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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
Crimble of Hakewell, co. Essex, and died in 1691. His son. and heir, John Bode of Davington Priory, married Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Boys of Fredville, Knt., by whom he had a daughter Mary, his successor, and a second daughter Elizabeth, who died in 1638. He married secondly Mary, daughter of Henry Heyman of Sellinge, Esq. He married thirdly Margaret, who survived him, on whom he settled the Davington estates for her life, with remainder to Mary, his daughter by his first wife. Mary Bode died unmarried in 1699, and was buried at Davington.
The next owner appears to be the Rev. John Sherwin, Rector of Luddenham. He died 1713-14, and was buried at Davington. He was succeeded by his nephew William Sherwin of Deptford, who died in 1725. Two more Sherwins appear as owners of Davington; the latter, William, was succeeded by his aunt Margaret, widow of Samuel Wood of Goodman Fields, merchant. She bequeathed the whole estate to Henry Jenkinson Sayer of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., who sold it to Thomas Bennet of Faversham. Thomas Bennett,
by his will dated 1813, bequeathed the estate, with tithes, church, etc., to his daughter Mary, wife of Robert Turner, for her life; remainder to her five children equally. Subsequently to her death in 1817, her husband and children surviving, two of the fifths were purchased by William Jefferys of Faversham, who resold them to Julius Gaborian Shepherd, who had obtained previously the other three portions. In 1845 the whole estate was purchased by Thomas Willement, Esq., F.S.A.
Let us now turn our attention to the remains of the Priory Church and buildings. After hearing the history, one would expect to find a church built at a time when the zigzag ornament, with the usual accompaniment of moulded arches and the lighter and more graceful forms of Norman architecture, was in fashion. What we do find is a Norman church of the most simple character-a church which seems to belong to a period before 1153 (the year of the founding of the priory). I am of opinion that before Fulk de Newenham founded his priory he found here the remains of a Saxon church. The foundations appear to be certainly
older than the present building, and a good deal of the fabric seems to point to a time before the Norman Conquest. In the present tower I have noticed a triangular-headed window, now bricked up; and other parts of the building bear testimony to the fact that Newenham's Church was not the first building on this spot. Quite recently a wall was discovered about 13 feet from the south-west angle of the existing buildings; among the debris, which was accumulated on each side of this old wall, were found fragments of hard coarse mortar, reminding one of the mortar in the walls of the ruined church at Stone. Whole bricks too are built into the present church; and fragments of others were found, in company with coarse mortar, which certainly resemble the Roman shape. The piers vary slightly in thickness, the bays vary in width, and the clerestory windows instead of being over the crowns of the arches are arranged quite independently. The piers or pillars of the north arcade appear to be built of entirely the same materials as the walls. Each pillar is capped by small mouldings, and all have plain square bases.
The westernmost pillar on the north side, and the corresponding pillar on the south side, are very much broader than the pillars in the rest of the church, the cause of this being that they had to support two western towers. The tower on the north side has been destroyed, the southern one remains, and I think one may easily form some fair idea of what the west front looked like. The west end of the nave is graced by what has been a very beautiful semicircular headed doorway, 12 feet 10 inches high and 6 feet 6 inches broad in its greatest measurements. The jambs of this doorway are enriched with three shafts on each side, the middle one in each case being ornamented with a band round the middle. The capitals of these shafts are ornamented with conventional foliage, which is characteristic of transitional work when the plainer Norman architecture was giving way to the Early English. The moulding of the head of this doorway has been cut into most elegant forms. In what remains one sees a course of dog-tooth ornament, a running pattern of foliage (in this course the stone