LIES the next parish eastward from East Sutton.
It is usually pronounced Uckham, and is variously
spelt in antient records; in Domesday it is written
Olecumbe, in others Wulcombe, and of late Ulcomb.
Part of this parish below, or to the southward of
the hill, adjoining to Boughton Malherb, is in the
division of East Kent; that is, so much of it as is
eastward of a line drawn from the east end of Boughton
church, to the east end of the church of Hedcorn.
Part of this parish, containing the borough of
Kingsnorth, is in the lath of Scray and hundred of
Faversham, it having formerly belonged to the abbey
there. (fn. 1)
THE PARISH of Ulcombe is about three miles
from north to south, and two miles in width. It is
rather an obscure and unfrequented place, having but
little thoroughfare; the quarry-hills cross it, on the
summit of which is the village, with Ulcombe-place,
and the parsonage within it; here the rock stone lies
much nearer the surface than in the last-described parishes. To the northward it extends into the large
coppice of Kingswood, which joins almost up to the
village of Ulcombe; on the south side of the quarryhill there are three houses of some account, standing
at some distance separate from each other, all which
for some time belonged to the family of Belcher, who
have been for some generations seated in this parish.
These Belchers, of Ulcombe, were descended from
William Belcher, rector of this parish, who died in
1739, and bore for his arms, Or, three pales gules, a
chief vaire, argent and sable. He left two sons, Richard, of Rochester, M. D. and Samuel, of Boughton Malherb, whose son Samuel left an only daughter
Sarah, who afterwards became entitled, by the will of
her uncle, Mr. Peter Ady, who resided in it, to one
of the before-mentioned houses, situated a little below
the summit of Knole-hill, which she carried in marriage to Thomas Thomson, the eldest son of Thomas
Thomson, esq. of Kenfield, who resided here till he
removed to Maidstone, after which his trustees sold it.
Dr. Belcher, of Rochester, above-mentioned, the
eldest son of William Belcher, rector of this parish,
left a son William, who by Catherine, daughter of
Thomas Stringer, of Goudhurst, left three sons, of
whom the eldest, Stringer Belcher, was rector of this
parish, and ended in four daughters and coheirs, as
has been mentioned before, p. 331. Samuel, the second son, resided at another of the before-mentioned
houses, near the summit of Knole-hill, and died unmarried in 1760, and Edward, the third son, resided
at the third house, nearer to the village of Ulcombe,
and died here in 1778, having had by Hannah,
daughter of Richard Tilden, of Milsted, two sons,
Stringer, who resided at Otterden, and died there unmarried, and William, who married Charlotte, daughter of Thomas Thomson, esq. of Kenfield, and succeeded
both to his father's seat in this parish, and
likewise to that near the summit of Knole-hill, both
which he is now entitled to.
The district of the Weald begins at the summit of
the quarry hill, whence this parish extends over a low
flat country southward, the soil of which is a stiff
clay, in wet weather very deep and miry, the land
made fertile mostly by manuring it with the marle
dug up here, the rich and oily substance of which
meliorates the stiff and cludgy particles of the clay,
and not only renders it more prolific, but by separating them renders it much easier for tillage; the
hedge rows are broad, and much interspersed with
large oak trees. It is watered by several small streamlets, which rise on the side of the hill, one of which
turns a mill at Chegworth, hence they flow through
the lower part of this parish, and join the larger stream
of the Medway, a little above Hockenbury-bridge.
In this part of it is a small hamlet, built on one side
of a small common, and not far from it the estate of
THIS PLACE was given in very early times, by one
of the Saxon kings, to the priory of Christ-church, in
Canterbury, from which it was wrested in the time of
the Danish wars in this kingdom; but in the year
941, king Edmund, and Eadred his brother, and Edwyn, son of the former, restored it to that church,
with other lands, which his ancestors had unjustly taken from it: which grant was made in the same year
in which Ethelstane, the brother of king Edmund and
Eadred, died, and Edmund was advanced to be king,
who declared these lands free from all secular services,
excepting the repelling of invasions, and the building
of bridges and castles.
In the reign of the conqueror, Ulcomb was held of
the archbishop of Canterbury by knights service; accordingly it is thus entered, under the title of Terra
Militum Archiepi, in the survey of Domesday.
The earl of Ow holds of the archbishop Olecumbed. It
was taxed at two sulings and an half in the time of king
Edward the Confessor, and now for two only. The arable
land is nine carucates, in demesne there are two carucates, and twenty-three villeins, with eight borderers
having seven carucates. There is a church, and one mill
of four shillings, and eight acres of meadow. Wood
sufficient for the pannage of twenty bags. In the whole,
in the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth
ten pounds, when he received it eight pounds, now eleven
pounds. Alfer held this manor of the archbishop.
