Dawley: Manors and other estates

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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'Dawley: Manors and other estates', in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985) pp. 112-115. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp112-115 [accessed 13 April 2024]


The manor of GREAT DAWLEY, sometimes styled Dawley Pantulf, (fn. 1) was considered a member of Wellington manor and was held by Grim at some time before 1086. In 1086 Roger of Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury by 1074, held it in chief and William Pantulf held it under him. (fn. 2) The tenancy in chief was evidently forfeited after 1102 and, with the other estates held by William in 1086, Great Dawley became a member of the Pantulfs' barony of Wem; the township's constable continued to attend the court at Hinstock until 1851 or later. (fn. 3)

Great Dawley was held of the barons of Wem by a younger branch of the Pantulfs descended from Ralph Pantulf, who was recorded c. 1170-c. 1192. His son William, who had succeeded by 1199, was dead by 1203 and Dawley passed to William's son or brother, Alan. Alan's heir, Adam Pantulf, was a minor in 1218 and was dead by 1240, when Great Dawley was held by his heirs. (fn. 4) In 1255 there were four coparceners: William of Caverswall, Richard Irish, Michael of Morton, and Christine of Dawley, wife of John of Charnes. (fn. 5) In 1304 they were said to be descendants of the four sisters and coheiresses of Hugh, son of John 'de Pauncefot' (recte Pantulf?). (fn. 6) William of Caverswall conveyed his share to his coparcener Michael of Morton c. 1258 but reserved an annual rent of £3 13s. 4d. as mesne lord. Richard Irish's portion descended to Richard Irish of Dawley, who settled his estates on his son William and his heirs in 1292; (fn. 7) Richard Irish owned it in 1304 (fn. 8) but it has not been traced beyond that date. Michael of Morton's moiety had passed to his son Michael by c. 1285 (fn. 9) and descended to William of Morton, clerk, by 1316. (fn. 10) The Charnes' quarter had descended by c. 1285 to Reynold of Charnes, (fn. 11) still the owner in 1310. (fn. 12)

The descent of the manor in the earlier 14th century is obscure, but by 1346 (fn. 13) the Morton moiety had passed to Richard, earl of Arundel, and the Charnes portion to Roger of Oakley, husband of Isabel, daughter and coheir of William of Charnes. (fn. 14) Arundel's interest in the manor was recorded from 1345 (fn. 15) and he consolidated his tenure in 1354 when Roger and Isabel sold him their quarter of the manor. (fn. 16) Thereafter until 1560 the manor descended with the earldom of Arundel, except for the period of its annexation to Richard II's principality of Chester (1397-1400) (fn. 17) and a life grant to Sir Roland Lenthall's wife Margaret (d. 1423). (fn. 18) In 1560 Earl Henry sold Great Dawley to Rowland Hayward (kt. 1570), lord mayor of London 1570 (fn. 19) and the purchaser of Little Dawley in 1590. (fn. 20) On Hayward's death in 1593 both manors passed successively to his sons George (kt. 1604, d. 1615) and John (kt. 1619). (fn. 21) In 1623 Sir John sold Great Dawley, except for a 72-a. estate, to Fulke Crompton. (fn. 22) By his will dated 1642 Crompton settled the manor on his wife Mary for her life, with reversion to their children Fulke and Frances. (fn. 23) Mary Crompton, a royalist, was in possession by 1645 and continued to take the profits until 1652, when Eyton Crompton, a Parliamentarian, claimed the manor, and the estate was sequestrated for Mary's delinquency. (fn. 24) In 1655, however, the manor was settled under the terms of Fulke Crompton's will on Frances Crompton on her marriage with Clement Throckmorton of Haseley (Warws.). In 1672 she sold Great Dawley to Robert Slaney (d. 1706) of Hatton Grange, (fn. 25) with whose descendants it remained until 1900.

