Parishes: Preston

Pages 135-142

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.

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IS the next parish westward from Elmstone. It is written in Domesday, Prestetune, and is usually called Preston near Wingham, and in several deeds is stiled East Preston, to distinguish it from another parish of the same name near Faversham. There are three boroughs in this parish, viz. Inborough, Blackinborough, and Santonborough.

THIS PARISH is but is small. It is for the most part situated on high ground. The fields are very large and even, level land, and the greatest part of them very sertile. The village, called Preston-street, is nearly in the middle of the upland part of it, and is not unpleasantly situated, on each side of the road, which is here very broad from Grove-ferry to Wingham. The church stands about a quarter of a mile from it, and near it the court lodge, which is well watered by a fine spring rising just above it, which supplies several ponds, one of which is a very large one, and afterwards runs through the marshes towards the river. Just below the court-lodge the hill descends to the marshes, near two hundred acres of which are in this parish. The other, or eastern part, in which the house stands, which is now the residence of the vicar, is separated from Elmstone by a stream of water, which rises there in a pond, and directs its course towards the river. In this part of the parish is Santon, belonging to Mr. Thomas and John Denne, of Chistlet. There is no fair held in it.

THE MANOR OF PRESTON was part of the antient possessions of the abbot and convent of St.Augustine, to the chamberlain of which monastery it was, together with the hundred, allotted by them, and it is thus entered, under the general title of the lands of that abbey, in the survey of Domesday:

In Prestetun hundred, the abbot himself holds Prestetune. It was taxed at five sulings. The arable land is eight carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and twenty five villeins, with seventeen borderers having nine carucates. There is a very small wood. Of this manor Vitalis holds one suling and half a yoke, and there he has in demesne two carucates, and seventeen borderers with half a carucate. The whole manor in the time of king Edward the Consessor was worth ten pounds, when be received it six pounds. What the abbot has is worth fourteen pounds. What Vitalis has is worth one hundred shillings.

Some time after which it appears to have been demised by the abbot and convent in see farm, at an annual rent, to the family of Capel, but at what period it was first so is not known. By which tenure it was, together with the hundred, held by John Capel, to whom Roger, abbot of that monastery, confirmed it in the 8th year of king John. (fn. 1) In which grant the patronage of the church was excepted and reserved. But he seems very soon after this to have passed away his interest in this manor to William, son of Sir Roger de Leyborne, as appears by the register of the abbey in 1272, the same year in which king Henry III. died. In the 35th year of king Edward I. he procured the grant of a market weekly here on a Monday, and a fair yearly on the feast of the Holy Cross, and the two following days, and died anno 3 Edward II. leaving his grand daughter Juliana, usually stiled the Infanta of Kent, his next heir. She was then the wife of John de Hastings, after whose death she married Thomas le Blount, and lastly Sir William de Clinton, created afterwards Earl of Huntingdon, who all three in her right became successively possessed of this manor. She died a widow in the 41st year of king Edward III. either of her husbands, and indeed without any heirs, who could make claim to her estates, even by collateral alliance, this manor, among the rest of her possessions, escheated to the crown, where it lay till king Richard II. granted it to Sir Simon de Burley, lord warden, who in the 9th year of that reign, had a new grant of a market here on a Friday, and a fair yearly on the feast of St. Mildred, and two days afterwards, but he being in the next year attainted, and afterwards beheaded, this manor became again vested in the crown, and the king, in his 11th and 22d years, settled it on the priory of Canons, alias Chiltern Langley, in Hertfordshire, where it remained till the dissolution of that house anno 30 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, and was the next year granted, with the scite of the priory and other lands and estates belonging to it, to Richard, bishop suffragan of Dover, to hold for his life, or until he should be promoted to some ecclesiastical benefice of the yearly value of one hundred pounds, which happened before the 36th year of that reign, in which it was granted by the king to Sir Thomas Moyle, to hold in capite, whose youngest daughter and coheir Anne, or Amy, as she is sometimes called, afterwards carried it in marriage to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Ollantigh, and he died possessed of it in 1607, leaving his four daughters his coheirs, of whom Anne, the second, entitled her husband Sir Thomas Chicheley, of Wimple, in Cambridgeshire, to this manor, as part of her inheritance. His son, of the same name, alienated it, at the latter end of king Charles I.'s reign, to Mr. Spence, of Bauckham, in Sussex, in whose descendants it continued down to Mr. Robert Spence, of London, whose sister Elizabeth afterwards died possessed of it, and her heirs sold it in 1769 to Nathaniel Elgar, gent. of Sandwich, who died in 1796, bequeathing various estates to his two nieces, and a partition of them taking place, this manor came to S. Toomor, esq. who married one of them, and he is the present owner of it. A court leet and court baron is held for the hundred and manor of Preston.


MR. ROBERT WYBORNE, by his will in 1711, gave a tenement, with garden and orchard, for the benefit of the poor, which is now vested in the churchwardens and overseers, and is of the annual produce of 4l.

