St Mary the Virgin, Westerham, Kent
Askil was booked on a flight from Southampton at half nine, so to get him there in time we had to be on the six o'clock ferry. And to be on that, we had to be on the road at five to drive to Newport and then back out to East Cowes as the floating bridge does not work at that time.
So, alarm at twenty to five, finish packing, and out to the car to load up, and inching past us on the Solent was a huge cruise ship, like a Vogon Constructor fleet vessel, lit up like a Christmas tree, but the shape of a brutalist concrete block.
I was pretty sure I could find the ferry terminal without the sat nav, so we drove through the empty streets of West Cowes, then on the main drag to Newport past the two illuminated prisons, past the retail park, over the now narrow River Medina, and out of the town towards Cowes.
Not much traffic, but what there was, was in a train behind us, all heading to the ferry terminal.
We arrived at half five, the ferry had just arrived, so we waited in line to be allowed on.
The ferry was not even a quarter full, but there was a rush up the stairs to get to the cafeteria in order to get fresh food.
We joined them and had a child's breakfast, which was four items off the menu, which was two sausages, bacon and hash browns for me.
The ferry glided out of her moorings, down the river and out into open water, with only light winds, it was a pleasant crossing, and near to Southampton dawn's warm light was spreading from the south east. The city itself was only just waking up.
From there it was a fifteen minute blast up to the motorway and along to the airport, dropping Askil and his bags off at the railway station so to avoid the £2 drop-off fee at the airport.
We were not the only ones doing this.
And I was alone again.
I turned the car round, drive back to the motorway, then up the M3 as the first rays of the sun lit the Hampshire countryside.
It was going to be a fine day, and I was heading back home.
I thought it was going to be the drive from hell, getting up the M3 before eight, then along the M25 the following hour. I mean, traffic was going to be awful, right? It always is on the M25, it used to still be mad at midnight when I used to drive back to Lyneham after a weekend at home.
Well, maybe because it was half term, but the traffic on the M3 was light, and lighter still on the M25. Only hold up being the A3 junction where it is being rebuilt, even then just for a few minutes, and clear after that.
I had some time to kill, so wasn't going straight home. I was doing some crawling in west Kent before then.
First up was Westerham, so important it is mention on a junction of the M25.
Off the motorway at the junction before Clacket Lane Services, so still in Surrey. I followed the A25 through Oxted, which I supposed was still in Sussex, though was hoping there be a sign where Kent began.
Indeed, at the midway point between Oxted and Westerham, there was the welcome to Kent sign, so the crawling could begin.
Westerham is a small town, just 4,000 souls live there, and the church it situated near the green. Around which I could find no parking. But opposite, through an arch there was some public parking, so abandoned the car there, grabbed the cameras and walked over to the church, and from the churchyard, the ground fell away steeply, revealing the roofs of the town in the warm spring sunshine.
I took a shot.
The church was open, a voice reading softly in the north chapel turned out to be the Vicar, conducting a service for just himself.
When he finished, he came to speak and told me not to miss the chapel behind the organ.
However, in the tower there is a remarkable survivor, the only known representation of the Royal coat of arms of Edward VI, who ruled after Henry VIII until his death at the young age of only 15, declaring Lady Jane Grey to succeed him.
It did not end well.
The tower staircase is the feature most visitors remember, a wide circular construction of timber enclosed within vertical posts. It is quite an eye-catcher and has stood here for nearly five hundred years. The church has something of a Victorian feel to it by virtue of the thorough restoration and enormous amounts of money lavished on it at that time. Yet there are earlier features of note - most importantly the Royal Arms of Edward VI. They are painted on a wooden board, not stretched canvas, and the supporters - which include a dragon (unicorns didn't come along until 1603) - are very tall and lean. In fact the lion is little more than a pussy cat with his crown at quite a jaunty angle! The church also contains some very fine sixteenth-century memorial brasses, and a consecration cross may be picked out at the base of the tower. The south chapel has a fourteenth-century piscina with a credence shelf. However, when it comes to furnishings it is the stained glass that impresses. The east window is by Holiday (1882), the south chapel east window Crucifixion by Kempe (1888) is particularly good, whilst a north aisle window is by Morris and Co. to the designs of Burne-Jones and dates from 1909.
WESTERHAM, USUALLY CALLED, AND FREQUENTLY WRITTEN, WESTRAM,
IS the next parish westward from Brasted, being called in Domesday, Oistreham, and in the Textus Roffensis, Westerham; taking its name from its situation at the western extremity of this county.
