A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
There is some doubt about the identification in Domesday of the manor of NORTH WEALD, but it was probably made up of two estates which in 1086 belonged to Peter de Valognes and were held of him by Ralf. The larger of these estates was 'Walla', which was entered in Domesday after Loughton and Theydon Bois and would therefore seem to have been, like them, in Ongar hundred. (fn. 1) Walla had been held in 1066 by two freemen as two manors and as two hides and 40 acres. Peter de Valognes had it by exchange. (fn. 2) In the hundred of Harlow Ralf held of Peter de Valognes 'Walda', consisting of 30 acres which before 1066 had been held by a freeman. (fn. 3)
The tenancy in chief of the manor descended as part of the barony of Valognes until the 13th century, when the barony was divided among coheirs. North Weald fell to the share of Lore, wife of Henry de Balliol and thus continued to follow the same descent as the manor of Benington (Herts.) which had been the caput of the barony. (fn. 4) In 1325 North Weald was said to have been held of John de Benstede (d. 1323), Lord of Benington. (fn. 5) This seems to have been the last occasion on which a connexion with Benington was noted. In 1331 North Weald was said to be held of the king in chief. (fn. 6) Subsequent inquisitions usually report the manor as being held in chief.
The descent of the tenancy in demesne during the 12th century is not clear. By the end of that century it was held by the family of Essex. (fn. 7) J. H. Round suggested that it had been brought into that family by Cecily, mother of Henry and Hugh of Essex. She was the wife of Henry of Essex, the king's constable, who was defeated in judicial combat in 1163 by Robert de Montfort after having been charged with throwing away the royal standard in battle with the Welsh. (fn. 8) Henry's lands were forfeited to the king as the result of his defeat. For this reason one would not expect to find that North Weald, which apparently was not forfeited, had belonged to him in his own right. Henry of Essex, the younger, was his eldest son by Cecily. (fn. 9) In 1236 Henry of Essex held 5 knights' fees in Sutton, Springfield, and Layer-de-la-Hay (Essex), Barningham (Suffolk), and 'Ikenton' (Layston, Herts.) of the barony of Valognes. (fn. 10) In 1244 Henry, son of Hugh of Essex, was engaged in litigation concerning the advowson of North Weald. (fn. 11) Ten years later Henry of Essex compounded with Lore de Balliol for the customs and services due from his tenement to her at Benington, and agreed to render suit at her court there twice a year. (fn. 12) In 1267–8 Hugh, son of Hugh of Essex, granted to Philip Basset and Ela, Countess of Warwick, his wife, that they should hold North Weald for their lives from him and the heirs of his body. (fn. 13) Soon after this Baldwin, son of Hugh of Essex, granted Philip and Ela the manor of North Weald and 5 knights' fees belonging to it. (fn. 14) The 5 fees were specified as being one in Springfield, one in Layer-de-la-Hay, two in Sutton (Rochford hundred), and one in Barningham (Suff.). From this it is clear that the whole of the knight service had been imposed on the appurtenant manors, leaving North Weald itself free of charge.
