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Antique Print of the Coudray Coat of Arms, including Crest - this Version  Nash Ford PublishingThe
Coudray Family

An Extract by Mary Sharp
& W.O. Clinton

The larger and more important of the two Manors contained within the Parish of Padworth, sometimes distinguished by the name of Coudray's Manor, was, as is recorded in Domesday Book, held after the Conquest by one Stephen, son of Eirard; beyond the suggestion already made that he may have been of Saxon birth, nothing is known of his family.

After this, mention is found, in a document dated 1175, of a Robert de Peteorde who was assessed half a mark for pleas of forest (that is, right of chase), but the King kept the land in his own hands, for the Norman Kings were very tenacious of these rights. It may have been the same Robert who, with a relative, William de Peteorde, made a grant of half an acre of land in Padworth to the Abbey of Reading; but of this one cannot be sure as no dates are affixed to these ecclesiastical Deeds of Gift. The earliest mention by name of the Coudray family is in a Deed in the possession of Mr. Jervoise of Herriard Park. It is a Deed of Grant by which Fulk de Coudray transferred the Manors of Sherborne Coudray, now known as the Vyne, and that of Padworth to Maud de Herriard and Nicholas her son for their lives in exchange for the Manors of Herriard which was to be to him and his heirs in perpetuity. The two families were connected as Fulk de Coudray's mother had married as her second husband Roger, a son of the Maud here mentioned. Among the witnesses of the Deed are Robert de Offington (Ufton) and Henry de la Huesse or Hoese. The first was Lord of the Manor of Ufton Robert, and the second must have been of the family of the smaller Manor of Padworth. Robert de Offington is known to have been living in 1240, which gives us a clue to the date of this transaction.

In this way the Manor of Herriard (near Basingstoke) became, as it long remained, the property of the owners of Padworth. Incidentally, one cannot fail to notice the resemblance of the name Herriard to that of the Knight Stephen, son of Eirard, in Domesday Book.

Fulk de Coudray died in 1251, and by the enquiry into his estate made, as was customary, after his decease, we learn that he held the Manor of Padworth by Grand sergeantry of the King, that is, for personal service rendered to him as his Liege Lord-the service in this case being to provide a man to hold a rope on the Queen's Ship when she shall cross between England and Normandy. The enquiry was held before John Neirvut, as Escheator for Berks, Lord of the neighbouring Manor which is still called after his name Ufton Nervet.

The name of Coudray is said to have been derived from Corde de Roy in allusion to this service required of the head of the family. Sometimes, instead of service, the yearly presentation of some trifling object was required from the Lord's tenant, such as a sparrow hawk or a peppercorn, and the custom survives even to the present day in the case of the Dukes of Marlborough and Wellington, the one being bound to present yearly to the sovereign a Bourbon Flag, the other a Tricolour as acknowledgement of the estates they received from the Crown in reward for their victories over the French.

At the time of Fulk de Coudray's death his Manor of Padworth consisted of 38 acres in demesne, or land held by the Lord in his own hands, and 245 acres at the value of one penny per acre-that is, in all, 20/4d;-rents from free tenants amounting to 32/2d, .also sixteen acres of meadow, some pasture land and a mill. In all these valuations it must be borne in mind that money was worth a great deal more in those days than now, and that much of a Lord's wealth consisted in the forced services of villeins and other tenants.

His son and heir Peter, was not fourteen years old when he inherited his father's estates, nevertheless we find that in the following year, 1252, he was married to Agnes, daughter of Emery de Sacy; it was apparently an arrangement made for him by his father before his death, for an agreement exists signed by Fulk de Coudray and Geoffrey his brother with Emery de Sacy (Barton Stacey), by which the latter made over to Peter Coudray, probably as his daughter's marriage portion, all his land in Pamber in Hampshire which is still part of the Padworth Estate. By another agreement, the reason of which is not explained, Fulk had received from Richard de Lepewort the Manor of Mulsho in Buckinghamshire, in later deeds included in the enumeration of the family estates though not now forming part of them.

Sir Peter Coudray, son of Sir Fulk, became a very active and devoted servant of Edward I. He fought in the Scotch and Welsh wars, for which last he was summoned in 1297 to muster in London with horses and arms on the Sunday next before the feast of St. John the Baptist. The last time he is mentioned as being called to fight was for the war in Scotland in 1300 when he must have been over sixty. In 1303 he appointed his son Richard Coudray, a priest, to the living of Herriard and died soon afterwards for, in 1304, his son Thomas reigned in his stead. This Thomas had already in his father's lifetime received from him the grant of the Manor of Herriard, for which he paid a life rent of 30, and, on succeeding to the whole property, is said to have held the Manors of Lyford and Padworth in Berkshire, and Gatehampton and Mulsho in Buckinghamshire, also Sherborne and Herriard in Hampshire. These many Manors with their residences were made use of in providing for the younger members of the family, and in his turn Thomas granted the Manor of Mulsho to his eldest son, also Thomas, and Lucy his wife (for the rent of a rose) and settled land at Herriard on his second son Ralf.

