Leigh (St. Mary)

LEIGH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Seven-Oaks, partly in the hundred of Somerden, but chiefly in that of Codsheath, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent, 3¾ miles (W.) from Tonbridge; containing, with the hamlet of Hollanden, 1245 inhabitants. This parish, from various ancient records, appears to have been formerly of considerable importance, and to have included a portion of that of Penshurst. It comprises 4659a. 3r. 15p.; about 150 acres are hop plantation, and about 70 orchard grounds: the soil is a retentive clay, with a substratum of sandstone rock; the prevailing timber is oak. The manufacture of gunpowder is carried on in some mills here. The river Medway flows through the parish, and the South-Eastern railway nearly bisects it, passing along an excavation of 513,420 cubic yards, cut through a stratum of hard marl, in the removal of every 1000 yards of which 100 lbs. of gunpowder were employed; the soil was used in forming the embankment of the river, which is crossed by the railway. The village is situated on the road from London to Penshurst; a fair, chiefly for pleasure and pedlery, is held in it on the 16th of June. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 18. 9.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. T. May; impropriators, Sir J. S. Sidney, Bart., and others. The great tithes have been commuted for £555, and the vicarial for £510. 15.; the glebe comprises three acres. The church, which contains some ancient tablets, had a chantry, but it was suppressed by Edward VI. There is a mineral spring similar to, and even more powerful than, the water of Tonbridge Wells.

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

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