Earls Colne: Manors and other estates

Pages 92-94

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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Ealdor- man Aelfgar between 946 and 951 devised land at Colne to his daughter Aelfflaed who between 1000 and 1002 devised it to the religious house at Stoke by Nayland (Suff.). About 1040, how- ever, Earls Colne belonged to a widow, Leofgifu, and in 1066 it was held by Wulfwine whose lands were granted to Aubrey de Vere after the Conquest. (fn. 1) Aubrey and his descend- ants, the earls of Oxford, held EARLS COLNE until the execution and attainder of John de Vere in 1462. (fn. 2) The manor was granted to Richard duke of Gloucester, but was recovered by John's heir, another John de Vere, in 1464. That John forfeited his lands in 1471, and Earls Colne was granted to the duke of Gloucester in 1471, to Edward IV's queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in 1475, and to Sir Thomas Montgomery in 1484. (fn. 3) In 1485 John de Vere recovered his estates, and Earls Colne descended with the earldom of Oxford until 1584 when Edward de Vere sold it to Roger Harlakenden. (fn. 4)

The lands with which the de Veres endowed Colne priory became the separate manor of COLNE PRIORY, which was granted to John de Vere, earl of Oxford, at the Dissolution. (fn. 5) Edward de Vere surrendered the reversion to Elizabeth I in 1588, but in 1592 he sold the manor to Roger Harlakenden and his son Richard. (fn. 6)

Roger Harlakenden died in 1603, having devised the manors to his son Richard (d. 1631) who was succeeded by his son, another Richard. (fn. 7) On the younger Richard's death in 1677 the manors were divided between his daughters, Margaret, wife of John Eldred, and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Bowes, and his granddaughter Mary Harlakenden, wife of Daniel Andrews. (fn. 8) Elizabeth's son, Thomas Harlakenden Bowes, sold his third to Mary Andrews, and in 1700 the lands were divided between her and John Eldred; the manors con- tinued to be held in common, Mary Andrews and John Eldred each holding a moiety. (fn. 9)

Mary Andrews died in 1729, her son Richard in 1730, and her moiety passed to her daughter Anne who married John Wale. (fn. 10) She was suc- ceeded by her sons John (d. 1761) and Charles Wale (d. c. 1765), and then by her daughter Anne Holgate. (fn. 11) Anne was succeeded in 1767 by her daughter Mary Holgate or Holgate Wale. (fn. 12) The Eldred moiety descended with Olivers in Stanway to John Eldred (d. 1738) who devised it to his sister Anne (d. 1760), wife of the younger John Wale, with remainder to Thomas Kilner. John Eldred's widow Susannah held the moiety until her death in 1780, and in 1781 Thomas Kilner sold it to Mary Holgate Wale. (fn. 13)

On Mary's death in 1787 the manors passed to Anne Holgate's granddaughter Anne Holgate (d. 1817) and her husband Thomas Carwardine (d. 1824). (fn. 14) They were succeeded by their sons H. H. (d. 1867) and J. B. Carwardine (d. 1871) and by J. B. Carwardine's son John. (fn. 15) After John's death in 1889 the manors of Earls Colne and Colne Priory were separated. Earls Colne passed to John's son F. H. Carwardine (d. 1910) and daughter Florence Mary, who married J. H. W. Keeling; Colne Priory passed to W. R. Probert, son of H. H. and J. B. Carwardine's sister Anne and her husband Thomas Probert. Mrs. Keeling was still lady of Earls Colne manor in 1937, when the last copyholds had been enfranchised and manorial rights extinguished. W. R. Probert was succeeded at Colne Priory by his son W. G. Carwardine Probert who sold the manor c. 1935. (fn. 16)

The medieval manor house stood south of the church, but by 1487 it had been replaced by one in the priory. In 1509 that house contained a great chamber and at least four other chambers, one above a porch. (fn. 17) The house, then called Colne House, was repaired in 1563-4. In 1598 there were three domestic buildings with halls and cross wings on the site, linked by walled and fenced courts, as well as two cottages and barns; (fn. 18) the largest house may have been that described in 1631 as having a hall, parlour, dining chamber, middle room, great chamber, 17 other chambers, and garrets. (fn. 19)

About 1736 John Wale built a new brick house; it faced west with a plain classical five- bayed front. Of two storeys with attics, it con- tained a hall, three parlours, and a drawing room on the ground floor with bedrooms above. Some material from the old house, including parts of the earls' tombs, was incorporated into the new one. The outhouses included a brewhouse, coach house, and stable; the gatepiers to the stable court re-used more fragments of the old house. The grounds contained several fish- ponds, presumably originally the priory's. (fn. 20) The house was given a twin-towered north entrance front, in imitation of an East Anglian brick house of c. 1500, by H. H. Carwardine in 1825. He retained the 18th-century plan, but restyled the east front and added the east canted bay and the single-storeyed south wing. Both bay and wing were remodelled later in the 19th century, the latter being more than doubled in size to its east. (fn. 21) South additions, including a swimming pool, were made in the 1990s.

Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford, sold the former park to Roger Harlakenden in 1584, and Roger settled part of it, the Great Lodge and 380 a., on his younger son Thomas. (fn. 22) Richard Harlakenden in 1631 devised the reversion of Little Lodge and 360 a. to his younger son Roger. (fn. 23) About 1638 Roger's trustees sold Little Lodge to Sir John Jacob, who bought Great Lodge from Thomas Harlakenden in 1639. Sir John's descendant Sir Hildebrand Jacob sold the whole estate to George Aufrere in 1765. (fn. 24) By 1785 it had passed to Filmer Honeywood of Markshall, and it descended with the Marks Hall estate thereafter. (fn. 25)

Old Lodge Farm incorporates a 15th-century fragment of the Great Lodge. Timber-framed and almost square in plan with a west chimney stack, it had a ground floor room with a fireplace, probably a kitchen, and an unheated room above. The building may have continued to the north and west. Abutting but detached from its east side is a two-storeyed hall range with west cross wing, probably built or adapted as a farm- house after disparking c. 1575. The remains can perhaps be identified with the house which stood in 1598, and which had two cross wings, one much larger than the other and with a large stack. (fn. 26) A stair turret was built in the south-west angle between the two buildings in the 17th century or later.


  • 1. 8A.-S. Wills, ed. Whitelock, pp. 6, 38, 77; C. Hart, Early Chart. Essex, p. 23; V.C.H. Essex, i. 343, 534.
  • 2. 9Complete Peerage, x. 199-254; Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 186; vii, p. 270; x, pp. 517-18; xx, p. 205; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii. 59; Cal. Pat. 1381-5, 556-7.
  • 3. Cal. Pat. 1461-7, 197; 1467-77, 297, 543; 1476-85, 430; Complete Peerage, x. 239.
  • 4. Complete Peerage, x. 241-2; Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 379; E.R.O., D/DPr 158; Feet of F. Essex, vi. 27.
  • 5. Above, this par. Intro.; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xi, p. 89.
  • 6. Feet of F. Essex, vi. 60, 95; P.R.O., C 66/1385, m. 9; C 66/1393, mm. 11-15; E.R.O., D/DPr 162.
  • 7. P.R.O., WARD 7/38, no. 163; ibid. PROB 11/101, ff. 301-3; ibid. C 142/482, no. 42.
  • 8. E.R.O., D/DU 256/5, 8-9; D/DPr 170; Diary of Ralph Josselin, 502; cf. Morant, Essex, ii. 212.
  • 9. E.R.O., D/DE1 T2/18; D/DU 256/12-14; cf. Morant, Essex, i. 442.
  • 10. Morant, Essex, ii. 212; E.R. xxxiii. 117, 164.
  • 11. E.R.O., D/DPr 172; D/DPr 612, pp. 49, 51, 78-80; Morant, Essex, ii. 212.
  • 12. E.R.O., D/DPr 612, pp. 99, 102, 314.
  • 13. E.R.O., D/DE1 T2/18; D/DU 256/23; below, Stanway, Manors.
  • 14. E.R.O., D/DPr 173; D/DPr 613.
  • 15. Ibid. D/DPr 616, p. 170; D/DPr 617, p. 284; P.O. Dir. Essex (1870); Kelly's Dir. Essex (1890).
  • 16. E.R.O., D/DPr 618, pp. 203, 220, 257; D/DU 292/13; E.R. lii. 65, 153; E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 54.
  • 17. J. Leland, Itinerary, ed. L. Toulmin Smith, ii. 25; E.R.O., D/DPr 124, rot. 1; E.A.T. n.s. xiv. 298-302.
  • 18. E.R.O., D/DPr 626, between ff. 66 and 67.
  • 19. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547-80, 226, 231; Addenda 1547-65, 546-7; E.R.O., D/DPr 426.
  • 20. E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 54; B.L. Add. MS. 5811, f. 29; Chelm. Chron. 30 Apr. 1773.
  • 21. E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 54; E.R.O., sale cat. D1428, D1564; Dept. of Env., Buildings List.
  • 22. Feet of F. Essex, vi. 21; P.R.O., WARD 7/38, no. 163.
  • 23. P.R.O., C 142/482, no. 42.
  • 24. E.R.O., D/DHt T73/34-5, 38-9; D/DHt T356/1; D/DPr 448.
  • 25. Ibid. D/DHt T451; ibid. sale cat. B2311.
  • 26. Ibid. D/DPr 626, between ff. 11 and 12.