A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Before the Norman Conquest the manor of RUISLIP was held by Wlward Wit, a thegn of King Edward, who also held the manors of Kempton and Kingsbury in Middlesex and considerable estates elsewhere. By 1086 it had passed to Ernulf of Hesdin (de Hesding), (fn. 1) who c. 1087 granted it to the Abbot and Convent of the Benedictine Abbey of Bec in Normandy. (fn. 2) Bec enjoyed possession of it until 1211 when King John sequestrated the properties of the abbey. (fn. 3) From 1295, (fn. 4) and particularly after the outbreak of the wars with France in 1337, the English properties of alien priories were frequently sequestrated by the Crown. (fn. 5) The Prior of Ogbourne, as Bec's proctor in England, was permitted to retain the abbey properties only in return for a heavy annual farm. (fn. 6)
The Bec properties were finally confiscated in 1404, and Henry IV granted Ruislip manor, with reversion to the king and his heirs, jointly to his third son John, later Duke of Bedford, William de St. Vaast, Prior of Ogbourne, and Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham 1406-37. (fn. 7) The prior shortly afterwards died, and no successor was appointed. (fn. 8) Langley exchanged his interest in Ruislip for other property, (fn. 9) leaving John in sole possession of the manor. On his death in 1435 the manor reverted to the Crown, and although Bec petitioned the king for the restoration of their property, (fn. 10) Henry VI in 1437 leased Ruislip manor, with a plot called Northwood, for seven years, later extended to a grant for life, to his chancellor John Somerset. (fn. 11) In 1438 the king granted the reversion on this estate to the University of Cambridge. (fn. 12) The University surrendered its interest in 1441, and the king granted the reversion to his new foundation, the College of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, later King's College, Cambridge. (fn. 13)
In 1451, shortly after a Commons petition requesting the dismissal of Somerset, (fn. 14) Ruislip manor was granted outright to King's College. (fn. 15) In 1461, however, Henry VI was defeated by Edward of York and the Lancastrian grants were declared void. King's College was not included in the list of exemptions; (fn. 16) but in the following year Edward IV granted Ruislip manor, with Northwood, in free alms to King's College, (fn. 17) in whose possession it remained until the break-up of the college estates in the early 20th century. (fn. 18)
In 1086 Ruislip manor was assessed at 30 hides, and valued at £20. There were 11 hides in demesne. (fn. 19) Although the bulk of this later consisted of Copse and Park woods and open-field land south of Ruislip village, (fn. 20) part of the demesne lay in the north of the parish and was farmed from a grange at Northwood. (fn. 21) By 1294, when the area of the demesne, excluding woodland, was estimated at about 1,000 a., the value of the manor had increased to £81. (fn. 22) In 1435 its value was £103. (fn. 23) The demesne contained 1,074 a. in 1642, (fn. 24) and 1,097 a. in 1745. (fn. 25) After the replacement of the customary acre by statute measurement in 1750, (fn. 26) the acreage in demesne was assessed at 1,455 a. (fn. 27)
Although Bec normally farmed the manor, leases of the demesne occur from an early date. Peter Fountain leased it in 1251 at an annual farm of one mark. (fn. 28) For a period during the 14th century the demesne lands at Northwood were leased separately. (fn. 29) After the manor came into the possession of King's College, however, it was continuously in the hands of lessees, and the demesne lands, including the woods, were normally leased in their entirety. (fn. 30) Roger More, Henry VIII's baker, leased the demesne in 1529 at an annual rent of £69. (fn. 31) More held some rights in the manor, and was to be presented each year with a new gown such as the gentlemen of the college wore. The college reserved the right to hold courts and the privileges and profits thereof until 1565 when they were granted, with a lease of the demesne and woodland, to Robert Christmas. (fn. 32) A lease to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, in 1602 included the mansion house and the right to dig marl. The terms of the farm then included a moneyrent of £46 and a food-rent of 30 qr. of wheat and 52 qr. of malt, (fn. 33) and this remained substantially unchanged until 1810 when the money-rent was increased to £86. (fn. 34) The lease remained in the Cecil family until 1669 when it was acquired by Ralph Hawtrey of Eastcote. (fn. 35) The Hawtreys and their descendants, the Rogerses and Deanes, retained the farm until it was taken up by the college in the late 19th century. (fn. 36)
It has been suggested that a Norman motte-andbailey castle occupied the site of the present Manor Farm. (fn. 37) The theory is, however, based entirely on topographical evidence, all of which is open to alternative interpretation. After the transfer of Ruislip to Bec a small monastic cell was established there in the 12th century. (fn. 38) The nature of the early building is uncertain, but during the 13th century Ruislip became an important administrative centre for Bec's English properties, (fn. 39) and a manor-house incorporating a chapel was in existence by 1294. (fn. 40) Silver plate valued at £17, linen, and furniture are mentioned in 1324. (fn. 41) An inventory of 1435 indicates that the building was extensive, containing a hall, counting-house, prior's chamber, lord's chamber, forester's chamber, and chapel, together with a scullery and bakehouse. (fn. 42) The site of this building was probably a few yards west of the present Manor Farm where early masonry has been dug up. (fn. 43) In 1613 King's College, with the consent of the lessee of Ruislip manor, licensed the demolition of the Friar's Hall, presumably the remains of the earlier building. (fn. 44) The present Manor Farm is a twostoried, timber-framed building of early-16thcentury date with 18th-century and later alterations. (fn. 45) A moat completely encircled the site in 1750. (fn. 46) This was still intact in 1865, but by 1896 the northern portion had been filled in and the moat had acquired roughly its present dimensions. (fn. 47) The Manor Farm is now owned by the local authority, (fn. 48) and is used by cultural and health organizations.
