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Buckland House, Berkshire (Now Oxfordshire), England

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Buckland House, Berkshire (Now Oxfordshire), England

Buckland Park, described in 'The Buildings of England' by Nikolaus Pevsner, as “the most splendid Georgian house in the County” is Grade II* listed, and occupies a commanding position with far-reaching views over the Thames Valley and surrounding countryside. The house faces due south and is situated on the edge of the picturesque village of Buckland. To the south the parkland includes a cricket ground while to the north, the house enjoys fine views over the Deer Park.

The house has some exceptional rooms and boasts a number of historically important features such as marble fireplaces, exquisite mouldings, cornicing and painted ceilings. The house is of Palladian design and is symmetrically formed with impressively long passages leading to the octagonal pavilions on both the east and west wings of the house. The bedrooms on the north side have wonderful views across the countryside, the River Thames and beyond. It is hearsay that one of these bedrooms was copied from the one at Versailles where Marie Antoinette allegedly hid her children during the French Revolution. By contrast, the bedrooms on the south side enjoys looking out onto the cricket ground and the village church. The house is approached by a sweeping gravel driveway.

The known history of the Estate dates from 1227 when Hugh de Buckland was recorded as the owner or occupier. Although it is more likely that it was granted to one Hugo, to hold as book-land, that is to say, land held by an individual, as distinguished from Folkland.

Buckland Park itself was built in 1757, in Palladian style by John Wood, who was also responsible for the Royal Crescent in Bath. He was commissioned by Sir Robert Throckmorton whose family lived there until 1908. When John Wood designed the house he provided 15 bedrooms in all to house both family and servants, but the reception rooms spread along the frontage of no less than 130 feet. It consisted only of the central square block with long corridors running east and west and terminating in the two octagonal pavilions now used respectively as a library and dining room. The latter was used by one owner as a chapel. In those days the kitchen and other domestic offices were all in the basement.

Wood's work, as seen in the interior of the saloon was typical of the best work of the latter part of the 18th century with its rich Corinthian pilasters, bold cornices and well carved festoons.

In 1908, Sir Maurice FitzGerald acquired the house and engaged the architect, Romaine Walker, to enlarge it by adding the wings on the north front which comprise the Billiard Room and the Royal Suite. Legend says that this was due to a rumour that King Edward VII wished to visit which would have required an increase in accommodation. The additions, indeed, led to extra rooms on the upper floors too, with the result that the house now has 19 bedrooms. It was also at this stage that the terrace at the back of the house was created. These changes have added considerable dignity to the house.

The FitzGerald family lived in the house until 1947 and entertained many great people including Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Mary, whose objets d'art were stored in the basement during the Second World War. The house passed to Lady Fitzgerald's grandson Major Richard Wellesley a direct descendant of the 'Iron' Duke of Wellington, who advertised the house in The Times in 1962 saying "This Georgian Mansion is yours for £8 a week". It then became an independent Oxford University hall in 1963 until the present owner bought and restored it to its current state