Alfer, above-mentioned, the tenant of this manor
under the archbishop, seems to have been a descendant of Ealher, or Alcher, who was earl of Kent in
853, and ancestor of the family of Aucher, baronets,
but lately extinct in this county.
William, earl of Ewe, in Normandy, held it, as
appears by the above survey, in the reign of the Conqueror, of the archbishop by knights service. (fn. 2) After
which, the family of St. Leger, called in Latin, De
Sancto Leodegario, became possessed of it.
Sir Robert de St. Leger, attended William, duke
of Normandy, into England, in the year 1066, as
appears by the roll of Battle abbey, among those persons who assisted him in the conquest of this kingdom, and there is a tradition in this family, that he
supported the duke with his hand, when he quitted his
ship to land in Sussex; and that after the victory at
Hastings, having overcome a Pagan Dane, who inhabited Ulcomb, he fixed his residence here. He became possessed of this manor at the latter end of the
Conqueror's reign, holding it of the archbishop by
William de St. Leger, his grandson, as is supposed,
lived in the reign of Henry II. He was succeeded by
Ralph de St. Leger, who, among other Kentish gentlemen,
accompanied king Richard I. to the siege of
Acon, in Palestine.
Ralph de St. Leger, of Ulcomb, and Hugh St.
Leger, of Knolton, in this county, were two of the
Recognitores Magnæ Assisæ in the 2d year of the reign
of king John; the former of whom held this manor
in the 12th and 13th years of that reign, of the archbishop. His successor of the same name, in the next
reign of Henry III. obtained the grant of a market at
his manor here, on a Friday weekly, and a fair for
three days, to be held yearly at it on Nov. 1, and two
days afterwards; which liberties were allowed him
before the justices itinerant, in the 21st year of king
Edward I. and in the 28th year of the latter reign,
he, with Sir John and Sir Thomas de St. Leger, attended the king to the siege of Carlaverock, in Scotland, where they were knighted, among many others,
for their bravery. (fn. 3)
Ralph St. Leger possessed this manor in the reign
of Edward III. when he paid aid for it, as two knights
fees, held of the archbishop; in which year he represented this county in parliament. His youngest son,
Thomas, was of Otterden, where a further account
may be seen of him. Arnold St. Leger, the eldest
son, succeeded his father at Ulcomb, and represented
this county in parliament, as did his son Ralph St. Leger,
esq. of Ulcomb, and in the 10th year of Richard II.
was sheriff of it. His son John St. Leger. esq. was of
Ulcomb, and was likewise sheriff, anno 9 Henry VI.
three years after which, he was returned in the list
then taken of the gentry in this county, who had a
right to bear the coat armour of their ancestors. He
died anno 20 Henry VI. possessed of this manor, and
was buried in this church. He left three sons; Ralph,
who succeeded him at Ulcomb; Sir Thomas, who
married Anne, duchess of Exeter, and left a sole
daughter and heir, married to Sir George Manners,
lord Ross, ancestor of the earls and dukes of Rutland; and Sir James St. Leger, who married Anne,
daughter and coheir of Thomas Butler, earl of Ormond, from whom the St.Legers, of Devonshire, are
Ralph St. Leger, esq. of Ulcomb, the eldest son
was sheriff anno 8 Edward IV. and constable of
Leeds castle. He died soon afterwards, anno 1470,
and was buried in this church.
Ralph St. Leger, his son, resided at Ulcomb, where
he kept his shrievalty in the 18th year of Henry VII.
whose eldest son, Anthony St. Leger, succeeded his father in this manor, and by the acts of 31 Henry VIII.
and 2 and 3 Edward VI. procured his lands in this
county to be disgavelled. He was a gentleman, who
from his singular merit and eminent services, proved
himself an ornament to his country and his family,
being high in the esteem of Henry VIII. who made
him of his privy chamber, and in the 31st of his
reign, sheriff of this county, being then seated at his
paternal seat in this parish. The next year he was
made lord deputy of Ireland, and in 1543 elected a
knight of the garter. On the king's death, he was
continued in his post of lord deputy, and of the privy
council, as he was likewise under queen Mary; and
being well versed in Irish affairs, he by his prudence
and magnanimity, did more towards civilizing that
nation, and alluring it into a submission to the English government, than any one had done since the
conquest of it to his own time. But being recalled
from thence in the 3d and 4th year of Philip and
Mary, he retired to this estate, where he died in
1559, and was buried with his ancestors at Ulcomb.
He bore for his arms, Azure fretty argent, a chief or;
which was not their antient coat, for they bore, Azure,
a fret argent, a chief or, as appears by that coat now
remaining on the roof of the cloysters at Canterbury,
in the church of Woodnesborough, and among the
quarterings of the coat borne by the lords Hunsdon. (fn. 4)
He had by his wife Agnes, daughter of Hugh Warham, of Croydon, niece to William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, three sons and one daughter;
of whom, Sir Anthony St. Leger, the youngest son,
was master of the rolls in Ireland, and a privy counsellor, whose son Sir Anthony was of Wiarton-house,
in Boughton Monchensie, where a further account
may be seen of him.
