Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey/Kent/Notes on the Churches O-R
240. Offham.—This small church consists of chancel, nave, south porch, and square tower standing north of the west end of the chancel. The latter contains a trefoil-headed piscina, with a decayed wooden shelf. Opposite, in the north wall, is a plain, pointed-arched recess, of the usual size of a sedile. The chancel appears to be E.E. There are a very few small remnants of coloured glass. From arches visible in the exterior of the south wall, and broken remains of the continuation of that of the east end of the nave, there has been a south aisle. On the exterior of the north wall of the chancel is a wide buttress, shallow as if Norm., though the chancel windows are E.E. The lower portion of the tower looks older than the upper, from the interior seeming to be E.E., or perhaps Tr. Norm., and the top is clearly of later date. In the north wall of the nave is a small Norm, window. The north door is built up. The west gable contains a round window quatrefoiled. The church contains a little Dec. work. The wide buttress on the outside of the chancel, noticed above, resembles that already described at Hever, in this county, on the southern side of that church. Though the interior of the buildings may be too well coated with plaster and whitewash to present any apparent indications of an opening beneath, it seems probable, that those buttress-like projections were constructed to contain the stairs leading to the roodloft ; in which case the frame, mentioned as visible in the Hever example, would be that of a small window to light the passage. The approach to the roodloft in Earningham Church was, I am assured, on the exterior of the north wall, and the stairs are still in use; but, from the altered state of the edifice, this circumstance escaped observation when that place was visited, and therefore is not alluded to in the Note on Earningham. Offham Church is named in a document of 16th of K. Edward III, about A.D. 1354. (Reg. Roff.) But for, probably, an earlier notice see, under Rochester, the list of churches in that diocese from Hearne. (Text. Roff.)—On Offham Green not very long since (between 1825 and 1830, me teste), was preserved a Quintane, of which the upright post only now (1849) remains.
241. Olecumbe.—In the original MS. of (D.B.), as well as in the printed copy, this place decidedly appears, though possibly it may not actually be intended, to be named in the hundred of Axtane, whereas Ulcombe, which would seem to be signified, is in that of Eyhorne; and those hundreds are too widely distant to admit of confusion in their subdivisions. This circumstance alone has prevented me from agreeing with others in assigning the Domesday name to Ulcombe. The entry in the Survey gives not the smallest indication of confusion, otherwise certainly there is some ground for suspecting, that Ulcombe is actually meant. If we must look westward for a modern name to represent the Domesday one, Nulcombe was an ancient manor (though the position of it is now unknown, Hasted) in Seale—to which place no church is given, indeed it is not mentioned, in (D.B.) Seale being now in the hundred of Codsheath; and Combe Bank in the parish of Sundridge, in the same hundred, may very probably have been an old settlement, Roman remains having been discovered there. (Philipott.) It is very possible, that, when the Domesday Survey was taken, the hundred of Axtane included what is now called Codsheath, neither that, nor any similar, name appearing among the hundreds of A.D. 1086.
242. Ore.—"Ibi dimidia æccla—There is half a church." (D.B.); possessing a moiety of the tithes of the district? The church is mentioned again elsewhere: " Ibi æcclesia est." (D.B.)—This is styled a chapelry to Stalisfield. (Hasted.)—Now however it stands separately in the (Clergy List) as a perpetual curacy, being, as well as Stalisfield, in the patronage of the archbishop.
243. Orgarswick.—As in several other instances, the parson of Orgarswick, but not the church, is named in (Val. Eccl.), compiled but a few years before the church is declared to have been desecrated, which circumstance is placed A.D. 1530. It yet occurs as a sinecure rectory in the (Clergy List), value £39, population eight.
244. Orleston.—Without farther information it is useless to conjecture where the second Domesday church might be situated. Rucking, "Rockinges" of (D.B.), is mentioned immediately after Orleston.
245. Orpington.—It may be presumed, that the second church named here stood in one of those parishes, which were portions of the manor of Orpington, with the exception of St. Mary Cray (see the Notes there and on Sentlinge) viz., either Down, Hayes, or Nockholt; but, as the churches are mentioned together, we have no guide to assist in assigning the locality. In (Val. Eccl.) the chapel of Cray, that is, St. Mary or South, is annexed to Orpington, and styled "capella curata." The rectory is a sinecure, the incumbent presenting to the vicarage of Orpington, as well as to St. Mary Cray, Down, Hayes, and Nockholt.—"Crofton is a place in Orpington, which once was a parish by itself, but was destroyed by fire, and afterwards was reckoned to Orpington." (Harris.)
246. Ospringe.—"In the churchyard to the east is" (sic) "the ruins of a chapel belonging to Sir John de Denton, who is supposed to have had a seat at Denton in this parish, and indeed at that place there are ruins of buildings still to be seen." (Harris.) This must be the chapel in Ospringe churchyard, which Hasted says is mentioned in a will of the year 1466.
The Maison Dieu here was founded by K. Henry III about A.D. 1235, deserted temp. K. Edward IV, and escheated to the Crown. (Hasted.) Tanner speaks of "an old hospital founded by Henry III about 1235." (Monast. VI. 764.) Though in Ospringe Street the Maison Dieu stood in fact in Faversham parish. Beside this, there was a wayside chapel here dedicated to St. Nicholas. (Harris.)
247. Ostenhanger.—The castle or castellated mansion and the estate bearing this title are now included within the parish of Stanford, but formerly this very place was deemed parochial. It will be observed, that the Taxation of P. Nicholas records the existence of the church of "Ostinghangre," at the end of the thirteenth century. (Val. Eccl.) likewise names it as a rectory in Limpne deanery, separately noticing Stanford as a chapel annexed to Liminge in the deanery of Eleham. "This Ostenhanger is said to have been antiently a parish of itself; but is now reputed to be (as aforesaid) in this parish of Stanford." (Kilburne.)—The church of Ostenhanger is stated to be now "entirely pulled down." It "stood at a small distance westward of the mansion and the drawbridge at the entrance to it, between the latter and the great barn, which, report says, was partly built out of the ruins of it. Several skeletons were dug up &c." The chapel of the mansion is asserted to have been then standing and converted into a stable. (Hasted.) Hence we collect, that beside the two churches of Stanford and Ostenhanger, there was a domestic chapel at the latter place. Dr. Harris says that in the nineteenth year of K. Edward III, AD. 1346, John, son of Nicholas de Criol, obtained a licence to found a chantry, which he endowed, at Ostenhanger. (Hist. of Kent.) This must have been within either the parish church, or the private chapel belonging to the castle, because (A.D. 1291) is sufficient evidence of the existence of the former edifice above fifty years previous to the establishment of the chantry.
