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THE books and documents contained in the muniment chest at Fordwich have not received much attention from Kentish anti­quaries. Possibly the complete insignificance of the town in the present day may have caused these records to have been overlooked. More probably inquiry has been limited by the personal discomfort entailed by a prolonged visit to the draughty little structure where these records are lodged.

          Recent legislation having put an end to the interesting and harmless existence of the Corporation, and its property being now (under the scheme of the Charity Commissioners) in the hands of Trustees, one of whom is a member of the Kent Archaeological Society, there is every reason to believe that the Fordwich muni­ments will be removed to some library or institution in the county, where they may be cleaned, arranged, and carefully examined.

          In the meantime, the following remarks on notes taken from the records in February 1888, by the kind permission of the late Colonel C. J. Cox of Fordwich House (the last Mayor of the town), may attract attention to these interesting papers, and indicate the kind of information they contain.

          The little village of Fordwich consists merely of a cluster of houses on the right bank of the Stour, about two and a half miles below Canterbury, and retains to-day no vestige of commercial activity to account for the privilege of self-government enjoyed by the inhabitants for at least 600 years. The population at the last census was only 228, and the size of the church (a building of the thirteenth century, of very modest proportions) does not point to any extraordinary shrinkage in the number of the inhabitants since it was built. Nor is there any tradition of the former existence of other churches, as at Romney and elsewhere. But although not very populous, it was during the Middle Ages and later of some importance, as being practically the port of Canterbury.

          In Saxon times, when both the “Genlade” and the Sandwich mouth of the Wantsum were open, the sea doubtless at every high tide covered most of the Stour Valley as far as Fordwich. The town being situated (as the name seems to imply)* on an arm of the sea, had probably not only a commercial but to some extent a military importance, for it was generally up these tidal estuaries that the Danes made their sudden and terrible incursions.


           * Fiord-wych, “the bay on the arm of the sea.” Vide Arch. Cant., XII., p. 338 (note).





This at a later date may have led to the enrolment of the town amongst the Cinque Ports as a member of Sandwich; Bekesbourne, which stood at the head of the tidal estuary of the lesser Stour, being similarly dignified by its connection with Hastings, although probably never of any importance as a trading port. At any rate the Saxon kings considered it worth while to station at Fordwich a collector of customs,* the right to which, together with the king’s lands within the town, Edward the Confessor gave to the Monastery of St. Augustine in Canterbury.†

          The Confessor’s charter gave to the Abbot of St. Augustine’s the right to levy a toll upon all merchandize brought into the town by water, together with anchorage, lastage, and bulkage of vessels plying between the town and Stour mouth “nasse,” but important exceptions were made at a later date in favour of all freemen of the Cinque Ports, all the burgesses of Canterbury, and all men of the Archbishop, of the hundred of Middleton (Milton), of the Abbot of St. Albans, and of the Abbot of Battle.‡ To the monks of St. Augustine’s the quay at Fordwich was a great convenience, enabling them to unship their heavier imports, such as the Caen stone, wine, oil, salt, etc., required for the use of their house, within three miles of the Abbey gates; and fully sensible of the value of their privileges at Fordwich, they did their utmost to prevent their rivals at Christ Church from sharing these advantages.

          Somner gives an account of a quarrel between the rival monas­teries in 1285, which attained to such proportions that it was neces­sary to appoint a Special Commission to arrange their differences. The matter in dispute was the right of the Prior of Christ Church to put up a house on or near the quay at Fordwich. He had twice done so, but on each occasion it had been pulled down by the Abbot’s men, and all its contents were thrown into the Stour.§

          The Commissioners succeeded in effecting a compromise. The Prior pledged himself not to attempt to place his crane house in the position which gave offence to the Abbot, but said it was neces­sary that he should have some place in the town at which to land his imports, “non potest bene esse sine domo super ripam de Fordwico pro suis vinis et aliis suis victualibus recipiendis.” He received from the Abbot a piece of land on the banks of the river in exchange for another piece farther away.||



            * Hasted, History of Kent, vol. iii., fol. ed. And the Fordwich Custumal, when defining the duties of the bailiff of the Abbot of St. Austin’s, says, he ought to collect the customs, etc., “because he has the royafty by grant of kings, as those kings held the aforesaid town, and not otherwise.”

            † Chartae Antiqtuae of Christ Church, Canterbury, F. 47, 1 and 2.

            ‡ Fordwich Custumal, chap. xxi.

            § Batteley’s Somner, Appendix, p. 62. From a “lieger” book at Can­terbury Cathedral.

            ||  ‌‌Somner, Appendix, p. 62. From a “lieger” book at Christ Church.






Amongst the MSS. preserved in the Cathedral Library at Christ Church, Canterbury, are copies of eight charters relating to Fordwich, and St. Augustine’s Abbey:

1.       The charter of Edward the Confessor previously alluded to.

2.       A grant by the same King of soc and sac

3 and 4. Similar grants from William I.

5 and 6. Re-grant of the manor by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, to St. Augustine’s, and its Confirmation by William I.

7.       Writ of William I. re-granting the town to St. Augustine’s after it had fallen into the hands of the sheriff on the flight of Abbot Egelsin.

8.       The sheriff’s surrender of the town in obedience to the King’s warrant.*


The last four have been translated by Dr. J. B. Sheppard, and are as follows:—


Chartae Antiquae, Canterbury Cathedral, “F.47.”


Odo Del gratia Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent to Lanfranc the Archbishop and Hamo the Sheriff and all other faithful subjects of the King French and English greeting. Know ye all that I Odo Bishop and Earl of Kent grant for ever to the Church of St. Augustine all the houses which are mine in the town of Fordwich and all customs which are mine in the said town to be held for the safety of my soul and of that of my lord William King of the English. These being witnesses, William King of the English, Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury, Godefried Bishop of Constance, R. Count of Eu, and H. de Montfort, with other of the nobles.


William King of the English to Lanfranc Archbishop, and Hamo Sheriff, and R. son of Earl G., and H. Sheriff, and all the Thanes of Kent French and English greeting. Know ye that the Bishop of  Bayeux my brother for the love God and for the salvation of my soul and of his own has given to St. Augustine’s whatever he possessed at Fordwich as well in lands meadows and houses as in other rights and that he has given what he has given with my leave.


William King of the English by the grace of God to Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury, and Godefried Bishop of Constance, and R. Count of Eu, and H. de Montfort, and his other nobles of the kingdom of England greeting. I command and enjoin you that you cause St. Augnstine and Scotland the Abbot to repossess the borough of Fordwich which Hamo the Sheriff now holds and all the other lands which Abbot Alsinus my fugitive gave to any one through laxity or fear or cupidity and if any one have taken anything by any force to compel them to restore them be they willing or unwilling.  Witness the Bishop of Bayeux on the dedication of Bayeux.


Hamo Sheriff and Dapifer of Henry King of the English to all the Barons of Kent and all God’s faithful in all Englang greeting. Know ye that I led by the fear of God restore to God and St. Peter chief of the Apostles and to St Augustine of the English and the Abbot Hugh and the brethren of the same place the town of Fordwich with all its appurtenances so entirety that no one of my lords or my heirs shall claim any kind of right from me or through as me or through my heirs for ever. This donation (I have sworn) by the Psal­terium of St. Augustine and by my sword laid upon the chief altar of the afore­said church with my own hands. These witnesses being present, For my part were Fulbert of Chilham and his soldier Hugh and many others. Of the followers of the Lord Abbot were William the ­chaplain and his man Eustace and many others. But if after my decease any of my heirs attempt to make this worthless or to infringe it may he be cursed by Almighty God and all his saints for ever. Amen. Done on Easter Monday Anno Domini MCXI.


*Hist, MSS, Comm, Fifth Report





Fordwich was a corporation by prescription. No original charters are contained amongst the records, but several are quoted in the Custumal, and there is in the muniment chest a copy of a charter granted by Charles II. (an inspeximus of one by Queen Elizabeth). The earliest charter contained in the Custumal is one from Henry II., of which the following translation, made by the late C. Sandys of Canterbury in 1834, is preserved in the town chest:—



Henry by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy, Acquitaine, and Earl of Anjou. To Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Provosts, and all his Bailiffs and faithful servants greeting. Know ye that we have granted and by this our charter have confirmed to our good men of the town of Fordwich, that none of them shall be impleaded without the town aforesaid of any land or tenement being within the limit of the same town, and that they have for ever a “Gylda Mercatoria,” with all things to such Guild appertaining. And that they and their heirs be quit of toll through all our realm and dominion. And that they have our writ of right so that no sheriff or bailiff of us hereafter intromit in any summonses distresses or attachments to be executed in the aforesaid town concerning any matter to the same town appertaining. Know ye also that we have granted and by this our charter have confirmed to our same good men of Fordwich that they and their heirs, through all our realm and dominion for ever have this liberty, to wit that they or their goods in whatsoever place in our realm and dominion found shall not be arrested for any debt for which they shall not be sureties or principal debtors. Wherefore we will and strictly command for us and our heirs that the aforesaid men and their heirs for ever have all the liberties before written as is aforesaid and all the laws and customs which they more fully had of the Kings Edward William the First and Second and King Henry our grandfather. And we prohibit upon forfeiture to us of ten pounds that no one against these liberties shall presume to trouble or disquiet them. Witness Roger (Earl) and Rodolph (Earl) son of Gerard at Westminster in the year, etc., etc.


