Parishes: Shebbertswell

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

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'Parishes: Shebbertswell', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 375-384. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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LIES the next parish northward from Wootton, being most commonly so called and written; but its more proper name is Sibertswold, which name it took from the antient Saxon possessor of it. In the record of Domesday it is written accordingly Siberteswalt. There are two boroughs in this parish, Shebbertswell, and Nethergong, commonly called Nareton.

THIS PARISH, tho' healthy, is not reckoned a very pleasant one, either as to situation or soil. It lies close on the north side of the high Dover road, about two miles north-eastward from Barham downs. It contains about 1700 acres of land. The church, with a small hamlet of houses close to it, stands at the eastern boundary of it, adjoining to Coldred; the ground here lying as high as any in these parts. Westward from the church is Butter-street, and the Place-house, and about as far southward from thence, the hamlet of Coxhill; all the last-mentioned part of this parish is a low unpleasant situation, much inclosed, having frequent woodland in it; but from Westcourt-house, which stands at a small distance from the Place-house, the ground again rises to an open uninclosed downy country, at the extremity of which is Three Barrow Down, so called from three large Roman tumuli, or barrows, on it. On this down the lines of intrenchment thrown up by the Romans, appear exceeding singular; for they are large, and the trenches deep and particularly adapted, and continued up to a great extent and variety of intrenchments, which possess all the hill between Denhill terrace upon the edge of Barham downs, and the scite of the late house of Nethersole, under Snowdowne. On the northern side of the parish is Longlane farm, formerly belonging to the Furnese's, of Wal dershare, afterwards to lord viscount Bolingbrooke, who sold it to the present possessor of it, Mr. Fector, of Dover; eastward of which there are several more lines of intrenchment, and on each side of them a large heap of Roman tumuli, or barrows.

These cover a considerable extent of ground, perhaps three acres, in the north-west part of this parish, at a small distance from the farm upon the downs; this burying place was explored by the Rev. Mr. Faussett some years ago. The soil of this parish is a cold clay upon a bed of chalk, stiff, and of unpleasant tillage; in some parts the clay is mixed with slints. It is more or less fertile as the layer is of greater or lesser thickness, and upon the whole it is rather an ungrateful soil. The surface of it partakes of the nature of the surrounding villages, uneven hill and dale in a continued succession.

THE MANOR OF SHEBBERTSWELL, alias UPTON WOOD, was given by king Edmund, about the year 944, to the monastery of St. Augustine, which gift was augmented by king Ethelred afterwards, in 990, and the whole continued in the possession of the abbot and convent at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in which the whole is thus entered under the general title of the lands of the church of St. Augustine:

In Beusberg hundred. The abbot himself holds Siberteswalt. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there is one and a half, and eleven villeins, with six borderers having two carucates and an half. There is a church. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth eight pounds; when he received it forty shillings, now six pounds, and yet it pays eight pounds.

Soon after which, Scotland, then abbot of this monastery, granted this estate to Hugo, the son of Fulbert, to hold by Knight's service, together with the tithes arising from them. (fn. 1)

After which, this estate came into the possession of Richard, natural son of king John, but at the latter end of that reign Sir Walter de Wyngham, brother of Henry de Wyngham, bishop of London, held it of their heirs as mesne tenant, and died without issue male at the begining of king Edward I.'s reign; after which the inheritance came to the daughters and heirs of Sir Walter above-mentioned, Matilda and Joane; and to John, son and heir of another of his daughters and coheirs; and in the 17th year of that reign, Stephen de Pencestre then held this manor, as of the inheritance of the above-mentioned daughters and heirs of Sir Walter de Wyngham, by knight's service, &c. of the abbot, being of his barony, but this family was entirely extinct here before the 20th year of Edward III. when Peter de Guildborough, or as he was more frequently written, Goldsborough, held it as of the castle of Dover; however this name did not long continue here, for in the next reign of king Richard II. a family named de Uppetone, was become possessed of it, whence it acquired the name of Upton-court.

