A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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In 1066 MORETON was held by Sexi as a manor and as 1 hide and 20 acres and was worth £8. (fn. 1) In 1086 this was held in demesne by William de Scohies of the king in chief and was valued at £10. (fn. 2) Another 43½ acres which in 1066 did not belong to the manor of Moreton was annexed by William and in 1086 was held of him by Ralf. (fn. 3) This tenement was worth 20s. in 1086 as in 1066 but William received 30s. for it. (fn. 4) In 1283 the manor was held of the king in chief by the service of finding for him when he went into Wales for 40 days 'a horse price 10s., with a leather sack and an iron skewer for fastening the sack, for carrying a weight of 2 bushels of corn, with one man'. (fn. 5) The manor continued to be held of the king in chief by this petty sergeanty until at least the middle of the 14th century. (fn. 6)
At some date between 1174 and 1182 the tenant of the manor was William d'Avranches. (fn. 7) In 1212 it was held by another William d'Avranches. (fn. 8) He died in 1230 leaving as his heir his son William who died before the end of 1235. (fn. 9) The heir of William the son was his sister Maud, wife of Hamon de Crevequer. She had one son, who predeceased his father, and four daughters, Agnes wife of John de Sandwich, Iseult wife of Nicholas de Lenham, Eleanor wife of Bartholomew de Kyriell, and Isabel wife of Henry de Gaunt. (fn. 10) On Hamon's death in 1263 the manor fell to the share of the youngest daughter Isabel and her husband. (fn. 11) When Isabel died in 1283, several years after her husband, she left as her heirs her sister Eleanor, John de Lenham son of her sister Iseult, and Juliane de Sandwich granddaughter of her sister Agnes. (fn. 12) Within a few months the manor, which was valued at £29 12s. 4d., was by order of the king divided between these three heirs. (fn. 13) Eleanor was assigned land to the value of 34s. (fn. 14) The residue of the manor and the chief messuage were divided between Juliane and John, two-thirds of the messuage being given to John and one-third to Juliane. (fn. 15) Eleanor seems to have disposed of her share in the manor shortly afterwards and its rights and services became divided equally between John and Juliane. An inquisition taken in September 1285 found that half of the manor was held by Robert Burnell as guardian of Juliane and half by John de Lenham and his wife Margery. (fn. 16) From this date the two halves had separate histories. Though at first each was regarded as half a manor, they had before 1400 become separate manors, eventually known as Bourchiers or Nether Hall and Ladyhall or Upper Hall. After the division of Moreton manor, the services by which it had been held of the king were shared between the tenants of each half. (fn. 17)
In 1305 John de Lenham granted a life interest in his half of Moreton manor to John de Burndish, on whose death in 1336 it reverted to Eleanor, wife of John Giffard and niece of John de Lenham. (fn. 18) During the next few years John Giffard alienated a number of tenements, some of which were later held of the king in chief. (fn. 19) In 1342 Giffard conveyed the residue to Robert, afterwards Lord Bourchier, and to Robert's son John. (fn. 20) When Robert, Lord Bourchier, died of the plague in 1349, leaving as his heir his son John, this 'half of Moreton manor', which had been worth £10, was valued at only £6, the decline in value probably representing the general fall in the value of land, occasioned by the plague. (fn. 21) John, Lord Bourchier, died in May 1400, and was succeeded by his son Bartholomew, Lord Bourchier, who died in 1409. (fn. 22) The sole heir of Bartholomew was his daughter Elizabeth who died without issue in 1433. (fn. 23) In 1430 the manor had been settled, failing issue of Elizabeth, on her cousin Henry Bourchier, Count of Eu and afterwards Earl of Essex. (fn. 24) He died in 1483 leaving as his heir his grandson Henry, 2nd Earl of Essex (d. 1540). (fn. 25) The sole heir of the 2nd earl was his daughter Anne who married William, afterwards Baron Parr, by whom the manor was conveyed in 1542 to Sir Richard Rich, afterwards Baron Rich. (fn. 26) At this date the manor was described, for the first time as far as is known, as NETHER HALL or BOURCHIERS HALL. Lord Rich endowed the chantry which he founded in 1554 for the parishioners of Felsted, Little Leighs, and Great Waltham with 55 acres of land at Moreton. (fn. 27) On the death of the first baron in 1567, the manor passed to his son Robert, the 