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Page history last edited by Peter Tipton 11 years, 2 months ago

Was Thomas Brabon a land speculator in 1580? 

page prepared by P J Tipton, March 2012


An article in the Yateley News dated 9 Mar 2012 written by Stephanie Crockcroft is headlined “Manorial title changes hands - Lordship of the Manor of Cove was on sale.”  In the otherwise accurate story of the Lordship, from Domesday down to Lt Col Adrian Seymour, there was one sentence which could do with a little more explanation, “The Giffords continued to hold the Lordship until 1579 when it was sold to Thomas Brabon, a land speculator.”   This might seem to be a very trivial quibble, but was Thomas Brabon really “a land speculator”?  Examining the papers which recorded the parallel sale of the Manor of Itchell by George Giffard to the Earl of Southampton, suggests otherwise.


So who was Thomas Brabon? 

The short answer is that he was a lawyer acting as an intermediary during the sale of the Manor of Cove by George Giffard to Robert White, to ensure that the latter secured a good title to the manor. 


Further research on the web reveals that Thomas Brabon was a lawyer who studied and practiced at the Inner Temple; that he held several official legal posts which would immediately qualify him to act as an intermediary in the conveyance of Cove Manor; that he was probably a native of Aldershot and, knowing Robert White personally, and probably George Giffard too, could be trusted by both parties;  that he was more or less a contemporary of both men; that all three were probably closet-Catholics, when it was dangerous to openly be so; and that Thomas Brabon died aged 75 in the parish of St Clement Danes in London with four surviving children, his heir being John Brabon.


Where do I get all this information from?  The obvious first place to look is the Victoria County History for Hampshire. Volume 4 was published in 1911, but is now available online[1]:


Cove followed the same descent as the manor of Itchel (fn. 14) (q.v.) until 1579, when it was sold by George Giffard to Thomas Brabon. (fn. 15)  Robert White of Aldershot, who had purchased Cove from Thomas Brabon in 1580, (fn. 16) died seised of it in 1599, when it passed to his elder daughter Ellen, wife of Richard Tichborne. (fn. 17)


The two relevant footnotes referencing the two conveyances are:

15.  Close, 21 Eliz. pt. xiii; Add. MS. 33278, fol. 132; Recov. R. Trin. 21 Eliz. rot. 1100.
16.  Close, 22 Eliz. pt. iii; Feet of F. Hants, East. 22 Eliz.; Add. MS. 33278, fol. 132.

The conveyance was thus a two-stage process spanning two regnal years of Elizabeth's reign which ran from the 6 February.  These references appear to apply to "Collection for the history of Hampshire, more especially of Portsmouth and its neighbourhood", by Sir Frederic Madden, K.H.; consisting chiefly of extracts from public records, monastic registers, and other MS. sources, with rough pedigrees, church-notes, letters, and miscellaneous memoranda. These eight volumes in the British Library are referenced Add MSS 33278-33285[2]


The descent of Cove Manor was given by F J Baigent in The Crondal Records, 1891[3].  There is a transcription on the Yateley Society’s local history website[4]. Baigent translated the many documents of title of the Giffard family from Jan 1237 (new calendar) down to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when George Giffard separately sold  the Manors of Itchell and Cove.  The contents section states “Fine levied in the Queen’s Court, between Robert White, esquire, and Mary his wife, and Thomas Brabon and Ann his wife, concerning the manor of Cove (4 May, 1580)” and directs you to page 467. Baigent’s translation of the Latin begins:


“4 MAY, 1580. This is the final agreement, made in the court of our lady the Queen, at Westminster, in the quinzaine of Easter, in the twenty-second year of the reigns of Elizabeth, by the grace of God of England, France, and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c., before James Dyer, Thomas Meade, and Francis Wyndham, justices, and other faithful subjects of our lady the Queen, then and there present between Robert White, Esquire, and Mary his wife, plaintiffs, and Thomas Brabon and Ann his wife, defendants; concerning the manor of Cove, with appurtenances, and three messuages, three tofts, four gardens, three orchards, twenty acres of land, ten acres of meadow, ten acres of pasture, 2000 acres of heath and gorse, and 100s. of rent, with appurtenances, in Yateley and Cove; whereupon a plea of agreement was summoned between them in the same court ....”