The next charter quoted in the Custumal is of uncertain date, but is by one of the Edwards, probably Edward III. The King forbids his marshal and clerk of the market to “intermeddle” within the liberty. The preamble of the charter states that these

officers had entered the town before the King’s arrival, and inter­fered in town affairs, and not only previous to the King’s coming, but even “whilst he abided there waiting for a favourable wind and a quick passage to the parts of Britanny.” It is hardly probable that the King at this date actually embarked at Fordwich, or that he made it his residence until he got a fair wind, and then took ship at Sandwich. This charter was most likely originally addressed to Sandwich, and was merely sent on by the men of that port to their subordinate member, with the alteration of the first syllable of the name, which would be all that would be required.

The next charter is addressed to Sandwich; this is an inspexi­mus by Edward III. of a charter by Edward I., and relates to the way in which the municipal authorities were to keep the estate of orphans.

          The only other charter quoted in the Custumal is the well known charter of Edward I. to the Cinque Ports in general.

VOL. XVIII.                                                                                                                                        G






The Mayor


The charter of Henry II. contains no mention of a mayor at Fordwich, but the town chest contains many scraps of parchment relating to the conveyancing of property in the Mayor’s Court as early as the reign of Henry III. The first mayor whom I have found mentioned  is by naime is John Maynard, in the 20th of  Edward I. (1292).

          The mayor was elected in the parish church, on the Monday next following the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and heavy penalties were attached should he refuse to take office; in that case the whole commonalty were to proceed to his capital messuage, “if  he shall have one of his own, and the same with hooks and by all other means in their power shall prostrate to the ground;” if he had not a house of his own, he was to be disfranchised.

On accepting office the mayor swore that he would be “Utilis et fidelis domino nostro Regi Angliae et heredibus suis et statum libertatis Villae de Fordwyco et officium Majoratus bene et fideliter per posse meum manutenere, et implere justitiam secundum usdem et consuetudinem ejusdem portus tam extraneo quam vicino tam pauperi quam diviti non praemium vel odium respiciens et consilium mihi traditum tegere et sic me Deus adjuvet,” etc.

On the day after the election the late mayor was to cause to be sent to the house of the new mayor the common chest, together with the standard weights and measures, and on the Sunday following the mayor was to appoint the town sergeants and cause two “good men” to be elected to keep the estate of orphans, and two to keep the keys of the common chest during the year.

The mayor enjoyed considerable powers; he was coroner for all cases within the liberty. Wills might be proved before the mayor and jurats, or before any three of them.

The goods of intestates were administered by the mayor and jurats, together with the rector of the parish church, “if he be willing.” No hundred court could be held without the presence of the mayor. All conveyances of land, etc., within the liberty were made in the mayor’s court.

The mayor and jurats had the right of punishing all their free­men “if they offend against the commonalty without the interven­tion of the bailiff ;”* they also had the same right with regard to “foreigners” offending within the liberty, but if they withdrew themselves from the liberty complaint was to be made to the Lord Warden.

All pleas of the Crown of life or limb were determined before the mayor, bailiff,* and jurats. The following is Mr. Sandys trans­lation of this part of the Custumal (chap. xxx.)


* The bailiff of the Abbot of St. Augustine’s is supposed to have occupied a house in Fordwich, near the quay, formerly called “Hemp Hall.” This house, which, after the dissolution of the monastery in 1538, was occupied successively by the Johnsons, Paramores, Crisps, Darrells, and Shorts, is now the rectory. An old piece of flint wall at the bottom of the rectory garden is probably a part of the original wall built when the monastery owned the property.







All pleas of the Crown of life or limb are accustomed to be determined within the said liberty before the mayor bailiff and jurats.

The goods of the guilty party to be forfeited to the Lord Abbot of St. Augustine’s.

“And when the appellant and appellee shall come before the mayor and jurats and the steward of the Lord Abbot . . . . the sergeant of the bailiff who shall so have the custody of the appellee shall stand with an axe holding him bound only he is to be unbound when he ought to answer. . . . and if the appellee shall wish to acquit himself according to the customs of’ the liberties of the Cinque Porte it shall be adjudged him that he have at a certain day. . . thirty and six good and lawful men and true who shall swear with him that he is not guilty . . . . And it is to be known that when the aforesaid thirty and six are to acquit any man their names ought to be written and all called by name and if they shall answer twelve of them ought to be dismissed by the steward of the Lord Abbot and twelve others be dismissed by the mayor and jurats so that the mayor and steward and jurats may choose twelve of the thirty six aforesaid whom they shall wish to swear with the appellee that he is not guilty so help him all Holy Saints, kissing the book, etc. After shall be called the said twelve who are chosen to swear and they shall swear as they are called by name to wit every one by himself that the said oath made by the appellee is good and true and that he is not guilty of the things imputed to him so help them all Holy Saints, etc. Which if they shall do the appellee is acquitted and the appellant attachable and all his goods being within the liberty of the will of the Lord Abbot. But if any of the aforesaid twelve shall withdraw himself from the Book being unwilling to swear the appellee shall lose his life. And all who are condemned in that case or in any other case to death ought to be taken from the aforesaid court of the Lord Abbot by the Stour unto a certain place called ‘Thiefs’ Well’ and there their hands ought to be tied under their legs, to wit, ‘kneebent,’ and they shall be instantly thrust down alive and drowned there. And this shall be done by him who prosecutes. And that water is the property of the commonalty howsoever it may have been appropriated by others.” 


The mode of inflicting capital punishment in most of the Cinque Ports. was peculiar. At Dover the felon was thrown over Sharp­ness Cliff. At Sandwich they were buried alive on Thiefs’ Down. Prof. Montagu Burrows, in his recently published sketch of the Cinque Ports, says that at Fordwich there was a special wharf re­served for the purpose of drowning criminals; but the word used in the Fordwich Custumal is “Thefeswelle,” the tradition amongst the inhabitants identifying it with the well at the bottom of the lane leading to Elbridge, a few yards beyond Colonel Cox’s house. This lane is called “Thews” Lane.*

The highly objectionable practice of making the prosecutor act as executioner was also in vogue at Dover and Romney, but at the latter port he was allowed to find a substitute if he could. In later times the corporation had a gallows near the quay, which Hasted says was only taken down shortly before his time; but the town books contain no evidence to prove that the extreme penalty of the law was ever actually inflicted within the liberty.

Persons drawing a knife (or any arms “having a point”) for the purpose of using it on any man or woman were fined 10s. If the knife was actually used, the offender had the choice of three penalties, either he must pay 60s. to the mayor and commonalty, or remain


* This seems to point to the well having been used in later times for the immersion of “scolds,” Thew being a name given to a “cucking-stool.”






in prison for a year and a day, or his hand “shall be thrust through with that with which he did smite.” Dr. Sheppard remarks that nothing can bring out more clearly the great difference in the value of money than the fact that a fine of 60s. was considered an equivalent to remaining for a year and a day in so filthy a hole as the Fordwich Gaol (Hist. MSS. Comm. Fifth Report).

Women convicted of scolding, quarrelling, or slandering in the street or elsewhere, were compelled to carry a certain “mortar” (mortarium) through the town, a piper or other minstrel, going before her making a laughing-stock of her, and to the minstrel “for his trouble” she had to pay a penny.

This mode of punishment must have been exchanged in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries for the “cucking-stool,” which still remains in the Town Hall.

One remarkable custom of judicial combat is not mentioned in the “Custumal” at Fordwich, but a description of it was dis­covered by Dr. Sheppard amongst the Chartae Antiquae in the library at Christ Church, Canterbury, as follows:—


They claim that if a stranger appear as a prosecutor accusing a man of the liberties of felony whether committed within or without the liberties the pro­secutor shall come to the boundary fully equipped (cum toto apparatu) as is fit for a prosecutor to be. Then when he comes to the town he shall be led to a certain running water called “Stour,” and in that water he shall stand up to his navel with all his equipment prepared to prove his appeal. Then the accused shall come in a boat (batellus) with three poles to oppose the prosecutor clothed in a garment called “a storrie” with an instrument called “an ore” three yards long and the boat shall be made fast to the quay by a cord and he shall fight with the said prosecutor until the duel between them is decided.


The patronage of St. Augustine’s Abbey at Canterbury did not bring with it unmixed advantages, and throughout the whole period of its continuance the records give abundant evidence that the connection between the town and the monastery was not altogether to the advantage of the former, at least from a Fordwich point of view. The resident bailiff of the abbot was regarded with considerable jealousy by the mayor, as introducing a sort of dual control into the administration of town affairs, and the Custurnal is very careful to guard against encroachments on his part, by clearly defining the limits of his jurisdiction, and his position in the government of the town.*

Chap. xxiii. of the Custumal is entirely devoted to enumerating “those things which the lord abbot hath in Fordwich,” and pro­ceeds to say that “first he hath his prison and pound holden in his own demesne within the town in all cases which shall happen to arise in the said liberty, and the bailiff for the time being there shall have the custody of the said prison and pound. . . . Although if any one imprisoned shall escape, it shall be the fault of no one except the lord abbot.”


* On his appointment the bailiff received his staff of office from the abbot’s steward, but if the steward was not present, he received it from the hands of the mayor.





