Nonington from: The County of Kent by W.H.Ireland, volume 1, published in 1829.
The next parish adjoining (Goodnestone, the previous parish recorded in vol. 1) is Nonington, that portion within the borough of Kettington and Nonington, otherwise Ratling, being in this hundred of Wingham, and the residue, comprising the boroughs of Esole and Frogham, in the lower half of the hundred of Eastry.
The soil and situation of this parish is much the same as that of Goodnestone, being a fine, open champaign country, extremely dry and salubrious. It is three miles across either way, the village called Church-street, with its church, being nearly in the centre of the parish, situated in a valley, having at no great distance the seat of St. Alban’s, a low situation looking up to the unenclosed lands. Near stands Esole hamlet, usually called Isill-street, and farther to the east the estate of Kettington. In the bottom, at some distance south-west from the church, is the seat of, a damp gloomy situation; and, contiguous, the little hamlets of Frogham and Holt, now called Old-street, near which is a place denominated Oxenden-den (now Oxney), whence the family so called are conjectured to have derived their origin. At the northern (actually the southern boundary, this was common mapping error) boundary of this parish is Acol hamlet, having once had owners so called, and at the western boundary is Ratling-street. This parish contains the estate of Curleswood park, commonly called Park Farm, being the property of the archiepiscopal see. There is a yearly fair held in Church-street on Ascension Day, for pedlary wares, &c.
WINGHAM MANOR claims paramount over the greater part of this parish and Eastry Manor over the residue. Subordinate to the former is-
THE MANOR OF RETLING, usually termed Ratling, adjoining Adisham in this parish, anciently held of the archbishop by a family of the same name. Sir Richard de Retling possessed this estate under Edward III. Leaving Joane his heir, who, married John Spicer, he became entitled to the same. By Cicerley, of the latter name, it passed in marriage to John Isaac, of Bridge, who, dying the 22d of Henry VI. (1422) his descendant, Edward, alienated the property to Sir John Fineux, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, whose son William, of Hearne, alienated it to Thomas Engeham, of Goodnestone; an he by will, in 1558, gave it to his second son Edward, whose son William, sold it to William Cowper, esq. who subsequently resided here, first created baronet of Nova Scotia, and, in 1642, raised to the baronetcy of Great Britain. His grandson, Sir William, being lord keeper of the great seal, was by Queen Anne, appointed Lord Chancellor, and raised to the peerage; and subsequently, in the 4th of George I (1718), created Earl Cowper, in whose descendants the estate has continued. There has not been any court held for this manor for a long series of years.
Archbishop Pecham, on founding Wingham college in 1286, endowed the first subdeaconal prebend of the same, which he distinguished by the title of of prebend of Retling, with the tithes, &c. which Richard de Retling and Ralph Perot held of him in Nonyngton, between the highway leading from Cruddeswold (Curleswood) to Nonyngtone cross, and thence to the estate of the prior of Adisham.
OLD COURT is an estate in this parish about one mile north from the church, anciently possessed by the Goodneston family, who took their name from their possessions in that parish. It continued uninterruptedly in that line in the reigns of Henry III and Edward i. until Edith, daughter of William Goodneston, conveyed the property in marriage to Vincent Engeham, whose son Thomas, by will, in 1558, gave it, with lands in Nonington, to his second son Edward, whose son William, in Elizabeth’s reign, passed it away to Thomas Wilde, esq. descended from an ancient Chester family. Sir John Wild, son of the latter in Acrise, whose descendant, John, resided here until 1665, when he removed to Nethersole, in Wimlingswold. This estate continued in that family down to John Marsh, esq. of Chichester, in Sussex, A.D. 1800.
ST. ALBAN’S COURT, formerly called in the first instance Eswalt, and then Esole, is a manor situated in the valley north-east of the church in the borough bearing that name, which, as well as another contiguous estate, called Bedesham (all that now remains of that name being a grove at the back of St. Alban’s house, called Beauchamp wood, wherein are many foundations of buildings at present esteemed part of St. Alban’s court,) was, in the time of the Conqueror, part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, being both entered as such in Domesday Record.
On the disgrace of that proud a rapacious ecclesiastic, A.D. 1084, it came, with the residue of his estates, into the hands of the crown, when the manor of Esole, otherwise St. Alban’s, appears to have been granted to William de Albineto, or Albini, surnamed Pincerna, who had followed the Norman despot hither, whose son of that name, earl of Albermarle, gave it, under the title of the manor of Eswelle, to the Abbot of St. Alban’s in Hertfordshire; which gift King Stephen afterwards confirmed, whence it acquired the name of St. Alban’s. In the 7th of Edward I. (1279) the abbot laid claim to, and was allowed, free warren (the right to hunt certain types of game) and other liberties within this manor; subsequent to which, it remained vested in that abbey till 30th of Henry VIII. (1539) when the abbot, with that monarch’s consent, sold the whole estate to Sir Christopher Hales, Master of the Rolls. On the demise of Sir Christopher in the 33rd of the above reign (1542), his three daughters became his coheirs, when Elizabeth, wife of John Stocker, and Margaret unmarried, sold their shares to Alexander Colepepper, who has espoused Mary, the third daughter. By Alexander it was speedily alienated to his elder brother, Sir Thomas Colepepper, of Bedgbury, who in the 2nd and 3rd of Philip and Mary (1555 & 1556), sold it to Thomas Hammond, at that period residing here, being direct descendant of John Hamon, or Hammond, living at this place in the time of Henry VIII. As tenant to the Abbey of St. Alban’s; who died in 1525, and was buried in the church, containing also many of his descendants. In the Hammonds this estate continued to William Hammond, of St. Alban’s, who espoused Charlotte, eldest daughter of Dr. William Egerton, Prebendary of Canterbury, by whom he left, William; Anthony, rector of Ivy church, and vicar of Limne; and three daughters, Anna Maria; Charlotte, married to Thomas Watkinson Payler, esq. of Ileden; and Catherine. William Hammond, esq. the elder son, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Osmund Beauvoir, D.D. by whom were issue two sons and five daughters. William Hammond continued owner of this seat and estate in 1800.
