A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 9. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1970.
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Manors and Other Estates.
There were five holdings at Swindon in 1086, amounting to 21¾ hides; the assessment of another holding at Walcot at 3¼ hides (fn. 1) makes it seem likely that Swindon was a 25-hide estate divided between a number of lords. Apart from Walcot, only the fivehide holding of the Bishop of Bayeux can be confidently identified with any later estate, (fn. 2) but the largest of the other holdings, the 12 hides of Odin the Chamberlain, must have formed the chief part of what was known throughout the Middle Ages as the manor of SWINDON or HIGH SWINDON. From the mid 16th century the manor of West Swindon was joined to it, and the whole property was conventionally described as the manors of OVER AND NETHER SWINDON, or WEST AND EAST SWINDON. (fn. 3) Although these terms indicated a topographical division of the estate, (fn. 4) the property was treated as one manor from the 1640s onwards. (fn. 5)
Nothing is certainly known of the manor between Odin the Chamberlain's time and the early 13th century, when William de Pont l'Arche held it. (fn. 6) He was probably a descendant of a namesake who was Sheriff of Hampshire and Berkshire 1132–8, and a royal chamberlain, (fn. 7) so that the manor may have descended with the office. The younger William died c. 1238 and was succeeded by his son Robert, (fn. 8) who held Swindon in 1242–3. (fn. 9) He died soon after this, (fn. 10) leaving a brother and heir William, (fn. 11) but his lands seem to have passed into the king's hands, perhaps by forfeiture because of felony. (fn. 12) The king apparently granted these lands to his half-brother William de Valence, and in 1252 William de Pont l'Arche assigned his interest in them to de Valence. (fn. 13) William de Valence married a daughter of one of the coheirs of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1219), and was invested with that title. He died in 1296; his son Aymer succeeded, and died without issue in 1324. (fn. 14) His third wife held Swindon in dower until her death in 1377. (fn. 15)
The inheritance passed to Aymer's niece Elizabeth, wife of Richard Talbot of Goodrich Castle (Herefs.). (fn. 16) Their son Gilbert obtained Swindon in 1377, and died in 1387 leaving a son Richard. (fn. 17) Richard died in 1396; from him the manor descended in the same way as part of the manor of Broughton Gifford to the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury. (fn. 18) It was among the possessions of George, Earl of Shrewsbury in 1505, (fn. 19) and it may have been after his death in 1541 that it was sold to the Tame family of Fairford (Glos.). Edmund Tame held Swindon in 1544. (fn. 20) When he died without issue in the same year, his heirs were his three sisters. (fn. 21) A partition appears to have been made among them, and Swindon must have been allotted to Elizabeth, wife of Lewis Watkins. (fn. 22) Edmund Tame's widow, however, long survived him, marrying as her second husband Sir Walter Buckle, and as her third Roger Lygon of Fairford. (fn. 23) She still held Swindon in 1562 when Rice ap Owen and William Watkins sold the reversion of the manor to Thomas Goddard of Upham in Aldbourne. (fn. 24)
Goddard, a member of a family already of some standing in the county, founded a line which remained at Swindon until the 20th century. (fn. 25) Six generations held the manor in the direct male line. Thomas, dying in 1598, was succeeded in turn by Richard (d. 1615), Thomas (d. 1641), Richard (d. 1650), Thomas (d. 1704), and Richard (d. 1732). This last Richard, a bachelor, left the estates to his umarried brother Pleydell (d. 1742) for life and then to Ambrose Goddard of Box, who was descended in a younger line from Richard (d. 1615). Dying in 1755, Ambrose was succeeded by his unmarried son Thomas (d. 1770), from whom Swindon passed to a younger brother Ambrose (d. 1815). He was succeeded by his son, another Ambrose (d. 1854), grandson Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard (d. 1898), and great-grandson Fitzroy Pleydell Goddard (d. 1927). After the death of F. P. Goddard his widow continued to live at the Lawn, the family home in Old Swindon, until 1931. (fn. 26) But she was the last of the family to do so. In 1943 the house and its grounds were sold to Swindon corporation (fn. 27) and in 1952 the house was demolished. (fn. 28)
The Lawn, which was known until the early 19th century as Swindon House, (fn. 29) undoubtedly occupied the site of the medieval manor house. Immediately south of it stood the parish church, with, until c. 1850, a mill beyond it. The north range of the house, dating from the 18th century, was built of red brick with stone dressings and had a stone-tiled roof. (fn. 30) Several of its architectural features were similar to those found at what is now no. 42 Cricklade Street, built in 1729. (fn. 31) The long north front had a recessed central bay with a pedimented doorway flanked by windows on the ground floor and a Venetian window above. The projecting side blocks, each of four bays, were divided by stone pilasters rising the full height of the building. Above the cornice was a parapet with balustraded panels, surmounted by angle vases. Additional wings to the south and east probably dated from the early 19th century, as did two bay windows at the west end of the 18th-century range. Further extensions were made later in the 19th century, including an arcaded loggia at the south-west angle of the building. The loggia overlooked a sunk garden to the west of the house. In 1965 this garden, surrounded by stone balustrades, was all that survived to mark the site of the former mansion. The landscaped grounds to the north, east, and south of the house were preserved as a public park.
