The lost manor of Shrynkelyng’ in Nonington & Eastry

The  north-eastern corner of the parish of Nonington is separated from the parish of Eastry by Thornton Road and across the road just inside the parish of Eastry is Shingleton Farm. Just to the north of the farm house is an area of woodland known as Shingleton Wood which contains the remains of the ancient manor house and accompanying buildings of the “lost” Manor of Shrynkelyng’, also recorded as Shrinkling, Shrynkelyng’, Scringling’, Schrinkling’, Shrynklyng and Shrinkling. These  manorial buildings were once quite extensive but have long since gone to ruin and there is now little visible above ground.
Although the remains of the Shrynkelyng’ manorial buildings are  in the parish of Eastry a small acreage of the manorial land was in the parish of Nonington and Shrynkelyng’ is therefore has some minor relevance to the history of Nonington.
The manorial land extended from Thornton Road as far as the old “Pilgrims Way” [KCC footpath EE323] that runs roughly north-west to south-east down Kelk Hilland, the “Pilgrims Way” also being the north-eastern boundary of the manor of Kittington, originally a part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s manor of Wingham.

Edward Hasted, the author of the multi volumed “The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent”, written and published  in the late 18th century,  refers to Shrinkling in the chapter describing the parish of Eastry as:
 “SHRINKLING, alias SHINGLETON, the former of which is its original name, though now quite lost, is a small manor at the south-west boundary of this parish Kent”.

Hasted describes the site of the by then long ruined manor house and associated buildings as follows:
“There was a chapel belonging to this manor, the ruins of which are still visible in the wood near it, which was esteemed as a chapel of ease to the mother church of Eastry, and was appropriated with it by archbishop Richard, Becket’s immediate successor, to the almory of the priory of Christ-church; but the chapel itself seems to have become desolate many years before the dissolution of the priory, most probably soon after the family of Shrinkling became extinct; the Langleys, who resided at the adjoining manor of Knolton, having no occasion for the use of it. The chapel stood in Shingleton wood, near the south east corner; the foundations of it have been traced, though level with the surface, and not easily discovered. There is now on this estate only one house [Shingleton farm house, author’s note], built within memory, before which there was only a solitary barn, and no remains of the antient mansion of it”.

Shingleton Farm and the manorial ruins, 1871 OS map

A chaplain served the chapel, which was a chapel of ease to the mother church of Eastry but the chapel appears to have fallen into ruin sometime before the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the late 1530’s. The site was scheduled in 1951 and records of modern archaeological  surveys revealing the extent of the manorial complex are available at Ancient Monuments and Kent County Council, Exploring Kent’s Past.

The early history of Shrynkelyng’ is obscure, but at the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 it was most likely included in with Eastry as a part of “Terra Monachorum Archiepi”,  the lands of the monks of Christ Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Shrynkelyng’ later became included in the Barony of Crevequer and an 1166 list of Kent knights records the barony as holding one knight’s fee at Scringling’. The holders of this knight’s fee later took their family name from the fee and manor, the 1242-to 43 aid for King Henry III’s crossing the sea to Gascony records Willelm de Scringling’ as holding one fee in Scringling’ from Hamo de Crevequer, who in turn held it from the king.

The Scringling’ or Scrynkelyng family and then Robert Frysdon of Canterbury  held the knight’s fee and manor until 1476 when Frysdon and his wife sold “The manor of Shrynkelyng’ and 160 acres of land, 8 acres of wood and 50 shillings of rent and a rent of 1 hen in Estre [Eastry] and Aythorn’ [Eythorne] to William  Langley,  who also held the adjoining fee and manor of Knowlton.
William Langley of Knolton died in February of 1483,   leaving as his heir his son John, a minor. Joan, William’s newly widowed wife, appears to have married William Malyverer shortly after William Langley’s death, possibly for  political reasons, but most likely  under duress. The manor of Knolton is only a mile or so to the north-east of the manor of Esole in Nonington and William Langley, or at least his widow, appears to have been a close friend of Thomas Quadryng of Esole.

In November of 1483 Malyverer seized the Kent lands of his newly acquired wife’s late husband which had previously been granted along with the wardship of the young John Langley to Richard Guildford (Guldeford) of Rolvenden, Kent. As one of the leaders of the recently failed Kent rebellion Guildford had subsequently had his estates confiscated by the Crown. Such was Malyverer’s  power in this time of ineffectual central authority that despite a Royal grant awarding “the warde & marriage of John Langley son & heire of the said William; with the keeping of alle Lordshipds ect” to Joan Langley and Thomas Quadring  he managed to retain possession of his step-son’s property, probably by use of his office as an escheator, until August of 1485 when Malyverer’s power and authority in Kent came to an abrupt end when his patron Richard III was defeated and slain at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor became King Henry VII.

John Langley died in 1518 and in his post mortem inquisition  taken at Canterbury in  1518  he  is  stated  to  have held  the  manors  of  Knolton,  Shrynkelyng,  and  Northcourt, and land  in  Thornton, Goodnestone  and Nonyngton.  The post mortem enquiry also records that, along with  his  wife  Jane,  he  entered  into  a covenant  regarding  his Kent properties  with  Sir Robert  Peyton, Jane’s brother, which  granted  Peyton  the  reversion  of  John Langley’s estates  in  Kent  after  the death of Langley and his wife. Not long after she was widowed Jane Langley married Edward Ringesley, whose sister was married to William Boys of Fredville, who was knighted in 1522 for services to the Crown. Sir Edward Ringesley died in 1543 and after the death of Jane Ringesley in 1551 John Langley’s manors and lands reverted to John Peyton, Jane’s nephew.

The manor appears to have been in decline for some considerable time before it came into the possession of the Peyton family with the manorial buildings gradually falling into disrepair and then ruin whilst the land was absorbed into the Knolton estates. The manorial court appears to have continued to operate for some time afterwards when there were manorial tenants, but once the manorial land was entirely owned by the Peyton family and their successors the court had no purpose as the owners of Knolton would have been paying manorial rents to themselves. The present Shingleton farm land is still part of the Knolton estate.