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 STAPLEFORD TAWNEY was held by Godric as 1 manor and as 5 hides. (fn. 1) Of these 5 hides he 'gave to his 10 free men freely 4 hides, retaining 1 hide in demesne'. (fn. 2) After the Conquest Robert Fitz Wimarc had the 1 hide by the king's gift and his son Swein of Essex added the 4 hides to it after his father's death. (fn. 3) In 1086 the manor was held of Swein by Siric. (fn. 4) At that time the manor, which had been worth £8 before 1066, was worth £10. (fn. 5) In 1086 Swein of Essex held the honor of Rayleigh, and the manor of Stapleford Tawney continued to be held of that honor, which escheated to the Crown in the 12th century, until after 1550. (fn. 6) In 1296 and 1301 the manor was held by the service of 2 knights' fees. (fn. 7) In 1303, 1346, and 1428 it was said to be held by the service of 1 fee. (fn. 8) In 1317 and 1341 it was reported that the manor was held by the service of ½ fee. (fn. 9) In 1491 the manor was held in socage by a rent of 7s. 8d. (fn. 10) In 1550 it was held in socage by a rent of 3s. 8d. (fn. 11)
By 1211-12 the tenant of the manor was Richard Fitz William. (fn. 12) After 1232-3 Richard was succeeded by his son William who died in about 1246 leaving as his heir his daughter Margaret, wife of Richard de Tany. (fn. 13) It was from the Tany family that this manor and parish took the second part of its name-Tany or Tawney-to distinguish it from Stapleford Abbots (q.v.).
In 1264 Richard de Tany obtained licence to enclose his wood of Stapleford Tany within the bounds of the forest of Essex together with 5 acres of his demesne land adjoining the wood, in order to make a park. (fn. 14) Richard de Tany died in 1270 leaving as his heir his son Richard who, unlike his father had taken the king's side in the recent baronial wars. (fn. 15) In the quo warranto proceedings of 1274-5 Richard claimed to hold the assizes of bread and ale and view of frank-pledge but was unable to produce any charter confirming these rights. (fn. 16) He was ordered to seek judgement of the king. (fn. 17) At the time of the second Richard's death in 1296 the manor included 60 acres of 'foreign wood in the forest which is a loss to the lord because he assigned a tenant to the keeping of the wood, who used to render him 4s. 6d. a year for his land and now renders nothing'. (fn. 18) Richard left as his heir his son Roger who came of age in 1299. (fn. 19) Roger de Tany died in 1301 leaving as his heir his son Laurence, a minor. (fn. 20) The king granted the custody of the estate during the minority of Laurence to Queen Margaret. (fn. 21) In 1306 Margaret sold the custody to William de Estden, king's clerk, who then sold it to John de Uvedale. (fn. 22) The manor was still in the custody of Uvedale when Laurence de Tany died in 1317 leaving as his heir his sister Margaret, wife of John de Drokenesford. (fn. 23) Margaret predeceased her husband who died in 1341. (fn. 24) The heir of John and Margaret was their son Thomas who died in 1361 and was succeeded by his daughter Anne, afterwards wife of Sir Thomas Mandeville. (fn. 25) In 1382 Thomas and Anne granted a life interest in the manor to Thomas Lampet at a rent of £20 a year. (fn. 26) Sir Thomas Mandeville was dead by 1399. (fn. 27) His son and heir Thomas died in 1400 while still a minor. (fn. 28) The heirs of the young Thomas were his sisters: Alice, wife of Helming Legat, and Joan, wife of John Barry. (fn. 29) A partition of