A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
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Washingley lies to the north of Caldecote, and is 8 miles south-west of Peterborough, and 6 miles west of Holme station on the London and North Eastern Railway. The parish lies mostly at a height of about 200 ft. above Ordnance datum. Its area is about 1,295 acres, and the soil and subsoil are clay, producing wheat and barley. On the western side a road, called the Bullock Road, runs north to south through it, and it is crossed from west to east in a northerly direction by another, the central portion of which traverses Washingley Park.
There is no church, but Washingley Hall, standing near the centre of the parish at the northern end of Washingley Park, with its mounds and earthworks, fishponds and moat, supplies much of interest from the archæological point of view. (fn. 1) The manor house recorded in the 13th century probably stood on this site. The present house, which is of two stories, was built of brick in the 17th century, and entirely remodelled in the 18th. A moat and mounds lie south-east of the house, and traces of a moat on the west side may still be seen; there is another mound to the north-west at the park boundary. Ward Mound and Otter Pond lie in the west. At the southern end of the park are a fish-pond and stews, and, at the north-eastern end, Old Yard Copse and Hall Wood. There is a homestead moat in the south of the parish at Caldecote Wood, only a small portion of which wood is in Caldecote parish.
North of Washingley Park is North Wood, whose possession was disputed in the 17th century between the Crown and the lord of the manor. At the southeastern extremity of Washingley Park is Newbery Hall.
Packs Lodge or Ongutein Manor House is near the north-west corner of the parish, and north of it in a large field adjoining the Billing Brook is a shallow homestead moat with an inclosure 143 ft. by 156 ft.; Cold Harbour is north-west of it. The ruins of Ogerston, the property of the Knights Templars, are marked on the old maps as in the tongue of Northamptonshire close to Papley Gorse, about three-quarters of a mile north of Packs Lodge. They apparently occupied the north-east corner of the field just north of the Billing Brook, and in the same field, close to the brook and the road, is a table mound about 96 ft. by 114 ft. inclosed by a shallow ditch; near the centre of the field is a circular mound about 20 ft. in diameter with a shallow ditch round it. The modern maps make no mention of the site.
In 1086 WASHINGLEY was equally divided, when two and a half hides belonged to Eustace the Sheriff, and two and a half were held by Chetelbert, the king's thegn, of the king. (fn. 2) Eustace's holding was valued at 50s. and passed to his successors the Lovetots as a member of the Barony of Southoe (q.v.), and was therefore held of the Lovetot fee. (fn. 3)
Tori held this portion of Washingley before the Conquest, but no sub-tenant is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 4) It passed into the possession of Walter de Washingley, who held it as 2 parts of a knight's fee in 1166. (fn. 5) Richard de Washingley was apparently lord in 1201, when John de Washingley, probably his brother, accused him, with Guy de Folksworth and Roger Malentys, of the death of his father. They we/re acquitted and the sheriff was ordered to arrest John and put him in prison. (fn. 6) Robert de Washingley was dealing with land in Washingley in 1225, (fn. 7) and was apparently succeeded by Walter who held ½ a knight's fee in 1242–3. (fn. 8) His son Ralph was holding in 1279 (fn. 9) and died in 1288 seised of half a fee in Washingley held of Thomas de Lovetot; lands, rents and tenements held of the king by serjeanty for a rent of 20s. to the Exchequer; (fn. 10) and a 'culture' called Solyemanwode in the field of Salton, (fn. 10a) held by socage rendering 1d. each to the heirs of Richard Tailour and of John de Salue. (fn. 11) His heir was his son Robert, then a minor aged 14½, who had livery of the lands before 1301 (fn. 12) and was assessed for half a knight's fee in 1303. (fn. 13) He died in 1310 (fn. 14) and the manor was in the king's hands in 1316, (fn. 15) presumably on account of the minority of his son Robert, who proved his age in 1319. (fn. 16) He was dealing with the manor with Amy his wife in 1324, (fn. 17) but married a second time and settled lands in Washingley in 1334 on his wife Margaret, (fn. 18) who survived him. He died in December 1348, leaving a son, another Robert, aged 9. (fn. 19) Margaret died in 1354, (fn. 20) and Robert and his wife Joan settled the manor in 1365 on themselves with remainder to their sons Richard and Robert. (fn. 21) They apparently predeceased their father, as his heir on his death in 1392 was his daughter Margaret, wife of Sir John Pekebridge or Pokebridge, (fn. 22) by whom she had a son John; she afterwards married John Drew, by whom she had another son Richard. She died in 1401 (fn. 23) in the lifetime of her mother, Joan, who survived till 1426. John Pekebridge must have predeceased Joan, as her heir was her grandson Richard Drew. (fn. 24) In 1428 Sir Robert