2nd baron, and afterwards in 1581 to Robert, the 3rd baron, by whom it was conveyed in 1608 to Robert Bourne, lord of the manor of Blake Hall in Bobbingworth (q.v.). (fn. 28) In 1636 Bourne (d. 1639) settled Nether Hall on his second son Robert when the son married Rose Walcott. (fn. 29) Alice, only child of Robert and Rose Bourne, and wife of John, 3rd Baron Digby, died in 1658. (fn. 30) Robert Bourne died in 1666 having settled the manor on Digby for life with remainder to Martha King, niece of Bourne. (fn. 31) In 1669 Martha King conveyed the reversion to Richard Bourne who in 1682 granted it to Francis Drake. (fn. 32) Digby died in 1698. (fn. 33) In 1699 Thomas Drake, heir of Francis Drake, was lord of the manor. (fn. 34) In 1703 William Drake conveyed the manor to Josiah Woodward, D.D., Rector of Poplar (Mdx.). (fn. 35) By his will, made in 1710, Josiah Woodward devised to his son John the Nether Hall estate which was then in the occupation of Thomas Prentice and was estimated to contain '180 acres land and 30 acres more called Moreton Wood'. (fn. 36) In 1720 John Woodward sold the manor for £1,750 to Ambrose Page, a Director of the South Sea Company. (fn. 37) At that time the estate was still in the occupation of Prentice who rented it at £100 a year. (fn. 38) Soon afterwards it came into the hands of the trustees liquidating the South Sea Company and in 1724 they sold it for £2,505 to William Cole, lord of the manor of Magdalen Laver (q.v.). (fn. 39) From 1724 until 1766 the Nether Hall estate descended with the manor of Magdalen Laver. (fn. 40) Both the Coles and John Cozens lived at Magdalen Laver. (fn. 41) When John Cozens died in 1766 the Nether Hall estate was in the occupation of William Schooling and James Edick. (fn. 42) Cozens devised this estate to his second son Henry, a miller. (fn. 43) In 1773 Henry Cozens mortgaged the estate for £600. (fn. 44) He died in 1775 leaving the manor, still mortgaged, to his youngest brother, William Cozens. (fn. 45) Between 1782 and 1789 William Cozens borrowed further sums, making the total mortgage on the estate £1,250, all of which was owing to Robert Ray. (fn. 46) By March 1790 Cozens had repaid only £100 of this debt and he then sold the manor to Robert Tindal for £3,800, it being agreed that Tindal should pay off the debt to Ray as part of the purchase money. (fn. 47) Neither Henry nor William Cozens occupied the manor house or farmed the main part of the lands appurtenant to it. (fn. 48) Henry Cozens was apparently a miller living in High Laver until at least 1773 and afterwards at Latton. (fn. 49) William Cozens did live on the Nether Hall estate but occupied only a small piece of ground, formerly waste ground but enclosed by Henry Cozens, about 2 acres in area and having 'a messuage, stable and other buildings erected thereon' and had besides 3 acres of meadow for personal use. (fn. 50) The manor house and most of the estate were occupied by William Schooling until 1781-2 and afterwards by John Schooling until 1790-1. (fn. 51) A small part of the estate was occupied in 1790, as in 1766, by James Edick. (fn. 52) A survey taken in July 1788 showed that on the average of the previous 57 years the lord of the manor received £5 3s. 8½d. a year in fines, £1 8s. 2¾d. a year in heriots, and £3 12s. 6d. a year in rents. (fn. 53) In 1771 there were nineteen freeholders and copyholders, several less than there had been in 1745. (fn. 54)
Robert Tindal sold the manor, in 1790, less than three months after purchasing it, to Stephen Alger, who held his first court baron in June 1793. (fn. 55) Alger never lived on the Nether Hall estate which was occupied by Nathaniel Green from 1790-1 until 1815-16 and then by James Green who was tenant until after Alger's death in 1829. (fn. 56) Alger's heir was his son William Hill Alger who was lord of the manor until his death in 1880. (fn. 57) James Green still occupied the estate in 1832 but by 1840 W. H. Alger lived at Nether Hall and farmed most of the estate which then consisted of 256 acres. (fn. 58) He continued to farm until his death. (fn. 59) In 1872 there were nine freeholders who paid rents totalling £1 9s. 2d. and eight copyholders who paid a total of 16s. 3¾d. (fn. 60) During the time that W. H. Alger was lord of the manor the estate was mortgaged at least once. (fn. 61) He left as his heir his son William White Alger who also lived at Nether Hall and farmed the estate. (fn. 62) He died in May 1900 having provided that the manor should be sold by his trustees. (fn. 63) Nether Hall was accordingly put up for