The mansion or castle of Ostenhanger is affirmed to have comprised 126 rooms and (by common fame) 365 windows. A.D. 1701 three fourths of the house were pulled down for the value of the materials, which sold for a thousand pounds. (Hasted.) Some portion of the ancient building still remains. This estate is not mentioned in (D.B.) at least not by any name resembling that borne at present, though the neighbouring property of Otterpool does appear in that document.
248. Otford.—A church of chancel, nave, south aisle, and heavy square tower with a short shingled spire. Close to the church are the ruins of the archiepiscopal palace, constructed of brick with stone dressings.—Otford is annexed to Shoreham in (Val. Eccl.), and called "capella curata;" though the "rectoria de Otforde capella" is also named. In the (Clergy List) it appears to be a distinct benefice.—A hospital for lepers in Otford is mentioned 13 K. Henry III, m. 11, or A.D. 1228. (Monast. VI, 764.)
249. Otham.— In the north wall of this church, which is Norm, work, a door with panels above, and a hood moulding down the sides to the ground, has been inserted altogether a curious feature.—Either in this parish, or at a farm of the same name in the parish of Hailsham, Sussex, is supposed to have been a monastery, afterwards removed to Bayham.
250. Otterden. Beside Boresfield or Boardfield (see the Note on Boresfield), the chapel of Monketon stood at the north-western extremity of this parish. "The church of Monketon has been long dilapidated, though the exact ground-plot of it is still visible, having two very large yew trees near it. It is situated in a wood of about half an acre.—The dilapidated churches of Boardfield and Monketon are now annexed as chapels to the rectory" (of Otterden.) "The sites of the churches, and about three acres of glebe land to each are now held by the rector, as part of the appurtenances of this rectory." (Hasted.)
251. Oxney near Deal.—"Ecclia de Oxne et de Popyshall." (Val. Eccl.) In (A.D. 1291) Popeshall chapel is annexed to Coked, in which parish it stood, and which see. (Val. Eccl.) declares Oxne church to have belonged to the Canons of Langdon, wherefore both this and Langdon churches were probably suppressed at the same period. It is omitted in the (Clergy List.)—"The walls" of Oxney church "still remain; it has a roof, and is now made use of as a barn." (Hasted.) At the present day the roof has disappeared, and the building has become ruinous.
252. Paddlesworth.—A chapel to Liminge.—The church is described as having a round chancel arch, "with Saxon ornaments," and two very small round headed doors. (Hasted.) A priory here, belonging to the Abbey of Beaulieu in Normandy, by foundation of John de Pratellis, temp. K. John, was suppressed by K. Henry V. (Kilburne.)
253. Paddlesworth near Snodland.—This church has long been desecrated, but still remains perfect, except that the north porch has been removed, and a door opened in the south wall. The interior fittings, including the font, have been taken away, and the building is converted into a lumber-room, but it is in condition to be used again, if required. The style is E.E., with a beautiful chancel arch. It is stated to have been esteemed a chapelry to Birling. (Text. Ron .) The name appears in (Val. Eccl.), but not in the (Clergy List), as a rectory; which is still its designation, though held by a layman, together with Dowdes chapelry. Paddlesworth having no poor, it always unites with the parish of Snodland in a poor-rate, but constantly has its own separate church and highway rates, continuing in all respects a distinct parish. The last mention in the church records of Rochester of the induction of a rector is A.D. 1596. The chapel of Dowde or Dowdes, already noticed under Ludsdown, is averred to have been united to Paddlesworth, together with Pomphery Castle, 1 March, 1366.
254. Palestrei.—Now Palster Court, a manor farm in Wittersham. Hasted says that the manor extends into Ebeney; therefore the church may have stood in either parish. Kilburne however speaks of "Acton chancel, or more truly Palster chancel" in the church of Wittersham, and mentions the manor of Palster, along with Wittersham, being given to Christ Church, Canterbury, in 1032 and 1035. From which circumstances it would appear, that Palestrei was an important property in early times; wherefore the church, though described as belonging to Palestrei, within the limits of which manor it might stand not improbably perhaps occupied the site of the existing parish church of Wittersham.
255. Peckhams, The—(D.B.) estimates one portion of Peckham manor as belonging to the monks of the archbishop, the other as the property of the Bishop of Bayeux. The former, which possessed a church, is easily recognised as East Peckham, which benefice is at this day in the gift of the dean and chapter of Canterbury.
East Peckham.—Brasses : Rich. Etclesley, rector (consecrating a chalice), 1526 ; man and woman. (Reg. Roff.)
256. Peckham, West.—Brass : Eliz. wife of Will. Culpeper (husband lost), 1460. (Reg. Roff.) (Val. Eccl.) notices a preceptory, then existing in West Peckham, which was founded A.D. 1408, according to Kilburne.
257. Pembury.—The church consists of western tower, nave, chancel, and south porch. The south door is perfectly plain Norm., and there is one small very plain Norm, window in the south wall of the nave, partly cut off by the roof of the church. The chancel and tower are Dec., the former early, but with only one original window.—Harris broaches the somewhat absurd supposition, that the name of this parish, "Pepenbury, Pipingbury," came "very likely from the quantity of pepins which anciently grew here, and for which formerly the place hath been famous." Perhaps, judging from the soil, which is not very favorable for delicate fruits, the last assertion originated only in the imagination of the writer; beside that it militates against Lambarde's (erroneous) report, which is adopted by Dr. Harris himself, that orchards were first introduced into England during the reign of K. Henry VIII. See this subject discussed below under Teynham. The Pimpes were a family of consideration in early times, who gave their name to more than one residence in the neighbourhood (Pimpe's Court), though to none in Pembury; and property called "Pinpa" is mentioned in (D.B.), as in Twyford hundred, which brings it near Pembury. It is far more probable than the above conjecture, that the place, when first cleared and settled, might have been "Pimpe's Bury," and so denominated.
