Johannis (John) de Olmestede of Olmestede Hall

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Johannis (John) De Olmestede

Also Known As: "John"
Birthdate: (70)
Death: circa 1290 (62-78)
Immediate Family:

Father of Maurice de Olmestede, Sheriff of Essex

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Johannis (John) de Olmestede of Olmestede Hall

Contributions are welcome, but contributions with documented sources are respected.

Be sure to check out the Media tab and get copies of pictures, and two PDF eBooks about the Olmsted Family.

Attention! Please see "Feet of Fines For Essex, by the Essex Archaeological Society, 1899, page 231"; the entry speaks of a legal document which lists "Maurice, son of John de Olmestede". I have also found reference to a "Johannis de Olmstede" who was involved with the donation of land to the Knights Templar, at Little Maplestead in Essex.

What IS clear, is that the early Olmstede's were tightly bound to the De Vere family of Hedingham Castle for many generations. In fact, the land on which Olmsted Hall stands was originally owned by the De Vere family. This fact provides us with the clue which indicates that the Olmsted family were beholden to a "Norman" family, because they too were Norman. Hedingham Castle is 13.2 miles away from Olmsted Hall. Olmstede Hall was established by the De Vere family to provide an early place to hold court in their area. The Olmstede family lived down the road in a fortified manor which had a dungeon below the ground level of the manor.

According to Wikipedia, The De Vere family were an English aristocratic family which have derived their surname from Ver (dep. Manche, arr. Coutances, cant. Gavray), in Lower Normandy, France.[1] The family's Norman founder in England, Aubrey (Albericus) de Vere, appears in Domesday Book (1086) as the holder of a large fief in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Suffolk. His son and heir Aubrey II became master chamberlain of England, a hereditary office, in 1133.

Current research going on into the possible genealogical descent from Johannis de Olmestede, and Johan Wicmarc, son of Sweyn, son of Robert fitz Wimarc, all holders of "Almesteda".

The name Olmstead (Olmsted) is a local English name of Scandinavian origin, meaning "a place on an island in a river". An alternative meaning for the surname, Olmstead is: "keeper of the Elm trees."

This is a general history of the Olmste(a)d family name:

THE ORTHOGRAPHY OF THE FAMILY NAME As to the Olmsted name, it appears under a great many different forms both in this country and abroad, as witness the following: Almesteda, Elmsted, Elmstead, Hamstead, Hampstead, Hampstede, Hamsted, Hempsted, Hempstede, Holmestead, Holmested, Holmestede, Holmstead, Holmsteade, Holmsted, Holmstedd, Holmystede, Homestead, Hompstead, Hompsted, Hompstede, Hownsted, Olmested, Olmestede, Olmsted, Olmstead, Olmsteed, Olmstedd, Ownsted, Umsted, Umstede. The compiler disavows the intention even to suggest any change in the method of spelling the name to which the individual descendants are accustomed.

THE FIRST MENTION OF THE FAMILY NAME The earliest mention of the family name occurs in "Doomsday Book" for the County of Essex, in the survey made under William the Conqueror, in 1086. It appears as follows under "The Land of Suen of Essex" and the "Hundret of Tendringe": "Almesteda (Elmsted or Olmsted) was held by Robert Fitz Wimarc. Now Suen (holds it), and Siric' of him, as 1 manor and as 8 hides. Then 14 villeins; now 13. Then 31 bordars; now 36. Then 6 serfs; now 1. Then 3 ploughs on the demesne; now 4. Then 19 ploughs belonging to the men; now 18. (There is) wood(land) for 500 swine, 22 acres of meadow, and pasture for 60 sheep. Then as now {semper) 1 mill, and 1 saltpan. Then 3 rounceys (runcini), and 18 beasts (animalia), and 30 swine, 150 sheep, 40 goats, and 5 hives of bees; now 5 rounceys, 10 beasts, 32 swine, 190 sheep, 80 goats, (and) 2 hives of bees. It was then worth 9 pounds; now 10." —The Victoria History of the Counties of England [Essex], Westminster, Archibald Constable & Co., p. 491.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FAMILY NAME The parish of Elmsted is in the Hundred of Tendring, Essex. it is written Almesteda and Elmsted.—From Wright's "Essex," Vol. II., pp. 759-60.


