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John Heydon

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Baconthorpe, Norfolk, England
Death: September 27, 1479 (59-67)
Baconsthorpe, Kent, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Oulton Heydon and Joan Longford
Husband of Eleanor Wynter
Father of Sir Henry Heydon
Brother of Elizabeth Heydon; Grace Heydon and James Heydon
Half brother of Isabel Warren

Managed by: Daniel Robert May
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Heydon

  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • HEYDON, Sir Henry (d. 1503), county gentleman, belonged to an old family seated at Heydon in Norfolk. As early as the thirteenth century one of the family resided in Norfolk, and the principal branch of it remained for many years in that county, inheriting the estates at Heydon and Baconsthorpe. Sir Henry was son and heir of John Heydon of Baconsthorpe (d. 1479) (Paston Letters, iii. 196), an eminent lawyer, by Eleanor, daughter of Edmund Winter of Winter Berningham, Norfolk. He married Elizabeth or perhaps Anne (see ib. ii. 304), daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, knt., and aunt of Anne Boleyn.
  • Heydon was steward to the household of Cecilia, duchess of York, widow of Richard, duke of York. In 1485 he was knighted. He appears to have been a man of considerable public spirit, and of refined an devout sentiments. He built in the space of six years the manorhouse at Baconsthorpe, a sumptuous quadrangular pile, now ruinous, entirely from the ground, except the tower, which was built by his father. He also built West Wickham Court in Kent, and rebuilt the parish church of West Wickham, close by it. The church of Salthouse and the causeway between Thursford and Walsingham were erected at his expense. In 1442 the moieties of Hyde Manor in Pangbourne, Berkshire, of Nutfield, Surrey, and of Shipton Solery Manor, Gloucestershire, were settled upon him and Elizabeth his wife as her inheritance. he died in 1503, and was buried beside his father in the Heydon Chapel at Norwich Cathedral. The chapel is now destroyed, and the monuments mentioned by Blomefield have disappeared. In one of the windows of West Wickham Church there is the representation in old stained glass of a kneeling human skeleton, with the words 'Ne reminiscaris domine delicta nostra nec delicta nostrorum parentum.' The figure is supposed to be a memorial of Sir Henry, whose arms are figured in the glass.
  • [Gurney's Records of the House of Gurney, 1848, &c., pp. 411, 412; J. H. Hayden's records of the Connecticut line of the Hayden Family, 1888, pp. 16, 17; Blomefield's Topographical Hist. of Norfolk, vi. 505, 506; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, 1778, i. 108; Verney Papers (Camd. Soc.), p. 39.]
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  • Baconsthorpe Castle is a fortified manor house, now a ruin, to the north of the village of Baconsthorpe[1], Norfolk, England (grid reference TG122382). It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.[2]
  • History
  • The Heydons were an ambitious family. They first made their fortunes through the Law profession and later from wool. John Heydon rose to prominence and influence as a supporter and allies of the 1st Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole[3]. During the turbulent Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) John often switched political allegiances to serve his own purposes. Although he managed to amass great wealth, he also made many enemies, and was described by contemporaries as crafty and Quarrelsome[4]. His position meant he needed a secure base to operate from.
  • Construction
  • This castle was built in the period from around 1460 to 1486 by John Heydon (died 1479) and Sir Henry Heydon (died 1504).[5] It was built without a licence and initially consisted of a quadrilateral manor house which was later fortified. and it became increasingly large and more elaborate as the family's wealth grew. On the east side was a lake and the other sides were protected by a deep ditch.
  • Inner Gatehouse
  • In the middle of the south wall a three-storied gatehouse was built. This gatehouse was an important symbol of John Heydon's Lordship[3]. It was also large enough to serve as a self-contained defendable residence in times of danger from Heydon's numerous enemies. The gatehouse had on the ground floor, two lodges, one housed a porter the other the chief servant. On the first floor there was a spacious suite of chambers for Heyden's family. There is a description of these rooms in the will of John Heyden's son, Sir Henry Heyden's will. They are described as being luxuriously furnished with feather beds and silk curtains. The small room directly above the porch was thought to be a private chapel.
  • The Quadrangle
  • later the quadrangle was completed with walls, towers and a range of buildings.On the eastern side of the quadrangle stood the service range of buildings. These buildings were converted in the Tudor period by Sir John Heyden II into a wool processing factory. The large windows in this building provided plenty of light for the spinners and weavers that worked here. Much of the cloth produced at Baconsthorpe was sold to the Netherlands. The coarse material was softened by the process of "Fulling". This involved the pounding of the cloth by foot in soapy water or stale urine. It is thought that this process was carried out in the tower that stands on the north east corner of the quadrangle
