St Mary, Eastling, Kent

St Mary, Eastling, Kent

I was driving to Otterden, using John Vigar’s book as a guide to the East Kent churches I had missed.

I was using the Sat Nav, at least to get me to the village, so I could concentrate on the roads and sights as I went along, just on the offchance I passed another church unexpectedly.

And so I came to Eastling, and across a walled field, I saw the church, so, finding there was a large car park, I pulled up.

To get into the church yeard, one could either climb over a wooden stile, one built into the wall, or through the gate a few metres further along. I chose the gate.

Through the churchyard, and under the shadow of a huge yew tree to find the porch door, and church door beyond both unlocked.


A huge church entered across a meadow along a path which passes a huge Yew tree. The porch is high Victorian with the jazziest floor in Kent, no doubt the work of Richard Hussey who restored the church in the mid nineteenth century. This leads to a church with origins in the 12th century but owing more to the 13th and even more to the 19th century! The arcades are built in a much replaced Early English style but work well. In the centre alley is the lovely ledger slab of a man who put it there a few years before his death and inscribed lest someone else steal his pole position! In the south transept is a pretty monument showing kneeling children and a most colourful shield of arms displaying sea creatures. The chancel contains some rare blank arcading in the north wall which may have formed sedilia elsewhere or which may be part of a monument. Its arches are held up by four strong men with bulging shoulders. What a surprise it is! Next to it is one of the finest 14th century tomb recesses in the county, though the faces at either end are Victorian fantasies. This is a much-loved and rewarding Downland church, which is open daily.


It is widely accepted that there has been a place of worship on the site of the Parish Church of St Mary’s at Eastling since Anglo-Saxon times.
The oldest surviving parts of the present building are the base of the south-west Tower, the Nave and the western part of the Chancel. All are thought to have been built by the 11th century, possibly on the foundations of an earlier church. The remainder of the Tower and the central part of the Chancel are Norman.
The North and South Aisles and the Arcades between the Aisles and the Nave were built in the 13th century. In the 14th century, the Chancel was extended eastwards to create a Sanctuary. Also in that century, the St Katherine Chapel and an Arcade was added to the south-east corner of the building.
In 1855-56, the Nave, North Aisle and the South Arcade were substantially rebuilt, the West Porch added and the Nave re-roofed.

The Nave – or central area of the church – dates from the 12th century and is notable for its unusually narrow original walls (later, the Arcade walls). Fractionally over 2ft thick, they are considered to be attributable to Saxon workmanship which favoured relatively "thin" solid walls against the Norman style of "thicker" walls comprising two leaves with a filled cavity.
The western end of the Nave is thought to be a late 12th-century extension.
The South Aisle was constructed in the early part of the 13th century and substantially rebuilt by Victorian architect R. C. Hussey in 1855. Some original 13th-century material was re-used, and the eastern respond located against the Chancel remains substantially untouched.
The North Aisle was also created in the 13th century and completely rebuilt by Hussey as part of his major "modernisation" of the building. The South Aisle incorporates a 14th-century window.
The Victorians’ enthusiasm for remodelling churches also extended to the Nave which was rebuilt by Hussey in 1855-56. He also added the West Porch, constructed a Vestry and re-built the Chancel arch. It’s worth comparing the ceilings of the South Aisle which is said to have escaped Hussey’s attentions and that of the Nave where he left only the tie beams and principal trusses visible.
The box pews, pulpit, lectern, rector’s stall and choir stalls all date from the Victorian era. The wooden wall benches pre-date the pews.

The alignment of the Tower and Chancel is considered attributable to Saxon, rather than Norman, workmanship. If you stand in front of the east window and look back to the west door you will see that the Nave and Chancel are out of alignment, and this suggests that the Chancel pre-dates the Nave.
Examples of Norman workmanship to be seen in St Mary today are:
• the upper part of the Tower;
• perhaps the belfry stage with its pairs of round-headed openings;
• the re-styling of the western part of the Chancel; and
• the west end of the Nave (possibly a late 12th century extension).
Early in the 13th century, the Chancel was re-styled and given Early English lancet windows.
A further period of rebuilding-took place during the 14th century. The Chancel was extended eastwards by a further 22ft, so creating the Sanctuary.
The stained glass in the Chancel windows are memorials to the Birch Reynardson family. The east window contains picture panels, the work of famous church glass artist Thomas Willement of Davington.

