Parishes: Liminge

Pages 78-91

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 eastward, both to Stowting and Elmsted. It is written in the book of Domesday, Leminges, and in other records, Lymege. There are three boroughs in it, those of Liminge, Siberton, and Eatchend.

THE PARISH lies on the northern or opposite side of the down hills from Stanford, at no great distance from the summit of them. It is a large parish, being about six miles in length, and about three in breadth, from east to west, and the rents of it about 2000l. per annum. It lies the greatest part of it on high ground, on the east side of the Stone-street way, where it is a dreary and barren country of rough grounds, covered with woods, scrubby coppice, broom, and the like, the soil being and unfertile red earth, with quantities of hard and sharp stint stones among it. In that part adjoining to the Stone-street way, is Westwood, near two miles in length; and not far from it, two long commons or heaths, the one called Rhode, the other Stelling Minnis; of the latter, a small part only being within this parish, there are numbers of houses and cottages built promiscuously on and about them, the inhabitants of which are as wild, and in as rough a state as the country they dwell in. Near the southern boundary of the parish is the estate and manor of Liminge park, which, as well as Westwood, belongs to Mr. Sawbridge, of Ollantigh, who has near 700 acres of woodland in this parish, the whole of his estate here having been formerly appurtenant to the manor of Liminge, and together with it, exchanged by archbishop Cranmer as before-mentioned, with king Henry VIII. in his 31st year. On the east part of these hills, towards the declivity of them, the soil changes to chalk, and not far from the foot of them are the houses of Longage and Siberton, the former of which belonged to the Sawkins's, and then to the Scotts, a younger branch of those of Scotts-hall; afterwards by marriage to William Turner, of the White Friars, in Canterbury, and then again in like manner to David Papillon, esq. whose grandson Thomas Papillon, esq. of Acrise, now owns it. Below these hills is the great Nailbourn valley, which is very spacious and wide here, on each side of which the hills are high and very frequent, and the lands poor, but in the vale near the stream there is a tract of fertilelands and meadows, and the country becoming far from unpleasant, is as well as the rest of the parish exceedingly healthy. The valley extends quite through the parish from north to south; just above it, on the side of the hill, is the village of Liminge, in which is the parsonage-house, a handsome modern dwelling, and above it, still higher, the church. More southward in the valley is a house, called Broadstreet, the property and residence of the Sloddens for many generations; still further in the valley, near the boundary of the parish, and adjoining to the Hangres, being a part of the down or chalk hills, which continue on to Caldham, near Folkestone, a space of near six miles, is the hamlet of Echinghill, or Eachand, corruptly so called for Ikenild, close under the hill of which name it lies, the principal house in which formerly belonged to the Spicers, of Stanford; hence the road leads to Beechborough, and so on to Hythe.

A fair is held in the village of Liminge yearly, on July 5, for toys, pedlary, &c.

Near Eching street, a little to the southward of it, is a spring or well, called Lint-well, which runs from thence southward below Newington towards the sea; and on the opposite or north side of that street rises another spring, which takes a direct contrary course from the former, one running through the valley northward towards North Liminge, where it is joined by two springs, which rise in Liminge village, at a small distance north-east from the church, gushing out of the rock at a very small space from each other, the lowermost of which called St. Eadburg's well, never fails in its water. These united springs, in summer time in general, flow no further than Ottinge, about one mile from their rise, at which time the space from thence to Barham is dry there; but whenever their waters burst forth and form the stream usually called the Nailbourn, which the country people call the Nailbourne's coming down, then, though in the midst of summer, they become a considerable stream, and with a great gush and rapidity of waters, flow on to a place called Brompton's Pot, which is a large deep pond, a little above Wigmore, having a spring likewise of its own, which hardly ever overflows its bounds, excepting at these times, when, congenial with the others, it bursts forth with a rapidity of water, about three miles and an half northward from Liminge, and having jointly with those springs overfilled its bounds, takes its course on by Barham into the head of the Little Stour, at Bishopsborne, making a little river of its own size. These Nailbourns, or temporary land springs, are not unusaual in the parts of this country eastward of Sittingborne, for I know of but one, at Addington near Maidstone, which is on the other side of it. (fn. 1) Their time of breaking forth or continuance of running, is very uncertain; but whenever they do break forth, it is held by the common people as the forerunner of scarcity and dearness of corn and victuals. Sometimes they break out for one or perhaps two successive years, and at others with two, three, or more years intervention, and their running continues sometimes only for a few months, and at others for three or four years, as their springs afford a supply. (fn. 2)

