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Research Notes

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Kent Archaeological Society

Kent Archaeological Society.2016.Research Notes.Archaeologia Cantiana.137:281-306.



confraternity and commemoration at christ church priory, canterbury, 1290-1527: the lay community

Much attention has been paid to the religious community of Christ Church Priory at Canterbury because of its political and social importance,1 particularly following the death of Archbishop Thomas Becket, but rather less is known about the involvement of lay people with the Priory, whether they were citizens of Canterbury or not. The manuscripts Arundel 68 (in the British Library) and Ms 20 in the Lambeth Palace Library contain, in addition to information about the deaths in the religious community of Christ Church, information about the lay community, both distinguished (royalty, nobility) and ordinary. Although Lambeth Ms 20 is written in only one hand, Arundel 68 was written by many hands, perhaps as many as ten on some days. Arundel 68 also includes lists of people who were associated with the Priory as members of the confraternity of the Priory.

The Obituary list is a register of the names of the dead to be read out on their anniversary at the daily meeting of the monastic Chapter and remembered by the community in prayer. The Obituary records the dates (day and month but not year) of the death of 2,292 monks, many of whom (1,715) had lived in Canterbury at Christ Church Priory. The remainder died at other monasteries, mostly Benedictine, in England (Glastonbury (106), St Augustine at Canterbury (86) and sixteen other monasteries) and in France (St Bertin at St Omer (255)). Although 14 deaths at the daughter cell at Dover are recorded, there is no mention of the death of monks at the priory of Rochester. The Obituary list also records the deaths of 4,334 other people, predominantly lay, and again the year of their death is not recorded. The lay people include those 2,482 men described as brothers, and 1,417 women described as sisters. A smaller group (263), described as familiares, includes some members of the local community who may have been servants of the monastic household. There are also 172 distinguished people of rank from outside Canterbury (who may be royalty, or peers, or bishops) and who are often known to be donors to the Priory.

The Obituary list in Arundel 68 closes in the early years of the sixteenth century (before 1515, perhaps). The Obituary list in Lambeth 20 finishes when the Priory is dissolved in 1540. The overlap between the two documents enables the reader to compare them in detail and to establish, for example that they are not identical. The order of the names is largely the same; occasionally Lambeth 20 provides additional detail.

The Confraternity list appears in Arundel 68, but not in Lambeth 20. It includes the period 1290 to 1527. It nearly always indicates the year of reception but not always the day and month of the event. Two small groups are not assigned to any year, although a time before 1290 may be inferred. Many years have no record of receipt into confraternity; thus, in the fourteenth century only seven years towards the end of the century are mentioned. In the fifteenth century, twenty-nine years are not mentioned; there were 221 reception ceremonies in the other 71 years of that century. Some years appear to have been particularly favoured for receipt of members into confraternity, thus in 1430 there were ten ceremonies of receipt recorded; in 1444 eight, and in 1478 also eight ceremonies. In the sixteenth century, ten years have no record of reception into confraternity before the list ends in 1526.

It might be expected that there would be fairly close correspondence between the Obituary list and the Confraternity list. However, this is complicated by the fact that, in the former, 1,558 brothers and 1,108 sisters are recorded with only a single name. A review of men’s names shows that 2,482 men share 171 names between them, with the overwhelming popularity of just three names: John (542), William (376), Thomas (332). A similar selectivity applies to the names of women; thus 1,417 women share 168 names, among which five names account for slightly fewer than half: Johanna (271), Alice, (147), Agnes (117), Margaret (74) and Matilda (72). In each case the same order is maintained when a family name is included. Focussing on the people, 924 men and 309 women, who have two names and then reviewing the Obituary and Confraternity lists, only 93 men and 5 women appear on both lists, with the dates of their entry into confraternity occurring between 1379 and 1526 (see Table 1). The year refers to the date of entry into confraternity). Eleven of these people are described as donors to the Priory; five others are identified as soldiers.

TABLE 1. Names of people recorded in both the Obituary and the Confraternity of Christ Church







Aleyn, Hugh


17 Mar

Hay, John


2 Dec

Aleyn, William [d]


27 Oct

Hayman, Nicholas


7 Mar

Amyss, Robert


25 Feb

Hender, John


25 Feb

Attewelle, William


30 Oct

Heron, Roger


27 Sep

Baker, John [c]


2 Nov

Isaac, John


27 Aug

Bath, John


29 Mar

Joy, John


22 Oct

Bawhopkyn, David


14 May

Kels(h)am, John


19 May

Bayli, Thomas [d]


4 Apr

Ken(e), William


30 May

Boole, John


26 Oct

Langle, Edmund


25 Apr

Bosham, John [d]


22 Nov

Lee, John


5 Nov

Bray, Reginald [sd]


6 Aug

Lewkenor, Roger


15 Sep

Buckingham, John


4 Aug

Lovel, John


20 Feb

Burton of She, Nic. [c]


3 Nov

Mahuayn, John


17 Sep

Catesby, William[sd]


21 Feb

Malmeyn, John


28 Aug







Cawston, John


14 Oct

Man, John


20 Jun

Caysar, John


24 Jul

Manston, William


26 Mar

Challey, John


6 Apr

Marchall, William [d]


16 Feb

Charnock, John


6 Sep

Marchall, William


2 Jun

Chayne, William


7 Jun

Marshe, John


30 Apr

Chilton, William


19 Dec

Martin, Richard [sq]


20 Sep

Coke, Johanna


7 Dec

Martyn, John [j; d]


24 Oct

Collay, John


9 Mar

May, John


3 Feb

Colebroke, John


20 Dec

Mores, Thomas


23 Aug

Colman, John


25 Aug

Oxydene, Edward


12 Sep

Colman, William


25 Aug

Park, John


11 Sep

Colvyle, John


2 Jun

Peny, John


26 Jan

Colyn, Richard


4 Sep

Pette, John


2 Nov

Crosby, William


11 Feb

Phylyp, William


6 Jun

Cryp(p)s, John


8 Apr

Power(e), Lionel


6 Jun

Doyly, Thomas


6 Jun

Prentys, John


29 May

Dyggs, Richard


28 Oct

Pukyll, Henry


28 Mar

Elyce, John [d]


24 Jul

Ramsey, Thomas


4 May

Elyngbret, Thomas


27 May

Rolling, John


13 Jan

Erpingham, Tho. [sd]


26 Jun

Sampson, William


13 Jan

Estfield, Alice


9 Nov

Smyth, Isabel


19 Feb

Estf(i)eld, William


10 May

Stonestreet, John


28 Oct

Fogg, Thomas [d]


13 Jul

Taylor, John


14 Oct

Fogg, Johanna [d]


13 Jul

Taylor, Robert


28 Oct

Foxhunte(r), John


23 Mar

Taylor, Thomas


10 Sep

Frognall, Mary


17 Apr

Wak, Thomas [sd]


15 Aug

Fullar, Walter


14 Jun

Waller, John [c]


18 Oct

Gay, Christopher


9 Feb

Walpole, William


19 Nov

Gloucester, John


18 Apr

Wattys, John [d]


10 Jan

Gloucest(er), Tho.


31 Mar

Wenloke, John


10 Aug

Grant(e), William


28 Oct

West, Thomas [sd]


6 Oct

Grynford, John


10 Mar

White, William [d]


10 Sep

Hall, Thomas


26 Sep

Whyte, John


12 Jan

Haute, William


6 Jul

Whyte, William [d]


24 Jun

Haw(u)te, Richard


10 May

Key: [c] community: [d] donor: [j] judge:

[sd] soldier: [sq] squire.

