A History of Great Mongeham

Chapter 6: National Events, Local Consequences


For centuries the Kyriels had been close to the centre of English affairs of state. No doubt men from their manors were called on in times of conflict and provisions used in support of their armies. This chapter recounts some of their activities. 


Great Mongeham and Agincourt.

Although they might have been called upon we have no evidence of men from the village among the ranks of archers on the battlefield. However Great Mongeham had another role. In response to a petition from the Earl of Warwick a royal decree was made on April 21st 1415 that Sandwich, Faversham, Dover, Deal, and Mongeham should enjoy the same privileges as Gosseford, to supply Calais with victuals and beer. This arrangement was to hold for one year. Petition_for_victualling_calaisPetition of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick to supply ale and other victuals to the town of CalaisThere is no evidence to show whether it was prolonged beyond that period or not, but it may well have been in preparation for the forthcoming campaign. In the box below is the response to the petition.

April 21. Westminster,

Grant as Richard Beauchamp earl of Warwick captain of town of Calais has shown the king that although the town of Gosseford co. Suffolk, is enfranchised by the king's progenitors and the king with divers liberties to the end that it may serve the town of Calais and the marches there with ale and other victuals necessary for the safe-keeping nevertheless it has not found sufficient ale, that king's lieges of the towns of Sandewich, Feversham Dover, [Deal] and Mungeham co. Kent, may serve the said town and marches with ale and victuals for one year to supply the defects of the town of Gosseford and while so serving may have such liberties and franchises as are granted to the town of Gosseford.

 The petition for the decree was made by Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Why Great Mongeham was included in the list is a matter of conjecture. However the Kyriel family had been prominent in Kent politics for centuries. Thomas Kyriel, who was Lord of the Manor at the time, was not yet twenty, but was already a knight and five years later was to be described as a king’s knight. Between November 1439 and August 1442 he was lieutenant of Calais and was a supporter of Richard Beachamp’s son-in-law and heir, Richard Neville during the Wars of the Roses. Undoubtedly there was some financial reward in having such a contract given to his manor, and would have been a reward for services. His father, William, died before the Agincourt campaign but his uncle, John, was in eminent command under Henry the fifth in his successful expedition into France, having the conduct of several Kentish squadrons at the battle of Agincourt. 

The Wars of the Roses

Sir Thomas Kyriel led the English army at the fateful battle of Formigny (15th April 1450) at the conclusion of the Hundred Years War. That defeat resulted in the final loss of all English possessions in France apart from Calais and indirectly was one of the causes of the Wars of the Roses.

Sir Thomas Kyriel was an early casualty in the Wars of the Roses. On the 26th of June 1460, the Earl of Warwick ‘the kingmaker’ and Edward, Earl of March (to become Edward IV) sailed from Calais to land in Sandwich with 2,000 men. Warwick’s uncle, William Neville, had already secured a bridgehead there. Warwick was hugely popular in Kent, and the people flocked to him. By the time he reached London, he had something in the region of 40,000 men. Whether Sir Thomas Kyriel was with him in Calais or joined him in Kent is not certain. Also joining the Yorkists in Kent was a member of the minor gentry whose name was William Crayford,

At first the Yorkists met with success, with a victory at the battle of Northampton on 10th July, but this was followed by a couple of defeats. At the second battle of St Albans (17 February 1461) Sir Thomas Kyriel and Lord Bonville were entrusted with the guarding of the captive king, Henry VI. The battle lost, the king promised their safety but were summarily beheaded two days later at the instigation of the queen, wife of Henry VI. The manor was passed through Kyriel’s daughter, Alice to her husband, John Fogge.  

Fogge had been made sheriff of Kent. in November 1453. After the Yorkist victory at Towton in March 1461, Fogge emerged as a leading royal associate in Kent, heading all commissions named in the county. He was given the custody of Rochester Castle. His interests were not, however, purely local. He was treasurer of the household from the beginning of Edward IV's reign until 1468, and was also a royal councillor.  

The previous year, 1460, at the battle of Northampton, William Crayford, was made knight-banneret by king Edward IV. ‘for his eminent services performed there, and at different times before’. William was the first of the Crayford family of Great Mongeham to appear in the historical record, but not the last. The family was to achieve prominence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.


