Cranford: Manors

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Cranford: Manors', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington, (London, 1962) pp. 179-181. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]


Before the Conquest CRANFORD was held by Thurstan, a thegn of King Edward, and in 1086 had passed with his Staffordshire estates to William Fitz Ansculf. (fn. 1) Fitz Ansculf's descendants acquired the barony of Dudley, which devolved to the Somery family, and by 1194 Ralph de Somery had inherited the barony. (fn. 2) Cranford continued as a member of the barony of Dudley at least until 1292, (fn. 3) but in 1210-12 it was also declared to be a member of the honor of Mandeville. (fn. 4) It was again said to be a member of that honor in 1358 and 1428. (fn. 5)

In 1086 Cranford was held under Fitz Ansculf by one Hugh. (fn. 6) The mesne lordship later passed to the lords of Englefield (Berks.), (fn. 7) who had also held of Fitz Ansculf in 1086. (fn. 8) By the early 13th century the manor was held, presumably under the lords of Englefield, by a family who took their name from the village. In 1217 John de Mascy and Aveline his wife, daughter of William of Cranford and granddaughter of Roger of Cranford, successfully claimed the advowson on the grounds that Roger had made the last presentation. (fn. 9) It may be assumed that the advowson belonged to John and Aveline as owners of the manor. (fn. 10) In 1231 they conveyed half the manor, excepting the advowson, to Richard Hakepetit. (fn. 11) In 1238 Richard apparently granted a house and 100 acres back to Aveline, who was by then a widow, and by 1239 Thame Abbey (Oxon.) was holding property under Richard Hakepetit, including rents, 3 virgates, and a weir, which had formerly belonged to Aveline. (fn. 12) Thame already owned lands in Cranford by this time. Before 1226 Philip of Cranford had granted the abbey two parcels of land, one being a ½-hide which had been his grandmother's dowry, and the other a virgate which he had bought from his lord, William of Cranford, Aveline's father, and which he held of Aveline. (fn. 13) In 1237 Henry de Scaccario conveyed to the abbey property in Cranford including 1¼ virgate and in 1249 Walter de Purle and his wife conveyed to it two houses and 10 acres. (fn. 14) It is clear that by the middle of the century Thame Abbey was holding a considerble part of Cranford. The result of the various transactions of the 1230's described above, and of others described below, was, however, to divide the manor into two holdings. In 1293 Thame held half the manor and claimed to have been doing so for over 60 years, and to have acquired it from various persons. (fn. 15) The Abbey's property later became known as the manor of CRANFORD LE MOTE.

In 1365 Edward III granted Thame free warren in its demesne lands here and elsewhere. (fn. 16) There is no record of any leases made by the abbey. In 1542 the Crown granted it, with the other half of the original manor of Cranford, which was by then called the manor of Cranford St. John, to Andrew, Lord Windsor (d. 1543), (fn. 17) in part exchange for the nearby manor of Stanwell. (fn. 18) Both manors remained in the hands of the Windsors until 1594, being held from 1544 to 1552 by Thomas, second son of William, Lord Windsor (d. 1558), and from 1558 to 1562 by Thomas's younger brother, Philip. (fn. 19) In 1594 Henry, Lord Windsor (d. 1605), sold 'Cranford manor', probably including both estates, to Thomas Crompton of Hounslow manor. (fn. 20) By 1602 the two manors had come to Robert Knight, who sold them to Gideon Awnsham of Isleworth and George Needler, (fn. 21) who in turn, along with Sir William Fleetwood, receivergeneral of the Court of Wards, who seems to have been the tenant in possession, (fn. 22) conveyed them in 1604 to Sir Roger Aston. (fn. 23) In 1609 both manors were seized into the king's hands for the debts of Sir William Fleetwood, but in 1615 were quitclaimed to Sir Roger Aston's widow, Cordelia, and her husband John Mohun. (fn. 24) In 1618 Aston's heirs sold the manors to Elizabeth, widow of Sir Thomas Berkeley (d. 1611), the eldest son of Henry, Lord Berkeley (d. 1613). (fn. 25) This sale was confirmed by the Crown since Sir Roger Aston's title was said to have been defective. (fn. 26) Lady Berkeley seems to have held some land in Cranford before 1618, as in 1614 she appears as the lessor of the Moat House and orchards. (fn. 27) In 1616 one-fourth part of the manors seems to have been in the hands of Sir Gilbert Houghton, Thomas Spencer, and John Smith, but in 1619 this too was in Lady Berkeley's hands. (fn. 28) Thereafter both manors remained in the possession of the Berkeley family until 1932. (fn. 29)