The manor of ST. CATHERINE'S, also called St. Catherine End or Little Manor, seems to have originated in an estate in Ruislip parish held of the manor of Harmondsworth. A charter of c. 1087, confirming Ernulf of Hesdin's gift to the Abbey of Bec of the whole of Ruislip manor, excluded one hide held at this date by the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, or St. Catherine's, at Rouen. (fn. 49) This land probably passed to the abbey with the manor of Harmondsworth (fn. 50) which had been granted to Holy Trinity in 1069. (fn. 51)
Subsequently St. Catherine's manor seems to have passed as a sub-manor of Harmondsworth. In 1391 the Abbey of Holy Trinity had licence to sell all its English possessions. (fn. 52) St. Catherine's manor, as a parcel of Harmondsworth, was acquired by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and formed part of the endowment of Winchester College. (fn. 53) The college retained the Harmondsworth properties until 1543 when they were surrendered, in exchange for other lands, to Henry VIII. (fn. 54) Four years later, in 1547, the manor and lordship of Harmondsworth, including the woods called Westwood and Lowyshill in Ruislip parish, were granted to William, later Lord Paget, (fn. 55) and the Ruislip estate then descended with the other Paget properties. (fn. 56)
St. Catherine's manor was included in a list of Harmondsworth properties in 1588. It was then referred to as the manor of Ruislip, and was valued at 100 marks, exclusive of woodland. (fn. 57) In 1603 William, Lord Paget, sold the manor of Ruislip, with Westwood and Lowyshill, to Henry and Catherine Clarke. (fn. 58) The instrument describes the property as formerly held by Winchester College, and must refer to St. Catherine's manor since the Pagets never held the capital manor of Ruislip and the Southcote estate in Ruislip parish had passed to Clarke in 1597. (fn. 59)
During the early 17th century the descent of the manor is obscure. By 1680 it was in the hands of one John Reeves, (fn. 60) who may have held it as early as 1654. (fn. 61) The estate seems to have passed with that of Southcote, first to Reeves's widow and then c. 1700 to Robert Seymour. (fn. 62) In 1719 Henry Seymour of Hanford (Dors.) sold an estate called the manor of Ruislip, or Catherine-end, to John Child, the London banker. The property then passed to Child's son Christopher who devised it to his four nieces. One of these, Sarah Mico, married John Lewin who purchased the other three moieties in 1768 and was sole lord of the manor at the inclosure of the following year. (fn. 63) In 1800 the property was in moieties between Sarah Lewin and William Sheppard, husband of Susanna, the daughter and co-heir of John Lewin. (fn. 64) The manor remained in the hands of the Sheppards and the Cox family of Uxbridge until it was broken up later in the 19th century.
St. Catherine's manor lay in the west of the parish between Bury Street, Ducks Hill Road, and the parish boundary. Until the 1769 inclosure, however, precise details of its extent are lacking. The Abbey of Holy Trinity was involved in a dispute over land in Ruislip as early as 1238. (fn. 65) By 1587 the area of the manor seems to have been approximately 300 a., including 160 a. of commons. There were then nine free and fifteen copyhold tenants. (fn. 66) An undated document of c. 1740 lists twenty free and eighteen copyhold tenants. (fn. 67) By 1769 St. Catherine's manor included more than 400 a., but by this date it had been merged with the Southcote estate (fn. 68) and their respective areas are uncertain. Included in the composite manor were 150 a. of woodland in and around the present Mad Bess Wood and some 200 a. of commons called West Wood. (fn. 69) The manor boundaries are shown on a map of the 1804 inclosures. (fn. 70) Ducks Hill Road and the parish boundary mark the eastern and western limits of the manor. The northern boundary runs just north of the present Mad Bess Wood, and the southern follows a line extended from Clack Bridge due east to Bury Street.
