A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
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Edward the Confessor granted the manor of STAINES with its berewicks to Westminster Abbey, probably in 1065 or 1066. (fn. 1) The berewicks cannot be identified with certainty, but probably included Ashford, Laleham, Halliford, and Teddington, while Yeoveney was either a berewick or an integral part of the main manor. (fn. 2) Domesday Book mentions that Staines had four berewicks but does not identify them. (fn. 3) Yeoveney remained closely connected with Staines, though it later ranked as a separate manor, (fn. 4) while the other estates became more entirely independent. Also included in Edward's grant was land called 'Staeningahaga' in London, and Maitland suggested that the 46 burgesses of Staines referred to in Domesday Book were not at Staines, but at 'Staeningahaga'. (fn. 5) If so, this is the last reference to the London appurtenance of the manor. The manor proper, excluding the early berewicks, comprised that part of the parish lying south of the moor. It apparently had appurtenant property in adjoining parishes but this does not seem to have been of significant extent. (fn. 6) The demesne was increased by a number of grants in the 13th and 14th centuries (fn. 7) and contained about 150-200 acres at the latter date. (fn. 8) After demesne farming was abandoned the land was leased in small parcels (fn. 9) and by 1613 had apparently all been alienated, some probably having become copyhold. (fn. 10) Soon after this the lord did hold some land (fn. 11) but there were no demesnes by the 19th century, when the lord was even prevented from enjoying common rights in the moor on the ground that he was nonresident. (fn. 12) In 1845 the common fields included 105 acres of copyhold land. (fn. 13) Courts leet are still (1957) held occasionally. (fn. 14)
Staines was appropriated to the Abbot of Westminster (fn. 15) and was therefore periodically held by the Crown during vacancies. (fn. 16) Apart from this, the abbey's tenure was uninterrupted until the Dissolution. (fn. 17) After being forfeited to the Crown, Staines was granted to Sheen Priory by Mary in 1558: (fn. 18) this grant may never have taken effect, and the manor remained with the Crown until 1613 when it was granted to Thomas, Lord Knyvett (d. 1622). (fn. 19) He left it to his relative Thomas Knyvett, (fn. 20) who sold it in 1629 to Sir Francis Leigh of Puttenham (Surr.). (fn. 21) It then passed to his son Wolley Leigh (d. 1644), and to Wolley's son Thomas (fn. 22) who sold it in 1669 to Sir William Drake. In 1679 Drake sold it to Richard Tayler, (fn. 23) in whose family it remained until 1890, when it passed under the will of Emily Charlotte Tayler to Sir John Gibbons of Stanwell, whose grandmother had been the daughter of Richard Tayler (d. 1792). (fn. 24) Since then the manorial rights have descended with Stanwell manor. (fn. 25)
Richard Tayler (d. 1792) lived at Knowle Green in 1768, but he had moved to Charlton House, Sunbury, by 1771. (fn. 26) He is the only lord of the manor who is known to have lived in Staines at all, and there is no record of a manor-house after the Middle Ages. The site of the medieval manorial buildings is unknown. In the 14th century they included a hall, bailiff's chamber, granary, stable, byre, and two granges. (fn. 27) A small inclosure (28ft. by 83ft.) in Binbury was the only land granted with the manor in 1613. (fn. 28)
The manor of YEOVENEY was presumably included in Edward the Confessor's grant of Staines to Westminster Abbey. (fn. 29) Between 1087 and 1100 the land of Yeoveney (Gyveneya) was referred to as pasture belonging to Staines: this may indicate that it was then an uncultivated appurtenance of the parent manor, rather than a berewick, though it is possible that the pasture referred to was the adjacent moor, which seems to have been regarded as part of Yeoveney manor in the 14th century. (fn. 30) In any case, Yeoveney had become a manor by the 13th century, and had about 200-300 acres of demesne, lying to the east of Staines Moor. (fn. 31) In 1758 there were only five copyholders, holding less than 20 acres between them, and the manorial rights lapsed soon afterwards. (fn. 32) The demesne lands comprised between 365 and 400 acres from the 17th to the 19th centuries. (fn. 33)
