Aldham: Manors and other estates

Pages 13-15

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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A manor in Aldham, later ALDHAM HALL, was held by Leveva in 1066; by Odo of Bayeux and from him by Beatrice wife of Aubrey de Vere in 1086. (fn. 1) On Odo's forfeiture the overlordship passed to Beatrice's descendants, later earls of Oxford, who were overlords until 1596 or later. (fn. 2) Part of the manor was held of Robert Poer in 1319, and of James at Lee in 1358. (fn. 3)

A portion of the estate at Marks Tey held by Ulvric in 1066 and by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086 (fn. 4) seems to have become part of Aldham. It was held of de Mandeville's successors the earls of Essex in 1373. (fn. 5) The mesne tenancy passed with Marks Tey to the Merk family and their successors, being held in 1286 by Andrew de Merk, in 1319 by the heirs of Thomas Merk, in 1358 by Robert Tey, and in 1374 in dower by Joan, widow of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford. (fn. 6)

In the 12th century the demesne lordship of both estates, each half a knight's fee, was held by a family surnamed Aldham which pre- sumably descended from Thiel of Aldham (fl. c. 1145). (fn. 7) William of Aldham was succeeded by his son Saher before 1196. Roger of Aldham held in 1220. (fn. 8) About 1230 another Saher of Aldham granted the half a knight's fee held of the Merk family to Odard of Wigton, otherwise Odard of Aldham, (fn. 9) retaining a mesne lordship. In 1235 the other half fee was held by Robert son of Roger of Aldham who probably died before 1239. (fn. 10) He was apparently succeeded by Roger son of Robert, presumably his son, and then by another Robert (fl. 1274, 1291). Another Roger of Aldham died before 1312 and was suc- ceeded by his brother Ralph. (fn. 11) In 1305 John de Prayere and his wife Anne conveyed a third of the estate to William Goldington, (fn. 12) and c. 1313 Ralph of Aldham conveyed the reversion of the remainder to Robert Tey. (fn. 13) Robert seems to have been succeeded before 1325 by his son Robert who in 1342 acquired a small freehold called Hodgkins which descended with and occasionally gave its name to the manor there- after. (fn. 14) He or another Robert Tey held the estates in 1360, (fn. 15) but was succeeded before 1384 by his son Robert who still held in 1401. (fn. 16)

Odard of Wigton (d. 1238) was succeeded in his half fee by his sons Adam (d. 1251) and Walter (d. 1286), and by Walter's son John. (fn. 17) John seems to have alienated it between 1300 and his death in 1315, (fn. 18) presumably to William Goldington who held it, with a third of the other half fee, at his death in 1319. (fn. 19) The estate then descended with Goldingtons manor, Colne Engaine, (fn. 20) to John Goldington (fl. 1358) who apparently alienated it, probably to Robert Tey (d. by 1384). (fn. 21)

The whole manor then descended in the Tey family, presumably passing from Robert (fl. 1401) to his son Robert (d. 1426), to the younger Robert's son John (d. 1440-1), to John's son John (d. by 1463), (fn. 22) to the younger John's son Robert (d. 1473), (fn. 23) to Robert's son William (d. 1502), to William's son Thomas (d. 1543), and to Thomas's son John (d. 1568). (fn. 24) John's son Thomas (d. c. 1586) was succeeded by his brother William (d. 1595). (fn. 25)

William's son Thomas Tey sold the manor in 1598 to Charles Cornwallis, who had already acquired an interest in it from Eleanor, widow of Thomas Tey (d. c. 1586), and her second husband Thomas Warren. Cornwallis conveyed the manor in 1601 to Henry Glascock, who may already have had a mortgage interest in it. (fn. 26) Glascock died in 1606, devising Aldham in two moieties to his sons Weston and Edward. In 1610 Weston sold his moiety to Edward, who in 1624 devised the whole manor to his nephew, another Edward Glascock. The younger Edward was succeeded in 1667 by his son Henry, whose son William sold the manor in 1722 to Thomas White, who held Hoe farm in the parish. (fn. 27)

