Landwade: Manors

Pages 470-472

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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Aelfsige of Landwade held land in the parish in the late 10th century. (fn. 1) After the Norman conquest the overlordship of the manor belonged to the earldom of Richmond of which LANDWADE was held in 1166. (fn. 2) The Vere mesne lordship descended with the earldom of Oxford, last being recorded in 1360. (fn. 3) In 1457-8 and in 1500 the manor was held as part of the honor, but the service was not recorded. (fn. 4) In 1637 Sir John Cotton held directly of the honor of Richmond for the service of 1/40th of a knight's fee. (fn. 5)

The manor was presumably retained in demesne by the Vere family between the late 11th century and the late 12th, but was granted by Earl Aubrey (d. 1194) to his constable, Robert son of William, for the service of 1 knight's fee. (fn. 6) Robert was possibly related to Ralph of Hastings, who held a royal estate in Fordham c. 1155-60. (fn. 7) Landwade manor was held of the Veres by the Hastings family until the late 14th century. In 1236 Sir Robert of Hastings, perhaps descended from the constable, held 2 hides for 1 knight's fee. (fn. 8) In 1259 Sir Robert, reserving to himself a large income in corn and continued occupation of the manor house, settled the manor on his daughter Agnes, who then married Sir Philip of Pitsford (Northants.). (fn. 9) Philip and Agnes bought back property there, including the manor's two mills, given by Robert to his probably illegitimate son Ellis and other relations. (fn. 10) Sir Philip (fl. to 1271) (fn. 11) died before Agnes, who held Landwade manor c. 1279-85 for a knight's fee. (fn. 12) On her death it passed to her son Sir Robert, who took her surname of Hastings and held Landwade c. 1302-6. By 1316 it had descended to his son John de Hastings, (fn. 13) who in 1339 entailed two thirds of it on the first marriage of his son and heir John. (fn. 14) John the father was living in 1349. His son may have been lord in 1353. (fn. 15) That son John Hastings, still alive in 1367, left no sons. In 1360-1 he had settled the manor on his second marriage to Elizabeth Sibill. (fn. 16)

In 1376 the widowed Elizabeth sold her life interest in Landwade for a 20-mark annuity to her brother Walter Sibill, fishmonger, of London, who then bought out the reversionary rights of the probable Hastings heiress Alice, wife of Thomas Neketon. (fn. 17) Sibill settled the manor on his wife Margaret in 1386, when he also assigned much of its demesne, including 90 a. of arable, to secure his debts. (fn. 18) He died between 1395 and 1398. (fn. 19) By 1403 Margaret, still living in 1421, had brought her life interest in Landwade to her next husband John Grace, a London tradesman. (fn. 20) In 1419-21 Sibill's son and heir Nicholas released his rights in the manor to his mother and stepfather. (fn. 21) In 1423-4 it was probably acquired for the London mercer Walter Cotton with his brother Thomas Cotton through a succession of agreements with the Sibill and Grace feoffees. (fn. 22) Walter Cotton was named as sole owner in 1428, holding the manor for 1 knight's fee, but may have held jointly with his brother in 1431. (fn. 23)

For the next four centuries the manor remained in the possession of the Cotton family who built up a substantial estate including land in Exning and Fordham. By 1436 Thomas Cotton had died, and in 1437 Walter (d. 1445) settled it upon his son and heir William. (fn. 24) William held the manor, and on his death in 1455, it passed to his son Thomas (d. 1499). (fn. 25) His son and heir Sir Robert (d. 1517) succeeded. (fn. 26) He was followed by his son, John (later knighted), a minor in 1519, whose half-brother Thomas Griffith had custody of the manor. (fn. 27) In the 1520s, after Sir Robert's son John took possession of Landwade and Exning, his paternal uncle and namesake John claimed the manors. (fn. 28) Sir John Cotton remained in possession of the manor from the 1520s until his death in 1593 at the age of 83, when he was succeeded by his son Sir John (d. 1620). (fn. 29) On his death his heir, also called John, was a minor, aged five. His mother Anne and her second husband Sir John Carleton held the manor until Carleton's death in 1637, when John Cotton took possession. (fn. 30) He was created a baronet in 1641, and was sheriff of Cambridgeshire at the outbreak of the Civil War. (fn. 31) In 1655, when Cotton was in exile, he effected a settlement of his estates, including Landwade. (fn. 32) In 1661 he returned to England and resumed possession. (fn. 33) On his death in 1689 he was succeeded by his son, Sir John, who sat as a Tory M.P. between 1708 and 1741 both for Cambridge and Cambridgeshire. (fn. 34) He was succeeded in 1752 by his son, Sir John, also three times M.P. for Cambridgeshire between 1764 and 1780. (fn. 35) In 1795 he was succeeded by his second son the naval commander Admiral Sir Charles Cotton (d. 1812). The manor passed to his son Sir St. Vincent Cotton who came of age in 1822. (fn. 36) In 1850 he sold Landwade to Alexander Cotton, probably his younger brother (b. 1804). (fn. 37) Landwade manor was sold in 1854, and the Cotton family's association with the parish ended. (fn. 38)