On the north wall of the Sanctuary at Eastling Church is a double Aumbry.
Built as a cupboard in the wall – usually with a wooden door – this would have been used to house the Church Plate.

A piscina is, in effect, a medieval stone bowl near the altar where a priest carried out ceremonial cleaning tasks.
The piscina in Eastling Church dates from the late 13th century and takes the form of a stone cill incorporating twin bowls – one for hand washing, the other for cleaning the chalice and other sacred vessels.
It was originally located in the Chancel. When this part of the building was extended during the 14th century, the piscina was moved to its present position on the south wall of the Sanctuary.

The sedilia at Eastling Church comprise three recessed stone seats with trefoiled canopies. By convention, sedilia were placed south of the altar and used by the priest, deacon and sub-deacon.
Created late in the 13th century, Eastling’s sedilia were moved, during the 14th century, from the Chancel to their present position in the (then) new Sanctuary.

The Stone Stalls, on the north side of the Chancel, would have once served as choir stalls. These recessed seats have unusual carved stone canopies in the form of four trefoiled arches carried on caryatids (columns sculpted as female figures).
In his "Notes on the Church", Eastling Church historian Richard Hugh Perks says that a 19th century ecclesiologist, Francis Grayling, theorised that they were mural recesses. Mr Perks considers the church might once have been decorated extensively with murals – born out by the traces of wall paintings found in the 1960s when the Chancel was re-decorated. However, the paintings were in such very poor condition that they were covered over. Mr Perks also draws attention to the fragment of the former Chancel east wall which can be seen at the east end of the Stone Stalls.

The St Katherine Chapel was built around 1350. As part of the scheme, an arcade was formed on the south side of the Chancel. The fluted (concave-sided) pillars are an unusual design, also found in Faversham Parish Church and at Eastchurch, Sheppey. It is thought that the workmanship might be by masons from either Leeds Priory or Faversham Abbey.
The Chapel houses a 19th century organ, the Martin James monument and a fine oak chest with an inscription of "1664 H" carved inside. The "H" is the mark of a Michael Shilling, who was churchwarden at the time.

There is evidence that Eastling Church once had a Rood Screen, possibly extending across both the Chapel and the Chancel. On this would have stood a Cross with a carving representing a crucified Jesus. The Reformation saw the destruction of the Rood and no trace remains, apart from the base of a stairs turret at the south-east corner of the South Aisle.

The West Porch was built in 1855, by Victorian architect R.C. Hussey as part of his major alterations to the church.
However, the fine Norman west doorcase is much older, possibly dating from 1180. It is carved from chalk blocks; some of the internal wall faces are also chalk, a common feature of many Downland churches. It was partly restored by the Victorians.

The churchyard owes much to a generous bequest for its maintenance by Dorothy Long (d. 1968). It used to be part of the ‘Gods Acre Project’ setup by the Vicar of Eastling Parish Caroline Pinchbeck (who departed the parish in 2012) but from 2013 has been returned to previous landscaping regimes.
When the churchyard was being managed with wildlife in mind, it preserved the diversity of nature alongside well kempt areas. This means parts of the old graveyard were left to grow from springtime onwards and were cut in September. Many species of wild flowers grew in a spring meadow and were followed by grasses. This encouraged wildlife into the graveyard, owls, field mice, voles, multiple species of insects and birds. The uncut areas were managed, which means to say they were not left to grow out of control. Brambles, the majority of stinging nettles and other unwanted plants were removed by hand and the graves were always tended so that the vegetation did not disturb them.
Areas of the churchyard that were mown were done so with a petrol mower but the grass was not collected, It was left on the ground as a mulch. No pesticides were used, they damaged the graves, leaving contaminated black rings around them and killed any wild flowers or grass in the affected areas. The emphasis of the gods acre project management process, started in 2008, was balance. By maintaining the churchyard in this way it was both cost effective and beneficial to local wildlife and preservation. (N. Perkins/ Grounds man Eastling Church 2007-2012)
The original graveyard has a modern extension with spaces still available for burials and close to the entry gate is an area dedicated to the burial of ashes.
Several graves date from the 17th and 18th centuries and include memorial stones to Mary Tanner who was born in the year of the Battle of Naseby; to Christopher Giles born in 1674 and his wife Susannah born in 1691; and to Thomas Lake of Eastling Gent died February the 19th 1717.
Close to the West Porch is a 13th century stone coffin slab, in the form of a cross with a sword, a style sometimes referred to as a "Crusader Tomb".(original text) This is infact incorrect, an archaeologist has confirmed that the stone is a medieval headstone most likely from the back of the church which was once standing that has been moved and placed by the entrance for asthetic qualities. There is another stone to the left of the entrance from a sarcophagus which again has been moved and placed by the entrance.

