Parishes: Adisham

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Parishes: Adisham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 180-185. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


COMMONLY called Adsham, lies the next parish south-eastward from Ickham, being written in Domesday, Edesham. There is but one borough in this parish, viz. of Adisham. At the time of the conquest it was reputed to have a hundred within itself, and to be within the lath of Æstraie.

THIS PARISH lies exceedingly pleasant and healthy, in a dry and fine open champaign country, the greatest part of it lies high, being uninclosed downs, and open common fields, with some few trees and hedges in particular places intervening. It is about two miles in extent each way; the soil of it is much addicted to chalk, notwithstanding which the lands are very sertile, and produce exceeding good crops of corn. The village, consisting of about ten houses, is situated, not very pleasantly, in a bottom, having a large and dangerous pond, through which the road leads, in the middle of it; near it, on a hill, stand the church and courtlodge. There are two hamlets near it, called Danestreet and Bludden; at some distance are the estates of Ovenden and Bossington, and the manor of Cooting, all of them belonging to Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. of Brome, the latter having been in his family for some generations. The parsonage, a neat modern built house, stands near the boundary of the parish, next to that of Wingham, and a field or two distance only from the seat of Dean. A fair is held in the village on May 11, yearly, for toys and pedlary.

From hence over the Isle of Thanet northward to Sandwich, Deal, and Dover, on the sea shore eastward, and the extremity of Barham downs southward, this part of the country, which has the name in particular of East Kent, is remarkable beautiful and pleasant, being for the most part an open champaign country, interspersed at places with small inclosures and coppices of wood, with towns, frequent villages and their churches, and many seats, with their parks and plantations, throughout it. The face of the whole of it is lively, and has a peculiar grace and gaiety. It is an uneven surface, of frequent hill and dale; but the valleys, though noble and wild, are gentle. The prospects are on every side pleasing and delightful over this country, bounded by the surrounding sea, covered with the shipping of our own and of every other nation, and at the farthest ken of the eye, by the white cliffs of France.

The manor of Adisham was given in the year 616, by Eadbald, king of Kent, son of king Ethelbert, to the monks of Christ-church, in Canterbury, ad cibum, that is, to the use of their refectory, free from all secular services and fiscal tribute, excepting the three customs of repelling invasions, and the repair of bridges and castles, being the common burthen from which no one was exempt. Therefore it was usually called the trinoda necessitas, and this exception was commonly made in all the Saxon grants of church lands after the words which freed them from all secular service or exaction; and in the grants made to the church of Canterbury, instead of enumerating the many privileges and liberties granted in them, it was usual to insert the letters l. s. a. that is, Libere sicut Adisham, free in like manner as Adisham was granted to that church. (fn. 1) Leland says, in the third volume of his Collectanea, that the above exception of the trinoda necessitas, was peculiar to this county; but Selden and others prove it was customary elsewhere.

After the conquest, on the division made by archbishop Lanfranc, of his church's revenues between himself and the priory, this manor was allotted to the share of the latter; accordingly it is entered in the survey of Domesday, taken anno 1080, under the general title of its possessions, as follows:

The archbishop himself holds Edesham. It was taxed at seventeen sulings. The arable land is . . . In demesne there are two carucates and an half, and one hundred villeins, with fourteen borderers having thirty-six carucates. There are thirteen acres of pasture, and three servants. Wood sufficient for fencing. Of this land two knights hold of the archbishop three sulings, and there they have in demesne four carucates, and eighteen villeins, with five borderers having one carucate. The whole manor, in the time of king Edward the Consessor, was worth forty pounds, when be received it the like. It now pays fortysix pounds and sixteen sbillings and four-pence, and to the archbishop one hundred shillings by way of fine. What the knights bold is worth eleven pounds, and yet it pays thirteen pounds.

In the 10th year of king Edward II. the prior of Christ-church obtained a grant of free-warren in all his demesne lands in this manor, among others. About which time it was, with its appurtenances, valued at fifty-five pounds. (fn. 2) In which state it continued till the dissolution of the priory, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, where it did not remain long, for the settled it, among other premises, in his 33d year, on his newerected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose inheritance it still continues.

