Parishes: Bishopsborne

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: Bishopsborne', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 328-337. British History Online [accessed 29 May 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Bishopsborne", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) 328-337. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Bishopsborne", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800). 328-337. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024,

In this section


LIES the next parish eastward from Bridge, described before, in the hundred of that name. It is called in Domesday, Burnes, that is, borne, from the bourn or stream which rises in it, being the head of the river, called the Lesser Stour; and it had the name of Bishopsborne from its belonging to the archbishop, and to distinguish it from the several other parishes of the same name in this neighbourhood. There is but one borough in this parish, namely, that of Bourne.

THIS PARISH lies about five miles eastward from Canterbury, just beyond Bridge, about half a mile from the Dover road, and the entrance of Barham downs in the valley on the left hand, where the church and village, the parsonage, the mansion and grounds of Bourne place, and the seat of Charlton at the opposite boundary, with the high hills behind them, topped with woods, from a most pleasing and luxuriant prospect indeed. In this beautiful valley, in which the Lesser Stour rises, and through which the Nailbourne at times runs, is the village of Bourne-street, consisting of about fifteen houses, and near it the small seat of Ofwalds, belonging to Mr. Beckingham, and now inhabited by his brother the Rev. Mr. Beckingham, and near it the church and court-lodge. On the rise of the hill is the parsonage, an antient building modernized, and much improved by the present rector Dr. Fowell, and from its whiteness a conspicuous object to the road and Barham downs. About a mile distant eastward, in the vale, close to the foot of the hills, is Charlton, in a low and damp situation, especially when the nailbourne runs. On the opposite side of the church westward, stands the ornament of this parish, the noble mansion of Bourne-place, (for several years inhabited by Sir Horace Mann, bart. but now by William Harrison, esq.) with its paddocks, grounds, and plantations, reaching up to the downs, having the bourn, which is the source of the Lesser Stour, which rises here in the front of it, directing its course from hence to Bridge, and so on by Littleborne, Ickham and Wickham, till it joins the Greater Stour river. This valley from this source of the bourn upwards, is dry, except after great rains, or thaws of snow, when the springs of the Nailbourn occasionally over flow at Liminge and Elham, and directing their course through this parish descend into the head of the bourn, and blend their waters with it. From this valley southward the opposite hills rise pretty high to the woodland, called Gosley wood, belonging to Mr. Beckingham, of large extent, and over a poor, barren and stony country, with rough healthy ground interspersed among it, to the valley at the southern boundary of the parish, adjoining to Hardres; near which is the house of Bursted, in a lonely unfrequented situations, hardly known to any one.

THE MANOR OF BOURNE, otherwise Bishopsborne, was given by one Aldhun, a man of some eminence in Canterbury, from his office of præfect, or bailiff of that city, (qui in hac regali villa bujus civitatis prafectus suit), (fn. 1) to the monks of Christ-church there, towards the support of their refectory. After which, anno 811, the monks exchanged it, among other estates, with archbishop Wlfred, for the manor of Eastry, and it continued part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in which it is thus entered, under the title of the archbishop's lands:

In Berham hundred, the archbishop himself holds Burnes in demesne. It was taxed for six sulings. The arable land is fifty carucates. In demesne there are five carucates, and sixty-four villeins, with fifty-three borderers having thirty carucates and an half. There is a church, and two mills of eight shillings and six pence, and twenty acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of fifteen hogs. Of herbage twenty-seven pence. In its whole value, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth twenty pounds, now thirty pounds.

The manor of Bishopsborne appears by the above entry to have been at that time in the archbishop's own hands, and it probably continued so as long as it remained part of his revenues, which was till the 35th year of king Henry VIII. when archbishop Cranmer, by an act specially passed for the purpose, exchanged this manor with the park, grounds and soil of the archbishop in this parish, called Langham park, with Thomas Colepeper, sen. esq. of Bedgbury, who that year alienated it to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Otterden, who gave this manor, with the rest of his possessions in this parish, to his second son Edward. Since which it has continued in the same line of ownership as Bourne-place, as will be more particularly mentioned hereafter, down to Stephen Beckingham, esq. the present owner of it. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.

