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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
In 1086 Godebold was demesne tenant of 1½ hides and 30 a. in Nayland (Suff.), which later became the manor of LITTLE HORKESLEY HALL. It was held of the manor of Nayland as part of the honor of Rayleigh. (fn. 1) The overlordship is recorded until 1661. (fn. 2)
The manor descended from father to son in Godebold's family, who took their surname from it, being held by Robert (fl. c. 1127), another Robert (fl. c. 1150), Philip (fl. 1184), Robert (d. 1232), Walter (d. 1266), and Robert (d. 1295). (fn. 3) The last Robert's son, William Horkesley, died childless in 1332. He had conveyed the manor to trustees who, in 1324, granted the reversion to Robert Swinbourne, whose grandson, another Robert Swinbourne, succeeded in 1332. (fn. 4) Robert (d. 1391) left three sons, Thomas (d. 1412), William (d. 1422), and John (d. 1430), who all died without issue. Little Horkesley then passed to their sister and coheir, Margery wife of Nicholas Berners (d. 1441). (fn. 5)
She was succeeded by her daughter Catherine wife of Sir William Findern (d. 1462). Their son, another Sir William, died in 1517 and the manor passed to his grandson Thomas Findern (d. 1524). He was succeeded by his cousin Anne, wife of Sir Roger Wentworth and a descendant of Alice Tyrrel another sister and coheir of Thomas, William, and John Swinbourne. (fn. 6) Anne died in 1534 and was succeeded by her son Sir John Wentworth (d. 1568). He was succeeded by his daughter Anne, wife of Henry FitzAlan, Lord Mautravers. After her death in 1580 the manor passed to her cousin Sir John Wentworth. (fn. 7) He died in 1588 and it passed successively to John (d. 1613) and that John's son Sir John Wentworth. (fn. 8) He sold the manor to Sir Humphrey Winch and his son Onslowe in 1617 and Onslowe sold it to Sir John Denham in 1631. Denham was succeeded in 1639 by his son, the royalist poet Sir John Denham, who forfeited the manor in 1651. Despite the claims of the puritan poet George Wither, a personal enemy of Denham's who had petitioned parliament for his estates, and Thomas Offley to whom Denham had mortgaged the manor in 1640, Denham apparently sold his interest to John Feilder in 1653. Feilder sold it c. 1660 to trustees for Azariah Husbands who was in possession by 1661. (fn. 9) Azariah died in 1666 and was succeeded by his son Edward Husbands (d. 1736). (fn. 10)
Edward was succeeded by his son James (d. 1750) who entailed the manor on the children of his sister Anne Glanville. Her son James died childless and the manor passed to his sister Anne and her husband William Blair (d. 1786). (fn. 12) By 1794 the manor had passed to their son E. J. H. Blair who died unmarried in 1824. He was succeeded by his two sisters, Sarah Sindrey Warren (d. 1834) and Margaret Blair (d. 1850), but Sarah's son J. C. Warren (d. 1856) was effective lord of the manor from the mid 1830s when he took the name Blair Warren. His sister Sarah and her husband Crosbie Morgell disputed the division of the inheritance in 1850 and gained three eighths of the estate, but not the ownership of the manor which was sold to Thomas Bourdillon after the death of Blair-Warren's widow Harriet in 1866. (fn. 13) After Bourdillon's death in 1888 it passed to C. J. Grimwade and P. J. Waldron, probably its mortgagees, who sold it in 1914 to H. E. Paine. He sold it in 1917 to W. F. Dick of Josselyns, (fn. 14) whose widow D. M. Dick sold it to H. A. A. White c. 1967. (fn. 15)
The manor house was separated from the manor before 1901 when it was bought by R. M. B. Otter Barry (d. 1917). He was succeeded by his son W. W. Otter Barry (d. 1973) whose daughter Elizabeth de Havilland died in 1976. She was succeeded by her husband Maj. Gen. P. H. de Havilland who sold the house to R. Eddis in 1989. (fn. 16)
Old Hall Farm on School Road, north west of the church, was probably the site of the medieval manor house. It has a long range whose 16th century eastern end has a crown post roof and formerly extended further to both east and west. Its junction with the taller block of c. 1700 to the west is now marked by a large stack which is probably of the latter date. To the north of the later block there is a contemporary staircase turret and to the north of the early range a short 17th century kitchen wing. In 1651 the ground floor rooms included an entry, two parlours, and a kitchen; on the first floor were nine chambers. There was a gatehouse, a dairyhouse, a millhouse, a brewhouse, and a bakehouse. In front of the house was a large green, two inner courtyards, two gardens, and an orchard. (fn. 17) A large 18th century barn to the west incorporates several medieval posts and other reused timbers.
