Institute of Historical Research



Edward Hasted

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'Parishes: Ewell', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9 (1800), pp. 426-436. URL: Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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WRITTEN in Domesday, both Ewelle and Etwelle, lies in the valley the next parish southward from Whitfield, alias Bewsfield, taking its name from the water or spring rising in it. It was antiently known likewise by the name of Temple Ewell, from the knights templars possessing the manor of it. The manor of Patrixborne claims over the farm of Waterend, in this parish. A borsholder for this parish is chosen at the court leet of the hundred.

EWELL is situated about three miles westward from Dover, in a like unfertile country as that last described, the soil of it being for the most part a hard chalk, the rest of it a cludgy unproductive red earth, mixed with quantities of sharp flint stones. The village of Ewell, with the church, is situated in the large and capacious valley which extends to the land's end at Dover, the high London road leading through it. The houses in this village are little more than cottages, being most of them but meanly built of flint, and a great part of them in a very ruinous condition, and it is far from being pleasantly situated.

The head of the river Dour rises in this valley, at the western boundary of the parish, and a little below Casney-court takes in another stream of it, the head of which rises about two miles higher southward, at the hamlet of Drelingore, in Alkham. This stream turns a corn-mill here near the church, and then flows on from hence eastward into the sea at Dover, a part of this stream, which is a kind of nailbourne rises from some springs in a meadow at Drelingore, which in very wet and windy weather increase to the height of ten feet, and run through the lands to the head of the river Dour, at Chilton, commonly beginning in February and ending in March or April, at which time the wells of fifteen or sixteen fathom depth are full; and the country people entertain a notion that this water has a subterraneous communication with the waters called the Liddon spouts, in the cliffs at Hougham, at least four miles from hence, of which further mention will be made below. Leland, in his Itinerary, vol. vii. p. 127, writes thus of this river: "As concerning the river of Dovar, it has no long course from no spring or hedde notable, that descendith to that botom. The principel hed as they say, is at a place cawled Ewelle, and that is not past a iii or iiii myles fro Dovar. There is also a great spring at a place cawled .......... and that ones in a vj or vij yeres brasted owt so abundantly that a great part of the water cummeth into Dovar streme, but els yt renneth yn to the se bytwyxt Dovar and Folchestan but nearer to Folchestan that ys to say withyn a ii myles of yt. Surely the hedde standeth so that it might with no great cost be brought to run away into Dovar streme."

The hills rise here on each side very high and mountainous, and the vales between them are very deep and hollow; the hills are almost wholly uninclosed, some of them arable, and the others covered with greenswerd, having furzes and broom interspersed on them at different intervals. These stupendous hills, in comparison of what the traveller has been used to in his journey hither, raise both his pleasure and admiration, the prospects on both sides being beautifully romantic and singular; and they are terminated by the town of Dover, its castle, and the sea, and beyond all, the Bologne hills on the coast of France.

In the valley, at the western part of this parish, on each side of the London road, are the two farms of Great and Little Waterend, so called from the end or rise of the river Dour. Close behind the latter, on the hill, there seems to be a line of breast works thrown up, and a large mount or barrow above them, which was opened lately, but nothing was found in it, and there are many other barrows, or tumuli, scattered about on the different hills in the neighbourhood of Dover. On the hill on the left side, about a mile from the village, is the court-lodge of the manor, called the Temple farm, situated near the scite of the antient mansion of the knights of that order, the remains of the buildings having been destroyed about sixty years ago. Some have doubted, whether this was not the house where king John resigned his crown to Pandulph, the pope's legate, A. D. 1213, on account of the pardon of archbishop Langton, which was one effect of that meeting being dated at the temple of Ewell, (fn. 1) whilst others have conjectured that this was done at Dover; but the templars had no house there. Others again have placed it at the house of the commandry of the templars, at Swingfield, where, or at this mansion of Ewell, it certainly was. Which of them is was is left to the reader's option. (fn. 2) At no great distance from hence is Archers-court; and still further, Old Park hill, so called from its having once been the park, belonging to the temple here. On this hill, is the house sitted up by Dr. Osborne, which being white, is a distinguished object between the break of these lofty hills to the adjacent country, over which, the British channel, and the coast of France, it has a most extensive prospect. On the other side of the village this parish extends again up the hills; on them is a common, called, from the barrenness of the soil, Scotland common; and a little further, to another large one, called Ewell Minnis, where it joins to Alkham, in a wild and dreary country.

