ADJOINING to Swanscombe southward, lies
Southfleet, called in Domesday, Suthfleta, and so
named to distinguish it from Northfleet. It is called
in the Textus Roffensis, Fletis and Fleotis, (fn. 1) which name
it acquired from its situation close to the fleet, or arm
of the Thames, which now flows under Northfleet
bridge, and formerly came up as high as this parish,
and was probably then navigable a great way up.
These parishes taking their names from it, at least
shews it to have been a water of no small consequence.
This PARISH is rather an unfrequented place, nor
is it much known, there being no public thoroughfare or high road through it; and the gentlemens' seats
in it, of which there were several, having been
greatly neglected, and suffered to run to ruin, some
of them have been pulled down, and the remaining ones being inhabited only by the occupiers of the
lands, the roads in it have been likewise neglected, and
there are none to it now, but for waggons and carts
of husbandry; otherwise it is situated very pleasant
and rural, the air is very healthy, and the lands more
level and fertile, and less covered with slints, than
those of the neighbouring parishes. The village is
situated nearly in the middle of the parish; in the
centre of it is a space called Hook-green, having
Hook-place on it, now used as a farm-house, and the
church and free school on the north-west side of it, and
the parsonage at a small distance southward. The
antient seat of Scadbury stands at a small distance
northward from it, being now converted into a farm
house, and excepting the rector, there is not a gentleman residing in the parish, though the farmers in it
are very respectable and opulent. About a mile northwest from the village is the hamlet of Betsham, formerly called Bedesham, through which the roads lead
from Greensted-green to Wingfield-bank, where it
meets the antient Watling-street or Roman highway,
which having passed through Swanscombe-park wood,
runs with the present road along the northern side of
this parish, towards Shinglewell, and thence on to
Cobham-park and Rochester.
On the remains of this road, about half a mile westward of Wingfield-bank, near adjoining to Springhead, in the land now called Barkfields, in this parish,
some years ago, a stone was discovered, which, when
dug up, was judged to be a Roman milliare, or mile
stone. It stood nearly upright, the top of it about six
or seven inches below the surface of the ground, so
that it has been much surrowed by the passing of the
plough over it. It measured two feet and a half long,
two of its sides were sixteen inches, the other two fourteen. The corners of it were chiselled, but its faces
were rustic; on one side there was a cross or figure of
tin, deeply cut, which was undoubtedly to shew that
it stood that distance from some particular station.
[A Roman stone discovered in the parish]
Somner and some others have placed the station of
the Romans, called VAGNIACÆ, at Northfleet, not
far distant, but the objection to this is, that the valley between Northfleet-hill, leading to the bridge,
and the opposite hill westward from it, was at that
time a broad fleet of water, the Thames then flowing up
to near Southfleet, as it would now, was it not hindered
by the obstruction formed by the main road and the
bank along side of it; therefore it is reasonable to
suppose, that to avoid this water, the Romans shaped
their course more to the southward, towards Southfleet, where it was more narrow, and where they had
the benefit of a fine spring, which rises there, still
known by the name of Spring-head, near which the
stone above mentioned was discovered, and a great
number of their coins, some of silver, and many of
copper, have at times been turned up by the plough,
one was of the empress Faustina, very fair, and among
these there has been found parched corn, such as
wheat, and other grain. (fn. 2) Dr. Thorpe conjectured,
that hereabouts was the above mentioned station,
this spot answering to the numeral cross on the mile
stone, being about ten Italian miles from the Medway at Rochester.
Gerarde, the herbalift, seems to have visited this
place very frequently, on account of the aptness of
the soil for simpling, which accounts for his observations being so numerous here.
The FOLLOWING PLANTS and HERBS he has taken notice in his Herbal as peculiar to this parish.
Iberis cardamantica sciatica cresses.
Thlapsi vulgatissimum, mithridate mustard.
Argemone capitulo torulo, bastard wild poppy.
Ophris bifolia, twaiblade.
Virga aurea, golden rod.
Helleborine, wild white hellebore.
Trachelium majus, blue Canterbury bells; and Trachelium majus Belg. five giganteum, giant throatwort.
After atticus, starwort; and after Italorum, Italian
Chamæpitys, ground pine, several sorts of which grow
here and in this neighbourhood.
Ascyron, St. Peter's wort.
Ptarmica, sneeze wort.
Lithospermum majus and minus, great and small
Anagallis, pimpernell of several sorts.
