The Old Parish of Nonington

A small place in East Kent history

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:
http://www.kent-opc.org/Parishes/Nonington.html

Transcriptions of  documents relating to Nonington  from the 16th century onwards can be found at:
http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/01/NON/00.htm

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

This website is self-funded and receives no financial assistance from any other sources. Any donations to help with the running of this website will be gratefully received. Donations can be gifted  by Paypal to:   contact@reddlyoncurios.co.uk

 

20 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. dave walker

    Hi,
    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

    Thanks

    Dave Walker

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. It’s off line at the moment-I’ve been revising it. I can e-mail you what I’ve done so far if you wish.

  9. 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!!)

    Regards

    Steve Baldock

  10. 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.
    Regards,
    Clive

  11. 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.

  12. 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.
    Regards,
    Clive.

  13. 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.

    Steve

  14. 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.
    http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/bryan-faussett/inventorium-sepulchrale-an-account-of-some-antiquities-dug-up-at-gilton-kingst-sua/page-17-inventorium-sepulchrale-an-account-of-some-antiquities-dug-up-at-gilton-kingst-sua.shtml
    Regards,
    Clive.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    Steve

  17. 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.
    Regards,
    Clive Webb.

  18. 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

  19. 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.
    Regards,
    Clive

  20. 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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