ST. MARGARET AT CLIFFE,
OR, St. Margaret's, near Dover, as it is sometimes
called; in the survey of Domesday, S. Margarita,
lies eastward from Guston, a small part of the parish
of West Cliffe only intervening. A borsholder for this
parish is chosen at the court leet of Dover priory.
THIS PARISH lies very high on the chalk cliffs, adjoining the sea shore eastward; it is situated in a right
angle across the channel to Calais, having the South
Foreland at the southern boundary of it. The village, with the church, is situated about a quarter of a
mile from the edge of the cliff, which is here of considerable height from the sea shore; on which, below
high-water mark, is a spring of fresh water, which issues plentifully on the retreat of the tide; and there
are several springs of fresh water in the rocks between
this place and Dover, which keep rising when the tide
is off. Here is a small bay, where one Thomas Laurence, in archbishop Morton's time, made a small pier,
or jetty, to defend the fishing craft. In and near this
bay are caught the finest flavored lobsters of any part
of Britain; they are but of a small size, and of a remarkable dark red colour. This parish, like those
before described, lies very bleak and exposed among
the high hills which extend over this part of Kent.
It is partly inclosed, and partly an open uninclosed
range of arable and pasture; the soil is mostly chalk,
and for the greatest part poor and unfertile. The
high road from Dover to Deal runs along the western
bounds of this parish.
There is a fair held here on July 30, by the alteration of the stile, formerly on the day of St. Justin
and Rusinus, the 19th, for breeches, gloves, ribbons,
The family of Upton, at the latter end of king
Henry VIII.'s reign, was possessed of the manor of
Wanston, now called WANSON FARM, in the southern
part of this parish, which continued in it till king
Charles II.'s reign, when it was sold to Richard Gibbon, gent. of Dover, who in 1679 gave it by will to
his grandson Richard Gibbon, after which it came by
purchase into the York family, in which it continues
at this time.
Crithmum maritimum, samphire, and Lychnis major
noctiflora Dubrensis perennis, the great night-flowering
Dover campion, grow plentifully on the perpendicular chalk cliffs here, and along them as far as
Dover (fn. 1)
Crambe maritima, sea colewort, is found in this parish; and Calendula officinalts, garden marigold, is
found on the beach here plentifully (fn. 2)
THE MANOR OF ST. MARGARET AT CLIFF, alias
PALMERS, alias EAST-COURT, was formerly, most
probably, part of the possessions of St. Martin's priory,
in Dover, described in Domesday, and continued so
till the dissolution of it in the 27th year of king
Henry VIII. How this manor passed afterwards I
have not found, nor the owners of it, till it was at
length become the property of the family of Eaton, in
which it continued for some length of time, and till
Peter Eaton, gent. in 1642, anno 17 Charles I. at
length alienated it to Bartholomew Planker, merchant,
of Dover, who at his death devised it to the children
of John Francis, his kinsman. William Francis was
possessed of it in 1679, and was succeeded in it by
Mr. John Francis. But in the year 1710, it was become the property of William Denne, gent. from
whom it again passed into the name of Francis; for
in 1717 William Francis alienated this manor to William Tindale, A. M. of Trinity-hall, in Cambridge,
who passed it away to John Chitty, of St. Margaret's,
and he conveyed it by sale in 1730, to Mr. Richard
Solly, gent. of Sandwich, whose arms were, Argent, a
chevron between three soles, hauriant, proper, within a
bordure engrailed, sable, and his grandson RichardHeaton Solly, esq. of St. Margaret's, is the present
owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
THE MANOR OF REACH, commonly called Ridge,
the mansion of which is situated in the southern part
of this parish, was part of the antient possessions of the
priory of St. Martin, in Dover, perhaps part of its
original endowment, and accordingly it is thus entered, among the rest of their possessions in this parish,
under the general title of the land belonging to it, in
different places in the survey of Domesday:
In this same hundred, (viz. Beusberg), lies S. Margaret.
There Sired has one suling and one carucate iu demesne,
and six borderers with four servants. It is worth one
hundred shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, four pounds. The father of the same Sired held it
as a prebend.
In the same place, Radulf holds one sulings, and has one
carucate in demesne, and seven borderers, worth sixty and
nine shillings and two pence. In the time of king Edward
the Consessor, four pounds. Alric held it as a prebend in
In the same place, Alred holds one suling, and has in
demesne one carucate, and two villeins, and two borderers,
with half a carucate. It is worth sixty shillings. In the
time of king Edward the Consessor, twenty shillings. The
father of him held it as a prebend.
In the same place, Robert Niger holds one suling, and
has there three villeins, and six borderers, with one carucate. It is worth thirty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, twenty shillings. Esmellt held it, the
chaplain of king Edward.
In the same place, Walter holds one suling, and there
has three villeins, and five borderers, with one carucate
and an half. It is worth sixty shillings. In the time of
king Edward the Consessor, seventy shillings. Siger held it
as a prebend.
In the same place, Turbat holds half a suling, and there
has two villeins, and one borderer, with half a carucate;
and the same Robert has half a suling in Cornelai hundred, and there half a carucate in demesne, and five borderers. In the whole it is worth three pounds. In the time
of king Edward the Consessor, four pounds. Goldston
In the same place, Eduuine holds a suling, and also
twenty-five acres of land. In demesne he has half a carucate, and one villein, with half a carucate.
