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.
The 4½ hides held by Alvric in 1066, that later became the manor of BOXTED HALL, were held in demesne in 1086 by Eustace of Boulogne as part of his honor of Boulogne. (fn. 1) The overlordship is recorded until 1430. (fn. 2)
The demesne tenant c. 1180 was Everard of Boxted. (fn. 3) He was succeeded by his son Hugh (fl. early 13th century) (fn. 4) and the manor passed from father to son in that family, being held successively by John (d. 1258-9), Ralph (d. 1303), Peter (d. 1325), (fn. 5) and another Peter who held in 1366. (fn. 6) The last held in jointure with his wife Isabel upon whose death in 1384 it passed to their son, a third Peter (d. 1438). (fn. 7) He passed the manor in his lifetime to his son Thomas (d. 1426), after whose death it apparently reverted to Peter, who was followed by his grandson Richard Boxted. (fn. 8) In 1441 Richard sold the manor to John Rympynden, (fn. 9) but it was held by Robert Naunton by 1445-6. (fn. 10) He apparently sold it to John, Lord Scrope of Masham (d. 1455). (fn. 11)
Thereafter Boxted Hall descended first with the Scropes's manor of Nayland until 1517, and then with the manor of Great Horkesley until it was sold in 1712 or 1713 by Anne Bayning, wife of Henry Murray and heir of Aubrey de Vere, earl of Oxford, to Samuel Rush (d. 1730). (fn. 12) He was followed by his son John Rush (d. 1769), (fn. 13) by another Samuel Rush (d. c. 1783), and by W. B. Rush (fn. 14) whose estates were divided after his death in 1833 between beneficial trusts for his four daughters, Boxted Hall falling to the share of Clarissa Rush. (fn. 15) The trustees acted as lords of the manor until a legal action of 1877 released the manor from the trust and enabled a sale, (fn. 16) apparently to E. Smith (d. 1914) who was lord by 1880. His executors were lords until 1933. (fn. 17)
In 1325 the manor house had a solar at the east end of the hall with a pantry and buttery under, another chamber adjacent, and an old bakery. (fn. 18) The hall with two chambers was in ruins in 1430 and 1438, (fn. 19) but the arrangement of the hall and east wing described in 1325 may be perpetuated in the core of the present H-plan building, with its two-storeyed, mainly early 19th-century, exterior. The oldest surviving parts are the north of the centre range with the smoke blackened rafters of the hall, and the east wing. The east front has a jetty underbuilt in brick. The west wing is late 17th- or early 18th- century. (fn. 20) In 1661 the house was arranged as a hall, two parlours, a best chamber, five other chambers and service rooms, and a kitchen. (fn. 21) In the early 19th century the central range was remodelled as a staircase hall and reception room, part of a suite of principal rooms along the north side which became the main front, with a neoclassical elevation. Another range, one room deep, was built parallel with the central range in red brick. In 1932 one bay was added to the south end of both the east and west wings. In the early 1970s the west wing was extended as a separate dwelling. (fn. 22)
The site was moated in 1325, when there was an upper chamber over the moat's drawbridge, and in 1610. Part of the moat may survive in the ponds east and north-east of the house. (fn. 23) A 15th- century barn has a crown post roof. (fn. 24) The house was separated from the manorial rights by 1903. (fn. 25)
The manor of Nayland (Suff.), held by Robert fitz Wimarc in 1066 and by his son Sweyn of Essex (d. 1100 × 1114) in 1086, included RIVERS HALL in Boxted. It was held of Sweyn's honor of Rayleigh and the overlordship was recorded until c. 1555. (fn. 26)
Robert of Horkesley probably held the manor before 1135. (fn. 27) His descendant another Robert of Horkesley (d. 1232) held a knight's fee in Boxted of the manor of Nayland in 1210-12, (fn. 28) and the mesne lordship descended with the manor of Little Horkesley until 1503. (fn. 29)
The demesne tenant in 1224 was William Breton, who held a quarter of a knight's fee in Boxted. He granted it to his sister Gillian and her husband Robert of Horkesley. After Robert's death in 1232 ownership was disputed between Gillian and Robert's son Walter of Horkesley (d. 1266); Gillian's rights prevailed and after her death the manor reverted to her brother William Breton (d. 1261). He was succeeded by his son John (d. 1311). (fn. 30)
John's heir Maud, daughter of John Breton the younger, married Richard River who held the manor in 1317, and from whom it took its name by 1391. (fn. 31) He was apparently succeeded by his son Thomas, who died without issue, and then by his daughter Margaret, who married Roger Bellers before 1361. By 1376 the manor had passed in marriage with their daughter Margaret to Robert Swillington (d. 1391) who was succeeded by his son Roger, holding in 1410. (fn. 32) Roger Swillington was succeeded by his daughter Margaret, wife of John Aylesford, who sold the manor before 1428 to Thomas Morsted (d. before 1464). (fn. 33) The manor passed from Thomas's widow Elizabeth to her second husband Sir John Wood (d. 1484), speaker of the House of Commons. On the death in 1503 of Wood's widow Margery the manor reverted to Elizabeth or Isabel Dawtrey, a daughter and coheiress of his brother Thomas Wood. Her husband Edmund Dawtrey held the manor in 1503. (fn. 34)
