The next parish eastward (from Goodnestone), is Nonington, which lies partly, that is, so much as is within the borough of Kettington (Kittington), and of Nonington, alias Ratling, in this hundred of Wingham; and the remainder, containing the boroughs of Esole, and Frogham, in the lower half of the hundred of Eastry.
THIS PARISH is, as to soil and situation, much the same as that of Goodnestone last described, being in a fine open champaign country, exceedingly dry and healthy; it is about three miles across each way, the village called Church-street, with the church in it, is nearly in the middle of the parish, in a valley, in which, at no great distance from it, is the seat of St. Alban’s, a low situation, looking up to the uninclosed lands. Near it is the hamlet of Esole, usually called Isill-street, and further eastward the estate of Kettington (Kittington) belonging to Sir Narborough D’Aeth, bart. In the bottom, at some distance south-west from the church, among some small inclosures, is the seat of Fredville, a damp and gloomy situation; near it are the small hamlets of Frogham and Holt, now called Old-street, near which is a place called Oxenden, from whence the family of that name are said to derive their origin. At the northern boundary of the parish is the hamlet of Acol, which had once owners of that name, who bore for their arms, Quarterly, argent, and azure, over all, a bend componee, or, and gules, as they were formerly painted in the windows of this church. It now belongs to Sir Brook William Bridges, and at the western boundary that of Ratling-street. In this parish is the estate of Curleswood park, now commonly called the Park farm, belonging to the archbishop, the lessee of it being Sir Brook William Bridges. There is a fair held yearly in Church-street, on Ascension day, for pedlary, &c.
The MANOR OF WINGHAM claims paramount over the greatest part of this parish, and the manor of Eastry over the remainder. Subordinate to the former is
The MANOR OF RETLING, usually called Ratling, in that part of this parish adjoining to Adisham, which was antiently held of the archbishop by a family of the same name, who bore for their arms, Gules, a lion rampant, between an orle of tilting spears heads, or, as they were on the surcoat of Sir John de Ratling, formerly painted in one of the windows of this church, in which it continued down to Sir Richard de Retling, who died possessed of it in the 23d year of king Edward III. leaving a sole daughter and heir Joane, who marrying John Spicer, entitled him to it. After which, by Cicely, a daughter and coheir of this name, it passed in marriage to John Isaac, of Bridge, who died possessed of it anno 22 Henry VI. and his descendant Edward Isaac, esq. in king Henry VIII.’s reign, alienated it to Sir John Fineux, chief justice of the king’s bench, whose son William Fineux, esq. of Herne, alienated it to Thomas Engeham, gent. of Goodneston, who by his will in 1558, gave it to his second son Edward, and his son, William Engeham sold it to William Cowper, esq. who afterwards resided here, and was first created a baronet of Nova Scotia, and then, in 1642, a baronet of Great Britain. His great-grandson Sir William Cowper, bart. was by Queen Anne, being then lord keeper of the great seal, created lord Cowper, made lord chancellor, and afterwards, anno 4 George I. created earl Cowper, and in his descendants, earls Cowper, this manor has descended down to the right hon. Peter Francis, earl Cowper, the present owner of this manor. (fn. 1) There has not been any court held for it for many years past.
ARCHBISHOP PECKHAM, on the foundation of Wingham college, anno 1286, endowed the first sub diaconal prebend of it, which he distinguished by the name of the prebend of Retling, with the tithes of the demesne lands, which Richard de Retling and Ralph Perot held of him in Nonyngton, between the highway which led from Cruddeswode to the cross of Nonyngtone, and from thence to the estate of the prior, of Adesham (Adisham). (fn. 2)
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, 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. and king Edward I. 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.
ST. ALBAN’S COURT, antiently called, at first Eswalt, and afterwards Esole, is a manor situated in the valley, north-eastward from the church, in the borough of its own name, which with another estate near it, called Bedesham, (all that remains of the name of which is a grove behind St. Albans house, called Beauchamp wood, in which are many foundations of buildings, being now esteemed as part of the manor of St. Alban’s Court) was in the time of the Conqueror, part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, and they are accordingly both thus entered in the record of Domesday:
Adelold holds of the bishop Eswalt. It was taxed at three sulungs. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and six villeins, with two borderers having three carucates. There are two servants, and a small wood for fencing. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth nine pounds, now fifteen. Alnod Cilt held it of king Edward.
