Parishes: Bleane

Pages 524-536

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

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OR Cosmus Bleane, stiled in all judicial proceedings St. Cosmus and Damian in the Blean, is the next parish southward from Swaycliffe, which latter name it took from the two saints, to whom the church of it is dedicated, and from its having been situated within the district which was once the king's antient forest of Bleane.

IT IS situated in a wild country, enveloped with woods, having much rough and poor land in it, and the inhabitants are in general like the soil, equally poor and rough. The turnpike road from Canterbury to Whitstaple, runs along the western side of it. It reaches as far as the half-way house on that road; and from Denstroud common, the houses of which only are within it, as far as the brook next to St. Stephen's parish eastward, in breadth about three miles. The soil in general consists of an unsertile stiff clay, and a cold loam, both very wet and miry. There is no village in it, but there are about forty houses dispersed throughout the whole of it. There are three commons or small heaths in it; two, over which the Whitstaple road runs, called Hoad common, and Bleane common; on the eastern side of the former is Hoad-court, great part of which has been pulled down within these few years, and the remainder has been converted into a farm-house; the third, in the eastern part of it, is called Tyler-hill common. On the east side of Bleane common, on the knoll of the hill, is a good brick house, formerly of better note, though now only a farm-house, called Amery-court. It was antiently called Le Ambry, alias Le Amery-court, being a corruption for the almonry court, from its being given in alms to St. Sepulchere's nunnery. It was lately the property of the Rev. Mr. Boucherie, who died in 1789, and now of his widow. The northern part of this parish is all coppice wood, among which is a considerable part of the great tract called Clowes wood, belonging jointly to Sir Edward Dering and Sir Rowland Wynne, barts. It was antiently called Cluse, and was formerly a manor, and was, in Edward III.'s reign, in the possession of a family of its own name. It afterwards passed to the Ropers, of St. Dunstan's, and thence in like manner as that of Boteler's-court before-described, to the present possessors of it. On the west side of the parish is the manor of Goodmans, which formerly belonged to Sir John Rough, of Brenley, and afterwards to the Farewells, of Boughton, of whom it was purchased in 1741, by the Rev. Julius Deedes, whose grandson William Deedes, esq. of St. Stephen's sold it in 1796, to Mr. William Cantis, of Canterbury, the present owner of it.

There are within the bounds of this parish, four several districts of land, which are reputed to be within the liberty and ville of Christ-church, in Canterbury, and have been so time out of mind, and their christenings are entered as such in this parish register. The inheritance of them belongs to the dean and chapter of Canterbury.

THE MANOR OF BLEANE, called in Domesday, Blehem, was at the time of taking that survey, part of the possessions of Hamo de Crevequer, usually stiled in the records of that time, Hamo Vicecomes, which name he acquired from his having been appointed Vicecomes, or sheriff of this county, soon after his coming over hither with the Conqueror, and holding the office till his death, which was not till Henry I.'s reign. According it is thus entered in the above survey, under the general title of Terra Hamonis Vicecomitis:

In the lath of Borowart, in Witestaple hundred, Haimo himself holds Blehem. Norman held it of king Ed ward, and then, and now, it was taxed at one suling. The arable land is four carucates, and twelve villeins having three carucates. In demesne there is one carucate. There is a church, and two acres of meadow, and pannage for sixty hogs. There is one fishery. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth eight pounds, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth six pounds.