There is a Yew Tree by the West Door and It is said to be an ancient which would put it’s minimum age at 2000 years, predating the church. However dating methods for Yew Trees are inconclusive.. It is hard to reliably scientifically date a Yew Tree due to several factors.. Information on the dating process can be found here. (source: Also Yew trees can grow fast and ages can be exaggerated, a large Yew is most likely the age of the Church but unlikely to be older than it’s Anglo-Saxon predecessor. There is no firm evidence to link Yew trees to pagan religions or the theory that Church’s were built on Pagan Ritual Sites. (source: Illustrated History of the Countryside, Oliver Rackham)
The circle of yews which continue around the church have been said to have sprouted from the ancient Yew Tree, however archeologists and Yew Tree Specialists have put forward that actually the Yew Trees have been landscaped to look like that. In the past Yew Trees were planted to ward of witches and evil spirits. It is clear if you measure out the trees and use dimensions for aging that the trees have been landscaped.

Work carried out on the tower in 2010 to install a compostable toilet has radically changed the dimensions and structure of the lower and middle of the tower.
The base of the south-west Tower is said to date from the early 11th century, possibly earlier. Much of the remainder of the Tower is Norman.
The Tower – five feet thick at its base – is of flint and chippings, with ragstone quoins, and is heavily buttressed. The external brick buttress to the tower is 18th century. Brick was also used in rebuilding sections of the north-west angle of the Tower, the belfry openings and the Tower doorcase. Today’s slated spire would once have been clad with wooden shingles.
The door to the Tower is set in a large arch with "Articles" of the Ringing Chamber, on wooden boards above it.

Eastling has six bells, four of them made by Richard Phelps during the time he occupied the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Click here for more info. Unfortunately, the present condition of the timber bell frame with its elm headstocks (constructed around 1700) and the upper part of the Tower do not allow the bells to be rung safely.


THE next parish south-eastward from Newnham, is Easling, written in old deeds likewise Esling, and Iseling.

It is situated among the hills, on very high ground, about five miles southward from Faversham, and a little more than a mile south-eastward from Newnham valley, in a healthy but cold and forlorn country, being much exposed to the north-east aspect. The village, with the church and parsonage in it, a near pretty dwelling, stands on the road leading from Otterden to Newnham valley; in it there is a large well-timbered house, called Gregories, formerly of some account, and rebuilt in 1616, it formerly belonged to Hoskins, and then to Parmeter, in which name it still continues.—Though there is some level land in the parish, yet it is mostly steep hill and dale, the soil in gen ral a red cludgy earth, poor, and much covered with flints. It is very woody, especially in the eastern parts of it.

A fair is held in the village on Sept. 14, yearly, for toys and pedlary ware. On Nov. 30, being St. Andrew’s, there is yearly a diversion called squirrel bunting, in this and the neighbouring parishes, when the labourers and lower kind of people assembling together, form a lawless rabble, and being accoutred with guns, poles, clubs, and other such weapons, spend the greatest part of the day in parading through the woods and grounds, with loud shoutings, and under the pretence of demolishing the squirrels, some few of which they kill, they destroy numbers of hares, pheasants, partridges, and in short whatever comes in their way, breaking down the hedges, and doing much other mischief, and in the evening betaking themselves to the alehouses, finish their career there in drunkenness, as is usual with such sort of gentry.

THIS PLACE, at the time of the taking of the general survey of Domesday, was part of the extensive possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in that record:

Herbert held of the bishop of Baieux Nordeslinge. The arable land is one carucate. It was taxed at half a suling. There two borderers pay two shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth twenty shillings, now twenty-five shillings. Turgod held it in the time of king Edward the Confessor.

These two manors, (one of which was Throwley, described immediately before in this record) Herbert, the son of Ivo, Held of the bishop of Baieux.

And a little below,

Roger, son of Ansebitil, held of the bishop, Eslinges. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is one carucate. There is in demesne . . . . and one borderer has half a carucate. There is a church, and one mill of ten shillings, and two acres of meadow. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth sixty shillings, and afterwards twenty shillings, now forty shillings. Unlot held it of king Edward, and could go where he pleased with his land.