Chapter 7: A Changing Economy

 In many ways the Black Death was a turning point in English History. Up till then there had been a great expansion of population putting pressure onto land resources. In part this was resolved by opening up new agricultural land. In Kent this was done by the clearance of woodland such as on the Weald and drainage of marshes.

Did the Black Death Come to Mongeham?

Although there is no direct evidence that the village was ravaged by the scourge of the fourteenth century there is a hint that the plague took its toll. The estimated population in 1087 was about 120. It is believed that the population of England halved as a result of the Black Death. However a calculation based on the Poll tax record for 1377 estimates the population at 146.

In a paper of 1985 Keith Parfitt described the excavation of a mediaeval site between Cherry lane and Northbourne Road three years earlier. Pottery fragments uncovered during the excavation were dated to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries (the Black Death took its greatest toll in the 1350s). However Parfitt concludes that the site was probably occupied until late Mediaeval time.

Although it cannot be conclusive, the balance of evidence suggests that the village survived relatively unscathed.

Silting of the Wantsum channel was accelerated by building embankments and digging drainage ditches. Improving agricultural practice also brought some increased productivity.


Nonetheless Population growth outstripped food production, often leading to famine. It is estimated that the plague of 1348 and subsequent plagues over the next few years halved the population of England. This led to a labour shortage, and lords of the manor had difficulty in maintaining the profitability of their holdings. The feudal system started to break down as peasants were attracted from their manors for higher wages. In spite of draconian laws introduced to enforce old feudal obligations the trend continued. The growth of towns also drew people from the countryside By the time of the reformation the old manorial system which tied peasants to the land was almost a thing of the past.This increase in mobility also brought about an increase in vagrancy. As now, at times of economic growth labour was in short supply. However recession brought hardship for the peasants and many tramped the roads in search of employment.

Frequent foreign wars brought prosperity as armies needed to be supplied. Peace brought soldiers and their families back. They were discharged at the port of disembarkation to swell the ranks of the displaced on the roads. In 1477 Elizabeth Palmer, the wife of a Calais mercenary found herself in just that situation. What was her port of arrival is not known, but from her itinerary it could well have been Sandwich.

Grant of Land in the Thirteenth Century

2 acres of land in Great Mongeham ('upmuningeham'), of which 1½ acres lies east and west on 'Lefsiesdune', with the land of John Grange to south and 1 acres of land which the priory bought of John son of Ivo of Ickham to north, and ½ an acre lies south and north on 'Iefsiesdune' descending towards 'Eilmeresdane' with ½ an acre of land which the priory bought of John son of Ivo to east and the land of 'Dominus' Bertram to west. For an annual payment of 1 rose, payable as specified to him and his heirs by Matilda, daughter of William broccherl; payable in their house at Mongeham. For this the priory has also paid 43s as a gersum fine.

On acquiring a new property the owner or tenant paid the Lord of the Manor a gersum fine which was paid for permission to take possession.

Apparently destitute she wandered around east Kent. She was in Great Mongeham for 29 days from 6th March until Maundy Thursday. Then she walked the seven miles to Lydden where she was given a sheet and left the following Saturday. A further seven miles took her to Lyminge where she stayed the night. The following day, Easter Sunday, she walked the twelve miles to Romney. It appears that during the latter part of her journey she had taken up with a local tinker. She was made to leave the town and the company of the tinker.

Under gavelkind land tenure was quite secure. However if he so wished a landowner could also write a will. He might also bequeath land to the church or even donate it in his lifetime to speed his soul through purgatory. In the Canterbury Cathedral Archives there are documents recording several grants of land to Canterbury cathedral Priory. A transcription of a typical example of one of these, a grant From Robert of Worth to the prior and convent of Canterbury Cathedral Priory made in the mid thirteenth century, can be seen in the box.