AT THE TIME of taking the survey of Domesday, the bishop of Baieux held the greatest part of this parish, as appears by the following entry, under the general title of his lands in it:

In Beusherg hundred. Hugo holds Ewelle of the bishop. It was taxed at three sulings. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and fifteen villeins, with twelve borderers, having two carucates. There are two mills of forty-six shillings, and four acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of four hogs. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, it was worth twelve pounds, and yet afterwards one hundred shillings, now ten pounds, and yet it pays twelve pounds and twelve shillings. Edric de Alkam held it of king Edward.

Of this manor, Hugo de Montfort holds seventeen acres of land, and one denne and an half, which is valued at seven shillings.

And a little further, under the same possessions:

The same Ralph (de Curbespine) holds Ewelle. It was taxed at three sulings. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and five villeins, with four borderers, having two carucates. There is wood for the pannage of ten hogs. Of this manor, a certain knight holds one suling of Ralph, and there he has one carucate, with three borderers.

The whole manor, in the time of king Edward the Consessor, was worth twelve pounds, and afterwards twenty shillings, now forty shillings, and yet what Ralph has pays four pounds. Hugo de Montfort has the chief seat of the manor, and there are five mills and an half of six pounds. Molleue held it of king Edward.

And again, in the same survey, under the title of the land of Hugh de Montfort, is the following entry:

In Estry lath, in Beusberge hundred. Hugo de Montfort himself holds Etwelle. Molleue held it. It was taxed at three sulings, and now for one suling.

The arable land is one carucate, and there it is in demesne, and nineteen borderers, having one carucate. There is a church, and four mills and an half of four pounds and seventeen shillings and four pence, and four acres of meadow. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, it was worth eleven pounds, and afterwards four pounds, now eight pounds.

Four years after taking of this survey, the bishop was disgraced, and all his possessions were confiscated as were those above-mentioned of Hugh de Montfort, on the exile of his grandson Robert, in the next reign of king William Rufus, so that the whole of the lands above described, became at those periods escheats to the crown.

They comprehended most probably the greatest part of this parish, as well as that of River adjoining. In this parish they constituted the superior manor in it, afterwards called THE MANOR OF EWELL, alias TEMPLE EWELL, which was at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the tenure of Hugh de Montfort, and after its becoming an escheat to the crown as before-mentioned, was granted to William the king's brother, and William Peverelle, who gave it in alms to the knights templars, as may be seen by the inquisition taken of their possessions in 1185, now in the king's remembrancer's office; which gift was afterwards increased in this and the adjoining parishes, by the donation of several others. (fn. 3)

The knights templars, who bore for their arms, Gules, a plain cross, argent, (fn. 4) were most probably first instituted in England, at the latter end of Henry I.'s reign, or the very beginning of that of king Stephen, by whose successor, king Henry II. they were much caressed, and their possessions, though in so short a time, were increased to a large revenue; but at length in the early part of king Edward II.'s reign, their over-great wealth and power had so corrupted their morals, and the vicious lives which they most of them led, had so entirely estranged the king's favor, as well as of the nobles and nation in general from them, that for the peace and safety of the realm, it was found necessary wholly to put an end to them; accordingly, being accused of various crimes, their persons were every where seized and imprisoned, and their lands and goods confiscated, which were seized on by the king and other lords as escheats, the judges affirming that by the laws of the land they might warrantably hold them; and the whole order of them was dissolved in the 6th year of that reign, anno 1312, in a general council held at Vienna by pope Clement V. who immediately afterwards conferred their lands and effects on the knights hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, which the king confirmed next year, and an act passed anno 17 Edward II. by which the king, nobles, and others, assembled in parliament, granted that their lands and effects should be assigned, according to the will of the donors, to other men of religion, that they might be charitably disposed of to godly uses, and as such there were by it wholly given to the knights hospitallers; who thus becoming possessed of this manor, which from the long possession of the former owners, had acquired the name of Temple Ewell, continued in the possession of it till the general dissolution of their order in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when this manor, among the rest of the possessions of it, was surrendered into the king's hands, and was confirmed to him and his heirs by the general words of the act of the 32d year of that reign; and although the order of knights hospitallers was restored by letters patent of 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, and many of their antient manors and possessions given to them. Yet their re-establishment seems never to have taken place; and on the accession of queen Elizabeth, two years afterwards, it was wholly annihilated.