The Mayor, Jurats, and Commanalty had a prison of their own, and so refused all responsibility for the custody of offenders detained by the Lord Abbot. The Abbot was also entitled to the “amerciament of pleas, and the forfeiture of the chattels of felons and fugitives within the liberty, except only the lands and tenements and rents after the year and day, lying within the liberty belonging to the commonalty.” Also to customs, anchorage, lastage, and bulkage of vessels plying between the town and Stour­mouth “Nasse,” but ‘he shall not have of any lands or tenements within the liberty any other yearly service besides his rent seck at certain times of the year

The position of the Abbot’s Bailiff in the hundred court is also clearly defined in the Custumal. Before summoning the court he must give three days’ notice to the Mayor “if he be at leisure, and when he shall consent, the Bailiff shall send his serjeant called ‘Catch Pole’* three days before the day of the hundred court to houses of the parties to be summoned; and when the Monday shall arrive in which the hundred court shall be held, the mayor shall cause the bell to be rung in the church of the Blessed Mary about one o’clock in the day, which being rung the whole commonalty with the mayor, jurats, and steward of the Lord Abbot assembled, the bailiff or his serjeant shall make proclamation of the peace, and the parties who ought to plead shall stand at the bar, and this in the court of the Lord Abbot or elsewhere, when the mayor, jurats, and the steward also shtall consent. . . . And be it known that the roll of the bailiff contains the process of the cause, and the mayor with his roll or without a roll has the record, and that record may abate or falsify when there shall be occasion the roll of the bailiff, because the record of the mayor, who is the judge and has the giving of judgment, is more worthy than the process of the bailiff’s roll, who ought to do nothing more in this matter than to receive the amerciaments of the said pleas according to the assessments of the mayor and jurats,” etc.

But although the rights of the Abbot in Fordwich were thus clearly set forth, there was continual friction between the Abbot or his representative and the Mayor, one of the most fertile sources of dispute between them being the exclusive right of the Stour fishery. The Mayor, Jurats, and Coinmonalty contended that the weir nets, set opposite to the town quay, were the property of the town, in which the Abbot had no claim whatever. The Abbot, on the other hand, fully sensible of the excellence of the Fordwich trout, was not disposed to give up his right, as lord of the manor, to participate in the advantages derived from the use of these weir nets. This particular matter of strife was to some extent set at rest by a compromise effected in the 3rd of Henry IV., 1401, whereby the Abbot was



*Behind him stalks

            Another monster not unlike himself,

Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar called

A Catchpole.”

Philips’s Splendid Shilling, 1703.






allotted the net next to the mill, presumably the best place. But differences were continually arising, which occasionally reached such a head that appeal was made to the Lord Warden. The following is a specimen of the way in which the Mayor and Jurats attempted to obtain the intervention of the Warden in some case where their liberties were endangered by the encroachments of the Abbot. It is a copy of a petition to the Duke of Gloucester, Lord Warden of the Ports, neatly written on a narrow strip of parchment, but we cannot learn from the petition exactly what the particular grievance complained of was:—


Unto the right high and mighty prince and our right gracious lord the Duke of Gloucester.

Besechen most mekely unto your gode grace Thomas Southland maier and the jurates of ffordwich one of the members of the v portes of the which ye ben speciall protectour and defendour that when divers variances were betwix the Abbot of Seynt Austyn’s of Canterbury and your said suppliantis ther where­upon compromytted to the reule of iiij of your counseill by your gode grace thereto assigned. And if the said iiij of yor counseill of the said variaunces myght not accord then thei to abyde the reule of your highnesse as of the seid variaunces so that ye shuld make a reule and award therein by the fest of the purificacon of our lady next commyng the which iiij men have seen the evidence of both the seid p’ties and none end therein have made and ther tyme is worn out and now it is fully your high reule and judgement. Wherefor your seid beseechers in the most lowly wise besechen you of your highness and gode grace seth your tyme approcheth and wereth out in hast that ye wold of your seid gode grace in confirmacon of the ryght of your seid members as ye that have it and all the remenaunt of portes in your high reule and gouvernannces to see that the seid Abbot overlede him not in wrong and them disherit of their fraunchise the which thei and their predecessoures at all tymes hav had, for it is the seid Abbotte’s entent (that the time?) to you prefixed shuld were out and he thanne to be at large and out of bond after the which he wold sp’ally labour to the utter undoing of your seid besechers but that ye of your seid grace wold make a reule the premisses or elles to order the seid Abbot to obey the reule of other by you to be assigned may by likelihede make end of the seid matter and this in reve­rence of God and in wey of cherites. And your seid besechers shall pray God for your very high estate.


It is difficult to decide the exact date of this petition, owing to the fact that two Dukes of Gloucester filled the office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in the fifteenth century. Probably this petition was addressed to the popular Duke Humphrey, who was made Warden in 1416 by his brother Henry V., and who died in 1447. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, afterwards King Richard III., was Lord Warden for a short period only.

One Thomas Southlond was mentioned in the year 1457 in his brother William Southlond’s will, printed in Arch. Cant., Vol. XI., p. 372. In 1456, he was “presented,” in the Mayor’s Court, for keeping a savage dog. That Thomas Southland died in 1482, and his will is extant in the Archidiaconal Register at Canterbury, lib. iii., fol. 24, but the Mayor mentioned in the petition may have been his father.

The costs attendant upon litigation of this kind appear to have been shared by the other Ports, for in the Romney Town Accounts for the year 1451 we find the following






entry: “Paid 18s. 2d. to the men of Fordwych for our share of a certain suit by them made against the Abbot of St. Augustine’s for their liberties.” This may possibly refer to the very suit mentioned in the above petition.

The closing of the north mouth of the Wantsum about the middle of the fifteenth century or a little later, and the silting up of Sandwich Haven, caused a rapid decline in the trade of Fordwich. The town accounts for the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (as far as they are preserved) prove that the resources of the corporation were very limited at this period; and Leland, writing in the reign of Henry VIII., can only say of the place, “here ys a pore mayer.”

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries matters seem to have mended somewhat, for in 1635 the town books shew that there were ten freemen of the town who could describe themselves as “gentlemen.” In 1673, thirty-four householders paid the Hearth Tax, the principal contributors being Thomas Norton and Mrs Elizh Darrell, each of whom paid for thirteen hearths. Eight poor householders were excused from payment. The mayors were no longer the poverty-stricken officials of Leland’s time, but were generally men of substance, and sometimes members of well-known Kentish families. That Fordwich was of some importance to Canterbury, even at the beginning of the present century, is proved by the price of coals at Fordwich Quay being regularly quoted in the local papers of that date. The last blow to this survival of former activity was probably dealt by the opening of the Whitstable and Canterbury Railway about 1830. The Corporation was recruited frequently from gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who, although not actually resident within the Liberty, were anxious to preserve the continuity of its ancient traditions, until the ruthless Municipal Reform Act of 1883 cut its slender thread of life.



1292    John Maynard (1).                                            1510    Thomas Caswell.

1303    Richard Atchurch.                                             1511    John Darrell.

1311    Alexander Rays.                                               1513    John Cosyn.

1313    Alexander Curteys.                                           1514    Christopher Bentley.

1376    Adam Shoterick.                                              1515    George Roberd (5).

1377    John Calewe.                                                    1520    Robert Hylde.

?date.  Thomas Southland (2).                                      1522    John Cosyn.

1452    James Hope.                                                    1530    Thomas Norton (6).

1461    John Fantyng.                                                   1537    Stephen May.

1465    Christopher Bentley.                                         1539    Thomas Norton.

1466    John Gye.                                                         1547    Richard Donut.

1467    John Fantyng.                                                   1552    Valentine Norton (6).

1476    William Stokes.                                                1553    John Fisher.

1480    Christopher Beverley (3).                                  1561    John Johnson (7).

1496    Robert Cooke.                                                 1562    Valentine Norton.

1499    William Maycott (4).                                         1563    John Lukyn (7½).

1501    William Martyn.                                                1567    John Williamson.


* Notes on the Mayors follow after the end of this List.



What follows is the raw OCR text – I’ll edit it when I get time… RG





1572     Thomas Conntrey (8).                                        1607    Robert Darrell (15).

1575    Anthony May.                                                     1668    Thomas Johnson (d. April 2, 1670).

1577     Thomas Conntrey.                                              1669    Thomas Bigg.

1578    Valentine Norton.                                                    1670    Thomas Boycote.

1579    George Bigg (9).                                                    1672    Thomas Boycote.

1581    Anthony May (10).                                                1673  James Baron.

1583     John Elmer.                                                          1674    James Baron.

1585    Anthony May.                                                        1675  Francis Jull.

1591    Thomas Long.                                                        1676    Francis Jull.

1599    Valentine Norton.                                                    1677  Thomas Boycote.

1603    Henry Johnson (7).                                                1678 Thomas Pilcher (16).

1604    Richard Lukine.                                                    1679   Thomas Pilcher.

1606    Walter Bigge.                                                        1680    Anthony Jennings (17).

1609    Richard Lukine.                                                    1682    Thomas Norton (re-elected

1611    Henry Johnson.                                                                yearly until 1686).

1613    Walter Bigg.                                                        1686    Thomas Pilcher.

1616    Henry Johnson.                                                    1687    Thomas Pilcher.

1617    Thomas Norton (6).                                            1688    Thomas Jennings (re-elected

1620    Simon Harlestone (11).                                                    yearly until 1694).

1621    Walter Bigge.                                                        1694    Thomas Alleyn.

1630    Thomas Harlestone (11).                                        1695    Thomas Alleyn.

1631    Thomas Harlestone.

1632    Simon Harlestone.  

1633    Capt. Thomas Harlestone.         1631  ,,         ,,

   1696 Thomas Underdown (18).

           1697  ,,

j63~   1698 John Graydon (19).

