LIES the adjoining parish to Downe, south-eastward. The name of it is variously spelt in antient deeds and writings, as Codeham, Cudham, and Coldham; but it is now generally spelt and called Cudham.
This parish lies in general on high ground and very hilly; the soil is but indifferent, being for the most part strong and stiff, mixed with chalk. It is very extensive, being bounded by no less than eleven parishes, and contains upwards of six thousand acres of land. It is but narrow from east to west, towards the latter it reaches as far as Skid-hill, on the consines of Surry; from north to south, it is near four miles in length. The village having the church within it, is situated in the eastern part of it, not more than one hundred rods from the parish of Chelsfield, and about a mile and a quarter from the high road from Farnborough to Sevenoke; the spire of it is a conspicuous object to all the country on the northern side of it. The high road from Bromley to Westerham crosses the western part of the parish, southward; near which are the estates of Luxsted, Southstreet, Cowdhamlodge and Apperfield; the southern side of Leavesgreen, (the remainder of which is in Keston) is within this parish, where there is an old mansion, called Old Courtor Old House, which was for many generations, and till lately, the residence of the Braziers; it is now called Leaves-green farm, and belongs to the widow of George Butler, esq. There is much coppice wood dispersed over the several parts of it.
COWDHAM was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux; of whom it was held by Gilbert Maminot, as appears by the survey of Domesday, in which it is entered under the general title of the bishop of Baieux's lands as follows:
Gilbert Maminot holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Codeham. It was taxed at 4 sulings. The arable land is 10 carucates. In demesne there are 4, and 15 villeins, with 6borderers having 6 carucates. There is a church, and 11 servants, and 2 mills of 14shillings and 2 pence value. Wood for the pannage of 40 bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 20 pounds, and afterwards 16 ponnds, and now 24pounds.
On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, in the 19th year of that reign, about four years after the taking of Domesday, Cowdham was seized into the king's hands, among the rest of the bishop's estates. This place afterwards continued in the possession of Gilbert Maminot before mentioned, who then became the king's immediate tenant for it, and appears to have held it in the 20th year of that reign, as two knights fees, parcel of the twenty-four, which made up the barony of Maminot, of which Deptford was the head or chief, and were held of the king, as of his castle of Dover, in capite by barony, the tenant of Cowdham being bound, by the tenure of them, to maintain a certain number of soldiers continually for the defence of that castle.
His great grandson, Wakelin de Maminot, died without issue in the 3d year of king Richard I. leaving his sister, Alice, his coheir; who brought this place, with much other inheritance, to her husband, Geoffry, second son of William de Say; he possessed this place in her right, and dying about the 16th year of king John, was succeeded by Geoffry his son, who was one of the Recognitores Magnæ Assisæ, in the 2d year of the fame reign, at the latter end of which he joined the confederate barons, and his lands were seized into the king's hands; after whose death they were however restored to him. He died in Gascoigne in the 14th year of king Henry III. leaving by Alice his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of John de Casyneto, or Cheney, one son, William de Say, who succeeded him in this manor. In the 44th year of that reign he was constituted governor of Rochester castle, and died in the 56th year of it, being then possessed of this manor held of the king in capite by barony. (fn. 1)
William de Say, his son, also died possessed of it in the 23d year of king Edward I. leaving Geoffry, his son and heir; the wardship of whom was obtained by William de Leyborne, whose daughter, Idonea, he afterwards married. In the 7th year of king Edward II. he was summoned to parliament, but in the 15th of that reign he died, being then possessed of this manor, held in capite, as parcel of the barony of Maminot, and leaving by Idonea his wife, who survived him, Geoffry, his son and heir, (fn. 2) who making proof of his age in the 19th of Edward II. had possession granted of his lands, and was first summoned to parliament in the first year of king Edward III. after which, in the 8th year of that reign, he had a view of frank-pledge here, having that year obtained the king's charter for free-warren in all his demesne lands within this lordship of Cowdham, among others, with view of frank-pledge and divers other privileges. In the 10th year of Edward III. he was constituted admiral of all the king's fleet, from the river of Thames westward; in which service, besides himself, then a banneret, he had of his retinue four knights, twenty men at arms, and three archers. (fn. 3) In the 27th year of that reign he was again summoned to parliament, and next year he is named, by the title of Geoffry de Saye, lord of Codham, among the peers of the realm. (fn. 4) He died in the 33d year of that reign, leaving by Maud his wife, daughter of Guy de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, William de Say, his son and heir, (fn. 5) and three daughters who will be farther mentioned.
