THE HUNDRED OF LITTLEFIELD.
SOUTHWARD from Wrotham hundred lies
the hundred of Littlefield, called in Domesday Littlefelle, and in some records, Leighfield.
This hundred takes its name from the smallness
of its extent, for it contains within its bounds only
the parish of
AND PART OF THE PARISH OF
And the churches of those parishes, and part of the parishes of
HADLOW and EAST PECKHAM, the churches of which are in
THIS HUNDRED, in the beginning of the reign of
king Edward II. was in the possession of the crown,
where it staid till that king, in his 15th year, granted
it, by consent of parliament, among other estates of
greater value, to Edmund, of Woodstock, his halfbrother, whom he at the same time made Earl of
Kent. After the death of whose two sons, Joane
their sister became their heir, (fn. 1) and her husband Sir
Thomas Holand possessed this hundred in her right,
who for her great beauty was called the fair maid of
Kent, in whose right he was also earl of Kent. After
his death she married Edward the black prince. She
was succeeded in the possession of this hundred by
Thomas Holand, earl of Kent, her son by her first
husband, whose eldest son Thomas Holand, was afterwards created Duke of Surry, and continuing loyal
to the cause of king Richard II. lost his life in a tumult at Cirencester, in the 1st year of king Henry IV.
and was next year attainted in parliament. He died
without issue, and his brother Edmund, earl of Kent,
before the end of that year obtained, by virtue of an
old entail, this hundred, among other estates, of which
his brother had died possessed, and leaving no issue, his
four sisters became his coheirs, and on the partition of
his estates, this hundred was allotted to Joane, his
fourth sister, duchess of York, who appears by the
escheat rolls to have died without issue in the 12th
year of king Henry VI. possessed of it.
Upon the partition of her inheritance among her
sisters, Margaret, first wife of John, earl of Somerset,
and afterwards of Thomas, duke of Clarence, became
entitled to it. She died in the 18th year of that reign,
leaving John, earl of Somerset, her son by her first
husband, her next heir.
How the hundred of Littlefield passed afterwards I
have not found, but in the reign of king Henry VIII.
it was part of the possessions of the crown, (fn. 2) where it
remained till king Edward VI. in the 4th year of his
reign, granted it in fee to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, who was the next year created duke of Northumberland.
He, in the 7th year of that reign, sold it to the
king, in exchange for other manors and lands.
This hundred seems to have remained in the crown
till the 32d year of queen Elizabeth, who then granted
the hundreds of Littlefield, alias Leighfield, and of
Wachelston, alias Chadlington, to Sir Wm. Brooke,
lord Cobham, whose son Henry, lord Cobham, in the
first year of king James I. being accused with others
of a conspiracy to kill the king, and subvert the government, was found guilty, and had judgment of
death pronounced against him, though the sentence
was afterwards, through the king's clemency superseded. Upon his attaint, this among the rest of his
estates, became forfeited to the crown, and was confirmed to it by the act passed in the 3d year of king
James for that purpose, since which this hundred has
continued among the possessions of the crown, where
it remains at present.