Landownership: Other medieval estates and freeholdings

Pages 121-123

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 12, Chelsea. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2004.

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In 1433 a messuage fronting the highway by the Thames was conveyed to Thomas Haseley, esquire, Alice Haseley, widow, and two others and their heirs, with 3 roods of arable in Westfield apparently near the messuage. (fn. 1) In 1448 Sir Thomas Haseley and his wife Agnes had a house in Chelsea which included a chapel. (fn. 2) In 1449 the house, arable, and meadow in Chelsea were settled on Sir Thomas Haseley (d. c.1450), then under-marshal of England and Chancery Clerk of the Crown, his wife Agnes, and Agnes's heirs, together with lands in Fulham, Chiswick, and Kingsbury. (fn. 3) In 1451 Agnes Haseley, widow, settled her estates including the house and land in Chelsea on herself for life with remainder to Henry Waver, citizen and draper, and his wife Christine or Christian, probably Agnes's daughter. (fn. 4) In 1453 Agnes headed the list of assized rents owed to Chelsea manor with 30s. 4d. (fn. 5)

By 1465 Henry Waver was in possession of property in Chelsea and he and Christine granted to Master Robert Kirkham, Keeper of the Chancery Rolls, John Catesby, sergeant-at-law, and William Morland, clerk, two messuages in Chelsea, one newly-built with an enclosed garden, and the other adjoining in which Peter Carpenter lived, rendering 4d. a year to Waver, and with a warranty against Christine's heirs. It was quitclaimed to the three and to the heirs of Kirkham by two Londoners, probably feoffees. (fn. 6) In 1466 Sir Henry Waver and the two Londoners granted a 20-year lease to Kirkham of 1 a. ½ r. of arable on the north side of Kirkham's wall for 3s. 4d. a year. Waver still retained other land in the parish. (fn. 7) Sir Henry Waver, alderman of London, died in 1470 leaving all his lands and tenements in the towns and parishes of Chelsea, Fulham, Kingsbury, Hendon, and Willesden to his wife Christine and her heirs, and made her one of his executors. (fn. 8) By 1472 Christine had married Thomas Cooke of Chelsea and they and another of Waver's executors gave a bond in connection with Waver's estate. (fn. 9) In 1472 Thomas and Christine conveyed to William Essex, John Young, and Thomas Wylkyns eight messuages, five gardens, 60 a. land, 1 a. meadow, and 16d. rent in Chelsea, with a warranty against the heirs of Christine to the heirs of Essex. (fn. 10)

William Essex also acquired property from John Drayton of London (d. 1467). Drayton's will instructed the feoffees of his lands and tenements in Chelsea to grant the property with the profits to his wife Christine for life, and if she married then to convey it to William Essex. (fn. 11) In 1476 Christine, now the wife of John Rolle, claimed that Essex had purchased from Drayton a messuage called a brewhouse, two cottages, 60 a. land, 6 a. meadow, and 12 a. pasture in Chelsea for £53 6s. 8d., of which he still owed part. (fn. 12) William Essex, under treasurer of England, and described as of Walham Green (Fulham), died 1480 holding the manor of West Town in Kensington with lands in Kensington, Brompton, Chelsea, Tyburn, and Westbourne, acquired in 1454, Wanden manor in Fulham, and land in Knightsbridge. His heir was his son Thomas. (fn. 13) The descent of his land in Chelsea has not been traced further.


John Frenshe, citizen and goldsmith of London, held land in Chelsea in 1447 which was used as security for a sale by Frenshe of an inn in Fleet Street. (fn. 14) In 1453 Frenshe was paying an assized rent of 12s. 10d. to the manor of Chelsea, (fn. 15) and in 1457 he joined with Robert Beaufitz and his wife Joan to convey to Ralph Botiller and others, probably feoffees, a messuage, two tofts, a dovecote, 46 a. land, and 2 a. meadow in Chelsea. (fn. 16) By 1464 Frenshe's former tenement belonged to Richard Beauchamp, bishop of Salisbury (d. 1481), and lay fronting the riverside. (fn. 17) In 1484 Elizabeth Mowbray (d. by May 1510), the widowed duchess of Norfolk, was granted for life the tenement, houses, and land in Chelsea which had belonged to the bishop. (fn. 18) The holding has not been reliably traced thereafter.


