LIES southwestward from Bidborough on the confines
of this county next Sussex, from which it is separated
both on the south and west sides by a small stream.
This place is written in the Textus Roffensis, AISCHERST. It took its name from the Saxon word,
asces, ash trees, and the British byrst, i. e. the wood
ASHURST lies at the southern boundaries of this
county, a stream of the Medway separating it from Sussex, and bounding the western and southern sides of this
parish. It is in the hundred of Wachlingstone, which
here joins the rest of it by a narrow slip running eastward by Tophill and Mitchel's farms, towards Rusthall common and Bishopsdown in Speldhurst. The
northern part of it joins both to Penshurst and Speldhurst, in the hundred of Somerden, a part of which
joins the western part of this parish, separated from the
rest of that hundred, and containing the hamlet of
Groombridge, in Speldhurst. This parish consists of
hill and dale, the western part is woody, the soil a stiff
clay, wet and miry, and rather unfertile. The church
is situated on the west side of the parish, about a quar
ter of a mile from the river, which here separating,
forms a small island, on each side of which there is a
bridge, over which the road leads into Sussex; there
is no village, the houses being interspersed at different
spots throughout it. In this parish is a seat and estate,
called Ashurst-place, formerly admiral Forbes's, now
the property and residence of Peter Lesevre, esq. (fn. 1)
THE MANOR OF ASHURST, with the manor of Buckland appendant, was part of those lands assigned to
Jeffry de Peverel, for his assistance in the defence of
Dover-castle, and with other lands made up the barony
of Peverel, as it was then called, being held of that
castle in capite by barony.
Nicholas de Gerund afterwards held this manor, and
its appendage of Buckland, and the advowson of the
church of Ashurst, of the king in capite, and died possessed of them in the 52d year of king Henry III.
His descendant, Richard Gerund, in the reign of king
Edward III. leaving an only daughter Maud; she carried them in marriage to Sir Henry de Chalshunt, who
bore for his arms, three bends ermine, and he died possessed of them in the 45th year of it, anno 1370, holding them in capite, and performing ward to the castle
They continued in his descendants till Henry V.'s
reign, when by the heir general of this family they
came to Robert le Hadde, who was afterwards of
Frinsted, in this county; (fn. 2) his descendant, Rob. Hadde,
esq. of Frinsted, in the beginning of the reign of
king Henry VIII. conveyed this estate to William
Waller, esq. of Groombridge, who died in the 18th
year of that reign, and it continued in his descendants
till Sir Thomas Waller, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, alienated it to Thomas Sackville, earl of Dorset,
and lord treasurer of England, who died possessed of
it in 1608. His grandson, Richard, earl of Dorset,
conveyed the manor of Ashurst, with its appendages,
to Sir George Rivers, of Chafford, whose eldest son,
John Rivers, esq. was created a baronet in the 19th
year of king James I. two years after which his lands,
as well as those of his father, were disgavelled by an
act then particularly passed for that purpose. On his
father's death he succeeded him in this estate, which
continued in his descendants until Sir George Rivers,
bart. dying in 1734 without issue male, by his will devised it, with his seat of Chafford, among his other real
estates, to his five natural children, but his surviving
legitimate daughters, and the heirs of those deceased,
filed a bill in chancery to set this devise aside, and after
a process at law, and several decrees, the court ordered
the estates to be sold in 1743, (fn. 3) which this of Ashurst,
together with Chafford, accordingly was to Mr. William Saxby, gent. of Horsted Cayns, in Suffex, who
died possessed of it in 1783, in which it was afterwards
sold in pursuance of his will to Robert Burges, esq. of
Lyghe, who died in 1794, since which his widow, Mrs.
Sarah Burges, re-marrying James Harbroc, esq. he
is become in her right the present possessor of this
A court baron is held for this manor, a heriot is
paid on the death of a tenant of the best live beast.
There are no parochial charities. The poor relieved yearly are about eleven.
ASHURST is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of
The church is a low mean building, with a wooden
steeple, over the porch are the arms of Sir John Rivers, who gave the dial. There are no memorials in
it. In this church, before the reformation, was a famous rood, or crucifix, which was much resorted to
for its supposed miraculous powers.
This rectory is a discharged living, of the clear
yearly value, as certified, of thirty-five pounds, the
yearly tenths of which are 10s. 5½d.
The church of Ashurst was antiently esteemed as
an appendage to the manor, and continued so till the
reign of king James I. when Richard, earl of Dorset,
alienating the manor, reserved the church to himself; since which it has continued in his descendants,
the present patron being his grace, John, duke of
Church of Ashurst.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Lords of the manor of Ashurst.||Thomas, about the time of king
|Theophilus Beck, A. M. obt.
1715. (fn. 4) |
|Thomas Winterbottom, 1715, obt.
1717. (fn. 5) |
|Thomas Reves, instit. 1723.|
|Richard Onley, A. M. 1772, ob.
1780. (fn. 6) |
|C. Davis, 1788, the present