Edward Husbands apparently built a new, brick, manor house called Little Horkesley Hall south of Old Hall Farm c. 1700. By 1763 there was a formal garden on the south side of the house, with three ponds in the valley beyond. (fn. 18) That house was demolished c. 1828, but the 18th century brickwork in the cellars suggests that the new house, probably built for J. C. Blair Warren, was built on the site of its predecessor and that its plan was influenced by it. There are three principal elevations. That to the north is dominated by a full height Doric porte cochère; that on the east has a semi-circular central bow; that on the south is of five bays and the principal openings on each floor are framed within recesses which are bounded by Doric columns in antis. Inside there is a central reception area which is connected, by openings supported on Doric columns, to the entrance hall on the north and the stair hall on the south. The drawing room, in the south-west corer, is a double room with an opening supported by Ionic columns. On the west side of the north forecourt there is a small stable yard, with an entrance flanked by Doric columns, and beyond it extensive kitchen garden walls of the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 19)
LITTLE HORKESLEY PRIORY with its manor was granted in 1525 to Wolsey's Oxford college and, in 1528, to his Ipswich grammar school. (fn. 20) The manor escheated to the crown on Wolsey's fall in 1530 and was granted to Thomas Cromwell, later earl of Essex, who was executed in 1540. It was apparently granted to William Shelley in 1541. (fn. 22) By 1554 it had been granted to Sir John Huddleston who at once sold it to Roger Parker. In 1555 Parker conveyed it to Robert Ball of White Colne. (fn. 23) In 1563 Robert apparently sold it to Ranulph Ball of Little Horkesley, (fn. 24) but in 1577 Robert Ball, or another man of the same name, sold it to John Ball (d. 1602) and his son, another John (d. 1621). (fn. 25) The younger John was succeeded by his son William Ball (d. 1638) who was followed by his son, another William. (fn. 26)
In 1664 William Ball sold it to Nicholas Enos, a London merchant who was dead by 1703, when the estate was disputed between his nephew Christopher Whichcote and Margery Enos, widow of his brother Samuel. (fn. 27) Christopher Whichcote gained possession and sold the manor in 1712 to James Josselyn (d. 1713). (fn. 28) The manor then descended in his family from father to son, to four Jameses (d. c. 1730, 1787, 1798, 1809). The last James was followed by his brother John (d. 1819) who was succeeded by his son, another John Josselyn (d. 1884). On his death the manor passed to his son A. H. Josselyn (d. 1889). The descent has not been traced thereafter. (fn. 29)
The rectory, composed only of tithes, passed with the Priory manor to Wolsey's college and school, (fn. 30) and in 1554 to Sir John Huddleston. It may have descended with the priory manor in the later 16th and earlier 17th centuries, but in 1623-4 Sir Humphrey Winch of Little Horkesley Hall successfully claimed it and thereafter it descended with that manor. (fn. 32)
Henry and Alan Creffield of Great Horkesley granted lands in Little Horkesley to Little Horkesley priory c. 1200, which the priory held from the honor of Rayleigh in 1365-6. Thomas Holt, who held land in Horkesley in 1346, may have been the priory's tenant, for fields called 'Crayfeld' formed part of a leasehold called HOLTS or HOTTES on the priory estate c. 1525. (fn. 33) By 1553 the freehold of Holts was held by James Lovell whose son John sold it to Henry Riddesdale in 1564. (fn. 34) In 1565 Riddesdale sold it to Andrew Prestney (d. 1586) and the estate then passed successively to John Prestney (d. 1597), Andrew Prestney (d. 1636), and another Andrew Prestney. John Prestney held the freehold c. 1670. (fn. 35) By 1772 it was owned by a Mr. Quare who sold it to George Sadler who held it in 1845. (fn. 36)
About 1525 Holts comprised a house and gatehouse within a dry moat with a barn and stable. (fn. 37) The east range of the current building is a cross wing and hall of a 15th-century house. The cross wing retains a plain crown-post roof. The hall roof has a steeply cambered tie beam and the octagonal crown post has been reset in the wall below the tie, presumably when the upper floor was put in. A block with a front of five bays was built along the west side in the earlier 18th century and the house was refitted in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 38)
The seat of the Lynne family on Westwood green, known as WESTWOOD PARK, was anciently in Great Horkesley and its history is treated under that parish. (fn. 39)