A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2001.
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An estate of 1 hide and 1 virgate in Little Colne, part of Stansted in Halstead, was held by Godwin in 1066 and by Walter of Caen of Robert Malet in 1086. The Malet over- lordship and the connexion with Halstead ceased on Robert's forfeiture c. 1100, although Richard earl of Cornwall (d. 1272) claimed, unsuccess- fully, that the manor was part of the Malet barony of Eye. (fn. 1) Walter of Caen was succeeded by his son Robert and by Robert's son William de Cheney. On William's death in 1174 over- lordship of his lands was given to his eldest daughter Margery (d. 1231), who married first Hugh de Cressy and then Robert son of Roger of Clavering. (fn. 2) In 1248 the Colne estate was held of her grandson Hugh de Cressy, but in 1302 it was held of Robert son of Roger of Clavering (d. 1310), and in 1323 of his son John of Clavering. (fn. 3) In 1367 it was said, probably in error, to be held of Thomas la Zouche, and in 1401 of William la Zouche, the last recorded overlord. (fn. 4)
The demesne lordship of Colne was allotted to William de Cheney's youngest daughter Sarah. She married Richard Engaine, from whom the manor was called COLNE EN- GAINE. (fn. 5) /emph> They were succeeded by their son Viel (d. 1248) and by his sons Henry (d. 1272) and John. (fn. 6) On John's death in 1296 the manor passed to his son (d. 1302) and grandson, both John Engaine. (fn. 7) From the last John (d. 1322) the manor descended to his brother Nicholas (d. 1323), to Nicholas's son John (d. 1358), and to John's son Thomas, who died without issue in 1367. (fn. 8) On the death of Thomas's widow Catherine in 1400 the manor passed to his sister Mary (d. 1401), then wife of Thomas la Zouche, and to her son John Bernak. (fn. 9) John Bernak died in 1409 and was succeeded by his sons John and Edmund (both d. 1415) and his daughters Joan (d. 1420) and Mary, wife of Sir Robert Ston- ham. (fn. 10) Mary (d. 1464) was followed by her grandson John Broughton (d. 1479), and by his son, another John. (fn. 11) Robert Broughton died seised of the manor in 1508 and was succeeded by his son John (d. 1518) and John's son John. (fn. 12) The last John died without issue before 1531, and Colne Engaine was divided between his sis- ters Catherine, wife of William Howard, later lord Howard of Effingham, and Anne, later wife of Sir Thomas Cheney. (fn. 13) Catherine's daughter Agnes and her husband William Paulet, later marquess of Winchester, held a moiety of the manor in 1548. (fn. 14) In 1563 Anne's son Henry Cheney apparently sold the whole manor to Thomas Avery, but in the same year Avery bought the manor from Thomas Lodge, who may have acquired the Paulet moiety. (fn. 15) Avery died in 1577, having devised a life interest in Colne Engaine to his wife Mary, who later mar- ried Sir Thomas Ramsey, and the reversion to his nephew John Avery. Thomas Avery's sister, Joan Clark, obtained possession in 1579 and conveyed the manor to her son Thomas. In 1580 Mary Ramsey's brother, Matthew Dale, bought out Thomas Clark's and John Avery's claims; in 1589 he conveyed the manor to Mary, who in 1590 gave it to the mayor and corporation of London, governors of Christ's Hospital. They were still lords in the early 20th century, but the estate was sold to Miss K. M. Courtauld in 1917. (fn. 16)
The medieval manor house, Gaines Hall, lay immediately south of the church; it was first recorded in 1323 and had apparently been aban- doned by 1464. In 1559 it was a farmhouse com- prising an open hall with a 'rude', probably inserted, chimney, a two-storeyed parlour and chamber block on the west, and a similar service block on the east. (fn. 17) The house was demolished in 1705 and replaced by a farmhouse on the site of the former Leggs farmhouse c. ¼1/4; mile to the south-west. That house, at which courts were held, was itself rebuilt c. 1884 in red brick, in domestic revival style. (fn. 18)
A Colne estate held by Alvric Biga in 1066 passed to Ingelric after the Conquest and to Eustace count of Boulogne before 1086. (fn. 19) It was held of the honor of Boulogne in 1210 and 1221. (fn. 20) Robert held of Eustace in 1086. (fn. 21) His interest had passed by the earlier 12th century to Ermingard, wife of Walter Maskerell, who enfeoffed St. Botolph's priory, Colchester. (fn. 22) The priory retained its interest in the manor until the Dissolution when it was granted to Sir Thomas Audley who conveyed it in 1538 to the demesne lord, the earl of Oxford. (fn. 23)
Between 1235 and 1240 St. Botolph's en- feoffed William son of William son of Reyner of Bungay, who was succeeded before 1285 by his son Nicholas. (fn. 24) In 1285 Thomas Sherreve had an interest in the manor, which was later called SHERIVES or SHRIVES. Thomas Tew held it c. 1380, and the same or another Thomas Tew in 1424. (fn. 25) Before 1440 it had passed, perhaps by conveyance from John Tew, to Roger Tew (d. 1484), who was succeeded by his granddaughter, Joan wife of John Rokker. (fn. 26)
