Pyrton was a Royal Estate in 774 when Offa, King of Mercia, gave 40 hides there to Worcester Cathedral. At some unknown date, the Church lost or alienated the Property, for in 1066 Stigand, the Schismatic Archbishop of Canterbury, held it. After the Conquest, this large Estate passed to Hugh d’Avranches, Earl of Chester, one of the most important Landowners in Oxfordshire. Pyrton Manor, as it is described in 1279, consisted of most of this Ancient Estate, and included Pyrton itself and parts of the dependent Hamlets of Clare, Goldor, Assendon (i.e. the modern Stonor) & Standhill in the Parish of Pyrton, and Pishill Venables in Pishill Parish. Tenants from these Hamlets and the sub-Manors attended Pyrton Manor Courts until well into the 18thC.
Pyrton Manor – was said to be held in 1242 for 4½ Fees and in 1279 for 5 Fees and by service of being in the advance-guard in going towards Wales and in the rear-guard in returning, a reflection of the Marcher Origin of the Fief. Several of the 5 Fees listed in 1279 cut across the Boundaries of the various Hamlets: there was a ½-Fee called Clermond in Goldor and Pyrton vills, which seems later to have disappeared; Bruys’s ½-Fee in Clare and Goldor; Pyron’s Fee, principally in Clare and Goldor, but with a ½-Virgate in Pishill; Derneden’s Fee in Goldor, which seems also to have had Land in Clare; Pishill Venables Fee & Standhill Fee. Several of these Fees were the basis of the later Manors. In 1282 there were also 6 co-Parcenors (equal sharer) of a ⅓rd and 1/10-Fee under Pyrton and from their names – Richard of Stonor, Adam of Assendon, John de la Dene, Emma de Herlinggerugge (i.e. the modern Hollandridge) & John de Hweresdene – it may be deduced that their holdings lay in the Assendon & Pishill area, a supposition reinforced by the fact that the holdings of the 6th co-Parcenor, the Abbot of Dorchester, were in Pishill. In 1380 and later, Stonor Manor was said to be held for 1 Fee, but this was probably because it was then held with Pishill.
In 1346 and 1428 there were said to be 4 fees in Pyrton, Clare, Goldor, Pishill, & Standhill, but a 15thC Rental (c.1438) gave a different distribution with 5½ Fees: Stonor was 1 Fee, Clare 1 Fee, & Goldor 3½ Fees. Standhill’s Service was said to be unknown and Pishill was not mentioned. By this time, however, the original disposition of Fees must have altered with the engrossment of Holdings and changes in Tenure, and they were perhaps reckoned on a financial basis according to the amount of Land held.
The early Tenants of the Fees reflect strongly the connection between Pyrton and the Honour of Chester. They were often Cheshire and Lancashire Tenants of the Honour and Members of the Households of the Earls and Constables of Chester. It is probable, for example, that the Venables from whom Pishill Venables took its name was one of the Cheshire Venables, who frequently Witnessed 12thC Charters of the Earls, and the later 12thC Tenants of Pishill, Roger Fitz Alured of Cumbray and the Duttons, were prominent Cheshire Landowners and Dependants of the Earl. The Pyron Fee, likewise, was connected with the Hugh Pirun, who witnessed (c.1115) the Constable’s Foundation Charter and Grant of Pyrton Church to Runcorn (later Norton) Priory. The Tenants of Standhill came from Coleby (Lincs), another Estate of the Honour, where they were neighbours of the Duttons. The Chaucumbes, who were connected with 12thC Clare, were also Lincolnshire Tenants of the Earl.
The Earls of Chester were the Overlords of Pyrton Manor until the 13thC. After the death in 1237 of John le Scot, Earl of Chester, the Earldom was annexed by the Crown, and later returns usually said that Pyrton and its dependent Estates were held directly of the King. On occasions, however, the Earldom was in the hands of the Heir to the Throne, and this accounts for the Return in 1360 of Pyrton as 4 Fees of Wallingford Honour, for at that time the Black Prince was both Earl of Chester & as Earl of Cornwall, Lord of Wallingford Honour. In 1414 Henry V annexed his Bohun Inheritance to the Duchy of Lancaster, a fact which accounts for the 15thC connection of Pyrton with the Duchy.
The Mesne Tenant in 1086 was William Fitz Nigel (d. c.1130), Constable of Chester & Lord of Halton Barony, Cheshire. His son William Fitz William died without direct heirs c.1150 and the Estates went to his sisters Agnes and Maud, between whom Pyrton seems to have been divided. Agnes granted land there about 1157–58, to Hurley Priory for the soul of her 1st husband Eustace Fitz John (d.1157), who succeeded her brother as Constable. In 1242 Pyrton was said to be held under her heirs, the Constables of Chester, although the whole Manor had, in fact, passed to the De Grelles, the heirs of her sister Maud, who held in Chief in the 14thC.