In 1696 Slaney settled the estate on his second son Robert in tail male. On the younger Robert's death without male issue in 1728 the manor passed to his elder brother's son Robert Aglionby Slaney (d. 1757). (fn. 26) Thereafter the estate passed from father to son, the following being lords: Plowden (d. 1788), Robert (d. 1834), and Robert Aglionby. On R. A. Slaney's death in 1862 (fn. 27) his estates were divided between his daughters, Great Dawley passing to Frances Catherine (d. 1896), wife of William Kenyon, who assumed the additional name and arms of Slaney in 1862. Their son Col. W. S. Kenyon-Slaney, M.P. for Newport, succeeded to the property, and sold the remaining manorial estate at Dawley (c. 300 a.) in 1900. (fn. 28)

Dawley Castle, the medieval manor house of Great Dawley, lay c. 250 metres south of the church. (fn. 29) William of Morton was licensed to fortify the house in 1316. (fn. 30) In the First Civil War the house was held by royalist forces until captured for Parliament in 1645. After an abortive attempt to plant a royalist garrison there in 1648 an order was made for the house's demolition. (fn. 31) By 1762 the site had become a farmstead, (fn. 32) and buildings, surrounded by remains of the water-filled moat, survived in 1817. (fn. 33) All trace of the former house was obliterated in the early 19th century by slag heaps from the adjacent Castle furnaces. (fn. 34)

The manor of LITTLE DAWLEY was held of Reynold the sheriff by Benet in 1086. T.R.E. it had been held by Sistain. (fn. 35) From the 13th to the 16th century it was considered to be merely a member of Leegomery manor but from 1590 it was again styled an independent manor. Little Dawley was recorded as a member of Leegomery by 1285 (fn. 36) but the connexion between the two places probably originated in the 12th century: Alfred de Cumbray, lord of Leegomery, was fined for a forest offence in Dawley c. 1180. (fn. 37) No medieval undertenants of Little Dawley are known; demesne lordship was presumably retained by the lords of Leegomery. (fn. 38)

In 1590 Sir Walter Leveson sold Little Dawley, thenceforth described as a manor, to Sir Rowland Hayward, (fn. 39) the owner of Great Dawley. Both manors passed to Sir John Hayward, (fn. 40) who sold Little Dawley to William Craven (cr. Baron Craven 1627, earl of Craven 1665) in 1624-5. (fn. 41) On Craven's death in 1697 the lordship passed to his kinsman William, 2nd Baron Craven, and descended with the barony (from 1801 the recreated earldom) until 1941 or later, (fn. 42) although a large part of the estate was divided and sold in 1854. (fn. 43)

A medieval stone building in Little Dawley, demolished in 1911, (fn. 44) was then known as the 'old manor house'. (fn. 45) No other evidence for the existence of a manor house has been found.

Like Little Dawley, MALINSLEE was a member of Leegomery manor during the Middle Ages. It was not mentioned by name in Domesday Book and was described as a separate manor only from the 16th century. Its position as a member of Leegomery was stated explicitly in 1284 or 1285 (fn. 46) and was recorded until 1613. (fn. 47) From 1334 or earlier Malinslee was held of the lords of Leegomery by the Eytons of Eyton upon the Weald Moors. (fn. 48) It descended with the manor of Eyton until 1701 (fn. 49) when Soudley Eyton (d. 1701) sold Malinslee to Isaac Hawkins of Burton-uponTrent. (fn. 50) From 1655 to the end of the 17th century Malinslee was held in trust, its profits being used to create a stock for the younger children of Sir Thomas Eyton (d. 1659). (fn. 51)

Under Isaac Hawkins's will, proved 1713, (fn. 52) the manor passed to his daughter Rebecca Walthall (d. 1756) for her life and then to his grandson Isaac Hawkins Browne, the poet. (fn. 53) On his death in 1760 it descended to his son Isaac Hawkins Browne (d. 1818), the M.P. and essayist, who acquired the neighbouring manor of Stirchley in 1777. (fn. 54) He left the estate to his wife Elizabeth (d. 1839) for her life with reversion to his kinsman Robert Cheney (d. 1820). (fn. 55) By Cheney's will interest in the manor was divided between his children but all shares descended, after his son Edward's death in 1884, to his grandson Alfred Capel Cure of Badger Hall. (fn. 56) Cure sold the Malinslee and Stirchley estates in 1886 to the Haybridge Iron Co. (fn. 57) Most of the Malinslee estate was divided and sold in 1904. (fn. 58)