258. Penshurst.—This parish is not named in (D.B.), and in (A.D. 1291) it is styled "Penecestre." We learn from (Reg. Roff., 460, 469) that A.D. 1239 John Belemeyns, canon of St. Paul's and lord of the manor of Penshurst, founded a chapel upon his domain, but, as it is expressly stated, within the parish of Leigh. Hasted notices this chapel in his account of Penshurst, but describes it under Leigh, there intimating, through a confused use of his authorities shortly to be pointed out, that it existed before the erection of Belemeyns in 1239, and asserting plainly, that it was suppressed 1st of K. Edward VI: but he produces no evidence for his statements, neither does he assign any locality for his suppressed chapel. On the contrary the old deeds preserved in (Reg. Roff.) seem to testify, that Penshurst originally formed part of Leigh parish; that Belemeyns's chapel was the prototype of the existing parish church of Penshurst; and that it was at first considered only a chapel-of-ease to Leigh, though in process of time it acquired all the privileges of a distinct parish. The first document, "De fundatione capellæ infra parochiam de Leghe," granting the patronage to the founder and his heirs, contains the following expressions: "Nos inspecta carta domini Johannis Canuci patroni ecclesie de Legh, et Richardi ejusdem ecclesie rectoris, et Alani vicarii dicte ecclesie, super quadam capella sita infra curiam domini Johannis Belemeyns, in parochia dicte eeclesie, prospecta eciam undique indempnitate matricis ecclesie de Leghe, prefato domino Johanni Belemeyns et successoribus suis confirmavimus, &c.: We, after inspection of the charter of Mr. John Canucus patron of the church of Legh, and of Richard rector of the same church, and of Alan vicar of the said church, respecting a certain chapel situated below the hall of Mr. John Belemeyns, in the parish of the said church, the indemnity of the mother church of Leghe also being in every respect provided for, have confirmed to the aforesaid John Belemeyns and his successors, &c., A.D. 1239:" John Belemeyns being styled, as above, canon of St. Paul's and lord of the manor of Penshurst. Next we have an Indulgence, dated 1249, which speaks of "capella in curia manerii de Peneshurste constructa—a chapel constructed in the manorhouse of Peneshurste" dedicated to St. Thomas. In the Confirmatory Charter, also dated in 1249, the patron of Leigh, the parson, and the vicar grant to Thomas of Penshurst a free chapel for ever in his manor of Penshurst to be served by his own chaplain, with reservation of certain payments to Leigh; especially the yearly oblations, "wholly from the mansion of Penshurst—"de hospicio de Penshurst integre" at the four holy seasons; also all confessions, baptisms, &c. And if at Easter mass should not be celebrated in the said chapel, the whole family should receive "Christ's body" in the mother church of Leigh. Again, we find an authorised encroachment upon the above reservations about 150 years from the foundation by John Belemeyns; for license to hear confessions and enjoin penance in "the great chapel, capella magna," of Penshurst "from all and singular persons inhabiting the said manor" was granted by the bishop A.D. 1393, "on account of the distance from the parish church of Leigh." Hasted, disregarding the date, quotes the confirmatory charter as that of the original foundation, and earlier than 1239, though alluding either to the same instrument, or to one of the same date, 1249, as a totally independent one. He also adduces the grant to Belemeyns in 1239 as "afterwards" with reference to the primary institution of the chapel, which he imagines to have been by Thomas de Penshurst; whereas the above extracts clearly attribute it to John Belemeyns, from whom probably the estate descended to the Penshursts, Hasted mentioning a Stephen de Penshurst as nephew of John Belemeyns, and the proprietor had been changed between 1239 and 1249: compare the charters.
The parish church of Penshurst stands near the mansion and is now dedicated to St. John Baptist; which last circumstance however does not invalidate the above argument, because churches, when re-edified, which has happened to this, often received different dedications, from what they bore previously.—The existing church of Penshurst was generally rebuilt in the debased Gothic style, but the piers and arches between the nave and north aisle, with a small part of the northern side of the chancel, are remnants of an older structure; E.E. and Dec.? of which the former portion certainly might well belong to the building of John Belemeyns.—Stone effigy of Sir Stephen de Penchester, temp. K. Edward I. Brasses: seven children of Watur Draynocott and two wives (W. D. lost), 1507; man and woman, 14—; Pacole Yden, wife, and child, 1564. (Reg. Roff.)—Penshurst Place retains many vestiges of its early origin and importance.
259. St. Peter's, Thanet.—Originally a chapelry to Minster, afterwards made parochial, like St. John's, and St. Laurence.—At Broadstairs, a short distance from the gate leading inland from the pier, was anciently a chapel, dedicated, according to tradition, to the Virgin Mary. (Hasted.)
260. Petham—Is written "Pecham" in (A.D. 1291.) The vicarage of Petham is united with that of Waltham; and the second Domesday church may have been that of the latter place.—At Swindling in this parish a chapel existed in 1190; and a chantry was founded at Depden temp. K. Henry IV. (Harris.) The priest belonging to the latter is mentioned in (Val. Eccl.)
261. Piventone.This name is now commonly known as Pevington; the place was formerly a separate parish. A.D. 1583 the church being pronounced dilapidated, it was united to Pluckley by Archb. Whitgift (Hasted; who adds of the church, "now a stable") It does not occur in (A.D. 1291), but is estimated in (Val. Eccl.), when it possessed "a mansion and glebe worth by y ere thirteen shillings and fourpence;" and to this day the rectory of Pevington appears annexed to that of Pluckley. (Clergy List.) The church was demolished toward the end of the eighteenth century (probably soon after Hasted's statement, as above, was penned), and the materials used in the construction of three barns, one on the farm, the others elsewhere; whence the building may be imagined to have been of considerable size. The site is still known; namely, in a young orchard southward of the farm-house.
Plaxtole or Plaxtool.—The church was erected in 1649, as declared on a stone inserted into the east end.
See also the Note below on Stansted.
