Extracted from William Lambarde's "A Perambulation of Kent" - c1576
the parish Church there, and about so much Northward from the highway between London and Canterbury : where you may see the water drayned from the Castle ditch, to serve the corn Mill.
TENHAM, in Saxon tynham, that is, the towne of Ten houses : as Eightam was called of the Eight dwellings there.
I WOULDE begin with the Antiquities of this place, as commonly I doe in others, were it not that the latter and present estate thereof far passeth any that hath beene tofore it. For heere have wee, not onely the most dainty piece of all our Shyre, but such a Singularitie as the whole British Hand is notable to patterne. The He of Thanet, and those Easterne parts, are the Grayner : the Weald was the Wood : Rumney Marsh, is the Medow plot : the Northdownes towards the Thamyse, be the Cony garthe, or Warreine : and this Tenham with thirty other parishes (lying on each side this porte way, and extending from Raynham to Blean Wood) bee the Cherrie gardein, and Apple orchard of Kent.
But, as this at Tenham is the parent of all the rest, and from whome they have drawen the good iuice of all their pleasant fruite : So is it also the most large, delightsome, and beautifull of them. In which respect you may phantasie that you now see Hesperidum Hortos, if not where Hercules founde the golden apples, (which is reckoned for one of his Heroical labours) yet where our honest patriote Richard Harrys (Fruiterer to King Henrie the 8.) planted by his great, coste and rare Industrie, the sweet Cherry, the temperate Pipyn, and the golden Renate. For this man, seeing that this Realme (which wanted neither the favour of the Sunne, nor the fat of the Soile, meete for the making of good apples) was neverthelesse served chiefly with that Fruit from forrein Regions abroad, by reason that (as Vergil saide)
Pomaq degenerant, succos oblita priores :
and those plantes which our auncestors had brought hither out of Normandie had lost their native verdour, whether you did eate their substance, or drink their iuice, which we call Cyder, he (I say) about the yeere of our Lord Christ 1533. obtained 105. acres of good 1533. ground in Tenham, then called the Brennet, which he divided into ten parcels, and with great care, good choise, and no small labour and cost, brought plantes from beyonde the Seas, and furnished this ground with them, so beautifully, as they not onely stand in most right line, but seeme to be of one sorte, shape, and fashion, as if they had beene drawenthorowone Mould, or wrought by one and the same patterne.
Within Tenham there was long since some Mansion perteining to the See of Canterburie : For, in the time of King Henrie the Seconde, there was a great dispute (before the Archbishop, then soiourning at Tenham) betweene the Prior of Canterburie, and the Prior of 1184. Rochester, not for the Crosse (for that is the Archbishops warre) but for the Crosier of the Bishop of Rochester, then lately dead, which (as they of Canterbury claymed) ought to lye upon the Altar with them, to be delivered to the next Bishop, but was contradicted by them of Rochester. This pointe of Prioritie was to and fro maintained with such pertinacitie, that neither would yeelde to other, but in the end they of Rochester put the Crosier into the hands of Baldwyne the Archbishop, who foorthwith delivered it to the Prior of Canterburie, of whom Gilbert Glanville the next successor tooke it. And at this house in the time of King lohn, Hubert the Archbishop 1205. departed this life, as Mathew Parise reporteth : who addeth also, that when the King had intelligence of his death, he brast foorth into great ioy, and said, that he was never King (in deede) before that houre.
It seemeth, that he thought himselfe delivered of a shrewe, but little forsawe he that a shrewder should succeede in the roome ; for if he had, he would rather have praied for the continuance of his life, than ioyed in the understanding of his death.
For after this Hubert, followeth Stephan Langton, who brought upon King lohn such a tempesteous Sea of sorrowfull trouble, that it caused him to make shipwrack, both of his honour, crowne, and life also : The storie hath appeered at large in Dover, and therefore needeth not now eftsoones to bee repeated. Touching the sickly situation of this towne, and the region thereabout, you may be admonished by the common Rythme of the countrie, singing thus,
He that will not live long,
Let him dwell at Muston, Tenham, or Tong.