No evidence has been found for the existence of a manor house. Malinslee Hall was built, probably in the 1790s, by Thomas Botfield (d. 1801), the lessee of much of the manorial estate. (fn. 59) It was a brick house with a principal front of three storeys and three bays, capped by a stone cornice. The central entrance, beneath a wide, segmentalheaded arch, was decorated with Ionic pilasters. It was occupied by William Botfield in the early 19th century, (fn. 60) and after his death in 1840 it was lived in by the ironworks managers and housed the offices of the Old Park Iron Co. (fn. 61) The house was demolished c. 1971 when Telford town centre was laid out. (fn. 62)

The rectory, consisting of parsonage, tithe barn, c. 25 a. of glebe, and tithes, (fn. 63) was appropriated to Battlefield college in 1410. (fn. 64) After the college's dissolution in 1548 the estate was leased out by the Crown; William Charlton of Wombridge held it in the mid 16th century (fn. 65) and other lessees in Elizabeth I's reign. (fn. 66) The freehold seems to have been acquired by John Watson (d. 1606) of Church Aston. (fn. 67) The estate descended to his granddaughter Muriel and thereafter, with the advowson of Stirchley, to the Phillips family of Shifnal, the owners in the mid 19th century. (fn. 68) Revell Phillips owned Dawley rectory in 1854 (fn. 69) but the property had been sold and divided by c. 1910. (fn. 70)

Little Lee, an estate that Reynold of Charnes held of Peter of Eyton and Hugh de Say under Thomas Tuchet, lord of Leegomery, in 1310, (fn. 71) probably lay in Malinslee, perhaps near its boundary with Stirchley. (fn. 72) About 1320 Peter of Eyton, whose descendants held Malinslee, and Walter grandson of Leonard of Lee, owner of Leonard's Lee, an estate in Shifnal, (fn. 73) were described as coparceners in 'Lee'. (fn. 74) Their ancestors' interest in Little Lee was recorded in 1240 and 1256, when William of Eyton's wife Maud and her sister Nichole released land there to Leonard's son Henry. (fn. 75) The estate has not been traced after the early 14th century.

Until the 19th century the three manorial estates accounted for most land in the parish. Only in Great Dawley were there other freeholds of long standing. There the manorial estate covered 720 a. of the township's 997 a. in 1812. (fn. 76) Among the other freeholds was one held by the Burtons of Longner in the 18th and early 19th century. The property, covering 106 a. in 1853, (fn. 77) is probably to be identified with land in Dawley held in the 16th century by the Corbets of Moreton Corbet, lords of Lawley manor. (fn. 78) The estate appears to have descended with Lawley (fn. 79) until 1853 when most of it was sold by Robert Burton to the Coalbrookdale Co. (fn. 80) Other freeholds included that belonging to Thomas Dodd of Great Dawley in 1679, which was absorbed into the manorial estate in 1749; (fn. 81) that at Langleyfield held by the Clowes family of Stirchley Hall and their descendants in the mid 18th century; (fn. 82) and those of the industrialists John Gibbons, John Onions, and Adam Wright, recorded in 1817. (fn. 83)