About five miles northward from the town of Tonbridge, and one mile north-eastward from the village of Plaxtool, to which latter it is considered to belong, stands Sore Place, now usually known as "Old Shore Farm." though formerly a place of importance. The woodcut exhibits a ground plan of the upper floor, which contained the inhabited apartments. The hall measures internally about twenty-eight feet by eighteen and a half. At each end is a window of good proportions, though rather long, terminating upwards in an acute-angled arch, and on one side of the fireplace is another, smaller, quadrangular within, but without the upper corners are so chamferred as to present the appearance of a square-headed trefoil. The sides of both the large windows still contain hooks for shutters; but all the mullions and tracery have been removed. Possibly the glass might have been fixed in those shutters, as it was not reckoned a fixture in early times. The fireplace is slightly damaged; opposite thereto has been a window, and between that and the corner of the room is a small cupboard or ambry in the stone wall. In one angle of the hall a spiral stone staircase leads downwards to what was the entrance, passing that into the vaulted cellar or storeroom beneath the hall; which vaulting springs quite plain without ribs from the side walls, and is formed of irregularly-sized pieces of ragstone laid in mortar, the last retaining impressions of the boards used in the frame-work, whereupon the vaulting was constructed. This vault was lighted only by an oylet, and had, in the opposite end to the entrance, a wide, low, segmental-headed door, now walled up. Two very substantial tie-beams cross the hall, with kingposts and braces, all moulded, and in good preservation; the roof is steep, and the gables prove, that it retains nearly, if not quite, its original form, but the eaves now covering the remains of the chimney, it is manifest, that some alteration must have taken place here. The floor of the hall is now simply the vaulting of the cellar beneath. In one angle of the hall is an opening into a small chamber, and on the opposite side, corresponding to the position of the latter, is the chapel, which formerly had in the end a window, now altered into a door, resembling the larger ones of the hall. On each side was a small segmental-headed window, and near the entrance passage an opening was originally formed, but for what object is not apparent. In the usual position is a cinquefoil-headed piscina, of which the hexagon basin is perfect, with a crocketted canopy (somewhat injured) but the workmanship is inferior. On the northern, or, to speak more correctly, the eastern, side of the great window, about six feet from the floor, is a stone bracket, with carving of leaves in rather low relief. The dimensions of the chapel are fourteen feet and a half by nearly ten; the end window facing south, rather than east. The small chamber was lighted only by oylets, one in each side, of which the stone frames are rebated for shutters, and some of the hooks for those shutters yet exist. Both this chamber and the chapel had boarded floors. The room below the chapel, now a cellar, must at first have been applied to some such purpose, having no light: that likewise under the small chamber must have had some similar use". Above the ancient entrance, within the washhouse of the dwelling added to the old mansion, is a large stone corbel in shape three very short clustered columns, with carving on the lower portions bearing some resemblance to that on the bracket in the chapel. This corbel probably supported, or assisted in supporting, the roof of a porch over the door. The hoods of the windows are greatly dilapidated, but in one instance, in the northern face, the termination is perfect. The curious ornament, here found, presents occasionally the appearance of a mask, and prevailed "from the end of the twelfth century to the middle of the fourteenth." (Gloss of Archit. ed. 1840, I, 52, noteu , and ib. II. pi. 28. exam, from Warmington.) (Perhaps some modified specimens of later date might be collected in some parts of Sussex.) The hood corbel of Sore Place possesses one of the earlier forms. It may be noticed, that the above description contains no allusion to a kitchen. As however the simple cookery of the age would have been performed in a separate building, if in any, it is not surprising, that no vestiges of such an appendage are now visible. It will also be remarked, that the accommodation for a family at Sore Place is sufficiently scanty; but we must recollect how rude, in some respects almost brutal, were the domestic habits of our ancestors when this building was erected. The inmates, when within doors, would assemble in the great hall, the members of the master's family retiring at night to the small chamber, and the servants, to whose comfort little or no attention was paid, sleeping according to their own fancy in the hall. The alterations, in order to render the ancient mansion useful to the tenant of the farm, have disfigured it, but do not prevent tracing the original arrangements.
My attention was first attracted to Sore by reading Hasted's account, namely: "There is an antient and very remarkable chapel still remaining in the mansion-house of Sore, which was probably made use of by the inhabitants of this district in general, before the present chapel of Plaxtool was erected." The common idea, which appears to have been Hasted's, from whose work it may have been derived, is, that the hall was formerly a chapel. That however the construction and evident application of the apartment utterly disprove, while those of the smaller chamber equally demonstrate the sacred uses for which it was intended; and its small size shows, that it could originally have been intended to accommodate few or none, beyond the members of the proprietor's family and household.
This is certainly a very interesting specimen of ancient domestic architecture, few, if any, more perfect examples of the same date, transition from E.E. to Dec., toward the conclusion of the thirteenth century, existing in this kingdom; particularly as it retains traces of the arrangement of Norman dwellings, in the separation to a certain extent of the lower from the upper portion of the mansion. Unfortunately the shaft of the chimney and the hood of the fireplace have been destroyed, otherwise the building generally might be easily restored; and from the extraordinarily sound condition of the walls they promise to endure, if permitted, for ages yet to come. The farm-house is joined to the old one on the western side. I have good reason to believe, that this curiosity was entirely unknown to some of our most experienced architectural antiquaries till I examined it in January 1846, though it has been and is occasionally visited. It must be added, that one of our best authorities upon such subjects places the date of Sore Place later than is above given.
The interior arrangement of the building just mentioned precisely resembles, with regard to the living-rooms, that of another small manorial residence, at Warley in Essex, as described in a document preserved among the muniments in the chapter-house, Westminster, namely, a "hall with a bedchamber" and a "chapel." This document is supposed to date not later than A.D. 1280, consequently the Warley mansion must have been, nearly at least, contemporary with that of Sore. (Archæol. Journal, V. 152, 153.)
263. Pluckley.—The church comprises chancel, nave, south aisle nearly even eastward with the chancel, south porch, and square west tower with a shingled spire. There are some E.E., some later, portions. Part of the walls have been rebuilt. In the east end were lancet windows, now one poor Perp. The lower part of the tower is perhaps E.E.—Interior not seen. Brass : John Malmaines, 1440. (Harris.)
