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Ardington Manor, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), England

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Ardington House, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire)

ARDINGTON was held during the reign of Edward the Confessor by two freemen, Edvin, whose holding inlcuded a Mill worth 11s and 26 acres of meadow, and Sawin. In 1086 both their estates had passed to Robert Doyley, of whose honour of Wallingford they were subsequently held as one knight's fee.The second and larger holding had two mills, one of which was unsuccessfully claimed by Cola, an Englishman. D'Oyley's estate in Ardington was estimated to be worth the the considerable sum of £20.

Gilbert Basset was enfeoffed of seven knights' fees in the honour of Wallingford including Ardington in the early 12th Century. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, and Thomas by his son another Gilbert. This GIlbert, who founded the priory of Bicester, had a daughter and heir Eustacia. She and her husband, Richard de Camvill had ownership Ardington in 1208. Until 1322 the manor followed the descent of Avington when the inheritance of Alice widow of Thomas Earl of Lancaster was taken into the king's hands on her husband's attainder; she subsequently recovered a portion of it on releasing to the king her claim on the rest. It would seem however that she did not recover Ardington as it was granted soon after the forfeiture to Ralph de Cobham. When he died in 1325-6 he was in possession and it is possible he previously had held the manor on lease from the Earl of Surrey, to whom the Earl of Lancaster had leased it in 1319, and who granted Cobham lands elsewhere. John de Cobham was son and heir to Ralph and granted his mother Mary the manor of Ardington for her life in exchange for a manor in Lincolnshire. She married Thomas Brotherton Earl of Norfolk and died in possession in 1362. The following year, in return for a grant for life, Ralph granted the manor with other estates to the king and his heirs. He demised his interest to Alice Perrers, the king's favourite, and in 1367 released to her all his claim, as did also John Duke of Lancaster.

Ardington House

Richard II resumed Alice Perrers's estates and granted Ardington to his half-brother John Earl of Huntingdon, first for life and later in fee to the earl and his heirs by his wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her second husband John Cornwall held the manor after the death and forfeiture of the earl. Subsequently her son John Earl of Huntingdon afterwards Duke of Exeter, inherited Ardington. In 1430 he settled it on himself and Anne his wife and their heirs, with remainder to the heirs of his father and mother. His son Henry succeeded in 1447, and after Henry's was attainted in 1461 the manor was granted to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other feoffees to hold to the use of his ex-wife, Anne Duchess of Exeter for her life. ( She granted it in 1466 to feoffees, who conveyed it ten years later to Thomas Marquess of Dorset in marriage settlement with her daughter Anne. In order that a new grant might be made to his brother Sir Richard Grey, in 1482, Thomas of Dorset surrendered the grant. By Act of Parliament Ardington Manor was seized by the Crown on the death of Richard and in 1484 and was granted to Thomas Earl of Derby and his son George Lord Strange.

Although Ardington Manor remained under the Earls of Derby for six generations with William Earl of Derbylord of the manor in 1599, about forty years before that date, it had been leased by his father to John Clarke, who took up his residence here.Edward Clarke, his grandson, purchased the fee of the manor from Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, in 1606, and ten years later received a grant from the king of the reversion, to which the Crown was entitled in case of the failure of issue to the Earls of Derby. John,son and heir of Edward who died in 1630 inherited Ardington and passed it on his death to his eldest son John who died without issue in 1702. Ardington was then passed to his brother Richard who had a son Edward, later married to Mary Wiseman, who was holding the manor in 1713. His son & heir was William Wiseman Clarke. Another William Wiseman Clarke, son of the last, held the manor till 1826, when his son William Nelson Clarke succeeded but sold Ardington about 1833 to Robert Vernon. He left it to his nephew Captain Leicester Viney Vernon. On the death of the latter in 1860 it was purchased by Col. Loyd-Lindsay,who afterwards became Lord Wantage. The Manor was passed on his death to his wife,Lady Wantage.

The right of free warren belonged to the lords of this manor from the time of William Longespée the younger.

Informaion from:Victoria County History, London,1924.

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