White was succeeded in 1742 by his son, another Thomas, who at his death in 1808 devised the manor to his cousin Thomas Western. (fn. 28) Aldham Hall then descended in the Western family from Thomas (d. 1814), to his son Sir T. B. Western, Bt. (d. 1873), his grandson Sir T. S. Western (d. 1877), and his great- grandson Sir T. C. C. Western, who died with- out issue in 1917 leaving the manor in the hands of his trustees who still held in 1921. (fn. 29)

Aldham Hall and 345 a. of land were sold in 1905, probably to James Hines, who later acquired Bourchiers Hall. He was succeeded by his son H. J. Hines who sold Aldham Hall c. 1967. J. W. Hines, son of H. J. Hines, sold the land in 1989 to Michael and Paul Beckett. (fn. 30)

Aldham Hall is timber-framed and plastered and has tiled roofs. (fn. 31) The west three bays of the main, north facade are of one and a half storeys, the east two bays of two storeys. The L-plan south-west wing was separately occupied in 1998. The main range contains a substantial early 15th-century hall of three bays, its crown- post roof with simply moulded posts, and a one- bay storeyed north-west end. Probably c. 1600, a chimney stack and a floor were inserted into the hall and another stack into the parlour end. The east two bays were raised by altering the upper part of the roof to form a garret which connected with a three-storeyed east wing, illus- trated c. 1675 but demolished by 1839. (fn. 32) The west end of the house had been extended south by c. 1675, (fn. 33) and linked to a detached 16th- century single-storeyed range. The exterior was plastered after 1833. (fn. 34) Probably in the 19th cent- ury, an entrance passage was created at the west end of the hall from the north porch, (fn. 35) which incorporates some 17th-century carving, to a staircase created behind the parlour. A west bay window was added and some windows were replaced; other windows were renewed later.

A pond at the west side of the house may be the remains of a moat.

The half of the demesne tithes granted to Colne priory c. 1145 descended with the priory estate to the younger Richard Harlakenden who sold it in 1654. In the later 17th century it was acquired by the landowners. (fn. 36)

The manor of LITTLE FORDHAM or BOURCHIERS HALL seems to derive partly from the 40 a. in Fordham held by Wisgar in 1066 and by Richard son of Gilbert de Clare in 1086, and partly from land held of Eustace of Boulogne, perhaps the 1½ hide berewick of Great Tey. The 3-a. encroachment in Fordham held by Tovillda in 1066 and by Richard de Clare in 1086 was probably also absorbed into the manor. (fn. 37) The manor was said to be held of the honor of Boulogne in 1400 and 1409; (fn. 38) its lords owed suit to the court of the honor of Clare from the early 14th century until 1899 when the manor was enfranchised. (fn. 39)

The only demesne tenant recorded in 1066 and 1086 was Ulmar, a sokeman, who held the 40-a. estate in Fordham. (fn. 40) Before 1247, and probably after 1232, Laurence of St. Martin, later bishop of Rochester, bought the manor of Little Fordham from Walter son of Robert of Horkesley. (fn. 41) Laurence seems to have granted it to Abel of St. Martin, whose widow Margery held a third of the manor in dower in 1280. (fn. 42) By 1274 Thomas of St. Martin was lord, and before 1280 he subinfeudated the manor to Benet of Blakenham. (fn. 43) Between 1311 and 1313 Robert of St. Martin conveyed his interest, with Abels manor in Halstead, to John Bourchier, who was succeeded by Robert Bourchier before 1329. (fn. 44)

