Hunton (St. Mary)
HUNTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Maidstone, hundred of Twyford, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Maidstone; containing 740 inhabitants. This place, in the reign of Henry III., belonged to Nicholas de Lenham, who obtained for the inhabitants the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair for five days, both which have long fallen into disuse. The manor afterwards passed to the Gyffords, and in the reign of Edward III. to the family of Clinton, of whose ancient mansion, the site, encompassed by a moat, is still visible near the church. On Midsummer-day, 1746, and on Aug. 19th, 1763, two of the most awful and destructive storms ever recorded in the country occurred in this and the neighbouring parishes. The parish consists of 2061a. 3r. 8p., a large portion of which is appropriated to the cultivation of hops of fine quality, and the growth of fruit for the London market; the soil is chiefly clay. There are 386 acres of wood, and the surface is watered by the river Beult, which falls into the Medway at Yalding. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £16. 13. 1½., and in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury: the tithes have been commuted for £900, and the glebe comprises 24 acres, with a house. The church, to which a gallery has been added at the expense of the rector and parishioners, is a very neat edifice, containing a fine bust of H. Hatley, Esq., by Roubilliac, and some handsome monuments of the Fanes, whose old family seat at Burston is now a farmhouse, and its chapel desecrated. Beilby Porteus, 22 years rector of the parish, successively Bishop of Chester and of London, and celebrated for his universal benevolence, bequeathed £1000 three per cent. consols. for teaching children here. A stratum of petrified shells in marl was discovered in the parish, in the year 1683.