Since Sir James Dyer was Chief Justice of the Court and Common Pleas[5], and both Thomas Meade and Francis Wyndham were puisne justices of the same court, we know that the action took place in the Court of Common Pleas[6] . This common law court had been specifically established as a result of Magna Carta[7] so that cases between subjects, one against the other, could be heard in some fixed place, ie Westminster.


Googling "Thomas Brabon" the first website I came across was that of the University of Houston.  Robert C. Palmer, Cullen Professor of History and Law, delivered a paper at the annual convention of the American Society for Legal History at Baltimore in November 2006[8]. Professor Palmer's researches into the "plea rolls allow[ed] detailed work both in the number of lawyers who worked as attorneys in the court of common pleas and in the definition of the area in which they took clients. . . . The full listing of attorneys indicates that there were at least 1,079 lawyers who could bring actions as attorneys in the court of common pleas at the point in time of Trinity term 1607. . . . For both 1563 and 1607 a substantial number of lawyers submitted warrants from multiple counties and thus could not be identified predominately with a single county (entered as 'various'").


In Professor Palmer's list of lawyers who had clients in 1607 in "Wales and Elsewhere" is listed "Thomas Brabon (clerk of Andrew Windsor treasurer of common pleas)". Could this be the same Thomas Brabon who acted in the Giffard/White conveyance?  It is encouraging to note that Andrew Windsor, treasurer of common pleas, may well also have been a local man. There is a prominent brass tablet in the church at Farnham which reads "Nere unto this place lies buried the body of Andrew Windsor Esquire grand child to the Lord Andrew Windsor and founder of the Almes Houses in Castle Strete in this towne who departed out of this life in September 1620." [9]  In the lay subsidy of 1620 this Andrew Windsor, Esq paid substantial tax  on lands in Bentley worth £20[10].  If Professor Palmer listing is of the Andrew Windsor buried in Farnham then we start to develop interesting local family connections, which I noted in Crondall church during a visit in the early 1980s.  Sir George Paulet (1488-1558) was brother of Sir William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester. Sir George's tomb is in Crondall together with his third wife Dame Elizabeth Paulet eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Sir William, 2nd Lord Windsor. Eleanor, one of Sir George's sisters married Sir William Giffard (d. 17 Jun 1549) of Itchell and Cove Manors.   Sir William Giffard was George Giffard's great grandfather.


It is also worth noting that one of the other lawyers working in the Court of Common Pleas in 1607 was Edward Yate[11], who was married to George Giffard's sister Jane.  Edward Yate had inherited Buckland Manor shortly after it had been raided by priest hunters in 1577 and shortly after he had married Jane Giffard.  Like his father Yate had been a student at the Middle Temple, but his absence from Anglican services had been noted by the authorities[12].


Having established that there was a lawyer named Thomas Brabon working in 1607 in the same court in which the Manor of Cove had been conveyed 27 years earlier, the first task is to establish whether the Thomas Brabon of 1580 was indeed a lawyer.


Fortunately other copies of the same conveyance documents for Cove Manor referenced in the Victoria County History, are also deposited at the Hampshire Record Office. The copies held in Winchester have been catalogued on the online database CALM[13].  There are two documents described in the 'collection of miscellaneous deeds' relating to the sale of the Manor of Cove:



Bargain and sale: manor of Cove and all messuages and lands belonging

Date   12 Feb 1580


i) Thomas Brabon of the Inner Temple, London, gent

ii) Robert White of Aldershot, esq, and Mary his wife


Final concord: the manor of Cove and messuages and lands belonging
Date   1580
i) Robert White of Aldershot, esq, and Mary his wife
ii) Thomas Brabon of the Inner Temple, London, gent

The Hampshire archivists have thus provided us with two pieces of information: that the Thomas Brabon of 1580 was a lawyer "of the Inner Temple", and that, since the conveyance is stated to have taken place in the Court of Common Pleas, that he worked in that court in 1580.  There is therefore a very good chance that the Thomas Brabon noted by Professor Palmer as working in the same court in 1607 was indeed the same person involved with the conveyance of Cove Manor in 1580.


