THIS PARISH is delightfully situated; it is both pleasant and healthy; the soil is for the most part sand, covering the quarry rock; to the southward it inclines more to a loam and red brick earth; but most of it is very fertile, as well for corn as for plantations of fruit and hops, which latter thrive here remarkably well. The high road from London through Wrotham to Maidstone, crosses this parish at the thirtieth mile stone: the hamlet of Larkfield-street, which gives name to this hundred, is situated on it, where there is a fair held on St. James’s day. Hence this parish extends northward for more than a mile, to the river Medway, the bank of which is here beautifully shaded with young oaks. Here is a hamlet called New Hythe, situated close to the river, so called from the shipping and relading of goods at it. The civil liberty of the corporation of Maidstone claims over this place.— There once belonged a chapel to this district, called New Hythe chapel, which was suppressed in king Edward VI.th’s time, when it was valued at eleven shillings clear yearly value; the first founder of it was not known. Daily mass was said in it. Hugh Cartwright, gent. of East Malling, had soon afterwards a grant of it.
Adjoining to the southern side of the high road and hamlet of Larkfield, is the small, but beautifully situated, park of Bradborne, the plantations of which, as well as the stream which flows through it, are so judiciously and ornamentally disposed round the mansion, as to render it, for its size (its smallness being by art wholly concealed from the sight) the most elegant residence of any in these parts. Close to the southern pale of the park, is the village of East Malling, at the north end of which is a handsome house, the property of Sir John Twisden, the church, and parsonage. Hence there is a street called Mill-street, from a corn mill there, which is turned by the before mentioned stream. Through the village, which has in it some tolerable good houses, one of which was lately the property of James Tomlyn, esq. the ground rises up to East Malling heath, on the entrance of which, near the direction post, there appears to be a Roman tumulus. On this heath are several kilns for making bricks and tile; it lies on high ground, and is a pleasant spot, though surrounded on the east and west sides by large tracts of coppice woods. The park of Teston bounds up to the south east corner of it, and the road from thence to Town Malling and Ofham leads along the southern part of it, through the woods.
AT THE TIME of taking the general survey of Domesday in the year 1080, being the fifteenth of the Conqueror’s reign, this place was part of the possessions of the archbishop of Canterbury, under the title of whose lands it is thus entered in that record.
In the lath of Elesfort, in Laurochesfel hundred, the archbishop (of Canterbury) himself holds Metlinges in demesne. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is seven carucates. In demesne there are three carucates and thirty-eight villiens, with twelve borderers having five carucates. There is a church and five servants, and two mills of ten shillings, and twenty-one acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of sixty hogs. In the whole value, in the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth nine pounds, the like when he received it, and now as much, and yet it pays fifteen pounds.
The manor of East Malling was given not many years afterwards by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, by the name of Parvas Meallingas, to the nunnery of the adjoining parish of West Malling, founded by Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, his cotemporary. In the 7th year of king Edward I. the abbess of Malling claimed several liberties within this manor; and in the twenty-first year of that reign, she claimed to have in it view of frank pledge, assize of bread and ale, and gallows, which she found her church possessed of at the time of her coming to it; and it was allowed her by the jury.
This monastery being dissolved in the 30th year of Henry VIII. anno 1538, this manor was, with the rest of its possessions, surrendered into the kings hands. After which the king, in his 31st year, granted in exchange, among other premises, to Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, this manor and parsonage, late belonging to the before-mentioned abbey, excepting all advowsons, presentations, &c. to hold by knight’s service; and as the king was entitled to the tenths of them, he discharged the archbishop of them, and all other outgoings whatsoever, except the rent therein mentioned. Which grant was in consequence of an indenture made before, between the king and the archbishop, inrolled in the Augmentation-office.
