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kindly contributed by Janice Brooker

Extracts from the Folkestone chapter of Edward Hasted's History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent … First published in four volumes 1778 - 1799.


The parish of Folkestone, which gives name to this hundred , was antiently bounded towards the south by the sea, but now by the town and liberty of Folkestone, which has long since been made a corporation, and exempt from the jurisdiction of the hundred. The district of which liberty is a long narrow slip of land, having the town within it, and extending the whole length of the parish, between the sea shore and that part of the parish still within the jurisdiction of the hundred, and county magistrates, which is by far the greatest part of it.

THE PARISH, which is about three miles across each way, is situated exceedingly pleasant and healthy. The high chalk, or down hills uninclosed , and well covered with pasture, cross the northern part of it, and form a fine romantic scene. Northward of these, this part of the parish is from its high situation, called the uphill of Folkestone; in this past is Tirlingham, the antient mansion of which has been some years since pulled down, and a modern farm-house erected in its stead; near it is Hearn forstal, on which is a good house, late belonging to Mr Nicholas Rolfe, but now of Mr Richard Marsh; over this forstal the high road leads from Folkestone to Canterbury. The centre of the parish is in the beautiful and fertile vale called Folkestone vale, which has downs, meadows, brooks, marshes, arable land, and every thing in small parcels which is found in much larger regions; being interspersed with houses and cottages, and well watered by several fresh streams; besides which, at Ford forstall, about a mile northward from the town, there rises a strong chalybeat spring . This part of the parish, by far the greatest part of it, as far as the high road from Dover, through it, towards Hythe, is within the jurisdiction of the hundred of Folkestone, and the justices of the county. The small part on the opposite, or southern side of that road is within the liberty of the town or corporation of Folkestone, where the quarry or sand hills, on the broken side of one of which, the town is situated, are its southern maritime boundaries. These hills begin close under the chalk or down hills, in the eastern part of this parish, close to the sea at Eastware bay, and extend westwards along the sea shore almost as far as Sandgate castle, where they stretch inland towards the north, leaving a small space between them and the shore. So that this parish there crossing one of them, extends below it, a small space in the bottom as far as that castle, these quarry or sand hills, keeping on their course north-west, form the northern boundary of Romney Marsh, and then the southern boundary of the Weald, both which they overlook, extending pretty nearly in a parallel line with the chalk or down hills.

The prospect over this delightful vale of Folkestone from the hill, on the road from Dover as you descend to the town, is very beautiful indeed for the pastures and various fertility of the vale in the centre, beyond it the church and town of Hythe, Romney Marsh, and the high promontory of Beachy head, boldly stretching into the sea. On the right the chain of lofty down hills, covered with verdure, and cattle feeding on them; on the left the town of Folkestone, on the knole of a hill, close to the sea, with its scattered environs, at this distance a pleasing object, and beyond it the azure sea unbounded to the sight, except by the above-mentioned promontory, altogether form as pleasing a prospect as any in this county. …

FOLKESTONE appears to have been known to the Romans, from several of their coins and bricks having been from time to time found in it; but what name it had then is uncertain. It had in it a strong castle or fort, which was probably, says Camden , one of those towers which the Romans under Theodosius the younger, as Gildas tells us, built upon the south coast of Britain, at certain distances, to guard it against the Saxons… This Roman fort, or watch tower, was built more than a mile and an half distant from the sea shore, on a very high hill, to discover the approach of those pirates; … and it is supposed, that this watchtower, with its surrounding fort, was situated on the summit of that high eminence, called Castle-hill, about a mile and an half northward from the present church of Folkestone. … After the departure of the Romans it was taken possession of by the Britons first, and by the Saxons afterwards, on their settlement in this country, by whom Lambarde says, it was called Folcestane, id est, populi lapis, which signifies a rocke coasse, or slaw of stone, being a name purely of Saxon etymology. …After which this fort was made use of by the several princes of it, to keep the distressed Britons in subjection, and king Ethelbert [died 616] is reported to have rebuilt it; but his son and successor, Eadbald [616 - 640], seems to have totally neglected it, and in lieu of it to have built a castle (with a nunnery within the precinct of it) on the high cliff, close to the sea shore, at no great distance southward from the present church of Folkestone, where it had an extensive command, especially towards the sea; but this being afterwards, partly by the fury of the Danes, and partly by earl Godwin, when he ravaged this coast in the year 1052, reduced to a heap of ruins, continued in that state till William de Albrincis, or Averenches, on his becoming lord of this place after the Norman conquest, rebuilt the castle, near, if not wholly on the foundation of the former one, and made it the chief seat of his barony, which it continued to be to his sucessors, lords of it, for several ages afterwards, and till at length, by degrees, it was wholly destroyed, with the cliff on which it stood, by the incroachments of the sea. …