Hakebeche was returned as holding the half-fee in Washingley formerly held by Robert de Washingley, (fn. 25) but in what capacity does not appear. Richard Drew died in 1429, leaving an infant son Robert (fn. 26) who died in 1446 just before he attained his majority, his heir being his brother John aged 17. (fn. 27) John died in 1458, leaving a son John, (fn. 28) who died a minor and without issue in 1471, and a daughter Elizabeth aged 21, who then succeeded to the property. (fn. 29) She married firstly John Otter, and secondly John Clerke. By her husband John Otter she had a daughter and heir Joan, who married Robert Apreece (fn. 30) (Aprice, Apprice, Ap Rhese, or Price), and thus Washingley came into the possession of a family who owned it for more than two centuries, and whose fidelity to Catholicism brought them frequently into conflict with the authorities. Robert and Joan settled the manor and advowson of Washingley on themselves for life, in 1522, with remainder to their son William and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heir apparent of Robert Latymer, of North Crawley (Bucks). Robert survived Joan and married in 1544, as his second wife, the Lady Christian Sapcote, widow, (fn. 31) who survived him. He died in 1555, when his son William, then aged 50, succeeded. (fn. 32) In 1559 he settled the manor, several fishery, common of fishery, etc., on his eldest son Robert and his wife Joan and their heirs male, and his other sons Edmund, Lewis, and John, in tail male successively, (fn. 33) and died on 11 February 1574. Robert, then aged 39 and more, succeeded him, (fn. 34) and as Robert Apreece, senior, was dealing with the manor in 1594. (fn. 35) In 1600 he was ordered before the Council to answer for two sons who had been committed to Huntingdon prison for conniving and assisting at an escape of priests from Wisbech Castle. (fn. 36) In 1604 Robert Apreece was again dealing with the manor. (fn. 37) He was referred to by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1611 (fn. 38) as a notorious recusant, but out of reach in Huntingdonshire. In 1620 he was dealing with the manor with his grandson, Sir William Apreece, (fn. 39) son and heir of his eldest son Robert, and his own heir at his death in 1621 at a very advanced age. (fn. 40) The year before he had settled the manor on his grandson Robert, son of his son Jeremy, (fn. 41) who was still living in 1633. Robert, who left a six-years-old son, Robert, as his heir, died seised of the manor and advowson in 1644. (fn. 42) He was murdered, after the taking of Lincoln, by the Parliamentary soldiers, who shot him in cold blood, on his affirmation that he was 'Apreece the Roman Catholic.' In 1887, Pope Leo XIII conferred on him the title of 'Venerable.' (fn. 43) He was a Royalist, and in 1647 his widow Mary and her then husband, Humphrey Orme, begged to compound for his lands and tenements on their own behalf and that of their child. (fn. 44) The name of Robert Apreece was included in a list of recusants in Norman Cross Hundred with that of Richard Apreece in 1648. (fn. 45) In this same year, the Parliamentary Committee wrote to General Fairfax: 'We are informed there are tumultuous meetings in Huntingdonshire, where Colonel Montagu has been taken prisoner and carried to Washingley House.' (fn. 46)
The many transactions connected with the manor between 1654 and 1659 were probably mortgages necessitated by the impoverishment of the family, owing to their recusancy. (fn. 47)
Humphrey Orme, with his wife Mary and her son Robert Apreece, were still holding the manor in 1664, (fn. 48) and Robert was living in 1672. (fn. 49) Thomas Apreece was dealing with the manor in 1731, (fn. 50) and another Robert Apreece died in 1744. (fn. 51) Thomas Hussey Apreece was holding in 1765, (fn. 52) and died in 1777; (fn. 53) he was succeeded by his son Thomas Hussey Apreece, distinguished for his gallant defence of Alnwick against Paul Jones, the pirate, while Captain of the Huntingdonshire Militia, and created a baronet in 1782. (fn. 54) As Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece, bart., he was dealing with the manor in 1798. (fn. 55) He had married in 1771 Dorothy, youngest daughter and co-heir of Shuckburgh Ashby, esq., and their eldest son, Shuckburgh Ashby Apreece, died without issue in 1807, and Sir Thomas himself at his seat, Effingham House, Surrey, in 1833. His surviving son, Sir Thomas George Apreece, died unmarried in 1842, and all the Washingley property was devised by his will to St. George's Hospital, no single relative being mentioned. (fn. 56) This resulted in litigation, owing to which the house and estate were not sold till 1859, when they were purchased by the 5th Earl of Harrington, who remodelled the house in 1861. He died in 1862 and was succeeded by his son, the 6th earl, who died unmarried in 1866. The property was afterwards sold, probably to James C. Dymock Robertson, who died in 1895, and his heir was his brother, William Henry Robertson, who died in 1918. Major George Robertson succeeded to the estate, and in 1928 it was sold to Mr. T. Shaw, from whom it was purchased in 1934 by Lord Cobham, the present owner.
