The following is an excerpt from “The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent” Volume 8 by Edward Hasted published in 1799.


LIES the next parish westward from Bilsington, for the most part upon the clay-hills. It is written in Domesday, Rochinges, and now usually called and written Ruckinge. Part of it, in which the church stands, is in the hundred of Newchurch, and another part in the hundred of Ham. That part of it which is below the hill southward is in the level of Romney Marsh, and within the liberty and jurisdiction of the justices of it, and the residue is within that of the justices of the county, and within the district of the Weald.

The PARISH lies so obscurely as to be but little known, it is a dreary unpleasant place, the roads are very narrow and miry, as bad as any in the Weald, the soil being a deep miry clay; that from Limne, through Bilsington, Ham-street, and Warehorne, crosses this parish on the side of the clay-hill, inclining nearer to the Marsh. The church stands on the side of the hill, overlooking the Marsh, which lies at the foot of it southward. The upper or northern side of it is mostly coppice wood. It contains about 930 acres of upland, and as many of marsh-land. There is no village, the houses being dispersed about the parish, and are mostly inhabited by poorer sort of people

IN THE YEAR 791 king Offa gave to Christ-church, in Canterbury, fifteen plough-lands in Kent, among which was this estate of Roching, together with several dennes, for the feed of hogs, in the Weald; (fn. 1) but it was afterwards wrested from the church, during the Danish wars, and it continued in lay hands at the time of the conquest, soon after which it appears to have been in the possession of Hugo de Montfort, from whom archbishop Lanfranc recovered it again to his church, in the solemn assembly, held on this occasion by the king’s command, at Pinenden-heath, in the year 1076. This estate coming thus into the hands of the church, on the division made of the revenues of it between the archbishop and his monks, was allotted by him to the latter, and the possession of it was confirmed to them by king Henry I. and II. In Somner’s Gavelkind, is a transcript of a release anno 17 Edward I. of the base services of several of the tenants of this manor (gavelkind men) who brought them out, and consequently it was a mere change from service into money, by the mutual consent of lord and tenant. King Edward II. in his 10th year, granted to the prior and convent of Christ-church, free- arren in all their demesne lands in Rucking, among other places. In which state this manor continued till the suppression of the priory, anno 31 Henry VIII. when it came into the king’s hands, where it did not remain long, for the king settled it by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose possessions it still remains. The heirs of the Rev. Dr. James Andrews, lately deceased, are now entitled to the lease of it. There is no court held for this manor.

The OTHER PART of this parish, not included in the above grant of king Offa, seems to be that which Cuthred, king of Kent, in the year 805, with the consent and leave of Cœnulf, king of Mercia, gave to Aldbertht his servant, and Seledrythe the abbot, being two plough-lands in rocing, situated on both sides of the river Limene, to hold in perpetual inheritance, free from all regal tribute, &c. Soon after the Norman conquest Hugo de Montfort was become possessed of lands in this parish, some of which were those which had been given by king Offa, as above-mentioned, to the priory of Christ-church, which were again recovered from him by archbishop Lanfranc, at the great meeting held at Pinenden. The residue continued in his possession, and are accordingly entered in the survey of Domesday, under the general title of the lands of Hugo de Montfort:

Ralph, son of Richard, holds of Hugo half a suling in Rochinges, which Leuret held of king Edward. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is two carucates. There are now twelve villeins having one carucate and an half. Of wood the pannage for one hog. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth fifty shillings, and afterwards thirty shillings, now fifty shillings

IN THIS PART was the MANOR OF WESTBEREIS, alias Rokinges, which seems to have been once accounted as a moiety of the manor of Rucking. The former of these names it appears to have taken from the antient owners of it. After this name was extinct here, which was before the reign of king Henry IV. this manor was come into the name of Prisot, and in the 21st year of king Henry VI. was owned by John Prisot, who was that year made a sergeant-at-law, and in the 27th year of it knighted, and made chief justice of the common pleas, in whose descendants it continued till the 8th year of king Henry VIII. when Thomas Prisot passed it away by sale to George Hount, in which name it continued till the 9th year of queen Elizabeth, when it was sold to Reginald Stroughill, usually called Struggle, who was in the commission of the peace in king Edward VI.’s reign, a name of antient extraction in Romney Marsh, where there were lands so called, and there they continued in good esteem at Lyd, of which town they were jurats, and possessed lands for many years afterwards. From this name this manor of Westberies, alias Rokinges, went by sale to Pearse, and anno 23 Elizabeth John Pearse, alienated it, being held in capite, to Richard Guildford and Bennet his wife, but he being indicted for not taking the oath of supremacy, they fled the realm, and were attainted of treason, and his lands became forfeited to the crown, where this manor seems to have remained till the death of the latter in 1597, anno 39 Elizabeth, when the queen granted the fee of it to Walter Moyle, gent. who sold it soon afterwards to Francis Bourne, esq. of Sharsted, and his grandson James Bourne owned it at the latter end of king Charles I.’s reign, and in his descendants it continued till it was at length sold to Parker, in which name it remained till John Parker, of London, alienated it in 1706 to Edward Andrews, of Hinxhill, and his daughter Susanna, who married George I’anns, of this parish, and left a daughter of her own name, who afterwards married first John Gray, M. D. of Canterbury, and secondly Tho. Ibbott, clerk, and entit led each of her husbands in turn respectively to the possession of this manor. On her death without issue, her heirs on her mother’s side became entitled to it, and in them, to the number of more than thirty, the inheritance of it is at this time vested.