Veronica fæmina fuchsii five elatine, the female fuellin;
and elatine altera, sharp pointed fuellin.
Tragoriganum, goats marjorum.
Trichomanes mas. the male maiden hair.
Cannabis spuria tertia, small bastard hemp, here and in
general in the road towards Canterbury.
Lathyrus major latifolius, peas everlasting.
Helianthemum Anglicum, the English cistus, here, and
most part of the way to Dover.
Colutea minima five coronilla, the smallest bastard senna,
here and towards Dover.
Rhamnus solutivus, the buckthorne.
Sorbus, the service tree, in great plenty here and in this
Lautana five viburnum, the wayfaring tree.
Satyrium abortinum five nidus avis, bird's nest.
Rheseda plinii, Italian rocket; and reseda maxima,
Cynocrambe, dogs mercury.
The MANOR of SOUTHFLEET, with the church,
seems to have been given to the church and priory of
of St. Andrew, in Rochester, by some of the antient
Saxon kings, and their estate here was afterwards
increased by the gift of one Birtrick, a rich and
potent man, who at that time resided at Meopham,
and gave, with the consent of Alfswithe, his wife, his
land here and in other places to that church and priory; but their whole property here was wrested from
them in the troublesome times which soon afterwards
followed, and they continued dispossessed of their
estate here till the time of the Conqueror, when it
was restored to the church of St. Andrew again, by
the famous trial of Pinenden. This appears by a
confirmation of this manor, among others, to the
church of Rochester, by archbishop Boniface, in
which it it mentioned, as having been the gift of the
antient kings of England, and to have been taken
away, and restored as above mentioned; and it continued part of the possessions of the above mentioned
church at the time of the taking the survey of Domesday, in the 15th year of the Conqueror's reign, anno
1080, in which it is thus described, under the general title of the lands of the bishop of Rochester.
The bishop of Rochester holds Sudfleta. It was taxed
at six sulings. The arable land is 13 carucates. In demesne there is one carucate and 25 villeins, with nine
borderers, having 12 carucates. There are seven servants, and 20 acres of meadow; wood for the pannage
of 10 hogs. It is now taxed at five sulings. There is a
church. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and
afterwards, it was worth 11 pounds, now 21 pounds,
and yet it pays 24 pounds, and one ounce of gold.—Of
this manor there is in (the lowy of) Tunbridge as much
wood and land as is rated at 20 sulings.
Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was elected
to this see, in the reign of the Conqueror, having
divided the revenues of his church between himself
and his convent, allotted this manor, and the church
appendant to it, to the share of the monks, for the
use of their refectory. (fn. 3)
King Henry I. king Stephen, and king Henry II.
confirmed Southfleet, with its appendages, to the
church of Rochester, and the monks there, as did
several of the archbishops of Canterbury, from time
to time. (fn. 4)
On bishop Gilbert de Glanvill's coming to the see
in 1185, there arose a dispute between him and the
monks, the bishop claiming several of the possessions
given to them by bishop Gundulph, among which was
the manor of Southfleet, which he alledged belonged
to the see of Rochester. At last the monks were
obliged to submit; but though he restored several
manors and churches to his see, yet it appears that
he left them in the quiet possession of this manor.
In the 7th year of king Edward I. the bishop
claimed certain liberties, by the grant of Henry I. in
all his lands and fees, by antient custom, in the lands
of the priory of Frendsbury, Stoke, Denystone, Woldham, Southfleet, and in all other lands belonging to
his church; he likewise claimed gallows, assize of
bread and ale, tumbrell, pillory, chattels of fugitive
and condemned persons, with year and waste of those
lands, and all amerciaments of the tenants of his
church, all which were allowed him by the jury. (fn. 5)
In the 21st year of king Edward I. upon a 2uo warranto, the prior of Rochester claimed that he and his
predecessors had, in Woldham, Stokes, Frendsbury,
Denington, and Southfleet, view of frank pledge, and
a fair in Southfleet, from the time beyond memory,
and that these liberties had been used without inter
ruption; all which were allowed by the jury.