During the earlier 19th century the Coalbrookdale Co. and the Botfield family, the major coal and iron masters in Dawley, acquired extensive estates in the parish. The Horsehay estate (121 a.), bought from Robert Slaney c. 1815, (fn. 84) and 96 a. bought from Robert Burton in 1853, (fn. 85) formed the core of the Coalbrookdale Co.'s property in Great Dawley, which contained 284 a. when it was divided and sold in 1910. (fn. 86) In 1824 Thomas and William Botfield bought Moor farm (42 a.) in Great Dawley, formerly part of the Clowes' freehold, (fn. 87) and Hinkshay farm (51 a.), which had been separated from Slaney's manorial estate in 1814. (fn. 88) The following year they acquired Dark Lane (74 a.) in Malinslee, which had been separated from the manorial estate in 1701. (fn. 89) Their nephew and heir, Beriah Botfield, bought Langleyfield (31 a.), formerly another part of the Clowes' freehold, in 1857. (fn. 90) All Beriah Botfield's property in Dawley was sold by his trustees in 1873 to the Haybridge Iron Co. (fn. 91)


  • 1. Eyton, viii. 45.
  • 2. V.C.H. Salop. i. 317; iii. 7.
  • 3. Bk. of Fees, ii. 964; V.C.H. Salop. iii. 10, 51-2; P.R.O., C 139/5, no. 35; S.R.O. 327, boxes 4-5, ct. leet verdicts, 1478-1851.
  • 4. Eyton, viii. 42-3.
  • 5. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 56, 58.
  • 6. P.R.O., CP 40/149, m. 73d.
  • 7. Eyton, viii. 43, 45.
  • 8. P.R.O., CP 40/149, m. 73d.
  • 9. Collect. Topog. et Geneal. i. 115.
  • 10. Cal. Pat. 1313-17, 566.
  • 11. Collect. Topog. et Geneal. i. 115.
  • 12. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 299; P.R.O., C 143/82, no. 20.
  • 13. Feud. Aids, iv. 237.
  • 14. S.H.C. 1914, 26-7.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. 1343-5, 488.
  • 16. P.R.O., CP 25(1)/195/15, no. 55.
  • 17. 21 Ric. II, c. 9, repealed by 1 Hen. IV, c. 3; Cal. Fine R. 1391-9, 253; Camden, Brit. ed. Gibson (1753), ii. 654. For the background see V.C.H. Ches. ii. 11, and sources there cited.
  • 18. Cal. Inq. Misc. vi, p. 114; Cal. Fine R. 1422-30, 210; P.R.O., C 139/5, no. 35; Feud. Aids, iv. 249, 270.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1558-60, 368; P.R.O., CP 25(2)/200/2 Eliz. I East. [no. 13].
  • 20. Below.
  • 21. P.R.O., C 142/363, no. 194.
  • 22. S.R.O. 1268/128.
  • 23. S.R.O. 1952/10.
  • 24. Cal. Cttee. for Money, iii. 1453; T.S.A.S. 3rd ser. x. 94 n.
  • 25. S.R.O. 1268/128.
  • 26. S.R.O. 1952/28; Burke; Land. Gent. (1952), 2327.
  • 27. D.N.B.
  • 28. Burke, Land. Gent. (1952), 2327-8; S.R.O. 1268/1.
  • 29. At O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 688 062: S.R.O. 2224/1; O.S. Map 6", Salop. XLIII. NE. (1889 edn.).
  • 30. Cal. Pat. 1313-17, 566.
  • 31. T.S.A.S. 3rd ser. x. 94 n, 96; 4th ser. ii. 293-4.
  • 32. S.R.O. 1952/44, abstr. of lease, 24 June 1762.
  • 33. S.R.O. 2224/1.
  • 34. L.J.R.O., B/A/15, Dawley Magna (plan, 1843).
  • 35. V.C.H. Salop. i. 321.
  • 36. Feud. Aids, iv. 219.
  • 37. Eyton, vii. 340-1.
  • 38. Below, Wellington, Man. and Other Est.
