Wilton: Manors and lesser estates

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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


'Wilton: Manors and lesser estates', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6, (London, 1962), pp. 8-9. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol6/pp8-9 [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Wilton: Manors and lesser estates", in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6, (London, 1962) 8-9. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol6/pp8-9.

. "Wilton: Manors and lesser estates", A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6, (London, 1962). 8-9. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol6/pp8-9.


In 1086 Wilton was in the custody of Hervey, a royal official, who apparently did not farm the borough, but accounted ut custos to the Crown for all dues. The borough yielded £50, and had yielded £22 when Hervey took it over. (fn. 1) Whether the increase in the rent was due to an increase in Wilton's prosperity, or to Hervey's efficiency, or his severity, can only be a matter for speculation.

In 1194–5 the borough appears to have been held by Queen Berengaria. (fn. 2) After the death of Richard I it formed part of Berengaria's dower, but evidently she did not obtain full enjoyment of her rights for this was the subject of a papal letter to John in 1209. (fn. 3) In May 1204 John had actually granted the borough to Queen Isabel; (fn. 4) and in 1224 it was amongst the lands held by Isabel and Hugh of la Marche. (fn. 5) At the death of Isabel the borough reverted to the king. In 1230 Henry III granted it to his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, on the occasion of his marriage, (fn. 6) and at Richard's death in 1272 it passed to his son Edmund, Earl of Cornwall. (fn. 7) On the death of the Earl of Cornwall in 1300 Wilton again reverted to the Crown, and Edward I then granted it in 1302 to his daughter, Mary, a nun of Amesbury. (fn. 8) In 1307 Mary gave the borough back to her brother, Edward II, who granted it to his favourite Piers Gaveston to be held as Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, had held it. (fn. 9) Gaveston was banished in 1308, but after his return in the following year, a further grant of the borough was made to him and his wife Margaret, in fee. (fn. 10) After the fall of Gaveston in 1311 the borough was presumably again in the king's hands. The king granted it to his sister Mary before 1313, when Nicholas of Kingston held it of her; (fn. 11) in 1315 Mary held it as she had done of her father, Edward I. (fn. 12)

In 1332 the borough came again into the king's hands, (fn. 13) and in 1336 Edward III granted it in tail male to William Fitz Warin, 'le frere', for services he had rendered to Queen Philippa. (fn. 14) It remained with the Fitz Warin family until the 15th century. In 1403 Henry IV granted the reversion of Wilton at the death of Ivo Fitz Warin, if Ivo should die without male heirs, to his son John, later Duke of Bedford. (fn. 15) The duke held the borough until his death in 1435, when it reverted to the Crown for a short while, (fn. 16) but it was then assigned as the dower of his widow Jacquetta. In May 1439 certain castles and lordships, including the remainder of the town of Wilton, were granted to a group of feoffees to the use of Henry Beaufort. (fn. 17) Cardinal Beaufort, engaged in the reform of St. Cross Hospital, Winchester, included the issues Wilton in the endowment of an almshouse within the foundation: the conveyance was made early in 1446, but the cardinal died before his plans were fulfilled, and the hospital parted with the lands to his successor. The Act of Resumption in 1461 invalidated Henry VI's grants, and in the same year Wilton was regranted to Jacquetta and her husband Richard Woodville for her life. (fn. 18) The borough then passed to George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, and his wife Isabel, granddaughter of the Countess of Salisbury, who were jointly seised of it, (fn. 19) but after the death of the Duke of Clarence, and during the minority of his son Edward, it was held by the Crown. In 1513 Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George and Isabel, was restored to the forfeited lands of her father, but she was imprisoned in 1538, and executed three years later. Already by the beginning of 1541 the borough had been granted to Sir William Herbert, who by 1544 had also acquired Wilton Abbey and the bulk of its estates. (fn. 20) From thence onwards the borough remained in the family of Herbert, Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery.

