Bladon: Manors and other estates

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley, 'Bladon: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990), pp. 20-22. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley. "Bladon: Manors and other estates", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) 20-22. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Blair, W J. Chance, Eleanor. Colvin, Christina. Cooper, Janet. Day, C J. Selwyn, Nesta. Townley, S C. "Bladon: Manors and other estates", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990). 20-22. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

Manors and other estates.

In 1086 Adam son of Hubert de Rys held 5 hides in Bladon of Odo of Bayeux. (fn. 42) The manor, which was held in chief after Odo's death in 1097 if not earlier, presumably followed the descent of Adam's other lands in Wootton hundred, escheating to the Crown on the death of his brother Eudes the sewer in 1120. (fn. 43) Thereafter the manor formed part of the royal demesne, but in the later 12th century and the 13th it was granted for life to royal servants. Walter de Hauvill (d. 1219) held it of the gift of Richard I by serjeanty of looking after the king's birds or falcons, and he was succeeded by his nephew Geoffrey de Hauvill. (fn. 44) After Geoffrey's death c. 1242 (fn. 45) Bladon was administered by bailiffs until 1265 when Henry III granted it to his clerk John of London, already rector of the church, for life. (fn. 46) John died in 1306, (fn. 47) and thereafter Bladon was administered with Woodstock manor, with which it descended, being granted to John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, in 1705 and held by his successor in 1985. (fn. 48)

The 13th-century bailiffs maintained manorial buildings in Bladon, reroofing the hall in 1244-5 and again in 1261-2, and the grange and granary in 1246-7 and 1310-11. Twelve oaks were used for the repair of the king's houses at Bladon in 1266. (fn. 49) There are no later references to the manorial buildings as such, although the unlocated Bury Court close recorded in the 17th century may have marked their site. (fn. 50)

Roger d'lvri held 21/2 hides in HENSINGTON in 1086, (fn. 51) and the overlordship of the manor passed, with that of his other lands in Oxfordshire, to the St. Valerys, Reynold of St. Valery confirming his tenant's grant to the Templars between 1150 and 1166. (fn. 52) The overlordship was not recorded thereafter.

William, who also held land in Rousham and Steeple Barton, held Hensington of Roger in 1086, (fn. 53) but no connexion between him and later holders of the manor has been traced. About 1140 Hensington was held by Stephen's supporter Turgis of Avranches, who granted land there to the Templars, a grant which did not take effect, presumably because of Turgis's rebellion and death in 1145. (fn. 54) Between 1150 and 1166, however, Otes de Talente gave the manor to the Templars. (fn. 55) Hensington passed in 1312, with most of the Templars' lands, to the Hospitallers, who held it until it passed to the Crown at the Dissolution. (fn. 56)

In 1544 the manor was sold to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt and Thomas Kydall, speculators who at once sold it to Jerome Westall of Woodstock. Westall sold it in 1546 to Leonard Chamberlain who sold it the following year to William Blandye. (fn. 57) Blandye kept the manor, leasing it to Jerome Westall, until 1563 when he sold it to Edmund Gibbons who sold it in 1577 to George Whitton. (fn. 58) Whitton died in 1606, leaving Hensington to his illegitimate son John Whitton, who sold it c. 1628 to Edward Shiere. (fn. 59) Shiere sold it c 1650 to Edward, later Sir Edward Atkyns, a justice of Common Pleas. (fn. 60) Sir Edward sold the manor in 1661 to Lewis Napper or Napier (d. 1674), who was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1724), whose executors sold it in 1726 to Sir William Thompson (d. 1739). In 1753 the devisees under Sir William's will sold the manor to the duke of Marlborough, whose successor held the estate in 1985. (fn. 61)

The manor house of the Templars' fee was held by a villein tenant in 1279. If it survived in 1512, it was not distinguished from other houses on the manor. (fn. 62) After the Dissolution a new manor house was built on the north side of Banbury Road, roughly opposite the junction with Shipton Road, and a small park, in existence by 1663, was made behind it. (fn. 63) George Whitton seems to have lived in Hensington, but the surviving house dates from the earlier 17th century and is therefore likely to be the work of John Whitton or Edward Shiere. Thomas Napier and Sir William Thompson seem to have leased the house to Charles Gorsuch and his sons John (d. 1732) and George (d. 1750). (fn. 64) The house was said c. 1728 to be very old and decayed and in 1750 there were plans to rebuild it, (fn. 65) but it was merely repaired and the interior slightly remodelled. The house was further altered in the 19th century, the work then including relocating a chimney and reconstructing the upper part of the staircase with old materials.

