Parishes: St Margaret at Cliffe

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: St Margaret at Cliffe', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800), pp. 412-418. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: St Margaret at Cliffe", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) 412-418. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: St Margaret at Cliffe", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800). 412-418. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


OR, St. Margaret's, near Dover, as it is sometimes called; in the survey of Domesday, S. Margarita, lies eastward from Guston, a small part of the parish of West Cliffe only intervening. A borsholder for this parish is chosen at the court leet of Dover priory.

THIS PARISH lies very high on the chalk cliffs, adjoining the sea shore eastward; it is situated in a right angle across the channel to Calais, having the South Foreland at the southern boundary of it. The village, with the church, is situated about a quarter of a mile from the edge of the cliff, which is here of considerable height from the sea shore; on which, below high-water mark, is a spring of fresh water, which issues plentifully on the retreat of the tide; and there are several springs of fresh water in the rocks between this place and Dover, which keep rising when the tide is off. Here is a small bay, where one Thomas Laurence, in archbishop Morton's time, made a small pier, or jetty, to defend the fishing craft. In and near this bay are caught the finest flavored lobsters of any part of Britain; they are but of a small size, and of a remarkable dark red colour. This parish, like those before described, lies very bleak and exposed among the high hills which extend over this part of Kent. It is partly inclosed, and partly an open uninclosed range of arable and pasture; the soil is mostly chalk, and for the greatest part poor and unfertile. The high road from Dover to Deal runs along the western bounds of this parish.

There is a fair held here on July 30, by the alteration of the stile, formerly on the day of St. Justin and Rusinus, the 19th, for breeches, gloves, ribbons, and toys.

The family of Upton, at the latter end of king Henry VIII.'s reign, was possessed of the manor of Wanston, now called WANSON FARM, in the southern part of this parish, which continued in it till king Charles II.'s reign, when it was sold to Richard Gibbon, gent. of Dover, who in 1679 gave it by will to his grandson Richard Gibbon, after which it came by purchase into the York family, in which it continues at this time.

Crithmum maritimum, samphire, and Lychnis major noctiflora Dubrensis perennis, the great night-flowering Dover campion, grow plentifully on the perpendicular chalk cliffs here, and along them as far as Dover (fn. 1)

Crambe maritima, sea colewort, is found in this parish; and Calendula officinalts, garden marigold, is found on the beach here plentifully (fn. 2)

THE MANOR OF ST. MARGARET AT CLIFF, alias PALMERS, alias EAST-COURT, was formerly, most probably, part of the possessions of St. Martin's priory, in Dover, described in Domesday, and continued so till the dissolution of it in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. How this manor passed afterwards I have not found, nor the owners of it, till it was at length become the property of the family of Eaton, in which it continued for some length of time, and till Peter Eaton, gent. in 1642, anno 17 Charles I. at length alienated it to Bartholomew Planker, merchant, of Dover, who at his death devised it to the children of John Francis, his kinsman. William Francis was possessed of it in 1679, and was succeeded in it by Mr. John Francis. But in the year 1710, it was become the property of William Denne, gent. from whom it again passed into the name of Francis; for in 1717 William Francis alienated this manor to William Tindale, A. M. of Trinity-hall, in Cambridge, who passed it away to John Chitty, of St. Margaret's, and he conveyed it by sale in 1730, to Mr. Richard Solly, gent. of Sandwich, whose arms were, Argent, a chevron between three soles, hauriant, proper, within a bordure engrailed, sable, and his grandson RichardHeaton Solly, esq. of St. Margaret's, is the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

THE MANOR OF REACH, commonly called Ridge, the mansion of which is situated in the southern part of this parish, was part of the antient possessions of the priory of St. Martin, in Dover, perhaps part of its original endowment, and accordingly it is thus entered, among the rest of their possessions in this parish, under the general title of the land belonging to it, in different places in the survey of Domesday:

In this same hundred, (viz. Beusberg), lies S. Margaret.

There Sired has one suling and one carucate iu demesne, and six borderers with four servants. It is worth one hundred shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, four pounds. The father of the same Sired held it as a prebend.

In the same place, Radulf holds one sulings, and has one carucate in demesne, and seven borderers, worth sixty and nine shillings and two pence. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, four pounds. Alric held it as a prebend in like manner.

In the same place, Alred holds one suling, and has in demesne one carucate, and two villeins, and two borderers, with half a carucate. It is worth sixty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, twenty shillings. The father of him held it as a prebend.

In the same place, Robert Niger holds one suling, and has there three villeins, and six borderers, with one carucate. It is worth thirty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, twenty shillings. Esmellt held it, the chaplain of king Edward.

In the same place, Walter holds one suling, and there has three villeins, and five borderers, with one carucate and an half. It is worth sixty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, seventy shillings. Siger held it as a prebend.

In the same place, Turbat holds half a suling, and there has two villeins, and one borderer, with half a carucate; and the same Robert has half a suling in Cornelai hundred, and there half a carucate in demesne, and five borderers. In the whole it is worth three pounds. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, four pounds. Goldston held it.

In the same place, Eduuine holds a suling, and also twenty-five acres of land. In demesne he has half a carucate, and one villein, with half a carucate.

