Parishes: Herne

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: Herne', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800), pp. 84-96. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Herne", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800) 84-96. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Herne", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, (Canterbury, 1800). 84-96. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


OR Hearne, as it is frequently spelt, lies almost adjoining to Sturry northward, and takes its name from the Saxon word hyrne, or hurne, signifying a nook or corner. (fn. 1) There are five boroughs in it, viz. Stroud, Hawe, Hampton, Beltinge, and Thornden. The borsholders of these boroughs are subordinate to the constable of the upper half hundred of Blengate, who is chosen at the court-leet of Reculver, for two years, from this parish; and the three next succeeding years, one each in turn, from Reculver, Hothe, and Stourmouth.

THIS PARISH is situated about six miles northeastward from Canterbury, in a wild and dreary country; there is a great deal of poor land in it, covered with broom, and several wastes or little commons, with cottages interspersed among them. The soil of it is in general a stiff clay, and in some parts mixed with gravel, the water throughout it is very brackish. The southern part of it is mostly coppice woods, a considerable quantity of which belong to the archbishop. and are in his own occupation. There are thirty-seven teams kept in this parish. There are about seventeen acres of hops in it, and not long ago double that number, and these are continually displanting. It also produces much canary-seed, of which it has sometimes had one hundred acres. The rents, according to the land-tax assessment, amount to 1705l. according to the poor-rates, to 3179l. 10s. Herne-street is situated about the middle of the parish, and contains about sixty houses, among which are Stroud-house and the vicarage; also an elegant new house, built on the common, belonging to Mr. Lyddell. The church stands at the south end of it. Northward from it is Underwood farm, and opposite to it the parsonagehouse, formerly the residence of the Milles's. These are within the hamlet of Eddinton, in which, further on upon the road, is a new-built house, belonging to Mr. Edward Reynolds. Hence the road leads through Sea-street to Herne bay, which is very spacious and commodious for shipping. Several colliers frequent this bay from Newcastle and Sunderland, on which account there are two sworn meters here, and the city of Canterbury and the neighbouring country are partly supplied with coals from hence. There are two hoys, of about sixty tons burthen each, which sail alternately each week to and from London, with corn, hops, flour, and shop goods. A handsome mansion, with doors and windows in the gothic taste, has lately been built, and belongs to Mr. Winter. In 1798 barracks were built by government for the reception of troops, who were thought necessary to guard this part of the coast.

Leland, in his Itinerary, (fn. 2) says, Heron ys iii good myles fro thens (viz. Whitstaple) wher men take good muscles cawled stake muscles. Yt stondeth dim. 2 myle fro the mayne shore & ther ys good pitching of nettes for mullettes." The coast of the channel bounds this parish on the north side. South-westward from Herne bay is the farm of Norwood, formerly belonging to a collateral branch of the Knowlers, of Stroud house; and Sir William Segar, garter, in 1629, granted to George Knowler, of Norwood, in Hearne, kinsman and son-in-law to Robert Knowler, of Stroud, in that parish, descended collaterally from that family, these arms, Ermine, on a bend, between two cotizes, sable, a lion passant-guardant of the first, crowned, or, langued and armed, gules. From them it came by marriage to Tucker, and is now the property of the Rev. John Tucker, rector of Gravesend and Luddenham. Hence towards Swaycliffe, the country is very poor, wet and swampy, and much covered with rushes. On the opposite side of the parish, at a little distance between the street and Herne common, is the manor of Ridgway, formerly belonging to the Monins's and the Norton's, of Fordwich, from the latter it was sold to lady Mabella Finch, baroness of Fordwich, who gave it by will to her nephew Charles Fotherby, from whom it has come to Charles Dering, esq. late of Barham. On the hill, eastward of Herne street, is a wind-mill, built on the spot where once stood a beacon.

Archbishop Islip, in the 25th year of Edward III. obtained the grant of a market, to be held weekly on a Monday, and a fair yearly on the feast of St. Martin and the day afterwards, in this parish of Herne. (fn. 3)

The fair is now held on the Monday in Easter-week, at Herne-street; and there is another at Bromfield in it, on Whit-Monday.