their inheritance was made in 1400 and the annual rent due from Thomas Lampet for the manor of Stapleford Tawney was allotted to Joan and John Barry. (fn. 30) It is not clear what arrangement was made at this time about the reversion of the manor after the death of Thomas Lampet. By a series of conveyances ending in 1410, however, Alice and Helming Legat obtained the sole reversionary rights, apparently by grant from Joan and John Barry. (fn. 31) In 1412 it was reported that Alice, widow of Helming Legat, was holding Stapleford Tawney manor which was worth £20. (fn. 32) Alice married as her second husband Roger Spice and after she died in 1420 Roger was lord of the manor until his death, or shortly before his death, about 1459. (fn. 33) The manor then descended to Clement Spice, son of Roger and Alice. (fn. 34) In 1466 Raphael Vannell, grandson of Joan and John Barry, tried to dispossess Clement. (fn. 35) Between 1467 and 1473 Clement filed a bill in Chancery against Raphael and evidently won his case. (fn. 36) Between 1480 and 1485 Clement Spice sold the manor to William Scott, lord of the manor of Woolston in Chigwell (q.v.). (fn. 37) By a deed of feoffment in May 1485 the manor of Stapleford Tawney was settled on William and his wife Margery for their lives in survivorship with remainder to their eldest son John. (fn. 38) William died in 1491 and his wife in 1505. (fn. 39)John Scott died in 1527 and was succeeded by his grandson Walter, son of his son Thomas. (fn. 40) In 1534 Walter also inherited the manor of Woolston (q.v.) and afterwards the manor of Stapleford Tawney followed the same descent as that of Woolston until the death of George Scott in 1589. (fn. 41) In 1550 the manor of Stapleford Tawney consisted of 40 acres of arable, 60 acres of meadow, 40 acres of pasture, 100 acres of wood, and rents totalling 40s. a year. (fn. 42) The net annual value of the manor was £26 9s. 8d. (fn. 43) In 1589 it passed to Elizabeth and Mary, daughters of George Scott, and was afterwards allotted to Elizabeth and her husband Sir Edward Aleyn, 1st Bt. (fn. 44) Sir Edward died in 1638 and was succeeded by his grandson Edmund, 2nd Bt. (fn. 45) In 1656 Edmund died leaving as his heir his daughter Arabella, wife first of Francis Thompson and afterwards of Lord George Howard, son of Henry, Duke of Norfolk (d. 1684). (fn. 46) In 1717 Arabella and Lord George Howard conveyed the manor to Sir Edward Smyth, Bt., of Hill Hall, Theydon Mount (fn. 47) (q.v.). Afterwards the manor descended along with Hill Hall until the break up of the Hill Hall estate. (fn. 48) The manor then passed with the manor of Theydon Mount (q.v.) to Mrs. Battye and Mrs. Stafford Northcote who held it until after 1937. (fn. 49)
In 1838 the estate in Stapleford Tawney consisted of 711 acres of which 247 acres were arable. (fn. 50)
Great Tawney Hall, standing immediately south of the site of Stapleford Tawney Hall, probably superseded the old manor house. It is a timber-framed farmhouse, apparently of the 18th century, and was probably built for the occupation of the tenant of Stapleford Tawney Hall farm after the manor had passed to the Smyths of Hill Hall. In 1838 it was owned by Sir John Smijth of Hill Hall but was in the occupation of the executors of Edward Potter, late tenant of Stapleford Tawney Hall Farm. (fn. 51) It has two stories and a basement. The five-window garden front has been refaced with red brick, probably about the middle of the 19th century.
