The Old Parish of Nonington

A small place in East Kent history

Month: February 2017

Soles Court-manorial court information updated

William Hasted in his ‘History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent’ vol. IX, published in 1800, has a brief history of Soles.
SOLES is a manor at the boundary of this parish, next to Barfreston, which at the taking the survey of Domesday, in 1080, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in that record:
Ansfrid holds of the bishop Soles. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . In demesne there are two carucates, and eight villeins with half a carucate. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth one hundred shillings, and afterwards twenty shillings, now six pounds. Elmer held it of king Edward.
Four years after which, on the bishop’s disgrace, the king seized on this estate among the rest of his possessions. After which it was granted to the family of Crevequer, and made a part of that barony, being held of it by the tenure of performing ward to Dover castle. Of Hamo de Crevequer it was held by knight’s service in king Edward I.’s reign, by Richard de Rokesle, and of him again by Hamo and John de Soles, who certainly took their name from it, but this name was extinct here in the beginning of king Henry IV.’s reign, for in the 4th year of it Thomas Newbregge, of Fordwich, was become possessed of it, whose descendant sold it to Rutter, from which name it passed; about the beginning of king Edward IV. to Litchfield, whose descendant Gregory Litchfield alienated it in king Henry VIII.’s reign to John Boys, esq. of Nonington, in whose descendants it continued down to John Boys, esq. of Hode-court, who in Charles I.’s reign alienated it to Sir Anthony Percival, of Dover, comptroller of the customs there; in whose descendants it remained till, not many years since, it was by one of them passed away to Major Richard Harvey, who sold it to Thompson, of Ramsgate, after whose death it came by marriage to Mr. Stephen Read, of Canterbury, who afterwards alienated it to John Plumptree, esq. of Fredville, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

The manor of Soles held a Court Baron, hence Soles Court. The Court Baron was introduced into the post-Conquest feudal system in the 1090’s and was the principal type of manorial court of a manor’s chief tenants and had responsibility for the internal regulation of it’s local affairs. The Court was attended by those free tenants whose attendance at the court was a condition of their tenure, and by customary tenants who held land by an agreement made at the manor court which was entered on its roll with a copy of the entry regarded as proof of title. The court dealt with such matters as the transfer of land; the organisation of the common fields and meadows; the abatement of nuisances’ (defective hedges, blocking of paths, straying beasts, etc); and anything concerning the occupations a manor’s inhabitants, which in most manors were connected with agriculture. The Steward, who ran the court for the lord, kept a watchful eye over the lord’s rights, including rentals, heriots and boon work.

The Manor of Soles and, presumably, the 1760 holding of “one messuage, two barns, two stables, one orchard, one hundred and fifty acres of land, ten acres of meadow, ten acres of pasture and thirty acres of wood” were sold by Stephen Read to John Plumptre around 1790. The last entry in the manorial rolls recording Mr. Read as Lord of the Manor was made in 1788, and the first entry as Lord of the Manor for Mr. Plumptre was in 1792. Prior to the sale Mr. Plumptre and  the Duke of Newcastle, the last but one owner of Fredville, had paid manorial rents as tenants of the Manor of Soles for land they held there, although according to the manorial rolls the Duke did not actually pay rents owed from 1704 onwards.

The rents were assessed on an annual basis according to the custom of the manor and were payable on land and property and also on their transfer to the heirs of a deceased holder, or their sale. The rents were not always payable in cash, some tenants had to also make payment to the Lord of the Manor in poultry and eggs. The Soles manorial rolls record tenants having rent of two or more chickens, which were assessed at value of one shilling so presumably a cash alternative was acceptable.
There are copies of the records of the infrequent manorial courts held for Soles from 1770 until 1862 when it was decided by John Pembleton Plumptre, the lord of the manor, and William Miles, his steward, that the “the rents are so few and small we do not contemplate holding another court”.
Soles Court Farm is still owned by the Plumptre family of Fredville.

The Quadryng family at Esol, later Beauchamp’, and Fredeuyle-revised with new information.

