The Quadryng family at Fredeuyle and Esol

John Quadryng, a City of London mercer, acquired one half of the Manor of Fredeuyle, as Freydvill’ was by then known, in the opening years of the 15th century and the manor remained with the Quadryng, also Quadring, family for much of that century. It’s not clear when the Quadryngs acquired the Esol house and lands as there are at present no known records of any such property purchases by the Quardryngs. It’s highly likely that they purchased Esol house and lands from Sir John Harleston at the same time, or possibly before, they acquired the Manor of Fredeuyle.

A mercer by trade, John Quadryng 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 Quadryngs acquired other land in and around Nonington. In addition to their holdings at Esol and Fredville they also held land in North and South Nonington.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 Quadryngs built up a holding of over 400 acres of arable, pasture and woodland as well as receiving annual manorial and other rents in the parishes of Nonington and Goodnestone. John Quadryng 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 Quadryngs 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 Quadryng, 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 Mercers 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 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.

After the death of King Edward IV in April of 1483, the heir to the throne was the late king’s twelve year old eldest son, Prince  Edward, who was set to become King Edward V. The deceased king’s younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was made Lord Protector of the presumed successor to the throne.

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.

However, Prince Edward was never crowned as Edward V as shortly after he succeeded his father the late King Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of Prince Edward and the younger Prince Richard, was declared illegal. This made the two boys illegitimate, and therefore the young Prince Edward was not the legal heir to the throne.   When this illegitimacy was declared Richard, Duke of Gloucester, seized the throne and had himself crowned as King Richard III in July of 1483.

By 1483 Thomas Quadryng the Elder appears to have had serious financial problems, both having money owed to him and owing money in his turn. At some presently unknown time in 1483 he was a co-defendant in a legal action for the recovery of debt by Alan Horde, treasurer of Middle Temple in London. What the debt was for and for what amount  is unfortunately not recorded.
During the short reign of Edward V between the  9th April and 26th June in 1483  Law Court records show Thomas Quadryng, mercer,  as the plaintiff in at least eight legal proceedings in London for the recovery of debts owed to him by other mercers and merchants, as well as cloth-makers, dyers and other assorted tradesmen from London, Bristol, Bedfordshire, East Anglia, and by William Roos, gentleman, of Canterbury.
These actions for the recovery on debts owed to him are undoubtedly linked to a pressing need for money which resulted in the sale of “the manors of Fredeuyle 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” before the death of Edward IV in April of 1483.

In the Trinity Term of the Law Courts [June and July] of 1484 John Nethersole, William Boys, Thomas Butte and Robert Gerneys began legal proceedings through William Rose, their attorney,  to regain possession of “the manors of Fredeuyle 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 had been illegally seized by John Metford, a wealthy London grocer, who appears to have taken possession of the properties as payment for money owed to him by Thomas Quadryng.

The record of this legal dispute is the first known use of Beauchamp’ when referring to a part of what had previously been  Esol, or Esole, manor that had previously been under the ownership of Sir John de Beauchamp, and then his brother, Sir Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick, some one hundred and twenty years previously.The area  referred to corresponds with the wood and pasture land in present day Nonington known as  “Beauchamps Wood” and “The Ruins”. Over the last ten years or so ongoing archaeological excavations there have brought to light the remains of a series of manor houses and associated out-buildings probably dating from between the mid-13th to the late 15th to early 16th centuries. Most of the last parts of the final manor house on the site were most likely built by the Quadryng family with attached outbuildings probably used as  warehousing for trade goods and raw materials  imported and exported through the nearby port of Sandwich. In 1501 manorial roll for Essesole manor the manor house with its adjacent gardens and orchards, now probably Beauchamps or Beachams Wood,  were referred to as “Bechams”.

The four plaintiffs stated that they had been in 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”, which meant they had held it since before April of 1483. As evidence of this they produced proof of suit of court to show that they had fulfilled their feudal duty to their overlord for Fredeuyle and Beauchamp [previously Esol], so confirming their possession of the two manors. After further claims and counter-claims before the court the plaintiffs possession of the property was confirmed.

