31 AUGUST 1867, Page 14

T HERE have been great changes in the proprietorship of lands

in this Province, particularly in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. At the time of Domesday Survey the abbot and convent of Abing- don held thirty-one manors in the former county, which they kept in their own hands, besides several others of which they had the fee. After the foundation of Reading Abbey that monastery also became possessed of several manors in Berkshire. Forty-six manors in that county were at the time of the Survey vested in the Crown, which still, besides the domain of Windsor Forest, retains in its own hands some of the neighbouring manors, and the adjoin- ing hamlets of Bray, Cookham, Beynhurst, and Ripplesmere. The greatest baronial lay proprietor at the Survey was Henry de Ferrars, or Ferrers, ancestor of the Norman Earls of Derby, created by King Stephen after the battle of the Standard, and through them of the noble family of Ferrars of Chartley. He had twenty-two manors in Berkshire, but his principal seat was Tutbury Castle, in Staffordshire. He founded a priory in Tutbury in thereign of William Rufus, and was one of the Conqueror's Commissioners for the formation of the Survey. William Fitz-Ansculf had twelve manors in Berkshire, and is said to have been the ancestor of the Paganel family. He was the son of Ansculf de Pinchengi, and his principal seat was Dudley, in Worcestershire. His estates descended from the Paganels to the baronial family of Somery, and eventually became divided among coheirs. Nine manors in Berkshire were pos- sessed by William, who succeeded his father, Richard, in the Earl- dom of Evreux, in Normandy, in 1067, is stated to have fought by the side of his father at the battle of Hastings, and died April 18, 1118. Gilbert de Bretevile, Walter Fitz-Other (warden of the forest of Berkshire and castellan of Windsor, who assumed a surname from that place, and is ancestor of the Windsors), Geoffrey de Mandeville or Magnaville (ancestor of the Mandevilles, Earls of Essex, who endowed the Church of St. Mary, at Hurley, in Berk- shire, with certain lands adjacent to it, and made it a cell to Westminster Abbey), and Ralph de Mortimer (who was connected with the Conqueror on the mother's side, and received from him Wigmore Castle, for his services in subduing and taking prisoner Ethic, Earl of Shrewsbury, was the founder of Wigmore Abbey, and died towards the close of the reign of Henry I.) each had six manors in Berkshire. The Windsors retained the manor of Hagbourn for threw centuries, but the rest of their estates had long before passed into other hands. The Mortimers held Strat- field-Mortimer and some other manors in this county for several generations. Robert d'Oyley had five manors in Berkshire. Haxoit Musard (whose principal seat was at Musarden, in Gloucestershire), and Roger de Ivery had four manors. This Roger was the son of William de Ivery, who held one knight's fee in the bailiwic of Tenchebrai, in Normandy, by the service of

cupbearer to the Duke, and three other fees within the said liberty, as also eight fees and a half of the town and castle of Ivery. He performed the same service as his father to William as King of England, and married Adeline, eldest daughter of Hugh de Grentmaisnel. The family of Ivery claimed to be descended from Rodulf, half-brother of Richard I., Duke of Normandy. Roger appears to have been on terms of intimacy with Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. The Musards possessed their estates till the reign of Henry HI Humphrey Vis de Lew, Turstan Fitz-Rolf (who had extensive possessions elsewhere, particularly in Somersetahire), and Theodoric, the King's goldsmith (who had land in Surrey under Edward the Confessor), had each also four manors in Berk- shire.

Between the Norman Conquest and the Reformation few in- stances occur of lay families whose landed property in Berkshire was very extensive. " Among those whose estates were most con- siderable," observe the Messrs. Lysons, " may be reckoned the Achards, whose name first occurs in the reign of Henry I. ; the Fitz-Warrens, who became possessed of property in this county in the reign of King John ; the De la Beches, and their heirs and successors ; the Langfords, who became extinct in the reign of King Henry VIII. ; the families of Norris and Besils ; the De la Poles, who succeeded to large estates by a match with the heiress of Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet, who seems to have possessed them in right of his wife, an heiress of the I3urghersts ; the family of Essex, and the Winchcombes. All these families are long since extinct in the male line, and most of their lands alienated. The estates of the Achards passed by female heirs to the Dela- wares and Forsters ; those of the Fitz-Warrens to the Bourchiers. Some of the estates of the Norris family are still in the possession of their representatives, the Berties; those of the Besils family passed by a female heir to the Fettiplaces, who became very numerous, and had extensive landed property in this county, a small part of which, consisting chiefly of a manor in Childrey, which they pos- sessed long before their match with the heiress of Besils (as early as the reign of King John)," was held (with the name) in the female line to the present century, the last heir male dying in 1743. "The families of Essex and Winchcombe acquired large property in this county in the reign of Henry VIII. The estates of the former family (now extinct) were partly inherited from the family of Rogers of Benham, and partly acquired by purchase and grant." The founder of the Winchcombe family was the celebrated clothier, Jack of Newbury, of whom we have already spoken. His descendant was made a baronet by Charles IL, but the title and family are extinct, " the estates passing by marriage to the Packers, who were of Shillingford, early in the seventeenth century, and from them by another female heir to the Hartleys." Fuller says the lands of Berkshire are •' very skittish, and apt to cast their owners," and the Messrs. Lysons confirm this by stating that " there are but few large estates which have continued many generations in the same family." " The estates of the Nevilles, who became possessed of large property in this county, partly by marriage with the Stavertons, but principally by grant from the Crown soon after the Reformation, now belong to their represen- tative, Lord Braybrooke. The large estates of the Craven family have been in their possession nearly two centuries. The families of Read, Head, and Southby have possessed estates in Berkshire for somewhat more than two centuries ; the families of Englefield, Eyston, and Clarke for a still longer period." Among the lead- ing extinct families we may mention the Hungerfords (extinct 1729) ; the Vachells, of Coley, near Reading, who in the early part of the last century removed into Cambridgeshire ; the Fusers, claiming to have received their lands by a grant of King Canute, and extinct in the male line in 1710, but during the present cen- tury rendered much more illustrious as an assumed name by the Bouveries (who acquired the property by gift) in connection with ecclesiastical parties ; the Wolloscote, the Pleydells of Coleshill and Shrivenham (represented by the Bouveries), the Blagraves of Bulmarsh and Southcot ; the Martens, the Nelsons of Chiddle- worth, the Lovedens, the Archers, and the Breedens. The Lenthalls of Besils Legh, and the Pococks, of Hagbourn, belong now by residence rather to other counties.

