West Bergholt: Manors and other estates

Pages 27-30

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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In 1066 Lewin Croc held a manor in Bergholt assessed at 1 hide and 25 a.; in 1086 Roger of Poitou, lord of the honor of Lancaster, held it in demesne together with a berewick assessed at half a hide and 30 a. called Bradfield. Another ½ hide and 11½ a. was held freely. (fn. 1) Roger's fief was forfeited to the Crown in 1102, and granted c. 1126 to Count Stephen of Mortain, later King Stephen. (fn. 2) Bergholt manor was held of the honor of Lancaster until 1211 or later, but of the honor of Eye from 1233. (fn. 3) The overlordship was recorded until 1488. (fn. 4)

By 1119 the demesne tenant of BERGHOLT HALL was Robert de Sackville (d. c. 1137), from whom the manor took the alternative name of BERGHOLT SACKVILLE. Robert was Stephen's steward and later a monk at St. John's abbey, Colchester, and was probably succeeded by his son Jordan (fl. 1157). He was succeeded by his son another Jordan (d. c. 1208), (fn. 5) who was succeeded by his brother, Geoffrey de Sackville. (fn. 6) Geoffrey was succeeded after 1228 by his eldest son Jordan (d. 1233), and by his grandson William de Sackville (fl. c. 1250). William's son Jordan was imprisoned after the battle of Evesham in 1265, but was pardoned later that year. (fn. 7) On his death in 1275 the manor passed to his son Andrew, then a minor. (fn. 8) He died before 1291 and Bergholt Hall passed to his son, another Andrew de Sackville. The second Andrew held the manor until his death in 1316 and was succeeded by his son, a third Andrew de Sackville. He died in 1370, and Bergholt Hall passed to his widow Maud. (fn. 9)

Maud married Edmund de la Pole, brother of Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, but after her death in 1393 the manor passed to Sir Thomas Sackville, the son, possibly illegitimate, of Andrew de Sackville (d. 1370). (fn. 10) Sir Thomas died in 1433 and the manor passed to his son Edward (d. 1450). (fn. 11) He was succeeded by his son Humphrey (d. 1488) who left the estate to his son Richard (d. 1523). He was followed by his son John (d. 1557). (fn. 12)

The manor then passed to John Sackville's son, Richard, created Baron Buckhurst in 1557. After his death in 1566 the manor was held in dower by his widow Winifred, who married Sir John Paulet, marquess of Winchester (d. 1576). (fn. 13) Richard's son Thomas, who became earl of Dorset, sold the reversion of the manor in 1571 to John Dister, who gained possession in 1575. (fn. 14) He had been succeeded before 1557 by his widow Alice who c. 1584 gave the manor in marriage with her daughter Jane to Richard Weston. He was succeeded by his son, another Richard Weston, about 1614. (fn. 15)

Richard Weston sold the manor in 1621 to Sir John Denham who also held Little Horkesley. (fn. 16) In 1639 he was succeeded by his son the poet Sir John Denham who in 1641 sold the manor to Sir Harbottle Grimston the younger. (fn. 17) After Sir Harbottle's death in 1685 the manor was inherited by his son Sir Samuel Grimston (d. 1700). (fn. 18) He was succeeded by his great nephew William Luckyn, who assumed the surname Grimston and who in 1719 was created Viscount Grimston. He died in 1756 and was succeeded by his son James who sold the manor to John Hadley in 1775. (fn. 19) Hadley sold it before 1809 to George and Anne Caswell of Sacomb Park, Herts. George died in 1825 and Anne in 1829, (fn. 20) when the manor passed to their daughter Susan Constantia Caswell, wife of John Round of Danbury Park. (fn. 21) John Round (d. 1860) was succeeded by his son of the same name (d. 1887), whose heir was his son John Horace Round the historian (d. 1928). (fn. 22) He devised the manor, including Bergholt Hall and High Trees Farm to the children of Charles J. Round of Birch Hall (d. 1945), son of James Round, M.P., who had been a distant cousin and a friend of J. H. Round. (fn. 23)

There was a house, presumably on the site of the later Hall, by 1419. A barn and sheep-house needed repair in 1430. (fn. 24) The seven-bayed, three- storeyed, red brick east front of the Hall has a central Venetian window. (fn. 25) It appears to be of the third quarter of the 18th century and was probably built for the Grimston family. Most of the interior fittings are of the earlier 19th century. Incorporated in outbuildings at the back are sections of brick and timber-framed walls of the 17th or early 18th century. An abandoned medieval fish-stew lies immediately south of the Hall, while Dovehouse field south of the Hall in 1843 presumably marked the location of the dovecote. (fn. 26)