And as to free warren, he claimed it by the grant
of king Henry I. and said, that he and his predecessors had used it in all these parishes, from the time
of that grant; but the jury found to the contrary,
therefore it was adjudged, that they should remain
without that liberty. (fn. 6)
Two years afterwards, king Edward, in his 23d
year, granted to the prior and convent free warren in
all their demesne lands of Southfleet, Frindsbury,
Darent, Woldham, and Stokes, so that no one should
enter those lands to hunt in them, or to take any
thing which belonged to warren, without the leave of
the prior and convent, on penalty of forfeiting to the
king the sum of ten pounds. (fn. 7) On a 2uo warranto,
anno 6 king Edward II. bishop Thomas de Woldham
claimed, and was allowed the before mentioned liberties in this manor, (fn. 8) belonging to the prior of Ro
chester, which were confirmed by inspeximus in the
30th year of king Edward III.
In a taxation of the manors, &c. of the prior and
convent of Rochester, anno 15 king Edward I. the
manor of Southfleet was valued at 16l. 12s. per ann.
In the 5th year of king Henry VIII. it was worth
as appeared by the account of William Fressell, the
prior, in the whole 40l. 19s. 4d.
At the suppression of the priory of Rochester, this
manor came, among the rest of its possessions, into
the king's hands, who, two years after, settled it on
his new erected dean and chapter of Rochester, where
it did not stay long, for he required it from them
again soon afterwards, by way of exchange; in consequence of which the dean and chapter, in the 36th
of that reign, granted it to him, with all its rights
and appurtenances, and had in lieu of it a grant of
the rectory impropriate and advowson of the vicarage
of Shorne, in this county. (fn. 9) By which means the original tenth, payable by the dean and chapter, on
their foundation, to the king, being 115l. was advanced for, as Shorne was esteemed worth 9l. 6s.
more than Southfleet, that sum was added to it, and
they now pay 125l. 6s.
The next year the king granted the manor of Southfleet, with its appurtenances, to Sir William Petre,
to hold in capite by knights service. (fn. 10) Sir William
Petre was a man of great eminence in his time, of approved wisdom, and exquisite learning. He was first
taken notice of by king Henry VIII. as a man fit for
his purpose, in managing the dissolution of the religious houses, and was put into the commission by
Thomas Cromwell, the visitor-general, in order to gather matter sufficient to found their ruin on; in which
business he behaved so well to the king's liking, that
he ever after employed him in state affairs, and made
him chief secretary of state, and of his privy council.
Sir William knew so well how to accommodate himself to the humour even of those fickle times, that he
found means to continue in favour, and in his office
of secretary, during the reigns of king Edward VI.
queen Mary, and queen Elizabeth. But in queen
Mary's reign, discerning that the restoring the Roman religion would deprive him of those vast grants
of abbey lands, which he had so industriousry acquired,
he got a special dispensation from the pope for retaining them; affirming, that he was ready to employ
them to spiritual uses. His only son John, by his
second wife, in the 1st year of king James I. was
made lord Petre of Writtle, in Essex. (fn. 11) Sir William
Petre sold this manor the same year in which it was
granted to him to William Gerrard, or Garret, as
some called him, citizen and haberdasher of London,
and afterwards knighted, and lord-mayor in 1553; (fn. 12)
who was the son of John Gerrard, alias Garret, of
Sittingborne, and bore for his arms, Argent on a fess,
sable, a lion passant of the field. He died in the 14th
year of queen Elizabeth, and was succeeded here by
his son and heir, William Gerrard, who was afterwards knighted. He died in the 22d year of that
reign. His son, Sir John Gerrard, lord-mayor in
1601, passed it away to Sir William Sedley, of the
Friars, in Aylesford, (fn. 13) created a baronet on May 22,
1611. From him it descended down to his grandson, Sir Charles Sedley, bart. so much noted for his
wit and gallantry; who by Catharine, one of the
daughters of John earl Rivers, left one only daughter, Catherine, created by king James II. in his first
year, countess of Dorchester and baroness of Darling
ton for life. (fn. 14) Sir Charles died in 1701, on which the
title became extinct, and this estate came by settlement to Sir Charles Sedley, of St. Giles's, who was,
next year, created a baronet, and resided at Scadbury, now called Scotbury, the antient seat in this
parish belonging to this family. This branch of the
family bore for their arms, quarterly five coats, 1. Sedley, azure, a fess wavy argent, between three goats heads
erased of the second; 2. Fenks; 3. Grove; 4. Darell;
and 5. Savile.