Benet of Blakenham died before 1285 and was succeeded by his son Benet who c. 1297 con- veyed the manor to Robert and Alice le Poer. (fn. 45) Robert died in 1329 and was succeeded by his son John and John's wife Avice. (fn. 46) James at Lee and his wife Avice, possibly the widow of John le Poer, seem to have held the manor in 1353; (fn. 47) on their deaths it presumably escheated to John Bourchier who held it in demesne at his death in 1400. (fn. 48) The manor descended with the barony of Bourchier to Anne, daughter and heir of Henry Bourchier, earl of Essex, whose husband William Parr in 1541 settled it on himself and his heirs. (fn. 49) Parr, then marquis of Northampton, forfeited his estates in 1556, and Bourchiers Hall was granted to Robert Rochester (d. 1557), who devised it to Syon convent. The manor escheated to the crown on the dissolution of the convent in 1559, and was regranted to Parr in 1566. (fn. 50) Parr sold Bourchiers Hall almost at once to George Sayer of Colchester. (fn. 51) The manor then descended in the Sayer family from George (d. 1577), to his son (d. 1596) and grandson (d. 1631), both called George, to the last George's son John Sayer (d. 1658), and to John's grand- son John Sayer (d. 1674). The last John's sister and heir Hester, wife of Sir John Marsham, Bt., died without surviving issue in 1716 and was succeeded by her husband's nephew Sir Robert Marsham, Lord Romney, who sold the estate in 1724 to Thomas White, lord of Aldham Hall. (fn. 52) Bourchiers Hall then descended with Aldham Hall until the early 20th century. In 1953 the lords of Bourchiers Hall were A. E. and J. W. Western. (fn. 53)

The land was sold to James Hines and sold again in 1948; (fn. 54) the purchaser built a new Bourchiers Hall to the south of the old house. Old Bourchiers Hall is a two-storeyed, timber- framed, L-plan house. Possibly 16th-century in origin, it had 14 hearths in 1671, (fn. 55) and was half H-plan in 1675. The house was faced with brick, perhaps made at Tilekiln House, north-west of the hall. (fn. 56) It was apparently unoccupied in the later 17th century and largely demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 57) All that remained of the old house in 1810 was the west wing, (fn. 58) to which a north-east wing had been added, probably c. 1700. The west wing was recased later, per- haps c. 1800. In 1675 there were two formal gardens and a canal to the south of the house, with a gatehouse to the east. (fn. 59)

In 1331 Richard at Hoo held a small estate, later HOE farm (from 'hoh', a ridge of land) in the west of Aldham, and in 1350 his son Henry held it of Aldham manor. (fn. 60) The estate appar- ently passed to Roger at Hoo (d. 1372) and then to his daughter Maud, (fn. 61) but in 1370 or 1371 Oliver at Hoo acquired an additional 30 a. of land at Badwood, held of Great Tey manor by knight service. Before 1414 Oliver and his daughter Margery acquired a further 24 a. called Sompnors, similarly held of Great Tey manor. (fn. 62) By 1430 Oliver's son Richard held the estates, which passed by 1435 to William Panell. (fn. 63) The Hoe became separated from Sompnors, being held between 1443 and 1450 by John Warin and passing in 1473 to Roger Draper whose son Roger had acquired Sompnors by 1493. (fn. 64) Roger's son William held the estate in 1530, and in 1554 sold it to his son-in-law William Beriff, whose son William held it freely of Aldham Hall manor in 1595. (fn. 65) In 1602 William Beriff sold the Hoe to Thomas Turner who in 1605 sold it to William Glascock. (fn. 66) Glascock's son William inherited the estate in 1636 and sold it in 1642 to Sir Robert Fenn; Fenn sold it in 1656 to Stephen White who devised it in 1678 to his cousin, another Stephen White. (fn. 67) Stephen's grandson Thomas acquired both Aldham Hall and Bourchiers Hall, with which Hoe farm descended until the break-up of the Western estate in 1914. (fn. 68)

Hoe Farm is a square house encased in 19th- century brick. It incorporates a late-medieval fragment of a mansion the rest of which was probably built soon after 1554. In 1639 that house, of brick with tiled roofs, had an east elev- ation of eight bays and mainly of two storeys. The projections flanking the central hall had stepped gables, the windows were probably brick with arched lights, and the hall had a bay window, which presumably contained the armorial glass recorded in the 18th century. (fn. 69) In 1641 the rooms included a great and a little parlour and two upper chambers, one wain- scotted. (fn. 70) The hall, together with a little parlour and service rooms, still existed c. 1680, but alter- ations had probably been made to the facade by that date. (fn. 71) By 1791 the south two bays had been demolished, (fn. 72) and in the mid 19th century most of the rest was demolished leaving only the former service end, to which a parallel three- bayed east range was added. A north-west wing had been added by 1897, (fn. 73) a south-west one in the 1990s. What survives of the 16th-century house is a two-storeyed, three-bayed timber- framed structure within the west range; it has a crown-post roof of three bays, curtailed at the south end, and seems to predate the mid 16th- century mansion, into which it was incorpor- ated, by c. 50 years. Some later 16th-century panelling has also been reused.