Hawte, William [sq]


22 Oct

TABLE 1 (cont.)

Among the names in the Obituary list, nineteen lay people are noted as being relations of archbishops of Canterbury. Lanfranc (1070-1089: his father and mother), Anselm (1093-1109: father and mother), Theobald (1139-1161: father), Thomas Becket (1162-1170: father, mother, three sisters and two nieces), Hubert Walter (1193-1205: father and mother), William Courtenay (1381-1396: mother), John Stafford (1443-1452: mother) and Thomas Bourchier (1484-1486: his brother) are mentioned. Relatives of some priors of Christ Church, Robert Hathbrand (1338-1370: his brother), Thomas Chillenden (1391-1411: mother), William Molash (1428-1438: his father), Thomas Goldstone (1449-1468 or 1495-1517: mother and brother) and Thomas Goldwell (1517-1540: brother) are also commemorated. Interestingly, the death of the father of Pope Adrian, the only English pope (1154-1159) is also recorded in the Obituary list. In the sixteenth century, the Obituary list includes relatives of eleven members of the Chapter. The basis for the selection of these individuals is not clear.

Some of the men whose names are recorded in the Obituary lists were office holders in the city of Canterbury (Table 2), but the fact that they were bailiffs (before 1446) or mayors (after that year) is not mentioned. Two Bailiffs or Prepositi were instituted by the terms of a charter granted to the city of Canterbury by King Henry III in 1234. During the period of 1297 to 1447, twenty-eight years have no record of an appointment.5 The earliest office holder recorded in the Obituary list is John Elys, who was Bailiff three times between 1346 and 1356. The last mayor mentioned is Thomas Wade who was Mayor three times between 1504 and 1530. The names of the majority of civic office holders in the period 1290-1535 are not recorded in the Obituary lists.

Table 2. Canterbury Bailiffs (B) and Mayors (M) whose obits are recorded in Arundel 68/Lambeth 20



Years of office


Atwode, Thomas


1477, 1479, 1480, 1486, 1495

7 Nov

Bele, Hamon 2


1465, 1478

11 Nov

Boold, William



5 Mar

Brent, Roger


1471, 1472, 1476

27 Feb

Bygge, John


1473, 1474

10 Sep or 23 Oct

Chich, Thomas



6 Apr

Chilton, William



19 Dec

Cornwayle, William


1371, 1376, 1381

30 Nov

Elys, John


1346, 1355, 1356

24 Jul

Faunt, Nicholas



11 Apr

Foxhunte, John


1418, 1424

23 Mar

Gosborne, Henry


1497, 1502, 1506, 1516

10 Apr

Ikham, Thomas


1382, 1384, 1395, 1402, 1403, 1407

27 Dec

Ingram, William



13 Aug

Rydle, Roger 3


1451, 1458, 1460, 1469

29 Jan

Sellow, William


1464, 1484

23 Jan

Stablegate, Edmund


1337, 1341, 1342, 1344, 1345, 1368

3 Feb

Whytloke, John 4


1475, 1485

11 Jul

Wode, Thomas


1504, 1512, 1530

31 Mar

The Obituary list also records that 71 men were soldiers, five of whose names also occur in the Confraternity list. Bequests to Christ Church Priory were made by many people, particularly royalty. The bequests made by lay people are also recorded in the Obituary list. Table 3 comprises a list of sixty-five bequests of money, land or goods and is taken from the Obituary list. Of these, only ten can be dated with reference to the Confraternity list. Fourteen bequests were made by donors for whom only one name is given. Among 1,233 surnames given in the Obituary list, relatively few have more than seven representatives (Table 4). Unfortunately, we cannot determine whether those named in the Obituary and Confraternity lists were resident in Canterbury, or Kent more broadly, because none are (obvious) toponyms.


money only







William Aleyn

27 Oct

150 marks

Thomas Bayli

4 April


Robert Bourne

10 Apr


William Brenchisle

20 May

£100 for the fabric of the church

John Bryan

23 Feb

20 marks

Nic. Chilton

11 Oct

£20 6s. 8d.

Alice Cobham

24 Sept

30s. for community; 10s. for poor

Joan Denys of Well

7 Mar

103 marks

John Eglishale

7 Jan


John Elys

24 July

10 marks


17 Oct

20s. in the refectory

Thomas Fog

13 July


William Foy

23 Feb


Christina Haghe

16 June

60 marks and several smaller sums

Alexander Hankin

20 Mar

£105 for church fabric

William Hydon

13 Sept


Robert Lodelow

20 Oct

40s. in the refectory

Elias London

22 Oct

1 mark p.a. to the community

Wm Marchal

16 Feb

100 marks

John Martyn

24 Oct

10 marks p.a. to the community

John Nethersole

22 Sept

100 marks for gate of Christ Church (1505) 6

Rodelkyn Sandwich

28 Feb

£20 for new choir stalls

Thomas Servans

27 Jan


Isabella Stabylgate

25 Jan



2 June


Robert Teys

12 Aug


Benedicta Vyedale

21 Aug

£20 to the fabric of the church

John Wattys

10 Jan

£20 for the work of the Priory

Will. Whyte

24 June

50 marks

William Whyte

10 Sept


Edmund Wilkoc

10 Sept


TABLE 3 (cont.)

land only








27 Jan



6 Sept



25 Jun


Thom. Athel

8 Sept

Ickham, Churchfield


12 May


Agnes Clyfford

18 Jan

Grain mill, Wickham

John Fookbatt

5 June

Two houses / gardens, St Alphege par. [Cby]


23 July

Bocking and Mersey [both Essex]


1 June

Middleton [Milton]

Hugh Maminot

11 Nov

Church in Queningate, property in Hollingbourne and Peckham

Thomas Mason

1 Oct

Twelve acres at Bishopsfield


24 Sept

Mersham and Aganam

Henry Ospringe

6 Dec

Estate of Roger Modynton


24 Jan


Lambert Wilfrid

23 Mar

Stisted and Coggys-hale [both Essex]

land and money

Henry Bethstan

29 Aug

House in St Alphege par. [Cby]; 10 marks

Hugh Dover

2 Mar

St Mildred’s mill; 10s. p.a.

William Eynsford

8 Mar

Eynsford and Ruckinge; 20s.

Katherine and John Lovel

20 Feb

Appledore; silver and gold

Robert Lyttyl

6 Mar

Tenements to the value 1000 marks

John Tyete

15 June

land in St Andrew and St Mary Bredin [Cby]; 50 marks

John Wymborne

6 June

Many gifts of money, land, gold and silver


Osbern Bygge

1 July

Land, books, vestments, 72 houses

John Den(h)am

23 Sept

Statue in silver and gold for the shrine of St Thomas worth £60

Alice Greneweye

27 June

Stone house beside St Thomas’ hospital Eastbridge [Cby]

Simon Quilter

13 April

100 rams

Ralph Rement

20 Aug


Stephen Salbyn

7 Dec

Objects of value 26s. 8d.

money and goods

George Goldsmith

25 Oct

110 marks; silver and jewellery

John, soldier

29 Sept

£20; silver and gold


8 Oct

20s. for refectory, 5 silver marks; silver Cup

Amy Tatreshale

16 May

£140; gold thurible

land and goods


18 July

Horseley; two gold and silver decorated Texts

Udo, son of Sigarus

29 Dec

house and a messuage; 6s. 8d.