Between 1861 and 1883 the manorial lordship, the hall, and c. 200 a. were owned by William Death, but between 1871 and 1881 the northwestern portion of the farm were sold to form part of Landwade farm. (fn. 39) Neville Newton had purchased Landwade Hall and its farm by 1891. (fn. 40) Despite some financial difficulties in 1894 he continued to reside at the Hall, (fn. 41) but in 1912 Landwade Hall and the farm was purchased by Lord St. Davids. (fn. 42) After the Second World War it was purchased by the great-uncle of Mr. Simon Gibson. The smaller property at Landwade farm remained in the hands of successive members of the Westley family, c. 1883-1916, and was held by one other owner c. 1916-22 before being purchased and reunited with the manor and Landwade Hall farm. (fn. 43) From 1934 all of the farmland in Landwade was owned by the principal landowner. It formed part of the Exning Estate Company in 1999, which was owned by Mr. Simon Gibson.

Robert son of William may have built the original manor house, which still stood in the late 13th century. (fn. 44) It may have been surrounded by a moat at a relatively early date. In 1407 the great gate of the manor house was 16 ft. wide. (fn. 45) In 1448 William Cotton held free warren in his demesne at Landwade. (fn. 46) The hall was probably in continuous occupation throughout the later Middle Ages, and was probably rebuilt on several occasions. It was rebuilt within the moated site in the earlier 16th century, in brick with mullioned and transomed windows and various ornaments and devices in stone. (fn. 47) In 1642 Simon Folkes of Cheveley left £500 to Sir John Cotton for carrying out improvements on the manor house. (fn. 48) In 1664, five more rooms were added to the house, which had 15 hearths c. 1664-74. (fn. 49) The house remained substantially unaltered during the 18th century. (fn. 50) By 1808 it had fallen into disrepair, with part serving as a farmhouse for the tenant. In 1820 it appears to have had a twoand-a-half storey range of approximately four bays with a pitched roof, and with projecting brick bays facing the moat. In 1832 Landwade Hall was described as being 'in a miserable condition', and, in 1999, all that survives from the early 16th century is the bridge across the west side of the moat, of the same brick as the churchyard wall. (fn. 51)

Part of the old house is said to have been incorporated in the new Hall designed by John Chessel Buckler, who with his son Charles Aubin Buckler signed a presentation watercolour in March 1847. The house was probably under reconstruction when J. C. Buckler made views of its surroundings in April and May 1848. The design was in Buckler's early Tudor manner, of two-and-a-half storeys and of red brick with a tiled roof but it was at least twice as large as the remains it superseded and irregularly picturesque within an overall rectangular plan. The approach was from the west via the old bridge while the east or garden front was plainer and lower. In 1849 building work temporarily ceased but it had been completed when the house was open to the public. It was described as being so well built as to be worth the bricks to pull it down', the materials having already been advertised for sale: (fn. 52) it was demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 53)

A farmhouse existed 200 m. south of Landwade hall by the 17th century. Then occupied by the steward, it was known as the Hall by 1885, when there were ranges of buildings round two yards on a north-south axis. Lord St. Davids acquired the Hall just before the First World War and remodelled it. It was probably at this time that almost all of it was demolished except the west ranges, which form today's house, and the stone barn that separated the yards. The present house incorporates at its north end a 17th-century stone house, still with mullioned and transomed north windows, to which was added apparently in the 18th century, a five-bay south extension of stone, refenestrated and patched in brick in the early 19th century; a large 18th-century barn lies at right angles to the south-east. In the 19th century the farmhouse seems to have been enlarged in brick along the east front and to the north-east, so that in 1900, it had an entrance hall, four reception rooms, a kitchen, and a store room on the ground floor, and seven bedrooms on the first floor. (fn. 54) The 20th-century remodelling, some of c. 1926 according to a rainwater head, included rendering and refenestrating the east front, improving or rebuilding as domestic accommodation the west range of the house, and building a brick north-west addition.

In the 1840s a stone barn, buttressed and with a two-storeyed dovecot, lay east of the church and south of the moat, and a plain thatched 'Bailiff's house' east of the barn. (fn. 55) Both had been demolished by 1885. In 1885 the mill had a three-bayed, thatched house with lobby entrance of one-and-a-half storeys, entered from the east.