They were succeeded by the Philipotts, descended from those of Gillingham, in this county, one of whom was Sir John Philipott, lord-mayor of London, anno 3 Richard II. who was knighted next year by the king in Smithfield, as a reward for his service, and the assistance he gave to Sir William Walworth, lord mayor, in the destruction of the rebel Walter Tyler. (fn. 2) They resided at Upton-court for several generations, and many of them lie buried in this church, though their inscriptions have been long since obliterated; but at length before king Henry VII.'s reign, it was conveyed by sale to Guldeford, in which name it remained but a short time before it was alienated to William Boys, esq. of Fredville, afterwards of Bonnington, who died possessed of it in 1508, having by his will devised it to his grandson William, (son of his eldest John) who was afterwards of Fredville, in whose descendants it continued down to Sir John Boys, of St. Gregories, who in the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated this manor, then called Sibwold, alias Upton, to Mr. John Merriweather, from one of whose descendants it afterwards passed to Edward Turner, gent. of Bernard'sinn, London, who appears to have been possessed of it in 1692, and his daughter Jane carried it in marriage to John Sparrow, gent. of Saffron Walden, in Essex, and they in 1702, joined in the sale of it to Awnsham Churchill, gent. whose nephew of the same name, of Henbury, in Dorsetshire, esq. died possessed of it in 1773; after which, William Churchill, esq. of Henbury, and the Rev. Henry Churchill, clerk, his sons and coheirs in gavelking, passed away this manor, (together with all their other estates here, excepting Butter-street farm) by sale in 1785, to Mr. William Baldock, of Canterbury, and William Slodden, gent. of that city, his trustee, and they in the following year alienated it to James Gunman, esq. of Dover, the present possessor of this manor.

A court leet and court baron is held for this manor; but there is no officer chosen at it.

BUT THE MANOR-HOUSE, together with some of the demesne lands, belong to the right hon. the earl of Guildford. The house, a small one, neatly sitted up in the cottage stile, is in the occupation of Mrs. Elizabeth Boteler.

BUTTER-STREET FARM, with the mansion called the Place-house, and the lands belonging to it, being the principal farm in this parish, was formerly part of the demesnes of the manor of Upton-court above-mentioned, and was held of the abbot of St. Augustine, and passed in like sort as the manor itself into the family of Boys, from which it was in queen Elizabeth's time alienated to Mr. John Merriweather, who afterwards resided here; by one of whose descendants the present mansion was built. (fn. 3) In which family, who bore for their arms, Or, three martlets, sable, on a chief, azure, a sun, or, this estate continued, till at length it was carried by Anne, sole sister and heir of Mr. Richard Merriweather, who died unmarried in 1720, in marriage to Mr. John Lowndes, of Overton, in Cheshire, who afterwards resided here, and dying in 1734, left an only daughter and heir Sarah, who married Awnsham Churchill, esq. of Henbury, owner likewise of Upton manor, and nephew of Awnsham Churchill, the purchaser of that manor, as has been mentioned before, who was an eminent stationer, and M. P. for Dorchester, the son of William Churchill, esq. of that place, who bore for his arms, Sable, a lion rampant, azure, debruised by a bendlet, gules. (fn. 4) He died possessed of this mansion and estate in 1773, and his two sons and coheirs in gavelkind, William, and Henry Churchill, clerk, in 1785, alienated the capital part of the mansion-house, with the gardens, pleasure grounds, and some meadows adjoining, to Mr. Thomas Baldock, and the remainder of the mansion-house, yards, barns, and buildings, together with the farm, to Mr. Thomas Claringbold, and he soon after alienated them to Mr. Robert Potter, who afterwards purchased the rest of the mansion, with the gardens, grounds, and meadows, of Mr. Thomas Baldock; so that he now possesses the whole of this mansion with its appurtenances, as well as Butter-street farm, and resides at this time in the capital part of the mansion-house.

THE MANOR OF WESTCOURT, so called from its situation in the western part of this parish, was part of the antient possessions of the priory of St. Martin, in Dover, before the time of the Norman conquest, perhaps given to it by king Wightred, when he removed the priory, in the year 696, from the circuit of the castle down into the town of Dover, to the old church of St. Martin there. Accordingly it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday, under the general title of Terra Canonicorum S. Martini de Dovre, i.e. lands of the canons of St. Martin in Dovre.

