Parishes: Barham

Pages 350-358

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.



ANTIENTLY written Bereham, lies the next parish eastward. There are five boroughs in it, viz. of Buxton, Outelmeston, Derrington, Breach, and Shelving. The manor of Bishopsborne claims over almost the whole of this parish, at the court of which the four latter borsholders are chosen, and the manors of Reculver and Adisham over a small part of it.

BARHAM is situated at the confines of that beautiful country heretofore described, the same Nailbourne valley running through it, near which, in like manner the land is very fertile, but all the rest of it is a chalky barren soil. On the rise of the hill northward from it, is the village called Barham-street, with the church, and just beyond the summit of it, on the further side Barham court, having its front towards the downs, over part of which this parish extends, and gives name to them. At the foot of the same hill, further eastward, is the mansion of Brome, with its adjoining plantatious, a conspicuous object from the downs, to which by inclosing a part of them, the grounds extend as far as the Dover road, close to Denne-hill, and a costly entrance has been erected into them there. By the corner of Brome house the road leads to the left through Denton-street, close up to which this parish extends, towards Folkestone; and to the right, towards Eleham and Hythe. One this road, within the bounds of this parish, in a chalky and stony country, of poor barren land, there is a large waste of pasture, called Breach down, on which there are a number of tumuli, or barrows. By the road side there have been found several skeletons, one of which had round its neck a string of beads, of various forms and sizes, from a pidgeon's egg to a pea, and by it a sword, dagger, and spear; the others lay in good order, without any particular thing to distinguish them. (fn. 1)

In the Nailbourne valley, near the stream, are the two hamlets of Derrington and South Barham; from thence the hills, on the opposite side of it to those already mentioned, rise southward pretty high, the tops of them being covered with woods, one of them being that large one called Covert wood, a manor belonging to the archbishop, and partly in this parish, being the beginning of a poor hilly country, covered with stones, and enveloped with frequent woods.

BARHAM, which, as appears by the survey of Domesday, formerly lay in a hundred of its own name, was given anno 809, by the estimation of seven ploughlands, by Cenulph, king of Kent, to archbishop Wlfred, free from all secular demands, except the trinoda necessitas, but this was for the use of his church; for the archbishop, anno 824, gave the monks lands in Egelhorne and Langeduna, in exchange for it. After which it came into the possession of archbishop Stigand, but, as appears by Domesday, not in right of his archbishopric, at the taking of which survey, it was become part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

In Berham hundred, Fulbert holds of the bishop Berham. It was taxed at six sulings. The arable land is thirty two carucates. In demesne there are three carucates, and fifty two villeins, with twenty cottagers having eighteen carucates. There is a church, and one mill of twenty shillings and four pence. There are twentlyfive fisheries of thirty-five shillings all four pence. Of average, that is service, sixty shilling. Of herbage twenty six shillings, and twenty acres of meadow Of pannage sufficient for one hundred and fifty hogs. Of this manor the bishop gave one berewic to Herbert, the son of Ivo, which is called Hugham, and there be has one carucate in demesne, and twelve villeins, with nine carucates, and twenty acres of meadow. Of the same manor the bisoop gave to Osberne Paisforere one suling and two mills of fifty sbillings, and there is in demesne one carucate, and four villeins with one carucate. The whole of Barbam, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, was worth forty pounds, when be received it the like, and yet it yielded to him one hundred pounds, now Berhem of itself is worth forty pounds, and Hucham ten pounds, and this which Osberne bas six pounds, and the land of one Ralph, a knight, is worth forty shillings. This manor Stigand, the archbishop held, but it was not of the archbishopric, but was of the demesne ferm of king Edward.