Fulbert held of the bishop, Eslinges. It was taxed at five suling, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now for two, and so it did after the bishop gave the manor to Hugh son of Fulbert. The arable land is six carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and thirty villeins having three carucates. There is a church, and twenty-eight servants, and one mill of ten shilings. Wood for the pannage of thirty bogs In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth ten pounds, and when he received it six pounds, now four pounds, and yet the bishop had eight pounds. Sired held it of king Edward.

The three estates described before, included North Easting and its appendages, Huntingfield and Diven manors, with others estates in this parish, then esteemed as part of them.

On the bishop’s disgrace four years afterwards, all his possessions were confiscated to the crown.

Fulbert de Dover, mentioned above as tenant to the bishop of Baieux for one of these estates, appears afterwards to have held all three of them of the king in capite by barony, the tenant of them being bound by tenure to maintain a certain number of soldiers from time to time, for the defence of Dover castle, in which there was a tower called Turris dei inimica, which he was bound by his tenure likewise to repair.

Of him and his heirs these estates were held by knight’s service, of the honor of Chilham, which they had made the caput baroniæ, or chief of their barony. (fn. 1) That part of the above-mentioned estates, called in Domesday Nordeslinge, was afterwards known by the name of THE MANOR OF EASLING, alias NORTHCOURT, which latter name it had from its situation in respect to the others, being held of the lords paramount by a family of the name of Esling, one of whom, Ralph de Esling, died possessed of it in the 26th year of king Edward I. anno 1297, then holding it by knight’s service of the honor of Chilham. He left an only daughter and heir Alice, who carried this manor, with that of Denton, alias Plumford, in marriage to Sir Fulk de Peyforer, who, with Sir William de Peyforer, of Otterden, accompanied king Edward. I. in his 28th year, at the siege of Carlaverock, where, with many other Kentish gentlemen, they were both knighted. They bore for their arms, Argent, six fleurs de lis, azure.

Sir Fulk de Peyforer, in the 32d year of the above reign, obtained a grant of a market weekly on a Friday, and one fair yearly on the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross at Esling, and free-warren for his lands there. Before the end of which reign, the property of these manors was transferred into the family of Leyborne, and it appears by an inquisition taken in the 1st year of Edward III. that Juliana, the widow of William de Leyborne, who died anno 2 Edward II. was possessed of these estates at her death, and that their grand-daughter Juliana, was heir both to her grandfather and father’s possessions, from the greatness of which she was usually stiled the Infanta of Kent.

She was then the wife of John de Hastings, as she was afterwards of Sir William de Clinton, created earl of Huntingdon, who paid aid for the manor of Northcourt, alias Easling. She survived him, and afterwards died possessed of this estate in Easling, together with Denton, alias Plymford, in the 41st year of king Edward III. and leaving no issue by either of her husbands, these manors, among the rest of her estates, escheated to the crown, for it appears by the inquisition taken that year, after her death, that there was no one who could make claim to her estates, either by direct or even by collateral alliance.

These manors remained in the crown till the beginning of king Richard the IId.’s reign, when they became vested in John, duke of Lancaster, and other seoffees, in trust for the performance of certain religious bequests in the will of Edward III. in consequence of which, the king Afterwards, in his 22d year, granted them, among other premises, to the dean and canons of St. Stephen’s college, in Westminster, for ever. (fn. 2) In which situation they continued till the 1st year of king Edward VI. when, by the act passed that year, they were surrendered into the king’s hands.

After which the king, by his letters patent, in his 3d year, granted these manors, among others lately belonging to the above-mentioned college, to Sir Thomas Cheney, privy counsellor and treasurer of his houshold, with all and singular their liberties and privileges whatsoever, in as ample a manner as the dean and canons held them, to hold in capite by knight’s service. (fn. 3) whose son Henry, lord Cheney, of Tuddington, had possession granted to him of his inheritance anno 3 Elizabeth, and that year levied a fine of all his lands.

He passed these manors away by sale, in the 8th year of that reign, to Martin James, esq. prothonotary of the court of chancery, and afterwards a justice of the peace for this county, who levied a fine of them anno 17 Elizabeth, and died possessed of them in 1592, being buried in the south chancel of this church, under a monument, on which are the effigies of himself and his wife. He bore for his arms, Quarterly, first and fourth, vert, a dolphin naiant; second and third, Ermine, on a chief gules, three crosses, or. His great-grandson Walter James, esq. was possessed of them at the time of the restoration of king Charles II. whose heirs sold them in the latter end of that reign, to Mr. John Grove, gent. of Tunstall, who died possessed of them in 1678, after which they descended down to Richard Grove, esq. of Cambridge, but afterwards of the Temple, in London, who died unmarried in 1792, and by his will devised them to Mr. William Jemmet, of Ashford, and Mr. William Marshall, of London, who continue at this time the joint possessors of them.