William de Say, the son, received summons to parliament in the 37th year of king Edward III. and died in the 49th of that reign, as appears by the inquisition then taken; by which he was found to die possessed of this manor, holden in capite by knights service, but how much was uncertain. He left John his son and heir, who died in ward to the king, in the 6th year of king Richard II. and a daughter Elizabeth, who, upon her brother's death, became his heir, and possessed this manor. She married first John de Fallesley, afterwards knighted, who had possession granted of the lands of her inheritance; but he dying, without issue by her soon after, she married Sir William Heron, who possessed the manor of Codham, and was lord Say in her right. (fn. 6) In the 19th year of Richard II. he, together with her by the name of Elizabeth lady Say, levied a fine of it to the use of them and the heirs male of their bodies, remainder to her own right heirs; four years after which she died, s. p. upon which this manor came to Sir William Heron in her right, and he died possessed of it in the 6th year of king Henry IV.s. p. likewise, all which was found by inquisition then taken, and farther, that this manor was held in capite, and that there were sixty-six acres of land at Bedrede and land in North and South Berdenne, &c. and that there was a park there, and two leets in a year, and divers rents of assize, and that after Sir William Heron's death, who possessed that manor for his life, it came by the above fine to her heirs, viz. Sir William de Clinton, grandson of Idonea, eldest sister of William de Say last mentioned; Mary, wife of Otho de Worthington, and Matilda her sister, daughters of Thomas de Aldon and Elizabeth his wife, the next sister of the said William and Roger de Fiennes, grandson of William de Fiennes and Joane his wife, the third sister of the said William de Say. On the partition of their inheritance this manor was allotted to Roger de Fiennes, who accordingly took possession of it. He was descended from that John de Fiennes, who was one of the chief favourites of William the Conqueror, who made him constable of Dover-castle, and warden of the cinque ports. Roger de Fienes before mentioned, bore for his arms, Azure, three lions rampant or. He obtained licence of king Henry VI. to embattle his mansion at Hurstmonceaux, in Sussex, which he rebuilt in a most magnificent manner, and greatly enlarged his park there (fn. 7) He left two sons, Richard and Robert, the former of whom was afterwards knighted, and having married Joane, one of the daughters, and at length sole heir of Sir Thomas Dacre, eldest son and heir of Thomas Dacre lord Dacre, he was, on that account, in the 37th year of king Henry VI. by letters patent, declared lord Dacre, and a baron of this realm, and to enjoy all pre-eminence belonging to that degree, and the next year he had summons to parliament accordingly. (fn. 8)
Sir Thomas Dacre before mentioned (whose daughter Joane married Sir Richard Fiennes) died in his father's life time, leaving two brothers, Ranulph, who died without issue, and Humphry Dacre, both of whom were successively, as heirs male of the family, stiled lords Dacre, Sir Humphry Dacre and his descendants being commonly called Lords Dacre of the North; and Fiennes, and his posterity, Lords Dacre of the South.