          163~  ~,       ~,       ,, 1699         ,,        ,,

          1636 Anthony May (d. July 2,1637). 1700     ,,        ,,

1637 Simon Harlestone (11).     1701 Thomas Jennings.

1638 John Gosner. 1702

          i63~ Edmund Young.      1703  ,,

          1640  Thomas Bix (12).   1704  Thomas Underdown.

          1641  Thomas Harlestone.        1705

          1642         ,, 1706

          164~  Stephen Thompson (13). 1707  John Bix.

          l64~         ,,  1708  ,,

          j645   John Lukin (d. Aug. 26, 1647).  1709  Thomas Underdown.

          1646  Thomas Bix.          1710  John Bix.

          16~~            1711  stephen Taylor (20).

          i6~~   Stephen Thompson.        1712  Henry Browne.

                             1713  Thomas Younge.

          1650  Richard Hall.         1714  Thomas Jennings. $

          1651  Richard Bates.       1715

          1652  William Boycote (d. Jan. 25,      1716  Stephen Taylor.

                    1653).         1717  John Bix.

          16~~  Stephen Thompson.        1718

          j654          ,, 1719  Thomas Young.

          1655  Richard Hall.         1720  John Adams.

          1656  Thomas Harleston (d. Sept. 30, 1721  John Graydon.

                    1657).         1722

          1657  Thomas Bix.          1723  ,,

          1658            1724  Thomas Young.

          1659            1725  John Graydon.

          1660  Thomas Bigg (14). 1726  Robert Austin.

          1661            1727  John Nicholls (21).

          1662  Thomas Norton.    1728

          1663            1729  William Spencer.

          1664         ,, 1732  Earl Cowper.

          1665  Thomas Lukin.      1736  Theodore Sydenham (re-elected

          1666    ,~ ,, (d.Oct.13,1667).                yearly until 1743).

          MAYORS OF FORDWICH.    89

          1743  Anthony Jennings (re-elected     1830  Friend Anthony Tomlin.

                    every year till 1764).       1831  ,,

          1764  AnthonyJennings(theyonnger)    1832  Richard Hambrook.

          1765            1833

          1766     n     1834  Charles Mead (re-elected every

          1767  John Blaxland (re-elected             ear till 1848

                    yearly until 1775).

          1775  John Woodruff.     1848  Thomas Cooper (re-elected every

          1776  Upton Jennings (re-elected                  year till 1875).

                     every year till 1785).      1875  Denne Denne, Esq. (re-elected

          1785  Anthony Jennings (re-elected               every year till 1884).

                     every year till 1830).      1884  Col. Chas. Jag. Cox.


1.       John Maynard was probably the founder (in 1317) of Maynard’s Hospital in Canterbury. Somner says that he was surnamed “Dives,” and endowed his hospital with six acres of wood called Brotherhedds Wood, in the parish of Ford­with. (See also.Kent Fines, in Arek. Cant., Vol. XIII., p. 294.)

2.       T. Southland. See page 86.

3.       Christopher Beverley owned an estate between two bnnches of the Stour, called (from previous owners) Tancrey Island. The house on the right hand of the road coming from Sturrey, arid between two bridges, is still known by this name. By the marriage of Thomas, son of William Norton of Faversham, to Beatrix, daughter and heir of William Beverley, this estate passed to the Nortons.

4.       William Maycott married Alice, daughter of John Pettit, b~whom he had a son John. By his will, proved in 1501 (Consist. Court, Jib. vii., 10), he left “to the reparacons of Fordwich church iij1’ vj’ vnjd. To every light in the churches of Sturrey and Fordwich of which there is a brodered xij°.” He also mentions Anthony Maycot of Reculver, who died in 1532.

5.       George Roberd, died in 1553 (will at Cant. Archdeacon’s Reg., 30., 1) leaving property at Hawkhurst. Of his daughters, Margaret married Walter Bigg of Fordwich, and Johauna married Gervase Carkeredge. $

6~ Thomas Norton (nephew of John Norton of Northwood in Milton), by his wife Beatrix Beverley, was the father of Valentine Norton (Mayor in 1552 and 1562); and Valentine, by his wife Isabella Hodgson, had a son Thomas Norton, who was Mayor in 1617. Aphra, daughter of the last-named Thomas Norton, married Henry Hawkins of Nash Court, in Boughton Blean, and died in 1605-6, aged 21. There is in Fordwich Church a monumental brass to her memory. Her father (Mayor in 1617) died in 1625.

7.       John Johnson, who in his will (proved 1568) describes himself as “Mer­chante,” purchased the manor of Fordwich from Sir Thomas Cheney in 1553, and took up his abode there, having formerly resided at Nethercourt, in St. Peter’s, Thanet. His son Paul Johnson married Margaret, daughter of Peter Heyman of Selling, by whom he had a numerous family. One of the sons, named Henry, was Mayor of Fordwich in 1603. Hasted says that Paul’s son Timothy alienated the manor of Fordwich to Elizabeth, widow of Sir Moyle Finch, and the manor house to Thomas Faramore, in the reign of James I. The house had been the residence of the Abbot’s bailiff previous to the dissolution of St. Augustine’s Abbey, and was known as Hemp Hall. From the Paramores it passed to the Crispes of Quex, in Birchington, and thence by marriage to Robert Darrell, Mayor of Fordwich in 1667; it is now the Rectory.

7j.      John Lukyn, in 1562, made his will “intending to over the seas to New-haven in the Queens Majestys affairs ;“ the will was proved in the following year. By his wife Thomasine, he left two sons, John and Thomas.

8.       Thomas Conntrey died in 1603, leaving by his wife Bennetta two sons, Jerome and John. He had land at Fordwich, Sturrey, and Throwley.

9.       The Biggs were clothiers from Benenden. Walter Bigg, the first of the name at Fordwich, died in 1565, leaving by his wife Margaret, the daughter of George Roberd, two sons, John and George, and a daughter, Sarah. George was Mayor in 1579; he had two sons, Walter, who died in 1631, and Stephen, who die4 in 1646, both of them were benefactors to Fordwich and Sturrey. They







were buried under an “altar tomb,” close to the chancel wall, on the south side of the churchyard, but the inscription is now almost obliterated.

10.     The Mays have continued to reside at Fordwich from the beginning of the sixteenth century until the present time, their present representative being Mr. Thomas May, who was for mauy years Water Bailiff to the late Corporation.

ii.       Simon Harlestoue was the son of the Rev. Samuel Harlestone, Rector of Ickham 1568_1616. Two of Simon’s sons were afterwards Mayors of Fordwich, Thomas ~ü 1630, and Simon in 1632. The pedigree of the Harlestones is given in

~ Cai~t., Vol. iv., from PhilipOt’s Visitation, .1619. The seat 0f the Harlestofles in Fordwich was called Hermesl~d, and stood upon the site now occupied by Fordwich Uonse.

12.     The Bix family owned property at Linsted as early as the middle of the fifteenth cent~y. The Fordwich branch carried on the trade of coal merchant. In 1647 Thomas Bix was fined SOs. for allowing Nathaniel Denne, of the City of canterbury, to unload three score chaldron of coals at his private coalyard, and contrary to his oath as Freeman, etc., “It being a precedent the like whereof hath not been knowne or suffered here since the memory of man.” (Book of Decrees.)

13.     Stephen Thompson, during his MayoraltY~ was committed to prison by the Guestling assembled at New Romney, for refusing to pay what was due from the Town th the purse of the Ports.

14.     Thomas Biggs by his will, proved 1670, left a yearly sum of 50s. to the poor of Fordtch.

15.     Robert Darrell, son of James Darrell, and grandson of John Darrell of Cale Hill (see Arch. Cctnt., Vol. XVII., p. 48). He married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Crispe of Quex, through whom he became possessed of the house at Fordwich, which had formerly been the property of the JohnsOns and Fara­mores. He thed June 13th, 1668, and there is a flat stone to his memory in the Chancel of Fordwich Church. His daughter and heir was married to Col. Samuel Short, who succeeded him in the house at fordtch.

16.     Thomas Filcher married Mary, daughter of Thomas HarlestOne. He died

1692, and was buried in the Church. Arms: tgent, a fesse dancetté between three torteauxes (Hasted’s Kent, vol. iii.).

~7. Anthony Jennings. The Jennings Family succeeded the I~ortons at Taucrey about the end of the seventeenth century, and continued to reside there until 1830, when ~nthouy Jennings (probably a grea~grand50n of the first Mayor of that name) died after a mayoralty of fortythree consecUtive years! a circum­stance probably without any parallel.

18.     The UnderdOwns were settled at ~irchington during the greater part of the seventeenth century. There is a memorial stone in the Church there to the memory of Thomas linderdown of Fordwich, 1709.

19.     John Graydon was Vice~Ad~ral of the ~ite. In 1702 he was with Sir George Rooke at the taking of Vigo. He purchased Hermesland of the OsbOrnes, and pulled down the old house which bad long been the seat of the Harlestone family, and rebuilt it in the Queen Anne style; it is now known as Fordwich House. In 1709 the Admiral was disfranchised for not attending Sessions of Gaol delivery (Book of Dec~ees),but he was soon afterwards entreated to return to the Corporation~ and in proof of his good will towards the ton, he presented the Corporation with a handsome silver_gilt mace (Hasted’s Kent). He died in 1725, and was buried at Westbere. Aims: Azure, three otters, each holding in its month a fish argent.