WESTERHAM is a parish of large extent, and like those before described in a similar situation is much longer than it is in breadth. It extends to the summit of the range of chalk hills northward, where it bounds to Cowden, and southward, beyond the sand hill, into the Weald. In the whole it is about five miles and a half from north to south, and on an average, in breadth, about two miles and a half, bounding westward to Surry. The soil is much the same as the last described parishes, adjoining to the double range of hills. The high road from Maidstone and Sevenoke, across this parish, midway between these hills, towards Surry; on it is situated the town of Westerham, a very healthy and pleasant situation, at the west end of which is a seat, which has for many years belonged to the family of Price, and continues so now; and at the east end is the church and parsonage; besides which there are many genteel houses dispersed in it. The high road from Bromley by Leaves-green joins the Sevenoke road, on the north side of the town, near the south side of which is the mansion of Squeries. The river Darent takes its rise in this parish, at a small distance southward from Squeries, and having supplied the grounds of it, runs along near the south side of the town, and having turned a mill, it takes its course north east, and in about half a mile, passes by Hill-park towards Brasted; northward from hence the land rises about a mile and a half to the foot of the chalk hills, near which, close to the boundaries of Surry, is Gasum. From the town southward, to the summit of the sand hill, is about two miles, over a very hilly unfertile soil, interspersed with commons, waste rough grounds, and woods, among which, bounding to Surry, is Kent-hatch, taking its name from its situation; and on the summit of the hill the hamlet of Well-street, and a seat called Mariners, belonging to Mr. Stafford Whitaker; from whence, down the hill, this parish extends two miles further southward into the Weald, where, near the boundaries of it, is the estate of Broxham; the soil over which is a stiff clay and deep tillage land. The abbot of Westminster, in the 25th year of king Edward III. obtained the grant of a market, to be held weekly here on a Wednesday, which is still continued, and is plentifully supplied with all sorts of provisions; and a fair yearly, on the vigil, the day, and the day after the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, being Sept. 8; (fn. 1) which is now, by alteration of the style, held on the 19th and the following days, for bullocks, horses, and toys.
In the year 1596, the following astonishing scene happened in this parish, in two closes, separated from each other only by a hedge, about a mile and a half southward from the town, not far from the east side of the common highway, called Ockham-hill, leading from London towards Buckhurst, in Sussex; where part of them sunk, in three mornings, eighty feet at the least, and so from day to day. This great trench of ground, containing in length eighty perches, and in breadth twenty-eight, began, with the hedges and trees thereon, to loose itself from the rest of the ground lying round about it, and to slide and shoot all together southward, day and night, for the space of eleven days. The ground of two water pits, the one having six feet depth of water, and the other twelve feet at the least, having several tusts of alders and ashes growing in their bottoms, with a great rock of stone underneath, were not only removed out of their places, and carried southward, but mounted alost, and became hills, with their sedge, flags, and black mud upon the tops of them, higher than the face of the water which they had forsaken; and in the place from which they had been removed, other ground, which lay higher, had descended, and received the water on it. In one place of the plain field there was a great hole made, by the sinking of the earth, thirty feet deep; a hedge, with its trees, was carried southward; and there were several other sinkings of the earth, in different places, by which means, where the highest hills had been, there were the deepest dales; and where the lowest dales were before, there was the highest ground.
The whole measure of the breaking ground was at least nine acres; the eye witnesses to the truth of which were, Robert Bostock, esq. justice of the peace; Sir John Studley, vicar; John Dowling, gent. and many others of the neighbourhood.
In the spring of 1756, at Toy's-hill, about a mile and a half eastward from the above, a like circumstance was observed, in a field of two acres and an half, the situation of which was on the side of a hill, inclining towards the south; the land of which kept moving imperceptibly till the effect appeared, for some time, by which means the northern side was sunk two or three feet, and became full of clefts and chasms, some only a foot deep, others as large as ponds, six or eight feet deep, and ten or tweleve feet square, and most of them filled with water. Part of a hedge moved about three rods southward, and though straight before, then formed an angle with its two ends. Another hedge separated to the distance of eight feet, the southern part, which was on a level before with the rest of the field, after this, overhung it like a precipice, about the height of twelve feet; and the land on each side, which had not moved, was covered with the rest, which folded over it, to the height of six or seven feet.
Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, late bishop of Winchester, was born in this parish, in the year 1676.
General James Wolfe was likewife born here, on Jan. 2, 1727. He died in America, Sept. 13, 1759, the conqueror of Quebec, and an honour to his profession and his country.
THIS PLACE, in the reign of William the Conqueror, was in the possession of Eustace, earl of Bologne, and it is accordingly thus entered in the general survey of Domesday, taken in that reign, under the title of Terra Comitis Eustachii.
Earl Eustace holds of the king Oistreham. Earl Godwin held it of king Edward (the Confessor) and it was then, and is now taxed at four sulings. The arable land is ...... In demesne there are two carucates, and42 villeins, with 7 borderers, having 30 carucates. There are ten servants and one mill of five shillings, and 16 acres of meadow, and wood sufficient for the pannage of 100 hogs.— In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 30 pounds, when he received it 24 pounds, and now 40 pounds.