Table 4. Surnames of lay people in the Obituary of Christ Church Priory


No. of examples


No. of examples





























Bockingham/Bokyngham/ Buckingham






From the Patent and Close Rolls and the Dictionary of National Biography it is possible to obtain some further information about a few of the people whose names appear in Table 1:

Thomas Erpingham (c.1355-1428) came from Norfolk. He was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports by Richard II in August 1399. He surrendered his constableship of Dover in favour of the Prince of Wales in February 1409. On the accession of Henry V in 1413, Erpingham was appointed steward of the royal household until 1417. He died in 1428.7

The Haute family from Bishopsbourne, a village near Canterbury, is represented by two men who entered the confraternity in the early fifteenth century; Richard in 1412, and William in 1413. William (c.1390-1462) was a soldier who served in the Agincourt campaign (1415). He was elected to Parliament for Kent in 1419. His second marriage (1429) to Joan Woodville, daughter of Richard Woodville of Maidstone, brought him into the family of the future queen, Elizabeth (1437-1492), wife of Edward IV.8

William Phelip (1383/4-1441), a nobleman and soldier, was a nephew of Thomas Erpingham. He entered royal service under Henry IV and Henry V. He spent the years 1417 to 1422 mostly in France, finishing as captain of Harfleur. He became a knight of the Garter in 1418 and chamberlain of the household of Henry VI in 1432.9

Lionel Power (c.1375x80-1445) was a composer. In 1438 he became the first master of the Lady chapel choir at Canterbury cathedral. He composed several pieces of music for that choir.10

William Catesby (c.1446-1485) was a soldier who was a supporter of King Richard II. He was appointed Speaker of the only parliament of Richard’s reign, in January 1484. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Bosworth in February 1485 and executed at Leicester.11

Sir Reginald Bray (c.1440-1503) an administrator, entered the service of Lady Margaret Beaufort before 1465. He was appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster in September 1485. From then until his death he was one of the most powerful of King Henry VII’s councillors. He was appointed a knight of the Garter in 1501.12


The author would like to thank Dr Margaret Sparks for the help and advice she has given him.

joe connor

1 J. Greatrex, 1997, Biographical Register of the English Cathedral Priories of the Province of Canterbury c.1066-1540, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

2 Of Elham. Freeman 1458.

3 Pardoned in 1450 for having joined John Cade. Represented city in Parliament 1460.

4 A draper. Freeman 1463. Died 1503.

5 W. Urry, 1978, The Chief Citizens of Canterbury. A list of Portreeves (Prefects, Prepositi) from AD 780 until c.1100, of Prepositi (Bailiffs) from the twelfth century until 1440 and of Mayors from 1448 until 1978. Compiled to the close of the Fourteenth Century by William Urry. Printed and published by Canterbury City Council.

6 A. Hussey, ‘Further Notes on Kentish Wills’, Archaeologia Cantiana, xxxi (1915), 37-53.

7 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), 18, 512-514.

8 Ibid., 25, 843-845; Hussey, 1915, op. cit. (see note 6).

9 ODNB, 43, 991-992.

10 Ibid., 45, 138-139.

11 Ibid., 10, 529-536.

12 Ibid., 7, 405-408.

an architectural description of the remnant of the archbishop’s palace surviving in court lodge farmhouse, aldington

In 1996 the Hon. Editor had occasion to consult Dr Tom Blagg (then based in the Dept. of Classical Studies, University of Kent) about his work, with others, on the remnant of the Archbishop’s Palace surviving in Court Lodge farmhouse, Aldington. He kindly provided a copy of the complete draft of his study (with two drawings) intended to be part of a planned book on Kent’s archbishop’s palaces but which never came to fruition. Sadly, Blagg died in 2001. This draft study having recently been re-discovered it seems appropriate that this work should now see the light of day in Archaeologia Cantiana as a matter of record.

All that remains standing of the Archbishop’s palace at Aldington is the building measuring 17.5 x 6.24m externally (57ft 5in. x 20ft 6in.) which now forms the east wing of Court Lodge farmhouse (TR 0754 3619). Aldington was an important manor of the archbishops from Lanfranc’s time. In terms of residential use, it flourished in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries under Archbishops Morton, who made considerable additions, and Warham.1 Little is known of its earlier building history, however, or of where other buildings other than the one to be described formerly stood. Earthworks are visible in the field to the east of the [farm]house, but they have not been surveyed or excavated. Other buildings are listed in surveys of 1571 and 1608,2 but they had gone by Hasted’s time. The present building, which he [Hasted] called the Chapel was then all that remained of the palace which Cranmer surrendered to Henry VIII in 1540. This was surveyed by Maureen Lovering, Ian Storer and the writer in 1981-2, and it has also been examined by Sarah Pearson on behalf of the Royal Commission.3

The main building: structure

The east wall is constructed of uncoursed rubble masonry, with a south-east quoin of squared ragstone. The top three courses of the north-east quoin are also of squared stone. Below that the corner was buttressed. The east wall of a probable eighteenth-century outbuilding was built against this. The vertical butt joint is clearest in the lower 5ft 6in. (1.68m) above present ground level. The upper stage of the buttress was partially rebuilt and only some of the original quoins remain. They are not squared as are those of the south-east quoin; possibly the buttress was an addition.

The outline of the pointed arch of the original east window is visible, although the jambs have been removed. The lower part of the window is blocked with re-used coursed rubble and some ashlar blocks, and there is now a sash window with recessed jambs of brick, identical in character with the quoins and windows of the eighteenth-century outbuilding on the north side. A doorway with less carefully laid brick jambs may be an even later insertion, and there has been further patching in the lower part of the wall.

The masonry of the upper part around and above the east window and in the gable is of homogenous character and appears to be all of one build, save for in the triangular spaces between the base of the rafters, the spur ties and the inclined ashlars of the roof framing on both sides of the building, where the stonework has been repointed and may have been replaced. The integration of stonework, window and roof timbering seems a clear enough indication that the roof timbers have not been replaced.

The masonry of the south wall is of similar character to that on the east. Parts of three windows remain, the central one being the best preserved. It has a stopped hood mould and three elongated quatrefoil openings above two cinquefoil-headed lights. The bottom of the central mullion survives on the splayed sill. While this tracery could be as early as the late fourteenth century, it could be up to a century later; it has been noted that it is similar to the tracery in the side lights of the west window in the church tower, said to be under construction in 1507, and the round-headed cinquefoil with elongated quatrefoil above occurs in the late fifteenth century, for example on Bell Harry Tower, Canterbury.4

Of the easternmost window only the lower stones of the jambs and the corners of the sill are preserved. The remainder had been removed by the construction of an eighteenth-century oven and chimney flue built of 2½-23/8 in. high bricks, the oven later blocked with 2in. bricks. The position of the western window is also clear, though only the outline of the top left-hand side of the arch can now be seen, the stone frame and tracery having been removed. It was first blocked with red and vitrified blue bricks above the flat arch for a sash window. A large chimney was then added on, largely blocking the window, save for an opening 1ft 2½in. (0.37m) wide, which was also blocked up later. The bricks of the chimney breast are 2¼in. laid in Flemish bond with blue bricks used for most, though not all, of the headers. The fashion indicates an eighteenth-century date for the addition. Other modern alterations include the insertion of four windows, all with brick jambs, and the building out of a staircase in the corner between this wing and the nineteenth-century front part of the house.

Centrally between the eastern and middle windows, the otherwise homogeneous rubble masonry is interrupted by a feature about 1ft 6in. (0.46m) wide and eight courses high, distinctive for the use of a darker and more smoothly dressed stone, not found elsewhere in the building, for five of the courses. This is aligned with the end of the building to the south, and may be the end of a former wall on that line.

The medieval west wall was removed when the front part of the farmhouse was added in the last [nineteenth] century. Its position is indicated by the straight butt joint of the addition to the corner of the original north wall, where, although the nineteenth-century work is mainly of stone, brick was used against the stonework of the earlier building.