There are two more document at Winchester which may be relevent to our story:


Jervoise family of Herriard Family and personal papers

Correspondence and personal papers of Sir Richard Paulet

Legal papers relating to Sir Richard Paulet
Richard Lee versus Sir Richard Paulet: Herriard common rights

Date   1595


Depositions of the following witnesses:

William Hyde of Bentworth, carpenter (50)

Robert Hunt of Bentworth, yeoman (60)

Thomas Bennett of Southrop, Herriard, husbandman (80)

Roger Hall or Harrle of Herriard, yeoman (50)

Richard Pooke of Lasham, husbandman (94)

Thomas Clements of Growell (Greywell), husbandman (56)

John Willoways of Preston Candover, husbandman (62)

Martin Lipscombe of Basing, husbandman (66)

Nicholas Lipscombe of Southrop, Herriard, husbandman (60) (two sets)

Francis More of Barnards Inn, Middx, gentleman (57)

Thomas Brabon of St Clement Danes without Temple Bar, Middx, gentleman (60)



Bargain and sale

Date   13 Sep 1616


1) John Brabon of St Clements Danes, London, gent

2) Edward Cresswell of Odiham, gent

Tenement in Odiham called 'Knightes' on the road from Odiham to Greywell with 4 acres of arable land in the common fields of Odiham

The first document tells us that in 1595 there was a 60 years old Thomas Brabon, with the rank of gentleman and links to this part of Hampshire, who was living in the parish of St Clement Danes.  The present church of St Clement Danes is in Aldwich just to the west of the present-day Law Courts. In Thomas Brabon's time the parish was in Middlesex, just outside the western boundary of the City of London which, in that area,  included the Inner and Middle Temples.  The second documents tells us that in 1616 the John Brabon who had land dealings with Edward Cresswell of Odiham might have been the son  of the lawyer Thomas Brabon of St Clement Danes.


It is thus established that the Thomas Brrabon who acted as an intermediary in the conveyance of the Manor of Cove in 1580 was a lawyer of the Inner Temple practicing in the Court of Common Pleas.  Brabon was most probably therefore the lawyer listed as an attorney of that Court in 1607, and therefore clerk to Andrew Windsor, the treasurer of common pleas.  It follows therefore that the lawyer working at the Inner Temple was most probably the man of that same name living in the parish of St Clement Danes who was 60 years old in 1595. 


Was there more than one Thomas Brabon?

What more can we learn about Thomas Brabon's life and his relationships?  Was there more than one Thomas Brabon, and have I unwittingly conflated the lives of two different Thomas Brabons to create my story? 


According to many American websites there was a Thomas Brabon of Hastings who was a direct ancestor of President Thomas Jefferson of the United States.  This Thomas Brabon was apparently buried in Newhaven, Sussex in 1632.   In order to have become a student at the Inner Temple in 1663 'our' Thomas Brabon must have been born well before 1550.  The ancestor of Thomas Jefferson can thus be discounted since, of the many different claims, the most likely Thomas Brabon to have been Jefferson's ancestor is claimed to have been born in 1665 at either Lewes or Hastings.  The most compelling reason for rejecting this ancestor of Thomas Jefferson is therefore that he would have been only 15 years old when Cove Manor changed hands.


However claims are made for another Thomas Brabon who is said to have been born in 1535 in Weybread, Suffolk.  This date happens to be my calculated birth date of the Thomas Brabon active as a lawyer in NE Hampshire, and who was a witness concerning common rights dispute at Herriard in 1595. However there is no source references online for the Weybread claim, and The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers states that the parish registers of Weybread start only in 1667.  Without further information it is impossible to prove that the Weybread Thomas Brabon eventually became a student at the Inner Temple or that he was the ancestor of the President of the United States.


It seems much more likely that the Thomas Brabon involved with the conveyance of Cove Manor was a Hampshire man, possibly from Aldershot or Farnham, and born just before parish registers were started.  At the National Archives at Kew there are two wills[14] made by possible members of a local Brabon family:  Robert Braborne (d.1553), a Clothier of Farnham, and Henry Brabourn (d.1559), also of Farnham.  Neither appear to have had a son Thomas.  The Crondall Customary[15] of 1567 lists a copyholder in Aldershot named John Brabourn, who could be the eldest son of either of the two Farnham men, who both named their heirs John. 