THE TOWN OF FOLKESTONE is very antient, and most probably had its origin soon after the building of the castle and nunnery, as before-mentioned, by king Eadbald, on the cliff, close to the sea shore; and it increased so rapidly, that in the time of king Edward the Confessor it seems to have become a town of some note; and notwithstanding it was afterwards in that reign spoiled by earl Godwin, then owner of it, who having been banished, returned with a large force, and in revenge ravaged the coast, and this town in particular; yet at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the 14th year of the Conqueror's reign, it is supposed by some to have had five churches in it; though I doubt much if the five churches, mentioned in Domesday, were all in the town of Folkestone, as I find no notice whatever of any, either in records, or otherwise, but that of St Peter and St Paul, in the precinct of the old castle, and the present one of St Mary and St Eanswith, built after that was in ruins. I should rather conjecture, the above five churches, with the three mentioned in the next article in Domesday, to have been intended for the eight churches of the present eight parishes within the hundred of Folkestone, and subordinate to the paramount manor of it. After which, by the further wasting of it by the sea, and other misfortunes, it was so impoverished, that in some measure to preserve its consequence, it was united before the reign of king Henry I as a member to the town and port of Dover, one of the cinque ports, by the name of the barons of the town of Folkestone; and it is held that king Edward III incorporated it, by the name of the mayor, jurats and commonalty of the town of Folkestone. …Anno 1378, the greater part of it was burnt by the united forces of the Scotch and French; which, with the continual incroachments made on it by the sea, reduced it to a very low and inconsiderable state. Leland gives the following description of this place, as it was in king Henry VIII's time,


The lord Clynton is lord of the towne of Folkestone.
The cliffes from Dover welle to ward Folkestone be al of chalk and after up to Limne hil of stone that is very hard and sum be of a depe blew colour. Folchestan ys a v miles fro Dover and be al gesse stondeth very directly apon Boleyn, There cummeth to the towne a pretty small ryvelet that ryseth yn Folchstan parche longing to the lord Clynton or not far be yownd yt. The towne shore be al lykelihod is mervlusly sore wasted with the violens of the se; yn so much that there they say that one paroche chyrch of our Lady and a nother of St Paule ys lene destroyed and etin by the se. Hard apon the shore yn a place cawled the Castel yarde, the which on the one side ys dyked, and ther yn be greate ruines of a solemne old nunnery, ynthe walles whereof yn divers places apere great and long Briton brikes; and on the right hond of the quier a grave trunce of squared stone. The castel yard hath bene a place of great burial; yn so much as wher the se hath woren on the banke bones apere half stykyng owt. The paroch chyrch is therby, made also of sum newer worke of an abbay. Ther is St Eanswide buried and a late therby was a visage of a priory. Toward a quarter of a myle owt of the towne is a chapel of S Botulfe on a liklyhod of farther building sumtyme. Yn the towne ther is a maire; and this lord Clyntons grant father had there of a poore man a boote almost ful of antiquities of pure gold and sylver.

By the return of the survey, made by order of queen Elizabeth, in her 8th year[1565], of the several maritime places in this county; it appears that there were then in this town only one hundred and twenty houses inhabited, one hundred and twenty men, of which seventy were fisherman, and ships and boats of all sorts, only for fishing, twenty-five; from which low state it was not, till after some length of time, relieved by the industry of the inhabitants, who , first by establishing a fishery, and afterwards by a lucrative trade with France, have made it of late years to thrive exceedingly, and it is become again both an opulent and well peopled town, and there are now in it about four hundred and fifty houses, and about two thousand inhabitants, and there are three meeting-houses in it for the Baptists, Quakers and Methodists. The town is built on the extremity of the quarry hills, which here overhang the sea, nearly opposite to Bullein, in France, and reaches on the broken declivity of one of them down to the sea shore on which vessels of a considerable size are continually built, and where it forms a kind of harbour for the safety of them and the fishing craft. The streets are narrow, and were till lately very ill paved, but this has been in some measure remedied by an act which passed in 1796, for the better paving and cleansing of the town; the buildings of them very irregular, being inhabited in general by inferior tradesmen or fishermen; but this is only in the middle of the town; for in the outskirts of it there are numbers of handsome buildings lately erected, which are pleasantly situated, and many of them inhabited by persons of a genteel condition in life. The church stands at the west or upper end of the town, on the height of the cliff, at a very small distance from the edge of it, which from the yearly depredations the sea make on it, will, nowithstanding the precautions which have been taken to prevent it, very soon occasion its ruin . Below the cliff, on the shore, for some length towards the sea, is a long ridge of sunken rocks, occasioned by the fallen cliffs at different times. One of these rocks, surrounded by many others, and called the mooring rock, is a most noted one, being known by that same name time out of mind. At this vessels used to be moored, whilst they were loading with other rocks, which they took from thence for the piers of Dover and other places, and a very great quantity of them was shipped in the time of Oliver's usurpation and carried to Dunkirk, for the service of that harbour. It is the universal opinion of the inhabitants of this town and neighbourhood, that the hills here close above these rocks, slip or press forward from time to time towards the sea, and there are some remaining near it, which to all appearance, have so done at a small distance from the higher and yet firmer cliff. These cliffs consist of large rugged stones, mixed with sand, till near three feet, or at some places more, of the bottom, where they consist of what is here called a slipe i.e. a slippery sort of clay, which is always wet. Upon this slipe at the bottom, it is thought, the heavy pressure of the land and stones above causes the whole to slide forwards, as a ship upon a launch of tallowed planks, towards the sea.