Maud had married Albert (II) de Grelle, Lord of Manchester, and after his death c.1162 Geoffrey de Valoignes appears to have had custody of his Lands. Albert (III) de Grelle, son of Maud and Albert, was in possession by about 1165. He died in 1181, leaving a son Robert in the Ward of his mother’s brother, Gilbert Basset of Headington. Robert de Grelle later sided with the Baronial party in the quarrel with John and in 1215 his lands in Pyrton were confiscated. They were restored in 1217 and Robert henceforth followed Henry III faithfully. He accompanied the King to Poitou in 1230, but died in England before the end of the year. His son Thomas, who did homage for his lands in 1231, was reported to be holding the 4½ Fees in 1242. Thomas’s eldest son Robert predeceased him and when he died in 1262, he was succeeded by a Minor, his grandson Robert de Grelle. The King granted the Wardship of the heir and his lands to his own son Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, and in 1272 Robert de Grelle complained that Edmund had distributed the Lands among his friends, neglecting to provide for him as the heir, and prayed for Restitution. Lancaster had Granted Pyrton to Philip Basset (d.1271) of Wootton Bassett and in 1272 it was in the hands of Basset’s Executors. Robert came of age in 1275, and died in 1282, leaving a 2-year old son Thomas. Dower in 2 fees in Standhill & Clare was given to Robert’s Widow Hawise de Burgh (d.1299); and Pyrton Manor was given to Farm to the Abbot of Westminster, who was to pay the Rent to Amadeo of Savoy, the custodian of the heir. Thomas de Grelle came of age in 1300; and in 1308 he Granted the Manor to John Gyse, retaining a life interest, which he Granted in 1309 for £70 a year to Hugh Despenser the elder, whose Family (the Bassets) had had an interest in Pyrton earlier. When De Grelle died in 1311, although all his other Lands went to his sister, Pyrton remained in the possession of Despenser, who was returned as joint Lord in 1316 and later in the same year obtained all Rights in it. On Despenser’s death in the Revolution of 1326, Pyrton with his other Lands was forfeited to the Crown. In the next year Thomas Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk (d.1338), was given it with other Manors; in 1332 he arranged a life Settlement of it with Reversion to William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton. In 1346 Northampton was, therefore, returned as holding 4 Fees in Pyrton and Pishill and still did so on his death in 1360. He was succeeded in his Titles & Lands by his son Humphrey, Earl of Essex, Hereford & Northampton, the last male of his line. Because of his Minority, the Manor was at 1st in the custody of his Overlord, the Black Prince.
On Humphrey de Bohun’s death in 1373 the vast Bohun Inheritance fell to his 2 daughters, Mary and Eleanor, both Minors and his Widow Joan held Pyrton for them until they came of age in about 1384. Eleanor de Bohun married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Buckingham and later of Gloucester, and her share of Pyrton, the Manor valued at £16 13s. 4d. and Stonor Fee valued at £5, with other of her possessions was given to him in 1380. After his murder at Calais in 1397, his Widow received these Lands with the rest of her Inheritance. On her own death in 1399, her Moiety of Pyrton descended to her elder daughter Anne, whose husband Edmund, Earl of Stafford, was holding it at his death in 1403. Anne did not die until 1438, but in 1421 a new & final Partition of the Bohun Inheritance was made with Henry V, son of Mary de Bohun (d. 1394), and it was at this time that Anne’s share of Pyrton, valued at £16 13s 4d, was granted to him. As his mother’s Heir, Henry V was already in possession of part of the Bohun Inheritance, which presumably included some of Pyrton, since Pyrton was later connected with the Duchy of Lancaster to which Henry annexed his Bohun Inheritance in 1414. A record of Mary de Bohun’s Inheritance in Pyrton was probably drawn up about 1421 since a later Rental (c.1438) based on it certainly described the United Manor and Fees. The Rental gives details of the ‘Manor Site’.
In 1422 Pyrton was given as Dower to Katherine de Valois, Henry V’s Widow, who held it with 4 Fees in Clare, Standhill, Goldor, and Pishill in 1428. Katherine de Valois, now the wife of Owen Tudor, died in 1437 and the Manor reverted to the Crown. It is said to have been given as part of her Dowry to the Consort of Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou; it was confiscated in 1460; given to Elizabeth Woodville who married Edward IV in 1464; and surrendered by her in 1468. In 1480 Edward IV gave the Manor to the Dean and Chapter of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. They remained Lords until the 19thC, but their connection in later times was slight, since from 1582 they Leased their Manorial Rights, ‘the residue‘ as they were called in contradistinction to the Manorial Estate ‘the Site‘, to the Lessees of the Estate, who were termed ‘Lord Farmers‘ of Pyrton Manor until 1869. Rights over the subordinate Manors seem to have lapsed in the 19thC, but it is not clear whether it was before or after the Lessees finally bought the Estate in about 1870. In 1910, for example, it was maintained that the Quit-rent for Standhill Manor had not been paid for many years and that it was not certain to whom it should be paid, if at all.
The Manorial Estate of the Dean and Chapter of St. George’s Chapel was called in the 16thC PyrtonManor Site. This Manor was clearly derived from the Demesne Manor of the De Grelles in Pyrton and Goldor Townships. From 1482 it was leased by the Chapter to various local Families: firstly to Robert Rolles (Rolfe, Ralfe) of Pyrton (d. 1507); and then to Thomas Symeon (d.1522), whose Brass in Pyrton Church describes him as ‘sometyme fermor of Purton‘.