The Olmstede family is named after land called "Almesteda", (a name which is considered of Scandinavian origin.) and is a property that is listed in the Domesday book; originally held by Robert Fitz Wimarc.

There are a number of small towns and villages that have names ending in "-sted" and "stead", and also by the fact that almost all these places were in eastern England, chiefly in Essex, some thirty to forty miles inland from the North Sea and that they extended in a broad line or band from northern Essex in a southern direction nearly to the Channel.

Here are the names of the towns and villages in Essex. Please remember when looking at some of them, that the English letter "x" is a double consonant, and is equivalent to "cs" or "gs". For example, Broxted is equivalent to Broc-sted, wherein you recover what seems at first a missing "s".

In Essex are: Broxted, Braxted, Thaxed, Fairsted, Felsted, Halsted, Standsted, Hempstead, Burstead, Greenstead, Harkstead, Bumstead

Turning to the pages of the Century Atlas to Denmark, you will find that in the western-part of Denmark there are easily found at least fifteen names of villages and districts that are strikingly similar in form, and manner of spelling to the Olmsted (Almesteda) name; while in southern Sweden there is the considerable town of Halmstad, nearly opposite Copenhagen.

Strong support for this argument in favor of the Scandinavian origin and spelling of the name "Olmsted" is to be found in the following list of places found mostly in the western part of Denmark.

Denmark: Holsted, Ulsted, Oldsted, Hadsted, Orsted, Ovsted, Vedsted, Nysted, Grindsted, Briersted, Graisted, Gjedsted, Fjelsted, Tisted, and Thisted, Fredrikstad, Stromstad, and Rakkestad,

In Sweden there is a city of Halmsted. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EXTRACT FROM MORANT'S HISTORY OF ESSEX, VOL. II. P. 532. Froswell half-hundred. Olmsted Hall stands in the most northern part of the Parish of Bumsted- Helion near Castle Camps and Ashdon (Cambridgeshire) in which two parishes the lands belonging to it do chiefly lie . . . the house is very ancient and moated round; it was originally of the De Veres lordship of Bumsted Hall and was holden under them by the Olmsteds, namely, by Martin de Olmestede who gave lands to the fraternity of the Knights Templar at Little Maplestead (a Feodar: Com: Oxon). Maurice de Olmestede held it in 28th Henry III. (1242). William, his son, temp: Edward I., and John de Olmestede 4th Edward II., (1311) leaving it to his son and heir, William. P. 70. It belonged afterward to William Skrene (of Writtle and Clifford's Inn) constituted Sergeant-at-law 10th Henry V. (1410). His descendant, Sir John Skrene, died in 1471. The heir of Sir John Skrene was John Clark who descended from Catherine, sister to William Skrene. In 1474 John Cornyshe, Wm. Dayton and Thomas Garthe released to William, Lord Hastings, all those manors which were lately the estate of Sir John Skrene. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Castle Camps lies 15 miles south-east of Cambridge, at the south-eastern extremity of the county. (fn. 1) It is basically triangular, and its south-western and eastern sides form the county boundary. That to the south-west probably follows a line traced from point to point through the ancient woodlands which formerly separated Cambridgeshire from Essex. (fn. 2) The straighter eastern side along the watershed may follow the pale of the former Camps park. The northern boundary with Shudy Camps, based on divisions between fields and inclosures, was and is much overlapped in terms of land-holding and cultivation, and at its western end follows a tributary of the river Bourne. The ancient hamlet of Olmstead at the south-eastern corner of the parish was sometimes reckoned by the 18th century to belong to Helions Bumpstead parish (Essex) upon which it depended ecclesiastically, and to which its tithes were still paid in 1840, (fn. 3) although it was earlier treated for feudal and jurisdictional purposes as part of Castle Camps and Cambridgeshire. In the 19th century, having been included in Risbridge poor-law union in Essex, it was sometimes described as part of Helions Bumpstead in Cambridgeshire. (fn. 4) In 1885 it was officially transferred for all civil purposes to Castle Camps. (fn. 5) Before that change the ancient parish of Castle Camps covered over 2,700 a., while Olmstead contained 429 a., (fn. 6) and from 1891 the enlarged parish measured 3, 184 a. (fn. 7) In 1965 an area at the southern tip of Olmstead was transferred to Essex, and the county and parish boundary elsewhere was straightened, so that in 1971 Castle Camps, enlarged by c. 73 a. taken from the Essex parishes of Ashdon, Hempstead, and Helions Bumpstead, covered 3,198 a. (1,294 ha.). (fn. 8) The history here printed deals with the ancient parish, including Olmstead.

