The Manor of Northend or Cornwalls in Woodwalton

Historical notes about the Manor of Northend or Cornwalls in Woodwalton, Huntingdonshire, England, UK


The manor of LE NORTHEND or CORNWALLS manor may be identified with the three virgates of land which Abbot Hugh Foliot of Ramsey granted to Robert Beville in 1224, at an annual rent of 1 silver mark. The manor was subinfeudated at a subsequent date, probably to Walter Beville, whose son Thomas held it in 1279 as a sub-manor of Beville's manor (q.v.). Thomas granted it to his overlord, Sir Richard Beville, knt., and his wife Fresencia and their heirs in fee tail. By 1305 Fresencia was holding it as a widow, but after her death the kinswomen and heirs of Thomas Beville, who died in 1295, claimed the manor, and probably obtained possession. In 1317, one of these heirs, Roesia, with her husband, Paul de Hale, granted tenements, which can be identified with a moiety of the manorial lands, to Richard Cornwall, who also seems to have obtained seisin of the other moiety belonging to Idonea, the other heir of Thomas Beville and wife of Henry de Lettres. In 1323 the manor was claimed by Robert Beville, who brought a lawsuit for its recovery which was decided in his favour in 1332. In the following year, however, a settlement was made with Cornwall, by which Le Northend was granted to Cornwall and his wife Joan for their lives, with reversion to Richard, son of Robert Beville and his wife Elizabeth. Before the reversion fell in, however, Richard appears to have held the manor at farm from Richard Cornwall at a rent of 100s.

In 1387, Robert Beville, the son of Richard, obtained a release from William Cornwall of his right in all his lands in Wood Walton. In 1412 Thomas Beville and Joan Beville, lady of Walton, both appear as tenants, but she was probably holding under a settlement as a widow, and in 1428 Thomas held the whole of the Beville fee in Walton, which would include both the manors. In 1463 Richard Beville died seised of two manors in Wood Walton, and on the death of his descendant Anthony Penycok in 1533, they are distinguished as Beville's manor (q.v.) and Cornwall's manor. From this time they followed the same descent.

In the early 13th century Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, having obtained possession of the barony of Lovetot, claimed the overlordship of one knight's fee in Wood Walton. His descendants, until 1402, claimed the overlordship of two thirds and one third parts of a fee, and from the undertenants named it appears probable that they were claiming the overlordship of Beville's manor and its sub-manor of Le Northend (q.v.). He seems to have obtained with the barony a small holding in Wood Walton, but this extravagant claim, which was entirely ignored by the jurors of the hundred in 1279, it was contested by the Abbey of Ramsey, and was still a matter of litigation with the Duke of Buckingham in the late 15th century.

In spite of the silence of the Hundred Roll of 1279, it seems clear that Richard de Clare did obtain the overlordship of land in Wood Walton with the barony of Lovetot. Possibly it was held by the tenants of Beville's manor and Le Northend, and this gave a pretext to the claim to the overlordship of these manors. Till the end of the 14th century, the tenants named in the inquisitions of the Earls of Stafford, who had inherited this part of the Gloucester possessions, were also the tenants of the two manors, but in 1386 the smaller holding of one third of a knight's fee was in the hands of John Beville. He was probably identical with John Beville of Chesterton, who, with his wife Agnes, made a settlement of lands in Wood Walton in 1409–10. From this time the Bevilles of Chesterton appear to have had land or rents in Wood Walton. In 1563, however, Robert Beville, who may be identified with Robert Beville who had succeeded to the manors of Chesterton in 1553, sold a messuage, 50 acres of land, etc., in Wood Walton, Denton and Suershaye to William Lawrence, who was one of the purchasers of the three manors in Wood Walton.

The Abbey of Sawtry was granted a messuage and one carucate of land, etc., in Wood Walton in 1391, which were held of Robert Beville, then lord of Beville's manor, by Robert Huntingdon and John Cosgrave. At the dissolution of the abbey, it held rents of the annual value of £3 6s. 8d., and in 1537 the reversion was granted to Sir Richard Williams.

In the charter of confirmation of Henry I of the grant of Wood Walton Manor to Ramsey Abbey, he also gave sake and soke, tol and theam, infangtheof and other privileges in Wood Walton.

The township of Wood Walton before the 13th century owed suit of court at the Hundred of Norman Cross and the sheriff's tourn and paid annually 4s. 2d. for sheriff's aid, 2s. for hevedpenny and 8d. for wardpenny. Richard, Earl of Gloucester, however, withdrew this suit and held a view of frankpledge for Wood Walton. His successors held the court at Sawtry. He also claimed to have gallows, trebuchet and the assizes of bread and ale in Wood Walton.

The Abbot of Ramsey in 1278 held a several fishery in Dodemarnes Mere. At the same date Sir Richard Beville had a windmill on the island of Turkildesholm, which was a several pasture belonging to his fee. Valuable common rights were attached to Walton Fen, which were the subject of much litigation and many agreements between the abbot and his tenants and neighbours.

Victoria County History: Huntingdonshire ~ Printed 1932