BOURNE-PLACE, formerly called the manor of Hautsbourne, is an eminent seat in this parish, for the manor has from unity of possession been for many years merged in the paramount manor of Bishopsborne. It was in very early times possessed by a family who took their name from it. Godric de Burnes is mentioned in the very beginning of the survey of Domesday, as the possessor of lands in it. John de Bourne had a grant of free-warren and other liberties for his lands in Bourne and Higham in the 16th year of king Edward I. He left an only daughter Helen, who carried this estate in marriage to John de Shelving, of Shelvingborne, whose grandson, of the same name, died anno 4 Edward III. at which time this manor had acquired from them the name of Shelvington. He left an only daughter and heir Benedicta, who carried it in marriage to Sir Edmund de Haut, of Petham, whose son Nicholas Haut gave to William, his youngest son, this estate of Bishopsborne, where he afterwards resided, and died in 1462, having been knight of the shire and sheriff of this county. From him it descended down to Sir William Haut, of Hautsborne, sheriff in the 16th and 29th year of king Henry VIII. whose son Edmund dying unmarried in his life-time, his two daughters, Elizabeth, married to Thomas Colepeper, esq. of Bedgbury, and Jane, to Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington-castle, became his coheirs, and on the division of their estates, this of Hautsborne was allotted to the former, and her hus band Thomas Colepeper, in her right, became possessed of it, and having acquired the manor of Bishopsborne by exchange from the archbishop, anno 35 Henry VIII. immediately afterwards passed away both that and Hautsborne to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Otterden, whose family derived their origin from Ealcher, or Aucher, the first earl of Kent, who had the title of duke likewise, from his being intrusted with the military power of the county. He is eminent in history for his bravery against the Danes, in the year 853. They first settled at Newenden, where more of the early account of them may be seen. He at his death gave them to his second son Edward, who afterwards resided here at Shelvington, alias Hautsborne, as it was then called, whose great-grandson Sir Anthony Aucher was created a baronet in 1666, and resided here. He left surviving two sons Anthony and Hewitt, and two daughters, Elizabeth, afterwards married to John Corbett, esq. of Salop, LL. D. and Hester, to the Rev. Ralph Blomer, D. D. prebendary of Canterbury. He died in 1692, and was succeeded by his eldest son, who dying under age and unmarried, Hewitt his brother succeeded him in title and estate, but he dying likewise unmarried about the year 1726, the title became extinct, but his estates devolved by his will to his elder sister Elizabeth, who entitled her husband Dr. Corbett afterwards to them, and he died possessed of the manor of Bishopsborne, with this seat, which seems then to have been usually called Bourneplace, in 1736, leaving his five daughters his coheirs, viz. Katherine, afterwards married to Stephen Beckingham, esq. Elizabeth, to the Rev. Thomas Denward; Frances, to Sir William Hardres, bart. Antonina, to Ignat. Geohegan, esq. and Margaret-Hannah-Roberta, to William Hougham, esq. of Canterbury, the four latter of whom, with their respective husbands, in 1752, jointed in the sale of their shares in this estate to Stephen Beckingham, esq. above-men tioned, who then became possessed of the whole of it. He married first the daughter of Mr. Cox, by whom he had the present Stephen beckingham, esq. who married Mary, daughter of the late John Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, deceased, by whom he had an only daughter, who married John-George Montague, esq. eldest son of John, lord viscount Hinchingbrooke, since deceased. By his second wife Catherine, daughter of Dr. John Corbet, he had two daughters, Charlotte and Catherine, both married, one to Mr. Dillon and the other to Mr. Gregory; and a son John Charles, in holy orders, and now rector of Upper Hardres. They bear for their arms, Argent, a sess, crenelle, between three escallop shells, sable. He died in 1756, and his son Stephen Beckingham, esq. above-mentioned, now of Hampton-court, is the present owner of the manor of Bishopsborne, and the mansion of Bourneplace.