The soil of Castle Camps lies mainly upon boulder clay, itself lying over chalk which is near the surface where the ground is lowest to the north-west. Along the east side of the parish runs a flat-topped ridge at over 400 ft., from which the ground falls away south-eastwards towards Olmstead, while two arms of high ground, each of over 350 ft., extend westward from the ridge. Down the narrow valley between them run three water-courses, one rising near ponds formerly feeding the castle moat, which meet south-east of Camps Hall farm to form a small brook which runs north-westward down the valley through Bartlow into the Bourne. (fn. 9)

The high ground along the south-western boundary was once heavily wooded. The name of Camps, probably dating from the early English period, presumably referred to small fields originally inclosed from that woodland. In 1086 it still covered the whole area later divided between Castle and Shudy Camps, sometimes distinguished until the 14th century as Great and Little Camps. (fn. 10) In 1086 there was woodland here for 500 pigs. (fn. 11) In 1263 the manor included small woods of oak and thorn and in 1279 40 a. of groves. (fn. 12) In 1296 there were c. 210 a. of foreign woodland. (fn. 13) To the west the former Westoe Lodge was once surrounded by woodland of which 7 a. survived c. 1840. (fn. 14) South-east of it lay ancient inclosures, covering 120 a. c. 1586, whose name, Stocking, and curved edge suggest that they were assarts from former woodland. Further south-east lay Langley (formerly Langeney) wood, then of c. 75 a., and Willesey (once Williottshey) wood of c. 30 a., (fn. 15) both demesne woods whose lessees in the 17th century were required to plant new timber there. (fn. 16) In 1840 Langley wood covered 72 a. and Willesey wood 23 a. (fn. 17) The latter had by 1863 been cleared and converted to arable. (fn. 18) Further east again lay inclosures around a farmstead called Charlwood by 1450; (fn. 19) in 1567 on Olmstead Hall farm Queens' College sold for clearance the timber on a 19-acre field later called Stocking. Waverley wood there, further east, had been stubbed up by 1822. (fn. 20) The areas cleared of woodland were, like the rest of the parish, mainly devoted to arable farming on a triennial rotation, although pasturage was also important on the large demesne farms. Much of the parish was, perhaps from its beginnings, inclosed as several, not much open-field land existing in the 16th century. The few remaining common fields were inclosed in 1862. In the 20th century the parish economy was entirely based on farming. (fn. 21)

It has been suggested that such parishes along the county's eastern edge were originally settled by men moving westward through the forest from Essex and Suffolk. (fn. 22) In early modern times Castle Camps had apparently closer links, economically and socially, with places to the east such as Haverhill and Helions Bumpstead than with the villages further down the Bourne valley. (fn. 23) In 1086 21 peasants and 6 servi were recorded on Aubrey de Vere's manor, (fn. 24) on which there were c. 60 tenants in 1279, when c. 25 others held of Olmstead manor, where there were c. 20 messuages, and 2 or 3 more of Westoe fee. (fn. 25) In 1327 28 men beside the lord paid tax at Castle Camps and 14 possibly at Olmstead. (fn. 26) In 1377 113 adults paid the poll tax (fn. 27) and in 1524 33 people paid the subsidy. (fn. 28) There were 37 householders in the ecclesiastical parish in 1563, (fn. 29) and the manor had c. 35 resident tenants in the 1560s and 41 by 1584. (fn. 30) The population may have grown to over 300 by 1640, but declined thereafter. (fn. 31) There were 185 adults in 1676 (fn. 32) and c. 400 parishioners in 80 families in 1728. (fn. 33) From the late 18th century numbers increased rapidly, reaching 550 by 1811, 734 by 1831, and 949 by 1851. (fn. 34) In the 1860s the population was swollen by 30 families of labourers deriving from and working in Shudy Camps where there was a shortage of cottages. (fn. 35) Thereafter the population declined slowly, partly through emigration, to 891 in 1871 and 713 in 1901, and fell in the 20th century to 505 in 1931 and, after a brief recovery in 1961, to 442 in 1971. (fn. 36)