THE MANOR OF HUNTINGFIELD, situated in the eastern part of this parish, was, at the time of the takeing of the general survey of Domesday, part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, as has been already taken notice of before, and on his disgrace came, with the rest of his estates, to the crown, about the year 1084.

After which, Fulbert de Dover appears to have held it, with others in this parish, of the king in capite by barony, by the tenure of ward to Dover castle for the defence of it. Of him and his heirs it was held by knight’s service, of the honor of Chilham, the head or chief of their barony.

Simon de Chelsfield held it of them, as lords paramount, in the reign of Henry III. but at the latter end of that reign, this manor was come into the possession of that branch of the eminent family of Huntingfield settled in this county, descended from those of Suffolk, in which county and in Norfolk they had large possessions. Hence this manor assumed the name of Huntingfield-court, and it appears by the roll of knights fees, taken at the beginning of the reign of Edward I. that Peter de Huntingfield then held it. He resided at times both here and at West Wickham, of which manor he was likewise possessed, though it seems when he was sheriff in the 11th, 12th, and 13th years of that reign, he kept his shrievalty at Huntingfield-court. In the 9th year of it he obtained a charter of free-warren for his lands at Eslynge and Stalesfeld, and in the 28th year of it attended the king at the siege of Carlaverock, in Scotland, for which service he, with others, received the honor of knighthood. He died in the 7th year of Edward II. anno 1313, leaving by the lady Imayne his wise, who was buried in the church of the Grey Friars, London, Sir Walter de Huntingfield his son and heir, who having obtained several liberties for his manor of Wickham, and liberty to impark his grounds there, (fn. 4) seems to have deserted this place, which in the next reign of Edward III. was sold either by him or by his son, Sir John de Huntingfield, to one of the family of Sawfamere, and in the 20th year of that reign, the lady Sawfamere, Dna’ de Sawsamero, as she is written in the book of aid, paid respective aid for it.

But before the end of that reign, it had passed into the name of Halden, for it appears by the escheat-rolls that William de Halden died in the 50th year of it, possessed of Easling manor, called Huntingfield, held of the castle of Chilham; soon after which it became the property of Sir Simon de Burleigh, who being attainted in the 12th year of Richard II. this manor, among the rest of his possessions, came to the crown. After which, anno 2 Henry IV. John, son and heir of Sir John de Burley, cousin and heir of Sir Simon de Burley, was, upon his petition, restored in blood, and the judgment against Sir Simon was revoked, and three years afterwards the king, with the assent of the lords, wholly restored him to all his hereditaments, except as to those excepted by him. (fn. 5) How long this manor remained in this name I have not found, but in the reign of Henry VI. it was in the possession of Sir James Fienes, who anno 25 of that reign, by reason of his mother’s descent, was created Lord Say and Sele, and was afterwards made lord treasurer, but becoming unpopular, from his being so great a favorite, he was seized on in the insurrection raised by Jack Cade, and beheaded in the 29th year of that reign. He was at his death possessed of this manor, which by his will be devised to his son Sir William Fienes, who became likewise lord Say and Sele, but the unhappy contention which then subsisted between the houses of York and Lancaster, in which he risked not only his person, but his whole fortune, brought him soon afterwards into great distresses, and necessitated him to mortgage and sell the greatest part of his lands. How this manor was disposed of I have not found, but within a very few years afterwards it appears to have been in the hands of the crown, for king Richard III. in his first year, granted to John Water, alias Yorke Heraulde, an annuity out of the revenues of his lordship of Huntingfield, and afterwards by his writ, in the same year, on the resignation of John, garter, principal king at arms, and Thomas, clarencieux, king at arms, he committed to Richard Champeney, alias called Gloucestre, king of arms, the custody of this manor.