Hamo de Crevequer, a descendant of Hamo abovementioned, possessed this manor in king Richard I.'s reign, from whence he is stiled in some antient deeds relating to it, Sir Hamo del Blen. (fn. 1) He died anno 47 king Henry III. Leaving Robert his grandson his heir, who held it by knight's service; but taking part with the discontented barons, this manor was most probably seized among the rest of his estates, which remained in the crown till it was granted to one of the family of Badlesmere, and Bartholomew de Badlesmere, usually stiled the rich lord Badlesmere of Ledes, possessed it in king Edward II.'s reign, in the 9th year of which, he obtained a special charter of freewarren in all his demesne lands within it. He afterwards associated himself with the rebellious barons, but being taken prisoner, he was converyed to Canterbury, and executed in the 16th year of that reign, at the gallows of Blean, within this manor, to make the ignominy of his death the more conspicuous. By the inquisition, which was not taken till anno 2 king Edward III. at which time the process and judgment against him was reversed, it was sound that he died possessed of the manor of Blean, among others, which were then restored to his son Giles de Badlesmere, who died s. p. in the 12th year of king Edward III. anno 1337, (fn. 2) so that his four sisters became his coheirs, and upon a partition of their inheritance, it sell to the share of Margerie, wife of William, lord Roos, of Hamlake. She survived her husband, and afterwards possessed this manor for her life, and in the 32d year of the above reign, granted her interest in it to Thomas de Wolton and Robert de Denton; which was confirmed by her only surviving son Thomas, lord Roos, of Hamlake, who the next year granted the inheritance of it to the same Thos. de Wolton, master of the hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr, of Eastbridge, in Canterbury, and his successors, in Support of the charities and alms made in it, at which time the hospital was possessed of much other land in this parish by the gift of several other persons. (fn. 3) After which this manor, with the other premises abovementioned, remained with the hospital, which escaped the suppression of such foundations in the reigns of king Henry VIII. and king Edward VI. and it remains with the other lands given to it at different times, now part of the possessions of the above-mentioned hospital.

A court leet and court baron is held for this manor of Bleane and Hothe-court, at which a borshoulders is chosen for the borough of Bleane.

If there ever was a court-lodge or manston to the manor of Blean, it has been demolished time out of mind; for that of Hoad-court hereafter described, has deyond memory been the only one belonging to both these manors, which indeed seem to have been long since united, if ever they were two, and now are but one and the same manor, and should be more properly stiled the manor of Bleane, alias Hothe-court.

HOTHE, or HOADE COURT, so called from its situation, close to the hothe, or common here, is a manor, lying in the south east part of this parish, which was once the estate of Sir John de la Lee, who in the year 1360, anno 35 king Edward III. gave it, to Thomas de Wolton and his successors, masters of the hospital of Eastbregge, towards certain acts of piety in it. (fn. 4) After which it remained in the possession of the hospital till the latter and of queen Elizabeth's reign, when Dr. Lause, prebendary of Canterbury, and the archbishop's commissary, then master of it, with the privity of archbishop Whitgift, (fn. 5) made a benesicial lease of this manor, at which it seems he then resided, with divers other lands, at the reserved rent of forty-eight pounds, for his own use and benefit, to his brother Fermyn Lause, for threre lives. He died in 1594, and by his will devised his interest in the above lease to John Boys, esq. and Robert Grove, of Eastry. In consequence of which, Fermyn Lause, above-mentioned, then of Aylsham, in Norfolk, conveyed the lease to them, the sole interest in which became vested in John Boys, esq. above-mentioned, afterwards knighted, and of St. Gregory's priory, in Canterbury, a man of much note in his profession of the law. He was steward to five archbishops, recorder of Canterbury, and then of Sandwich, judge of the chancery court of the five ports, and M. P. for Sandwich, and for Canterbury, and founder of Jesus or Boys's hospital, in Northgate, Canterbury. He was fifth and youngest son of William Boys, esq. of Nonington, by his wife Mary, sister and heir of Sir Edward Ringsley, and bore for his arms, Or, a griffin, segreant, sable, within a bordure, gules, being those borne by his ancestors. He resided at times here at Hoadcourt, which he died possessed of in 1612, without surviving issue, though he had been twice married, and was buried in the north isle of Canterbury cathedral, where his monument, with his effigies on it, still remains, having by his will devised his interest in the lease of this manor to his nephew Thomas Boys, of Canterbury, with remainder to John his son. (fn. 6)

Thomas Boys, esq. above mentioned, was afterwards of Hoad court, as was John Boys, his eldest son, who succeeded him here, by the limitation in Sir John Boys's will, and resided at Hoad-court, as did his descendants down to colonel John Boys, who died here in 1748, and was buried with his ancestors in this church, leaving by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Dalyson, esq. two daughters his coheirs, Elizabeth, married to the Rev. Charles Wake, and Anne to the Rev. Osmund Beauvoir, who respectively, in right of their wives, became jointly entitled to the lease of this manor, with the seat and lands belonging to it; but after some years intervening, on a partition made, it was wholly allotted to the former, who held it for three lives, from the master of the hospital of Eastbridge; since whose death in 1796, his interest in it is become vested in the Rev. John Honywood, his son-in-law, the present possessor of it.

