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DAVINGTON is situated in the Hundred of Faversham, in the lath of Scray, and in the county of Kent, being about forty-seven miles eastward of London.

The origin of the name of Davington or Daunton, as it is sometimes spelt, is very uncertain. In a Saxon charter dated A.D. 962, says Mr. Willement, it is called Danitune or Danitun. Whether the name has anything to do with the Danes, as some think, has yet to be proved.

The discovery of Roman remains on Davington Hill points to the fact that that warlike people were drawn here for some special purpose. Mr. Jacob, in his History of Faversham, p. 3, tells us that vessels and urns of various sizes, together with medals of the Roman Emperors, from the reign of Vespasian to that of Gratian, were found; it is inferred from this that Davington Hill is the site of a Roman cemetery.*

I believe Davington does not appear in Domesday Book. The Priory of Davington was founded in the year 1153 by Fulco de Newenham for nuns of the Benedictine Order.t Hasted says that the prioress and convent were seised of the church "in proprios usus," the same being appropriated to them at the foundation of the priory, and that by this appropriation they were obliged to find three priests and two clerks to perform divine service, and pay their wages. Hasted, however, quotes no authority for his statement, so that we must be content with the simple fact that a priory is said to have been founded in 1153.

*Collectanea Cantiana, p. 95.

† Tanner's Notitia, ed. London, 1714, p. 215.

Hasted's History of Kent, quoted in Willement's History of Davington, pp. 7 and 8.

The earliest legal proof we have of the existence of the priory is the grant of confirmation of the 39th of Henry III. (1254-5) of its temporal possessions, together with an exemption of such possessions from all surrounding jurisdictions-an exemption which, before the statute of "Quia emptores terrarum," would give to the lands a seigniory or lordship (without a leet), and would constitute a manor.*

About the year 1280, the prioress, in common with all other landowners, was called upon by a "Quo Warranto" to shew her title to the possessions and liberties of the house. The charter of Henry III. was then pleaded on behalf of the prioress and nuns by their attorney Richard de Boylaund. The return to this Inquisition refers to Henry's charter before mentioned, and shews that they were in full exercise and enjoyment of their rights and privileges. It was found there that "the prioress and her successors, in all places whatsoever, be quit of suits of counties and hundreds, of views of frank-pledge and law-days, of the tournes and aids of sheriffs, and other bailiffs and ministers whomsoever."+

About 1320, new rules and ordinances were adopted for the better regulation of the priory. These were in accordance with the more rigid discipline of the Benedictines of Cluny.‡

A writ was issued 17 Edward III. (1343-4) to enquire into the means, etc., of the nuns of Davington. Both writ and return are set out in Dodsworth, and are printed in the Monasticon, but the return appears imperfect at the end.

Soon after the year 1380 Margaret, wife of John de Champagne, gave to the convent of Davington eight acres of land in Newenham, the Isle of Harty and Davington, together with some interest in the manor of Norton.§

In the 8th year of Richard II. (1384-5), Convocation having granted a tenth of the goods of the Clergy for the purposes of the war with France, the King directed a writ to the Abbot of Canterbury for a return of all benefices in the

* Willement's History of Davington, pp. 8, 9.
+ Willement, quoting Monasticon, p. 9.

Willement's History of Davington, p. 14.

§ Topographer and Genealogist, vol. iii., p. 198.

diocese. The return from the Priory of Davington of its possessions included the churches of Harty, Newenham, and Davington, worth £12, the church of Burdefield, worth £2 13s. 4d., with the temporalities which are valued at £14 6s. 8d., the whole amounting to £29.

In 1392-3, Thomas Chiche and others gave to the convent of Davington one capital messuage, and 150 acres of pasture for three cows and eight sheep in Harty, Newenham, Luddenham, and Preston near Faversham.

The monks of Faversham were continually at variance with the nuns of Davington, as well as with the people of Faversham. The Abbot of Faversham pretended that Fulke de Newenham had given that church to his abbey; but the Prioress of Davington claiming it by a like grant, both the abbot and prioress resigned it into the hands of Archbishop Hubert (?) in order that he might determine who had the greatest right to it.* He accordingly awarded Newenham Church to the prioress and nuns of Davington, they paying yearly therefore to the "Firmary," i.e. for the food and sustenance of the monks of the abbey of Faversham, two marks and a half.

In the year 1527, there were only a prioress, one professed nun, and a lay-sister existing in the house. The prioress died 11 March 1534, the nun died the following year, and the lay-sister left the place. From the return of the Escheator of the county, we find that the prioress at the time of her death was seised of the rectories of Davington, Stanger, and Newenham, with the advowson of the vicarages, together with the priory, the manor of Fishbourne, two parts of the manor of Monketon, more than 500 acres of land, and much property of various kinds. Such an estate at the present time would be of considerable value, and quite does away with the popular notion that the nuns of Davington were "very poor." However, since there were neither prioress nor nuns left in the nunnery, the establishment lapsed to the Crown.

