Estriteling, later Old Court Farm
A few hundred yards further east of Ratling Court is the apparent site of Estratling manor house, the present Old Court Farm. There are still records of the manorial courts that were held into the 19th. The windows of the present Old Court farmhouse and some brick work with blue headers indicate a date of construction of about 1700, but there are indications of much earlier foundations. Some older flint ground walls are visible and the south end has the lower part of a wide fireplace and chimney built of wide jointed two inch brickwork which appears to date from around 1600 or so. Nearby is a small barn which is believed to be the oldest of the farm buildings and is built in a similar style and materials to the fire place and chimney.
In May, 1196, Thomas de Dene and his brother Harlewin de Dene, sold a suling and half of land (approximately 300-320 acres) with their “appurtenances” at Estretling to Thomas de Godwinstone and his heir, for six marks (£.4.00) and eighteen acres and a virgate of land at Uikham (possibly Wickham, a small manor in the Manor of Wingham near Woolege Green). He also had to make a yearly payment of 4d. to the Dene family on the Feast of St. Michael (Michaelmass, 29th September).
A mark was worth two thirds of a pound, or 13 shilling and fourpence (67 pence).
A later quit claim dated 6th October 1213 records that: “Alexander Fitz Ralph and John le Brade for four marks and forty pence (£.2 15s & 4d, now £.2.77) quit claim to Master Theobald, and John, Richard and Michael, his brothers, all rights in two hundred acres in Estriteling “.
In 1305 the executors of John de Estrateling petitioned Parliament claiming £132.00 due him for the return of horses used by John de Ratling in the King’s service in Gascony.
The history of Old Court from the 14th to the early 19th centuries is well described in The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, volume IX, by William Hasted, published in 1800, although some of the detail varies slightly from other records.
“OLD-COURT is an estate in this parish, situated about a mile northward from the church, which was antiently the property of the family of Goodneston, who took their name from their possession and residence in that parish (1196), and it continued in an uninterrupted succession in this family, of whom there is frequent mention in private evidences, which, though without date, appear to be made in the reigns of king Henry III (1216-1272) and king Edward I (1272-1307) till at length Edith, daughter and heir of William Goodnestone, carried it in marriage to Vincent Engeham, whose son Thomas Engeham, esq. of Goodneston, by his will in 1558, gave it, together with the lands in Nonington, late Mr. Sidley’s and John Bewe’s, to his second son Edward, whose son William Engeham, gent. passed it away in queen Elizabeth’s reign to Thomas Wilde, esq. descended from an antient family of that name in Chester, and his son Sir John Wilde, of St. Martin’s hill, near Canterbury, in the next reign of James I. alienated it to Thomas Marsh, gent. of Brandred, in Acrise, whose descendant John Marsh resided here till the year 1665, when he removed to Nethersole, in Wimlingwold (Womenswold). Since which it has continued, in like manner as that seat, down to his descendant John Marsh, esq. now of Chichester, in Sussex, the present owner of it”.
Old Court Farm came into the possession of the Hammond family of St. Alban’s Court at some time before 1816 when it was recorded on estate documents as extending to 496 acres, the largest farm owned by the Hammonds. William Osmund Hammond was listed as the owner when the 1839 tithe map apportionment was drawn up, and was sold at auction with other parts of the Hammond estate in 1938.