BURSTED is a manor, in the southern part of this parish, obscurely situated in an unfrequented valley, among the woods, next to Hardres. It is in antient deeds written Burghsted, and was formerly the property of a family of the same name, in which it remained till it was at length sold to one of the family of Denne, of Dennehill, in Kingston, and it continued so till Thomas Denne, esq. of that place, in Henry VIII.'s reign, gave it to his son William, whose grandson William, son of Vincent Denne, LL. D. died possessed of it in 1640, and from him it descended down to Mr. Thomas Denne, gent. of Monkton-court, in the Isle of Thanet, who died not many years since, and his widow Mrs. Elizabeth Denne, of Monktoncourt, is the present possessor of it.

CHARLTON is a seat, in the eastern part of this parish, which was formerly the estate of a family named Herring, in which it continued till William Herring, anno 3 James I. conveyed it to John Gibbon, gent. the third son of Thomas Gibbon, of Frid, in Bethers den, descended again from those of Rolvenden, and he resided here, and died possessed of it in 1617, as did his son William in 1632, whose heirs passed it away to Sir Anthony Aucher, bart. whose son Sir Hewitt Aucher, bart. in 1726, gave it by will to his sister Elizabeth, and she afterwards carried it in marriage to John Corbett, LL. D. of Salop, who died possessed of it in 1735, leaving his window surviving, after whose death in 1764 it came to her five daughters and coheirs, who, excepting Frances, married to Sir William Hardres, bart. joined with their husbands in the sale of their respective fifth parts of it in 1765, to Francis Hender Foote, clerk, who resided here. Mr. Foote was first a barrister-at-law, and then took orders. He married Catherine, third daughter of Robert Mann, esq. of Linton, by whom he had three sons, John, mentioned below, who is married and has issue; Robert, rector of Boughton Malherb, and vicar of Linton, who married Anne, daughter of Dobbins Yate, esq. of Gloucestershire, and Edward, in the royal navy; and three daughters, of whom two died unmarried, and Catherine, the second, married first Mr. Ross, and secondly Sir Robert Herries, banker, of London. Mr. Foote died possessed of them in 1773, leaving his wife Catherine surviving, who possessed them at her death in 1776, on which they descended to their eldest son John Foote, esq. of Charlton, who in 1784, purchased of the heirs of lady Hardres, deceased, the remaining fifth part, and so became possessed of the whole of it, of which he is the present owner, but Mr. Turner now resides in it.


MRS. ELIZABETH CORBETT, window, executrix of Sir Hewit Aucher, bart. deceased, in 1749, made over to trustees, for the use and benefit of the poor, a tenement called Bonnetts, and half an acre of land adjoining, in this parish; now occupied by two poor persons, but if rented, of the annual value of 3l.

The poor constantly relieved are about eleven, casually seven.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a large building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which are four bells. This church is a large handsome building, but it is not kept so comely as it ought to be. In the chancel is a monument for Richard Hooker, rector of this parish, who died in 1600; on it is his bust, in his black gown and square cap. A monument for John Cockman, M. D. of Charlton. His widow lies in the vault by him, obt. 1739; arms, Argent, three cocks, gules, impaling Dyke. Memorial for Petronell, wife of Dr. John Fowell, the present rector, second daughter of William Chilwich, esq. of Devonshire, obt. 1766. She lies buried in a vault under the altar. A large stone, twelve feet long, supposed to be over the remains of Mr. Richard Hooker. A memorial on brass for John Gibbon, gent. of this parish, obt. 1617; arms, Gibbon, a lion rampant-guardant, between three escallops, impaling Hamon, of Acrise, quartering Cossington. Memorials for Mrs. Jane Gibbon, his wife, obt. 1625, and for William Gibbon, gent. obt. 1632. A memorial for William Gresham, obt. 1718. In one of the windows are the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling Warham. In the middle isle, in the south wall, above the capital of the pillar, opposite the pulpit, is a recess, in which once stood the image of the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of this church, to which William Hawte, esq. by will anno 1462, among the rest of his relics, gave a piece of the stone on which the archangel Gabriel descended, when he saluted her, for this image to rest its feet upon. On the pavement near this, seemingly over a vault, is a stone with an inscription in brass, for William, eldest son of Sir William Hawt. A memorial for Farnham Aldersey, gent. of this parish, only son of Farnham Aldersey, gent. of Maidstone, obt. 1733. Memorials for several of the Dennes, of this parish. In a window of the south isle, are the arms of Haut, impaling Argent, a lion rampant-guardant, azure. The south chancel is inclosed and made into a handsome pew for the family of Bourne-place, under which is a vault appropriated to them. The window of it eastward is a very handsome one, mostly of modern painted glass; the middle parts filled up with scripture history, and the surrounding compartments with the arms and different marriages impaled of the family of Beckingham. On each side of this window are two ranges of small octagon tablets of black marble, intended for the family of Aucher, and their marriages, but they were not continued. In the church-yard, on the south side, is a vault for the family of Foote, of Charlton, and a tomb for Mrs. Elizabeth Corbett, obt. 1764; arms, Corbett, which were Or, two ravens, sable, within a bordure, gules, bezantee. At the north-east corner of the church-porch are several tombs for the Dennes.