In Cornilai hundred, the same Eduine has four times
twenty and five acres, and there has one villein with one
carucate. It is worth three pounds. In the time of king
Edward the Consessor, four pounds. He himself held it in
the time of king Edward the Consessor. From this prebend the bishop of Baieux took away eight acres, and gave
them to Alan his clerk. Now Ulric de Oxeneford has
And a little further: In Cornelai hundred. To this
same Anchitill, (viz the archdeacon) the bishop of Baieux
gave fifty acres of land at Dele, and other fifty acres at
St. Margaret, where he has one villein and half a carucate. These one hundred acres of land were of the prebends, as is testified. In the whole it is worth eight
pounds. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, seven
Nigell the physician holds at St. Margaret's one yoke
and an half, and has there one villein, with two oxen. It
is worth twenty shillings. In the time of king Edward
the Consessor, twenty-five shillings. Spirites held it as a
And below again, under the title, Also the possession
of St. Martin:
In the inland of St. Martin, there remain seven
borderers, with half a carucate, paying sixty shillings
towards the shoes of the canons. St. Margaret pays eight
THOSE PARTS in the above description in Cornelai
hundred, seem to refer to the districts of Oxney, and
Kingsdowne, northward of this parish, and the remainder wholly to St. Margaret at Cliffe, in this hundred of Bewsborough, which continued afterwards
part of the possessions of the priory of St. Martin, till
the suppression of it, in the 27th year of Henry VIII.
when it was dissolved as being under the clear yearly
value of two hundred pounds, and given up, together
with all its lands and possessions, to the king; but
this manor, with the advowson of the church of St.
Margaret appendant, did not continue long in the
king's hands, who in his 29th year granted them, with
the scite of the priory and other possessions late belonging to it, in exchange to the archbishop, in which
state they continue at this time, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to them. Mr. Thomas Hatton, of Buckland, is the present lessee of it. A court
baron is held for this manor.
THERE were given by a person unknown, for the poor, and
chiefly to windows who do not receive alms, three roods of land,
now of the annual produce of 1l. 4s. and by another person unknown, for the like use, two roods of land, now of the annual
produce of 10s.
THERE are five roods of land given for tolling the bell at
night, called Curfew land, and there are fifty acres of fine land
in two pieces, said to have been given to the poor, and supposed
to have been ingrossed by those who cultivate the land.
THERE it given to the clerk two acres of land, and for the
use of the sacrament one acre, called Sacrament Acre, now of
the yearly value of 4s. 6d.
The poor constantly maintained are about thirty, casually ten.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of
The church, which is dedicated to St. Margaret, is
exempt from the archdeacon. It is large and strongly
built, having a tower steeple at the west end, and is
adorned on the outside, as well as within, with many
marks of antiquity. The church is preferable to most
of the country churches in this part of the county,
the roof is supported by two rows of pillars, and semicircular arches, the chancel is lofty and handsome, being separated from the body of the church by
a beautiful semicircular arch, the arch over the west
door is ornamented much, after the Saxon manner,
and has several rude heads on it. There are several
small arches and nitches in the side walls of the nave,
above the roofs of the two side isles, the nave or middle isle rising above them in the nature of a choir.
The tower, which is square, had formerly four small
turrets, one at each corner; but about the year 1711,
that turret on the west side, with a part of the tower,
fell down, and the tower having never been repaired,
the other three turrets were probably taken down to
make the whole appear more uniform. On some of
the arches of the two isles are the arms of Savage.
The chancel was handsomely wainscotted and carved
several years since by the then lessee of the great tithes,
Mr. Richard Crook, of Bekesborne.
This church was antiently an appendage to the manor, and as such was part of the possessions of the priory
of St. Martin, to which it was very early appropriated,
and a vicarage was endowed in it by an agreement
made in 1296, between the vicar of it and the sacrist
of the priory. (fn. 3) In which state it continued till the
dissolution of the priory, anno 27 Henry VIII. when
it came into the king's hands, and was afterwards
granted by him, in his 29th year, as an appendage to
the manor, to the archbishop, in exchange, as has
been already mentioned before, with a reservation of
forty shillings yearly pension to the vicar, since which
it has remained parcal of the possessions of that see,
his grace the archbishop being now possessed of the
appropriation, with the advowson of the vicarage.—Mr. Kingsford Wood is the present lessee of this parsonage.
The vicarage is valued in the king's books at
6l. 10s. per annum. In 1588 here were eighty-eight
communicants, and it was valued at twenty pounds
per annum. In 1661, archbishop Juxon augmented
this vicarage with twenty-six pounds per annum,
which was confirmed anno 28 Charles II. It is now a
discharged living, of about the clear yearly value of
The vicarage-house was burnt down in 1721, and
has never since been rebuilt.
Church of St. Margaret at Clifee.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Archbishop of Canterbury.||Edmund Tanner, in 1610.|
|William Barney, 1666, obt.
March 28, 1700.|
|Richard Marsh, A. M. inducted
August 1700, obt. Dec. 24,
1732. (fn. 4) |
|John Marsh, A. M. inducted
February 1733, obt. Sept.
1733. (fn. 5) |
|Alexander James, A. M. Oct.
1773, the present vicar. (fn. 6) |