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ward it was worth j£16 : likewise when he received it: now £20:
and yet it renrlers £25. [Earl] Lewin held it, etc. (Larking's Exten-
sion and Translation.)



of clerestory windows of distinctly Saxon character/
splayed both inwards and outwards, with a groove in
the middle of the wall for the primitive shutter, which
would be open by day and closed at night : fragments
of the woodwork still remain in the wall. Unfortu-
nately, the inner splays on the nave side have been
closed up, but those on the other side, in the north
aisle, are still visible. At the same time a row of eight
earthen jars, placed at equal distances, was found^ built
into this wall above the old Saxon clerestory, placed
there probably for acoustic purposes. These were much
broken in the act of removal, but the most perfect of
them has been preserved, and may be seen in the Maid-
stone Museum.

The area of the origcinal Saxon church must have
corresponded nearly with the present nave, only being
a little shorter, the foundation of the old east wall being-
found crossing the nave some distance to the west of the
chancel-step, when the floor was taken up to lay the
pipes for heating.

Many other were the changes which this church has
experienced before attaining its present proportions.

The Norman arch at the west end, so unusually lofty,
w ith its plain angular mouldings of tufa, indicates the
addition made by the Crevequers in the twelfth century;
when, too, it has been suggested that probably the old
solid Saxon walls were cut through and a Norman
arcade introduced on either side, leaving the traces of
the Saxon clerestory above. In the next century the
church was widened, a side aisle was thrown out on the
north, not with a separate roof, but with that of the
nave brought dow^n to cover it.

Then, too, the massive, deeply-buttressed tower must
have been raised, as the small, narrow lancet windows —
two on the west face and one on the north — indicate ;
while a similar one appears on the west end of the north
aisle, and traces of a row of tliree may be detected on
its outer wall. The tower, now so dwarfed in appear-
ance, evidently once had a steeple, much loftier and
more graceful than the present stunted capping tower.

^ For these details the writer is indebted to W. H. Purdaj, Esq.
2 An account of their discovery is given in Arch. Cantiana, xii, 432.



Tliis steeple, as well as much of the church, must have
fallen into disrepair hefore the end of the fifteenth
century, for, while several wills of that period refer to
" werkes" going on in the church, towards which be-
quests were made, that of John Brandon, dated 1492,
leaves a considerable sum specially " for the reparacon
of the steeple".

The next change in the nave would have taken place
when, early in the fourteenth century, the advancing
spirit of architecture required lighter piers and wider
arches : then any Norman work, if it existed, would
have to give place to the more graceful lofty arcade,
springing from fluted octagonal pillars, of the Decorated
period, which gives so bright and airy a character to the
church. Towards the close of tliat century, as the
window and the plinth would suggest, the north chapel
must have been added ; while that on the south
sicle^ would claim an earlier date, possibly of the pre-
ceding centuiy. Each of them is connected to the
chancel by a three-light opening within the altar-rails,
resembling those which in some churches connected a
lepers' aisle with the chancel.

The windows in the aisles belong to the Decorated
period, some apparently contemporary with the arches
of the nave ; while those of the east end of the
chancel and of the south chapel, whatever they once
were, are now among the poorest specimens of ecclesi-
astical art which the Jacobean period produced. Each
of the chantry chapels retains its piscina, that of the
south being a fine specimen of Early Decorated, and
well preserved. That in the chancel is very graceful,
projecting from the wall, and supported by a light shaft.
The one in the north chapel is much plainer, and some-
what mutilated. The chancel has on the south side a
sedile consisting of three seats on one level.