Nothing has been found concerning the manor of SUTTONS until 1291. It derived its name from John de Sutton (see below). (fn. 52) Then and afterwards it was held of the manor of Stapleford Tawney by knight service, the amount of which was reported as 1/3; fee in 1303 and 1428, as ½ fee in 1317, and as ¼ fee in 1326. (fn. 53)
In 1291 Thomas de Bredstrete granted to John de Sutton and his wife Maud 1 messuage, 1 mill, 220 acres of arable, 10 acres of meadow, 50 acres of pasture, 8 acres of wood, and 4s. rent in Stapleford Tawney and Navestock, to hold to them and their son John and his issue, with remainder to the right heirs of John the son. (fn. 54) In 1312 or 1313 John the elder granted this estate to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, and his wife Maud and to Gilbert's heirs. (fn. 55) Gilbert died in 1314 and his wife in 1320. (fn. 56) The estate then descended to Margaret, sister and coheir of Gilbert, and her husband Hugh, 1st Lord Audley. (fn. 57) In 1321 Lord Audley forfeited this estate to the Crown, with the rest of his lands, when he joined the rebellion against the king. (fn. 58) The manor was still in the possession of the Crown in 1326 when the sisters of John de Sutton the younger, who was then dead, claimed the estate as their brother's heirs. (fn. 59) Their claim failed and the manor was restored to Lord Audley who died in 1347 leaving as his heir his daughter Margaret, wife of Ralph, later 1st Earl of Stafford. (fn. 60) Ralph survived his wife and died in possession of Suttons in 1372. (fn. 61) The manor then followed the same descent as that of Stanford Rivers (q.v.) until the 17th century. It was usually farmed out, on long leases, at a rent of £13 6s. 8d. a year. (fn. 62) One of the lessees in the 16th century was Walter Cely, lord of Albyns in Stapleford Abbots and also lessee of part of the manor of Stapleford Abbots (q.v.). (fn. 63)
In 1613 James I sold Suttons, with the manor of Stanford Rivers, to Richard Cartwright and Thomas Cowley of London. (fn. 64) Nothing more has been found concerning Suttons until 1649 when the lord of the manor was Thomas Luther. (fn. 65) He died in 1694 leaving as his heir his son John who was dead by 1713. (fn. 66) Thomas Luther, son of John, died in 1722 leaving his estates heavily encumbered with debts. (fn. 67) He devised Suttons to his mother Jane Luther for life with remainder to his sister Rebecca Goebell for life and afterwards to her son John Goebell. (fn. 68) Jane Luther died in 1745 after paying off her son's debts to the extent of £8,500. (fn. 69) In 1752 Rebecca Goebell and her son John mortgaged the manor for £2,000. (fn. 70) In 1768, after Rebecca's death, John Goebell borrowed another £2,000 on the security of the estate and when he died in 1777 the two mortgages were still unredeemed. (fn. 71) He left his estate to his sister Rebecca and her husband Gerrard Goebell, a London sugar refiner. (fn. 72) Rebecca died a month after her brother. (fn. 73) In 1778, partly in order to pay off his brother-in-law's debts, Gerrard Goebell mortgaged the estate for £9,000 to John Baker, from whom he borrowed another £1,000 in 1784. (fn. 74) Gerrard Goebell died in 1786 leaving the estate encumbered with the debt of £10,000. (fn. 75) He devised all his estate to his second wife Ann who in 1787 sold it to Charles Smith of Mile End (Mdx.) for £15,725 out of which she paid the £10,000 owing to John Baker. (fn. 76) The manor was held by Charles Smith until 1814 when he was succeeded by his widow Augusta Smith, who held it until after 1832. (fn. 77) By 1838 it had passed to Sir Charles Cunliffe Smith, Bt., grandson of the purchaser of the manor. (fn. 78) It has since descended with this baronetcy. (fn. 79) In 1838 the manor farm consisted of 219 acres. (fn. 80) At about that time Suttons was the centre of an estate of at least 1,868 acres of which 1,384 acres (fn. 81) lay in Stanford Rivers, 348 acres in Stapleford Tawney, (fn. 82) and 136 acres in Lambourne. (fn. 83) It included the manors of Stanford Rivers, Barwicks, Bellhouse, and Traceys in Stanford Rivers (q.v.) and the manors of Hunts and Pryors in Lambourne (q.v.) as well as Suttons in Stapleford Tawney.
Suttons was at one time a two-story timber-framed house of the 17th century or earlier. The original plan probably consisted of a central hall with two crosswings. At the back of the south wing is an early- or mid-17th-century staircase with flat moulded balusters and square newels. The hall has fine panelling, pilasters, and cornice of the early 18th century. About 1815 the house was cased in brickwork and covered with stucco, the eaves were raised and the garden front added. The weather-boarded outbuildings and brick dovecote are probably of the 18th century.