There is no documentary evidence for the existence of a manor-house in St. Catherine's manor. Little Manor Farm, standing to the west of Bury Street about half-a-mile north of Ruislip village, appears to incorporate part of the roof of a singlestoried medieval hall between two gabled crosswings. (fn. 71) It is not possible, however, to identify the building definitely as belonging to St. Catherine's manor.
The relationship of the manor or freehold estate of SOUTHCOTE to the parishes of Harmondsworth and Ruislip and to the manor of St. Catherine's is complex. Southcote manor appears to have evolved out of the holdings of the Southcote family who held land in Ruislip and Harmondsworth from at least the 13th century. (fn. 72) The land held initially by the Southcotes can be identified with the messuage attaching to their hereditary office of forester of Harmondsworth, (fn. 73) whose land is mentioned in 1230. (fn. 74) In 1248 Roger de Southcote and Avice his wife held three virgates in the capital manor of Ruislip. (fn. 75) A rental of Richard II's time refers to a tenement in Ruislip parish held of the lord of Harmondsworth, attaching to which were 80 a. at Eastcote held of the Prior of Ogbourne and 80 a. held of John Shorediche. The holder in serjeanty of this tenement was to be woodward of the lord of Harmondsworth. (fn. 76) In 1390 Richard Palmer, forester of Harmondsworth, did fealty for a tenement in Ruislip said formerly to have been held by Roger, son of Roger de Southcote, and in Edward III's time in farm by Alice Perrers and two clerks, Thomas Spigurnel and Adam de Hertingdon. (fn. 77)
In the late 13th century Roger de Southcote, son of Roger and Avice, had received 16 a. of land lying in Sipson in Harmondsworth from Roger de Cruce of Sipson, (fn. 78) and further property from William de la Logge, (fn. 79) William's widow, (fn. 80) and others. (fn. 81) Hence by 1300 there were Southcote holdings in both Harmondsworth and Ruislip parishes. Roger de Southcote's son, Robert, acquired in 1310 three houses and three carucates of land from Henry Spigurnel, lying not only in Southcote and Harmondsworth, but also in Stanwell, Harrow, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Ickenham, and Ruislip. (fn. 82) Elizabeth, Robert de Southcote's widow, was holding land described as her manor of Ruislip in 1338, (fn. 83) but in 1341 their son, John de Southcote, sold the reversion on the whole property to William and Isabel Pycot. The property, held at this date by Elias de Saunford for the life of his wife Elizabeth, consisted of two houses and four carucates and 49 a. of land situated in Harmondsworth, Sipson, Southcote by Colnbrook, Ruislip, and elsewhere in Middlesex and Buckinghamshire. (fn. 84) This same property passed from Pycot some time before 1349, as in that year it was quitclaimed to Thomas de Colle and John de Padbury by Denise, widow of John Durant. (fn. 85)
In 1342 Elias and Elizabeth de Saunford also quitclaimed to William and Isabel their rights in property called the manors of Southcote and Ruislip which had been held by both John de Southcote and his mother. (fn. 86) The instrument implies a distinction between the Harmondsworth properties, called Southcote, and those lands lying in Ruislip. The manors called Southcote and Ruislip passed in 1348 from William Pycot's widow and her second husband, Edmund Blackwater, to Thomas de Colle and John de Padbury. (fn. 87) In 1349, therefore, Padbury and Colle held two different properties which together appear to have formed the manor of Southcote by Colnbrook which lies in Harmondsworth.