  • The Outer Gatehouse
  • A drawbridge crossed the moat and 50 yards (46 m) to the south an outer gatehouse was built.[6] The outer gatehouse was a later addition to the moated residence beyond and was built to display the family's status and wealth[7]. It formed an impressive Entrance to the Heydon's property as part of the outer court. The court was flanked on the east side by a row of cottages. On the west flank was a long barn parts of which are still in use today by the local farmer.
  • The house was subject to a dispute in the 16th century when its owner, Sir William Heydon (1540–1594) fell into debt and mortgaged it. In 1590 he decided to sell part of his property but was challenged by his son, Sir Christopher Heydon (1561–1623). Sir William then threatened to demolish the house but Sir Christopher secured a prohibition from the Privy Council and the house was spared.[8] After the Civil War the house fell into ruin.[2]
  • Present condition
  • The ruins are constructed of flint with some brick. The curtain walls are complete and include the remains of towers, forming a square court of 30m. In the middle of the south wall are the remains of a three-storey gatehouse with a two-storey projection for the drawbridge. To the east are the remains of a two-storey range. To the south is a lake and a moat surrounds the other three sides.[2]
  • The ruins are administered by English Heritage and are freely accessible to the public.
  • Gallery
  • (photo's' of the ruins)
  • Notes
  • 1.^ Ordnance Survey (2002). "Norfolk Coast East". OS Explorer Map 252. ISBN 0-319-21888-0.
  • 2.^ a b c "Images of England: Remains of Baconsthorpe Castle". English Heritage. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  • 3.^ a b Information panel from the Castle site, English Heritage, 4 panels in total
  • 4.^ Information Panel from the Castle site, English Heritage, 4 panels in total
  • 5.^ Moreton, C. E. (2004) 'Heydon, Sir Henry (d. 1504), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. [1] Retrieved on 4 December 2007.
  • 6.^ Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 181. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3.
  • 7.^ Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East, By Nikolaus Pevsner and Bill Wilson, Baconsthorpe entry. ISBN 0-300-09607-0
  • 8.^ Capp, Bernard (2004) 'Heydon, Sir Henry (d. 1504), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. [2] Retrieved on 4 December 2007.
  • 9.^ "Baconsthorpe Castle". English Heritage. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  • From:
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  • John Heydon1
  • M, b. circa 1405, d. 27 September 1479
  • Father William Heydon1 b. c 1372, d. a 1447
  • Mother Joan Longford1 b. c 1375
  • John Heydon was born circa 1405 at of Baconthorpe, Norfolk, England.1 He married Eleanor Winter, daughter of Edmund Winter and Oliva Hampton, circa 1434.1 John Heydon died on 27 September 1479.1
  • Family Eleanor Winter b. c 1416
  • Child
    • Sir Henry Heydon+1 b. c 1435, d. 1503
  • Citations
  • 1.[S61] Unknown author, Family Group Sheets, SLC Archives.
  • From:
  • _____________
  • The Paston family in the fifteenth century: endings By Colin Richmond
  • Pg. 104
  • From time to time Margaret reported the inconsequential items as well as the pressing, the violence done at King's Lynn by 'right a mysgovernyd yong man' named Bosville, for instance, and (with some relish) the birth of John Heydon's wife's illegitimate child and John Heydon's violent reaction, yet she does not do so often: words were too precious to be wasted.67 They were presumably not wasted in retailing John Heydon's cockoldry, although it occurred in 1444 before there had been the great falling-out between Heydon and Paston. The relish came from the fact that John Heydon's wife was Eleanor Winter, daughter of Edmund Winter, and from the timing: the birth coincided with Judge William's recovery of East Beckham in the month before his death, a major, if temporary triumph over Edmund Winter.68 One wonders what Edmund Winter thought. Did he disown his daughter? To Margaret her sister, Edmund in his will of 1448 left a book about Richard the Lionheart 'et aliis militibus', but is was to John Heydon not Eleanor that he left his book of chronicles: she is not mentioned.69 What happened to Eleanor, who had four years before her disgrace given birth to the future Sir Henry Heydon? Did she enter a nunnery, as Alice, the wife of Thomas Tuddenham, who had also cuckolded her husband, had been abliged to?70 Margaret Paston told John in 1444 she had heard that not only had John Heydon said 'yyf sche come in hesse presence to make here exkewce that he xuld kyt of here nose to makyn here to be know wat sche is', but also that he would not 'be intretit to have here ayen in to wysse'.71
  • The oddity is that we hear so little scandal, that there is so little tittle-tattle. It is political not sexual scandal that got John Heyson and Thomas Tuddenham into difficulties, their public not their private lives. ....
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John Heydon's Timeline

Baconthorpe, Norfolk, England
Age 24
Baconthorpe, Norfolk, England
September 27, 1479
Age 63
Baconsthorpe, Kent, England