20.     Stephen Taylor. In the transcripts of the Pordtch Registers at Can­terbury, the following entry appears: “1739. Stephen Taylor, a ragged jurate of Fordwich, was buried July 9th.”

21.     John Nicholls, Rector of Fordwich 17141741. He had pretously been Curate of Eastchurch, Minister of Harty, and Vicar of Sheldwich. Soon after the accession of the House of Hanover, h~ preached a sermon at Fordwiot so full of Jacobitish sympathies~ that he was for a time suspended from bi~ benefice. By his wife Martha, daughter of Robert Cumberland, Vicar of CEll ham, he had two daaghters~ Catherine married to Thomas Mantell of Chilham and Mary the wife of John Woo&uff of Fordwich. He died 1741, and we buried in the chancel of his Church.








by the Abbot of St. Au-






Fordwich possessed two maces, the earlier one is about 12 inches in length, and bears marks of very bad usage. On the inside of the bowl the Royal Arms are engraved, between the letters C. B., and the Cinque Port Arms are on the foot of the stem. There are no hall~mark5, but the date 1065 and the letters T. N. (Thomas Norton) are engraved round the upper part of the stem.

The large mace is of the usual eighteenth entury type, the bowl is ornamented with the letters B. 0-. B. between a crowned rose, a tMstle, a female bust, and surmounted by au arched crown, with the Royal Arms inside.. The marks are: Lion’s head erased, Britannia, the letter B (1720), and the maker’s mark N.C.

Hasted says this mace was presented to the Corporatio1i by Admiral Graydon, but there is no inscription upon it to this effect, and the Book of Decrees states that in 1720 the Corporation voted a sum of “£58 to buy a new mace.”

The seal appears to be a modern reproduction of the ancient matrix. It is engraved with a ship having one mast and a yard, and this inscrip­tion, in Lombardic characters:. Si~qill141i! Baronwim Dc Forwiz+. The maces and seal are now preserved in the Museum at Canterbury.






•~ proceedlng~ before the Mayor.

These are “finales concordic~” and date from 1216—1350 they reqwCre



~ } Records of the Mayor’s Court in the pirteenth Century.


t%iefiy recognizam~8 for small debts.

4 conveyances of the sixteenth Century.

5 conveyances of the Fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth Centuries.

a Actions in the Court for all manner of Small Debts and Petty Trespasses.

7 Papers in Law Suits. The most important being “The Corporation v.

Norton,” and relate to the exclusive right of the Corporation to the

Fishery in the Stour.

S Accounts of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries.

On Loose sheets of paper, reqniring to be arranged.

O       Inquisitiones post mortem.

The Mayor acted as Coroner “ex.offiC~~0.”

io Copy of a Charter granted to Fordwich by Charles II., being the “~nsperi­tn-us” of a Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth.

it Parchment Certilftcates which the Test and Corporation Acts exacted.

12 Letters from London, and Notices from the Lord Warden.

13 Papers relating to comparatively Modern Criminal Matters.

14 Bonds for Money and Eecognizances of Offenders (chiefly i1leg~l Fishers).

15 Records of Court of the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries.

~& Precepts calling on the Mayor to summon the Court of Quarter Session.

17 A valuable bundle, ~0ntaining the following parchments

(1)     Composition between the Mayor and ~omniona1ty and Robert Rathbrafld, Prior of Christ Church.

(2) Appointment of Bailiff (John Maycot)

gustine, temp. Edward IV.

(3)     Gravamina, Abbot of st. Augustine t,. Mayor of Fordwich.

(4)     Appointment of Attorney temp. Henry VII.

          (5)     ,,        ,,        1571.



(6)     A Table of Fees to be levied by the Cranesman, 1564.

(7)     Appointment of Bailiff by Paul Johnson, 1570.

(8)     Three “Inquisitions” as to eating flesh in Lent, dated 1563, 1603, 1604.

(9)     Assessmentt0 Highway Rate, 1663.

(10)    Two copies of a Petition from the Mayor to the Duke of Glou­cester re the Abbot of St. Augustine (with modern pencilled note

as circa 1430).

(11)    A Letter from Edward IV. to the Mayor and Barons of rordwich.


BoUND BooKs.

18 RecordS of Mayors’ Elections 1631—1729 (lacking 1712—15 and 1711).

19 “The Ancient Booke of the Decrees of the town of Fordwich” (of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).

zo Minutes of the Borough Court, 1550—1621.

21 Treasurers’ AccountS, 1718—1828.

22 Minutes of the Court, 1726—1883.

23 Mayors’ Oaths; being printed forms of an oath directed against Roman I i Catholics, filled in, and sworn to by the Mayors at the time of their

accession to office.

24 A Bible (in older binding than the text ?).

25 ChurchWardens’ Accounts, 1509~1538, containing an inventory of the church goods of Pordwich taken in 1501.

26 The Custumal, inscribed “ Custumale AntipiUm Villae de Fordwico pre­tiosissimum.”




This is a large octavo volume, written in a fifteenth-century hand, and is probably a copy of more ancient MSS. The Oustulnal itself occupies eighty-two pages,. the remaining forty-one being filled by miscellaneo~ matters, of which the following is a list

1.       An illuminated Calendar in English.*

2.       Forms of Oaths, of which the most modern specimen is addressed to the “Lord Protector.”

3.       An Agreement respecting the right of the Stour Fishery between the Mayor and CommonaltY and the Lord Abbot.

4.       A Description of the Boundaries of the Liberty of Fordwich, settled by au inquest of the four 5~~rounding hundreds, presided over by Sir Gilbert Preston, Justice in Eyre, the Constable of Dover Castle, and Sir Henry Malmaynes, Sheriff of Kent (1272) .t

5.       Four Chapters of Holy Scripture, in neat black letter, with illuminated capitals, one from each of the four Gospels.t


*        Dr. Sheppard notices that opposite the 29th day of December, where once stood the words, “Sancti Thome Martyris,” nothing but a red smear appears, some zealous Protestant having executed the obliteration at a time when the Saint had fallen into disrepute.

t The liberty extended from lFordwich to stourmouth “Nasse,” on both sides of the river, “as far as a man being in a boat at Mph water can throw an axe of


seven pounds weight, called a taper-axe, on to the land.” The word translated “throw,” is “retier “ draw, though probably (as the weight of the axe is care­fully specified) it was throwl&. A similar method was employed at Sandwich.

2 This (says Dr. Sheppard) was the “Book of the Gospels” upon which oaths were taken. It was not considered necessary that the whole Testament should be present, a specimen from each Gospel being considered sufficient to swear by. The version followed ~5 Tyndal’s second (Hat. 3122. Co~m. ~JA R~ort).


Government of the Town and Port,

6.       Regulations about the chiefly of an ultra-protectionist character.


This is a small paper book, bound in the parchment leaves of an old service book. The accounts extend from the year 1509 to the year 1538. For the first few .years the entries are remarkably clear and well written, being probably the work of a paid scribe, but afterwards his services appear to have been dispensed with, and the writing becomes almost illegible. We gather from these accounts that there were two altars; the high altar dedicated to our Lady; and St. Katharine’s altar, which stood at th~ east end of the north aisle.

In 1532 the following entry occurs among the receipts: “Item ~ for ij galons and a pynte of honey, made by the chyrche bees ij yeres, iijs vjd ob.”

In 1539 a “bybyll” was purchased for Os. (This was probably Coverdale’s translation, which appeared in 1538, with a dedication to the King.)

At the beginning of the volume is the following inventory of plate and vestments belonging to the church in 1501

Hereafter evedently appeareth the Jewelles, and gudes appertenyng to the chyrch delyvered the xijt~1 day of DecW the yere of our lord God &cccccs

by William Marty-n then being Mayer John Calway and Richard Seril wardens of the said church, John Cosyn, John Crenlyn, William hallywell, Stephen Brown, John Badcokk, Richard Itoch, Edward Barn, and William

helds parochians of the same church.

Imprimis in the Rood loft j huch strongly bound w~ yryn & a Key th’to

Item a Crosse copper gilt the foyt appertenyng thereto.

Item iiij challyces ij gilt and ij ungilt.

[ten j good massbooke, every second capitall l’re gilt.

Item j olde masboke notyd.

Item j preciouse antiphonary grete and well notyd.

Item ij porteusses 1 olde and a nother newe.

Item ij mannelles 1 olde a nother newe.

Item ij good processyonalls & 1 olde ordinall.

Item j Dirige book notyd.

Item j principall westement of Blew velvett.

Item j Cope of blewe velvet appertynyng to ye same.

Item j other vestment for doble ifestys.

Item iij vestments for other days feriali.

Itemj Coppe of grene silk.

Item ij awtre cloths w~ ij frontleys for the hye awtre.

Item ij other awtre cloths for the same awter.

Item a playne white lynnen cloth for the fonte.

T+c sj awter cloth of diaper for Seynt Kath’yn’s aivter.

Ltem ij awtre clothes of playn cloth for knyte awter.

T.tem a Bassyn and a layer of latten.

.tem a towell of diaper for howselying (contenyng in length vi yerds).