Another manor in West Bergholt, later called COOKS HALL, NETHERHALL, or BEAUMONDS, derived from the ½ hide and 26½ a. held by Alwine the hunter in 1066 and Richard son of Gilbert de Clare in 1086. Its later holders also probably acquired 2 small estates held by or of Richard in 1086: 6 a. held by Goding in 1066, and 31½ a. held by Lefcild in 1066 and Goding in 1086. (fn. 27) The overlordship apparently descended with the honor of Clare until 1860 when the manor was enfranchised. (fn. 28)

The demesne tenancy in the 12th and 13th centuries was probably represented by the fee or fees in West Bergholt called Mungedene or Pirifield, from which much land was granted to St. John's abbey. (fn. 29) The fee apparently took its name from Robert of Mungedene (fl. late 12th century) whose lands passed to Thomas le Harpur of Wormingford (fl. 1230). The alterna- tive name, Pirifield, apparently referred to lands in Fordham held of the manor. (fn. 30) Ralph Gernon of Wormingford (d. 1248) granted a life tenancy of the manor to John Beaumond from whom it took the name Beaumonds. (fn. 31) John presumably bought the reversion from Ralph or his successors, as St. John's abbey later owed 9d. rent in Bergholt to William Beaumond 'of Nether- hall', a name presumably deriving from its low- lying location. (fn. 32)

The demesne tenancy passed to Adam Cook (d. before 1361-2) from whom it was named Cooks Hall. Adam's probable heirs, Adam and Richard Cook, enlarged the estate by acquiring freehold lands of Bergholt Hall manor in 1372. (fn. 33) In 1445 Henry Fyloughby and his wife Cecily sold Cooks Hall or Netherhall manor in West Bergholt and Fordham to William Bury of Colchester, who was succeeded by his wife Joan in 1472. (fn. 34) In 1491 Thomas Cheryn and his wife Joan, presumably the widow of William Bury, sold Netherhall to Sir Thomas Mount- gomery of Faulkbourne. Sir Thomas died in 1495 and was succeeded by his sister Alice, wife of Robert Langley. (fn. 35) She was succeeded by another Thomas Mountgomery who in 1507-8 sold the manor to John Abell, a Nayland cloth- maker. (fn. 36)

John Abell (d. 1524) left the manor to his wife Anne for life with successive remainders to their five children, John the younger, John the elder, Edmund, Agnes Alabaster, and Mary. (fn. 37) The manor then passed to another John Abell (d. 1558) who was succeeded by his son, a third John Abell (d. 1575). He left the manor to his son Waldegrave Abell (d. 1613) who was succeeded by his son William. He died in 1628 leaving the manor to his wife Alice, daughter of William Lynne of Westwood Park in Great and Little Horkesley. At her death in 1641 the manor was sold to her brother John Lynne who bought out her son William Abell's interest in 1644. (fn. 38)

John Lynne sold the manor in 1649 to William Brand, who was succeeded in 1684 by his son Jacob, of Polstead Hall (Suff.). Jacob was apparently followed by his son, another Jacob (d. 1756), and by that Jacob's son William Beale- Brand (d. 1799). (fn. 39) He was succeeded by his wife, Ann Mirabella Henrietta (d. 1814), and then by his great nephew Thomas William Cooke. Thomas's widow, Mary Anne, and her second husband Charles Tyrell held until her death in 1849. (fn. 40) The manor was later held by T. A. Cooke (d. 1895), and his son E. B. Cooke; W. M. Cooke sold it to William Lofthouse in 1919. (fn. 41)

The 14th-century manor house was at Netherhall; the site is now lost but it was probably on the Colne near the boundary with Fordham. By the 16th century it had been abandoned for Cooks Hall, the site of the freehold gained in 1372, which lay on higher ground ½ mile south-west of the church. (fn. 42) In 1569 the buildings comprised the house, two courtyards, two barns, two stables, and a garden, orchard, and dovehouse. (fn. 43) The back wing of the surviving house is of two builds, perhaps of the 16th cent- ury or earlier 17th, but the main block was built in the 18th century. (fn. 44) Ponds near the house may be parts of a medieval moat, and brick walls recorded in the 18th century still surround the house. (fn. 45)

