Page:Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.djvu/32

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4
CHURCHES IN KENT.

into Northumberland both teachers of singing, masons, and other craftsmen. (Bed. Hist. Eccl. 1. 4, c. 2, and note to 182, Oxford, 1845.) Whence, corroborated by what is said above (Preface), we may infer, that for a considerable period Kent was the guide and instructor of other English dioceses in ecclesiastical matters.

The Domesday description affords evidence, that Penenden Heath was, as it remains to this day, by custom of common law, the place of important meetings for affairs of general concern in Kent, as early as the time when the Survey was taken ; for at the commencement of the description it is said, " If they " (the landed proprietors) " should be warned to convene at a Shiremote, they shall go to Penenden, not farther. Si fuerint premoniti ut conveniant ad sciram, ibunt usque ad pinnedennan, non longius." (D. B.) Wherefore we may safely regard this as one of the then ancient customs of Kent, the enjoyment of which was confirmed to the inhabitants by K. William I, at Swanscombe, as the price of their submission to him. It appears also from Domesday Book, that the celibacy of the inferior dignified clergy was not yet enforced some time before A. D. 1086, because in the early part of the account of Kent three persons are mentioned, whose fathers are declared to have held the property spoken of as prebends : " Pater ejusdem pater hujus" and " pater ipsius tenuit in prebendâ." (D. B.) And indeed some years after the period of the Survey, namely, A. D. 1129, William, Archbishop of Canterbury, summoned a council at London, when it was determined, that all archdeacons and priests, who failed to dismiss their wives by a given day, should be deprived of their churches, as well as houses, and never afterwards be permitted to officiate there. Which rule however, we are assured, proved a mere brutum fulmen, though sanctioned by the archbishop and all the other English prelates, since, by permission of K. Henry I, all the parties concerned continued to retain their wives precisely as before. (Gibs. Chron. Sax. 233, 234.)