Parishes: Wickham Breaus

Pages 158-166

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

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LIES adjoining to Littleborne north-eastward, being usally called Wickham Brook. It is likewise called Wickham by Wingham, to distinguish it from the two other parishes of the same name in this county. In Domesday it is written Wicheham, a name derived from its situation near the banks of the river, which runs close to it. There is only one borough in it, viz. the borough of Wickham, which comprehends the whole parish.

Wickham is a low, flat, and unpleasant situation, and lying so near the marshes cannot but be unhealthy, the land throughout it is in general good and sertile, especially near the village, where the fields are very large and level ground. The village, in number about twenty houses, stands at the south-east boundary of the parish, built round a green, over which the road leads to Ickham, having the church and court-lodge on one side, and the parsonage, a handsome brick house, on the other. At the further end of the green, the Lesser Stour crosses the road, and turns a corn-mill belonging to the manor, beyond it is only one house, called the Stone-house, being built of squared stones and slints in chequers, and by the arched windows and door-ways seems of some antiquity. The parish stretches a good distance northward, as far as Groveferry, the house of which is within it, and the greater Stour river, over a level of about 500 acres of marsh land, which extend from the river into a sinus, with a ridge of upland on each side, to within a quarter of a mile of the village. North eastward from which is the Saperton, formerly the property of the Beakes's, who resided here as early as king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign; it was sold by them to the Furneses, whence it came by marriage, with Copthall, in this parish, to the St. John's, viscounts Bolingbroke, who have lately sold it, but one of the family of Beake, many of whom lie buried in this church, now occupies it. A little beyond this is Newnham, once accounted a manor, formerly belonging to the Ropers, lords Teynham, afterwards to the Bartholomews, then to Joseph Brooke, esq. of Rochester, and now to his devisee the Rev. John Kenward Shaw Brooke, of Town-Malling.—Hence among the marshes is the hamlet of Grove, through which the road leads across them to the right over the lesser Stour, to Wingham, Ash, and the eastern parts of Kent, and to the left by Grove-ferry over the Greater Stour, to the northern part of the country and the Isle of Thanet. There is no other wood in the parish excepting Trendley park. There is no fair.

At the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the year 1080, this place was part of those possessions with which that king had enriched his half-brother Odo, the great bishop of Baieux. Accordingly it is thus entered in that record, under the general title of his lands:

In Donamesford hundred, the bishop himself holds in demesne Wicheham. It was taxed at four sulings. The arable land is eleven carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and thirty-six villeins, with thirty-two cottagers having nine carucates. There is a church, and one priest who gives forty shillings per annum. There is one park, and two mills of fifty shillings, and two saltpits of thirtytwo pence, and three fisheries of four shillings, and thirtytwo acres of meadow. Pasture for three hundred sheep and for thirty-one beasts. Wood for the pannage of eighty bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth twenty-five pounds, when he received it twenty pounds, now thirty pounds. There belong to this manor in Canterbury three plats of land paying six shillings and eight pence. Alured Biga held it of king Edward. Moreover there belongs to this manor half a suling of free land, which Sired held of Alured Biga, and Goisfrid, son of Badland, now holds it of the bishop of Baieux, and it is and was worth separately sixty shillings.