As in other once heavily wooded areas settlement in Castle Camps consisted of scattered hamlets and farmsteads rather than one nucleated village. In the Middle Ages a group of houses stood in a field north-west of the castle, where one or two buildings survived in 1618 (fn. 37) and earthworks still mark the site. (fn. 38) The hamlet of Olmstead lay by the three-acre green recorded in 1279, (fn. 39) and several tenants of the earl of Oxford still dwelt around it c. 1450 and perhaps c. 1536. (fn. 40) After 1600 only Olmstead Green and Olmstead Hall farms and one or two dependent cottages survived. (fn. 41) In 1885 the place contained only four dwellings with 20 inhabitants. (fn. 42) Westoe, where the demesne lay in one block, had probably never contained more than the manor-house, to which a separate farmstead was added by 1800. (fn. 43) The main settlements in the parish were probably already in the 15th century, as in the 20th, at Camps Green and Camps End, lying off roads from Cambridge which forked to run north and south of the earl of Oxford's park. (fn. 44) East and west of each hamlet lay the small, mostly inclosed, fields of the villagers, and between them a belt of several demesne 2/3 mile wide. At Camps Green the houses lay along a wide green running north from the northern road called Broad street. Those east of the green were squeezed against the park pale, and the street was called Park Street by 1450. There were then 21 messuages and 23 cottages held of the manor, while the sites of 6 messuages and 5 cottages lay empty. In 1586 Camps Green probably contained c. 14 houses and 8 cottages, and in 1618 35 buildings. The lord occasionally granted plots of waste there for building cottages, and in the early 17th century other cottages were put up there without the land required by law. (fn. 45)

Castle Camps in the late 16th century

Castle Camps in the late 16th century

The smaller settlement called Camps End lay by a cross-roads east of Langley wood and along the road running east from it called by 1586 the Netherstreet way. There were 6 messuages and 3 cottages there in 1586, and 13 buildings in 1618. Further east stood single farmsteads, such as Parkin's and Browning's farms, the latter mentioned in 1586, (fn. 46) where traditional timber-framed farm-houses, probably 17th-century, survived in 1975. There were c. 70 dwellings in the parish under Charles II (fn. 47) and 74 houses in 1801, when 2 or 3 families were sometimes crowded into each. (fn. 48) A few houses of the 18th century or earlier survive at Camps Green, including one 17th-century one east of the school with a central gable, but there are many one-storey cottages of c. 1800, timber-framed and plastered, and some still thatched. Several were built on encroachments made since the 16th century on the green, of which only two fragments survived in 1975. Of 207 dwellings in the parish in 1851 only c. 45 stood at Camps End, and almost 140 at Camps Green. (fn. 49) By 1881 35 houses stood empty, and there were only 155 inhabited houses by 1931, and 187 in 1961. (fn. 50) The mid 20th century saw little new building in the parish except for a few council houses built before 1956, mostly at Camps Green. (fn. 51)

Two alehouses were licensed at Castle Camps in 1682. (fn. 52) About 1800 there were 2 public houses, the George, closed c. 1910, and the Cock, which with the New Inn, opened by 1871, survived in 1975. (fn. 53) There was a parish lending library by 1887. (fn. 54) In 1970 the village had, besides long-established football and bowls clubs, a men's club occupying since 1951 the former Baptist chapel. A building was acquired for a village hall in 1952. (fn. 55)

On the plateau south-east of the castle an R.A.F. fighter airfield was located in 1941, which remained in active use until 1945 and was closed early in 1946. The land was sold between 1963 and 1966. (fn. 56) Manors and Other Estates.

