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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Manors and other estates
In 1086 CASSINGTON was held of Odo of Bayeux by Wadard, who held two estates of 2 ½ hides each, and by Ilbert de Lacy, who held 6 hides. (fn. 37) One of Wadard's manors passed, with Cogges, to Mannasser Arsic, who held it in 1103. (fn. 38) Robert Arsic was overlord in 1212 and 1220, and in 1242 the manor was held of the Arsic fee. (fn. 39) In 1279 it was held of the Arsics' successor, Robert de Grey, but there is no further record of the overlordship and in 1320 the manor was held of the king in chief. (fn. 40)
Before 1123 the Arsics had granted their manor in CASSINGTON to the elder Geoffrey de Clinton, who in turn enfeoffed his brother William. (fn. 41) The mesne lordship thus created passed from Geoffrey de Clinton to his son Geoffrey and to the younger Geoffrey's son and grandson, both called Henry de Clinton. (fn. 42) The younger Henry died without issue in 1232-3, and Cassington passed to his sister Agnes and her husband Warin de Brakenham, who in 1242 conveyed it to William de Cauntelo of whom the manor was held in 1256. (fn. 43) From William de Cauntelo the mesne lordship seems to have passed to his son George and then to George's nephew and coheir John of Hastings, (fn. 44) but no further record of it has been found.
William de Clinton was succeeded as demesne tenant by his sons Ralph and Jordan (d. 1189) and by Jordan's son William (d. c. 1197). (fn. 45) From the younger William the manor passed to his son, another William de Clinton (d. by 1238) whose heir was Nicia de Clinton, wife of William of Paris. (fn. 46) Nicia seems to have given Cassington to her son, another William of Paris, who held it in 1242-3 and who, before his death in 1255, conveyed it to William Montagu. (fn. 47)
About 1269 William Montagu exchanged Cassington with Philip Basset and his wife Ela Longespee for their lives. Philip died in 1271, and in 1279 Ela held Cassington. (fn. 48) On her death in 1297 the manor reverted to William Montagu's son Simon, Lord Montagu, (fn. 49) from whom it passed to his son William (d. 1319); William's relict Elizabeth evidently retained the manor in dower until her death in 1354, when it reverted to William's grandson William (d. 1397), earl of Salisbury. (fn. 50) The last William was succeeded by his nephew John Montagu, earl of succeeded by his nephew John Montagu, earl of Salisbury, on whose execution in 1400 Cassington escheated to the Crown and was granted to John Cornwall for life. (fn. 51) In 1409 it was restored to John Montagu's son Thomas, earl of Salisbury (d. 1428). (fn. 52) Thomas's heir was his daughter Alice, wife of Richard Neville, who had at least an interest in Cassington in 1446, but in 1448 the manor was held by Thomas's widow Alice Chaucer and her third husband William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, and in 1450 Alice Chaucer made a settlement of it. (fn. 53) It presumably passed to her son John de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, for her grandson Edmund de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, held Cassington at his forfeiture in 1504. (fn. 54) The manor then passed, with the dukedom and earldom of Suffolk, to Charles Brandon (fn. 55) who sold it back to the Crown.
In 1557 the manor was sold to Edward Mylner and Nicholas Pynde who presumably sold it to Richard Yate from whom it passed in 1561 to Richard Gunter and in 1563 to John Warner. (fn. 56) Warner died in 1565 and was succeeded by his nephew Thomas Norwood who in 1574 sold the manor, then called Moat farm, to his tenant Vincent Coventry. (fn. 57) Coventry died in 1610, having sold part of the property, and in the same year his son and heir John mortgaged the manor to Edmund Reynolds of Oxford who apparently foreclosed on the mortgage in 1612. On his death in 1630 Reynolds bequeathed his interest in Cassington to his nephew William Reynolds. (fn. 58) In 1633 a dispute over the ownership was settled when John Coventry granted the manor to William Reynolds for the residue of a term of 1,000 years created in 1610. (fn. 59) There is no further reference to the Coventry interest in the manor, and Reynolds presumably acquired the freehold, if Edmund Reynolds had not already done so in 1610. William Reynolds was succeeded before 1665 by his son Christopher whose son and heir Edmund sold most of the estate, no longer described as a manor, to John Greenway in 1700. Greenway, a member of a long established Cassington family, died in 1742 and was succeeded by his son John who died without issue in 1775 and was succeeded by his nephews Randolph (d. 1785) and Henry Greenway. Henry sold the estate in 1799 to George Spencer, duke of Marlborough. (fn. 60) The dukes of Marlborough, who had built up a large estate in Cassington, were described as lords of the manor throughout the 19th century and were the largest landowners in the parish in 1982.
