining on them. Underneath this chancel is a large vault, in which the remains of the family lie deposited. On the north side of this chancel is a tomb, having had the figures on it of a man between his two wives: and at each corner a shield of arms in brass for Gay. On the capital of a pillar at the east end of this tomb is this legend, in old English letters, in gold, which have been lately repaired: Pray for the sowlys of Xtopher Gay, Agnes and Johan his wifes, ther chylder and all Xtian sowlys, on whose sowlys Jhu have mcy; by which it should seem that he was the founder, or at least the repairer of this chancel. Underneath is carved a shield of arms of Gay. In the east window are two shields of arms, of modern glass, for Honywood. In the south isle is a monument for Sir William Honywood, bart. of Evington, obt. 1748. In the middle isle are several old stones, coffin shaped. William Philpot, of Godmersham, by will anno 1475, ordered that the making of the new seats, calledle pewis, in this church, should be done at his expence, from the place where St. Christopher was painted, to the corner of the stone wall on the north side of the church.

The church of Elmsted belonged to the priory of St. Gregory, in Canterbury, perhaps part of its original endowment by archbishop Lanfranc, in the reign of the Conqueror. It was very early appropriated to it, and was confirmed to the priory by archbishop Hubert, among its other possessions, about the reign of king Richard I. at which time this church, with five acres of arable, and five acres of wood, and the chapel of Dene, appear to have been esteemed as chapels to the adjoining church of Waltham, and the appropriation of it continued part of the possessions of the priory till the dissolution of it in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when it was surrendered into the king's hands, where this appropriation remained but a small time, for an act passed that year, to enable the king and the archbishop to make an exchange of estates, by which means it became part of the revenues of the see of Canterbury, and was afterwards demised by the archbishop, among the rest of the revenues of the above-mentioned priory, which had come to him by the above-mentioned exchange, in one great lease; under which kind of demise it has continued from time to time ever since. Philip, earl of Chesterfield, as heir to the Wottons, was lessee of the above estates, in which this parsonage was included; since whose decease in 1773, his interest in the lease of them has been sold by his executors to Geo. Gipps, esq. of Canterbury, who is the present lessee, under the archbishop, for them.

But the vicarage of this church seems never to have belonged to the priory of St. Gregory, and in the 8th year of Richard II. anno 1384, appears to have been part of the possessions of the abbot of Pontiniac, at which time it was valued at four pounds. How long it staid there, I have not found; but it became afterwards part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, and remains so at this time, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of it.

The vicarage of Elmsted is endowed with the tenths of hay, silva cedua, mills, heifers, calves, chicken, pigs, lambs, wool, geese, ducks, eggs, bees, honey, wax, butter, cheese, milk-meats, flax, hemp, apples, pears, swans, pidgeons, merchandise, fish, onions, fowlings, also all other small tithes or obventions whatsoever within the parish; and also with all grass of gardens or other closes, vulgarly called homestalls, although they should be at any time reduced to arable; and the tithes of all and singular feedings and pastures, even if those lands so lot for feedings and pastures should be accustomed to be ploughed, as often and whensoever they should at any time be let for the use of pasture; which portion to the vicar was then valued at twelve marcs. (fn. 9)

It is valued in the king's books at 61. 13s. 4d. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of forty-five pounds. In 1587 it was valued at thirty pounds, communicants one hundred and eighty. In 1640 it was valued at ninety pounds, the same number of communicants. There was an antient stipend of ten pounds, payable from the parsonage to the vicar, which was augmented with the like sum by archbishop Juxon, anno 15 Charles II. to be paid by the lessee of the parsonage; which sum of twenty pounds continues at this time to be paid yearly by the lesse. There was a yearly pension of 1l. 6s. payable from the vicar of Elmsted to the priory of St. Gregory; which still continues to be paid by him to the archbishop's lessee here.

Church of Elmsted.

Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop. James Shaw, A. B. August 13, 1590, obt. 1624.
John Wilson, A. M. oct. 14, 1624, resigned 1629.
John Taylor, S.T.B. Nov. 27, 1629. (fn. 10)
Arthur Kay, A. M. Feb. 1, 1664, resigned 1673. (fn. 11)
Charles Kay, A. M. Aug. 25, 1673, resigned 1675.
Samuel Richards, A. M. Feb. 11, 1675, obt 1686.
Laurence Wright, A. M. July 20, 1686, obt. 1708.
Egerton Cutler, A. M. April 10, 1708.
William Sprakeling, obt. 1736.
John Conant, A. M. May 20, 1736, obt. April 9, 1779. (fn. 12)
Nicholas Simons, A. B. July 19, 1779, resigned 1795. (fn. 13)
William Welfut, S. T. P. 1795, the present vicar. (fn. 14)


  • 1. Dugd. Mon. vol. i. p. 19. Dec. Script. col. 2215.
  • 2. In the Visitation of the county of Kent, anno 1574, is a pedigree of Gay.
  • 3. See vol. v. p. 424, and vol. vii. p. 436.
  • 4. Several of their wills are in the Prerog. off. Cant.
  • 5. See vol. iv. of this history, p. 526.
  • 6. See Collins's Baronetage, vol. iii. p. 105.
  • 7. Regist. Mon. Sci. Aug. marked, cart. 280.
  • 8. Mr. Petit Fædary of Kent his Book.
  • 9. The endowment is in the leiger book of the priory of St. Gregory, in bishop More's library at Cambridge, and a copy of it is among the archives of Christ-church, in Canterbury, marked A. 11, fol. 89.
  • 10. Likewise rector of Hastingligh, and before vicar of St. Mary Biedin, Canterbury.
  • 11. Afterwards D. D. and rector of St. Andrew's, Canterbury, obt. 1701, and was buried in that church.
  • 12. Before rector of Hastingligh, which he held with this vicarage. He was likewise prebendary of Bangor, and rector of the sinecure of Wroughton, in Wiltshire.
  • 13. He held this vicarage with the rectory of Hastingligh.
  • 14. And rector of Hastingligh.