The Rev. C. Wake above-mentioned, LL. D. was prebendary of Westminster, and rector of East Knoyle and Fonthill, in Wiltshire. He was first married to Eliz. Boys, by whom he had Charles, vicar of Shoreham, and Elizabeth, who married the Rev. J. Honywood above-mentioned. He married 2dly the daughter of Mr. Beckford, by whom he had several children. Dr. Beauvoir was formerly head master of the king's school, in Canterbury, and married Anne Boys, as above-mentioned, who died in 1762, and was buried in Bleane church, by whom he had three sons, Osmund, William, and Cholmondeley, who survived to maturity, but all died unmarried; and two daughters, Elizabeth, married to William Hammond, esq. of St. Albans, in this county, and Isabella, married to the Rev. Richard Blackett Dechair, vicar of Shebbertswell, and of Postling, in this county. Dr. Beauvoir married secondly Mary, only daughter and heir of Fane William Sharpe, esq. (Since re-married to Dr. Douglas) but by whom he had no issue; he died in 1789, and was buried in the nave of the cathedral at Bath. He bore for his arms, Argent, a chevron between three cinquefoils, gules, quartered with those of Compton, of Guernsey.

In the rentals of the manor of Blean, there is mention made of the payment of gate silver (a custom not often met with). It seems to be a payment made by the tenants of the manor, for the repair of the gates leading to and from the Blean, to prevent their cattle from straying and being lost.

WELL-COURT, now usually called Wild-court, is a manor, situated near the northern bounds of this parish, the house of it being partly in it and partly in that of St. Stephen's. It is stiled in antient records, Ebolestone, alias Well-court, and was once part of the possessions of the family of At-Lese, one of whom, Sir Richard At-Lese, died s. p. possessed of it in 1394. Upon which it descended to his two nieces, daughters and coheirs likewise of his brother Marcellus At-Lese, of whom Lucy the eldest, married first to John Norton, esq. and secondly to William Langley, esq. of Knolton, (fn. 7) had this manor as part of her inheritance, and accordingly entitled both her husbands in succession to it. She had issue by both of them, who after their deaths shared this manor between them. In which state it continued for many years, till Thomas Langley, son of John, alienated his part of it, in the IIth year of king Henry VIII. to his relation Sir John Norton, the possessor of the other moiety, who then became owner of the whole of it, of which he died possessed in the 34th year of that reign, and was Succeeded in it by his natural son Thomas Green, usually stiled Norton, alias Green, whose two grandsons Thomas and George Green, in the 7th year of James I. alienated it to John Best, in which name the fee of it continued till the latter end of the last century, though in king Charles II.'s reign, it had come by means of mortgage, or some other such assignment, into the possession of Lovelace, then of Wild, and afterwards of William Rooke, esq. of St. Laurence, afterwards knighted, when it was passed away to Thomas Fleet, yeoman, who then lived in it. He died in the possession of it in 1712, s. p. and by his will devised it to his cousin Thomas Fleet, son of John Fleet, of Bleane, since which, by the limitations in the above will, it is now come to Mr. Thomas Fleet, who is the present owner, and resides in it.

BOTELERS,alias Botelers court, is a manor, nearly in the centre of this parish, which, in the 20th year of king Edward III. was, with the manors of Chesfield and Cluse, now called Clowes, held by knight's service by the same owners. Soon after which, it became the property and residence of the family of Boteler, whence it gained the name of Botelers-court, and continued in it till it was at length sold to one of the Ropers, of St. Dunstans, near Canterbury; in whose posterity it continued down to Edward Roper, esq. of Eltham, who died possessed of it in 1723, s. p. since which it has passed in like manner as that of Chestfield, in Swaycliffe, heretofore described, down to Sir Edward Dering and Sir Rowland Wynne, barts. and they are at this time the joint proprietors of it.