This place came afterwards into the possession of the family of Camvill, called in Latin, De Cana Villa, the ancestor of which came into England with William the Conqueror, and bore for their arms, Azure, three lions passant argent, which coat still remains carved on the roof of the cloisters of Christ church, in Canterbury.
It appears by the second scutage, levied in the reign of king John, in the 2d and 3d years of that reign, that Thomas de Camvill then held this place of the honour of Bologne, as did his descendant, John de Camvill, in king Henry III.'s reign.
Roger de Camvill, son of Walter, a younger son of Richard de Camvill, founder of Cumbe abbey, held it in the same reign. He left issue an only daughter, Matilda, who married Nigell de Moubray, but died without issue, soon after which it came into the hands of the crown, where it remained till Edward I. by his letters patent, in his 20th year, granted the manors of Westram and Edulnebrugg, now Eatonbridge, the manor paramount of which parish has long been esteemed only as an appendage to this of Westerham, with their appurtenances, together with other estates, to Walter, abbot of Westminster, and his successors, for the performance of certain religious duties, for the repose of the soul of his queen Alianor, in the abbey there, and at the same time the king granted several liberties and free warren in all the de mesne lands of the manors, hamlets, and members of them, and the next year the abbot brought in his plea for these liberties (fn. 2) within the hundred of Westerham, and had them allowed to him. (fn. 3)
In the 27th year of that reign, the king granted a confirmation of these manors to the abbot and convent, with several more liberties within them. (fn. 4)
In the 1st year of the reign of king Edward II. the abbot of Westminster again brought his plea for certain liberties in Westerham, Edelinebrigge, &c. which were allowed him.
In the 9th year of king Edward III. the abbot had a fresh confirmation of these manors from the king, and in the 25th year of that reign he had a grant for a market and fair at Westerham.
In the 20th year of king Edward III. the abbot of Westminster paid respective aid for two knights fees, which he held in Westerham, and Edelnesbregge of Robert de Camvill, and he of the king, as of the honour of Bologne.
King Richard II. by his patent, in his 17th year, confirmed these manors, with all manner of liberties, to the abbot and his successors, with whom they remained till the final dissolution of that abbey, when they were, with their appurtenances, by an instrument under the common seal of the convent, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. surrendered, together with the rest of their possessions, into the king's hands; who, by his letters patent, under his great seal, in his 32d year, for certain considerations therein mentioned, granted, among other premises, these manors, with all their members, rights, and appurtenances, lately belonging to the above monastery, to Sir John Gre sham, to hold in capite by the service of the 20th part of a knight's fee, paying yearly, for ever, the rent of 9l. 6s. 9d. sterling in his court of augmentation.
The family of Gresham is said to have been so named from the village of Gresham, in Norfolk. John Gresham of Gresham, gent. lived in the reigns of king Edward III. and king Richard II. His son, James Gresham, was of Holt, in that county, and was twice married; by the first marriage he had John, who succeeded him at Holt; and William, who was of Walsingham Parva, in Norfolk. John, the eldest son, had three sons; William, who succeeded him at Holt; Richard, who was afterwards knighted, and lord mayor of London in 1537, whose second son, Sir Thomas Gresham, by his industry in trade, rose to great credit and riches, and built the Royal Exchange. And Sir John, the third son, had the grant of the manors of Westerham, &c. in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. as above mentioned. They bore for their arms, Argent a chevron ermines between three mullets pierced sable. (fn. 5)
Sir John Gresham was of Titsey, in Surry, sheriff of London in 1537, and lord mayor in 1547. He died in 1556, having been a good benefactor to the poor, as well in London, as elsewhere, and was most sumptuously buried in the church of St. Michael Bassishaw, in London. (fn. 6) At his death he was possessed of the manors of Westerham and Eatonbridge-stangrave, which he held of the queen in capite by knights service, and also of the rectories of Westerham and Eatonbridge. He was twice married, but he left issue only by his first, five sons and six daughters. Of whom William was his eldest son and heir, and John was of Fulham, in Middlesex, and was ancestor to those of Fulham, Albury, and Haslemere, in Surry; as to the rest I find no mention of them.
William Gresham, esq. succeeded his father in these estates, and was of Titsey, in Surry, and afterwards knighted; (fn. 7) he died at Limpsfield, in Surry, in the 21st year of queen Elizabeth; in whose descendants, resident at Titsey, all of whom had the honour of knighthood, this estate continued down to Marmaduke Gresham, esq. who was advanced to the dignity of a baronet on July 31, 1660, and died possessed of this manor of Westerham, with that of Eatonbridge, alias Stangrave, with their appurtenances, being greatly advanced in years, at Gresham college, in 1696, and was buried at Titsey. (fn. 8)
Sir Charles Gresham, bart. his great grandson, died possessed of this estate in 1718, and was succeeded in it by his eldest son, Sir Marmaduke Gresham, bart. who, about the year 1740, sold this manor to John Warde, esq. of Squeries, in this parish, who died possessed of it in 1775, and his eldest son, John Warde, esq. now of Squeries, is the present owner of it.
