Stanway: Manors and other estates

Pages 263-266

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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About 1002 Aelfflaed, widow of Ealdorman Byrhtnoth, directed that STANWAY and 19 other estates should go to King Ethelred after her death. (fn. 1) Stanway was held by Harold in 1066 and by the Conqueror in 1086. (fn. 2) It followed the descent of Colchester castle, passing from Eudes the sewer (d. 1120) to Hamon of St. Clare, and to Hamon's descendant Hawise de Lanvalai and her husband John de Burgh. (fn. 3) The manor was held of John de Burgh's successors the Fitz Walters as of the manor of Lexden in 1375, and the overlordship was recorded until 1589. (fn. 4)

Before 1274 John de Burgh enfeoffed John Belhus. (fn. 5) By 1285 Stanway had passed to Thomas Belhus of Ramsden Belhouse, who was succeeded before 1314 by his son John. John (d. before 1319) (fn. 6) was followed by his sons Thomas (fl. 1327) and John, who died before 1366 and was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1374). Thomas's daughter Joan died in infancy in 1375, and Stanway passed to her cousin Joan Castelyn, who married Robert Knevett. (fn. 7)

Robert Knevett held Stanway in 1392, but in 1400 he quitclaimed it to John Doreward, who already held Olivers manor in the parish. (fn. 8) Doreward, a prominent Essex knight who was speaker of the House of Commons in 1399 and 1413, died in 1420. He devised Stanway, after the death of his wife Isabel (d. 1426), to his daughter Eleanor, wife of Robert Knevett's son Thomas. (fn. 9) In 1428 Thomas Knevett quit-claimed the manor to John Doreward, presumably the son and heir of John (d. 1420), and Richard FitzNichol, but he held it in 1430 and at his death in 1459, when he was succeeded by his son John Knevett (d. 1479). John's son Thomas died within a few months and was suc- ceeded by his son Edward. (fn. 10) On Edward's death in 1501 Stanway passed to his daughter Elizabeth who married John Rainsforth. (fn. 11)

Elizabeth died childless in 1508, leaving as heirs her aunt Thomasin, wife of William Clopton, and her cousins Elizabeth, wife of John Clopton, and Catherine Roydon. (fn. 12) Possession of the manor passed to Thomas Bonham, husband of Edward Knevett's widow Catherine. He bought the shares of Catherine Roydon, then wife of Thomas Barney, in 1511, and of Eliza- beth Clopton in 1527, and thus held a moiety of the manor at his death in 1533. (fn. 13) He was suc- ceeded by his son William and grandson Thomas Bonham. (fn. 14) Thomas in 1580 sold the moiety of the manor to Edward Sulyard who sold it in 1585 to William Nutbrown. (fn. 15) Nut- brown died in 1588 and was succeeded by his son, another William, who sold the moiety in 1601 to John Swinnerton. (fn. 16)

Thomasin Clopton's moiety descended to her son Francis Clopton (d. 1559) who was suc- ceeded by his nephew William Clopton (fl. 1571). (fn. 17) By 1612 William Clopton the elder and William Clopton the younger had conveyed the moiety to John Swinnerton, who thus held the whole manor. (fn. 18) John died in 1616, and was succeeded by his sons Henry, Richard, and Robert, all of whom died without issue. (fn. 19) In 1631 John's youngest son Thomas Swinnerton sold the manor to Henry Calthorpe, who was succeeded c. 1647 by his son James. James died in 1658, and in 1671 his son, another James, sold the manor to Francis Harvey. In 1685 Harvey sold it to John Hopwood, husband of Thomas Swinnerton's daughter Thomasin, who sold it in 1731 to Richard Hopkins. Hopkins died intes- tate before 1746, and Stanway was assigned to Edward Bellamy, one of his heirs at law. Bellamy died in 1748 leaving Stanway to his daughter Elizabeth, who married Maurice Johnson but died without issue in 1752. The reversion of Stanway, after Johnson's death, passed to her brother Humphrey Bellamy, who died in 1767 devising it to his son, another Humphrey. The younger Humphrey bought out Johnson's life interest in 1788, and in 1790 sold the manor to Richard Shaw who in 1792 conveyed it to John Haynes Harrison of Copford. (fn. 20) In 1790, however, Bellamy extinguished manorial rights by enfranchising the copyholds, and Harrison's Stanway estate, which descended in his family throughout the 19th century, was not considered a manor. (fn. 21)

