A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Three estates were listed under Kelvedon Hatch in Domesday Book. One was held in 1066 by Leueva as a manor and as 1 hide and 45 acres and in 1086 by Ralph de Marcy of Hamon dapifer. (fn. 1) This estate may have become part of the manor of Navestock (q.v.) held by the Marcy family and later formed part of the manor of Myles's (see below). Another estate in Kelvedon Hatch was held in 1066 by Algar, a freeman, as ½ hide and 20 acres and in 1086 by Ivo nephew of Herbert as tenant of the Bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 2) The subsequent history of this estate has not been traced. The largest of the three estates was held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Ailric as a manor and as 2 hides. (fn. 3) This estate was later known as the manor of KELVEDON HATCH alias KELVEDON HALL.
In 1066 Ailric 'went to take part in a naval battle' against William of Normandy. (fn. 4) Probably he joined the fleet asembled by King Harold of the Isle of Wight during the early summer of 1066. (fn. 5) On his return home (possibly in September 1066) he fell ill and then gave his Kelvedon Hatch estate to Westminister Abbey. (fn. 6) In 1086, however, the Domesday Commissioners reported that this gift had not received King William's sanction. (fn. 7) It is not clear whether the king ever confirmed the gift, but it is certain that the manor was held by Westminister Abbey as tenant in chief until the dissolution of the abbey in 1540. (fn. 8)
By 1225 the abbey had granted the tenancy in demesne of the manor to the Multon family of Egremont (Lincs.). In that year Thomas de Multon was given 10 does and a buck for stocking his wood at Kelvedon. (fn. 9) In 1232 he received licence to inclose and impark the wood. (fn. 10) He died in 1240 and his son and heir Lambert in 1246. (fn. 11) Lambert was succeeded by his son Thomas who supported Simon de Montfort in the Barons' Wars. (fn. 12) In 1265 the manor of Kelvedon Hatch, then worth £10 0s. 6d., was taken into the king's hands with the rest of Thomas's lands. (fn. 13) Soon afterwards, however, he recovered the property. (fn. 14) In 1277 he subinfeudated Kelvedon Hatch to Henry, son of Thomas de Multon (possibly his own younger son), to hold by a rent of £20 a year. After Thomas's death Henry was to hold the manor of his heirs by a nominal rent. (fn. 15) Thomas died in 1294. His heir was his grandson Thomas, Lord Multon (d. 1322) who was succeeded by his son John, Lord Multon (d. 1334). (fn. 16) At his death John was mesne lord of an estate in Kelvedon Hatch which consisted of a messuage and a carucate of land, and which was held of him by the service of ¼ knight's fee. (fn. 17) John's heirs were his three sisters: John widow of Robert Fitz Walter, Elizabeth wife of Walter de Birmingham, and Margaret wife of Thomas, later 2nd Lord Lucy (d. 1365). (fn. 18) It was agreed that Joan, Margaret, and Elizabeth should each hold 1/3; of the ¼ fee. (fn. 19) No further reference has been found to the mesne lordship of the heirs of John de Multon. In the 16th century the tenants in demesne were said to hold the manor directly of Westminister Abbey. (fn. 20)
Henry de Multon, tenant in demesne from 1277, was still living in 1314 but was dead by January 1322. (fn. 21) His heir was his daughter Juliane wife of Richard de Welby. (fn. 22) In 1333 Richard and Juliane made a settlement by which the manor was to pass, after their deaths, to their male issue with successive remainders to their daughters, Elizabeth de Welby and Joan wife of John de Haugh. (fn. 23) Juliane still held the estate in 1338. (fn. 24) Afterwards the manor passed to the heirs of her daughter Joan de Haugh. John de Haugh, son of Joan, was living in 1347. (fn. 25) Thomas de Haugh, son of John, came into possession of the manor during the life-time of his father. (fn. 26) In February 1370 Thomas conveyed it to his father and other trustees to hold, apparently during the minority of his own heir John. (fn. 27) By 1383 the last named John de Haugh had reached his majority. (fn. 28) He was lord of the manor until after 1395. (fn. 29) Before 1406 he was succeeded by Thomas de Haugh, probably his son. (fn. 30) Richard de Haugh was lord of the manor before the end of 1417. (fn. 31) In November 1427 he conveyed the manor to trustees who were to hold it first apparently for John de Haugh, probably his son, and then (presumably if John had no issue) for Richard's daughters, Joan, Katherine, then or later wife of John Bolles, and Agnes, then or later wife of William Haltoft. (fn. 32) John de Haugh was described as lord of the manor in November 1450 and afterwards until May 1456. (fn. 33) He presented to the church in April 1457. (fn. 34) He was evidently dead by 1459. (fn. 