The manor then descended from father to son in the Dawtrey family, being held successively by John, another John, and Richard. On Richard's death in 1544 William Dawtrey took possession of the manor, and in 1576 his son William Dawtrey the younger sold it to John Ive who in 1592 also bought out Nicholas Dawtrey, Richard Dawtrey's heir at law. (fn. 35) In 1602 John Ive devised the manor to his son Mark Ive, (fn. 36) who in 1617-18 sold it to Paul Bayning, later Baron Bayning of Horkesley and Viscount Sudbury (d. 1629). (fn. 37) It then descended with the manor of Great Horkesley until Hannah Free- man, widow of Nicholas Freeman (d. 1837), sold it to William Parson (d. before 1886). (fn. 38) He sold it in 1882, (fn. 39) probably to R. H. Wood (d. 1914), who by 1908 had been succeeded by S. R. Wood (d. 1920). He was followed by J. H. Wood, lord in 1935. (fn. 40)
In 1586 the manor had an 'outer' moat. (fn. 41) Within the surviving moat is an L-planned, two- storeyed timberframed later 16th-century house, each wing having a crownpost roof. Later, probably soon after the Freeman family acquired the manor in the early 18th century, it was made double pile by the addition of rooms and a main entrance in the south-east return of the L; a short north-west service wing was also added. The rooms then included a hall, two parlours, and a large great chamber, and the services included a kitchen, larder, buttery, pantry, brewhouse, and two brick paved cellars. (fn. 42) The south front then became the main front and was remodelled in the early 19th century. In 1586 there were three parcels of adjacent land called the gardens, c. 15 a. in extent, 'divided with ancient banks'; they may have been a remnant of an earlier park, as Park field lay nearby and two men surnamed Park lived in the parish in 1327. (fn. 43)
The descent of the one-hide manor held by Grim in 1066, which had passed to Eudes the sewer by 1086 when Arthur was its demesne tenant, cannot be traced with certainty. (fn. 44) It may have come into the same ownership as Rivers Hall, (fn. 45) perhaps being Robert of Hastings's Boxted lands recorded in 1224, (fn. 46) which William Breton held from him for a fifth of a knight's fee between 1228 and 1261. (fn. 47) That fee may have descended with Rivers Hall in the Breton family, if it is represented by the eighth of a knight's fee later held by John Breton (d. 1311) from the heir of Roger Tany. (fn. 48) In 1317 Roger's descendant Laurence Tany died seised of half a knight's fee in Boxted held by Richard River. (fn. 49) The descent cannot be traced thereafter and the manor was probably merged with Rivers Hall later in the 14th century. It may have been the estate known as PACKWOODS, perhaps named after a John Packwood recorded in 1455. That estate, between Church Street and the River Stour, was by far the largest freehold belonging to Rivers Hall in 1586. Although it then only had a small farmhouse, another house east of the church with hall, cross wing, and additional unheated range to the rear bore the same name and may have been formerly associated with it. The house was apparently demolished in the later 18th or earlier 19th century and the site later used for the walled gardens of Boxted House. (fn. 50)
The impropriate RECTORY of Boxted was divided into medieties, held from the 12th century by St. John's abbey, Colchester, and Little Horkesley priory. (fn. 51) After the dissolution of Little Horkesley priory in 1525 one mediety of the rectory was apparently granted to Cardinal Wolsey as an endowment for his colleges at Oxford in 1525 and Ipswich in 1528. (fn. 52) After Wolsey's fall it returned to the crown to be joined by the other mediety in 1539 upon the dissolution of St. John's abbey. In 1545 the two halves were granted to Henry Audley and John Maynard respectively. (fn. 53) Henry Audley apparently sold his mediety to Henry Austin in 1546, and it later passed to John Harvey. (fn. 54) John Maynard sold his mediety in 1546 to Edward and Elizabeth Rose who alienated it in the same year to Robert Flintgate (d. 1552) who was succeeded by his son Thomas Flintgate. (fn. 55) In 1565 John Harvey, Alice his wife, and Thomas Flintgate sold both medieties to Edward Waldegrave and Joan his wife, thus reuniting the whole estate. (fn. 56) Before 1584 the Waldegraves also acquired a small portion of tithe which had belonged to St. Botolph's priory, Colchester. (fn. 57)
On Edward Waldegrave's death in 1584 the rectory passed to his son, another Edward, who in 1608 or 1609 sold it to John Maidstone. (fn. 58) It was later held by another John Maidstone, who had been succeeded by Robert Maidstone by 1672. (fn. 59) By 1768 the rectory had passed to three sisters and co-heiresses, one of whom had married Felton Williams by 1771. (fn. 60) Between 1838 and 1870 the owner was John Josselyn (d. 1884). (fn. 61)