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Great Hasely Manor, Oxfordshire, England

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Great Hasely Manor, Oxfordshire, England

In 1086 the parish’s four manors were assessed at 30 hides and a yardland. The
largest was the 16-hide Great Haseley manor, which was held by high-status secular lords (including members of the royal family) until 1478 when it was granted to St George’s chapel, Windsor. A separate lordship at Latchford was carved from the Great Haseley estate in the 13th century, and remained distinct until the Boulton family recombined the two in 1880. The smaller Little Haseley manor (9 hides in 1086) formed a separate estate by 1002, and in 1391 was bought by the Barentins of neighbouring Chalgrove, who made it their principal seat. Following sales in 1703 and c.1768, that too came into common ownership with Latchford and Great Haseley during the 19th century, and in 1910 the Boultons’ combined estate in the parish exceeded 1,500 acres.

The 4-hide Great Rycote manor belonged to local knightly families throughout the Middle Ages, and in 1539 was acquired by the prominent royal servant Sir John Williams. Williams almost certainly rebuilt the manor house on a grand scale, and created Rycote park, which passed with the manor to the Norrises, barons of Rycote, and the Berties, earls of Abingdon. The tiny Little Rycote manor (1¼ hides in 1086) was bought by Williams in 1540 and merged with Great Rycote.

Great Haseley Manor

In 1066 Great Haseley was held by Edward The Confessor, king of the English Edward the Confessor’s wife Queen Edith (d. 1075), presumably as part of the great royal manor of Benson to which the whole area formerly belonged. 3 Before 1086 it was granted to the Norman baron Miles Crispin (d. 1107), and became part of the honor of Wallingford; 4 Crispin apparently
enfeoffed his steward Gilbert Pipard, and it remained in the Pipard family throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. 5 In 1300 the manor accounted for two of the six knights’ fees which Ralph Pipard, 1st Lord Pipard, held of the honor of Wallingford. 6 In 1301 Ralph sold Great Haseley to Hugh Despenser the elder, 7 after whose execution in 1326 it was briefly used for the benefit of Edward II’s wife Isabella. 8 In 1327 it was granted to Edward III’s uncle Thomas of Brotherton as part of the provision intended for him by Edward I', 9 but in 1332 the manor was returned to the king, who granted it to Thomas’s nephew William de Bohun (d. 1360), later earl of Northampton. 10 William’s son Humphrey (d. 1373) was succeeded by two young daughters, 11 of whom the eldest (Eleanor) married Edward III’s son Thomas of Woodstock; he had been given possession in 1374, 12 and in 1380 the couple retained the manor in a partition of the Bohun estates. 13 Thomas died in 1397 after being charged with treason, 14 but Eleanor held the manor until her death in 1399. 15 In 1400 it was assigned to her and Thomas’s daughter Anne (d. 1438), 16 who married Edmund (d. 1403), earl of Stafford. 17

In 1421, when the Bohun estates were repartitioned, Great Haseley was assigned to Henry V as heir of Humphrey’s younger daughter Mary, and was annexed to the duchy of Lancaster. 18 After Henry’s death in 1422 it was given to his widow Katharine (d. 1437), and in 1444 to Margaret of Anjou, 19 and in 1467 Edward IV assigned it to his wife Elizabeth Woodville. 20 Elizabeth surrendered Great Haseley to the king the following year, 21 but in 1478 (with his authorization) granted it to the dean and canons of St George’s chapel, Windsor. 22 They retained it until their estates were surrendered to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1867. 23 From the 17th century the manor was often leased to the owners of neighbouring Latchford, 24 and in 1880 (when it covered around 600 a.) it was bought by the lessee M.P.W. Boulton (d. 1894) of Great Tew, 25 who also owned Latchford and Little Haseley. Boulton’s son M.E. Boulton died unmarried in 1914 and left the combined manors to his cousin A.J. Muirhead (d. 1939), 26 whose sister sold the bulk of the estate (2,760 a.) to Major Godfrey Miller Mundy of Andover (Hants.) in 1949. 27 Thereafter the estate was broken up. 28 Haseley Court (in Little Haseley) was sold separately in 1955 to the interior designer Nancy Lancaster (d. 1994).

Great Haseley Manor House

The present house’s position next to the church suggests that it occupies a medieval,
possibly 11th- or 12th-century site, and there must certainly have been a manor house by the 13th century when there was a substantial demesne farm. The large 14th-century barn now attached to Church Farm was almost certainly part of the manorial complex, and was repaired by the dean and canons of Windsor in the later Middle Ages. 30 The house itself was rebuilt on an H-plan in the late 17th century, presumably for the dean and canons’ tenant farmers, and incorporates some striking classical detailing. The irregular 7-bay main front is of coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, and like the hipped east wing features elaborate dormer windows with triangular pediments and finials; over the central bay the cornice breaks into an open pediment, and the central doorway too is pedimented and flanked by pilasters. The west wing was remodelled in a more austere style in the 18th century and has a plain parapet, although the house’s interior retains some 17th-century staircases and high-quality marble fireplaces. Former outbuildings include an 18th-century stable block of similar style to the house, while the grounds are enclosed by limestone rubble walls with ashlar piers and ball finials. 34