Dr. Gale, in his Comment on Antorinus's Itinerary, conjectures that at this village of Leming two Roman ways, one from Lenham to Saltwood castle, and the other from Canterbury to Stutfal castle, intersected each other; as indeed they do at no great distance from it, nearer to Limne; and that the word Lemen, now by modern use written Leming, was by our early ancestors used to denote a public way. Hence that military way leading from Isurium to Cataractouium, is called Leming-lane, and the town near it Le- ming. So in the county of Gloucester, on the sosseway, there is a town called Lemington. Hence, he adds, that Durolevum, in this county, changed its name into Lenham, to signify its being situated on the public way or road; and perhaps the name of Ikenhill, very probably so called corruptly for Ickneld, in this parish before-mentioned, has still further strengthened this conjecture; there being said to have been two Roman ways of the name of Icknild-street, in this kingdom, though no one yet has determined precisely where they were.

The Manor of Liminge was part of the antient possessions of the monastery of Christ-church, in Canterbury, to which it had been given in the year 964, on the supperssion of the monastery founded in this parish by Ethelburga, called by some Eadburga, daughter of king Ethelbert, who by the favour of her brother king Eadbald, built this monastery to the honor of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of her own niece St. Mildred. Ethelburga, the founder, was buried in it, as was St. Mildred, whose bodies were afterwards removed by archbishop Lanfrance to St. Gregories church, in Canterbury. This monastery was at first said to consist of nuns, but afterwards came under the government of an abbot, and continued so, till suffering much by the continual ravages of the Danes, it was suppressed and granted to the monastery of Christ-church as before-mentioned. (fn. 3) The possessions of it here were given at different times during the Saxon heptarchy; some of them were given to this church of Liminge, in the time of archbishop Cuthbert, who had been abbot of it. After which this manor remained part of the possessions of the monastery of Christ-church, till archbishop Lanfranc dividing the revenues of his church between himself and his monks, this manor was allotted to the archbishop; in which state it continued at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in which it is thus entered:

In Moniberge hundred, the archbishop himself holds Leminges, in demesne. It was taxed at seven sulings. The arable land is sixty carucates. In demesne there are four, and one hundred and one villeins, with sixteen borderers having fifty-five carucates. There is a church and ten servants, and one mill of thirty pence, and one fishery of forty eels, and thirty acres of pasture. Wood for the pannage of one hundred hogs.

There belong to it six burgesses in Hede. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth twenty four pounds, and afterwards forty pounds, and now the like, and yet it yields sixty pounds.

Of this manor three tenants of the archbishop hold two sulings and an half, and half a yoke, and they have there five carucates in demesne, and twenty villeins, with sixteen borderers having five carucates and an half, and one servant, and two mills of seven shillings and six-pence, and forty acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of eleven hogs. There are two churches. In the whole it was worth eleven pounds.