The family of Sedley was possessed of Scadbury so
high as the year 1337, as appeared by a pannel of
wainscot in the dining room of this house; on which
there was carved the arms of the Sedleys, A fess wavy
between three goats heads erased, and underneath the
letters, W. S. and the above mentioned date. (fn. 15) John
Sedley was of Scadbury in the reign of Henry VII.
and one of the auditors of the exchequer to that
prince. He died in 1500, and left by Elizabeth his
wife, daughter and coheir of Roger Jenkes, of London, two sons; William, of whom hereafter; and
Martin Sedley, who was of Morley, in Norfolk, from
whom descended the Sedleys of that county.
William Sedley, the eldest son, was of Scadbury.
He was sheriff of this county in the 1st year of king
Edward VI. and married Anne, daughter and heir
of Roger Grove, of London, by whom he left three
sons and two daughters; of the former, John, the
eldest, was of Scadbury, of whom hereafter; Robert
was the second son; and Nicholas, the third son, left
one son, Isaac Sedley, bart. of Great Chart, the father
of Sir John Sedley, bart. of St. Clere's, in Ightham.
John Sedley, of Scadbury, eldest son of William, was
sheriff in the 8th year of queen Elizabeth, and having
married Anne, daughter of John Culpeper, esq. of
Aylesford, died in 1581, leaving three sons; of whom
William was of Aylesford, and was created a baronet
in 1611, as has been before mentioned in the account
of him and his descendants. John died, s. p. (fn. 16) and
Richard was of Southfleet, and afterwards of Digonswell, in Hertfordshire. By an ordinary of arms, belonging to the gentry of this county, in 1595, the
arms of Sedley, of Southfleet are given, Per pale azure
and sable, a fess chequy argent and gules, between three
goats heads erased argent, attired or; which, I should
imagine were those of this Richard Sedley, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Darell esq. of Calehill, by whom he had William Sedley, esq. who died
in 1658, leaving by his second wife, Mary, daughter
of Sir John Honywood, of Charing, a son, named
Charles, who was knighted in 1688, and died in 1701. (fn. 17)
His son Charles, after the death of Sir Charles Sedley,
bart. of Aylesford and Southfleet, became possessed
both of the manor of Southfleet and the ancient family seat of Scadbury, and was created a baronet on
July 10, 1702, being the 1st year of queen Anne.
He died in 1727, leaving by Frances his wife, daughter of Sir Richard Newdigate, bart. one son, Charles,
and a daughter, Elizabeth, married in 1739, to Sir
Robert Burdet, bart. of Bramcote, in Warwickshire. (fn. 18)
Sir Charles Sedley, bart. the son, married in 1718,
Elizabeth, daughter of William Frith, esq. by whom
he became possessed of the estate and seat at Nuthall,
in Nottinghamshire, where this family afterwards resided. He died in 1730, leaving Sir Charles Sedley,
bart. of Nuthall, his only son and heir, who some
few years ago exchanged the manor of Southfleet,
Scadbury, and the estates belonging to them, for
other lands, with the Rev. Mr. Thomas Sanderson,
of Haslemere, in Surry; and his daughter, Mary
Anne, is the present possessor of them.
Among the antient contributory lands, towards the
repair of Rochester bridge, is this manor; the owner
of which, as well as those of Halling, Trottesclive,
Malling, Stone, Pinenden, and Fawkham, and likewise the bishop of Rochester, are bound, when necessity requires, to repair the third pier of that bridge. (fn. 19)
Pole or Pool, is a manor here, which was antiently estimated at one suling or plough-land. It formerly was the inheritance of a family, called Berese;
one of whom, Richard de Berese, gave the tithes of
his lands (fn. 20) in Southfleet to the church of Rochester;
and they were allotted, by bishop Gundulph, to the
share of the monks of his priory. It afterwards gave
name to a family who were possessors of it; and it
appears by the book of Knights Fees, taken in the
reign of king Edward I. and now remaining in the
exchequer, that Sarah de Pole was owner of it in that
reign, holding it in dower, as two parts of a knight's
fee, of the bishop of Rochester. In the reign of king
Edward III. this manor was part of the possessions of
Sir John, son of Henry de Cobham, of Cobham, the
eldest branch of that noble family; who, in the 17th
year of that reign, obtained a charter for free warren
within this his lordship of Pole among others. (fn. 21) In
the 20th year of that reign, he paid aid for it, as two
parts of a knight's fee, which Sarah de Pole before
held in Southfleet of the bishop of Rochester. Sir
John de Cobham died, full of years, in the 9th year
of king Henry IV. being then possessed of this manor, (fn. 22)
leaving Joane his grand daughter his next heir, the
wife of Sir Nicholas Hawberk. She afterwards married Sir John Oldcastle, who, on that account, assumed the title of lord Cobham, and died possessed of