Hamo de la Forstall

Hamo bribed his way into high office and then exploited his position. The rolls for the lathes of St. Augustines and Hedeling (later Eastry) record several instances of extortion and other corrupt practices by Hamo. The Rolls reecord that “they say that Sir Henry Malemains the sheriff, demised the lathe of St Augustine Canterbury and the lathe of Hedeling for £32 to the bailiff Hamo de la Forstall an extortionist causing severe hardship to the country whereas before these lathes used to be demised for £18”. The rolls also record many of Sir Henry Malmain’s misdemeanours.

It is interesting to note that “Dominus Bertram” owns land to the west. This must be Bertram de Criol, Lord of the Manor. The priory was not the only landlord to be increasing landholdings. Holdings were bought and sold throughout the Middle Ages, but increasingly so as time went on. The Crayfords steadily increased their wealth and social standing through the middle ages.

When Edward I returned from the crusades in 1274 to ascend the throne he found the crown weakened by civil war and corruption in local government. He decreed that “inquiry was to be made into the king’s rights which had been usurped by lay and ecclesiastical lords, and into the excessive demands of sheriffs, escheators and coroners, and also of bailiffs and other officials, whether royal or seigniorial”. The enquiry for Kent was recorded in the document known as the ‘Kent Hundred Rolls’. Twelve jurors were appointed for each hundred in the county. Among the jurors for Cornillo hundred were Elias of Betteshanger and Adam de Monyngham. The rolls describe many abuses of position throughout the county. One of the most blatant perpetrators was Hamo de la Forstall, serjeant of both St. Augustine’s and Eastry. Instances of his corrupt practices were recorded for several villages in bothe lathes, including Great Mongeham. “Then they say that Hamo de la Forstall unjustly took the horses of William Marshal of Great Mongeham and kept them until he gave him 2s. contrary to surety and pledge.” He gained his position through corruption, bribing the County Sheriff (see panel).

In 1288 the authority of the king was called upon to save land which had been reclaimed from the sea along the Wantsum Channel. Storms had done great damage to the reclaimed land, and a higher authority was needed to co-ordinate the efforts of the landowners.  It is notable for containing the first record of the name Mongeham Brooks. The full story can be found in the panel.

The King Orders Maintenance of the Wantsum Marshes

Longshore drift caused the extension of a shingle bank across the mouth of the Wantsum Channel. This altered the currents which scoured the channel and led to its silting up. Landowners, particularly the monasteries, accelerated the process by a process of “inning”, building a system of dykes to retain sediment and channels to drain the reclaimed land. During the second half of the thirteenth century England’s coasts were battered by a series of violent storms. Storms broke down the dykes and the subsequent inundation threatened the stability of this reclaimed land. Particularly bad storms in 1287 left the land in a sorry state. The following year, as a result no doubt of petitioning, the King decreed that by reason of the defect in repair and support of the Banks, Ditches, &c. on the Sea-coasts, and adjacent Lands, lying in the parts of East-Kent; very great damage through the violence of the Sea, and overflowing of the fresh waters, had hapned; and that greater would ensue, unlesse some speedy remedy were applied”. He appointed Edmund de Passele, Iohn de Ifelde, and Stephan de la Dane to supervise the repair in Monkton and Minster marshes. The following year (1289) Iohn de Lovetot and Henry de Apuldrefelde, were appointed to oversee repairs to the banks and sewers of Cornilo and Eastry Hundreds. Their first task was to identify all the holdings on the marshes in those hundreds. Of the 1,600 acres in Cornilo Hundrred just ten were situated in the “Brokes of Monyngeham”. Another 1146 acres were in Eastry Hundred. Twelve jurors, six from each hundred, were appointed to carry out this task and to collect dues from land holders to pay for the upkeep of the drainage and sea defences. The value of marshland in Cornilo was valued a t £35. 8s. 4d, which works out at about 5d an acre old money or 2p new.

Here are some other cases dealt with at Westminster and relating to the village.

The manor of Northbourne was held by St. Augustine’s Abbey, who had a grange (manor farmhouse) where Northbourne Court is now situated. There were barns and a large fishpond, and was reputedly one of the favourite possessions of the monks. In 1316 the monks sought to enlarge their gardens by enclosing the road.. They were granted “Licence, after inquisition ad quod damnum made by the sheriff of Kent, for the abbot and convent of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, to enclose a way in Northburne, leading from the town of Northburne to Upmonyngham, adjoining their dwelling place, for the enlargement thereof, provided that they make another way as large on their own soil next their dwelling place on the south side thereof in its place”. Does this explain the right angled bend in the road coming out of Northbourne village?