The two and a half hides held by Chetelbert the Thegn in 1086 were valued at 10s. (fn. 57) In 1210–12 this part of the manor of Washingley was held by Hugh de Neville of the king by the serjeanty of accompanying him to Wales. (fn. 58) It passed to Robert Malentys, who was bound to find two footmen for 40 days in the army in Wales, to guard a tent with bows and arrows, each of them receiving 4d. a day from the king. (fn. 59) This serjeanty was alienated before 1250 in favour of Walter de Washingley, and converted into knight's service for one-fortieth part of a fee and 20s. to be paid annually to the Exchequer. (fn. 60) Thus this half of Washingley came into the hands of the de Washingley family, and thereafter followed the same descent as the other half.
The Knights Templars, and their successors the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, owned a manor in Washingley with the vill of OGERSTON, and in 1187 the sheriff owed the king 16s. 8d. for assarts and waste of the land of the Templars at Washingley. (fn. 61) Half their property they had of the gift of Bertram de Washingley, before 1185, held of the Lovetot fee, and the other half, given by Robert Malentys, they held by serjeanty. (fn. 61a) In 1279, the court of the manor and the wood adjoining it comprised 8 acres, but the account of the extent of the whole manor is indecipherable. (fn. 62) The house was, however, apparently of some importance, as Letters Close were dated at Ogerston in 1303. (fn. 63) After the Dissolution the manor was granted in 1543, as the manor of Ogerston which belonged to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and the Preceptory of Temple Bruer, to Miles Forrest of Morborne (q.v.), (fn. 64) who owned the grange of Ogerston in that parish. He sold the manor, though not the grange, to Robert Apreece, in the following year, (fn. 65) and it afterwards followed the descent of the manor of Washingley. Ogerston had been held on lease by Sir John Sapcote, and afterwards by his son Richard and his wife Christian, (fn. 66) who married Robert Apreece as her second husband.
Twenty-four acres of land in Washingley which William Hill had inherited as heir of John Clerke, probably husband of Elizabeth Drew, were purchased from him by Robert Apreece and held in 1574 with the manor of Washingley. (fn. 67)
The church of WASHINGLEY is mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but has long since disappeared and nothing is known as to its architectural form. It is said to have stood in Chapel Close, near the Keeper's Lodge. In 1534 it was described as fallen down and broken so that it could not be used for divine service, and it was stated that it was vacant in 1447 and, on account of the smallness of the living, it had been annexed to Lutton (Northants). (fn. 68)
It is locally said that the materials were removed to Lutton and Yaxley, and two monuments in the former church, dated 1603 and 1633, are said to have been removed from this chapel, but it would seem much more probable that they were originally put up at Lutton.
In the Folksworth Register, a marriage is recorded in Washingley Chapel, in 1735, (fn. 69) but it is incredible that the church could have been standing at that date, and the reference is, perhaps, to a private chapel in Washingley Hall. In 1739, Washingley people were married at Caldecote. (fn. 70)
The church was recorded with the land held by Chetelbert the Thegn in 1086; (fn. 71) the advowson afterwards evidently belonged to the Abbey of Crowland, and was acquired by Richard de Washingley, apparently at the beginning of the 13th century, from the abbey, in exchange for a virgate of land. (fn. 72) It followed the descent of the manor of Washingley, (fn. 73) but in 1446 it was granted to Richard, Duke of York, during the minority of John Drew. (fn. 74) The advowson is frequently stated in the Inquisitions post mortem to belong to the Lovetot fee, but this is a mistake, arising perhaps from the fact that the virgate of land given in exchange was on that fee. (fn. 75) The church was pronounced ruinous in 1447, and, on the ground of the smallness of stipend, the probable reason of its being declared unfit for use, was united to that of Lutton; the resignation of John Walshe in 1512 was followed by the appointment of John Higham, rector of Lutton, to the combined living. (fn. 76)
The advowson is still mentioned with the property of William Apreece, who died in 1574, (fn. 77) and of Robert Apreece (1621) and Robert Apreece (1644), but the family never exercised any right of alternate presentation to Lutton, the advowson of which was then in the hands of the Watsons, of Rockingham. (fn. 78) Lutton is now annexed to Polebrook and the present patrons are the executors of Mr. G. C. W. Fitzwilliam.
In 1291 a pension of 13s. 4d. from the church was paid to the Prior of Huntingdon. The church was valued in that year and in 1428 at 10 marks. (fn. 79)
Charity of Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece.—This charity was founded by will proved 24 June 1833, and the endowment consists of £100 Consols with the Official Trustees. The dividends are distributed and divided equally between and amongst poor women (either married or single) parishioners of Washingley and Caldecote in accordance with the directions contained in the will of the donor.