A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In the late 10th century the then Aelfhelm Poga gave his wife on their marriage and in his will, 7 hides in Wilbraham. (fn. 1)
In 1066 and 1086 the larger of two manors in Great Wilbraham was that belonging from of old to the king. (fn. 2) It apparently remained part of the royal demesne until the 1150s, when it was divided into two unequal parts, the smaller alienated from the 1150s. The larger part, later TEMPLE manor, then valued at £12 out of a total of £20, was held 1155–8 by Ralph son of Olaf. (fn. 3) Thereafter, reckoned worth £15, it was retained by the king until c. 1189, when it was given, allegedly by Henry II, to Hugh de Malalney. He lost it in 1193, apparently for supporting Count John's rebellion. In 1199 John, as king, restored that part, occupied since 1197 by Rainer de Mailleler, to Hugh, (fn. 4) who retained it, except when his associate William de Cressi had it, 1210–12, (fn. 5) until he died in 1221. Hugh's son and successor in 1222 Peter (fn. 6) was deprived of it by 1224. (fn. 7) When Wilbraham was restored to him as his inheritance in 1226, Peter gave it within a week to the Knights Templar, (fn. 8) to whom Henry III confirmed it in free alms in 1227. (fn. 9)
The Templars retained that manor, adding some small purchases and establishing a small preceptory, (fn. 10) until their arrest under Edward II. (fn. 11) The manor was in the king's hands 1308–9, after which Robert, Lord FitzWalter, had its custody for two years, and again from 1311. In 1313 it was delivered with other Templar manors to the Knights Hospitaller, (fn. 12) who probably attached it to their preceptory at Chippenham. They had 730 a. of arable in the parish in 1338. After their dissolution in 1540, (fn. 13) the Crown granted Temple manor in 1541 to Sir Edward North, but he shortly returned it to the Crown, so that it could be given in 1545 by exchange to Fotheringay college (Northants.). It again reverted to the Crown in 1548. (fn. 14)
In 1553 Queen Mary gave it to her supporter Sir John Huddleston (fn. 15) (d. 1557). His son Sir Edmund (d. 1606) settled it in 1583 on his son Henry's marriage. (fn. 16) Henry assigned that estate c. 1613 to his eldest son Sir Robert on his marriage. (fn. 17) Sir Robert, who had inhabited the Temple manor house, died without issue in 1657. His widow Mary retained the estate as her jointure in 1683, when his brother Henry's son and heir Henry sold its reversion, with c. 570 a. in the parish, to Thomas Watson, D.D. (fn. 18)
A suspected Jacobite, Watson, bishop of St. Davids from 1688 until deprived in 1708 for simony, retired to Wilbraham Temple, where he died excommunicate in 1717. (fn. 19) His brother William then settled that estate, enlarged by the purchase of 85 a., upon the marriage of his eldest daughter Joanna to the bishop's loyal secretary John Ward (d. 1719). (fn. 20) Joanna, who married secondly John Clench (d. 1729), (fn. 21) died in 1736, displeased at her under-age son and heir Thomas Watson Ward's marrying a Cambridge wigmaker's daughter. Thomas died in 1750, (fn. 22) leaving to his elder son and namesake a Wilbraham estate, increased by a further 150 a. between 1717 and 1760, when the son came of age. He retired to Norfolk, letting Wilbraham Temple, c. 1781, and tried from 1787 to sell his heavily mortgaged 1,300-a. estate. The Temple with 57 a. of grounds and the manorial rights were bought in 1788 by the Revd. James Hicks. Ward retained five farms in Great Wilbraham, in all c. 940 a., including land leased from Jesus College, Cambridge, until his death in 1792. His son, the Revd. Thomas Watson Ward sold four farms, c. 740 a., to Hicks in 1797, keeping one, (fn. 23) for which at inclosure Ward was allotted c. 475 a. (fn. 24) It passed on his death in 1825 to his daughter Anne (d. 1851), wife of Jonathan Hayne (d. 1848), a London silversmith. (fn. 25)
James Hicks owned from inclosure c. 700 a. of the parish. (fn. 26) He died childless in 1825, having settled his estate for life on his widow Anne (d. 1831), then upon Edward Simpson, greatgrandson of Hicks's great-uncle Gregory Hicks. Under the settlement Edward took the name and (usurped) arms of Hicks on coming of age in 1835. (fn. 27) In 1855 he bought from Anne Hayne's four children their shares in the 475-a. Lower Heath farm. (fn. 28) Edward Hicks (d. 1883), M.P. for Cambridge 1870–85, had in 1869 settled the estate on his son Stanley Edward (d. 1900), whose son Reginald Stanley Hicks (fn. 29) died in 1959. He left the Wilbraham Temple estate, c. 1,897 a. in the parish, to his wife's niece, Brenda Coralie, wife of Capt. Richard Edmund Hyde Smith R.N. (d. 1972). The captain lived at Great Wilbraham from 1947. His two sons, Cdr. Bryan Edmund and Mr. John Jeremy Hyde Smith, (fn. 30) retained most of the farmland, over 1,580 a., which Cdr. Hyde Smith managed from the Grange in 1990. The house, called Wilbraham Temple, and 19 a. of its 36-a. parkland with 152 a. of the adjoining Rectory farm, partly in Little Wilbraham, had been sold in 1980 to Mr. G. R. W. Wright, still the owner in 1990. (fn. 31)