this manor in the 5th year of king Henry VI. (fn. 23) though
she is said to have had five husbands; one of whom,
John Harpden, died possessed of Pole in his wife's
right, in the 12th year of king Henry VI. yet she had
issue only by her second husband, Sir Reginald, second son of Sir Gerard Braybrooke, one sole daughter
and heir, named Joane, who became the wife of Sir
Thomas Brooke, of Somersetshire, who was, in his
wife's right, lord Cobham, though he never received
summons to parliament. He had by her a numerous
offspring, and died anno 17 king Henry VI. (fn. 24) possessed
of this manor, which descended from him to his great
grandson, Sir Thomas Brooke, lord Cobham, who
gave it in marriage with his third daughter, Elizabeth,
to Sir Thomas Wyat, of Allington-castle; who, in
the 32d year of king Henry VIII. exchanged it, together with all his other lands in Southfleet, with
that king, for the monastery of Boxley and other
premises; after which it remained in the hands of
the crown till queen Mary, in her 2d year, through
her bounty, granted it to the lady Jane, the widow
of Sir Thomas Wyat, who had been the year before
attainted and executed for high treason, to hold in
capite by knight's service. (fn. 25) Theirson, George Wyat,
was of Boxley-abbey, and was restored in blood in
the 13th year of queen Elizabeth, by act of parliament. On his death, in 1624, this manor descended
to his eldest son, Sir Francis Wyat, of Boxley-abbey,
who died in 1644, leaving Henry his successor in this
manor; and Edwin, afterwards made a sergeant-at
law; and Elizabeth, married to Thomas Bosvile, esq.
of Little Mote, in Eynsford.
Henry Wyat, the eldest son, was of Boxley-abbey,
and possessed Pole manor. He left by Jane his wife,
an only daughter, Frances, who married Sir Thomas
Selyard, bart. and he, in her right, took possession of
it; but her father's brother, Mr. Sergeant Wyat, above
mentioned, claimed, and soon afterwards recovered at
law, the whole of the manor itself, with a moiety of the
farm and demesne lands, as his right.
Sir Thomas Selyard died possessed of the farm and
demesne lands, after which the lady Selyard, his widow,
passed it away by sale to Fisher, by a female heir, of
which name it is now by marriage become the property
of Mr. John Colyer, who is the present owner of it.
The manor, with the other moiety of the farm
and demesne lands, possessed by Mr. Sergeant Wyat,
after his death continued some years in his family,
till, by the death of the last of that name, it became
vested in Robert Marsham, lord Romney, great grand
son of Elizabeth, sister of Mr. Sergeant Wyat, who
married Thomas Bosvile, esq. above mentioned, and
his son, the Rt. Hon. Charles lord Romney, is the
present owner of it.
The TITHES of this place were given to the church
of Rochester by the owner of it, Richard de Berese,
as above mentioned, and were, by bishop Gundulph,
who came to the see in 1076, allotted to the share of
the priory there; which donation, bishop Henry de
Sandford, in the reign of Henry III. bishop John Russel,
in the reign of Edward IV. and others, confirmed.
William, prior of Rochester, and the convent of
the same place, in the 7th year of king Henry VI. let
to ferm to William Waltham, rector of Southfleet,
these tithes, at the yearly rent of 8s. 4d. (fn. 26) . This portion of tithes continued part of the possessions of the
priory of Rochester, till the dissolution of it in the reign
of king Henry VIII. when being surrendered into the
king's hands, it was settled by him in the 33d year of
his reign, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, whose inheritance it still remains, the present lessee being the right honourable Charles lord
Hook-PLACE is a seat in Southfleet, which was for
some centuries the seat of a family named Swan, who,
as early as the reign of king Richard II. wrote themselves gentlemen, as appears by their own deeds. Sir
William Swan possessed it in the reign of James I.
and dying in 1612 lies buried in this church, as does
Hester lady Swan, his mother, who died the beginning of that year, his grandson Sir William Swan was
likewise of Hook-place, and was created a baronet in
1666. He left Sir William Swan, bart. who conveyed
this seat, with the estate belonging to it, to Harrington, who bore for his arms, sable fretty, or, semee of
fleurs de lis gules, and Aaron Harrington, esq. died possessed of it in 1739, and lies buried in this church, as
does Sarah his sister, who married Mr. Samuel Russel,
by whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth, who, as devisee
under her uncle Harrington's will, carried it in marriage to Joseph Brooke, esq. late recorder of Rochester, who by his will devised it, after his wife's decease, to the reverend John Kenward Shaw, now of
Town-Malling, who has taken the name of Brooke,
and is the present owner of it.