In 1066 King Edward's thegn Wulfwin held 2½ hides at Camps which by 1086 had with Wulfwin's other lands been assigned to Aubrey de Vere (fn. 57) (d. c. 1112). The manor of GREAT CAMPS, later CASTLE CAMPS, descended until the late 16th century in the male line of the Vere earls of Oxford, who held it in chief for 3½ fees as parcel of their barony, and retained it continuously in demesne. (fn. 58) In 1388 it was briefly forfeited by the attainder of Earl Robert, (fn. 59) but was restored in 1393 to his uncle and heir Earl Aubrey. (fn. 60) When Aubrey's grandson Earl John was executed in 1462 the manor was granted to Richard, duke of Gloucester, (fn. 61) but was restored in 1463 to John's minor son and heir John. (fn. 62) Following the latter's attainder in 1471 Castle Camps was again granted to Gloucester (fn. 63) who, as Richard III, granted it in 1484 to Sir Robert Percy. (fn. 64) Earl John was again restored in 1485, (fn. 65) and was succeeded in 1513 by his nephew Earl John (fn. 66) (d. 1526), whose widow Anne received the manor and castle as part of her jointure. The new earl, John (d. 1540), a second cousin, seized Camps castle in 1526. (fn. 67) Anne had got possession by 1534 (fn. 68) and retained the estate until her death in 1559 (fn. 69) when it passed to the next earl, also John (d. 1562). (fn. 70)

John's son and heir, the extravagant Earl Edward, in 1580 mortgaged and in 1584 sold the estate to the London merchant Thomas Skinner. Skinner died as lord mayor in 1596. (fn. 71) In 1598 his eldest son and heir John, knighted in 1604, (fn. 72) assigned the manor as security for his debts (fn. 73) to his father-in-law Thomas Markham and Markham's son Sir Griffin. (fn. 74) Upon Griffin's condemnation for conspiracy in 1603 the king granted his interest in Castle Camps to his kinsman and creditor Sir John Harington, (fn. 75) at whose instance the manor was sold in 1607 by trustees to pay Skinner's debts. (fn. 76) The purchaser, the rich money-lender Thomas Sutton, (fn. 77) took possession in 1608, (fn. 78) and settled Castle Camps manor shortly before his death in 1611 upon his foundation at the Charterhouse, London. (fn. 79) In 1919 the governors of the Charterhouse sold, mostly to their tenantfarmers, all of the estate except Castle farm and the lordship of the manor, (fn. 80) which they retained in 1975. (fn. 81)

Probably before 1100 a castle was built on the north-west slope of the eastern ridge. A two-acre motte, surrounded by a wet moat 25 ft. deep, had to the north-west a small bailey, across whose banks the church was later erected. A new and larger bailey was made perhaps in the late 13th century. Little remains of the fortifications. (fn. 82) The earls' chief messuage recorded in 1331 and 1371 (fn. 83) presumably stood within the motte. Probably in the late 15th century a four-storey brick tower was built, (fn. 84) attached to which was a large house where Countess Anne (d. 1559) dwelt in her widowhood. (fn. 85) The house, apart from the tower, was rebuilt, probably by Thomas Skinner, in the late 16th century. (fn. 86) It stood within a rectangular brick-walled inclosure, much of which survives, with a semi-classical gateway, and had a four-bay gabled front, probably facing north-west. (fn. 87) Thomas Sutton lived there from 1608 to 1611; (fn. 88) it was leased from 1616 to James Weston, baron of the Exchequer (d. 1634). (fn. 89) In 1639 the lessee was Sir James Reynolds of Olmstead Green, and in 1646 his son John Reynolds (fn. 90) (d. 1658), a Cromwellian general. (fn. 91) By 1666 the castle was inhabited by Sir Thomas Dayrell (d. 1669), and next by his eldest son Sir Francis Dayrell (d. 1675); (fn. 92) the Dayrells afterwards removed to Shudy Camps and the castle was occupied by tenant farmers. (fn. 93) The great house largely fell down c. 1738, whereupon the Charterhouse constructed a smaller farm-house (fn. 94) facing north, incorporating a fragment of the earlier building in a back wing. A farm-house for the main demesne farm, built near the middle of the parish between 1586 and 1597, (fn. 95) was by the late 17th century often called Camps Hall, (fn. 96) its name in 1975. The house was rebuilt in the 19th century.