Four years afterwards the bishop was disgraced, and all his possessions were consiscated to the crown, of which this manor appears afterwards to have been held by the Cliffords. Walter, son of Walter de Clifford, possessed it in the reign of king John, and with Agnes de Cundy, his wife, was a good benefactor to St. Augustine's abbey, and that of St. Radigund. (fn. 1) By the marriage of Margaret, daughter and heir of Walter Clifford, with John de Brewse, it passed into that name, and William de Brewse, or de Braiosa, as they were written in Latin, was possessed of it in the 42d year of king Henry III. His descendant William de Brewse, lord of the honour of Brembre, in Sussex, and of Gower, in Wales, as he stiled himself, whose ancestor came into England with the Conqueror, who gave him the castle of Brember, and whose descendant afterwards, by the marriage with Bertha, daughter and one of the coheirs of Milo, earl of Hereford, became possessed of the castles of Brecknock and Gower likewife, and bore for his arms, Azure, a lion rampant, between twelve cross-croslets, or; though I find by the pedigrees of this family, that his ancestors bore Azure, three bars vaire, argent, and gules. He was several times summoned to parliament in king Edward I.'s reign, as was his son of the same name, both in that and Edward II.'s reign, and died possessed of this manor in the 19th year of the latter. Very soon after which it appears, with the church appendant to it, to have come into the possession of Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, half brother to king Edward II. (fn. 2) After which it descended to his brother John Plantagenet, likewife earl of Kent, it being then held of the king in sergeantry. He died anno 26 Edward III. upon which Joane his sister, commonly called the Fair Maid of Kent, wife of Sir Thomas Holand, became his heir, who in her right not only possessed this manor, but became earl of Kent likewise. She afterwards married Edward the black prince, and died in the 9th year of king Richard II. being succeeded in this manor then held in capite, by Thomas Holand, earl of Kent, her son by her first husband, whose two sons, Thomas and Edward, both earls of Kent, and the former created Duke of Surry, in turn succeeded to it, and the latter dying anno 9 Henry IV. his five sisters became his coheirs, and on a partition made between them, Edmund, earl of March, son of Eleanor, late countess of March, the eldest of them became entitled to this manor in his mother's right, being the last earl of March of this family, for he died s. p. in the 3d year of king Henry VI. being then possessed of it. The year after which, Joane, wife of Sir John Gray, appears by the escheat rolls to have been entitled to it; not long after which it became the property of the family of Tibetot, or Tiptoft, as they were usually called, in whom it continued down to John Tiptost, earl of Worcester, who was attainted and beheaded in 1471, anno 10 Edward IV. king Henry being then restored to the crown. He lest an infant son Edward, who, though he was afterwards restored in blood by king Edward IV. yet I do not find that he was ever reinstated in the possession of this manor, which remained in the crown till the reign of king Henry VIII. who granted it, with the advowson of the church, to Sir Matthew Browne, of Beechworth-castle, who in the 22d year of it, passed it away to Lucy, widow of his uncle Sir Anthony Browne, standard-bearer of England, whose grandson Anthony was, anno I and 2 of Philip and Mary, created viscount Montague, and died possessed of this manor anno 34 Elizabeth, and by his will devised it to his eldest son by his second wife, Sir George Browne, who was of Wickham Breaus, and his grandson Sir George Browne, K. B. leaving two daughters his coheirs, Winifrid, married to Basil Brooks, esq. of Salop, and Eleanor, to Henry Farmer, esq. of Oxfordshire, they joined in the sale of it, at the latter end of Charles II.'s reign, to Sir H. Palmer, bart. of Wingham, who died possessed of it in 1706, s. p. and by his will devised it to his nephew Sir Thomas Palmer, bart. who died in 1723, and by his will gave it to his natural son Herbert Palmer, esq. who married Bethia, one of the daughters of Sir Thomas D'Aeth, bart. of Knowlton, who died in 1760, s. p., having devised this manor, with the advowson of the church appendant, to his widow. She afterwards married John Cosnan, esq. who in her right became possessed of it, and died in 1778, s. p. leaving her furviving, upon which she again became entitled to the possession of it, and continued owner of it till her death in 1797, on which it came to her nephew Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. of Knowlton, the present owner of it. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.

Trendley park, now accounted a manor of itself, is situated at the north-west boundary of this parish, being entirely separated from the rest of it by that of Littleborne intervening. It was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, and is noticed in the survey of Domesday, in the description of the manor of Wickham above recited, in which it is mentioned as being then a park; and it should seem that at least part of it was then accounted as appurtenant to that manor; though in the description of the manor of Littleborne, in the same survey, which then belonged to the abbey of St. Augustine, it appears that the bishop had lands belonging to that manor too lying within his park here. Of this manor the bishop of Baieux has in his park as much land as is worth sixty shillings, says the record. In part of the recompence for which, the bishop seems to have given the abbot the manor of Garwinton, in Littleborne, and other land within the manor of Leeds, as may be seen by the entries of both these manors in the same record. Soon after which there was another exchange of land made between the bishop and archbishop Lanfranc, for some which lay within his park of Wikeham. What is remarkable in this instrument is, that it is given in two languages, in Saxon and Latin, but neither is a translation of the other, for both are originals, as was a frequent custom of that time. Appendant to it is the bishop's seal in wax, representing him on one side on horseback, with his sword and spurs, as an earl, and on the other habited as a bishop, with his pastoral staff; being perhaps the only seal of Odo at this time extant. (fn. 3) By all which it appears, that this park is much more antient than that of Woodstock, which has been accounted the first inclosed park in England. How long it continued an inclosed park, I have no where found; but in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign it was not so, as appears by the escheat-rolls of the 3d year of it, after the death of Edmund, earl of March, at which time there were two hundred acres of wood in it. He was lord of the manor of Wickham, and Trendley park was chiefly at that time certainly appurtenant to it, and continued so whilst in the possession of the same owners, which it did most probably till the attainder of John Tiptost, earl of Worcester, in the 10th year of king Edward IV. when they both came into the hands of the crown, and though king Henry VIII. afterwards granted the manor of Wickham to Sir Matthew Browne, yet I do not find that Trendley park was granted with it. From which time it has had separate owners. For some time it has been the property of the family of Denne, who continue at this time the owners of it. It lies in an unpleasant, lonely part of the parish, facing Westbere, and consists of three hundred acres of woodland, and a house called the Park-house. There is a high road through the middle of it from Stodmarsh to Canterbury market, which in king Edward II.'s reign, was attempted to be shut up, but the sheriff, with the posse comitatus, was ordered to open it again, as being an antient and allowed high road.


Andrew Holness, of Seton, in Ickham, by will in 1554, gave to the poor 2s. in money and bread, to be distributed yearly; the churchwardens to take so much yearly out of his lands in Ickham and Wickham, except his house and garden at Seton, in case his executors did not give the same yearly.