Three estates in the immediate neighbourhood of Wilton were held by the abbey at the time of Domesday, and were retained by the nuns until the Dissolution: they were Washern, Ugford, and part of Ditchampton. (fn. 21) Before 1086 Washern paid geld for 8½ hides and Ugford for 4 hides; while the abbey estate of Ditchampton consisted of only ½ hide since the Bishop of Bayeux had unjustly abstracted 2 hides. These estates, together with many other properties formerly belonging to the abbey, were granted to Sir William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke, in 1541. (fn. 22) The grant was confirmed in 1544 and the properties have remained in the Pembroke family ever since.

The 2 hides at Ditchampton, which the Bishop of Bayeux had taken from the nuns, were held by Azor before 1086; under William I they were held by Robert the dispenser as under-tenant of the bishop. (fn. 23) This was probably the estate which in 1242–3 was held by Richard of Camville as ¼ knight's fee of Philip Marmion. (fn. 24) In 1321 Henry of Camville, whose relationship to Richard is not known, and two others, conveyed an estate at Ditchampton to Robert Burdet and Elizabeth, his wife. (fn. 25) Elizabeth was the only child of Geoffrey of Camville. (fn. 26) Three years later more land at Ditchampton was conveyed to Robert and Elizabeth by Henry Burdet, brother of Robert. (fn. 27) The estate descended in the Burdet family until the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Burdet, to Sir Humphrey Stafford (d. 1419). (fn. 28) It then remained in the hands of the Stafford family until it was sold to Sir William Herbert in 1547 for 500 marks. (fn. 29) Thus the two parts of Ditchampton were united as one manor under a single owner.

The manor of Bulbridge in Wilton was also acquired by Sir William Herbert, who bought it from Sir Giles Poole. The early history of this manor is obscure, but it may have been among the properties of Wilton Abbey in the 13th century, because when William of Wilton granted his land in Bulbridge to Salisbury Cathedral, he was said to hold it of the abbey. (fn. 30) At the Dissolution the abbey held rents in Bulbridge. (fn. 31) Later in the 16th century Bulbridge Manor House was occupied by Thomas Mouffet (d. 1604), a learned physician. Aubrey described it as a 'fair old-built house'. (fn. 32)


  • 1. Ibid. p. 115.
  • 2. Cur. Reg. R. (P.R.S., xiv), 99. The entry is partly mutilated (. . . tur de burgensibus Wilton 43s. sine warranto domine regine).
  • 3. Cal. Papal Reg. i. 33.
  • 4. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 128.
  • 5. Cal. Pat. 1216–25, 445.
  • 6. Ibid. 1225–32, 336.
  • 7. C 133/95/9; Cal. Inq. p.m., iii. 460.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, 52; V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 247.
  • 9. Cal. Pat. 1307–13, 19. She received the manor of Swayneston (I.O.W.) in exchange.
  • 10. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, 131.
  • 11. E 159/86/3d; C 145/95/4.
  • 12. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, 261.
  • 13. Cal. Close, 1330–3, 511.
  • 14. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 320.
  • 15. Ibid. 1403–5, 226.
  • 16. S. C. 6/1116/11.
  • 17. R. B. Pugh, 'Early Hist. of Amesbury Manors', W.A.M. lii. 94–5.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1461–4, 171.
  • 19. C 140/68/47.
  • 20. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 720, xix (1), p. 38.
  • 21. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, pp. 130, 122, 45.
  • 22. E 371/53/pt. 5.
  • 23. V.C.H. Wilts. ii. p. 122.
  • 24. Bk. of Fees, ii. 735, 747.
  • 25. Feet of F. Wilts. 1272–1327 (W.A.S. Rec. Brch.), 130.
  • 26. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Branch and Dole, 153; Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 351.
  • 27. Feet of F. Wilts. 1272–1327 (W.A.S. Rec. Brch.), 114; Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 351.
  • 28. For family trees of the Camville, Burdet and Stafford families, see Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Branch and Dole, 153; Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 351, iv. 760.
  • 29. C. P. 25(2)/65/531/26.
  • 30. Sar. Chart, and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 61.
  • 31. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 237.
  • 32. Aubrey, Brief Lives, ed. Clark, ii. 89–90.