A court leet and court baron is held for this manor. At the court leet of this manor, one constable is chosen for the upper half hundred of Downhamford, containing the parishes of Ickham, Adisham, and Staple.

The manerial rights, profits of courts, royalties, &c. the dean and chapter retain in their own hands.

But the court-lodge and demesne lands, containing about seven hundred acres, are demised by them on a beneficial lease. Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. of Brome, is the present lessee of them.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly maintained are about seventeen, casually twenty-five.

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

The church, which is exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, is dedicated to the Holy Innocents. It is built in the form of a cross, having a tower steeple embattled in the centre, in which hang four bells. It consists of an isle, a transept, and high chancel. The isle and south sept is but indifferently built, but the rest is much superior in stile of workmanship, with narrow lancet windows. In the south sept or cross, there are several antient cossin-shaped stones, one of which has a cross slory, and old French capitals, obliterated. In the high chancel is a large stone, with an elegant cross story on it, once inlaid with brass, and round the rim of the stone large French capitals, which, as well as the figures and inscriptions on several gravestones, are obliterated; there are large remains of small coloured tiles on the pavement, red and yellow. In this chancel several of the rectors, and many of the family of Austen, who resided at the court-lodge, and were possessed of lands in this parish, lie buried. In the south wall of the isle below the transept, is an arch in the wall, and a nich for holy water close to it, seemingly by that to have had an altar there. The font is antient. Just below the north sept is a kind of chapel, shut out from the church, in which there lies a heap of broken stone carve-work, but it is unknown what it belonged to. The isle and high chancel of this church are leaded. Sir George Oxenden, bart. who died in the East-In dies, and was buried at Surat, gave by will three hundred pounds to the repair of the church.

The church of Adisham, with the chapel of Staple annexed, was antiently appendant to the manor of Adisham, and continued so till after the dissolution of the priory of Christ-chruch, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. who in his 33d year, settled the manor on his new-founded dean and chapter of Canterbury; but the advowson of the church he retained in his own hands, and afterwards granted it in exchange to the archbishop of Canterbury and his successors, part of whose possessions it has continued to this time.

The rector is collated and inducted into the church of Adisham, with the chapel of Staple annexed.

This rectory, with the chapel of Staple, is valued in the king's books at 281. 3s. 1½d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 16s. 3¾d. In 1588 here were one hundred and sixteen communicants, and it was valued at 1601. In 1640 the same. It is now of the yearly value of 5001.

Church Of Adisham, with the Chapel Of Staple.

Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop. Peter dn Moulin, S. T. P. inducted Nov. 1662, obt. Oct. 1684. (fn. 3)
John Battely, S. T. P. Oct.10, 1708. (fn. 4)
John Greene, S. T. P. Nov. 1708, resigned Feb. 1717. (fn. 5) 1708, resigned Feb. 1717. (fn. 6)
Balthazar Regis, S.T.P. March
Francish Walwyn, S. T. P. Jan. 1757, obt. May 19, 1770. (fn. 7)
Hon. James Cornwallis, May, 1770, resigned Oct. 1770. (fn. 8)
John Lynch. LL. D. April 2, 1771, resigned 1781. (fn. 9)
John Palmer, A. B. inducted April 29, 1781, the present rector.


  • 1. See Selden's Titles of Honor, p. 697.
  • 2. See Battely's Somner, append. pt.ii.p. 50.
  • 3. Prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 4. Prebendary and archdeacon of Canterbury.
  • 5. He resigned this rectory for St. Martin's in the Fields, London, and was made bishop of Norwich in 1721.
  • 6. Likewise cannon of Windsor, and held this rectory with that of Little Mongeham.
  • 7. Prebendary of Canterbury. He was buried in Maidstone church.
  • 8. Afterwards dean of Canterbury, and now bishop of Litchfield and Coventry.
  • 9. Youngest son of Dr. J. Lynch, dean of Canterbury, and now archdeacon and prebendary of Canterbury.— He resigned this rectory to his succesfor on being made prebendary of Canterbury, by the resignation of Dr. Richard Palmer, the father of his succesfor, by way of exchange.