Higham (St. Mary)

HIGHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of North Aylesford, hundred of Shamwell, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (N. N. W.) from Rochester; containing 777 inhabitants. A nunnery of the Benedictine order, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded here, before 1151, by King Stephen, whose daughter Mary, afterwards abbess of Romsey, became one of the nuns; it was suppressed by Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, in the 13th of Henry VIII., and given by the king to St. John's College. The parish comprises 2994a. 2r. 17p., of which 1397 acres are arable, 987 pasture, 78 meadow, 100 woodland, 23 in hop plantations, and 150 in gardens and orchards. Gad's Hill, mentioned by Shakspeare in his play of Henry IV., is within its limits. The river Thames bounds the parish on the north, and the Gravesend and Rochester railway is conducted into the adjoining parish of Frindsbury by a tunnel two miles and a quarter in length. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 10.; net income, £518; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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