Before 1308 the Templars' manorial farmstead included a hall, kitchen, and chapel, and housed two or three brethren and a corrodian. (fn. 32) In 1338 the Hospitallers' manor had a hall with a garden, (fn. 33) still called the Temple garden c. 1425, when the house included a hall and a chamber over its buttery, and had a dovecot. (fn. 34) A late 15th-century timber-framed building, of three bays and two surviving storeys, perhaps the soller wing of a house for a Hospitaller warden or farmer, stands slightly north-west of the modern Wilbraham Temple. The ground floor retains an original doorway with a fourcentred arch, and windows with ogee mouldings. On the upper floor, its walls framed with close set studwork, whose south bay was partitioned off as a chamber, many beams have elaborate mouldings, some with foliate carvings. (fn. 35)
The older parts of the manor house, called Wilbraham Temple by 1683, are timber-framed, of two storeys with an attic, and may have been begun c. 1620 as a 'mansion house' for the newly married Robert Huddleston. (fn. 36) The earliest part, retaining a group of six chimney shafts, has two gables facing north-east. A parallel range, producing a double pile house, with matching stair turrets at each end, was probably added by 1660: 13 hearths were recorded in 1666; (fn. 37) there were six rooms to a floor in 1781, one being a library. (fn. 38) In the 18th century bay windows were inserted under the gables on the north-east side, and probably c. 1800 the south-west side was recased and rendered in plaster to produce a five-bayed front with sash windows and a flat-roofed porch on segmental arches. A parapet conceals the earlier attic roof. At the north-west end a twobayed addition and a conservatory were probably added in the 19th century. Some rooms still had 17th-century panelling in the 1980s, when after alterations the ground floor had four large rooms, the upper floors eight bedrooms. (fn. 39) By 1820 James Hicks had created east of the village a park of 86 a., partly on former fieldland. (fn. 40)
The smaller part of the royal manor, once later called SIBILLS, was held by the serjeanty of keeping a sparrowhawk for the king and providing him with two greyhounds, (fn. 41) recorded until the 1370s. (fn. 42) Picot de Tany of Ardleigh (Essex) and his brother Peter Picot held that manor, reckoned as worth £5, jointly from 1155 until Picot died c. 1183. Peter, guardian of Picot's son Ralph, of age c. 1186, bought out Ralph's rights c. 1187 (fn. 43) and held the manor alone until his death c. 1212. (fn. 44) It then passed, like Ratcliffe-onSour (Notts.), to his son Peter, (fn. 45) who died in 1224, leaving a minor son Thomas. (fn. 46) By 1235 the Wilbraham land had passed to William Picot, (fn. 47) probably Ralph's son of that name, (fn. 48) who died c. 1237. His son William, of age in 1253, (fn. 49) still owned it c. 1260. (fn. 50)
By 1279 William (d. 1283) had granted the manor to Roger Loveday, (fn. 51) then a judge, (fn. 52) who died in 1287. (fn. 53) He had settled it on his son William Loveday, possibly illegitimate, (fn. 54) who possessed it 1299 × 1309. (fn. 55) He died in 1327, having in 1325 settled 40 a. in the parish, later occupied by his widow Joan (d. 1346) as her jointure. (fn. 56) His son William Loveday, of age in 1334, (fn. 57) in 1336 granted his rights in 120 a. to Richard Fileby (fn. 58) (d. 1337). Fileby's brother and heir Henry died in 1349. His heir was his kinsman Roger Loveday, (fn. 59) perhaps son of William's younger brother Andrew, Joan's heir in 1346. (fn. 60) In 1362 Roger settled the manor on his marriage to his wife Anne. He died in 1375, holding, besides his 80 a. held in serjeanty, 150 a. freely of the Richmond fee. In 1377 Anne, then wife of John Pot, and Roger's sister and heir Margaret, wife of John Simond, released the Loveday lands in Great Wilbraham to John Sibill of Horseheath. (fn. 61)
Sibill died in 1393, shortly before being outlawed, and leaving a son William, of age in 1400. The serjeanty was taken into the king's hands, so that William (d. 1415) probably did not obtain it, though owning other Wilbraham land in 1412. His son John may have recovered the confiscated land c. 1430. (fn. 62) Its immediate fate is uncertain. Sibills manor, which belonged to Sir Thomas Lovell (d. 1524), (fn. 63) presumably passed with his other Great Wilbraham manor called Lovetots.
