Charles Henry Fielding.

Memories of Malling and its valley; with a fauna and flora of Kent online

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in 1651 was buried at Maidstone ; his son Isaac, Lord Astley, died
in 16G2, and was also buried at Maidstone, as was his son Jacob, who
died in 1688, but who had previously alienated the property to the
Marshams, whose descendants, the Earls of Romney, still possess it.
The Astleys seem to have let Allington Castle to the Bests, as the
registers of Allington, which commence in 1630, give us several
entries of this family, as follows :

Elizabeth Best, one of the daughters of John Best the younger, of Allington
Castle, gent, was christened upon the twentieth day of May, Anno Domini 1631.

Mary Best, one of the daughters of John Best the younger, and being borne
upon the eighth day of April last, was christened upon the twentieth day of this
instant April, Anno Dni. 1632.

John Best, the son of John Best the younger, Esq., was baptised the second
day of June, 163?.

John Best, son of John Best, Esq., was buried the third day of June, 1633.

Humphrey Best, the sonne of John Best. Esq., was baptised the third day of
April, Anno Dni. 1636.

Anna Best, the daughter of George Best, citizen and grocer of London, was
baptised the fourteenth day of August. Anno Dni. 1636.

Alice Best, the daughter of John Best. Esq., was baptised the 8th day of
July, 1637.

Will Best, the sonne of John Best, Esq., was baptised the 25th of November,

Humphrey Best, son of John Best, Esq.. was buried the fourth of April, 1638.

Alice, the daughter of John Best, Esq.. and Elizabeth his wife, was buried the
18th of September. 1639.

There were a few memorials to this family in Allington Church.
They were, on one stone :

John Best, an infant, died 2nd June, 1633.
Humfre Best.

STUART TIMES (16031715). 77

On another :

Here lieth the body of Anne Best, the wife of John Best of Allington, Gent,
and one of the daughters of Gore Tucker, of Milton-next-Gravesend, Esquire,
who decesed the 19th day of December, 1626.

A shete may hide her face, not her good name,
For fame findes never tomb t'enclose the same.

The ancient church of Allington has been removed, and with it
we are sad to say its old memorials all but three. Even so late as
this they are in the porch :

Here lyeth buried John Maplesdon, Maidstone, gentleman, and Ellen his
wife, who died the second day of the age, 1644.

Here are deposited the remains of the two children of William and Anne
Stevenson, of Maidstone, goldsmith. Sarah died 26 October, 1666, aged 2 years
and one month, John died 17th March, 1760 ; and also the remains of William
Stevenson, died 24th October, 1769, aged 70 years, and Elizabeth, wife of Samuel
Stevenson, died 2nd Sept., 1775, aged 70 years.

Here lyeth the body of John Thatcher, who died 2nd June, 1698, iged 40 years,
also Ruth his wife, who died ye 18 Jan., 1743, aged 84 years ; likewise these
children : Thomas, 25 May, 1694, aged 3 years. Joseph, 8 Nov., 1698. John
died July 1738, aged 13 years. Charles died 14 Nov., 1731, 28 years.

This family of Best is probably the same as that of Thomas
Best, of Chatham, who obtained part of Eccles Manor in Aylesford
about this time, and whose grandson possessed the same in the time
of Hasted.

The Church bell of Allington is of this period, and is marked
"J. M., 1653."

The manor of Cosyngton at this time was in the hands of the
Dukes, of whom Edward Duke was knighted in the time of James I. ;
he was succeeded by his son, George Duke, who was knighted in the
time of Charles I. There are several of this family in the Aylesford
register :