Lordship of Latchford

A sub-lordship held from Great Haseley manor was recorded in 1279, when it was
reckoned at a third of a knight’s fee and included demesne and numerous free tenancies in Latchford. According to the 16th-century antiquary John Leland it was created by one of the Pipard lords of Great Haseley to endow a landless younger son who had been knighted after fighting the Scots. If so the grantor may have been Henry Pipard, whose grandson Alexander held the fee from Roger Pipard (the mesne lord) ‘by ancient conquest’ in 1279. By 1397 the estate was reckoned at ½ knight’s fee, and in 1496 (when it was described as a manor) at ¼ knight’s fee. From Alexander the lordship descended probably to Henry Pipard (mentioned in 1306), and later to William Pipard (recorded from 1374 to 1403). William’s successor was Richard Pipard (recorded 1407 to 1428), whose heiress Jane married John Badby.

Not yet inspected by VCH. For other accounts, Bldgs List, IoE 246854; Pevsner, Oxon. 620; cf. below, econ. hist. (16th to 18th cents). For illustrations of the house before the change, which also mentions other freeholds. Leland, Itin. (ed. Toulmin Smith), I, 114, erroneously placing the lordship’s foundation in the 14th cent. John and Jane’s daughter Katharine married William Lenthall (d. 1496) of Herefordshire, who settled at Latchford where his family remained for over two centuries. William was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1550) and grandson William (d. 1587), and by that William’s grandson Edmund, who inherited while still under age. Edmund died in 1643 leaving a widow but no children, and the manor passed to his cousin Sir John Lenthall (d. 1669), formerly of Bletchingdon. John was succeeded by his grandson William, who died without heirs in 1702 having mortgaged Latchford to Sir John Cutler (d. 1693).

Under the mortgage arrangements Latchford passed to Cutler’s son-in-law Charles Robartes (d. 1723), earl of Radnor, who in 1706 sold it to George Blackall (d. 1709). Blackall belonged to a local family which acquired extensive estates in the Haseley area, and at his death owned land in several counties. His son Thomas succeeded while still a minor and died in 1786, leaving his estate to trustees; thereafter Latchford seems to have been passed with the neighbouring Great Milton estate to John Blackall (d. 1790) and to John’s son John (d. 1803) and grandson John (d. 1829), who added Little Haseley manor. Following the youngest John’s death the combined estates passed to his cousin Walter Long of Preshaw (Hants.), who in 1847 sold Latchford and several other local estates to M.P.W. Boulton (d. 1894) of Great Tew. Boulton added Great Haseley manor in 1880, and thereafter the Haseley and Latchford estates descended together.

Several other freeholds in 19th-century Latchford belonged to three main landowners in 1910, when they totalled c.684 acres.

Manor House (Latchford House)

The chief house for the estate appears to have been Latchford House, which was
built or rebuilt in the 16th century presumably for the Lenthalls. Probably this was the house in Latchford taxed on seven hearths in 1665, although if so it was then being leased to Thomas Harding.

The house’s earliest (16th-century) part comprises a two-bay, partly timber-framed range with brick and plaster infill, which includes a cross-passage doorway with a four-centred wooden head and recessed spandrels, a small three-light oak-mullioned window, and, at the rear, remains of a jetty. The clasped-purlin roof has curved windbraces. An abutting two-storey range was added in the early 17th century, presumably replacing an earlier range; built of limestone rubble with ashlar quoins, it retains a small ovolo-moulded casement at the front. Both ranges share a large central stack, with three diagonal brick shafts built on the ridge of the connecting roof. Further one-storey ranges were added in the 18th and 19th centuries, when some of the windows were replaced with sashes. The interior retains a 17th-century Tudor-arched fireplace and some 17th-century panelling.

Little Haseley Manor

In 1002 Æthelred II gave his minister Godwin an estate similar in extent to the later township of Little Haseley; until then, it presumably belonged to the large royal estate focused on Benson. By 1086 it was held by William I’s half brother Odo of Bayeux, whose tenant there has been identified as Hervey de Campeaux: Hervey was also the tenant of Ilbert de Lacy’s manor of Skelbrook near Pontefract (Yorks.), which presumably explains why by 1235--6 Little Haseley was one of four knights’ fees in Oxfordshire belonging to the honor of Pontefract. 59 Probably it had been added to the honor following Odo’s forfeiture in 1088. 60 The honor remained in the Lacy family until 1311, when it passed through marriage to Thomas (d. 1322), earl of Lancaster. 61 Thereafter it formed part of the duchy of Lancaster, with which it passed to the Crown in 1399.
The tenancy of Little Haseley manor descended to Hervey’s Yorkshire successors, passing by marriage to Oliver of Skelbrook in the mid 12th century. By 1205 all or part was held by Oliver’s daughter Olive and her husband William de Bruges, who were involved in litigation with neighbouring lords and tenants; the manor remained with the Skelbrook family, however, passing to William of Skelbrook (fl. c.1220--44) By 1322--3 the lord was John of Skelbrook, and in 1330 William of Skelbrook. Probably in the mid 1340s the manor was divided between three of John’s descendants: Adam de Louches received half, while the rest went to John Paynter and his wife Florence, and to John Druval and his wife Mariot. John and Mariot granted a further share to Adam de Louches in 1348. The following year the whole manor was bought by Sir Roger de Cotesford, a future sheriff and knight of the shire who acquired several other Oxfordshire manors around the same time, and who also obtained a grant of free warren. He was succeeded by Sir Thomas de Cotesford in 1375. 7