His son Edmund succeeded him as Farmer and he also leased ‘the residue‘, i.e. the Manorial Rights over the dependent Manors of Pyrton. In 1538 his Lease of the Manor was renewed for 50 years and was left at his death in 1567 to Francis, one of his younger sons. On Francis’s death in 1580 his elder brother John Symeon (d.1617) of Pyrton, Yeoman, took over the Leases. John Symeon’s younger son Edmund, who had risen into the Ranks of the Gentry, evidently took over the Lease of the Manor, for in 1605 he held the Court Baron as ‘Farmer‘ of Pyrton. After Edmund’s death in 1622, the Family appears to have been in financial difficulties, for from 1627 to 1649 the Manorial Rights were held by a group which included an Edmund Symeon (d.1651) and Knightley Duffield of Medmenham (Bucks). In 1650 the Trustees under the Act for the Abolition of Deans and Chapters and the Sale of their Land, sold Symeon’s land in Pyrton for £1,796 to Richard Knightley of Fawsley, who was presumably acting for his Kinsman Knightley Duffield, ‘Farmer‘ in 1652. In 1663 & 1667 William, Lord Paget & Sir Francis Gerard were the Farmers. They were followed by Richard Hampden, son-in-law of William, Lord Paget and son of the Parliamentarian John Hampden, who had married Elizabeth, the daughter of Edmund Symeon. Richard Farmed the Manor from 1669 until 1695, when he left it with the ‘residue‘ to his Widow Letitia to pay his Debts. On her own death in 1707 she left her Estate to pay heavy Debts, the remainder to go to her grandson Richard Hampden. In 1717 the Pyrton leases were sold to Weedon Perry of Turville Heath (Bucks); his family sold them in 1751 to George Parker, Earl of Macclesfield (d.1764) and Lord of Shirburn; and in 1781 Hugh Hamersley (d.1789) of Old Windsor, a Trustee for the Earl’s Widow, bought the Property for £7,550. After the death of Hugh Hamersley’s widow Ann in 1801, the Manor went to her husband’s nephew, another Hugh (II) Hamersley. He was succeeded by his son Hugh (III) Hamersley in 1825, who obtained the enfranchisement of the Manor in 1870. It seems very likely that it was about this time that Hamersley purchased the Manor from the Dean and Chapter. Hamersley’s younger son Edward Samuel inherited Pyrton in 1884 and after his death in 1909, his Widow gave the Manor to the son of her husband’s sister, Major Hugh C C Ducat, who took the name Ducat Hamersley; he died in 1945 and his son, Colonel Hugh Ducat Hamersley, inherited.
Clare Manor – which extended into Goldor Township, derived from the ½-Fee held under Pyrton Manor of which the Descent can probably be traced back to the mid-12thC when the Grelles first obtained Pyrton. A William de Beaumont was a Tenant of Albert de Grelle in 1186, and at the end of the 12thC, a Thomas de Beaumont held 9 hides in Goldor and Clare, which he gave to his Kinswoman Maud as her marriage portion, when she married Hugh Druval (d.1195) of Goring. Philip de Beaumont, son of Thomas, succeeded his father as Mesne Lord of the ½-Fee and in 1211 was called to Warrant the Estate to Maud and her 3rd husband William de Sutton, against a certain Robert de Chaucumbe. As Beaumont was a Minor, the Case was not settled until 1224, when he agreed that Maud and William de Sutton were to hold the 9 hides from him as a ½-Fee. Robert de Druval, Maud’s son, was to succeed to 2 hides, as previously arranged, but the other 7 were to revert to Beaumont after the deaths of Maud and William de Sutton. Nevertheless, when Maud died in 1231 her grandson, Hugh Druval, made a forcible entry into the Estate, but the Agreement with Beaumont was upheld by the King’s Court. On William’s death, therefore, the 7 hides and ½-Fee reverted to Philip de Beaumont and in 1236 Philip was sued by Thomas de Grelle for services owing to him. Beaumont was still alive in 1242, but there is no further mention of him in connection with Clare. The Druvals, however, maintained a connection with Clare and Goldor: a Thomas Druval still held 3 Virgates in Goldor in 1279, apparently as Mesne Lord under the De Grelles, and another hide in Clare under Beaumont’s successors, the Family of De Bruys, perhaps in virtue of the Agreement made with Robert Druval in 1224.
The ½-Fee in Clare had already passed to an Essex Landholder, Robert de Bruys (Briwes), who was called Chief Lord of a Goldor Fee c.1260. Bruys died in 1276 and in 1279 his Widow Margery held the ½-Fee in Dower under their son John de Bruys. She appears to have married Sir Henry Grapinel, for in 1281 John de Bruys granted his rights in Clare and Land in Essex to Sir Henry and Margery Grapinel. Grapinel, an Essex Knight who acted as Commissioner of Array in Essex & Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire, was returned as holding the ½-Fee in 1282. He died in 1297, leaving 4 daughters as co-heiresses. Clare was the portion of his daughter Margaret (or Margery), who married William Inge, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench & Lord of a Great Milton Manor. Inge continued to hold the Estate after his 1st wife’s death (d. c.1311–13), but on his own death in 1321 it descended to their daughter Joan, wife of Eudo de la Zouche, son of the 1st Baron Zouche of Haryngworth (Northants). Joan claimed the Estate as her Inheritance on the death of her 1st husband in 1326. Within a year she married Sir William Moton of Peckleton (Leics), Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1336. She was dead by 1356, but the Manor remained in the Moton Family and presumably passed from William Moton (d. c.1356–62) to his son Robert Moton (d.1367), and to his grandson William (d.1391). It is not known whether or no the dispute with the Zouches over Joan Moton’s lands extended to Clare, but William’s Widow Agnes seems to have held this Manor in Dower, and in 1414 their son and heir Robert Moton was listed among the Free Tenants of Pyrton Manor. In a rental of c.1439, he was said to hold Clare Manor by service of 1 Knight’s Fee and rent of 5d. a year. There was a dispute over his lands on his death in 1456, for he had tried unsuccessfully to entail them on William, his son by his 2nd wife Elizabeth Mulsho, to the exclusion of the daughters and heiresses of Reginald (d.1445), the son of his 1st wife Margaret Malory. This dispute evidently extended to Clare, since the Court Rolls of 1460 do not name the Tenant, but merely refer to the ‘Lord of Clare‘. The Manor eventually came to Reginald’s 2 coheiresses, Elizabeth who married Ralph Pole of Radbourne (Derb.) and Anne who married Henry Grimbsy. Ralph Pole of Radbourne held his wife’s Moiety up to his death in 1492 and after him, it was apparently held by a son or Kinsman of the same name, who appeared as Tenant until 1303. Elizabeth Pole died in that year and there is no further mention of the Family in connection with Clare.