The earl of Oxford acquired the manor before 1508, possibly from John and Joan Skilling, but his successor's title was disputed in 1518 and in 1524. (fn. 27) In 1584 the earl sold Sherives to Richard Bowser, who was succeeded in 1586 by his son John. (fn. 28) Laurence Caldwell was lord in 1607, and Daniel Caldwell succeeded in 1618. (fn. 29) He died in 1634, having devised the manor to his daughter Elizabeth, who married Ambrose Rookwood. It passed to her sons Robert (d. by 1717) and Thomas (d. 1726), and to Thomas's daughter Elizabeth, who married John Gage. Elizabeth died in 1759 and was succeeded by her son Thomas Rookwood Gage. Gage sold Sherives in 1762 to Michael Hills (d. 1786) who created COLNE PARK (132 a.) on the site. (fn. 30) Hills's son M. R. Hills (d. 1790) devised the estate to Philip Astle, grandson of the historian Philip Morant, on condition that he take the surname Hills. (fn. 31) Philip (d. 1830) was succeeded by his son Robert Hills (d. 1876) and then by Robert's daughter Mary Frances (d. 1884) and her husband J. F. Reeve (d. 1890). (fn. 32) Their sons J. H. Reeve (d. 1892) and Charles Reeve held Colne Park until Charles's mortgagees sold it in 1896 to J. J. D. Botterell (d. 1923). (fn. 33) Sir James Adam owned the estate 1925-52; he was followed successively by Mr. Guthrie, Major B. Blood, and Mark Allsopp. (fn. 34)
In 1724 the manor house was a small building on the boundary of Colne Engaine and White Colne. (fn. 35) Michael Hills built a new house north- east of the old one, probably between 1766 and 1774. (fn. 36) Philip Hills 'improved' it and encased it in white brick; he also added a stable block to the north-east, and built a lodge on the road at the end of the drive. (fn. 37) Before 1831 Robert Hills almost doubled the size of the house by building to the south-east a large square block, five by five bays, with bow windows and cast-iron verandahs. By 1896 the house had been remod- elled with heavy classical details and a mansard roof, although the interior retained some neo- classical features. J. J. D. Botterell added a south-east wing in the early 20th century. (fn. 38) Most of the house was demolished c. 1956, but a red- brick rear wall and a red-brick vaulted cellar survive from the 18th-century house. In 1971 the house was extended southwards by one bay, a central doorway was made and mouldings were applied to the facade. In the 1990s the interior was remodelled with a large central staircase hall filling four of the five bays, and the north-east wing was extended eastwards. (fn. 39)
Michael Hills created a park, and laid out the grounds with 'true taste and judgement', but only an 18th-century garden wall north-east of the house survived in 1998. In 1791 Philip Hills erected in the park, as a memorial to M. R. Hills, a Greek Ionic column, designed by Sir John Soane, 70 ft. (23 m.) high and topped by a copper cinerary urn. The urn fell down in 1987 and was restored in 1991. (fn. 40)
William of Goldington held land in Colne Engaine in the mid 13th century. (fn. 41) Another William (d. 1319) held an estate, later GOLDINGTONS manor, of several lords, including the lord of Wakes Colne manor. (fn. 42) The Wakes Colne overlordship was recorded in 1358, 1599, and 1625, and a rent was paid to the lord of that manor until 1826. (fn. 43)
William Goldington's son John died in 1338, and his widow Catherine, who married John Fermer, held the manor until her death in 1358, when it passed to their son John Goldington. (fn. 44) He or another John Goldington held in 1400, and died in 1419, (fn. 45) to be succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1421). Thomas's heir was his cousin John Hinxworth, (fn. 46) who in 1465 conveyed Goldingtons to his son John. The younger John Hinxworth sold the manor in 1482 to Sir William Capell (d. 1516) whose son Sir Giles sold it in 1545 to William Sidey. (fn. 47)
Sidey was succeeded by his son William (d. 1594) and by William's son Daniel; Daniel's son William in 1598 sold Goldingtons to Geoffrey Little (d. 1626) and his son John. (fn. 48) John (d. c. 1647) was succeeded in turn by his widow Susan (d. 1659), by his son John (d. c. 1685), and by the younger John's son Thomas. (fn. 49) Thomas (d. 1714) devised Goldingtons to his son John, but by 1719 another Thomas Little was lord. He died in 1734 and was succeeded by his grandson John Little Bridge (d. c. 1764). (fn. 50) In 1777 the lord was Thomas Bridge who by 1781 had assumed the surname Little, and who sold the manor in 1791 to Francis Nunn (d. 1794). The executors of Nunn's son, another Francis, sold it to Philip Hills in 1822. (fn. 51) Gold- ingtons then descended with Colne Park until 1896, when Charles Reeve (d. 1908) retained it. (fn. 52) In 1923 the trustees under the will of T. C. Mills sold it to G. F. Beaumont. In 1954 J. L. Beau- mont sold it to A. C. Westwood, who sold it to T. C. Wickham in 1966. (fn. 53) G. Horne bought the manor c. 1995.