The MANOR OF BARDINDEN, or Barbodindenne, was likewise most probably situated in this part of Rucking, and was antiently so called from a family of the same name, who were possessors of it, one of whom, William de Barbodindenne, held it at his death, which was in the 9th year of king Edward III. and in his descendants it continued till at length it was alienated to Sir Robert Belknap, chief justice of the common pleas, who being attainted and banished in the 11th year of king Richard II. his estates became forfeited to the crown. Notwithstanding which, the king, who considered him as a martyr to his interest, granted him his estates again, and among others this manor, which he died possessed of in the 2d year of king Henry IV. His grandson John Belknap, in the beginning of king Henry VI.’s reign, alienated it to Engham, in which name it continued till king Henry VIII.’s reign, when it was sold to Sir Matthew Browne, of Beechworth, who held it in capite at his death, anno 4 and 5 Philip and Mary. His grandson Sir Thomas Browne passed it away by sale, in the 7th year of queen Elizabeth, to Thomas Lovelace, esq. whose cousin and heir William Lovelace, of Bethesden, sergeant-at-law, succeeded him in the possession of it, which afterwards descended down to Col. Richard Lovelace, who, soon after the death of king Charles I. alienated it, with his estates at Bethersden, to Mr. Richard Hulse, afterwards of Lovelaceplace, in that parish, but whereabouts this manor is precisely situated, or who have been the proprietors of it since, I have not as yet been able to gain any discovery of.

POUNDHURST is a manor, situated about a mile north-west from the church. It belonged in 1651 to Richard Watts, who sold it to Gadsley, from which name it passed to Hatch, and then to Read, who passed it away to Clarke, of Ashford, and Grace Clarke carried it in marriage to the Rev. Thomas Gellibrand, and at her death in 1782, gave it by will to her son the Rev. Joseph Gellibrand, of Edmonton, the present possessor of it.

A PERSON UNKNOWN gave to this parish an annuity of 20s. paid out of lands in Romney Marsh, occupied by Mr. Stone, of Great Chart, which is yearly distributed on New Year’s day to the poor, who receive no parish relief.

The poor constantly relieved are about twenty, casually forty.

THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, is a very small building, having at the west end a pointed tower, out of which rises a small slender spire. In the tower there are five bells. It has a middle isle, and two narrow ones coving to it on each side. It has one chancel, and another building at the east end of the south isle, built of flint, with two handsome gothic windows on the south side, and seems to have been a chantry or oratory. It is now made use of to lay the materials in for the repairs of the church. There is a white stone in the north isle, having once had the figures of a man and woman in brass. There are no other memorials or gravestones in the church. On the outside of the steeple, on the west side, there is a very antient Saxon arched door-way, with carved capitals and zig-zag ornaments round it, and some sculpture under the arch. And there is such another smaller one on the middle of the south side of the south isle

The church of Rucking seems to have been esteemed part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury ever since the restoring of it to that church, by the means of archbishop Lanfranc as above mentioned, when, on the allotment of the manor to the priory and monks of hristchurch, the archbishop most probably retained the advowson of this church to himself. His grace the archbishop is the present patron of it.

It is a rectory, valued in the king’s books at 14l. 13s. 4d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 9s. 4d. In 1588 it was valued at one hundred pounds, communicants one hundred. In 1640 it was valued at eightyfive pounds, communicants the same as before. There are about eighteen acres of glebe.

In the petition of the clergy, beneficed in Romney Marsh, in 1635, for setting aside the custom of twopence an acre, in lieu of tithe-wool and pasturage, a full account of which has been given before, under Burmarsh, the rector of Rucking was one of those who met on this occasion; when it was agreed on all sides, that wool in the Marsh had never been known to have been paid in specie, the other tithes being paid or compounded for.

There is a modus of one shilling per acre on all grafs lands in this parish within the Marsh, and by custom, all the upland pays four-pence per acre for pasturage, and one shilling per acre when mowed, no hay having ever been taken in kind, the other tithes are either taken in kind, or compounded for. Formerly the woods of this parish paid tithes, after the rate of two shillings in the pound, according to the money paid for the fellets of them; but in a suit in the exchequer for tithe of wood, anno 1713, brought by Lodge, rector, against Sir Philip Boteler, it was decreed against the rector, that this parish was within the bounds of the Weald, and the woods in it consequently freed from tithes. Which decree has been acquiesced in ever since.

Or by whom presented
The Archbishop.Richard Mathewe, A. M. Jan. 31, 1587. obt. 1608.
John Fulnethbye, S. T. B. March 28, 1601, resigned 1608.
Alexander Rawlins, A. M. May 23, 1608, resigned 1610
Francis Foxton, S. T. B. April 11, 1610, resigned 1613.
William Master, S. T. P. Feb. 12, 1613, resigned 1627.
William Master, A. M. Nov. 17, 1627.
The King, hac vice.John Lodge, A. M. Nov. 11, 1686.
The Archbishop.Thomas Brett, LL. D. deprived in 1716.
Francis Muriell, A. M. July 18, 1716, obt. July 1750
Jude Holdsworth, A. M. Nov. 27, 1750, obt. 1759.
Thomas Wray, A. M. April 7, 1760, resigned 1761.
John Benson, A. M. Sept. 21, 1761, resigned 1764.
Bielby Porteus, A. M. March 19, 1764, resigned 1767.
The ArckbishopJohn Jenkinson, A.M. Oct. 20, 1767, obt. 1780.
Hopkins Fox, S.T.B. Nov. 9. 1780, obt. 1794.
Edward Taylor, A.M. 1794, obt. 1799.