In 1368 Sir John’s nephew Roger and other co-heirs offered “le manoir de Easole” to the Priory of Christ Church in Canterbury on the condition: “namely, that one of your monks there should be perpetually specially assigned and deputed to sing mass, at the Altar of Our Lady in the Crypt, wearing vestments decorated with the arms of the Warwick family, and praying for the souls of our said uncle and our ancestors”. The priory’s response was that: “to bear and perform such a charge for so small a repayment, where there is scarcely any profit, would be too burdensome for us; wherefore, Sire, be pleased in this case to have us excused”. The refusal of the bequest indicates how unprofitable agricultural land had become in the aftermath of the Black Death of 1348 to 1350 which had killed up to half of the population of England. Sporadic outbreaks of this awful disease continued to occur in England into the 1360’s and beyond.

After Christ Church refused Esol the De Beauchamp family appear to have sold the property because the 1377 St. Alban’s Abbey manorial rental rolls for Esol record that the house, buildings and land previously held by Sir John de Beauchamp was then owned Sir John Harleston, who also had a life interest in Freydvill’. At some time between the death of Sir John de Beauchamp and its acquisition by Sir John Harleston the 1377 rental roll records that the property had been owned by Dominus (Lord) Richard Ricilynge, the Richard de Retlyng recorded in the 1346 Hundred Roll as holding part of the knights fee of Essewelle.

Sir John Harleston, sometimes spelt Harlestone or Herliston, had much in common with Sir John de Beauchamp, his predecessor at Esol. Sir John was a knight from a land-owning Essex family and he served and fought in the Hundred Years War with some distinction. As reward for his service he was made a Knight of the Chamber by King Richard II. As with Sir John de Beauchamp it’s likely Sir John Harleston  acquired Esol as a stopping off place for journeys between England and the Continent through the port of Sandwich, it’s ideally situated just some five or six miles from the port and would have provided a comfortable place to stay on arrival from the Continent or awaiting a ship to cross the Channel for Sir John or members of his household and entourage.

In 1359 he was credited with the capture of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, some thirty miles north-west of Dijon. During the 1360’s he appears to have embarked on various diplomatic and other missions on behalf of the King, and he helped negotiate a truce in 1366 between England and France. On the resumption of hostilities between England and France in 1369 Sir John was appointed Captain of Guise and held the post until late 1376. In 1379 he was made Captain of Cherbourg, and for at least part of that year he was also Captain of Froissart and Kervyn de Lettenhove. During his time at Cherbourg he took part in various skirmishes, and in one of these he captured a French knight, William de Bordes, whom he gave to King Richard II in return for a grant of 10,000 francs. Sir John is also said to have received £1,583 6s 8d for the ransom of another unnamed French knight,  a considerable sum at a time when Richard II’s annual revenue was around £70,000.

After serving as Captain of Cherbourg he accompanied Thomas Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester on raids into various parts of France which further added to his considerable wealth. For these raids he contracted to provide six bannerets [the highest order of knighthood], seventy three knights and eighty archers.

Sir John was back in England in 1381 and helped to defeat and punish participants in the Peasants Revolt in Kent and Essex on behalf of King Richard II.  However, he was not in England for long, and he returned to the Continent as part of Despenser’s Crusade of 1383.  This was a military expedition led by Henry le Despenser, the Fighting Bishop of Norwich, which was intended to help the city of Ghent in its struggle against the supporters of the Antipope Clement VII during the great Western or Papal Schism, a split within the Catholic Church which lasted from 1378 to 1417.  This expedition was an integral part of the Hundred Years War as France supported Clement, whose court was based in Avignon, whilst the English supported Pope Urban VI whose court was in Rome.

In 1384 Sir John returned to raiding in France, but this time he captured raiding villages belonging to Bruno, Graf von Rappoltstein, a powerful independent nobleman from Alsace who had extensive holdings in France and the Holy Roman Empire. Bruno von Rappoltstein held Sir John prisoner in Alsace and Burgundy and did not release him until 1392. On his release he was granted an annuity of one hundred marks by King Richard II to help compensate him for losses incurred during his imprisonment and this annuity was subsequently confirmed by Henry IV in October 1399. After his release Sir John led a quieter life, but still retained some interest in the Royal Court’s affairs until his death in October of 1404. The writ for Harlestone’s inquisition post mortem was issued on 25 January 1406.