In Winchester in 1585 a Thomas Brabon, gentleman, paid Lay Subsidy at the rate of four shillings - a significant amount.  It was almost certainly this Thomas Brabon who was named in a Charter of Elizabeth I dated 23 Jan 1588, granting a new constitution to the city of Winchester.  As one of the 24 men designated to advise the Mayor Brabon was obviously a gentleman of some substance.  Although the Inner Temple lawyer was a witness to a legal case in Herriard in 1595 he baptised three of his children in London: Ann (1588),  Margery (1590) and Mary (1594)[16].  So were there two Thomas Brabons, one living in London and the other in Winchester?  It is possible that the Winchester man moved to London in 1588 between the date of the charter and the baptism. It is also possible that the London lawyer had a second residence in Winchester.  But it is also entirely possible that the Winchester man is a second Thomas Brabon, and a "land speculator". However the man involved in the conveyance of Cove manor was a lawyer of the Inner Temple.  If the Winchester man was a different man from the man who lived at St Clement Danes, then the former was not involved in the Cove conveyance, unless he too was a lawyer at the Inner Temple.  If the two men are the same person, it gives us another perspective on the life of "our man".


My feeling at the moment is that the Winchester Thomas Brabon and the lawyer of the same name living in St Clement Danes are in fact the same person.  There is a document at Kew (SP46/32) which is a "complaint to Myldmay by John Hall that his farm in Weston Corbett, co. Southampton, leased from Thomas Aysshe is molested by George Putenham in compact with Thomas Brabon, undersheriff's deputy, who also expelled Hall and William Wodes from lands in Upton; 14 May 1582; Mildmay's order for a supersedeas."  If the London lawyer also acted as the deputy to the undersheriff of Hampshire it would necessitate having two homes. He perhaps lived in Winchester outside the "terms" of the Court , or perhaps when the plague was ranging in London. Having two homes was not uncommon at that time. The owner of my own house in 1619 had two homes before he bought Monteagle House, one in Sandhurst and the other in Wood Street in the City.  Another interesting fact is that the High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1582, the date of the complaint about Thomas Brabon as Undersheriff, was none other than Robert White, gent[17].


Have I got the right man?

Further research online reveals that a person named Thomas Brabon was admitted as a student at the Inner Temple in 1663, whilst resident in Winchester; later lived in Wych Street, St Clement Danes; baptised children at the parish church of St Clement Danes; and left a will proved on 17 Oct 1615, naming as his heir his son John Brabon.


The admissions to the Inner Temple are provided on an online database[18].  Thomas Brabon was admitted as a student (effectively a trainee barrister) on 18 June 1563.  An earlier source available on CD-ROM[19], "Students admitted to the Inner Temple 1547-1660", originally published as a book in March 1877, lists all the students admitted between November 1562 and July 1563 when "The business of the Inn ceased in July of this year owing to the plague, and did not recommence until after the Feast of Easter in 1564, when the plague had ceased."


The first evidence to note in the entry of the admission is that Thomas Brabon's residence was given as Winchester.  This tends to confirm that the London lawyer and the undersheriff of Hampshire are indeed the same man, and that Thomas Brabon did come from a Hampshire branch of the Brabon family.


The database of admissions to the Inner Temple also provide us with all those who had the surname White. 

  • •     HENRY WHITE,* 5 Feb 1548, gentleman, [eldest son of Sir Thomas White Master of Requests];
  • •     GEORGE WHITE, Hutton, Essex, 1 Nov 1552 [relative of Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests];
  • •     EDWARD WHITE,* London, 29 Jun 1558, Son of Sir Thomas White, Knt. Master of the Requests;
  • •     ANTHONY WHITE, South Warnborough, Hants. 19 Apr 1564 [probably son of Sir Thomas White Master of Requests];
  • •     GABRIEL WHITE, South Warnborough, Hants, 16 Feb 1565 [son of Sir Thomas White Master of Requests]
  • •     ROBERT WHITE* City of London, 28 Jan 1566 November [nephew of Sir Thomas White Master of Requests];
  • •     JOHN WHITE, South Warnborough, Hants, and Clifford's Inn, City of London 1580 Nov [Grandson of Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests]

Data in square brackets have been added by myself from sources other than the admission records.  The three men with asterisks against their name were 'special admissions.'


