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Swallowfield and its Owners.
By Lady Russell.
(Continued from page 177.)
1435. John, Duke of Bedford, died at Paris in 1435, leaving Swalefeld and East Hendred, as well as all his other estates, to his nephew, King Henry VI., and he assigned an annuity of 20 marks to Nicholas Cleve and Margery his wife, with power to distrain on Swallowfield. [Inq. P.M. 14 Hen. VI., No. 36, Berks.] Henry VI. then granted a third part of the Manor of Swalefeld to the Regent's widow, Jacqueline or Jacquetta, who was a daughter of Philip of Luxembourg, Earl of St. Pol.
1436. The following year, she having taken for her second husband Richard Woodville, a squire of no birth, but considered the handsomest man in England, her dower was forfeited, and Swalefeld, inter alia, taken from her. On her humble supplication to Parliament, however, and through the intercession of Cardinal Beaufort, her mésalliance was forgiven and her dower restored.
A Berks Inquisition, 14 Henry VI., tells us that Margery, widow of Nicholas Cleve, lately deceased, having married Thomas Letterford, was with her husband "seised of Swalefield, rent-charge in fee." (By the Duke of Bedford's Letters Patent). The name Cleve occurs in Basingstoke from the 14th century, spelt in a variety of ways: Cleeve, Clive, Clithe, Clythe and Clyde. Will Cleve was Chaplain and Clerk of the Works to Henry VI. in 1445. Thomas Letterford appears to have been son of John Letterford, of co. Somerset, and in the De Banco Roll of Easter, 15 R. II., we find under co. Somerset, "John Letterford, Plaintiff as well for himself as for the King in a suit." The name Letterford occurs rarely; it is probably the same as "Letford," which we find in Hants in the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries. In an extract, Lay Subsidy, 20 Ed. III., "Domina de Loterford" is mentioned.
1438. From a memorandum Roll, 20 Hen. VI., we learn that the King granted, in the 16th year of his reign, the custody of two parts of the Manor of Swalowfeld to John Martyn, groom-usher of the
Chamber, for the term of his life, and in a list of Berks Gentry for 1433 the name "Johannes Martyn " appears.
He was probably of the family of Martyn, of Ockingham (now Wokingham), of which several generations are given in the visitations of Berks taken in 1566. "Martyn of Ockingham" still appears amongst the names of gentry in the Commission of Peace in 1501, and his brother, Edward Martyn, is described "of Shynfelde" (Shinfield), where he and his wife were buried. John Martyn, of Swallowfield, gave his name to a portion of the estate, as 200 years later mention is made of 24 acres of Swallowfield Park, "called Martyn's Corner." John Martin was directed by the King to pay to Thomas Letterford and Margeria, his wife, for the term of the life of the said Margeria, £8 175. 91d., as for two parts of a certain annuity of 20 marks per annum, granted by the King to them, of the issues and profits of the Lordship or Manor aforesaid, reserving in his own hands £4 11s. 3d. per annum, namely, 3d. per diem for safe custody of the park of the Manor aforesaid. Margeria Letterford was buried at Swallowfield, and a brass to her memory, now in the chancel of the church, is in very good preservation. It is thus described by Ashmole: "The woman in her ordinary habit, with this scrowl out of her mouth, "Jhesu mercy Lady help," and underneath the following inscription: "Hic jacet Margeria, quondam uxor Thome Letterford, arm que obiit. Die . . . . An. Dni. MCCCC. Amen."
Cujus anime propicietur Deus.
1442. At the death of John Martyn, two-thirds of the Manor of Swalefeld went to John Penycoke, Groom of the Robes and Chamber, King Henry VI. having in January, 1442-3, given the said Manor in reversion (after the respective deaths of John Martyn and Jacqueline, Duchess of Bedford) to the said John Penycoke to hold for ever in tail male, yielding yearly at Christmas a pair of spurs of the value of 20 shillings, or 20 shillings in money. [Pat. R. 21, Hen. VI.] He is described as being son of John Penycoke, and as having lands in Lincolnshire.