In the reign of Edward the Confessor BUCKLAND was the seat of Ulvric Chenp. In the reign of William the Conqueror Bishop Osbern asserted that it belonged to the fee of his bishopric, but at the time of the Domesday Survey the question as to the bishop's right was not yet decided, the case having been sent before the king. The estate was assessed at 8 hides, contained a mill, four fisheries and a dairy farm producing 10 weys of cheese a year, and was worth £8. (fn. 3) The bishop held Buckland in demesne at Domesday, but it appears to have been acquired later by the descendants of Hugh de Buckland, who held another estate about this date in Buckland (q.v.) under Abingdon Abbey. (fn. 4) William de Buckland, probably his great-grandson, was seised of this main manor towards the end of the 12th century, (fn. 5) when he granted land in Barcote, which was held of the barony of Buckland, to William de Meletune. (fn. 6) He died about 1215, leaving as his heirs his three daughters—Maud, the wife of William Davranches; Hawise, the wife of John de Boville, and Joan, the wife of Robert de Ferrers. (fn. 7) On the partition of the property Buckland fell to the share of the first-named. Her husband died in 1230, (fn. 8) and six years later all the Davranches estates passed to Hamo de Crevequer, who had married Maud, the only daughter and eventually sole heir of William Davranches and Maud. (fn. 9) In 1245 Hamo and Maud granted the manor to their daughter Agnes and her husband John, the son of Henry de Sandwich, and the heirs of their bodies, with reversion to themselves and their heirs. (fn. 10) Hamo de Crevequer was seised of the manor at his death about 1262, although Agnes was still alive. (fn. 11) The heirs to the estates of his wife Maud were his daughters Agnes, Eleanor, married to Bartholomew de Kyriol, Isabel, the wife of Henry de Gaunt, and Iseult, the wife of Nicholas de Lenham. (fn. 12) Buckland was assigned to Iseult, but she died soon after her father, leaving a son and heir John, aged twelve, and in 1263 the wardship of her lands and heirs was delivered to Eubold de Montibus. (fn. 13) Eubold in 1266 granted the manor to Philip Basset to hold until the coming of age of John de Lenham. (fn. 14) John was in possession in 1276, in which year he claimed the assize of bread and ale and free warren in his lordship of Buckland. (fn. 15) He died in 1317, leaving as his heir his son John, (fn. 16) upon whom he had settled four years previously certain lands and tenements in the manor on the latter's marriage with Maud the daughter of John Maltravers. (fn. 17) Maud, who had survived her husband, (fn. 18) died in 1349, (fn. 19) when the manor passed to her daughter Eleanor, then the widow of Sir John Giffard. (fn. 20) In or about 1352 Eleanor settled the manor upon John de Stradeling in fee-tail, with contingent remainder to Edward the son of Peter de Stradeling and to her right heirs. (fn. 21) She was still alive in 1360, (fn. 22) but probably died about 1366. (fn. 23) Robert de Lenham, justice of the peace for the county in the reign of Richard II, (fn. 24) was her heir, as grandson of Richard, her father's brother. (fn. 25) He is found at various times between 1367 and 1374 suing Sir Thomas Bessels and Katherine his wife for the manor they held in Buckland on the ground that he was descended from Agnes and John de Sandwich, representing that Iseult wife of Nicholas de Lenham was daughter of Agnes, and therefore granddaughter and not daughter of Maud de Creverquer. (fn. 26) He did not succeed in his lawsuit, the jury deciding in favour of Thomas Bessels as son of Geoffrey, son of Elizabeth, daughter of John, son of William Davranches and Maud daughter of William de Buckland. (fn. 27) The next mention found of the principal manor is in 1428, when Thomas Chaucer was returned as holding one fee in Buckland formerly belonging to Maud de Lenham, (fn. 28) and from a later document it appears that he had purchased it from William Fitz Waryn, Thomas Estbury, Thomas Somerton and Thomas Coventre, obviously trustees. (fn. 29) Thomas Chaucer died seised of the manor in 1434, (fn. 30) his heir being his daughter Alice, the wife of William Earl of Suffolk. (fn. 31) From her it passed in succession to her son John Duke of Suffolk and her grandson Edmund Duke of Suffolk, (fn. 32) but was forfeited by the latter on his attainder and execution in 1513. (fn. 33) Henry VIII granted it to Charles Brandon, created Duke of Suffolk in 1514, but in 1535 the duke exchanged it for other property with the king. (fn. 34) It was to this connexion with the Dukes of Suffolk that the manor owed its later name of DUKE'S MANOR. In 1544 Henry VIII sold the manor for £1,408 14s. 7d. to John Yate, the son and heir of James Yate of Buckland. (fn. 35) John Yate died at Buckland in 1578 and was succeeded by his son Edward Yate, (fn. 36) who died in 1596, leaving a son and heir Edward. (fn. 37) This Edward was made a baronet in 1622 (fn. 38) and died in 1645, being succeeded by his son and heir Sir John Yate. (fn. 39) In 1690, (fn. 40) on the death unmarried of Sir John Yate, grandson of the last-named Sir John Yate, the manor passed to the Throckmorton family by the marriage of his only sister Mary with Sir Robert Throckmorton, bart., of Coughton and Weston Underwood. (fn. 41) It remained with the Throckmortons until 1910, (fn. 42) when it was sold by Sir Nicholas William George Throckmorton, bart., to Sir Maurice FitzGerald, bart

There was a mill in the manor in 1085, (fn. 43) and a water-mill is included in an extent of the manor taken in 1317. (fn. 44)

At the time of the Domesday Survey William Count of Evreux held in Ganfield Hundred two small unnamed estates, (fn. 45) which were clearly both in Buckland parish. The first had been held by Ulwin in the reign of Edward the Confessor and the second by four freemen. (fn. 46) These two holdings were granted by the count and Helewis his wife to Noyon Priory, and this gift was confirmed by their grandson Simon Count of Evreux between 1140 and 1157. (fn. 47) The Prior of Noyon at an early date granted this estate to the lords of the main manor of Buckland to hold at an annual rent of 40s. Hamo de Crevequer is returned by the Testa de Nevill as holding a certain part of the vill of Buckland of the prior, (fn. 48) and from this time onward the history of this estate is identical with that of the main manor.