With brief intermissions at the Dissolution (fn. 34) and in the Interregnum, Westminster retained Yeoveney from the 11th century until it was handed over to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1869. (fn. 35) Walter fitz Other, owner of Stanwell manor, in William I's reign, and Richard de Molin in 1294, each attacked the abbey's title unsuccessfully, (fn. 36) and William Poyle, owner of Poyle manor in Stanwell, quitclaimed 2 carucates in Yeoveney to the abbey in 1258. (fn. 37) Like Staines, Yeoveney formed part of the abbot's demesnes. It was leased continually from 1363, except for part of 1376 and possibly for other short periods before the mid-15th century. (fn. 38) Leases for terms of years were replaced in the 17th century by leases for three lives, frequently renewed, which remained the rule until the abbey gave up the property. From the 16th to the 19th century the rent remained virtually constant at about £25. (fn. 39) In 1494-6 and 1522 Robert Durdant was lessee. (fn. 40) Nicholas Durdant (d. 1538) was in possession in 1525 and was succeeded by his son Andrew. (fn. 41) The abbey tried to oust Andrew or his son in 1587, but Andrew Durdant, grandson of the earlier Andrew, was in possession by 1610. (fn. 42) His widow, then in occupation of the estate, secured the freehold in 1649. (fn. 43) After the Restoration Charles Durdant was made to surrender his lease, (fn. 44) and in 1665 one was granted to William Dolben (d. 1694), later a justice of King's Bench and brother of the then Dean of Westminster. (fn. 45) William was succeeded by Sir Gilbert Dolben, Bt., the Dean's son. (fn. 46) His grandson Sir William Dolben sold the lease in 1775 to William Gyll of Wraysbury (Bucks.), (fn. 47) whose descendants were lessees when the manor was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 48)
The Durdant family lived at Yeoveney, but the later lessees sublet the farm. No one family appears to have held the sub-tenancy for a long period. (fn. 49) In 1881 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold their reversionary interest to Henry Fladgate, who was then in occupation of the farm. (fn. 50) Since then it has passed to the county council, and in 1957 their tenants, Greenwood Bros., farmed 150 acres, including the land which had earlier in the century been used as a rifle range. (fn. 51)
There is no evidence that the manorial buildings have ever stood elsewhere than at the present Yeoveney Farm. In the 14th century the buildings included a hall and gatehouse as well as two granges, a byre, a cowhouse, and other farm buildings. (fn. 52) The house was rebuilt in the first half of the 18th century. (fn. 53) It is L-shaped and has two rather high stories of red brick with a tiled roof. The main front has a slightly projecting centre bay with a pediment, between two narrow bays on each side. The large timber-framed barns to the north, which are now (1957) covered with corrugated iron, probably date from the 17th century.
GROVEBARNS was a freehold estate held of Staines manor, (fn. 54) which towards the end of the Middle Ages became known as a manor itself. The estate increased from about 70 acres in 1351 to over 200 in 1571. (fn. 55) In 1720 it comprised about 72 acres at Knowle Green and in the fields of Staines and Laleham. (fn. 56) It is doubtful whether its owners ever exercised any manorial jurisdiction. The estate seems to have originated in a hide of land disputed in 1200 between Alice Lovel and Matthew of London. (fn. 57) Richard Lovel held it in 1249, (fn. 58) and it passed from another Richard Lovel (d. 1351) to his kinsman Nicholas Seymour. (fn. 59) From him it descended to John, Lord Zouche (d. 1550), (fn. 60) who conveyed it to his brother William in 1504. (fn. 61) It then passed through various owners, (fn. 62) including Robert Good (d. 1558), who owned Knollers in Stanwell and other property in the neighbourhood, (fn. 63) to John Knowle of Staines (d. 1617), and his son Thomas. (fn. 64) William Knowles, presumably a member of the same family, sold the estate in 1634 and it thereafter generally belonged to non-resident owners until the 19th century. (fn. 65) The manor as such was last referred to in 1780. (fn. 66) The manor-house, however, which was called Knowle Farm or Knowle Green House in 1720 and 1753, seems to be identifiable with the house at Knowle Green which has since the mid-19th century been called the Manor House. By 1844 this belonged to Charles Reynolds and about 10 acres around it, probably the pasture said to adjoin it in 1720 and 1753, belonged to John Reynolds. (fn. 67) Since that date the house has changed hands many times and has been severed from virtually all its land. (fn. 68) It is a two-storied house mostly of 18thcentury date and now cement-rendered, though there is said to be some timber framing underneath. (fn. 69)
After about 1217 the rectorial estate consisted only of tithes. It was never apparently described as a manor. (fn. 70) There are, however, references to the VICAR'S MANOR in the later Middle Ages. In 1356 the vicar and the chaplain of St. Mary in Staines church granted their manor of Staines to John Goddard, from whom they had recently received it. (fn. 71) The significance of this gift is not clear, but in the mid-15th century St. George's, Windsor, held part of their Staines property of the vicar as copyhold, and owed him rent and labour-services for it. (fn. 72) In the 17th century the vicar's glebe was estimated at about 60 acres, but it was not referred to as a manor. (fn. 73)