Whilst this manor was in the possession of the see of Canterbury, archbishop Ralph, who came to it in the year 1114, granted a penny a day to the hospital of Harbledown out of this manor, which gift was confirmed and renewed by archibishop Theobald, and by king Edward III. in his 9th year. The manor of Liminge was valued, as appears by an antient survey of it, at 561. 8s. 8d. yearly income; (fn. 4) and it continued in this state till the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when archbishop Cranmer that year, exchanged it, then in the occupation of John and Henry Spycer, with the king for other premises. In which deed all presentations, advowsons, &c. of churches and chapels, were excepted to the archbishop, and it appears, that whilst this manor was in the hands of the crown, that nine out of the twelve dennes in the Weald belonging to it entered into an agreement to pay an additional rent to the lord, for licence in future to cut their wood growing on them at their will, which by antient custom they were restrained from. (fn. 5) After which the king, in his 38th year, granted this manor of Liminge, with the advowson of the churches of Liminge, Stanford, and Padlesworth, with their appurtenances, which advowson the king had had a grant of from the archbishop that same year, to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Otterden, to hold in capite. He was slain at the siege of Calais in the last year of queen Mary's reign, anno 1557, and in his descendants, seated at Bishopsborne, it continued down to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Bishopsborne, who soon after the death of king Charles I. alienated it, with the advowson above-mentioned, to Sir John Roberts, of Canterbury, who died in 1658, and was buried in Alphage's church, in Canterbury. He was descended of a collateral branch of the Roberts's, of Glassenbury, Hawkhurst, and Brenchley, and bore for his arms, Parted per pale, azure, and gules, three pheons, or. His heirs sold it to William Taylor, gent. whose descendant John Taylor dying s. p. it descended in 1778 to Robert Hume, esq. as his heir and second cousin, and he in 1722 conveyed it to Sir Andrew Hume, who died intestate in 1734, leaving one son and four daughters. The former died intestate in 1736, on which this estate came to his four sisters and coheirs, who about the year 1775 joined in the conveyance of it to Alexander Wedderburne, esq. solicitor-general, since created lord Loughborough, and made lord chancellor, (fn. 6) and he in the year 1784 conveyed this manor, with the advowson of the church of Liminge, and its appurte nances, to Ralph Price, clerk, rector and vicar of this church, who is the present owner of it. A court baron is regularly held for this manor, which extends into Romney Marsh, over the culets of Eastbridge and Jeffordstone.

East Lyghe, now called Lyghe-court, is a manor in the north-west corner of this parish, near the Stonestreet way, which in king Edward II.'s reign was held by Stephen Gerard, of Henry de Malmayns, who again held it of the castle of Dover. After which it became the property of Thomas Adelyn, in right of his wife, daughter of Waretius de Valoigns, and he possessed it in the 20th year of king Edward III. holding it by knight's service; after which the family of Leigh appear to have become owners of this manor, who before this were possessed of lands here; for I find William and Robert de Leigh held lands by knight's service, in Leghe and Sibeton of Ralph Fitzbernard, as he again did of the archbishop. John Leigh, esq. died possessed of the manor of Eastlegh in the first year of king Henry VI. then held of the manor of Sibton, as did his descendant Nicholas Leigh, then of Addington, in Surry, who, in consequence of a bargain made by his father John Leigh with king Henry VIII. sold to that king in his 36th year, this manor, in exchange for other premises. (fn. 7) After which it was granted by the crown to Allen, of the family of that name seated at Borden, whence it was soon afterwards alienated to Fogge, from which name it shortly afterwards was conveyed to Cobbe, of Cobbes-court; and from thence again, within a few years, to Salkeld, descended originally from the Salkelds, of Yorkshire, and bishopric of Durham. One of his descendants alienated it, about the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, to Mr. Nicholas Sawkins, of Longage, in this parish, who died in 1619; at length his descendant Mr. William Sawkins gave it in marriage with his daughter to Mr. Anfell, and his heirs passed it away by sale to Bridges, whose descendant Thomas Bridges, esq. of St. Nicholas, in the Isle of Thanet, is now the proprietor of it.

Sibeton, vulgarly called Sibton, is a manor here, lying about half a mile northward from the church. It was formerly held of the archbishop by the family of Fitzbernard, by knight's service. Ralph Fitzbernard held of the archbishop two knights fees in Sibeton and Leghe, of which he died possessed in the 34th year of King Edward I. leaving a son Thomas, who died s.p. and a daughter Margaret, who at length carried this manor of Sibeton in marriage to Guncelin de Badlesmere, whose son Bartholomew succeeded to it, and being a man much in favour with king Edward II. he obtained many liberties and franchises for his manors, and among others that of free warren in the demesne lands of this manor. (fn. 8) His son Giles de Badlesmere died anno 12 Edward III. s.p. being then possessed of this manor, so that his four sisters became his coheirs, and upon a partition of their inheritance, this manor was alloted to the share of Margaret, wife of Sir John Tiptost. His son Robert Tiptost dying in the 46th year of that reign, without male issue, his three daughters became his coheirs, of whom Elizabeth, married to Sir Philip le Despencer, on the partition of his estates, had this manor among others allotted to her share. He died anno 2 Henry VI. upon which it came to their daughter Margery, then the wife of Roger Wentworth, esq. one of whose descendants passed it away to Haut, from which name it went to that of Allen, and thence to Sir James Hales, of the Dungton, in Canterbury, and one of the justices of the common pleas. His grandson Sir James Hales, of the Dungeon, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, alienated it to Salked, one of whose descendants conveyed it to Mr. Nicholas Sawkins, in whose family and name it continued till the year 1786, when Mr. Jacob Sawkins, of Sibton, conveyed it by sale to William Honywood, esq. next brother to Sir John Honywood, bart. who resides here, and is the present owner of this manor. (fn. 9) A court baron is held for it.