Sir John Sedley, bart. gave by will in 1637, the sum of
500l. to found a free school for the use of this parish, which money is vested in the rector and churchwardens, and Mrs. Elizabeth Sedley, his daughter, gave by will in 1639, the sum
of 400l. to maintain the school, charged on the manor farm,
vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 20l.
Sir Charles, son of Sir John Sedley before-mentioned,
was likewise a benefactor to this school.
Robert Marshall gave by will an annuity of 4l. for the
benefit of the poor of this parish, charged on land vested in the
minister and churchwardens, and of the above annual product.
This parish is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church,
which is dedicated to St. Nicholas, is spacious, consisting
of three isles and a chancel, it contains some curious brass
plates, monuments, and remains of fine painted glass, in
the windows, particularly in the great east window, which
is very full, and there were some figures of bishops in
the windows of the north isle, but they have been lately
destroyed. In the chancel there is an antient tomb or
stone coffin, with a cross on it, and at the sides six antient stalls for the use of the monks of Rochester,
when they visited this place, and for the clergy in general, who for distinction sake always sat in the chancel.
The pavement before the altar, till lately, was laid with
small red tiles, ornamented with yellow, on them were
these arms, within a bordure ingrailed 7 mascles 3, 3 and I,
two fesses in chief 3 bezants, and old France and England quarterly. These tiles have lately been removed
and replaced with plain red ones. The whole chancel
was repaired and beautified in 1768 by the then rector.
The south chancel belonged to the Sedleys. The font
is curious, being an octagon ornamented with carve
work in each compartment. (fn. 27) The tower is at the west
end, in which is a good peal of six bells.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in this church are
the following:—In the chancel, a grave-stone, with the figures of
a man and woman, and inscription for John Urban, esq. who died
in 1420, and Joane his wife, daughter of Sir John Reskymmer,
of Cornwall. Another, with the figure of a man, and inscription
for John Tubney, rector of this church, archdeacon of St. Asaph,
and chaplain of John Lowe, bishop of Rochester. In the south
isle, a stone, with an inscription in brass, for Joane Urban before,
mentioned, with her little ones, she died in 1414; on an altar
monument, east of the former, are the figures of a man and woman
with two labels from their mouths, and likewise of three sons and
two daughters, and round the verge of the stone an inscription,
all in brass, for John Sedley, one of the auditors of the exchequer, and Elizabeth his wife, he died in 1500; on the same monument a brass plate and inscription for John Sedley, esq. of
Southfleet, and Anne his wife, daughter of John Colepeper, esq.
of Aylesford, he died in 1581. On the south wall is a large and
beautiful monument, with the figure of a man, lying at full length
in armour, and an inscription for John Sedley, esq. obt. 1605,
æt. 44. Sir William Sedley, knight and baronet, erected it; on it
his arms, azure a fess wavy between three goats heads erased argent, a crescent for difference, and two other shields with impalements, and above his banners, crest, &c. a memorial, with
the figure of a man, and inscription in brass for Thomas Cowell.
In the north isle, a memorial for Hester lady Swan, obt. 1712, and
for Sir William Swan, bart. her son, who died a few weeks after
her in the same year, arms, azure a chevron ermine between three
swans proper, with the arms of Ulster impaling argent a fess ingrailed between three grissins heads, couped sable. A memorial
for Cecilie lady Peyton, on a brass plate, fixed to the south wall
of the belfry, is an inscription, shewing that master John Swan,
William Swan, and Richard Swan, his brothers, and master Thomas and William Swan, his grand-children, gave the biggest bell
to this church. (fn. 28)
This church, being an appendage to the manor of
Southfleet, was given with it to the church of Rochester,
and by bishop Gundulph to the priory there, as has
been already mentioned; with whom it stayed till the
time of bishop Gilbert de Glanvill; who, on the compromise of the quarrel between him and them, concerning the manors and churches, which bishop Gundulph had given them, decreed, that whenever any of
the churches (excepting Wilmington and Sutton-atHone) belonging to the church of Rochester, and
within the bounds of that bishopric, should become
vacant, the bishop, without asking their consent, of
his own proper authority, should freely institute a parson to them; saving, nevertheless, to the monks the
pensions usually payable to them. By which decree,
this church again returned to the see of Rochester; part
of the possessions of which it remains at this time.
Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, in 1091, granted,
with the assent of archbishop Anselm, to the monks of
St. Andrew's, that they should have and retain the
tythes, arising as well from the food of their cattle, as
from their agriculture within their manors, situated
within his diocese; viz. in Frendesbury, Denton, and
Southfleet, and in others, to the use of their resectory.
Which was confirmed by archbishop Theobald, Ralph,
prior, and the convent of Canterbury; by Walter and
Gilbert, bishops of Rochester, and others.
Henry, bishop of Rochester, confirmed to them the
small tythes, together with the other tythes, arising
from their manors and demesnes within his diocese; in
Frendesbury, Southfleet, and in their other manors,
according to former custom before his time; all which
was confirmed by Richard, bishop of Rochester, in
1280; who at the same time, at the instance of the
prior and convent of Rochester, made a solemn inquisition, in an assembly of both clergy and people of the
neighbourhood, whom he had called together; that
by them he might be more fully certified concerning
the retention of the above tythes, and in what manner
the monks used to retain tythes in their manors, and in
what manner they used to impart them to the parish
churches. These persons, being sworn to the truth, deposed, that in the manor of Southfleet, the parish church
took, in the name of tythe, the sixteenth sheaf of wheat
and rye, and the fifteenth sheaf of barley, oats, and peas,
with vetches only; but of the small tythes, nor of the mills
and hay, in this as well as the rest of their said manors,
the parish church did not, nor ever used to take any
thing. And he decreed, that the parish church should
be content with the said sixteenth sheaf of wheat and
rye, and the said fifteenth sheaf of barley, oats, and
peas, together with vetches only; and that the monks
should have and retain for ever, all other tythes, both
great and small, by whatever names they were called,
in all their manors and places within his diocese, the
tythes of sheaves, &c. in each of the same, as particu
larly mentioned in his instrument, only excepted. All
which were confirmed to them (as well as the former
grants of the bishops Walter, Gilbert, and Henry)
by John, archbishop of Canterbury, by his letters of
inspeximus in the year 1281.
In the 15th year of king Edward I. this church was
valued at thirty marcs. (fn. 29) It was returned by the commission of enquiry into the value of livings in 1650, issuing out of chancery, that Southfleet was a parsonage,
having a house and five acres of land, worth 160l. per
annum; Mr. Richard Simons enjoying the same, a
sequestration of master Elizeus Burgis, archdeacon of
Rochester. (fn. 30)
The parsonage house is one of the most antient edifices of the kind in the diocese. It is built of stone,
the windows large with pointed arches, and stone munions, much resembling those of a church. The porch
is with a strong arch, and the whole has a most venerable
and ecclesiastical appearance, and had much more so
till the front of it was lately plaistered over and whitewashed, and the gothic windows altered and sashed,
which has taken much from the antient beauty of it.
Some of the windows on the south side next the yard
still retain their old form. (fn. 31)
It is valued in the king's books at 31l. 15s. and the
yearly tenths at 3l. 3s. 6d. (fn. 32)
Henry Stace, in 1442, gave a tenement and four
acres of land to the churchwardens for the use of this
church for ever.
Church Of Southfleet.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Bishop of Rochester||William Werde, 1425. (fn. 33) |
|William Waltham, 1428. (fn. 34) |
|Laurence Horewode, in 1441. (fn. 35) |
|John Tubney, June 10, 1453,
obt. 1457. (fn. 36) |
|Thomas Candour, May 10, 1457.|
|Elizeus Burgis, S.T.P. in 1628
and 1650. (fn. 37) |
|Daniel Hill, in 1720.|
|William Geekie, S. T. P. July
1729, obt. 1767. (fn. 38) |
|John Darby, 1767, obt. Oct. 6,
1778. (fn. 39) |
|Thomas Bagshaw, A.M. 1778,
obt. 1788. (fn. 40) |
|Peter Rashleigh, A.M. 1788, the