The liberty and parish of Seasalter

Pages 499-504

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

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THIS liberty lies adjoining to the parish of Hernehill and hundred of Boughton Blean, north eastward, being so named from its near vicinity to the sea. (fn. 1)

The LIBERTY AND PARISH of Seasalter lies in an obscure out of the way situation, bounded by the sea northward, but the large tract of marshes which adjoin it westward, as well as the badness of the water, make it very unhealthy. The east and southern parts are mostly coppice wood, and the soil a deep clay. The church stands on the knoll of a hill, nearly in the middle of the parish, below which, westward, it is all marsh land to the sea shore, not far from which the few houses stand which make the village of Seasalter. There are forty-six houses in this parish, most of which are in Whitstaple-street, great part of which is within the bounds of it, and over part of which the borough of Harwich claims. There is an oyster fishery on the shore here, the grounds of which, called the Pollard, are an appendage to the manor of Seasalter, and as such belong to the dean and chapter of Canterbury, who demise them to seven fishermen or free dredgermen of Seasalter, at a certain yearly rent. In December, 1763, a live whale was driven on shore on Seasalter flats, which was about fifty-six feet long. The manor of Seasalter has the privilege of four fairs yearly, on the four principal feasts in the year; but there have not been any held for some years.

The MANOR OF SEASALTER was given, before the Norman conquest, to the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury, but by whom, I have no where found; and it continued part of the possessions of it at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in which record it is thus entered:

In Borowart lath, there lies a small borough named Sesaltre, which properly belongs to the kitchen of the archbishop. One named Blize held it of the monks. In demesne there is one carucate, and forty-eight borderers with one carucate. There is a church and eight fisheries, with a rent of twenty-five shillings. Wood for the pannage of ten hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth twenty-five shillings, and now one hundred shillings.

After which, this manor appears to have been let to ferme by the prior and convent, to Roger de Wadenhale, in king Henry the IId.'s reign, at the yearly rent of six pounds, with a reservation of all royal fish, wrec, &c. and afterwards to Clemencia, daughter of Henry de Hanifeld, at that of ten marcs, which rent was afterwards raised to twenty pounds per annum. In 1494, prior Thomas Goldstone caused a new mansion, or court-lodge to be built here, and at the rectory he rebuilt all the edifices, except the barn. In which situa tion this manor continued with the priory till its dissolution, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, and was by his dotation-charter, in his 33d year, settled on his newfounded dean and chapter of Canterbury, with whom the inheritance still continues. (fn. 2)

A court leet and court baron is regularly held by the dean and chapter for this manor; but the demesne lands, as well as the rectory or parsonage of the church, were lately demised on a beneficial lease to Isaac Rutton, M. D. of Ashford, who died in 1792, whose descendants assigned them to Mr. William Baldock, brewer, of Canterbury, and they were again assigned by him in 1798, to Mr. King, of Whitstaple. (fn. 3)

ELYNDENNE, or Ellenden, as it is now written, is a small manor, situated at the southern boundary of this parish, among the woods adjoining to the ville of Dunkirk, within the bounds of which, one half of the house, as well as part of the lands are situated, though in the deeds belonging to this manor, it is constantly described as within this parish and Whitstaple. It was once the property of a family of its own name, one of whom, John Elyndenne, gave it to the abbot and convent of Faversham, as appeared by the lerger book of that abbey, (fn. 4) with which it staid till its dissolution, anno 30 Henry VIII. when this manor came, with the rest of its estates, into the king's hands, who in his 35th year granted it to Thomas Ardern, gent. of Faversham, to hold in capite, (fn. 5) and he that year passed it away to John Needham, whose son, of the same name, alienated it, in the 32d year of queen Elizabeth, to Michael Beresford, esq. of Westerham, and he soon after conveyed it to Sir George Newman, LL.D. in whose descendants, who bore for their arms, Or, a fess dancette, gules, between three eagles, sable, (fn. 6) it continued till it was alienated to St. Leger, and Sir John St. Leger, in the reign of William and Mary, passed it away to Sir Henry Furnese, bart. of Waldershare, who died possessed of it in 1712, but his grandson Sir Henry Furnese, bart. dying in 1735, under age and unmarried, this, among the rest of his estates, became vested in his three sisters, coheirs of their father, in equal shares in coparcenary, in tail general, and on a partition anno 9 George II. this manor was allotted, among others, to Anne the eldest daughter, wife of John, viscount St. John, whose grandson the right hon. George St. John, lord viscount Bolingbrooke, sold it in 1791 to Mr. John Daniels, of Whitstaple, and he in 1793 sold it to Mr. Hayward, of the Black Friars, Canterbury, who dying in the year 1794, his widow is the present possessor of it.


