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    Cradley Links

    Collections for the History of Worcestershire (1781)

    The entry for Cradley in "Collections for the history of Worcestershire" (1781) by Treadway Russell Nash


    A manor situate in the Worcestershire part of Hales parish, was at the compiling of the Conqueror's survey esteemed a member of the barony of Dudley, and then reckoned within the hundred of Clent, though now in that of Halfshire : it is thus described in Domesday.

    William Fitz-Ansculf holds Cradelei and Pagan under him. Wigar held it ; there is one hide, no part in demesne. Here are four villans and eleven bordars, with seven ploughs : it was worth yearly (in king Edward's time, forty shillings, at the time of the Survey, twenty-four. The barons of Dudley appear to have kept this manor in their own hands, and on the death of John de Somery lord Dudley, 16 Edward II. 1322. this, together with Warley-Wigorn, was, on the partition of his lands, assigned to his sister Joan, the wife of Sir John de Botetourt, baron of Weolegh, which Joan, 8 Edw. II obtained a charter of free-warren in all her demesne lands here [c]. Anno 37 Edw. III. the rents of Cradley, as appears by an original roll, amounted to the yearly sum of eleven pounds, three shillings, with eleven capons[d]. Anno 9 Richard II. 1385, Sir John Botetourt, died seised of this manor, whose heir was Joyce, the wife of Sir Hugh Burnel, knt. daughter and sole heir of the aforesaid Sir John Botecourt, who deceased in her father's life time.

    The said Joyce deceased Jan. 1, 1405, leaving no issue, when Joice, the wife of Sir Adam Peshall knt. Catherine the wife of Sir Maurice, or Thomas de Berkley, and Alice, the wife of --- Kyrell, were found to be her cousins and next heirs. This manor of Cradley, together with Northfield, Clent, Old Swinford and Weolegh-castle, had been settled by a fine, levied in Joyce's life time, on her husband Sir Hugh Burnel, for term of his life, before whose death, which happened Nov. 27, 8 Hen. V. Joan Beauchamp lady Bergavenny, purchased the reversion of one third part, from Sir Adam Peshale, and Joyce, his wife, and the reversion of another third, from Sir Nicholas Ruggeley, to whom it was granted by Hugh Stranley and Joyce, his wife, the grand-daughter and heir of Alice Kyrell aforesaid, which several grants to lady Bergavenny, Sir Hugh Burnel, confirmed by his deed dated at Weolegh-castle, Dec. 1, 5 Hen. V. [e]

    This Sir Hugh Burnel was summoned to parliament as baron of Weolegh-castle, from the 7 year of Richard II. to the 8th of Hen. V. when he died. He was one of the lords to whom king Richard resigned the crown [f]. Lady Bergavenny being thus possessed of two thirds of this manor, to take place on Burnel's decease, conveyed the same to certain trustees, who by a joint deed dated the 15th Hen. VI. enfeoffed James Butler, son and heir apparent of James earl of Ormond, and grandson to Lady Bergavenny, of the same, and moreover it was confirmed to him by her last will and testament. Two years afterwards, Maurice the son of Maurice, and grandson of Thomas de Berkley and Catherine before mentioned (to whom the remaining third part descended on the death of Burnel) laid claim to the whole, and likewise to the manors of old Swinford, Clent, Weolegh-castle, &c. upon which an assize of novel disleisin was had, and Butler (then created earl of Wiltshire) recovered; but it seems the contest did not end here, for after much litigation, 32 Hen. VI. the earl of Wilts and Maurice Berkeley, agreed to divide the lands in question; and on the partition, Cradley, Clent, Old Swinford and Hagley, were assigned to the said earl.