During the court proceedings a Denis Guyer, recorded as being the tenant at of the properties in dispute, initially stated that John Metford had not disseise [deprived of seisin; wrongfully dispossess of a freehold interest in land] John Nethersole et al, but failed to return to court when summoned. This reference to a tenant at “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp with appurtenances, and two messuages ect.” is further evidence of the state of Thomas Quadryng’s finances. It would appear that he could not afford to live there and that he had found it necessary to rent out the manors and associated properties,  and had been doing so for some time before their sale to John Nethersole et al prior to the death of King Edward IV.

On 8th July, 1484, 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.

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 local property including the Manor of Shebbertswell (Shepherdswell), which had also previously belonged to the rebellious Richard Guildford.

There has over the centuries been some erroneous recording of the ownership and inheritance of Fredville in the years prior to its coming into the possession of William Boys of Bonnington.  
Thomas Philpott in his 1659 “Villare Cantianum: or, Kent surveyed and illustrated”; and William Hasted  in his “The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, volume IX” published in 1800, both recorded that Thomas Quadryng and his late wife Anne, herself a wealthy heiress in her own right, had a daughter called 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 1484 conveyed the Manor of Fredville and other property to John Nethersole, who in turn shortly afterwards conveyed it to William Boys of Bonnington.
However, the Thomas Quadryng and wife Anne which Philpott and Hasted both write of were actually from a separate but distantly related branch of the Quadryng family who held several estates in the vicinity of Faversham. The confusion probably initially arose from the fact that both Thomas’ had wives called Anne.
Close examination of the legal proceedings regarding the possession “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’ ect” clearly proves that Thomas Quadryng the Elder of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp did not die around 1482 and leave his property to an only daughter and sole heiress, but that he  sold the manors and other properties to John Nethersole et al at some time prior to the death of King Edward IV in April of 1483. The appearance of his wife’s name with his own on the feet of fines is also clear evidence of Anne Quadrynge of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp still being alive in 1483, and if Anne had been a wealthy heiress in her own right there would have been no need for selling up.

Following his coronation the new king faced problems with bringing 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 after a minor rebellion there against Richard III in October of 1483. These knights were well rewarded by the King 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 which were 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.

Malyverer was rewarded for services against the rebels by King Richard in August of 1484 with a grant in tail male [meaning only a direct male descendant  who could trace his descent through male descendants of Malyverer could inherit the property] 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 (Fredville) ; 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 had been another of the leaders of the  Kent rebellion.
Malyverer was also made Escheator for Kent, a potentially lucrative Royal appointment. An escheator was responsible for escheats,  the reversion of lands in English feudal law to the lord of the fee when there are no heirs capable of inheriting under the original grant.

Sir George had been tried in Westminster Hall and taken to Tower Hill and beheaded on 3rd or 4th December of 1483 and his estates were subsequently 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 had then been given by King Richard III  loyal supporters such as William Malyverer.

Soon after the end of the legal dispute regarding “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’ ect” Thomas Quadryng the Elder came up against Sir William Malyverer. William Langley of Knolton died in February of 1483,   leaving his son John, a minor,  as his heir. Joan, William’s newly widowed wife, appears to have married William Malyverer shortly after William Langley’s death, possibly for  political reasons, but most likely  under duress. The manor of Knolton is only a mile or so to the north-east of the manor of Esol [Beauchamp] and William Langley, or at least his widow, appears to have been a close friend of Thomas Quadryng.

In November of 1483 Malyverer seized the Kent lands of his newly acquired wife’s late husband which had previously been granted along with the wardship of the young John Langley to Richard Guildford (Guldeford) of Rolvenden, Kent. As one of the leaders of the recently failed Kent rebellion Guildford had subsequently had his estates confiscated by the Crown. Such was Malyverer’s  power in this time of ineffectual central authority that despite a 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  he managed to retain possession of  of his step-son’s property, probably by use of his office as an escheator, until August of 1485 when Malyverer’s power and authority in Kent came to an abrupt end when his patron Richard III was defeated and slain at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor became King Henry VII. 

Thomas Quadryng the Elder lived at least until 1490, when he was involved in a court case to recover a debt of £80.00 from Richard Seintnicholas, citizen and tailor of London, who had property in and around nearby Ash. Whether this dispute had any link to the 1456 demise of land & tenements in Chislet and Lympe to John de St. Nicholas of Ash by Richard Quadrynge, Robert Euyngham, and Robert Sandeforde is not known, but at the time legal disputes could be protracted.

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