There is both a court leet and a court baron held for this manor.
SQUERIES is a manor here, which gave both surname and seat to a family who resided at it, as appears by antient evidences, as early as the reign of king Henry III. when John de Squeries was possessed of it, and bore for his arms, A squirrel brouzing on a hazel nut, which coat was formerly painted in the windows of Westerham church.
His descendant, Thomas Squerie, possessed this estate in the beginning of the reign of king Henry VI. in the 17th year of which he died possessed of it with out issue male, leaving two daughters his coheirs; of whom Margaret, the eldest, married Sir William Cromer of Tunstal, in this county; and Dorothy, the youngest, married Richard Mervin of Fontels, in Wiltshire; and upon the division of their inheritance, this estate was allotted to Sir William Cromer, whose descendant, William Cromer, esq. (fn. 9) possessed it in the beginning of the reign of king Henry VIII. when by some means it came into the hands of the crown, (fn. 10) and that king, in his 36th year, granted, among other premises, this manor of Squeries, a messuage, called Painters, now an inn, known by the sign of the King's arms, and other lands in Westerham, to Thomas Cawarden, to hold in capite by knights service.
His descendant, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated this estate to Michael Beresford, esq descended of a family seated in Derbyshire for many generations, who bore for their arms, quarterly, first and fourth, Argent, semee of cross croslets fitchee sable, three fleurs de lis of the last within a bordure gules; second, Argent, a bear salient sable, muzed and collared, the cord wreathed over the back, or, third, Party per chevron argent, and or, three pheons sable; he left by Rofe, daughter of John Knevit, esq. several sons and daughters, of whom Tristram, the third son, was ancestor of the present Marquis of Waterford, and the others of this family in Ireland. George, the eldest son, succeeded his father at Squeries, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph Cam, of London, afterwards remarried to Thomas Petley, of Filston, by whom he had several sons and daughters; of whom Michael Beresford, the eldest son, was of Squeries, which he alienated to George Strood, esq. afterwards knighted, who passed away this seat, with the estate belonging to it, to Thomas Lambert, esq. the parliamentary general; and he soon afterwards conveyed it to John Leach, esq. (fn. 11) whose son, Sir William Leach, sheriff, in 1667, sold it in 1681 to Sir Nicholas Crisp, of Hammersmith, who had been created a baronet in 1665, and bore for his arms, Or, on a chevron sable five horse-shoes argent, nailed of the second, (fn. 12) and his son, Sir John Crisp, bart. about the year 1701, sold it to William Villiers, earl of Jersey, whose son, William, earl of Jersey, passed it away by sale to John Warde, esq. and his son, John Warde, esq. died possessed of Squeries in 1775. He left by the daughter and sole heir of Charles Hoskins, esq. of Croydon, in Surry, who was his second wife, his first being the daughter of Mr. Gore, two sons, John and Charles, the eldest of whom in 1781 married Susannah, sister of James, viscount Grimston, and the youngest married in 1784 the daughter of Arthur Annesley, esq. of Oxfordshire, and one daughter, who in 1783 married Sir Nathaniel Duckenfield, bart. He died in 1751, and was succeeded in this seat by his eldest son, John Warde, esq. before-mentioned, the present possessor who resides in it.
There is a court-baron held for this manor, which pays a fee-farm to the crown of seventeen shillings per annum.
GASUM is an estate in this parish, lying at the foot of the chalk-hill, which was antiently possessed by the family of Shelley; one of whom, Thomas Shelley, in the 46th year of king Edward III's reign, settled it by his will on Thomas, his son; whose descendant, about the latter end of king Henry VI's reign, demised it by sale to John Potter, who bore for his arms, Sable, a fess ermine between three cinquesoils argent, whose descendant, in the next reign of king Edward IV. purchased another estate at Well-street, near the summit of the lower ridge of hills in the more southern part of this parish, of the heirs of Cothull, which estate had formerly had proprietors of its own name; one of whom, William At-Well, was in the possession of it in the 35th year of king Edward III. as appears by an antient court-roll of that date.
This branch of the family of Potter was descended from John Potter, who held lands at Dartford, in the 12th year of king Edward II. (fn. 13)
After the purchase at Well-street, they resided there, and continued possessors of it till the reign of king James I. when Thomas Potter, esq. of Well-street, died possessed of it, leaving an only daughter and heir Dorothy, married to Sir John Rivers, bart. of Chafford, who procured an act of parliament in the 21st year of that reign, to alter the tenure and custom of his lands, those of Sir George Rivers, and those of Thomas Potter, esq. deceased, being then of the nature of gavelkind, and to make them descendible according to the course of the common law, and to settle the inheritance of them, upon the said Sir John Rivers and his heirs, by dame Dorothy before-mentioned, his wife.