The other manors in Great Wilbraham derived from 4 hides held of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 64) They had belonged in 1066 to Eddeva the fair and by 1086 were held of Count Alan, lord of Richmond, by his chamberlain Eudes. (fn. 65) Robert the chamberlain, probably Eudes's son, (fn. 66) was later said to have given to Warden abbey (Beds.) the 40 a. that it had at Wilbraham in 1279. (fn. 67) It had alienated that land by 1390. (fn. 68)
Probably by 1155 Robert had given half of his Wilbraham manor with a kinswoman in marriage to Ralph son of Olaf. Ralph was steward and chamberlain to Nigel, bishop of Ely; (fn. 69) his daughter, supposedly named Beatrice, married Robert de Lisle. (fn. 70) Robert or his son Robert was sheriff of Cambridgeshire 1198–1201. (fn. 71) The son had the estate in 1207 (fn. 72) and survived into the 1220s. (fn. 73) He or his son and namesake possessed LISLES manor in 1229. (fn. 74) About 1235 the third Robert held 2 hides of the honor of Richmond in socage, (fn. 75) as probably did his successors. (fn. 76) That Robert probably died c. 1262. (fn. 77) His son, also Robert, who was granted free warren at Great Wilbraham in 1264, (fn. 78) had 200 a. of demesne there in 1279 (fn. 79) and died in 1284. His son and heir Warin (fn. 80) died in 1296, when his son Robert was aged six. (fn. 81) Warin's widow Alice, who probably had the manor in dower, (fn. 82) married c. 1308 Robert, Lord FitzWalter (d. 1326), who occupied Lisles in 1316. (fn. 83)
Warin's son Robert, Lord Lisle of Rougemont from 1314, became a monk c. 1342, (fn. 84) having in 1333 settled Wilbraham Lisles upon his son John's marriage. (fn. 85) After John, Lord Lisle, fell fighting in France in 1355, his widow Maud retained it until after 1377. (fn. 86) When in 1369 John's son Robert resigned almost all his honours and estates, the reversion of Wilbraham Lisles was omitted (fn. 87) and he possessed it c. 1387. (fn. 88) He died in the late 1390s, (fn. 89) leaving a son William, supposed illegitimate, knighted by 1392, (fn. 90) to whom Robert's brother Sir William Lisle released that manor in 1400. (fn. 91)
The younger Sir William, who established himself in Oxfordshire, (fn. 92) died in 1442, (fn. 93) having settled the manor in 1441 on his son Drew Lisle (fn. 94) (d. 1475). (fn. 95) Drew's heir was his son John (fn. 96) (d. after 1497), (fn. 97) whose son Thomas left a son Edmund. (fn. 98) An esquire sewer in the royal household c. 1550–1600, (fn. 99) Edmund owed suit to Temple manor in the 1580s (fn. 100) and died very old in 1606. His eldest surviving son Cave Lisle, of Compton Durville (Som.), had agreed that his brother William should occupy the Wilbraham estate without legal title. (fn. 101) William, a fellow of King's College, Cambridge and an Anglo-Saxon scholar, did so until his death in 1637. (fn. 102) In the late 1630s the manor was owned by Nicholas Lisle, probably William's nephew. (fn. 103) In 1646 George Lisle, perhaps Cave's son, released the manor to the London merchant Sir John James. (fn. 104)
James (d. s.p. 1676) left his estates to his nephew James Cane, who took the name Cane James (cr. Bt. 1682, d. 1736) (fn. 105) lord of Lisles in 1718. (fn. 106) His son Sir John James sold it in 1738 to Charles Seymour, duke of Somerset (fn. 107) (d. 1748). The duke's Cambridgeshire lands passed to his two daughters by his second marriage, (fn. 108) who retained Lisles lordship undivided in the 1750s. After 1760 it belonged to one daughter Charlotte (d. 1805), wife of Heneage Finch, earl of Aylesford (fn. 109) (d. 1777). Their son Heneage, the fourth earl, (fn. 110) after inclosure in 1801 owned c. 645 a. in the south of the parish. (fn. 111) Before his death in 1814 he had agreed to sell Lisles manor with 646 a. to the Revd. Charles George, to whom his trustees conveyed that estate in 1817. (fn. 112) In 1831 George sold it to Christopher Capel (d. 1846) and John Watts (d. 1850). In 1854 Capel's son Christopher sold it to Gen. John Hall. (fn. 113) As Great Wilbraham Hall farm, covering 644 a. in 1912, it passed with Hall's Six Mile Bottom estate (fn. 114) until 1989 when Lady Delemere's trustees sold it to Mr. David Hicks. (fn. 115)
Lisles had a manor house in the early 17th century when William Lisle lived there. (fn. 116) In 1668 Sir John James, leasing the demesne, reserved the right to occupy a parlour and chamber in the house during visits. (fn. 117) Its site is uncertain.
