Welcome to the Old Parish of Nonington in East Kent

Nonington, often spelt Nonnington, is a rural parish in East Kent. It lies some two miles or so to the north-east of the A2 approximately mid-way between Dover and Canterbury. Sandwich is some seven miles to the north-east and Deal is about ten miles or so to the east. The old parish measured roughly three miles by three miles, some 4,000 acres in all, but was divided into the separate parishes of Nonington and Aylesham in 1951. This website is mainly concerned with the original parish before its division, and with events in what became the present parish of Nonington after the division.
The origins and history of Snowdown Colliery and the mining village of Aylesham and its people are well recorded on other websites and is therefore not covered  in any great detail by this website at present.

To visit Nonington’s historical places please use the Google Earth map below and  see how they look to-day.


The origins of the old Parish of Nonington

The old parish of Nonington was some three miles across in each direction with St. Mary’s Church roughly at its centre with the hamlet of Nonington proper surrounding the church. A survey made for Archbishop Lanfranc in the early 1070’s refers to “Nunningitun” church as a subsidiary of “the mother church” at Wingham, this appears to be the earliest reference to Nonington.   The settlement evolved on a cross-roads formed by a direct route to Christ Church in Canterbury via Ratling, Adisham, Bekesbourne and St. Martin’s Hill, and the road from Chillenden and Rolling through Nonington to  Womenswold and beyond.

The parish church probably has its origins in an estate known as Oeswalum.  From the 780’s the estate was owned by the Abbess of Minster and Suthminster Abbeys but by the 820’s  the ownership of Oeswalum was disputed between Abbess Cwoenthryth,  the daughter of Coenwulf, the king of Mercia and Archbishop Wulfred  of Canterbury The dispute was settled in Wulfred’s favour and after Wulfred’s death Oeswalum was inherited by his kinsman, Werhard, who in turn left it to Christ Church Abbey in Canterbury and Oeswalum subsequently absorbed into the Manor of Wingham which was held directly by the Archbishops of Canterbury.

Some three quarters of a mile to the north-east of the church along the old way to Chillenden was the small estate of Monkton, the Monks farm, part of the Manor of Adisham given to Christ Church in Canterbury in 616 and now called Gooseberry Hall farm.

Monkton also stands on a cross-roads, this one formed by the old roughly south to north Nonington to Chillenden way and an ancient roughly west to east track-way or “pilgrim’s road” running from Canterbury through Bekesbourne, Bossingham, near Adisham, through the present Goodnestone Park and then along the present Cherry Garden Lane on the north-eastern boundary of Nonington parish and on towards Eythorne and beyond.

It’s therefore very possible that the appellations of Nunningitun and Monkton evolved to differentiate between the land held by “the Nuns” of Suthminster and “ the Monks” of Christ Church.

The Chapel of Nunningitun was a chapel of ease of its mother church at Wingham and recorded as such in a list of parish churches compiled for Archbishop Lanfranc soon after his appointment in 1070. It stood on land belonging to the Manor of Wingham which in turn was part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s holdings.

Nonington was one of four parishes created from the formation in 1282 of the College of Wingham from the Manor of Wingham by Archbishop Pecham.  ‘The Chronicles of Wingham’ by Arthur Husseygive the following description of the College’s origins. “On August 2nd 1282 Archbishop John Peckham founded the College of Wingham, a college of secular canons consisting of a provost and six canons, divided into four parishes as follows: Wingham; Esse (Ash); Godwyneston (Goodnestone) with the hamlets of Bonnington, Offington (Uffington in Goodnestone parish), Rolling, Newenham, underdone together with parts of Tuicham (Twitham) and Chileden (Chillenden) and, lastly, the church of Nonington with the chapel of Wymelingewelde (Womenswold) and the hamlets of Rittlynge (Ratling), Freydeville (Fredville), Hesol (Easole), Suthnonington (South Nonington),Hakeholt (Ackholt), Catehampton (Kittington), Attedane (possibly Denne Hill, now part of Womenswold and Kingston parishes), Wolshethe (Woollege, now part of Womenswold parish), and Vike (Wick, also now part of Womenswold)‘some of which have been fixed in well proportioned parts, which vicars are so far held without hindrance’”.

On June 7th, 1290, King Edward I gave his consent to the formation of the College. The six canonries were: Bonnington, Chilton, Pedding, Ratling, Twitham, and Wymlingswold (Womenswold), “so named after the places of their endowment”.
Womenswold was originally administered jointly with Nonington and only became separated in the 1850’s.

