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St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Woodnesborough, Kent

(PID:40510945461) Source
posted by alias Jelltex on Tuesday 27th of February 2018 05:57:23 AM

St Mary stands on a hill overlooking what was once the sea and sand spit of land that Sandwich still sits. The sea has receded, but St Mary is still there, its wooden cupola topped tower visible for those who look for it, or notice these things in the 21st Century. This was my third visit to the Blessed Mary, first time I found it locked, second time wardens were preparing it for the Nativity service. It was open, and even had a welcoming sign hanging near to the gate to the churchyard, always welcome. ----------------------------------------- The tower makes this church one of the easiest in Kent to identify. It is capped by a little cupola and wooden balustrade of eighteenth-century date that replaced a medieval spire. During the Middle Ages the church was owned by Leeds Priory which invested heavily in the structure, and was no doubt responsible for the excellent sedilia built in about 1350. The canopy is supported by a quadripartite vault in turn supported by angry little heads. Above the sedilia is the cut-off end of a prickett beam. The east window, of Decorated style stonework, has a thirteenth-century hangover in the form of a shafted rere-arch. There are two excellent modern stained glass windows designed by F.W Cole, which show the Creation (1980) and St Francis (1992). The good altar rails are of Queen Anne's reign, as are the splendid Royal Arms. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ WOODNESBOROUGH, ¶OR Winsborough, as it is usually called, lies the next parish northward from Eastry, being written in the survey of Domesday, Wanesberge. It took its name according to Verstegan, from the Saxon idol Woden, (and it is spelt by some Wodensborough) whose place of worship was in it; however that may be, the termination of the word berge, or borough, shews it to be of high antiquity. art of this parish, over which the manor of Boxley claims, is within the jurisdiction of the justices of the town and port of Sandwich, and liberty of the cinque ports; and the residue is in the hundred of Eastry, and jurisdiction of the county of Kent. There are three boroughs in this parish, viz. Cold Friday, Hamwold, and Marshborough; the borsholders of which are chosen at the petty sessions of the justices, acting at Wingham, for the east division of the lath of St. Augustine. THIS PARISH is large, being two miles and an half one way, and upwards of a mile and an half the other. The church stands nearly in the centre of it, on high ground. At a small distance from the church is Woodnesborough hill, both of which are sea marks. This hill is a very high mount, seemingly thrown up by art, and consisting of a sandy earth, it has been thought by some to have been the place on which the idol Woden from whom this place is supposed to have taken its name) was worshipped in the time of the Saxons; by others to be the burial place of Vortimer, the Saxon king, who died in 457, whilst others suppose this mount was raised over those who fell in the battle fought between Ceoldred, king of Mercia, and Ina, king of the West Saxons, in the year 715, at Woodnesbeorb, according to the Saxon chronicle, which name Dr. Plot supposes to be Woodnesborough. Vortimer, as our historians tell us, at his death, desired to be buried near the place where the Saxons used to land, being persuaded that his bones would deter them from any attempt in future. Though authors differ much on the place of his burial, yet this mount at Woodnesborough is as probable, or more so, perhaps, than any other, for it was near to, and was cast up so high as to be plainly seen from the Portus Rutupinus, which at that time was the general landing place of the Saxon fleets. Some years ago there were found upon the top of it sundry sepulchral remains, viz. a glass vessel (engraved by the Rev. Mr. Douglas, in his Nænia;) a fibula, (engraved by Mr. Eoys, in his collections for Sandwich;) the head of a spear, and some fragments of Roman vessels. Much of the earth of sand has been lately removed round the sides of it, but nothing further has been found. At a small distance northward from hence, at the bottom of a short steep hill, lies the village called Woodnesborough-street, and sometimes Cold Fridaystreet, containing thirty four houses. The vicaragehouse is situated in the middle of it, being a new handsome building; almost contiguous to it is a handsome sashed house, belonging to the Jull family, now made use of as a poor-house; through