1656. George, ye sonne of George Duke, Esq., and Frances his wife, was born

the xxvi th of June.
1664. Frances, the daughter of Edward Duke, gentleman, and of Mary his

wife, was baptised the 26th day of June, 1664.
1655. Frances, ye daughter of George Duke, Esq., and Frances his wife, was

buried ye ix th day of October.
1658. George, the sonne of George Duke, Esq., and of Frances his wife, was

buried the xx th day of June.
1666. Catharine, the daughter of Edward J. (D)uke, gentleman, and of Mary

his wife, was baptised the xx th day of September.
1669. Anne, ye daughter of Edward Duke, gent, and of Mary his wife, was

baptised ye seven and twentieth day of June.
1669. Frances, the wife of George Duke, Esq., was buried the llth day of

1691. George Duke, Esq., was buried Feby. 24.

In Aylesford Churck we find this monument to one of the Dukes :

Here lieth Thomas Finch, only sonn of Anthony Finch, of Coptree, gent, by
Anne his wife, daughter of Thomas Duke, of Cosington, Esq., hce died 29 of
August, 1629.


He left one daughter, Mary, who died 1696 without children, and
left the property to S. White, Esq., who passed it on to the Staceys.
In the register we find :

1756. Mrs. Mary Duke was buried from Maidstoue. May 26.

George Duke was a justice of the peace for the county, and thus
we find his name appended in the Aylesford register :

John Birchall, of Aylesford, in the county of Kent, Taylor, being chosen by
the parishioners to be register of the said parish of Aylesford, was this day
sworne before me, one of the Justices of the Peace in the said county, and
doe approve him to be Parish Register, according to an act of the late parlia-
ment entitled an act touching marriages and the registering thereof, and also
touching births and burials ordered to be printed the 24th of August last
past. Witnesse my hand hereunto set the day and yeare first above written :
GEO. DUKE. 23 Januarie. 1553.

The act above referred to was passed in Oliver Cromwell's
administration, in the year 1653, by which it was ordered that
marriages might be solemnised by justices of the peace and the
banns should be published in the Market Place. A Jeu d'esprit was
made by Fleckno upon this law :

" Now just as 'twas in Saturn's reign.
The Golden Age 13 returned again :
And Astrtea again from Heaven is come
When all on earth by justice is done.
Amongst the rest we have cause to be glad
Now Marriages are in Market made.
Since Justice we hope will take order there
We may not be cousened no more in our ware.
Besides each thing would fall out right,
And that old Proverb be verified by't :
That Marriage and Hanging be both together,
When Justice shall have the disposing of either.
Let Parson and Vicar then say what they will,
The Custom is good, God continue it still ;
For Marriage being now a trafique and trade,
Pray where but m markets should it be made ?
'Twas well ordained they should be no more,
In Churches nor Chappels then as before,
Since for it in Scripture we have example
How buyers and sellers were driven out of the Temple.
Meantime, God bless the Parliament
In making this Act so honestly meant.
Of these Good Marriages God bless the breed,
And God bless us all, for never was more need."

Some examples of these marriages during the Commonwealth are
recorded in the registers about here. In the parish register of
Addington we read :

1654. John King and Margaret Sladden were married, their Banns being first
published three several duies, the 8th day of June.

1656. Thomas Hatch and Margaret Hatch were married by Justice Madden,
of Boxley, and by the minister of Addington, the twenty-fourth day
of September.

STUART TIMES (1603- 1715). 79

John Kindon, of Stanstead, and Mary Woollett, of Meopham, were married
the 15th day of September, 1657, having three several market days
their banns published in Rochester.

William Shileren (Children) and Helen Stimpson, and both of Tonbridge, were
married the 31st day of January, 1658, their Banns being three
several daies published in the market of Tunbridge by the Jtce. of
the Peace.

John Dennis, of Boxley, in Kent, and Mary Boorman, of Ryarsh, in the same
count3', their intended marriage being three several market days
published in Maidstone, and no exception against them, were married
the 7th day of April, 1659.

John King and Susannah Prior, both of Wrotham, having had their proposed
marriage three several Lord's days in the congregation of Wrotham
published, were solemnly married at Addington the 13th of October,

In the register of Trottescliffe we read :

According to an act touching marriages, and ye registering thereof, also
touching births and burials, bearing date Aug. 24th, 1658, Robert Hills being
chosen registrar by the parishioners of Trottescliffe, was sworn before me,
Justice of ye Peace, to be registrar of ye said parish, October ye 5th, 1654.