‘‘i jj Towells one of diaper & one of pleyn cloth for the lettron.

a ~•sina1l towels of Diaper for the lavatory.

ii iij stay-ned cloths for iij Awters feble.

n j cotton for the Sacrament.

1 aj oldo pyllows covered with silke for the hye awtre.





Item ij Candlestyks of latton for ye same awtre.

Item a hole water stope of latton.

Item ij olde shettes.

Item iij corporax w~ the easements thereto.

Item a bagge of Canvasse to put in the best vestments.

Item a Senser of olde latton wt a shippe thereto.

Item (sic) Cruetts.

Item ij Bannr cloths one of Seynt George a nother of Seynt X’tofer. Item iiij olde Bannr cloths.

Item Leche (9) bell.

Item ij sacryng Bells.

Item a Lent cloth feble. Item ij slevyd surples.

Item ij Rotchetts.

Item a nolde chysable.

Item ij olde paxes.

Item a canape stayned for the Sacrament.

Item a pynne of silver a chapitre for the massebuke at hye awtre.

The londis apparteneyng unto the Cross light.

Imprimis in Bushingbury vj acr lying between the lands of

          Thos. Bentley and John Penny, p’cm (precium)      v d.

                    Item in Crofte of Philip Cosyng j aer p’cm   xviij d.

                    Item in p’ych (parish) of Westbere j acre of medowe p’c~’ ..     xx d.

                   Here ffolwith the weight of the iiij chalisse~ in ye Church of


                    Jmprirnis a chalis wt the paten doble gilt wt this scriptour in

                     the uppmost parte “Calicem Salutaris accipiam et nomen

                     Domini invocabo” and wt this scriptour in the foyte “Orate

            H       pro anima Joh’is ffreningham~ et pro bono statu Johann~

                     nuper uxoris dicti Johannis” and w~ this scriptour about the

                     paten “Benedicamus patrem et ffliuni cum saucto Spiritu.”

                     In ye foyt of ye chalis an ymage of the c’ciflx ynameld, and

                     wtin the Paten ane ymage of ye Trinite ynameld. The weight

                     of the said chalis wt ye paten is                  xvj      unc. iiij dt

                    Item a nother chalis giltyd wt yn the brym and wt oute w~ a

                     paten thereto being gilt, and yn the foyte of ye chalis is

                     graven this scriptour “Orate pro anima Johannis Swerder.”f

           H:       The weight of this chalis with paten is         x unc.

                    Item the third Chalis is wt outn gilt and the paten brym gilt

                     and also in the mydst. The weight is            ix unc. 0      d~ 1 gr.

                    Item the iiijth chalis with the paten is playne and clene gilt

          both without and within. The weight thereof is                  ix unc.

xlnij unc n~j dt




Patent inferius Redthtus et terr pertinentes ecehe beati Marie de ffordwico una cum nom’ibus eas ten entium Anno d’ni Milh’mo Qui’gentesimo p’mo

Imprimis Itoggerus Loggan holdith a Tenement by a dede paying

           yerely to this church       x d.

          Philip Cosyn holdeth a tenement paying yerely        jj d.

*        John Freningham resided in Burgate, Canterbury, and was Mayor of


that City 1462, 1468. His will, proved 1475 in the Prerogative Court at Canterbury, shews him to have been a great benefactor to the churches and religious houses in Canterbury and the neighbourhood, and amongst his

numerous bequests was one ~ to the parish cherche of ffordwich for to beye wt a new chales iiijh1.~~

H       t A Henry Swerder was residing in Canterbury in 1474.



Item a howse standing upon the hill which is called the church’s hows yelding in ferme yerely                  

Item John Caiway holdith a acre of land at the Barr of the gift

of John hoo berying by yere                  

Item 1 acre before the parsonage between the lands of the parsons

berying by the yere                        

Item John Maycott holdith a Rodde of land lying in Bushing-

bury berying by the yere                     

Item ii acres of land lieth in Westfeld of the gift of hewe

Egerley held by Rio” Serle yelding yerely          

Item iij acres of the gift of John Gye lying round by dryer (F)

Wodde next to ye holy Crosse lands held by Ric~ Serle

yelding to the church yerely                  

Item a Rodd of land lieth at rede dich (F) between the lands of X’tofer Bentley & Colman yelding to a taper to be found burnying before Seynt George, nunc tenet (John Calway*) John Bentley

MAYOR’S AccouNTs FROM BUNDLE 3 (1515).


Th’    accompts of George Roberd Mayer of the towne and porte of the lib’tys of ffordwich ifrom the fest of Seynt Andrew the Appostyll in the vijtl~ yere of

the reign of Kyng Henry the viii th unto the same fest then next ensuing.


Li. ffirst the seyd Mayer yeldeth accompt of x s. receyved of

Vincent Carpenter in p’ty payment of xiiij s. for rentyng of

ferme of the Crane                        

Item receyved of John Cosyn the resydue of the rentyng of the

Crane for Vyncent                        

Item receyved of Mr. X’tofer Bentley in p’ty of payment of the

arrerage of hys accompts                     

Item receyved of Robert hyld for Willim hoggyn in p’ty of pay;

ment of                               

Item receyved of Willim hoggyn in tymber to the reparacon of

the brigge to the value of                    

a.       Item receyved of the Com’lty in money            

Sum of the receps     

The expenses of the same Mayer in the seid year whereof he asketh allowance.

Imprimis paid for the expense upon the accomptyng day   It’m paid to James Mylys for the thachyng of the Crane housef

Pen drawn through.

f The crane upon the quay was one of the chief sources of revenue to the town. It was generally farmed, the cranesman being entitled to certain fees, which are given in the table below. And some estimate can be formed of the varying fortunes of the Port by noting the amounts received by the Corporation for the farm of the crane. Thus, in 1516, it let for only 14s.; a hundred years later, in 1616, £15 15s. ~as paid “for the favour of the crane ;“ in 1687 £25 lOs. was received; and in 1719, when the crane was not farmed, but worked by the Cor­poration itself, a profit o,f £27 9s. was made, betokening a considerable increase in the imports during the seventeenth century. For the privilege of using the crane the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury paid a yearly contribution to this Corporation of £1, which appears in the accounts under the name of the “enlis­tainment money.” Tithes of the crane were paid to the rector of the parish until about the year 1732, when the entries under this heading disappear from the town books.

          F       96      FORDWICII TOWN ACCOUNTS, A.D. 1515.

_____         I        It’m paid to the Bayly for ccc and a quarter of rede for the

_____                   Crane house         iiij s. x d.

______                 It’m paid for lathe and prig to the same         viii d.

______                 It’m paid to a persenant for bryngyng of the gudnys letter and

______                 expenses upon hym        ii 5. i~ d.

______                 It’m paid to Robert hyld and to Thomas Woodrof for an amerce­

           ment at Westt       iiij 5.

          It’m paid to Burges for Wattylls and pylys for werys*      iij s.

______       It’m paid to Eustace Goodwyn and to Grove for settyng of the

______ I werys     ‘~i d.

______       It’na paid to hoggyn and wyf for bere and drynke to them ....     iij d.


I        * The “pyleys” were stout stakes fixed in the bed of the river nearly oppo­

                      I      site to the quay, to which the weir nets were attached, for catching the Fordwich

______       trout as they ascended the river. The “wattels” were thin pieces of wood used

______       to fill up the spaces not occupied by the nets, so as to force the trout into the weirs.

______       The Fordwich trout have a great reputation, and until the late Mr. Frank I Buckland decided that they were really Salmon trout (their peculiar colour being

          F       attributable to the bed of the river), it was supposed that they constituted a

                   distinct species. Most of the Kentish writers specially mention these trout.

_______     Fuller says, “They differ from all others in many considerables, as greatness, ______ colour, cutting white instead of red when in season, cunning, not being taken

          F       I        with an angle, and abode, remaining nine months in the sea, whence they observe

          I                  their coming up almost to a day.” Somner is of opinion that “they bear away

                             the bell from all others ;“ and he calls Fordwich a place of note, as Camden

                    F      saith, in that respect (Somner, p. 25). And Samuel Pegge, in his Proverbs

                             relating to Kent, mentions them, with the remark that he supposes they continue

I        to be as good as ever, “for a noble lord’ has of late caused himself to be made I Mayor of Fordwich for the privilege, as I suppose, of having one now and then”

(Arch. Cant., IX., p. 137).

Hasted says of these trout, that “they are of silver colour speckled with black spots, and the flesh of them is of a yellowish colour; they weigh from

_______          I   4 to 10 or 12 lbs.; they are a very shy fish, insomuch that they are not often

                   taken with a drag net, and seldom or never with an hook    When these fish

                   come into the river they press forward against the stream, so that to take them

          F I     the Corporation of Fordwich place in the midst of the river    from the month

I        of May to September, from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning, a strong net F with grates on each side, through which no fish of any size can pass.”

_______     F       The contents of the weir nets were allotted to the mayor, jurats, and com­

                   monalty in turn, but the privilege was also extended to certain distinguished

_______     IF      persons outside the liberty. In 1671 the “Book of Decrees” gives the following

I        order to be observed in the night’s fishing

_______ F                     The Mayor until he takes a trout.

The Lord Viscount Cambden.

             F              The Lord Warden.

                   F       The Earl of Winchelsea and Lord of the Manor of Pordwich.2

______       ‘F                The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.

             F    F       The Lord Viscount Strangford.3

             F              Mr. William Norton.

