Parishes: Petham

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.


Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Petham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9( Canterbury, 1800), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Petham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9( Canterbury, 1800), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Petham". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. (Canterbury, 1800), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


LIES the next parish southward from Upper Hardres, and was once so considerable as to give name to the hundred, in which it is situated, which being since joined to that of Bridge, is now stiled the lower half hundred of Petham. This parish has in it the boroughs of Sapington, Broadway, Cotterell, and Stonestreet.

THE PARISH OF PETHAM lies in a healthy, though wild and romantic country of steep hills, the soil of which is very poor, barren and chalky, and covered with sharp slints, the fields are in general large; at the western boundaries it is covered with woodland, at the eastern runs the Stone-street way from Canterbury to Hythe and Limne, the Portus Lemanis of the Romans. Swerdling downs extend from Chartham for the length of two miles, on a side hill facing the south, as far as Lower Hardres, along the northern part of this parish, and have plain remains of intrenchments over them, four single lines of which cross the whole of them in different places, at no great distance from Iffins wood above it, great, part of which is within this parish. The remains of fortification in this wood, and the intrenchments below it, are by many supposed to be on the place to which the Britons retreated, after they were driven by the Romans from their hold in the woods, which Cæsar says was fortified both by art and nature, and where he again found them, after he had fortified his camp, with their allies, under the command of Cassivilaun, and sought his decisive battle with them. (fn. 1) At this end of the parish, in the valley, close adjoining to Lower Hardres, at a field's distance from the high road to Hythe, is the house called Street-end, formerly belonging to the Spracklyns, then to the Whitfields, and afterwards to H. Fonnereau, esq. who rebuilt it, and new laid out the adjoining grounds, after which he sold it to James Tillard, esq. who now resides in it. At a small distance below Swerdling downs southward, in the valley, which is here noble and wide, are the estates of Sapington, Depden, and Swerdling; further on stands the village of Petham, on the road leading to Elmsted and Hastingleigh, with the church on the hill at a small distance from it. From a pond in the village, and sometimes as high as Dene, in Elmsted, there flows through this valley, though but very seldom, a nailbourn, which runs on towards Shalmsford, and thence into the river Stour. On the hill, at no great distance westward from the village, is the seat of Kenfield, a conspicuous object from the downs, towards which it fronts, and beyond the large tract called Denge wood, and the farm of Bockholt, belonging to the archbishop. A fair is held here on the 15th of July.

THE MANOR OF PETHAM was given in the year 1036, to Christ-church, in Canterbury, by Haldene, a Saxon prince, in the presence of king Cnute, and at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in 1080, was part of the possessions of that see; accordingly it is thus entered in it, under the general title of the archbishop's lands:

In Piteham hundred, the archbishop himself holds Piteham. It was taxed for seven sulings. The arable land is as much as twenty carucates. In demesne there are three carucates, and thirty-two villeins, with twenty one borderers having nineteen carucates. There are two churches. There are two servants, and thirteen acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of twenty bogs. In the whole value in the time of king Edward the Confessor this manor was worth seventeen pounds and six shillings and three pence, and afterwards as much, and now it is worth twenty pounds. Of this manor Godefrid and Nigell hold of the archbishop one suling and an half and a yoke, and there they have four carucates, and four villeins, with eight borderers having three carucates. In the whole they were worth nine pounds, of these the monks have eight shillings per annum.

After which this manor continued parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury till some time after the reformation, when it passed by act of parliament into the hands of the crown, where it staid till it was granted in the 5th year of king Charles I. to William White and others, (fn. 2) and they soon afterwards sold it to Henry Thomson, esq. who resided at THE MANOR OF KENFIELD, in his mansion then called Upper Kenfield, in this parish, being descended of a family originally of Sandwich, who bore for their arms, Gules, two bars, argent, a chief, ermine; and in his descendants they both continued down to Thomas Thomson, esq. of Kenfield, who died in 1762, leaving four sons and three daughters; of the former, Thomas the eldest, married Sarah, daughter of Mr. Samuel Belcher, and was of Ulcomb, and afterwards of Maidstone; Thomas, the second son, will be mentioned hereafter, who married Anne, widow of the Rev. Edward Wilson, of Romney, by whom he has no issue; John, the third son, was of Chartham deanry, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. John Thurston, of Sittingborne; and Edward, the fourth, is of Romney Marsh. Of the daughters, Charlotte, the second, married Mr. William Belcher, of Ulcombe. By his will he gave these manors, with the mansion of Kenfield, to his second son, the Rev. Henry Thomson, now of Kenfield, the present possessor of them; (fn. 3) but he entailed them, on failure of male issue by his three younger sons, on the branch of this family of Somersham, in Huntingdonshire. A court leet and court baron is held for it.