sale by auction in August 1900. The sale catalogue described the manor farm as consisting of 216 acres of which 176 were arable. (fn. 64) Quit and free rents amounted to £1 13s. 3d. a year and fines, reliefs and heriots amounted to £5 a year on the average of the previous 30 years. (fn. 65) The farm on the one hand and the manor 'with courts, fines, heriots, reliefs, quit and free rents, profits and emoluments' on the other hand were offered as separate lots. The manor was sold for £260 to the Revd. Frederick William Bussell of Brasenose College, Oxford. (fn. 66) The farm passed into the hands of Ernest Schwier. (fn. 67) The Revd. F. W. Bussell was still lord of the manor in 1914 but by 1926 the Revd. Joseph Gordon Walker owned the manorial rights. (fn. 68) In 1937 Walker was still lord of the manor and Nether Hall farm was still owned by the Schwier family. (fn. 69)
The present farm-house probably dates from the late 17th century. It is rectangular in plan with a small projecting wing at the back. The central chimney has diagonal shafts. Late in the 19th century there were additions to the back and front. In the farm-yard is an altered timber barn, probably of 17th-or 18th-century date.
Juliane de Sandwich married John de Segrave, younger son of John, Lord Segrave (d. 1325), and on the death of her husband in 1343, her half of Moreton manor passed to their only son John de Segrave whose death in 1349 was followed in little more than a month by that of his only child, an infant Mary. (fn. 70) Both John and Mary were probably victims of the plague. As there remained no direct descendant of Juliane, the half manor passed to her cousin Nicholas de Sandwich, son of her father's brother Nicholas. (fn. 71) He conveyed it to William de Clynton, Earl of Huntingdon (d. 1354), who regranted it to Nicholas for life with remainder to John de Sandwich, brother of Nicholas, and his heirs and reversion to the earl and his heirs. (fn. 72) Within a few years, however, the half manor passed to John, Lord Mowbray (d. 1368), the heir through his wife Elizabeth of John, Lord Segrave (d. 1353). (fn. 73) Mowbray died in 1368, leaving as his heir his son John, later 1st Earl of Nottingham. (fn. 74) By 1383, when John, Earl of Nottingham, died without issue, his estate at Moreton had become known as LADYHALL, apparently through its association with Juliane de Sandwich, and by the end of the century was described as a manor. (fn. 75) From the 16th century it was more commonly known as UPPER HALL.
John was succeeded in 1383 by his brother Thomas, later Duke of Norfolk, who granted a life interest in Ladyhall to William Hall, with reversion to himself. (fn. 76) Hall died in 1400. (fn. 77) The Duke of Norfolk had died shortly before and left as his heir his son Thomas, a boy of 14. (fn. 78) At the end of 1401, although Thomas's lands had been assigned for his household expenses, the king granted the custody of Ladyhall to John de Burgh during Thomas's minority provided that he accounted at the Exchequer for all issues above the value of 24 marks a year. (fn. 79)
Thomas was beheaded in 1405 and his lands escheated to the Crown. (fn. 80) In 1406 the king granted the 'messuage called Ladyhall' to his esquire Nicholas Alderwich and his wife Alice to hold for life 'to the value of £20 a year so that they answer for any surplus at the Exchequer'. (fn. 81) Within the next ten years the manor was restored to Thomas de Mowbray's brother and heir John, who was granted the title of Duke of Norfolk in 1425; (fn. 82) the manor probably descended with the title until the death of the 4th Duke of Norfolk in 1476. (fn. 83) Afterwards the manor was probably held by John, Lord Howard, who succeeded to a moiety of the Mowbray estates on the death in 1481 of his cousin Anne, only daughter and heir of John, 4th Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 84) Lord Howard was created Duke of Norfolk in 1483 and Ladyhall probably descended again with this title until 1538. (fn. 85) In 1538 Lord Edmund Howard, a younger son of Thomas, 7th Duke of Norfolk, was licensed to alienate the manor to his brother Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk, who immediately granted it to Sir Richard Rich, later 1st Baron Rich. (fn. 86) Subsequently for nearly two centuries the manor of Upper Hall followed the same descent as Nether Hall. (fn. 87) In 1708 it had 11 freeholders and 17 copyholders whose rents amounted to £6 11s. 10d., much more than those of Nether Hall. (fn. 88) In 1722, two years after selling Nether Hall, John Woodward conveyed Upper