             F              The Mayor of Sandwich.

______                          The Town Clerk of Fordwich.

          I        The Mayor of Fordwich two nights together.

          F       Then the Jurats of Fordwich and every freeman in course, as they

                 F   severally dwell according to the course of the sun, from the house

          I        of the Mayor for the time being.


______       This was Earl Cowper, who at that time (1732) resided at the Mote, in the parish of St. Martin’s, Canterbury.

          ~fl - L___11          3 A 4 Q+nnn fln,-i-r4-.




It’m paid to Stockbe ry for caryeng of wattylls and to iij men and a boy for the stour outtyng                

It’m paid for a Trought given to my lord Warden      

It’m paid for carryeng of the same trought to Grenwych   

Item paid to ij men for ij dayes work for cuttyng of the Stour

It’m paid for sawyng of tymber for. the brigge         

Item paid for a wekys bordyng                  

It’xn paid to a Carpenter for ij dayes workyng at the wode for ye Brigge                              It’m paid ij men for ij dayes leying of the Brigge for mete and wage                                  It’m paid to Robert hyld for caryenge iij loads of tymber to the brygge                                

It’ni paid for storgyng of logge

It’m paid for tymber to Mr. Turbervyl             

It’m paid for mendyng of ye woodyn brigge          

It’m paid to Eustace for hys wage this yerb           

It’m paid for the Contrybucon to Sandwych          

It’m paid to Robert hylde forrn carryenge of lvj loads of gravell to the brigge                            

It’m paid the Bodell for cartyng of ye seid gravell       

It’m paid to the Ward for ij courtes and ij ILawdayes    

It’m for wrytyng of this accompt                 


S’m thexpenses iij li. xj s. v d. ob.


And so the said Com’lty remaynes in dett unto the seid Mayer in xix s 1 d


Ax ORDER AND RATE made the Sixteenth day of March in the Sixth yeare of the reign of our Sovereign ILadye ELIZABETH by the Grace of God of

England of Fnn~e and of Ireland Quene, By the Mayor & Jurattes of ffordwich for fees to be paid to the Cranesman there for Cranage Wharfage

Meatynge and houseing of all manner of Come Grayne Wyne Wood and all other marchandise and goods

  Fyrst for Cranage of every tunne of wyne    vnj d

For every bunnet of oyle and salte       j d ob

For every bunne of salmon ifyshe        d ob

~ For every bunne of other merchandise       d ob

 For every bunne of vinegar broken wine       viij d

~        For every draught of grane under a tunne weight after the said

          rate as agreed with the Craneman         Vii) d

For every draught of every hundred hoppes  ob

  r every 100 weight of lyme or Leade  ob.

2or every packe of lynnen or wollen cloth after the rate of vnj s

 thetun         vnjd

For Cranage for stone for every tonne vnj d

~tthe stone be more than a tonne then to pay xij d.

tej~ynge. It. for all manner of Come and Grane taken in or

delivered of any lyghter or boate wtin the liberties of ffordwich

being forreners goodes for every v quarters   vj d ob

for every weyt of salt or chaldron of coles wtin the liberties

emg forreners goods       vj d.

for all come salte and cole being forrene goods put or to be

1t to sale that ys to saye for come v d. for every twenty ~~rters for salt for every weyt and for cole for every chaldron iiij d.


~tu the Canterbury Town Accounts we read “Solut’ Will Faunt pro 10 le Bunne duplicis Berisie xviij d” (Hist MSS Co’nim lWmth Report,

          98      FOBDWICH WHAILFAGE FEES, A.D. 1564.

Wliarfage. for every hundred of salted ifyshe iiij d.

 ifor every bade of freshe fysh   iiij d.

 ifor every tonne of Tome being forene goods         vj d.

 ifor every tonne of Tome being freemen’s goods   iiij d.

 ifor every bade of stone bryke or tyle ij d.

 ifor every Card of herryngs      ob.

 ifor every barrel of herryngs and other salted fyshe in barrels     1 d.

 ifor every bade of marchandise not named   ij d.

 Ifor every bade of haye being forrene godes ij d.

 ifor every hundred of deale Bourdes   xij d.


 for the houseings of all manner of come grayne on the owners

  chardge for evere quarter being there xiiij dayes j d. and for

  less tyine for evere quarter ob  j d.

 for wyne oyle herrynges Salmon vynnegar for the bade as is

  aforesaid    ij d.

Caryadge for evere bade of merchandise carryed by townsmen on

  the brydgo or from the common key   j d.

                   carryed by forene cartes  ii d.

 for evere bade over the brydge not laded or unladed at the corn-

  monkey     ijd.

 for every bade of wood or tymber brought into the towne over

  the brydge by forene carts being freemen’s goods ob.

          V       of forrene wood    ij d.

for every wagon bryngyng of barley or other come after vij

          quarters vj d. the bridge ij d       viij d.



Yt is ordered that no freemen suffer or permit any forrener to bade or unlade any wood tymber stone bryke or tyle or other marchandise on his ground except the forrener first agree and pay the Cranesman as ys abovesaid for wharf-age uppon paine of forfeyting xij d. for every bade so laide to the losse of the towne. Yt is also ordered by the saide Mayor and Jurattes that no person or personnes whatsoever he or they be bryng any large fl’agottes to the said towne to be sold unless every of the said faggottes conteyn in length eight foot and a haubf and weigh one bushell and a haulf of barlye, and also that evere singell bat allowed in the place of one or two faggotts shall be of the weight aforesaid and shall conteyn in length twelve feet not above, and that evere bat for tymber or tymber above that length shall conteyn in weyght after the rate aforesaid upon payne of forfeyture of such wood not conteyning weight aforesaid.



December the 15th 1642.

Whereas some differeitée hath bin touching the wharfage of wood. It was ordered on the day and year above sayed by a generall consent, that evere forrener shall pay twopence the loads and every fl’reeman three halfpence a lode for wharfage of wood.





FmtDwIcH, A.D. 1462.

Edward by the grace Of God King of England and of France Lord of Ireland. To our trusty and well beloved the Mayor of Fordwich within our shire of Kent gretyng. Forasmuch as we be divers means ben credibly informed and under. standen for certaine that, our grete~ adversary Henry namyng himself King of England by the malicious counsaill and e vatacion of Margaret his wif namyng herself Queen of England hath conspired accorded concluded and determined Wt oure outward enemies as web of ifrance and Scotland and of others divers countrees that our seid outward enernyes in grete number shall in all haste to thayme possible enter into this our reaume of England to make in the same such




cruel horrible and mortaili war depopulation robbery and manslaughter as here­tofore hath not been used among eristen people, and with all wales and means to thayme possible to destroie utterly the people the name the tongue and all the blood English of this our reaume. Insomuch that in the said conspiracie amonges other thinges it is agreed and accorded by our saide adversare moved thereto by the malicious and subtle suggestion and entisments of the said malicious woman Margaret his wife that in case they shall nowe performe this thair malicious and cruell ppes (purposes) which God defend that than his oncle Charles de Angieu Wt other ffrenshmen shall have the doininacion rule and governaunce of this reaume above said, and over that amonges other wiked and detestable thyngis attempted in this partie by the said Henry and Margaret his wife to the entent that our saide outwa.rde enemies of ifrance and Scotland should ye rather condescend and applie thamme thair malicious entent and to ye destruction of this our lande the same Henry our adversare hath granted and sent unto our adversarie Dowke Be Valois namyng himself King of

ffrance a renunciacion and relesse of the right and tale that the crowne of England hath unto the reaume and crowne of fl’rance, and also to the duchie

and countrees of Guyenne and Normandie of Ingieu and Mayn Caleis and Guynes w~ their marches and appurtenances and over that hath granted to the same extent to the Scotts not only the town and capitoll of Berewik nowe by his

connivance had and ocupied by the same Scottis but also a grete part of this oure reaume of England which thingis above rehersed wel and diligently con­sidered it openly apperith that the said Henry and Margaret his wif are not onely

to us but also to all this our reaume and all our trew pôople of same mortall and cruell enemyes, We entending with all our might and power to resiste ye grete crueltie and malicious purpose of oure said adversarie and enemyes, and therein in no wise to spare our person body or goods nor to refuse any adventure jeo­pardie or p’rll for the tuicion and defense of this oure reaume and oure trewe subjectis of the same, Desire and pray you in the most speciall wise that ye immediately on the receipt of these our letters make to be called and assembled before you all the persons whereof mention is made in the instrument within these inclosed and declare unto them the above said malicious furious and cruell intent of our said adversarie and enemie, and over that on our behalf exhort induce and pray them with such gentill language and words of benyvolence as shall thought to you to be behovef nil that they for the defense and suretie

-        of thayme sels and of all this land and in the shewing of the grete and horrible miseries and inconveniences above rehersed wol at this time in this most grete and. urgent necessite shew efficiently and in ded their good willis, zele and affection that they have unto us to the comune well of this land and prosperite of thayme seis and that unto the releiwyng and supportation of the grete charges expenses and. costes that we must of necessite daily heve in this partie they and everich of thayme wol grante unto us of thaire goodnesse and free wille sum

-        certaine some of money such as they shall nowe heve w’oute thaire hurte or grevaunce lating thayme wit for certaine that we have wel in oure fresh and Lender remembrance the grete and manyfold charges that they here before have borne and that if we might by any means otherwise do we wold not at this time anything desire to thaire charge trusting nevertheless so much in their good Epositions and discretions that they wol not suffer wilfully all this our reaume rid thayme sels also to perish and utterly be destroyed. Considering namely tt we desire no thing of thayme by way of imposition compulsion or of pre­dent or example thereupon hereafter to be taken but all onely of thaire humanite L good will putting and grounding our truste in ye infinite goodnesse grace L righteousness of Almighty God, which herebefore in juste battaille by victory I confusion of oure enemeyes hath declared openly and in dede for oure ±ly to behave us and so from all such perilles and miseries preserve and tid thayme and all this oure land that in fewe days they shall have cause to

that they never herebefore better beset or spended any money and over ~ your direction and more speedy execution of the matter we send unto ~ertaine instruments herein within inclosed. Desiring and right specially ~‘ you that ye according to the same wol diligently and effectually labour


and entend to the accomplishment of our desire in this behalf, And that ye I aille not so to doo as ye desire the welfare prosperite and suretee of us youre sels and all this oure lande. Given under oure prive seal at oure towne of Stamford the xiij day of Marche. The second yere of our reyne (1462).