The other Moiety was held in 1479 by Anne Grimsby’s son Henry Grimsby and it passed to his sister and heiress Anne, wife of Richard Vincent. In 1505 she and her husband conveyed their Moiety to Robert Brudenell of Deene (Northants.), one of the King’s Justices, who sold the Estate to William Councer of Bloxham. The latter did homage for it in Pyrton Court in 1509 and was still in possession in 1534. In 1535 Edward Councer, son of William Councer, conveyed the Manor to Edward and Peter Dormer, sons of Geoffrey Dormer of Thame. Their brother Sir Michael Dormer possessed 1/3rd of the Manor on his death in 1545, and his son Ambrose died in possession of ‘Clare Manor‘ in 1566. He was said to have held ‘Counsells Farm‘ by Military Service and a Rent of 14s. 10d. as well as ‘Druvals‘. The Property went to his son Sir Michael Dormer, who in 1583 consolidated the Clare lands by purchasing Land belonging to the Barentines of Little Haseley.
The Barentines had held land in Clare called ‘Clare Manor‘ since 1410 at least when it was leased by Drew Barentine (d.1417), Citizen and Goldsmith of London. Drew’s heir was his nephew Reginald Barentine (d.1441), Lord of Goldor Manor, and although Clare was not mentioned among his holdings it may have been included with Goldor Manor. Sir Drew Barentine (d.1453), Reginald’s son, and his own son John (d.1474) and grandson John (d.1485) held a Clare Manor descending with Goldor Manor. John Barentine’s son Sir William Barentine (d.1550), and then his grandson Francis (d.1559) also held this Manor. From Francis, it passed to his daughter Mary, wife of Simon Perrot. In 1583 Perrot Granted the Clare Property to Sir Michael Dormer, who sold it for £5,800 in 1586 to Robert Chamberlain, Lord of Shirburn, with which Manor Clare has since Descended. On Robert Chamberlain’s death in 1600, a relief of £5 was claimed and Clare Manor was held at 1 Knight’s Fee of Pyrton. This was clearly the fixed Rate, for it was again claimed from the heirs of John Chamberlain (d.1650). The Manor was sold with Shirburn in 1716 to Thomas Parker, later Earl of Macclesfield, whose descendants were still Lords of the Manor in 1960.
Later evidence indicates that the Land of Goldor Township was included in the 40 hides in Pyrton granted by Offa to the Cathedral Church of Worcester at the end of the 8thC. A Goldor estate is 1st specifically mentioned when Bishop Oswald of Worcester granted 5 hides in Goldor to his Servant Leofward for himself and his heir. Leofward gave £10 to hold it freely. The Cathedral evidently lost the Overlordship of Goldor with the rest of its Pyrton Lands and in 1086, though Goldor is not specifically mentioned, the Township was included in Pyrton Manor, assessed at 40 hides, and held by the Constables of Chester under the Earl of Chester. By 1279 a Ralph de Derneden held a Manor in Goldor as a Knight’s Fee, owing Scutage and Suit to Pyrton Manor. He also held in 1282 & in 1297 was excused Suit at Pyrton Hundred Court, presumably for this Fee. His son was Ralph of Goldor, who occurs in Charters of about 1310 to 1325.
The Descent of this Fee in the next Century and a half is not certain, but by 1404 Reginald son of Thomas Barentine, Lord of Chalgrove, was Lord of Goldor Manor. Barentine had married Joan, daughter of John James of Wallingford, the Lord of many neighbouring Manors. In 1439 he was said to hold the Manor by Service of 3½ Fees and 9s. 3d. rent a year. One of these Fees may represent the 13thC Pyron Fee, which was mainly in Clare. A fraction can certainly be traced back to the hide and the Fishery as given, according to the Evesham Chroniclers, by Nigel the Constable (fl. 1066) to Evesham Abbey. ) A William Silvanus farmed the Property for 10s. a year. Later, Abbot Adam (fl. 1160–1191) is said to have lost this Land. It was apparently claimed by Ralph de Halton, the son (perhaps illegitimate) of William the Constable, for in 1200 Robert Fitz Pain maintained that Ralph de Halton had enfeoffed him with the hide of land in Goldor, previously held by Osmund Fitz Ernulf. The enfeoffment was for 1/5th-Fee and the Holding can be traced in the 13thC when its Overlordship was claimed by the De Grelles, descendants of one of the 2 sisters of William the Constable, who had inherited the Constable’s Pyrton Lands. In 1236 Thomas de Grelle sued William of Goldor for Customs and Services due to him from his Free Tenement in Goldor, and in 1241 he brought a Grand Assize against the Abbot of Evesham for the Holding. William of Goldor held for 1/5th Knight’s Fee and by the Service of Ploughing an acre for winter Sowing and Reaping the Corn of the De Grelles for 1 day. The family does not appear in the account of Goldor in 1279, but its holding is likely to have been the 1-hide Estate held for Scutage by Hugh Clermond and Thomas Openor by Right of their wives.