Philip Basset died in 1271, leaving as his heir a daughter Aline, wife of Hugh le Despenser (d. 1265) and later of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk (d. 1306). (fn. 15) Aline died in 1281. (fn. 16) She was succeeded by her son Hugh le Despenser, who was later summoned to Parliament as a peer and in 1322 was created Earl of Winchester. (fn. 17) In 1310 it was stated that North Weald belonged to him and not to his son Hugh le Despenser the younger. (fn. 18) It may have been about this time that John de Rivers, lord of the hundred of Ongar, granted (the elder ?) Despenser view of frank-pledge of all his men in the manor of North Weald, exempting Hugh and his heirs from all tourns and suits of the hundred. (fn. 19)
The two Despensers were deeply involved in the civil wars during the reign of Edward II and the ownership of North Weald between 1320 and 1331 is not always clear. In 1320 the younger Despenser conveyed to Hugh de Audley the younger, Lord Audley, 1 knight's fee in North Weald and the manor of North Weald except for 5½ fees in it. The agreement was made by precept of the king. (fn. 20) In the following year Audley was deprived of the manor as a rebel, and it was granted to Robert Cole. (fn. 21) In 1322, however, North Weald was granted to the younger Despenser, to be held of the king by the service of one sparrowhawk annually. (fn. 22) The manor presumably remained in the younger Despenser's possession until his execution in 1326. In 1327 it was granted to Edmund, Earl of Kent. (fn. 23) Edmund was executed in his turn in 1330 and North Weald was granted for life to Bartholomew de Burghersh, Lord Burghersh (d. 1355). (fn. 24) In the same year the king granted that Edmund, Earl of Kent (d. 1331), should inherit his father's title and lands. (fn. 25) North Weald was presumably affected by this grant, for it was among the possessions of John, Earl of Kent (d. 1352). (fn. 26)
The manor descended with the earldom of Kent until the death in 1416 of Alice, widow of Thomas, Earl of Kent (d. 1397), who held it in dower. (fn. 27) It was then assigned to the purparty of Eleanor, wife of Thomas Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, who was Thomas, Earl of Kent's third daughter, and coheir of her brother Edmund, Earl of Kent (d. 1408). (fn. 28) On Salisbury's death in 1428 the manor passed to his daughter Alice, suo jure Countess of Salisbury. (fn. 29) It was forfeited in 1459 as a result of the rebellion of Alice's husband Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury. (fn. 30) North Weald probably passed to Richard's son Richard, Earl of Salisbury and Warwick, 'the Kingmaker' (d. 1471), for it was among the possessions of Warwick's daughter Isabel, wife of George, Duke of Clarence (d. 1478), at her death in 1476. (fn. 31) The manor descended to Isabel's son Edward, Earl of Warwick, but was administered by the Crown during his minority. (fn. 32) On Edward's execution in 1499 it was forfeited to the Crown.
North Weald was held by Humphrey Torrell at his death in 1517. (fn. 33) He presumably had it by royal grant. The manor appears to have been restored to Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, only sister of Edward, Earl of Warwick (d. 1499), for after her execution in 1541 it was in the king's hands as part of her lands. In 1544 the king granted it to Sir Richard Higham, who then conveyed it to Sir Richard Rich, later first Baron Rich. (fn. 34)
The manor descended in the Rich family until 1621, when Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick (d. 1658), conveyed it to Sir Thomas Cheeke, Kt. (fn. 35) In 1652 Sir Thomas settled it upon his second son Thomas. (fn. 36) It descended from Thomas Cheeke to his son Edward (d. 1707) and then to Edward Cheeke, son of Edward, who died childless in 1712. (fn. 37) North Weald then passed to Ann, daughter of Thomas Cheeke and wife of Sir Thomas Tipping, 1st Bt. (fn. 38) She died in 1727 and the manor descended to her daughter Katherine, wife of Thomas Archer, later created Baron Archer. (fn. 39) Katherine died in 1754 and her husband in 1768. (fn. 40) The manor passed to their son Andrew, Lord Archer (d. 1778). (fn. 41) Andrew left four daughters and coheirs: Sarah, who married Other Windsor Hickman, Earl of Plymouth (d. 1799), Ann who married Christopher Musgrave, Maria who married Henry Howard, and Harriott who married Edward Bolton Clive. (fn. 42)
Between 1791 and 1793 North Weald was bought by Daniel Giles, Governor of the Bank of England. (fn. 43) It subsequently followed the same descent as Youngsbury, near Ware (Herts.), until about 1900. (fn. 44) Christopher Giles-Puller was lord of the manor in 1899, but by 1902 the manorial rights had passed to Henry E. Paine and George F. Beaumont. (fn. 45) In 1841 Lady Louisa Puller owned 801 acres in the parish, including Great Weald Hall, and William C. Kirkby was her tenant in all except 4 acres of it. (fn. 46)
The farm-house known as Weald Hall Farm was probably built early in the 19th century. It is a square two-story building of gault brick. To the south of the farm-yard and on the perimeter of the airfield there was formerly a circular moat, probably representing the site of the medieval manor house. The north half of the moat was recently filled in and at the same time an embankment west of the farm was levelled. The square red-brick house on the north side of the road, now known as Weald Hall, dates from the late 19th century.