From the time of Sir Edward Fienes's being created lord Dacre as before mentioned, great disputes had arisen between him and his lady Joane, on the one part, and Sir Humphry Dacre, the uncle and heir male, on the other, concerning the lordships, manors, and castles, which belonged to the late lord Dacre. At length, they mutually agreed to leave all their differences to the decision of king Edward IV. who, in the 13th year of his reign, heard the cause, laid before him, and the lords assembled in parliament, and a provision was therein made for Sir Richard Fienes, and Joane his wife, and the heirs of the said Joane, and sundry entails of manors, as well to the said lord Dacre of the North, the heir male, as to Fennys the heir general, were therein confirmed; wherein was also noted a pedigree for the line of lord Dacre; (fn. 9) and the fame place and precedence in parliament that her grandfather had enjoyed, were confirmed to Sir Richard and the lady Joane his wife, and the heirs of her body; together with divers manors and castles in dispute; but Gillesland, in Cumberland, the antient and capital feat of the Vaux's, and of all the barons their descendants, was adjudged probably on account of some late entail, with several other considerable estates, to Sir Humphry Dacre, who at the same time was created a baron, with place next below Sir Robert Fienes, and for distinction, stiled, Lord Dacre of Gillesland, or more commonly of the North, as the other was of the South; the former bearing for their arms, Gules, three escallops argent. To return now to Sir Richard Fiennes lord Dacre, who in the 13th year of king Henry VI. was made constable of the tower of London, and having been summoned to parliament by the title of lord Dacre; died in the 1st year of king Richard III. and was buried at Hurstmonceaux, being possessed at the time of his death, as appears by several inquisitions, of the manor of Codham, with its appurtenances, held in capite. He left Thomas his grandson, his next heir, and one daughter, Elizabeth, married to John lord Clinton and Saye. Which Thomas Fienes, lord Dacre of the South, was made knight of the Bath, and having been summoned to parliament in the 11th of king Henry VII. he died in the 25th year of king Henry VIII. possessed of this manor, (fn. 10) and was buried in the church of Hurstmonceaux.
He left Sir Thomas Fynes, lord Dacre, his grandson, and heir apparent, who came to an untimely end; for going to chase the deer in Sir Nicholas Pelham's park, at Laughton, in Sussex, with several other persons, a sray ensued between them who went out with him and the park keepers, in which one of the latter was wounded, and died soon after; and though he was not present, but in another part of the park (for they had separated themselves, at their first coming there into different parties) yet he was found guilty of the murder, and suffered death for it accordingly, in the 33d year of king Henry VIII. being something more than twenty-four years of age. (fn. 11)
Historians agree, that there never was more reason for tempering the rigour of the law with mercy than in this cafe; especially, as before this unfortunate accident, he was esteemed a young nobleman of a most hopeful and promising disposition; but it was his estate that caused his destruction, the courtiers exasperating the king against him, who was of himself too prone to severity. (fn. 12)
He left one son, Gregory, and a daughter, Margaret, who were restored in blood and honours by act of parliament, in the first year of queen Elizabeth.
Gregory Fynes, lord Dacre before mentioned, who bore for his arms those of Fynes, quartering those of Dacre of the North, and of Fitzhugh, married Anne, sister of Thomas lord Buckhurst, but dying without issue, anno 36 queen Elizabeth, (fn. 13) Margaret, his sister, became his sole heir. He had, in the 13th year of that reign, settled among other premises, the manor of Cowdham, after his own death, and failure of issue, on her, who was then married to Sampson Lennard, esq. of Chevening, and the heirs of her body; and after his death, anno 39 Elizabeth, possession was granted to her of this manor; and on her making claim to the barony of Dacre, it was, in the 2d year of James I. adjudged to her and the heirs of her body, with precedency, as her ancestors had enjoyed it. She died in the 9th year of king James I. possessed of this manor, as was found by inquisition, and that Henry lord Dacre was her son and heir, who died in the 14th year of the same reign; on which it descended to Richard Lennard, lord Dacre, (fn. 14) his eldest son, who married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Arthur Throgmorton, by whom he had two sons, Francis Lennard, and Thomas, who afterwards died without issue. He afterwards married Dorothy, daughter of Dudley lord North (who survived him, and died in 1698) by whom he had one son, Richard, who took the name of Barrett; from whom Thomas Lennard, late lord Dacre, was, on the father's side, lineally descended, as he was from Francis lord Dacre, by his mother. He left likewise a daughter, Catharine, and died in the 6th of king Charles I. possessed of this manor; on which all his lands and hereditaments in Cowdham, (except the rents of assize of the manor, which had been settled by his father in jointure on Dorothy his second wife) descended to Francis Lennard, lord Dacre, his eldest son by his first wife. (fn. 15) He married Elizabeth, sister and coheir of Paul viscount Banning, by whom he had three sons, Thomas his sucessor, Francis, who died without issue, and Henry, who died in 1703, and left three daughters. Fienes lord Dacre, dying in 1662, was buried at Chevening, having by his will given all his lands to his son Thomas, in tail male, and leaving the possession of his lands in Cowdham in jointure to Elizabeth his wife, who was afterwards, in 1680, created countess of Shepey for her life, the before mentioned rents of assize being still in the possession of Dorothy, the dowager lady Dacre.