HAUTS PLACE lies partly in this parish, and partly in that of Waltham, which, though now dwindled down almost to a cottage, was once eminent for being the original seat of that family, which afterwards branched out into several parts of this county, who bore for their arms, Or, a cross engrailed, gules. Ivode Haut is mentioned in the book of survey, now kept in the exchequer, entitled Liber de Terris Templariorum, being of such lands as were held by that order in England in the year 1180, anno 27 Henry II. in which he appears to have held this estate of their manor of Temple Waltham. His descendant Sir Piers Fitzhaut, was steward of the king's houshold anno 29 Henry III. from whom descended Sir Edmund de Haut, who in king Edward III.'s reign, had two sons, Nicholas, of Hauts-court, and Edmund, father of John, of Surrenden, in Pluckley, whose daughter and coheir Christian carried that seat in marriage to John Dering, ancestor of the Derings, baronets, of that place.

Nicholas Haut, the eldest son, lest two sons, Nicholas, of Hauts-place, and William, who was seated at Bishopsborne, under which his descendants will be further mentioned. Nicholas Haut, of Hauts-place lastmentioned, lest a son Richard, who in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, alienated this seat to Thomas Broumston, of Preston, near Faversham, in whose descendants it continued for some time, and till it was at length alienated to Sawkins, and Nicholas Sawkins, gent. of Liminge, died possessed of it in 1619, whose eldest son, of the same name, sold it to Bateman, in which name it continued down to the Rev. John Bateman, of University college, Oxford, (fn. 4) who at his death devised it to his niece, married to Philpot, and they joined in the sale of it to Mr. Thomas Bridges, gent. of St. Nicholas, in the Isle of Thanet, who died possessed of it in 1777, and his son Thomas Bridges, esq. of Glamorganshire, is the present owner of it.

SAPINGTON is a manor, situated in the north-west part of this parish, which was formerly the inheritance of a family named at Bregge, the last of whom, John ate Bregge conveyed it, anno 42 Edward III. to Sir Richard at Lese, elder brother of Marcellus, who had married his only daughter and heir Anne. He died possessed of it anno 18 Richard II. and was succeeded by his brother and heir Marcellus, whose eldest daughter and coheir Lucy, first married to John Norton, and afterwards to William Langley, esqrs. of Knolton, upon the division of his estates became entitled to it, and her issue by her two husbands afterwards jointly possessed it, though not without much dispute between them; but afterwards they joined in the sale of it, about king Henry IV.'s reign, to Gregory Ballard, esq. whose descendant Nicholas Ballard, at the end of Philip and Mary, alienated it to Stransham, from which family, about the 40th of Elizabeth, it was sold to Appleford, and he not long afterwards conveyed it to Langford, from which name, four brothers of it joining in the sale, it was passed away to Cranmer, of Canterbury, descended from archdeacon Cranmer, the archbishop's brother, in whose descendants it continued down to Sir William Cranmer, of London, who dying unmarried in 1697, devised it by will to his nephew John Kenrick, whose arms were, Ermine, a lion rampant, sable, who lest it to his eldest son Clayton, as he did to his younger brother Matthew Kenrick, esq. of London, with remainder to his third son Matthew Kenrick, clerk, LL. D. rector of Blechinglye, in Surry, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

