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Statistical SummaryAcres: 3,608 acres of land and 260 of water
OS co-ordinates: TQ815655
Parish Church: St. Margaret of Antioch
Registers commence: 1592
Division: East Kent
Electoral Place: Canterbury, for whole of East Kent
Courts: County Court, assizes, quarter sessions petty sessions at Maidstone and Canterbury
Jails: County Jail at Maidstone
Buckland-Faversham, Hartlip, Stockbury, Detling, Bredhurst, Gillingham
railway station; a post office under Sittingbourne; money order office; savings bank; national school; charities of £22
Milton 1837-1929; Gillingham 1929 onward
Poor Law Union:
as of 25th March 1835 Milton Regis
Workhouse: Up to 1834: A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouse in operation at Rainham for 20; as of 25th March 1835 workhouse at Milton-next-Sittingbourne aka Milton Regis
Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury
Milton3 Population in 1851, 1,155.1 Houses, 270.1
Rainham is a village and a parish in Milton district, Kent. The village stands near the London, Chatham, and Dover railway, 4 miles east-south-east of Chatham. The parish extends to the Medway1. In 1821 there were 164 dwellings in the parish of Rainham; and at the same period, when the last census of the population was taken by order of Parliament, the numbers of inhabitants were as follow: males 505, females 525, making a total of 1,030 souls4.
Real property as of 1860, £6,671. Population in 1861, 1,422. The increase in population over 1851 arose from the sale of freehold land for the erection of houses. The manor belongs to Sir R. Tufton, Bart.. Berengrove House is the seat of W. Walter, Esq..1
Called in ancient deeds Renham, this parish lies the next parish northward from Bredhurst, and the next eastward from Gillingham2.
The whole of this parish is in the division of East Kent, which begins here, the adjoining parish of Gillingham westward, being wholly in that of West Kent. Rainham's situation is for the most part low and unpleasant, and from its nearness and exposure to the marshes very unhealthy, it contains upwards of 2,100 acres of land, beside woods, which are about five hundred and forty acres. The high road from London to Dover leads through it, on which, at a little more than the thirty-fourth mile stone from London, is the village called Rainham-street, having the church, with the parsonage and vicarage at the east end of it; there is also a neat modern-built house, belonging to John Russell, Esq. of Greenwich, and about a quarter of a mile further eastward on the road, the hamlet of Moore-street2, 4.
From the high road the ground rises southward to a dreary barren country among the woods, which is exceeding hilly, the soil at places chalky and much covered with flints, over which it extends till it joins Bredhurst, its southern boundary. About the street, and northward of it, where the country lies more flat and even, though declining to that aspect, the soil too changes, and becomes a fertile and kindly land both for corn and fruit, insomuch that this parish has been noted for growing some of the best wheat that this kingdom has produced; and it had will within memory many plantations of cherries and apples, especially on the lands adjoining the high road, and to the northward of it, but the greatest part of them have been displanted some years since2.
About a mile below the street north-westward, situated on the road leading from Chatham through Gillingham and this parish to King's Ferry and the Isle of Sheppey, is the hamlet of West, or Lower Rainham-street. At a less distance eastward the estate of Mackland, belonging to the charity of the chest at Chatham, the present lessee of which is Mrs. Nash2.
At a small distance below the last-mentioned road are the fresh marshes, and beyond the wall which incloses them a quantity of salts, the northern boundary of which, and of this parish, is Otterham creek, which joins the Medway at each end of it. In the return of the survey made of the several places in this county, where there were any shipping, boats, etc. by order of Queen Elizabeth, in her 8th year, Rainham is said to contain houses inhabited eight, and three quays, the common quay, Blower's quay, belonging to John Tufton the younger, and Hastings quay, belonging to Henry Laurence, and the heirs of Jeffry Empson; ships and boats thirteen, from one up to thirty-five tons, and persons occupied in carrying from port to port twelve2, 4.
In King Henry VIth.'s reign Sir John Pashley resided at Rainham, he married the widow of John Beausitz, of the adjoining parish of Gillingham. The family of Norden resided in this parish for some generations, one of whom John Norden, died in 1580, and lies buried in the chancel of this church, their arms were formerly painted in the windows, and now remain at each corner of his grave-stone in brass2.
In the 14th year of King Edward II there were commissioners assigned to take a view of the banks and ditches lying on the banks of the Medway, near Rainham, which had received much decay from the fresh waters, and again, anno 50 Edward III others were assigned for the view of those situated in Moteneye marsh, at the manor called Quenes-court, and to proceed according to the law and custom of the realm [see Dugdale's History of Embanking, p. 42, 45.]2.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £520 with a habitable glebe house. Patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is partly of the 12th century; has a nave, a north aisle, and two chancels; and contains a carved rood-screen, three stone sedilia, and monuments of the Tuftons. The burial vaults of the Earls of Thanet are beneath the north chancel1. The church, which is dedicated to St. Margaret, is a handsome building, consisting of two very broad isles, and two chancels, with a high beacon tower at the west end of it, in which are six bells and a clock. There was formerly some good painted glass in the windows of this church, all which has been long since destroyed. On October 20, 1791, the steeple was greatly damaged by a storm of thunder, the lightning of which split the wall of it for several feet in length2.