Warham St. Leger, esq. the eldest surviving son,
was of Ulcomb, where he kept his shrievalty in the
2d year of queen Elizabeth. In 1565 he was knighted,
and the next year appointed chief governor of Munster, and privy counsellor in Ireland, in which kingdom he performed eminent services for her majesty,
in the progress of which he was unfortunately slain, in
1599, anno 42 Elizabeth, at the head of his troops,
in an encounter with Hugh Macquire and his sollowers, the two chiefs killing each other in combat.
Sir William St. Leger, his eldest son, succeeded him
in this manor. He was a gentleman of great merit,
valour, and integrity, being made by king Charles I.
lord president of Munster, of his privy council in
that kingdom, and sergeant-major-general of the Irish
forces. He was ancestor of the St. Legers, viscounts
Donraile, and others of this name still remaining in
that kingdom, and died in 1642. Some years before
his death he alienated this manor to Henry Clerke,
esq. of Rochester, who served in parliament for that
city in the first year of king Charles I. of which he
was recorder; and in the 12th year of that reign was
made a serjeant-at law, whose paternal arms were
Argent, on a bend gules between three pellets, as many
He left a son and heir Sir Francis Clerke, who succeeded him at Ulcomb, who was twice M. P. for Rochester, and of the privy chamber. He resided at
Ulcombe-place, and dying in 1685 was succeeded
here by his only son Francis, M.P. likewise, for that
city. He resided here and died in 1691, s.p. upon
which this estate came by devise to Gilbert Clarke,
esq. the second son of Gilbert Clarke, of Chilcot, in
Derbyshire, and on his decease in 1725, to his son,
Godfry Clarke, esq. of Sutton, in that county, and
M. P. for it, on whose decease it came to his son,
Godfry Bagnal Clarke, esq. of Sutton, who was succeeded by his brother Gilbert Clarke, since deceased,
whose sister and heir Sarah married Job Hart Price,
of Aldershot, in Hampshire, who in 1787 had licence
to take the name and arms of Clarke, in addition to
his own, and they are now jointly entitled to this manor, with that of Chegworth, in this parish likewise.
BOYCOT, vulgarly called Boy-court, is a manor in
this parish, which afforded both seat and surname to a
family of that denomination, as appears by several
old deeds, some of which are without date, in which
mention is made of Stephen, John, and Alexander de
Boycot; the last of whom resided, here in the reigns
of king Edward III. and king Richard II. and from
him this manor descended down to John Boycot, who
had issue two sons, John and Stephen. One of them
sold his moiety, which accrued to him by the custom
of gavelkind, to Richard Hovenden; and the other
alienated his part, which came to him in like manner,
to William Adam, who gave it by his will to Thomas
Glover, as is mentioned in the deed of sale, by which
he passed it away in the first year of king Henry VII.
to Richard Hovenden, who then became possessed of
the entire see of this manor. He bore for his arms,
Chequy, argent and sable, on a bend gules, three lions
heads erased or. It was afterwards sold by one of
his descendants to Clerke, of Woodchurch, in which
name it does not appear to have staid long, for Humphry Clarke, alienated it in the 19th year of queen
Elizabeth to Thomas Sands, or Sondes, as the name
was afterwards spelt, the eldest son of Sir Anthony, of
Throwley, and he passed it away next year to Sir Maurice Berkeley, standard bearer to king Henry VIII.
Edward VI. and queen Elizabeth, who had married
Elizabeth his sister, and was descended of the same family as those of this name since ennobled. (fn. 5)
On his death, Elizabeth, lady Berkeley, seems to
have possessed this manor, in whose descendants it
continued till it went into the name of Hubert, by a
female heir of which it passed in marriage to Heath,
of the family of those formerly of Brasted-place, in
this county, and bore the same arms, whose grandson
Nicholas Heath Nicholas, esq. of Sussex, in 1772
obtained the king's sign-manuel, to take the name
and arms of Nicholas only; the arms of which family are, Argent, on a cross gules, a crown or. Nicholas
Nicholas, esq. is the present possessor of it.