The manor of Temple Ewell, with the appropriation and advowson of the vicarage appendant, after the dissolution of the order of knights hospitallers, in king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign, remained in the hands of the crown, till king Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted them to Edward, lord Clinton and Saye, lord high admiral, and of his privy council, to hold in capite, (fn. 5) and he within a few months afterwards reconveyed them to the crown, where they staid but till the next year, when the king granted them to Sir William Cavendish, to hold in like manner, who the same year alienated them to Sir Richard Sackville, chancellor of the court of augmentations, who in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign alienated them to Winifred, marchioness of Winchester, and she in the 24th year of it joined with other trustees in the sale of them to Thomas Digge and William Boys, who quickly afterwards passed them away to John Daniell, whose two daughters and coheirs carried them in marriage to John Mabb and William Wiseman, who at the latter end of that reign joined in the sale of them to Mr. Robert Bromley, mercer, of London, and he about the beginning of king James I.'s reign, passed them away by sale to William Angell, of London, clerk of the acatery to that king, whose ancestor resided in Northamptonshire in king Henry the VIIth.'s reign, and bore for his arms, Or, five lozenges in fess, azure, surmounted of a bendlet, gules; and in his descendants, resident at Crowhurst, in Surry, for many successive generations, (fn. 6) they continued down to John Angell, esq. who was of Stockwell, in Middlesex, and died possessed of them in 1784, unmarried, and by his will devised them to Mr. Benedict Brown, his next heirgeneral, in default of lineal male issue, from his greatgrandfather William Angell, esq. of Crowhurst, subject to which proviso, Mr. Brown soon afterwards alienated this manor of Ewell, alias Temple Ewell, with the rectory impropriate, and the advowson of the vicarage appendant, to William Osborne, esq. of London, M. D. who at times resides here at Old Park-place, a house which he has sitted up and enlarged for that purpose on this estate, and he is the present possessor of them. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.

THERE IS a portion of tithes arsing from ninety acres of land in Coldred, payable to the lords of Temple Ewell manor. (fn. 7)

THE MANOR OF TEMPLE, alias BOSWELL BANKS, and DOWNE, called in the survey of Domesday, Brochestelle, and in other records, Brostall, lies in the southern part of this parish, and partly in the adjoining one of Swingfield. In the reign of the Conqueror it was part of the possessions of the bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose possessions it is thus entered in that survey:

Herfrid holds of Hugo, Brochestele, and it is of the fee of the bishop. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate and two servants. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, it was worth sixty shillings, and afterwards sixty, now forty. When Herbert received it three yoke, now two yoke. Ulnod held it of king Edward.

And further on: The same Ralph (de Curbespine) holds of the bishop one yoke in Brochestele, which Molleue held of king Edward; and there is one villein paying thirty pence.