This north side of the building is the most extensively altered. The main demons-trably medieval feature is the hood mould and quatrefoil tracery of a window of identical type to that on the south side. The lower part of the window has been removed by a modern insertion. To the west of this is the round-headed brick arch of a doorway, recently blocked and replaced by a window. Although the imposts use small pieces of squared Caen stone, these could well be re-used: there are no stone jambs and, indeed, nothing to demonstrate that a doorway in this position was an original feature of this building. Below that part of the modern window which is to the east of the original central window, the wall has been patched with re-used squared stones, including one with a cavetto moulding, but it is not clear whether there was also a doorway in this position at some time. The exterior of the central window on this side has been replaced by a modern window, but its arch and splay are still preserved internally.

The eastern end of the north wall is now obscured by the addition of an eighteenth-century outbuilding and a nineteenth-century lean-to extension. The splay and internal mouldings of the eastern window is preserved on the inside, but the tracery was removed for the insertion of a square-headed door with brick jambs, leading to the upper floor of the outbuilding. What was formerly the outside wall is now plastered. No mouldings survive.

The arches of the east end window and of the eastern and central windows on the south side are visible internally as outlines in the plaster rendering, and as just mentioned, the splay of two of the north windows is still visible. Apart from the crenellated wall plate and roof timbers discussed below, no other original features of the interior are now evident. Conversion to residential use has involved the insertion of floors at or above mid-window level, and various partitions have also been inserted which it is not relevant to describe further here.

Fig. 1 Plan of the building and subsequent additions. (Kindly redrawn from the original by David Bacchus on plain background.)

The roof

Gabled at the east end, the roof structure, constructed entirely of oak, is of 55° pitch with a span of 15ft 8in. and a length of 55ft 7in. It is without a ridge, tiebeams, posts or any longitudinal bracing or purlins and consists of 35 trusses at 20in. centres. Each truss is inscribed in Roman numerals in consecutive ascending order from the east. Truss 1 is visible externally in the eastern ragstone wall of the gable end. Truss 35 abuts the western nineteenth-century part of the farmhouse which replaced the sixteenth-century front range. The structure of the nineteenth-century roof is of soft-wood principal rafter/butt purlin design, with short lengths of ridge board between principal rafters.

Truss construction

Spur ties (31 x 6¼ x 5½in.) lap dovetailed over the outer wall plates (of plain section 8 x 4½in.) project externally over the ragstone walls to provide eaves. The spur ties are morticed and tenoned into the back of the outer faces of the 8½ x 8½in. inner wall plates, which are crenellated and moulded on the inner face.

The ashlar pieces are set back ½in. from the inner face of the crenellated wall plates and at an inclined angle. They are slightly concave on the inner face. These, together with the curved soulaces above, rising to the undersides of the low-set collars, form a neat semi-circular archivolt. Both the ashlar pieces and the soulaces were worked from straight-grained timber, chopped and hollowed to obtain the necessary curvature. No chamfer or decoration has been worked on any of the trusses.

The couples, halved and pegged at the roof apex, are 17ft 7in. in length and vary in cross section. It would seem, however, [that] uniformity of 6½ x 4¼in. was intended. Consequently, ashlar pieces, soulaces and collars vary in sectional dim-ension with each truss to complement its couples.

Mortice and tenon is the common joint of the truss construction; the mortices in the underfaces of the collars, taking the upper tenons of the soulaces, are stopped. The present roof tiling prevents the examination of other mortices to establish whether they are similar to the collar mortices. All pegging of the truss construction appears to have been effected from the west.

Slight smoke discolouration of timbers is evident on truss 10, and increases in intensity to the west. Trusses 16-21 are encrusted with a slight but even deposit of carbon particles. On trusses 22-35 there is only smoke discolouration, decreasing as the truss numbers increase.

Fig. 2 Drawings of roof cross-section and architectural details by John Bowen.

Conclusion and analysis

The upper elevations of the ragstone walls under the wall plates show no evidence of rebuilding or disturbance, the proportional position of the traceried windows is correct, and there is no re-used timber in the roof construction. It seems clear that the superstructure and the roof construction are original and have never been altered. The style of window and tracery would suggest a date in or after the late fourteenth century. The roof is of a style just prior to the appearance in Kent of the popular crownpost/central purlin construction.

Hasted refers to the building as the Chapel, and presumably it was orientation and the windows, particularly the larger one at the east end, which made him think so. No internal ecclesiastical furnishings, such as altar steps, aumbries and piscinas, are visible, however. Internally, no evidence of partitioning was discovered on any of the trusses. It can be assumed that the whole surv[iv]ing building formed a single space.

Whether the roof was originally open to its apex or closed on the undersides of the ashlar pieces, soulaces and collars is uncertain. Certainly, plaster staining is apparent on these surfaces but may have been caused by adaptation at a later date. The half-inch set-back of the ashlar pieces from the inner face of the crenellated wall-plates could be an allowance for a thickness of wall-plaster. The smoke-blackening of the roof timbers could indicate that the building had been used, not as a chapel, but as a hall with a central fire. This, however, might have been after Henry VIII acquired it from Cranmer, and after Edward VI granted the manor to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, [in 1547].5 If originally the underside of the trusses were plaster-sealed, with the introduction of a central fire a portion of the plaster must have been removed to allow smoke to escape. The variation in smoke discolouration would suggest that the main escape of the smoke was between trusses 16 and 21, and that a louvred roof or ridge tiles were inserted, the decreasing discolouration on trusses 10-15 and 22-35 being thus accounted for by smoke eddying within the roof space.

The overall degree of carbon encrustation does not compare in intensity with what is normally expected, and found, in other open-hall roofs. That suggests that the Aldington building was not heated by means of a central fire for very long before it was replaced by a hearth and chimney set in a wall. The brickwork of the present external chimney at the mid-point of the south wall is of a type and style characteristic of the eighteenth century, but it may have had a late sixteenth- or seventeenth-century predecessor in the same position. Apart from windows and doors the only other post-medieval interference with the ragstone walls is in the south-east corner of the building, where a bread-oven and chimney were inserted in the nineteenth century. Internally the building was adapted by the insertion of an upper floor, staircases, and timber-framed lath-and-plaster room divisions, and the plastering over of internal wall surfaces. The result is that, whether chapel, hall, consistory or something else, the original purpose of this large and once imposing building in the Archiepiscopal palace, of which it is the only remnant, remains undecided.

t.f.c. blagg

1 E. Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (Canterbury, 1797-1801).

2 C.A.F. Meekins, 1939, ‘The Buildings of Aldington Manor, temp. James I’, Archaeologia Cantiana, l, 158-60.

3 In the following description, that of the roof is based on a draft text by Ian Storer. The writer is also grateful to Sarah Pearson for allowing him to refer to the Royal Commission’s account of the building in advance of publication. (There is a brief account, a plan and a section in the RCHME publication: A Gazetteer of Medieval Houses in Kent (1994), p. 3.) The drawing of the roof cross-section and the architectural details is by John Bowen.