KINGSNORTH, alias Kingsnode, is a manor lying in
this parish and Boughton Malherb, which was given
to the abbot and convent of Faversham in the 16th
year of king Richard II. and as such is esteemed to
be in the hundred of Faversham, part of the possessions of which it continued till the dissolution of that
abbey in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when it was
surrendered, together with all its possessions into the
king's hands, after which this manor seems to have
remained in the crown till king Edward VI. in his
4th year, granted it to Sir Anthony St. Leger, lord
deputy of Ireland, &c. who died in 1559, and his eldest son Sir Warham St. Leger, esq. having levied a
fine of it, anno 17 Elizabeth, quickly afterwards
passed it away to William Isley, esq. who in the 21st
year of that reign alienated it to James Austeyne,
and he in the 23d year of it conveyed it by sale to
Robert Cranmer, esq. of Chepsted, in this county,
who died in 1619, leaving an only daughter and heir
Anne, who carried it in marriage to Sir Arthur Herrys, eldest son of Sir William Herrys, of Crixey, in
Essex, by whom he had two sons, Sir Cranmer Herrys, and John. He died in 1632, and by his will devised this manor to his second son, John Herris, esq.
whose son, Cranmer Herris, of Lincoln's-inn, possessed it at the restoration of king Charles II. He was
afterwards of Christ-church, in Canterbury, where he
died in 1727, s.p. and was buried in the cloysters
there. Upon which, his only surviving sister and sole
heir, Mrs. Annabella Herris, became possessed of this
manor, and soon afterwards passed it away to Sir Edward Filmer, bart. of East Sutton, whose second son
Sir Beversham Filmer, bart. of that parish, is at
length become the present proprietor of it.
A court baron is held for this manor.
THERE IS a small court held in this parish for the
manor of Huntingfield, which seems to be a limb of the
manor of Huntingfield, in Easling, and as such to
have continued with it part of the possessions of the
free chapel or college of St. Stephen, in Westminster,
till its dissolution in the 1st year of Edward VI. (fn. 6) in
consequence of the act which then passed for the surrendery of all such chapels, chantries, &c. Since
which this manor continued in the like chain of ownership as that in Easling, to the family of Grove, of
Tunstall, in which it remained till Richard Grove, esq.
of London, dying unmarried in 1792, gave this among
the rest of his estates in this county, to Wm. Jemmet,
gent. of Ashford, and William Marshall, of London,
and they are the present owners of this manor. (fn. 6)
A court baron is held for this manor.
CLEMENT BARLING gave by will to cloath six boys and two
widows, 10s. for a sermon to be preached on the day of the distribution, and 10s. in money to poor persons, to be paid yearly
out of land vested in Mr. Spencer, of Maidstone, now of the
annual produce of 3l.
MRS. LUCRETIA HOLLAND, daughter of Sir Francis Clark,
and the last of that family, gave by will in 1696, the sum of
10l yearly, to be distributed among the poor of this parish in
bread and cloaths, which has not been paid since 1774, being
stopped by order of the trustees of Gilbert Clarke, esq.
The number of poor relieved here constantly are about 40;
casually about 20.
ULCOMB is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deaury of
The church is dedicated to All Saints. In it lie
buried in a vault many of the eminent family of St.
Leger to the year 1654, of the Clarkes, and Gilbert
Clarke, esq. 1725, the last of his family who resided in this parish. It was from the earliest time
esteemed as an appendage to the manor of Ulcomb.
About the year 1220, it was made collegiate by archbishop Stephen Langton, at the request of Ralph de
St. Leger, the patron of it, the ordination of which is
still remaining among the records of the dean and
chapter of Canterbury; among which there is an instrument, by which it appears, that the head of this
church or college was stiled archipresbyter, and the inferior members, minor canons; but soon after the
year 1293, this collegiate institution seems to have
dropped, and the church became again, and has remained ever since, a single, undivided rectory as before, the patronage of which has remained in the possession of the lords of the manor of Ulcomb till the
It is valued in the king's books at 16l. 5s. 10d.
and the yearly tenths at 1l. 12s. 7d.
In 1640, it was valued at sixty-nine pounds. Communicants 225. In queen Anne's reign it was valued
at 140l. per annum.
Church of Ulcomb.
|Or by whom projected.|
|Anthony St Leger, esq.||Richard Horsmonden, clerk,
March 26, 1598, obt. Oct.
27, 1627. (fn. 7) |
|Daniel Horsmonden, D.D. Nov.
8, 1627, deprived 1643. (fn. 8) |
|William Belcher, A. M. 1643,
obt. 1655, ejected 1662. (fn. 9) |
|Meric Head, esq. D. D. obt.
March 6, 1686. (fn. 10) |
|John Clerke, A. M. esq. obt.
Sept. 24, 1786. (fn. 11) |
|John Loton, April 15, 1713, ob.
|Stringer Belcher, A. M. Sept.
26, 1716, obt. Dec. 11,
1739 (fn. 12) |
|William Bell, A. M. 1740, obt.
|Fitzherbert Meane, LL. B. July
1778, the pretent rector.|
There was a religious fraternity in this church,
before the reformation, called the Fraternity of Corpus Christi.