Kittington manor and farm

Kethampton 1226, Kethamtone 1304, Ketyntone 1330, Kettingden, Kettington.

Kittington, 1870's. The Easole Mills are just off to the left.

 The name Kittington is said to have evolved from the Old English ‘cyte hamtun’ meaning ‘home farm where there are cottages’ .
Kittington is on the east boundary of the old parish of Nonington between Easole and Elvington. It was for centuries a part of the Manor of  Wingham held by the Archbishops of Canterbury until Henry VIII’s reign when it was ceded to the Crown.

Archbishop Pecham’s  survey of Wingham manor in 1284 records Kittington a being the largest manor in Nonington, extending to  nearly 800 acres with several tenants holding what was then considered quite sizable amounts of land and it was well populated compared to other manors in Nonington.

A 1469 survey of the Wingham holdings recorded Kethampton (Kittington) as being a part of the manor of Ratling and only having 237 acres of land. This appears to be because the manor had been subdivided amongst various tenants.

One of the tenants took their family name from the manor, the de Kittington (also various other spellings) family had held the manor for many years but around 1478, Cardinal Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1454—1486, terminated a 99 year lease on 174 acres held by  John de Kettington, John de Kettington and William Derby two years early due to non-payment of money owed. A new lease for one messuage or croft of 13 acres and 161 acres of land was given to Thomas Aldweyn (or Alwyn) at a rent of rent of “30s 7d (£.1.53p) at Easter and Michaelmas by even portions to be paid and to doe suit from 3 weeks to 3 weeks to the said Archbishop’s court of Wingham”.

From the late fifteenth to late seventeenth centuries the Boys family of Fredville owned very large areas of land in and around the parish of Nonington.
On 6th December, 1537. Archbishop Thomas [Cranmer] granted “to ferme to William Boys of Nonyngton, gent.-one toft with 161 acres, 1 rod, 2 perches in Nonyngton in villata of Ketehampton alias Ketynton which among others Thomas [Bourchier] formerly Archbishop our predecessor lately recovered to the use of the Church of Canterbury  against John Ketinton, Joan Ketinton and William Derby by [breve de cesraut ?]
From next Feast of St. Michael (29th Sept) for 24 and 19 years {sic} paying yearly to the Arch. And his successors 30s 7d, at Easter and St. Michael by equal portions”.
The acreage and annual sum were the same as in 1478.

Over the years the Boys’ added to Kittington, in the 1626 marriage settlement of John Boys, the grandson of Sir Edward Boys the Elder of Fredville it was recorded as consisting of a messuage and buildings and over 450 acres. After the Boys family sold off their Fredville estate in the 1670′s Kittington became into the possession of the Peyton family of nearby Knolton Court  and Kittington is still a part of the Knolton estates.

For over 200 years the Kreke, also Kreake, Creke and Creake, family were tenants at Kittington. On the 1859 Nonington parish tithe map there are two Creek’s Closes.

The large Georgian farmhouse was badly damaged during its occupation by the Army during the Second World War and subsequently demolished, The present Kittington now only consists of some farm buildings and a nearby row of old farm-workers cottages which are now privately owned.

The Nonington Church visitation of 1294 records that “the nuns of St. Sepulchre, Canterbury, take tithes in the parish, by what right is unknown”, these tithes were for land at Kittington. The convent held the tithes until the convent was dissolved by Henry VIII in the 1530’s, and he eventually gave much of the convent’s property, along with the Kettington tithes, to Sir James Hales, Sergeant at Law. These tithes, but not the land at Kittington, in turn had passed to the Peyton family of Knolton, or Knowlton, Court by the early 1600′s.
The visitation also records that “ the abott and convent of St Alban’s take certain tythes, by what right is unknown, and they sold the same that year at one time and in gross (simul et in summa)”. Again these tithes were for land at Kittington, which actually belonged to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Manor of Wingham. These tithes appear to have been a matter of dispute between the Abbot of St. Alban’s and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1449, the dispute went to arbitration by senior churchmen who appear to have ruled in favour of St. Alban’s as the tithes still belonged to St. Alban’s Court, as the abbey’s estate became known in the late 15th century, in the 1620’s.

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