In his will of 1477 proved in 1481, John Croke, citizen and skinner, alderman of London, left all his messuage or place in Chelsea to his wife Margaret for life, and then to his daughter Margaret, wife of Sir William Stokker, draper, and her heirs. (fn. 19) In his will of 1485 Sir William Stokker, mayor of London, left to Chelsea church 20s. and a torch, and his wife Margaret received the residue of his goods and his livelihoods in London, Deptford, and Bedfordshire for life. All his lands were to go to his daughter Margaret and her issue, or in default to John Stokker of Willesden. (fn. 20) His property has not been traced further.


Robert Fenrother, alderman and goldsmith of London, in 1525 left to his wife Julian his manor of Notting Barns and lands in Westbourne (Paddington) and Chelsea for life, thereafter to remain to Henry White and his wife Audrey, Fenrother's daughter. (fn. 21) He headed the list of assized rents owed to Chelsea manor c.1536 with 14s. 3d. (fn. 22) In 1536 Julian Fenrother leased to John Pattenson of Chelsea, husbandman, for 20 years the Chelsea property consisting of a brewhouse with various vessels and utensils used for brewing, a tenement on the east side of the brewhouse with 40 a. of arable belonging to it, and 7 lots of meadow in Westfield. (fn. 23) In 1542 Robert White, presumably the son of Henry and Audrey, sold to Henry VIII in an exchange the two tenements, 40 a. arable, and 7 lots in Westfield, the manor of Notting Barns in Kensington, a messuage at Westbourne, and other property in Kensington, Paddington, and Chelsea; the fine was made in 1544. (fn. 24) Thereafter the Chelsea property became part of the demesne of Chelsea manor. As a freehold of the manor it had had grazing rights belonging to it, which suggests that the brewhouse may have been at the Feathers, which like the Magpie (below) was a demesne property with freeholders' rights.


In 1503 Thomas Whitehead and his wife Emmota conveyed to William Birrell, his wife Joan, and William Champion and William Babeham grocers, a messuage, a garden, and one virgate and 2 acres in Chelsea. (fn. 25) In the 1540s William Birrell paid 4d. assized rent for his freeholding, described as a tenement and half an acre of garden. Birrell died before April 1547, and the heir to his freeholding was his daughter Lettice, wife of Robert King of Essex. In 1547 they conveyed to Thomas Beane junior and his wife Katharine 9 messuages or tenements with gardens, one called the Rose, and 6 others occupied by tenants including Thomas Saunders. (fn. 26) Some of Beane's estate including the Rose was later acquired by Thomas Hungerford. (fn. 27)


John Wylkyns, yeoman, of Chelsea was a witness in 1463 to a grant in Knightsbridge. (fn. 28) In 1464 Agnes Wylkyns, widow of John Wylkyns senior of Chelsea who died after 1461, conveyed to William Rous and Henry Carpenter, clerks, John Bedford, and her son Thomas Wylkyns and Wylkyns's heirs the cottage and adjoining curtilage in Chelsea, which she and husband had been granted by Lora widow of William Laurens of Chelsea, baker, and which lay next to the house of John Frenshe. Agnes also granted to Thomas Wylkyns and John Lynde of Chelsea all her goods there and debts owing. (fn. 29) Thomas Wylkyns, formerly a clerk to William Rous, Chancery clerk of the Crown c. 1452, in 1465-7 or 1476-80 brought a suit to recover deeds against John Lynde who had acted as arbiter in a dispute between Wylkyns and his tenant, Thomas Mytton, over a messuage in Chelsea let for £4 a year. (fn. 30)

Thomas's property may be part of that held by William Wylkyns in the 1540s, when he owed an assized rent to Chelsea manor of 19s. 1d. (fn. 31) In 1545-6 he and his wife Alice conveyed to John Bowyer two messuages, a barn, garden, orchard, 40 a. land, 20 a. meadow, 20 a. pasture, 5 a. wood, 10 a. marsh, 10 a. waste, and 5s. rent in Chelsea and Fulham. (fn. 32) They also owned Chelsea ferry and its landing place in 1550 and 1564. (fn. 33)