The poor constantly relieved are about twenty-five, casually forty.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mildred, is but small. It consists of three isles, a high chancel, and a north chancel, having at the west end a low pointed steeple, in which hang five bells. It is kept exceedingly neat and handsome, and the whole of it ceiled. In the south isle is a tomb for Anne Hougham, obt. 1677. A stone, with a memorial for Michael Hougham, obt. 1679. In the high chancel a monument for Henry Waddell, vicar of Preston, obt. July 16, 1729. A monument for Peter Valavine, A. M. vicar of Preston, obt. Jan. 11, 1767. In the windows of the north chancel are some small remains of good painted glass. In this chancel was lately a school for teaching poor children to read and write; but it has been some time discontinued, through the parsimony of the parish officers and other principal inhabitants.

This church was antiently appendant to the manor of Preston, and continued so till the year 1206, when, as has been already mentioned before, the manor was confirmed in see farm, by the abbot of St. Augustine's, to John Capel, to hold in inheritance to him and his heirs, out of which grant, the patronage of this church was excepted to the abbot and his successors.

About the middle of king Henry III.'s reign, anno 1258, this church was appropriated to the abovementioned abbey, with a proviso that a competent portion should be assigned to the vicar out of the profits of it, and this was confirmed by the archbishop's official. After which archbishop Peckham endowed the perpetual vicarage of it, decreeing, that the vicar and his successors should have the usual mansion of the vicarage, with one acre and an half of land adjoining; and that he should have in the name of his vicarage all manner, of oblations, and likewise all tithes of wool, lambs, calves, cheese, flax, hemp, ducks, pigs, eggs, pigeons, fruits of gardens, and of other things increasing in orchards, milk-meats, pasture, merchandizes, mills, tithes, and also all legacies whatsoever, which the rectors or vicars of it might take by right or custom, and that the vicars should take, in the name of the said vicarage, from the reli gious at Preston, by quarterly payments yearly, the sum of four marcs, and one seam of corn, or otherwise a pension for the same in current money, according to the value of it, under pain of sequestration of the first fruits and profits of the church. But that the vicar should serve by himself, or some other fit priest, the church in divine offices, the burthen also of one clerk serving in the same, and the administration of bread and wine, candles, and other things which were necessary for the celebration of divine service; but the repair and rebuilding of the chancel, both within and without, and also the finding of books, vestments, surplices, and ornaments of the said church, which ought or were wont to be found and repaired by the rectors of churches, either of right or custom; and other burthens, ordinary and extraordinary, incumbent on it, the religious should always undergo and acknowledge. In which state the rectory appropriate, with the advowson of the vicarage, remained till the dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, anno 30 king Henry VIII, when it came into the king's hands, and he settled it in his 33d year on his new-created dean and chapter of Canterbury, with whom the inheritance of the appropriation or parsonage remains, and they are the present patrons of the advowson of the vicarage, of which they reserve the presentation to themselves. The present lessees of the parsonage are Mess. Teale and Culmer.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 9l. 15s. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of twenty-eight pounds. In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and sixty-six. In 1640 it was valued at forty pounds, communicants one hundred and ninety-six.

The vicarage-house having been burnt down, Robert Wyborne, gent. of this parish, to supply the place of it, gave by his will in 1711, his dwellinghouse, with thirty-two acres of land adjoining to it, then worth about forty pounds per annum, to the vicar and his successors, on condition of their residing in it, and performing divine service twice every lord's day in this church, by which means this vicarage is now worth upwards of one hundred pounds per annum. There are two acres of glebe land belonging to it, besides the above, of the antient endowment of the church. A stipend of three pounds per annum is paid yearly to the vicar, out of the exchequer, by the receiver-general of the land-tax.

In 1507, Thomas Watts, vicar, gave by his will a tenement in it, with five acres and an half of land, to the churchwardens, for an obit in this church. After the reformation, this house, &c. was vested in seoffees, and the rents and profits of it directed to be applied to the repairs of the church. They are now of the annual value of ten pounds.

Church Of Preston.

Or by whom presented.
Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. Daniel Hayes, in 1662. (fn. 2)
Alexander Bradley, obt. 1691. (fn. 3)
Timothy Thomas, A. B. Nov. 28, 1691.
John Smith, A. M. obt. 1718. (fn. 4)
William Wadell, A. M. July 14, 1718, obt. July 16, 1729. (fn. 5)
John Head, A. M. Nov. 1729, resigned the same year. (fn. 6)
Hopton Williams, Jan. 1, 1730, resigned May 1743. (fn. 7)
Peter Vallavine, LL. B. June 1743, obt. Jan 11, 1767. (fn. 8)
Robert Stedman, LL. B. Aug. 14, 1767, obt. April 1, 1792.
John Gregory, A. M. 1792, the present vicar. (fn. 10)


  • 1. See Decem. Scriptores, 1863, 1864. Register Abb. Sci Aug. cart. 328, 519.
  • 2. He conformed on the Bartholomew act. Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 287.
  • 3. Likewise rector of Elmstone.
  • 4. He published the Life of Scipio Asricanus the younger.
  • 5. Likewise rector of Stourmouth, and lies buried in the chancel.
  • 6. Afterwards archdeacon of Canterbury, and succeded his brother in the title of baronet. See Ickham.
  • 7. He held this vicarage with the rectory of Stourmouth.
  • 8. Buried in the chancel.
  • 9. And rector of Elmstone by dispensation. He was before vicar of Witborough, son of Dr. Stendman, archdeacon of Notsolk, and prebendary of Canterbury. He was a good benesactor to the vicarage-house.
  • 10. Likewise rector of Elmstone by dispensation.