Elizabeth countess of Shepey died in 1686, upon which Thomas lord Dacre, her eldest son, (who had been created earl of Sussex by king Charles II. in his 26th year) solely enjoyed her jointure lands in Cowdham. He married the lady Anne Palmer, alias Fitzroy, daughter of Barbara, countess of Castlemain, afterwards duchess of Cleveland, and acknowledged by king Charles II. as his natural daughter.
Dorothy lady Dacre, dying in 1698, the earl of Sussex took possession of the rents of assize of the manor of Cowdham, which she held in jointure; and in 1707, the earl and his lady conveyed the manor of Cowdham, the rents of assize, and a messuage and lands belonging to it, to Thomas Streatfield, esq. But the year before this conveyance, Margaret, Anne, and Catherine, the insant, daughters and coheirs of Henry Lennard, who was the youngest of the three sons and coheirs in gavelkind to Francis and Richard, lords Dacre, by their guardian, laid claim to the moiety of this manor, and the lands belonging to it, so sold by the earl; and also the lands in Cowdham unsold, and still remaining in his possession. For, that Francis Lennard, the earl's other brother, being dead without issue, one moiety only of the above manor and lands descended to the earl of Sussex, and the other moiety to Henry Lennard, their father, as heirs in gavelkind to Francis and Richard, lords Dacre, as before mentioned. But the earl of Sussex, in a trial at the Queen'sbench bar, and on a full evidence, proved, that the premises never were of the nature of gavelkind, but had been always held of the king in capite by knights service, obtained a full verdict in his favour. From Thomas Streatfield, esq. before mentioned, this manor has descended to his grandson, Thomas Streatfield, esq. of Sevenoke, and he is the present possessor of it.
The MANOR OF APPULDREFIELD, called also antiently the manor of Appuldre, and now, by contraction of the former name, Apperfield, lies about two miles south-westward from Cowdham church.
It was anciently parcel of the lands which made up the two knights fees in Cowdham, part of the barony of Maminot, which has been fully mentioned before, as having been assigned by William the Conqueror to Gilbert Maminot, being held of the king, as of the castle of Dover, in capite, by barony.
From him the fee of this manor descended to Alice, sister and coheir of Wakelin Maminot, who carried it in marriage to Geoffry de Say; of which family of Say it was held in the reign of king Henry III. by one of the eminent family of Apuldrefeld, who bore for their arms, sable, a cross voided, or, and most probably took their name from this place, and then again fixed it on others in this county, in which they afterwards seated themselves.
Henry de Apuldrefeld, in the 38th year of king Henry III. obtained a fair and market to his manor of Apuldrefeld; (fn. 16) and in the book of knights fees, taken in the reign of king Edward I. and now remaining in the hands of the king's remembrancer in the exchequer, it is mentioned to be then held by him as one knight's fee, of William de Say.
In the 11th year of king Edward II. John de Insula had a charter of free-warren granted to his manor of Apuldrefeld; which was renewed to Stephen de Ashway, in the 38th year of king Edward III. who had a free chapel annexed to it. In the 20th year of that reign, Stephen de Ashway, and his coparceners, paid aid for this manor, as one knight's fee, which Henry de Apuldrefeld before held in Codeham of Geoffry de Say, being then held of the king as of the honor of Say, and performing ward to Dover castle.