The manor of East Malling, and the premises before-mentioned, were again exchanged with the crown in the beginning of the reign of queen Elizabeth, in the 12th year of which the queen granted this manor in lease to Sir Henry Brook alias Cobham, knt. fifth son of George, lord Cobham; after which it was in like manner possessed by Pierpoint, who lies buried in Town Malling church, and afterwards by Hugh Cartwright, esq. who bore for his arms, Argent, on a fess engrailed, sable, three cinquefoils of the first. On whose decease his widow, Mrs. Jane Cartwright, one of the seventeen daughters of Sir John Newton, became entitled to it, and carried her interest in it to her second husband, Sir James Fitzjames, and he passed it away to Humphrey Delind, who soon afterwards alienated it to Sir Robert Brett, descended of the ancient family of the Bretts, in Somersetshire, who bore for his arms, Or, a lion rampant, guies, within an orle of cross-croslets fitchee of the second. He died in 1620, and was buried in Town Malling church, having had by Frances his wife, the only daughter of Sir Thomas Fane, by Mary, baroness Le Despencer his wife, who died in 1617, an only son Henry, who died in 1609, and both lie interred with him in that church. The next year after the death of Sir Robert Brett, king James granted this manor in fee to John Rayney, esq. which grant was farther confirmed to Sir John Rayney, his eldest son, in the second year of king Charles I. Sir John Rayney was of Wrotham place, and was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1641; and his son of the same name, about the year 1657, passed it away by sale to Thomas Twisden, serjeant at law, afterwards knighted, and made one of the judges of the King’s Bench, and created a baronet.
He afterwards seated himself at Bradbourn, in this parish, and in his descendants, baronets, seated there likewise, it has continued down to Sir John Papillon Twisden, bart. of Bradbourn, who is the present owner of it.
BRADBOURN is a seat in this parish, which has long been the residence of a gentleman’s family. It was formerly accounted a manor, and in the reign of king Henry VIII. was in the possession of the family of Isley, of Sundridge, in this county, in which it continued till Sir Henry Isley, in the 31st year of that reign, exchanged it with the king for other premises; which exchange was confirmed by letters patent under the great seal the next year.
In the reign of queen Elizabeth, it was in the possession of the family of Manningham, descended out of Bedfordshire, who bore for their arms, Sable, a fess ermine, in chief three griffins heads erased or, langued gules. The last of this name here was Richard Manningham, esq. who about the year 1656 alienated Bradbourn to Thomas Twisden, esq. serjeant at law, who was the second son of Sir William Twisden, bart. of Roydon-hall in East Peckham, and of the Lady Anne Finch, his wife, daughter of the first countess of Winchelsea, and continued to bear the antient coat of arms of his family, being Gironny of four argent and gules, a saltier and four cross croslets, all counterchanged, with due difference; and for his crest, On a wreath, a cockatrice azure, with wings displayed or. On the year of king Charles’s restoration, he was knighted by him, and made one of the judges of the king’s bench, and on June 13, anno 19 Charles II. 1666, was created a baronet. He discharged his office of judge during the space of eighteen years, when he obtained his quietus, on account of his great age and infirmities. He altered the spelling of his name from Twysden, as it was spelt by his ancestors, and is still by the Twysdens of East Peckham, baronets, to Twisden, to distinguish the two branches of the family, and this alteration has been followed by his descendants, to the present time. He resided at this seat, the grounds of which he imparked in the year 1666, and dying in 1683, aged 81, was buried in East Malling church. He married Jane, daughter of John Tomlinson, esq. of Whitby, in Yorkshire, who surviving him, died in 1702, by whom he had several sons and daughters. Of the former, Sir Roger Twisden, knight and baronet, the eldest son, succeeded him in title and estate, and resided at Bradbourn. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Marsham, knight and baronet, of Whornes-place, and died in 1703, leaving three sons and two daughters. He was succeeded in title and this estate by his eldest son, Sir Thomas Twisden, bart. who was likewise of Bradbourn, and served in parliament for this county in the second parliament of king George I. He married Anne, the daughter and heir of John Musters, esq. of Nottinghamshire, by whom he had four sons; Sir Thomas, his successor; Sir Roger, successor to his brother; and William, and John deceased. He died in 1728, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Thomas Twisden, before-mentioned, who going abroad died at Grenada, in Spain, in 1737, unmarried, and was succeeded in dignity and this estate by his brother, Sir Roger Twisden, bart. who resided at Bradbourn, which he so highly improved, that there are few seats of private gentlemen, that exceed it, either in convenience, beauty, or pleasantness.