William Montagu obtained licence to crenellate his manor of Cassington in 1317. (fn. 61) The house, which stood within a moat south-east of the church, presumably decayed in the later 15th century when the lords of the manor no longer used it as an occasional residence. The site was in 1982 marked by a mound about 20 yards east of the surviving farmhouse, Reynolds Farm, a coursed rubble building of two storeys with attics. The main range, which runs north-south, has a three-room plan with a small projection on the west; it was probably built in the early 17th century. The house was extended to the north-west in the 18th century and to the north-east in the early 20th century, at about which time the roof of the old house was renewed. The cellars probably once extended further south (fn. 62) and there may have been a room above them. The pigeon house west of the house may be of the 17th century. The earthworks of three fishponds survive in a field south of the house. The house was retained by Edmund Reynolds when he sold the rest of his Cassington estate in 1700. (fn. 63)
Wadard's second 2 ½ hide manor of CASSINGTON was held in 1235 of the honor of St. Valery. (fn. 64) Richard, king of the Romans, confirmed a grant of land in Cassington in 1270, and the overlordship was recorded again in 1279, 1300, and 1325. (fn. 65) In 1414 and 1490 the manor was said to be held of the honor of Wallingford. (fn. 66)
The mesne lordship of the manor, later 1 knight's fee, passed to Walkelin Wadard, apparently Wadard's son, and to Walkelin's daughter Helewise. It then passed to Helewise's son by her first marriage, Walkelin Hareng, and his coheirs, Stephen of Fritwell and John Brown, of whom the manor was held in 1247. (fn. 67) In 1279 it was held of Stephen's son Richard of Fritwell and William Brown, (fn. 68) but there is no later record of the mesne lordship.
In the late 12th century the demesne tenants of half the fee were Helewise's daughter by her second marriage, Avice Avenel, and her husband Richard de Vernon (d. 1195), who gave the manor to William de Brai in marriage with their daughter Isabel. (fn. 69) In 1247 the manor was held by Robert and Cecily Bagot, but shortly afterwards their son William sold it to Peter Ashridge who gave it to Godstow abbey. (fn. 70) Richard de Vernon, grandson of Richard and Avice, confirmed the grant to Godstow c. 1255, but in 1279 the abbess held directly of Richard of Fritwell and William Brown. (fn. 71) Thereafter the descent followed that of Godstow's other Cassington manor (fn. 72) into which it was absorbed.
The other half of the St. Valery fee may have been held in the late 12th century by Amisius of Woodstock, whose son John sold land in Cassington to Philip Pady of Oxford before 1252. (fn. 73) Philip was succeeded by John Pady whose son Edmund held the ½ knight's fee in 1279. (fn. 74) Henry Pady, presumably Edmund's heir, sold the estate c. 1284 to Michael Meldon who held ½ fee of the earl of Cornwall in 1300. (fn. 75) In 1324 Michael settled his Cassington property on his son William, who held it in 1350. (fn. 76) William died c. 1362 and was succeeded by Walter of Coxwell who in 1365 conveyed Cassington to Thomas Cheyne. (fn. 77) The manor then seems to have descended to Thomas's son Henry (d. 1397), to Henry's nephew Roger Cheyne (d. 1414), and to Roger's son John, who in 1444 sold it to John Elmes. (fn. 78) From John Elmes the manor passed to his son John (d. 1491), and then, with the manor of Papley in Warmington (Northants.) (fn. 79) to the younger John's son William (d. 1504), to William's son John (d. 1541), to John's son Edmund (d. 1602), to Edmund's son Thomas (d. 1632), to Thomas's son William (d. 1641), and to William's son Arthur, who in 1661 conveyed it to Henry Allnutt. (fn. 80) In 1692 Henry Allnutt conveyed the manor to his youngest son, another Henry, who sold it in 1711 to John Churchill, duke of Marlborough. (fn. 81)
The 6 hides in CASSINGTON held by Ilbert de Lacy in 1086 were later held of the honor of Pontefract. (fn. 82) In 1235-6 the manor was held of Ilbert's descendant John de Lacy earl of Lincoln, and in 1242 of John's son Edmund, earl of Lincoln. (fn. 83) On the death of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, in 1311, the knight's fee in Cassington passed to his daughter Alice and her husband Thomas, earl of Lancaster. (fn. 84) Thereafter the overlordship of the fee descended with the earldom, and later dukedom, of Lancaster. It was last recorded in 1361 when Cassington was among the lands assigned to Blanche, daughter and coheir of Henry, duke of Lancaster, and her husband John of Gaunt. (fn. 85)
William de Clinton held 1 knight's fee of the honor of Pontefract, along with his estate of the Arsic honor, in 1235-6, but three quarters of it had been alienated by 1242-3 when William of Paris held only ¼ fee. (fn. 86) That ¼ fee later descended with William's other Cassington manor, into which it was absorbed, to the Montagus and their successors. A mesne tenancy may have been created in the mid 13th century, for in 1255 William of Paris was said to have held of William Mauduit, (fn. 87) but there is no other record of such a mesne tenancy.