On the bishop's disgrace four years afterwards, and his estates being confiscated to the crown, the seignory of this parish most probably returned to the see of Canterbury, with which it has ever since continued. The estate mentioned above in Domesday to have been held of the bishop by Fulbert, comprehended, in all likelihood, the several manors and other estates in this parish, now held of the manor of Bishopsborne, one of these was THE MANOR AND SEAT OF BARHAM-COURT, situated near the church, which probably was originally the court-lodge of the manor of Barham in very early times, before it became united to that of Bishopsborne, and in king Henry II.'s time was held of the archbishop by knight's service, by Sir Randal Fitzurse, who was one of the four knights belonging to the king's houshould, who murdered archbishop Becket anno 1170; after perpetrating which, Sir Randal fled into Ireland, and changed his name to Mac-Mahon, and one of his relations took possession of this estate, and assumed the name of Berham from it; and accordingly, his descendant Warin de Berham is recorded in the return made by the sheriff anno 12 and 13 king John, among others of the archbishop's tenants by knight's service, as holding lands in Berham of him, in whose posterity it continued till Thomas Barham, esq. in the very beginning of king James I.'s reign, alienated it to the Rev. Charles Fotherbye, dean of Canterbury, who died possessed of it in 1619. He was eldest son of Martin Fotherby, of Great Grimsby, in Lincolnshire, and eldest brother of Martin Fotherby, bishop of Salisbury. He had a grant of arms, Gules, a cross of lozenges flory, or, assigned to him and Martin his brother, by Camden, clarencieux, in 1605. (fn. 2) His only surviving son Sir John Fotherbye, of Barham-court, died in 1666, and was buried in that cathedral with his father. At length his grandson Charles, who died in 1720, leaving two daughters his coheirs; Mary, the eldest, inherited this manor by her father's will, and afterwards married Henry Mompesson, esq. of Wiltshire, (fn. 3) who resided at Barhamcourt, and died in 1732, s. p. and she again carried this manor in marriage to Sir Edward Dering, bart. of Surrenden, whose second wife she was. (fn. 4) He lest her surviving, and three children by her, Charles Dering, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Farnaby, bart. since deceased, by whom he has an only surviving daughter, married to George Dering, esq. of Rolling, the youngest son of the late Sir Edw. Dering, bart. and her first cousin; Mary married Sir Robert Hilyard, bart. and Thomas Dering, esq. of London. Lady Dering died in 1775, and was succeeded by her eldest son Charles Dering, esq. afterwards of Barhamcourt, the present owner of it. It is at present occupied by Gen. Sir Charles Grey, bart. K. B. commanderin chief of the southern district of this kingdom.

THE MANORS OF BROME and OUTELMESTONE, alias DIGGS COURT, are situated in this parish; the latter in the valley, at the western boundary of it, was the first residence in this county of the eminent family of Digg, or, as they were asterwards called, Diggs, whence it gained its name of Diggs-court. John, son of Roger de Mildenhall, otherwise called Digg, the first-mentioned in the pedigrees of this family, lived in king Henry III.'s reign, at which time he, or one of this family of the same name, was possessed of the aldermanry of Newingate, in Canterbury, as part of their inheritance. His descendants continued to reside at Diggs-court, and bore for their arms, Gules, on a cross argent, five eagles with two heads displayed, sable, One of whom, James Diggs, of Diggs-court, died in 1535. At his death he gave the manor and seat of Outelmeston, alias Diggs-court, to his eldest son (by his first wife) John, and the manor of Brome to his youngest son, (by his second wife) Leonard, whose descendants were of Chilham castle. (fn. 5) John Diggs, esq. was of Diggs-court, whose descendant Thomas Posthumus Diggs, esq. about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated this manor, with Diggs-place, to Capt. Halsey, of London, and he sold it to Sir Tho. Somes, alderman of London, who again parted with it to Sir B. Dixwell, bart. and he passed it away to Sir Thomas Williams, bart. whose heir Sir John Williams, bart. conveyed it, about the year 1706, to Daniel and Nathaniel Matson, and on the death of the former, the latter became wholly possessed of it, and his descendant Henry Matson, about the year 1730, gave it by will to the trustees for the repair of Dover harbour, in whom it continues at this time vested for that purpose.

BUT THE MANOR OF BROME, which came to Leonard Diggs, esq. by his father's will as above-mentioned, was sold by him to Basil Dixwell, esq. second son of Cha. Dixwell, esq. of Coton, in Warwickshire, then of Tevlingham, in Folkestone, who having built a handsome mansion for his residence on this manor, removed to it in 1622. In the second year of king Charles I. he served the office of sheriff with much honour and hospitality; after which he was knighted, and cveated a baronet. He died unmarried in 1641, having devised this manor and seat, with the rest of his estates, to his nephew Mark Dixwell, son of his elder brother William, of Coton above-mentioned, who afterwards resided at Brome, whose son Basil Dixwell, esq. of Brome, was anno 12 Charles II. created a baronet. He bore for his arms, Argent, a chevron, gules, between three sleurs de lis, sable. His only son Sir Basil Dixwell, bart. of Brome, died at Brome,s. p. in 1750, and devised this, among the rest of his estates, to his kinsman George Oxenden, esq. second son of Sir Geo. Oxenden, bart. of Dean, in Wingham, with an injunction for him to take the name and arms of Dixwell, for which an act passed anno 25 George II. but he died soon afterwards, unmarried, having devised this manor and seat to his father Sir George Oxenden, who settled it on his eldest and only surviving son, now Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. who is the present owner of it. He resides at Brome, which he has, as well as the grounds about it, much altered and improved for these many years successively.