John de Say, fourth and last Baron Say, died in 1382 aged about 12 years old and was without a direct male heir. Subsequently for the next two decades the lordship of the Manor of Freydevill’, which had reverted to the Barony of Say, passed by a complicated chain of inheritance to various surviving sisters of the third baron and then to their heirs resulting in the sub-division of the barony and its constituent manors.

The Manor of Freydvill’, the other half of the Essewelle knight’s fee, was also held by Sir John Harleston who had had a life interest in the manor granted to him by the 2nd Lord Say prior to 1356. The Manor of Fredeuyle, as Freydvill’ was by then known, was sold by Sir John Harleston and the heirs of the Barony of Say in May of 1401 to John Quadryng’, a City of London mercer, and it remained in the Quadryng, also Quadring, family’s possession for much of the 15th century.

It’s not clear when the Quadrings acquired the house and lands at Esol as there is no mention in the Feet of Fines dated May 1st of 1401 of any property being included in the sale of the Manor of Fredeuyle, so it’s possible that the Quadrings purchased Esol house and lands from Sir John Harleston at the same time or even before they aquired the Manor of Fredeuyle. As the Esol house and property were separate to Fredeuyle it would have most likely been a separate transaction, but unfortunately there is no known documentary evidence to confirm this.

A mercer by trade, John Quadring’ may have bought Esol partly as a country residence and partly for use as a warehouse for storing the wool he exported and the silk, linen, fustian, and other textiles he imported through the nearby ports of Dover and Sandwich. Esol was especially well situated for trading through Sandwich which was only some six miles or so away by, for the time, a good direct road. After 1363 Calais was made the wool staple [market] through which all wool exports from England to the Continent had to pass.

During their tenure at Esol the Quadrings acquired other land in and around Nonington. In addition to the holdings at Esol and Fredville they also held land in North and South Nonington, which were part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Manor of Wingham. The 1469 survey of the manor of Wingham records the heirs of Richard Quadryng holding an unspecified amount of land in South Nonington and about 135 acres in North Nonington. During their tenure at Esol the Quadrings built up a holding of over 400 acres of arable, pasture and woodland as well as annual rents in the parishes of Nonington and Goodnestone.

John Quadring added to the Nonington acquisitions in 1403 with the purchase of  “1 messuage, 1 toft, 80 acres of land, 3 acres of meadow, 3 acres of marsh, 6 acres of pasture, 3 acres of wood, 24 shillings of rent and a rent of 4 bushels of barley in Sholdon’, Staple, Northborne, Eastry, Hamme, Wodenesbergh’, Lymmyng and Elham”.

As merchants the Quadrings needed a ready supply of cash and credit to trade, and were susceptible to the ups and downs of fortune where losses can be more easily made than profits. The loss of a cargo or a bad debt would have put the family in the financial mire. Richard Quadring, draper and citizen of London and probably John’s grand-son, traded through various English ports including Bristol and in 1436 he took Robert Frere of Bristol, esquire, before Richard Estfeld, Mayor of the Staple at Westminster for a debt of £20.00. This indicates that Richard was a member of “Mayor and Company of Merchants of the Staple of England”.

[“The Company of Merchants of the Staple is one of the oldest mercantile corporations in England. It is rare, possibly unique, in being ‘of England‘ and not bounded by any city or municipality. It may trace its ancestry back as far as 1282 or even further. A group of 26 wool merchants apparently first started the Company. The Dukes of Burgundy and Counts of Flanders granted it charters. The Merchants were in Bruges in 1282, Dordrecht in 1285, Antwerp in 1296 and St Omer in 1313. The Company controlled the export of wool to the continent from 1314.  The Duke of Flanders awarded a grant to the English Merchants in 1341. Its first charter from an English monarch was in 1347 giving it control of the export trade in staple commodities. Commercial significance was in Calais – under English rule from 1347 and the main port for wool.    Exports were restricted to the Freemen of the Company who, in return for their monopoly, paid a levy back to the Crown.  With some two hundred merchants, in 1363 it was known as the “New Company of English Merchants dwelling nowe at Calais” and in 1369 as “The Mayor and Company of the Staple at Calais“. The Company later paid for and eventually managed the garrison in the city” –information from the website of The Company of the Staple of England].

