Walter Roberts, Esq., of Glassenbury

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Walter Roberts, Esq., of Glassenbury

Also Known As: "Roberthe"
Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Glassenbury, Kent, England
Death: between February 11, 1522 and October 18, 1522 (76-84)
Glassenbury, Cranbrook, Kent, England
Place of Burial: Cranbrook, Tunbridge Wells Borough, Kent, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Roberts and Lady Agnes Roberts, Baroness of Kent
Husband of Margaret Penn; Isabel Roberts and Alice Roberts
Father of Mary Roberts; Jane or Joane Roberts; John Roberts; Sara Roberts; Joan Exhurst and 9 others
Brother of Stephen Roberts and Ann Roberts

Occupation: Sheriff of Kent in 4 Henry VII (1488-89)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Walter Roberts, Esq., of Glassenbury

  • THE MANOR OF GLASSENBURY is of considerable note, the mansion of which is situated near three miles north-west from the church. This seat was for many generations the residence of the antient family of Rokehurst, the first of whom, who settled in this county, was William Rookehurst, alias Roberts, a gentleman of Scotland, of the shire of Anandale, who, leaving his native country, came to the adjoining parish of Goudhurst in the 3d year of king Henry I. and then purchased lands at Winchett hill there, where he built a mansion for his residence; which lands were afterwards named from him, the lands and denne of Rookeburst, which name it still retains, and there is a tablet put up over a tomb in the south chancel of this church, giving an account of him and his posterity, who bore for their arms, Azure, on a chevron, argent, three miles, sable. This family continued at Goudhurst for 274 years, till, in the reign of king Richard II. Stephen Roberts, alias Rookehurst, marrying Joane, daughter and heir of William Tilley, esq. of Glassenbury, whose ancestors had resided here, as appeared by private evidences, from the time of king Edward I. removed to his manor, where he built a mansion, on the hill of Glassenbury, which came by lineal descent to Walter Roberts, esq. who possessed it in the reigns of king Edward IV. and Henry VII. and was the first who wrote himself by that name only. He, about the year 1473, pulled down this antient seat, and built another lower down the valley, being the present seat of Glassenbury, which he moated round, and inclosed a large park which lay at some distance from it; to enable him to do which, in the 4th year of king Henry VII. he had a grant to impark six hundred acres of land, and one thousand acres of wood, in Cranebrooke, Gowdehurst, and Ticehurst, in Kent and Suffex, and liberty of free warren in all his lands and woods, and of fishing in all waters in his lands in those parishes, with all liberties and franchises usually granted in such cases. The park of Glassenbury has been long since disparked. He was afterwards dispossessed of this seat, and forced to fly into sanctuary. for endeavouring to conceal his friend and neighbour Sir John Guildford from the resentment of king Richard III. for which he was attainted, and this manor and seat, together with all other his lands in Kent, Suffex, and Surry, were granted by the king, in his first year, to his trustly friend Robert Brackenbury, esq. constable of the tower; but on the accession of Henry VII. his attainder was taken off by parliament likewise, and all his estates restored to him. And in the 5th year of that reign, he was sheriff of this county, He died in the year 1522, aged more than eighty years, and was buried under the old tomb on the north side of the south chancel, being the first who appears by clear evidences to have been interred in this church, in which there are many gravestones and memorials of his posterity, who continued to reside here, several of whom were at times sheriffs of this county, until within memory.
  • His descendant Sir Thomas Roberts, of Glassenbury was created a baroner in 1620, the lands of whose grandfather Thomas Rohertes, were disgavelled by the act of 2 and 3 of King Edward VI. and from him it continued in succession down to Sir Walter Roberts, bart. who new fronted this antient mansion, in which he resided with a most distinguished character for his worth and integrity. (fn. 2) He died in 1745, leaving only one daughter and heir Jane, who carried this manor and seat, together with the rest of her estates, in marriage of George Beauclerk, duke of St. Albans, who died in 1786, s.p. on which this manor and seat, with the rest of the estates of the late Sir Walter Roberts, in this county, came by the duchess's will, who died before him in 1778, and was buried in the family vault in this church, (having been for several years separated from him, and residing at Jennings, in Hunton, a seat of her father's) to the youngest son of Sir Thomas Roberts, bart. of Ireland, to whom the title had descended on Sir Walter's death, and he is now entitled to the see of them.
  • .... etc.
  • From:


