Brightwell Manors & Estates

Vale&ChilternsBy the late 9th century Brightwell Baldwin belonged to the Bishop of Worcester’s large Readanora Estate (centred on Pyrton), which may have once formed part of Benson’s early Royal Territory 6-hides, representing the greater part of the later Parish, were confirmed to the Bishop in 887, and in 973 he Leased a 5-hide Estate at Brightwell to a man named Byrhtric for 2 Lives.  The Church of Worcester had lost its interest in Brightwell by 1086, however, when the future Parish comprised 2 separate Estates at Brightwell and another at Cadwell.

The 2 Brightwell Manors (known later as Parks & Huscarls) were joined in the 13th century by a sub-holding of Parks, which became known as Brightwell Baldwin Manor. Huscarls was absorbed into it probably by the resident Cottesmore Family during the 15th century, followed by Parks Manor in 1544 & Cadwell from 1627. The resulting ‘Brightwell Estate‘ covered virtually the entire Parish except for the Glebe in the late 18th century and remained largely intact until 1942. Its Chief House was that originally associated with Brightwell Baldwin Manor, which was established by 1300 and became the Parish’s principal Residence until its destruction by Fire in 1788Brightwell Park, the Georgian Manor House which replaced it, was mostly demolished c.1947–9, leaving a Stable Block which was converted into the existing House.
Manors to 1630
Brightwell Parks Manor
In 1086 2 hides in Brightwell were held by Hervey (probably Hervey de Campeaux) from Odo, Bishop of Bayeux.  Almost certainly this was the later Brightwell Parks Manor, to which the Advowson also belonged.  All 4 of Hervey’s Oxfordshire Estates (Brightwell, Little Haseley, Warpsgrove, & Thomley) belonged by the early 13th century to the Lacy Family’s Honour of Pontefract, which in 1311 became merged in the Earldom (and later the Duchy) of Lancaster.  The Duchy’s Overlordship was still recorded in 1361 & 1401but in 1398 & 1425 the Earls of March were Overlords, holding of Clifford’s Castle (Herefs).  The link presumably arose in 1331, when Henry de Lacy’s daughter Alice inherited the Barony of Clifford from her mother.  An intermediary Lordship belonged in 1206 to William de Bruges in the right of his wife Olive, daughter of Oliver of Skelbrooke, the Sherbrooke’s being Hervey’s successors as Lords of Skelbrooke near Pontefract (Yorks. WR).  Their Right Descended thereafter with their Manor of Little Haseley and was still recorded in 1401.

Tenancy of the Manor belonged by 1206 to Richard Park (de Parco), who held ⅓-Knight’s Fee in Brightwell under William de Bruges.  Before 1230 Richard was succeeded by his son Walter,  who was dead by 1244 when his son and heir Richard was a Minor in the Guardianship of Simon of St Liz,  Steward of the Bishop of Chichester.  The bishop Presented to the Rectory the same year.  Richard died before 1264 when Oliver of Skelbrooke presented to the Church as Guardian of Richard’s son Thomas, who reached his Majority by 1274 and was Lord in 1279.  He or a namesake was living in 1304 but was probably dead by 1306, when Richard Park was Taxed in Brightwell; Richard was succeeded between 1347 & 1364 by John Park,  who was resident in 1394.  The Manor subsequently passed to Thomas Park and (before 1428) to Thomas Cowley, holding in the Right of his wife Joan (formerly Park).

Joan died before 1456, by which time the Manor & Advowson had been divided among her daughters Joan (wife of John Soulby), Elizabeth (wife of John Blackhall), and Amice (wife of Robert Barwell).  In 1459 (when Joan’s husband was Thomas Nowers) she and Elizabeth surrendered their 2/3rds to Thomas Stonor (d.1474) of Stonor Park in Pyrton, whose share passed to his son Sir William (d.1494) and grandson John, a Minor. Following John Stonors death in 1498 the Stonor possessions passed to his sister Anne, wife of Sir Adrian Fortescue, although their right was disputed for more than 30 years.  In 1509 the Fortescues reunited Brightwell Parks Manor by purchasing the remaining 3rd from Richard Barwell: that 3rd had been falsely claimed in 1504 by the Lord of Brightwell Baldwin John Cottesmore, who had earlier tried to Present to the Rectory  In 1522 Johns grandson John Cottesmore was Lessee of all 3 parts of the Manor, known as Uphams, Blackballs, & Barwells.