It is well watered by two different rivulets, one of which rises about three miles north-west from the town, near Pean farm, under the hills, and descends by Bredmer through the midst of the town of Folkestone into the sea; the other, called St Eanswith's water, is very remarkable; it rises about half a mile west of Castle-hill, and empties itself into the bail pond, within eight or ten rods of the top of the cliffs. This stream is partly natural and partly artificial, which St Eanswith is said to have conveyed to her monastery here, diverting the water great part of the way, that is from Bredmer wood, by means of a brick aqueduct across the low grounds into the bail pond, or reservoir above-mentioned. It is the current, though erroneous opinion of the people here, that this water actually ascends in its course from the spring into the bail pond, into which it empties itself. But the principle of hydrostatics, will not admit the possibility of such an ascent, as there is no mill or engine to force it up. The fishery, since the stop put by the legislature to the contraband trade with France, has within these few years greatly increased; and there are now eight or ten lugger-boats, and cutters, employed chiefly in the herring and mackerel fisheries, besides about thirty small boats employed in the same, and in the catching of plaice, soles, whitings, scate, and such kind of fish, in their proper seasons; which altogether do not employ more than between two and three hundred men and boys, who are under no regulation as a company. The fish are conveyed to the London markets, either by boats, or by expeditious land carriage. There was a singular custom used of long time by the fishermen of this place: They chose eight of the largest and best whitings out of every boat when they came home from that fishery, and sold them apart from the rest, and out of the money arising from them they made a feast, every Christmas-eve, which they called a rumbald. The master of each boat provided this feast for his own company, so that there were as many different entertainments as there were boats. These whtings, which are of a very large size, and are sold all round the country as far as Canterbury, are called rumbald whitings. This custom, which is now left off, though many of the inhabitants still meet socially on a Christmas-eve, and call it rumbald night, might have been antiently instituted in honor of St Rumbald , and the fish designed as an offering to him for his protection during the fishery. In order to preserve the lower part of this town, and the beach, on which the fishermen of it lay up, dry, and repair their boats, nets and other craft, from the raging of the sea, two large jettee heads, at the east and west end of the town , were made, which were kept in repair by them, and other inhabitants, by a voluntary subscription. But these running to decay, and many unsuccessful fishing seasons happening, the fishermen became unable to continue the support of them; and the cliff, on which the church stands, having been very considerably washed away within the space of a few years, they obtained in 1766 an act to enable them to raise a sufficient sum of money for the repairing and supporting the old, and erecting new jettees and other works, for the preservation of both, which was done by duty on every chaldron of coals, brought into or through any part of this town, and afterwards to be applied to other purposes, as will be mentioned hereafter. These duties are under the management of the mayor, jurats and the commonalty.