All those surnamed White admitted to the Inner Temple between 1548 amd 1580 were relatives of Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests[20], whose seat was a South Warnborough in NE Hampshire[21]. Neither Edward nor Anthony are mentioned in the Sir Thomas White's will written in 1563.  His tomb has effigies of 14 sons and six daughters some of whom hold a skull in their hand denoting they predeceased him.


The Robert White admitted to the Inner Temple on 28 Jan 1566 is the same person who purchased Cove Manor from George Giffard.  A note to his admission states:


Pledges: Thomas Kirton, Anthony Whyt[rest of name illegible]. The Act of Parliament of 10-Feb-1566 records the special admission of "Robert Whyte, gentleman, for £5".


Pledges were made by members of the Inner Temple, generally two, who entered into a bond with the Treasurer and Benchers to underwrite any debts incurred to the Inn by a new member.  The Anthony White (who made the pledge on behalf of Robert White) is stated to have come from South Warnborough, the seat of Sir Thomas White who was Robert White's uncle.  Thomas Kirton was also a new member, having been admitted on 14 Nov 1565.


The Kirton and White families were intricately intermarried[22]. Margaret (d.1573),  wife of John Kirton (d.1566) of Edmonton, Middx, had been the aunt of both Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests and of Sybil White. Sybil was Sir Thomas' sister, wife of Sir John White of Aldershot, and therefore Robert White's mother.  In the following generations Sir Richard White, Sir Thomas' eldest surviving son married Ellen the 4th daughter of Stephen Kirton, the 2nd son of John Kirton and Margaret White.  Their 3rd daughter, Ann, married Thomas White, the second surviving son of Sir Thomas, Master of Requests.  Thomas Kirton died in 1606.  He was the son of Stephen Kirton and Margaret Offley.  The Offley merchant family was another family heavily entwined by marriage with the Whites of North East Hampshire.  We can therefore be reasonably sure that the Robert White admitted to the Inner Temple in 1666 was indeed the nephew of Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests, and therefore son of Sir John White of Aldershot and purchaser of the Manor of Cove in 1580.


A direct link  between Thomas Brabon and Robert White is thus established at the Inner Temple in 1566 through Anthony White of South Warnborough. Anthony White was one of the members who made the pledge on behalf of Robert White on 28 Jan 1566 and Thomas Brabon was one of the two members to make the pledge on behalf of Anthony White, Robert's cousin, on 19 Apr 1564.  There is thus a very strong probability that Thomas Brabon knew Robert White at the Inner Temple.


Obtaining a good title to property

Having shown that Robert White was likely to have been well acquainted with Thomas Brabon,  a barrister practising in the Court of Common Pleas, I still need to demonstrate that Thomas Brabon's role, as a lawyer, was merely part of a normal legal procedure to ensure a secure title to property, that  he was a trusted intermediary and not a land speculator.


In the mediaeval period, after the death of any person who held manorial land as a 'tenant-in-chief' directly from the King, or by 'knights fee' from the 'tenant-in-chief,' the land was forfeited to the King.  An 'Escheator' then held an 'Inquisition Post Mortem' to determine who should be the rightful next holder of that Manor, normally to find the 'next heir' by inheritance.  If the heir was a son under 21 years old, or a daughter under 14, then the King took the revenues of the land, had the right to manage the property, and the right to dispose of the heir in marriage.  The under-age heir was thus subject to royal guardianship which could be sold off to the highest bidder. This procedure continued until 1662 when Knight Service was abolished[23].


Although great for modern genealogists and local historians this procedure was not liked by gentry families.  Because the Manor of Cove was held by Knight Service the Giffard owners can be tracked from the mid 13th century by means of the Inquisitions Post Mortem. The last was held at Gloucester Castle on 8 Jul 1563 after the death of John Giffard. It records that his eldest son George was then 10 years old.  The family appear to have avoided wardship by using a will trust. The trustees were John Giffard's wife Elizabeth (who married again), and his brothers-in-law Sir Robert Throckmorton, John Throckmorton and Kenelm Throckmorton.  As a result when George Giffard came of age the disposal of the Hampshire estates, the two Manors of Itchell and Cove, was very complex legally[24].