But the see of it seems to have remained in the crown till king Henry VIII. in his 35th year, granted it to John Guldford and Alured Randall, esqrs. to hold in capite by knight’s service. John Guildford was the next year become the sole proprietor of it, and then alienated it to Sir Thomas Moyle; he sold it, in the 7th year of Edward VI. to John Wild, esq. of St. Martin’s hill, Canterbury, with its members and appurtenances in Esling, Sheldwich, Whitstaple, Reculver, and Ulcombe. However, it appears that he was not possessed of the entire see of it at his death in 1554, for he by his will devised his two thirds of this manor, (besides the third part due to the queen, after his wife’s death) to his son Thomas Wild, then an infant, whose son John Wild, esq. of St. Martin’s hill, alienated his share, or two thirds of it, which included the courts, sines, amerciaments, and other privileges belonging to it, to Martin James, esq. prothonotary of the court of chancery, owner of the manor of North-court, alias Easling, as above-mentioned, whose great-grandson, Walter James, esq. possessed it at the restoration of Charles II. at the latter end of which reign his heirs sold it to Mr. John Grove, gent. of Tunstall, who died possessed of it in 1678, and his great-grandson Richard Grove, esq. of London, proprietor likewise of North-court above-described, died in 1792, having by his will devised these manors (which having been for many years united in the same owners, are now consolidated, one court being held for both, the stile of which is, the manor of Easling, alias North court, with that of Huntingfield annexed, in Easling, Ulcomb, and Sheldwich) among the rest of his estates, to Wm. Jemmet, gent. of Ashford, and William Marshall, of London, and they continue at this time the joint possessors of these manors.

BUT THE REMAINING THIRD PART of the manor of Hunting field, in the hands of the crown in the reign of Philip and Mary, as before-mentioned, in which was included the mansion of Huntingfield court, with the demesne lands adjoining to it, continued there till it was granted, in the beginning of the next reign of queen Elizabeth, to Mr. Robert Greenstreet, who died possessed of it in the 14th year of that reign, holding it in capite by knight’s service. His descendant Mr. Mathew Greenstreet, of Preston, leaving an only daughter Anne, she carried this estate in marriage to Mr. Richard Tassell, of Linsted, and he alienated it in 1733 to Edward Hasted, esq. barrister-at law, of Hawley, near Dartford, whose father Mr. Joseph Hasted, gent. of Chatham, was before possessed of a small part of the adjoining demesne lands of Huntingfield manor, which had been in queen Elizabeth’s reign become the property of Mr. Josias Clynch.

The family of Hasted, or as they were antiently written, both Halsted and Hausted, was of eminent note in very early times, as well from the offices they bore, as their several possessions in different counties, and bore for their arms, Gules, a chief chequy, or, and azure. William Hausted was keeper of the king’s exchange, in London, in the 5th year of Edward II. from whom these of Kent hold themselves to be descended, one of whom, John Hausted, clerk, or as his descendants wrote themselves, Hasted, born in Hampshire, is recorded to have been chaplain to queen Elizabeth, and a person much in favor with her, whom he so far displeased by entering into the state of marriage, which he did with a daughter of George Clifford, esq. of Bobbing, and sister of Sir Coniers Clifford, governor of Connaught, in Ireland, that he retired to the Isle of Wight, where he was beneficed, and dying there about the year 1596, was buried in the church of Newport. His great grandson Joseph Hasted, gent. was of Chatham, and dying in 1732, was buried in Newington church, as was his only son Edward, who was of Hawley, esq. the purchaser of Huntingfield court as before-mentioned. He died in 1740, leaving by his wife Anne, who was descended from the antient and respectable family of the Dingleys, of Wolverton, in the isle of Wight, one son, Edward Hasted, esq. late of Canterbury, who has several children, of whom the eldest, the Rev. Edward Hasted, late of Oriel college, in Oxford, is now vicar of Hollingborne. He bears for his arms the antient coat of the family of Halsted, or Hausted, as mentioned before, with the addition in the field, of an eagle displayed,ermine,beaked and legged, or, with which he quarters those of Dingley, Argent, a fess azure, in chief, two mullets of the second between two burts, which colours Charles, the third son of Sir John Dingley, of Wolverton, in James the 1st.’s reign, changed from those borne by his ancestors and elder brothers, i.e. from sable to azure.

Edward Hasted, esq. of Canterbury, above-mentioned, succeeded his father in this estate, which he, at length, in 1787, alienated to John Montresor, esq. of Throwley, who continues the possessor of it.

The foundations of slint and stone, which have continually been dug up near this house, shew it to have been formerly much larger that it is at present. There was once a chapel and a mill belonging to it, the fields where they stood being still known by the name of chapel-field and mill-field, which answers the description of this estate given in Domesday.

