Parishes: Goodneston

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

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Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Goodneston', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800), pp. 241-250. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Goodneston", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) 241-250. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Goodneston", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800). 241-250. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


GENERALLY called, and known by the name of GUNSTON, lies the next parish south-eastward from Wingham. It is usually written in antient records, Godwineston, which name it took from earl Godwine, once owner of it.

GUNSTON is situated exceedingly healthy and pleasant, in a fine dry and open champaign country, of upland hill and dale. The soil is fertile, though in general inclined to chalk; the lands are mostly arable, open and uninclosed, having a few small inclosures scattered among them, especially about Gunston house, and the village, where it is well cloathed with elms. The village, which contains about thirty houses, stands, with the church, in the southern part of it, having Gunston-house and park adjoining to it, which, though small in extent, and commanding but little, if any prospect beyond the bounds of it, is a beautiful and elegant situation. At the northern boundary of the parish is the hamlet of Twitham, part only of which is in it; beyond which, at Brook, (the parish of Wingham intervening) is a small district of land within this parish. At the eastern boundary of it is the hamlet and street of Rolling, in which is a small seat, belonging to Sir Brook William Bridges, which a few years ago was in the occupation of Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmersham, and afterwards of Edward Austen, esq. It is now the residence of George Dering, esq. At some distance still further eastward from which there is another small district of land in it, entirely surrounded by the parish of Norborne.

A fair is held here for cattle and pedlary, on the 25th of September, yearly.

The MANOR OF WINGHAM claims paramount over this parish, in which there is one borough, viz. of Rolling, which claims over it.

The MANOR OF GOODNESTON, which before the Norman conquest, was part of the possessions of Godwine, earl of Kent, at whose death it probably came to his son king Harold, and after the battle of Hastings, to the Conqueror; after which it appears to have been held by a family who took their surname from it, one of whom, Thomas de Goodwyneston, held it of the archbishop in king Henry III.'s reign, and in this family, (who bore for their arms, Sable, three martlets, between seven cross-croslets, argent; as they were formerly painted in the windows of this church) it continued down to William de Goodneston, who did homage for it to archbishop Warham at the beginning of king Henry VIII.'s reign. After which it seems to have been divided, and the manor itself, with part of the demesne lands, to have passed into the name of Henecre; and the mansion, with the rest of the demesne lands, by Edith, daughter and heir of William Goodneston, in marriage to Vincent Engeham, who afterwards resided here. The antient residence of this family of Edingham, called Engeham by contraction, was at Engeham, in Woodchurch. They divided into three branches, settled at Woodchurch, Great Chart, and Goodneston. They bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron, sable, between three pellets, on a chief, gules, a lion passant-guardant, or. (fn. 1) John Henecre, of Good neston, as appears by his will, died possessed of this manor in 1559, and gave it to William, son of his brother Nicholas, who sold it to Sir Thomas Engeham, grandson of Vincent before-mentioned, and possessor of the mansion, and other part of the lands of it, so that he then became possessed of the whole of it, (fn. 2) held in capite, and it continued in his descendants down to Sir Thomas Engeham, of Goodneston, who about the reign of queen Anne, alienated it, with the appropriation, to Brook Bridges, esq. descended from John Bridges, who was of Worcestershire, at the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, whose great-grandson Col. John Bridges, of Warwickshire, left two sons, John, and Brook, the former of whom was of Barton Seagrave, in Northamptonshire, esq. the eldest of whose sons, John Bridges, esq. of that place, wrote the history of that county; Brook Bridges, esq. the second son of Col. John Bridges, was of Grove, in Middlesex, auditor of the imprest in king Charles II.'s reign, and purchaser of Goodnestone, which seat he rebuilt, and dying in 1717, was buried in the chancel of this church, bearing for his arms, Azure, three water bougets, or, within a bordure, ermine. Brook Bridges, esq. his eldest son, succeeded him at Goodneston, and was created a baronet on April 19, 1718, anno 4 George I. and was for many years one of the auditors of the imprest of the treasury, and was twice married, first to Margaret, daughter of Robert, lord Romney, by whom he had no issue; but by his second wife Mary, second daughter of Sir Thomas Hales, bart. of Bekesborne, he left a son Brook, and a daughter Margaret, married to John Plumptree, esq. He died in 1728, and was succeeded by his only son Sir Brook Bridges, bart of Goodneston, sheriff in 1733, in which year he died, having married Elizabeth, eldest surviving daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Palmer, bart. of Wingham, (who afterwards remarried Charles Fielding, esq. brother to the earl of Denbigh, by whom she had a son Charles). At the death of Sir Brook she was pregnant, and was some months afterwards delivered of a son, the late Sir Brook Bridges, bart. who represented this county in two successive parliaments. He rebuilt this seat, and new laid out the park in the improved modern taste, having married Fanny, only daughter and heir of Edmund Fowler, esq. of Danbury, in Essex, by whom he had five sons and six daughters, of whom, Brook the eldest son, died at Eton school in 1781; William, the second son, after his brother's death, by the archbishop's licence, took the Christian name of Brook likewise, and Brook Henry, the third son, is rector of Danbury, in Essex; of the daughters, Fanny, the eldest, married Lewis Cage, esq. Sophia, the second, married William Deedes, esq. and Elizabeth, the third, married Edward Austen, esq. of Godmersham. Sir Brook Bridges died in 1791, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son the present Sir Brook Wm. Bridges, bart. who is the possessor of this manor, with the seat, park, and appropriation of the church of Goodneston. A court baron is held for this manor.

