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The Manor of Walweyns

This article on the Manor of Walweyns was written by Chris Schuster

The half of Tingrith Manor (moiety) inherited as intermediary lord in 1387 by Joan, sister of Walter de Daventry, is then referred to as Walweyn’s Manor presumably after her husband Philip de Walweyn or Walwyn. At the same time, Joan and Walwyn covenanted to lease her sister Matilda’s lands in Tingrith (the other half or moiety of Tingrith Manor) at an annual rent of ten marks.

Philip Walwyn worked in the household of Edward, the Black Prince and later for Richard ll (1377-1399) as keeper of the park and Manor of Ashurst and also constable of Corfe Castle [Dorset]. The threat of an invasion by the French on this part of the coast had assumed serious proportions by 1385, and Walwyn became involved in military preparations for the defence of the area. Yet although he was appointed to a number of royal commissions in Dorset, he still spent much of his time at Court. By 1384 he was serving as usher of Richard II’s chamber and it was also in 1384 that he secured the appointment of his wife, Joan, as keeper with him of Ashurst Park for the term of their joint lives—an arrangement which probably marks the date of their marriage.

Walwyn continued to serve at Court, but although his first loyalty was clearly to King Richard, he also established a connection with Henry of Bolingbroke, whose father, John of Gaunt, was then feudal overlord of the manor of Daventry. From 1390 onwards, if not before, he and his wife received jointly a large annuity of £32 6s.8d. from Bolingbroke, whose patronage must have further enhanced the couple’s standing in local society. Walwyn soon earned recognition as an influential member of the Bedfordshire community, and although his appointment as sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, as well as his subsequent election as a shire knight, may have owed something to his position in the royal household there can be little doubt that he was by then an important figure in the area in his own right.

Philip Walwyn sat in only one Parliament, being returned at the very end of a long and successful career. He appears to have left the royal household by September 1395, and may well have died by then, for his widow is known to have remarried soon afterwards; and in about 1398 she and her second husband, Thomas Beaumont, conveyed their share of the manor of Daventry to Henry of Bolingbroke and in 1409 sold her moiety of Tingrith Manor to Richard Greyneuylle, clerk, and John Polsawe, chaplain, and John’s heirs for 100 marks of silver to hold of the chief lords for ever. 

The descent of the intermediary lordship of the manors in Tingrith is unclear over the next century.  It is not known if Matilda had any children, or if she remarried, but in 1423 Ralph Dusburgh and Matilda his wife quitclaimed a manor in Tingrith to Sir John Cornwall, who later acquired half of the Cainhoe barony. It is likely, but not certain, that this manor was Walweyn’s.

de Grey coat of arms
de Grey coat of arms

After his death in 1443, most of John Cornwall’s Cainhoe lands were passed to different people depending on which king was currently winning the Wars of the Roses, but these lands eventually passed to the de Grey family of Wrest Park, who now held both halves of the barony. However, Nicholas Ashton, serjeant-at-law and responsible for sorting out John Cornwall’s property as he had no son, declared him to have held a manor in this parish (Tingrith) 'not held of the king but of one Nicholas Borus,' and in the same year, devised this and certain other manors of Sir John Cornwall to the Bishop of Lincoln and other trustees.  In 1504 Thomas Rotherham, the nephew of the Bishop of Lincoln, listed  Walweyn’s Manor and other properties in Tingrith in his will to be passed to his 5 year old son Thomas.

It seems likely that Walwyen’s Manor was separate to the share of the Cainhoe Barony that John Cornwall had acquired and thus escaped the de Greys, but it must have diminished considerably in importance, for no further trace of Walweyn’s as a manor has been found.