In 1391 Little Haseley was bought by the wealthy London goldsmith Drew Barentin and his brother Thomas, the lord of neighbouring Chalgrove. After Drew died childless in 1415 the manor passed to the main Chalgrove line, going first to Thomas’s son Reynold (d. 1441), and later to Reynold’s son Drew (d. 1453) and grandson John (d. 1474), who by the mid 15th century were making Little Haseley their principal seat. 76 John’s widow Elizabeth retained custody during the minority of their son John Barentin (d. 1485), whose own son William came of age only in 1502. Like many of his predecessors William served as MP, and died in 1550, to be succeeded first by his son Francis (d. 1559), and later by Francis’s sister Mary (d. 1581), the wife of Anthony Huddleston. Little Haseley passed to Mary and Anthony’s son Richard and grandson Ferdinando Huddleston, who was living at Haseley Court in 1665. In 1681 the estate was mortgaged to Sir John Cutler, and in 1703 it was sold to Edmund Boulter, whose nephew’s daughter married John Woolfe (d. 1764). Following the death of their son Charles Woolfe in 1768 the manor was bought first by Andrew Foley (d. 1817), and c.1819 by John Blackall (d. 1829) of Latchford; 82 thereafter it descended with Latchford and (later) Great Haseley. In 1971 Haseley Court was sold by Nancy Lancaster to the 18th Viscount Hereford, who sold it with 85 a. of grounds in 1981 to Desmond and Fiona Heyward, the owners in 2012.83


Manor House (Haseley Court)

Haseley Court, on the village’s eastern edge, seems to have been substantially
rebuilt by the Barentins from the late 14th or early 15th century, and presumably occupies the site of earlier manorial buildings. Thereafter it was occupied at least occasionally by the Huddlestons, Boulters, Woolfes, Foleys, and Blackalls. Additions were made in the 16th century when it was described as ‘a right fair mansion place’, and a large south-western block built by Edmund Boulter in 1710 was further extended in 1754, presumably for the Woolfes. From 1847 the house was occupied by the Scottish Muirhead family, who later inherited the estate from the Boultons. Part of the 14th- and 15th-century house survives in a two-storeyed wing running back from the main 18th-century block. The range retains some high-quality 15th- and possibly late 14th-century windows, some of them with cusped heads under square hoodmoulds, and the doorway has a plain chamfered arch. Some ostensibly medieval features may reflect a gothic-style remodelling in the 18th century, however, when an embattled parapet was added, and the complete reworking of the interior makes it difficult to judge what function the range may originally have fulfilled. A converted 15th-century barn with slit windows and original buttresses survives a little way north-west of the house. Additions were made to the medieval range’s north side in the 16th century, and the erection of the new south-west block in 1710 (presumably replacing earlier buildings) was followed by successive remodelling both inside and out: the existing interior is largely 18th-century, and contains little evidence of earlier features. The main south-west block is of three storeys, built of squared coursed limestone with ashlar dressings and a tiled roof, and presents an imposing symmetrical façade. The four outermost bays (added in 1754) break forward slightly, and the central three bays are surmounted by a triangular pediment over the central entrance with its double-leaf door. The whole front is lit by six-over-six sash windows to the ground and first floors, with smaller sash windows above. The entrance hall is dominated by a stone fireplace of c.1710 attributed to William Townesend of Oxford, which has delicate Rococo details below a Baroque overmantel and broken pediment. Flanking the hall are a parlour and dining-room, the latter with a pair of fluted Doric pillars on either side of a grey marble fireplace, and to the rear of the hall is a small room in exquisite Palladian style, lit by a Venetian window and containing Ionic columns and elaborate eared doorcases. The 1754 extensions include a double-height drawing room with deeply-coved ceiling and delicate plasterwork, reflecting the influence of James Wyatt, while an Adam-style ballroom said to have been created in 1790 was destroyed by fire in the 20th century. In the older wing, a range of 18th-century gothic features include fireplaces, ribbed stuccoed vaulting, and (on the long upper floor) a Georgian gothic corbel table. In the 1540s Leland reported ‘marvellous fair walks’ of topiary work (topiarii operis ) and ‘orchards and pools’, and in the 19th century a newly-planted topiary garden lay to the south of the house. New gardens were created after 1955 by Nancy Lancaster, who also carried out wide-ranging renovations to the building, including new trompe l’oeil decoration by John Fowler. North-east of the main house, two small pavilion-like buildings with hipped roofs were added in the 18th century as a laundry and brewhouse, closing off part of the north-east courtyard; a third was added in the 20th century by Mrs Lancaster.