THE MANOR OF RECULVER claims paramount over part of this parish, and the manor of Sturry over the remainder of it; subordinate to which is

THE MANOR OF HAWE, otherwise spelt Haghe, situated within the borough of its own name, which was held in the reign of king Richard II. by Sir William Waleys, whose only daughter and heir Elizabeth carried it in marriage to Peter Halle, esq. of this parish, who had two sons, to the eldest Thomas he gave the manor of Thanington, and to the youngest Peter he gave this manor, from whom it descended to his grandson Matthew Hall, who sold his interest in it to Sir John Fineux, chief justice of the king's bench in king Henry VII. and VIIIth.'s reign, who rebuilt the mansion of it, and afterwards retired to it, on account of its healthy situation. The origin of the family of Fineux may be best given in the words of Leland, who says, that "the name of Finiox thus cam ynto Kent about king Edward the 2 dayes: one Creaulle a man of faire possessions yn Kent, was a prisoner in Boleyne, in Fraunce, and much desiring to be at liberte made his keper to be his frend, promising hym landes yn Kent if he wold help to deliver him. Whereapon they booth toke secrete passage and came to Kent, and Creal performid his promise: so that after his keeper or porter apon the cause was namid Finiox. This name continuid in a certain stey of landes ontylle Finiox chief juge of the kinges bench cam that first had but 40l. land. For he had two bretherne and eche of them had a portion of land and after encresid it into 200 poundes by the yeare. One of the younger brothers of Finiox the juge died and made the other younger brother his heir. So that now be two houses of the Finiox, the heyre of Finiox the juge and the heyre of justice Finiox brother. Olde Finiox buildid his faire house on purchasid ground for the comodite of preserving his helth so that afore the physicians concludid that it was an exceeding helthfull quarter."

The judge's two brothers were, William, who was of Hougham, who died s. p. and Richard of Dover, where his descendants remained for many descents afterwards. They bore for their arms, Vert, a chevron between three spread eagles, or. (fn. 4) Sir John Fineux was a great benefactor to the Augustine friars, in Canterbury, and to the abbey of Faversham, and most probably to the priory of Christ-church, as his arms are carved on the roof of the cloysters there, and he chose the church of it for the burial-place of himself and wife. (fn. 5) By his first wife Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of William Apulderfield, he had two daughters and coheirs, Jane, married to Roper, and Mildred, to Diggs; and he had by his second wife an only son William, on whom he settled this manor, on which he afterwards resided, and died in 1557. He was succeeded in it by his eldest son John Fineux, esqof Herne, on whose death in 1592, Elizabeth, his only daughter and heir, entitled her husband Sir John Smythe, of Westenhanger, to the possession of it, whose great-grandson Philip, viscount Strangford, dying in 1709, Henry Roper, lord Teynham, who had married Catherine his eldest daughter, by his will became entitled to it. After which it passed in like manner as the manor of Sturry above described, to his descendants, till it was at length sold with that manor, in 1765, to the Rev. Francis Hender Foote, of Bishopsborne, whose eldest son John Foote, esq. now of Bishopsborne, is the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

LOTTINGE, formerly written Louting, is a small manor in the north-west part of this parish, which was formerly belonging to the family of Greenshield, who lived at a seat in Whitstaple of their own name, now called Grimgill; from this name it was sold to Crispe, of Quekes, (fn. 6) and then again, after some time, to Monger, of Surry, who sold it in king Charles II.'s reign to Robert Knowler, esq. of Stroud-house, in this parish, in whose descendants it has continued down to Gilbert Knowler, esq. now of Canterbury, the present owner of it.

THE MANOR OF UNDERDOWNE, with the mansion of it, situated in Herne-street, within the borough of Stroud, was called, as Philipott writes, in early times Sea's-court, from the family of Atte-Sea, who were the antient possessors of it. John Atte Sea, of Herne, as appears by his will, died possessed of it in the 36th year of Henry VI. in whose descendants, resident here, it continued down to Edw. Sea, esq. who passed away, by sale, his manor, or mansion of Underdowne, to Robert Knowler, gent. of Herne, whose family had been resident in this parish as early as Henry VII.'s reign. He resided at this seat, which seems from thenceforward to have been called STROUD-HOUSE, and died in 1635, bearing for his arms, Argent, on a bend, between two cotizes, sable, a lion passant-guardant, crowned, or; and his descendants continued to reside at it down to Gilbert Knowler, esq. who removed from hence to Canterbury, where he now resides, and is the present owner of it. It is now inhabited by John May, esq. who married the only daughter of James Six, esq. of Canterbury.