Padbury inherited Colle's interest, and in 1364 sold the manor of Southcote by Colnbrook to Odo Purchace, a London draper. The conveyance is dated from Ruislip, and the two grants of the Southcotes' lands, by Denise Durant and by the Blackwaters, are given as the source of the manor of Southcote by Colnbrook. (fn. 88) In the same year Purchace disposed of the manor to John atte Mulle, John Lessy, Vicar of Drayton, and William de Grendon, another clerk. (fn. 89) In 1375 Purchace's daughter, Christine, and her husband, Walter Aubrey, bought back the manor from two Londoners, John de Hilingford and Stephen de Kendale, to whom Lessy and Grendon had sold it. (fn. 90) At some time before 1375 what appear to be the Southcote lands in Ruislip had passed to Adam de Hertingdon and Thomas Spigurnel, (fn. 91) who were said in 1390 to have been holding jointly with Alice Perrers, Edward III's favourite. (fn. 92) By 1378 the Ruislip property had been divided between Alice Perrers and William Smith (or Southcote) of Ruislip. Alice's moiety was described as the manor of Southcote in Ruislip, and included the site of the manor, with a ruinous building on it, and 112 a. of land. This she held from several lords, including the priors of Harmondsworth and Ogbourne. (fn. 93)
After the confiscation of the Perrers properties in 1378, Southcote manor was leased to Peter Petrewogh, (fn. 94) who held it until 1379 when the forfeited properties were regranted to William of Windsor whom Alice had married. (fn. 95) The manor was then said to include lands in Ruislip, Harrow, Stanwell, and Colnbrook. (fn. 96) In 1400 part of the property was sold by John Kirkham of London to Thomas Arthington. (fn. 97) What appears to have been the remainder of the manor came into Arthington's hands in 1407 when William Smith quitclaimed to him all the lands and rents that had been the property of Robert and Richard Southcote, and of John, William's father. (fn. 98) Margery Southcote, however, had an interest in the manor of Southcote in 1446 when she transferred it to Nicholas Bolnehull. (fn. 99)
There still seems to have been a division within the manor. In 1454 William Chamber, a Yorkshire gentleman, granted to William Morton all the lands in Ruislip belonging to him as cousin and heir of Thomas Arthington. (fn. 100) Morton acquired further property, described as Southcote manor and the lands belonging thereto in Ruislip, from Robert Manfeld and Thomas Redehough in 1458. (fn. 101) A Southcote rental of Henry VI's time called it the manor of Ruislip, (fn. 102) and a Harmondsworth rental of 1549 includes the manor of Southcote in Ruislip, held of Harmondsworth manor. (fn. 103) It seems that Southcote manor is here confused with the Ruislip manor of St. Catherine's which had been granted to William Paget, together with Harmondsworth manor, in 1547. (fn. 104) In 1597 Richard Vincent, John Coggs, and Richard Melham conveyed Southcote manor to Henry Clarke, (fn. 105) who purchased the manor of St. Catherine's from Lord Paget in 1603. (fn. 106)
Subsequently the Southcote and St. Catherine's estates seem to have passed together, although details of the descent during the early 17th century are obscure. By 1680 John Reeves was holding 135 a. in Ruislip, including 90 a. of coppice at Southcote. (fn. 107) Some at least of this land he held as early as 1654. (fn. 108) On his death the property passed to his widow, and, about 1700, to Robert Seymour. (fn. 109) In 1719 Henry Seymour sold a capital messuage in an estate called Southcote to John Child who at the same time purchased the manor of St. Catherine End. (fn. 110) The descent of Southcote then followed that of St. Catherine's. (fn. 111)
There seems to have been a manor-house of Southcote in the 14th century. Whether or not the ruined building standing on the manor site in 1378 was the manor-house is uncertain. (fn. 112) Buildings on a moated site covering almost an acre are shown on a map of 1806 immediately north of Southcote Farm between Bury Street and the parish boundary. (fn. 113) Later 19th-century maps show no buildings. (fn. 114) The moat still existed in 1937, (fn. 115) but had been filled in by 1962.
In 1685 ten acres at Ducks Hill in Ruislip parish were said to belong to the manor of Bucknalls (More) in Hertfordshire. (fn. 116) This seems to represent the remainder of land at Northwood which in 1428 had been seized by the lord of the manor of More in exercise of a leet jurisdiction granting the right to confiscate felons' goods. (fn. 117) The estate then consisted of three messuages belonging to Guy atte Hill, and a messuage with 12 a. called Whiteslands which were Guy's and had formerly belonged to William White. (fn. 118) In 1520 the estate was referred to as a messuage, formerly two messuages, called Guy atte Hilles and Whytts in Ruislip parish; (fn. 119) and in 1601 as Gyett Hills in Ruislip. (fn. 120) In 1695 Ralph Hawtrey of Eastcote sold an estate called Gyetts Hills, consisting of approximately 90 a., to Sir Bartholomew Shower. (fn. 121) Nothing further is known of the property, although its name apparently survived in that of Gatehill Farm, Northwood, in the north-east corner of the parish. By 1937 the farm-house was said to be mainly of brick. (fn. 122)