264. Poltone.—Described under the hundred of Besborough, and clearly to be identified as Polton near Dover, which is still (I am informed) a separate parish, though containing no church, and only three houses, of which one is St. Hadigund's abbey farm, another, built within seventy or eighty years, stands near the site of the church; respecting the demolition of which last my intelligence is defective. According to one account, tradition states it to have been destroyed in 1523; another says it was burnt down about the middle of the seventeenth century. The place where it stood, close to the farm-house, is indicated by a stone, on which was inscribed, "Here did stand the parish church of Polton, mentioned in Domesday Book ix under the title of Chinth, (an ignorant mistake for Chenth, Kent) in the hundred of Besboro'." In (D.B.) the church is called "secclesiola," that is, a small one, or chapel. In (Val. Eccl.) "The chapell of our Lady of Poulton, called Poulton chapell" is named in the enumeration of the possessions of St. Radigund's abbey, but it is not mentioned in the (Clergy List).—The abbey was founded A.D. 1191, 3 of K. Richard I, by Jeffry and Thomas, earls of Perth, and others, for Premonstratensian monks at Bradsole in Polton; this is Tanner's account: according to Leland Hugh, a canon, was the founder and first abbot. (Hasted.) The only remains of the abbey are the gateway, which is remarkably low. The facings of the wall are curious from the variations of pattern in the flint and Caen stone.
264. Postling.—"Two small churches eecclesiolse." (D.B.)—"In the chancel, against the north wall, is a small stone fixed in it of about six inches square, with an inscription in old capitals denoting, that on the nineteenth calend of September, on the day of St. Eusebius confessor of the Roman church, this church was dedicated to the honor of St. Mary." (Hasted.)
266. Promehill or Bromehill. Situated at the extreme south-western corner of Romney Marsh, not very far from Rye, is always deemed to have belonged to Kent, though the church is declared to have stood in Sussex.—This place was overwhelmed by an irruption of the sea about A.D. 1280, temp. K. Edward I. (Kilburne.) The church is however specially mentioned in (Val. Eccl.) as appropriated to the college of Wye.—"The ruins of the church were visible in the year 1637." Bromehill is reported " to have been once so considerable, as to have had in it above fifty inns and taverns. Deering MSS." (Harris.) This last story however does not quite accord with Camden's description, who styles the place merely a little populous village. There is still some land belonging to this parish in the county of Sussex. (Horsfield's Sussex.)
267. Queenborough.—This place was so named by K. Edward III in honour of his queen Philippa, a Kingsborough previously existing in the centre of the Isle. (Lambarde.)— Queenborough was once accounted a chapelry to Minster (Hasted); and in (Val. Eccl.) it is called the "chapel of Quinburghe." There was formerly a hospital here, dedicated to St. John (Hasted.)
268. Reculver.—Herne and Hothe, as well as St. Nicholas in Thanet, with All Saints attached to the latter, were formerly chapelries to Reculver, and are so mentioned even as lately as in (Val. Eccl.) Reculver must, in ancient times, have been a place of great consideration, it being the site of a Roman town called Regulbium, and the Saxon kings of Kent having a residence there, which is stated (Bed. Hist. Eccl. note to 258, ed. 1846) to have been given by King Æthelbert to Augustin for the palace of himself and his successors. The Saxon Chronicle (Gibson's ed. 40) records, that King Egbert, A.D. 669, gave Reculver to Bassus, a priest, for him to build a monastery therein. Which Bassus, we learn from Bede (Hist. Eccl. 1. 2, c. 20), was a Northumbrian noble, who, after King Edwin's death in battle, accompanied his widow and children in the exile to which they were compelled. "Basso, milite regis Ædvini fortissimo." A.D. 692 (690, Chron. Sax.), Berctuald, abbot of Reculver monastery, succeeded Theodore in the archbishopric of Canterbury. (Bed. Hist. Eccl. 1. 5, c. 8.) Two grants to this establishment by Eadberht and Earduulf, kings of Kent, the former dated in 747, the latter considered to be of about the same period, are preserved in (Cod. Dipl. V, 46, 47.)—The monastery of Bassus was given by King Eadred, A.D. 949, to Christ's church, Canterbury, though it continued a monastery till A.D. 1020, the abbot's title being altered to that of dean. (Kilburne.) In a charter of Archb. Æthelnoth, dating between 1020 and 1038, we find mention of St. Mary's monastery at Reculver, as well as of its dean: " Sanctae Mariae Raculfensis monasterii—Guichardi decani eiusdem aecclesiae sanctae matris del." (Cod. Dipl. IV, 53.) Consult Eadred's charter. (Ib. II, 293, and V, 324.)—Lambarde asserts, that vestiges of K. Ethelbert's palace at Reculver existed in his time.
269. Ringwold.—Kingsdowne in Ringwold is reported to have been once a separate parish. (Harris.)
270. Ripple.—The arch over the south door of this church is circular. A document of A.D. 1287 mentions a chapel in Ripple cemetery, called the Charner, of which no vestiges remain to show whether it was attached to the church, or an unconnected erection in the churchyard. (Hasted.)
271. Rochester.—Of this place it is said that "The city of Rochester was worth an hundred shillings in the time of K. Edward. When the bishop received it the same. Its value is now twenty pounds, but the tenant pays forty pounds: Civitas Rovecestre T. R. E. valebat c solidos; quando episcopus recepit similiter; modo valet xx libras, tamen ille qui tenet reddit xl libras." (D.B. 2, p. 1, c. 1.) Bede styles this place "civitas Dorubrevis," stating (Hist. Eccl., 1. 2, c. 3), that it obtained from the English the name of Hrofæcæstræ from a former chief, called Hrof. He says (Ib.) that the church of St. Andrew (the cathedral) was built by K. Ethelbert, about A.D. 604, who also procured much endowment for both this church and that of Canterbury, as well as for the bishops. (Reg. Roff.) enumerates many benefactions to the church of Rochester in Saxon times; "ante adventum Normannorum."—Another statement is, that the first Christian church here was begun about A.D. 600, and completed four years afterwards : that it was made episcopal by K. Æthelbert; that Gundulph, bishop of Rochester in 1077, ejected the secular canons, who were the original owners of the priory, and replaced them with Benedictine monks; that he rebuilt and enlarged the priory; and recovered from Odo, bishop of Bayeux, sundry manors and estates, which had been unjustly alienated from the cathedral establishment. (Monast. I, 153, 155.)
In A.D. 1264, during the wars between K. Henry III and his barons, this city was besieged by Montfort, Earl of Leicester, when the church was plundered and defaced, many of the monks were murdered, and the church was converted into a stable. (Monast. I, 156.) Thus we perceive, that the discreditable conduct of the parliamentarian forces during the Great Rebellion was not the first and only instance of such proceedings in this country.
The priory was erected in 1077 by Bp. Gundulph (Lambarde), who rebuilt the cathedral and priory about 1080. (Kilburne.) These two statements must refer to the same act of Bp. Gundulph, and imply merely a renovation of the priory, as well as of the cathedral.