In 1639 the house stood within a rectangular moat, which seems to have been diverted south at its north-east corner, where the farmyard completed the enclosure. The yard's south range formed one side of a brick-walled court, with gatehouse, in front of the house. Behind the house was another rectangle of buildings, prob- ably the service court. West of the moat lay a square orchard and a large pond. In 1998 sec- tions of the dry moat, and the pond, remained. The barn to the north-east of the house was built c. 1500 with cambered tie beams and very tall wall-studs; the eastern range of the northern barn, which had a thatched roof in 1639, is 16th- century. Both barns were converted to houses in the 1980s. (fn. 74)

In 1455 a small estate (40 a.) in the north-east corner of Aldham was held by St. John's abbey, Colchester, with Bulbecks in Copford, with which it descended thereafter. (fn. 75)


  • 1. V.C.H. Essex, i. 457; Complete Peerage, x. 195.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 386; P.R.O., C 142/150, no. 140; E.R.O., D/DPr 145, f. 6.
  • 3. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 113; x, p. 351.
  • 4. V.C.H. Essex, i. 504.
  • 5. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiii, p. 143.
  • 6. Ibid. ii, p. 359; vi, p. 113; x, p. 351; Cal. Close, 1374-7, 22; Morant, Essex, ii. 202.
  • 7. Colne Cart. pp. 14, 67.
  • 8. Feet of F. Essex, i. 10, 26; E.R.O., D/DPr 145, f. 6v.
  • 9. Feet of F. Essex, i. 86; Pipe R. 1201 (P.R.S. n.s. xiv), 253.
  • 10. Feet of F. Essex, i. 26, 99, 151.
  • 11. E.R.O., D/DPr 145, f. 6v.; B.L. Harl. Ch. 45 B 35.
  • 12. B.L. Cott. Ch. xxviii. 100; Feet of F. Essex, ii. 107.
  • 13. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 144; E.R.O., D/DWe M1.
  • 14. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 219; iii. 64; Cal. Close, 1422-9, 292-3; 1399-1402, 396; E.R.O., D/DPr 145, f. 7; D/DWe M1-8, passim.
  • 15. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 521.
  • 16. Cal. Close, 1381-5, 587; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 233.
  • 17. Complete Peerage, xii (2), 872-3; Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 359.
  • 18. Cal. Chancery Warrants, i. 120; Cal. Inq. p.m. v, pp. 297-300.
  • 19. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 113.
  • 20. Below, Colne Engaine, Manors.
  • 21. Cal. Close, 1381-5, 587; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 233.
  • 22. Morant, Essex, ii. 197; P.R.O., C 139/121, no. 3. Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford, and others who held courts for the manor in 1401 (E.R.O., D/DWe M1, rot. 1), and the abbot of St. John's, Colchester, who did so in 1443 (D/DWe M3, rot. 1), presumably did so as feoffees.
  • 23. P.R.O., C 140/47, no. 63.
  • 24. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 386; P.R.O., C 142/69, no. 231; C 142/150, no. 140.
  • 25. Feet of F. Essex, vi. 73, 88; P.R.O., C 142/272, no. 3.
  • 26. E.R.O., D/DWe T51; Feet of F. Essex, vi. 117, 151, 177.
  • 27. E.R.O., D/DWe T51, T62; D/DWe F4; below, this section.
  • 28. E.R.O., D/DWe T52, T66; Burke, Peerage, Baronet- age, and Knightage (1892).
  • 29. E.R.O., D/DWe T52; D/DWe M12; Burke, Peerage and Baronetage (1907).
  • 30. E.R.O., Acc. C32 (uncat.), no. 2; inf. from Mr. J. W. Hines.
  • 31. Below, plate 27.