Until its division into the present parishes of Aylesham and Nonington  in 1951 the old parish of Nonington consisted of the hamlets of Ackholt, Holt Street, Frogham, Easole Street, Nonington proper [the hamlet around the church], and Ratling along with the once manorial farmsteads of  Soles Court, Kittington, Curleswood Park,  and Old Court.

For information from the parish register on births, deaths & marriages, and census records go to:

Transcriptions of  documents relating to Nonington  from the 16th century onwards can be found at:

I hope the content will be both informative and of interest to visitors, and I look forward to reading your comments. Any information on Nonington past will be gratefully received, and in return I am willing to pass on any information I have and also post links with any other relevant sites or blogs.

Email contact: contact@reddlyoncurios.co.uk


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  • Dan Clark

    Hi Clive. I wondered whether you had any information and/or photographs of White House Farm Court. We live in the middle of the old barn (opposite the village hall). Thanks again for all of your hard work on this website.

  • admin

    The game-keeper you’re referring to passed away a couple of years ago. The best person to speak to is the estate owner, Mr. John Plumptre of Little Fredville, Frogham, CT15 4JF.

  • Benjamin Thomson

    Hi there, I am trying to get in contact with Fredville Park to seek permission to photograph the fantastic Majesty Oak. I understand I may need to speak to the gamekeeper about this? I would really appreciate any clues you could give me as to how to contact this person.

    Many thanks, Ben

  • admin

    Denise, I don’t think there are any records as to grave plots as in small graveyards the ground was constantly re-used. The reason they bought the new burial ground across the road was because the one around the church was literally full. There are some headstones standing against the churchyard wall from re-used graves. It’s possible that they had wooden grave markers, in which case there will unfortunately be nothing left to see. I think you will have to physically check head stones. However, both grave yards are fairly small. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

  • Denise Evans Skinner

    Hi Clive,
    Many thanks. Do you know if there is anyone at the Church who I can email to check the records to see if they are buried in the church graveyard? Kind regards,

  • admin

    Denise, if they were buried before the mid-1870’s any graves would be in the graveyard around the church. After that date they would have been buried in the new graveyard across the road.

  • Denise Evans

    Hi Clive. I hope you are well. I am planning to visit Nonington this year and would be grateful if you could inform me on how I can find the location of my ancestors graves who were buried at Nonington Church. They were the Folwells who lived on Butter street. Kind regards, Denise.

  • admin

    They were built by the Canadian armoured regiments stationed in the area during WW2. All the road corners were made up with concrete so the tanks did not rip them up. If you look at the corners you can still see the joints, they are still the best bits of road around.

  • Geoff Pinfold

    What do you know about the concrete road,and concrete raised area,on St Albans Downs?I was told its from WW2,but for what purpose?

  • Dan

    Thanks so much for such a detailed response! I’m pleased to finally know what the building was used for.

  • admin

    Thanks for the message, Bob. All is well with me. The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon(Latin: Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici), better known as the Knights Templar, were founded around 1129 and became the most prominent and wealthiest of the crusading Christian military orders. The Templars were disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312 and their vast wealth and land-holdings were re-distributed by the various European rulers. Therefore, the Templars came into possession of the land at Denne Hill and/or the revenues from the land after 1129 and before 1312. The only info I have on the Templars is at http://www.nonington.org.uk/the-old-manors-of-nonington/the-knights-templar-and-knights-of-st-john/, this may be of use to you.
    Good hunting with your family history,
    Clive Webb.

  • Bob Stupple

    Clive Webb, I have come back from Australia for just a few weeks.
    Visited Womenswold, Barham, and Kingston trying to find any
    connection to Stupple families.
    Denne Hill seems to be a connection, but I have no proof.
    The old house there apparently was destroyed by fire, but I
    did visit the area on Saturday, there was a horse event starting.
    Can anyone tell me about the Knights Templar and when they
    owned Denne Hill?
    I am completing a Pictorial on Reynella, then I will concentrate
    on my family history.
    Trust all is good with you
    Best wishes
    Bob Stupple

  • admin

    Dan, thank you for your kind remarks regarding the website. It can take up a lot of time, and I usually do most of the work on it when the weather is bad, mostly during the winter. The building is known as “The Church Room”, and was built in the early 1900’s in memory of one of the Plumptre family who was a missionary and was for the use of St Mary’s church as a church hall. There was a plaque to this effect inside the hall but I forget the exact details as I haven’t been in there since the mid-1980’s. In the 1930’s a boxing club met there, my uncle John Webb was a member and apparently quite a useful boxer. I can remember it being used in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s by the church for meetings of “Discoverers”, a C of E childrens organisation. However, I didn’t go as I attended the Baptist chapel and inter-denominational integration was then a thing of the future. It also served as the K.C.C. village library until at least the late 1970’s. It was open for a couple of hours one afternoon {Monday, I think} a week, and the books being changed at regular intervals from the library van. I used to go every week when I was at primary school and during the holidays when I went to secondary school. It then became little used, mainly because it had no toilets or running water, and gradually fell into disrepair. Since the early 1990’s it has been used by a model railway club.