THE TOWN AND LIBERTY OF FOLKESTONE, which extends two miles and an half from east to west, and little more than a quarter of a mile in breadth from north to south, comprehends the whole district, including the town, which lies between the turnpike road leading from Dover to Hythe and the sea shore, as far as Sandgate castle on the west to the summit of the chalk cliff above the turnpike house on the east. It is a corporation by prescription, and is governed by a mayor, twelve jurats, and twenty four common councilmen, to which is added a recorder, chamberlain, and town-clerk. The mayor, who is coroner by virtue of his office, is chosen yearly on Sept. 8, and together with the jurats, who are justices within this liberty, exclusive of all others, hold a court of general sessions of the peace and gaol delivery, together with a court of record … The seal of the mayoralty has on it the figure of St Eanswith, with a coronet on her head, and holding in one hand two fish on a half hoop, and in the other a pastoral staff. Jeffrey FitzPeter, in the 6th year of king John [1204 - 5], procured a market to be held here weekly on a Thursday, … with the addition of another market weekly on a Tuesday, anno 22 Edward III[1348 - 9] … [and] from king Richard II in his 13th year [1389 - 90] of a market, to be held weekly here on a Wednesday, and a fair yearly on the vigil and day of St Giles . The markets on the Tuesday and Wednesday do not appear to have ever been used, and that on a Thursday is so little attended, that it may in a manner be said to have been disused for years past. There are two fairs held yearly, one called the Bail fair, on the 28th and 29th June; and the other, called Cow-street fair on the Thursday in Easter week, chiefly for toys and pedlary wares. There is an establishment of the customs here, under the out-port of Dover, which is under the direction of a supervisor, surveyor, and other officers. On the chalk cliff, at the west end of the town, is a fort, and battery of six cannons.

Notes on the manors of Folkestone from Edward Hasted's History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent …

The manor of Folkestone was frequently called an honor because it was the 'chief seat of residence of the lords paramount in this barony'. It was held directly from the king and called the Barony of Folkestone or Averenches, after the family who held the barony from the 11th and 12th centuries. The lord who held this manor had to provide certain services for the king, in particular soldiers for the defence of Dover Castle. Each knight was required to defend a certain tower, so one of the towers at the castle was called Averenches Tower and later Clinton Tower.

Lords of the Manor of Folkestone
Domesday 1086           William de Acris

1090                             Nigell de Muneville (a descendant of William de Acris)
                                     William de Muneville
                                     Ruallanus de Albrincis or Averanches (married Matilda, William's                                      daughter)
1137                             Sir William de Albrincis
                                     Hamo de Crevequer (married Matilda, William's daughter)
                                     Robert de Crevequer
                                     John de Sandwich, Baron of Folkestone
                                     Sir John de Sandwich, Baron of Folkestone
/ - 1343                         Sir John de Seagrave
1343 - 1350                  Sir John de Seagrave
1350 - 1354                  William de Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon
1354 -                           Sir John de Clinton
1404 -                           William, Lord Clinton and Saye
                                     Clinton family
1538 -                           Thomas Cromwell, Lord Cromwell
                                     The Crown
1550                             Edward, Lord Clinton and Saye
1551                             The Crown
1553                             Edward, Lord Clinton and Saye
1554                             Henry Herdson, citizen and alderman of London
                                     Thomas Herdson
                                     Francis Herdson
? - 1622                        John Herdson
                                     Basill Dixwell
                                     Mark Dixwell
                                     Sir Basill Dixwell
1697 - 1722                  Jacob Desbouverie
1722 - 1736                  Sir Edward Desbouverie
1736 - 1761                  Sir Jacob Desbouverie
1761 - 1776                  William, earl of Radnor
1776 -                           Jacob, Earl of Radnor

From the earliest records, this manor was held by the same owners of Folkestone Manor.

'Situated in the northern or uphill part of this parish, was antiently of very eminent account.' Ackhanger was in the parish of Cheriton. This manor was also held by the owners of Folkestone Manor, until the death of Robert de Crevequer, when the barony of Folkestone was divided between Robert's four daughters. Agnes, the eldest, inherited Folkestone and Walton manors. Eleanor, married to Bertram de Crioll received Tirlingham with Ackhanger. This manor was re-united with Folkestone and Walton in 1537.

? - 1294                      Bertram de Crioll
1294 -                         Sir Richard de Rokesle
1369                            Michael de Poynings
                                    Poynings family
1446                            Robert de Poynings
1446                            Henry, Lord Percy, Earl of Northumberland
                                    Percy family
1537                            The Crown

'Another manor near the western bounds of this parish, adjoining to Cheriton, in which it is partly situated.' In the earliest times it was held by a family who took their name from the manor. They held it from the Valoignes family who held Cheriton manor, but by the end of the reign of Edward III it passed to the Brockhull family.

'A small manor near Cheriton, which was antiently held of the barony of Folkestone by knight's service …'
William de Valentia
William de Detling
Baker family of Cladham
Brandred family
Sir Thomas Browne
Sir Matthew Browne
Thomas Godman
John Eldred
John Michel
Desbouveries family

HOPE-HOUSE OR HOPE FARM ' … is an estate in the northern part of this parish, near Combe, which antiently belonged to the knightly family of Hougham.'
Hougham family
Clinton family
Sir John de Clinton
John, Lord Clinton
Davis family
Lessington family
Hopday family
Richard Thomas
John Thomas