Friaries: The Carmelite friars of Lossenham

Pages 203-204

A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.

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A house of Carmelite Friars, the third established in England, was founded at Lossenham in the parish of Newenden in 1242 or soon afterwards, by Sir Thomas Alcher or Aucher, knt., whose body was buried in the choir of the church. (fn. 1) It remained under the patronage of the Alcher family, whose residence was close by, until the Dissolution. (fn. 2)

Henry III supplied these friars with oak for timber in 1271 and 1272. (fn. 3) Their church and houses were burnt in 1275 by persons unknown. (fn. 4)

Thomas of Dover, prior of Newenden, and Thomas of Thanet wère licensed by Archbishop Islip to hear confessions in the diocese in 1350. (fn. 5)

Friar William Stranfield or Strenfeld, S.T.P., is said by Bale to have been prior of this house, and to have written, among other things, a history of the order; he died and was buried here in 1390. (fn. 6)

Among the benefactors of the house were Sir Richard atte Lease, knt., c. 1393, (fn. 7) and Anne Culpeper, 1532. (fn. 8)

The surrender took place on 25 July, 1538. The bishop of Dover, who came here from Aylesford, seems to have had no difficulty with these friars, whom he describes as ' honest men.' The stuff was priced at £6 10s., including bell and chalice. The house was poor in building, had no lead but only tile, and much of it was ready to fall. The lands had been let on lease to a farmer for 40s. a year, but the visitor obtained the surrender of the lease and proposed to let the friary, with orchard, garden, and land, for 5 marks a year. (fn. 9), Among the goods of the house valued by Sir John Welles, parson of Newenden, John Twysden, farmer there, and others, were three vestments, the most valuable being worth 6s.; 8d.; a chalice of 14 oz., worth 49s.; a bell in the steeple, 10s.; a cross, hangings in the hall, two old feather-beds with a bolster, 'a book of Catholycoh', 4d.; a number of cushions and kitchen utensils. For hay sold 16d. was obtained, and for a tree of timber 16d. (fn. 10)

The site, with two pieces of arable land containing 7 acres, and a marsh, called the Friars' Marsh, containing 9 acres, was leased, 10 March, 1538-9, for 46s. 8d. to William Culpeper of Hunton, Kent, who bought the buildings. Itwas rated in 1558 for Richard Lake (at twentytwo years' purchase) and granted in the same year to Edmund and Henry Gilberd. It afterwards passed to. the Culpeper family. (fn. 11)


  • 1. B.M. Harl. MS. 539, fol. 143; Harl. MS. 3838, fol. 16.
  • 2. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1571; Hasted, Hist. and Topog. Suev. of Kent, in, 79.
  • 3. Close, 55 Hen. III, m. 4; 56 Hen. III, m. 11.
  • 4. Pat. 4 Edw. I, m. 35d.
  • 5. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Islip, fol. 19a.
  • 6. Stevens, Add. to Mon. ii, 167.
  • 7. P.C.C.Rous, fol. 22.
  • 8. Nicolas, Test. Vet. 661.
  • 9. L. and P. Hen. VII, xiii (1), 1456-7.
  • 10. Ibid, xiii (2), App. .29; Arch. Cant. xiv, 311.
  • 11. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 609; (2), 72; Hasted, op. cit. iii, 79; Harl. MS. 608, fol. 80b; Mins. Accts. 30 & 31 Hen. VIII (Kent), No. 105, m. 74.