The manor of EVEN SWINDON is first met with in 1210–12, when the Abbess of St. Mary in Winchester (Nunnaminster) held land in Swindon worth £4 a year. (fn. 32) The house had probably had the property for many years, for in 1242–3 Philip Avenel was said to hold it of the abbess of the old feoffment. (fn. 33) Philip still held it in 1249. (fn. 34) Later in the century the rent of £4 by which the land was held became attached to the Countess of Aumale's manor of Sevenhampton, but after the disgrace of Adam de Stratton in 1289 it was restored to the abbess. (fn. 35) It was still paid at the Dissolution. (fn. 36) In 1284–5 Christine Avenel held the land, (fn. 37) and in 1313 it was settled on Robert Avenel and Christine his wife. (fn. 38) It was no doubt the same estate in Even Swindon which in 1386 was held for life by Roger Feltwell of the inheritance of John Feltwell, Rector of Chiseldon. (fn. 39) By 1458 the manor was held by Thomas Winslow, who then settled it on his daughter Elizabeth when she married John Terumber, son of James Terumber, a rich clothier from Trowbridge. (fn. 40) John must have died without issue, for Elizabeth Winslow subsequently married Humphrey, younger son of John Seymour (d. 1463), of Wolfhall (in Great Bedwyn). (fn. 41) From him must have descended Simon Seymour, whose trustees let the manor to Thomas Mill alias Saunders in 1510, and Alexander Seymour, party to a further lease to the same man in 1528. This leasehold interest was assigned c. 1572, by Edmund Mill alias Saunders to Edward Walrond of Aldbourne, (fn. 42) who still held it in 1582. (fn. 43) Meanwhile the freehold of the lands was sold by Simon Seymour of Chippenham to Thomas Wenman of Witney (Oxon.). (fn. 44) From him it passed, no doubt by sale, to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, on whose attainder in 1552 it fell into the king's hands. In 1552 'the pasture called Even Swindon' was granted to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1570). (fn. 45) In 1606 William, the 3rd earl, sold the manor to Lawrence Hyde (d. 1643); the sale was the occasion of involved lawsuits about leasehold interests dating from the time of the Seymours. (fn. 46) From Hyde Even Swindon descended in the same way as Heale (in Woodford) to William Bowles, a Salisbury banker, who went bankrupt in 1813. (fn. 47)
In 1086 Wadard, a knight depicted in the Bayeux tapestry, held 5 hides in Swindon of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux; before the Conquest they had belonged to Leviet. (fn. 48) Many of the lands held by Odo before his banishment in 1088 were charged with castle guard at Dover, (fn. 49) so that lands at NETHERCOTT in Swindon, which did this service, may be confidently identified with this 5-hide estate. Unlike most of Wadard's estates, they are not known to have passed to the Arsic family; (fn. 50) land at Nethercott is next mentioned in 1241, when Augustus, Prior of St. John at Cricklade, acknowledged that a carucate there belonged to John Barlet. (fn. 51) In 1242–3 John Barlet held ¼ fee in Nethercott of Fulk Basset, who held of Gilbert de Hay, who held of the honor of Dover, while William Pipard held ¾ fee there of John Barlet; John held this directly of Gilbert de Hay of the same honor. (fn. 52) This division of Nethercott seems to have persisted for some time. In 1252 John Barlet leased his part of the manor to the Rector of Swindon, (fn. 53) while at another time he relinquished his intermediate lordship over William Pipard to Gilbert Basset. (fn. 54) The Basset overlordship descended by marriage to Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, (fn. 55) who in 1274 held a whole fee in Nethercott; it was held of him in two parts by Margery Pipard and John Bruton. (fn. 56)
The descent of the Pipard share of the manor can be imperfectly traced. William Pipard died in 1267 leaving a son Edmund who died without issue in 1272. (fn. 57) In the following year his widow Margery was at variance over Nethercott with his brother and heir, Thomas. (fn. 58) Thomas died in 1282 leaving a son who died under age in 1301, when his heir was his cousin, John, son of William Pipard, another brother of Edmund and Thomas. (fn. 59) John was perhaps father or brother of William Pipard, who in 1340 was entitled to the reversion of parts of the Pipard property after the death of Margery, widow of Thomas Pipard (d. 1282); (fn. 60) she survived until 1344. (fn. 61) In 1340 William Pipard had settled Nethercott and other property on himself and his wife for life, with remainders to Robert FitzEllis and Margaret his wife, and then to Stephen Pipard, his own son. Robert's wife Margaret was William's daughter; Robert himself died soon afterwards, and by 1349 when William died, Margaret had remarried Warin de Lisle. (fn. 62) William's heirs were then Margaret and her sister, Maud, wife of Osbert Hamelyn.
