LIES the next parish north-eastward from Lid, being written in antient records both Romenel and Rumene, a name most probably derived, as both Lambarde
and Somner conjecture, from the Saxon Rumen-ea, signifying a large water, or watery place, and well suited
to the antient situation of it. This place was at first
called Romney only, and afterwards Old Romney,
as well to distinguish it, as in comparison of the new
and more prosperous town of New Romney, which
rose out of its ruins, when its port failed and was transferred thither.
The village or street, together with the church, is in
that part of this parish which is within the liberty of
the cinque ports, and within the jurisdiction of the justices of the corporation of New Romney; another
part is within the liberty of the corporation of Romney Marsh, and the jurisdiction of the justices of it;
and the residue is part in the hundred of Langport, and
part in that of St. Martins, and within the jurisdiction
of the justices of the county.
This PLACE is said to have been once of much note,
and to have had a good and commodious harbour and
port, at one of the then entrances of the river Limen,
or Rother, close to it, insomuch, that it has been generally conjectured to have been one of the principal
cinque ports at their first institution, but that the river
Limen failing in its course hither, and the sea not flowing up to it with its accustomed force, the port or haven of Old Romney became useless, and the town being in a manner deserted, fell to decay, and that of New
Romney and its port arose from out of its ruins, and
became in its room the principal cinque port, to which
this of Old Romney afterwards became a subordinate
member, as it remains at this time; and it was no doubt
reduced to still further obscurity and poverty by the
two dreadful tempests which happened in the reigns of
king Edward I. and III. which destroyed the face of
this whole country. But as there are no records nor any
traces whatever left at this time of its former supposed
flourishing state, we must rely on report only for the
truth of its ever having been more than it is at present.
The village consists of about fifteen mean straggling
houses, with the church in the midst of them, where it
is much sheltered with trees, which gives it a more
pleasant appearance than any part of the adjoining
country, which, as well as the rest of this parish, is an
open unsheltered flat of marshes. It contains upwards
of 1800 acres of land, exclusive of those belonging to
Aghne court, the quantity of which in this parish cannot be ascertained, as the bounds between it and Midley
have been for many years lost. It is all pasture ground,
except about thirty acres, which are converted into tillage, the whole being very rich and fertile. The course
of the river Limen is plainly to be traced close to the
west side of the village, the channel of which is now
dry pasture ground.
Somner conjectures that the Portus Lemanis of the
Romans, mentioned in Antoninus's Itinerary, was either here or at New Romney; in which opinion he
has not been followed by any one, the general notion
being, that it was near Stutfal castle, at the foot of
The principal manor in this parish, claiming over
the greatest part of it, and extending into Midley, is
that of AGHNE COURT, alias Old Romney court, and
written in antient deeds both Agene and Hagene, which
was given by king Offa, in 791, to the priory of Christchurch. (fn. 1) King Edward II. in his 10th year, granted
and confirmed to the prior and convent, free-warren
in all their demesne lands of this manor of Aghene;
among others, Thomas Goldstone, who succeeded
as prior of Christ-church in the year 1495, built a
new hall and other apartments here at this manor. After which it continued with the priory till its dissolution,
in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was sur
rendered into the king's hands, with the rest of the
possessions of it, and was by his dotation charter, in
his 33d year, settled on his new-founded dean and
chapter of Canterbury, with whom the inheritance of
it still continues.
There is no court held for this manor, the demesne
lands of which have been from time to time demised
by the dean and chapter on a beneficial lease for three
lives. The present interest of the lease is vested in the
right hon. George-John Spencer, earl Spencer.