There are no parochial charities.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Cosmus and Damianus, is but small and mean. It consists of only one isle and a chancel, having a low pointed turret at the west end, in which hangs one bell. In the chancel is a memorial for John Boys, esq. of Hoad-court, eldest son of John Boys, esq. of that place, obt. 1660; and a mural monument for John Boys, esq. of Hode, who married Jane, daughter of Sir Richard Head, bart. obt. 1710; arms, quarterly, Boys, Phalop, Alday, and Ringsley, impaling Head. Besides which, there are several other memorials of less account.

The church was antiently an appendage to the manor, and remained so till Hamo de Crevequer, called in the charter, Hamo de Blen, son of Etardus de Crevequer, the lord of it, gave this church, with all its appurtenances, to the master and brethren of the hospital of Eastbridge; and by another deed he granted to them, that is to the rector of this church, and the brethren of that hospital, the parsonage-house, with its appurtenances, late belonging to the rectory of it, and one acre of ground, and certain annual rent in this parish, to hold in free, pure and perpetual alms; all which was confirmed by archbishop Langton, by which means the rectory and parsonage of it became appropriated, and confirmed to the hospital, and the master or keeper became parson of it; but archbishop Sudbury afterwards, in 1375, converted the rectory or parsonage so appropriated, into a perpetual vicarage, which he then founded and endowed; but on account of the inconveniences arising to the parishioners, especially those who were infirm, from the distance they were at from the priest who had the cure of souls, who usually lived at the hospital, which was a mile or more distant from them, whom they were obliged with much trouble to seek after there; by which means the duties of this church, as well as the parishioners, were either neglected or wholly omitted. Therefore, weighing these inconveniences, and being desirous to remedy them as far as was in his power, he decreed, that there should be in this church in future, a perpetual vicar, having within the parish of the same, the mansion which the master of the hospital had erected for the same; and that the vicar should have likewise the tithes and oblations under-mentioned, amounting, as was supposed, to 10l. and upwards, for the supporting of himself in food, and the under-mentioned burthens; and that the presentation of the vicar on each vacancy, should belong to the keeper of the hospital for ever. Moreover, that the vicar should have, in part of the said sum, for his endowment, all predial tithes at Natynden, due to the hospital of old time, which were worth five marcs or thereabout yearly, and also all predial tithes through this whole parish; excepting of the demesne lands and estates of the hospital within the parish, whilst in tillage; and excepting all manner of predial tithes, and others whatsoever, arising from the lands, and beasts feeding on them, and their young folded on them, lying on the south part of the course of water running in this parish, called Vischmannysbourne, between the church and the court of the hospital at le Hothe, of which tithes he should not claim any thing, in any shape whatever. Moreover, that the vicar should have, towards the making up the sum of the aforesaid 10l. all tithes of calves, lambs, geese, flax, wool, milk, milkmeats, cheese, hay, herbage, silva cedua, and all titheable things within the parish, except only as before excepted. The vicar, therefore, should have all oblations in the church, and parish without the court of the hospital at la Hoth; and as the vicar himself, as if rector of the place, would possess such emoluments within it, he should support the undermentioned burthens from them, that is, he should amend and repair the chancel of the church at his own cost, and should support the mansion already built for him, and should find wine and bread and lights in the church, necessary for the celebrations, at his own expence, and should undergo all other burthens to be imposed in future on the church, which were not then taxed to the payment of the tenths, and should acknowledge them duly, and pay them; that he should be obliged to make a continual residence within the parish, as the other vicars of churches were obliged by law to do; and that he should obey the keeper of the hospital in all lawful and honest matters, the archbishop reserving to himself and his successors, the power of correcting, augmenting, and diminishing this his decree, as often as it should be expeding to him and them so to do.

According to which endowment, the vicarage of this church still continues, the vicar, as if rector of the parish, receiving all the tithes, both great and small, within it, except as is therein excepted, and of the portion of lands in Nackington; and from the time before-mentioned, the keeper, or master, as he is now called, of Eastbridge hospital, has continued, and is, the present patron of it.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 10l. and the yearly tenths at one pound. In 1537 here were thirty families, and ninety-four communicants. In 1588 it was valued at 40l. communicants 129. In 1640 it was valued at 65l. the like number of communicants. It was lately certified to be of the clear yearly value of 73l. 14s. 6d. but it is now worth near double that sum. The portion of tithes, in the parish of Nackington, &c. consists of those arising from 116 acres of land, or thereabout, lying in various detached pieces, belonging to different owners, and is worth about 44l. annual value.