Sir John Rivers becoming thus possessed both of Gaysum and Well street, joined some years afterwards with his eldest son John Rivers, esq. in the conveyance of Well-street to Mr. Thomas Smith, of London, scrivener; who about the year 1661 alienated it to Robert Whitby, whose son, Samuel Whitby, in 1664 passed it away to John Bridger, esq. who left two daughters and coheirs, one of whom married with Mr. Francis Ellison, and the other sister dying without issue, he in his wife night became intitled to it, their son, Mr. Thomas Ellison gent. of Westerham, afterwards inherited this estate and died possessed of it some few years ago, and his devisee is the present proprietor of this estate.
But Gaysum continued in the descendants of Sir John Rivers, till the reign of king William, when it was sold, about the same time that Squeries was, to William earl of Jersey, since which it has had the same owners as that seat, the inheritance of it being at this time vested in John Warde, esq. of Squeries.
BROXHAM is a manor situated below the sand hills in that part of this parish within the Weald, and so close to the boundaries of it, that a part of it is within the adjoining parish of Eatonbridge. It was antiently in the possession of the family of de Insula, or Isley.
John de Insula, or Isley, was lord of this manor, and obtained a charter of free-warren for it, in the 11th year of king Edward II. From this name it soon afterwards passed into that of Ashway; Stephen de Ashway obtained a licence to inclose a park here, in the 41st year of king Edward III. (fn. 14) At the latter end of the next reign of Richard II. Sir John de Clinton was possessed of this manor, of which he died possessed in the 20th year of that reign.
He had by Idonea his wife, one of the sisters, and at length coheirs, of William de Say, two sons, William and Thomas. The former of whom died in his life-time, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir John Deincourt, a son, William; who on his grandfather's death became his heir, and by reason of the descent of Idonea, his grandmother, bore the title of lord Clinton and Say, by which he received summons to parliament from the 23d of king Richard II. to the time of his death, in the 10th year of king Henry VI. He left by Anne his wife, daughter of lord Botreaux, a son John, (fn. 15) who soon after his father's death, passed away this manor to Thomas Squerie, of Squeries-court in this parish, with which it descended, in the same tract of ownership, to Michael Beresford, who possessed it about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, as may be seen more fully before, in the account of Squeriescourt. His grandson, Michael Beresford, esq. of Squeries, alienated Broxham to Mr. Thomas Petley, of Filston, in Shoreham, in whose family it descended in like manner as their seat in Riverhead already described in this volume, to Elizabeth, widow of Charles Petley, esq. in whom the possession of it continues vested at this time.
There is a court-baron now held for this manor.
HILL-PARK is a seat in this parish, which was formerly the residence of a family, called in old dateless deeds, De Valoniis, in English, Valons, by which name it was called till within these few years; after which it continued for many descents in the family of Casinghurst, one of whom, in the reign of Henry VII. conveyed it to John Islip, abbot of Westminster, who gave it to his servant, Wm. Middilton, and he much improved the building of this seat. He died in 1557, and lies buried in this church, together with Elizabeth and Dorothy, his wives, by whom he had fifteen children. He bore for his arms, Quarterly gules and or, in the first quarter a cross patonce argent, which coat was confirmed by patent to his son, David Middleton, descended, as is there said, from those of Bletsoe castle, in Northumberland, by William Segar, anno 8 king James I. (fn. 16)
In his family it continued till the latter end of the reign of queen Elizabeth, and then it was conveyed to Jacob Verzelini, esq. of Downe, in this county, a Venetian born, and he died possessed of it in the 5th of king James I. and lies buried in that church. (fn. 17) By his daughter and coheir Elizabeth, it went in marriage to Peter Manning, esq. of Trowmer, in the parish of Downe; one of whose descendants, in the next reign of Charles I. passed it away to Mr. Ranulph Manning of London, a branch of them, who bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron gules, between three cinquefoils of the second, in whose family it remained till the year 1718, when it was alienated to colonel Henry Harrison, who about the year 1732, passed it away to Wm. Turner, esq. and he, in 1753, conveyed it by sale to captain Peter Dennis, of the royal navy, who about the year 1766, sold it to William M'Gwire, esq. who had formerly been a governor in the East Indies; and he again, a few years afterwards, alienated it to Wills Hill, earl of Hilsborough, who having almost rebuilt this seat, and greatly improved the park and grounds about it, changed its former name of Valons to that of HILL-PARK, and afterwards resided here till the death of his lady, in 1780; soon after which he sold it to John Cottin, esq. who resided here, and served the office of sheriff, in 1787, and he still continues the owner of it.