The present leading nobility of Berkshire are Earl Craven, of Ashdown Park ; the Berties, Earls of Abingdon, at Witham ; Bouverie (Earl of Radnor), at Coleshill; and Viscount Barrington, at Becket House.

In Oxfordshire, at the time of the Domesday Survey, the greatest ecclesiastical proprietor by far was the Bishop of Bayeux, and next to him the Bishop of Lincoln and the Abbey of Abingdon. Of the great lay properties beyond the Royal domain, the principal were those of Robert d'Oyley ; Roger de Ivery ; Milo Crispin, who married Maud, daughter and heiress of Robert d'Oyley, through whom he became possessed of the honour and castle of Walling- ford ; and William Fitz-Osbern, Sewer of Normandy and Earl of Hereford, one of the most conspicuous of the great men of that period. His earldom and all his hinds in England descended to his third son, Roger de Britolio, who joining in Ralph de Guader's rebellion was condemned to the loss of his possessions and to imprisonment for life. The lands in Oxfordshire mentioned as belonging to Earl William Fitz-Osbern seem to have been part of his fee, retained as such, and, at the time of the Survey, let out to farm by the King. Next in possessions to these were Hugh d'Avranches or Lupus, Earl of Chester ; William, Earl of Evreux ; and Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, son of Osbern de Bolebac, by Avelino his wife, sister to an alleged ancestress of the Conqueror. He died in England in 1103. Also Henry de Ferrers ; and Robert de Statford, Stadford, or Stafford, ancestor of the famous Staffords, Dukes of Buckingham. Besides these several " servants of the King " are recorded as holding lands directly from him, among whom occur not a few purely Saxon names, the survivors of the old King's thanes. For the purposes of the shrievalty this county was frequently united in early times with Berkshire. Among the most prominent family names belonging specially to Oxfordshire which appear in the lists are, in the reign of Henry II., those of D'Oyley ; Manassar Arsic ; Banaster, De Turvill, and De Farnell ; in that of John, Basset ; in that of Henry III., Fulk de Breantee, De Bray, De Craucombe, and De Hays or Hay. The estate of Rotherfield Gray or Grey, in this county, took its latter appellation" fromJohn de Grey, created Baron Grey in the 25th of Edward I., of a younger branch of the family of Walter Grey, Archbishop of York, from whom theygained the property of Bother- field. From the Greys the estate passed to the Lovels, and then by attainder reverting to the Crown was bestowed on the family of Knollys (of Grey's Court, on this estate), which produced the celebrated treasurer of Elizabeth, Sir Francis Knollys, and after acquiring the barony of Knollys, viscounty of Wallingford, and earldom of Banbury (the last in the reign of Charles I.), lost these titles on supposed failure of heirs, nor have they yet been allowed to any of the successive claimants to them. One of the branches of this family at Fernhill, near Cranborne Chase, in Windsor Forest, became extinct in the male line in 1772. General Knollys, the attendant on the Prince of Wales, claims as of this family. At Minster Lovel stood the old castle of the Lovels (built about 1400). This is a name well known to history in connection with the celebrated favourite of Richard III., "Lovel our Dogge." This Francis, Lord Level, disappeared after the battle of Stoke, in which he was one of the commanders for Lambert Simnel. The romantic story of his having been starved to death in a vault of the castle, and discovered there in a sitting posture in the eighteenth century, seems to be a figment. The castle is, how- ever, said to be the scene of Clara Reeves' story of the Old English Baron, " and a similar incident to that of the story did occur in the case of a Chetwynd, greatgrandson of the last of the Lovels, who was murd ered on his return from the wars." The old De la Poles, Earls and Dukes of Suffolk (obtaining the estate from the Chaucer family), resided at Ewelme. The Stoners re- • sided at Stonor. Sir John Stonor was Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the reign of Edward III. Stanton-Harcourt has been the seat of the Harcourts for many centuries. It is said to have been granted by Adeliza, the second wife of Henry I., to her kinswoman, Millicent, wife of Richard de Camvile, whose daughter Isabel married Robert de Harcourt. We have already alluded to the Copes of Hanwell, the promoters of Puritanism at Banbury, descended from a cofferer of Henry VII. ; and