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Sutton Courtenay Manor, Oxfordshire, England

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Sutton Courtenay Manor, Oxfordshire, England

According to the 12th-century tradition of the house, the vill of SUTTON was given to Abingdon Abbey by King Ini (688–728). The story went on to relate how Abbot Hrethun in 801 gave 100 manentes of land here and £120 to Coenwulf, King of the Mercians, in exchange for Andersey Island. Be this as it may, Sutton remained a royal vill until the reign of Henry II, although the abbey retained a holding here.

In 1086 the Conqueror held Sutton in demesne. Certain land in the manor was seized by Henry de Ferrers as having belonged to his predecessor Godric the sheriff, but the hundred court stated that Godric had taken possession unlawfully. Half a virgate which Leflet had held before the Conquest had passed to the king by 1086, when it was held by Robert in the farm of Sutton.

Henry II seems to have granted it to Henry son of Gerald, afterwards called the chamberlain, who perhaps exchanged it for Sparsholt.

Reynold de Courtenay held lands here in 1160–1, and received a grant of the manor from Henry II at some date between 1175 and 1184. He died about 1191, and his younger son Robert obtained the manor, paying 300 marks to the Crown, and 'saving the right of the heirs of his eldest brother William when they have age.' He held Sutton until 1209, when he was succeeded by his nephew Robert. Robert held Sutton until 1242, when he was succeeded by his son John, who died seised in 1273, leaving a son and heir Hugh. He was followed in February 1291–2 by his son Hugh, who succeeded in 1293 to the Redvers estates of his distant cousin Isabel Countess of Albemarle and Devon. He was summoned to Parliament as Lord Courtenay from 1299 onwards, and his title to the earldom of Devon was confirmed in 1335. In 1315 he and his mother Eleanor settled the remainder of this manor and lands in Devonshire and Hampshire on his sons Hugh, Robert and Thomas successively in feetail. He died in 1340, when Hugh was his heir. Hugh Earl of Devon settled the manor for her life in 1361 on Margaret daughter of Sir Guy de Brienne, wife of his grandson Hugh son of Hugh de Courtenay. Margaret must have died soon afterwards, for in February 1364–5 the earl settled the manor with the advowson of the church on Hugh's second wife Maud, daughter of Thomas (Holand) Earl of Kent, and their issue for the payment of £44 16s. annually. The younger Hugh died in February 1373–4, when the issues were delivered to Maud. Hugh Earl of Devon died in 1377 when his grandson Edward succeeded to the earldom, his grandmother Margaret having dower of this manor and advowson until her death in 1391. His elder son Edward fought at Agincourt in 1415 and died a year or two later, and in 1419 he was succeeded by his younger son Hugh. Hugh Earl of Devon died in 1422, leaving a son and heir Thomas, aged eight, but Sutton Courtenay formed part of the dower of Anne his mother, who held it until her death in January 1440–1. Thomas died in February 1457–8, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, beheaded at York in 1461. His brother and heir Henry was not restored to his honours; in 1461 he received licence to enter into possession of this estate, but by the attainder of November in this year the Courtenay lands were vested in the Crown, and in 1462 the manor and advowson were granted by Edward IV to Walter (Devereux) Lord Ferrers.

Lord Ferrers was slain at Bosworth in 1485, fighting on the side of Richard III, and his descendants lost the Courtenay possessions.

John Courtenay, youngest brother of Thomas Earl of Devon, had been restored to his honours in 1470, at the brief restoration of Henry VI, but died in battle at Tewkesbury in 1471 leaving no issue. Before the close of 1485 Henry VII restored the earldom to Edward Courtenay, son of Sir Hugh son of Sir Hugh younger brother of Edward twelfth Earl of Devon. He received this manor in 1485, but surrendered it with other lands in March 1489–90 in favour of Elizabeth wife of Sir Hugh Conway, sister of that Thomas Earl of Devon who had been attainted in 1461.

On the death of Edward Earl of Devon, in 1509, the earldom was forfeited through the attainder in 1504 of his son and heir William, who, however, in 1511, a month before his death, was created earl; in 1512 Henry VIII granted the reversion of this manor, then held by Sir Hugh Conway and Elizabeth, to William's widow Katharine, sixth daughter of Edward IV. When she died in 1527 the manor passed to her son Henry, who had obtained in 1512 a reversal of his father's attainder and been created Marquess of Exeter in 1525. On his attainder in 1539 it again came to the Crown.

In 1550 Edward VI leased the manor to John Herle, servant to the Lady Mary, and in 1557 Philip and Mary granted the reversion to Sir John Mason, kt., and Elizabeth his wife in exchange for the manor of Timsbury (Hants). In the following year they resigned the grant in favour of their son and heir Thomas, on whom the manor was settled for life with successive remainders to Elizabeth daughter and heir of Sir John Gresham, kt., and his wife Frances and John's male issue. Thomas and Elizabeth Gresham died, Sir John Mason died leaving no son, and the reversion came to the Crown. Queen Elizabeth granted Dame Elizabeth Mason, who survived, a lease of the demesnes and mills for twenty-one years from 1574, and in 1591 granted the remainder for sixty years to Richard Hyde and John Reade.

The manor was retained by the Crown from Dame Elizabeth Mason's death until 1628, being in the possession of the Prince of Wales in 1620. In 1628 Charles I sold it to Edward Ditchfield and others, citizens of London. They sold it in 1630 to William first Lord Craven of Hampstead Marshall, Berkshire.

This manor with Lord Craven's other estates was seized by Parliament and sold to Samuel Wightwick. It was recovered at the Restoration and remained in the possession of the Earls of Craven until William Earl of Craven sold it to Francis Elderfield, probably in 1821. (fn. 87) It then came into the possession of William Monk, whose representatives sold it in 1886 to Lord Wantage. He died in 1901, having bequeathed it to the present owner, his kinsman Captain Henry Edith Arthur Lindsay.

Court Rolls of the 14th century are extant.

Richard de Corneville held lands here in 1225 ; Walter de Corneville was living in 1261 and held onethirteenth of a knight's fee of John de Courtenay; and in February 1291–2 John de Corneville was said to hold one-tenth of a fee. Roger Corneville is mentioned in 1353–4. Land was also held by the family of Stanlake before and after 1366.

John Brouns received licence in 1341 to have an oratory in his house here. His son William Brouns in 1377, made settlements of messuages and a carucate of land and in this year and February 1391–2 appears as tenant of the part of a knight's fee under the Courtenays. His son Richard was perhaps the Richard, father of Richard 'Brunse' of Sutton Courtenay, whose daughter and heir Rose married Richard Humfreston of Humfreston (co. Salop), and left a daughter and heir Agnes wife of William Hulse. He settled at Sutton Courtenay, and his son Andrew was father of the Thomas Hulse, recusant, who made a settlement of the manor of BRUNCES COURT here in the spring of 1593. He died seised of a mansion or capital messuage and lands in 1613, leaving daughters and heirs Susan widow of Thomas Kerry. Mary who had married Edmund Wollascot, and Frances who had married John Mayhue. Thomas Wollascot. son of Mary and Edmund or Edward. a recusant, was in possession of 'Brunts Court' before his death in about 1650, and it was leased in 1652 by his son Thomas who, however, was living here in 1664. His son Martin had lands here in 1691, as had William Wollascot in 1717.