Barentine died in 1441 and Goldor was inherited by his son Sir Drew (d.1453) & grandson John (d.1474). John’s widow Elizabeth, who married as her 2nd husband Sir John Botiller, was in possession of the Manor in 1482, but in 1485 her son John Barentine released his rights in Goldor Manor to Thomas Danvers of Waterstock, one of the most prominent Landowners in Oxfordshire. Danvers Granted it in 1487 to Magdalen College, Oxford, and in 1489 the College was Pardoned for obtaining these lands in Mortmain without Licence. In 1493 Danvers also Granted the College other Lands & Tenements in Goldor, Clare & Easington. By 1548 the College had acquired several more Freeholds and paid a total Rent of £1 10s. 11½d., very close to the customary Rent of £1 11s. 1d. that was later paid for the Manor. The College owned the largest part of Goldor in 1718 and was still Lord in 1960. The College farmed the Manor out: until 1498 the Pyrton Court Rolls enter the Heirs of John Barentine as Tenants; in 1497 Thomas Danvers of Waterstock (d.1502) was ‘Farmer‘; and among the later Lessees of the Manor was Rudolph Warcup of English, who had held Land in Goldor since at least 1611. His heir Cuthbert Warcup granted his lease to Sir Thomas Tipping of Wheatfield who died in 1694. His son Sir Thomas Tipping succeeded, but his Property was heavily Mortgaged and in 1717 he sold his Lease to Edward Horne of Watlington. Horne was still alive in 1753; by 1772 John Horne was in possession; Edward Horne held in 1813, and was succeeded by Edward Horne Hulton, who was Lord in 1847.
Standhill Manor – As a sub-manor of Pyrton the Overlordship and Mesne Tenure of Standhill followed that of the Principal Manor. Standhill Manor was reckoned in 1279 as 1 Knight’s Fee and was then in the possession of the Colebys, Lincolnshire Tenants of the De Grelles, the Mesne Lords. They held land under West Halton Manor at Coleby (Lincs.), which is likely to have been their Principal Seat. They were probably enfeoffed with Standhill in the mid-12thC when the Grelles 1st succeeded to Pyrton: a Roger de Coleby Witnessed a Charter relating to the Pyrton Fee granted by Albert de Grelle about 1165. The 1st recorded Tenant, however, was Ralph de Coleby who had a Chapel at Standhill about 1180. A Ralph de Coleby held land there in 1204 and was a Lincolnshire Juror about 1206–07; but there is no further reference to the Family in Standhill until about 1250 when William son of Ralph de Coleby granted Land there. He is almost certain to be identified with the William de Coleby who held in Coleby in 1257 and who was still alive about 1265, but had died before 1279 when his son John de Coleby was a Minor and Standhill Manor was in the custody of John d’Esseby, Lord of Clare. D’Esseby still held Standhill ‘of the heir‘, John de Coleby, in 1282, but in 1297 a Ralph de Coleby, who was excused Suit at Pyrton Hundred Court, may have been Tenant of Standhill. John de Coleby was Assessed with the Village in 1327 & in 1340 John de Coleby, Isabel his wife, and their son Richard were Granted Land in Standhill. Richard de Coleby seems to have died before his father and to have left no heirs, for John de Coleby’s 3 daughters, all married to Lincolnshire Tenants, succeeded. They were Elizabeth wife of Peter Beauchamp; Katherine married 1st to Hugh Fitz Giles and by 1380 to Geoffrey de Walton of Winterton (Lincs); and Alice wife of Stephen de Frodingham (Lincs). In 1392 all 3 heiresses released their Rights to John Rede of Checkendon, and in 1397 & 1398 Rede also bought out other rights in the Manor for 100 marks.