There is, however, another feature of this church

^ Under tins south chapel is a vault in which some members of the
Meredith family were buried. It is reputed that Sir William purchased
it of the Woolletts, who had at an earlier time been an important family
in the parish. In the east wall of the chapel is a low, debased arch
composed of tufa, apparently forming part of the original structure,
whicli led to this v.ault.


which demands special notice, the Screen, which, among
Kentish screens, stands perhaps only second — if, indeed,
second — to the well-known one in Eastchurch in the Isle
of Sheppey. The screen consists of eleven hays of equal
width, each bay representing afour-Hght window filled in
with mullions and tracery of the middle or later portion
of the fourteenth century. It spans the entire width of
the church, side-aisles as well as nave, with three door-
ways, the central one leading into the chancel, and one
on either side into the chapels. From the intermediate
pillars spring groins supporting a light, elegant canopy,
presenting an unbroken front of richly-decorated carved
work. Of the loft itself, which tilled the chancel -arch,
nothing is left. In the south wall are the jambs of the
entrance doorway into the staircase which ran up in the
depth of the wall to a door (now blocked up and
plastered over), by which access was gained to the rood-
loft. Either the original order of Henry VIII in 1547,
or the subsequent still more stringent one of Archbishop
Grindal in 1576, swept it away, with all its append-
ages.^ The screen itself had fallen into a sad state of
disrepair ; all trace of colour, if there had been any, was
lost. But, happily, sufficient of the outlines of the
tracery had been preserved to admit of restoration. This,
so far as the central portion is concerned, has been most
ably and conscientiously carried out by Mr. W. Bliss
Sanders of London ;- and nothing but want of funds pre-
vents the similar completion of the entire length of the
screen, which it is hoped, considering its rare beauty, will
soon be efficiently accomplished.

Monuments. — Of the monuments now remaining none
date back earlier than the beginning of the sixteenth
century. In the centre aisle are two brasses, one repre-
senting a merchant and his wife, with three children.

1 The following extract is from the Chronicles of the Grey Friars of
London : " Item the xvii day of the monythe" (November 1547) " was
pnllyd downe thorrow alle the Kynges domynion, in everye Churche,
alle Roddes with alle images", etc.

Articles of Inquiry issued by Archbishop Grindal, 157G: " Whether
your Roodlofts be taken down and altered, so that the upper part
thereof, with the soller or loft, be quite taken down unto the cross-
beam, and that the said beam have some convenient crest put upon it."

^ To whom the author is indebted for an excellent sketch and much

LEEDS CHUil(;iI, KENT. 289

He is dressed in a plain suit of broad-cloth friiio-('d with
fur, and she in the equjilly sober garb of that day. At
their feet runs the following inscription :

" Orate pro aniinahus WiUioIini Merdeu et Alicia iixoris ejus ;
fpii ([uidem Willieliiius obiit prinio die Augusti anno .iiiu Mccceu
iKUKi: (pionnu animabus propicietur JJeus."

The other brass is that of a single female figure, to the
memory of a member of the once influential and liberal
family of the Lambes, as the inscription shows, which
runs thus :

" Orate pro aninia Katerine Lanibe filie Eoberti Lanibe de Ledes,
que obiit xvi die Augusti A. D'ni jMCCCCCxnii. Cujus aninie pro-
picietur Deus."

Among the Add. MSS. in the British Museum (No.
.S2,3GG, p. 199) is a note that on the floor of the north
aisle was once a gravestone with this inscription, now lost:

" Here lyeth the body of John Mills of Ledes, who dyed Anno
Dom. 1593."

There are also several gravestones of the Sexby family,
between the years 1657 and 1 771, and of the Crispes from
1620 to 1696.

Under the Communion-Table, lying north and south,
is an incised gravestone, which forms the single connect-
ing link among the monuments between Leeds Castle
and the Parish Church. It is to the memory of a son of
the Sir E,ichard Smith who had bought the Castle from
Sir Warliam St. Leger in the reign of Elizabeth :

" Here lyes the Body of Sir John Smith, late of Leedes Castle,
Kt., on assured hope of a joyfull resurrection, who was the sonne
and heire of Sir Eichard Smith^of Leedes Castle, Kt., and married
Mary Francldin, daughter of Sir Piichard Francklin of Willcsden
in the County of Middl'x, Esq., and dyed without issue y*^ 20th
day of May 1632, aged 40.''