  • 39. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/202/32 Eliz. I Trin. [no. 2].
  • 40. Above.
  • 41. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/344/22 Jas. I Hil. [no. 2].
  • 42. Burke, Peerage (1970); S.P.L., MSS. 2481, 2507-9; leases in S.P.L., Deeds, passim; Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1885- 1941).
  • 43. S.R.O. 407/8-9.
  • 44. Below, Churches.
  • 45. S.R.O. 2732, corresp. re Malinslee chap. 1910.
  • 46. Feud. Aids, iv. 219; Eyton, vii. 348.
  • 47. P.R.O., C 142/332, no. 148.
  • 48. S.R.O. 513, box 1, ct. r.
  • 49. Below, Eyton, Man. and Other Est., and sources there cited. Thos. of Eyton who (with his wife Cath.) was ld. of Malinslee 1406 (S.R.O. 513, box 1, ct. r.) may be the Thos. who held Eyton in 1420.
  • 50. S.R.O. 513, box 10, deed.
  • 51. Ibid. box 8, deed of 1655; box 9, deeds of 1669, 1674.
  • 52. Ibid. box 36, will.
  • 53. D.N.B.
  • 54. Below, Stirchley, Man. and Other Est.
  • 55. S.R.O. 1265/218. For pedigree of Browne and Cheney see S.P.L., MS. 4645, p. 264.
  • 56. S.R.O. 1265/219, 289.
  • 57. T.DC., Grange farm, Stirchley, deeds.
  • 58. S.R.O. 1268/3.
  • 59. S. Bagshaw, Dir. Salop. (1851), 376. Descr. based on N.M.R., Photos. AA 63/6568-71 (copies in S.P.L.).
  • 60. Eng. Topog. (Gent. Mag. Libr.), x. 7.
  • 61. S. Bagshaw, Dir. Salop. (1851), 376-7; P.O. Dir. Salop. (1870), 87-8.
  • 62. Inf. from the archivist, T.D.C.
  • 63. L.J.R.O., B/V/6, Dawley 1612-1767.
  • 64. V.C.H. Salop. ii. 129-30.
  • 65. S.R.O. 513, box 8, deeds of 1563-4.
  • 66. P.R.O., C 66/1144, mm. 14-16.
  • 67. P.R.O., C 142/291, no. 92;/381, no. 148; CP 25(2)/477/9 Chas. I Mich. [no. 19].
  • 68. Below, Stirchley, Churches.
  • 69. S.R.O. 1560/8.
  • 70. S.R.O. 4044/77, passim.
  • 71. Eyton, viii. 44; Cal. Pat. 1307-13, 350.
  • 72. In the 1220s land in Stirchley adjoined a meadow belonging to Ric. s. of Ralph, of L. Lee: Eyton, ii. 315; viii. 116-17; T.S.A.S. xi. 334.
  • 73. Eyton treats L. Lee and Leonard's Lee together, but they were tenurially distinct, the latter being a member of Shifnal man.: Eyton, ii. 314-16; Cartulary of Shrews. Abbey, ed. U. Rees (1975), ii, pp. 342-3.
  • 74. Eyton, ii. 317; T.S.A.S. xi. 327-8.
  • 75. Eyton, ii. 315-16.
  • 76. S.R.O. 2374, box 3, survey.
  • 77. S.R.O. 1681, box 122, partic. of Burton est.
  • 78. Rog. Corbet held land in Dawley, 1535 (Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 103); Sir And. Corbet's wood in Dawley occ. 1566 (S.P.L., Deeds 8384).
  • 79. Cf. below, Lawley, Man. and Other Est.
  • 80. S.R.O. 1681, box 122, deed.
  • 81. S.R.O. 2374, box 2, deeds of 1679-1749.
  • 82. S.R.O. 1265/1-14.
  • 83. S.R.O. 2224/1.
  • 84. Ibid.
  • 85. S.R.O. 1681, box 122, deed.
  • 86. S.R.O. 1857/1.
  • 87. S.R.O. 1265/1-14, 51-2.
  • 88. Ibid. /152-3, 159-60.
  • 89. Ibid. /217, 221.
  • 90. Ibid. /11-12, 70-1, 127.
  • 91. Ibid. /261. For the Botfields see B. Botfield, Stemmata Botevilliana: Memorials of the Fams. of De Boteville, Thynne, and Botfield, in the Cos. of Salop and Wilts. (Westminster, 1858).