The manor of CANES or CAWNES took its name from the family of Calne or Caune which held it during the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 47) Richard de Calne was a litigant concerning land in the parish in 1204–5. (fn. 48) About the same time Richard de Caune granted an assart called 'Unere Redene' in Weald to his brother Walter de Caune. (fn. 49) Richard de Caune had sons Richard and John, both of whom held land in North Weald about 1230. (fn. 50) In 1261 a Richard de Caune held land in the parish. (fn. 51) Joan, widow of Richard de Caune, is mentioned in deeds of about 1290. (fn. 52) In one of these is a reference to the 'greenway' leading to Richard's hall. (fn. 53) In 1295 Joan granted to Thomas, son of Richard de Caune, all the tenements which she held in dower in North Weald. In return Thomas granted her an annuity of 12 marks for life, to be paid in her chamber at Hedingham Priory. (fn. 54) Thomas de Caune was alive in 1335. (fn. 55) His son and heir John had apparently succeeded him by April 1343. Katherine widow of Thomas, was then still living. (fn. 56) Sir John de Caune, kt., held land in the parish in 1349. (fn. 57)
In 1371 John Caune (possibly son of Sir John), then about to leave for Gascony, enfeoffed Sir John atte Vyne and others with all his lands in North Weald and elsewhere to the uses of his will. If he returned from Gascony he was to enjoy the property for life. If he died abroad it was to be sold and the money was to be applied for the salvation of his soul and those of his parentes and benefactors, and in works of charity. (fn. 58)
It is not clear whether John de Caune died in Gascony, but he was apparently the last of his line to hold Canes. By October 1406 the manor was held by Thomas Caune, son of John le Rous of Norton Mandeville (q.v.). (fn. 59) This Thomas presumably assumed the name of Caune after acquiring the manor. (fn. 60) The name of Rous was evidently readopted by Thomas, second son and ultimate heir of the above Thomas Caune. (fn. 61) The manor descended along with that of Norton Mandeville until about 1864, when Norton was sold by Merton College, Oxford. Canes remained in the possession of the college until 1923 when it was sold to the lessee, William Hart. (fn. 62)
Between 1536 and 1593 the manor was leased by Merton College to successive members of the Springer family. (fn. 63) In 1841 the property consisted of 292 acres and was farmed by Frederick Chaplin. (fn. 64)
The present farm-house of Canes dates from about 1840. It is a square stucco building with a low-pitched slate roof. South of the farm buildings is part of a large moat. In the early 19th century it extended farther north, almost enclosing the farm-yard. (fn. 65) The pond in front of the farm-house may represent part of a second moat.
The manor of MARSHALLS was held of that of North Weald. It derived its name from the family of Ralph le Mareschal or Marchal who held land in the parish in 1280. (fn. 66) In 1300 Hugh le Despenser, lord of North Weald, granted to John son of Laurence le Mareschal, of Laver, clerk, land which Laurence once held of him, at a yearly rent of 40s., John agreeing that if the rent should be in arrears not only this land but also his property in Magdalen Laver might be distrained. (fn. 67) In 1306 William de Sutton and Margery his wife conveyed to Peter Mareschal and Amiane his wife 2 messuages, 123 acres of land, 2 acres 1 rood of meadow, and 20d. rent in North Weald. (fn. 68) Peter and Amiane were still alive in 1317. (fn. 69) In 1331 Robert son of Peter Mareschal was holding a messuage, 199 acres of land, 18 acres of meadow, 3 acres of wood, and 50s. rent in North Weald and Theydon Garnon. (fn. 70) The reversion of this property was settled upon his son Thomas and the heirs of his body, with remainder to Thomas's brother Robert and his right heirs. In 1359 Robert le Mareschal settled an estate in North Weald and Theydon Garnon slightly larger than that of 1331 upon his son Roger and Margaret, Roger's wife. (fn. 71) Robert Mareschal occurs in 1374. (fn. 72) Margaret, widow of Roger Mareschal of North Weald, executed a charter in 1402. (fn. 73)
For most of the 15th century the descent of the manor has not been traced. In 1496 Joan, widow of Sir Robert Billesdon, died holding 8 parcels of land called Marshalls. (fn. 74) Sir Robert (d. 1492) was a haberdasher of London, alderman for Bread Street Ward and mayor 1483–4. He was knighted in 1485. (fn. 75) His wife was daughter and heir of John Williams; her heir was her son Thomas Billesdon. (fn. 76) Soon after her death Marshalls was acquired by Sir William Fitzwilliam (1460?–1534), merchant tailor of London, who was probably connected in some way with Sir Robert Billesdon because he lived and traded in Bread Street, and was alderman for Bread Street Ward. (fn. 77) In 1543 Marshalls was settled upon Sir William's grandson Sir William Fitzwilliam (1526–99) on his marriage to Anne daughter of Sir William Sidney. (fn. 78)