At the head of the inscription is a shield bearing,
(azure) a chevron engrailed between three lions passant

^ This Sir Richard Smith is said, in Burke's Enclopceclia of Heraldry,
to have been the tl)ii-d son of Thomas Smyth, Esq., of Osteiihanger,
one of the " farmers of the Customs", or " Queen's Customers", of the
Port of Lond<m.


{or) for Smythe of Ostenhanger ; impaling (onjenf) on a
bend (azure) three dolphins (of the first) for Francklin.

Mention has been made of Sir Warham St. Leger as
having sold the Castle and manor of Leeds to Sir Thomas
Smitk The St. Leger family held the Castle for only
two generations, it having been granted by Edward VI,
in 1550, to Sir Anthony, whose son, Sir Warham, sold it
to Sir Thomas Smith. Tliey do not seem to have in any
way identified themselves with this lordly property. The
Church Registers of Bromfield, in which parish the Castle
really lies, contain some entries of baptisms of the family,
but their silence as to burials, and the^ absence of any
monuments to members of the family, in either church,
lead to the inference that their dead were all carried
back to the old ancestral vaults at Ulcombe, from whence
the family came. And no wonder that they, though
representing the younger branch of this distinguished
family, should desire to be "gathered to their fathers",
when among those fathers had been Guy, a companion of
the Conqueror ; Eadulphus, who fought with liichard at
Acre ; his three sons, Ralph, John, and Thomas, knighted
by Edward I for their chivalry at Carlaverock ; s^Radul-
Ijhus de Saucte Leodegario, summoned to Parliament by
Edward III in 1344 ; his son. Sir Arnaldus, in 137G ; and
several after; five or six, too, Sheriffs of the county. With
such hereditary attractions it was but natural that Sir
Anthony,^ who" had been created Knight of the Garter
in 1544, twice Deputy for Ireland under Henry YIII,

1 The distinguished career of Sir Antliony Sfc. Leger is recorded thus
fully on his monument in Ulcombe Church: " Sir Anthony Sentliger,
Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Gentleman of the
Privie Chamber, and Employed in Most Honourable Offices under the
Most Renowned Henry the Eight And Edward the Sixt, Kinges,
Twice Lord Deputy of Ireland : l^y whose meanes, in His First Govern-
ment, tlie Nobilitie and Commons there were induced By General and
Free Consent to GeveUnto Henri the Eight, King of England, in that
Province, Allso Regalia, Jura, The Title and Scepter of Kmg To
Him And His Posteritie For Ever; whose Praedecessors Before were
Intitled only Lordes of Ireland.

" This Grave Councellour, After This Course of Life Spent in the
Service of Thaes (sic) Two Rare and Redouijted Kinges, Having En-
dured Nevertheless ;iome crosses in the Tyme of Queene Mary, And
yet Living to see the Foelicious Raigne of Our Present Peerelesse
Queene Elizabeth,

"Departed Anno Salutis 1559, Aged G3 Teares."


and Privy Councillor under Elizabeth, should regard him-
self not unworthy of a place beside such worthy fore-
fathers, and while proud to own the lordsliip of Leeds
Castle and its Abbey lands during life, should yet claim a
resting place after death in the ancestral vault at Ul-

