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Compton Beauchamp, Oxfordshire, England

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Compton Beauchamp, Oxfordshire, England

Compton Beauchamp

In 955 King Edred gave to Alfe 8 hides in Compton, and these Alfe gave to the abbey of Abingdon. No later evidence, however, has been found to connect the place with the abbey, and in 1086 William Fitz Ansculf was holding the 5 hides at which it was then assessed. The overlordship followed the descent of his manor of Bradfield (q.v.), of which the manor was a member.

It is not known at what date the manor came into the hands of the family of Beauchamp, but William de Beauchamp was holding it as one knight's fee in the second half of the 13th century, and it had acquired its distinctive name of COMPTON BEAUCHAMP by 1281, when, however, it had already been the subject of a sub-enfeoffment. The mesne lordship thus created followed the descent of the earldom of Warwick.

No evidence has been found to show how the manor came into the hands of Nicholas de Eketon and Margery his wife, to whom it was quitclaimed by Ralph de Limesy in 1286. Nicholas died before November 1289, and was succeeded by Peter, his son. In 1293 Ralph de la Stane and Agnes his wife settled the manor on Peter and Joan his wife and the issue of Peter, with contingent reversion to Agnes and Ralph. Peter was attached to the household of Queen Isabel in 1313, and remained in the royal service until at least 1330 he is last mentioned in 1337, when he was granted an exemption from serving in ministerial offices against his will. His son John de Eketon occurs in February 1361–2; he was coroner of Berkshire in 1369, when, being infirm and aged, he made a settlement of the manor on himself, Margery his wife and his heirs. Ralph son of John made over his reversionary right in the manor to Guy de Brienne and Richard Micheldevre in December 1385, and Margery released her right in the manor to the same persons in the following year. The heir of John de Eketon was said to be holding the fee in 1402, this heir being, perhaps, Thomas de Eketon, brother of Ralph, who had died without issue. Thomas was not, perhaps, in actual possession, for in 1414, after his death, his son Richard recovered the manor, under a plea of the settlement of 1293, against Thomas Wallop and Robert Kyngesham.

By 1428 the fee had passed to Sir Robert Shottesbrook, kt. His daughter Eleanor married John Cheyne, who settled the manor on their son John and his issue with contingent remainder to Roger, a younger brother. Sir John died in 1497 and John his son two years later; Roger had died before this date, and the manor descended to John Cheyne, his son. The next owner was Thomas Fettiplace, who made a settlement of it on himself and his heirs in 1513 and died ten years later. Nicholas, his posthumous son, died in March 1524–5, Elizabeth his widow two months later, and Compton then passed to Katharine sister and heir of Nicholas, aged four. Katharine married Sir Francis Englefield, and they made a settlement of the manor on themselves and their issue in 1544. The marriage was, however, childless. Sir Francis, who had been in great favour at the court of Queen Mary, retired to Flanders, 'in hope of the recoverie of his helth' shortly after the accession of Elizabeth. The queen took his lands into her own hands, but granted the manor of Compton Beauchamp to Nicholas St. John and George Fettiplace for the use of Katharine. Katharine died in 1579, and was succeeded by Sir John Fettiplace, the great-grandson of Richard, brother of Thomas Fettiplace, her father.Sir John died in 1580, leaving a son Bessel, who conveyed the manor in 1589 to Sir Henry Poole, kt. The latter died in 1616, leaving a son Henry, who sold the manor in the following year to Sir Gabriel Pyle. His son and heir Sir Francis succeeded to the property in 1626, and was created a baronet two years later. He made a settlement of the manor shortly before his death in 1635, and was followed by his son Sir Francis, who made a conveyance of the manor in 1639. He died in February 1648–9, leaving three daughters and co-heirs, Anne afterwards wife of Francis second Lord Holles of Ifield, Elizabeth afterwards wife of Thomas Strickland, and Jane afterwards wife of Edward Richards of Yaverland, Isle of Wight. On the ultimate division of the estate Compton Beauchamp was assigned to Jane and Edward Richards.

Their son Edward Richards died in 1728, having bequeathed the property to his daughter Ann in tailmale with contingent remainder to John Wright, whose son William Wright succeeded on the death of Ann Richards in 1771. In this same year William Wright barred the entail, and he later devised the manor to his sister Mary; she in 1796 devised it to her nephew John Atkyins, M.P. for the City of Oxford, with the proviso that he should take the additional name of Wright.John AtkyinsWright died in 1823; his widow was lady of the manor in 1837, and it remained in the possession of the family until 1846, when it was acquired by the second Earl of Craven. The present earl is now the lord of the manor.

In 903 Edward the Elder confirmed to Tata son of Ethehun land in HARDWELL (Hordwelle, Hordwella, x cent.), of which a grant had been made by his grandfather Ethelwulf ; Tata granted it to the abbey of Abingdon, a gift which seems to have been confirmed by Edwy, King of the West Saxons, in 1015. The abbey retained the overlordship until it fell into abeyance.