Margaret, the elder sister, died in 1375, leaving a son and heir Gerard, (fn. 63) who died without issue in his father's lifetime. Warin de Lisle died in 1382, when his heir was his daughter Margaret, wife of Thomas, Lord Berkeley. (fn. 64) Osbert Hamelyn and Maud still held the other moiety of Nethercott in that year. (fn. 65) By 1413–14 this moiety had passed to Julian Banister for life, with remainder to men called Trevilines and Alet; Thomas, Lord Berkeley, bought it in that year (fn. 66) and so united the manor again. It is possible that the temporary division gave rise to the practice, which first appeared at this time, (fn. 67) of calling the manor EASTCOTT and WESTCOTT or of giving the aliases of Eastcott, Westcott, Nethercott, and Overcott to it. Thomas, Lord Berkeley, died in 1417, leaving an only daughter and heir Elizabeth, wife of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. She in turn left three daughters and coheirs, of whom the eldest Margaret, married John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, as his second wife. Being the only daughter with issue, the Lisle inheritance passed to her son John Talbot, created Viscount Lisle (d. 1453). His only son, Thomas, Viscount Lisle, was killed at Nibley Green (Glos.), in 1469, fighting against William, Lord Berkeley, in the protracted quarrel which followed the division of the Berkeley and Lisle estates in 1417. His heir was his sister Elizabeth, wife of Sir Edward Grey. Sir Edward was created Viscount Lisle, (fn. 68) and died holding Nethercott in 1492. (fn. 69) Their son John, Lord Lisle, also held it at his death in 1504. (fn. 70)
From this time the descent of the manor is obscure until 1600, when John Pleydell of Alderton sold it to Henry Martin of Upham in Aldbourne. (fn. 71) Martin died in 1626 and was succeeded by his son Edward. (fn. 72) In 1640–1 and 1649 Edward sold considerable parts of the manor to several purchasers. (fn. 73) By 1656–7, when the common fields were inclosed, (fn. 74) the manor was held by almost 30 small freeholders, and Gabriel Martin, son of Edward, held less than 100 a. (fn. 75) Some of this land was immediately sold, and when the manor was settled on Edward, Gabriel's son, in 1663, it consisted only of a house, 3 closes, 3 cottages, and £4 in chief rents. (fn. 76) In the 18th century the chief rents belonged to Richard Dickerson, (fn. 77) who in 1773 sold what was called the manor of Westcott to Ambrose Goddard. (fn. 78) Yet in 1840 Westcott Farm belonged to William and Elizabeth Large, (fn. 79) and when it was sold by Mrs. Mary Plummer's trustees in 1866 it was said to include the reputed manor of Westcott. No quit rents were then collected. (fn. 80)
Much of the land allotted under the inclosure award of the manor of Eastcott in 1656–7 eventually came into the hands of the Vilett family. Thomas and John Vilett received about 47 a. in lieu of rectorial tithes and a small piece of glebe which belonged to them, while Thomas Vilett received about 54 a. in lieu of his land in the fields. (fn. 81) What had probably been the demesne farm of the manor consisted of various closes called Court Knapps and Court Closes. It was sold by Edward Martin to John Yorke of Marlborough and William Yorke of Basset Down in 1640. Twenty years later the Yorke family sold it to Thomas Lawrence of London, tallow chandler, and it still belonged to the Lawrence family in 1699. (fn. 82) By 1780 it formed part of the Vilett estate. (fn. 83) Another property was the 46 a. allotted in 1657–8 to William Fairthorne, (fn. 84) and sold by Thomas Fairthorne to John Vilett in 1729. (fn. 85) By 1840 the Vilett estate in Eastcott, consisted of three holdings, at Lower Eastcott, Upper Eastcott, and Court Knapps, and amounted in all to over 300 a. (fn. 86) Their position, and the sale of the estate, are described above. (fn. 87)