4 The writer owes these observations to Sarah Pearson.

5 Hasted, History and Topographical Survey.

richard harris, ‘fruiterer to king henry viii’: some further details gleaned from documentary sources

Seventy-five years after the events described, the following details of Richard Harris, fruiterer, appeared in various printed works in 1608-9:

one Richard Harris of London borne in Ireland fruiterer to king Henry VIII fetched out of Fraunce a great store of graftes, especially pippins: before which time there was no right pippins in England.1 He fetched also, out of the lowe countries, cheerie grafts and peare grafts of divers sorts. Then tooke a peece of ground belonging to the king in the parish of Tenham in Kent, being about the quantitie of seaven score acres; whereof he made an orchard, planting therein all those foraigne grafts. Which orchard is, and hath been from time to time, the chiefe mother of all other orchards for those kindes of fruites in Kent and of divers other places … orchard which Harris planted called the New Garden.2

How much of this is fact and how much fiction? This short note sets out other documentary evidence which the author has been able to glean relating to the fruiterer and his family. Strangely there is no ODNB entry for someone who on the face of it made such a change to English fruit culture. It would seem that the author ‘N. F.’ borrowed from William Lambarde whose 1570 manuscript copy of The firste treatise of the Topographical Dictionarie, Conteyninge the description and historie of the shyre of Kent aptly belongs to the Kent Archaeological Society.3 It was finally published in 1576 as A Perambulation of Kent.4 Lambarde recounts that:

Tenham [Teynham], with thirty others parishes (lying on each side of this porte way, and extending from Raynham to Blean Wood), bee the cherrie gardein, and Apple orcharde of Kent.5 … Richard Harrys (fruiterer to king Henry VIII) planted by his great coste and rare industrie, the sweet cherry, the temperate Pipyn and the golden Renate. … those plantes which our auncestors had brough hither out of Normandie had lost their native verdour … about the yeere of our Lord Christ 1533 obtained 105 acres of good ground in Tenham, then called the Brennet, which he divided into ten parcels, and with great care, good choise, and no small labour and cost, brought plantes from beyonde the seas, and furnished this ground with them, so beautifully, as they stand in most right line.

There is a list of members of the Fruiterers’ Company dated 1537 which includes amongst them Nicholas Harrys and Richard Herrys.6 Gould quotes a dispute dated 30 July 1577 where Richard Harrys, with others, represented the fruiterers concerning the toll taken of cherries where it was decided, ‘The fruit meters shall not henceforth take any fruit, but only one pot of cherries off one boat, which shall be for the Lord Mayor only’.7 The Fruiterers Company did not receive its charter until 1605. A search of Letters and Papers, Domestic and Foreign, Henry VIII has so far failed to find any particular grant or patent made out to Richard Harris, the fruiterer. The Privy Purse and other royal household accounts may well shed some light on whether it is correct to refer Richard as ‘Fruiterer to Henry VIII’. Judging by the payments made for various fruits we can imagine that Henry VIII helped popularised their consumption.8

When Richard Harris died in 1589, he had made a nuncupative (oral) will, often considered a ‘deathbed’ will:9

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN the sixt daye of June in the yeare of our lorde God a thousand five hundred eightie nine RICHARD HARRIS citizen and fruterer of London beinge of perfect mynde and remembrance thanckes be unto God did make this his last will and testament nuncupative and by worde of mouthe in manner and forme followinge First he bequeathed his sowle to almightie God and committed his bodye to the earthe Then the saide Richard Harris beinge requested by John Leeke mercer and citizen of London to sett downe all suche debtes as he coulde any waye call to remembrance that he stood indebted in he did name accordingly all suche his debtes as doth appeere by a note then taken therof Also the saide Richard Harris beinge then demaunded whatt weare the thinges that he had to answere and satisfie the same debtes, then he also sett downe a note of that he had with the severall valuations of every thinge accordingly excepte a certeyne lease whiche he then gave and delivered into the handes of the saide John Leeke in satisfaction of the debtes betwene them twoe uppon consideration whearof the saide John Leeke then promised to paye the rest that could be made over and above therof to John Roche his sonne in lawe towarde the debtes betwene them further he beinge demaunded if God shoulde take them awaye him awaye what order he woulde leave bothe for the payment of his debtes and for releif of his wife and children, he answered I will my debtes to be payde, and the rest of my goodes chattells and debtes to remaine to my wife and children. Lastly the saide Richarde Harris beinge demaunded by the saide Leeke who shoulde performe and execute all that and to whom he woulde committ the same to be executed and done, he answered I committ the wholl doinge and execution of this my will and mynde only to you Master Leeke whearunto the saide Leeke replyed, here is your wife and your sonne Roche whiche married your daughter who are meeter to have the execution therof committed to them then to me noe saide he I committ the wholl execution hereof only to you Master Leeke And I praye you take here withe you the counterpanes of my leases beinge at morgage and the lease of my warehowse whiche the saide Leeke so did. Beinge then present and witnesses therunto Master Nicholas Harris John Roche and Isabell his wife and Mystris Harris then wife to the saide Harris and William Wall his servant withe others

[Latin]: Probate was granted of the above written testament at London before the venerable Master William Drury. Doctor of Laws, Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury etc. The eleventh day of the month of July in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine upon the oath of John Leeke executor named in this same testament to who was committed administration of the goods, rights and credits of the same deceased, sworn on the Holy Gospels to well and truly administer etc.10

Whilst the will does give some relations to Richard Harris it would have been useful to have been given a relationship for Nicholas Harris who in 1591 was described as ‘of London a fruiterer aged 67 years’.11 This is probably the same Nicholas who was in the 1537 listing of fruiterers.12 In his evidence, in a case between Thomas Palmer, of Lincolns Inn, plaintiff against John Leake defendant, we discover that John Roche was a fruiterer, although not on the 1537 listing (although there is a William Roche).13 Perhaps more importantly Nicholas says to the eighth interrogatory:14

That in the lifetyme of the sayde Richard Harris there was a devision and partition of the possession of certain landes betwene the sayde Richarde Harris and William Harris his brother and that afterwardes the sayde Willyam Harris did assigne and sett over all his parte to Sir Lionell Duckett knight deceassed and that the same ys enjoyed by his assign accordingly at this daye.15

From the depositions in this court case we find that Richard Harris mortgaged his moiety of the New Gardens, that is the demesne lands and Tenham outlands, to Edward Hunte of Bearebynder Lane, London and 28 acres of land called the old orchard sometime parcel of the field called Breneth alias Brentes Field and the house and edifices belonging to in New Gardens, land called Broadfield, now divided into two closes, a croft called Crab Crofte and the field called Colmanfeild alias Cottmanfeld, all in Teynham, to William Bespytche of Faversham for £110 and died before the day the leases should have been redeemed.16 According to James Farrell of London, fruiterer, then aged 40 years, and others John Leake borrowed money at interest from William Marshall, Alderman of London, to pay Edward Hunt £215 to release the premises and paid Bespytche £110, the agreed amount of money, so that the lands were free of any mortgage and a further £36 which Harris owed to Bespytche. From the depositions we learn that ‘the rest of the land lienge in the feild called Breneth was devided into 8 orchardes and the 13 acres in millfeld, half an acre in Ayfeld 33 acres in the feld called Salandine, twelve acres in the feld called Hemistone and one acre called Rogers acre’.

It appears that when Richard Harris wanted to increase his holding in Teynham he was readily able to rent or lease the land there. Details from a century earlier (when owned by the archbishop) reveal that ‘in 1457-8 in Teynham 126 acres of arable land, lying in the fields, were rented to different tenants at 20d.’ and it was noted that they use to rent for four bushels of barley. By the time of the next account (1461-2) the rent for 67 of these acres had gone up to 2s. an acre. In the 1470s, however, all the rents were re-negotiated and that they ranged from 1s. to 2s. an acre.17

A search through the manuscript calendar of the Exchequer Depositions Mis-cellaneous has resulted in finding not only missing parts of the main depositions but also further information gathered by the commissioners.18 From these documents we find that William Harris, junior, was the son of Richard Harris the fruiterer.

