Harbledown (St. Michael)
HARBLEDOWN (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Bridge, hundred of Westgate, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 1 mile (W. S. W.) from Canterbury; containing 764 inhabitants. It comprises 1627a. 23p., of which 802 acres are arable, 316 pasture, and 509 woodland; the scenery is interesting. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 2. 6., and in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury: the incumbent's tithes have been commuted for £424, and the glebe comprises 10 acres; there is also a rent-charge of £55 payable to the archbishop. The church is a venerable structure. In the parish is a very ancient hospital, called originally the Hospital of the Forest of Bleane, and subsequently, of St. Nicholas of Harbledown, which latter name it still retains. It was founded by Archbishop Lanfranc, in 1084, for the reception of lepers of both sexes, for whom there were separate establishments, and so remained till the Dissolution, when its revenue was valued at £109. 7. 2.; it became in the reign of Edward VI. a college, or asylum for decayed persons, under the patronage of the archbishop, and has now a revenue increased by various donations to about £250. The establishment is for a master, fifteen in-brothers, as many in-sisters, and the same number of out brothers and sisters. The hospital was rebuilt in the reign of James II., and is chiefly of brick; the chapel, dedicated to St. Nicholas, was formerly parochial, and is a curious edifice in the Norman style, with a square tower at the south-west angle.