And Somewhat further below:
Osbert, the son of Letard, holds of the bishop, Bedesham. It was taxed at one yoke and an half. The arable. land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, with one villein and four borderers. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth sixty shillings, and afterwards thirty shillings, now fifty shillings. Godisa held it of king Edward. In the same manor ten thanes held of Osbern himself one suling and half a yoke, and there they themselves have four carucates and an half. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth one hundred shillings, and afterwards thirty shillings, now sixty shillings.
On the bishop of Baieux’s disgrace, in the year 1084, it came, with the rest of his estates, into the hands of the crown, whence the manor of Esole, alias St. Albans, seems to have been granted to William de Albineto, or Albini, surnamed Pincerna, who had followed the Conqueror from Normandy hither, whose son, of the same name, earl of Albermarle, gave it, by the name of the manor of Eswelle, to the abbot of St. Alban’s, in Hertfordshire; which gift was afterwards confirmed by king Stephen; (fn. 3) and from thence it gained the name of St. Albans. And anno 7 king Edward I. the abbot of St. Albans claimed and was allowed, before the justices itinerant, free-warren and other liberties within this manor. After which it continued in the possession of the abbey till the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when the abbot and convent, with the king’s consent, sold it, with its lands, appurtenances, and tithes belonging to it, as well of corn, grain, hay, and otherwise, then in the occupation of John Hammond, to Sir Christopher Hales, master of the rolls. Which alienation having been made in consequence of the licence by the king’s word only, was confirmed by act the next year, specially for that purpose. On whose death in the 33d year of that reign, (fn. 4) his three daughters became his coheirs, of whom Elizabeth, then married to John Stocker, and Margaret, then unmarried, joined in the sale of their shares in it, to Alexander Culpeper, who had married Mary, the other daughter, and he quickly afterwards alienated the whole of it to his eldest brother Sir Thomas Culpeper, of Bedgbury, who in the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, sold it to Thomas Hammond, gent. who at that time resided here, being the direct descendant of John Hamon, or Hammond, who was resident here in king Henry the VIIIth.’s time, as tenant to the abbot and convent of St. Alban’s, who died in 1525, and was buried in this church, as were his several descendants afterwards, in whom it continued down to William Hammond, esq. of St. Albans, who married Charlotte, eldest daughter of Dr. William Egerton, prebendary of Canterbury, by whom he left William, of whom hereafter; Anthony, rector of Ivychurch, and vicar of Limne, and three daughters, Anna-Maria; Charlotte, married to Thomas Watkinson Payler, esq. of lleden (between Adisham & Barham), and Catherine. William Hammond, esq. the eldest son, married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Osmund Beauvoir, D.D. by whom he has issue two sons and five daughters, viz. William-Osmond, Maximilian-Dudley-Diggs; Elizabeth-Mary, Mary-Elizabeth, Charlotte, Julia-Jemima, and Jemima-Julia. He bears for his arms, Argent, on a chevron, sable, between three ogresses, each charged with a martlet of the field, three escallop-shells, or, all within a bordure engrailed, vert; which arms were granted by Barker, garter, to Thomas Hamon, gent. of Nonington, anno 1548, and confirmed by Cooke, Clarencieux, and they were certified to the college of arms by William Hammond, esq. last-mentioned, his descendant, in 1779, (fn. 5) and he is the present owner of this manor and seat, at which he resides.
A court baron is held for this manor, which extends over some part of the borough of Wingmere, in Eleham, and over a few acres of land in Barham.
SOLES is a manor at the boundary of this parish, next to Barfreston, which at the taking the survey of Domesday, in 1080, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in that record:
Ansfrid holds of the bishop Soles. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . In demesne there are two carucates, and eight villeins with half a carucate. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth one hundred shillings, and afterwards twenty shillings, now six pounds. Elmer held it of king Edward.