  • Dan

    Such an excellent website and a great resource for anyone with an interest in the history of the village and surrounding area! Thanks so much for the time and effort it must take to research and curate this website.

    I wondered whether you had any information on the use/purpose of the small detached building on Holt Street (heading west), just after the cricket ground on the left. It has shutters on all of it’s windows, but I occasionally see a number of cars parked there.

  • admin

    Thanks for the message, Freddie. You could try contacting the Clerk to the Parish Council http://www.nonington.com/parish-council/
    I knew Alan virtually from when I was born through Nonington Cricket Club. Alan and my father both played cricket for the club into the 1970’s. My paternal grand-father, Frank Webb, used to go poaching rabbits with George and one or two of his brothers in the early 1900’s when George’s family lived in Easole Cottage in Mill Lane. A couple of the Beer brothers were caught by the game-keeper one night in or near Iron Fence Wood, which was on Fredville land, but my grand-father was on the bridle-way which runs up the side of the wood with the long nets so nothing could really be done about it other than their being warned about poaching in the future.

  • freddie beer

    good morning
    My grandfather was George Henry Beer and was the last full time Blacksmith at Nonington Forge. It seems there is no recognition of this in the village and the site next to Nonington Church has block paving on the ground where the Forge used to be situated and My mother and I wondered who we could contact to place a brass plaque there to commemorate George Henry and his two sons, Alf and Alan. Incidentally, the youngest son, Alan William played for the village cricket team regularly.

    Freddie Beer

  • Bob Stupple

    Clive Webb, in regard to the earlier info on indenture 1552 by Dr Hardman( William Stupple of Nonington)
    would you know where that original/copy of would be.
    They have suggested Kent history Library Maidstone.
    Do you have any thoughts as to where it may be held please.

  • admin

    Bob, Laddy is not an old Kent dialect word for youth. Laddy’s could also mean ladders, which were then far more important in agriculture than they are now, the old Kent dialect word for ladder is lather [said with long a=larther]. It could be an alternative spelling, spelling varies a great deal in documents of this period. Words were written as they sounded to the writer, and Kent dialect then sounded vowels much differently to to-day, ee was pronounced as i [sheep=ship], i was ee [mice=meese], a was said as ah [so laddy would have been said lahddy]. The same with consonants, th was said as d,[those=dose, then=den] The problem with the documents I have is that they are copies and some of the transcription and dating is inaccurate, I have found several inconsistencies in the transcriptions.
    As far as I know there are no paths or lanes that have a name resembling Laddy, and I’ve not seen one on older maps, but names do change from generation to generation.
    I think it means a place where ladders were made, so it would most likely have been close to a wood, possibly Broadsole Wood [now Frogham Wood] at the end of Frogham Street.

  • Bob Stupple

    Clive, not sure if you can help.
    According to my research, and reading into the early material you supplied,
    William Stupple(Stupell) gave land for a walk way called Laddy,s Tome or Lane.(youths walk).
    in your research is their a lane south of Nonington towards Frogham and Fredville ?
    I have become entrenched into this history, thanks to your kind help.
    Regards….Bob Stupple

  • admin

    Nice result, Bob. Unfortunately the Womenswold [also Wimlingswold] parish records have not been put on line so it’s not easy to access Births ect., also you could try researching Kingston and Barham parishes which are next door to Womenswold as I believe Denne Hill is [or was] mainly in Kingston parish.