The manor house, Stanway Hall, with three adjoining farms, was settled in 1731 on John Hopwood's son John (d. 1734), who devised it to Sarah Richardson, later wife of Stephen Aldrich. George DeHorne, a London merchant, bought the house and land in 1770. (fn. 22) He died in 1789 and was succeeded by his son John (d. 1845), by John's nephew George DeHorne (d. 1877), and by George's nephew Thomas De- Horne. Thomas sold the Hall between 1886 and 1890 to Thomas Moy, a wealthy Colchester merchant and its tenant from 1880. (fn. 23) The Moy family retained the estate until 1937 or later. (fn. 24)

At Stanway Hall timber-framed walls, en- cased in later brickwork, and a roof of heavy, arch-braced, collar trusses at the north end of the main range survive from a substantial early 15th-century house, presumably built by John Doreward (d. 1420). In 1641 the tenant was accused of spoiling the house, which was still large enough to be taxed on 16 hearths in 1671. (fn. 25) It was largely demolished before 1730. (fn. 26) Some exterior brickwork and some reset panelling survive from the later 18th-century house, which in 1769 comprised a hall, 2 parlours, a drawing room, kitchen, 6 bedchambers, and 4 garrets. (fn. 27) That house was enlarged and extensively remodelled in 17th-century style in the late 19th century, probably by Thomas Moy, who may have inserted the late 16th-century panelling and fireplace which survive in a ground floor room. (fn. 28) A park, from which three men took their surname in 1327, was cultivated as arable in 1357, but was an 83-a. park in 1685. (fn. 29) The medieval fish ponds survived in 1995.

Before 1250 Ralph son of Oliver and before 1263 Richard son of Oliver held land in Stan- way which by 1393 was known as OLIVERS manor. (fn. 30) The manor was held of St. John's abbey, Colchester, in 1338, 1424, and 1476, although in 1420 the overlordship was unknown, and the manor was not listed among the abbey's lands in 1368. (fn. 31)

John Oliver, recorded in 1300, died in 1338 holding an estate in Great Stanway. He was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 32) perhaps the John Oliver recorded in Stanway between 1347 and 1379. (fn. 33) A John Oliver died c. 1393 and was suc- ceeded by his nephew John Doreward of Bocking. (fn. 34) Doreward, who bought Stanway manor, died in 1420 and was succeeded by his son (d. c. 1462), grandson (d. 1476), and great grandson (d. 1495), all called John Doreward. (fn. 35) The last John sold the reversion of Olivers manor to Edward Knevett. (fn. 36)

Although Edward Knevett's widow Cather- ine, by will dated 1535, instructed her third hus- band John Barnaby to sell Olivers, (fn. 37) the manor apparently passed with Stanway to Edward's daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Rainsforth, and to her heirs Thomasin Clopton, Elizabeth Clopton, and Catherine Barney, later Hastings. (fn. 38)