ROLLING, usually called Rowling, is a manor and hamlet, in the eastern part of this parish, which takes its name from the borough in which it is situated. The manor, now obselete, was antiently the residence of a family who took their name from it. In an old leiger book of Davington priory, beginning at king Henry III.'s reign, there is mention of several of this family among its principal benefactors. How it passed after they were become extinct here, which was not till after king Henry IV.'s reign, I have not found; but in the latter end of king Henry VIII.'s reign, John Adams was become possessed of it, and he sold it to John Idley, gent. who resided here, and dying in 1568, was buried in this church. He left it to John his se cond son, who alienated it to Thomas Butler, a younger son of Richard, of Heronden, in Eastry, esq. and he soon afterwards sold it to Sir Roger Manwood, chief baron, whose son Sir Peter Manwood, K. B. alienated it to Dickenson, who parted with it to John Richards, gent. afterwards of Rowling, and in whose descendants, who bore for their arms, Sable, a chevron, between three fleurs de lis, argent, and lie buried in this church, it continued down to John Richards, gent. who died in 1661, (fn. 3) and by will gave it to William Hammond, esq. of St. Albans, and his son, of the same name, in 1696, an act having passed for that purpose, sold it to Sir John Narborough, bart. whose only sister and heir Elizabeth entitled her husband Sir Thomas D' Aeth, bart. of Knolton, to the possession of it, and his grandson Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. now of Knolton, is the present owner of this manor, called Rowling-court, for which there has not been any court held for many years past.

The HOSPITALS OF HARBLEDOWN, and of ST. JOHN, near Canterbury, are jointly possessed of a farm and lands at Rowling, which is demised by them to Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart.