  • Bob Stupple

    Clive Webb, have purchased document from E bay, received it in mail yesterday in Adelaide.
    Excellent condition, and original.
    Many thanks for the tip off.
    Very interested in Womanswold now, to find where John Stupple farmed, and how long
    the farm was retained by the Stupple family and how early they came to Womanswold.
    Any additional help from over there would be much appreciated
    Bob Stupple

  • Bob Stupple

    Clive Webb, have purchased document from E bay, received it in mail yesterday in Adelaide.
    Excellent condition, and original.
    Many thanks for the tip off.
    Very interested in Womanswold now, to find where John Stupple farmed, and how long
    the farm was retained by the Stupple family and how early they came to Womanswold.
    Any additional help from over there would be much appreciated
    Bob Stupple

  • Bob Stupple

    To Dave Walker
    Just found your info on Adelaide immigrants 1849 very interesting.
    I recently published a book on the Pioneers of Reynella.
    This is stories of pioneers and their families who came to Adelaide from 1838-

    Bob Stupple

  • admin

    I found the info in the Nonington Parish Vestry minute books. I think the emigration was arranged on a parish by parish basis. If you could find which parish your ancestor came from there may be some record there.
    There are some online resources such as http://www.familyhistorysa.info/shipping/ which may also help. I’m sorry I can’t help more. Good luck with your search.

  • dave walker

    i just came upon your website and read about the emigration of poor parishioners to Adelaide in 1849. It fits with my relative, William Terry Pettit traveling to Australia where he is listed in a later uk census record as a retired Australian sheep farmer. Are there any records detailing who was granted permission to emigrate to Adelaide in 1849


    Dave Walker

  • john Hansell

    I’ve emailed you some stuff on the College which might be worth starting a section on in your web site. I’ve sent your link on to 50 odd (some very odd) ex student email addresses and they may well start communication with you, as some have commented that we have already found things out about the village that they were not aware of. Some of the replies I have got back already are cut and pasted below.

    See from Fatty Ross:

    Good grief ……
    How the hell did you find that about Nonington !
    I wish I had paid more attention to the village and less on drinking and other things

  • admin

    Nonington was a very happy ans social team back then, I remember several Nonington students playing for the club.
    I occasionally see old students [in both senses of the word] who stayed on in the east Kent area. It was a crime what happened with the old college estate, money and resources squandered. One of the reasons given for the change of use and eventual closure being that there was no demand for PE teachers because of a declining birthrate-that was a false premise at the time and present circumstances show just how cynically short-sighted national and local “politicians” were at the time cutting back on the number of PE teachers and also selling off school and community sports facilities. These same “politicians” and their successors now bleat from the back of the public health bandwagon that the nation’s children are now becoming obese!
    My email address is oldnonnington@btinternet.com

  • john Hansell

    Thanks for the speedy reply. I remember Ron well. He always had a smile on his face. Actually so did most of the Nonington team. I had lots of fun playing for the village. I still remember Norman’s car number plate started WKT which, for someone who followed cricket, we found very appropriate.

    You might like to know that we ex Nonington students still meet up every year for a reunion. We never forget the three years we had at the College, and we spend most of our time talking about them. What a wonderfuil place it was. If you send me your email address I can send you a recent newsletter if you’re interested

  • admin

    Thanks for the message, John. I can remember watching you play cricket for Nonington, my father was Ron Webb, the club secretary. Norman really was a great bloke-characters like him are sadly missed in present day village life, and cricket. He played for the enjoyment to be had on and off the pitch before, during, and after the game, not to win.

  • john Hansell

    I was at Nonington College from 1967 to 1970, so I remember Norman Garlinge very well, as I used to play cricket for the village when I had free time, and Norman used to buy my pints every time I got 50 for them. Thankfully he bought me a lot. He used to drive an A35 which was totally inappropriate for a big bloke like him.

    Norman was a lovely bloke, typical village sort who got on very well with the students because he mixed in and liked a drink or three.

    Hope this helps, maybe it doesn’t – but I have fond memories of being with him.

  • Steve Baldock

    There used to be a useful area for the GARLING(E) family of Nonington on this website. Has this now moved?
    (I have GARLINGE ancestry and it filled in a lot of holes!!)


    Steve Baldock

  • admin

    Kerry:-Many thanks for contacting me. I think your best bet regarding the book is to contact Dover Museum at http://www.dovermuseum.co.uk/Home.aspx. There used to be an branch of the county archive at Whitfield, just outside of Dover, but this has been closed and its contents moved to Maidstone. This is some 35 miles away but it was done to improve the service to local people. Canterbury Cathedral archives at http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/conservation/archives/ would also be another good contact, they hold the Nonington parish records. I would also be grateful for a copy as I often have people contact me regarding ancestors who lived in Nonington, and I have very little info on parish genealogy. I’d also be interested in any info. re: The Royal Oak, I had no idea there was one in Victoria named after Nonington’s Royal Oak. Is it still open? Please contact me on oldnonnington@btinternet.com and we can discuss things further.