An estate of 5 yardlands in Hensington was held in 1086 by Robert d'Oilly of the fee of William FitzOsbern. (fn. 66) The overlordship followed the descent of Robert's Kidlington manor, and was last recorded in the mid 14th century when Hugh de Plessis held 1/6 of a knight's fee in Hensington. (fn. 67)

By the late 12th century the estate was held of Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 69. the d'Oillys by the Wheatfield family, who also held of them in Wheatfield. (fn. 68) In 1196 Henry of Wheatfield granted 5 yardlands in Hensington in dower to his sister-in-law Isabel, widow of Robert of Wheatfield, and her second husband Robert de Eversci. (fn. 69) The Wheatfield interest in Hensington apparently passed to Henry of Alney, who was the ward of Isabel and Robert de Eversci in 1196 and seems to have married a member of the Wheatfield family. (fn. 70) In 1279 the 5 yardlands were held of Thomas Kynne, the assign of Henry 'de Lanne', presumably a variant of de Alney. (fn. 71)

An undertenancy was created in the early 13th century when Henry of Alney sold the 5 yardlands to William Silkbert, from whom they passed before 1242 to William Langhals. (fn. 72) The undertenant of 2 yardlands gave them to the Templars c. 1220-30, and in 1279 the Templars held 2 yardlands of William Langhals. (fn. 73) A third yardland was given to the Templars or the Hospitallers after 1279, for in 1512 the Hospitallers held a total of 13 1/2 yardlands in Hensington. (fn. 74) The descent of the remaining 2 yardlands of the Wheatfield fee in the 14th century is unknown, but before 1437 they were held by Roger Mundy of London. The estate passed to Robert Croxford whose son John held in 1454, and descended with the Croxford land in Kidlington to Austin Gainsford, who sold it to William Rede in 1517. (fn. 75) Rede seems to have been acting for Roger Hamsterley, to whom he at once conveyed the estate. Hamsterley gave it to Merton College before his death in 1518. (fn. 76)

Merton increased its Hensington estate in 1616-17 when it bought from John Whitton the freehold of 2 1/2 yardlands, in which the college had already acquired a leasehold interest created by Edmund Gibbons. (fn. 77) In 1629 Merton bought from John Meads of New Woodstock an interest in a further 2 yardlands, the freehold of which was conveyed to the college by William Sellar in 1657. (fn. 78) Meads's grandfather, John Meads, had bought the 2 yardlands c. 1577 from Edmund Gibbon's brother Thomas. (fn. 79) Merton College retained its Hensington estate until 1885 when it was sold to the duke of Marlborough. (fn. 80)

In 1086 Ansger held 5 yardlands in Hensington of Odo of Bayeux. (fn. 81) Nothing further is known of Ansger or his descendants, and no overlord was recorded until 1279 when the estate was said, perhaps in error, to be of the fee of Robert d'Oilly. (fn. 82)

By the late 12th century the estate was held by the Scorchebeef family of Shipton-on-Cherwell. One hide (4 yardlands) was held in 1199 by Denise Scorchebeef, and it descended with Shipton to Simon son of Geoffrey Scorchebeef, who soon after 1242-3 granted his interest in the estate to Oseney abbey. (fn. 83) The abbey had acquired half the hide, presumably from an undertenant, before 1242-3; the other half was given or sold to the abbey between 1243 and 1279, most of it in 1257 by Eustace son of Ralph, the remainder by Eustace son of Geoffrey. (fn. 84) Oseney retained the estate until Dissolution, when it passed to the Crown. The land was among the endowments of the first Oxford cathedral in 1542 but was not granted to the new foundation, and in 1546 it was sold to Leonard Chamberlain and John Blundell (fn. 85) and absorbed into Hensington manor.

The fifth yardland of Ansger's estate passed to Roger Scorchebeef, perhaps the husband of Denise, who seems to have surrendered it to the Crown. (fn. 86) It was held in the late 12th century or the early 13th by John of Shipton, and then by Ailric the parker of Woodstock, on whose death without issue before 1242 it escheated to the Crown. (fn. 87) In 1263 Henry III granted it to his cook, Robert of St. James, who held it in 1279. (fn. 88) The yardland presumably escheated to the Crown which held it in 1512; in 1585 it was sold to Theophilus Adams and Thomas Butler of London, presumably speculators. They sold it almost at once, for in 1587 Sir Francis Walsingham and Francis Mills of Westminster sold the 'king's yardland' in Hensington to George Whitton. (fn. 89)

Thomas Croft, by will proved 1488, gave to St. Margaret's chantry in Woodstock church land in Hensington which was described in 1512 as 1/2 yardland freehold of the Hospitallers' manor. It was sold to George Owen in 1549, but has not been traced thereafter. (fn. 90)


