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Court-up-streate, Lympne

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Court at Street; Courtopstreet; Streete; Strete; Billerica; Bellirica; Bellocastrum

In the civil parish of Lympne.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TR09023521
Latitude 51.07813° Longitude 0.98269°

Court-up-streate, Lympne has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

Description

Court-up-streate, alias Billirica, longeth to one M. Coluyle knight. Billirica is a bowte a myle fro Lymme Hille, and at this day yt is a membre of Lymme paroche. Howbeyt ther is a chaple for the howses ther that now remayne, and this is the chaple communely cawlled our Lady of Cowrt-up-streate, wher the nunne of Cantorbiry wrought al her fals miracles. Hard by this chapel apere the old ruines of a castelet, wherbi yt may be thowthe that the place and the towne ther was cawled Bellirica, as who should say yn Latyne Bellocastrum, and that the new name of Court-up-streate began by reason of the place, or court, that the lord of the soyle kept there. The commune voyce is ther that the town hath bene large, and they shoe now theyr signa praetoriana that is to say a home garnished with brasse and a mace. But the likelyhod ys that they longed to Lymme, sumtyme a notable town and haven. (Leland)

The remains of the chapel of Bellirica are situated on the slope behind the Manor Farm at Court-at-Street and consist of a roofless ruin 23ft by 41ft, which appears to be early C16. Other structures, probably the Manor House, adjoined the chapel and the foundations can be seen a few inches below the surface (Erwood, 1929). It is certain that "in mediaeval days there existed a fortified manor house, {and} a church or chapel" at Court-at-Street, but by the beginning of the C16 the chapel was in decay and was the abode of a hermit. From 1525, the Chapel of Our Lady enjoyed a revival of fortune connected with Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent (Cheney), and became a place of pilgrimage. It would appear from this that Erwood's tentative early C16 dating is a rebuilding or renovation connected with Elizabeth Barton. (PastScape)

the manor of Streete, the seignory of which, on the voluntary exile of Robert de Montfort, grandson of Hugh above-mentioned, in Henry I.'s reign, came into the hands of the crown, as an escheat to it. After which it appears to have come into the possession of the family of Handelo, or Hadlow, who are mentioned in antient records of very high ascent, as lords of this manor, several of whom were men of eminence in those times, their arms being, Two chevrons, on a canton a crescent, in imitation of those of Criol, who bore the same without the crescent; one of whom, Nicholas de Hadloe, in the 41st year of Henry III. had a charter of free-warren for all his demesne lands in this county, and the grant of a market, and a fair yearly, at his manor of Court-at-street, holding it in capite of the king, as of his castle of Dover, by knight's service, being part of those which made up the barony, called the Constabularie, there. In the 10th year of king Edward II. John de Hadloe had licence to fortify and embattle his house here, among others belonging to him. At length Nicholas de Hadloe, in the next reign of king Edward III. dying without issue male, his daughters and coheirs became entitled to this manor; by which means, before the 20th year of that reign, it became separated, and in the hands of different owners. After which, one moiety of it appears to have come into the possession of John Colvile, who had married Alice, one of the daughters and coheirs of Nicholas de Hadloe. And in his descendants it continued down to Francis Colvyle, who seems to have died possessed of the whole of this manor in the 8th year of king Henry VII. (Hasted)

A Royal licence to crenellate may have been granted in 1316 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).

Comments

King records as unidentified castle reported by Leland. Leland records as belonged to a knight by the name of Mr Coluyle (Colvile) and as about a mile from Lympne and as a ruinous small castle by the chapel. The chapel, restored in C16, is well known, the site of the manor house, which can safely be assumed to be site of Leland's small castle, is close by. It is clear that Leland was describing an early fortified manor house rather than a small castle. Gatehouse has not been able to confirm the supposed licence to crenellate mentioned by Hasted, but Hasted is generally a reliable scholar who had access to archives that may no longer exist. The John Haudlo mentioned by Hasted does not seem to be the same as the John Haudlo who was granted a licence to crenellate Boarstal in 1312 (although clearly a relative). He does not seem to have the importance of that John although still served as Sheriff of Kent in 1313.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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