In 1554 Sir William Fitzwilliam sold Marshalls to John Searle. (fn. 79) The Searles were a local family, many of whose names occur in the parish registers of North Weald. (fn. 80) John was succeeded on his death in 1591 by his eldest son John. (fn. 81) In 1605 the latter settled the reversion of the manor upon his eldest son Samuel. (fn. 82) In 1616, after John Searle's death, the manor was claimed by Mary, widow of Thomas Searle, a younger brother of Samuel Searle, but Samuel's right was maintained by the court. (fn. 83) Samuel, who was a clergyman, was still alive in 1636. (fn. 84) He was succeeded by his son Samuel, citizen and stationer of London. (fn. 85) In 1660 Samuel Searle the younger sold the reversion of Marshalls after his death to John Archer, serjeantat-law, for £680. (fn. 86)
Archer, who became a justice in the court of Common Pleas and was knighted in 1662, died in 1682. (fn. 87) It is doubtful whether he himself ever took up the reversion of the manor. Samuel Searle was still lord of Marshalls in 1680, and the next court, in 1683, was held in the name of Eleanor widow of Sir John Archer. (fn. 88) In 1676 Sir John had settled the reversion of the manor upon his eldest son John, and the latter succeeded to Marshalls in or after 1687, in which year his mother is last known to have held the court. (fn. 89) John Archer died childless in 1707. He left a will desiring that Eleanor Wrottesly, daughter of his sister Eleanor, wife of Sir Walter Wrottesly, should marry William Eyre of Highlow (Derbs.) and that Eyre should assume the name of Archer and inherit Marshalls in his own right. (fn. 90) The will had an unusual result. Eleanor duly married William Eyre but died childless, and Marshalls subsequently passed to Eyre's son by his second wife. The manor descended in the Archer and Archer-Houblon families until 1914, when Capt. Lindsay Archer-Houblon sold the manorial rights to Raymond E. Trotter of Epping, solicitor, for £100. (fn. 91) In 1841 J. Archer-Houblon owned 63 acres in North Weald, for 57 acres of which his tenant was Thomas Speed. (fn. 92)
A rectangular moat enclosing an overgrown area marks the position of the medieval site of Marshalls. It lies to the east of Woodside, a little south of its junction with Duck Lane. The house itself had disappeared by about 1768. (fn. 93) The present Marshalls Farm, which dates from the 17th century, is a timberframed house with a chimney stack which is T-shaped in plan. The base has a moulded capping above which are four detached shafts set diagonally.
The manor of PARIS HALL derived its name from the Paris family, which held land in North Weald in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1280 Sir Humphrey de Hastings granted Roger de Paris, citizen of London, 'all the lands which he holds of my fee in North Weald Hasting . . . to hold of me and my heirs . . . yielding to me . . . 1d. (a year). . . . Saving to me and my heirs the whole foreign service, to wit the scutage of the king, so much as appertains to the fee of one knight; and making therefore yearly for me and my heirs to Ralph le Mareschal and his heirs 20s. at two terms of the year, and at . . . Pentecost a pair of gilded spurs or 6d.' (fn. 94) From this it appears that Paris Hall was previously held by Sir Humphrey de Hastings of Ralph le Mareschal (see above, Marshalls). The family name of Hastings is preserved in the modern Hastingwood, which adjoins Paris Hall. (fn. 95)
In 1298–9 Robert de Lincoln and Joan his wife quitclaimed to Roger de Paris ½ messuage, 180 acres of land, 5 acres of pasture, 8 acres of meadow, 60 acres of wood, and 5s. rent in North Weald which they had claimed as the dower of Joan of the endowment of William de la Haye, formerly her husband. (fn. 96) In 1303 Nicholas de Paris conveyed land in Weald and Harlow to Nicholas Roland. (fn. 97) A survey of the knights' fees in the half-hundred of Harlow in 1314 reported that William de Paris then held 1/8 knight's fee in North Weald of the Earl of Gloucester. (fn. 98) In 1324 William, son of Roger de Paris, and Alice, William's wife, acknowledged the right of Adam de Masshebury to 1 messuage, 180 acres of land, 13 acres of meadow, 45 acres of pasture, and 13s. rent in North Weald Hasting and Latton; Adam thereupon granted two-thirds of the property to William and Alice, and also the reversion of one-third which Beatrice, late wife of Roger de Paris, held in dower of the inheritance of Adam. (fn. 99) The agreement was made in the presence of Beatrice, who did fealty. (fn. 100) Adam here appears to have been a mesne lord.