In the early 12th century Eudes the sewer gave to St. John's abbey, Colchester, land in West Bergholt which probably formed the nucleus of the abbey's estate of ALMERY LANDS or ARMOURY FARM, the name being a corruption of 'almoner', the abbey official to whom the farm was apportioned. (fn. 46) The Abbey's estate grew rapidly in the earlier 13th century until by 1249 it comprised a house and 40 a. Many gifts were made by tenants of the fee or fees known as Mungedene or Pirifield, probably the later manor of Cooks Hall, while others derived from the holdings of Aelfgar Keteswell (fl. 1200), reeve of West Bergholt or Mile End, and his sons. (fn. 47)

After the suppression of the abbey in 1544 the Crown granted the estate to Richard Duke, clerk of the Court of Augmentations, who in 1545 sold it to John Sackville, lord of Bergholt Hall manor. (fn. 48) The estate descended with that manor until 1634 or later, but was not recorded among its possessions in 1716. (fn. 49) Jeremiah Daniell of Colchester (d. 1766) owned or occupied the estate in the earlier 18th century, and the farm was held by his four daughters in 1768. Daniell and Sons Breweries Ltd. held it in 1946. (fn. 50)

The Armoury, an L-shaped building, had probably a hall and two cross wings. The 16th- century north wing has a plain crown-post roof. The main range appears to have been completely rebuilt but retains a cross-passage plan; there is now no south wing. In the 18th century the house was cased in brick and given a three-bayed front to both north and east, and in the later 20th century a block containing an entrance hall was built in the angle between the ranges. The garden on the east includes a large pond and is partly inclosed by high walls with bee holes. (fn. 51)

In 1536 Richard Cavendish was granted a supposed manor of West Bergholt formerly belonging to the suppressed Leigh priory, but that estate at Little Priors on Hall Road was merely a customary holding of Bergholt Hall manor. It is not recorded as a manor again. (fn. 52)