THE MANOR OF MAKINBROOKE, the very name of which is almost obliterated, was situated in the northwest part of this parish, and was part of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, of which it was held by knight's service, by a family who took their name from it, in which it continued till Edward IIId.'s reign, but in the 30th year of it this manor had passed by purchase into the hands of Adam le Eyre, citizen of London, who that year gave it to Thomas Wolton, master or keeper of Eastbridge hospital, and his successors, towards their support. In the year 1528, Robert Atte Sea, of Herne, held this estate in fee, by the payment of a yearly rent (fn. 7) to the hospital. After his death it descended, partly in the male line and partly by two coheirs, to the family of Crayford. After which it came into that of Oxenden, in which it continued down, with the farm called Underdowne farm, situated in the hamlet of Eddington, to Sir George Oxenden, bart. who rebuilt the house, and his son Sir H. Oxenden, bart. now of Brome, is the present owner of this manor, and the farm of Underdowne before-mentioned.


SIR WILLIAM SELBY, bart. in 1618, gave by will, for the use of the poor, a sum of money, which was laid out in land, vested in trustees, the rent of which has always been received by the parish officers, and is of the annual produce of 10l.

A PERSON UNKNOWN gave certain land for the use of the poor, the produce of which is received by the parish officers, and is of the annual produce of 10l. 5s. 8d.

THOMAS KNOWLER, gent. by will in 1658, besides other benefactions both to the church and the poor, gave land for the use of the poor, vested in trustees, the survivor unknown, and is of the annual produce of 1l. 10s. 5d. and likewise other land, vested in like manner, for the cloathing of the poor, the annual produce of which is 5l.

A PERSON UNKNOWN gave lands, for the use of the poor, vested in trustees, and is of the annual produce of 7s.

THOMAS HOALLES gave an annuity, out of land, vested in trustees, which is of the annual produce of 13s. 4d.

CHRISTOPHER MILLES, esq. of Herne, by will in 1638, gave to the poor the yearly sum of 3l. to be paid on the last day of August, being his birth-day, and to continue so long as the archbishop and his successors should continue the lease of the parsonage to any of his surname.

GEORGE HAWLET, by will in 1624, gave for the use of the poor, an annuity, charged on land, of the annual produce of 3l.

The poor constantly maintained are about ninety-five, casually thirty-five.

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

The church, which is exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, and dedicated to St. Martin, is a large handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, having a well-built square tower at the west end, in which are six bells. The whole roof of this church is covered with lead, and embattled. The pillars between the isles are light and beautifully proportioned. The stone font is an octagon, very antient; on each compartment is a shield of arms, first, the see of Canterbury, impaling Arundel; second, obliterated; third, France and England; fourth, three crescents, within a bordure; fifth, three wings, two and one; sixth, three pelicans; seventh, on a chevron, three —; eighth, barry, three escutcheons. At the west end of the middle isle is a new-erected gallery, very neat. In the upper end of it are memorials of the Terreys, and of the Knowlers, of Canterbury, collaterally descended from those of Stroud-house, and of the Legrands, of Canterbury, descended from them. In the high chancel are three stalls, joined together and moveable. On the pavement a memorial, with the figure of a priest in brass, for John Darley, S. T. B. once vicar, and monuments and memorials for several of the families of Milles and Fineux. (fn. 8) A monument, having the effigies of a knight in a praying posture, for Sir William Thornhurst, son and heir of Sir Stephen Thornhurst, of Forde, obt. 1606. Within the altar-rails are memorials for the Fineuxs. A memorial for William Rogers, A. B. vicar, obt. August 28, 1773. Under the north window is an antient tomb, without inscription, having three shields of arms, first, Paston, six fleurs de lis, a chief indented; second, Fineux, a chevron, between three eagles; third, Apulderfield, a cross voided. A monument for Charles Milles, A. M. rector of Harbledowne, &c. obt. 1749, buried in the family vault underneath. A hatchment and inscription for Edward Ewell, gent. who married Elizabeth, sister of bishop Gauden, obt. 1686; arms, Ewell, argent, a rook proper. In the north chancel, which now belongs to the parish, a memorial and figures of a man and woman, with their hands joined, in brass, for Peter Hall, esq. and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir William Waleys. A memorial and figure in brass, for Christian, wife of Matthew Phelp, goldsmith, and once mayor of London, obt. 1740; arms, An orle of cross-croslets, fitchee, a lion rampant, impaling a bend, fusilly. A me morial in brass for Anthony Loverick and Constantia his wife. He died in 1511. A memorial in brass for John Sea, esq. of Underdowne, obt. 1604; for William Foche, gent. of Christ-church, Canterbury, obt. 1713; and for Robert Sethe, obt. 1572. Memorials for Bysmere, Ewell, and others, long since obliterated. In the south chancel, belonging to the Knowlers, of Stroud-house, are several monuments and memorials for that family. Underneath is a vault, in which they lie buried.