In 1086 Ulward, the king's purveyor, held 2 hides in Swindon. (fn. 88) By 1151 the abbey of Malmesbury held lands there (fn. 89) and as they were often reckoned at 2 hides, it is quite likely that they had been Ulward's. Abbot Osbert (1176–82) granted these lands to Humphrey Stive (or Stine) whose father had occupied them previously, charging them with 40s. a year. (fn. 90) This rent was still paid to the abbey at the Dissolution (fn. 91) and was retained by the Crown until 1672, when it was sold to Thomas Goddard, who then held the lands. (fn. 92) The history of the tenancy thus created can be only imperfectly traced. Richard Stive was tenant c. 1220 (fn. 93) and Robert Stive in 1274. (fn. 94) John Stive (fl. 1341) was probably a tenant too. (fn. 95) Thereafter nothing more is known until the 16th century. It was then said that a property known as the manor of WEST SWINDON was held by Sir Richard Bridges of the queen's manor Malmesbury by a rent of 40s. (fn. 96) Soon after Sir Richard's death in 1558 it is probable that his son Anthony sold the manor to the lords of East Swindon, for in 1563 the Goddard family acquired the manors of East and West Swindon, as described above.
Rotrou II, Count of Perche, in the reign of Henry I, gave land in BROOME to the priory of Marcigny (Saône et Loire). (fn. 97) In 1274 the prior was said to hold a carucate there, (fn. 98) but three years later the Prior of Monkton Farleigh held Broome of Marcigny at fee farm. (fn. 99) Farleigh still held Broome at the Dissolution. (fn. 100) In 1536 it was granted to Edward Seymour, later Duke of Somerset, (fn. 101) and descended in the same way as the manor of Trowbridge (fn. 102) until 1613, when it was settled on Francis Seymour, later Lord Seymour of Trowbridge, when he married Frances Prynne. (fn. 103) It descended, still in the same way as Trowbridge, to Algernon, 7th Duke of Somerset (d. 1750). On the partition of his estates made in 1779, Broome, which had long been held as a single large farm, was allotted to Charles William Wyndham, grandson of one of the duke's sisters. Wyndham died in 1828 without issue, and was succeeded by his older brother George, 3rd Earl of Egremont (d. 1837). (fn. 104) In 1840 the 4th earl offered Broome Farm for sale, (fn. 105) and it was bought by Ambrose Goddard and added to his estates. (fn. 106)
The farm-house, known in 1965 as Broome Manor, is a much altered roughcast building which incorporates at least part of a 17th-century house. The only visible features of the early house are a large projecting chimney on the north-east side and stone mullioned windows in the cellar and in one of the gables.
In 1066 Alnod and Levenot held small estates in WALCOT. Alnod still appears to have held his in 1084, but by 1086 both estates, amounting to 2½ hides, were held by Reynold of Miles Crispin. (fn. 107) Miles's estates later formed the honor of Wallingford, of which land in Walcot was said to be held until the 16th century. (fn. 108) The honor then became merged in that of Ewelme (Oxon.); courts for the Wiltshire portion of the honor of Ewelme were held at Ogbourne St. George until 1847, and the tithingman of Walcot attended and paid 1s. 6d. a year until then. (fn. 109)
Reynold, the Domesday tenant, called Reynold Canut in the Geld Rolls, has been identified with Reynold Croc, who held land also in Hampshire and Oxfordshire. Reynold left two daughters, one of whom probably married a Foliot and gained possession of parts of Reynold's fee in Wiltshire. His other lands in the county passed to Walter Croc or Canut, who held 5 fees of the honor of Wallingford in 1166. He was the ancestor of the Croke family of Hazelbury (in Box), whose pedigree has been carefully worked out. (fn. 110) Members of that family continued to hold part of Walcot until the 14th century. Richard Croke held land there in 1300, (fn. 111) and in 1324 John Harding held ½ fee there of Reynold Croke. (fn. 112) The subsequent descent of this holding has not been traced.