The college of St. Peter, at Lingfield, in Surry, was possessed of a house, called Painters, in Westerham, with other lands in this parish, which were surrendered into the king's hands at the suppression of it, in the reign of king Henry VIII. and were afterwards granted, to hold in capite by knights service. This house has been for many years an inn, known by the name of the King's arms.
King Henry VIII. in his 31st year, granted to Sir John Gresham the manor of Lovestede, in Surry and Kent, to hold in capite by knights service. One of the former owners of this manor, John Lovestede, of Westerham, lies buried in this church, where his inscription on brass still remains.
EDWARD COLTHURST, by deed in 1572, gave for decayed housekeepers lands and tenements vested in the vicar and churchwardens.
ALICE PLUMLEY gave by will in 1584, to ten poor persons, to be paid on Christmas and Easter days, land vested in the same, of the annual product of 1l.
JOHN BRONGER gave by will in 1615, for the use of the poor, the annual sum of 3s. 4d. vested in the same.
ARTHUR WILLARD gave by will in 1623, sundry cottages for the use of poor widows resident in the parish, now vested in the same.
JOHN TROT gave by will in 1629, for a penny loaf to six poor widows each, every Friday, land vested in the same, of the annual product of 1l. 6s.
GERTRUDE STYLE gave by will in 1635, for twenty housekeepers on Good-Friday, the sum of 20l. vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 1l.
WILLIAM HOLMDEN gave by will in 1640, for the use of the poor, land vested in the same, of the annual product of 4l. 4s.
THOMAS HARDY, citizen of London, gave by will in 1747, for the repairing his wife's monument in this church, remainder for the use of the poor, 100l. stock in S. S. Annuities, vested in the same, with six of the most substantial inhabitants, and of the annual product of 3l.
CHARLES WEST gave by will in 1765, for the use of the poor, 100l. stock vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 3l.
RALPH MANNING gave by will in 1786, for the use of twelve poor persons in equal shares, 100l. stock, vested in William Pigot, and of the annual produce of 3l.
WESTERHAM is in the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Malling. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a large handsome building, consisting of a nave, two side isles, and a cross isle; but being too small for the use of the inhabitants, a gallery has been erected for their accommodation in it.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in it are the following:—In the cross isle, at the west end, is a grave-stone near the south door, having the figure of a priest in brass, and inscription in black letter, for Sir William Dyne, priest, sometime parson of Tattisfylde, obt. 1567; a memorial for Bridget, daughter of Ranulph and Catherine Manning, obt. 1734.—In the middle isle, at the entrance, a stone, on which is the figure of a man, that of his wife is lost, and inscription in black letter, for Richard Hayward, and Anne his wife, he died in 1529, beneath were four sons now lost, six daughters now remain; in the pew, where the font is, a stone, with an inscription for Nicholas Manning, gent. of this parish, obt. 1723, and Mary his wife, daughter of Samuel Missenden, esq. deputy governor of the Merchant Adventurers of England, residing at Hamburgh, obt. 1735, arms, a chevron charged with a crescent for difference between three qua terfoils, impaling a cross ingrailed, a bird in the dexter point; on the south side is a mural monument, shewing that near it, in a brick grave, (which being full was arched over in 1733) lies interred Ranulph Manning, gent. obt. 1712, and Catharine his wife, daughter of Saul Missenden, esq. mentioned before, obt. 1732, erected by Ranulph Manning, their eldest son, who died in 1760; above, argent, a chevron gules between three cinquefoils of the second, and quarterings impaling Missenden; over the south door is a plain neat monument of marble, for the brave general James Wolfe, the son of colonel Edward Wolfe, and Henrietta his wife, who was born in this parish Jan. 2, 1727, and died in America, Sept. 13, 1759, conqueror of Quebec, and these lines:—
Whilst George in sorrow bows his laurell'd head, And bids the artist grace the soldier dead, We raise no sculptur'd trophies to thy name, Brave youth! the fairest in the list of fame; Proud of they birth, we boast th' auspicious year—Struck with thy fall, we shed a general tear; With humble grief inscribe one artless stone, And from thy matchless honours date our own.