St. Nicholas, although a parish (so early as 1070, Hasted) was long without a church, having only analtar in the cathedral; but A.D. 1418 Bp. Rich. Yong gave license to build a church "in cimiterio dicte ecclesie nostre in parte boreali—in the cemetery of our said church on the northern side" (of the cathedral, where the church of St. Nicholas now stands) the same to be "rectoria in perpetuum—non vicaria—a rectory for ever, not a vicarage;" which was accomplished after some opposition from the monks of the priory. (Reg. Roff., 560.) In the same collection (528) St. Nicholas is thus coupled with St. Margaret. "Altare Sancti Nicolai" (in the cathedral) "quod est parochiale cum ecclesia Sancte Margarete, que sicut capella ad predictum altare pertinere dinoscitur. The altar of St. Nicholas, which is parochial, with the church of St. Margaret, which as a chapel is known to belong to the said altar." The first church (of St. Nicholas) was consecrated 18 December, 1423; being ruinous in 1620, it was taken down, and the present structure was consecrated 24 September, 1624. Beside those now standing (namely, St. Nicholas and St. Margaret) two other churches are mentioned in this town. St. Clement's (which appears in Val. Eccl.) now desecrated and destroyed, but vestiges are spoken of as then existing in Horse wash, formerly St. Clement's, Lane. The last rector died in February, 1528. St. Mary's parish was situated without the east gate of the city. The church existed A.D. 850. (Reg. Roif. 23.) When it was desecrated is not known. (Hasted.) St. Mary's church is thus noticed in a charter of Ætheluulf, king of the West Saxons, dated as above. "In orientali plaga extra murum civitatis Hroffi, in meridia parte, quod multum notum est, et in ilia terra est aecclesia dedicata in honore Sanctae Mariae uirginis." (Cod. Dipl. II, 36.)—Eastgate hospital in this town was founded by Simon Potyn, A.D. 1316. (Monast. VI, 764.) A chantry at the bridge (that is, not upon the bridge, but at the eastern end, abutting on, or part of, the Crown Inn) was founded A.D. 1393 to be called "Allesolven" (All Souls) " chapell." (Reg. Roff. 555.) (Val. Eccl.) names the "Cantaria pontis Roffensis."
The following list of churches is copied from Hearne's Textus Roffensis, 228 to 231. No date is annexed, but the document next but one before it, signed by King Henry I, belongs to the year 1103 (224 to 227); and the third deed following, the others having no date, is marked A.D. 1143; so that, if, which appears to have been the intention of Hearne, the extracts are arranged with some regard to chronological order, the list must have been compiled in the first half of the twelfth century. However the arrangement is not strictly chronological, because at 208 there is a deed of A.D. 1145. It will be perceived, that a few of the names cannot be identified, though the remainder may be recognised with tolerable certainty. It must also be remarked, that, in addition to several churches which are known to have been destroyed, some chapels are mentioned, of the existence of which we have, so far as I am aware, no other record. In reading the names it must be remembered, that in ancient writings u and v are frequently convertible letters, and that, in the middle of words, the w is often represented by, as we name the letter, double u.
"De numero ecclesiarum Rofensis episcopatus, et de redditibus," &c.
"Tonebrigga," Tonbridge; "Barindena, Ealdinga, marginal note, Beansteda," Yalding, and Bensted in the parish of Hunton; "Leaga, marg. note, Bitteberga," Leigh and Bidborough; "Braencesle," Brenchley; "Horsbundenne," Horsmonden; "Theudelei," Tudely; " Lamburherste," the same; "Peppingeberia," Pembury; " Speldherste," the same; " Wotringaberia," Watringbury; " Eastpecham," the same; "Westpecham" the same; " East Eearnlega, m. n., Liluitana capella Anfridi," East Earleigh, and perhaps Linton; "Beccheham," Beckenham; "Trottescliui," Trottescliffe ; "Ciselherste," Chesilhurst; "Cudena," Cowden; " Æischerste," Ashurst; "Ailesford, m. n., Cusintuna," Aylesford and Cosington; "Berlingis, m. n., Psedleswrtha," Birling and Paddlesworth; "Meallingis," East Mailing; "Codeham," Cudhani; " Reiersce," Ryarsh; "Offeham," the same; "Dictuna," Ditton; "Huntintune," Hunton; "Netlesteda," Nettlested; "Burcham," Burham; "Wldeham," Woldham; "Sancta Margarita, m. n., Hescindena," St. Margaret's, Rochester, and Nashenden; "Csettham," Chatham; "Sanctus Clemens," in Rochester, now destroyed; "Cuclestena," Cuxton; "Hallingis," Hailing; "Snodilande," Snodland; "Wroteham, m. n., Stanteda," Wrotham and Stansted; "Meapeham," Meopham; "Pennesherst," the same; "Ehteham," Ightham; "Eadintuna," Addington; "Lisna," Lesnes, or Erith; "Leueseham," Lewisham; "Erde vel Earhethe," Crayford; " Wilmentuna," Wilmington; "Lullingestuna, m. n., vel Lullingestan," the same; "Le," Lee; "Maeuurtha," Mereworth; "Westerham," the same; "Watlande," Woodland; "Ciuilinga," Kingsdown? or Keston?; "Æinesford," Eynsford; "Cimisinga," Kemsing; "Wicham," the same; "Bradesteda," Brasted; "Færningeham," Earningham; "Hæselholte," Nockholt?; "Readlega," Ridley; "Æisce," Ash; "Herdei," Hartley; "Sunderersee," Sundridge; "Mapeldreskampe," Maplescombe in Kingsdown; "Heure," Hever; "Scorham," Shoreham; "Hludesdune," Ludsdown; "Otteford," the same; "Rokesle," the same; "Leleburna," Leybourne; "Culinga," Cowling; "Iuelda," Ifield; "Cidingstone," Chiddingstone; "Terstana," Teston; "Æilentune," Allington; "Freondesbyri, m. n., Strodes," Frinsbury and Strood; "Lilecirce," Lillechurch or Higham; "Heahham," Higham (see the Note there); "Cobbeham," Cobham; "Scorene," Shorne; "m. n., Æslingham, Thorndun, Merestune," Eslingham in Frinsbury, Thornham, and Merston; "Halgesto," High Halstow; "Hnutstede," Nutsted; "Sancta Wereburh de Hou," Hoo; "Dereuuoldes treou, Ordmærescirce de Hou, Dodescirce," Dode or Dowde in Ludsdown; "Deremannescirce de Hou," this name and "Ordmærescirce de Hou" probably intend All Hallows and St. Mary's, but how to distinguish between