Following Anne Fortescue’s death in 1518 Sir Adrian Fortescue married Anne, daughter of Sir William Rede of Boarstall (Bucks).  He retained Brightwell Parks under a settlement of 1536, which ended the long-running disputes over the Stonor succession;  following his Execution in 1539, however, it passed to his daughter Margaret and her husband Sir Thomas Wentworth, Lord Wentworth.  All or part was subsequently leased to Fortescue’s Widow and her 2nd husband Sir Thomas Parry, who jointly Presented to the Rectory in 1541.  In 1554 Wentworth sold the Advowson and Brightwell Parks (comprising 6 houses and 250a) to the owner of Brightwell Baldwin Manor, Anthony Carleton, and thereafter the 2 Manors descended together.
Brightwell Huscarls Manor
A separate 2-hide estate in Brightwell was held from the King in 1086 by Roger, almost certainly the Roger FitzSeifrid who held a Burgage in Wallingford, where he was probably a Royal Housecarl. With his brother Ralph, Roger also held lands in Berkshire, which by the mid 12th century (together with the Brightwell Estate and holdings in Surrey) formed 3-Knights Fees within the Honour of Wallingford, all of them held by the Huscarl Family.

In 1166 the 3 Fees were held by Gilbert Huscarl, and in 1196 by Roland, the heir of Richard Huscarl, perhaps Gilberts grandson. Roland was succeeded in 1211 or 1212 by his son Thomas, whose Brightwell Estate was Granted by the King to Richard Park in 1216; it was evidently restored to the Huscarls soon afterwards, however, as Agnes the Widow of Roger Huscarl of Brightwell surrendered Property in Cuxham c.1230. Rogers son William Huscarl held ¼-Knights Fee of the Honour in 1235, and in 1279 Thomas Huscarl held the Brightwell Manor as ½-Knights Fee, in which William Huscarls Widow Joan retained Dower. By then the Manor included a Ploughland in Demesne and a share in a Mill, together with numerous Villein Tenancies.  By 1300 the combined Huscarl Fees belonged to Roland Huscarl, who with his wife Margaret retained Brightwell in 1307.

Roland’s son Thomas came of age in 1313 and was Taxed in Brightwell in 1327. Possibly he was the father of Sir Thomas Huscarl, who c.1343 married (as his 2nd wife) Lucy, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Willoughby. The Brightwell Manor was settled on them in 1349 with remainder to their son Thomas, and Lucy retained it following Sir Thomas’s death by 1352. In 1357 she married Nicholas Carew of Beddington (Surrey), twice MP for Surrey & Keeper of the Privy Seal, to whom the Trustees of Sir Thomas and Lucy’s son and heir Thomas Huscarl Granted the Estate in 1369.  Nicholas sold the Manor in 1373 to John James of WallingfordMP for the Borough, who the same year exchanged it with Sir Baldwin Bereford, Lord of Brightwell Baldwin, for his Manor of Rush in Clapcot (Berks.).

Sir Baldwin Bereford died in 1405 when the Manor passed to his Widow Elizabeth (d. 1423) under an earlier Settlement.  Thereafter it passed in halves to descendants of Sir Baldwin’s aunt Agnes: Maud, wife of the Dorset MP Sir Ivo FitzWaryn, & Sir Baldwin St George (d.1425), MP for Cambridgeshire. The FitzWaryns’ share passed to their daughter Eleanor (d.1433), who settled it on her husband Ralph Bush (d.1441), MP for Dorset, and their sons William and John.  Sir Baldwin St George’s share probably passed by 1423 to his grandson William.  Nothing further is known of either share and probably the Manor was absorbed into the Brightwell Baldwin Estate by John Cottesmore (d.1439) or one of his successors.
Cadwell Manor
A small 3-Yardland Estate at Cadwell was held from the King by Brun the Priest in 1086.  By the late 12th century it evidently belonged to the d’Oilly Family’s Barony of Hook Norton and was subject to complex sub-infeudation. An intermediate Lordship belonged to the de Whitfield Family (Lords of Wheatfield), who claimed descent from Peter, a Sheriff of Oxfordshire in the 1090s and one of Robert d’Oilly’s Knights. Henry de Whitfield gained possession of his brother Roberts Cadwell lands in 1196, and by the 13th century, the Manor was held under the Whitfield’s by the Salveyn Family, who in 1279 held it in Socage for 40s Rent.