A purpose of marriage between Richard Daniell, of ye parish of Luddesdown,
and Joan Miller, of ye Parish of Trottescliffe, hath been published three Lord's
days in ye parish Church of Trottescliffe, and nothing was by any objected to
hinder or forbid the same, for testimony whereof I hereunto subscribe my hand,
Oct. ye fifth, 1654.

Upon ye aforesaid Certificate, and also another from ye Registrar of the
Parish of Ludsdown of ye like purpot, the marriage between ye said Richard
Daniel and Joane Miller was solemnised before me upon ye 5th of October,
1654, in ye presence of Robert Hilles and John Granger. W. JAMES.

Entries of this sort take place for the next three years in this
parish register, in one of which the dates of Banns are given. The
marriages resume their usual form in 1658.

In the registers of Aylesford we read :

23rd Januaire, 1653, John Freneh, of the Parish of Aylesford, Bootmaker,
and Katharine Knight, also of this parish. Spinster, according to the act above-
said were married by George Duke, Esq re- , ene of the Justices of the county.
Witness his hand : GEORGE DUKE.

November 24th, 1656, John Wood, of Wouldham, husbandman, and Anne
Baldock, of ye same, spinster, were married at Cosaington, in the presence of
Michael Maylam and William Booth, Registrar of Wouldham, by George Duke,
Esq., one of the Justices within the county. Witness his name : GEORGE DUKE.

These cases we have chosen from the different registers will suffice
to show the peculiarities of the Act previously mentioned. No
doubt stringencies were placed on marriages, and this probably
explains why certain placas where they were a little lax became
favourite places for marriages, though Mr. Burns, in his book on
parish registers, has said that Aylesford was the favourite place for
marriages because of the passage boats from Rochester and Chatham,
and I was told, at the meeting of the Kent Archaeological Society, that
some favourite justice of the peace was chosen. I must call attention


to the fact that the retired parish church of Allingtoii has a wonderful
number of marriages during this period about the time of the Act.
This little parish never appears to have contained man}- more than
sixty people at a much later date than this, yet here we have twelve
marriages in 1648, eighteen in 1649, thirty-two in 1650, thirty-eight
in 1651, twenty-nine in 1652, and twenty-five in 1653 ; while in 1654,
1656, 1657, and 1659 we have no marriages at all entered. It is very
clear, we think, from this, that the Act of Cromwell put a stop to a
number of illegal marriages, the more especially as most of these
people described themselves widows or widowers, and were strangers.
From 1661 to 1668 the number of weddings, and especially of widowers,
is also remarkable at Aylesford ; but during times of civil war this
might be explained, and the fact of Mr. Duke being a favourite
justice, before whom these ceremonies were performed, would decide
the matter as regards Aylesford. But the marriages of Allington
being previous to the Act, make me fancy that Gretna Greens
were found in these early days nearer than Scotland, and that
Cromwell's Act did good service in preventing marriages that ought
not to take place, and which had become common in out-of-the-way
parish churches, but which, nevertheless, were not far from some
well-known means of transit.

On account of Mr. Duke's signature occurring in some of these
registers we have given them here. We find, in the register of
Offham, that he also approved the registrar of that parish, for in
that book we read :

These are to certify I do approve of the choice of Andrew Dunning to be
register for the parish of Offham, he having taken his Corporal oath before
me the 27th day of June, 1657. GEOKGE DUKE.

