WESTWARD from Frinsted, near the summit of
the chalk hills, lies Wormsell, now vulgarly called,
and as frequently written, Wormshill.
THAT PART of it northward of the church, including the borough of Bedmanton, is in the division of East
Kent, but the rest of it, including the church and village, is in that of West Kent, to which division therefore this parish is esteemed to belong.
The parish is situated mostly on high ground, about
three miles northward from the summit of the chalk
hills, the high road through Newnham or Syndallbottom towards Hollingborne, running along the
southern part of it. It is parish so obscurely situated,
and of so little thoroughfare, as hardly to be known.
Being exposed to the northern aspect, it lies very bleak
and cold. The church stands rather in the eastern part
of it, having the village, consisting of a few scattered
houses, at a small distance from it; about a mile northwestward is the hamlet of Bedmanton. The hills here
are continual, and very sharp, the soil much the same,
as in the adjoining parishes in the like high situation
before-described, only the flints, if possible, lie thicker
on the ground; the land is poor, and in general let at
between five and six shillings an acre; at the northern
boundary of the parish there is a considerable quantity
of wood, consisting mostly of hazel and oak, with
numbers of trees of the latter, interspersed among
them, which are but small, never here growing to any
size. In Henry the IIId.'s reign there was a family resident here, who took their surname from this parish.
Thomas Pepyr, of this parish, in his will anno 1460,
mentions his chief place, called Rychemonds, with other
lands here, which he gave to Julian his wife, and afterwards to Richard Pepyr, his son.
THIS MANOR was antiently esteemed as an appendage to the manor of Boughton Malherb, which was
held of the manor of Ospring, and they had both, for
a length of time, the same owners.
In the reign of Henry III. Robert de Gatton was
possessed of the manors of Bocton and Wormesell, whose
grandson Hamo de Gatton dying without issue male,
Elizabeth, his daughter and coheir, carried both these
manors, with their appurtenances, in marriage to William de Dene, who in the 10th year of Edward II obtained a charter of free-warren for his several manors
in this county. Margery, the other daughter of Hamo
de Gatton, married Simon de Norwood, and had all
her father's lands in Surry. In one of the windows of
the north chancel of this church are painted the arms of
Simon de Norwood, Ermine, a cross engrailed, gules,
charged with a bendlet, azure, impaling chequy, argent
and azure. William de Dene died in the 15th year of
Edward III. holding these manors with their appurtenances, of the king in capite, as of his castle of Dover,
and paying to the ward of it. Thomas de Dene, his son
and heir, succeeded him in both of them, and in the
20th year of Edward III. paid aid for them, at the
making the black prince a knight, as one knight's fee
in Bocton and Wormsell, which Hamo de Gatton before held of the king. He died possessed of them in
the 23d year of it.
The heirs of his son Thomas de Dene alienated these
manors, with their appurtenance, to Robert Corbie,
whose son and heir Robert Corbie, of Boughton Malherb, leaving an only daughter and heir Joan, she carried them in marriage to Sir Nicholas Wotton, twice
lord-mayor of London. His son Nicholas Wotton,
esq. alienated this manor, together with the advowson
of the church of Wormesell, to Thomas St. Nicholas,
of Thorne, in Thanet, whose son and heir Roger St.
Nicholas left an only daughter Elizabeth, who carried
this estate in marriage to John Dingley, alias Dyneley,
whose descendant Francis Dingley, esq. of Charlton,
in Worcestershire, passed it away, at the latter end of
the reign of queen Elizabeth, to William Sedley, esq.
of the Friars, in Aylesford, created a baronet in 1611,
in which name and family it continued down to Sir
Charles Sedley, of St. Giles's in the Fields, London,
great-grandson of Richard Sedley, younger brother of
Sir Wm. Sedley, bart. of Aylesford, before-mentioned.
He was created a baronet in 1702, and afterwards resided at the antient family seat of Scadbury, in Southfleet. He alienated this manor, with the advowson of
the church, about the year 1712, to the president and
governors of Christ's hospital, in London, for the benefit of that charity, part of the revenues of which it
remains at this time. It still pays a castle-guard rent to
Dover-castle. A court baron is still held for this manor.
BEDMANTION is a borough in this parish, which includes within its bounds the manor of that name, which
has ever been esteemed as an appendage to the manor
of Bobbing, with which it has been many years in the
possession of the family of Tyndale, of North Cerney,
in Gloucestershire, the present owner of it being lieutenant-colonel William Tyndale, esq. of that place.
Part of this borough is within the manor of Newington, near Sittingborne, as appears by the survey
taken in 1650, of the late king's manors and revenues,
the several freeholders of the borough of Bedmanton,
in this parish, holding their lands in it, of that manor,
in free socage tenure.
A PERSON UNKNOWN gave land to be applied to the use of
the poor, vested in Henry Bing, and of the annual produce
of 2l. The poor constantly relieved are about ten; casually
WORMSELL is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of
The church is dedicated to St. Giles, and consists
of two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at
the west end of it. There are remains of good painted
glass in the great east window. Several of the family
of Tylden lie buried in it, they were for some time tenants of the manor here, where they resided till king
James the Ist.'s reign, when they removed to Milsted.
In the church yard are some tombs of the Thatcher's,
and for the Woods who resided at Northwood, in
this parish and Bicknor.
The patronage of this rectory has always been accounted an appendage to the manor, and as such has had
the same owners, as has been already related, being
now in the patronage of the president and governors
of Christ's hospital.
The rectory is valued in the king's books at ten
pounds, and the yearly tenths at one pound, and is of
the yearly certified value of 69l. 4s.
In 1640 it was valued at seventy-six pounds. Communicants seventy-three. It is now worth about two,
hundred guineas per annum.
Church of Wormsell.
|Or by whom presented.|
|James Tong, gent. for this turn.||Robert Reader, Aug. 2, 1580,
obt. Sept. 6, 1607. (fn. 1) |
|Anne Keele, widow.||Bartholomew Newman, A. M.
Feb. 10, 1607, obt. April 8,
1654. (fn. 2) |
|T. Nightingale, A. M. obt.
|Sir Charles Sedley, bart.||William Payne, A. M. August
19, 1673, resigned 1681.|
|The Archbishop, by lapse.||Giles Hinton, S. T. P. Jan. 23,
1681, obt. 1701.|
|Joseph Aylosse, esq. and others.||Edward Christmas, A. M. March
10, 1701, obt. 1715.|
|Richard Wood, A. M. Sept. 1,
1715, obt. 1721.|
|President and Governors of Christ's
hospital.||Thomas Saul Hancock, A. M.
Dec. 1, 1721, obt. Aug. 15,
1741. (fn. 3) |
|Isaac Johnson, A. M. obt. 1767. (fn. 4) |
|Thomas Miller, A. M. July 23,
1767, obt. April 26. 1792.|
|Josiah Distornell, A. M. May,
1792, the present rector.|