Rival claims by the Foliots led to protracted disputes during the early 13th century, when Richard Foliot alleged that Henry d’Oilly (d.1196) had Granted a hide of land to his father Ralph Foliot, who in turn had leased it to Gilbert Salveyn for life only. Following Gilbert’s death, Ralph had allegedly been deprived in favour of Salveyn’s son William. Foliot won his Case in 1205 and received possession in 1216 until further challenged by William Salveyn’s son William in 1224.  The Salveyns evidently prevailed, and in 1279 John Salveyn was Lord there with ½-hide of Demesne and 7 Tenants.  He or a namesake retained the Manor in 1326–27, later Lords including Richard Salveyn (fl 1357 & 1373), and probably John Salveyn (fl 1387).

Nothing further is known until 1475 when Alice de la Pole, Lady of Ewelme and Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, owned property in Cadwell & Brightwell.  The Estate remained attached to Ewelme Manor until the latter’s Sale by the Crown in 1627, and in the 16th & early 17th centuries, it was leased in 2 portions. One, comprising 130a in Cadwell & Brightwell, was held from 1576 by Joyce Carleton, Lady of Brightwell Baldwin Manor, who in 1588 assigned her lease to her son George.  In 1595 he secured the reversion from John Dixon, a London Scrivener to whom the Crown had Granted it for 31 years beginning in 1619. A separate 21-year Lease covering the period 1598–1619 was Granted to John Walker in 1583 but was evidently assigned to John Simeon (d.1618) of Pyrton.  He subsequently acquired all of the Carleton’s‘ Brightwell Property, including Joyce’s Cadwell Lease in 1595 and Dixon’s in 1596, both from George Carleton.

The 2nd portion, described as the site of Cadwell Manor, was let to Thomas Muskett in 1534 for 41 years.  Thomas Sublet it to Thomas Carter of Swyncombe, succeeded in 1551 by his son Brian.  In 1565 the Queen Granted reversion of Muskett’s Lease to John Fortescue, Master of the Wardrobe, for 21 years from 1575, renewing the Grant in 1582 for a further 60 years.  In 1583, however, Fortescue assigned his Lease to Sir Francis Knollys, Treasurer of the Royal Household, on whose death in 1596 it passed to his son William, a Courtier created Earl of Banbury in 1626.  William assigned the lease to Thomas Wotton of Warpsgrove in 1627, when the reversion was Granted to John Simeon’s son Sir George.

The reunited Cadwell Estate (264a in 1638) descended thereafter with the combined Brightwell Manors, although like the rest of the former Ewelme Manor it owed fixed Fee Farm Rents to the Crown. Cadwell’s share of £13 a year was paid by successive Lords of Brightwell Baldwin throughout the 18th & 19th centuries.
Brightwell Baldwin Manor
The Sub-manor known later as Brightwell Baldwin existed by 1231, when Robert of Brightwell held a ½–hide from Walter Park as 1/10th Knights Fee.  The Manor was still reckoned at 1/10th Fee in 1326 but at a ½-Fee in 1355, when it was still held of the Parks.  By the early 15th century it belonged to the Honour of Wallingford, superseded from 1540 by the Honour of Ewelme.

Around 1236 Robert of Brightwell’s daughter Maud married Geoffrey Langley, on whom Robert settled ½-Yardlands, 13a of Meadow, and 9 houses in Brightwell which he had previously given to Maud.  Geoffrey, who held separate land in Brightwell from Dorchester Abbey,  was later Knighted and held various Royal Offices. At his death in 1274 his Brightwell Lands passed presumably to his son Robert, whose half-brother Sir Geoffrey Langley, a leading Diplomat, inherited before 1279.  In 1286 he Mortgaged the Estate (henceforth called a Manor) to Sir William Bereford, Chief Justice of Common Pleas, who by 1300 was Lord in his own Right and maintained a Manor House. William (d.1326) was succeeded by his Widow Margaret and son Edmund, who in 1335 was Granted Free Warren in Brightwell.  Following Edmunds death in 1354 the Manor passed successively to his illegitimate sons Sir John (d. c.1356) and Sir Baldwin, who added Brightwell Huscarls in 1373.  After his death in 1405 the Manor probably passed with Huscarls to his Widow Elizabeth (d.1423), and like Huscarls was apparently held in halves by Ralph Bush (in the Right of his wife Eleanor) and William St George in 1423, when John Langley lodged a claim.