In 1810, on the death of the 5th Earl of Berkeley, the Berkeley estates devolved successively upon his two eldest but illegitimate sons, created Earl and Baron Fitzhardinge (d. 1841 and 1867 respectively). (fn. 30) The Fitzhardinge branch of the Berkeley family retained the estates until the death of the 3rd Baron Fitzhardinge in 1916, when they reverted to Eva Mary Berkeley, great-niece of Thomas Moreton Fitzhardinge Berkeley, the eldest legitimate son of the 5th Earl of Berkeley (d. 1810), as the heir-general of the 5th earl. (fn. 31) From 1866 to his death in 1882 Thomas Moreton Fitzhardinge Berkeley, the eldest legitimate son of the 5th earl, and de jure 6th Earl of Berkeley although he never assumed the title, is described as the chief landowner in Cranford. (fn. 32) Presumably the Cranford estate was settled upon him as it reverted to Lord Fitzhardinge in 1882. (fn. 33)

During the ownership of the Berkeleys, the Cranford estate seems often to have been used for dower, or as a settlement for a younger son. From Elizabeth, Lady Berkeley (d. 1635), the purchaser, it passed to George, her youngest grandson. (fn. 34) In 1699 it was in the possession of Elizabeth, the countess dowager. (fn. 35) In 1734 it was held by Elizabeth, daughter of James, Earl of Berkeley (d. 1736), (fn. 36) and most probably was the dower of Mary, Countess of Berkeley, from 1810 to 1844, as she lived at Cranford from 1826 to 1844. (fn. 37)

Between 1916 and 1935 over 350 acres of the estate were sold, the bulk being dispersed in 1932. (fn. 38) This included the sale of Cranford House and park to the Hayes and Harlington urban district council in 1932; they resold it in 1935 to the Middlesex County Council, who leased it back to them for 999 years as an open space. The manorial rights are vested in the county council. (fn. 39)

Cranford House is to be connected rather with Cranford St. John manor than with Cranford le Mote. There is no direct record of any medieval manorial buildings in either manor, though the name of Cranford le Mote suggests that it may have included the original manor site. The 'manor-house commonly called the Moat House' is mentioned in a deed of 1684 which also refers to the mansion-house of Cranford St. John. (fn. 40) There was certainly a house on the moat site in 1603, when Sir William Fleetwood lived there. (fn. 41) Between 1614 and 1740 there are various leases of the Moat House, (fn. 42) and in 1740 it is described as having half an acre of courtyards and garden within the moat, and 4¾ acres adjoining and surrounding the moat. (fn. 43) The house was used as the Rectory when Thomas Fuller was rector (1658-61), (fn. 44) and was pulled down in 1780. (fn. 45) About half the land within the moat was sold in 1938 by the Middlesex County Council to the Air Ministry. (fn. 46)

Little is known of the demesne lands of the manor, since after 1628 it is never separately described from Cranford St. John. In 1542 it had appurtenances in Harlington, (fn. 47) and in the 17th century its lands seem to have lain in the north of Cranford parish and to have extended considerably into Harlington North and East fields. (fn. 48) In 1628 there were 40 customary tenants holding 8 houses, 3 cottages, and 151 acres, at a total rental of £5 9s. 7d. (fn. 49)

The estate which became known as the manor of CRANFORD ST. JOHN originated at about the same time as the Thame estate, as the result of the transactions which divided the original manor of Cranford. In 1293 the Templars claimed to have been holding half the manor of Cranford for 50 years, (fn. 50) and in 1242-3 they were returned as holding a knight's fee in Cranford: (fn. 51) this was the amount at which the whole manor was reckoned, which suggests that the Templars' holding was then at least as important as that of Thame Abbey.