When Richard Harris died in 1589 his executor sold 60 bushels of cherries at 10s. the bushel, 20 maunds of rennets for 16£., 12 maunds of common apples for 3£. And 5 maunds of Katherine pears for 50s. Also in 1591 in the ‘gardens in question there were fower hundred bushells of cheries and upwards and twentie bushells of peares’.19 William Bespytche also had 15 seams of wheat from the lands in part payment of £36.

However, it was another chancery case between John Smythe, gentleman, and Elizabeth his wife, plaintiffs against William Harris and Richard Harris (the sons) that we are able to dispel the myth about King Henry VIII granting Richard Harris land in Teynham.20 It would seem that Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, demised the demesne lands and 28 acres called Brenithe in Teynham to Richard and that the lease was afterwards confirmed by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. Richard about 1554-55 on the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to John Smyth granted them an annuity of £20 for their lives and their issues. However, it would seem that Richard then assigned his lease from the Dean and Chapter to Christopher Allen and then later made an assignment in mortgage to Humphrey Baskerville pretending he had not passed the interest thereof to Christopher Allen, which Richard subsequently redeemed. Richard Harris then assigned his lease to Sir Richard Champion knight, late Alderman of London, upon certain conditions. The bill of complaint, the answer and replication have survived where it was claimed the annuity came out of the orchards and lands amounting to 210 acres.21 The final decree and order said that defendants had been at great charges redeeming the same lands to whom they were mortgaged by Richard their father so that on Monday 13 June 17 Elizabeth [1575] the case was dismissed and the plaintiffs were to seek redress at the common law.

In 1595 Thomas Palmer commenced proceedings not only against John Leek22 but also against William Harris and Allan Hendry.23 It was alleged that Richard Harris in July 1581 became bound to Henry Palmer father of Thomas in a recognizance of £1,000 for the leases of two parcels of land in Teynham. The lands named as Lyons Garden, Colman otherwise Cotman Field, Broadfield and lands called Teynham Outland or New Gardens were to revert to the crown on the termination of the leases. William Harris senior also prosecuted John Leek claiming a lease of the Teynham lands granted by Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury.24 Thomas Palmer was in 1600 pursuing Charles Cornwallis for Teynham Outlands originally leased by the archbishop to Richard Harris senior who granted it to Richard Champion who then assigned to William and Richard Harris sons of Richard Harris senior. William sold his part of the premises to Sir Lionel Duckett.25 In the same year we find Thomas Palmer in a deposition against John Leek regarding a house, lands and tenements in Teynham.26 In 1627 things were still rumbling on with a special commission of enquiry regarding the partition of a cherry ground called Allen Croft with Sharpe plaintiff against Palmer and Harris.27

Elizabeth Selby, when writing about the churchwardens of Tenham, says ‘William Harris was probably the son of Richard Harrys, the gardener to Henry VIII who obtained a grant of land in ‘The Brennet’ and occasioned Lambard to break into an enthusiastic account of the cherry orchard planted there’.28 According to a note on the manor court rolls of Teynham, Oziers Farm was the Brennet later called Brenithe.29 Selby has also managed to identify many of the places mentioned in the court records.

From the court records we can now say that Richard Harris senior left not only two sons, William and Richard, but also two daughters. Of these latter, one, possibly the eldest, Elizabeth, married in about 1554 to John Smythe and the other Isabell married to fruiterer John Roche. Richard Harris senior’s failure to sort out his mortgages and assignments before his death meant that his executor and children were involved in a number of law suits after his decease.

There were apple and cherry orchards along the north Kent coast before the arrival of Richard Harris. But it would seem from the records that his enterprise in Teynham, with the introduction of new varieties, represented the first commercial undertaking on a substantial scale selling fruit to the London market.

duncan harrington

1 TNA: E 112/63 no. 18 says that William Harris, son of William Harris, took out administration of his grandfather’s estate, i.e. Richard Harris the younger, and in 1595 it was said he had been in Ireland.

2 The husbandman’s fruitful orchard, shewing divers ... secrets for the true ordering of all sortes of fruite in their due seasons, etc., by N. F., London: Imprinted for R. Jackson, 1609; The Husbandman’s Fruitfull Orchard ... Neuer before published. The ‘Epistle to the Reader,’ signed: N. F., London: Imprinted for Roger Jackson, 1608.

An earlier, third, work by N.F. is: The fruiterers secrets Containing directions, for the due time, and manner, of gathering all kindes of fruite, as well stone-fruite as other: and how they are afterwards to be ordered in packing, carrying and conueighing them by land or by water; then in separating or culling them into diuers sorts; and lastly, in resruing or laying them vp, so, as may bee for their best lasting and continuance. Enterlaced with diuerse other secrets (and their naturall causes) touching trees, and their fruite. No treatise, to this purpose, being heretofore published, at London: Printed by R. B[radocke] and are to be solde by Roger Iackson, at his shop in Fleete-streete, neere the conduit, 1604. The author is grateful to Jane Gallagher of the Templeman Library for this third example.

3 KHLC: U47/48 Z1. For a discussion about the author and the book see William Lambarde, Retha M. Warnicke (Phillimore, 1973).

4 A number of reprints were issued over the years and an account of some are given by Richard Church in a 1970 edition by Adam & Dart, where it is erroneously said the first edition was published in 1570. The reprint is of the 1826 edition and reproduces the title page which says written in 1570 but first published in 1576.

5 1970 reprint of 1826 edition, pp. 222 and 223.

6 Arthur W. Gould, History of The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers of the City of London (privately printed 1912), illustration facing p. 98.

7 LMA: Letter Book Y, folio 163.

8 Nicholas Harris Nicolas, King Henry VIIIth’s Household Book, being an Account of the Privy Purse expenses of Henry VIII from November 1529, to December 1532, now first printed from the original MS; with Notes and Illustrations (London 1827).

9 Prerogative Court of Canterbury Will register TNA: PROB 11/74 folio 91v. The document has faithfully reproduced the spelling of the original record. However, capital letters have been given as in modern usage. All abbreviations have been expanded and all Latin rendered into English.

10 Elizabeth Selby, 1935, Teynham Manor and Hundred (798-1935), p. 56, says Richard Harris was buried at Fordwich but this may be supposition based on the fact that his first wife was buried there. In Fordwich church there is a brass whose inscription reads: ‘Here lyeth the body of Anne Harris late wyfe of Richard Harris the Queenes Maiesties fruiterer and daughter of Valentyne Norton of this towne of Fordiche, gentleman who decessed on the XXI day of October Anno domini MCCCCCLXX.’ This memorial is recorded in K. McIntosh, 1975, Fordwich, the lost Port, p. 170. Anne’s father, Valentine Norton of Tancrey, was Mayor of Fordwich in 1550. The inscription plate is illustrated in W.D. Belcher’s, Kentish Brasses, vol. 2 (1905).

11 Exchequer Depositions by Commission: TNA: E 134/33 and 34/Eliz Mich 33 taken at Sytinge-borne September 33 Elizabeth. The document is in poor shape in places. Nicholas Harris was involved with a court case in February 1586 with Thomas Somner of Offham concerning an orchard in Newington next Sittingbourne (TNA: C78/64/5).

12 PROB 11/42B ff. 385-386v: Nicholas Harris citizen and fruiter of London made his will 10 June 1558 which was proved 20 Oct 1559. He mentions his lands in Kent but doesn’t name them. Amongst his children he gives his sons as Richard, Matthew, Thomas and John and his kinsman Richard Harris. There is also another will, PROB 11/82 f. 319, for another Nicholas Harris a fruiterer made 9 March 1591/2 and proved 4 Dec 1593 and the only mention of a relative was his wife Alice. Amongst the witnesses was James Roche a fruiterer.