I do not claim to be any sort of expert on the alienation of lands which were held by fee simple or fee conditional. However it is apparent that there are parallels with today:  smart lawyers devised tax avoidance schemes, whilst the King introduced statutes attempting to kill off those schemes, thus instigating more tax avoidance schemes.  Conveyance to trustees was losing Henry VIII the revenue of fines and escheats so he introduced the Statute of Uses in 1535.  This statute introduced conveyancing by deed.  In order to prevent secret conveyancing Statute of Enrolment was rushed into the same Parliament requiring that deeds be enrolled either with the keeper of the rolls of the county, or in one of the courts at Westminster, such as the Court of Common Pleas.  As an excellent pamphlet published by the Land Registry says, the conveyancing "system did not work satisfactorily."[25]


One of the ways to sell land from 1182 to 1833 was called conveyancing by 'Feet of Fine' which was legal action (normally fictitious after 1300) in one of the King's Courts. This method of conveyancing resulted in a copy of the final agreement, often called the "final concord", between the purchaser, known as the querent, and the seller, known as the deforciant, being filed with the records of the King's Court and open to public inspection. From the reign of Edward III, all feet of fines made in the central courts were made in the Court of Common Plea[26].  The court record was formulaic, the final concord starting with the Latin words "Haec est finalis concordia ... "  The Final Concord between Thomas Brabon and Robert White was dated 4 May 1580.  However previously on 12 Feb 1580 a different conveyancing method called 'Bargain and Sale' had been used for the same land between the same parties.   Bargain and Sale was originally devised as a private and secret procedure to take advantage of a loophole in the Statute of Uses 1535.  It seems that Robert White was not taking any chances with the acquisition of the Manor of Cove. 


The University of Nottingham website[27] explains:

A final concord, or 'fine', was the product of a 'collusive action', or a fake legal procedure. The word 'concord' means 'agreement'. The legal procedure usually took place in the Court of Common Pleas. . . . It is important for researchers to understand that they are only part of a bigger procedure. They do not tell the whole story of a transaction. . . .  [Final Concords] were additional legal documents providing back-up to a real conveyance such as a feoffment or a lease and release. They could also be part of a sequence of documents used to bar an entail or to create a settlement of freehold land.


The conveyance between George Giffard and Thomas Brabon had been by means of 'Common Recovery'.  Again the University of Nottingham website[28] explains: 


Like a final concord, a common recovery looks impressive and important, but does not really provide much useful information. It was the product of a 'collusive action' - a fake legal procedure in the courts. The court was usually the Court of Common Pleas . . . . Common recoveries were used to break entails (conditions stipulated in wills or settlements which limited the descent of freehold land to certain individuals) and transfer land. Once the common recovery had been achieved ('suffered' in legal language), the land reverted to fee simple. This enabled it to be sold to somebody else, mortgaged, or settled in a new way.


Robert White's objective therefore appears to have been to obtain a clean title "in fee simple" without the encumbrances of the Knights Service, and without the fees payable both to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester and the Queen.  The same process was taking place for the Manor of Itchell, then being purchased by the Second Earl of Southampton, who already owned Dogmersfield.  Because both Itchell and Cove were entailed by George Gifford's grandfather, Sir William Giffard, to the heirs of George's father for ever, and George's father had bequeathed two thirds in trust and only one third to his then wife Elizabeth, née Throckmorton, the Earl was at great pains to secure a perfect title[29].  This involved three separate conveyances, translated by Baigent, and two other deeds in the Wriothesley of Titchfield Collection at The Hampshire Record Office[30]. One of these is a Statute Staple of "George Gyfforde of Itchel to Henry, Earl of Southampton, for the assurance of the manor of Itchell".  The other is a document which appears to be part of a 'Lease and Release' of the Manor of Itchell.  The Earl of Southampton also relied on intermediaries between the vendors and himself to make sure he obtained a good title to the manor. 


There is thus no doubt in my mind that Thomas Brabon was a shrewd and creative lawyer friend of Robert White, employed by him to make sure that his title to the Manor of Cove was as clean as possible, without being encumbered by the feudal constraints which had persisted for the Giffard family for the previous three hundred years.



Why is this research worth the effort?

One final question should be asked: why is is worthwhile to spend time and effort researching a single conveyance of a manor, both the manor and the conveyance being seemingly completely unimportant? 


