Lathe of St. Augustine

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St. Augustine
 • OriginMerger of borough and Eastry Lathes
 • Created13th century
 • Abolished1894 (obsolescent)
 • Succeeded bydiverse authorities
 • TypeHundreds

The Lathe of St. Augustine is an historic division of the county of Kent, England, encompassing the present day Districts of Canterbury, Dover and Thanet[1] The Lathes of Kent were ancient administration divisions originating, probably, in the 6th Century, during the Jutish colonisation of the county.[2]

St. Augustine was not one of the original lathes and did not exist at the time of the Domesday Book. By 1295 the lathe of St. Augustine was in existence formed by the merger of the lathes of Borough and Eastry.[3] These lathes were spelled Borowart and Estrei in the Domesday Book.[4]

The lathe was bordered on the west by the Lathe of Scray and on the south by the Lathe of Shepway. The lathe of St. Augustine consisted of the following Hundreds:[5]

  • Whitstaple
  • Westgate
  • Blengate
  • Preston
  • Wingham
  • Downhamford
  • Kinghamford
  • Beusborough (Bewsbury)[6]
  • Corniloe
  • Eastry
  • Ringslow

Within its bounds were included the Corporations of Deal, Sandwich, Dover, and Fordwich. It had formerly within its bounds the city of Canterbury, which has been long since separated from it, and made a county of itself, by the name of the County of the City of Canterbury.[5]

The Lathe was an important administrative, judicial and taxation unit for 600 years after the Domesday Book. The functions of Lathe and hundreds were somewhat similar, with a Lathe covering a much wider area. Although not abolished, it has no administrative functions today.[7] The Sheriff toured the county twice yearly attending on the lathes. The lathe was responsible for raising of aids and subsidies for the Militia. However the Lathe court became anomalous as it fell between the hundredal courts below and the Justices of the County (in petty and quarter sessions) above [8]

The Lathe of St. Augustine has an area of 166,760 acres (260 sq. miles).[9]


  1. ^ See list of parishes by lathe and hundred in the census tables in Victoria County History, Kent Volume 3 (publ.1932, ed William Page, ISBN 9780712906081), along with the list of parishes on the official web site of Kent County Council (
  2. ^ Dartford Country - The Story Of The Hundred Of Axstane by Geoff Porteus, 1985,ISBN 9780860232032 (page 13)
  3. ^ Jolliffe, J. E. A. (1929). "The Hidation of Kent". The English Historical Review. Oxford University Press. 44 (176): 612–18. doi:10.1093/ehr/xliv.clxxvi.612. ISSN 1477-4534. JSTOR 552921 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)).
  4. ^ The Domesday Book: Kent (Publisher: Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1 Nov 1983)The original text and translation
  5. ^ a b The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8, author:Edward Hasted, publ. 1797
  6. ^ Open Domesday Map: Bewsbury Hundred
  7. ^ History of Kent, by Frank Jessup, 1958
  8. ^ Dartford Country - The Story Of The Hundred Of Axstane by G. Porteus(page 32)
  9. ^ The Hidation of Kent by J. E. A. Jolliffe and Census 1832