35) In 1461 John Hardbene, the sole surviving trustee appointed by Richard de Haugh in 1427, conveyed the manor to Katherine Bolles, Agnes Haltoft, and Joan Haugh. (fn. 36) In 1466 these sisters agreed that Katherine and her husband John Bolles should have sole rights in the manor, with remainder in default of her issue to Agnes and her issue. (fn. 37) John Bolles was alive in November 1482 but dead by November 1495. (fn. 38) Katherine survived him and was succeeded by her son Richard, who died in 1521 leaving as his heir his son John. (fn. 39) In 1526 John mortgaged the manor for £200. (fn. 40) He redeemed the mortgage and died holding the manor in 1533. (fn. 41) His heir was his brother Richard, who in 1538 sold the manor to John Wright of South Weald, yeoman, for £493. (fn. 42)
The descendants of John Wright held Kelvedon Hatch for nearly four centuries. There were ten successive John Wrights. (fn. 43) The last of these died in 1826 and was succeeded by his grandson John Francis Wright, who died without issue in 1868. The manor then passed to J. F. Wright's nephew, Edward Carrington Wright, who died in 1920, leaving it to his own nephew Sir Henry J. Lawson. (fn. 44) From 1891 Kelvedon Hall had been occupied by John Algernon Jones as tenant and in 1922 it was bought by his widow from Sir Henry Lawson. After her death it was sold in 1932 by her son J. W. B. Jones to the Mother Superior of St. Michael's Roman Catholic School. Mr. Jones bought and moved to the old rectory (see Church). (fn. 45) Owing to a succession of misfortunes the school did not prosper and the house acquired the reputation of being haunted. (fn. 46) Much of the timber in the grounds was felled at this time. (fn. 47) In 1937 the property was bought by Mr. Henry and Lady Honor Channon who restored the house and built the entrance gateway and lodges. (fn. 48) From 1941 to 1945 it was used as a Red Cross convalescent home. (fn. 49) It is now again the residence of Mr. Channon.
In 1838 J. F. Wright owned 880 acres in Kelvedon Hatch; the estate appears to have remained substantially intact until after the death of Sir Henry Lawson. (fn. 50)
The manor house was entirely rebuilt by the seventh John Wright (d. 1751). (fn. 51) Later in the 18th century the garden front and parts of the interior were altered, but otherwise the building has remained almost unchanged. The house as it stands today remains a very good example of one of the less grandiose country seats of the Georgian period. The restoration of 1937-8 was carried out to the designs of Lord Gerald Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) and Trenwith Wills (fn. 52) and in sympathy with the original.
The entrance front has a three-story central block with seven windows to each of the upper floors. On either side curved screen walls connect this with identical two-story pavilions. These are set forward, giving a three-sided forecourt. The pavilions have hipped roofs, surmounted by clock turrets and cupolas. On their front face two round-headed panels are painted to simulate sash windows. Above oval panels are similarly painted. The basement windows have wrought-iron grilles and the principal doorway has a Roman Doric order with engaged columns and a pediment. The rainwater heads on this front are dated 1743. The garden front of the main block is of similar proportions but the central bay projects slightly and is surmounted by a pediment. The porch, which is supported on columns with fluted capitals, has an enriched entablature of about 1780. The single-story flanking wings were probably added or modified at the same period; the north wing contained the kitchens and the south wing a private Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. (fn. 53)
Internally the best examples of the original mid18th-century rococo decoration occur in the entrance and staircase halls and in one of the bedrooms. The staircase has a balustrade of wrought-iron scrollwork and the walls have elaborate plasterwork panels in which are trophies representing War, Music, and the Chase. The drawing-room, dining-room, and music room were all redecorated in the 'Adam' style of about 1780. The drawing-room has an enriched ceiling and the dining-room a circular medallion above the chimney-piece. Both rooms have good fire-places. The former chapel is of about the same period: on the curved end wall is an arched recess for the altar, flanked by Ionic columns and having a dove in plaster relief above it. The side walls are divided into panels by Ionic pilasters and the segmental ceiling has plaster enrichments. The chapel was restored by Sir John Oakley during the occupation of the Hall by St. Michael's School. (fn. 54) The red-brick stable block and the orangery probably date from the late 18th century.