There are near two acres of glebe land belonging to it.

Church of Bleane.

Or by whom presented.
Master of Eastbridge hospital. Nicholas Simpson, A. M. Dec. 17, 1586, obt. 1609. (fn. 8)
Sir John Boys. (fn. 9) William Thurgar, A. M. presented Feb. 17, 1609, obt. May 1632.
John Boys, esq. of Hode, and John Sackett, S.T.P. master of the hospital. (fn. 9) Stephen Sackett, A. M. June 11, 1632, obt. 1679. (fn. 10)
Master of Eastbridge hospital. Simon Louth, A. M. May 27, 1679, deprived 1690. (fn. 11)
The Crown, hac vice. James Williamson, A. M. ind. March 24, 1690, obt. August 4, 1728. (fn. 12)
Master of Eastbridge hospital. Richard Leightonhouse, A. M. presented Oct. 31, 1728. ob. Sept. 13, 1770. (fn. 13)
Robert Neild, A. M. presented March 7, 1771, obt. 1780.
James Smith, A. M. presented May 1781, obt. February 8, 1784. (fn. 14)
William Thomas, A. M. presented in 1784, vacated in 1792. (fn. 15)
William Gregory, A. M. 1792, the present vicar. (fn. 16)


  • 1. Chartularie, belonging to the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury.
  • 2. See more of the Badlesmeres, vol. ii. of this history, p. 470.
  • 3. The above charters of Margery, lady Roos, and her son Thomas, lord Roos, are printed in Duncombe's Account of the three Archiepiscopal Hospitals, p. 332; and the several deeds of gift from different persons, p. 308 et seq. See Dugd. Mon. vol. ii. p. 458.
  • 4. See the deed, printed in Duncombe's Hospitals, p. 334.
  • 5. See Strype's Life of Archbishop Whitgift, p. 498.
  • 6. A definitive sentence was pronounced in favour of the will, December I, 1612.
  • 7. See more of the family of At-Lese, and of the Nortons, in vol. vi. of this history, p. 179, 483.
  • 8. He held this vicarage with the rectory of Great Chart.
  • 9. Patrons by virtue of the lease then made of Hode-court, by the master of the hospital.
  • 10. Likewise vicar of West Hythe.
  • 11. Collated to the rectory of St. Michael, Harbledown, which he held with this vicarage. On the death of Dr.Castilion, dean of Rochester, on Oct. 1, 1688, king James II. nominated Mr. Lowth to succeed him, but he being only A.M. and there being no possibility of his taking a higher degree before the king's abdication, and though in January next year he took his degree of D. D. at Cambridge, yet king William III. gave it away to another, and in August 1689 he was suspended from his function, for not taking the oaths of allegiance, &c. and in the February following he was deprived of both his livings. See some circumstances relating to his deprivation in Duncombe's Hospitals, p. 346, taken from a memorandum in Bleane Register. Mr. Lowth published in 1687 an answer to Dr. Stillingsleet, with some reflections on Dr. Burnet.
  • 12. In 1709 a dispensation passed for his holding this vicarage with that of St. Dunstan's, Canterbury. He had been before rector of Kirkaldie, in Scotland, for many years, from which he was ousted for his adherence to episcopacy, of which he had entered an account in the parish register, which is printed in Duncombe's Hospitals, p. 348.
  • 13. A minor canon of Canterbury cathedral, and lies buried in the cloisters there.
  • 14. Likewisewise rector of Eastbridge,and vicar of Alkham, both a which he held with this vicarage. He was a native of Lisbon, and being a Roman Catholic, he took orders there, and afterwards coming to England, he re nounced those tenets in Lambeth chapel, in the presence of archbishop Secker. He published in 1777, the Errors of the Church of Rome detected.
  • 15. Son of Dr. Thomas, late dean of Ely, and master of Christ college, in Cambridge.
  • 16. Master of the hospital and patron, Also rector of the united parishes of St. Andrew and St. Mary Bredman, in Canterbury.