A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2001.
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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1066 the manor of Nayland (Suff.), held by Robert fitz Wimarc, included both Great and Little Horkesley. Robert was succeeded by his son Sweyn of Essex (d. 1100 x 1114), who held Nayland as part of the honor of Rayleigh. (fn. 1) The overlordship is recorded until 1553. (fn. 2)
The manor of GREAT HORKESLEY was apparently held in demesne with Nayland manor until 1517. (fn. 3) Sweyn was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1132 x 1140) whose son Henry of Essex forfeited his lands in 1163. By 1198 Nayland had been granted to Geoffrey, count of Perche (d. 1202). He was succeeded by his son another Geoffrey, after whose death in 1205 the lands reverted to the Crown. (fn. 4) By 1215 Nayland had been granted to Hubert de Burgh (d. 1243) who was succeeded by his son John (d. 1274). John apparently gave Nayland to his son, another John (d. 1280), who exchanged it with the Crown in 1272. (fn. 5)
In 1284 Nayland was granted to Gilbert Peche for life, but by 1299 it probably formed part of the dower of Queen Margaret, wife of Edward I. She held Great Horkesley in 1314. (fn. 6) In 1336 Philippa, queen of Edward III, exchanged Nayland with Geoffrey Scrope (d. 1340) for lands in Yorkshire. (fn. 7) Nayland then descended in the barons Scrope of Masham, being held successively by Henry (d. 1392), Stephen (d. 1406), and Henry (executed 1415). (fn. 8) On Henry Scrope's attainder his estates were forfeited, (fn. 9) but his younger brother John regained Great Horkesley from the Crown in 1424. (fn. 10) On his death in 1455 he was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1475) who was followed by his son, another Thomas (d. 1493). He was succeeded by his daughter Alice (d. c. 1510), wife of Henry, Lord Scrope of Bolton (d. 1512), who was succeeded by his brothers Ralph (d. 1515) and Geoffrey (d. 1517). (fn. 11)
After Geoffrey's death Nayland was partitioned between his sisters Alice, wife of Thomas Strangeways, Mary, wife of Sir Christopher Danby, and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas FitzRandolph, the manor of Great Horkesley apparently falling to the share of Elizabeth FitzRandolph. One of her four daughters, Elizabeth, was married to Nicholas Styrley or Shelley who sold a quarter share of the manor to William Strangeways, presumably the heir of Alice Strangeways, in 1534. (fn. 12) William or his descendant Sir James Strangeways apparently purchased the other three quarters of the manor before 1539 when James sold it to Thomas Cromwell who was executed in 1540. (fn. 13)
In 1541 the manor was granted to William Shelley, perhaps a descendant of Nicholas Shelley. He was succeeded by his son John (d. 1551) and by John's son William (executed in 1586). (fn. 14) William's widow Jane was apparently holding in dower in 1599-1600. (fn. 15) John Shelley, presumably William and Jane's heir, sold the manor to Paul Bayning, later Baron Bayning of Horkesley and Viscount Sudbury (d. 1629), in 1615 or 1616. (fn. 16) He was succeeded by his son, another Paul (d. 1638), from whom the manor passed to his daughter Anne (d. 1659), and to her husband Aubrey de Vere, earl of Oxford. (fn. 17)
After the earl of Oxford's death in 1703 the manor reverted to the heirs of the 2nd Viscount Sudbury, who sold it in 1712 to Nicholas Freeman (d. 1744), a Dedham clothier. It descended to Freeman's nephews, Nicholas, Robert, and John Freeman. The last, John, died before 1768 when his son, another John (d. 1830), held it. He was succeeded by his son Nicholas (d. 1837), (fn. 18) whose widow Hannah sold the manor to James Cuddon in 1846. Cuddon sold it to Henry Paine and Richard Brettall in 1870. In the following year they sold it to Joseph Stanley, who immediately resold it to the Colchester lawyer J. S. Barnes. Charles Page of Lodge farm was lord of the manor in 1874, but by 1878 it had passed to Robert Cuddon, who held it until 1890. (fn. 19) By 1894 E. B. P. Kelso (d. 1924) of Horkesley Park was lord, and he was succeeded by his widow A. M. Kelso, who held it in 1937. (fn. 20) The manorial rights passed to the Whitechapel Mission when they purchased Horkesley Park in 1952. (fn. 21)
No medieval manor house is recorded. Great Horkesley Manor is a late 19th-century building, and probably does not occupy an ancient site. In 1990 it was converted to a private residential home for the elderly. (fn. 22)
On the partition of the Scrope estates in 1517 the manor of Nayland, with its demesne park later called NAYLAND PARK or HORKESLEY PARK, was assigned to Mary Danby whose grandson Sir Thomas Danby sold Nayland manor to Edward Rookwood. (fn. 23) He sold it to Jerome Weston (d. 1603) who was succeeded by his son Richard, earl of Portland (d. 1635). Portland's son Jerome sold the park to William Gibbs in 1639. William was succeeded by Samuel Gibbs (d. 1692), and Samuel by his son and namesake. The estate was held by another Samuel Gibbs in 1786. (fn. 24) By 1814 it had passed to W. B. H. Rowley, whose son William Rowley sold Horkesley Park to T. C. Harrold in 1820. (fn. 25) In 1840 the estate, then called Rice Park, was owned by Charles Harrold, who sold it in 1842 to E. J. F. Kelso (d. before 1867); he appears to have re-named it Red Park. (fn. 26) He was succeeded by E. B. P. Kelso (d. 1924), and he by his widow A. M. Kelso who held it in 1937. In 1952 the estate was sold to the Whitechapel Mission for use as a probation hostel and afterwards re-named Windyridge school. In 1994 it was bought by Little Garth school. (fn. 27)
The house formerly known as Horkesley Park, now converted for use as a school, incorporates at its south end a rectangular timber-framed block with rendered walls. The west front of the house may be late 17th- or early 18th-century in origin. The house was remodeled later in the 18th century when the rooms of the eastern front were added, perhaps from designs by William Hillyer. Sir John Soane carried out minor plastering and painting works there in 1786. (fn. 28) Additions were made to the north in the earlier 19th century and the interior was drastically remodelled c. 1900. In the later 20th century a wing was added to the north and buildings were put up in the grounds for school use.