Maud, widow of Richard Est, held for life a freehold messuage and barn with one rood of land adjoining it and another 2 acres in the fields of Chelsea, which was to remain to her son John Est. John was succeeded by his daughter Katharine who married William Hunteley and had a son Thomas. William Hunteley was a freehold tenant of the manor, paying 8s. assized rent in 1453, and also leased 3 acres demesne that year; (fn. 34) in 1464 his tenement lay next door but one to that of John Frenshe. Thomas Hunteley, who leased the property in 1493 to John Lamprey for 14 years, died when his daughter and heir Jane was 6 months old. The lease was sold successively to John Morecote, John Whitehead, and William Birrell of London. Birrell was succeeded by his son John, who took possession of the property and would not acknowledge Jane's right. In Henry VIII's reign, probably c.1520, Jane and her husband John Kyngton brought a suit against John Birrell for the property, to which they claimed Jane was entitled as Thomas Hunteley's daughter under an entail. (fn. 35) The outcome is unknown, but in 1522 John and Joan (sic) Kyngton conveyed to Thomas Keyle and others a messuage, 8 a. land, and 2 a. pasture in Chelsea, which may have been Jane's inheritance. (fn. 36) In 1538 Keyle sold to Henry VIII a tenement with a barn, stable, and buildings, and a close of land, which had once belonged to Kyngton and his wife and lay next to a messuage called the Lord Sandys place, (fn. 37) the Tudor manor house. In 1538-9 40s. was due as the rent of a tenement and parcel of land next to the king's manor and acquired from Thomas Keyle of London. The property was later called the Pye or Magpie, and was part of the manorial demesne estate thereafter, though as a former freeholding it retained its commoning rights. Courts were sometimes held there, and one tenant, James Leverett, gardener, who had been granted the property with its outbuildings and a garden, 6 roods by 3½ roods, in 1642 on unknown terms, left £4 a year to be spent on 4 dinners a year at the Magpie for the parochial officers. (fn. 38)

Thomas Keyle also acquired other land in Chelsea: in 1526 a fine was levied by John Greenfield and his wife Lettice to Keyle and others for the manor of Brompton Hall, which included 2 messuages, one tenement, 20 a. land, 4 a. meadow, 22 a. pasture, and 4 a. wood; (fn. 39) within three years Keyle brought a suit against them for detention of the deeds to this property, which included land in Kensington, Chelsea, and Fulham. (fn. 40) Both the Greenfields and Keyle also sold property to Sir Thomas More: (fn. 41) Keyle's property in Chelsea included Butts close of 2½ a. and a house, wharf, and adjoining close, which Sir Thomas More bought from Keyle. (fn. 42) Keyle was also lessee of the medieval manor house in 1519. (fn. 43)


  • 1. PRO, C 54/284, m. 22d.; above, Settlement, to 1680.
  • 2. PRO, C 1/20/13.
  • 3. Cal. Close, 1447-54, 134-5.
  • 4. Ibid., 285-6; VCH Middx, V. 59.
  • 5. WAM 4804.
  • 6. PRO, CP 25/1/152/96, no. 16; C 54/317, mm. 21d., 25d.
  • 7. PRO, C 54/317, m.7d.
  • 8. PRO, PROB 11/5, f. 245.
  • 9. Cal. Close, 1468-71, 327.
  • 10. PRO, CP 25/1/152/97, no. 41.
  • 11. Guildhall MS 9171/6, f. 2v.
  • 12. PRO, C 1/49/47.
  • 13. PRO, C 140/77/80.
  • 14. Cal. Close, 1447-54, 32.
  • 15. WAM 4804.
  • 16. PRO, CP 25/1/152/95, no. 181.
  • 17. Cal. Close, 1461-8, 246.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 503.
  • 19. PRO, PROB 11/7, ff. 26-8.
  • 20. Ibid., f. 198-v.
  • 21. Cal. of Husting Wills, London 1258-1688, II(2), 630.
  • 22. BL, Lansd. MS 2, f. 11.
  • 23. PRO, E 312/12, no. 57.
  • 24. PRO, E 305/5/C54; E 326/12775.
  • 25. PRO, CP 25/1/152/101.
  • 26. BL, Lansd. MS 2, f. 11; PRO, SC 2/188/43.
  • 27. Above.
  • 28. Cal. Close, 1468-76, 72.
  • 29. Ibid., 1461-8, 246.
  • 30. PRO, C 1/32/154.
  • 31. BL, Lansd. MS 2, f. 11.
  • 32. PRO, CP 25/2/27/186/37HENVIIIEASTER.
  • 33. PRO, CP 25/2/61/474/4EDWVIMICH; CP 25/2/171/6ELIZIHIL; above, Intro., comms.
  • 34. WAM 4804.
  • 35. PRO, REQ 2/4/11.
  • 36. PRO, CP 25/2/27/179/32.
  • 37. PRO, E 326/12183.
  • 38. PRO, C 10/416/5; PROB 11/310, f. 11.
  • 39. PRO, CP 25/2/27/180/17HENVIIITRIN.
  • 40. PRO, C 1/533/18.
  • 41. Above, More.
  • 42. PRO, C 1/540/78.
  • 43. Below, later ests (Lawrence).