KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 73 - 1959  pages 124
Late-Continued Demesne Farming at Otford. By F. R. H. Du Boulay, M.A., F.R.Hist.S. Continued

long standing. In 1437-8, a bad year, only 23 acres of the Shorham demesnes could be leased, and those were taken up by various persons for a short term at 8d. the acre.1 But in 1439 the Shoreham demesnes were all let again, by court roll, at £3 per annum, to four men who continued to hold them severally for some time: John Sepham, John Reeve, butcher, Thomas Blakenham and Thomas Lane.2 At the same time John Multon took up an acre of the Otford demesne which lay next to property of his own for is. p.a. In 1440 an acre of North Field was rented at 6d. a year to Thomas Court, whose own lands lay adjacent.3 Finally, in 1444, the whole demesne of Otford (less Shoreham, which by now was considered separate) was let to one Richard Clerk, clerk, for eight years at £15 6s. 8d. p.a., on condition that the archbishop should maintain the buildings belonging to the husbandry unless the farmer himself, his servants or animals were responsible for the damage.4 Major leases like this were made not by court roll but by private indenture between the parties. Henceforward, the Otford demesnes, less the small pieces previously leased off, were held by a single farmer, who took over the whole stock, including the demense sheep, which was priced at 

£20. The farmer held the outer court of the manor, with buildings including the "Baileychamber ". The palace remained to the archbishop, to be used and coveted by the Tudors.5
The hidden strength of the early farmers, whose story does not concern us here, is suggested as well by place-names as in any other way. There is a Multon meadow in the demesne survey of 1515. Multons were again farming the demesne in 1536, and George Multon,6 the father-in-law of Lambarde, was by then styled "gentleman ". As for the other first farmers, the one-inch O.S. map perpetuates two of their names in Timberden Bottom and Sepham Farm. The latter is a patronymic traceable back to the thirteenth century.
  1 L.R., 863.
   2 L.R., 865.
   3 L.R., 868.
   4 P.R.O. Ministers’ Accounts (S.C.6), 1129/1.
   5 See a paper by the present writer in English Historical Review, lxvii, 20.
   6 Westminster Abbey Muniments, no. 14303 cf. Prerog. Court of Canterbury, Will Register "Thower" quire 20 (will of Robert Multon of Otford, 1532).

Page 124   

Previous Page     Back to Page Listings                       

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back to Contents Page    Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line  Back to Research Page  To Homepage

  Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society July 2004     

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too research@kentarchaeology.org.uk