The subsequent Descent is unclear, but in 1432 Robert FitzRalph and his wife Margaret, a descendant of Edmund Bereford’s sister Agnes, surrendered the Manor to Sir John (I) Cottesmore and his wife Amice.  Cottesmore, who held land in Brightwell by 1429, was Chief Justice of Common Pleas and Lord of neighbouring Britwell Salome, with which Brightwell Baldwin probably passed on his death in 1439 to his Widow Amice. She married Matthew Hay, on whose death after 1453 the Manor probably descended to John (II) or John (III) Cottesmore, son & grandson of John (I). John (III), who held it in 1494, was subsequently Knighted and died c.1510, to be succeeded by his son William (d. 1519).  Williams 2nd wife Alice married Thomas Doyley of Hambleden (Bucks) and retained a life interest, Leasing the Manor to Williams son John (IV) Cottesmore for 70 years in 1520.  In 1539 he conveyed it (apparently illegally) to Sir Michael Dormer, Citizen & Alderman of London, who sold it after 1542 to John Carleton of Walton-on-Thames (Surrey). Alice Doyley’s life interest was upheld in 1550 when Carleton was forced to become her Tenant, but the following year he died apparently possessed of the Freehold.

Carleton’s son Anthony added Brightwell Parks Manor in 1554, becoming MP for Westbury (Wilts) in 1559.  He died in 1576 leaving his Brightwell Estates to his Widow Joyce for life, with remainder to their son George, a Minor.  George was dealing with both Manors by 1589, and c.1596 sold them to John Simeon of Pyrton (d.1618), succeeded by his son Sir George, MP for Wallingford.  Sir Georges acquisition of Cadwell in 1627 created a Unified Brightwell Estate which included most of the Parish.
The Brightwell Estate From 1630
The combined Estate was returned to the Carleton Family in 1630 when Sir George Simeon sold it to George Carleton’s younger brother Sir Dudley Carleton (d.1632), Viscount Dorchester, who served as principal Secretary of State 1628–32.  Dudleys 2nd wife Anne, Dowager Viscountess Bayning of Sudbury (Suffolk), retained a life interest and died in 1639; she was succeeded by Sir George Carleton (d.1650), son of Sir Dudleys nephew and heir Sir John Carleton, Bart, of Cheveley (Cambs), who had died in 1637.  Sir Georges coheirs were his sisters Anne, wife of George Garth of Morden (Surrey), and Catherine, who c.1653 married John Stone of Great Stukeley (Hunts), and with her husband purchased the Garths’ share.  Stone later served as MP for Wallingford and remained Lord following Catherine’s death in 1668.

Under a settlement by Act of Parliament in 1702 Stone’s Brightwell Estate passed on his death in 1704 to his son Carleton Stone (d.1708), and then to Carleton’s brother John (d.1732), whose widow Mary retained a life interest. The younger John Stones heir was his cousin Francis Lowe of Ridgemont (Beds), who inherited on Mary’s death in 1739.  On Francis’s death in 1754 it passed to his daughter Catherine and her husband William Lowndes, originally of Astwood (Bucks), who in 1755 both took the additional surname Stone by Act of Parliament as a condition of inheriting the Estate.  William (d.1772) and Catherine (d.1789) were succeeded by their son William (d.1830) and by William’s son William Francis Lowndes Stone, who owned 1,585 a. in the Parish c.1850 and was succeeded by his granddaughter Catherine Charlotte Lowndes Stone, then a Minor. Her guardian and uncle by marriage was the Rector of Brightwell, George Day, who administered the Estate for 4 years until her Majority  In 1862 Catherine married the Soldier Robert Thomas Lowndes Norton of Anningsley Park in Chertsey (Surrey), their marriage settlement requiring every family member succeeding to the Brightwell Estate to bear the names and Arms of Lowndes, Stone, & Norton. The arrangement received Royal Licence in 1868. On Catherine’s death in 1882 the estate passed to her son Roger Fletcher Earle Lowndes-Stone-Norton (d.1934), followed by his son Fletcher William Lowndes-Stone-Norton.