After a dispute between 1558 and 1560, Sir William Cordell, husband of Thomasin Clop- ton's daughter Mary, obtained the manor from Thomas and John Barnaby. (fn. 39) Cordell apparently conveyed it to Henry Golding, who in 1564 conveyed it to Matthew Steven. (fn. 40) In the earlier 17th century John Eldred of Colchester (d. 1646) bought the manor. It descended to his son John (d. 1682), and then to the younger John's son (d. 1717), grandson (d. 1732), and great- grandson (d. 1738), all called John Eldred. (fn. 41) Susannah, widow of the last John, held until her death in 1780, (fn. 42) when the manor passed to Thomas Bernard Harrison, younger brother of John Haynes Harrison of Copford and a descendant of John Eldred (d. 1717). (fn. 43) Thomas Bernard died in 1844 and was succeeded by his nephew Goodeve Harrison (d. 1873). (fn. 44) Olivers then passed to Ann, widow of Goodeve's cousin T. T. Harrison, and on her death in 1893 to her younger son W. T. Harrison, bishop of Glasgow and Galloway (d. 1920). (fn. 45) The family retained the estate until 1939. (fn. 46) In the late 1940s and the early 1950s it was owned by the antiquary Marc Fitch. (fn. 47)

A heavily-beamed ceiling in the northern cross wing of the surviving house at Olivers may be of the 14th century, and there is said formerly to have been a crown-post roof there. The front range and southern cross wing appear to be early 17th-century in origin, although there may have been a cross-passage entry which would imply a plan of medieval origin. The house was taxed on 15 hearths in 1671. (fn. 48) An earlier 18th-century remodelling cased both ends of the south range, and probably the front, in brick, and panelled the central and eastern ground-floor rooms. In 1837 the house was in 'a fearful state of dilapi- dation', but it seems to have been restored shortly afterwards, as the brickwork of the main front is of the early 19th century. The dining room in the north-west corner and the drawing room in the south wing were formed as part of an extensive restoration and remodelling c. 1968. (fn. 49) To the west of the house a large timber-framed barn has been converted into a house, and to the south-east there is a partly walled garden, with a former fishpond in its south-east corner.

Figure 42:

Olivers in 1658

Before 1393 John Doreward had acquired a 200-a. freehold or manor called BELHUS. (fn. 50) In 1424 it was said to be held of St. John's abbey, but its name implies that it had belonged to the Belhus family, and it may have derived from the lands and rents granted by Joan de Beauchamp to Nicholas son of Thomas Belhus in 1331. (fn. 51) The estate descended with Stanway manor from John Doreward (d. 1420) to William Bonham. (fn. 52) Bonham in 1541 sold the reversion of Belhus, after the death of Elizabeth Knevett's hus- band John Rainsforth, to Stephen Beckingham. At his death in 1558 Stephen was in the process of selling it to Edmund Bocking, husband of William Bonham's widow Frances, but in 1573 Stephen's son Thomas Beckingham quitclaimed the estate to John Wentworth. (fn. 53) From 1580 Belhus, called a farm, descended with Stanway manor. (fn. 54)

Between 1255 and 1263 John de Burgh gave to St. John's abbey an estate of c. 400 a. in Stanway which Roger of Gosbeck had held of him. (fn. 55) The abbey granted GOSBECKS in 1539 to Sir Thomas Audley, who in 1544 bequeathed it to his brother Thomas Audley. (fn. 56) It passed to Thomas's son (d. 1584) and grandson (d. 1599), both called Thomas Audley, then to the younger Thomas's daughter Anne Chopping who in 1617 sold it to Robert Barker, lord of West Donyland manor. Gosbecks then descended, with West Donyland, in the Barker and Ward families until 1918 or later. (fn. 57)

A small late 16th- or early 17th-century house south of the surviving Gosbecks farmhouse re-uses timbers, including bargeboards, from a medieval roof. In the earlier 18th century it was converted into an outhouse, and replaced as the farmhouse by a small L-shaped brick building nearer the road. Early in the 19th century that house was enlarged by building in the angle between the wings, and later in the century a large drawing room was added to the west.