The Goldingtons had a house in Colne Engaine in 1319 and 1421. (fn. 54) By 1599 its site was Goldingtons garden. (fn. 55) It was presumably on the west side of Goldingtons green, on the demesne lands of the manor, where courts were held in the early 17th century and the 19th. (fn. 56)
In 1066 Lewin held a manor in Colne which passed to Terry and before 1086 to Terry's brother Walter the Deacon. With Terry's other lands, including Witnesham (Suff.) it passed to Walter of Bacton. (fn. 57) In 1286 Walter of Colchester and his wife Joan conveyed to the bishop of Norwich the service of half a knight's fee which Ascelina Furneaux held in Colne Engaine. (fn. 58) In 1325 Robert son of Giles Brewosa was succeeded as overlord of two quarter fees in Colne Engaine, held of the manor of Witnesham, by his brother John. (fn. 59) There is no later reference to the Brewosa overlordship of the quarter fee which formed Bromptons manor and which by 1503 was held of Colne Engaine manor, (fn. 60) but Over Hall owed a peppercorn rent to the lord of Witnesham manor in 1848. (fn. 61)
In 1325 Richard of Colne held a quarter fee, (fn. 62) which became the manor of OVER HALL. Richard and his wife Avice conveyed the rever- sion of the estate in 1327 to Walter Finchingfield who in 1333 conveyed it to Simon Bathekyn. (fn. 63) /emph> The estate may have passed to William Peverell (fn. 64) before being held in the early 15th century by Richard Thurcote, whose daughter Joan and her husband John Hatherley conveyed it in 1455 to Thomas Dunton. He at once con- veyed it to William Crofton and others; they conveyed it in 1460 to Roger and Joan Draper who were succeeded by their son Roger. The younger Roger's son William in 1545 settled the reversion on Roger London. (fn. 65) London died in 1570, devising Over Hall to his wife Joan, who held with her second husband John Brett in 1578. (fn. 66) From Joan it passed to Samuel London, to Samuel's son another Samuel (d. c. 1647), and to a third Samuel (d. 1692). He devised the manor to his eldest son Samuel who was suc- ceeded by his brother Richard. Richard was fol- lowed by his nephew Samuel, son of his brother John London. Samuel, or possibly his son of the same name, died in 1778, and his widow Mary (d. 1783) devised Over Hall to Alexander Carter the elder and Alexander Carter the younger. (fn. 67) Alexander Carter, presumably the younger, sold it in 1808 to John Mayhew (d. 1853), who was followed in turn by his son J. J. Mayhew (d. 1864) and his grandson E. J. Mayhew. (fn. 68) The estate was sold in 1903; in 1922 it was owned by G. F. Brown. (fn. 69) It was sold again in 1959. (fn. 70)
The surviving house is of the early 19th cent- ury, and was probably built for John Mayhew; it is of red brick, two storeys high, and has a Doric portico over the front door. (fn. 71)
By 1225 Richard of Brompton held land in Colne Engaine, presumably including the other quarter fee, which became BROMPTONS manor. (fn. 72) He was probably preceded by Robert of Brompton, and perhaps by Adam of Hod- deng, (fn. 73) and was succeeded by his son Robert before 1238. (fn. 74) Other men called Richard Brompton held in 1285, 1301, 1321, 1336, and 1368. (fn. 75) In 1402 the lord was Andrew son of Andrew Bures, who was succeeded by his son and grandson, both called William Bures. The younger William was followed in 1501 by his son Robert, from whom Bromptons passed to his sons Henry and Robert. (fn. 76) The younger Robert sold the estate in 1510 or 1511 to Roger Martin, who was succeeded before 1553 by his son Richard. In 1573 Richard's son Roger sold a moiety of the manor to John Prentice who devised it in 1582 to his sons John and William. (fn. 77) There is no further record of that moiety. About 1573 Roger Martin conveyed the manor, pre- sumably the other moiety, to John Potter. (fn. 78) He or another John Potter held in 1581 and 1595. (fn. 79) Geoffrey Potter held in 1624. (fn. 80) Robert Potter in 1705 devised the manor to his son Robert. (fn. 81) About 1715 Richard Potter conveyed it to John London (d. 1735), who held Wakes Colne manor and whose son Samuel inherited Over Hall. (fn. 82) Bromptons appears to have descended with Over Hall thereafter, being held by J. J. Mayhew in 1840. (fn. 83)
There is no record of a house until 1705 when it was a farmhouse. The two-storeyed, three- bayed main range of the surviving house with end stacks and a short north-west wing is prob- ably 18th-century. The main, south, front was refaced and given tripartite sashes and a round- headed door in the early to mid 19th century; the house was of white brick in 1865. (fn. 84) Some 18th-century brickwork also survives in the north-east wing, which was rebuilt on a larger scale with bedrooms over kitchen and dairy in the 1880s. The house was remodelled in the later 19th century and extended to the north-west in the 1970s.
Part of Robert Malet's Wakes Colne manor, which he held in demesne in 1086, lay in Colne Engaine and by 1400 formed the sub-manor of LITTLE COLNE, which was still held by the lord of Wakes Colne in 1997. (fn. 85)