Joan, widow of the Richard Hakepetit who had been concerned in the conveyances of property to Thame, granted the Templars her dower of arable and woodland in Cranford in 1240. (fn. 52) In 1242 John le Chapeler and his wife granted them a house and a virgate, and John of Cranford granted them a carucate in return for a pension in cash and kind. (fn. 53) John's relationship, if any, to Aveline of Cranford and her family is not known, but particular signifi cance is attached to this gift by a tradition, current among the Hospitallers in 1434, that 'the lordship and vill of Cranford' had been granted-presumably to the Templars-by John of Cranford. (fn. 54) In 1247 the Templars were at issue with Ralph de Scaccario (perhaps a relation of Henry de Scaccario, who gave land to Thame Abbey) concerning the advowson, (fn. 55) but they do not appear to have finally secured their rights in it until 1287, when Simon Weyf of Acton and his wife Euphemia acknowledged the Templars' right in a house, 2 carucates, and the advowson. (fn. 56)

The Templars evidently let the manor out on farm, since in 1309 it was taken out of the farmer's hand for three months by the sheriff, possibly for valuation. (fn. 57) This was because the Crown had confiscated all the Templars' property the year before. (fn. 58) The manor is known to have been in the hands of the king in 1311. (fn. 59) In 1313 Edward II ordered all the property of the Templars to be handed over to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in England, but alienation of the lands had already occurred in many places: (fn. 60) in many cases the Knights of St. John did not obtain the lands until the later 1330's, and in a few cases never obtained them at all. (fn. 61) Cranford did not come into their hands much before 1338, as in 1316 Ralph of Monthermer was returned as lord; (fn. 62) in 1328 the lord was probably Robert de Swalclyve, who held the advowson, (fn. 63) and in 1333 Roger Northburgh, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, held the manor. (fn. 64) By 1338 lands in Cranford to the value of 20 marks, late of the Templars, had been annexed to Clerkenwell Priory, the grand priory of the Knights of St. John in England; (fn. 65) this is borne out by a muster roll of c. 1335-40, where the Prior of the Hospital is given as holding lands valued at £10. (fn. 66) Thereafter the manor remained in the hands of the Hospitallers until the Dissolution. Leases are known to have been made by them in 1383 and 1393-8, and from 1499 to 1533. (fn. 67)

In 1540 the lands of the Hospitallers were confiscated by statute and taken into the hands of the king. (fn. 68) The farm of the manor at that date was £17, and it was held by Margery Wayland, the widow of the lessee of 1533. (fn. 69) John Wayland held the lease later, but was eventually evicted and became involved in protracted and unsuccessful litigation with the later owners. (fn. 70) After the manor was granted to Andrew, Lord Windsor, in 1542 it descended with Cranford le Mote, as described above. In 1542 it was said to have appurtenances in East Bedfont, Hatton, Heston, and Harlington, (fn. 71) and in 1734 chief and quit rents were owed from land and at least two houses in Hatton, and from land in Hanwell, Norwood, Hayes, and Harlington. (fn. 72) Most of the manor's lands, however, in the 17th century lay in Cranford itself, though it had 2 acres of pasture in Southall in 1650. (fn. 73) In 1628 there were 36 customary tenants, holding 7 houses, a cottage, and 146 acres of land. (fn. 74)

The first reference to a manor-house occurs in 1664, when the mansion-house west of the church was said to have been lately in the occupation of Lady Spencer. The Temple House, on the north of the church, is mentioned in the same year, but there is no reference to it after 1746. (fn. 75) Cranford House, which stands on the site of the mansion-house of 1664, was extensively rebuilt by James, Earl of Berkeley (d. 1736). It was an unpretentious threestory house of brick, and by 1800 consisted only of his additions, the older part having been pulled down. Two bow windows and a veranda were added on the south front, probably after 1810. (fn. 76) The house was used by the Berkeley family until the First World War. (fn. 77) It thereafter stood empty until it was demolished in 1944. (fn. 78) The stables, which date from the 18th century, still survive.