The manor of Buckland, which was afterwards distinguished by the name of ST. JOHNS owing to its possession by the Prior and brethren of St. John of Jerusalem, was in origin the 10 hides of land in Buckland which King Edwy granted to Elfeah in 957. (fn. 49) Elfeah is said to have granted them to Abingdon Abbey, (fn. 50) and in 1086 the estate, then assessed at 5 hides only, was held by the abbey in demesne. (fn. 51) Hugh de Buckland, who was Sheriff of Berkshire and several other counties, was the tenant of the estate under Abingdon in the reign of William Rufus. (fn. 52) Either he or one of his descendants seems to have granted the manor in free alms to the Prior and brethren of St. John of Jerusalem, who were seised of one fee in Buckland of the fee of the Abbot of Abingdon at the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 53) The prior and brethren continued in possession of the estate until the dissolution of the order. (fn. 54) In 1545 Henry VIII granted it to John Yate, (fn. 55) who the year before had obtained a grant of Duke's Manor. From this date St. John's Manor follows the descent of Duke's Manor (q.v.).

An estate in Buckland called WEST HALL (fn. 56) seems to have been held of the main manor by the service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 57) Matthew Bessels died seised of it in 1296 in right of his wife Elizabeth, (fn. 58) and it is therefore probable that it had formed part of the possessions of her father, John Davranches, described in 1252 as the son of Joan de Ferrers, daughter of William de Buckland. (fn. 59) He died in 1257, leaving three daughters and co-heirs, Joan, Margaret and Elizabeth. (fn. 60) The estate remained in the family of Bessels of Bessels Leigh for a long period, ultimately passing with Bessels Leigh and Carswell after the death of Sir William Bessels in 1515 to the Fettiplaces. (fn. 61) Its subsequent history is given under Carswell (q.v.).

  • * See Carswell **

The manor of BARCOTE (Berekote, xii cent.; Bercot, xiii cent.; Bercott, xvi cent.; Bearecourt, xvii cent.) was included in the main manor of Buckland at the time of the Domesday Survey, and was afterwards held of it by the service of the quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 94) It first occurs in a charter of the end of the 12th century, by which William de Buckland granted a virgate of land there to William de Meletune. (fn. 95) A dispute as to whether the manor of Barcote was held for the quarter of a knight's fee of John de Boville and Hawise his wife as of their manor of Radcot (co. Oxon.) or of William Davranches and Maud his wife as of their manor of Buckland was settled in 1224 in favour of William and Maud. The manor was then in the possession of Isabel, the wife of Richard Mauduit and sister of John de Boville. (fn. 96) Soon afterwards it is found in the hands of William de Holcott or de Barcote, (fn. 97) the ancestor of a family which held it for nearly 400 years. In the south transept of Buckland Church is the Holcott tablet, on which is inscribed a list of thirteen Holcotts, with a date to each name, but it is difficult to say how far this list is an accurate one. Between 1260 and 1270 the manor was in the possession of John de Holcott. (fn. 98) The heir of John de Holcott was the owner in 1316. (fn. 99) Fulk de Holcott was the lord of the manor in 1356, and in that year granted Barcote to Richard de Preston, citizen and ropemaker of London, and Alice his wife. (fn. 100) According to the Holcott tablet Fulk died in 1372, and three years later by inquisition it was ascertained that he had alienated the manor without licence. (fn. 101) In spite of this, the same year the king committed the custody of the manor to Richard de Preston. (fn. 102) This grant was apparently for life only, for in 1400 John de Holcott, called 'of Barcote,' obtained a general pardon from the king, with restitution of his lands and goods. (fn. 103) He was succeeded before 1428 (fn. 104) by Richard de Holcott. (fn. 105) The date of his death is unknown, (fn. 106) but he left a benefaction of 12d. to the church annually, with bread and ale to the clerk for ringing the bell on the day of his obit—17 January. (fn. 107) His son Richard died in 1503, and was succeeded by his son Robert. (fn. 108) On the death of Robert in 1520 Barcote passed to his son John, (fn. 109) who died in 1558, leaving a son and heir William. (fn. 110) This William, according to Lysons, 'was a man of very singular character. He was imprisoned for his religion in the reign of Queen Mary, but, to escape the fire, subscribed the articles. After the Reformation he became a zealous lay preacher, and was accustomed to mount the pulpit in a velvet bonnet and damask gown, and sometimes with a gold chain. His will, which is very quaint and whimsical, directs his heart to be buried at Buckland.' (fn. 111) On his death in 1575 he bequeathed his manor and park of Barcote to his nephew Thomas Hotchinson. (fn. 112) The latter sold the estate in 1586 to Sir Lionel Duckett, citizen and alderman of London, for £5,500. (fn. 113) From him it passed to Thomas Duckett, who in 1597, intending 'to travayle unto the parts beyond the seas,' conveyed the manor to Roger Owen and Allen Duckett on trust that they should sell it for £2,000, and pay the money to him on his return. (fn. 114) It was apparently purchased by Roger Owen, for in 1610 it was settled by him on his brother Sir William Owen and the latter's wife Ellen, and was sold by them in 1618 to Sir Henry Marten and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 115) From this date Barcote followed the descent of the manor of Hinton Waldrist (q.v.) for a long period, being in 1813 in the possession of Mrs. Loder, the widow of Charles Loder. On her death it passed, in accordance with his will, to Charles Stevens of Kencott (fn. 116) (co. Oxon.), and afterwards came into the possession of Lady Theodora Grosvenor, who sold it about 1879 to Mr. William West. His son Mr. Archibald Thornton West is the present owner.