In the south isle, a memorial for John Thorpe, descended of an antient gentleman's family in Kent and Sussex; he married Anne, daughter, and at length coheir of John Luck, S. T. B. of Mayfield, in Sussex, by whom he had four sons and three daughters, obt. 1703, erected by his grandsons, John and Oliver, sons of his son John Thorpe, of Penshurst, arms, quarterly, 1st and 4th, a fess dancette ermine;-2d and 3d three crescents; at the upper end a grave-stone, with the figures of a man and his two wives in brass, and inscription in black letter for Richard Potter, obt. 1511, beneath the figures of five boys and three girls; another with the figure of a man in brass, and like inscription for Thomas, son of John Potter, gent. obt. 1531; another, with the figure of a man and his two wives in brass, and inscription in black letter for William Myddleton, esq. and Elizabeth and Dorothy, his wives, he died 1557; beneath were the figures of fifteen children, seven of which yet remain.—In the middle of the isle, a brass plate and inscription for John Lovestede, of Westerham; on the south side a mural monument for Anthony Earning, merchant; he married the only daughter of Thomas Manning, esq. of Valens, by whom he left two sons and a daughter, obt. 1676: on the south side are two adjoining altar tombs for Thomas Manning, esq. of Valence, obt. 1695, and for Susan, his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Dacres, obt. 1654; arms on both, Manning with quarterings; on the north side, at the upper end next the chancel, a mural monument, with the figures of a man and woman kneeling at a desk, for Thomas Potter, esq. of Westerham, who married Mary, daughter and coheir of Richard Tichbourne, esq. of Eatonbridge, by whom he left one son Nisell, and a daughter Dorothy, married to John, eldest son of Sir John Rivers, of Chafford; he married 2dly, Elizabeth, widow of Sir J. Rivers, late lord mayor of London, obt. 1611; above, the arms of Potter sable, a fess ermine between three cinquefoils, argent with impalements.— In the middle isle, are two gravestones, with figures and inscriptions in brass, for the Stacys. In the north isle, are several grave-stones, with memorials for the Dallings, of this parish, arms, on a bend, three acorns; a grave-stone and memorial for Mr. Andrew Daulinge, citizen of London, (son of Richard Daulinge, rector of Ringswold) who married Anne, eldest daughter of Mr. John Daulinge, gent. of Westerham, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters, and left her great with child, obt. 1714; several more memorials for the Dallings, who by their arms appear to have been the same family as the Daulings before-mentioned; on the north side a mural monument for Mr. Thomas Hardy, citizen of London, who died in 1747, and for others of his family; near it is a brass plate fixed to the wall, with an extract from his will, relating to his charity bequeathed to this parish, which has been given above among the other charities belonging to it; at the east end is a mural monument for Mary, wife of Henry Street, daughter of Sir John Gerrard, bart. obt. 1651, and left only one son Edward.—In the cross isle, at the east end, an elegant mural monument for Thomas Knight, esq. of Westerham, obt. 1708, being clerk of the assize for Norfolk; he married first, Catherine, daughter of Mr. Crispe, of Maidstone, and secondly, Jane, daughter of Mr. Blome, of Sevenoke, but left no issue; near it another for Eleanor, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Seyliard, second baronet of that antient family, and of the lady Frances, his first wife, sole daughter and heir of Henry Wyat, esq. eldest son of Sir Francis Wyat, of Boxleyabbey, who died in 1726; she married Robert Paynter, esq. son of Allington, son of William, son of Anthony, son of William Paynter, esq. clerk of the ordnance to queen Elizabeth, and lord of the manors of East-court and Twydall, in Gillingham, he died in 1731, arms, Paynter gules, a chevron or, between three griffins heads erased of the second on a chief; or an helmet between two balls sable, with impalements and quarterings. A gravestone for the Heaths, of Leigh; another for Anthony Earning, merchant, obt. 1695; a grave-stone within the rails, shewing that Sir John Crisp, bart. paved this communion space in remembrance of Nich. Crisp, esq. eldest son of Sir Nich. Crisp, bart. who died in 1697, æt. 17, arms above, on a chevron five horse-shoes. (fn. 18)
George Strood, esq. in consideration of 16l. 14s. had granted to him, by the vicar, churchwardens, and major part of the parishioners, the uppermost part of the north isle of the church, called the organ–room, for a burying place for himself and his successors, owners of the mansion house of Squeries, to be decently kept and repaired at the cost of him and his successors for ever, which was ratified and confirmed in 1637, (the see of Rochester being then vacant) by the archbishop of Canterbury, as it was afterwards in 1640, by John, bishop of Rochester.
Alianor, queen to king Edward I. gave an acre of land, with its appurtenances in Westerham, and the advowson of the church, together with the chapels, tythes, and all other things and rights belonging to it, to the prior and convent of Canterbury, in pure and perpetual alms, free from all secular service for ever.
This grant appears, by the Chronicles of Christ church, to have been made, among other premises, in exchange for the port of Sandwich.