Thomas Bedingfield gave by will in 1691, a house and lands in the parish of St. Mary, Romney Marsh, this parish, and Woodchurch, towards the education and maintenance of poor children of the parishes of Smeeth, Liminge, and Dimchurch; and 10s. unto two poor women of each of the said parishes yearly. They are of the annual value of 54l. 10s. and are vested in trustees.

David Spycer, of this parish, by will in 1558, devised to the poor of it 20l. to be paid them yearly at 20s. a year.

There is an unendowed school here, for the teaching of boys and girls reading, writing, and accounts; and an alms-house, consisting of two dwellings, the donor of it to the parish unknown.

The poor constantly maintained are about fifty, casually 30.

Liminge is within the Eccelstical Jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Elham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary and St. Eadburgh, consists of two isles and a chancel, having a square tower steeple, with a low pointed turret on it, at the west end, in which are five bells. This church is handsome, being built of quarry stone. The arches and pillars on the north side of the south isle are elegant. In the chancel is a monument for William Hollway, esq. chief justice of Gibraltar, obt. 1767, who with his mother and wife, lie buried in a vault underneath, arms, Sable, two swords in saltier, argent. and memorials in it, as well as in the south isle, for the family of Sawkins. In the north isle a memorial for John Lyndon, A. M. vicar, obt. 1756. In the east window are the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling Bourchier; and in one of the south windows a bishop's head and mitre. On the outside of the steeple, are the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling Warham, that on the south side having a cardinal's hat over it. At the south-east corner of the chancel is a very remarkable buttress to it, the abutment being at some feet distance from the chancel, and joined to it by the half of a circular arch, seemingly very antient. In the church-yard are two tombs for the Scotts, of Longage. Henry Brockman, of Liminge, appears by his will in 1527, to have been buried in this church, and devised to the making of the steeple five pounds, as the work went forward; and David Spycer, of this parish, by will in 1558, devised to this church a chalice, of the price of five pounds. (fn. 10) This church, with the chapels of Stanford and Padlesworth annexed, was always accounted an appendage to the manor, and continued so till the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when the archbishop conveyed the manor to the king, but reserved the patronage and advowson of this church out of the grant to himself, by which means it became separated from the manor, and became an advowson in gross; and though the archbishop afterwards, by his deed anno 38 Henry VIII. conveyed it to the king and his heirs, and the king that same year granted it, with the manor and its appurtenances in fee, to Sir Anthony Aucher as before-mentioned, and it was possessed by the same owners as the manor from time to time, yet having been once separated, it could never be appendant to it again. Through which chain of ownership it afterwards came at length to lord Loughborough, and from him again to the Rev. Mr. Ralph Price, the present proprietor and patron of it.

The church of Liminge is exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon. There is both a rectory and vicarage endorsed belonging to this church, which appears to have been before the 8th of king Richard II.

The rectory is a sinecure, and the vicar performs the whole service of the cure, but they both receive institution and induction, and although some years ago this establishment of it was attempted by the ordinary to be set aside as separate benefices, it was without effect, and the Rev. Mr. Ralph Price, the patron, continues to present to both rectory and vicarage.

The rectory, with the two chapels above-mentioned, is valued in the king's books at 21l. 10s. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 3s. Procurations 1l. 10s. The vicarage at 10l. 18s. 9d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 1s. 10½d.

In 1588 here were communicants two hundred and eighty-three. In 1640 there were two hundred and fifty-five, and the vicarage was valued at eighty pounds.

The tithes and profits of this parish, and the glebeland, about forty acres, are now worth upwards of four hundred pounds per annum, exclusive of the chapels annexed to it. Mr. Sawbridge's estates in this parish, formerly park land, pay by custom only half a crown composition yearly, in lieu of tithes, but Westwood pays full tithes.