  • 42. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 405.
  • 43. Ibid. xi. 147.
  • 44. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 263; Pipe R. 1218 (P.R.S. N.S. xxxix), 84; Bk. of Fees, i. 253, 589; Ex. e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i. 40, 411.
  • 45. Close R. 1237-42, 415.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1258-66, 468; below, Church.
  • 47. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, pp. 250-1.
  • 48. Marshall, Woodstock Manor, 249.
  • 49. 49 P.R.O., SC 6/957/5; ibid. SC 6/962/4, 22; Close R. 1264-9, 210.
  • 50. Blenheim Mun., box 9 (deed of 1675); ibid. B/M/208, ff. 296v., 313.
  • 51. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 416
  • 52. Sandford Cart. ii (O.R.S. xxii), pp. 207-8.
  • 53. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 416; xi. 162.
  • 54. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. iii, p. 314; B. A. Lees, Rec. of Templars in Eng. p. cxxi.
  • 55. Sandford Cart. ii, pp. 207-8.
  • 56. Hospitallers in Eng. (Camd. Soc. [1st ser.], 1xv), 26; P.R.O., E 318/box 21/1156: printed in Marshall, Woodstock Manor, 43-5.
  • 57. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix (2), pp. 185, 418; xxi (2), p. 161;
  • 58. Cal. Pat. 1560-3, 545; 1575-8, p.234; P.R.O., REQ2/243/46.
  • 59. P.R.O., CP 25(2) 473/3 Chas. I/Hil., no. 18; ibid. PROB 11/108, f. 368; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 24, f. 446.
  • 60. Marshall, Woodstock Manor, 47, 411; Blenheim Mun., box 89; Bladon par. reg. transcript (copies in O.R.O., Westgate Libr., and Bodl.), baptisms 1651; D.N.B.
  • 61. Blenheim Mun., boxes 10, 87, 89; par. reg. transcript, burials 1674.
  • 62. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874; Corpus Christi Coll., Oxf., MS. 320, ff. 24-6.
  • 63. P.R.O., PROB 11/108, f. 368; Bodl. MS. Rolls Oxon. 103; Blenheim Mun., box 87.
  • 64. Bladon par. reg. transcript, baptisms 1690, 1692, 1696, 1699, burials 1723, 1732, 1750; Woodstock par. reg. transcript, burials, 1698; Woodstock Boro. Mun., 55/1/9.
  • 65. Blenheim Mun., boxes, 10, 87, 89.
  • 66. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 425.
  • 67. Bk. of Fees, ii. 821; Cal. Inq. p.m. xi, pp. 353-4; below, Kidlington, Manors.
  • 68. V.C.H. Oxon. viii. 266.
  • 69. Oxon. Fines, 2.
  • 70. Cur. Reg. R. i. 19, where Alney's name is spelled Abreto; two of his sons were surnamed Wheatfield: Sandford Cart. ii, pp. 251-2.
  • 71. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874: the reading is correct, see P.R.O., SC 5/Oxford/Tower/16 (2).
  • 72. Sandford Cart. ii, pp. 273-4, 276; Oxon. Fines, p. 124.
  • 73. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874.
  • 74. Corpus Christi Coll., MS. 320, ff. 24-6.
  • 75. Merton Coll. Mun., 3305, 3307-9, 3311-12, 3315.
  • 76. Ibid. 3316; Reg. Ann. Coll. Merton. (O.H.S. lxxvi), 478.
  • 77. Merton Coll. Mun., reg. 1.3, p. 325; ibid. lease bk. 6.2, pp. 577, 753; ibid. 6675.
  • 78. Ibid. lease bk. 6.2, p. 96; ibid. 3304.
  • 79. P.R.O., REQ 2/26/20; REQ 2/122/3.
  • 80. Blenheim Mun., box 90.
  • 81. V.C.H. Oxon i. 405.
  • 82. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874.
  • 83. Oxon. Fines, 8; Oseney Cart. iv, pp. 147-8.
  • 84. Bk. of Fees, ii. 831; Oseney Cart. iv, pp. 148-9; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874.
  • 85. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 490; xxi (2), p. 161.
  • 86. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874.
  • 87. Pipe R.. 1242 (ed. H. L. Cannon), 123; Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 164.
  • 88. Cal. Pat. 1258-66, 303; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 874.
  • 89. Corpus Christi Coll., MS. 320, f. 25; P.R.O., C 66/1257, m. 30; B.L. Cott. Ch. XIII. 15; cf. Blenheim Mun., box 89.
  • 90. Corpus Christi Coll., MS. 320, f. 25v.; Oxon. Wills (O.H.S. xxxix), 38; Cal. Pat. 1548-9, 192.