In an age where prisons were only used to hold political prisoners and people awaiting trial there were a whole series of punishments for miscreants. Not least of these was outlawry. An outlaw lost all identity in law. Consequently he could be cheated, robbed, beaten or even killed with no recourse to the law. He could not even be employed or sell his produce at market. In effect he became a non-person. This fate befell John le Taillour because he failed to appear in court on a charge of trespass. In 1321 he was granted a royal pardon “Pardon to Richard Wyncent of his outlawry in the county of Kent for non-appearance in the Court of King's bench when impleaded by the abbot of Langedon for trespass. The like to the under-mentioned impleaded by the said abbot, viz.— John Randekyn atte Gore. John le Taillour of Great Monyngharn.”

In1358 John de Gildesburg, before setting off for Brabant, needed to leave his affairs in the hands of those he could trust. In consequence the entry in the court rolls for June 3rd of that year stated that he “has letters nominating Peter de Belgrave, parson of the church of Blounham and Thomas de Gildesburg parson of the church of Great Mungeham as his attorneys in England until Michaelmas. Nicholas de Spayne received the attorneys with the licence of Walter Power.”

The roll of 27th November, 1388 records a gift of land “with the assent of the Council and in consideration of his losses and perils in going on the king's secret affairs to divers countries beyond the sea, to Richard Henley, of a tenement and eighteen acres of land late of John Dany, in the parishes of Mongeam and Rippley in the hundred of Cornello in the county of Kent, which by reason of some default of the said John are in the king's hands and do not exceed the yearly value of 2 marks, and which he is to hold for life so long as they remain in the king's hands for that reason, but if they exceed that value he is to render the surplus at the Exchequer.” One can only guess what the default of John Dany might have been to cause the loss of his holding.

In August, 1409 Richard Grene (“the king's servant”) of Mongeham was given the office of “gauger of wine in the Cinque Ports and all their members as Thomas Walsyngham had of the king's grant by letters patent, surrendered”.


Chapter 8: The Crayfords of Great Mongeham

On 26th June 1460 the Earl of Warwick accompanied by the future Edward IV landed at Sandwich with a force of 2000 men. By the time they reached London the army numbered 40 000. With the army was Sir Thomas Kiriel (Crioll) a major landowner in East Kent and Lord of the Manor of Great Mongeham. Also joining the army was William Crayford of Great Mongeham, a member of the minor gentry.

Crayford Arms

crayford_arms_resized_and_recoloured_2This is the original coat of arms awarded in 1460. Additions were made as more titles came to the Crayfords. The Visitation indicates that the three figures on the chevron are falcon heads, but Hasted states ‘Or, on a chevron, sable, three eagle heads, erased, argent. Philipott says......... that he does it to rectify a mistake, which ....... has crept into our Heraldic Visitations of Kent, in which the paternal coat of this family is represented, as being Upon a chevron, three falcon heads, erased’

After the battle of Northampton Crayford was made knight bannerette by Edward “for his eminent services performed there and at different times before”. The following year Kiriel was taken and beheaded on the battlefield of St. Albans. Thus the fortunes of two families were changed by the Wars of the Roses and the story of the Crayfords of Great Mongeham began.

His son was Guy Crayford, who married a daughter of John Moynings (or Monins). His son, John, is the first name to appear on the family tree which appears in The Visitation of Kent taken in the years 1619 –1621. His son, anotherJohn, was an usher to the Privy Chamber of Henry VIII

Although the Crayfords became major landowners in Great Mongeham, they were not Lords of the Manor. At least from the time of the Domesday Book the eastern part of Great Mongeham was a separate manor held by the Crioll family. The manor house was Fogges Court which was on Clarkes Hill, just behind Church cottages. The western part of the village was in the manor of Adisham. As a result of Henry VIII’s dissolution of St. Augustine’s monastery in 1538 it was annexed to the revenue of the crown. Henry the Eighth granted it to the dean and chapter of Christ-church Canterbury; they conveyed it by lease to John Fropehunt, who sold it to someone called Gibbs, and by the year 1659 the lease belonged to the family of Crayford.