In 1942 the 1,672-acre Estate was broken up in a series of sales.  The Manor House and 458a. (including Brightwell Farm) was sold to George Coldham Knight, who the same year conveyed the Property to Dorothy Anne Mackle.  Around 1946 she sold the greater part to Richard Noel Richmond-Watson, who in 1955 owned 438a in the Parish. In that year Brightwell Farm (260a) was purchased by its Tenant and the remaining Estate was sold to Frank Dudley Wright. On Wright’s death in 1994 it passed to his daughters Tessa Mogg and Angela Riley, who in 2011 sold Brightwell Park with 135a to the Sculptor Anish Kapoor.

Manor Houses
Brightwell Parks, Brightwell Huscarls, & Cadwell
Brightwell Parks Manor presumably had a Manor House in 1325, when Richard Park lived in Brightwell.  Its location is unknown, though as the Advowson belonged to the Manor it may have stood near the Church in Brightwell Baldwin Village. From the early 15th century the Parks’ successors lived elsewhere, and the house was presumably abandoned.

The ‘Site’ of Cadwell Manor Leased in the 16th century was presumably that marked by remains of a Moat c.200M East of Cadwell Farm, a view supported by recent Archaeology. The Salveyns probably lived there as Resident Lords, but by the late 15th century it had most likely been abandoned, and in the post-Medieval Period the Principal Dwelling at Cadwell was Cadwell Farm.  No record of a House for Brightwell Huscarls Manor has been found, the Huscarls themselves being based at Purley (Berks), and Nicholas Carew at Beddington (Surrey).  Sir Baldwin Bereford probably occupied the Brightwell Baldwin Manor House.

Other Estates
In the Middle Ages, several Monastic Institutions held small parcels in the Parish. Missenden Abbey (Bucks.) received a Yardland from Peter Boterel (d.1165), Lord of Chalgrove, and in 1230 claimed Rents from a Mill.  The Yardland was let to Tenants, and c.1357 (when occupied by John Bereford) the Property included a DovecotDorchester Abbey acquired an Estate before 1244, including ½-Yardland on which Geoffrey Langley obtained permission in 1248 to build a Mill & Fishponds.  That Land was held from the Abbey by Langley’s son in 1279 when Dorchester’s Brightwell Estate comprised 2½-Yardlands including 2 held under Brightwell Parks Manor.  In 1306 the Abbey paid the highest Tax in Brightwell, and at the Dissolution retained 2s annual Rent there.


Smaller estates included ½-Yardland owned by Littlemore Priory in 1279, increased by the 1350s to 2-Yardlands and a Chief House leased to John Bereford for 14s 4d. annual Rent.  Following the Dissolution, the Priory’s Brightwell Property was sold in 1588 to Edward Wymarke of London.  An Estate at Cadwell was owned by the Hospital of St John the Baptist in Oxford in 1293, when it had 2 Tenants, and passed apparently to Magdalen College as the Hospital’s successor.  In 1590 it comprised a parcel at Bushy Leaze in the Parish’s North-East corner.  An acre of Meadow was given to Holy Trinity Priory in Wallingford by John son of Aumary of ‘East Brightwell‘ c.1260, and in 1528 was apparently Granted to Cardinal Wolsey in support of Cardinal College, Oxford.

Other Lesser Estates were in Lay hands.  In 1279 Reginald le Bracy held 5½-Yardlands from William Barentin of the Honor of Wallingford, by Serjeanty of providing a Horse & Arms for 40 days.  The Estate is not otherwise recorded but was probably associated with the Barentins’ Chalgrove Manor.  John Blome of Great Kimble (Bucks) owned land in all 4 Manors in the Parish at his death in 1357, presumably including the later Blomes or Blooms Close.  Later Freeholds included 3 Tenements attached to Marsh Baldon Manor in the 16th & 17th centuries, and a Farm called Spyers purchased by John Stone before 1697.

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