  • Kerry Baird

    Hi Clive

    I am trying to contact someone who I can send a family history to..relates to the Ellen and Holloway families of Nonington and Eythorne. Two of Sarah Holloway’s (nee Ellen) children and three cousins settled in Victoria Australia. Where they ran a pub also called “The Royal Oak” after Nonington’s pub. I want to send more than one book so it can be used as a resource by locals.

  • admin

    There are two barrows close to the road, the closest has had a “corner” cut off by the road. These two may have survived because they were in a shave close to the road, I think the ploughed out one was out in the field. Apparently there is a lot of evidence of settlement out in the field which shows up on aerial photos and I have been told that quite a lot of coins have been found there some of which pre-date the Roman occupation. The early OS map in my 3 Barrows post shows a stone “cistern” out on the field just above the ‘O’ in down, but what period of occupation it is connected to I don’t know.
    A lot of barrows seem to have disappeared in the mid-to late 1800’s when heavy steam traction engines droving ploughs became common allowing easier and deeper ploughing of large areas and the barrows probably got in the way and were flattened to allow easier ploughing, there are several barrows in Nonington where this seems to have happened. The ones in woodland seem to have survived. In the case of Golgotha it could be connected to the building of the light railway out to Eastry.

  • Steven Durbidge

    Thanks very much for the extract/text concerning Three Barrows Down. I rather assumed they hadn’t been dug up by the Rev Faussett because they still exist (at least two of them do – I understand one was ploughed-out). Where Faussett excavated at Golgotha in Shepherdswell, there is no sign of any barrows now. unfortunately.


  • admin

    Steve, I’ve just found this. It’s in Charles Roach Smith’s book “Inventorium Sepulchrale” published in 1856-it may be of interest-read from Sibertswold Down onwards, it obviously refers to Three Barrow Downs.

  • admin

    Steve, thanks for the comment. I believe there was some excavation of the barrows by a Kent parson, I think it was the Reverend Bryan Faussett, in the late 18th or early 19th century, and a filled in shaft on the mound nearest the North Downs Way [known locally as The Roman Road, on various OS maps as Long Lane] is still visible, and that some more recent investigation has been done, but that’s it. I think there has also been some excavations by ‘treasure hunters’ in the distant pass. I do remember reading something years ago about some items being discovered such as bone fragments and grave goods but I can’t remember where I read it. The barrows give their name to Ruberry (Rowbergh, Rowberry ect) Downs and Wood [probably from ruh beorg-rough mound].
    Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • Steve Durbidge

    Clive, I wonder if you have any information on the history of Three Barrows Down – the tumuli that form the junction of Nonington, Shepherdswell and Womenswold Parishes?

    Full marks on your well researched history!


  • admin

    Greg, thanks for the comments, it makes it worthwhile doing the site when people appreciate it. There were Kingsfords at Holt Street Farm in the 1670’s- details on http://www.nonington.org.uk/?page_id=1076 -I believe they were either lawyers or merchants from Canterbury and were involved in buying and selling land in Nonington in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s,and one of the girls married into the Hammond family of St. Alban’s Court in 1692 and bought a nice hefty dowry into the Hammonds which was much needed.
    For details of parish records and cencus details look on
    the Kent Online Parish Clerks, Nonington-unfortunately I can’t get a link to work so you’ll have to Google it-there are some Kingfords in there in the parish registers in the 1600’s.
    If you email me on oldnonnington@btinternet.com I’ll send you what info I have as Word docs.
    Clive Webb.

  • Greg Kingsford

    Agree with Robert outstanding website, one of the best I have found in my family research!! Maps are fascinating to look at wish I had those when I visited there on my last trip. Unfortunately I only know my Kingsford family lived in Holt or Eashole Street but no idea where in the mid 1800’s. Most appreciative if you hear any thing of the Kingsford family. Once again great work and fascinating website.
    Greg Kingsford, Melbourne, Australia

  • admin

    Bob, thanks for the post. I think it is William Stupple of Dene (now Denne Hill), an estate and house in the parish of Kingston. Look in Hasted for some detail’s. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63573&strquery=kingston
    A William Stupple was buried at Nonington 2nd June, 1557, presumably the same.You could try looking in Kingston parish records as it’s a large parish and Stupples appears to be a fairly common name in the area records.
    If I do find any more info. I’ll let you know.

  • Robert stupple

    Clive an excellent history, completely fasinating.
    I have not found any further about the Stupple families of Nonington.
    If you come across any further i would very much appreciate it
    kind regards Robert Stupple William Stupple of Nonington 1550

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