LITTLE LANDWADE, probably held by Ascelin in the mid 12th century, passed to his son Godard the Red, who, 1176 × 1185, granted his lands in Fordham and Isleham to his nephew William le Brun, a Londoner. (fn. 56) Godard was dead by 1195 when his widow Christine and his two daughters, the married Irilda, and Agnes, released Little Landwade back to William. (fn. 57) The estate was not recorded later. (fn. 58)


  • 1. Ramsey Cart. i (Rolls Ser.), ii. 74.
  • 2. Gale, Reg. Hon. de Richmond, appendix no. 7, p. 26; Complete Peerage, x. 202-7.
  • 3. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 528; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 506; Feud. Aids, i. 136, 142; Complete Peerage, x. 208-20; Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 520.
  • 4. Cal. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Com.), iv. 275; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, pp. 291-2.
  • 5. C.U.L., Doc. 1577.
  • 6. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, f. 2.
  • 7. Pipe R. 1156-8 (Rec. Com.), 15; above, Fordham, manors.
  • 8. Liber de Bernewelle, 260.
  • 9. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 10v.-11v.; P.R.O., CP 25/1/25/29, no. 8.
  • 10. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 9-10, 11v.-13v., 16v.-17v.
  • 11. Close R. 1268-72, 407.
  • 12. Feud. Aids, i. 136; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 506; B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 17v., 38.
  • 13. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 5v.-6, 18 and v.; Feud. Aids, i. 142, 156.
  • 14. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 18v.-19.
  • 15. Ibid. ff. 22-3.
  • 16. Ibid. ff. 23-4; P.R.O., CP 25/1/28/80, no. 7.
  • 17. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 24-5.
  • 18. Ibid. ff. 25-26v., 30-32v.
  • 19. Cal. Close, 1392-6, 474; B.L. Add. MS. 37669, f. 30v.
  • 20. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, ff. 28-29v., 34.
  • 21. Ibid. ff. 33v-34.
  • 22. Ibid. ff. 34-6.
  • 23. Ibid. f. 36; Feud. Aids, i. 178.
  • 24. C.U.L., A/40, nos. 38, 60; Cal. Fine R. 1437-45, 301.
  • 25. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, pp. 291-2; B.L. Add. Ch. 72132-4; Bodl. MSS. Charters Camb. a. 1, no. 52; P.R.O., PROB 11/4, f. 25.
  • 26. P.R.O., C 142/33, no. 25.
  • 27. C.U.L., A/40, nos. 150-1; W.K. Clay, Hist. Waterbeach (C.A.S. 8vo ser. iv), 104; P.R.O., C 1/494, no. 15; L. & P. Hen. VIII, iii (1), p. 147.
  • 28. P.R.O., C 1/494, no. 15.
  • 29. Cal. Pat. 1558-60, 228; P.R.O., CP 25/2/262/38 Eliz. I Hil. no. 2; C.R.O., R 56/5/22.
  • 30. Palmer, John Layer, 100; G.E.C. Baronetage, ii. 100; P.R.O., PROB 11/175, ff. 186-7; ibid. CP 25/2/400/7 Chas. I East. no. 14.
  • 31. Copinger, Suff. Manors, iv. 158; Alum. Cantab. to 1751, i. 403; G.E.C. Baronetage, ii. 100; V.C.H. Cambs. ix. 169.
  • 32. P.R.O., CP 43/290, rott. 47-8; C.U.L. A/40, nos. 132-3.
  • 33. C.U.L., A/40, nos. 192-5.
  • 34. G.E.C. Baronetage, ii. 100.
  • 35. Ibid.; D.N.B., for rest of biog. details on Cotton family.
  • 36. Camb. Chron. 11 Oct. 1822, p. 3.
  • 37. Copinger, Suff. Manors, iv. 159; G.E.C. Baronetage, ii. 100.
  • 38. Camb. Chron. 16 Dec. 1854, p. 4.
  • 39. Census, 1861-71; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1864-83).
  • 40. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1883-96); Census, 1891.
  • 41. Camb. Chron. 23 Nov. 1894, p. 2; 7 Dec. 1894, p. 4; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1896).
  • 42. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1900); C.R.O., 337/0 107.
  • 43. Census, 1861-91; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1883-1922).
  • 44. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, f. 4; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 506.
  • 45. B.L. Add. MS. 37669, f. 27.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1446-52, 155-6.
  • 47. Lysons, Cambs. 73, 226.
  • 48. P.R.O., PROB 11/90, f. 57.
  • 49. Ibid. E 179/84/437, rot. 85; E 179/244/22, f. 75.
  • 50. Architectural descriptions based on B.L. Add. MS. 36979, ff. 10-12; Add. MS. 36360, ff. 43-7; Add. MS. 36426, ff. 5-14, 17-23, 34; Add. MS. 36533, f. 774.
  • 51. D. E. Davy, Journal of Excursions through Suffolk 1823-44, ed. J. Blatchley (Suff. Rec. Soc. xxix), 144.
  • 52. Camb. Chron. 16 Dec. 1854, p. 4.
  • 53. Census, 1861-81.
  • 54. C.R.O., 1026/SP 252.
  • 55. B.L. Add. MS. 36426, ff. 5-14, 17-23, 34.
  • 56. Rec. of Templars in Eng., ed. B.A. Lees, 226.
  • 57. Feet of Fines, temp. Hen. II and Ric. I (Pipe R. Soc. xvii), pp. 53-4.
  • 58. e.g. not mentioned as a manor, Liber de Bernewelle, 260; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 506.