  • 32. E.R.O., D/DWe P3; ibid. D/CT 2B.
  • 33. E.R.O., D/DWe P3.
  • 34. Print pasted into E.R.O. copy of J. Britton and E. W. Brayley, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, at end of book.
  • 35. Probably that indicated on O.S. Map 1/2,500, Essex. XXVI. 8 (1897 edn.).
  • 36. Colne Cart. p. 14; L. & P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 419; E.R.O., D/DR T45; ibid. D/CT 2A; below, Earls Colne, Manor.
  • 37. V.C.H. Essex, i. 465, 481, 573; E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 42.
  • 38. Cal. Inq. p.m. xviii, p. 6; xix, p. 227.
  • 39. P.R.O., DL 30/123/1859; E.R.O., D/DWe M35.
  • 40. V.C.H. Essex, i. 481.
  • 41. Cal. Close, 1272-9, 154.
  • 42. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 26.
  • 43. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 155; Feet of F. Essex, ii. 26.
  • 44. E.R.O., D/DVz 85; Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, pp. 100-1.
  • 45. Morant, Essex, ii. 199 n, where the statement that Benet held in chief appears to be incorrect; P.R.O., JUST 1/1311, rot. 90.
  • 46. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, pp. 100-1; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 2.
  • 47. Feet of F. Essex, iii. 107.
  • 48. Cal. Inq. p.m. xviii, p. 6.
  • 49. Complete Peerage, ii. 247-50; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 603.
  • 50. Morant, Essex, ii. 199; D.N.B. s.v. Rochester; Cal. Pat. 1555-7, 319; 1563-6, 428-9.
  • 51. E.R.O., D/DVz 85; D/DCm F1/162.
  • 52. Morant, Essex, ii. 194, 199-200 where Hester's hus- band is wrongly identified as Sir John Marsham (d. 1685); P.R.O., C 3/432/30; C 142/480, no. 111; ibid. DL 30/123/ 1859; E.R.O., D/DWe P2; D/DWe T52.
  • 53. Par. Council Min., in possession of the clerk to the council.
  • 54. E.R.O., sale cat. B5193.
  • 55. E.R.O., Q/RTh 5.
  • 56. E.R.O., D/DWe T56; D/DWe P2.
  • 57. Morant, Essex, ii. 200.
  • 58. E.R.O., D/DWe P2, P9.
  • 59. Ibid. D/DWe P2.
  • 60. Feet of F. Essex, iii. 17; E.R.O., D/DWe M1.
  • 61. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, p. 385; Cal. Fine R. 1369-77, 136; Cal. Close, 1374-7, 319.
  • 62. E.R.O., D/DCm M1, pp. 12, 108-9; Cal. Close, 1396-9, 202.
  • 63. E.R.O, D/DWe M4.
  • 64. Ibid. D/DWe M3-4, M6; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 70.
  • 65. E.R.O., D/DWe M6; D/DC 27/2: copy of P.R.O., C 142/244, no. 96; Feet of F. Essex, v. 39. In 1579 a quit-rent was payable to the duchy of Lancaster: P.R.O., DL 43/2/1.
  • 66. Feet of F. Essex, vi. 189; E.R.O., D/DWe T54.
  • 67. E.R.O., D/DC 27/2; D/DCm Z19, p. 161; D/DWe T62, T66.
  • 68. Ibid. D/DWe M21; D/DWe F5; D/DWe T66; ibid. sale cat. B1217.
  • 69. Ibid. D/DWe P1: enlarged detail of house printed in P. Ryan, Brick in Essex: Roman Conquest to Reformation, plate 24; B.L. Map, K. Top. xiii.46, p. 366; ibid. Harl. MS. 6832; E.R.O., Mint Portfolio, Aldham 1/1.
  • 70. E.R.O., D/DWe T54.
  • 71. Ibid. D/DWe F5.
  • 72. B.L. Map, K. Top. xiii.46, p. 366; E.R.O., Mint Port- folio, Aldham 1/1 (wrongly entitled Aldham Hall); Topogra- pher, iii, suppl. 9.
  • 73. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Essex XXVI. 8 (1897 edn.); E.R.O., D/CT 2B; ibid. sale cat. B1217.
  • 74. E.R.O., D/DWe P1; E.C.S. 26 Apr. 1985.
  • 75. P.R.O., DL 30/123/1859; E.A.T. n.s. xxiv. 125; Morant, Essex, ii. 200.