A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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After the Conquest the 4 hides that had belonged to the king's thegn Wulfwine passed to Aubrey de Vere, who retained that estate in demesne in 1086. By then he had granted to Rainald another 3/4 hide which Aubrey had allegedly usurped from Godric, another king's man. (fn. 1) By the 1150s Aubrey's manors were entirely subinfeudated. (fn. 2) The tenancy-in-chief remained with his descendants, the earls of Oxford. (fn. 3) Their lordship over Little Wilbraham, whose tenants owed castle ward to Hedingham castle (Essex), was regularly recorded until the mid 15th century, (fn. 4) though forgotten by 1550. (fn. 5)
Of the two manors into which Aubrey's land was divided by 1150, one, later CHAMBERLAINS, later called RYCOTES, manor, was possibly held by Aleran, recorded in 1086, (fn. 6) and next by his son Robert the constable, whose son, another Robert, was tenant in 1166. The overlord Aubrey, earl of Oxford (d. 1194), gave Robert's sister and heir Beatrice with her lands in marriage to his chamberlain Jordan (fn. 7) (d. c. 1200). (fn. 8) Beatrice died c. 1223. (fn. 9) Her son Martin the Chamberlain (fn. 10) held the manor as ½ knight's fee by 1232, (fn. 11) and perhaps until 1253. (fn. 12) He was succeeded by Jordan Chamberlain (fl. 1270). (fn. 13) Millicent Chamberlain, who had the manor as dower in 1279, (fn. 14) was presumably his widow. John Chamberlain, lord by 1291, (fn. 15) was dead in 1294, when his heir was a minor. (fn. 16) His eldest son John, of age in 1307, (fn. 17) died childless in 1310. His brother Martin, then aged 18, (fn. 18) held the manor until after 1327. (fn. 19) William Chamberlain, his son and successor by 1345, (fn. 20) died in 1351. His daughter and heir Cecily married Andrew of Bures, of Suffolk. (fn. 21) Denise Chamberlain, probably William's widow, held the manor c. 1360. (fn. 22) Cecily was dead by 1365, (fn. 23) Andrew retaining the estate by curtesy. After he died in 1369 the Chamberlain lands were divided between William's two sisters: Little Wilbraham fell to Catherine (d. 1371). She married William Phelip of Dennington (Suff.). who apparently bought out the rights of Brian Hemesi, her son by an earlier marriage. (fn. 24)
Phelip, lord in 1392, (fn. 25) was dead by 1405, and his widow Gillian (fn. 26) occupied Little Wilbraham in 1412. (fn. 27) Their son, Sir William Phelip, (fn. 28) chamberlain to Henry VI, styled Lord Bardolf from 1437, (fn. 29) was lord in 1428. (fn. 30) He died in 1441, leaving a life interest in Chamberlains to his wife Joan Bardolf. Their only child Elizabeth (fn. 31) (d. c. 1440) had married John, Viscount Beaumont, who was guardian of their minor son Henry Beaumont from 1441. Henry and Joan were both dead by 1450. (fn. 32) After John fell in battle in 1460, his son William, the next viscount, had livery, but suffered forfeiture as a Lancastrian in 1461. (fn. 33) Chamberlains manor, though assigned to his wife Margaret in 1464, (fn. 34) passed by exchange c. 1467 from the king to the lawyer Richard Quatermains (fn. 35) (d. 1477) of Rycote (Oxon.), (fn. 36) to whom William Beaumont released his rights. (fn. 37)
Under a licence of 1473 Quatermains gave the manor to endow his chantry chapel of St. Michael at Rycote, (fn. 38) whose chaplain held his first court in 1482. (fn. 39) Succeeding chaplains were probably appointed by the lords of Rycote; (fn. 40) one c. 1535 ordered the Wilbraham tenants to pay him their rents. (fn. 41) In 1540 Sir John Williams of Thame, newly lord of Rycote, (fn. 42) conveyed the chantry's Wilbraham manor to Serjeant John Hinde of Madingley, (fn. 43) regularizing the position in 1550 through a formal Crown grant of all the suppressed chantry's lands. (fn. 44)
Hinde's widow Ursula and eldest son Francis had settled Rycotes by 1557 on his younger son Thomas, who after 1564 conveyed it in trust for Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, formally owner from 1570. In 1569 the trustees leased the demesne for 99 years to its tenant Robert Oliver (fn. 45) (d. 1596), whose son John left the lease in 1615 to his daughter Dorothy. (fn. 46) It remained in his family until 1629 and expired in 1668. Thenceforth the lordship and the demesne farm (303 a.), both remained with Corpus Christi. The farm, for which c. 235 a. were allotted at inclosure, was held on beneficial leases into the early 19th century, (fn. 47) after 1770 by the Revd. Thomas Temple (d. 1809). (fn. 48) The college sold c. 165 a. of its farmland c. 1916 to Elijah Moore and Hawk Mill with 66 a. in 1919 to Reuben Moore, its occupant since the 1880s. (fn. 49)