About 1200 Henry Creffield held an estate in Great Horkesley, Little Horkesley, and Wormingford later called CREFFIELD. His son Alan Creffield held 1/10 of a knight's fee in Great Horkesley of the honor of Rayleigh c. 1210-30. (fn. 29) Henry and Alan granted much of their land to Little Horkesley priory, but the rest of the fee apparently descended in the Creffield family, for in 1303 it was held by Andrew son of Robert Creffield. (fn. 30) In 1317 he granted the estate to Simon and Alice Cranford and by 1346 it had passed to Richard Prestonhey, who was apparently succeeded by Roger Prestonhey before 1350-1. (fn. 31) The descent cannot be traced in the later middle ages, but the manor was held by John Whiter from the honor of Rayleigh c. 1555. (fn. 32)
apparently took its name from John Breewood (d. 1500). (fn. 33) It was owned by Sir Thomas Lucas in 1591, (fn. 34) and later by his grandson Sir Charles Lucas. On Charles's execution after the siege of Colchester in 1648 the estate passed to his brother John, Baron Lucas of Shenfield (d. 1671). It then descended in the Lucas family, Barons Lucas of Crudwell, and was held by the dowager Countess Cowper in 1863. (fn. 35)
The surviving house retains one post of a medieval hall at the back of the early 19th- century staircase. To its north a 16th-century east-west range has a jetty along its north side and a fireplace with a carved, but possibly reset, bressumer at its east end. In the 18th century a wing was built to the south. At least part of the medieval hall probably survived until the later 19th century when the west end of the house was extended in brick.
The family of Thomas at Wood, who held land in the parish in 1324 and 1361, probably owned the estate later known as WOOD- HOUSE. (fn. 36) Although earlier a freehold of the manor of Great Horkesley, it was described as a manor when Nicholas Hunt and Henry Reynold granted it to John and Catherine Ford in 1560. They apparently settled the manor on their daughter Eleanor and her husband Thomas Bendish, who conveyed it in 1572 to Eleanor's younger sister Margery and her husband Richard Hovell or Smith. They sold it to John Ball of Little Horkesley Priory in 1580. (fn. 37)
Woodhouse probably descended with the Priory manor until 1637 when William Ball sold it to Robert Sadler. He was succeeded by his nephew Peter Sadler in 1664 and afterwards by Peter's son Christopher. The manor was probably owned by Thomas Sadler in 1683, and afterwards by his son Peter. By 1754 it was held by Peter's son Henry (d. 1772) from whom it passed to his daughter Mary (d. before 1785) and her first husband John Carr (d. 1780). Mary died without issue and the estate ultimately passed to Carr's great-nephew John Proctor (d. 1815). He was succeeded by his son W. M. Proctor, who sold it in 1827 to Alexander Baring, later Lord Ashburton. (fn. 38) It then descended in the Baring family until the sale of their Essex estates in 1894. (fn. 39)
Woodhouse Farm on Coach Road, a moated site, is a late 16th- or early 17th-century house with an 18th-century brick frontage. A wall painting of c. 1600 has been removed to Colchester Museum. (fn. 40)
William Lynne (d. 1616) built up an estate in Great and Little Horkesley and neighbouring parishes later called WESTWOOD PARK. (fn. 41) It descended from father to son in his family until the later 18th century, being held by William Lynne (d. 1651), John Lynne (d. 1680), Jacob Lynne (d. 1708), T. H. Lynne (d. 1752), N. G. Lynne (d. 1777), and William Lynne. (fn. 42) The estate appears to have passed by 1811 to C. Watson, whose daughter and heir probably before 1834 married C. Rooke. He held Westwood Park in 1848. J. Leveson Gower owned it between 1859 and 1866, and William MacAndrew from 1870 until he sold it in 1906, (fn. 43) presumably to W. J. M. Hill who owned it in 1908. In 1917 the estate was owned by Mrs. M. O. Shaw who sold it to C. H. Brocklebank in 1925. R. J. L. Ogilby, who owned it in 1937, had been succeeded by his widow I. K. Ogilby by 1938. (fn. 44) The house was acquired in 1950 by Essex County Council for use as an old people's home. It closed in 1987 and the house was sold to a computer firm and subsequently to Buntings Ltd. (fn. 45)
Westwood Park, apparently originally built in 1692, was rebuilt in Elizabethan style by W. J. M. Hill c. 1908. In 1874 the surrounding parkland covered 65 a. and there was another 9 a. of gardens and 'pleasure grounds'. (fn. 46) The north and south lodges, designed by Raymond Erith to match the house, were rebuilt between 1938 and 1940. (fn. 47)