John Rede, the Founder of the Fortunes of the Family, appears to have risen from the ranks to a position of considerable local importance. He had married Cecilia Harlyngrugge, daughter of William Harlyngrugge, a Family that held a Free Tenement in Assendon under Pyrton Manor (i.e. the modern Hollandridge Farm, Christmas Common), and were related to the Marmions of Checkendon. She brought her husband 1-quarter of Checkendon Manor. John Rede (d.1404) was followed by his son Edmund who married Christina, the heiress of Robert James of Boarstall (Bucks). Edmund died in 1430, but his wife (d.1435) had a life interest in Standhill Manor and in 1434 she settled it on their son Edmund when he married Agnes, daughter of John Cottesmore of Brightwell Baldwin, the Lord Chief Justice. Sir Edmund Rede (d.1489) left Standhill to his 2nd wife Katherine, Widow of John Gaynesford of Crowhurst (Surrey), with Reversion to his heir after the proceeds of the Manor had been used for 10 years for Masses and in ‘charitable dedes‘. Their son William died during his father’s lifetime, leaving a son William who came into possession of Standhill on his grandmother’s death in 1499. William Rede died in 1527 and Standhill descended to his son Leonard who held it in 1548. By 1552 Leonard Rede had been succeeded at Boarstall by his daughter Katharine and her husband Thomas Dynham of Piddington. They were presumably responsible for the sale of Standhill Manor and Chapel to a William Byrte who held it in 1555. In that year Byrte sold it to William Dunch, Lord of Little Wittenham (Berks), who was Auditor of the Mint of Henry VIII and Edward VI, and one of the successful new men of the day. Thereafter, Standhill followed the Descent of Little Wittenham. Dunch died in 1597 and was followed by his son Edmund (d.1623), by Edmund’s grandson, Edmund, Lord Burnell, of East Wittenham (d.1678), and by the 2nd Edmund’s son Hungerford (d. 1680) and by Hungerford’s 2-year-old son Edmund. This last Edmund Dunch became Master of the Household to Queen Anne and George I. He married Elizabeth, sister of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and in 1716 sold Standhill Manor to his brother-in-law.
The Manor descended, like Tetsworth & Wheatfield, to a Junior Branch of the Marlboroughs and was held in 1785 by Lord Charles Spencer (d.1820) of Wheatfield. After the death of Lord Charles’s son John in 1831, Standhill went to his infant grandson Charles Vere Spencer as part of a heavily Mortgaged Estate and was sold about 1835. When the Farms were for Sale in 1910, ‘Standhill Manor or reputed Manor‘ was also offered, but it was said that the Quit-rent of 10s. 5d. to Pyrton Manor was believed to have lapsed.
Little is known about under-Tenants of the Manor: in the late 14thC Katherine Rede gave a life interest in the Manor to William Gaynesford, the son of her 1st marriage, who had married Anne Rede, the Widow of her stepson William Rede. In 1507 a John Mundy held the Manor and in 1682 a Joan Stone was Tenant of Hungerford Dunch and paid 10s. 5d. Quit-rent in Pyrton Manor Court.
Stonor Manor – seems to have originated in the Free Tenement held by the Stonors under Pyrton Manor in the 13thC and in acquisitions of Land in the Parish and outside made in the early 14thC. As Stonor Manor formed a sub-manor of Pyrton its Overlordship and Mesne Tenure were the same as those of the Principal Manor. The Stonors did Suit at Pyrton.
The Oxfordshire Branch of the Stonor Family, Owners of Stonor from at least the early 13thC to the present day, 1st appears clearly with Richard ‘de Stanora’. Throughout the Century this name recurs: there appear to be 3 generations. In 1241 a Richard Stonor established his right to land in the neighbouring Parish of Bix, where the Family’s main Oxfordshire Property then lay. In 1279 Richard Stonor was one of the Jurors sworn for Pyrton Hundred and was returned as a Free Tenant in Pyrton, where he held 1 Virgate under Pyrton Manor for a Rent of 8s. and 4 quarters of Oats, a Holding which was later administered with the Manor. In 1282 the same or another Richard Stonor was returned as one of the 6 co-Parceners of ⅓rd and 1/10th Knight’s Fees within Pyrton Manor. These fractions, however, probably represented Stonor’s Pishill Lands as well as his Assendon Lands, for part of Pishill was in Pyrton Manor and the Records relating to it are often imprecise.
This Richard Stonor, perhaps the 3rd, had married shortly before 1280 Margaret, the daughter of Sir John de Harnhull, and was still living in 1297. He had been succeeded by 1315 by his son Sir John Stonor, the Chief Justice and the Principal Architect of the Family’s Fortunes in Oxfordshire and elsewhere. Stonor Manor was among the Demesne Lands for which Sir John received a grant of Free Warren in 1315 and in 1316 & 1317 this Estate was greatly increased by an exchange of Land made with Dorchester Abbey. It was doubtless because of these Grants that the Abbey was regarded as a Mesne Lord of Stonor Manor in 1354 & 1361.