DIVEN is A MANOR, situated almost adjoining to the church of Easting, which is so corruptly called for Dive-court, its more antient and proper name. This estate was likewise one of those described before in Domesday, as being part of the possessions of the bishop of Baieux, on whose disgrace it was, among, the rest of his estates, forfeited to the crown; after which, Fulbert de Dover appears to have held it, with others in this parish therein-mentioned, of the king in capite by barony, by the tenure of ward to Dover cattle, and of him and his heirs it was held, as half a knight’s fee, of the honor of Chilham, the caput barouiæ, or head of their barony.

In the reign of Henry III. John Dive held this estate as before-mentioned, of that honor; and his descendant Andrew Dive, in the 20th year of king Edward III. paid aid for it as half a knight’s fee, held of the above barony, when it paid ward annually to Dover castle. In this name the manor of Diven continued till the beginning of the next reign of king Richard II. when it was alienated to Sharp, of Ninplace, in Great Chart, in which it remained till the latter end of Henry VII. when it was conveyed to Thurston, of Challock, from which, some year after, it was passed by sale to John Wild, esq. who, before the reign of queen Elizabeth, sold it to Gates, and he alienated it to Norden, who conveyed it to Bunce, where it remained after the death of king Charles I. in 1648; soon after which this manor was sold to John Adye, esq of Down court, in Doddington, who died possessed of it in 1660, and his two sons, Edward and Nicholas, seem afterwards to have possessed it in undivided moieties.

Edward Adye, esq. was of Barham, and left seven daughters his coheirs, of whom Susanna, married to Ruishe Wentworth, esq. son and heir of Sir George Wentworth, a younger brother to Thomas, the noted but unfortunate earl of Strafford, entitled her husband to the possession of her father’s moiety of this manor, with other lands in Doddington, upon the division of his estates among them. He left an only daughter and heir Mary, who married Thomas, lord Howard, of Essingham, who died possessed of this moiety of Diven-court in 1725, and leaving no male issue, he was succeeded in this estate by Francis his brother and heir, who was in 1731 created Earl of Essingham, and died in 1743. His son Thomas, earl of Effingham, afterwards alienated this moiety of Divencourt to Oliver Edwards, esq. of the six clerks office, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

The other moiety of this manor, which, on the death of his father, came into the possession of Nicholas Adye, esq. of Down-Court, in Doddington, was devised by him to his eldest son John Adye, esq. of Down court, who anno 23 Charles II. suffered a recovery of it. (fn. 6)

He left an only daughter and heir Mary, married to Henry Cullum, sergeant-at-law; but before that event, this estate seems to have been passed away by him to Thomas Diggs, esq. of Chilham castle, Whose descendant of the same name, in 1723, conveyed it, with Chilham-castle, and the rest of his estates in this county, to Mr. James Colebrook, citizen and mercer of London, who died possessed of this moiety of Diven-court in the year 1752, after which it passed in like manner with them, till it was at length sold by his descendants, under the same act of parliament, in the year 1775, to Thomas Heron, esq. of Newark upon Trent, afterwards of Chilham-castle, who about the year 1776, joined with Oliver Edwards, esq. the proprietor of the other moiety, as has been mentioned beforce, to Mr. Charles Chapman, of Faversham, who then became possessed of the whole of it, which, at his death in 1782, he devised by his will to his nephews and nieces, of the name of Leeze, two of whom are now entitled to the fee of it.

THE MANOR OF ARNOLDS, which is situated about a mile eastward from the church of Easling, was likewise part of the estates of the bishop of Baieux, mentioned before, and on his disgrace came with the rest of them, to the crown, of which it was held afterwards in capite by barony, by Fulbert de Dover, by the tenure of ward to Dover castle, and of him and his heirs it was again held, as half a knight’s fee, as of the honor of Chilham, the head of their barony.