Like his father and grandfather he was a gallant warrior and knight; and is mentioned as taking part in the celebrated Tournament at Stepney in 1322. In 1319 he was elected Knight of the Shire, that is, Member of Parliament for Hampshire, but was excused attendance as being on service with the King. In 1322 he was present with the latter at the defeat of the Earls of Hertford and Lancaster at the Battle of Boroughbridge; in the following year, peace having been for the time restored, he was again chosen M.P.-this time for Berkshire. In 1325 and 1326 he was appointed to raise soldiers in the same county and to inspect the levies to see that they continued fit for service. Meanwhile, however, he was not regardless of the interests of his family, insisting, against some opposition, on the right they had held from time immemorial to hunt the hare and fox in all the forests of Hampshire and Berkshire. He seems to have been also a pious and devout man after the manner of the times, for, in 1327, he was appointed with one Gilbert de Ellisfield to the Custody of the Abbey of Abingdon; in 1334, he alienated in Mortmain, that is, for after his death, the advowson of Herriard to the Priory of Wyntney in Hampshire ; and apparently just before his death he re-endowed the Chantry at Sherborne, now the Chapel attached to the house known as the Vyne, and appointed his brother as chaplain. He had married a lady named Juliana whom he mentions in the Deed of Endowment here quoted from the History of the Vyne by C. Chute. He says:

I give to my brother, Richard de Coudray, whilst he shall perform divine service daily in the Chapel of Sherborne Coudray in honour of the Blessed Virgin and on behalf of my good estate while I shall live and of my soul when I shall depart this life, and on behalf of Adam Orleton Bishop of Winchester and my father, Sir Peter de Coudray and my mother the Lady Agnes and my wife Juliana and William Attehurst and all faithful departed, one plot of land in Sherborne Coudray and one rent coming to me from land held by Richard atte Ostre in the same village, and one rent of six marks issuing from lands in Herriard and Ellisfield, held by the Prioress of Hartley Wyntney, to have and to hold the same to the same Richard and his successors the chaplains performing divine service in the said Chapel without any recourse to the Mother Church of Sherborne St. John.

Sir Thomas also gave to the Chapel a set of books, a pair of vestments, two phials, a napkin or towel and two brass candlesticks. His son Sir Thomas had married first a lady of the name of Lucy, and afterwards a second wife, Joan, on whom he settled the Manor of Padworth, afterwards to go to his heirs male. He died on the 16th May, 1349, and his widow on the 27th of June in the same year, and at the enquiry into his estate it was declared that there had been rents from Padworth but that the land was then worth nothing as all the people were dead. We must look to history to account for this terrible state of things.

In the year 1348 there had fallen on England one of the greatest calamities recorded in our history, namely, a visitation of the Plague known as the Black Death. Not only mankind but the brute creation suffered from this scourge, and as the putrid carcases lay unburied in the fields the infection went on multiplying itself unchecked. A tenth of the whole population is said to have died, and in some places, as seems to have been the case at Padworth, no men were left to till the ground. In other neighbouring districts in Berkshire the devastation must have been as great. Of Thatcham, about six miles from Padworth, a contemporary deed records that in that year all the free tenants and the peasants were dead by the pestilence and that the lands are now in the hands of the lord because there is no one who wants to buy or to till them. Naturally the price of food rose enormously, also the countrymen who survived endeavoured by combination to obtain enhanced wages for their labour, till a statute was passed to oblige them to work for any one who would employ them for the accustomed pay. Many years elapsed before the country recovered its usual condition. Though there is no record that such was the fact it seems probable that the deaths of Sir Thomas Coudray and his wife, following so closely on each other, were caused by the epidemic then prevailing.

Their son, Fulk de Coudray, was 35 years old when he succeeded to the Manor of Padworth with other estates in 1349. Sherborne Coudray had, however, passed to his sister, on whom it was settled on her marriage with Sir Thomas Fifhilde of Fifield. He had no children and, in consequence, he settled the reversion of the manor of Herriard on a cousin, Sir Henry Coudray ; this manor, as it is there explained, was at the time held by Sir Robert Achard and Agnes his wife on a lease for their lives by a grant from Sir Henry's and Sir Fulk's grandfather, Sir Thomas Coudray.