BONNINGTON, in the south-east part of this parish, was in early times the property and residence of a family of the same name, who appear to have been possessed of it so late as the latter end of the reign of king Edward I. but it became of much more eminent note afterwards, from being the antient seat from whence the numerous and knightly family of Bois branched out, as from their original stock, and spread with distinguished reputation through the eastern parts of this county, deriving their descent from R. de Boys, or de Bosco, who is mentioned in the Battle abbey roil of those who accompanied the Conqueror into England, and were amply rewarded by him with the possessions of the conquered Saxons. From R. de Boys, or de Bosco, before-mentioned, descended John Boys, who was of Bonnington in the 30th year of king Edward III. but his descendant William Boys having purchased Fredville, in the adjoining parish of Nonington, removed thither, though some time before his death he returned to Bonnington, where he died in 1507, and was buried in this church. He left five sons and three daughters. To his eldest son John, he gave Fredville; and to the second, Thomas, he gave Bonnington; giving, as Philipott says, the fairest estate to the former, and the antient family seat to the latter; and from the descendants of John Boys, the eldest son, of Fredville, sprang those of Fredville, Hode, Holt-street, Betshanger, Challock, Deal, Sandwich, St. Gregory's, in Canterbury, Denton, and of Surry; and from the descendants of Thomas Boys, esq. of Bonnington, sprang those of Bonnington, Hith, Mersham, Wilsborough, Sevington, and Uffington, all which are now extinct in the male line, excepting those of Sandwich and Wilsborough, a more particular account of all which may be seen under those several places. In the descendants of Thomas Boys, esq. the second son above-mentioned, of Bonnington, resident here, it continued down to Sir John Boys, to whose coat armour king Charles I. gave the augmentation of a crown imperial, or, on a canton, azure; for his loyalty and valour at Donington castle, in Berkshire, of which he was governor, where being summoned by the parliament forces, to surrender the place under peril of being put to the sword, he stoutly answered, that he would never quit the castle without the king's order, nor take nor give quarter. He died in 1664, and was buried at Goodneston, leaving three daughters his coheirs, and they, in 1666, joined in the sale of it to Thomas Brome, esq. sergeant at-law, whose son William Brome, esq. of Farnborough, alienated it in 1710 to Brook Bridges, esq. Whose descendant Sir Brook William Bridges, bart. of Goodneston, is the present owner of it.

ARCHBISHOP PECKHAM, on the foundation of the college of Wingham in 1286, endowed the second prebend of it with the tithes of the lands of Thomas de Bonyngton and others, in the hamlet of Bonnyngton, in this parish. (fn. 4)

UFFINGTION, in the south-west part of this parish, was another seat of the family of Boys, being purchased by William Boys, esq. (son of Vincent Boys, esq. of Bonnington) for his residence, and he died possessed of it in 1629, in whose descendants it continued till it was at length sold to Oxenden, in which family it has remained ever since, being now the property of Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. of Brome.


THOMAS APPLETON, yeoman, of Eastry, by his will in 1593, gave to the poor of this parish, 5l. yearly, to be distributed to the poor people, inhabitants here, fourteen days before Christmas-day; to be paid out of lands belonging to him, called Hardiles, in Woodnesborough.

GABRIEL RICHARDS, gent. by will in 1671, gave a house, barn, stable, and twenty-six acres of land, in this parish, for the support and maintenance of four aged, decayed gentlemen or gentlewomen, single men or single women, born in Kent; with four lodging-rooms for them, with preference to such persons as should be his relations, now vested in feoffees, and worth about 20l. per annum.

The poor constantly relieved are about eighteen, casually thirteen.

GOODNESTON, or Gunston, is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Bridge.

The church, which is dedicated to the Holy Cross, consists of two isles and two chancels, having a beacon tower at the west end, in which are four bells. This church seems to have been erected in great measure by the assistance of the family of Boys, of Bonnington, about the time of king Edward III. for on one side of the west door, under the steeple, is carved in the stone work, Orate p T. boye adjutor isti op. On each side a shield of arms, one a cross, the other a saltier; and at top three more shields, the first of which is that of Langley, and the third of Oxenden; and over a window of the south isle (now stopped up) the centre stone has carved on it, Willyam boyes, and at each corner are carved the singular emblematical figures of a sow with a litter of pigs, and of a sow sitting upright, a chain about its neck, fastened to a rock behind, and an infant child in swaddling clothes in its lap. In the south isle is a stone, with figures in brass, and inscription for William Boys and Isabell his wife. He died anno 1507. In the north isle are monuments for the Richards's, of Rowling, in this parish. In the north window, at the east end, is the figure of a saint, holding in his left hand a shield of arms, Argent, a cross, gules; in his right, a staff, with a cross at top, the lower end in a dragon's mouth, which lies on its back under his feet; and in the same window, the figure of an archbishop, mitre, and pall, his left hand lifted up, as blessing; in his right hand, a staff, with a cross pomelle at top. The pillars between the isles are remarkably large and clumsy, and by their capitals appear antient. In the north chancel, belonging to the estate of Bonnington, are interred the family of Boys, of that seat, though the brasses of most of their stones are lost. A stone, with brasses, and inscription for William Goodneston, gent. obt. 1423; arms, Three martlets, between seven cross-croslets. A stone, with figures in brass, and inscription for Thomas Engeham, esq. and Elizabeth his wife, obt. 1558, both the same year. A monument, with the figures kneeling, for Sir Edward Engeham and his lady; he died in 1636. Another for W. Wood, A. M. minister here, and rector of St. Mary Bredman and St. Andrew, Canterbury, obt. 1735. In the south or high chancel, is a monument for Sir Thomas Engeham, descended from those of Woodchurch; he married Priscilla Honywood, daughter of Mrs. Anne Honywood, who hardly escaping martyrdom in queen Mary's reign, lived to see about four hundred descended from her, obt. 1621. A neat monument for Brook Bridges, esq. (second son of John, of Harcourt-hall, in Worcestershire, esq.) auditor of imprests. He repaired and adorned the church, and built a mansion here on the estate which he had purchased, obt. 1717. In the church-yard is a stone, on which were once figures in brass, long since gone, for Thomas Boys, of Bonnington, and Edith his wife. He died in 1479.