Sir John (d.1354) was followed by his son Sir John (II) Stonor (d.1361), and his grandson Edmund. Edmund’s Wardship was Granted to the King’s daughter Isabella, Countess of Bedford, who held the Stonor inheritance until 1363, when Edmund was allowed to hold it. Edmund died in 1382 and his eldest son John in the next year, and the Manor, therefore, descended to another son Ralph, who came of age in 1390. In 1394 Ralph, by now a Knight accompanied Richard II on his expedition to Ireland and died 2 months later, leaving the succession to 24 Manors in 7 different Counties to his son Gilbert, an Infant who died in 1396. A younger son Thomas succeeded and had Seisin of the Lands on coming of age in 1415. His Guardian had been Thomas Chaucer of Ewelme and it was perhaps Chaucer’s, influence which enabled the young man to represent the County in Parliament 6 times and twice serve as Sheriff before his early death in 1431. By his Will, the Profits of Stonor and other Manors were to be used during the Minority of his heir Thomas (II) as the marriage portions for his 5 daughters. Thomas was of age by 1438 and died in 1474. His eldest son and heir Sir William Stonor is memorable as a Knight of the Shire for Oxfordshire and for his advancement of the Family Fortunes by his 3 profitable Matches, the 1st with Elizabeth Croke, a wealthy Widow; the 2nd with Agnes Winnard, another wealthy Widow; and the 3rd with Anne Neville, niece of Richard Neville, the King-maker. Stonor (d.1494) was attainted in 1483 because of his share in Buckingham’s Rebellion. His Lands were in the King’s hands in 1484 and Stonor Manor was granted to Francis Lovell. The Estates, however, were restored on the Accession of Henry VII and Stonor regained his position in the County. His son and successor John Stonor, a Minor, died in 1498 a few years after his father’s death in 1494, and his sister Anne, wife of Sir Adrian Fortescue, succeeded, but their claim was not admitted immediately. Until 1509 Pyrton Manor Courts were held in the name of the heirs of William Stonor and thereafter in the name of Fortescue. Even so there was considerable litigation for many more years between Fortescue and his wife on the one hand and her uncle Thomas (III) Stonor (d.1512) and cousin Sir Walter Stonor on the other. Eventually, an Agreement was made by which the succession to the Lands, including Stonor, Pishill Venables, and Pishill Napper, was granted to Sir Walter Stonor, and in 1536 an Act of Parliament entailed them on the heirs male of Thomas (I) Stonor, his grandfather. On Sir Walter’s death in 1550, because of the entail, Stonor went, not to his daughter Elizabeth, but to Sir Francis Stonor, son of Sir Walter’s brother John Stonor of North Stoke.
The Stonors at this time were one of the Chief Roman Catholic Families in the County. Sir Francis died in 1564, settling a life interest in the Manor of Stonor and other Manors on his Widow Cecily, the daughter of Leonard Chamberlain of Shirburn, with remainder to their son Francis. In 1585 Lady Stonor was cited as a Recusant and her Manors were taken into the Queen’s hands until the Fine was paid; the Crown leased the Manors to Sir Francis Stonor, then a Conformist, and in 1590 Lady Cecily Stonor, who was living at Stonor, complained to Lord Burghley that her son had dispossessed her of all her personal Estates, and Petitioned for the Restoration of the Manors, though Francis maintained that he had her letters of Attorney to sell the Property. Sir Francis (d.1625) left Stonor to his 3rd son William, who died in 1650 as did his eldest son Francis 2 years later. Sir William had had to sell nearly all the Family Estates outside Oxfordshire to pay the Fines for Recusancy, and just before his death, Francis Stonor was obliged to Lease Stonor for 8 years to Sir George Simeon of Britwell in an attempt to meet his father’s Creditors. Francis was succeeded in 1653 by his brother Thomas, who in the same year married Elizabeth Neville, daughter of the 9th Lord Abergavenny of Shirburn, a marriage which helped to restore the Stonor Fortunes. He lived at Watlington, but on his death in 1683 he was succeeded by his eldest son John who had occupied Stonor during his father’s lifetime. John died young in 1687, leaving as heir a boy Thomas (V) Stonor, who died in 1724 and was succeeded by his son another Thomas (d.1772). This 6th Thomas married Mary Biddulph of Biddulph Hall (Staffs), who was Senior co-Heiress of the Barony of Camoys and Vaux. His son Charles (d.1781) married Mary Blount of Mapledurham, a member of another ancient Oxfordshire Family of Roman Catholics. Charles’s son Thomas (d.1831), and grandson Thomas (IX) succeeded him. In 1838 Thomas Stonor laid claim to the Camoys Barony, by right of Descent from his great-grandmother, and in 1839 he was summoned to Parliament as the 3rd Baron Camoys. His son Francis died in his lifetime and in 1881 his grandson Francis Robert inherited as 4th Baron Camoys. Ralph Francis Julian, the 5th Baron succeeded in 1897. He married Mildred Sherman of Newport, Rhode Island (USA), a member of an old American Family. Since 1937 Stonor has been the property of his son, Major the Hon. Sherman Stonor.
Pyrton’s Lesser Estates
Most of the land belonging to Pyrton Church was given to Runcorn, later Norton, Priory in Cheshire at the Priory’s Foundation in about 1115. Early in the 13th century this Estate, later known as the Rectory Estate, consisted of 5½ Virgates; by 1279 it was 9 Virgates, of which 4 may have originally belonged to Hurley Priory (Berks). The Property was held in part under Pyrton Manor, and the Priory of Norton and later its successor, the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, attended the Manorial Court as Freeholders. After the Reformation, the Rectory Estate formed one Farm. According to a Terrier of 1635 it consisted of a house with farm buildings and about 125 acres of land, 104 of them in Pyrton field. It was sold in the late 19thC to the Earl of Macclesfield.
The 1st known Farmer of the Rectory was Sir William Stonor in the 1480’s. After the Reformation, the Lessees continued to be prominent Local people. In 1568 Christ Church leased the Rectory for 99 years to Joel and Abel Barnard, the sons of the Vicar Thomas Barnard. Joel married Agnes, the daughter of Thomas Eustace, a Watlington Yeoman, and in the 17thC the Lease was taken over by the Eustaces, who were already established in Pyrton. By 1611 a Thomas Eustace held half the lease, and in 1659 Thomas Eustace of Pyrton, Gentleman, and John Eustace of New (12thC) Thame, Gentleman, took a 21-year Lease. This Thomas Eustace died in 1687, leaving his share of the Rectory to his grandson Thomas; the Thomas Eustace and Mrs Joan Eustace who are recorded in a late-17thC list of Ratepayers as paying on 40 yardlands for the Parsonage were probably his grandson and his Widow. The Thomas Eustace who was buried in the Church in 1713 and was also perhaps this grandson, seems to have been the last of that branch of the Family.