It appears by the register of Horton priory, that Liminge was once the head of a rural deanry, Sir Hugh, dean of Liminge, being mentioned as a witness to a dateless deed of Stephen de Heringod, of a gift of land to that priory, of about the reign of king Henry III. (fn. 11)

Church of Liminge.

Or by whom presented.
Family of Aucher. Henry Wayland, S. T. P. resig. April 1611.
James Parker, A. M. inducted April 1611, obt. 1621.
Jonas Taylor, A. M. inducted 1621, obt. Nov. 1632. (fn. 12)
Miles Barnes, A. M. June 20, 1634. (fn. 13)
Humphry Peake, S. T. P. June 25, 1634, obt 1645. (fn. 14)
The Archbishop. Abiel Borset, A. M. inducted 1671, obt. 1714.
The King, hac vice, Richard Halford, A. M. induct. January 1715, obt. May 24, 1726. (fn. 15)
Annabella Taylor, widow. Quintus Naylor, A. M. inducted August 1726, obt. August 1734.
John Lyndon, Feb. 1735, obt. Dec. 24, 1756. (fn. 16)
Ralph Price, Feb. 1, 1757, obt. Nov.20, 1776. (fn. 17)
Ralph Price, hac vice. Ralph Price, A. M. Dec. 1776, the present rector. (fn. 18)
John Grimston, in 1581, obt. Jan. 1602. (fn. 19)
The King. Joans Taylor, A.M. Dec. 1616. obt. Nov. 1632. (fn. 20)
William Somner, A. M. obt. 1693 (fn. 21)
William Taylor, gent. Alexander Pollock, A.M. ind. Nov. 1693.
Abiel Borset, A. M. obt. 1714. (fn. 22)
John Taylor, gent. Richard Halford, A. M. Jan, 1714, obt. May 24, 1726.
Arabella Taylor, widow. Quintus Naylor, A. M. inducted June 1726, obt. Aug. 1734.
John Lyndon, induct. Feb. 1735, obt. Dec. 24, 1756.
Ralph Price, Feb. 1, 1757, obt. Nov. 20, 1776.
Ralph Price, A. M. Dec. 20, 1776, the present vicar.


  • 1. See vol. iv. of this list my, p. 143, and vol. vi. p. 501.
  • 2. See Packe's Explanation to his Chart. p. 61.
  • 3. See Lel. Coll. vol. iii. p. 53 to 56, 166, 167.
  • 4. See also Lambeth MSS. C. N. 14, p. 170.
  • 5. Inrolment in the Augmentation-office.
  • 6. See an account of him in Longmate's Supplement to Collins's Pecrage, p. 274.
  • 7. Augtn. off. deeds of inrolm, and exch. See more of the Leighs. vol. ii. of this history, p. 197 and 356, and vol. iv. p. 458.
  • 8. Rot. Cart. anno 9 Edward II. N. 57. See more of the Badlesmeres, vol. vi. p. 469, 470.
  • 9. See more of the Honywoods before under Elmsted.
  • 10. Wills in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury.
  • 11. Cart. 89. See some account of the institution of rural deauries, vol. vi. of this history, p. 527.
  • 12. He was then vicar of this church, and lies buried in the chancel of it.—His will is in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury.
  • 13. Rym, Fæd. vol. xix. p. 623.
  • 14. Ibid. p. 608, He had been before rector of Acrise. In 1626 he was made prebendary of Marston St. Laurence, in the church of Lincoln, and in 1632 prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 15. His will is in the Prerog. off. Cant. He was likewise vicar here.
  • 16. He lies buried in the north isle of this church.
  • 17. He was likewise rector of Faruborough, in Berkshire, the patronage of which had been in the possession of his family for some time. He was a good benefactor to this rectory, by rebuilding the house of it, which is situated close to the south side of the church-yard, in a very handsome manner, in which his son, the Rev. Mr. Ralph Price, now resides.
  • 18. Son of the former, and likewise rector of Farnborough, and now by purchase patron of this advowson.
  • 19. His will is in the picrog. oft. Cant.
  • 20. He was rector likewise of this church afterwards. See above.
  • 21. Son of the antiquary of the same name. See Somner's life, in Roman Ports, p. 103, and Biog. Brit. vol. vi. p. 3762.
  • 22. Likewise rector of this church, as were all his successors.