The church of Goodneston was antiently a chapel of ease to that of Wingham, and was at the time of the foundation of the college there by archbishop Peckham, in 1286, separated from it, and made a distinct parish of itself, (fn. 5) and then given to the college; and becoming thus appropriated to the college, continued with it till its suppression in king Edward VI.'s reign, when this parsonage appropriate, with the advowson or patronage of the vicarage or curacy of it, came into the hands of the crown, where, though in the intermediate time it had been granted in lease for a term of years, yet the fee of it remained in the crown till the 43d year of queen Elizabeth, who granted it that year to Nicholas Fortescue, esq. and John Shelbury, in fee, to hold in socage, by a yearly rent, and a payment to the vicar yearly of 13l. 6s. 8d. and they passed away their interest in it to Sir Edward Engeham, of Canterbury, who in the beginning of king James I.'s reign, alienated this rectory, and the vicarage-house of Goodneston, with the vicarage, tithes, and profits belonging to it, and the donation of the curacy, to Henry Vanner, alderman of Canterbury, who by will in 1630, augmented the curate's salary, to be paid out of this parsonage, with the further yearly sum of 6l. 13s. 4d. His heirs quickly afterwards passed it away to William Prude, alias Proude, jun. esq. of Canterbury, who died in 1632, in whose descendants it remained till it was sold to one of the family of Engeham, owners of the manor of Goodneston, and continued so till Sir Thomas Engeham alienated it, with that manor, to Brook Bridges, esq. in whose descendants, baronets, of this place, it has continued down to Sir Brook William Bridges, bart. of Goodnestone, the present impropriator and patron of the curacy of this church.

This church is now esteemed as a donative, the value of which has not been certified. In 1640 here were communicants one hundred and seventy.

Gabriel Richards, gent. of Rowling, by his will in 1672, gave to the use of the minister of this parish, a house and orchard, valued at 6l. IOS. per annum.

Church of Goodneston.

Or by whom presented.
William Wood, A. M. obt. Feb. 13, 1736. (fn. 6)
Isaac Terry, A. M. March 1736, obt. Dec. 1744. (fn. 7)
Theophilus Delangle, A. M. 1745, obt. June 29, 1763. (fn. 8)
John Maximilian Delangle, A. M. 1763, obt. May 30, 1783. (fn. 9)
William Thomas, A. M. 1783, the present curate. (fn. 10)


  • 1. There is a pedigree of this family in Vistn. co. Kent of 1574 and 1619. There are several of the descendants of this family now residing in Canterbury in very inferior occupations.
  • 2. Anno 21 James I. an act passed for the manor of Goodneston and other lands of Sir Edward Engeham.
  • 3. There is a pedigree of this family in the Heralds office, book C. 16, f, 105b.
  • 4. See Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 53.
  • 5. Batt. Som. p. 129. Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 53.
  • 6. He was buried in the north chaneel, where there is a monument to his memory.
  • 7. He succeeded his predecessor likewise in the rectories of St. Mary Bredman and St. Andrew.
  • 8. He was vicar of Tenterden, and rector of Snargate by dispensation.
  • 9. He was son of the former. He died at Danbury, in Essex, being rector of that parish, and of Woodham Ferrers, in that county.
  • 10. Likewise vicar of St. Mary's, in Sandwich.