Eastry (St. Mary)
EASTRY (St. Mary), a parish, and the head of a union, partly in the hundred of Downhamford, but chiefly in that of Eastry, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 2¾ miles (S. W. by S.) from Sandwich; containing 1629 inhabitants. During the Saxon era this place appears to have been held in royal demesne. It received from Henry VI., in the 28th year of his reign, the grant of a market on Tuesday, and a fair on the festival of St. Matthew, Sept. 21st: the fair is at present held on the 2nd of October, and is principally for the sale of horses, sheep, and pigs. The village is situated on the road from Sandwich to Dovor, by Waldershare. The parish consists of 2715 acres, of which 32 are in wood. The living is a vicarage, with that of Worth annexed, valued in the king's books at £19. 12. 1.; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The great tithes have been commuted for £910, and the vicarial for £310; the impropriate glebe comprises 52a. 1r., and the vicarial 3 roods, attached to the vicarage-house. The church is a spacious and handsome edifice, consisting of a nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower, and appears to have been built in the 12th century; it contains a tablet to the memory of Capt. John Harvey, who was mortally wounded in the action on the 1st of June, 1794, when holding the honourable post of second to Earl Howe, commander-in-chief. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Six almshouses were built (and endowed with £2000 three per cent. consols.) by the late Wm. Fulke Greville, Esq., in 1834, on an eligible plot of land provided by voluntary contributions; and in the year following, Mr. Greville made a donation of £666. 13. in the same stock, directing the dividends to be divided between two aged inhabitants. Near the village is a commodious edifice formerly the house of industry for 16 united parishes; of late, spacious buildings have been added, and it is now the workhouse for the union of Eastry, which comprises 30 parishes, and contains a population of 23,928. Not far from the church is Eastry Court, an old mansion, in which Thomas à Becket, after his flight from Northampton in 1164, concealed himself for eight days before he embarked at Sandwich for France: it has the remains of a chapel. In 1792, on digging a cellar in a garden on the east side of the turnpike-road between Eastry Cross and Butsole, a burial-ground was discovered, probably of Roman origin, in which, on opening several graves, were found skeletons, fibulæ, beads, umbones of shields, and other relics, and in one a glass vessel. Henry de Eastry, first a monk, and then prior, of Christ-Church, Canterbury, and noted for his superior learning, was a native of the parish.