Four years after which, on the bishop’s disgrace, the king seized on this estate among the rest of his possessions. After which it was granted to the family of Crevequer, and made a 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 king Edward I.’s reign, by Richard de Rokesle, and of him again by Hamo and John de Soles, who certainly took their name from it, but this name was extinct here in the beginning of king Henry IV.’s reign, for in the 4th year of it Thomas Newbregge, of Fordwich, was become possessed of it, whose descendant sold it to Rutter, from which name it passed; about the beginning of king Edward IV. to Litchfield, whose descendant Gregory Litchfield alienated it in king Henry VIII.’s reign to John Boys, esq. of Nonington, in whose descendants it continued down to John Boys, esq. of Hode-court, who in Charles I.’s reign alienated it to Sir Anthony Percival, of Dover, comptroller of the customs there; in whose descendants it remained till, not many years since, it was by one of them passed away to Major Richard Harvey, who sold it to Thompson, of Ramsgate, after whose death it came by marriage to Mr. Stephen Read, of Canterbury, who afterwards alienated it to John Plumptree, esq. of Fredville, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
FREDVILLE is a manor in this parish, which in antient deeds is sometimes written Froidville, from its cold situation, which is both low and watry. It was held of the castle of Dover, as part of those lands which made up the barony of Maminot, afterwards, from its succeeding owners, called the barony of Saye. In the reign of king Edward I. it was held, in manner as above-mentioned, by John Colkin, in whose posterity it remained till the latter end of king Richard II.’s reign, when it was conveyed by sale to Thomas Charleton, and he, by sine levied anno 2 Henry IV. passed it away to John Quadring, whose descendant Thomas Quadring leaving an only daughter and heir Joane, she carried it in marriage to Richard Dryland, and he, about the latter end of king Edward IV. alienated it to John Nethersole, who by fine levied in the 2d year of king Richard III. conveyed it to William Boys, esq. of Bonnington, (fn. 6) and he died possessed of it in 1507, and by his will gave this manor to his eldest son John Boys, esq. of Fredville. His descendant Major Boys, of Fredville, being a firm loyalist, suffered much by sequestration of his estates. He had seven sons and a daughter, who all died s.p. Two of his elder sons, John and Nicholas, finding that there was no further abode at Fredville, to which they had become entitled, departed each from thence, with a favourite hawk in hand, and became pensioners at the Charter-house, in London. (fn. 7) Before which they had, in 1673, sold it to Denzill, lord Holles, from whose descendant it afterwards came to Thomas Holles, duke of Newcastle, who in 1745 sold it to Margaret, sister of Sir Brook Bridges, bart. of Goodnestone, and she in 1750, marrying John Plumptree, esq. of Nottinghamshire, he became in her right possessed of it. He was descended from a family who had been long settled in that county, who bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron, between two mullets in chief, and an annulet in base, sable. (fn. 8) He served in parliament for Penryn, in Cornwall, and afterwards for Nottingham. By his first wife above-mentioned, he had no issue; but by his second, daughter of Philips Glover, esq. of Lincolnshire, he had one son John Plumptree, esq. married to Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Pemberton, of Cambridgeshire; and a daughter, married to R. Carr Glynn, esq. He rebuilt this seat, in which he afterwards resided, and dying in 1791, was succeeded by his only son John Plumptree, esq. before mentioned, who now resides in it.
At a small distance from the front of Fredville house, stands the remarkable large oak tree, usually known by the name of the Fredville oak. It measures twenty-seven feet round in girt, and is about thirty feet in height; and though it must have existed for many centuries, yet it looks healthy and thriving, and has a most majestic and venerable appearance.
EDWARD BOYS, son of William Boys, esq. of Nonington, gave by his will in 1596, and annuity of 40s. out of lands which he had purchased in Nonington and Barfreston, containing 15 acres, to be yearly paid among the poorest of this parish.
ROBERT BARGER, yeoman, of Bridge, by will in 1600, gave to the parson and churchwardens of Nonington, the rents and profits of his house there, for the relief of the poor.
SIR EDWARD BOYS, of Nonington, by will in 1634, gave to the poor of Nonington, 6l. to be employed for a stock to set the poor at work, and not otherwise to be employed, so as the overseers or any sufficient man of the parish be bound yearly to the heirs of Fredville, whereby the stock be not lost.
A PERSON UNKNOWN gave to two poor housekeepers of this parish, two houses and an acre and an half of land, in it, at Frogham, to each, with a sack of wheat to each housekeeper every Christmas; now vested in the Reverend James Morrice, owner of Betshanger manor, and of the annual produce of 5l. 10s.