It was not so with the Merediths,^ who, after a brief
tenure of the Colepeppers of Hollingborne and the
Coverts of Boxley, succeeded the St. Legers in the pos-
session of Leeds Abbey. Their original home had been
in the distant hills of Wales : first in Eadnorshire, from
whence a younger son, marrying a Denby heiress, settled
at Stasley in that county, and his grandson was the pur-
chaser of Leeds Abbey, where William Covert had, out
of the ruins of the old Priory, built for himself a goodly
residence. Here the family lived for four generations,
until it died out. The successive owners left behind
them, in costly monuments, a perfect genealogy of their
family during the seventeenth and half the eighteenth
centuries. These monuments begin with the wife of the
first Sir William Meredith, who was the purchaser of the
Abbey estate. He was succeeded by his son, also SirWil-
liam, who was created a Baronet in 1622. The next
generation is i-epresented by his son. Sir Pichard, who
married the daughter of Major-General Philip Skippon,

^ For the following footnote, showing the earlier generations of the
Meredith family, the writer is indebted to General Meredith Read, a
descendant of the family through a female line. The line of Meredith
of Leeds Abbey runs thus :

David ap INleredith ap David of county Radnor

Meredith ap David ap Meredith

Rowland ap David ap Meredith married Elisabeth, danghter of
Brereton of Bersliam, county Denbigh, and removed thither

His son, John Meredith, married Catherine, daughter of Jolm ap
Yolin of Alington, county Denbigh, where they both resided.
Their children were :

First, John Meredith, who married a daughter of William ]\I luley

^Second, Richard Meredith, who married Jane, daughter and heir of
Morgan ap David ap Robert ap Jenkin, etc., Edwin de Engle-
field. They had two children. The second son, Hugh Mere-
dith of Wrexham (Pentrebichan, county Denbigh), was :ince.stor
of the Merediths of Pentrebichan ; while the eldest .son, Sir Wil-
liam Meredith of Stainsley (the inscription says " 8tansty"),
county Denbigh, was knighted on the 23rd July 1(>()8, having
previously purchased Leeds Abbey in Kent.


the Parliamentaiy Commissioner of 1642. Their sons, Sirs
William and Kichard, succeeded to the title, but died
unmarried, as also did the next brother, Thomas. Henry,
the fourth son, married ^lary, the daughter and heiress
of William At wood of Hackney, Middlesex, and left an
only daughter, Susannah. The title then descended to
Sir Roger, the fifth son, who, leaving no issue, becjueathed
the Leeds Abbey estate to his niece (his brotlier Henry's
daughter), who, living here till her death in 1759, proved
a most liberal benefactress to the parish and church of
Bromfield as well as Leeds. With her ceased the connec-
tion of the Merediths with Leeds Abbey.

On the north wall, formerly in the east end, where it
blocked up the east M-indow of the north chapel, -is a
massive marble monument with the following inscription:

" Here lyeth interred the Body of y® lit. Hon'ble Jane, Countess
Dowager of Carberry, flaiigliter to y*" Et. Hou'ble Sir Thomas
Palmer of Wingliam in this County, Kt. & Baronet, who was first
married to Sir William Meredith of Stansty in the County of
Denby, Kt., Treasurer at Warr in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth
and King James, for y® Cautionary Towns and Forces in y*^ Nether-
lands. In wh. Ofiflce he continued till his death.

"After whose decease she married to y® Et Hon'ble John Earl
of Carberry, whom she also survived.

" By her first husband she had issue two sons, Tho's and Wm.
(Tho' died young): of W'm this marble doth make further men-
tion : and two daughters, Ann and Jane. Ann was first married
to Sir Eobert Brett, of Mailing in this County, Kt., and after his
deceas to y^ Et. Honble. Francis, Lord Cottington, Baron of Han-
worth, Master of the Court of Wards, Chancellor of the Exchequer,
& Privy Councellor. Jane, her 2nd daughter, was married to Sir
Peter Wyche, Kt., who was 11 years Ambassador in Turky, and
on his return Comptroller to the Household of King Charles y''
first, and one of His Majesties Privy Councell : in wch. high office
and equal dignity he died at Oxford.