King Edward I. in his 18th year, confirmed the above gift, and farther granted to the prior and convent his licence, to appropriate this church, and the chapels belonging to it, and to hold the same to their own proper use for ever; which pope Celestine V. in 1294, confirmed, with the allowance of twenty marcs sterling to the vicar, out of the profits of this church and chapel; but the church not becoming vacant, this bull did not take place, and the prior and convent, in 1327, making heavy complaints of their great losses, by the inundation in Romneymarsh, among other grievances, petitioned Hamo, bishop of Rochester, for relief; who, accordingly, that year, appropriated this church, with the chapel of Edulwesbrogge annexed to it, to their use; and at the same time endowed a perpetual vicarage in this church, and a fit portion for a perpetual vicar in it, to be presented by the religious, and to be instituted by him and his successors; and he further decreed, with the consent of the religious, that the vicar should take and have entirely and wholly for his portion, the tithes of silva cedua, pannage, hay, herbage, flax, hemp, milk, butter, and cheese, wool, lambs, calves, pigs, swans, geese, apples, pidgeons, mills, fisheries, fowlings, merchandizing, and all other small tithes and oblations whatsoever, and all legacies and mortuaries to the church or chapel, of right or custom due, as well dead as living; and that the vicar should have, on the soil belonging to the church, to be chosen and assigned by the bishop, a competent house to reside in, to be built for this first time by the religious; and he decreed, that the portion of the vicar should for ever consist in the things above mentioned; and further, that the vicar, for the time being, should as often as there should be occasion, cause the books to be bound, and the vestments to be washed, mended, and renewed; and should find and provide, at his own costs, bread and wine, and processional tapers, and other necessary lights in the chancel, and ministers, as has been accustomed, as well in the church of Westerham as in the chapel of Edulwesbrege; and should, for the future, keep and maintain the buildings of the vicarage, and should wholly pay all episcopal and archideaconal procurations; and that he should sustain and take upon him the tenth and other extraordinary burthens then incumbent, or which might be imposed in future, according to the value of his portion; which, so far as related to the sustaining of the burthens of this kind, he taxed, and rated at ten marcs sterling; and lastly, that the religious should sustain, and take upon them for ever, the payment of the pension of ten shillings due to him and his successors, from this church, and all other burthens, ordinary and extraordinary, according to the value of their portion, which he valued at forty marcs.
Richard de Haute, the rector of this church, dying in 1327, the prior and convent of Christ-church were, by the archdeacon, put into the possession of it, with the chapel of Edelnesbregge annexed, in the person of Robert Hathebrand, monk of it, their proctor specially appointed for this purpose.
The rectory and advowson of the vicarage of Westerham, with the chapel of Eatonbridge, remained with the prior and convent of Christ-church till the general dissolution in the reign of king Henry VIII. in the 31st year of which, it was surrendered into the king's hands.
After which, the king granted to Sir John Gresham, the rectories of Westerham and Eatonbridge, with the advowson of the church and chapel belonging to it, and he died possessed of them in 1556, (fn. 19) as did his eldest son and heir, Sir William Gresham, of Titsey, in Surry, in the 21st year of queen Elizabeth, holding them in capite by knight's service. By his will in the 17th year of queen Elizabeth, he gave these rectories to his second son, Thomas, and his heirs male, (fn. 20) who, on the death of his elder brother, William, without male issue, became likewise his heir, and from him the rectory of Westerham, with Eatonbridge, descended to Sir Marmaduke Gresham, bart. who in his life-time gave it to his eldest son, Edward Gresham, esq. and he in the 30th year of king Charles II. procured an act of parliament to vest it in trustees to be sold for the payment of his debts.
Accordingly, Sir Marmaduke and Edward, his eldest son, joined in the conveyance of the rectory or parsonage of Westerham, with its appurtenances, to James Hudson, esq. of London, and John Steers, of Westerham, yeoman. By which word, appurtenances, the advowson of the church appurtenant to the rectory, though not intended so to do, passed with it.
After which, partly in right of his wife, and partly by purchase from the name of Steers, it came into the possession of John Bodicoate, esq. whose son, the Rev. Mr. John Bodicoate, died in 1791, and his widow, Harriet, re-married to Edward earl of Winterton, is at this time proprietor of the church of Westerham, with the advowson of the vicarage appurtenant to it.
By an antient valuation made in the 15th year of king Edward I. this church was valued at fifty marcs. (fn. 21)
¶By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that the parsonage and vicarage of Westerham were two distinct things. That the parsonage house, buildings, and sixty acres of glebe land were worth twenty pounds per annum, and the tythes were worth eighty pounds per annum, and one acre and an half of glebe land worth thirty shillings per annum, all which were impropriate and belonging to master Gresham the proprietor thereof. That there was a vicarage, house, garden and backside, worth forty pounds per annum, and vicarage tythes, worth fifty pounds per annum, which was the vicar's salary, and the said Mr. Gresham was patron thereof; that in former times the vicars of Westerham had been presented vicars of Westerham, (fn. 22) with the chapel of Eatonbridge, and had hired a curate there; but it was conceived that Eatonbridge had been, and still continued sitting to be, a distinct parish church. (fn. 23)
The church of Westerham, with the chapel of Eatonbridge annexed, is valued in the king's books at 19l. 19s. 4½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 19s. 11¼d. (fn. 24)
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