It appears by the patent-rolls in the tower, of the 46th year of the above reign, that the king, by his writ that year, granted to John Atte-Welle, and Robert William, licence to assign rent of the value of four marcs, out of tenements, called La-rye, in Otteford, to Adam Flemynge, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the chapel of Apuldreselde, to hold to him and his successors celebrating divine service there. (fn. 17)
This manor continued in the name of Ashway for many generations, till at last it became, by purchase, the estate of Denny; and Thomas Denny, of Cheshunt, in Hertfordshire, descended from John Denny, esq. who served king Henry V, in his wars in France, and bore for his arms, Gules, a saltier argent, between two crosses pattee, was possessed of it in the reign of king Henry VIII. and left the inheritance of it to the two eldest of his sons; John Denny, who settled in Norfolk; and Sir Anthony Denny, of Cheshunt, groom of the stole to king Henry VIII. and privy counsellor. They passed it away by sale to George Dacre, esq. and in the 35th year of king Henry VIII. an act passed for the assurance of this manor of Apperfield, and other lands, of the inheritance of John Denny and Anthony Denny, unto George Dacre, who was descended from Henry Dacre, of Malfield, in Staffordshire, alderman of London, and bore for his arms, Argent, a chevron fable, between 3 torteauxes gules; on each an escallop argent, in allusion to that of the lords Dacre of the north, from whom these were said to be descended. He exchanged it with the crown, from whence it was granted, under the yearly fee-farm of seventy-one shillings, (fn. 18) to John Lennard, of Chevening, esq. on whose death, in the 33d year of queen Elizabeth, his son Sampson Lennard succeeded to it, and died possessed of it in the 13th of king James I. having by his will devised this manor to his eldest son, Henry, lord Dacre, in tail male; with remainder to his two sons, Gregory and Thomas, successively; but by reason of a jointure in this manor, it did not come into the possession of his descendants till the time of Francis Lennard, lord Dacre, his grandson, who became possessed of it, under the will of Sampson Lennard, his greatgrandfather. He by his will, in 1654, devised the inheritance of it to his eldest son, Thomas, afterwards created earl of Sussex, and the heirs male of his body; and dying in the year 1662, Elizabeth, his widow, afterwards countess of Shepey, possessed it in jointure, till her death, in 1686; upon which Thomas, lord Dacre, earl of Sussex, entered into possession of it; but the fame claim was made to a third part of this manor, by Margaret, Anne, and Catharine, the infant daughters of Henry, the earl's youngest brother, (who died in 1703) by their guardian, in their behalf, as was made upon the manor of Cowdham, and other manors and lands of the earl, as being of the nature of gavelkind. Soon after the above sale of this manor they laid claim to a moiety of it, Francis, the earl's second brother, being dead without issue; but the earl of Sussex, in a trial had at the queen's bench bar, set aside these claims, and obtained a full verdict in his favor.
The earl of Sussex, in 1707, conveyed the manor of Apperfield to Mr. Thomas Know, who died, possessed of it, in 1728, and was buried in Downe church; on which it descended to his only son, Roger Know, who, on his death, in 1737 (fn. 19) devised this manor, with other estates, to his cousins, Leonard Bartholomew and John. Know Bartholomew, sons of Philip Bartholomew, of Oxen Hoath, esq. by his first wife, the only daughter and heir of John Know, of Ford, in Wrotham, gent. (brother of Thomas Know before-mentioned) who both died without issue. His second wife was Mary, daughter of Alexander Thomas, of Lamberhurst, esq. by whom he had one daughter Mary, married to Francis Geary, esq. who will be further mentioned hereafter.
On the partition of these estates this manor became the property of John-Know Bartholomew, and on his death, of his brother, Leonard Bartholomew, beforementioned; who, dying without issue in 1757, by his will bequeathed it to the second son of Sir Francis Geary, bart. of Polsden, in Surry, by Mary, his half-sister; which second son, now Sir William Geary, bart. nephew of the said Leonard Bartholomew, is now possessed of this manor of Apperfield.
This manor now pays a fee-farm rent of 3l. IIs. per annum to the crown.
There is a place in this parish, formerly called the manor of Bertrey, which was part of that estate in Cowdham given to Gilbert Maminot, in the reign of William the Conqueror, for his assistance in the defence of Dover-castle.