Of them it was held by Arnold de Bononia, whence it acquired the name of Arnolds, alias Esling. His son John Fitzarnold afterwards possessed it in the reign of Edward III. after which Peter de Huntingfield was owner of it, but in the 20th year of Edward III. the lady Champaine, or Champion, and the earl of Oxford paid aid for it, as half a knight’s fee, held of the barony above-mentioned. How it passed afterwards I have not seen, but in the next reign of Richard II. it was become part of the endowment of the dean and canons of the collegiate free chapel of St. Stephen’s, Westminster, with whom it remained till the suppression of it in the 1st year of Edward VI. when it came into the hands of the crown; after which it became the property of Gates, and after that of Terry, in which it continued several years, and by that acquired the name of Arnolds, alias Terrys, from which name it was sold, in the reign of queen Anne, one part to the Rev. William Wickens, rector of this parish, who bore for his arms, Party, per pale, or, and sable, a chevron coupee, between three trefoils, all counter changed, whose son Mr. William Wickens, succeeded to it on his death in 1718. He died without male issue, and by his will devised it to his two daughters, one of whom marrying Elvy, he bought the other sister’s share in it, and his widow surviving him now possesses both of them; another part was sold to Chapman, and a third to Avery. Since which it has become more inconsiderable, by the two parts last-mentioned having been again parcelled out, so that now it is sunk into that obscurity, as hardly to be worthy of notice, but the manerial rights of the manor are claimed by John Wynne and Lydia his wife.


EDWARD GRESWOLD, by his will in 1677, gave 20l. for the benefit of the poor not receiving alms, to be laid out in land or otherwise, by his executors, who in 1680 purchased a piece of land, called Pinkes-cross, in Easling, containing two acres, in trust, for this purpose, the rent of it is now 154. per annum, vested in the minister and parish officers.

The poor constantly relieved are about twelve, casually twenty-five.

EASLING is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Ospringe.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of three isles and a south chancel, called St. Katherine’s. The steeple, which is a low pointed one, stands at the west end; there are six bells in it.

Alicia de Esling, wife of Robert de Eschequer, and lady of the manor of Esling, with the consent of archbishop Theobald, in the reign of king Stephen, granted the church of Elinges, situated on her estate, to the priory of Ledes, in perpetual alms, together with the temporalities, or appropriation of it, to be possessed by them for ever after the death of Gervas then incumbent of it. Which gift was confirmed by archbishop Hubert, in the reign of Richard I.

Notwithstanding which, there was no vicarage endowed here, nor did the canons of Ledes ever enjoy the parsonage of it; but archbishop Stephen Langton, who succeeded archbishop Hubert, with the consent and approbation of William de Eslinges, patron of this church, granted to the canons of Ledes twenty shillings yearly, to be received from it in the name of a benefice; and he ordained, that beyond that sum, they should not claim any thing further from it, but that whenever it should become vacant, the said William de Esling should present to it. But it should seem that after this, they had not given up all pretensions to it, for they obtained, seventy years after this, viz. in 1278, of the prior, and the convent of Christchurch, Canterbury, a confirmation of the archbishops Theobald and Hubert’s charters to them, in which this church is particularly mentioned. (fn. 7) How long it continued in the hands of the family of Esling I do not find, or in those of private patronage; but before the 22d year of Edward III. it was become part of the possessions of the college founded by Sir John Poultney, in the church of St. Laurence, Canon-street, London, with which it remained till the suppression of the college, in the reign of Edward VI. when it came, with the rest of the possessions of it, into the hands of the crown.

After which it seems to have been granted to Sir Thomas Moyle, of Eastwell, whose sole daughter and heir Catherine married Sir Thomas Finch, of that place, and afterwards Nicholas St. Leger, esq. who in her right presented to this rectory in 1574; after which Sir Moyle Finch, knight and baronet, the eldest son of Sir Thomas and lady Catherine, succeeded to it, in whose descendants, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, this advowson continued down to Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, who died possessed of it in 1769, without male issue, leaving his four daughters his coheirs. He was succeeded in titles by his nephew George Finch, esq. only son of his next brother William; but this advowson, with Eastwell, and the rest of his Kentish estates, he gave by his will to his nephew George Finch Hatton, esq. only son of his third brother the hon. Edward Finch Hatton, (fn. 8) who is the present owner of it.

The pension of twenty shillings payable from this church to the priory of Ledes, at its suppression in the reign of Henry VIII. came into the hands of the crown; after which it was settled, among other premises, by the King, in his 33d year, on his newerected dean and chapter of Rochester, who are now entitled to it.

¶This rectory is valued in the king’s books at sixteen pounds, and the yearly tenths at 1l. 12s. In 1587 the communicants here were eighty-seven.

In 1640 it was valued at 120l. Communicants one hundred. It is now worth upwards of 200l. per annum.

Posted by Jelltex on 2017-03-06 20:35:51

Tagged: , St Mary , Eastling , Kent , Church , Jelltex , Jelltecks

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