"Afterwards she Avas married to Sir John Merrick of London,
Kt. These were her immediate issue, to whom she taught the
necessity of death by her owne : in Nov. 16-43, aged above 80

Above the inscription are the arms in a widow's lozenge:
or, a lion rampant gules (for Meredith), impaling or, two
bars gules, each charged with three trefoils sli[)]:>ed of the
first ; in chief a greyhound courant, sable (for Palmer),
between two lions rampant, supporters ; the dexter, per


fess argent and S'thh; the sinistei% (julcs, collared or ; and
an earl's coronet above. The whole is surmounted by a
richly ornamented entablature resting on two marble pil-
lars, liavino- above the dexter one the arms of Meredith,
and above the sinister those of Palmer, as on the lozenge
below ; while on a scroll at the foot is the Meredith
motto, " Dy w a Dygon."

On the base of the monument to Lady Carbery is the
following :

" Here lyeth also the Body of the Hon'ble Sir W. Meredith, late
of this Parish, I'aronet, son of the above mentioned Sir W'm Mere-
dith and Jane liis wife. He married first Susanna, y*^ daughter of
Francis IJarker of London, Es([., by whom he had (3 snns and 6
daughters. She dyed Feb. 21, 1654, and lyes interrd in this place.
After whose death he married Mary, daughter of Henry Goring of
Hydown in the County of Sussex, Esq., and relict of Thomas Ayns-
corabe of Mayfeild in the same County, Esq. He died the 10th
of April 1675, in the 72nd year of liis age, full of days and liono'r."

On the dexter side of this lower inscription are the
arms of Meredith with different tinctures, — azure, a lion
rampant or ; in the dexter chief, the badge of Ulster ;
impaling, argent, three bears' heads erased, gules, muzzled
or; in chief, three torteaux, for Barker of Newbury. On
sinister side, Meredith as before, impaling, or, a chevron
between three annulets gules, for Goring.

On the north wall of the chapel is a monument to his
son Henry, with a shield bearing quarterly, 1 and 4, the
arms of Meredith ; 2 and 3, argent, on a fess raguly azure,
three fleurs-de-lis or, those of Atwood ; with the following
inscriptions below •}

"Near this place lies interred the Body of Henry Meredith,
Esq., fifth son of Sir Eichard Meredith, I3aronet, and of Dame
Susanna his wife. He married the only daughter of Walter At-
wood, Gent., and Merchant of London, and Anna his wife. He
died Jan. 18th, anno Dom. 1710, fetatis sufe 39."

" Here also, in hopes of a blessed Eesurrection, are deposited the
remains of Mrs. Susanna Meredith, of Leeds Abbey in the County
of Kent, daughter and sole heiress of the abovesaid Henry Mere-
dith, Esq. (and niece to Sir Eoger Meredith, Baronet, deceased, of
this County), who, out of pious regard to the memory of her dear

^ The .same inscription occurs on a gravestone at ilie west end of the


Father, directed at her decease this monument to be raised. She
departed this life on the tliird day of February 1758, in the 46th
year of lier age, leaving to them who survive her this useful lesson,
that to do good in an anqjle fortune, and to be(j^ueath a pious ex-
ample to future ages, is the truest praise."

One more monument of the Meredith family remains
to be noticed. It is that of the Sir Roger ah'eady men-
tioned in the previous one. It is on the south wall of
the south chapel, and has the following inscription :

" In a vault under this place lieth deposited the body of
Sir Roger Meredith, son of Sir Ilichard Meredith, Baro-
net, and grandson of Sir William Meredith, Baronet, of
Ijoth whom mention is made in a monument in the other
chancel. This Sir Richard Meredith married J\laria Gott,
widow of Samuel Gott, Esq., of this county, and daughter
of Francis Tyssen, Esq., of Hackney, in the county of
Middlesex, by whom he left no issue.