SWERDLING, vulgarly called Great Swarling, is a manor in the northern part of this parish, close at the foot of the downs of the same name. It was given, on payment of a sum of money, by Cenulph, king of Mercia, and Cudred, king of Kent, anno 805, to one Vulshard, a priest belonging to the archbishop's monastery of Christ church, to be possessed by him in hereditary right; and he most probably at his death, if not before, gave it to his monastery; and king Edmund afterwards freed it from all secular services, excepting the trinoda necessitas. (fn. 5) After the conquest, on the division made by archbishop Lanfranc, of the revenues of his church, this manor seems, by the entry in Domesday before, to have been allotted to the archbishop, being then held of him, as of his manor of Petham, by Godefrid and Nigell, as there mentioned. Not many years after which it became part of the possessions of the eminent family of Valoigns, one of whose principal seats it was, for they resided at times at Repton, in Ashford, and at Tremworth, in Crundal, likewise, being severally from time to time knights of the shire, and sheriffs of this county, and keeping their shrievalty at one or other of those seats. Ruallon de Valoigns possessed this manor in king Stephen's reign, being written of Swerdling, and Waretius de Valoigns is in the catalogue of Kentish gentlemen who were at the siege of Acon, in Palestine, with Richard I. At length his descendant Sir War. de Valoigns, possessor likewise of this manor in king Edward the IIId.'s reign, (who was a benefactor of tithes in this parish to the hospital of St. Laurence, near Canterbury, now in the possession of the owners of that dissolved hospital) died without male issue, and in the 20th year of that reign it was come into the possession of Jeffry de Saye, who held it by knight's service of the archbishop. After which I find it possessed by the family of Haut, for Sir Nicholas Haut was owner of it in the next reign of king Richard II. in which he was knight of the shire, and in the 19th year of it kept his shrievalty at Wadenhall, in Waltham; and in his descendants it continued down to Edward Haut, esq. who did homage to archbishop Warham for it anno 22 Henry VII. whose heirs passed it away to Spilman, and his descendant Thomas Spilman, gent. of Chart Sutton, gave it in marriage in 1602, with Margaret his daughter, to Edward Hadde, esq. of Canterbury, in whose descendants, (by one of whom in 1645, part of this mansion was pulled down) it continued till it was at length sold to Spracklyn, of St. Laurence, in Thanet, from which name it passed by sale, about the end of George I.'s reign, to Dawes, whose descendant William Dawes, esq. of Hernehill, about the year 1747, alienated it to Mr. William Hammond, of Stone-house, near Canterbury, who died in 1773, and his son, of the same name, is now possessed of it.

THERE WAS, as early as the year 1190, a chapel at this manor of Swerdling, which was served by the brethren of St. John of Jerusalem. (fn. 6) To which John de Valoyns gave land, for the maintenance of one chaplain celebrating in it.

THERE IS A PORTION OF TITHES arising from a part of this manor, containing about one hundred and one acres, which belongs to the see of Canterbury, Mr. William Hammond being lessee of it.

DEPDEN, or rather Depeden, so called from its situation, is a manor in this parish, which lies south-eastward from Swerdling. It had in early times owners of its own name, one of whom, John Depeden, possessed it in the 47th year of Edward III. How long they continued owners of it, I have not found; but in king Henry IV.'s reign it was become the property of William Gratian, clerk, who founded a chantry here for one priest; and he endowed it with the rents of this manor, which, upon the suppression of all such foundations anno 2 Edward VI. came into the hands of the crown, and were soon afterwards granted to John Comb and Richard Almot, who not long after joined in the sale of it to William Farbrace, yeoman, from which name it was, about the beginning of king James, carried off by sale to Gregory, who in king Charles I.'s reign, alienated it to Sawkins, of Liminge, from whose descendant it passed by sale to Thomas Morris, esq. of Monks Horton, since which it has remained in the same line of descent with that manor, down to the right hon. Matthew Robinson Morris, lord Rokeby, the present owner of it.


EDWARD STRONG gave by will, in 1623, the sum of 1l. 10s. per annum, payable out of a small farm in this parish, to be distributed among the poor annually. Which sum is vested in trustees.

THOMAS THOMSON, ESQ. of Petham, by his will in 1626, gave 5l. 10s. for the relief of the poor of it. This money is now vested in the Rev. Henry Thomson, of Kenfield, the interest of of which, amounting to 5s. 6d. in money, is given to the poor yearly.

The poor constantly relieved are about thirty, casually as many.

