The Manor of Walton or Woodwalton

Historical notes about the Manor of Walton or Woodwalton, Huntingdonshire, England, UK


In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Saxi of Walton, a kinsman of Leofric, Earl of the Mercians, held the manor of WALTON or WOOD WALTON. He had promised that after his death it should pass to the demesne of the Abbey of Ramsey.

Domesday Woodwalton - Land of Hugh de Bolbec

In WOODWALTON Saxi had 5 hides to the geld. [There is] land for 7 ploughs. There are now 2 ploughs in demesne, on 1 hides of this land; and 19 villans having 4 ploughs. There is a church, and 16 acres of meadow, [and] woodland pasture 16 furlongs long and 6 furlongs and 2 virgates broad. TRE as now, worth 100s. Hugh de Bolbec holds it of Earl William.

(Note: Demesne - Land retained by the Lord of the Manor for his own use and TRE - Tempora Regis Eduardis - In the time of King Edward the Confessor.)

After the Norman Conquest, however, it was given to Hugh de Bolebec, who was the tenant in 1086, when it was assessed at 5 hides of land. There were 16 acres of meadow and woodland for pannage, 16 furlongs in length by 6 furlongs 2 rods in breadth. Hugh is said in the Domesday Survey to hold the manor of Earl William, but this is presumably a mistake for King William, since there was then no earl of the name and Hugh's successor, Walter de Bolebec, held it of the king in chief. Walter was holding it when, about 1134, with his wife and son he granted the manor to the Abbey of Ramsey, to hold by the service of two knights' fees and castle ward.

Ramsey Abbey Arms

The Arms of Ramsey Abbey.

The Arms of Ramsey Abbey.

Or a bend azure with three rams' heads argent thereon

The first sub-tenant was probably named Remelin, whose daughter and heir was Aubrey, wife of Eustace de Sellea (Shelley). In her widowhood she granted the manor, with the consent of her son Eustace, to the Abbey of Ramsey to hold in frankalmoin. These grants of Walter de Bolebec and Aubrey de Sellea were confirmed to the abbey by Henry I, but in the reign of Stephen Aubrey's sons seized the manor and claimed to hold it as two knights' fees. It was recovered by the abbey, and Abbot William (1161–77) arranged that his brother should marry the widow of one of the sons and hold the manor of the abbey. Michael, son of Michael de Walton or Michael Fitz Odger, granted in 1219 part of two carucates of land in Wood Walton, including the Isle of Higney and half of the wood of Walton, to Abbot Hugh, together with the overlordship of Michael's tenants. The remainder of the two carucates the abbot regranted to Michael to hold in fee of the abbey as one-fifth of a knight's fee. Michael was succeeded before 1231 by his brother Odger, who granted to the abbey, to hold of the king in capite, the reversion of all his land in Walton and the services of his tenants, which he had granted at farm for 15 years to Robert Beville, one of his principal tenants. At the dissolution of Ramsey Abbey, the profits from the manor of Walton were valued at 116s. 6d. a year, but presumably this included the Isle of Higney.

In 1542, Henry VIII granted it to Sir Richard Williams, alias Cromwell. It passed to Sir Henry Cromwell, who sold the manor of Wood Walton in 1568 to Thomas Cotton, of Conington, and William Lawrence, of St. Ives, but reserved the Isle of Higney and Yermesley (Germehey) Wood from the sale.

Lawrence Arms

The Arms of the Lawrence family.

The Arms of the Lawrence family.

Argent a ragged cross and a chief gules, with a leopard or in the chief.

In 1570 Lawrence alienated a moiety of the manor to his son Henry and Elizabeth Haggard, apparently on the occasion of their marriage, to hold in fee tail. In 1595, it had passed to Gilbert Pickering, in right of his wife Elizabeth, who was presumably the widow of Henry Lawrence. John Lawrence had succeeded to the moiety before 1601. The Lawrences sold it to the Dacres, and Sir Thomas Dacres was in possession in 1664.

Dacres Arms

The Arms of the Dacres family.

The Arms of the Dacres family.

Or a cheveron sable between three roundels gules, each charged with a scallop argent.

He was succeeded by Robert Dacres, and the family owned it till 1748, when George Dacres sold it to Nicholas Morice. It passed to Humphrey Morice before 1779. Apparently Lieut.-General Vere Warner Hussey purchased the Wood Walton estates in 1786. He died in 1823 and left the property to his nephew, Rear Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, who took the name of Hussey Bickerton. On his death in 1832 he was succeeded by his cousin Richard Hussey Moubray, who also took the family name and became Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Hussey Hussey. He died in 1842, and the manor passed to his son Richard Hussey Hussey, on whose death in 1899 it went to a cousin, Colonel Arthur Moubray, who sold the estates in 1919, but appears to have retained the manorial rights.

Hussey Arms

The Arms of the Hussey family.

The Arms of the Hussey family.

>Quarterly per a cross of pearls or and gules in the first and fourth quarters a cross azure and in the second and third three leopards or with in centre chief point an honourable augmentation of a plate charged with the turban of an Omrah of the Mogul Empire.

In 1593, Robert Cotton and his wife Elizabeth sold the other moiety of the manor to William Marshall, who died seised in 1629. He was succeeded by his son John. Another John Marshall was the tenant about 1667, and the moiety was in the possession of William Marshall in 1715. Original Jackson was said to be the owner in 1768, but the property came into the possession of George Pryme by 1854. He died in 1868, and the estates were sold by his grandson, the Rev. Alexander George de la Pryme, in 1901, to George and Edward Coleman. George Coleman's executors put them up for auction in 1924, and the property now belongs to Mr. W. S. Smith. As no manorial rights are mentioned, it is possible they were bought by a member of the Hussey family from the Marshalls.

Victoria County History: Huntingdonshire ~ Printed 1932