Edesham, Kent

Church of the Holy Innocents, Adisham

The Church was restored 1869-70

The village is six miles south-east of Canterbury


ADISHAM - Augustine Lathe, five miles from Sandwich. The Manor was given in 616, by King Ethelbert, to Christ Church, Canterbury. The Church is dedicated to the Saint Innocents. Here is a Charity School, supported by the contribution of the inhabitants, for the instruction of poor children. Valuation 28l. 1s. 1776


The Manor of Adisham was given, in the year 616, by Eadbald king of Kent, son of Ethelbert, to the monks of Christ church in Canterbury, ad cibum, that is, for the use of their refectory free from all secular services and fiscal tribute, excepting the three customs of repelling invasions, and the repairs of bridges and castles, the common burthen from which none were exempted.


After the Conquest, on the division made by Archbishop Lanfranc of his revenues with the monks of Chrust church, this manor was allotted to the latter, and entered in Domesday under the genteral title of their possessions. In the reign of Edward II. the prior of Christ church obtained a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands; in which state it continued till the dissoulution, under Henry VIII. who settled it on his dean and chapter of Canterbury. A court-leet and court-baron is held for this manor.

Adisham is within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury and deanery of Bridge. The church, dedicated to the Holy Innocents, is exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, and consists of one aisle, a transept, and a high chancel. The aisle and south sept, or cross, are several ancient coffin-shaped stones, one of which has a cross flory, with old French capitals, nearly obliterated.


The Adisham Reredos, salvaged from Canterbury Cathedral around 1660

In the chancel many of the family of Austen lay interred, and the font is very ancient.

Just below the north sept is a chapel, shut out from the church, wherein there is much broken stone carved work; however, it is not known to what the same originally appertained.

Sir George Oxenden, bart. who died in the East Indies, and was buried at Surat, gave by will £300 towards the reparations of this church.

The rector is collated and inducted into the living of Adisham, with the chapel of Staple annexed.

This rectory, with the chapel, was valued in the king's books at £28 5 1 1/2, the yearly tenths being £2 16 3 1/2. In 1588 there were 116 communicants, and the valuation then was £160. In 1640 the estimate was the same, but subsequently raised to £500.

In 1821 there were thirty-nine dwellings in the parish of Adisham; and at the same period, when the last census of the population was taken by order of Parliament, the numbers of inhabitants were as follows: males 169, females 136, making a total of 305 souls.

Englands Topographer 1829



Church of the Holy Innocents, Adisham



A view of Adisham Cottages

© T. Machado 2007