13 TNA: C2/Eliz/H5/15: dated between 1558-1603. William Harris brought a case against Alexander Roche to be relieved against a bond for lands in Teynham demised by William and his brother Richard to William Crookes.

14 Depositions on behalf of the defendant, membrane 6.

15 There is a chancery case TNA: C 3/50/111 dated between 1558-1579 concerning Sir Lionel Duckett against William Harris. In E134/33 and 34Eliz/Mich33 Thomas Palmer versus John Leek, where William Bespythe in his deposition to the 14th interrogatory mentions a conveyance from Richard Harris the father to William and Richard his sons and a conveyance from William to his brother Richard.

16 The first interrogatory on membrane 2 gives him as ‘Richard Harrysse the yonger’ and he is so described in the answer of Thomas Whithed of Teynham.

17 Lambeth Palace Library ED 1223, 1226, quoted in Agrarian History of England and Wales, Edward Miller (ed.), CUP, 1991, p. 689. This compares with 4d. an acre at Charing (1467-8) and 6d. an acre at Gillingham.

18 TNA: E 133/7/1022, 1023, 1024, 1025, 1026, 1027, 1050 and 1141.

19 TNA: E 134/34Eliz/Hill [1591]. The certificate of Alexander King and Wm. Baynham, ‘appointed by this Hon’ble Court of Exchequer Termino Hillar Ao. xxxiiijto D’ne Regine Elizabethe, to here examine and make report of a cause in variance between Thos. Palmer, plaintiff, and John Leake, executor to Richard Harris (deceased), defendant. Touching the title of leases of certain lands and cherry gardens in Kent’.

20 TNA: C78/70, item 7.

21 TNA: C 3/170/89; John Smythe and Elizabeth his wife versus William and Richard Harris.

22 TNA: E112/20/100 & 140.

23 TNA: E 112/63/18 & 277; E 112/20/145 concerning certain cherry gardens was missing from the box: E 133/8/1235.

24 TNA: C2/Eliz/H8/47 dated between 1558-1603.

25 TNA: E 133/9/1440.

26 TNA: E 133/9/1456 & 1457.

27 TNA: E 178/5357.

28 Selby, op. cit., see note 10, p. 23.

29 Ibid., p. 55, and for further details on these lands, see p. 56.

the hercules settlers in new england

Volume 136 (2015) of Archaeologia Cantiana contained an article on the origins and character of the entirely Kentish group of passengers who sailed to New England on the Hercules in March 1635. This note gives a brief account of their fortunes there and of various descendants who made a mark on American society.

A possible indicator of whether the Hercules passengers were a cohesive group before they sailed is what they did and where they settled on arrival. Of the 85 people for whom their first destination is known, 40, almost half, settled at Scituate; 17 at Cambridge; ten at Charlestown, one family of eight at New London, and other very small groups or individuals elsewhere. It can be seen that to a small extent, groupings from the Hercules split on arrival in New England. The main grouping, which settled at Scituate, centred on the Tildens and their Hercules co-owners the Hatch family, but did not include third co-owner Comfort Starr and his family, or the Tildens’ relatives and fellow Tenterden civic elite the Austens. The Starrs and Austens went to Cambridge, along with the Haywards from Aylesford who, from English records, had seemed unconnected to other passengers. The Scituate group did include Tilden’s possible relatives the Besbeech family from Biddenden/Sandwich, Tilden’s friends the Witherells and also the Hinckleys from Harrietsham who again had previously seemed unconnected.

The other main grouping, the 31 people (five families and seven individuals) associated, or possibly associated, with the radical preacher John Lothrop also split on arrival. This group consisted of the Tildens and Hatches (John Hatch, uncle of both Lidia Tilden and William Hatch, having left a small bequest in his will to Lothrop, though these families were never associated with the parishes – Egerton, Little Chart and Eastwell – where Lothrop or his father-in-law John Howse preached); Parnell Harris, and her step-brother James Sayers, whose siblings were in prison with John Lothrop due to their religious practices; and several people who lived in or very near the parishes where John Lothrop and his father-in-law preached and may have been influenced by them.1 Faintnot Wines, Josiah Rootes and Emme Mason had been parishioners of Howse at Eastwell. The Tildens and Hatches provided the crossover between the Lothrop group and the main group and, as seen, settled in Scituate. Of the rest of the potential Lothrop group, only servants Jenkins and Holmes, who both lived near Lothrop/Howse parishes and may have possibly been influenced by them, went to Scituate. Even Parnell Harris, and her siblings who had been imprisoned with Lothrop, settled in Providence. However, Lothrop and Howse may still have influenced some of those from surrounding English parishes, as some were amongst the small groups who went to Charlestown and Salem, both of these Puritan settlements where many of the second phase coming out of Leiden had settled in 1629 and 1630.2

John Lothrop himself was released from prison in June 1634 and went to Scituate with a group of his followers variously estimated as 30 or 40. They sailed from London in August on the Griffin and were certainly in Scituate by Spring 1635, so Lothrop’s record of houses in the town beginning with the September 1634 layout may indicate that those were houses that were there just ahead of their arrival.3 With just nine houses and nine families in Scituate in September 1634, it seems that the arrival there of Lothrop and his followers followed by forty from the Hercules in early summer of 1635 really was the birth of a new community, and going there to form it was the purpose of almost half the Hercules passengers. Central figure Tilden had bought his land there over six years earlier, and probably knew at least one of the nine already there, his brother Joseph’s Adventurer colleague Timothy Hatherley. Clearly for Tilden Scituate was not a chance destination. How many of the other Hercules passengers pre-planned their destination is less clear. Some may simply have looked for opportunities after they landed.

As already seen, Comfort Starr, who left the rest of the group on arrival, was the son of a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. As a surgeon, he did not himself have an English university education. Doctors at that time were either apprenticed or studied at Leiden or Padua. It seems likely that Starr’s motive for emigration was to do with the founding of Harvard University. On arrival he apparently went direct to New Towne, which was renamed Cambridge in 1638 to reflect the number of Cambridge graduates who lived there. Starr may have been interested in Harvard’s early intention to include the teaching of medicine.4 That he was very keen on education was demonstrated by his will which left his grandson Simon Eire £6 p.a. provided he continue to pursue his studies in ‘tongues, artes and science’. Comfort is widely credited with having been one of the earliest benefactors of Harvard, though no contemporary authority for this has been found. However a current guide to Boston, in its section on the King’s Chapel Burial Ground, refers to the grave there of ‘Dr Comfort Starr, founder of Harvard University’; and a plaque to his memory in Cranbrook church further bears this out, saying ‘One of the Earliest Benefactors of Harvard, the First College in America, 1638 of which His Son Comfort was one of 7 Incorporators, 1650’.5

However, Morison surprisingly makes no mention at all of Comfort Starr senior, except to question the claim that it was his house in Boston which was used to establish the College in 1636.6 Comfort Starr’s son, Comfort junior, graduated from Harvard College in 1647 and was one of the five founding fellows named in the University’s 1650 Charter, but again Morison makes no further mention of him except that he shared rooms as a student with the sons of Governor William Bradford and prominent Minister John Cotton, fellow of Emmanuel College.7

A 1998 article in the Harvard University Gazette by Comfort Starr’s direct descendant, journalist, lawyer and adviser to the United Nations William Starr, said that the house where Comfort Starr established his surgery practice in 1635 was, ‘according to family history’ where Nathaniel Eaton, in 1639, began Harvard College instruction.8 Whatever the exact truth about the involvement of Comfort Starr in the founding of Harvard, this prominent family still had the ability to perpetuate the story to an audience 350 years later.