Crayford_tree_3Taken from The Visitation of Kent taken in the years 1619 –1621 by John Philipot


In 1594 (the ‘36th yeare of the rayne of Queen Elizabeth’) John Baker sold Watling Manor in ‘Ripple, Walmor Deale Mongeham & Sholden’ to William Crayford and his son Edward. In 1648 his grandson, William, together with John Cooley of ‘Casalton’ in Surrey purchased the Manor of Hull in Sholden for £562/2/9.

The Crayfords were quite aggressive in their accumulation of land. In 1601 a dispute over land was taken to the House of Lords. The ‘Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the High Court of Parliament were this Day informed’ (1st December) that William Crayford, had procured the arrest of William Vaughan, Servant to the Earl of Shrewsbury, and he was committed to the Prison of Newgate, ‘where he yet remaineth’. The Lords ordered that the pair of them, together with those involved in the arrest should appear before them the following day. William Crayford was brought into the House by the Serjeant at Arms, together with the Keeper of Newgate, and one Millington, an Attorney, the Under Sheriff of Middlesex, and ‘another Person that was Fellow Bailiff with Crayford’ Those involved in the arrest declared that they ‘knew not the said Vaughan to be a Man privileged by the Parliament at the Time of his Arrest’ The Lords considered that Crayford had ‘very maliciously, and upon unnecessary Suits (that did not concern himself), prosecuted the serving and laying of sundry Executions upon William Vaughan’, so they ordered, That he should be committed to the Prison of The Fleet.

On the 18th December, William Crayford, ‘of Mongeham, in Kent, Gentleman’, was brought before the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, , to answer an Information made against him, that he had ‘procured and suborned his Son, William Crayford, to lay sundry Executions and Outlawries on William Vaughan, Gentleman, Servant to the Earl of Shrewsbury’. Crayford protested that he was guiltless, and that his son had not received any direction from him. The Court ordered that the ‘Examination and Determining of the Controversies and Suits’ be referred to the Earl of Worcester, the Bishop of London, and Lord Cobham; and that Crayford and Vaughan should enter into ‘good and sufficient Bonds, each to other’.

They were back in court the next day, with William Crayford claiming that ‘it sufficed not for William Vaughan alone to be bound, because his Heirs, or some other claiming by and from him, might trouble and molest him’. William Vaughan naturally made a similar counterclaim. The Lords decreed that they should enter into a bond with sufficient surety for themselves and their heirs, and if they refused to enter into the bond they would be committed into ‘close prison’.

The judgement (a copy of which hangs in the Village Hall)was in favour of the Crayfords,because the "ssaide landes and tenementes and that yt seemeth verry probable unto us that the same landes and tenementes are parcell and doe belonge and of auncient tyme have bene parcell and belongings to the Mannor of Watlinge in Ryple as parte of the Demesnes of the saide Manner and that the same are not nor never were any parte of the Inheritance of the said William Vaughan or any of his Auncestorsy".

One of the fields in dispute was "Blakenhill", which appears on later maps as Black Hill.

Other Great Mongeham Crayfords of the Early Modern period seem to have been involved in legal disputes, and shady practices, although I have not been able to link them with the family tree.

In 1593 several ships were wrecked on the “Goodwins, the North sands head, the South sand Head, and sandwich Bay.” Assistance was given by boats from Deal, Walmer, and other nearby ports. The boats also helped to save the cargoes. Instead of being paid for their services in money, they were paid in kind according to a “devysion between the merchants and them.” naturally, some of the goods were concealed and many were carried to Upper Deal, Sholden and Mongeham, to be disposed of. It seems that all classes were involved in this business. One William Butteres, of Mongeham, deposed to carrying 3 cakes of wax and half a dozen kettles from Henry Clement’s house to a Mrs Crayford.