A William de Paris of North Weald died about 1338, leaving tenements in the parish of All Hallowsthe-Great, London, to Roger de Waltham, corder, and to Sir Ralph Spigurnel and Alice his sister, wife of the testator. (fn. 101)
No further mention of the estate has been found until late in the 15th century. In 1482–3 Paris Hall seems to have been held by John Symonds, who in that year was said to have made an agreement with Sir Thomas Tyrell providing for the settlement of the manor upon John and Joan his wife and their issue, with remainder to Tyrell. (fn. 102) John and Joan were also said to have agreed to pay Tyrell £4 a year during their lives. (fn. 103) In 1501 Joan Symonds, now a widow, filed a suit in Chancery against Tyrell and other persons alleged to be trustees and to have refused to make over to John and Joan their estate in the manor. Tyrell replied that the annual rent of £4 had not been paid for more than seventeen years and that the other persons named in the writ had never actually been enfeoffed to uses. (fn. 104) Joan did not appear in court and the case was dismissed. (fn. 105) Two years later Paris was among the possessions left by Sir John Shaa (d. 1503). (fn. 106) The manor was then said to consist of 600 acres of land, 120 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture, 60 acres of wood, and £5 rent in Harlow, Latton, North Weald, and other parishes. Sir John was succeeded by his son Edmund. Some time later, between 1515 and 1529, Edmund was engaged in litigation with the trustees of the settlement of the manor made upon him by his father. (fn. 107)
Edmund Shaa's heir was his daughter Alice, who married William Pooley of Boxted (Suff.) in 1548. (fn. 108) After William's death (1587) Paris Hall passed to his son John. (fn. 109) John Pooley died in 1593 and was succeeded by his brother William. (fn. 110) In 1594 William Pooley conveyed the manor to Thomas and Katharine Fuller. (fn. 111)
According to Morant Fuller was a clothier of Coggeshall. (fn. 112) Paris Hall descended in his family for about 180 years. A William Fuller held it in 1705 (fn. 113) and another of the same name in Morant's time (c. 1768). (fn. 114) By 1775–6 Paris Hall had been acquired by William Hollick. (fn. 115) He conveyed the manor in 1798–9 to William Wedd Nash. (fn. 116) Nash held it only until 1804–5 when it passed into the possession of John Denner. (fn. 117) In 1822–3 it came to a Mr. Chatham. (fn. 118) In 1825–30 the owner was Mrs. Chatham. (fn. 119) James Ewing held Paris Hall in 1841 and 1848. (fn. 120) By this time it had ceased to be styled a manor. In 1841 it was a farm of about 120 acres.
In 1780 Paris Hall was leased to Joseph Clarke. (fn. 121) Thomas Stallibrass was the tenant in 1796–1822 and John Stallibrass in 1823–4. (fn. 122) In 1825–30 John Skingle was tenant (fn. 123) and in 1841 Charles Smith. (fn. 124) Early in the present century' the farm belonged to Frederick Bond, who owned it until about 1938. It was then bought by a Mr. Good. In 1946 or 1947 it was bought by a Mr. Parris and it is now owned by his sons, Messrs. V. and L. Parris. (fn. 125) The house and garden, apart from the farm, were bought at the same time from Mr. Good by Mr. Denning, their present owner. (fn. 126)
Paris Hall is a timber-framed house built late in the 16th century, possibly by Thomas Fuller after he acquired the property in 1594. It is a long rectangular building with gabled ends and a fine central chimney with six tall octagonal shafts. Near the west end a small staircase wing projects on the south side of the house and at the farther end there is a single-story service wing, evidently a later addition. Four late16th-century fireplaces have been uncovered inside the house. To the south and west of the house are two arms of a rectangular moat.