the Fiennes of Broughton Castle. The Lees (extinct Earls of Lichfield) of Ditchley, five miles from Woodstock, have become a noted name from Sir Walter Scott's novel, in which they are transferred to the Royal manor-house at Woodstock (really stoutly held for the King by Captain Samuel Fawcet). The Lenthall family were at an early period seated at Lull- ford, and they still retain a hold on the county. William Lenthall, the celebrated Speaker of the Long Parliament, and one of the most remarkable men of that remarkable age, was born at Henley, and purchased Besils Legh ; Burford Priory also passed into their hands. Great Tew was the house of Lucius Carey, the celebrated Lord Falkland. The great dominant family of Oxfordshire at present is that of Spencer Churchill, of Blenheim Park, the des- cendants (in the female line) of the great Due of Marlborough, wbo may be said to have replaced the influence of the old De Versa, Earls of Oxford. But our space forbids any further reference to the family history of this county. In Buckinghamshire, at the Domesday Survey, Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, had 41 manors, the Bishop of Bayeux, 26; the Bishop of Constance, 18 ; William Fitz-Ansculf, 16 ; Robert, Earl of Moretaine, 13 ; Milo Crispin, 12 ; and Maigno Brito, founder of the barony of Wolverton, 10. These were the prin- cipal landowners. Very few manors belonged to the Church, as there was no religious house of any consequence at that time in the county. This Domesday distribution of property soon yielded to the effects of those troubled times ; many manors were granted to monastic institutions of later birth, and most of the rt.t, passed into other hands long before the families of the old owners were extinct. Of these subsequent proprietors we may mention the Hampdeus (who, however, claim to have held in Saxon times), the Grenvilles, the Blessonvilles and Girauds, the Passelews, who held for about 150 years ; the family of Poges (whence by female lines the Molina, Hungerfords, and Hastings), the Tyringhams (whose estates passed to the Praeds, the double name becoming well known in modern times from the poet-statesman Mr. Tyringham- Praed), the Chetwodes, the Lovetts, the Dayrells, and the Penns. Between the commencement of the fourteenth century and the Reformation we have the Whittinghams (whose estates passed by a female heir to the Verneys), the Beauchamps and Cobhams, the Cheynes, the Temples, the Bulstrodes and Brudenells, the Lees of Quarendon, the Lees of Moreton and Hartwell, the Drakes, Borlases, and Dentons (about the year 1600), and the Benneta, whose estates have descended in the female line to Cecil, Marquis of Salisbury. Towards the close of the seventeenth century came the Freeinans of Fawley, the Dashwoods, the Grubbs, and the Lowndes. Then came the Aubreys, Bentincks, Smiths (Lord Carrington), Rothschilds, &c. Nor should we omit the old family of Dorner, and that of Goodwin, whose property passed to the Lords and Dukes Wharton, and thence to the Churchills. The rise and fall of the greatness of the Grenvilles, Dukes of Buckingham, in modern times need only be alluded to. The landed influence in the county is now much divided.

A crowd of celebrated names connect themselves with the county of Buckingham. The Temples and Grenvilles of Stowe would alone furnish a volume. Hampden, Bulstrode Whitelocke, Edmund Waller the poet, the Verneys (father and son) may aniline for the statesmen of the reign of Charles I., whom the Lenthalls repre- sent in Oxfordshire, and the Martens (Sir Henry Marten, the civilian, and his son, the well known Harry Marten) in Berkshire, where they had large estates. Alfred the Great's birthplace is said to have been Wantage. Sir John Mason, the diplomatist of the Tudor period, was born at Abingdon. Chilton, in Buckingham- shire, was the birthplace of Sir George Croke, the judge who gave judgment boldly for Hampden in the ship-money case. Sir Kenelm Digby was born at the family seat of Grothurst, in Buck- inghamshire. Islip, in Oxfordshire, is mentioned as the birth- place of Edward the Confessor. Dr. Peter Heylin was a native of Burford, in Oxfordshire, where (at the Priory) Lord Falkland also was born. Sir John Holt, the judge, was born at Thuile, Sir William d'Avenant at Oxford. Sir William Scroggs, the Chief Justice of the reign of Charles II., was born at Deddington, in Oxfordshire ; Sir William Blackstone belonged to Berkshire. Such are a few of the great or remarkable names which are connected with this Province.