Sir Fulk left to his widow Joan the Manor of Padworth for her life with. a reversion to one William Mulsho, Parson of Berughby (sic), who afterwards, by a deed dated 1378, granted this reversion and all his rights over the Manor to the Venerable Father in God, the Lord William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and his heirs in perpetuity. William Mulsho may have been connected with the Coudray family-that he bore the name of one of their Manors suggests the possibility-and the grant may have been merely a trust deed. At any rate it is certain that the estates of Padworth were not then so alienated, but that they passed, together with the Manor of Herriard, at the death of Sir Henry Coudray in 1365, who left no son, to Edward Coudray, the son of his younger brother Peter, then a minor. This Edward came of age and held his first Manor Court at Herriard in 1376; that he resided there and not at Padworth is explained by the fact that Joan, the widow of Sir Fulk, on whom the place had been settled, was then still living. He married, first, Maud, daughter of Sir John Lislebon, by whom he had a large family, and secondly, a lady named Joan. At his death he had settled his estates on his eldest son Thomas, who however, died without issue and his younger brother Peter was enfeoffed. Peter had married Agnes, the daughter, by a former marriage, of his stepmother Joan. In 1433 he was chosen Knight of the Shire for Berks, and dying, left a son, also named Edward, to succeed him. Of this second Edward we know no more than that when he died, in 1465, he left as his heir a son Peter, a child of seven years old, to succeed him. The estates immediately passed under the control of guardians and trustees appointed by the King; of whom one was the powerful Earl of Warwick, known as the Kingmaker, and another was his kinsman, Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury.

At this time, and during all our early history, the guardianship of minors was a very profitable appendage to the Crown. As Lord-in-chief over all the land of the country, the King had absolute control of all properties held by the heirs of tenants in Capite - that is - such as held their land directly from the Crown, and were under the age of twenty-one at the time at which they inherited. These he would grant, either for money consideration, or to curry favour with some one of his powerful nobles, to be held nominally, in the interests of the minor, but, practically, for their own considerable profit. Such guardians had also the right of arranging the marriage of their ward, and this was openly treated by them as a matter of bargain and gain.

The Earl of Warwick and his fellow trustees, in the same year in which they were appointed, executed a grant of the Manor of Herriard in favour of Edward Langford, probably the same who was at the time Lord of the Manor of Brad-field, but whether this was with a view to the marriage of his daughter to the young heir is not clear. The young man died, however, only a few weeks after attaining his majority, in the year 1482, without leaving any children; after which the next heir was declared to be a kinsman probably a cousin, also named Peter.

If Edward Langford had failed to secure the inheritance of the first Peter for his daughter, he was more successful with the second, who actually married, as his first wife, Clara, daughter of Edward Langford of Bradfield, and by her had a daughter, Philippa, who seems to have died in his lifetime, for, in 1510, he settled his Manors, both of Padworth and Herriard on his second wife, Dorothy, daughter of Robert White of Southwarnboro' in Hampshire and on their children after her, with remainder to his brother John and his heirs male.

On the 4th of December, 1524, Peter Coudray, as Lord of the Manor, held a Court Baron at Padworth. These Courts were for the purpose of granting or renewing leases, hearing the grievances of the tenants, and imposing fines for misdemeanours. They were held periodically before the Lord of the Manor assisted by his steward, or sometimes, in his absence, by the steward alone. There were always present a certain number of the upper class of tenants, sometimes spoken of as the Homage, who swore to witness truly concerning the matters brought forward.

Any fresh rules or instructions for the management of the Manor were also given out on these occasions. The Court Roll, as it is called, written in Latin, of this Court Baron held by Sir Peter Coudray, is still preserved amongst the Deeds of the Estate.

Peter Coudray was the last of his name of Padworth. He died on the 10th of April, 1528; his wife survived him only a few weeks and their inheritance passed to their three daughters, Joan, Elizabeth, and Margery, as co-heiresses, the eldest being at the time only ten years old. When they respectively came of age, Joan had married Peter Kidwelly of Faccombe in Hampshire, Elizabeth had married Richard Paulet, second son of the Marquess of Winchester, and Margery, the youngest, was the wife of William Rythe of Tolford in Hampshire. The Estates were then divided between them.

In 1549, Elizabeth Paulet and her husband sold their third part of the Manor of Padworth to her sister Joan Kidwelly. Elizabeth married three times; her second husband was Lord Windsor, and the third, George Puttenham. She was the ancestress of the present Lord of the Manor of Herriard in Hampshire, but has no further connection with our story.