In the mid-1440′s Richard Quadryng raised a mortgage of £200 against land and property held in Nonyngton which was the subject of various legal proceedings and transfers in 1447.

A few years later in 1456 Richard Quadrynge, Robert Euyngham and Robert Sandeforde demised land & tenements in Chislet and Lympe to John de St. Nicholas of Ash, possibly to ease persisting financial problems.

The Mercer’s Company register for 1476 records that Thomas Quadryng, presumably the son of Richard Quadryng, was made a Freeman [member] of the Mercers Company of London and  the same year another Thomas Quadryng , the son of the new Freeman, was apprenticed to John Godyng, a Master Mercer of London.

In May, 1483, Thomas Quadryng the Elder was one of the representatives of the City of London who greeted Edward V at Harnsey Park, now Hornsey Park in present Harringay. The boy king only reigned from April to June of 1483 before being deposed and, as one of the unfortunate ” Princes in the Tower”,  then possibly  murdered by his uncle,  Richard, Duke of Gloucester,  who then proclaimed himself King Richard III and was crowned on 6th July, 1483.

During 1483 Thomas Quadryng the Elder was pursuing several debtors for payment, whilst at the same time apparently being pursued for payment of debts himself. It’s most likely that the debts were business debts, but they may possibly have bribes or penalties incurred for supporting the wrong side in the ongoing power struggle.

England was at this time in the last throes of the Wars of the Roses and Richard III was striving to bring the country under his control and Kent was one of the counties where he faced opposition. Sir William Malyverer was one of six knights from King Richard III’s estates in the North of England brought down to Kent to restore order there after a minor rebellion in October of 1483 against Richard and these knights were well rewarded with land and property confiscated from the rebels. The Kent rebellion was one of several insurrections in England and Wales, known collectively as the Buckingham Rebellion, intended to assist Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, to overthrow Richard III and become king in his place. The rebellion failed when Henry Tudor and five hundred armed men in seven ships were unable to cross the sea from Brittany because of a storm.

Thomas Quadring’ had crossed swords with William Malyverer in October of 1483 on behalf of Joan Langley, the widow of William Langley of Knolton who had married William Malyverer most likely for either political reasons or under duress. Malyverer had previously seized the Kent lands of his wife’s late husband despite their having been granted together with the custody of the young John Langley to Richard Guildford (Guldeford) of Rolvenden, Kent. Guildford was one of the leaders of the Kent rebellion and subsequently had his estates confiscated by the King. Such was Malyverer’s  power in a time of ineffectual central authority that he retained custody of both the late William Langley’s heir and his Kent holdings in spite of the royal grant awarding “the warde & marriage of John Langley son & heire of the said William; with the keeping of alle Lordshipds ect” to Joan Langley and Thomas Quadring. One of the manors inherited by John Langley was the manor of Knolton.

In August of 1484 a “grant in tail male” was made by Richard III to William Malyverer, esquire, “for services against the rebels” which included “Hertang (Hartanger), and Paratt’s landis, (both) in the parish of Berston (Barfreston);  also a windmill called Berston Mylle; (Barfreston mill), lands in the lordship of Freydefeld (Fredvill) ; the manor of Eythorne, and a rent therein; lands called Mottes in the parish of Nonyngton (in Frogham)“. The entailed land and property had belonged to Sir George Brown of Betchworth Castle in Surrey, who was another one of the leaders of the Kent. Sir George had been tried in Westminster Hall and taken to Tower Hill and beheaded on 3/4 December of 1483 and his estates had subsequently been declared forfeit to the Crown by an Act of Attainder in January of 1484. Land and property belonging to Sir Richard Guildford, Sir George Brown, Sir John Fogge, and other rebels forfeit to the Crown was then given by King Richard III such loyal supporters such as William Malyverer.

