Lordship Title of Cholsey ID1422

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The manor of CHOLSEY was held by King Edward the Confessor and passed to the Conqueror, who had it in demesne in 1086. Henry I bestowed it on Reading Abbey. In the foundation charter he recites how the three ancient monasteries of Reading, Leominster and Cholsey were destroyed and their possessions dispersed into lay hands. Cholsey was thus among the original possessions of the abbey, which held it in demesne and in frankalmoign until the Dissolution. The manor remained in the possession of the Crown until 1564, when Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir Francis Knollys and Lady Katherine his wife and their heirs male, bestowing upon them also the reversion of certain of the demesne lands that Queen Mary had leased for twenty-one years to Richard Drury. After the death of his wife Sir Francis quitclaimed the manor and lands to the Crown in 1569–70, with the exception of the capital messuage, Cowper's barn and Unholt Wood, but immediately obtained a new grant to trustees to his own use for so long as he or any heir male of himself and his wife Lady Katherine should be alive. Sir Francis, who had been treasurer of the royal household (1592–6), was succeeded on his death in 1596 by his second but eldest surviving son William, created Lord Knollys of Greys in 1603, Viscount Wallingford in 1616, and Earl of Banbury in 1626. The latter obtained a new grant of the manor from James I to himself and his wife Elizabeth and the heirs male of Sir Francis and Katherine. In 1629–30 the earl obtained a new patent from Charles I to enable him to settle Cholsey on his great-nephew Henry Earl Holland and Baron Kensington, on the ground that, as he had no heirs of his body, the manor was in danger of reverting to the Crown. By this plea he ignored the two sons of Lady Banbury, Edward, born in 1627, and Nicholas in 1630–1, whose paternity was questioned, and whose claims to the barony of Knollys of Greys were afterwards the subject of several famous law-suits. On the death of the Earl of Banbury in 1632 Cholsey was held by his widow Elizabeth for her life, according to the patent of 1629–30, the reversion being in Earl Holland. She married as her second husband Lord Vaux, very shortly after the death of the Earl of Banbury. Lord and Lady Vaux were recusants and two-thirds of the manor of Cholsey were sequestered by the Parliament during the Civil War. She and her husband seem to have sold the manor to Edward Lord Howard of Escrick. The latter petitioned that, finding two-thirds of his purchase sequestered, he might compound for it. This sale does not seem to have been followed by the transfer of seisin, or perhaps Lord Howard repudiated his purchase, since in 1651 John White of Reading gave information that, though both Lord Vaux and his wife were Papists under sequestration, they had received £1,000 by fines and perquisites of courts held during the last twelve years in the name of Sir Robert Thorold, who was tenant of the manor under them. They appear to have brought the period of sequestration to a close by 1655, when they complained that the manorhouse and other buildings had fallen into decay while in the hands of the tenants. The countess died three years later, and under the settlement of 1631 the manor presumably passed to Robert (Rich) second Earl Holland, his father, Henry the first earl, on whom the reversion had been settled, having been executed as a traitor to the Parliament in 1649. Whether he actually obtained seisin before the Restoration is perhaps doubtful. He succeeded at the death of his cousin in 1673 as fifth Earl of Warwick; his son Edward sixth Earl of Warwick and third Earl Holland held the manor in 1694 and his grandson Edward Henry, the next earl, in 1719. The latter died unmarried and intestate in 1721, when his honours passed to a cousin and his estates to his aunt Elizabeth the wife of Francis Edwardes. Her son was created Lord Kensington in 1776, and on his death in 1801 the manor passed to his son and heir. The second Lord Kensington appears to have sold it, since in 1825 George Payne was lord of the manor. Before 1847 it was in the possession of James Morrison, M.P., and from him it passed to the late Mr. Charles Morrison of Basildon, who died in 1909. It was entailed on his brother Mr. Walter Morrison, who is still living, but by a family arrangement it was handed over to one of his nephews, Major James Archibald Morrison. The Abbot of Reading claimed to exercise many rights under the royal charters to the abbey, and the trustees of Sir Francis Knollys obtained, in addition to the manor, a grant of turbary, fisheries, warrens, court leet and view of frankpledge. A free fishery in the Thames and a passage or ferry across the river in Cholsey parish are mentioned in 1633.
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