At the foundation of the priory the number of nuns is

* Willement, note, p. 11.

said to have been twenty-six; in the reign of Edward III. the number was reduced to fourteen.

The priory having become derelict, the King, Henry VIII., became owner of its fabric and its lands. He held them for a year, and then granted a lease of them to Sir Thomas Cheney, Knt. A translation of the grant to Cheney is given in Appendix III. of Willement's History of Davington. The last paragraph is as follows:

"Know all Men, that We (for the sum of £1688 12s. 6d. of lawful money of England, paid into the hands of our Treasurer of our Court of Augmentation of the revenues of the Crown for our use, by our beloved and faithful Councillor Thomas Cheney, Knight, Treasurer of our Household, by which we acknowledge ourselves to be fully satisfied and paid, and by these presents do acquit and release the said Thomas, his heirs, executor, and administrators), by our special grace and out of our sure knowledge and our own mere will, have given and granted, and by these presents do give and grant, to the aforesaid Thomas Cheneye, Knight, the whole site, circuit, and precincts of the said late Monastery or Priory of Davington, in our said county of Kent, and all the houses, edifices, gardens, orchards, and inclosures contained in the said. site of the said late Monastery or Priory, and the whole aforesaid Manor of Fishbourne, and two portions of the Manor of Monketon, with all the appurtenances formerly belonging and appertaining to the Monastery and Priory of Davington, and the parcels of possessions thence late arising; and also all and singular the domains, manors, rectories, vicarages, chapels, advocations and the rights of the patronages of the Rectories, Vicarages, and Churches whatsoever, and also the messuages, lands, tenements, mills, meadows, pastures, commons, waters, fisheries, marshes, woods, underwoods, revenues, reversions, services, tithes, fiefs, farms, annuities, tenths, oblations, obventions, pensions, portions, knights' fees, wards, dowries, escheats, reliefs, heriots, fines, amerciaments, courts leets, views of frank pledge, chattels, waifs, assarts, chattels of felons and fugitives, free warrens, and all our other rights, jurisdictions, franchises, liberties, profits, commodities, emoluments, possessions and hereditaments, both spiritual and temporal, of whatsoever sort, nature, or kind they may be, and under whatsoever names they may be ranked and known, situate and existing in Davington, Fishbourne, Faversham, Overperston, Newnham, the Isle of Hartey,

Eslenge, Monketon, Durdeville, Minster in the Isle of Sheppey, Harball Downe, Norton, Sittingbourne, Sandwiche, Tenett, Ashe next Sandwiche, Sellinge, Lynsted, Stansted and Ospringe, in our said county of Kent, and elsewhere wheresoever in the said county of Kent, belonging or appertaining to the said Monastery or Priory of Davington, or heretofore held, known, or reputed to be parcels of the possessions, rights, profits, or revenues of the said Monastery or Priory of Davington."

Sir Thomas Cheney, to whom the Priory of Davington was granted, was present at the "Field of the Cloth of Gold," and was created a Knight of the Garter in 1539. He was Constable of the castles of Queenborough, Rochester, and Dover, and also Warden of the Cinque Ports. By his first wife Fridwith, daughter of Sir Thomas Frowyke, Knt., he had four daughters. By Anne, his second wife, daughter and coheir of Sir John Broughton of Tuddington, he left a son Henry, his successor. Sir Thomas died in 1558, and was buried at Minster, in the Isle of Sheppey. To his son Henry livery was granted of the capital messuage of Davington and various other estates which had been held by his father. He was summoned to Parliament in 1572 as Lord Cheney of Tuddington. He married Jane, eldest daughter of Thomas, Lord Wentworth of Nettlestead, and died without issue in 1587. He, 13 Elizabeth, alienated the manor of Davington, and the site of the priory, with all buildings, lands, etc., belonging to it, with one messuage and 140 acres of land in Davington, and other premises, and all liberties, etc., belonging to them, to John Bradborne, gent. John Bradborne resold the entire estate to Avery Gilles, gent. Avery Gilles died in 1573-4, and was succeeded by his son Francis, who in 1583 sold the property to John Edwards, Esq. Edwards lived at the priory, and made considerable alterations in the domestic buildings. He died in 1631, and was buried at Davington. Only one child survived him, namely Ann Edwards. She married John Bode of Rochford, but died, leaving no surviving child. John Bode married a second wife, namely Joan, daughter and coheir of Edward Strangman of Hadley. William Bode, their son, succeeded his father. William married Grace, daughter of George

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