Henry Sloyden, of Wickham Breaus, by will in 1568, gave for the use of the poor and Littleborne, in equal portions, a piece of land containing six acres and a half in the latter parish, called Church-close, which is distributed twice a year by the respective minister and churchwardens, and is of the annual produce of 4l.

John Smith, rector of this parish, by deed in 1656, gave a school-room, and a house and garden for a schoolmaster, in this parish, for teaching the children of it. The master to be chosen from one of his relations in preference, if any such could be found, is vested in the rector and churchwardens of this parish.

Sir Henry Palmer, of Bekesborne, by his will in 1611, gave the sum of 10s. to each of the several parishes of Wickham, Stodmarsh, Littleborne, and five others therein mentioned, to be paid into the hands of the minister and churchwardens yearly, out of his manor and lands of Well-court, at Michaelmas, towards the relief of the poor of each of them.

Thomas Belke, D. D. rector of this parish, by will in 1712, gave 501. for the putting out of five poor children of this parish apprentices.

There are about thirty poor constantly relieved, and casually seventy.

This parish is within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Bridge.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Andrew, consists of three isles and one chancel, having at the west end a square tower, in which hang six bells. The church is not large, but is handsome and neat. In the middle isle are several memorials for the Beakes, of Saperton. In the south isle for the Larkins, who lived at Grove, in this parish. In the east window are remains of good painted glass, viz. the arms of Edward the black price and of Mortimer, quartered with Burgh, and a representation of Herod's daughter beheading John the Baptist. In the chancel, on the pavement, is the figure of a priest in brass, and inscription, for Henry Welde, rector, obt. 1420. A gravestone, and monument for Alexander Young, B D. rector of this parish, who rebuilt this parsonage-house, and repaired that of Eastchurch, of which he was vicar likewife, at the expence of 2000l. obt. March 21, 1755. A memorial for John Smith, rector, obt. Oct. 28, 1658. In the church-yard are many headstones, and a tombstone for the family of Beake. In the windows of this church there were formerly many different shields of arms, long since demolished.

This church was always an appendage to the manor, and continues so at this time, Sir Narborough D' Aeth, bart. owner of the manor of Wickham, being the present patron of it.

There was antiently both a rectory and vicarage in this church, which continued till the year 1322, when on a vacancy of the latter, Richard de Newcastle, the rector, petitioned archbishop Walter Reynolds, that they might be consolidated, which was granted, and they have continued in that state to the present time. (fn. 4)

This rectory is valued in the king's books at 29l. 12s. 6d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 19s. 3d. In 1588 it was valued at 250l. communicants one hundred and sixty-three. In 1640 the same. There are eighteen acres of glebe-land.

The marsh-lands in this parish, within Wickham and Preston valleys, pay a modus of two-pence an acre, and those within Newnham 1½d. only, in lieu of all tithes.

Church Of Wickham Breaus.

Or by whom presented.
James Owen, hac vice. John Smith, Sept. 19, 1560, resigned 1602.
Richard Parker, kac vice. John Smith, A. M. February 26, 1602, obt, 1658. (fn. 5)
William Belke, S. T. P. 1661, obt. 1677. (fn. 6)
William Mann and Herbert Randolph, hac vice. Thomas Belke, S. T. P. Sept. 20, 1677, obt. September 17, 1712.
Sir Thomas Palmer, bart. Alexander Young, S. T. P. March 6, 1712, obt. March 21, 1755. (fn. 7)
Thomas Kynafion, esq. hac vice. Thomas Hey, S. T. P. April 9, 1755, the present rector. (fn. 8)


  • 1. See Regist. Sci Aug. cart. 754. Regist. Sci Radig. cart. 1086, 1097.
  • 2. See Dugdale's Baronetage, vol, ii. p. 94.
  • 3. See a differtation on this deed by Mr. Pegge, in the Archeologia, vol. i. p. 335, where there is a fac simile engraving of the Saxon part of it, as well as of the seal.
  • 4. Regist. Reynolds, f. Ic2b. in Lambeth library. See Ducarel's Repert. p. 125.
  • 5. He was sequestered in 1643. See Walker's Seff. of Clergy, pr. ii. p. 366. After which one Edward Alexander, A. M. was admitted to this rectory in 1654, and was ejected by the Bartholomew Act in 1661. Mr. Smith was a most worthy and charitable man. He gave two houses in this parish, for a school and schoolmaster, as has been before-mentioned; in 1658 he founded a scholarship at Lincoln college, in Oxford, for the support of which he gave an acnnity of 15l. yearly to be paid out of Walmeston estate, in Wingham. He lies buried in the chancel.
  • 6. Prebendary of Canterbury, as was his son Thomas, who succeded him in this rectory.
  • 7. He was likewise vicar of Eastchurch, in Shepey.
  • 8. Likewise vicar of Eastchurch, in Shepey, and prebendzry of Rochesier cathedral.