1445-6. Henry de Beauchamp, 6th Earl of Warwick and Duke of Warwick, K. G., died in the 22nd year of his age on 11th June, He left an only daughter, Anna de Beauchamp, aged two and a-half years, who became Countess of Warwick. She was his heir, and "held 1⁄2 fee in Swalufell and Shyngfell which heirs of John St. John formerly held, value £20," but we find the Crown still disposing of the tenancy of Swallowfield as it had done since 1357.
Anna de Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick, was put under the tutelage of Queen Margaret, and afterwards was under the care of William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, at whose Manor of Ewelme she died in 1449, and was buried in the Abbey of Reading next to the grave of Constance, Lady Le Dispencer, her great-grandmother.
1447. In this year we find the sum of £64 7s. 4d. was paid out of the Exchequer, by assignment, to John Penycok, Valet of the King's Robes, in advance for repairs done at Byflet Park, and to a certain bridge within the said park; also for repairing a certain lodge there, and keep rabbits within the said park. Byflet belonged to the Crown, and John Penycoke was the King's Steward.
1450. In 1450 John Penycoke "presented the Priory Weybridge Church as a Rectory." In 1454 he was patron of the Church at Wisley.
1461. He was one of the 153 persons who fled into Scotland with Henry VI. after his defeat at Towton, and he was attainted of high treason by the new King, Edward IV. [Warkworth's Chron.Will Wyrcester, Cotton. Par. Ro. J. V. 477.] and "the Jurors find that his Manors of Netherburnham, Upper Burnham, Westwood, Owston, Epworth and Estland, and Haxay in Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire, ought to belong to the King by reason of said attainder."
1463. From the Duke of Lancaster's Min. Accts., South Parts, No. 724, Queen's Lands, we find that "the Manor of Swaloghfeld being vested in the Queen, she exchanged a moiety thereof for the Manors of Hagley and Braddeley, co. Worcester, and by letters Pat. (i.e., lease) dated 21 Jan. 2 Edward IV., demised the other moiety to Richard Hance, Esq., and Alionore his wife, relict of Thomas Prowde (als. Prutt) Esq., at rent of £40 for said moiety. This occupation can be traced through accounts for 18 years. We find in 1502-3 that "Harry, son of Thomas Prow," was buried at St. Lawrence Church, Reading, with his wife Elizabeth. And in the Duke of Lancaster's Min. Accts. there is mention of Jaquettus Hance, a manorial officer, doubtless a godson of the Duchess of Bedford, and probably son of the aforesaid Richard Hance. We do not find the name Hance again thus written, but it seems likely to be the same as Hannes, of Burford, Oxford, 1574. Richard Hannes of the City of Oxford had arms granted to him in 1641.
1465. In the 4th year of his reign King Edward IV. granted to Elizabeth, Queen Consort, an annuity of 20 marks or £13 6s. 8d. out of two-thirds of the Manor of Swallowfield, and on the same day he King ordered the farmers and occupiers to pay the annuity at
Michaelmas and Easter. [Pat. 4, R. 5, Ed. IV., part 1. m. 5, Close Roll 5, Ed. IV., m. 19.] This Queen was Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Sir John Gray, of Groby, whom Edward IV. had publicly married the previous year at Reading. Her mother Jagnetta, Duchess of Bedford, was still drawing part of her dower from a third part of the Manor of Swallowfield.
1472. She died in 1472.
1483. At the death of Edward IV. in 1483, Elizabeth Woodville, his Queen, ceased to have her annuity from Swallowfield and the same year King Richard II. granted this Manor and lands, etc., to William Tirwhitte or Tyrwhitt, who was his "armiger de corpore." He was the eldest son of Sir Robert Tyrrwhit, of Ketilby, by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Richard Waterton, of Methley, and was born in 1456.
During his ownership of Swallowfield, William Tyrwhitt had by Royal grant the office of Seneschal of the Lordship of Caistor, co. Lincoln, for his life. The grant styles him "Dilectus servicus, noster Wiltus Tyrwhit unus armigerorum de corpore nostro." [Lansdowne M.S.S.]