" Sir Ptoger Meredith was sixth and last son of Sir
Richard Meredith. He survived all his brothers and sis-
ters, and departed this life December 31st, 1738, in the
sixty-fourth year of his age. It is hoped he did not live
altogether without credit, and desired might be subjoined

at the foot of this monument,

' sepulchrl
Mitte super vacuos honores,'

" In the same vault is also deposited the body of Dame
Maria Meredith, widow and relict of the said Sir Koger
Meredith, Baronet, who departed this life April 26th,
1 742, in the forty-third year of her age."

On the monument is the shield, — azure, a lion rampant
or (for Meredith), impaling or, on a chevron azure between
tliree French marigolds, slipped proper, two lions respect-
ing each other, of the first (for Tyssen).

On a. gravestone formerly in the chancel, and now in
the north aisle, —

" Here lieth the Remains of Jane, wife of the Eev. Thomas Lo-
mas, Curate of this Parish, and daughter of the Kev. K. G. Ayerst,
M.A., Eector of Speldhurst in this County, who departed this life
Sept. 25, 1812, aged 52 years.

" Here lieth also the Kemains of the said Thomas Lomas, a
native of Saltersford in iJainow in the County of Chester, the
youngest son of Mr. Edward Lomas of Green Booths in Salters-


ford. The said Thomas Lomas departed this life on the Gth day of
Nov. 1843, aged 83 years: having been 29 years I'erpetual Curate
of Leeds with Bronifield."

On a gravestone placed north and south in the cross-
aisle is the following :

" In niemoriani sacrunr Stephani Odierne prognati Bethersden,
Generosi, viri pietate, integritateque vere aniahilis, nuper defuncti
Leeds : qui damnum snis, dolor omnil)us, ol)iit 9 Maii Anno Domini
1644. yKtatis su;l' 81."

From various wills preserved in the Consistory and
Archdeacon's Courts at Canterbury, it appears that
though the Parish Church was dedicated, not like the
Priory, to the Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas, but to St.
Nicholas only, the Virgin had her own Chapel (probably
that on the south), and that of St. Katherine in the north
Chapel, and that it, with the high altar, was always
remembered for an offering. There were also images, in
different parts of the church, to SS. James, John Baptist,
and Christopher, to which lights were bequeathed.

The will of John Forde, bearing date 1446, furnishes
an illustration of the minute details with which wills at
that time were encumbered. After remembering the
several altars and images of the Parish Church, and all
his godchildren ("omnes meos filiolos et filiolas'), also
William Fox (" dericum eccleie"), who was evidently
attached to the Parish church, he bequeaths to his wife
Matilda " duces vaccas, decern oves, et duos ijarvos hoviclos"
(two milch cows, ten sheep, and two little calves), " lec-
tum plwnarium" (a feather bed), " dimidmin duodene coc-
liaviorum argenti" (half a dozen silver spoons), "unam
zonam ornatam de hlodio argenti' (one girdle of silver
adorned with blodium), ''unam par vam zonam serici ruhii
argento ornatara' (one small girdle of red silk with silver
ornaments), "inu^m galluni et undecini capones et gaUinas
(one cock and eleven hens and pullets), "c7?/rt,5 d diniidiuni
virgas panni hlodii' (two ells and a half of blue cloth),
'duas virgas panni lanei alJn' (two ells of white woollen
cloth), " et unam pelvem & lavatorem' (one bason and

In the east wall of the south chapel is a tablet, the in-
terest of which consists in its forming the connecting link


between the church and the extinct Priory. The inscrip-
tion tells its own tale :

"This Monastery was founded An. 1119, by Robert de Crepito
Corde (in French, Creveceur ; Anglic^, Creutor) for Canons Eegu-
lar, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas. Divers of the name
and family of Crevecoeur were benefactors, granting to them divers
revenues and liberties, that the Canons here should have the cus-
tody of their house and goods in the time of vacation, without any
impediment of them, the Patrons, or their heirs; and that upon
the death of their Prior they might freely proceed to the election
of another without leave-asking : however, after election the new
Prior must be presented to the Patron according to custom. Con-

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