The church of Bishopsborne, with the chapel of Barham annexed, was antiently appendant to the manor, and continued so till the exchange made between the archbishop and Thomas Colepeper, in the 35th year of king Henry VIII. out of which the advowson of this rectory was excepted. Since which it has continued parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to the present time, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of it.

This rectory, (including the chapel of Barham annexed to it) is valued in the king's books at 39l. 19s. 2d. and the yearly tenths at 3l. 19s. 11d. In 1588 here were communicants one hundred. In 1640 one hundred and forty-eight, and it was valued, with Barham, at two hundred and fifty pounds per annum.

Church of Bishopsborne with the Chapel of Barhan annexed.

Or by whom presented.
The Crown, jure preg. Richard Hooker, A. M. July 5, 1595, obt. Nov. 2, 1600 (fn. 2)
The Archbishop. Charles Fotherbye, S. T. B. Dec. 6, 1600, obt. 1619. (fn. 3)
John Warner, S. T. P. 1619, vacated 1638. (fn. 4)
The Crown. John Lee, S. T. P. Dec. 12, 1662, obt. 1679. (fn. 5)
The Archbishop. George Thorpe, S. T. P. June 27, 1679, obt. 1720. (fn. 6)
Charles Bean, A. M. Feb. 2, 1721, obt. March 30, 1731. (fn. 7)
John Lynch, S. T. P. May 5, 1731, obt. 1760. (fn. 8)
John Frost, A. M. June 23, 1760, obt. April 28, 1765. (fn. 9)
John Fowell, S. T. P. July 12, 1765, the present rector. (fn. 10)


  • 1. See Dugdale's Monasticon, vol. i. p. 19.
  • 2. The learned writer of eight books of Ecclesiastical Polity, of which five were published in his life-time. He was first rector of Draiton Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire, then rector of Boscomb, in Wileshire, and prebendary of Salisbury. His monument was put up in 1632 by Sir William Cowper, Knight and baronet. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. i. p. 302. See his life by Walton, and in Biog. Brit. vol. iv. p. 2664. And in Zouch's edit. of Walton's Lives, 4to. 1796.
  • 3. Archdeacon and prebendary, and lastly in 1615, dean of Canterbury, in which cathedral he lies buried.
  • 4. He vacated this rectory on being made bishop of Rochester.
  • 5. Archdeacon of Rochester, and wrote himself Lee, alias Warner.
  • 6. Likewise rector of Ickham, and prebendary of Canterbury, in which cathedral he lies buried.
  • 7. He held this rectory with the vicarage of Lid by dispensation, which last he exchanged for the rectory of Ickham, and lies buried in the chancel of Barham church.
  • 8. Afterwards dean of Canterbury. He held this rectory with that of Ickham by dispensation.
  • 9. He held this rectory with that of Pluckley by dispensation.
  • 10. He holds this rectory with that of Chartham, by dispensation; also rector of the sinecure of Eynsford.