Hall to Lewen Cholmley of Sutton (Surr.). (fn. 89) Cholmley was succeeded by his son Lewen who died in 1753. (fn. 90) The manor was then held by Mary Cholmley, widow of Lewen, until at least 1760. (fn. 91) In 1763 John son of Lewen Cholmley conveyed the manor to John Hookham (d. 1786), a rich London merchant. (fn. 92) Hookham's heir was his only child Jane, wife of John Frere of Roydon Hall (Norf.). (fn. 93) John Hookham Frere, author and diplomatist, the eldest son of Jane and John Frere, succeeded to the family estates on his father's death in 1807. (fn. 94) He died in 1846 having been for many years resident in Malta. (fn. 95) Soon after his death the manor of Upper Hall seems to have dissolved. A manor court was held as late as 1821 and writers during the next 40 years continued to describe the estate as a manor, but by 1874 Nether Hall had come to be described as the only manor in Moreton. (fn. 96) The lords of the manor of Upper Hall were never resident in the parish. Henry Starkey was tenant of the estate before 1750 and members of his family continued to farm the land and live at the hall until 1809. (fn. 97) In 1811 the Rector of Moreton wrote that before 1809 Upper Hall Farm had been 'occupied by a family of Dissenters for so long a period that no one living was able exactly to ascertain what seat in the church belonged to it'. (fn. 98) In view of the uncertainty the rector gave the new tenant, John Ingham, permission to sit in his own pew. (fn. 99) John Ingham was tenant of the estate until 1819-20 when he was succeeded by George Rogers. (fn. 100) In 1840 Rogers still farmed the whole estate which then consisted of 246 acres. (fn. 101) After J. H. Frere's death in 1846, D. Taylor Gingell took over the lease and farmed the estate for the remainder of the century. (fn. 102)
The present house may date from the 16th century but has been much altered. The older part has a Tshaped plan with a wing projecting on the north side. In the south wing a brick fireplace, probably of the 16th century, has been uncovered. It has a stopchamfered four-centred arch and the chimney above it has two diagonal shafts, now cement rendered. Several additions have been made to the house, the most recent in gault brick probably dating from the 19th century. There is an eight-bay timber barn with one porch wing. A post inside the barn is dated 1782 and initialed R. P.
The early history of BUNDISH alias BRENDISH alias BRUNDISH manor is obscure. It probably took its name from the family of John de Burndish which came from Brundish (Suff.). From 1305 until his death in 1336 John de Burndish held a life interest in the half of Moreton manor which belonged to John de Lenham. On the death of John de Burndish this half manor reverted to Eleanor Giffard, the heir of John de Lenham. (fn. 103) In 1338 John and Eleanor Giffard conveyed to Nicholas de Burndish 24 acres of land in Moreton to hold of the king in chief. (fn. 104) Nicholas de Burndish died, probably of the plague, in 1349, still holding this 24 acres of the king. (fn. 105) In addition he held another 60 acres in Moreton and ½ messuage of the manor of Moreton by service of 21s. 3d. a year and suit of court, and 20 acres land in Shelley and the other half of his messuage which he held of John de Legh, lord of Shelley manor, by service of 8s. 10d. a year and suit of court. (fn. 106) It seems clear that these lands of Nicholas de Burndish formed the main core of the estate which later became known as Bundish or Brendish manor. Nicholas evidently occupied a house which was situated partly in Moreton and partly in Shelley and he farmed lands in both parishes. During the period when Bundish manor is known to have existed, its lands were situated in Shelley and Moreton and the manor house lay on the boundary between the two parishes which 'divided at the entrance end of the great hall'. (fn. 107)
Nicholas de Burndish left as his heir his brother John, Rector of South Ockendon, who in 1353 enfeoffed Richard de Fifhide with 24 acres which he held in Moreton of the king in chief. (fn. 108) When Fifhide died in 1374 his lands were described as tenements only. (fn. 109) Thomas Wynslowe died in 1481 holding the 'manor of Brundisshe' of Henry, Earl of Essex (d. 1483), who was then lord of the manor of Nether Hall. (fn. 110) At the time of his death Thomas also held 2 messuages, 79 acres of arable, and 5 acres of meadow, in Moreton, of John, Lord Howard, who was then probably lord of the manor of Upper Hall. (fn. 111) Thomas apparently did not hold any tenement of the manor of Shelley.