In the 13th century the manor included a park, said in 1263 to be 4 leagues round, (fn. 97) which by 1269 probably covered all the high ground east of the castle between the two roads as far as the parish boundary. (fn. 98) In 1331 the park was reckoned to include 200 a. (fn. 99) In 1586 it comprised the great park of 400 a. between the roads and an extension east of Camps Green, called the little park or Haverhill End, of 202 a. (fn. 100) In 1330 Earl Robert (d. 1331) was granted free warren at Castle Camps. (fn. 101) The deer in the park were frequently poached from the 13th century (fn. 102) to the 16th. (fn. 103) Deer were still kept there in the 1560s, (fn. 104) but after 1586 it was divided up and converted to pasturage, probably by 1596. (fn. 105)

The manor of WESTOE, in the west end of the parish, passed c. 1199 from Ralph son of Hugh to his son Hugh of Westoe. (fn. 106) In 1272 Roger of Westoe sold 100 a. there, held as ½ knight's fee of the earl of Oxford, to John of Sawston (d. after 1275), whose widow Catherine held 121 a. there of Roger in 1279. (fn. 107) John's son and heir William (fn. 108) (d. 1308) was succeeded by his son John, aged 19, (fn. 109) who still held Westoe in 1360. (fn. 110) Elizabeth Sawston, probably his daughter, was tenant by 1372, (fn. 111) and with her husband Austin Keeling conveyed the estate, held for life by John's widow Margery, to John Kingston of Bartlow and others in 1385. (fn. 112) In 1426 Ralph, son of Thomas Sawston of Sawston, released Westoe manor to Margaret, daughter and heir of John Kingston's son Richard. (fn. 113) About 1450 the estate belonged to John Oldale. (fn. 114) In 1465 John Gent, groom of the king's chamber, released it to Richard Vere (d. 1476) of Great Addington (Northants.). (fn. 115) Vere's son and heir Henry (d. 1493) left three daughters, (fn. 116) of whom Elizabeth and Amy released their estates in Castle Camps in 1526 and 1538 respectively to the third sister Audrey and her husband John Brown. (fn. 117) In 1555 Audrey and her son George Brown sold their whole property there to Richard Tyrell (fn. 118) (d. 1566), whose son Edward (fn. 119) held it of Thomas Skinner in 1586. (fn. 120) Edward's son Sir Robert Tyrell had succeeded by 1613 (fn. 121) and sold Westoe in 1632 to William, Lord Maynard (fn. 122) (d. 1640). William's son William (d. 1699) (fn. 123) and William Neville of Holt (Leics.) mortgaged Westoe Lodge and 26 a. around it in 1667. (fn. 124) In 1671 Neville sold the property to Clement Neville (d. 1683) who enlarged his Westoe estate and left it to his nephew Sir Thomas Neville of Holt, Bt. (fn. 125) In 1711 Sir Thomas sold it to Elizabeth Wenyeve, under whose will it passed in 1722 to William and Edward Wenyeve. They sold it c. 1737 to Thomas Carter and he in 1748 to Richard Crop, (fn. 126) who owned the Lodge, c. 32 a. of surrounding park, and 27 a. near by (fn. 127) and died in 1796. He was succeeded first by his widow, then by his greatnephew Charles Long. Benjamin Keene, owner of Linton, held Westoe on lease by 1806 and made the Lodge his main seat; (fn. 128) he had bought the freehold by 1825, when he owned c. 145 a. at Westoe. (fn. 129) He died in 1837, and his son C. E. Keene (fn. 130) had sold 171 a. around Westoe Lodge (fn. 131) by 1863 to Thomas Chalk (fn. 132) (d. 1901). In 1903 Chalk's executor sold 180 a. in Castle Camps to the Revd. C. H. Brocklebank of Bartlow House, with whose estate they afterwards passed, (fn. 133) belonging in 1974 to Brig. A. N. Breitmeyer. (fn. 134)