The poor constantly relieved are about thirty, casually forty.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanery of Bridge.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at the north corner at the west end, in which are three bells. In the south isle are the figures of a man between his two wives, traced on the stone, and inscription for John Hamon and Margaret and Mary his wives, obt. 1526. A memorial for Wm. Hammond, obt. 1717. In the south or high chancel, against the wall, a brass plate for Alicia, daughter and heir of William Sympson, esq. once marshal of Calais, and Catherine Gemecot, wife to Francis Wilford, obt. 1581. A stone, and inscription in brass, for John Cooke, vicar, obt. March 7, 1528. Several memorials for the Hammonds. In the north chancel, now made use of as a school, a memorial for Edward Boys, esq. obt. 1597. A monument for Mary, daughter of Edward Boys, and wife of J. Hole, obt.— Several memorials for Trotter and Wood. A monument for Sir John Mennes. In the windows of this church were formerly several shields of arms, long since destroyed; and the figure of a knight, kneeling on his surcoat, the arms of Boys, of Bonnington, and opposite to him the figure of a woman kneeling, and on her coat the arms of Roper. Another like figure of a knight, and on his surcoat the arms of Ratling, being Gules, a lion rampant or, an orle of Spears heads argent.
The church of Nonington was antiently a chapel of ease to that of Wingham, and was on the foundation of the college there by archbishop Peckham, in 1286, separated from it, and made a distinct parish of itself, (fn. 9) and then given to the college, and becoming thus appropriated to the college, continued with it till its suppression in king Edward VI.’s reign, when this parsonage appropriate, with the advowson of the vicarage or curacy of it, came into the hands of the crown, where it did not remain long, for in the year 1558, queen Mary granted it, among others, to the archbishop, but the rectory or parsonage appropriate, with the chapel of Wimlingswold appendant, continued in the crown till queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, granted it in exchange, to the archbishop, when it was valued at thirty-three pounds, reprises to the curate 13l. 6s. 8d. At which rent it has continued to be leased out ever since, and it now, with the patronage of the curacy, remains parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury. William Hammond, esq. is the present lessee of the parsonage.
At the time this church was appropriated to the college of Wingham, a vicarage was endowed in it, which, after the suppression of the college, came to be esteemed as a perpetual curacy. It is not valued in the king’s books. The antient stipend paid to the curate as above, was, in 1660, augmented by archbishop Juxon with the addition of twenty pounds, but by the addition of Mr. Boys’s legacy of the small tithes in this parish and Wimlingswold, mentioned below, it is now, with that chapel, of the yearly certified value of 71l. 6s. 8d. In 1588 here were two hundred and thirty-five communicants.
Edward Boys, esq. of Nonington, by his will in 1596, gave towards the maintenance of a minister, being licenced and preaching every other Sunday at farthest at Nonington, yearly, for ever, all the profits of the small-tithes of Nonington and Wemingewell, (excepting those of the lands in his occupation, and the oblations and obventions due out of them, and the tithes of wood of all the lands and farms he had, or his heirs should have, within the parish) the said minister paying to him and his heirs the yearly sum of 40s.
Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop . . . . William Lunn, A. M. obt. 1705. (fn. 10)
Edward Lunn, A. M. March 21, 1705, obt. July 28, 1764. (fn. 11)
Robert Greenhall, A. B. obt. Dec. 16, 1770. (fn. 12)
Bladen Downing, LL. B. Feb. 9, 1771, the present curate. (fn. 13)
1 See Philipott, p. 253, and Strype’s Stow’s Survey, book iii. p. 146, 147, 148.
2 See Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 53.
3 This grant of confirmation is now in Mr. Hammond’s possession.
4 It was held of the king as of the honor of Dover, by knight’s service, Rot, Esch. ejus an.
5 There are pedigrees of this family in the Visitations of the co. Kent, anno 1574 and 1619.
6 Philipott, p. 252. See his descent before under Bonnington, in Goodnestone.
7 There is a pedigree of Boys in Vistn, co. of Kent, 1619.
8 There is a full account of this family in Dering’s History of Nottingham.
9 Battely’s Somn. p. 129. Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. pt. 2, p. 53.
10 Rector of Denton, near Eleham.
11 Son of the former, rector of Denton, and one of the six preachers of Canterbury cathedral.
12 And vicar of Waldershare.
13 Likewise rector of Ivechurch and vicar of Waldershare, the former of which he resigned in 1789, on being presented to the rectory of Bledon, in Somersetsbire, which he has since resigned for that of Quainton, Bucks.