Here are just one answer, of several others I can think of:



The Blackwater Valley produced half the domestic pottery used in London from the late 13th century until about 1500.  A local amateur archaeological society NEHHAS has just published a report[31] of an investigation which started out as a 'watching brief' on a development site at 23 Tower Hill, Cove.   The NEHHAS team found evidence that this site in Cove had been part of a larger production site producing pottery for domestic use, and of the types found in excavations in London, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.  Prior to this discovery in late 2011 the earliest published documentary evidence of potters working in Cove had dated from after 1580[32].  The Lords of the Manor of Cove Manor during this period, when the Blackwater Valley had effectively been the mediaeval equivalent of Stoke-on-Trent, had been the Giffard family. As yet we have no documentary clues as to what role the Giffard family played in the potteries.


In 1580 when George Giffard sold the Manor of Cove to Robert White the Borderware potteries were undergoing another dramatic transition, this time in both technology and design.  The potters in the Blackwater Valley had lost their dominant market position in the capital around 1500, but they had responded by taking their product up-market.  In the reign of Elizabeth I they upgraded their technology yet again and regained about 25% of the London market.  The latest research by Jacqui Pearce of Museum of London Archaeology indicates that this upgraded technology was imported from the Rhineland[33].  I have found in documentary records an immigrant potter from the Rhineland working in Farnborough[34].  The earliest date I have found for him in Farnborough, when he baptised a daughter and paid tax as an alien, is 1586.  Was Robert White instrumental in bringing Rhenish pottery technology to England by facilitating the passage of a Catholic immigrant?  Some 20 years later this new-technology Borderware pottery arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, rendering Borderware of international importance in helping to date archaeological investigations. Any research which will throw more light on the potteries and potters of the Blackwater Valley is welcome, but what of the commercial systems which moved their products to market?


All the research for this article has been done sitting at my desk using websites, books from my bookcase and notes from notebooks I have made over the last 35 years.  I needed to download five wills form the TNA website at a cost of £3.50 each.



















[2]British Library online catalogue www.bl.uk

[3]Baigent F B; "The Crondal Records, Part 1 Historical and Manorial", Hampshire Record Society 1891



[6]Foss, Edward;  "Tabulae curiales; or, Tables of the superior courts of Westminster hall, showing the judges who sat in them from 1066 to 1864"; 1865; p54; seen at http://archive.org

[7]FitzHugh, Terrick V H; "The Dictionary of Genealogy"; Alphabooks 1988, p75

[8]Palmer R C; "Attorneys in Early Modern England" seen at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/Attorneys/attpages/FullAttorneyList1607.html

[9] PJT notebooks

[10] Baigent F B; op.cit

[11] Palmer R C; op. cit

[12] Hadland, Tony; "Thames Valley Papists; from reformation to emanicipation 1534-1829"    Privately published 1992 and 1995

[13] HRO online database: http://calm.hants.gov.uk/DServe/

[14] TNA Documents online: Wills at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=6&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1

[15] Baigent F B; op. cit.

[16] IGI: St Clement Danes, Middlesex C041605

[17] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Sheriff_of_Hampshire

[18] http://www.innertemple.org.uk/archive/itad/search.asp#name

[19] Anguline Research Archives, supplied as a searchable pdf file.

[20] For details of the Court of Requests see FitzHugh, Terrick V H; op. cit.

[21] For Sir Thomas White, Master of Requests, see this website


[22] Curtis, Henry; "Pedigrees of Whyte or White of Farnham, co Surrey; Aldershot, South Warnborough and Basingstoke, co Hants; and Hutton, co. Essex and a Note on the yateley Cup"; privately published, 1936

[23] FitzHugh, Terrick V H; op.cit.

[24] Baigent F B; op. cit

[25] Land registry: A Short History of Land Registration in England and Wales". Seen at www1.landregistry.gov.uk/upload/documents/bhist-lr.pdf

[26] FitzHugh, Terrick V H; op. cit.



[29] Baigent F B; op. cit.

[30] Hampshire Record Office CALM database; op. cit.

[31] NEHHAS Journal Volume 6: 23 Tower Hill; A Watching Brief;  see http://www.hants.org.uk/nehhas/  available for sale cost £10

[32] see this website http://heathhist.pbworks.com/ArchaeologyBorderware

[33] Pearce J.; "Pots and Potters in Tudor Hampshire"; Guildford Museum 2007

[34] see this website http://heathhist.pbworks.com/HermanReynolds

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