Two-thirds of the Padworth property were now held by the Kidwellys, and the remaining third by Margery and William Rythe. The Manor House, however, seems to have been held in common by the two sisters, for a lease exists, dated 1550, in which they jointly grant the scite of the manor of Padworth for 21 years to one John Littlefield; excepting, however, all roads and ponds and heriots and perquisites of Court pertaining thereto.

To follow the fortunes of the family of Joan Kidwelly, the eldest of the three daughters, co-heiresses of Peter Coudray-she died at her husband's property, Faccombe in Hampshire, on the 15th October, 1562, he having predeceased her, and their son, William, inherited that estate and also the two-thirds of Padworth Manor.

On this occasion it was certified that the Manor was still held for the same feudal service as of old-that of supplying a man to hold a rope in the Queen's ship on her crossing beyond the sea. The wording of the tenure is, as will be noticed, slightly altered, for Normandy had then, in Queen Elizabeth's time, long ceased to belong to the English Crown, and Calais, our last possession in France, had been lost during the previous reign. These curious feudal tenures were, in almost all cases, formally abolished after the Restoration of Charles II. in 1660.

William Kidwelly came of age in February, 1571, and died unmarried in 1575, when his two sisters, Mary, who had married Jerome Stanshowe of Wasing, and Elizabeth the wife of William Davison of London, County Middlesex, of the Glaziers company, were declared to be his heiresses. In the following year, William and Elizabeth Davison sold their share of the inheritance to George Littlefield, alias Turner, who in the Deed of Contract is styled Yeoman of Padworth, for 220. It consisted of twenty messuages with gardens, orchards and meadows, 740 acres of land and one water mill, yielding a rent of twenty shillings. Ten years later, in 1586, George Little-field became the owner by purchase also of that portion of the estate which had fallen to the elder sister Mary, the wife of Jerome Stanshowe, for the sum of 400. This last share consisted of twelve houses with gardens, meadows and orchards, 680 acres of land, one water mill yielding a rent of 20/-, and rights of fishing in the river Kennet.

Margery, the youngest of the three heiresses of Peter Coudray, who had married William Rythe of Tolford, had, for her share of the property, ten houses, six cottages, 1,000 acres of arable land, 200 acres of meadow, 1,000 acres of pasture, 120 acres of wood, 300 acres of furze and waste land with 80/- of rent and one water corn-mill. It is to be noticed that each sister's share included a water mill, thus corresponding with the Domesday Survey, in which it is stated that there were three mills in the Parish. In an undated memorandum, later than 1799, there are said to have been two water mills at the time. At present there is only one. The question of the mills will be further discussed in the Chapter on the Parish.

The only child of William and Margery Rythe was a daughter, Elizabeth, who married as his second wife Nicholas Tichbourne of Tichbourne, County Hants, and who had by him one son, Martin Tichbourne. In 1556 she was a widow and her father and mother executed a deed by which their moiety of the Manor of Padworth was, after their death, settled on her and her heirs. Thirty years later Margery Rythe, herself a widow, had been living for some time in a house belonging to her grandson, Martin Tichbourne, in Westisted, not far from the family estate which had now been inherited by his elder half-brother, Sir Benjamin Tichbourne. Martin had it seems been dutifully helpful to his grandmother in the management of her business affairs and, in gratitude for his services, she, conjointly with his mother Elizabeth, made a fresh settlement, by which he was to enjoy the Padworth estates during their lives, paying them a yearly rent of 10, and was afterwards to succeed to the possession, which was secured for himself and his heirs. The wording of the deed deserves notice. In it Margery says that in recompence for the quiet abode and good and friendly entertainment that she hath had and hereafter hopes to have at the hands of the said Martin Tichbourne, and in consideration of the paynes and travell that he hath taken in the busynes and afayres of the said Margery and in consideration of the motherly love and natural affection that the said Elizabeth doth beare towards her sonne......and for his advancement in lyving and for the satisfaction of the trust reposed in her by her late husband Nicholas Tichbourne &c., the two, mother and daughter, join in granting to him, their son and grandson, on the terms mentioned above the moiety of their Manor of Padworth.

Martin Tichbourne died in 1625, leaving no children, and his half brother, Sir Benjamin Tichbourne, was declared to be his heir in 1629, and he, together with his wife, Amphilis, sold that part of the Padworth estates which had been the share of Margery Rythe and which he had now inherited, to Sir Humphrey Forster of Aldermaston for 1,200.

Thus did the last portion of the Padworth estates which had been held by the Coudray family and their descendants, at least since the time of Henry III., pass away finally into other hands.

Originally entitled 'Cowdray's Manor' and reproduced from Mary Sharp & W.O. Clinton's 'A Record of the Parish of Padworth' (1911).
A few of the relationships between certain individuals mentioned therein are given slightly differently elsewhere..


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