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Sulhamstead Abbots, Berkshire, England

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Sulhamstead Abbots, Berkshire, England

The manor of SULHAMSTEAD ABBOTS is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, and its early history is entirely unknown until it appears amongst the possessions of Reading Abbey at the close of the 12th century. At that time one of the tenants of the abbey, Robert Pincent (Punzun), was deeply in debt and together with his son and heir William quitclaimed much of his land to his lords in return for ready money in his 'great and urgent necessity.' His patrimony, indeed, Robert still retained as well as the land of his wife Agnes, the daughter and heir of Tovus of Sulhamstead, but the rent of both was increased in return for the cancelling of a large debt owed to the monks. Moreover, he granted all his tenants with their households, lands, rents and services as well as various smaller pieces of land to Reading Abbey. Gervase and Gilbert Pincent also granted land to the abbey at a later date. Edmund the son of Gilbert exchanged the estate with the abbot in 1316 for lands in the parish of Tilehurst, where Pincent's Farm still bears his family name.

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The abbey retained Sulhamstead until the Dissolution, when the value of the different rents there is given amongst its possessions, but a manor is not definitely mentioned. In 1541, however, Henry VIII granted the manor of Sulhamstead Abbots, 'formerly belonging to the monastery of Reading,' to Sir John Williams, afterwards Lord Williams of Thame, for the yearly rent of 34s. 5d. On the death of Lord Williams in 1559 his possessions were divided between his two daughters and heirs, Isabel the wife of Sir Richard Wenman and Margery the wife of Henry Norreys, first Lord Norreys of Rycote, Sulhamstead was at first divided into two moieties, but in 1569–70 the Norreys obtained the whole manor, which then followed the descent of Burghfield Abbas (q.v.). In 1711 the second Earl of Abingdon sold Sulhamstead Abbots to Charles May of Basingstoke. The latter gave it to his son Daniel on his marriage in 1714 to Mary Tipping of Woolley. Daniel held the manor till his death in 1753. (fn. 22) He devised it to his nephew John Thoyts, a minor, and it remained in the Thoyts family until 1901, when Col. Newman Thoyts sold it to Sir William G. Watson, bart., the present owner.

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