The manor-house, occasionally recorded in the Middle Ages, (fn. 135) had 10 or more hearths c. 1660 and contained a library of 220 books. (fn. 136) Westoe Lodge, standing in 1840, (fn. 137) was demolished probably between 1851 and 1861, (fn. 138) only a farm-house further north remaining.

The manor later styled OLMSTEAD or HOLMSTEAD HALL was held in 1259 by Maurice, son of John, of Olmstead. (fn. 139) Maurice died shortly before 1269, when his son William, who had been among the rebels in the Isle of Ely, was required to redeem his property at Olmstead. (fn. 140) By 1279 the manor, comprising 160 a. and held as ½ knight's fee of the earl of Oxford under the honor of Richmond, had passed to William's infant son John. (fn. 141) Simon of Horncastle and his wife Lucy, perhaps William's widow, held that ½ fee c. 1302. (fn. 142) John still held Olmstead in 1348, (fn. 143) when he settled 240 a. on his eldest son Robert. (fn. 144) In 1367 Robert settled the manor on John Bek and Robert Nailinghurst, (fn. 145) and in 1373 Thomas Nailinghurst released it to Sir Aubrey de Vere. (fn. 146) In 1376 John Wombe of Hempstead (Essex) conveyed the manor to William Bateman and others, probably feoffees. (fn. 147)

In 1400 Olmstead Hall was conveyed to other feoffees probably to the use of William Skrene, serjeant-at-law, (fn. 148) to whom William Olmstead, butcher, released the manor in 1417. (fn. 149) Skrene died after 1424, (fn. 150) and Olmstead passed to his son Thomas (d.s.p. 1466). Thomas's heir was the minor John Skrene, later knighted, son of John (d. 1452), son of Thomas's brother William (d. 1431). (fn. 151) Sir John Skrene died in 1474, leaving no close kinsmen; the various mesne lords claimed his lands as escheats, (fn. 152) and in 1475 Richard, duke of Gloucester, as lord of Castle Camps, granted Olmstead to Sir Robert Chamberlain, his servant and Sir John's executor. (fn. 153) Three claimants alleging descent from sisters of Serjeant Skrene released their interest in 1475 and 1477 to Chamberlain and others, (fn. 154) as did Sir John Skrene's widow Elizabeth in 1478, (fn. 155) and in 1477 the manor was conveyed to feoffees for Queens' College, Cambridge; (fn. 156) it was vested in fellows of the college in 1482. (fn. 157) From 1500 the college held it under the Veres and their successors at Castle Camps, (fn. 158) and retained Olmstead Hall farm, amounting c. 1800 to 270 a., (fn. 159) until its sale in 1920 to W. S. Kiddy. (fn. 160)

The farm-house once owned by Queens', surviving within a moat close to the parish boundary, may occupy the site of the manor-house; an alternative site is the moat beside the road at Olmstead Green. (fn. 161)

A. P. M. Wright (editor), Adrienne B. Rosen, Susan M. Keeling, C. A. F. Meekings. "Parishes: Castle Camps." A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 6 (1978): 36-48. British History Online. Web. 23 March 2013. <>


"The History and Topography of the County of Essex, Comprising its Ancient and Modern History":

The manor of Olmsted Hall is on the northern extremity of the parish, near Castle- Olmsted camps and Ashdon; formerly it was considered a hamlet in Castlecamps, though styled the village of Olmsted, in Bumsted. It originally formed part of the lordship of Bumsted Hall, and was holden under the earls of Oxford by the Olmsted family, from whom it was conveyed to William and John Screen, and to Queen's College, Cambridge, to whom it at present belongs. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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