In 1699 Lady Berkeley occupied the park and four adjacent pieces of ground herself. (fn. 79) In 1722 the Earl of Berkeley made an agreement with the tenants by which he was to add a small area to the park. (fn. 80) In 1838 the park was occupied by a tenant farmer. (fn. 81) Partridges, hares, and pheasants are known to have been preserved there slightly earlier. (fn. 82) The park was reckoned at 70 acres, excluding the lake, in 1899, and at 150 acres in 1910. (fn. 83) The 149 acres bought by Hayes and Harlington Urban District Council in 1932 are preserved as an open space under the joint park management committee of the urban district council and of Heston and Isleworth Borough Council. (fn. 84)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 131.
  • 2. Complete Peerage, xii (1), 110.
  • 3. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 494.
  • 4. Red. Bk. Exch. (Rolls ser.), ii. 543; ibid, appendix B, p. cclxxxiii.
  • 5. Feudal Aids, iii. 376, 382.
  • 6. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 131.
  • 7. Bk. of Fees, ii. 897; Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 494; cf. Thame Cartulary, ii (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xxvi), pp. 136-8.
  • 8. V.C.H. Berks. iii. 406.
  • 9. Bracton's Note Bk. ed. Maitland, iii, p. 327.
  • 10. Cf. J.I. 1/544, m. 66.
  • 11. C.P. 25(1)/146/8/80.
  • 12. C.P. 25(1)/146/11/165; /12/182.
  • 13. Thame Cartulary, ii, pp. 136-8.
  • 14. C.P. 25(1)/146/11/155; /16/295.
  • 15. J.I. 1/544, m. 66.
  • 16. Cal. Chart. R. 1341-1417, 192.
  • 17. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 167.
  • 18. See p. 70.
  • 19. C 142/165/125; Wards 7/18/50.
  • 20. C 66/1412, m. 10.
  • 21. C 66/1596, m. 9.
  • 22. Lysons, Mdx. Pars. 22, citing par. reg.
  • 23. C 66/1632, m. 26-27; M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 11.
  • 24. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 9.
  • 25. Complete Peerage, ii. 146.
  • 26. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1611-18, 597; C 66/2170.
  • 27. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 14.
  • 28. Ibid. bundle 11.
  • 29. Ex inf. Mdx. Cty. Co.
  • 30. Complete Peerage, v. 410-12.
  • 31. Ibid. ii. 147.
  • 32. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1866, 1874, 1882).
  • 33. Ibid. (1882).
  • 34. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 11.
  • 35. Ibid. bundle 24.
  • 36. Ibid. bundle 6.
  • 37. Pigot, Lond. Dir. (1826-39); Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1845).
  • 38. M.L.R. 1916, 1921, 1922, 1930-3, 1935: see index sub Berkeley.
  • 39. Ex inf. Mdx. Cty. Co.
  • 40. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 11.
  • 41. Lysons. Mdx. Pars. 22, citing par. reg.
  • 42. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundles 2, 12, 14, 24.
  • 43. Ibid. bundle 2.
  • 44. See Thorne, Handbook to Environs of Lond. (1876), i. 120-1.
  • 45. Lysons, op. cit.
  • 46. Ex inf. Mdx. Cty. Co.; see p. 183.
  • 47. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 167.
  • 48. M.R.O., Acc. 530/8.
  • 49. Ibid. bundle 9.
  • 50. J.I. 1/544, m. 66.
  • 51. Bk. of Fees, ii. 897.
  • 52. C.P. 25(1)/146/12/190.
  • 53. C.P. 25(1)/146/12/194, 195.
  • 54. Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 831.
  • 55. J.I. 1/38, m. 21.
  • 56. C.P. 25(1)/148/31/153.
  • 57. S.C. 6/915/2.
  • 58. Cal. Close, 1307-13, 49.
  • 59. Cal. Pat. 1307-13, 335.
  • 60. E. J. King, Knights of St. John in Eng. 27.
  • 61. Knights Hospitallers in Eng. (Camd. Soc. lxv), pp. lvii-lviii.
  • 62. Feudal Aids, iii. 373.
  • 63. Reg. Baldock, Segrave, Newport, and Gravesend (Cant. and York Soc. vii), 284.
  • 64. Ibid. 300.
  • 65. Knights Hospitallers in Eng. (Camd. Soc. lvx), 95.
  • 66. M.R.O., F. 37/7.
  • 67. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 595, citing bishops' reg.; B.M. Lansd. MS. 200, ff. 59, 77; B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. E. vi, ff. 208, 262; L.R. 2/62, ff. 76, 98.
  • 68. St. John of Jerusalem Act, 32 Hen. VIII, c. 24.
  • 69. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII 2402, m. 7d.; L.R. 2/62, f. 98.
  • 70. C 78/1/34; /36/52; Req. 2/42/84; /86/26; /107/18.
  • 71. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 167.
  • 72. M.R.O., Acc. 530/8.
  • 73. Ibid. 6.
  • 74. Ibid. bundle 9.
  • 75. Ibid. bundle 13.
  • 76. Country Life, 9 Mar. 1935, p. 240; Lysons, Mdx. Pars. 21.
  • 77. T.L.M.A.S. xiv. 110-11.
  • 78. Ex inf. Mdx. Cty. Co.
  • 79. M.R.O., Acc. 530/bundle 24.
  • 80. Ibid. bundle 6.
  • 81. M.R.O., Cranford Tithe Award.
  • 82. V.C.H. Mdx. ii. 258.
  • 83. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1899, 1910).
  • 84. Ex inf. Mdx. Cty. Co.