them I know not; "Cliue, m. n., Westcliue." Cliffe, where see the Note; "Falkenham," Fawkham; "Denituna," Denton; "Meletuna," Milton; "Gravesænde," the same; "Eadelmesbrege," Edenbridge; "Stokes," the same; "Grean, the same, or St. James; "Cilesfeld, m. n., capella Fearnberga," Chelsfield and Farnborough; "Celca," Chalk; "Northcræi," the same; (a small hiatus); "Rodulfes cræi," another Cray; "Fotescræi," the same; "Northfleotes," Northfleet; "Suthfleotes," Southfleet; "Bixle," Bexley; "Suaneskampe, m. n., Gretenersce," Swanscombe and Greenhithe; "Haltesteda," Halsted; "Derente, m.n., Helle," Darent and Hilles; "Dertford," Dartford;" "Suthderente," South Darent; "Suthtuna," Sutton at Hone; "Stanes," Stone; "Orpintuna," Orpington; "Hortune," Horton Kirby; "Plumstede," the same; "Bromlega," Bromley; "Ælteham," Eltham; "Wicham," the same; "Cerlentune, m. n., Chitebroc, Comba," Charlton with Kidbroke and Combe; "Greneuuic, m. n., Grenic," Greenwich (see Note); "West Greneuuic," now Deptford; Wleuuic," Woolwich; "Gillingeham, m. n., Lidisinga," Gillingham and Lidsing; "Bearmlinges," Barming (a name lost); "Seouenaca," Sevenoaks; "Meallingetes, m. n., Sanctus Leonardus," West Mailing and St. Leonard's.
"Bitteberga, Chitebroc, Comba, Strodes, Capella de Hou," both Allhallows and St. Mary's were chapels to Hoo; "Halgelei," perhaps Hawley in Sutton at Hone, but I find no record of a chapel there; or it may signify the same as "Herdei" above, namely, Hartley; "Æslingham, West Cliue, Grenic, Stanstede, Lindisinge," Lidsing; "Mersctuna," Merston; "Lullingestana, Hescendena, Cusingtune, Cretenersce," Greenhithe; "Fearnberga; Lilintuna," Linton; "Bearmlingetes," West Barming or Barnjet; "Beantesteda," Bensted in Hunton; "Craie, Scriburna," Shipbourne; "Helle, Sanctus Leonardus, Sancta Maria de castello," that is, in the castle of Rochester.
Perhaps a collation with the original record would show, that some of the above names have been incorrectly reported, as the perfect accuracy of Hearne is questioned. See the "History of England under the Anglo-Saxon Kings," by Lappenberg translated by Benj. Thorpe, London, 1845, xxv. The preceding and subsequent Notes will render unnecessary farther observations upon the places mentioned.
There seems to be sufficient evidence of the existence of a castle at Rochester under the Saxon dynasty. In a list "De datoribus beneficiorum" (scil. ecclesiæ Roffensi) "ante adventum Normannorum," the first entry is "Ethelbertus rex" (who died in the beginning of the seventh century) "dedit terram, ubi castrum Rofense est—King Ethelbert gave the land, where Rochester castle stands." (Reg. Roff. 116.) This quotation by itself certainly proves nothing, and the (Text Roff.) reports the gift differently. But A.D. 765 Egbert, King of Kent, disposed of some land within the walls of the castle of Rochester. "Ego Ecbertus rex Cantiæ, &c.—trado terram intra castelli mœnia supra nominati, i.e., Hrofiscestri, unum viculum cum duobus jugeribus adjacentem plateæ, quæ terminus a meridie hujus terræ &c.—Actum anno Dominicæ incarnationis DCCLXV." (Reg. Roff. 16, and Cod. Dipl. I, 137, 138.) Again we find the castle, "castellum Hrobi," named by Etheluulf, King of the West Saxons and of Kent, A.D. 855. (Text. Roff. 102.) Also in a charter of Offa, King of Mercia, A.D. 788, granting Trottescliff, "Trottesclib," to the church of Rochester there is the expression, "episcopium castelli quod nominatur Hrofescester—the bishoprick of the castle called Rochester;" though possibly the term here may signify only that Rochester was a fortified city. (Cod. Dipl. I. 183.) That Rochester was fortified in Saxon times appears likewise from another charter of K. Offa, dated A.D. 789, which speaks of the "septentrionalem murum præfatæ civitatis," nempe "Hrofi,—the northern wall of the aforesaid city, namely Rochester." (Cod. Dipl. com. I, 186.) (Compare Poste's Observations quoted below.) But though Norman William might find a Saxon fortification here, it is not surprising, that, on so important a spot commanding the passage of the Medway, it should not satisfy his idea of the requisite strength. Accordingly (D.B.) states, see the Note on Aylesford, that he exchanged with the Bishop of Rochester a portion of the royal manor of Aylesford for some land belonging to the bishop, which, adjoining apparently to the Saxon castle, was necessary to afford space for the Norm. additions. However, while K. William I. commenced, or perhaps only designed, the enlargement of Rochester castle, it was not completed till subsequently; because documents are preserved, which show, that, in consideration of the manor of Hedenham, Bucks, being granted to the church of Rochester, Gundulph, bp. of the diocese, covenanted to erect the castle of stone at his own expense for K. William, son of K. William. (Text. Roff. 144, &c.)
The cellars of the Crown and George Inns in this town are examples of ancient vaulting, which however, from their darkness, the effects of damp, and the use to which they are appropriated, it is not easy to examine accurately. The former seems to be the oldest, though it is the least ornamented of the two, and not carried to any great depth. The cellar of the George is very deep, of considerable length, has both transverse and diagonal ribs, and the bosses and corbels are elaborately carved. There are clear marks of windows, and some frames as if intended for doors, but I much doubt their being (at least some of them) more than shams. Both cellars are popularly supposed to have been churches, but can hardly have been designed for other than their present use. That of the George runs nearly north and south, beside which the existing trap doorway, through which casks are let down from the street, appears to be coeval with the remainder of the structure.—The Journal of the Brit. Archæological Association, No. 13, 30–37, contains some "Observations on the ancient city walls of Rochester," with a notice of the portions yet remaining, by the Rev. Beale Poste.