Of the other manors of Aylesford, Tottington was alienated by
Henry "Warcup to Maddox, who, in the early part of the eighteenth
century, alienated it to Mr. Thomas Golding, of Ryarsh. The Friars
and Howe's Place continued the property of the Sedleys. Sir John
Sedley, who was Sheriff in 1622, left a son, Sir Henry, who died
without children, and passed these properties to his brother William,
who sold them to Sir Peter JRycaut. The brother of Sir Henry and
Sir William was the famous Sir Charles Sedley, one of the wits of
Charles II. 's witty court, and a poet of no mean pretensions: he
was born at Aylesford in 1639, and lived till 1701. The following
is a specimen of his poetry :

'' Thyrsis. unjustly you complain,
And tax my tender heart
With want of pity for your pain,
By sense of your desert.
By secret and mysterious springs,
Alas ! our passions move,
'We women are fantastic things,
That like before we love.

STUART TIMES (16031715). 81

You may be handsome and have wit,

Be secret and well bred ;

The person love must to us fit,

He only can succeed.

Some die, yet never are beloved,

Others we trust too soon,

Helping ourselves to be deceived,

And proud to be undone."

There are only two entries of the Sedley family in the registers
of this neighbourhood. One, at Trottescliffe :

1667. John the son of Sir Isaac Sedley, Knt., and Dame Cicely his wife, was
baptised the 23rd of January.

The other, at Aylesford :

1658. George, the son of John Sedley, gent, and Dorothy his wife, was buried
the sixth of October.

The Hospital of the Holy Trinity, in Aylesford, was founded by
Sir William Sedley, Knt., who was heir and sole executor to his
brother, John Sedley, of Aylesford, who died in 1605, and who left
by his will that :

<; A convenient house " was " to be built for six poore, aged, and impotent
Persons, in the streete of Aylesford where my tenements be, if a convenient
quantitie of the land adjoining may be purchased for that purpose, or in such
other place in that Parish where my executor shall think fit, and that there be
bought in Lands and Tenements, to be enjoyed by the saide poore persons
for theire mayntenance, threescore pounds by the yeare, to be continued for
ever ; my said Brother, William Sedley, and his Heires, placing therein from
tyme to tyme such poore persons as they shall think, and always providing
that one of the sixe shall be able to reade Prayers to the residue daylie, morning
and evening."

Sir William bought a piece of ground and built a stone house
to be an Hospital, or Maison de Dieu, in 1607, and also bought an
acre of ground contiguous to the Hospital. He endowed it with two
messuages, and lands of one hundred and eighty-four acres, which
he purchased in the parish of Frittenden, of the yearly value of
.76 ; and he placed in the Hospital six poor persons, four men and
two women, and left directions that the inmates of the Hospital
should always consist of a warden, who was to be the head of the
poor and impotent persons dwelling there, and these poor people
were not to exceed six in number. The deed of foundation and in-
corporation was signed and sealed by Sir William Sedley, October
2nd, 1617 : thus did the Sedleys leave a lasting memorial to Aylesford
of their having once held property here.

Sir Peter Rycaut, Knt., alienated the manors to the Banks. There
are two entries of his family in the register of Aylesford :

1654. Petra ye daughter of Peter Rycaut, Esq., was buried the Vlllth day

of October.
1700. Sir Paul Rycaut, Knight, was buried Nov. 27.



Sir Paul appears to have been a native of Aylesford, and his
monument shows us that Aylesford has cause to be proud of him :
it runs :