1485. After the accession of Henry VII., Swalowfelde (as we find it now written), was re-granted, inter alia, to the King's motherin-law, Elizabeth (Ed. IV.'s Queen) for life, as part of her dower, she having been deprived of it during the preceding reign.
John Penycoke was probably re-installed there, as this year his attainder was reversed and his possessions restored.
1492. Elizabeth Woodville, the Dowager Queen, died in 1492 and Swalowfelde was then granted to her daughter Elizabeth, Henry VII.'s Queen. Richard Smyth, her Yeoman of the Robes, was appointed "Parker and Paler," or Bailiff of the Manor. He had been the Queen's Yeoman of the Robes as far back as 1485, as we find in the Book of Accounts of the Treasury of England during Michaelmas Term, 1 Hen. VII., the following entry: "To Richard Smyth of the Queen's Wardrobe for black silk of damask and crimson satin, bought for the use of the lady the Queen £11 5s. 6d.," and in 1486 we find mention of a "grant to Richard Smyth (in consideracioun of the true and feithfulle service whiche oure welbeloved Richard Smythe, Yoman of the Robes withe oure derrist wif, the quene, hathe doone unto us, and during his lif entendethe to doo) of the herbage and pannage of the Park of Wedgenock (Warwick), during the minority of Ed. Earl of Warwick, to his own proper use, without therefore paying to the King."
1502-3. In the Privy Purse expenses of this Queen various items paid by him in 1502-3 appear.
For instance, on the 3rd June, 1502, we find "Item to a servaunt of Richard Smyth in reward for bringing a fawne from the parke of Swalofield to the Quene at Richemount, 3s. 4d."
And on the 6th July, same year, "to the undrekeper of Swalowfeld for the bringing of 111 bukkes (bucks) from Swalowfeld to Windesore 6s. 8d." On the 28th September, same year, to "Richard Smyth, Yeoman of Robes, for money by him payed for a plyte* of lawnde for a shirte for the childe of grace at Reding v.s. Itm for making of the same shirte 4d. and for offring to our Lady of Cawseham 4d. by the Quenes commaundement." "Itm the first day of Decembre to Richard Smyth, Yeoman of the Quene's Robys, for cv. yerdes di of cloth at iiijs. iiij. the yerde which was geven to divers personnes by the Quenes commaundement in the yere last passed. Itm to the same Richard Smyth for cxj. (121) yerdes of cloth for xxxvii. poure women for the Quenes Maundye, every woman iii. yerdes at 25. 7d. the yerd. And for 3 yerdes di of cloth delivered by the commandement of the Quene to a woman that was norice to the Prince, brother to the Quenes grace, and 3 yerdes to the sister of Sir Roger Cotton." Dame Margaret Cotton had the charge of the three children of Catherine of York, the Queen's sister, who married Lord William Courtenay.
There is another item in the Privy Purse expenses for money paid by R. Smyth "for apparelling of the fotemen," and one "for certain cloth silk brushes and othere necessaries."
1502. Among the receipts of Richard Decons, the Officer of the Signet for 1502, we find, under the head of "Swalowfelde," one of "Richard Smyth, bailiff there, of the issues and revenues of the same lordship for a yere ended at Mignelmas last passed £24 16s. 1d.”
Richard Smyth appears to have been a very devout man. In 1493 he was one of the ten persons called the "Brethren of the Mass of Jesus," a guild founded by Henry Kelsall, clothier of Reading. The latter left at his decease that same year 6s. 8d. to the church of Swallowfelde and 6s. 8d. to the church at Shenyngfeld. 1503. Richard Smyth was a great benefactor to the church of St. Lawrence. In the Inventory of the plate of that church made in 1518 we find: "Item two books, a gospello and a pistello, the one side covered with silver parcel gilt, with images upon the same, and
* The word "Plight" occurs in the statute respecting lawns in 1463, so it was probably a measure then in use.