He devised Bundish manor to his daughter Margaret, wife of William Nynge. (fn. 112) Margaret died in 1522, leaving as her heir her grandson Thomas Nynge. (fn. 113) On Thomas's death, before March 1524, he was succeeded by his sisters Amphyllis and Isabel. (fn. 114) Subsequently the manor seems to have come into the sole possession of the elder sister Amphyllis, for in 1533 it was held by her and her husband John Shereff. (fn. 115) In the same year Amphyllis conveyed the manor to Sir Richard Rich, later 1st Baron Rich, from whom it passed in 1567 to his son Robert, the 2nd baron and afterwards in 1581 to Robert, the 3rd baron. (fn. 116) In 1585 Lord Rich conveyed the manor to William Ramsey. (fn. 117)
The history of Bundish in the 17th century is not clear, but at the end of the century it was apparently in dual ownership. In 1681 Henry Herbert and his wife Anne conveyed half of the manor to Joseph and Thomas Cffley. (fn. 118) In 1690 Sir William Boughton and his wife Mary, daughter of John Ramsey, alderman of the city of London, conveyed half the manor to Matthew and Robert Skinner. (fn. 119) It may be that Lady Boughton and Anne Herbert were granddaughters of William Ramsey and had inherited Bundish as coheiresses of their father John Ramsey. Subsequently the manor came into the undivided ownership of John Lingard, common serjeant of the City of London, who died in 1729 leaving several daughters as coheiresses. (fn. 120) In 1740 Elizabeth, Sarah, Anne, and Frances Lingard conveyed the manor to Samuel Brackley, merchant. (fn. 121) In 1753 Sarah and Anne Lingard and Robert Chase and his wife Frances, daughter of John Lingard, conveyed it to Francis Capper. (fn. 122) In 1775 the estate was still described as a manor. (fn. 123) In all later documents and histories it was described merely as a farm. In 1840 the farm consisted of 166 acres of which 107 acres lay in Moreton and 59 acres in Shelley; at that time the estate was held by Thomas Chaplin, trustee of John Chaplin, deceased. (fn. 124)
Bundish Hall occupies a large moated site. At some time prior to 1835, but probably after 1768, the parishes of Shelley and Moreton agreed that the whole of the farm-house should be considered within the parish of Moreton. (fn. 125) Consistently with this the parish boundary runs along the west wall of the farm-house, leaving some of the outbuildings in Shelley. (fn. 126) Wright's statement that formerly the parish boundary was 'at the entrance end of the great hall' (fn. 127) confirms the existence of a medieval manor house here, and the present farmhouse incorporates at its west end what was probably the late-15th-century solar wing. This is of two stories, the solar itself being on the first floor and having an open arch-braced roof truss above it. The roof is now ceiled in but the rebated king-post with four-way struts is still visible in the attic. The ceiling probably dates from the 16th or early 17th century and in the solar is panelling of the same period and later. The timbers of the lower part of the great hall are probably still in position to the east, but this part of the house has been much altered. A northward extension of the solar wing has the date 1697 scratched on the brickwork. At some time previous to 1835 the house was reduced in size, (fn. 128) and at this period or later (fn. 129) was partly cased in brick and reroofed. It now gives the impression externally of a small farm-house of the early 19th century. The west wall was damaged by flying bombs in 1944 and has been rebuilt. (fn. 130) In the farm-yard are two large timber barns of the 17th or 18th century.