Here lieth the body, of Sir Paul Rycaut, Knight, the tenth and youngest son
of Sir Peter Rycaut, Knight, by dame Mary his wife, without the interposition
of a daughter ; who after many years' travels in foreign parts in Asia, Africa,
and Europe, and after several publicque offices performed by him. as secretary
to the Earl of Winchelsea ; ambassador extraordinary from King Charles the
Second to Sultan Mahomet Chan the Fourth, in which and in two voyages
from Constantinople to London and back again, one of which was performed
by land, through Hungary, and where he remained some time in the Turkish
camp, with the great and famous Vizier, Kupriogly, for publick affairs of the
English nation, in which he passed seven years ; after which he was made consul
for the English nation at Smyrna, where having exercised that office the space
of about eleven years, to the great and entire satisfaction of the Turkey company,
he obtained a licence at his own motion and desire to return to England, where
having lived the space of seven years, in honour and good esteem, as also in
peace and plenty, he was, in the reign of King James the Second, called by the
Earl of Clarendon, lord lieutenant of Ireland, to be his principall secretary
for the provinces of Leinster and Connaught, also by the said King James to
be one of his privy council for Ireland, and judge of the high court of admiralty,
in which he remained until the great revolutions in England and Ireland, at
which time he was employed by King William the Third in quality of his
resident with the Hans Towns in Lower Saxony, namely, Hamburgh. Lubeck,
and Bremen, where, having continued the space of more than ten years, to the
satisfaction of all that knew him, as well to the senators of those republicks
as also to the government thereof, and to the company of English merchants
residing there, and having written severall books which are now extant. He
dyed the 16th of November, 1700, aged 72, and according to his desire lies
interred near the body of his father and mother.

Mequwscat in pace. Amen.

At his death, Caleb Banks, Esq., left these properties to his
son John, who was created a baronet 1661, and who married
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Dethick. He died in 1699, and
as both of his sons predeceased him, and two of his daughters had
no children, the property descended to his other daughter, Elizabeth.
Sir John's monument in Aylesford church reads :

Memorise sacrum. Hinc felicem expectant resurrect ionem Johannes Banks,
de Aylesford, in comitatu Cantii, Baronet ; uxor etiam ejus Elizabetha, Johannis
Dethick, militis comitatu Norfolcias, olim praatoris Londinensis, filia : necnon
films utrius que communis Caleb Banks, maritus quidern sed liberis orbatus.
His praeterea nati sunt liberi quatuor, Martha, Elizabetha, Maria, et Johannes.
Filias tantum duas superstites relinquerunt Elizabethan! et Mariam, Martha
et Johanne extinctis, quarum altera nempe Elizabetha, nupta fuit Heneagio
Finch, Heneagii comitis Nottinghamiae, Summi Anglias Cancelarii, filio natu
secundo auspiciis serenissimas reginae Annae, Baroni de Guernsey. Maria
vero Johanni Savill, Johannis de Methley, in comitatu Eboracensi, armigeri.
Filio primogenito exuvias deposuerunt.

Caleb Banks, Sepbris 13, An 1696. ^tatis 37.

Elizabetha, Octbris 21, An 1696, ^Etatis 59.

Johannes, Octbris 18, An 1699, /Ktatis 72.

[Sacred to their memory. From this, John Banks, baronet, of Aylesford,
in the county of Kent, and also his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir

STUART TIMES (16031715). 83

John Dethick, in the county of Norfolk, knight, formerly an officer in
London, await a happy resurrection. Moreover Caleb Banks, the
son of them both, who was married indeed but deprived of children.
They had four children besides, Martha, Elizabeth, Maria, and John.
They left surviving only two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria Martha
and John being dead one of which, namely, Elizabeth, married
Heneage Finch, second son of Heneage, Earl of Nottingham, Lord
High Chancellor by the pleasure of the most serene Queen Anne.
Lord of Guernsey ; but Maria to John Savill, son of John Savill of
Methley, in the county of York, Esq. They buried them near their
eldest son.

Caleb Banks, the 13th September, 1696, aged 37.
Elizabeth, October the 21st, 1696, aged 59.
John, October the 18th, 1699, aged 72.

The grandfather, Caleb Banks, was M.P. for Kent 1686; the
father, Sir John, M.P. for Kent 1690; and the son, Caleb Banks,
Esq., M.P. for Kent 1695. Of those mentioned on this tomb the
following are found in the parish register :

1669. John, ye son of Sir John Banks, Baronet, and of Dame Elizabeth his

wife, was buried ye one and thirtieth day of May, anno damini

1676. Mrs. Martha, the daughter of Sir John Banks, Baronet, was buried

2nd of Sept.
1696. Caleb Banks, ye son of Sir John Banks, Baronet, was buried

Sept. 2lst.
1696. Dame Elizabeth, ye wife of Sir John Banks, Baronet, was buried

Nov. 2.
1699. The Right Worshipful Sir John Banks was buried.