The 'manors' of Howes, Shrubb or Shrub- house, and Kirton, recorded with Olivers in the early 16th century, (fn. 58) were freeholds of Olivers or Stanway manor. (fn. 59)

Aelfflaed devised to King Ethelred an estate at 'Byraetune', probably the ½-hide manor which Ulwin Hapra held in 1066 and Roger the Marshal in 1086. (fn. 60) About 1200 William son of Ralph Haville gave his land in Berton, Lexden, and Colchester to his younger son Geoffrey who before 1216 gave it to Waltham abbey. Before 1292 the abbey acquired a further 30 a. or more from other lords, including John Engaine, and the estate formed its manor of ABBOTS. (fn. 61) In 1540-1 the last abbot, Robert Fuller, was given a life tenancy, but in 1544 the manor was granted to Sir Francis Jobson. (fn. 62) In 1546 Jobson sold it, with Braiswick manor in Colchester, to George Sayer, later of Bourchiers Hall, Aldham. (fn. 63) Abbots then descended with Bourchiers, and later Aldham, Hall in the Sayer, White, and Western families until 1917 or later. (fn. 64)

St. Osyth's abbey began to build up a small estate in Stanway in the early 12th century. (fn. 65) The abbey's interest passed to the Crown at the Dissolution, its rents being surrendered by Prin- cess, later Queen, Mary to Edward VI c. 1550. (fn. 66) The main part of the estate, called Bastards from its 13th- and 14th-century tenants, was held of John Engaine's successors, the lords of the manor of Colne Engaine, until 1602 or later. (fn. 67) In 1502 the demesne tenant was John Tyall. In 1512 Thomas Bonham held Bastards; in 1559 and 1579, Edmund Bocking held in right of his wife, Frances, widow of William Bonham, and by 1602 the estate had passed to the younger William Nutbrown. (fn. 68) John Hopwood probably sold it in 1724, with Birch Hall in Little Birch, to James Round. Round's great nephew, another James Round, held Bastards in 1775. (fn. 69) In the 18th century and the early 19th the Rounds built up a large estate in the northern quarter of Stanway; it was sold in 1917 and 1947. (fn. 70)

From 1409 or earlier the RECTORY estate was held by successive rectors as a manor. (fn. 71)

In 1364 Peter Wawyn and John Charteris gave to St. John's abbey land including that called Chambers in Stanway, possibly the land held by Thomas of the Chamber in 1256. It was claimed by Thomas Knevett in 1430, (fn. 72) but in 1433 the abbey held Chambers with two other tenements, Storeys and Parmenters. The Crown granted the whole estate to Robert Foster in 1540. (fn. 73)

By 1305 Robert Tey, lord of Marks Tey, held land in Stanway; it descended to Thomas Tey (d. 1543) who apparently sold it to Thomas Bonham (d. 1533) of Stanway Hall. (fn. 74)