The manor of GERMAINS derived its name from a family which probably held it in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is possibly to be identified with the estate which in 1281 was held of Denise de Munchensy by Thomas son of Lambert de Multon, lord of the manor of Kelvedon Hatch. (fn. 55) If this identification is correct it suggests there was a connexion, in 1086 or later, between Germains and the manor of Theydon Garnon (q.v.).
In the 15th century Germains was held of the manor of Kelvedon Hatch. (fn. 56) It is not clear when the Germain family became the tenants. A Roger Germain was a witness to a deed of 1355 relating to land in Kelvedon Hatch and other parishes. (fn. 57) In 1368 a William Germain was witness at a proof of age taken at Navestock. He then had a son and heir Gilbert. (fn. 58) In 1398 another William Germain of Kelvedon Hatch had royal letters of protection when going on service to France; the letters were revoked because he failed to go. (fn. 59) In 1421-2 he was one of the commissioners appointed to collect a tenth and fifteenth in Essex. (fn. 60) It was possibly this William Germain who before 1458 made a bequest to Navestock church (q.v.).
In 1444 Henry Chaderton died holding the manor of Germains and was succeeded by his son Henry. (fn. 61) The manor subsequently passed to Sir Humphrey Starkey, lord of Slades in Navestock (q.v.). He died in 1486 and Germains then descended along with Slades until 1604. In 1604 Sir Thomas Joscelin sold Germains to John Wright, lord of Kelvedon Hatch, and it subsequently descended with that manor. (fn. 62) In 1838 Germain's Farm consisted of 242 acres and the tenant was John Thomas. (fn. 63) It now belongs to the Iveagh trustees. (fn. 64)
The farm-house is timber-framed and plastered and probably dates from the early 16th century. It consists of a central block with gabled cross-wings to east and west. The wings are of two stories and each has three bays. On both floors the stop-chamfered tie-beams dividing the bays are visible and in several cases the small curved braces below them are also in position. A four-centred door-head has been exposed in an upper room in the west wing. The timbering is not visible in the central block so that it is not possible to establish whether this part of the house has an earlier origin than the 16th century. There are indications that two large Tudor fire-places have been bricked up. The doorways and sash windows of the house were probably inserted in the 18th century.
The manor of MYLES'S alias GREAT MYLES'S derived its name from Miles de Munteny (see below). In the 16th century it was said to be held of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and later of the Waldegraves, as of their manor of Navestock. (fn. 65) No earlier statement of this tenure has been found and the 16th-century statements cannot be regarded as certain evidence of earlier tenure, but it is possible that Myles's was identical with an estate in Navestock and Kelvedon Hatch held in the 12th and early 13th century by the Marcy family. Before 1120 the Marcys agreed to pay rent for their Navestock estate (q.v.) to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and they still held that estate of St. Paul's in 1222. The estate which Ralph de Marcy held in Kelvedon Hatch (see above) in 1086 probably came to be considered part of the Navestock estate in the 12th century, and later of Myles's.