Historically, Robert de Crevequer, the founder of Leeds-abbey, about the year 1137, gave to the canons there, in free and perpetual alms, all the churches of his estates, with the advowsons of them, and among them that of Renham [sic: Rainham], with eighteen acres of land in that parish, which gift was made in the presence of William, archbishop of Canterbury, and John, bishop of Rochester [See the confirmations of it in Dugd. Mon. vol. ii. p. 110.]. It was at the latter end of King Edward the IIId.'s reign, appropriated to that priory, and the parsonage of it was valued in 1384, anno 8 King Richard II at £26. 15s. 4d. which, with the advowson, continued part of the possessions of the priory till the dissolution of it in the reign of Henry VIII when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered up into the king's hands2.
This church, with the advowson of the vicarage, remained in the hands of the crown till the year 1558, anno 6 Queen Mary, when the Queen granted the advowson among others, to the archbishop of Canterbury, with whom it has remained ever since, his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury being now patron of it. But the parsonage of this church remained longer in the hands of the crown. The vicarage was valued in the King's books at £14 4 7, the yearly tenths being £1 8 5-1/2. In 1640 the estimate was £70, and the communicants 100. It was subsequently valued at £200 per annum, when the number of inhabitants was the same.2
Two acres and twenty-five perches of land, planted with cherries, of the yearly rent of £2 10s. One acre, three roods; and fifteen perches of land, planted with pears, of the yearly rent of £3 10s. One acre, three roods, and twenty-four perches of land, planted with apples, of the yearly rent of £4. Also one acre, or thereabouts, of wood-land in this parish, of the yearly value of 5s. are the gifts of persons unknown, to the poor of this parish2.
An annuity of £4 was given by John Colson in 1593 by deed, to the industrious poor of this parish, payable out of an estate near Payton street, in Lower Halstow, vested in West Hyde, Esq.2.
An annuity of £4 payable yearly out of Mardale and Chapel-fields, in this parish, purchased with the sum of £50 given by Frances, countess dowager of Thanet, and with the sum of £20 raised by the contribution of the parishioners in 1653, vested in John Russell, Esq.2.
Two tenements in West Rainham were bought by the parishioners in 1677, now inhabited by the poor2.
One pound five shillings is payable out of the poors rates yearly, for the interest of money, for which the poors estate in Cliff was sold in the year 17002.
An annuity of £1 was devised to the poor of this parish by the will of Mr. John Adams, in 1723, payable out of a cherry-garden, containing five acres, in Hydore-lane, in this parish, vested in John Russell, Esq.. All which gifts are disposed of by the minister and parish officers to such industrious poor as receive no alms, on Good Friday and St. Thomas's day yearly2.
The poor constantly relieved are about thirty-six; casually, including vagrants and with passes about 2002.
1 John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).
2 Excerpt: Edward Hasted, Parishes: Rainham, in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6 (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 4-15. Also found on http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol6/pp4-15.
3 Excerpt: Edward Hasted, The hundred of Milton or Middleton: Introduction, in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6 (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 2-4. Also found at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol6/pp2-4.
4 Excerpt: W. H. Ireland, ed. & comp. England's topographer: or A new and complete history of the county of Kent; from the earliest records to the present time, including every modern improvement.. (England: 1828). Embellished with a series of views from original drawings by Geo. Shepherd, H. Gastineau, etc. with historical, topographical, critical, & biographical delineations.
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org/
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org/
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org/
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org/
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org/
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Assizes and Sessions Records
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|Hearth tax||Currently under revision|
|Victuallers Recognizances||Currently under revision|
|Churchwarden's Presentments||Currently under revision|
|Parish rate books||Currently under revision|
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811 village first recorded as Roegingham
1137 Renham chapel and lands given with others owned by Robert de Crevequer to the canons of Leeds Abbey
1197 Merescourt first noted
1201 Macklands farm first noted
1226 Syleham now Siloam farm first noted
1384/5 parsonage of Rainham evaluated but remained in possession of the priory
1450 Bloors Place built about this time
1565/6 village had 8 inhabited houses, 3 quays and 13 boats
1593 John Colson deeded an annuity to the industrious poor of the parish
1677 two tenements purchased by the parishioners to serve as homes for the poor
1791 Oct 20 severe thunder storm caused great damage to the church steeple
1858 railway arrived
1913 cement works commenced
1928 added to the Municipal Borough of Gillingham
1946 Rainham Theatrical Society performed its first play
1959 electrification of Chatham Main Line railway precipitated town growth and the building of Park Wood estate
1963 Oasthouse Theatre officially opened
1998 became part of the Medway authority
1066 - est.
1801 - 722
1811 - 877
1821 - 1,030
1831 - 1,222
1841 - 1,175
1851 - 1,155
1861 - 1,422
1871 - 2,082
1881 - 2,719
1891 - 3,082
1901 - 3,693
1911 - 3,905
1921 - 4,335
London 31.8 mi.
Canterbury 21.1 mi.
Ashford 18.5 mi.
Bromley 25.6 mi.
Chatham 3.1 mi.
Cranbrook 18.2 mi.
Dartford 18.7 mi.
Deptford 28.9 mi.
Dover 34.4 mi.
Faversham 12.7 mi.
Folkestone 30.7 mi.
Gravesend 11.4 mi.
Greenwich 27.1 mi.
Hythe 29.0 mi.
Maidstone 6.9 mi.
Margate 33.7 mi.
Milton Regis 5.6 mi.
Queenborough 7.6 mi.
Ramsgate 35.4 mi.
Rochester 5.9 mi.
Sandwich 32.6 mi.
Sheerness 8.8 mi.
Tenterden 20.3 mi.
Tunbridge 21.6 mi.
Woolwich 25.1 mi.