By 1150 the other half of the Veres' manor probably belonged to Sabina, whose two elder children by one Robert, Adam and William, both left no sons. Their younger brother Humphrey (fn. 52) was probably the Humphrey of Little Wilbraham whose widow Parnel held half the advowson in the 1190s (fn. 53) and claimed dower c. 1199. (fn. 54) Their daughter and heir Alice (fn. 55) married William Talmasche, from Suffolk. (fn. 56) He held the manor as ½ knight's fee c. 1235, (fn. 57) and, later knighted, (fn. 58) died after 1250. (fn. 59) Alice survived in the early 1260s. (fn. 60) In 1272 their son Hugh Talmasche granted his Wilbraham lands, c. 100 a., to Walter of Little Wilbraham and his son Edmund le Rus. (fn. 61) Edmund held 100 a., besides his ancestral 40 a., in 1279, when another 100 a. of former Talmasche land had been alienated; 44 a. held in fee-farm was attached to Roger Loveday's Great Wilbraham estate. (fn. 62) By 1285 the Ruses' share of the Talmasche manor had probably been sold to Bishop Robert Burnell, the chancellor, (fn. 63) who died holding it in 1292. His brother and heir Sir Philip Burnell died in 1294. (fn. 64) In 1323 Sir Philip's daughter and eventual successor Maud and her husband John Haudlo had 170 a. at Little Wilbraham settled on them. (fn. 65) In 1302, however, the former Talmasche fee was supposedly held by Sir John FitzRalph and in 1346 by John Lovetot and John Burwell (fn. 66) (d. after 1351), who in 1339 styled himself lord of Little Wilbraham. (fn. 67)
Probably taking advantage of royal approval given to the Knights Templar c. 1284 to possess £20 worth of land at Little Wilbraham, (fn. 68) their successors the Knights Hospitaller owned by 1338, with Great Wilbraham Temple manor, 124 a. of arable with customary land in Little Wilbraham. (fn. 69) After their suppression that land passed with Temple manor, often said to have lordship in Little Wilbraham, (fn. 70) where its holding comprised c. 140 a. in 1717, and, after various purchases, c. 230 a. by 1786. (fn. 71)
In 1788 Thomas Watson Ward (II) sold the land, but not the lordship, to John Gordon, (fn. 72) archdeacon and precentor of Lincoln, (d. 1793). His son George, dean of Lincoln from 1809, (fn. 73) emerged at inclosure in 1801 with c. 353 a., three quarters in the south-east end of the parish. (fn. 74) After he died in 1845, his Little Wilbraham land was sold, 270 a. being bought in 1849 by Col., later Gen., John Hall (d. 1872). He left it in 1872 as part of his estate named from Six Mile Bottom to his nephew William Henry Bullock (d. 1902), who took the name of Hall. W. H. Hall's son, Alexander Cross Hall, sold the whole estate in 1912-13 to the financier, Sir Ernest Cassel, (fn. 75) whose daughter Amelia Maud married Col. W. W. Ashley, later Lord Mount Temple. When Cassel died in 1921 his Six Mile Bottom estate was assigned to their younger daughter, Ruth Clarisse Mary, who married successively Capt. Alan S. Cunningham-Reid (divorced 1940), who occupied it with her c. 1920-35, Capt. E. J. Gardner (divorced 1943), and T. P. H. Cholmondeley, Lord Delemere (divorced 1955). (fn. 76) After Lady Delemere died in 1986 Six Mile Bottom Hall was sold in 1987 while Station farm, formerly Six Mile Bottom, farm was assigned to her son Mr. N. R. CunninghamReid. (fn. 77)
Gen. Hall established his local seat in the 1850s at Westley Cottage, later the Cottage, at Six Mile Bottom. About 1870 the Prince of Wales sometimes visited it on shooting parties. (fn. 78) W. H. Hall often lived there until the picturesquely thatched house was destroyed by fire in 1899. (fn. 79) It was rebuilt in 1900 as Six Mile Bottom Hall in a Tudor style, in red brick with halftimbered gables on its garden front. It had five reception and ten bedrooms. (fn. 80) Let after 1902 to tenants including the American millionaire J. Pierpont Morgan, it was later used by its owners in the racing season. (fn. 81)
By 1279 Anglesey priory in Bottisham had built up a demesne holding in Little Wilbraham, including c. 35 a. held of the Chamberlain fee (fn. 82) and 55 a. of the Talmasche fee, mostly acquired from Walter 'the nephew' and his men before 1235. (fn. 83) Anglesey also had lordship over c. 67 a. of freehold, partly once held of Walter, and c. 60 a. of customary land given by Alice Talmasche after 1250. The priory obtained smaller gifts of land and rents up to the 1270s (fn. 84) and others were licenced in 1338 and 1342. (fn. 85) By the 1350s ANGLESEY manor had its own court. (fn. 86) The priory owned the manor until the Dissolution. (fn. 87) Having leased it out from the 1560s to the 1610s, (fn. 88) the Crown sold the lordship with Halkhouse farm (80 a.) c. 1615 to the Londoner Thomas Wale. By will proved 1625 Wale gave the manor to the city of Coventry in trust for a school at Monk Kirby (Warws.) and the poor of Coventry. Thereafter the corporation possessed the lordship and Coventrys farm, with 120 a. of arable before, and c. 143 a. after inclosure. (fn. 89) In 1924 it sold 156 a. of farmland. (fn. 90)
St. Catharine's College (Cambridge), which owned some land by 1588, (fn. 91) let 5 a. allotted to it in 1801 to Corpus Christi c. 1870. (fn. 92) Much land in the north-west, including part of 109 a. allotted at inclosure to the earl of Aylesford, (fn. 93) was acquired in the late 19th century by T. M. Francis of Quy Hall. His descendants, having purchased in 1914 Frog End farm (138 a.), and c. 1948 the parish charity land in the fen (88 a.), eventually owned over 260 a. in the parish. (fn. 94) In 1921 the county council acquired, for use as smallholdings, a 105-a. farm north-east of the village, which as Council farm it retained c. 1990. (fn. 95)