In the 13th century the manor was held by Nicholas le Convers. (fn. 66) He conveyed it to Roger le Convers who no doubt added to it 85 acres which he acquired in 1261 from Henry Belret. (fn. 67) The manor later passed to Roger son of Roger le Convers who in 1318 released his rights in it to Miles de Munteny and his wife Agnes. (fn. 68) Miles was still alive in 1336. (fn. 69) In 1355 the estate was granted by John Munteny to Richard de Salyng of London. (fn. 70) The Muntenys seem, however, to have retained some interest, for in 1378 Thomas de Munteny released all his rights in the estate to Richard de Salyng. (fn. 71) Richard was still alive in 1398. (fn. 72)
In 1566 Myles's was bought by Thomas Luther who was still alive in 1585. (fn. 73) Richard Luther was son and heir of Thomas. (fn. 74) From about 1587 to 1627, however, the manor was apparently shared between Richard and his brother Anthony Luther. (fn. 75) According to an epitaph quoted by Morant, Richard and Anthony were 'so truely loveing brothers that they lived neare fortie years joynt housekeepers together at Miles without anie accompt between them'. (fn. 76) Anthony died in 1627 leaving his share of the estate to Richard. (fn. 77) Richard died in 1638 leaving as his heir his son Anthony, a barrister of the Middle Temple and J.P. for Essex. (fn. 78) Anthony was succeeded on his death in 1665 by his son Richard. (fn. 79) Richard died before 1691, leaving Myles's to his son and heir Edward Luther, who was Sheriff of Essex in 1701. (fn. 80) In 1729 Edward settled the manor on his son Richard when the latter married Charlotte Chamberlain. The estate then consisted of 250 acres in Kelvedon Hatch, Stondon Massey, and High Ongar. (fn. 81) Through his mother Richard also inherited the considerable property of the Dawtreys of Doddinghurst Place. He died in 1767. (fn. 82) His son and heir was John Luther, knight of the shire for Essex 1763-84, who died without issue in 1786. Myles's then passed to Francis Fane, younger son of Charlotte, sister of John Luther and wife of Henry Fane of Wormsley (Oxon.). (fn. 83) Francis died in 1813, leaving as his heir his elder brother John. (fn. 84) Myles's subsequently descended in the Fane family. (fn. 85) In 1838 the estate comprised 417 acres in Kelvedon Hatch of which some 200 acres belonged to Little Myles's Farm in Stondon Massey, 32 acres to Great Myles's, 93 acres to Clap Gates, and 31 acres to Priors Farm. (fn. 86) In 1849 the Stondon Massey part of the Fane estate comprised 128 acres, of which 52 acres belonged to Little Myles's and 76 acres to Clap Gates Farm. (fn. 87) The mansion house of Myles's had by this time been demolished (see below). Its site was sold in 1943 by John Luther Fane to the present owner, Mr. Parrish. (fn. 88)
A diagrammatic sketch of an early house at Great Myles's appears on an estate map of about 1700. (fn. 89) It shows a long red brick front of two stories with dormers in the roof and projecting wings at either end. Shell hoods are drawn above the doorways and the windows have lattice panes. It was probably built during the second half of the 17th century.
Before he gave up the estate to his son in 1762 Richard Luther is said to have 'much enlarged and beautified the house'. (fn. 90) The result was the imposing Georgian mansion which occupied the site until its demolition in the 19th century. A sale notice of about 1830 shows two many-windowed fronts facing southwest and south-east. (fn. 91) The tradition that there was a window for each day of the year (fn. 92) is probably an exaggeration, but there were at least 16 rooms on the bedroom floor with garrets above for the domestic staff. (fn. 93) In 1770-1 a tributary of the Roding was dammed to form a long expanse of water in front of the house. The cost was £600 and the graceful brick bridge which still spans the lake was built for an additional £250. (fn. 94) These improvements were designed for John Luther by Richard Woods, who later replanned the gardens at Brizes (see above, p. 64). After John Luther's death in 1786 the house was let furnished to Francis Ford and later to a Dr. Chandler. (fn. 95) Attempts to sell it early in the 19th century were apparently unsuccessful and in 1837 it was demolished at the wish of John Fane's widow. (fn. 96) A small red-brick range, probably part of a service wing, remains standing and has been converted into a residence. The fine stable block, advertised about 1830 as capable of accommodating 22 horses, (fn. 97) is also in existence.