In the late 18thC 1/5th of the Rectory, consisting of the Tithes of Assendon was Farmed to the Lord of Stonor Manor, as it had in fact been throughout the 18thC; the other 4/5ths, consisting of the Rectory Estate and the rest of the Tithes, were divided between the Earl of Macclesfield & Paul Blackall. By 1850 Lord Macclesfield Leased the whole 4/5ths. The Lessee kept the Rectory Buildings in Repair, but was allowed Timber for this from the College Wood; Christ Church, on the other hand, seems to have been responsible for the Repair of the Church Chancel, and for keeping a Bull & a Boar for the use of the Parishioners. The Rent remained constant until the 19thC, but heavy fines, based on current prices, were paid. In the late 18th Century the property was surveyed and the amount of the fine determined every 7 years. An example of a quick change in values is shown by the fine of 1813, which was 3 times that of 1806.
Besides Norton Priory, 2 other Religious Houses and also the Knights Templars benefited from the gifts of Pious Knights and Free Tenants. Before 1101 the Constable William Fitz Nigel, Lord of Pyrton, granted land in Pyrton to Hurley Priory (Berks), a cell of Westminster Abbey. After his death in c.1127, Henry I ordered that the Priory should have undisputed possession of this Land, and in c.1135–40 William Fitz Nigel confirmed his father’s gift, then said to be 1 hide in Pyrton and 1 in Clare. His sister Agnes also confirmed it in c.1158 and added 4 Solidates of Woodland and a Grant of Pannage. By 1279, however, the Priory held only 1 hide in Clare, said to be of the gift of John of Clare and in 1292 it had 16s Rent in Pyrton. Little further is known of the Priory’s Tenure, but it still had property there in 1515.
In 1292 Notley Abbey (Bucks) had Lands worth 10s in Pyrton. There is no other record of the Property until the 15thC when from about 1466 until the Dissolution Notley Abbey held 3 Virgates in Pyrton fields. In 1548 the Tenants of the dissolved Abbey’s Land were said to hold by Military Service and to pay 4 quarters of Oats to Pyrton Manor.
In about 1225 the Templars of the Sandford Preceptory in Cowley were granted 1 Virgate and Services from 1 Messuage and 13½ acres in Clare and Goldor by Richard Foliot, Lord of Warpsgrove (Nr Chalgrove). Robert Fitz Ascelin, a Free Tenant of Pyrton, confirmed these grants and Foliot’s grant of a Meadow in the Moor of Standhill and also added 9 acres of his own land in Goldor. The Templars acquired a further 10½ acres of land in Goldor about 1230 and 1260 as well as other small grants of Land. In 1279 the Master of the Templars held the Foliots’ Virgate in Goldor, said to be the gift of Richard Foliot, and the Preceptor of Cowley was Mesne Lord of 1 Virgate in Clare. It is very likely that the Property went to the Hospitallers and was included with the Hospitallers’ Land in Warspgrove, which in 1335 was farmed by Sir John Stonor. In 1544 Henry VIII granted a Messuage in Goldor, formerly of St John of Jerusalem and Sandford Preceptory, to Edmund Powell of Sandford and in 1557 Magdalen College bought it.
The Pyron Family was also Lord of a Fee in Goldor & Clare in the mid-13thC. The name of this family (Pyron, Piron, Pirun), which may be identified with the Pyron Family whose name is constantly mentioned in 13thC Charters relating to Burgages in New (12thC) Thame, frequently occurs in Charters relating to Pyrton. In about 1115 Hugh Pyron Witnessed the Grant of Pyrton Church and other Property to Norton Priory by the Constable, William Fitz Nigel, and it is likely that the Family was introduced into Pyrton by the Constables. In 1187 a Richard Pyron was a Tenant of the De Grelles; a Richard Pyron flourished in the early 13thC and Witnessed Easington Charters; and a Hugh Pyron of Clare and of Goldor and a John Pyron of Warpsgrove, Witnessed Clare and Goldor Grants between 1220 and 1230. A later Richard Pyron (fl. c.1250) was Lord of this Fee and was succeeded by his son Sir Hugh Pyron of Clare (fl. 1260). Sir Hugh married a certain Maud and their eldest son was Robert. In c.1277 Richard Pyron of Clare gave up all his Rights in Clare, Goldor, Assendon and Pishill to Robert de Grelle, his Lord, in return for an Annuity. In 1279 a Laurence Pyron held a few acres in Clare, but the Fee had by then passed out of the hands of the Family and was held in 1279 & 1282 by John d’Esseby. D’Esseby owed Suit to Pyrton Hundred Court in 1297, presumably for this Fee as well as for his Standhill Fee. Two Virgates were in Goldor, but the greater part of the Fee was in Clare. Nothing further is heard of the D’Esseby Family and no single Estate appears to have developed out of the various Holdings.