this street the road leads to Sandwich. West ward of the street stands the parsonage-house, late the seat of Oliver Stephens, esq. deceased, and now of his window, as will be further noticed hereafter. Besides the manors and estates in this parish, particularly described, in the western parts of it there are several hamlets, as Somerfield, Barnsole, Coombe, with New-street, Great and Little Flemings, Ringlemere, and the farm of Christians Court. In the north east part of the parish, the road from Eastry, by the parsonage of Woodnesborough northwestward, divides; one road, which in antient deeds is called Lovekys-street, going towards Ash-street; the other through the hamlet of Marshborough, formerly called Marshborough, alias Stipins, to Each End and Sandwich, the two windmills close to the entrance of which are with in the bounds of this parish. Each, Upper Each, called antiently Upriche, and Each End, antiently called Netheriche, were both formerly accounted manors, and are mentioned as such in the marriage settlement of Henry Whyte, esq. in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign. After the Whytes, these manors passed in like manner as Grove, in this parish, to the James's. Upper Each, or Upriche, has for many years belonged to the family of Abbot, of Ramsgate, and is now the property of John Abbot, esq. of Canterbury. Each End, or Netheriche, belongs, one moiety to the heirs or devisees of the late earl of Strafford, and the other moiety to John Matson, esq. of Sandwich. ¶It cannot but occur to the reader how much this parish abounds with Saxon names, besides the name of Wodens borough, the street of Cold Friday, mentioned before, is certainly derived from the Saxon words, Cola, and Friga, which latter was the name of a goddess, worshipped by the Saxons, and her day Frige-deag, from whence our day of Friday is derived; other places in this parish, mentioned before likewise, claim, surely, their original from the same language. This parish contains about 3000 acres, the whole rents of it being about 3373l. yearly value. It is very bare of coppice wood; the Old Wood, so called, in Ringleton, being the only one in it. The soil of this parish is very rich and fertile, equal to those the most so in this neighbourhood, particularly as to the plantations of hops, which have much increased within these few years past. The middle of the parish is high ground, and is in general a flat open country of arable common fields. West and south-westward the lands are more inclosed with hedges. North and north-westward of the parsonage, towards Sandwich, they are low and wet, consisting of a large level of marsh land, the nearness of which makes the other parts of this parish rather unhealthy, which is not otherwise very pleasant in any part of it. There was a fair held here yearly, on Holy Thursday, but it has been for some time disused. In Ringleton field, in this parish, there was found about the year 1514, a fine gold coin, weighing about twelve shillings, with a loop of the same metal to hang it by; on one side was the figure of a young man in armour, a helmet on his head, and a spear over his right shoulder; on the reverse, the figure of Victory, with a sword in her hand, the point downwards. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of a nave, and two isles, having a square tower steeple at the west end, with a modern wooden turret and vane at the top of it, in which are five bells, made in 1676. It had a high spire on the tower, which was taken down some years ago. At the east end of the chancel is a marble tablet for John Cason, esq. of this place, justice of the peace, obt. 1718; John Cason, esq. his son, obt. 1755; arms,Argent, a chevron, sable, between three wolves heads, erased, gules, on an escutcheon of pretence, sable, a chevron, between three fleurs de lis, of the field; another for Thomas Blechenden, of the antient family of that name, of Aldington, in Kent, obt. 1661; arms, Azure, a fess nebulee, argent, between three lions heads erased, or, attired, gules, impalingBoys. On the south side, an antient altar monument with gothic pillars and arches, having had shields and arms, now obliterated. Against the wall, under the canopy, two brass plates, which have been removed to this place, from two grave-stones in the chancel; the first for Sir John Parcar, late vicar of this church, who died the of May, a°o dni m° v° xiij° on the second are Latin verses to the memory of Nichs Spencer, esq. obt. 1593. In the middle of the chancel, a gravestone for William Docksey, esq. of Snellston, in Derbyshire, a justice of the peace, obt. 1760; Sarah his wife, youngest daughter of John Cason, esq. obt. 