The church of Herne was antiently accounted as one of the chapels belonging to the church of Reculver, which was parcel of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury. But the inconveniences arising from the distance of those chapels from the mother church, among many other reasons, induced archbishop Winchelsea, in the year 1296, to institute perpetual vicarages in them. After which he endowed three vicarages; one in the mother church of Reculver, with the adjoining chapel of Hothe; another in the church of St. Nicholas, in Thanet; and a third in this church of Herne. By his instrument for which, dated in 1310, he decreed, that out of the profits of the church of Reculver, and the chapels belonging to it, the said vicars should have competent portions; and in particular, that the vicar of this chapel of Herne, belonging to that church, should have and take in the said chapel all oblations, the tithes of hay, flax, wool, and milk, lambs, gardens, and all other small tithes, which are said to belong to the altarage, with the tenths of sheaves growing in gardens inclosed, and dug with the foot, and in meadows belonging to the church and chapel, in the name of his vicarage; but out of those profits, in token of his perpetual subjection, he should pay yearly, as a perpetual pension, forty shillings, which he the archbishop imposed on him, to the vicar of Reculver for ever. Moreover, that the vicars of the aforesaid churches should have each one fit priest associated with themselves, at their own costs, for the better governing of their cure, and should make canonical obedience to the rector of Reculver, who was in quasi possession as to his parishioners, and exercising ordinary jurisdiction in his parish, and should be obedient to him canonically, as was of right accustomed, in reverence of the mother church, of which he was vicar, and should come to the same once a year, on the morrow of Pentecost, to the pentecostal processions, with their priests, ministers, parishioners, and vicars themselves, to the mass, on the day of the nativity of the virgin. Moreover, to the tenth, the vicar of the chapel of Herne should contribute 9s. 11d. for his portion of it. decreed, that to the aforesaid perpetual vicarages, whenever the same should happen to be vacant, the And further, that the burthens of ministers, books, ornaments, repairing of chancels or building of them anew, and of other ordinary burthens in the chapel of Herne, should belong to the said vicarage. And he decreed, that to the aforesaid perpetual vicarages, whenever the same should happen to be vacant, the rector of Reculver should for ever present to him and his successors, fit persons within the time limited by the canon, with a non obstante to any decrees of his predecessors relating to the same. (fn. 9)

Notwithstanding the above decree, it seems the parishioners of these chapelries continued as liable and subject to the repair of the mother church of Reculver, as the peculiar and proper inhabitants of the place, a matter controverted between those of Herne and Reculver; and the contest and dispute on this account, continued between them, until by a decree of archbishop Warham, in king Henry VIII.'s reign, it was settled, by the consent of all parties, that the people of each chapel, viz. Herne and St. Nicholas, should redeem the burthen of repairs with a certain moderate annual stipend or pension in money, payable on a certain set day in the year, but with this proviso, that if they kept not their day of payment, they should then be exposed to the law, and should fall under as full an obligation to the repairs of the mother church, as if the decree had never been. In which state it remains at this time, the churchwardens of Herne paying annually five shillings on this account to those of Reculver. (fn. 10)

Although the vicarages of Reculver and its chapels, were thus separated and made distinct, yet the rectories or parsonages of them remained in the same state as before, viz. one parsonage of Reculver, extending over that parish and those of Hothe and Herne, and another of St. Nicholas and All Saints, in Thanet, both remaining parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to the present time. Richard Milles, esq. of Nackington, is the present lessee of the former parsonage, in which this of Herne is included. The house of the rectory stands in the hamlet of Eddington, opposite to Underdowne farm. It was once much larger, and consisted of a quadrangle, of which only one side remains. The family of Milles resided at it for several generations; the last of them who resided here was Samuel Milles, esq. whose son Christopher was of Nackington, and father of the present lessee of it.

His grace the archbishop continues the patron of this vicarage, which is valued in the king's books at 20l. 16s. 3d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 1s. 7½d. In 1588 it was valued at eighty pounds, communicants four hundred and ninety. In 1640 it was valued at only sixty pounds, the like number of communicants.

There was a chantry founded in this church, in honour of the Virgin Mary, by Thomas Newe, clerk, sometime vicar of Reculver, which was suppressed, among other such foundations, in the 2d year of king Edward VI. the revenues of it being at that time of the clear yearly value of 6l. 5s. 1d. (fn. 11)

Church Of Herne.

Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop. Nicholas Ridley, S. T. B. April 30, 1538, resigned 1549. (fn. 12)
Richard Colse, S. T. P. May, 1590, obt. Oct. 7, 1613. (fn. 13)
Isaac Colfe, June 22, 1613, resigned 1616.
Jacob Colfe, A. M. Sept. 19, 1616, obt. 1617.
Thomas Harward, Feb. 12, 1617, obt. 1621.
Alexander Chapman, S. T. P. May 2, 1621, obt. 1629. (fn. 14)
Francis Ketelby, S. T. P. Sept. 12, 1629, resigned 1634.
John Reader, 1634.
John Webb, alias Hogg, 1637, obt. 1689.
The King, jure preg. William Foche, Oct. 16, 1689, obt. 1713.
The Archbishop. John Ramsey, Dec. 4, 1713, ob. 1724. (fn. 15)
Henry Archer, S. T. P. Oct. 26, 1724, resigned 1726. (fn. 16)
William Squire, A. M. Oct. 29, 1726, obt. 1739. (fn. 17)
Robert Gascoyne, A. B. March 29, 1739, resigned 1752. (fn. 18)
Henry Hall, A. M. Nov. 4, 1752, resigned 1756.
William Rogers, A. B. July 7, 1756, obt. August 21, 1775. (fn. 19)
John Duncombe, A. M. Nov. 12, 1775, obt. Jan, 19, 1786. (fn. 20)
Joseph Price, B. D. 1786, resig. 1794. (fn. 21)
John Wood, B. D. 1794, the present vicar. (fn. 22)


  • 1. No. xviii of Nichols's Bibl. Topograph. Brit. contains the history and antiquities of Reculver and Herne, written by the Rev. John Duncombe, vicar of Herne, 1784; and No. xlv. contains an appendix, written by several different persons; both with engravings relating to these parisnes.
  • 2. Itinerary, vol. vii. appendix, p. 144.
  • 3. Pat. anno 25 king Edward III. N. 31, pro mercat & feria, apud Huerne.
  • 4. Pedigree Fineux, Vistn. co. Kent, anno 1619.
  • 5. See Battely's Somner, p. 68, appendix, p. 18, 33. and Dugd. Orig. Chron. Series, p. 74, 80.
  • 6. See Whitstaple, vol. viii. of this history, p. 511.
  • 7. See Duncombe's Hospitals, p. 232, 334, 352, 361.
  • 8. See Weever, p. 269.
  • 9. See this instrument printed in Duncombe's History of Reculver and Herne, appendix, p. 135— and references in Ducarel's Repertory, p. 62, to ordinatio vicariæ Dat. 1296. Reg. Winchelsea, f. 185b. Exemplificatio anno 1481. Reg. Bourgchier, f. 100b. Alia Exemp. anno 1598. Reg. Whitgift, p. 3, f. 133. ord. Vic. in Cap. de Herne anno 1308.
  • 10. Somner's Roman Ports, p. 85. Duncombe's History, appendix, p. 144, and in Ducarel's Rep. p. 95.
  • 11. A list of the priests of this chantry may be seen in Duncombe's Hist. p. 161, taken from the archbishop's registers.
  • 12. Afterwards bishop of Rochester, and then of London, and burnt in 1555. In Duncombe's Hist. p. 107, is his last farewell to his parishioners of Herne, in which he calls it a worshipful and wealthy parish.
  • 13. Prebendary of Canterbury, in which church he lies buried. He had three sons; Abraham, vicar of Lewisham, (see vol. i. of this history, p. 518) Isaac, vicar of this church, and rector of Chaldwell, in Essex; and Jacob, vicar likewise of this church. See Wood's Ath. vol. i. p. 257, f. p. 180, and vol. ii. p. 189.
  • 14. And rector of Deal.
  • 15. And rector of East Langdon.
  • 16. See Mersham, vol. vii. of this history, p. 601.
  • 17. Before vicar of Reculver.
  • 18. He resigned this vicarage for that of Evershott, in Bedfordshire.
  • 19. He lies buried in the chancel.
  • 20. He held this vicarage with the rectories of St. Mary Bredman, and St. Andrew, in Canterbury, united, and was one of the six preachers of Canterbury cathedral.
  • 21. He resigned the rectory of Braborne on his taking this vicarage, which he again resigned for the vicarage of Littleborne.
  • 22. And Vicar of Brensett.