NACKINGTON lies about a mile north-east from Canterbury; the high road from which to Hythe and Romney Marsh leads through it; it is a pleasant healthy situation. The east and west sides of the parish are open uninclosed arable and hop-grounds, the eastern part behind Staplegate being mostly planted with them; and the western arable, in which is a large district of land, called from its size the Hundred-acres, formerly Haven field, the property of several different owners. The soil, through much inclined to chalk, is in general very fertile, and worth upon an average twenty shillings an acre, though there is much in it let for more. There is no village, but there are about eighteen houses interspersed throughout it; the church stands on a gentle rise, at a small distance eastward from the road, with the parsonage and the court-lodge of Sextries near it. Beyond Heppington the prospect changes to a barren dreary country, covered with slints, and enveloped among woods. Behind that seat ran the old Stonestreet way of the Romans, from their station Durovernum, or Canterbury, to that of Portus Lemanis, or Limne, only to be traced now over the arable lands, and through the woods, and a little higher up lies Iffins wood, formerly the scite of the manor of Ytching, as it was antiently spelt in king Henry the VIth.’s reign, a small part of which only is within this parish, close to the bounds of which are the vestigia of an antient camp, the outward trenches of which contain about eight acres, of which only two acres are level and connected, the rest being cut and intersected by roads, &c. There are numbers of different intrenchments throughout this large wood, and one vallum especially, which runs on to the Stone-street road. At the north corner of this camp are the remains of an oblong square building of stone, the length of it standing east and west. At the east end is a square rise against the wall, seemingly for an altar, and a hollow in the wall on one side. The foot or pedestal, of a seemingly gothic pillar, such as were made for churches, was some years ago found among the rubbish in it; so that if this ever was a prætorium of a Roman general, a chapel seems to have been erected on the scite of it, as was frequently the case, probably by the owners of the manor, and to have been deserted when this part of the country was depopulated by the contests between the houses of York and Lancaster.
NACKINGTON-HOUSE is a seat in this parish, which in the reign of king Charles I. was the residence of Capt. John Nutt, whose descendant Edward Nutt, esq. died possessed of it in 1708, without issue male, upon which it came by entail to his brother William Nutt, who sold it to Thomas Willys, esq. who in 1726 succeeded to the title of baronet on the death of Sir Thomas Willys, bart. of Fen-Ditton, in Cambridgeshire, s. p. their arms being, Parted per fess, gules and argent, three lions rampant, counterchanged, a bordure, ermine. He died next year, s. p. likewise, having devised this estate to trustees, who soon afterwards sold it to Christopher Milles, esq. of Canterbury, descended from ancestors who had resided at the parsonage at Herne, from the reign of James I. and bore for their arms, Ermine, a millrind, sable, on a chief, two marlions wings, or; one of whom was clerk of the robes to queen Anne, and king James and of king Charles’s privy chamber. Christopher Milles, esq. after his purchase of Nackington house, resided at it, and died in 1742, having married Mary, eldest daughter of Rich. Warner, esq. of Norfolk, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, Richard, of whom hereafter; Christopher, chief justice of Senegambia; John, late captain of an East-Indiaman; Mary, now unmarried; and Anne, married to Sir Edward Aftley, bart. of Norfolk. Richard Milles, esq. the eldest son, is of North Elmham, in Norfolk, he served as member for Canterbury in three successive parliaments, having married Mary, daughter of T. Tanner, D. D. prebendary of Canterbury, by whom he has an only daughter and heir Mary, married to the right hon. Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes. He is the present owner of this seat, and at times resides at it.
Text: The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Volume 9 (1800) by Edward Hasted
Map: Section from Kent by John Cary
Jane Austen References
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 15th September 1796
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 27th August 1805
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 26th June 1808
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 23rd September 1813