SHELVING is a manor, situated in the borough of its own name, at the eastern boundary of this parish, which was so called from a family who were in antient times the possessors of it. John de Shelving resided here in king Edward I.'s reign, and married Helen, daughter and heir of John de Bourne, by whom he had Waretius de Shelving, whose son, J. de Shelving, of Shelvingborne, married Benedicta de Hougham, and died possessed of this manor anno 4 Edward III. After which it descended to their daughter Benedicta, who carried it in marriage to Sir Edmund de Haut, of Petham, in whose descendants, in like manner as Shelvington, alias Hautsborne, above-described, it continued down to Sir William Haut, of Hautsborne, in king Henry VIII's reign, whose eldest daughter and coheir Elizabeth carried it in marriage to Tho. Colepeper, esq. of Bedgbury, who in the beginning of king Edward VI.'s reign passed it away to Walter Mantle, whose window carried it by a second marriage to Christopher Carlell, gent. who bore for his arms, Or, a cross flory, gules; one of whose descendants sold it to Stephen Hobday, in whose name it continued till Hester, daughter of Hills Hobday, carried it in marriage to J. Lade, esq. of Boughton, and he having obtained an act for the purpose, alienated it to E. Bridges, esq. of Wootton-court, who passed away part of it to Sir George Oxenden, bart. whose son Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. of Brome, now owns it; but Mr. Bridges died possessed of the remaining part in 1780, and his eldest son the Rev. Edward Timewell Brydges, is the present possessor of it.

MAY DEACON, as it has been for many years past both called and written, is a seat in the southern part of this parish, adjoining to Denton-street, in which parish part of it is situated. Its original and true name was Madekin, being so called from a family who were owners of it, and continued so, as appears by the deeds of it, till king Henry VI's reign, in the beginning of which it passed from that name to Sydnor, in which it continued till king Henry VIII.'s reign, when Paul Sydnor, who upon his obtaining from the king a grant of Brenchley manor, removed thither, and alienated this seat to James Brooker, who resided here, and his sole daughter and heir carried it in marriage, in queen Elizabeth's reign, to Sir Henry Oxenden, of Dene, in Wingham, whose grandson Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. sold it in 1664, to Edward Adye, esq. the second son of John Adye, esq. of Doddington, one of whose daughters and coheirs, Rosamond, entitled her husband George Elcock, esq. afterwards of Madekin, to it, and his daughter and heir Elizabeth carried it in marriage to Capt. Charles Fotherby, whose eldest daughter and coheir Mary, entitled her two successive husbands, Henry Mompesson, esq. and Sir Edward Dering, bart. to the possession of it, and Charles Dering, esq. of Barham-court, eldest son of the latter, by her, is at this time the owner of it. The seat is now inhabited by Henry Oxenden, esq.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly maintained are about forty, casually fifteen.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. John Baptist, is a handsome building, consisting of a body and side isle, a cross or sept, and a high chancel, having a slim tall spire at the west end, in which are four bells. In the chancel are memorials for George Elcock, esq. of Madeacon, obt. 1703, and for his wife and children; for Charles Bean, A. M. rector, obt. 1731. A monument for William Barne, gent. son of the Rev. Miles Barne. His grandfather was Sir William Barne, of Woolwich, obt. 1706; arms, Azure, three leopards faces, argent. Several memorials for the Nethersoles, of this parish. In the south sept is a magnificent pyramid of marble for the family of Dixwell, who lie buried in a vault underneath, and inscriptions for them. In the north sept is a monument for the Fotherbys. On the pavement, on a gravestone, are the figures of an armed knight (his feet on a greyhound) and his wife; arms, A cross, quartering six lozenges, three and three. In the east window these arms, Gules, three crowns, or—Gules, three lions passant in pale, or. This chapel was dedicated to St. Giles, and some of the family of Diggs were buried in it; and there are memorials for several of the Legrands. There are three tombs of the Lades in the church-yard, the inscriptions obliterated, but the dates remaining are 1603, 1625, and 1660. There were formerly in the windows of this church these arms, Ermine, a chief, quarterly, or, and gules, and underneath, Jacobus Peccam. Another coat, Bruine and Rocheleyquartered; and another, Gules, a fess between three lions heads, erased, argent, and underneath,Orate p ais Roberti Baptford & Johe ux; which family resided at Barham, the last of whom, Sir John Baptford, lest an only daughter and heir, married to John Earde, of Denton.

The church of Barham has always been accounted as a chapel to the church of Bishopsborne, and as such is included in the valuation of it in the king's books. In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and eighty; in 1640 there were two hundred and fifty.

The list of the rectors, and by whom presented, may be seen under Bishopsborne, p. 337.


  • 1. See Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, p. iv.
  • 2. There is a pedigree of this family in Vistn. co. Kent, 1619.
  • 3. Among the Harl. MSS. No. 1110-121, is the descent and arms of Mompesson, with the various ways of writing that name antiently.
  • 4. See more of the Derings, vol. vii. of this history, p. 465.
  • 5. See Chilham, vol. vii. of this history, p. 274.