  • 1. V.C.H. Essex, i. 551-2.
  • 2. R. H. C. Davis, King Stephen (3rd edn.), 7; 1. McMaster and K. Evans, Mount Bures: Its Lands and its People (priv. print. 1996), 33.
  • 3. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 590; W. Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, i. 212; I. J. Sanders, Eng. Baronies, 43-4, 126-7.
  • 4. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 180.
  • 5. Arch. Jnl. lxiv. 217-20; Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, i. 210-11; Eccl. Hist. of Orderic Vitalis, ed. M. Chibnall, vi. 306-7; McMaster and Evans, Mount Bures, 36-8, 123.
  • 6. Arch. Jnl. lxiv. 220-2; Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, i. 211; iii. 317-18; Rot. de Dominabus (Pipe R. Soc. xxxv), 70; Pipe R. 1200 (P.R.S. n.s. xii), 51-2.
  • 7. Feet of F. Essex, i. 74; W. H. Blauuw, Baron's War (2nd edn.), 185; Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, i. 212.
  • 8. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 69; E.R.O., T/P 195/11.
  • 9. Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, i. 212-13; E.R.O., T/P 191/11; Morant, Essex, ii. 225; Genealogist, n.s. xvii. 251.
  • 10. Genealogist, n.s. xvii. 251; Feud. Aids, vi. 438; E.R.O, D/DMa M29, rot. 1.
  • 11. P.R.O., C 139/14, no. 10.
  • 12. Cal. Close, 1429-35, 235; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 180.
  • 13. E.R.O., D/DMa M26; D/DC 5/124; Complete Peerage, xii (2), 762-4.
  • 14. Feet of F. Essex, v. 157, 169, 191; E.R.O., D/DC 5/124, rott. 4-5.
  • 15. McMaster and Evans, Mount Bures, 41, 124; Morant, Essex, ii. 229; E.R.O., D/DC 5/124, rot. 7; D/DMa M4, rot. 8.
  • 16. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/296/18 Jas. I East. no. 29; 19 Jas. I Mich. no. 24; E.R.O., D/DMa M4, rot. 15.
  • 17. E.R.O., D/DC 5/125, rot. 1; D/DC 5/126, rot. 1; D/DOt T1; D/DE1 E4.
  • 18. Ibid. D/DC 5/128, rot. 1.
  • 19. Ibid. D/DC 5/129, rott. 1-2d.; D/DA T274; D/DEl E4; Complete Peerage, vi. 205; Morant, Essex, ii. 229.
  • 20. E.R.O., D/DRc M35/2; D/DMa M11, p. 1; D/DMa M21; D/DRb M3.
  • 21. Ibid. D/DMa M11, p. 215; Essex Heritage, ed. K. Neale, 136-7.
  • 22. E.R.O., D/DMa T4; D.N.B.; J. H. Round, Family Origins, ed. W. Page, p. ix.
  • 23. E.R.O., D/DMa M13, p. III; D/DRh Z8, W. Page to R. L. Poole, 31 July 1928; inf. from the late Lt. Col. J. G. Round; B. Burke, Landed Gentry (12th edn.), 1632-3.
  • 24. E.R.O., D/DMa M2, rot. 3d.; D/DC 5/147.
  • 25. Below, plate 1.
  • 26. E.R.O., D/CT 33; E.C.C., SMR 11984.
  • 27. V.C.H. Essex, i. 481, 573.
  • 28. P.R.O., DL 30/123/1859, f. 11; E.R.O., D/DL1 T2.
  • 29. Colch. Cart. i. 265-7, 278-9; ii. 412-9, 434, 436, 470.
  • 30. Ibid. i. 266-7; Cat. Anct. D. i. A 490; ii. A 3824; E.R.O., T/A 237; below, Wormingford, Manors; Fordham, Manors.
  • 31. Colch. Cart. ii. 413; Morant, Essex, ii. 230; E.R.O., T/P 195/11; below, Wormingford, Manors.
  • 32. B.L. MS. Arundel 145, f. 9v.; E.R.O., D/DMa M29, rott. 6-10; P.R.O., DL 30/123/1859, f. 11.
  • 33. P.R.O., DL 30/123/1859, f. 11; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 167.
  • 34. Feet of F. Essex, iv. 35; P.R.O., C 140/41, no. 34.
  • 35. Feet of F. Essex, iv. 92; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 447; E.A.T. n.s. xv. 39.
  • 36. E.R.O., D/DL1 T1; E.R. lxi. 225-32.
  • 37. E.R.O., T/A 134.
  • 38. P.R.O., C 142/170, no. 27; E.R.O., D/DLl M2, rott. 7d., 8; D/DL1 M3, rot. 1; D/DMa M4, rot. 8; D/DMa M15, p. 5; Morant, Essex, ii. 230.
  • 39. E.R.O., D/DL1 T1; D/DL1 M3, rot. 5 and d.; D/DL1 M4, rot. 1; D/DL1 M5, rot. 2d.; D/DL1 M10.
  • 40. W. Copinger, Manors of Suffolk, i. 181; E.R.O., D/DL1 M8, p. 45; D/DL1 M12.
  • 41. Copinger, Manors of Suffolk, i. 181; E.R.O., D/DL1 T2; D/DMa M13, p. III; D/DMa B71 sale cat.
  • 42. E.R.O., D/DMa M3, rot. 29; D/DMa M15, p. 5; D/DC 5/144, rot. 2.
  • 43. Ibid. D/DL1 M17.
  • 44. R.C.H.M. Essex, iii. 228; Dept. of Env., Buildings List.
  • 45. Hist. Essex by Gent. vi. 223.
  • 46. Colch. Cart. i. 233; Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 424.
  • 47. Colch. Cart. i. 144, 265-7, 278-9, 288-92; ii. 411-25, 432-34, 436, 440, 466, 469-70, 521, 663-4; Feet of F. Essex, i. 181; Arch. Jnl. lxiv. 222; V.C.H. Essex, ii. 123; Cat. Anct. D. ii. A 3370, A 3594; P.R.O., SC 6/849/25; ibid. DL 44/164.
  • 48. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (i), 495; (ii), 476; Feet of F. Essex, iv. 281.
  • 49. E.R.O., D/DMa M16, rot. 8; D/DMa M19; D/DC 5/142; D/DOt T1.
  • 50. Morant, Essex, ii. 230; E.R. xxxviii. 101; Wormell, Hist. Bergholt, 18; V.C.H. Essex, ix. 308, 379.
  • 51. Dept. of Env., Buildings List.
  • 52. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xi, p. 156; E.R.O., D/DH VI D2.