A small estate in NEWTON (Niwetone, xi cent.; Niwenton, Newentona, xiii cent.) may be identified with the 2 hides in Marcham Hundred which had belonged to Alric in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and was held by Payn of Gilbert de Bretville in 1086. (fn. 117) In the 13th century it is found in two portions, both parts being held of the lords of Buckland as of their manor of Buckland. (fn. 118)

The first portion was in the possession of Robert de Hatford, lord of the neighbouring manor of Hatford, at the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 119) It was held of him by Geoffrey de Buckland, (fn. 120) sometimes also called Geoffrey Fitz Eustace, who in 1234 owed suit only at Robert de Hatford's court of Hatford for the tenement he held of him in Newton and Hatford, and not at the court of Buckland also. (fn. 121) His descendant John de Buckland quarrelled with his lord, Robert de Hatford, about the holding in 1263. (fn. 122) This estate, which comprised ten messuages and 10 virgates in 1348, (fn. 123) was apparently afterwards held by the lords of Hatford in demesne. (fn. 124) The member of the manor of Hatford called Newton was included in the grant of Hatford to Alexander Unton in 1544. (fn. 125) It was apparently soon afterwards alienated by the Untons, and in 1569 Robert Southby, yeoman, died seised of the manor or lordship of Newton, leaving a son and heir Richard. (fn. 126) According to Lysons, it was afterwards in possession of the family of Keate, and in 1620 was purchased by Sir Henry Pratt, in whose family it continued about 100 years, when it was sold in lots. (fn. 127) The trustees of the late Mr. Sidney Coles are now the owners of the Newton estate. The second portion was held of the main manor of Buckland by Ellis de Newton at the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 128) Another Ellis de Newton was the owner in 1316. (fn. 129) From him it passed to his son Thomas de Newton, who in 1376 granted it to Ellis de Thorpe, citizen of London, who was entitled to the reversion. (fn. 130) Most probably this estate had become merged in the manor or lordship of Newton by 1569.

Mention has been found in the early 16th century of an estate called the manor of SEWELLS in Buckland belonging to the Fettiplace family. (fn. 131)

The manor of the RECTORY had its origin in the endowments made to the Augustinian brethren of Edington (co. Wilts.) in 1361. In that year the Bishop of Winchester granted them two messuages, 100 acres of land and 40 acres of pasture in Ganfield and Buckland, (fn. 132) while John atte Pitte assigned to them five messuages, 8 virgates of land, and pasture for twelve oxen and 100 sheep in Buckland worth 24s. 8d. yearly, (fn. 133) he having been enfeoffed by Eleanor Giffard in 1350 and 1351. (fn. 134) The lands descended with the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage, the manor of Buckland being included in the grant to the Bishop of Bristol in 1542. (fn. 135)


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