  • 1. A.-S. Wills, ed. D. Whitelock, 38.
  • 2. V.C.H. Essex, i. 432.
  • 3. Ibid. ix. 242, 394.
  • 4. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiv, p. 89; xix, p. 93; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 257; P.R.O., C 139/7, no. 54; C 140/78, no. 90; C 142/55, no. 1; C 142/222, no. 50.
  • 5. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 140.
  • 6. P.R.O., JUST 1/242, rot. 109; Feet of F. Essex, ii. 49, 148; E.R.O., T/A 564.
  • 7. P.R.O., C 138/37, no. 26; Med. Essex Community, 21; Cal. Inq. p.m. xii, pp. 251-2, 259; xiv, pp. 5, 89 (where the heir is incorrectly named Margaret); Reg. Sudbury, i. 250; Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica vii. 274.
  • 8. P.R.O., C 143/417, no. 5; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 220, 234.
  • 9. Morant, Essex, ii. 190; E.A.T. 3rd ser. viii. 209-23; P.R.O., C 138/52, no. 104; C 139/31, no. 61; Cal. Close, 1422-9, 160.
  • 10. Cal. Close, 1422-9, 447; Colch. Cart. ii. 410-11; P.R.O., C 139/172, no. 18; C 140/78, no. 90; Morant, Essex, ii. 191.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 497; ii, p. 257.
  • 12. Ibid. iii, pp. 276-7.
  • 13. P.R.O., C 1/471/16; C 142/55, no. 1; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 124, 164.
  • 14. G. J. Kidston, Bonhams of Wilts. and Essex, 69; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 258, 261-2; v. 146; cf. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), p. 12.
  • 15. Feet of F. Essex, v. 234; vi. 32.
  • 16. P.R.O., C 142/222, no. 50; Feet of F. Essex, vi. 177.
  • 17. L. & P. Hen. VIII, Addenda, i (1), p. 540; E.R.O., T/P 195/11, p. 10; P.R.O., PROB 11/42B, f. 259v.; ibid. C 3/47/50.
  • 18. P.R.O., CP 25/2/294/Easter 10 Jas. I, file 2, no. 28.
  • 19. Morant, Essex, ii. 191-2.
  • 20. E.R.O., D/DE1 T269, T272, T275; Morant, Essex, ii. 192; Magdalen Coll. Oxf. Mun., EMD 2/1/11; Genealogist [orig. ser.] i. 112-13.
  • 21. E.R.O., D/DE1 T269A, T272; ibid. D/Z 2/14/27.
  • 22. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. Mun., EMD 2/1/11; Gent. Mag. iv. 107; Ipswich Jnl. 30 Dec. 1769; E.R.O., D/DU 893; Morant, Essex, 192.
  • 23. Gent. Mag. lix (2), 1057; cxviii (1), 216; E.R.O., T/Z 2/14/27; Burke, Land. Gent. (1882) s.v. De Horne; Kelly's Dir. Essex (1886, 1890); V.C.H. Essex, ix. 193, 212, 227, 292, 380; W. Gaskill and C. A. N. Press, Essex Leaders Social and Political, s.v. Moy.
  • 24. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1937).
  • 25. Hist. MSS. Com. 3, 4th Rep. App. p. 68; E.R.O., Q/RTh 5.
  • 26. E.R.O., T/P 195/11.
  • 27. Ipswich Jnl. 30 Dec. 1769; E.R.O., D/DU 893.
  • 28. R.C.H.M. Essex, iii. 209.
  • 29. E.R.O., St. John's abbey ledger bk., f. 74v.; ibid. D/DE1 T275; Med. Essex Community, 21-2.
  • 30. B.L. MS. Arundel 145, ff. 32, 34; Cat. Anct. D. i. A519; Colch. Cart. ii. 405; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 220.
  • 31. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, p. 104; P.R.O., C 138/52, no. 104; C 139/13, no. 41; C 140/57, no. 59; E.R.O., St. John's abbey ledger bk., f. 118v.
  • 32. Colch. Cart. ii. 637; Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, p. 104.
  • 33. Cal. Close, 1346-9, 246; 1349-54, 350; 1360-4, 275; 1364-8, 171, 366; P.R.O., C 143/394, no. 22.
  • 34. Feet of F. Essex, iii. 220; E.A.T. n.s. xiii. 74.
  • 35. P.R.O., C 138/52, no. 104; C 140/57, no. 59; Morant, Essex, ii. 384-5.
  • 36. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 497; ii, p. 257; P.R.O., STAC 2/20/143.
  • 37. E.R.O., D/ABW 3/44.