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

The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is large, consisting of two isles and one chancel, having a square flat tower at the south-west corner, in which are six bells. The church is very neat and well kept. In the chancel and north isle are several monuments and memorials of the family of Thomson, of Kenfield, and of the Lefroys, who married into the family. A stone in the north isle for Martha, wife of Benjamin Macaree, gent. of Canterbury, obt. 1756. A monument for Anne, daughter of the Rev. John-Edward Wilson, of New Romney, by Anne, his wife, re-married to the Rev. Henry Thomson, of Kenfield, obt. 1786. A memorial for several of the family of Halke, of this parish. In the south isle is a memorial for John Honywood, A. M. vicar, obt. 1737. In the churchyard is a tomb for Thomas Halke, gent. of this parish, who lest one son Thomas, and a daughter Mary, married to Hopkins Fox, gent. of Nackington, obt. 1747; arms, A fess, between three hawks.

THIS CHURCH was antiently appendant to the manor of Petham, parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, and continued so till archbishop Ralph, in king Henry I.'s reign, gave it to the priory of St. Osyth, in Essex, to which it was afterwards appropriated, and a vicarage endowed in it anno 1226. (fn. 7) In which state it remained till the suppression of the priory anno 31 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, who granted the parsonage appropriate and advowson to the archbishop, from whom they came in exchange again to the crown, and were soon afterwards granted again to Spilman, from which name they went by marriage to Hadde, in whose family they continued some time, and till at length the parsonage, then become impropriate, was sold to Francis Brooke, esq. who died in 1720, as did his grandson Joseph Brooke, esq. of Town Malling, in 1792, whose devisee the Rev. John Kenward Shaw Brooke is the present owner of it.

BUT the advowson of the vicarage was sold from the Haddes to Sir William Honywood, bart. of Elmsted, in whose descendant Sir John Honywood, bart. the alternate presentation of it still continues. For in 1698 this vicarage was, with the consent of both patrons, united to that of the adjoining parish of Waltham, and both churches made one cure. The presentation to be alternate in future; the first turn to belong to the archbishop, as patron of the vicarage of Waltham, and the next to the family of Honywood, as patrons of the vicarage of Petham. In which state of alternate presentation it continues at this time.

This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 8l. os. 2½d. and the yearly tenths at 16s. 0½d. The pension of forty shillings formerly paid by the prior of St. Osyth, is now paid by the impropriator to the vicar. In 1640 it was valued at forty pounds, communicants one hundred.

Church of Petham.

Or by whom presented.
The King. David Terrey, A. M. July 20, 1662, obt. 1691. (fn. 8)
Sir John Honywood, bart. John Honywood, A. M. 1691, obt. Sept. 16, 1737. (fn. 9)
The Archbishop. Thomas Randolph, S. T. P. 1737, obt. March 24, 1783. (fn. 10)
Sir John Honywood, bart. Thomas Randolph, A. M. 1783, the present vicar.


  • 1. See vol. i. of this history, p. 125.
  • 2. Roll of partic. of fee-farm rents, 10 No. 23.
  • 3. There is a pedigree of this family in Vistn. co. Kent, anno 1619, and in the Heralds office, D. 18, f. 18.
  • 4. He was scholar there at his death, though then eighty years of age.
  • 5. See Dec. Script. col. 222I, and Dugd. Mon. vol. i.p. 20.
  • 6. The original charter for which was formerly in the hands of Peter le Neve, Norroy. Harris's Hist. p. 239.
  • 7. Regist. Warham, f. 163b. in the Lambeth library.
  • 8. Also vicar of Waltham, and lies buried in this church.
  • 9. Brother to Sir John Honywood, bart. Likewise vicar of Waltham, during whose time, anno 1598, these two vicarages were united. Afterwards rector of Burmarsh, which he held by dispensation with these vicarages.
  • 10. President of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, lady Margaret's prossessor in that university, and archdeacon of Oxford. In 1746 he was collated to the rectory of Saltwood with Hythe annexed, which he held with the united vicarages of Waltham and Petham, and in 1769 resigned the rectory of Saltwood with the chapel of Hythe, and was succeeded in them by his son Thomas Randolph, the present rector of Saltwood, and vicar of these united vicarages of Petham and Waltham. Dr. Randolph died æt. 8l, being well known to the learned world by his many theological publications.