BERRY-COURT, called in old deeds Bere court, is a
manor in this parish, which, though now of small account, and only a manor by repute, had once large
quit-rents and services belonging to it. Nicholas de
Bere held it, as appears by an old court-roll, in the
20th year of Henry III. but before the 20th year of
Edward III. this name was become extinct here. After which, before the end of that reign, the possession
of this manor was become vested in the name of Belknap, for in the 1st year of Richard II. Sir Robert Belknap, chief justice of the common pleas, was owner of
it, but favouring too much the designs of that king,
for the extending of his prerogative, he was in the 11th
year of that reign attainted, and this manor, among the
rest of his estates, became forfeited to the crown,
whence it was granted by letters patent, two years afterwards, to John Brokeman, esq. together with other
lands in Stowting and Crundal, parcel of those forfeited possessions likewise, (fn. 2) and in his descendants this
manor continued till it was at length alienated by another John Brokeman, about king Henry VIII.'s reign,
to Newland, whose descendant John Newland died
possessed of it in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, holding it in capite, whose two coheirs, Martha, wife of Edward Williams, and Mary, wife of William Berworth,
entitled their husbands to the possessions of it. From
whose heirs, at the latter end of that reign, it was passed
away by sale to Sir George Perkins, who in James I.'s
reign sold it to Mr. Aldridge, of Tylers, near Reading from which name it was alienated to Christmas,
and James Christmas, clerk, vicar of Godmersham,
died possessed of it in the year 1713, and by will devised it to Elizabeth his widow, who alienated it to
Mr. Adam Spracklyn, gent. of Canterbury, and he
sold it at the latter end of king George I.'s reign to
Mr. Joseph Sawkins, attorney-at-law, of Canterbury,
who settled it in jointure on Hester his wife. She surviving him, continued in possession of it till her death
in 1758, when it became the property of her surviving
sons and daughters, who joined in the sale of it about
the year 1775 to Mr. George Children, of New Romney, the present possessor of it.
There are no parochial charities.
This PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry
The church, which is exempt from the jurisdiction
of the archdeacon, is dedicated to St. Clement, and
consists of three isles and three chancels, having a tower
at the south-west corner, on which is a low pointed turret, covered with shingles, in which hang three bells.
It appears by the thickness of the walls, as well as by
the shape and size of the pillars, to be very antient.
The two side isles are shorter than the middle, and the
windows of a much more modern date than the rest of
the building. In the middle chancel there is a memorial for John Defray, A. M. rector obt. Sept. 4, 1738.
The south chancel, which is shut out from the church,
and used to lay the materials in for the repair of the
church, seems of a more modern date than the rest of it.
In the north chancel there is an antient tomb, without
any inscription, and a vault underneath it. On the
pavement is a stone, coffin-shaped, very antient, having
on it a cross, with leaves on each side of the stem, and a
double bar across at the upper end. The font is very
antient, supported on four stone pillars.
The advowson of the church was formerly part of
the possessions of the family of Fitzbernard, for it appears by the escheat-rolls, that Ralph Fitzbernard
died possessed of it anno 34 Edward I. His son Thomas dying s. p. his daughter Margaret entitled her
husband Guncelin de Badlesmere to it, whose son
Bartholomew de Badlesmere designing to found a
priory at Badlesmere, obtained the king's licence, anno
13 Edward II. for that purpose, and to endow it with
the advowson of this church among other premises.
But the design never took place, and it afterwards
came into the possession of his son Giles de Badlesmere, who died s. p. in the 12th year of Edward III.
on which his four sisters became his coheirs, and jointly
possessed of this advowson among the rest of their inheritance, which seems to have remained for some
length of time afterwards in their descendants, almost
till the reign of Henry VIII. when it appears to have
been vested in the crown, whence it was granted by
that king, in his 29th year, to archbishop Cranmer,
in exchange. Since which it has continued parcel of
the possessions of that see to this time, his grace the
archbishop being the present patron of it.
This rectory is valued in the king's books at
15l. 19s. 2d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 11s. 11d.
In 1588 it was valued at one hundred and fifty pounds,
communicants sixty-four. In 1662 it was valued at
172l. 6s. 2d. the like number of communicants. It
is now valued at 160l. per annum. The glebe land
belonging to this church is twenty-seven acres and
There was a composition between the rectors of
this parish and of Midley, on account of tithes; and
a decree made by a the archbishop's chancellor, anno
Church of Old Romney.
Or by whom presented.
Kenclm Digby, Jan. 15, 1567,
Benjamin Carrier, S. T. P. June
17, 1603, deprived 1614. (fn. 3)
James Cleland, A. M. July 10,
1614, obt. 1627. (fn. 4)
John Jeffray, S. T. P. January
25, 1627, resigned the same
year. (fn. 5)
Robert Say, S. T. P. March 17,
1627, obt. 1628.
John Gee, A. M. April 17,
Meric Casaubon, S. T. P. resig,
1634. (fn. 6)
John Swinnock, S. T. B. Dec. 5,
William Watson, A. M. April 6,
1670, obt. 1690.
The King, sede vac.
John Defray, August 6, 1690,
obt. Sept. 4, 1738. (fn. 7)
John Peters, A. M. February
21, 1739, obt. February
John Fowell, S. T. P. August
3, 1763, resigned the same
Thomas Freeman, A. M. Dec.
14, 1763, resigned February
1788. (fn. 8)
Joshua Dix, A. M. February,
1788, the present rector. (fn. 9)