The remaining three quarters of the Pontefract fee was held in 1242-3 by William son of Peter. (fn. 88) whose family can be traced in Cassington from the later 12th century and may have held a manor under the Clintons. Richard of Cassington was recorded in 1170 and 1172; (fn. 89) his son William married Gillian Rampan, a descendant and perhaps heir of William Rampan who was associated with Geoffrey de Clinton in the mid 12th century. (fn. 90) By 1204 William son of Richard had been succeeded by his son Peter, (fn. 91) presumably the father of the William who held in 1242-3. In 1279 William son of Peter held the land, presumably ¾ fee, of the honor of Pontefract. (fn. 92) William died before 1295 and was succeeded by his son William who may have been the William Rampan who held the ¾ fee in 1311. (fn. 93) Soon afterwards the manor, reduced to ¼ fee by grants to Godstow abbey, seems to have been granted to Michael Meldon, holder of part of the St. Valery manor, of whom both the abbess of Godstow and William son of Peter held before 1316. (fn. 94) Michael Meldon and his successors retained part of the Pontefract fee: in 1361 Michael's son William held ¼ fee and in 1428 Thomas Cheyne held ½ fee which had been William Meldon's. (fn. 95)
During the 13th century Godstow abbey built up an estate which amounted to ½ fee of the Pontefract manor and ½ fee of the St. Valery manor. (fn. 96) The abbey retained the estate, later described as a manor, until the Dissolution. (fn. 97) when it passed to the Crown. In 1544 it was sold or mortgaged to 19 men, apparently London merchants, among them Richard Allen, perhaps the man of that name who in 1559 conveyed the Godstow manor of CASSINGTON to his sons Thomas and Richard. (fn. 98) They sold it in 1562 to Richard Gunter, owner of the former Montagu manor. In 1563 Gunter conveyed both manors to John Warner from whom they passed to Thomas Norwood. (fn. 99) Norwood sold the Godstow manor in 1573 to a Cassington yeoman, Richard Greenway, who divided it among his four sons, John, Robert, Richard, and Thomas. (fn. 1) One quarter of the manor descended in the Greenway family to Francis Greenway (d. 1717), who was succeeded by his cousin John Greenway, owner of the former Montagu manor, (fn. 2) with which that quarter of the Godstow manor descended thereafter. Another quarter remained in the Greenway family until 1691, then passed through various hands until it was bought in 1781 by Richard Tawney of Oxford. The executors of Tawney's great great nephew, another Richard Tawney, sold it in 1867 to Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 3) The remaining two quarters were split up in the 17th century; most of the land seems to have been bought by the dukes of Marlborough in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Godstow manor house was apparently at the southern edge of the village on the site now occupied by Thames Mead Farm. It may have been the house leased to William Meldon in 1350 which then comprised a hall with two cellars, a kitchen, a dovecot, two granges, a chamber with a loft above for the mower, and a stable. (fn. 4) The house, which then contained six bays of building, (fn. 5) was divided in 1604 between Robert and Richard Greenway. The surviving house has a datestone of 1607 on one wing. The main building, which is partly timber-framed and partly stone, is a long range which was apparently once a single house but is now divided into two. The southern part contains a panelled room of c. 1700.