From this family it went by marriage to the Says; one of whom, Geoffry de Say claimed, before John de Stonar and others, his associates, justices itinerant, in the 7th year of king Edward III. the holding of a yearly fair at this hamlet on the day of St. Laurence. (fn. 20) Before this name was extinct here, which was about the beginning of king Richard II's reign, this manor was become annexed to the adjoining manor of Apuldre, (now Apperfield) in this parish; in which state it continues at this time.
Richard de Chersholt had antiently some property in this hamlet of Bertrey, or Bettred, as it was afterwards called, and held the reeveship of the manor of Bertrey under Geoffry de Say, who discharged him from this office in the 15th year of king Edward II. and most probably at the time of its being annexed to Apperfield. He died without issue male, and his daughter and heir carried the estate, which he held in it, in marriage to William de Manning, who died in the 17th year of king Edward III. He was the son of Stephen de Manning; of whom there is mention in old deeds, of the time of king Edward I. who was descended from Simon de Manning, to whom John Silvester, of Westerham, demised land by deed in the 14th year of king Richard I. and who (as is recorded in an old pedigree relating to this family) was engaged in the holy war against the Saracens, under that king. They are said to be descended of an antient and noble family, which took its name from Manning, a town in Saxony, from whence they came into England, before the conquest, and some of them are said to have settled in Friesland. They bore for their arms, Gules, a cross potence, or flory, between four cinquefoils or. (fn. 21) From him it descended to Hugh Manning, who settled at St. Mary Cray, and left two sons; of whom John, the elder, was of Downe, and Richard, the younger, of Kevington, in St. Mary Cray, where his posterity remained till within these few years.
Hugh, son of Gilbert de Maminot, who lived in the reign of William the Conqueror, as mentioned above, gave the tythes of Bertrey, in Cowdham, to the church of St. Andrew in Rochester, in pure alms, which was confirmed by his son, Walchelin, and he further granted, that if any part of the lordship was then, or should hereafter be converted into tillage service, (fn. 22) yet the tenths should remain to them entire, according to the first donation.
The gift was confirmed by Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, and several of his successors; by Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, and others. The prior and convent of Rochester, anno 5 king Edward III. demised all their tythes of sheaves arising within the manor of Bertrey, and the like tythes in the hamlet of Mot tingham, to Sir Henry de Reddlyngton, and others, at the yearly rent of eight marcs sterling. (fn. 23)
John de Shepey, prior of Rochester, and the convent of the same place, in the 10th year of king Richard II. demised, to John Stoke, of Ferneberge, and John Flemyng, of Rochester, at the yearly rent of six shillings, all their tythes arising from the manor of Bertrey in Codham, then annexed to the manor of Apperfield; the names of the fields within this tythery may be seen in the Registrum Roff. p. 268.
It was found by inquisition, in the 7th year of king Henry VIII. that William Marsh, at his death, held of the king in capite, a messuage and land, in Cowdham; which were carried in marriage by Margaret, his daughter, to Nicholas Smith. In the first year of king Edward VI. he alienated this estate, then called Mares-place, with its lands and appurtenances, to Thomas Josceline. (fn. 24) In the 6th year of which reign his descendant, John Josceline, sold it to Thomas Polsted, whose grandson Francis Polsted, (fn. 25) levied a fine of it anno 15 queen Elizabeth.
There are no parochial charities.
Cowdham is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Dartford. The church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. It consists of a body and chancel, an isle on the north side, not extending the length of the church either way, and a sort of chapel on the south side, not much used, as a vestry room, and much out of repair. The steeple, which is a spire, stands on the south side of the church, and has four bells in it.