  • 38. P.R.O., C 1/298/49; ibid. STAC 2/20/143.
  • 39. Ibid. C 3/165/7; C 3/45/9; E.R.O., T/P 195/11; Feet of F. Essex, v. 81; Kidston, Bonhams, 67-8.
  • 40. P.R.O., C 3/45/9; C 3/165/7; E.R.O., T/P 195/11; Feet of F. Essex, v. 81; Kidston, Bonhams, 67-8; E.R.O., D/DHt T250/1.
  • 41. Morant, Essex, ii. 193.
  • 42. E.R.O., D/DR P12/1; D/DE1 T2/18.
  • 43. Gent. Mag. cvii (1), 486-7; Morant, Essex, i. 172; Burke, Land. Gent. (1914), s.v. Harrison of Copford Hall.
  • 44. E.R.O., D/Z 2/14/27; White's Dir. Essex (1848), 127; Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900, s.v. Goodeve Harrison.
  • 45. E.R.O., D/Z 2/14/27; Burke, Land. Gent. (1914); Sinclair Snow, Wm. Thos. Harrison, Bp. of Glasgow and Galloway 1888-1903, 6.
  • 46. Deed in possession of Mr. and Mrs. D. Edwards, Olivers; E.C.S. 15 Aug. 1969.
  • 47. Soc. of Antiq., Annual Rep. 1993-4, 60.
  • 48. E.R.O., Q/RTh 5.
  • 49. Gent. Mag. cvii (1), 486; R.C.H.M. Essex, iii. 209; E.R.O., T/M 314; ibid. sale cat. D860.
  • 50. Feet of F. Essex, iii. 220; Cal. Close, 1392-6, 238; P.R.O., C 138/52, no. 104.
  • 51. P.R.O., C 139/13, no. 41; E.R.O., D/DL Z24, f. 9.
  • 52. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 497; ii, p. 257; P.R.O., C 1/298/49; C 1/392/38; ibid. STAC 2/20/143.
  • 53. P.R.O., C 78/20/14; ibid. PROB 11/42A, ff. 64v.-67; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 271; v. 146, 179. Edmund Bocking had married Frances by 1559: Guildhall MS. 13575; cf. Kidston, Bonhams, 83.
  • 54. Feet of F. Essex, v. 234; vi. 32, 177; E.R.O., D/DE1 T269.
  • 55. B.L. MS. Arundel 145, ff. 32 and v., 34; E.R.O., St. John's abbey ledger bk., f. 17; Colch. Cart. ii. 403-4.
  • 56. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), p. 412; xiv (1), p. 232; xix (1), p. 620.
  • 57. Morant, Essex, ii. 193; E.R.O., D/DSr T1, T7; ibid. D/Z 2/14/27; V.C.H. Essex, ix. 412.
  • 58. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 257; P.R.O., STAC 2/20/143.
  • 59. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 497; P.R.O., C 1/298/49; E.R.O., St. John's abbey ledger bk., f. 162.
  • 60. A.-S. Wills, 28; V.C.H. Essex, i. 558.
  • 61. B.L. Harl. MS. 4809, ff. 87-97v., 109v.; Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 441.
  • 62. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/964, rot. 116d.; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 715; xix (1), p. 625.
  • 63. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), p. 244; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 297.
  • 64. E.R.O., D/DWe P9, P17; above, Aldham, Manors.
  • 65. Colch. Cart. ii. 531; E.R. xxx. 212; P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/963, rot. 46.
  • 66. P.R.O., E 318/31/1772.
  • 67. E.R.O., D/DC 9/7A; Guildhall MSS. 13568, 13573; B.L. Harl. MS. 4809, ff. 92-3; E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr7, rot. 5d.
  • 68. Guildhall MSS. 13568, 13573, 13775; P.R.O., C 142/222/50.
  • 69. Morant, Essex, ii. 184; Burke, Land. Gent. (1847), s.v.Round; E.R.O., D/DE1 P13.
  • 70. E.R.O., D/DE1 P14, P17, P48; D/DMb E6; ibid. D/Z 2/14/27; ibid. sale cat. B2233.
  • 71. E.R.O., D/DSy 1.
  • 72. P.R.O., C 143/353, no. 6; E.R.O., St. John's abbey ledger bk., f. 229; Feet of F. Essex, i. 218.
  • 73. P.R.O., SC 6/1107/17-18; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xv. 283.
  • 74. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 101; Cal. Close, 1381-5, 587; 1399-1402, 396; P.R.O., C 139/31, no. 59; C 139/103, no. 27; C 142/55, no. 1. For the Tey descent, see above, Aldham, Man.