1774; arms,Or, a lion rampant, azure, surmounted of a bend, argent. On a gravestone on the north side of the chancel, on a brass plate, On a chevron, three quatersoils, between three annulets, quartering other coats, now obliterated, for Master Myghell Heyre, sumtyme vicar of this churche, who dyed the xxii day of July, m° v° xxviii. In the north isle are several memorials for the family of Gillow, arms, A lion rampant, in chief, three fleurs de lis. At the entrance into the chancel, on a grave-stone, on a brass plate, John Hill, gent. of the parish of Nassall, in Staffordshire, obt. 1605. A mural monument for William Gibbs, of this parish, obt. 1777; arms,Argent, three battle axes, in fess, sable. In the church-yard are altar tombs to the memory of the Julls, and for Sladden; one for John Verall, gent. sometime mayor of Sandwich, obt. 1610; and another for John Benchkin, of Pouton, obt. 1639. There were formerly painted in the windows of this church,Or, a chief indented, azure, for John de Sandwich. Several coats of arms, among which were those of Valence and St. Leger,Argent, three leaves in sinster bend, their points downward, proper.— On a canton, azure, three crescents, or, for Grove.— Argent, three escallops in chief, or, in base a crescent, gules, for Helpestone, usually called Hilpurton, bailiff of Sandwich, in 1299. A shield, being Helpeston's badge, another On a fess engrailed, three cinquefoils, between three garbs, for John Hill, of Nasall, in Staffordshire, who lies buried in this church. —A fess engrailed, three lions rampant, in chief, on the fess, a crescent for difference, for Spencer, customer, of Sandwich. — Quarterly, four coats; first, On a chevron, three quaterfoils; second, Per pale, ermine and argent; third, A cross, between four pomegranates, slipped; sourth,Three bars, wavy, for Michael Heyre, vicar here in 1520. The church of Woodnesborough was given, in the reign of king Henry I. by a religious woman, one Ascelina de Wodensberg, to the priory of Ledes, soon after the foundation of it; to which deed was witness Robert de Crevequer, founder of the priory, Elias his son, and others; which gift was confirmed by the said Robert, who by his charter, released to the priory all his right and title to it. It was likewise confirmed by archbishop Theobald, and several of his successors, and by king Henry III. by his charter of inspeximus in his 41st year. Archbishop William Corboil, who came to the see of Canterbury, three years after the foundation of Ledes priory, at the instance and petition of Ascelina above mentioned, who resigned this church into his hands for this purpose, appropriated it to the prior and convent, for the finding of necessary cloaths, for the canons there; and a vicarage was accordingly endowed in it. There was a controversy between the prior and convent, and Adam, vicar of this church, in 1627, anno 14 Henry II. concerning the great tithes arising from the crofts and curtilages within this parish, which was referred to the prior of Rochester, who was the pope's delegate for this purpose, who determined that the prior and convent of Ledes, as rectors of this church, should receive, without any exception, all the great tithes of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, and of every fort of corn arising, or to arise from all lands, crofts, curtilages, or other places whatever, situated within the bounds, of this parish; and that the prior and convent should yearly pay to the said vicar, and his successors, half a seam of barley, and half a seam of beans, at the nativity of our Lord. (fn. 10) ¶After which, this parsonage appropriate,(which appears to have been esteemed as a manor) together with the advowson of the vicarage, remained with the prior and convent of Ledes, till its dissolution in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was, with all its lands and possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, settled both parsonage and advowson on his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom they remain at this time. On the dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed in 1649, when is appeared that the manor or parsonage of Woodnesborough, with the scite thereof, and all manner of tithes belonging to it, with a garden and orchard of one acre, was valued all together at 300l. that the lessee was to repair the premises, and the chancel of the church; that the vicarage was worth fifty pounds per annum. The then incumbent was under sequestration, and there was none to serve the cure; and that the church was then quite ruinated, and in great decay. (fn. 11)

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