This is a very interesting document, since it must be one of the very earliest efforts of Edward to obtain money by the crafty system of “benevolences,” whereby, says the chronicler of Croy­land, “each man gave to the king what he pleased, or rather what he did not please.” The fears of the good men of Fordwich are most judiciously worked on, and that they had good reason to fear the allies of Queen Margaret must have been brought home to them by the sacking of Sandwich, less than five years previously, by the French, under the Marshal de Brézé. Berwick was surren­dered to the Scots by Henry, April 25th, 1461.

The seal on the back of this letter has almost entirely dis­appeared, except the “Fleurs tie igs of France.”

Fordwich had its Pageant in former days. In the Book of Decrees we find the following entry: “An inventory taken the 12th day of dec” An~° 1566 of the apparrell appertynyng to the King and Quene of ffordwich:

ane cloke garded w~ velvett.

a Jacket of velvet imbradered w~ silver lace.

ij velvet cappes w~ laces about them.

a pare of bryches imbradered w~ silver lace.

a cyrtyll of tafytas brawded w~ silver lace.

a pare of saten sleaves.

a pece of satyn imbrawdery.

that the xth day of April 1570 all the foresayd apparell was left in the

custody and keeping of Anthony May Juratt by the Mayor and Juratts of

the towne of Fordwich.


18 00


04 00

01 00








1579 Item towards the young men’s expenses for their pastymes vj s. viij d.

                   Item for the Serjant his wages    x s.

          1616  For the favour of the Crane                 xv li. xv s.

                   Item to the good wit~ turner for Salve     vj d.

                       (Six other entries of the same kind this year.)

                   Item to the Duke of Lynox his trumpeters the 3~ of April  ij s.

                   Item to the Drumer for drynk     ij s. ij d.

                   Item for vj quartes of Claret wine        iij 5.

                   Item to the Queen’s players the 16th September      vii s.

          1620  Item rec” for ye intertainment money from Christchurch

                    Canterbury  xx s.

          1639  In this year the Crane was farmed for £16 lOs. The whole

                    receipts for the year amounted to £38 Os. Od      

          1648  Item the Widd howse for part of the yeavale house 00

                   Willyam Wootton for putting the fences about the yeavale

                    house         03

                   Watching the Lord Warden’s nights*  00

*        This refers to the weir nets. The Lord Warden had his turn at these nets, but, as he was an absentee and unable to look after his own interests, it was necessary to watch the nets on his nights, lest the trout should be stolen.



Item 28 November to M~ lDenn for his fee for his counsell

          confirming the Crane duties       00      10      00

          To Arnall for mending the whipping post      00      03      04

The total receipts for the year 1649 amounted to £34 4s. 6d. Disbursements £33 3s. Id.



Given to a decayed gentleman . 00 01 00

Spent at ye Sergants upon those that took Thomas Graff ham 00 04 06

          For putting on ye fetters  00 00 06

          To W Lovelace for his fee         01 00 00

          To 1W May for adjourning ye sessions         00 04 00

          For buxnin~ of ye man*  00 02 00

For two proclamations on concerning a book called God and

                    ye King, ye other about spices  00 05 06

                   For a proclamation concerning Lent    00 02 00

                   For a letter about ye smoak moneyt     00 02 06

                   For a new casement and glazing ye courthall  00 09 00

                   For two proclamations ye on concerning all Jesuit and

                    popish priests, ye other about transporting cloth into

                    Germany and ye low countreys 00 05 00

                   Given a man whose tongue was cut out in Turkey   00 01 00

                   May 14th. For 3 horses to Sandwich   0 12 0

                   For our expenses there    0 19 0

                   Given to a poor redeemed slave 0 1 0

                   Spent goeing down ye river to ketch a trout for ye Recorder       0 17 6

                   Angst 16th• To Counsellor Finch for his fee at Hythe..      1 0 0

                   For our dinner there         1 6 6

          •        For our horses standiiig   0 7 6

                   For our dividend for 1W Finches horse        0 1 6

                   For our horse hyers         1 12 0

                   To 1W May for comming and severall times to examine ye

                     towne chest for writings concerning ye compositiont..     0 6 0

                   To Goodman Moyse for lines for ye netts     0 16 0

                   For our composition money      1 0 0

                   For a messenger to carry it        0 2 0

          •        To 1W May for adjourning ye Court Leet     0 4 0

                   To 1W May for his horse and his fees to Hythe      1 8 0

                   To keeping a court of record since Michaelmas last 0 5 4

For drawing and engrossing ye securities to 1W Bigge being

                very long         1        10 0

              For engrossing 1W Finches award in the towne book   0        2 6

               Spent when I went down the river to gett a trout for ye

                Judges upon ye entreaty of Sir Thos. Payton    1        0 0

          1664 March 12. Pd Browne for whiping Christopher Streeter      0        1 0

          For a proclamation to banish any persons that were in any

                of the rebellious armies out of London    0        2 6

               April. Given to Captaine Hopton being one that lost all by

                serving his Majesty    0        2 6

               For my expenses to recover the annuall rent of one round

                by ye yeare for the Deane and Prebends  1        0 0

               To the Imprest men    0        7 6

               For a prochmation for no commerce with Holland       0        2 0

               To Abraham Bradford for being imprest  0        3 6

               Paid to ye guard at Dover Castle when 1W Norton and I

                went to return Beakesbourne’s answer to ye aforesaid orders         0        2 0

            ~d Thomas Jones and Edward Ellis for goeing down ye

                 river on information that Westbere men were gone a

           •____fishing         0        2  0

          * Branding (9).      t The “Hearth tax.”

~        This was the annual contribution to the Head Port (Sandwich); previous

1.563 this amounted to 35. 4d., in that year it was increased to £1.





Sept 14th• Paid for ye King’s declaration for ye opening of Churches in London for ye receipt of goods and for ye sending up provisions to London for ye supply of ye inhabitants together with a proclamation for ye keeping of markets every day at Tower Hill and Smithfield

~d William Man Esq~ for his fee as our Recorder     

Oct. 25th~ Thomas Meade asketh his salarie as serjeant....

Paid for ye cloath for his cloake as by bill appeareth   

For ye lace upon ye cape                    

For ye making and ye inside materials, etc        

To M” Randolph for his fee as muster master        1665 June 6th~ For a proclamation for a thanksgiving for a

victory against the Dutch*                  July 8th~ For a proclamation for a fastt           For a proclamation prohibiting Bartholmey faire, and for

removing His Majesty’s Exchequer from London to Nonsuch                            

To two distressed gentlemen that had the Duke of Ormond’s pass                               

For a proclm~~ to summon the Parlmt to Oxford       Septr. For our expenses at Deale when we went to wait on ye governour                         

1666 March 21~. Given to a couple of released prisoners yt were taken by ye Dutch when ye Charity was lost       For a proclmn for a fast on ye 14thi of June          June 17th• Allowed ye ringers upon ye news of a victory over ye Dutcht                         Paid Robert Farrist for foure weare nets                   ~d four an order from Colonell Strode~ for ye stopping of private men of warre if they come into any harbour

1668  Sept. It. five horse hire to Dover   •           Gave the Duke’s servants                   

16~4 Expenses at the George when the Stourmouth men com­pounded for their unjust fishing with M’ Whitfield Two proclamations against Papist and other recusants

1675  The acc&mptant craves the allowance sollery being     Item the Sergants sollery                   

1685 It. when Mary Manger was whipt pd Edw. Browne for whipping her                         

1689  For a trowte weighing 10 lbs. for W Sergeant Denne

1694  Paid for a letter from the Speaker to raise the militia Paid two messengers to give Bekesbourne. and Sane notice thereof                              Paid for a proclamation for apprehending the Earl of Scars­dale, the Earl of Litchfield, the Lord Griffin, the Earl of Middleton, and other great persons that fled       Spent at Grove Ferry when we tooke the men that were Robbing the river and at ffordwich when we returned as by bill                              Spent when we went to catch a dish of fish for our Recorder

1695  Recd for the warfage of 14 loads of shells for Admiral Rooke ~d M~ Mayer his salary for the year 1695         



~        At Solebay (off Lowestoft) June 3rd. t During the Plague of London. In July the deaths were

but this number increased to 10,000 in September.

~        June 1 to 4 in the Downs, the victory was a doubtful one. § Governor of Dover Castle.