What was perhaps a larger holding in Walcot was held by the Montfort family of Ashley (in Box), and so neighbours of the Crokes at Hazelbury. Robert de Montfort had some interest in Walcot in the late 12th century. (fn. 113) In 1242–3 Simon de Montfort of Ashley held ½ fee in Walcot of the honor of Wallingford. (fn. 114) In 1336 William Poyntz of Ashley held land at Walcot in right of his wife Alice, probably widow of a Montfort, and granted it for lives to Ralph de Sharpenham. (fn. 115) In 1428 John Montfort held these lands, (fn. 116) and in 1481 they were released by John Babur and Isabel his wife, also perhaps a Montfort widow, to feoffees. (fn. 117) In 1523–4 Thomas Montfort sold Walcot to Edmund Audley, Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 118)
Audley used Walcot to endow the charity he founded in Hereford Cathedral. (fn. 119) After the chantry was dissolved the manor was granted in 1550 to Richard Roberts of London, (fn. 120) who immediately sold it to Sir William Sharington of Lacock. (fn. 121) It descended in the same way as the manors of Liddington and Coate into the Talbot family, and, like those manors, was sold to the Duke of Marlborough in 1709. (fn. 122) It descended with that title until 1796, when it was sold to Ambrose Goddard and added to his other Swindon estates. (fn. 123) Two smaller properties in Walcot are mentioned below. (fn. 124)
In 1341 the Prior of Wallingford held certain tithes in Swindon, (fn. 125) and probably lands too. At the Dissolution lands held by the house in West Swindon were granted to Sir Richard Bridges, lord of the manor of West Swindon. (fn. 126) In 1556 Sir Richard leased the property to a man named Allworth; it then consisted of a capital messuage called the 'Crown' and certain lands belonging to it. Allworth's widow married William West, (fn. 127) who at the expiry of the lease in 1581 bought the freehold of the property from Sir Richard's son Anthony Bridges. (fn. 128) West died in 1610, and his son and heir Thomas in 1617. (fn. 129) Thomas's son William sold the estate to Thomas Goddard (d. 1641), (fn. 130) and it descended in the same way as his manor of Swindon. (fn. 131) The 'Crown' stood on the site of the present 'Goddard Arms'. (fn. 132)
By the early 13th century some part of the Croke family's lands in Walcot (fn. 133) seems to have passed to Sampson Foliot by gift of Walter Croke, who became a monk 1219–20. In 1241 the parson of Swindon was at variance with Sampson Foliot over the tithe of a meadow said to lie in Walcot, while in 1370 and 1415 lands in Walcot were associated with an estate in Draycot Foliat. (fn. 134) It is perhaps to be identified with a virgate of land in Walcot which in 1393 was delivered as dower to Isabel, widow of William Wroughton, for the Wroughtons also held land in Draycot. (fn. 135) The family retained the Walcot property until the 16th century, (fn. 136) but its further history is not known. The known history of another small estate there begins in 1634, when it was settled on Richard Organ of Lambourn (Berks.), and his wife Lucy. When Richard died childless four years later his heir was his bachelor brother John, (fn. 137) whose estates passed at his death in 1640 to his two nephews, children of his sisters. (fn. 138) The Walcot property was evidently assigned to John Hippesley, in whose family it remained until 1701, when it was sold to Richard Goddard. (fn. 139) The farm at Lower Walcot was held from at least 1780 by the Freeman family. (fn. 140) When it was offered for sale in 1805 it amounted to 50 a. (fn. 141) It was sold to the Goddards c. 1820. (fn. 142)
The origin of the farm at Okus is to be found in a sale in 1648 by Richard Goddard to Rebecca Hedges of Bourton (Berks.), of a pasture at 'Okesse' and various lands and closes in West Swindon Field. (fn. 143) She married Thomas Blagrove of Watchfield (Berks.), who at his death in 1682 devised his lands to John, son of his daughter Sarah by Thomas Saunders. He sold Okus Farm to Richard Goddard in 1724, and it was added to the Goddard estates. (fn. 144)
In 1086 Ulvric held a hide and a virgate at Swindon, and Alfred of Marlborough held 1½ hide there. (fn. 145) One of these estates is probably to be identified with the ¾ carucate held in 1198 by Everard of William Spileman by serjeanty. (fn. 146) Later tenants of this holding were perhaps the William Everard who acquired land in Westlecott in 1312, (fn. 147) and John Everard who died holding lands in West Swindon in 1414. (fn. 148) Another serjeanty in Swindon was that in Walcot held in 1198 by Maurice serviens. (fn. 149) In 1226–8 it was described as a virgate held by Maurice clericus by service of making summonses. (fn. 150)