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History of Ash and Ridley from Earliest Records to 1957
Compiled by Dorothy G. Meager on behalf of Ash and Ridley Women's Institute           Page 12

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Early History of Ash - continued

two houses, the lands in their possession were administered. It was about this time that the Order started to build the present church of St Peter and St Paul. After the dissolution of these Knights in the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-47) this estate had the same owners as the Manor of Sutton-at-Hone. When South Ash Farm was put up for sale in 1831 it was charged with a quit rent to the Manor of Sutton-at-Hone, so perhaps the Manor of St Johns Ash overlapped the Manor of South Ash.

The Manor of Scotgrove
This Manor was situated in the extreme north of the Parish. It was spelt SKORTEGRAVE in 1253, but seventeen years later a man is referred to as "de SKOTTESGRAVE". The earliest known owners of this manor were the Torpels, one of whose ladies with the charming name of Mabilla held it in about 1250 and leased it to the family of de Fawkham, after which it passed through many hands until it came to the family of Lambard in the 18th century. There was a chapel here in the long ago, but as early as 1728 the ruined walls stood only 3 or 4 feet above the ground level. There are other foundations of buildings and a well now covered over. The site is in Chapel Wood, which together with Chapel Field to the North of it, and nearly opposite the "Black Lion", is now lined with bungalows along the main road. We do not know the extent of the ancient Scotgrove Manor, but it was absorbed into the Manor of Ash many centuries ago.
   Of the three Ash Manors, Holliwell was the only one to hold a Court Leet after 1793, and which continued till 1893, after which only Courts Baron were held.
Courts Leet (District Courts) were the lingering remembrance of earlier days when these Courts had to see to it that all able-bodied tenants were duly enrolled (frank-pledged) so that they might be called upon to deal with criminals, pirates, foreigners, etc. They had in later years nothing to do, but might appoint a few officials, e.g. the Borgholder (borgh’s elder) not a policeman but the man expected to organise local effort against ill-doers. At the COURT LEET of Holliwell 12 jurymen were sworn, who called themselves "the jurors of Our Lady Queen (Victoria), and then 

proceeded to elect a "borgholder" for the Manor.
   Throughout the 100 years there is no entry reporting any action taken by the borgholder, and the only entries of general interest under Courts Leet were:-
   In 1814 – ". . . also the jurors present that new stocks are necessary and that the same ought to be erected by and at the expense of the Parish of Ash".
   In 1836 - "The Jurors . . . present that the stocks within the Manor are considerably out of repair and require to be forthwith put in proper state and repair".
The stocks of Holliwell Manor stood opposite the "Green Man".
   Courts Baron were a sort of Manorial Chancery Court at which all changes of ownership were recorded.
The accustomed meeting-place for the Manor Courts was the HOLIWELL MANOR BEECH at the southern end of White Ash Wood and just north of a field called "Thunder Hole", by the old chalk pit. The footpath between Ash Church and Ridley Churches passes by it. Now this Manor Beech lies at the north-western extremity of the Manor of Holliwell, and one speculates as to what ancient tradition caused the choice of such a spot. Is it unreasonable to suggest that the Manor House stood there in ages long gone by? And that since the later lessees, the Hodsolls, had no use for such a Manor House, having their own at South Ash, it was allowed by them to decay? In later years – at all events since 1866 – the Court adjourned after assembling at the "Beech", to the more comfortable surroundings of the "White Swan" in Ash. There is no record of a Holliwell Manor House – may be the old Domesday sub-manor of SONINGES had its manor house at SORANKS in Fairseat, and when Soninges was later split up into two its old house went with the southern portion.
The foregoing history is extracted from the three following sources :-
  Hasted’s "History of Kent."
  Samuel Bagshaw’s "History of Kent 1847."
  Local history compiled by the late Commander 
    F.N. Stagg late chairman of the County Local History
   Committee of the Kent Council of Social Services.

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