In 1086 the 3 hides here were entered under the neighbouring holding at Uffington, 6 hides in the two places being held by Gilbert de Columbars of the abbot. Another Gilbert de Columbars was living in 1176–7. By the middle of the 13th century the lordship was in the hands of Matthew de Columbars, who died childless in or about 1273, his heir being his brother Michael. Michael granted his manor of East Tytherley to Sir John de Cobham, a grant which suggests an explanation of the fact that in 1307 the hamlet of Hardwell was held of the fee of Henry de Cobham. From at least the middle of the 13th century the tenancy in demesne was in the hands of a younger branch of the family of Columbars. Gilbert de Columbars was sent to this district to take the oaths before the assizes of 1224–5. He was dead before Easter 1258, when his manor of Hardwell had passed to Samson Foliot. His tenant at that date was Ralph Foliot, to whom Samson in 1268 made a fresh feoffment to him and his issue with contingent reversion to Samson and his heirs. The issue of Ralph must have failed, for in 1284 the fee was in the hands of Henry de Tyeis as grandson and heir of Samson. Henry obtained a grant of free warren here in 1300 and died in or about 1307, when his son Henry succeeded him. Shortly afterwards Henry assigned this manor to his mother Hawise in dower; she held it for two years and then demised it to her son in exchange for a fixed rent of £100 under condition that the manor should revert to Hawise should she survive her son. Henry was made keeper of the town of Oxford in 1311, and joining the baronial party, forfeited his lands here, which were granted to Peter de Eketon. By February 1326–7 both Henry and Hawise were dead, and Alice widow of Warin de Lisle and sister and heir of Henry made good her claim to the manor. She obtained a renewed grant of free warren here in 1336. From this time until the close of the 17th century Hardwell followed the descent of the manor of Kingston Lisle (q.v.), passing into the hands of the family of Hyde.

In 1724 William Sheldon and Anastasia his wife made a conveyance of a fourth part of the manor. Edward Sheldon was in possession in 1747, but died before 1783, when Margaret his widow and Edward Sheldon sold the manor to Thomas Bennett. It is now the property of Lord Craven.

In the time of Edward the Confessor five freemen held land assessed at 5 hides in KNIGHTON (Nisteton, xii cent.; Knyghtyngton, Knitteton, Kniteton, xiii cent.; Knighton alias Knightington, xvi cent.). In 1086 this land was held by Odo of Winchester, and was assessed at 22/3 virgates. It followed the descent of the fee of Odo in Harwell, and afterwards formed part of the honour of St. Valery, being apparently held in demesne. Shortly after 1150 Reginald son of Guy de St. Valery sold a rent of 9s. from half a hide here to the Prior and canons of St. Frideswide's, Oxford, for 12 marks given to complete his equipment for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Gradually Reginald parted with his demesne land, then with the capital messuage reserved to him by the former grant, and the land held in service, until the whole vill passed into the canons' hands; the grant was confirmed by Henry III in February 1227–8.

The manor remained in the possession of St. Frideswide's until the suppression of that house under the Papal bulls obtained by Wolsey in 1524 and 1525. Wolsey obtained royal licence for the foundation of 'Cardinal College,' Oxford, in July 1525, and a grant of Knighton, among other manors, for the endowment of the foundation. The college survived the fall of Wolsey in 1529 for about a year, but after Michaelmas 1530 its endowments were resumed by the Crown. In July 1532 Henry founded King Henry VIII's College in Oxford, and Knighton was assigned as part of its endowment. The foundation came, however, to an end with its surrender to the Crown in 1545, and Knighton again passed into the king's hands. (fn. 95) It was still in the hands of the Crown in 1551, but must have been granted soon afterwards to Sir John Borne, kt., one of the two principal Secretaries of State, who with William Lacy was then authorized to alienate it to Isaac George. In February 1567–8 Isaac George died in possession of the manor, leaving all his purchased lands, &c., in Knighton to Thomas Brodway alias George, who secured two-thirds, while the remaining third passed to Isaac's niece Frideswide, daughter of John George and in 1574 widow of William Benger. In 1573 Thomas made a settlement of his portion on himself and his legitimate issue, and in 1583 his trustees conveyed this moiety to Thomas Smalbone. Owing, perhaps, to difficulties in the succession, Frideswide and her third husband Philip Cuffe did not obtain livery of their third of the manor until February 1574–5. In 1583 they conveyed this portion to Thomas Smalbone, who thus became possessed of the whole manor. He and Elizabeth his wife conveyed it in 1587 to John Gray, by whom the manor was again sold two years later to Richard Milles. In 1593 Richard Milles and Katharine his wife sold it to Sir Henry Poole, kt. From this time it followed the descent of the manor of Compton Beauchamp (q.v.).

The Prior of Poughley held lands in Knighton, which passed at the Dissolution to Cardinal Wolsey, and upon his attainder were granted to the abbey of Westminster.

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