Early historians such as Thomas Philpott in his 1659 “Villare Cantianum: or, Kent surveyed and illustrated”; and William Hasted in the chapter on Nonington in his “The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, volume IX” published in 1800 record that Thomas Quadryng and his late wife Anne, herself a wealthy heiress in her own right, had a daughter Joane who was their sole heiress and inherited their joint property. Joane was then said to have conveyed her inherited property to her husband, Richard Dryland, who in 1483 conveyed the Manor of Fredville and other property to John Nethersole, who shortly afterwards conveyed it to William Boys of Bonnington.

However, it now appears that these early historians were mistaken and that the Thomas Quadryng and wife Anne they write of were actually a different Quadryng family who had several estates in the Faversham area. The confusion probably initially arose from the fact that both Thomas’ had wives called Anne.

Close examination of contemporary documents appears to show a different chain of events regarding the sale of “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’ [Esol] and 2 messuages, 405 acres of land, 3 acres of wood and 76 shillings and 4 pence of rent and a rent of 8 cocks, 30 hens and 1 pair of gloves in Nonyngton’ and Godneston’”.

The contemporary documents show that Thomas Quadryng the Elder of Fredeuyle did not die around 1482 and leave his property to his only daughter and sole heiress Joane but that he was still alive into the 1490’s, as was his son, Thomas Quadryng the Younger.

In 1476 Thomas Quadryng the Elder became a Freeman [member] of the Mercers Company of London Freeman by patrimony, meaning his father or a close relative was also a Freeman of the Mercers Company.  In that same year Thomas Quadryng  the Elder’s son, Thomas the Younger, was apprenticed to John Godyng, a Master Mercer of London, and the Mercers Company record that Thomas the Younger was in his turn made a Freeman of the Company in 1490.

Thomas the Elder may well have had to sell Fredeuyle and other property in and around Nonington to settle debts or to possibly avoid having his property seized for debt. As to the sale of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’, the chain of events appears to be as follows.
In the Trinity Term of the Law Courts [June and July] in the first year of the reign of Richard III [1484] John Nethersole, William Boys, Thomas Butte and Robert Gerneys through William Rose, their attorney, began legal proceedings to regain possession of “the manors of Fredenyle and Beauchamp with appurtenances, and two messuages, 405 acres of land, three acres of wood and 76s 4d of rent, and the rent of eight cocks, 30 hens and one pair of gloves with appurtenances in Nonyngton and Godneston” as their right. They claimed that the property in question has been illegally seized by John Metford, a wealthy London grocer and, who may well have seized possession of the properties as payment for money owed to him by Thomas Quadryng.

The plaintiffs stated that they had had possession of the property “as of fee and lawfully at the time of peace at the time of lord Edward IV, late king of England”, who had died in April of 1483. This meant they claimed to have held the knights fee for the manor before King Edward IV’s death, and they also produced suit [of court] to show that they had fulfilled their feudal duty to their overlord for the manors thereby confirming their possession of the manors. After further claims and counter-claims the plaintiffs possession of the property was confirmed by the court.

On 8th July, 1484, seemingly after the end of the court proceedings, a feet of fines [a form of conveyance of property] with John Nethersole, William Boys, Thomas Butte and Robert Gerveis as the querents [plaintiffs], and Thomas Quadryng’ and Anne, his wife, as the deforciants [one/those who keep out of possession the rightful owner of an estate] confirmed the ownership of the property in question by the plaintiffs. The fact Anne, Thomas’s wife, appears with him on the feet of fines is evidence of her still being alive, and therefore of her not being the mother of Joane Dryland, née Quadryng.

In 1485 John Nethersole in turn conveyed the properties to William Boys of Bonnington in Goodneston. Boys appears to have done well at this time as he also gained possession of other land locally,  including the Manor of Shebbertswell (Shepherdswell) which had also previously belonged to the rebellious Richard Guildford.

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