From the Hercules, the Tildens and the Hinckleys were at least two more families who certainly did have continuing capability to influence people and thus perceptions of the nature of the early settlers. Nathaniel’s direct descendant Samuel Jones Tilden was Governor of New York and Democratic presidential candidate in 1876.9 Several volumes of letters and papers of Governor Thomas Hinckley, son of Hercules passenger Samuel, were published as late as 1861.10 The influence of his descendants continues. Although no definite documentation has been found, prominent people who have claimed, or have been claimed, to be descendants of Thomas Hinckley or of his sister, so descendants of Samuel on the Hercules, include both the Presidents Bush, Sarah Palin and President Barack Obama.

diane thomas

1 Burrage, Champlin, The Early English Dissenters in the Light of Recent Research, vol. 1 (New York, 1912), p. 323.

2 Stratton, Eugene Aubrey, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People 1620-91 (Salt Lake City, 1986), p. 38.

3 Rev. John Lothrop’s record of early houses in Scituate.

4 Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Founding of Harvard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1995), pp. 249-250.

5 Leaflet – Walk the Freedom Trail, Boston (9 August 2014). ttp://

6 Morison, Founding of Harvard College, p. 205; Ballou, Hosea Starr, ‘The Harvard Yard before Dunster’, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 80 (1926), p. 133.

7 Harvard Charter, 1650; Morison, Founding of Harvard College, p. 287.

8, Harvard University Gazette, July 29, 1998.

9 Bigelow, John, The Life of Samuel Jones Tilden, 2 vols (New York, 1895), vol. 1, p. 5 and vol. 2, pp. 15, 381.

10 Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. v, fourth series (1861), pp. 1-309.

nineteenth-century well subsidence at st peters, broadstairs

Following exceptionally heavy and prolonged rainfall at the beginning of 2014 a deep shaft suddenly appeared in a playing field shared between St Peters in Thanet Church of England Junior School and Callis Grange School (NGR TR 38713 69111). The Kent Underground Research Group was invited to examine the subsidence and an initial site visit on 1 March was followed by a full investigation on 9 March.

The area is noted on the KCC Historic Environment Record as the site of a brickfield (HER Number: TR 36 NE 243). The site is shown as a brickfield on the OS 6in. 1st edition map of 1872. Subsequent editions depict it as rough ground until Callis Grange School was constructed. Prior to this building work The Trust for Thanet Archaeology carried out an evaluation in July 1996 which showed that the area had been stripped down to the underlying chalk and then backfilled with re-deposited subsoil and spreads of chalk rubble, possibly floors or dumping. The local geology is Seaford Chalk overlain with Thanet Sand / Brickearth.

The subsidence had revealed an elliptical-shaped shaft 1.92m long, 1.29m wide and around 20m deep. Below a layer of made up ground 0.92m thick was a section of brick lining consisting of 17 courses of stretcher bonded red brick. The lining was set into solid chalk at the top of the stratum. Below the lining the shaft descended in solid chalk. Many pick marks were visible made by short headed mining picks. There were no footholds in the shaft indicating that the excavator would have had to be lowered by means of the hauling rope. The shaft narrowed slightly as it descended and at a depth of 20m the dimensions were 1.52m long and 0.96m at its widest part. The ends, instead of being rounded, were squared off giving flat faces of 0.4m wide.

Initially it was thought that the shaft may have been the haulage shaft for a chalk mine linked to the old brickfield. It was decided to extract some of the fill from the bottom of the shaft to check if any mine galleries could be located. The Kent Underground Research Group has a great deal of experience in working in awkward confined spaces and has developed safe working protocols and specialist equipment to undertake such tasks safely. The fill removed from the shaft appeared to be demolition rubble used in the landscaping and levelling process prior to the construction of Callis Grange School. It consisted of broken hand-made bricks including some yellow stocks, tiles, wire reinforced glass, fragments of coke and slag from a boiler or possibly a kiln. Other items from the top of the fill included a pre-decimal ice lolly wrapper, a small milk bottle from a local dairy, a spoon engraved KCC, and a small glass ampule of the type used in immunisations. These latter items were probably only just under the surface when the subsidence occurred.

After removing nearly 2m of material the consensus of opinion was that the feature was not a haulage shaft but a well shaft as any galleries of a chalk mine should have been uncovered at this depth. The brick making process required a great deal of water which was supplied from wells on site. There was no sign of any holes for cross timbers to support pump rods or pipes so the water must have been extracted by simple buckets. From information from old well records the local water table is thought to be about 3m aod with the school site being around 44m aod.

During the KURG excavations no evidence was found of any previous capping or method of sealing the deep void. A plausible explanation is that originally the top of the shaft was covered by timber planking with earth on top, a common short-term solution when a site was abandoned. Later, when the land was being cleared and landscaped, possibly when nearby Callis Grange School was being constructed, the simple covering collapsed revealing the well shaft. As the site was being prepared for development it is likely that bushes and tree stumps would have been grubbed out and deposited down the convenient void. Some of this fill probably jammed some way down and the shaft was then backfilled with the hard-core and rubble being used to make up the ground. Over time the organic blockage at the base of the in-fill would have decayed and become unable to support the weight of the material above. The extra weight of a substantial amount of water from heavy rainfall hastened the collapse process.

According to cartographic evidence the brickfield was active around the 1870s but ceased operation soon after so it is reasonable to assume that the well was dug to supply water to the brickmaking operations sometime between 1860 and the late 1870s.

rod legear

world war one stopline trench system revealed by lidar in whitehorse wood, birling

In 2011, a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) survey was organised for the Medway Valley (reaching from Maidstone to Shorne and from Wrotham to Boxley). LIDAR surveys are airborne surveys using lasers to collect millions of points of data, to provide a 3-D map of the ground, with a 0.5m resolution. The survey was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Valley of Visions Landscape Partnership Scheme and the Shorne Woods Heritage Project. Peter Crow, from Forest Research acted as consultant and the data was gathered and processed by Cambridge University Technical Services. The data delivered came in a range of formats. The DTM (digital terrain model) data is of most immediate use to archaeologists. This data manipulation can remove trees from the results, to allow the researcher to see ‘through’ woodland and also pick out ploughed out features in farmland.

Running the LIDAR data through GIS software enables one to fly over the data. The ridges and valleys of the Medway Valley come into immediate relief. Zooming further in, a 1.5km trench feature becomes visible on the Downs, north of Birling and east of Vigo Village. This feature was investigated as part of archaeological works associated with the Valley of Visions scheme. Volunteer archaeologists from Shorne Woods spent several visits exploring Whitehorse Wood, in which the feature sat. On the ground the trench is between half a metre and a metre deep and over a metre wide. After consulting with local historians and defence experts it was ascertained that this was a WW1 dated stopline trench. Of equal interest was a Second World War officer training camp that stretches for over 3km along the ridge. Buried within the outlines of shelters and accommodation blocks are vestigial traces of the WW1 stopline.

The results of the LIDAR survey will prove of huge interest and importance to future defence studies in the Medway Valley. For example, results from the Shorne end of the survey have identified the well preserved dispersal camps for RAF Gravesend and the heavy anti-aircraft battery at Cobham.

Fig. 1 Course of Whitehorse Wood stopline trench revealed by LIDAR.

Image Copyright Forest Research, based upon Cambridge University Technical Services and Valley of Visions Survey Data

Fig. 2 Detail of Whitehorse Wood trench system.Image

Copyright Forest Research, based upon Cambridge University Technical Services and Valley of Visions Survey Data

andrew mayfield