Parishes: Orlestone

Pages 360-365

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

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USUALLY called Orlstone, is the next parish north-westward from Rucking. It lies for the most part on the upland clay-hill, where it is within the diftrict of the Weald, and within the jurisdiction of the justices of the county; but the southern part, below the foot of the hill, is within the level of Romney Marsh, and the liberty and jurisdiction of the justices of it.

THIS PARISH is so enveloped with woods, and is situated in so deep and miry a country, that it is only passable, and even then with difficulty in the driest weather, of course it is little frequented, and but as little known. It lies on the clay-hills, which cross the middle of it; the church, and close to it the court-lodge, stand on them, but there is no village. The soil is a deep stiff clay. The greatest part of it is woodland, especially the north and west parts, most of which belong to Mr. Bouverie. The face of the country is most gloomy and forlorn; it lies within the Weald as far as Ham-street, in the south part of it, at the foot of the hill, about a mile below the church; beyond which it is in the level of Romney Marsh. The road from Hythe through Bilsington to Warehorne, goes through this parish a little above the foot of the hill, by Hamstreet, which is partly within the parish; and there is another which comes out of the Marsh by Hammillgreen, which leads up to Ham-street, whence crossing the other it goes through the centre of this parish to Sugar-loaf and Bromley-green, and so on to Kingsnoth and Ashford, but even this road is hardly passable, except in the driest seasons.

The MANORS OF ALDINGTON and BILSINGTON claim over most part of this parish.

The MANOR OF ORLESTONE was, soon after the Norman conquest, part of the possessions of Hugo de Montsort, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the record of Domesday:

In Hame hundred, William holds of Hugo three yoke and half a rood in Orlavestone Eleven sochmen held this land. The arable land is three carucates. There are now two carucates in demesne, and fifteen villeins, with nine borders having three carucates and an half. There are two churches, and twenty acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of six hogs.

Upon the voluntary exile of Robert de Montfort, grandson of Hugo 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 come into the possession of a family who took their surname from it, and bore for their arms, Or, two chevrons, gules, on a canton of the second, a lion passant, argent; which coat is said to be an allusion to that of Criol, who bore it without the canton. (fn. 1) William de Orlanstan, most probably a descendant from that William who held this manor of Hugo de Montfort, as mentioned in the survey of Domesday, is in the register of those Kentish gentlemen who assisted king Richard I. at the siege of Acon, in Palestine. William de Orlanston, his son, held it in king Henry III.'s reign, and obtained a charter of free-warren to it in the 51st year of it, and as an additional franchise, a market weekly, and a fair yearly for three days, on Holyroodday and two days afterwards. He died anno 12 king Edward I. holding it in capite by knight's service, by making from thence suit to the ward of Dover castle, being part of those knights fees which made up the barony there, called the Constabularie. (fn. 2) After which this manor, together with the advowson of the church, continued in his descendants down to Sir Richard Orleston, who died anno 7 Henry V. s. p. on which his two sisters and coheirs, Margaret married to William Parker, of Warehorne, and Joane, to Sir William Scott, of Scotts hall, entitled their respective husbands to the possession of this manor, with its appurtenances, which, on the division of their inheritance, was allotted to the latter, who died possessed of it in the 12th year of king Henry VI. anno 1433. He had no issue by her, but by his second wife Isabel, daughter of Vincent Herbert, alias Finch, afterwards remarried to Sir Gervas Clifton, the left several children, of whom the eldest, Sir John Scott, of Scotts-hall, inherited this manor, which descended down to Sir Thomas Scott, who died in the year 1594, and by will devised a yearly rent charge of one hundred pounds out of this manor and those of Capel, Ham, and Brenset, (nowusually called the Scottshall annuity) to his youngest son Robert, afterwards of Mersham, from one of whose descendants by a female heir, it is now become the property of David Papillon, esq. late of Acrise, but the fee of this manor, together with the advowson, descended at length down to Geo. Scott, esq. of Scotts-hall, who about the latter end of king George I.'s reign, passed it away to Sir Philip Boteler, bart. of Teston, and his son, of the same name, died possessed of it in 1772, by virtue of whose will, and a partition of his estates, this manor, with the advowson of the church, came, with others, to William Bouverie, earl of Radnor, who at his death in 1776, devised it, with the rest of Sir Philip Boteler's estates, which had come to him as above-mentioned, to his eldest son by his second wife, the Hon. William-Henry Bouverie, the present possessor of it. There is not any court held for this manor.


THERE are no donations to the use of the poor, but there is a yearly rent of 6l. 10s. issuing out of land, called Church-field, in this parish, given by a person unknown, towards the repair of the church.

The poor constantly relieved are about ten, casually fifteen.

ORLESTONE is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the dioceseof Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, stands on the upper side of the hill, one field distant from the road, which may be said to be almost disused. The church-yard adjoins to the farm-yard and the courtlodge. It is a very small building, consisting of one isle and one chancel, having a very low pointed steeple of wood at the west end, in which are three bells. It has but one gravestone in it, and that of no account.

This church has always been accounted an appendage to the manor, and as such it is now of the patronage of the Hon. William-Henry Bouverie, lord of the manor of Orlestone. It is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 4l. 15s. 9d. and is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of forty pounds. In 1588, as well as in 1640, it was valued at forty pounds, communicants forty.

Church of Orlestone.

Or by whom presented.
Lords of the manor of Orlestone. Edward Puleston, A. M. March 21, 1597, obt. 1613.
Edward Harrison, A. M. May 26, 1613.
Lancelot Harrison, A. M. May 2, 1626, obt. 1641. (fn. 3)
John Lawry, A. M. July 24, 1641.
Mark Sherman, obt. 1665.
Robert Richards, March 28, 1666.
William Stringer, A. B. July 16, 1669.
Roger Powell, obt. January 24, 1685. (fn. 4)
Jerman Dunn, March 28, 1685, obt. 1686. (fn. 5)
Zaretan Croston, A. M. May 15, 1686.
Thomas Harpur, resigned 1710.
Francis Peck, A.B. Feb. 15, 1710, resigned 1715.
Theophilus Beck, A.B. Oct. 21, 1715, obt. 1721.
John Hedges, A. B. June9, 1721, resigned 1728.
John Price, March 8, 1728, ob. 1751.
Blemel Pollard, Sept. 28, 1751, obt. 1764.
William Polhill, A.B. Sept. 10, 1764, resigned 1779. (fn. 6)
George Carter, A. M. Sept. 9, 1780, resigned 1781. (fn. 7)
William-Philip Menzies, A. B. September, 1781, the present rector. (fn. 8)


  • 1. See Camden's Remains, p. 212.
  • 2. Book of Dover castle. Rot. Esch. ejus an. N. 77.
  • 3. And by dispensation in 1626, rector of Bircholt. Rym. Fæd. vol. xviii. p. 875.
  • 4. Buried in Warehorne church.
  • 5. He was presented by the king.
  • 6. He had been rector of Bircholt, which he resigned for the vicarage of Linton, as he did that on being presented to Detling, and in 1782 was presented to Albury, in Surry.
  • 7. Now rector of Hurst.
  • 8. Vicar of Frindibury, a minor canon of Rochester cathedral, and curate of Minster, in Sheppy.