The Jute and Anglo-Saxon manors.
There were two presently known manors in Anglo-Saxon times in what became the Parish of Nonington: the Manor of Oesewalum, and the Manor of Wingham.
The earliest known records are of the Manor of Oesewalum which date from the late 8th century, although its origins are probably much earlier. By the mid-9th century it was in the possession of Christ Church, Canterbury
The Manor of Wingham was given to Christ Church in 836 by Athelstan, King of Kent and was made up of the present parishes of Ash, Goodnestone, Nonington (excluding the Manor of Oesewalum), Wingham, and part of Womenswold. It was recorded as Winganham in 946 and Wingehame in the Domesday Book.
Christ Church lost possession of many of its holdings during the troubles of the Heptarchy in the ninth and tenth centuries. Some restitution was made in 941 when Edmund I, the Magnificent, king of a unified England, “restored to the Church of Christ, which is in Canterbury, those lands which his forefathers had unjustly taken away from the Church of God, and those that belonged to that church”, mainly Twiccanham (Twickenham, Middlesex, given in 793), Preostantun (Preston-next- Faversham, given in 822), Winganham, (Wingham), Swyrdlingan, (Swarling-in-Petham, given in 805), Bosingtun, (Bossington near Adisham?) , Gravenea, (Graveney, given in 811), and Ulacumb, (Ulcomb).
The Domesday Survey of 1086 and after.
In late 1085 William I, the Conquerer, (1 The Domesday Survey of 1086 and after. 066-1087) ordered a survey to record who then held the land in England, and parts of Wales, and who had held it during the time of King Edward the Confessor. Nonington is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey as it was included in the entry for the Manor of Wingham, but a survey of churches made for Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury made soon after his ordination in 1070, and so roughly contemporary to Domesday, records “Nunningitun” as a subsiduary church to the mother church “ad Wingeham”.
Domesday recorded that Eswalt, Essewelle, and Soles had been held in the Confessor’s time by three separate land-holders who held their land directly from the king and and that in 1086 the three manors were under the lordship of Odo, Bishop of Bayeaux and recorded the three manors as follows:-
“In Eastry Hundred…………Adelold (Aethelwold) held EASOLE (Eswalt) from the Bishop (Odo, Bishop of Bayeaux). It answers for 3 sulungs. Land for… In lordship 1 plough. 6 villagers with 2 smallholders have 3 ploughs. 2 slaves; a little wood for fencing. Value before 1066 £9; now £15. Young Alnoth held it from King Edward”.
Adelold was Odo, Bishop of Bayeaux’s, chamberlain and had lost Eswalt and his other holdings when Odo was imprisoned in 1082. The Crown retained Eswalt until 1088 when William II, known as Rufus(1087-1100) and the recently crowned King of England, gave William de Albini (Albigni) Eswalt as part of a gift of various manors as a reward for his loyalty to the both old and new king. Eswalt remained in the possession of the Albini family until 1097 when Hugo de Albini (Albeneo), the Earl of Albemarle, gave the Manor of Eswalt (Eswala) to the Abbey and Convent of St. Alban’s, Hertfordshire. By 1511 century this manor had become known as “the lordship of Saint Albons Courte”.
“Ralph of Courbepine holds EASOLE (Essewelle) from the Bishop. It answers for 3 sulungs. Land for… In lordship 3 ploughs. 1 villager with 7 smallholders have ½ plough. 1 slave. Value £6. Molleva held it from King Edward”.
Ralph de Curbespine/Courbepine/Curva Spine, also held Danitone (Denton), Ewelle (Ewell), and Colret (Coldred) from Odo, all previously held from King Edward the Confessor by Molleve, also Malleue, a woman and most likely a widow. Although not a common occurrence, women in pre-Conquest England could hold property in their own right as well as inheriting it on the death of their husbands.
De Curbespine’s holding were passed to the Maminot, also Mamignot, family which by inheritance became part of the Barony of Maminot which in turn passed in the late 1100′s to the Barony of de Say, or Saye, on the marriage of Alice, or Lettice, the heiress to the Maminot estates, to Geoffrey de Say. By 1484 Essewelle had become “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’ “.
“Ansfrid holds SOLES from the Bishop. It answers for one sulung. Land for…in lordship 2 ploughs, 8 villagers with 1/2 plough. Value before 1066, 100 shillings(£.5.00) ; later 20 shillings(£.1.00) ; now £.6. Aelmer held it from King Edward.”
Soles was confiscated by the Crown when Odo fell from favour and was granted to the Crevequer family and it became part of the Barony of Crevequer, one of the baronies responsible for Castleward at Dover. Soles, now known as Soles Court Farm, has been part of the Fredville estate since its purchase by John Plumptre of Fredville in 1800.
Odo held 184 lordships in Kent, and manors in 12 other counties which gave him an income of £3,000 a year. The Domesday Book showed him to be by far the richest tenant-in-chief in the England. However, Odo quickly became the most hated man in Kent because of his ruthless greed in taking whatever he wanted by force and soon came into direct conflict with Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1076 Odo was tried on Pennenden Heath, Kent, for defrauding the Crown and Diocese of Canterbury and had to return some of the land holdings he had obtained by illegal means whilst other assets were re-apportioned.
William I imprisoned Odo in 1082 for seditiously planning a military expedition to Italy without the kings permission, supposedly in pursuit of the Papacy and Odo’s remaining estates were confiscated by the Crown which retained control of them for some years. Odo spent the next five years in prison until 1087 when William was persuaded on his deathbed to release him from prison. After William’s death Odo recovered his Earldom of Kent from William II, called Rufus, the son of the Conqueror and the newly crowned King of England, but soon lost it again when he organized a rebellion in 1088 to overthrow William II and replace him with Robert, Duke of Normandy, another son of the Conqueror. William II allowed Odo to go Normandy where he remained in the service of Duke Robert eventually dying in Palermo, Sicily, in 1097 whilst en route to Palestine with Duke Robert to take part in the First Crusade. The king gave some of Odo’s confiscated manors to various barons and kept the remainder for himself.
The Manor of Wingeham.
“In the lath of Estrei, in Wingeham hundred, the archbishop himself holds Wingeham in demesne. It was taxed at forty sulings in the time of king Edward the Consessor, and now for thirty-five. The arable land is . . . . . . In demesne there are eight carucates, and four times twenty and five villeins, with twenty borderers having fifty-seven carucates. There are eight servants, and two mills of thirty-four sulings. Wood for the pannage of five hogs, and two small woods for fencing. In its whole value, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth seventy-seven pounds, when he received it the like, and now one hundred pounds. Of this manor William de Arcis holds one suling in Fletes, and there be has in demesne one carucate, and four villeins, and one knight with one carucate, and one fisbery, with a saltpit of thirty pence. The whole value is forty shillings. Of this manor five of the archbishop’s men hold five sulings and an half and three yokes, and there they have in demesne eight carucates, and twenty-two borderers, and eight servants. In the whole they are worth twenty-one pounds”.
The remaining land in the old parish of Nonington, with the exception of Mounton, also Monkton, a small estate of some twenty-five acres or so around the present Gooseberry Hall Farm which was part of the Manor of Adisham, was subject to the Manor of Wingham and included in the above Domesday entry for that manor. This land consisted of: Ackholt; Kittington; Oxenden, later Oxney; North and South Nonington (centred around the present hamlet of Nonington, Ratling Court, and Old Court); a small part of Soles manor; and the woodland at Crudeswood, later Curleswood Park.