In 1086 Roger, presumably Roger d'Ivri, held Worton of the fee of William FitzOsbern, and Robert, presumably Robert d'Oilly, held of him. (fn. 6) The township seems in fact to have been divided between Roger d'Ivri and Robert d'Oilly, who both held in chief after the forfeiture of William FitzOsbern's son Roger in 1075. Before c. 1127 Robert d'Oilly or his successor gave land in WORTON, later ½ knight's fee, to the church of St. George in the Castle, Oxford. It passed, with that church's other endowments, to Oseney abbey in 1149. (fn. 7) At the Dissolution it passed to the first Oxford cathedral and then, in 1546, to Christ Church which held it, with other Cassington property, until it was sold in two parts in 1952 and 1954, by which time manorial rights had long since lapsed. (fn. 8)
The other ½ fee in WORTON descended with the rest of Roger d'Ivri's lands to the honor of St. Valery, and was held in the early 13th century by Robert, count of Dreux, and from 1237 by Richard, king of the Romans, and his son, Edmund earl of Cornwall. The overlordship was last recorded in 1324. (fn. 9)
In 1237 the tenants of the manor were Philip Miller, perhaps the Oxford burgess of that name, and Philip Ridi, who held of the gift of William Fremcurt. (fn. 10) By 1279 it had passed to John de Eu, a prominent Oxford burgess, from whom it seems to have passed to Henry Pady, holder of half the St. Valery fee in Cassington, and so, with Henry's Cassington manor, to Michael Meldon who held ½ fee in Worton in 1300. (fn. 11) In 1324 Michael Meldon settled his Worton land on his son Michael. (fn. 12) In 1346, however, the manor was held by another John de Eu. (fn. 13) The next known lord was Thomas Stratford who conveyed it before 1428 to John Barton. It then passed, under the terms of John Barton's will, to his son John, and then c. 1450, to William Fowler of Buckingham. (fn. 14) By 1457 it had been acquired by the younger John Elmes. (fn. 15) and thereafter it descended with the Elmes manor of Cassington.
The rectory estate, comprising a house, c. 3 a. of arable and 1 yard of meadow, and most of the great tithes, (fn. 16) was held by Eynsham abbey. Two thirds of the tithe of the Arsic manor of Cassington, however, was granted to Cogges priory by Mannasser Arsic c. 1103, and Oseney abbey received the tithes of 1 hide of demesne in Worton until c. 1172. Agreements were later reached with both houses whereby Eynsham received the tithe in return for payments of 10s. to Cogges and 2s. to Oseney. (fn. 17) Both payments had been lost by 1535. (fn. 18)
After the Dissolution the rectory land and tithes passed to Christ Church, which leased the property to a succession of tenants, many of them non-resident, who included Michael Townsend of Cassington (1544), Sir Thomas Spencer of Yarnton and his widow Jane (1683-1711), and Gilbert Mabbott, his son, and grandson (1739-1834), (fn. 19) until 1877 when the college started to farm the estate directly. The great tithes were commuted at inclosure in 1801 for 248 a. (fn. 20) which was absorbed into the college's other Worton property. When Worton Rectory farm was sold in 1954 it comprised 366 a. (fn. 21)
The medieval rectory house was presumably in Cassington village. In 1539 it was a messuage called Bedwyns on which a tithe barn had been built, near the vicarage house, and it continued to be so described in Christ Church leases. (fn. 22) In 1795 the rectory house was described as a hand- some building of rough cast stone with sash windows and a stone slate roof; the outbuildings included a brewhouse, stables, the tithe barn, and a dovecot, but there is no evidence where it was; (fn. 23) it may already, like the later Rectory Farm, have been in Worton.
Burleigh wood and the adjoining Burleigh meadow were said to have escheated to Henry II on the felony of William the chamberlain. (fn. 24) In 1267 Henry III granted the wood, and presum- ably the meadow, to Godstow abbey, but in 1274 and 1279 both were held by the farmer of Bladon, who claimed that they belonged to that manor. (fn. 25) Godstow recovered the estate in 1306 and 1310, (fn. 26) and retained it until the Dissolution when it passed to the Crown. In 1553 Burleigh mead, and presumably also the wood, was granted to George Owen of Godstow. (fn. 27) In 1609 both wood and meadow were held by Sir Wil- liam Spencer of Yarnton, (fn. 28) and they descended with Yarnton manor, being divided at the end of the 17th century between Sir Robert Dashwood, who held two thirds, and Benjamin Swete who held one third. (fn. 29) Swete's third passed through a number of hands and was sold in 1771 to George Spencer, duke of Marlborough; the duke acquired the remainder of the wood by exchange with Sir Henry Dashwood at inclosure in 1801. (fn. 30)