He served in parliament for this county in the 5th and 6th parliament of king George II. and having resided here with the worthiest of characters, he died in 1772, and was buried with his ancestors in East Malling church. By Elizabeth, his wife, daughter and heir of Edmund Watton, esq. of Addington, and widow of Leonard Bartholomew, esq. who survived him, and died in 1775, he left three sons, Roger; William, who resided at Hythe, and married Miss Kirkman, and died s. p. and John Papillon. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Roger Twisden, bart. of Bradbourn, who died in 1779, leaving his wife Rebecca, daughter of Isaac Wildash, esq. of Chatham, big with child, which proved to be a daughter, on which his only surviving brother Sir John Papillon Twisden, bart. succeeded him both in title and his estates in this parish, of which he is the present possessor. He resides at Bradbourn, and in 1782 married a daughter of admiral Sir Francis Geary, of Polsden, in Surry, bart. by whom he has a son, born in 1784.
THE LADY JANE TWISDEN, relict of judge Twisden, gave by will in 1702, toward putting out poor children, born in this parish, apprentices, the sum of 100l. now vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 4l. 4s.
JAMES TOMLYN gave by will in 1752, to teach poor children to write, and the church catechism, and to read, 5l. yearly for ever, issuing out of land in this parish, called Crouch, vested in the churchwardens, and now of that annual produce.
Archbishop Anselm, who lived in the time of king William Rufus, gave the church of East Malling to the nunnery of the adjoining parish of West Malling, and granted, that the abbess and nuns there should hold it appropriated to them. (fn. 1)
Simon, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1363, on the complaint of Sir John Lorkyn, perpetual vicar of this church, that the portion of his vicarage, the church of which was held appropriated by the abbess and convent of Malling, was insufficient for his decent support and for the payment of episcopal dues, and the support of other burthens incumbent on him; and the abbess and convent being desirous of providing a proper support for the vicar and his successors, as far as was necessary, and agreeing, under their common seal, to assign to him and them the portions under-mentioned, which the archbishop approved of as sufficient, and the vicar likewise agreed to—decreed, and ordained, that the vicar and his successors, should have the mansion belonging to the vicarage, with the garden of it, and six acres and three roods of arable land, and two acres of meadow, which they used to have in past times, free and discharged from the payment of tithes, together with the herbage of the cemetery of the church, and the trees growing on it, and the tithes of silva cedua, lambs, wool, pigs, geese, ducks, eggs, chicken, calves, cheese, and the produce of the dairy, pidgeons, hemp, and flax, apples, pears, pasture, honey, wax beans planted in gardens, and of all other seeds whatsoever sown in them, and also the tithes of sheaves arising from orchards or gardens, dug with the foot, together with the tithes as well of the cattle of the religious in their manors and lands wheresoever situated within the parish, either bred up, feeding, or lying there, and of all other matters above-mentioned, being within the said manors and lands, as of the cattle and matters of this sort of all others whatsoever, arising within the parish; and further, that the vicar and his successors, ministering in the church, should take at all future times all manner of oblations, as well in the parish church, as in the chapel of St. John, at Newhethe, in this parish, and all other places within it, then or in future, and the tithes of business of profit, of butchers, carpenters, brewers, and other artificers and tradesmen whatsoever, to this church in any wise belonging, and likewise the residue of the paschal wax, after the breaking of the same, and legacies then, or which might afterwards be left to the high altar, and the rest of the altars, or images; and he decreed, that only the tithes of the two mills in this parish belonging to the religious, and also the great tithes of sheaves, and of hay wheresoever arising within the parish, should in future belong to the abbess and convent. And he taxed this portion of the vicar at ten marcs sterling yearly value; according to which he decreed, that the vicar should pay the tenth, whenever the same ought to be paid in future; and that the vicar for the time being should undergo the burthen of officiating in this church, either by himself, or some other fit priest, in divine services, and in finding of bread and wine, for the cele bration of the sacraments, and of the two processional tapers, as heretofore; and that he should receive and undergo all other profits and burthens, otherwise than as before-mentioned.
The vicar of East Malling is always intitled to be one of the ministers, who preach at the lecture founded in Town Malling church, that is, one sermon every fortnight, on a Saturday, being the market-day; and he receives ten shillings for each sermon he preaches