Four years after taking this survey, the bishop of Baieux fell under the king's displeasure, and all his lands and possessions were confiscated; after which, it appears by an inquisition taken anno 1434, (fn. 8) to have been held by Sir Robert de Clottingham, who gave this manor of Brosthall, with its appurtenances in Swynfelde, to the knights templars, on whose suppression it came into the hands of the knights hospitallers, with whom it continued till their dissolution in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when it came to the crown, where it staid, till it was at length granted by queen Elizabeth to Stokes, of Waterend, in this parish, in which name it continued, till it was alienated in the same reign to Harvey, from which name in king Charles I.'s reign, it was conveyed by sale to Capt. Temple, of Dover; who was possessed of it in the beginning of the next reign of king Charles II. after which it passed by sale to Freeman, of this parish, who was succeeded in it by his son, and he sold it to Capt. Fagg, of Updown, near Eastry, and he alienated it about the year 1777 to Mr. Henry Belsey, who died possessed of it in 1792, and his eldest son Mr. William Belsey, is now entitled to it. There is no court held for this manor.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are not more than two or three, and casually as many.

THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Dover.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is an antient building, consisting of only one isle and a chancel, having a low square tower at the west end. In it was formerly this coat of arms, Vert, two bendlets, argent, on a chief, gules, three mullets, argent. It has at present nothing worth further notice in it.

This church was always appendant to the manor. It was very early appropriated to the order of knights templars, after whose dissolution it was given, with the advowson of the vicarage to the knights hospitallers, and on their suppression, passed with the manor as an appendage to it, in like manner as has been already fully mentioned before, through a succession of owners, to William Osborne, esq. of London, M. D. who is the present owner of the impropriation and advowson of the vicarage of this church, appendant to the manor of Temple Ewell.

In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and twelve, and it was valued at fifteen pounds. It is valued in the king's books at 6l. 13s. 4d. and the yearly tenths at 13s. 4d. It is now of the yearly certified value of 13l. 10s. 8d.

In the register of the archdeacon's court is a return and terrier of the glebe and profits of this vicarage, made in 1616, by which it appears to have consisted of a vicarage-house, with a garden adjoining to it. That there were belonging to it all manner of tithes, excepting those of corn, viz. hay, wood, lambs, wool, calves, and colts, fruits of trees, &c. That there were certain parcels of lands, called Hamstalles, in the whole about six acres and an half, that ever had paid the tithe of corn to the vicar as his due.

Church of Ewell.

Or by whom presented.
Simon Edolph, esq.William Russell, clerk, Nov. 18, 1661. (fn. 9)
Jeremiah Allen, 1693.
John Dauling, in 1695.
John Angell, esq.Richard Monins, A. M. 1726, obt. 1747. (fn. 10)
Richard Pike, clerk, 1747, obt. 1751. (fn. 11)
Thomas Tournay, A. M. in 1752.
Richard Harvey, A. M. 1763.
William Williams, 1765.
James Smith, A. M. 1772, obt. 1784. (fn. 12)
John Gostling, A. M. 1784. (fn. 13)
Alexander James Smith, A. M. 1784, the present sequestrator.


1 Vide Pat. 15 king John, N. 48.
2 See Tan. Mon. p. 217, note (F)
3 See Dugd. Mon. vol. ii p. 517, 527, 546.
4 See Tanner's List of Arms in Monasticon. N. cvii.
5 Rot Esch. anno 5 Edward VI. pt. 4. See more of the lord Clinton under Folkestone, vol. viii. of this history, p. 159.
6 See Aubrey's Antiq. of Surry, vol. iii. p. 39, &c.
7 An account of the tithes paid to this manor, or church of Ewell, within the parish of Coldred, may be seen in the Leiger Book of St. Martin's priory of Dover, f. 251,h, MSS. Lambeth.
8 Inquisition now in the Herald's office. See Dugd. Monast. vol. ii. p. 541.
9 And vicar of River.
10 Likewise rector of Ringwold.
11 From the time of his death, this vicarage has been held in sequestration.
12 Likewise vicar of Alkham, which he held with the rectory of Eastbridge, and in 1781 was presented to the vicarage of Cosmus Blean; all which preserments he held at the same time with this sequestration.
13 And vicar of Alkham, as was his successor, See Brooke, vol. vii. p. 384.

West Cliffe