For this manor a Court Baron is held, extending over part of the borough of Wingmere, in Eleham, and over some acres of land in Barham.
SOLES is a manor at the boundary of this parish, next to Barfreston, which, according to Domesday Record, constituted part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, under the general title of whose lands it stands registered. In 1084, the above dignitary having been disgraced, the king seized this estate, which he granted to the Crevquer’s, constituting the same part of that barony, being held of it by the tenure of performing ward to Dover castle. Of Hamo de Crevequer it was held by knight’s service in the time of Edward I. by Richard de Rokesle, and again of him by Hamo and John de Soles, who unquestionably thence derived their name, which became extinct early in the reign of Henry VI. as, in the 4th of that king (1403), it was in possession of Thomas Newbregge, of Fordwich. From the last mentioned family it passed to the Rutter’s; and, at the commencement of Edward IV’s. reign (1461), to the Litchfield’s, whose descendant George, in the time of Henry VIII. Alienated it to the Boy’s, of Nonington, in which line it descended to John Boys, of Hode court, who, in the reign of Charles I. sold the property to Sir Anthony Percival, of Dover, Comptroller of the Customs of that town. It was next passed to the Harvey’s, who sold it to Thompson, of Ramsgate, at whose death it went by marriage to Mr. Stephen Read, of Canterbury, who afterwards alienated it to John Plumptree, of Fredville, who was possessed of the estate in 1800. A Court Baron is held for this manor.
THE MANOR OF FREDVILLE is, in ancient deeds, called Froidville, owing to its cold situation, being, at the same time, low and watery. It was held of Dover castle, being part of the lands constituting the barony of Maminot, afterwards called, from its subsequent possessors, the barony of Saye. Under Edward I. it was held, as above specified, by John Colkin, and remained in his line till the close of the reign of Richard II. (1399) when it went by sale to Thomas Charleton, who, by fine levied the 2d of Henry IV. (1401) passed it to John Quadring, whose descendant, Thomas, leaving an only daughter Joane, she, by marriage, conveyed it to Richard Dryland. By that possessor, at the end of the reign of Edward IV. (1483) it was alienated to John Nethersole, who, by fine levied the 2d of Richard III. (1485) conveyed it to William Boys, of Bonnington, when, in 1507, the latter, by will, bequeathed this manor to his eldest son John Boys, of Fredville. His descendant, Major Boys, being a staunch loyalist, suffered much from the sequestration of his estates, and died leaving seven sons and one daughter. Two of the elder males, John and Nicholas, finding no further residence at Fredville, whereto they had become entitled, departed thence, bearing each a favorite hawk on his fist, and became pensioners of the Charter house in London. Prior to that, however, they had, in 1673, sold the estates to Denzill, Lord Holles, from whose descendant it went to Margaret, sister of Sir John Bridges, bart. Of Goodnestone, which lady, in 1750, espousing John Plumptree, esq. of Nottinghamshire, he became possessor of this property. By this union he had no issue; but, by his second wife, daughter of Philip Glover, of Lincolnshire, he had a son, named John, who married Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Pemberton, of Cambridgeshire, and a daughter united to Carr Glynn, esq. He rebuilt the mansion where he resided, and dying in 1791, was succeeded by his son John Plumptree, esq. above named, who occupied the seat in 1800.
A short distance in front of Fredville house, stands a remarkable large oak, called the Fredville oak; which, in the time of Hasted (circa 1800) measured twenty-seven feet in girt, being thirty feet high; and, although having existed a succession of generations, was healthy and thriving, presenting a most majestic and venerable appearance.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and the deanery of Bridge.
The church dedicated to St. Mary contains two aisles and two chancels, with a tower steeple at the north corner of the western extremity. This edifice possesses monuments of the Hammond’s, the Boy’s, the Trotter’s and the Wood’s. In the window’s were formerly shields of armorial bearings in stained glass, &c. long since destroyed. This structure formerly ranked a chapel of ease to the church of Wingham; and, on the foundation of the college by Archbishop Peckham, separated from the same, and constituted a distinct parish then vested in that institution, and so remained till the suppression. By Queen Mary, in 1558, it was granted to the archbishop; but the rectory, with the chapel in Wimlingswold, continued vested in the crown till the 3d of Elizabeth, when it was granted in exchange to the primate of Canterbury, being valued at £33; reprises to the curate £13-6-8; at which rental it has continued to be leased, and remains part of the possessions of that see.
When this church was appropriated to the college of Wingham, a vicarage was endowed in the same, which, on the suppression of the college, was esteemed a perpetual curacy. It is not valued in the king’s books. The ancient stipend paid to the curate was in 1600 augmented by Archbishop Juxon, with an additional £20; but, by the addition of a legacy, bequeathed by Mr. Boys, of the small tithes in this parish and Wimlingswold, it became, with the chapel, of the annual value of £71-6-8. In 1588 there were 235 communicants in this parish.
According to the last census of the population of Nonington, as taken by order of parliament in 1821, the returns were, males, 379; females 351, making a total of 730 souls.