From these monuments, and from these registers, it will be seen
that Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Banks, carried the estates
in Aylesford in marriage to Heneage Finch, who was M.P. for
Oxford, afterwards created Lord Guernsey, March 15th, 1703, and
finally Earl of Aylesford, Oct. 19th, 1714. He died in 1719.

Sir William Colepepper, of Preston Hall, left a son, Sir Richard,
who died in 1660, and passed it on to his son Sir Thomas, and he,
it would appear, to his son Sir Thomas, who was sheriff in 1704
and died 1723.

The fourth and fifth bells of Aylesford church were hung in
1652, and the seventh and eighth bells in 1661 and 1666; that
of Allington in 1653, and the first bell of Ditton in 1656. None
of the families we have spoken of have any record of their
doings mentioned upon them ; we, however, give their inscriptions.
The fourth and fifth bells of Aylesford, " Michael Darbie made me,
1652. T. Macelgin, J. Bogherst, churchwardens"; the seventh
bell has on it, "Robert Kemsley, Phillip Grange, churchwardens.
God save King Charles ye 2nd, 1661"; the eighth, "Anthony
Bartlett made me, 1666. Capt. Ward, Liveftenant Long, two of
His Majs tles ' Hoymen : Thomas Cossington xx s- to buying a treble
bell for Aylesford " : this inscription is interesting as pointing to


the royalties of the Medway we believe sturgeon caught in the
Medway are still royal fish. The name of Cossington appears
for the last time in 1708. The sixth bell was placed in Aylesford,
which was simply inscribed, " Thomas Goodman, John Taylor, junior,
Churchwardens, 1708." There is a flagon in Aylesford church
inscribed, " Ex sumptu parochise de Aylesford, et Thomse Tilson,
"Vicarii, conjunctim, A.D. 1711" (at the expense of the parish of
Aylesford, and Thomas Tilson, the vicar, conjointly, A.D. 1711). The
paten has on it, " Tuum est domine tibi reddo, T. Tilson, Vic.
Aylesford, 1724-5" (Thine, O Lord, it is I restore to Thee. THOS.
TILSOX). The Alfington bell is only inscribed, " J. M., 1653," and
the first bell of Ditton, "Tm. Cw. Wh., 1656."

The church cup of Ditton is also of this period, and dates from
1689. Ditton Manor continued in the hands of the Botelers of
Teston, but Borough Court was carried by Mary Bewley, in marriage,
to Mr. Basse, of Suffolk, who in the reign of Charles II. alienated
it to Sir Thomas Twisden, of Bradbourne. Ditton Place was the
seat of the family of Brewer. There are a few entries of this family
in the register :

1663. Dec. 23. William Brewer, son of William Brewer, Esq., was buried.

1666. Aug. 21. William Brewer, gent, was buried.

1675. July 14. Elizabeth Brewer, daughter of William Brewer. Esq.. was

1675. July 22. Mrs. Dorothy Lyng. the wife of Thomas Lyng. Esq.. the

daughter of William Brewer of this parish, gent, was buried.

1691. Dec. llth. Mrs. Mary Brewer, widow of Richard Brewer, Esq., was


1692. July 30th, William, the son of Mr. Brewer, was buried.

1695. Elizabeth, the daughter of Mr. Thomas Brewer, and Isabella his wife, was
baptised January 1st.

In the beginning of the last century it came into the possession of
Mr. Thomas Golding, who gave it by will to his nephew of the same
name, of Ryarsh ; whence it again came into the possession of the
Brewers in the person of John Brewer, whose niece Mrs. Carney,
however, in 1735, re-conveyed it to Mr. Thomas Golding. Birling
continued during this period in the hands of the Nevills, who still
possess it.

In 1662, John, Lord Abergavenny, the brother of Sir Thomas, died,

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