    During the unhappy dissentions between the houses of York and Lancaster this nobleman adhered stedfastly to king Henry VI, and on Edward duke of York's gaining the crown, he was taken prisoner and beheaded at Newcastle on Tyne, anno 1461; whereby his lands were forfeited to the crown, and soon after divided among the friends of the house of York. As to this manor, Edw. IV. granted it the first year of his reign to Fulk Stafford, and the heirs male of his body [g], who dying the next year sans issue, the said king, reciting his former grant to Stafford, grants two thirds of Cradley, and the reversion of the other third after the decease of Stafford's widow, to his servant, Thomas Prout, esq. in tail male [h]. It seems likely that Prout died not long after without issue male, for in the 13th of Edward IV. a grant occurs of two thirds of this lordship, with reversion as before, from the king to his beloved consort queen Elizabeth and her assigns for ever [i]. This princess having built a chapel dedicated to Erasmus adjoining the abbey church of Westminster, made a grant of this manor and that of Hagley to the abbot and convent there, for the maintenance of a perpetual chantry in the said chapel, wherein two monks were to celebrate daily masses for the souls of king Edward and her own soul, after their decease ; and the convent were to erect a hearse in the said chapel, with wax candles, each weighing six pounds, constantly burning therein; which grant bears date the 18th of Edward IV. [k] At the same time the king granted them free-warren [l], return of writs, summons of the exchequer, and felons' goods, together with a court leet in Cradley and Hagley. But the abbot and monks of Westminster enjoyed these manors a very short time, for Thomas Butler younger brother of the earl of Wiltshire, getting into the king's favour, procured Cradley and Hagley, together with other forfeited lands of the said earl, to be restored to him. What compensation was made to the church of Westminster does not appear, but doubtless they had ample satisfaction made them for this resumption of the king's grant. About this time a great litigation arose between the said Thomas Butler, then created earl of Ormond, and Sir Henry Willoughby, Sir Thomas Fererrs knts. and John Aston esq. as well for the lordships of Craley and Hagley, as for divers others he was in possession of under the will of his grandmother lady Bergavenny, which at last were finally determined by an award made by the lord treasurer Dynham, lord D'Aubigney, and the two chief justices ; and hereby the several lands in question were confirmed to the earl of Ormond, on his paying Sir Hugh Willoughby, &c. the sum of 800l. This earl died the 3d. of August, 1515, leaving issue by Anne his wife, daughter and sole [m] heir to Sir Richard Hankford, knt, two only daughters, Margaret, married to Sir William Bolleyn, of Blickling, in Norfolk, ancestor to Queen Elizabeth : and Anne, the wife Sir John Seyntleger of Annary in Devon ; which Anne had for her share among other lands of her fathers, this manor of Cradley. Her grandson Sir John Seyntleger, knt. sold it, anno 1564, together with Old Swinford, Hagley and Clent, to Sir John Lyttleton, of Frankley. knt. whose lineal descendant now enjoys it.

    The river Stour seems to have been the ancient boundary between Cradley and Rowley, and consequently of the counties of Worcester and Stafford ; but it appears by a court roll, 33 Henry. VIII. that one of the abbots of Halesowen, diverted the course of the river here, (perhaps for the improvement of his lands at Rowley) for which the convent paid yearly to the lord of Cradley, 12d. and a pound of wax. "Juratores dicunt quod gurges ibidem vocat. Stowre est meta inter comitat. Stafford et Wigorn. et divisit dominium de Rowley et dominium de Cradley. Et meta dominii istius extendit ad medium veterem cursum aque predicte. Et abbas monasterii de Halesowen ex antiquo tempore convertit totum cursum aque predicte extra rectum cursum, ideo pro libertate habenda dedit domino hujus manerii annuatim xxiid. et unu' pondus cere. et sic uti fruit a tempore quo non extat memoria [n]." Here seems to have been in ancient times a capital mansion or manor house, with a chapel annexed to it, situated in what is now called Cradley-Park ; where at this day appear considerable ruins, though now overgrown with wood, and the seite is encompassed with a mote : also at a very little distance, is a field called the Chapel Leasow, where I suppose the chapel stood ; which conjecture is supported by the tradition of the neighbouring inhabitants. At what time the house and chapel fell into decay I cannot discover, but the park-lands seem not to have been disparked in the time of Henry VIII. for a lease occurs from dame Anne Seyntleger, lady of this manor, to one Forest, dated 12 Henry VIII. of the herbage of Cradley-park, with a proviso for his keeping up the fence thereof. Anno 1427, a person of the name of Bere, who, by his bearing a coat of arms, seems to have been of some consideration, flourished here ; for in a grant of lands in Rowley, he stiles himself of Cradley, and seals with a chevron between three baker's peels [o].

    The land-tax of Cradley at 4s. in the pound, amounts to 74l. 18s. 6d. per ann. It paid to the poor in 1776, about 240l.

    [c] Chart. 8 Edw. III. No XIX.

    [d] Ex cumputo praepositiorum maneriorum dominii Johan Botecourt, in pergam. penes me.

    [e] From lord Lyttleton's Evidences.

    [f] See Dugd. Baronage, p. II, p. 62.

    [g] Pat I. Edw. IV. p. 4. m. 18

    [h] Pat. 2. Edw. IV, p. 2. m. 9.

    [i] Pat. 13 Edw. IV. p. 2. m. 13.

    [k] Widmore History of Westminster-abbey, p, 117.

    [l] It appears above that free-warren had been granted to Joan Botecourt for all the demesne lands in Cradley by Edw. III, but this extended to the whole manor.

    [m] Lord Lyttleton's Evidences.

    [n] Ibid.

    [o] Among the Evidences of Mr. Haden, of Haden-Hill, in Rowley.

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