In Cornilai hundred, the same Eduine has four times twenty and five acres, and there has one villein with one carucate. It is worth three pounds. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, four pounds. He himself held it in the time of king Edward the Consessor. From this prebend the bishop of Baieux took away eight acres, and gave them to Alan his clerk. Now Ulric de Oxeneford has them.

And a little further: In Cornelai hundred. To this same Anchitill, (viz the archdeacon) the bishop of Baieux gave fifty acres of land at Dele, and other fifty acres at St. Margaret, where he has one villein and half a carucate. These one hundred acres of land were of the prebends, as is testified. In the whole it is worth eight pounds. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, seven pounds.

Nigell the physician holds at St. Margaret's one yoke and an half, and has there one villein, with two oxen. It is worth twenty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, twenty-five shillings. Spirites held it as a prebend.

And below again, under the title, Also the possession of St. Martin:

In the inland of St. Martin, there remain seven borderers, with half a carucate, paying sixty shillings

There is towards the shoes of the canons. St. Margaret pays eight one sochman. pounds.

THOSE PARTS in the above description in Cornelai hundred, seem to refer to the districts of Oxney, and Kingsdowne, northward of this parish, and the remainder wholly to St. Margaret at Cliffe, in this hundred of Bewsborough, which continued afterwards part of the possessions of the priory of St. Martin, till the suppression of it, in the 27th year of Henry VIII. when it was dissolved as being under the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, and given up, together with all its lands and possessions, to the king; but this manor, with the advowson of the church of St. Margaret appendant, did not continue long in the king's hands, who in his 29th year granted them, with the scite of the priory and other possessions late belonging to it, in exchange to the archbishop, in which state they continue at this time, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to them. Mr. Thomas Hatton, of Buckland, is the present lessee of it. A court baron is held for this manor.


THERE were given by a person unknown, for the poor, and chiefly to windows who do not receive alms, three roods of land, now of the annual produce of 1l. 4s. and by another person unknown, for the like use, two roods of land, now of the annual produce of 10s.

THERE are five roods of land given for tolling the bell at night, called Curfew land, and there are fifty acres of fine land in two pieces, said to have been given to the poor, and supposed to have been ingrossed by those who cultivate the land.

THERE it given to the clerk two acres of land, and for the use of the sacrament one acre, called Sacrament Acre, now of the yearly value of 4s. 6d.

The poor constantly maintained are about thirty, casually ten.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Margaret, is exempt from the archdeacon. It is large and strongly built, having a tower steeple at the west end, and is adorned on the outside, as well as within, with many marks of antiquity. The church is preferable to most of the country churches in this part of the county, the roof is supported by two rows of pillars, and semicircular arches, the chancel is lofty and handsome, being separated from the body of the church by a beautiful semicircular arch, the arch over the west door is ornamented much, after the Saxon manner, and has several rude heads on it. There are several small arches and nitches in the side walls of the nave, above the roofs of the two side isles, the nave or middle isle rising above them in the nature of a choir. The tower, which is square, had formerly four small turrets, one at each corner; but about the year 1711, that turret on the west side, with a part of the tower, fell down, and the tower having never been repaired, the other three turrets were probably taken down to make the whole appear more uniform. On some of the arches of the two isles are the arms of Savage. The chancel was handsomely wainscotted and carved several years since by the then lessee of the great tithes, Mr. Richard Crook, of Bekesborne.

This church was antiently an appendage to the manor, and as such was part of the possessions of the priory of St. Martin, to which it was very early appropriated, and a vicarage was endowed in it by an agreement made in 1296, between the vicar of it and the sacrist of the priory. (fn. 3) In which state it continued till the dissolution of the priory, anno 27 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, and was afterwards granted by him, in his 29th year, as an appendage to the manor, to the archbishop, in exchange, as has been already mentioned before, with a reservation of forty shillings yearly pension to the vicar, since which it has remained parcal of the possessions of that see, his grace the archbishop being now possessed of the appropriation, with the advowson of the vicarage.—Mr. Kingsford Wood is the present lessee of this parsonage.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 6l. 10s. per annum. In 1588 here were eighty-eight communicants, and it was valued at twenty pounds per annum. In 1661, archbishop Juxon augmented this vicarage with twenty-six pounds per annum, which was confirmed anno 28 Charles II. It is now a discharged living, of about the clear yearly value of forty-six pounds.

The vicarage-house was burnt down in 1721, and has never since been rebuilt.

Church of St. Margaret at Clifee.

Or by whom presented.
Archbishop of Canterbury. Edmund Tanner, in 1610.
William Barney, 1666, obt. March 28, 1700.
Richard Marsh, A. M. inducted August 1700, obt. Dec. 24, 1732. (fn. 4)
John Marsh, A. M. inducted February 1733, obt. Sept. 1733. (fn. 5)
Alexander James, A. M. Oct. 1773, the present vicar. (fn. 6)


  • 1. Jacob's Plantæ Fav. p. 30, 62.
  • 2. Ibid. p. 126.
  • 3. Leiger book of the priory, f. 144a, Lambeth library.
  • 4. Vicar likewise of West Cliffe.
  • 5. Son of the former vicar, and vicar likewise of West Cliffe.
  • 6. Also rector of Buckland, near Dover.