  • Walter Roberts
  • Birth: unknown
  • Death: 1522
  • Lancastrian adherent, and Sheriff of Kent.
  • Walter became possessed of the entire paternal estate of Glassenbury and Winchet Hill after the death of his brother Stephen without issue. He married his first wife Margaret Penn on Oct. 23, 1463, and after hear death married his second wife Isabel Colepeper on 20 Nov. 1480, followed by his third wife Alice Naylor, widow of the Lord Abergavenny, on Feb. 18, 1491/92. He was famed for his 'eminent qualifications' and his hospitality. He adhered to the Lancastrian interest during the Wars of the Roses, for which he suffered greatly during the reign of Richard III, leading to a raid on his house at Glassenbury by Sir Edward Stanley and Sir John Savage on the Wednesday following the Purification of the Virgin, in 1 Ric. III. Sir John Guildford was apprehended at his home, but Roberts escaped and was attainted for treason, his estate was seized and he was forced to abscond, until Henry VII obtained the crown, when he was restored to his former possessions. In 1489 the new monarch made Walter Roberts Sheriff of Kent, and granted the right to impark 500 acres of land, along with 1000 acres of woods, in the parishes of Cranbrook, Goudhurst, and Ticehurst, in the counties of Kent and Sussex, and to have free warren and fishing rights therein. After living under six kings, he died over 80 years of age, leaving a will dated Feb. 12, 1521/22, which was proved Oct. 18, 1522, leaving specific instructions for his burial and entombment.
  • Additional information provided courtesy of Find A Grave contributor Ken Smith (#46985536):
  • Walter Roberts was born about 1440, probably in Cranbrook, Kent, England. His parents were John and Agnes Baker Roberts. The will of Walter’s father, John Roberts, indicates that Walter was born after 1436. He must have been born in Cranbrook, Kent, England. The Roberts pedigrees state that he was over 80 when he made his will in 1522, so he was born between 1436 and 1442. He was a man of some importance and a generous benefactor of the church at Cranbrook. Walter owned land in Cranbrook and Goudhurst, Kent, as well as land in neighboring Sussex. He inherited the ancestral mansion on the hill in Glassenbury. In 1463, he married Margaret Penn, and in 1473, they had the mansion torn down in order to build a new home in the valley. Margaret died on May 6, 1480 and on November 20, 1480, he married Isabel Culpepper at St. Dunstan’s Church in Cranbrook. In 1484, Walter, who had opposed Richard III, had all his land forfieted and he was charged with high treason. Two Knights alligned with Richard and a company of soldiers came to Walter’s mansion and arrested John Guildeforde. They locked him in a room and Walter entertained the Knights while Guildeforde escaped. The Knights damaged Walter’s home and took a large amout of goods from Walter when they left. When the Knights told Richard what happened, Richard siezed Walter’s land and buildings and charged him with treason. Soon after Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth and the ascension of Henry VII in 1485, Walter’s holdings were restored. Walter was in much favor with Henry VII and Henry VIII. Isabel died in Cranbrook on January 17, 1491 and Walter married Alice Naylor in Cranbrook on February 18, 1492. Walter’s will, dated February 11, 1522, proved October 18, 1522, names “Johan Horden, my doughter”. Walter must have died in October, 1522. He was buried at St. Dunstan’s Church in Cranbrook.
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • John Roberts (____ - 1461)
  • Agnes Baker Roberts (____ - 1495)
  • Spouses:
  • Margaret Penn Roberts (____ - 1480)*
  • Isabel Colepeper Roberts (____ - 1491)*
  • Alice Naylor Roberts*
  • Children:
    • Elizabeth Roberts Hendley*
    • Joan Roberts Horden (____ - 1547)*
    • Martin Roberts (1484 - 1551)*
    • Thomas Roberts (1494 - 1557)*
  • Burial: St Dunstan Churchyard, Cranbrook, Tunbridge Wells Borough, Kent, England
  • Plot: Chancel, between the image of Our Lady of Pity and his pew.
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 136186790
  • From:


"WALTER ROBERTS, esq. who, in the year 1472, caused [The Moated House] to be pulled down, and the next year erected, at the charge of eighteen hundred pounds, another moated house in the valley of Glassenbury and parish of Cranebrook, which ever afterwards continued the abode of the family.t This Walter became possessed of the whole estate by the death of his brother Stephen, who died without issue. He was a person much famed for his eminent qualifications and hospitality, as also for adhering to the Lancastrian interest, by which he became a great sufferer during the rule of RICHARD III. Having concealed Sir John Guldeford in his house at Glassf-nbury, where that person was seized by Sir Edward Stanley and Sir John Savage, he was attainted of treason, his lands seized, and forced himself to abscond until the accensión of HENRY VII. when he was restored to his possessions. In the 4th of that reign he had a grant from the crown to impark six hundred acres of land and one thousand acres of wood in Cranebrook, Gowdehurst, and Ticehurst, in the counties of Kent and Sussex ; a? also that he and his heirs should have free wirren IQ all his lands and woods, and fishing in his waters, in the parishes aforesaid, with all liberties and franchisements in such cases granted. He was sheriff of the county of Kent in the same year, and having lived under six kings, HENRY VI EDWARD IV EDWARD V RICHARD III HENRY VII and HENRY VIII, departed this life at more than eighty years of age, A.D. 1522. This Walter married: first, 23rd October, 1403, Margaret, daughter and heir of John Penn, esq. of Penn's Place, Herts secondly (his first wife dying 6th May, 1480), Isabel, daughter of Sir John Culpeper, knt. thirdly, Alice, daughter of Richard Naylor, esq. and widow of Lord Abergavenny by those ladies he had no less than thirty children.*

  • Inc Elizabeth Hendley, mentioned in his will.




SIR JOHN GILFORD OF ROLVENDEN.—There is an inscription in Cranbrook Church, on a monument of the Roberts family, to one " Walter Roberts "of Glassenbury." the victim of his loyal protection of his friend and neighbour Sir John Guildford in the reign of Richard III." This Walter Roberts was attainted for having harboured Sir John Guildeford and other of the king's rebels and traitors on February 10th, 1484, contrary to the king's proclamation.2 John Guildeford, who was presumably captured on that date, was sent to Newgate gaol, from which he was delivered in the following March.3

Walter Roberts fled to sanctuary with his second wife Isabel, and his lands were granted by Richard III. to Sir Robert Brakenbury,4 the murderer of the princes.

2 Rolls of Parl., 1 Richard III.

3 Cal. of Patent Rolls, March 1, 1484.

4 Historical Society Transactions, 1902, Leadam.


Periodical: Sussex Record Society

Page: Vol 71 - Records of the Roberts Family



view all 21

Walter Roberts, Esq., of Glassenbury's Timeline

Kent, England
Age 1
Bedgebury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 22
Glassenbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 24
Glassenbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 26
Mayfield, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Age 28
Lydd, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 33
Glassenbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
February 10, 1483
Age 41