The other two hides of Robert the chamberlain's manor, later called LOVETOTS manor, passed, after Robert became a monk c. 1160, successively to his sons George and Nigel. Both sons died without issue c. 1175 and c. 1190; their coheirs, probably descended from their sisters, included c. 1190 Fulk son of Tiffany by Tibbald, and Henry son of Henry. (fn. 118) About 1235 Ralph son of Fulk and John son of Henry held 1 ⅓ hides at Wilbraham, partly in socage. (fn. 119) Probably by 1260 that fee had been acquired by John Lovetot, perhaps of a local family. (fn. 120) Knighted c. 1269, (fn. 121) Lovetot was a justice of Common Pleas 1275–89. (fn. 122) In 1277 he was granted free warren at Great Wilbraham. (fn. 123) Sir John Lovetot died in 1295. His son and heir John (fn. 124) c. 1300 accused Edward I's chief minister Walter Langton, besides black magic, of seducing his stepmother and killing his father. Incurring the king's wrath John died in prison, probably c. 1303. (fn. 125)
The fate of his lands is uncertain. Adam Lovetot had land at Great Wilbraham 1308–30, and his son John by 1334. (fn. 126) 'Edmund' Lovetot, possibly an error for Adam, supposedly held a manor there in 1316. (fn. 127) Between 1350 and 1370 a branch of the Lovetots of Southoe (Hunts.), had 25 a. at Great Wilbraham. (fn. 128) Margaret Lovetot, who had land there in the 1360s, (fn. 129) with her husband William Wimpole sold in 1361 to John Smith, still owner c. 1392, 24 a., probably later included in the 80 a. in Great Wilbraham owned 1460–80 by the Frevilles of Little Shelford. With a holding accumulated from the early 14th century by the Palmer family it was part of the 160 a. sold in 1542 by Robert Aspland to Serjeant William Cook of Milton. In 1543 Cook sold it to Dr. John Reston, master of Jesus College, Cambridge, who left it in 1551 to the college. (fn. 130) The beneficial lease of that land, comprising 157 a. until inclosure, when 87 a. was allotted for it in 1801, (fn. 131) was held from 1713 until after 1800 by successive owners of the Temple estate. (fn. 132) The college still owned the 87 a. in 1990. (fn. 133)
The Lovetots' manorial rights may have come to the Tiptofts. Sir John (later lord) Tiptoft (d. 1443) (fn. 134) had property at Wilbraham in 1412. (fn. 135) His son, John, earl of Worcester (ex. 1470), held a manor there of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 136) Sir Thomas Lovell, husband of the earl's niece and eventual heir Isabel, had at his death in 1524 manors there called 'Lornes' and Sibills, which he had recovered from his mother-in-law Philippa, lady Roos. He left them for life to his nephew Sir Francis Lovell of East Harling (Norf.) (fn. 137) (d. 1552). Sir Francis's son Sir Thomas (fn. 138) died in 1567, leaving them for life to his widow Elizabeth, (fn. 139) who held courts for 'Lovells' or 'Lusters' manors until after 1580. (fn. 140) In 1584 she and her son Sir Thomas Lovell sold Lusters manor with 200 a. to Sir Edmund Huddleston and Edward Smith. (fn. 141) Huddleston's share was conveyed thereafter with Temple manor until the 19th century. (fn. 142) Smith's share passed to his daughter Susan and her husband Thomas Webb, (fn. 143) who in 1592 sold it to James Alington. (fn. 144) In 1589 James had acquired over 150 a. from the Hasell family. (fn. 145) When James died c. 1627, his lands, including half Lusters, descended to his nephew Sir Giles Alington of Horseheath, (fn. 146) whose heirs, the lords Alington, owned much land in the Wilbrahams in the mid 17th century. (fn. 147) By 1668 Sir John James owned 96 a. called Lusters or Lovetots, which presumably passed thereafter with Lisles manor. (fn. 148) A house on Church Street called Lufters, which has an early 16th-century timber-framed, jettied twobayed range, extended c. 1600, was perhaps the farmhouse for that estate. (fn. 149)