Parishes: Lower Hardres

Pages 299-303

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

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OR Hards, as it is usually pronounced, formerly called likewise Nether, and Little Hardres, and sometimes North Hardres, to distinguish it from the adjoining parish of Upper or South Hardres, lies the next parish south-eastward from Nackington. There is but one borough in it, viz. of Lower Hardres.

THIS PARISH, called frequently from its smallness Little Hardres, is rather an out of the way situation, lying at the skirts of the fine pleasant country last-described, and the village, with the church in it, is in the valley at a small distance from the Stone-street way, which runs near the western boundary of this parish, close to which is a farm and pond called Hermansole, supposed to take its name either from the Saxon idol, named Ermenseul, or from the Roman military way on which it stands, Herman signifying military, and sole a pond. From the valley on the other side, this parish extends up to a dreary wild country of high hills and deep dales, the land in which is very poor, mostly chalky, and covered with sharp flint stones, having frequent woodlands interspersed over it, and carrying a face of rustic poverty throughout it.

THE MANOR OF NETHER, alias LOWER HARDRES, which, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, was part of the possessions of Odo,. bishop of Baieux, under the title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

Ranulf de Colubels holds of the bishop, Hardres. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is four carucates. In demesnes there is half a carucate, and nine villeins having two carucates. 'There is a church, and eight servants, and thirteen acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of four bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth six pounds, and afterwards four pounds, now one hundred shillings. Azor held it of king Edward.

Four years afterwards the bishop was disgraced, and all his estates confiscated. After which this manor appears to have come into the possession of the Criols, for John de Criol, younger son of Bertram, held it at his death anno 48 Henry III. Soon after which it passed into the name of Godynton, and John de Godynton died possessed of it anno 28 Edward I. holding it in capite; but in the 20th year of king Edward III. this name was extinct here; for then John de Cobham, John de Mortimer, and the heirs of John de Swansham, were become possessed of it, holding it by knight's service. After which that part of this manor which belonged to Mortimer, passed at the latter end of king Richard II. into the possession of the family of Diggs. From which it came to be stiled the manor of Nether Hardres, alias Diggs-court, and it continued in the descendants of that name, (fn. 1) till Thomas Posthumus Diggs, esq. of Barham, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated it to Sir James Hales, of the Dungeon, whose grandson of the same name dying in 1665, and leaving one only daughter and heir Elizabeth, she carried it in marriage, first to Sir Stephen Hales, K.B. of Warwickshire, and secondly to George, third son of William Sheldon, esq. of Beoly, in Worcestershire, by neither of whom she had issue. They resided at the Dungeon, where she died in 1678, as he did a few months afterwards, possessed of this manor, which his heirs alienated in 1680 to Henry Lee, esq. whence it gained the name of Lee's court, and his grandson Henry Lee Warner, esq. of Walsinghamabbey, in Norfolk, is the present owner of it.

There is no court held for this manor, but one within memory used to be held for it, at a place called the Butts, in this parish.

ANOTHER PART of the manor, anno 20 king Edward III. held by John de Cobham as above-mentioned, was afterwards called THE MANOR OF NORTHCOURT, alias LOWER HARDRES, for which he had obtained a charter of free-warren in the 17th year of that reign, and it continued in his descendants, lords Cobham, till by the female heirs it passed successively till it came by marriage to Sir T. Brooke, of Somerset shire, whose descendant John Brooke, of St. James's, Dover, (being of a younger branch of that family) died possessed of it anno 21 Henry VIII. and his son John Brooke, of Denton, sold it, anno 3 Edward VI. to Thomas Spylman, esq. of Canterbury, whose son Anthony, gent. of Petham, anno 3 Elizabeth, passed it away to Thomas and Humphry Hales, esqrs. whose joint property in it afterwards becoming vested in James Hales, gent. of the Inner Temple, he sold it to John Bigg, gent. of Hertfordshire, who in 1676 conveyed it to James Lever, merchant, of London, whose great nephew James, in 1787, devised it to the Rev. Edward Williams, who died in 1787, having devised it to his sister Mary, and the next year gave it by will to Henry Coope, esq. of Nottinghamshire, and he in 1790 sold it to Henry Godfrey Faussett, esq. of Heppington, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

THE REMAINING PART of this manor, which was held anno 20 Edward III. by John de Swansham, being only the fourth part of it, to which no part of the manerial rights seem to have been allotted, came afterwards into the family of Diggs, likewise from which it passed before the end of king Henry VIII.'s reign into the name of Rigden, in whose descendants it continued down to William Rigden, in whose time it had acquired the name of YOUNGS FARM, and he in 1697 alienated it to Edm. Calamy, clerk, whose grandson Edm. Calamy, in 1717, sold it to Thomas Willys, esq. of London, afterwards created a baronet. After which it passed, in the same manner, and in the like interests and shares as the manor of Dargate, in Hernehill, before-described, vol. vii. p. 22, where a full account of them may be seen, down to Matthew, Robert and Thomas Mitchel, the trustees for the several uses, to which this, among other estates belonging to the Willys's, had been limited; and they, for the use of the several parties concerned, joined in the sale of it in 1788 to Henry Godfrey Faussett, esq. of Heppington, the present owner of it.

There are no parochial charities.

The poor constantly maintained are about ten, casually fifteen.

LOWER HARDRES is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of the same.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, seems antient. It is but small and dark, consisting of two isles and two chancels, having a low pointed steeple at the west end, in which hangs only one bell. There are no inscriptions remaining in it; the font is very antient, of Bethersden marble.

This church is a rectory, the patronage of which, before the reformation, belonged to the crown, and the king is the present patron of it.

It is valued in the king's books at 7l. 19s. 9½d. and the yearly tenths at 15s. 11¾d. It is now of the yearly certified value of 58l. 19s. 0¼d. but is of the yearly value of about eighty pounds. In 1640 it was valued at fifty pounds, communicants sixty-four. There are seven acres of glebe land.

Church of Lower Hardres.

Or by whom presented.
The Crown Gregory Pulford, A. B. Oct. 17, 1660, resigned 1669. (fn. 2)
Thomas Hardres, A. M. April 5, 1669, obt. 1711.
Stephen Hobday, A. M. July 14, 1711, obt. September 29, 1743. (fn. 3)
John Minet, January 28, 1743, obt. Nov. 13. 1771. (fn. 4)
Henry Thomson, Dec. 7, 1771, the present rector. (fn. 5)


  • 1. See inquis. anno 27 Henry VIII. post obt. James Digg—anno 2 Edward VI. post obt. William Digg. James Digg-anno
  • 2. He was perpetual curate of Nackington.
  • 3. Likewise vicar of Waldershare. which he resigned on being presented to the vicarage of St. Dunstan's, near Canterbury.
  • 4. Likewise rector of Eythorne.
  • 5. In June 1784, presented to the rectory of Badlesmere with Leveland, which he holds with this rectory by dispensation.