THERE have been given to the use of the poor of this parish, five acres of land, late occupied by Fenner, of the annual produce of 3l. a field of three acres, called the Peters field, of the annual produce of 2l. 6s. four acres of land, in two pieces, of the annual produce of 4l. and two acres of woodland, sold in 1785 at eighteen years growth for 6l. sundry yearly annuities, of 2s. 6d. of 40s paid by the parish of Whitstaple, and of 12s. paid by Mrs Gillow.

The poor constantly maintained are about twenty, casually one hundred.

THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Westbere.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Alphage, is small, consisting of only one isle and a chancel, having a low pointed turret of wood at the west end, in which hangs one bell. There is no memorial or inscription in it. In the north window of the isle are some small remains of painted glass. There are two hatchments in the isle, one, Argent, two bends wavy, on a chief, gules, three estoiles, or; the other the same, impaling, Paly bendy, or, and sable, a bend, counterchanged, which were for the family of Taylor, who once owned lands in this parish, and lie buried in this church. There is a gallery at the west end.

By the great storm, which happened on Jan. 1, 1779, there was discovered among the beach on the sea shore, at Codhams corner, about half a mile westward of the present church, the stone foundations of a large long buildings, lying due east and west, supposed to have been the remains of the antient church of Seasalter. Many human bones were likewise uncovered, by the shifting of the beach, both within and about it, all of which that could be found, were collected together and buried in the church-yard of Seasalter; but those which have been since uncovered remain at this time sticking up an end among the beach.

This church was always appendant to the manor of Seasalter, belonging to the priory of Christ church, to which it was appropriated in 1236, for the maintenance of the monks there, and was by the archbishop afterwards allotted to the almonry. In which state it continued till the dissolution of the priory in the 31st year of Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, who settled it, with the advowson of the vicarage and the manor, by his dotation-charter, in his 33d year, on his new-founded dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose possessions they still continue.

In the 8th year of Richard II. anno 1384, the vicarage of this church was not, on account of the smallness of its income, taxed to the tenth. It is valued in the king's books at 11l. but it is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of 25l. 19s. 8d. In 1588 here were communicants seventy-six. In 1640 the same, and it was then valued at 60l.

Among the archives of the dean and chapter is an examination relating to the bounds of the parishes of Seasalter and Hernehill, anno 1481, and another taken the same year by the archbishop's commissary. (fn. 7)

Church of Seasalter.

Or by whom presented.
Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. Vincent Hussam, A. M. Feb. 17, 1596, resigned 1611.
Edward Gonneston, A. M. Nov. 20, 1611.
Matthew Smith, A. M. Nov. 5, 1661, resigned 1670. (fn. 8)
Thomas Woldrich, A. M. March 25, 1670, obt. 1699.
Boys Ibbot, clerk, April 17, 1699, obt. 1700.
James Henstridge, October 14, 1700. (fn. 9)
Richard Bate, A. B. Jan. 8, 1710, resigned 1711. (fn. 10)
Thomas Patten, March 13, 1711, obt. Oct. 9, 1764. (fn. 11)
Thomas Gurney, A.B. Jan. 31, 1764, obt. June 1774. (fn. 12)
Thomas Johnson, A. B. July, 1774, the present vicar. (fn. 13)


  • 1. See the map of this liberty and parish, with that of Boughton Blean, vol. vii. p. 1.
  • 2. See in Robinson's Gavelkind, p. 236, a special custom, to devise lands within this manor; in Ast. in Com. Kanc. 4. Ric. 2.
  • 3. See pedigree and account of the family of Rutton in Boys's History of Sandwich, appendix, p. 273. See vol. vii. of this history, p. 534.
  • 4. So Philipott says, p. 309; but Southouse, in his Monasticon Fav. says, that Ralph St. Leger, John Norton, and others, gave this manor to the abbey, and he seems to mention it as a gift of a very late date. And yet, in a rental of the revenues of the abbey, printed in Jacob's Faversham, appendix, it is said to have been given inter alia, for a yearly obit for the souls of Robert Byllesden, gent. donor of this manor, Thebald Evyas, gentlewoman, and all christian souls.
  • 5. Rot Esch. ejus an pt. 1. See an account of him, vol. vi. of this history, p. 333.
  • 6. Pedigree in Heralds office, D. 19, f. 79.b
  • 7. Chart. Antiq. G. 414 and 415. There is a terrier of lands belonging to the manor and parsonage of Seasalter, anno 1621, in the Lambeth library, chart. misc. vol. xi. N. 90.
  • 8. Presented on vacancy by the death of Gonnestion. He was likewise perpetual curate of Whitstaple.
  • 9. See Brooke.
  • 10. See Chilham.
  • 11. Likewise perpetual curate of Whitstaple.
  • 12. Before vicar of Bapchild, and in 1770 presented to the rectory of Charlton by Dover, which he held with this vicarage and the curacy of Whitstaple.
  • 13. He holds this vicarage with the rectory of Charlton above-mentioned, and the curacy of Whitstaple.