In Sibertesuualt, William of Poictiers holds half a suling and twelve acres and in Deal, &c. The whole of this is worth fifty five shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor four pounds.

And a little further:

In Sibertesuualt, Sigar holds one yoke and an half, and there he has in demesne half a carucate, and two villeins, and one borderer. It is worth twenty-five shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor thirty-five shillings. His father held it as a prebend.

And below under the same title:

In Sibtesuuald Ulstan, son of Vluuin, holds one suling, and there he has half a carucate, and three villeins, and nine borderers, with one carucate. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth one hundred shillings, now sixty shillings. His father held it.

And further on, as part of the possessions of the same canons:

One pasture in Sibertesuualt, worth sixteen pence.

The above premises seem altogether to have comprehended, and to have constituted the manor of Westcourt, which during the several changes made in the priory of St. Martin, continued nevertheless part of its possessions, till its final dissolution in the 27th of king Henry VIII. when it was by act suppressed, as being under the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, and came with all its lands and possessions into the king's hands, where they did not remain long, for in his 29th year he granted this manor, with the scite of the priory, and all the lands and possessions late belonging to it, excepting the patronage of certain churches particularly mentioned in it, in exchange to the archbishop; in which situation this manor still continues, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to the inheritance of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

The Parkers resided here in king James the 1st.'s reign, as tenants to Sir John Boys, who held it of the archbishop; which family of Parker bore for their arms, Ermine, Six escallops, gules, three, two, and one; confirmed to John Parker, gent. of Sybertswold, by Robert Cooke, clarencieux, in 1588, anno 30 Elizabeth. (fn. 5) The Hammonds, of St. Alban's, were lately lessees of this manor, in which the lease continued to William Hammond, esq. who has sold his interest in it to John Plumptree, esq. of Fredville, the present lessee of it.


THERE were given by a person or persons unknown, eleven acres of pasture, near Longlane, now used by the poor, and are of the annual value of about three guineas.

The poor constantly maintined are about fifteen, casually as many.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Andrew, is small, and consists of a nave and chancel. It has no tower, but there is one bell in it. In the chancel is an inscription on a brass plate for Philemon Pownall, obt. 1660. Several memorials for the family of Matson, formerly of this parish. A monuments for Wm. Merryweather, gent. obt. 1702; and for Richard Marson, gent. the last heir male of the family, obt. 1720, æt. 27; arms at top, Merriweather impaling argent, on a chevron, azure, three mullets, or, between three martlets, gules; for Matson. A monument for Mr. John Lowndes, of Overton, in Cheshire, and his wife, daughter of Mr. Wm. Merriweather; he died 1734; arms at top, Argent, fretty, azure, on a canton, gules, a griffin's head erased, or. In the nave, a memorial for James Herbert, esq. of this parish. obt. 1760; arms, Party per pale, azure and gules, three lions rampant, argent. One for Thomas Rymer, clerk, A. M. vicar of Shepperdswell and Coldred, and one of the six preachers, obt July 17, 1759. A monument for Martha-Maria, eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Thompson, wine-merchant, of Dover, obt. 1788; she was buried in a vault under the west end of the church. In the church-yard is a handsome altar monument for John Claringbold, ob. 1764. A head-stone for Richard Seddon, late steward to the noble family of Waldershare thirty-one years, after which he retired to Upton-court in 1767, and died in 1770.

This church was antiently appendant to the manor of Shebbertswell, and continued so till Henry de Wingham, dean of St. Martin's, London, lord of this manor in the year 1257, anno 42 Henry III. gave it to the abbot and convent of St. Radigund, for the maintenance of one canon there, and of the poor resorting thither, upon which it became appropriated to that monastery, and continued, together with the advowson of the vicarage, part of the possessions of it, till its final dissolution in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, who granted it, with all its possessions that year, to the archbishop in exchange, (fn. 6) who soon afterwards reconveyed them to the crown; but in this deed, among other exceptions, was that of all churches and advowsons of vicarages, by virtue of which the appropriation of this church, together with the advowson of the vicarage, remained part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, as they do at this time, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to the inheritance of them.