In this church, among others, are the following monuments and inscriptions:—In the isle, on a grave stone, with the figure of a woman in brass, and inscription in black letter, for Alys, wife of Walter Waleys, of this parish, sister to Johan a Legh, of Adyngton, in Surry, esq. obt. 1503. Above the figure are two shields in brass, being first, a sess ermine, a star in the dexter point; second, on a chevron, three lions rampant beneath the above arms, being those of Waleys impaling Legh; beneath are the figures of six sons and three daughters . In the great chancel, are several grave stones for the family of Brazier, of Old House, in this parish; on the south side, within the altar rails, is a mural monument for Thomas Farrant, fen. obt. 1680, æt. 62. Thomas Farrant, jun. died the same year, æt. 17. On the south side is an antient altar tomb of stone, with some letters cut in relievo, within a gothic rose on the sides of it, but no inscription. In the east window of the north chancel, are the following shields, very antient, first, the arms of England gu. three lions passant guardant or; second, Valence, Earl of Pembroke; third, quarterly, gules and or; fourth, Waleys. (fn. 26)
The countess Juliana, widow of Hugh Bigod, and wife of Wakelin de Maminot, who lived in the reigns of king Henry II. and Richard I. gave the church of Codeham to the abbey of Begham, as appears by the chartulary of that monastery.
Thomas de Wolton, as appears by the escheat-rolls, died possessed of the advowson of this church in the 46th year of king Edward III. who by writ of privy seal, in the 50th year of his reign, granted licence to Thomas de Wolton, clerk, and William Topcliffe, to grant to the prioress and convent of Kilburne, in the diocese of London, an acre of land, in Cowdham, together with the advowson of the parish church, held in capite; and he further granted licence to the prioress and convent, to appropriate this church to their own proper use, together with the acre of land to them and their successors, to the finding of one chaplain, to celebrate divine service daily in the church of the house of the prioress and convent. (fn. 27)
Accordingly, Thomas Trilleck, bishop of Rochester, in 1371, appropriated this church, then valued at twenty marcs, to the before-mentioned prioress and convent, patrons of it, after the resignation or death of Ralph, then rector of it, saving a competent por. tion to a vicar, and to the bishop and his successors, and to the church and archdeacon of Rochester, all due and accustomed rights, &c. and to the prior and chapter of Rochester their portion of tythes within the bounds of this church; and as the bishop's predecessors were used to receive certain emoluments from it during the vacancy of it, which by this appropriation would necessarily be extinguished, the bishop, with consent of the religious, on this account, reserved an annual pension of ten shillings, to be paid by them yearly, from the time of their taking possession of it.
This appropriation was confirmed by the prior and convent of Rochester, in the year before mentioned; saving always, their, and their monastery's antient right to the portion of five fields, viz. Brodefeld, Schidden, Elenchselde, Plechleselde, and Chersebemfeld; and to the portion of tythes of certain other small places, containing in the whole two hundred and twenty-one acres of land, lying dispersed within the bounds of this parish, to them and their monastery, antiently belonging, and due from the manor of Apulderfeld. (fn. 28)
This pension of ten shillings continued to be paid by the prioress and convent of Kilburne, to the bishop of Rochester, and his successors, as appears by the registers in the archives of the church of Rochester. (fn. 29) On the dissolution of the monastery of Kilburne, by the act passed in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. for the suppressing all religious houses under the value of two hundred pounds yearly income; the church, with the advowson of the vicarage, together with the rest of its revenues, became vested in the crown; being given by the act to the king and his heirs, for ever.
Soon after which George Brooke, lord Cobham, had a grant of this advowson, late belonging to the above monastery, to hold in capite, by the service of the fortieth part of one knight's fee.
King Edward VI. in his fourth year, granted the advowson of this vicarage to Sir Anthony St. Leger. (fn. 30) Roger Revell held it in the 11th year of queen Elizabeth. (fn. 31) Gregory Fynes possessed it in the 13th year of the same reign. (fn. 32) In the reign of king James I. the advowson was again vested in the crown, where it has continued to this time, the crown being the present patron of it. John Warde, of Westerham, esq. is the present impropriator of the parsonage.
In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Codeham was valued at thirty-five marcs, and the vicarage of it at six marcs and a half. (fn. 33) This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 13l. 2s. 6d. but it is now a discharged living, of the clear certified value of 38l. 5s. 10d. the yearly tenths of which are 1l. 6s. 3d. (fn. 34)
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that Cuddam was a vicarage, with a house, and one acre of land, all worth 40l. per annum; one master Casingherst enjoying it, and preaching constantly. (fn. 35)
Henry Rumney, in 1442, gave the profits of his tenement, called Bayles, to the use of this church for ever. (fn. 36)