272. Rodmersham.—This church consists of chancel, nave with north and south aisles, the latter having a chancel co-extensive with the principal one, western tower, and south porch. The chancel seems to be Norm. from the frames of two small semicircular-headed windows yet visible. Perhaps there was a third above and between them, as at Bapchild, in the space now occupied by a large Dec. window. The rest of the church is of different, later, dates, comprising some few Dec., and other Perp., windows, those of the north side being late Perp. The tower is a good specimen of plain flint-work, apparently Perp., but contains a rather large Dec. window, which may be a re-insertion. The windows retain many small portions of coloured glass, one border, yellow, of vines greatly resembling some of the carving belonging to or near the rood screen. The font is a plain block of stone, first squared, then rendered octangular by chamferring the corners till towards the base. The sedilia are of wood, with a canopy, the back being a screen between the two chancels; which screen is a good specimen of carved wood work, and in very fair preservation. The commandments &c. on panelling are supported by what seems to have been the beam of the rood-loft, which still possesses its gilding. In the partitions among the pews are some fragments of the rood-screen, much carved. In the south wall of the south chancel are two pointed arches resting on pillars, of which the capitals are of Norm., or Tr. Norm., character, most probably replaced there from older work, as the chancel generally appears of much later date.
273. Rokesley.—This church is mentioned (in A.D. 1291) separately from any other, and it appears thus likewise (in Val. Eccl.); but the name is now lost officially.—The church was suppressed, and the parish united to North Cray by the authority of Card. Pole, Archb. of Canterbury, A.D. 1557, when the materials were directed to be sold for the benefit of the parish of North Cray. (Reg. Roff. 588.) Toward the end of the last century it was said, "The church is still entire," though "converted into a barn," which was "called Chapel Barn, to distinguish it from others in the same yard." In the chancel "still remain" two stalls (sedilia ?) with " mitred" (ogée?) "arches" and a piscina. Yet in the instrument of union with North Cray in 1557 the belfry, walls, and roof were declared to be dilapidated, and in a falling condition; on which account permission was granted even to laymen to sell all the materials of the building, the same being enumerated in the deed. (Cust. Roff.) Rokesley may be recognised in the modern name Ruxley.
274. Rolvenden.—A church of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, with chancels, or chapels, wider than the aisles, south porch (now used as a vestry) and square west tower with battlements and stair turret. There are E. E., Dec., Perp., late Perp., and modern, portions. The font is Dec. The south chancel contains an ogée-headed piscina. Within recollection the approach to the roodloft from an outside door in the south wall by stairs through the wall remained open, and the upper doorway still exists. Some of the faces of the piers and capitals of the chancel arch are concave. The north and south entrances are now closed. Like some other churches of the district the outside walls are coated with "rough-cast."—"At Forsham (in this parish) are the ruines of an antient stone structure, of the shape of a little chappel: and supposed so to have been, to an antient seat, near thereunto (called Forsham) long since dilapidated; but the scite thereof, and how the same was moted, is yet visible" (Kilburne.) By some these ruins are imagined to be those of a fort. (Hasted.) Traces of buildings at Forsham are, it appears, still perceptible. (Hist. of Romney Marsh, 84.) Mr. Holloway mentions also Lowden, otherwise called Little Maytham, castle in this parish, situated opposite the Castle Toll in Newenden to the north, (ut sup).
275. Romney, Old.—Brass: John Ips and wife. (Hasted.)
276. Romney, New.—"Ecclia de Nova Romeney cum capellis Sancti Laurencii et Sancti Martini in eadem villa." (Val. Eccl.) "Here were antiently five churches, called St. Laurence, St. Martin, St. John Baptist, one other whose name I find not, and St. Nicholas;" which last, the only one now standing, is the parish church. A priory (a cell to the foreign abbey of Pontiniac, Hasted) was founded here by Sir John Mansell, A.D. 1257, and suppressed 2 of K. Henry V. There was also a hospital. The harbour was destroyed about the fifteenth year of K. Edward I. (Kilburne.)—The nameless church above was called St. Michael, being "mentioned in a will the beginning of K. Henry VIII;" St. Laurence, St. Martin, and St. John in a will 25 of K. Henry VIII: "but before the end of that reign they seem to have been all disused.—Besides the churchyard adjoining to St. Nicholas church there are five others belonging to it." (He must mean five churchyards including that of St. Nicholas.) The vicars of St. Nicholas are styled "vicars of New Romney" without any distinction from 1458 downwards; therefore the other churches were always subordinate in some manner. (Hasted.) (Note the quotation from Val. Eccl. above.) The hospital was for lepers, founded by Adam de Cherryng temp. Archb. Baldwin (about the end of K. Henry II. Hasted.) It was re-established A.D. 1363 by John Frauncys of Romney, and annexed to St. Mary Magdalen College in Oxford A.D. 1481. Hasted says part was still standing at the east end of the town. (Monast. VI, 640.) According to Tanner (Ib. VI, 1047), the priory above noticed was a cell to the foreign abbey of Pountney, which name may, not improbably, be correctly rendered Pontiniac by Hasted.—The pillars of the church are "very large, with circular arches, and Saxon (Norm.) ornaments." The tower, at the west end, has "several ranges of small circular arches on the sides, and at the bottom is a circular arch over a doorway with zigzag ornaments." Brass: Thomas Lambarde, 1514. (Hasted.)—The floor of the church is greatly below the level of the ground on the outside.
277. Rucking.—This church has two Norm, doors. (Hasted.)
- I am aware, that the forgery of some professed Saxon documents casts suspicion upon such authorities. If those quoted are all fictitious, the argument built upon them falls to the ground; but if one or two only are genuine, they will suffice for my purpose, namely, to furnish presumptive evidence at the least for the fact supposed. The charter of Ecgberht is deemed by Mr. Kemble to be decidedly genuine, which is his opinion also with regard to that of "Etheluulf." (Cod. Dipl. II, 57.)
- There are indeed existing remains of a Norm. military building at Aylesford, which might possibly be intended by the notice above alluded to, but, from consideration of the entire passage and the manner in which it is introduced, I conceive it can only signify Rochester Castle.