Thomas Crayford of Great Mongeham seemed to have had a feud with John Austen of Cottenton (Cottington). On 24th November, 1601,Thomas shot "ducke at Sholden and malard" with a gun "chardged with powder and haylshott". On 20th November, 1601, John Austen, yeoman, Richard Coxe and James Wicke, husbandmen, all of Northbourne, at Sholden, assaulted Thomas Crayford, gent., and stole ‘a muskett’ worth 40s. belonging to him.

On the 7th December John Austen made his confession ‘regarding an affray near Sandwich, arising out of the shooting of wild fowl by Mr. The_Crayford_memorial_4The Crayford memorialThomas Crayford’. Thomas Crayford appeared on the 10th December to give evidence. At a later session it was decided that the penalty for taking the musket was a 6s 8d fine for John Austen and 2s 6d each for the others. The stated value of stolen property does not necessarily reflect their true value; the musket was valued at 40s, since a higher value would have made the crime a capital offence. The feuding seems to have continues, as ‘on 12th July, 1602 Thomas Crayford of Great Mongeham, gent., and Stephen Abbott of the same, husbandman, at Sholden, assaulted John Austen of Northbourne, yeoman, and Thomas Crayford beat him on the head and arms with a staff, 12 feet long, two inches thick, worth 12d., so that blood flowed.’ Was this feud ever resolved? Will we ever know.

The Crayford residence was known as Stonehall, apparently a brick and flint building with a facade of Caen stone. Hasted says that although it was not a modern building, it was of no great antiquity, so was probably late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Hasted also says that the mansion was the residence of the Crayford family for ‘many descents’ so if it was built by the first Edward, whose son, William, was born mid 16th century, it would have passed through three descents before the last William, who was born in 1609 and who was the last Crayford to live in Great Mongeham.

He is ‘Will’ in the inscription above taken from a memorial in St. Martin’s Church, which also lists his brothers George, Richard and John and sister Anne. His mother , Anne, was the sister of Mary Hayward, who married Sir Warham St. Leger, Sheriff of Kent. William married Ursula, daughter of Rev. Daniel Horsmanden rector of Purleigh. Daniel’s grandmother was Ursula, daughter of Sir Warham St. Leger. Daniel’s grandfather, also Daniel, was removed by Parliament in 1643 as Cavalier Minister at Ulcombe.

Although some of the estate was inherited by his nephew, Edward, son of his brother, George, his widow, Ursula, inherited the mansion. She later married Nordash Rand from Ripple, in 1677. Nordash had Stonehall pulled down, presumably to save on the upkeep of two residences. When he died in 1721 he left everything to his wife. On her death in 1725, Ursula left the bulk of the remaining estate (which included 80 acres of pasture and another 70 acres in the occupation of William Paramor, and a cottage in the hands of John Bayly) to her daughter, Ursula, and it passed from her to her niece, Mary Morrice (nee Chadwick), wife of William Morrice of Betteshanger. [1] Thus, after more than two centuries, there were no more Crayfords in Great Mongeham.

Inscription on a memorial in St. Martin’s Church, Great Mongeham


A summary of entries in the Court Rolls for the Manor of Adisham for the century from 1674 to 1792 gives an account of subsequent events.

‘In 1683, at North Court, Mr. Norris Rann of Mongeham was presented for not entering land at Tilmanstone, but rent was paid by Wood at 8s 11d for lands late Crayford’s and he paid the same amount for Nordash rand in 1685. In the list of tenants to be summoned for that year is ‘Mr. Rand late Sir Wm. Crayford’s heirs.’ At South Court in 1682 and in 1683 John Wood late Crayford paid rent at 8d a year. In 1685 presentment was made there of Wm. Crayford’s death, and that the lands had come to Nordash Rand in right of his wife. Rand paid the respective rents due to the two Courts till 1715; he is styled ‘Major Rand’ in 1708. In 1718 the same presentment was made in both places that Nordash rand and Ursula his wife had alienated the land held of the Manors to Robert Furnese bart., and John Wood was tenant. R.F. paid at the two courts till 1731. In 1734 his death was presented at North Court, and that he held lands belonging to Burvill Farm at rent 3s11d and 5 hens, and lands at Upton at 1s4d a year.’

It was Nordash Rand who ordered the demolishing of Stonehall, no doubt to avoid paying tax on the property.


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