At this time, Mr. Thomas Potter, of this parish, holds of the archbishop three parts of the tithes of it, arising from 1300 acres of land, and pays twenty pounds yearly to the vicar. He likewise holds under the archbishop twenty acres of glebe, for which he pays a proportion of a yearly reserved rent. Mr. Thomas King holds about one hundred acres of land at Coxhill, as lessee of the archbishop; and James Gunman, esq. holds about fifty acres of woodland. These two pay likewise their parts of the reserved rent above-mentioned.

This vicarage is valued in the king's books at six pounds, and the yearly tenths at twelve shillings.—There are five acres of glebe land.

It was united by archbishop Whitgift in 1584, to the adjoining one of Coldred, and archbishop Sancroft, in 1680, again consolidated these vicarages, in which state they continue at this time; the collation being made by the archbishop to the vicarages of Shebbertswell and Coldred united. (fn. 7)

The vicarage of Shebbertswell was augmented with the yearly sum of twenty pounds, to be paid by the lesse of the great tithes, by archbishop Juxon, anno 12 king Charles II. and again confirmed anno 28 king Charles II. In 1588 there were eighty-three communicants here. In 1640, eighty communicants; and it was valued at forty-five pounds. It is now of the clear yearly certified value of 43l. 19s. 8d.

Walter de Wyngham, lord of the manor of Siberteswealde, in the 47th year of king Henry III. gave to this church a messuage, in which the vicars used to dwell.

Church of Shebbertswell.

Or by whom resented.
The Archbishop. John Maxim. Delangle, S. T. P. February 4, 1683, resigned 1686. (fn. 8)
Edward Petitt, A. M. Oct. 23, 1686, obt. 1709.
David Campredon, A. M. September 30, 1709, obt. March 2, 1731. (fn. 9)
George Smith, A. M. April 3, 1731, obt. May 16, 1752. (fn. 10)
Thomas Rymer, A. M. June 23, 1752, obt. July 17, 1759. (fn. 11)
John Benson, A. M. August 9, 1759, resigned 1762. (fn. 12)
John Holingbery, S. T. P. 1762, resigned 1771.
Roger Pettiward, S. T. P. July 6, 1771, obt. April 18, 1774. (fn. 13)
Durand Rhudde, A. M. Oct. 24, 1774—1782, (fn. 14)
Allen Fielding, 1782, resigned October 1787. (fn. 15)
John Rose, A. M. Oct. 1787, resigned July 1790. (fn. 16)
John Henry Clapham, A. M. 1790, resigned 1792. (fn. 17)
Rich. Blackett Dechair, L. L.B. 1792, the present vicar. (fn. 18)


  • 1. See Regist. Mon. Sci Aug. cart. 177.
  • 2. See Gillingham, vol iv. of this history, p. 236.
  • 3. There is a pedigree of a younger branch of this family settled in the adjoining parish of Barfriston, in the Heraldic Visitation, anno 1619.
  • 4. See Hutchins's History of Dorsetshire, p. 129.
  • 5. See Guillim's Heraldry, p. 248.
  • 6. Augtn. off. Inrolm. Kent, box A. 21. Register of the abbey of St. Radigund.
  • 7. Regift. Whitgift, vol. i. f. 459, Lambeth. Register Sancroft, f. 384a, Lambeth. Leiger Book of St. Martin's, Dover, f. 178, 179, 180b, Lambeth. See Ducarel's Repertory, edit. ii. p. 103.
  • 8. Rector of Chartham, and prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 9. Likewise rector of Charlton, by Dover.
  • 10. He had been rector of Barsriston, and was likewise rector of Charlton, by Dover.
  • 11. See Acrise. He lies buried in this church.
  • 12. See Harbledown, vol. ix. of this history, p. 10.
  • 13. And residentiary of St. Paul's, London. His original name was Mortlock, which he changed by act, anno 23 George II.
  • 14. And lecturer of St. Dionis Backchurch, London.
  • 15. He resigned this vicarage for that of Hackington, alias St. Stephen's.
  • 16. He resigned this vicarage on being presented to Milton, by Sittingbourne.
  • 17. For the vicarage of Edburton, in Suffex.
  • 18. And vicar of Postling.