Lordship Title of Crookham ID1436

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One hide in CROOKHAM was held by Alwi Ceuresbert both in the time of Edward the Confessor and as late as 1086, but probably the main manor of Crookham was included in Thatcham and was granted with it in frankalmoign to Reading Abbey by Henry I. The manor was subinfeudated, but the overlordship of Crookham was retained by the abbey until the 14th century, when the service by which the manor was held was merely suit of court at the abbot's view of frankpledge. The first under-tenant of whom there is any mention is Peter Fitz Herbert in the early 13th century, whose father Herbert Fitz Herbert held several knights' fees in Berkshire. A tenement was held of the abbey by Peter for a rent of 12s. 1d., but in 1226 he obtained a quitclaim of the whole of this rent from the Abbot of Reading in return for a certain meadow and lands in Thatcham, which he gave to the abbey in frankalmoign. In 1228 Peter Fitz Herbert obtained a grant from the king of free warren in his lands at Crook ham, and in April of the next year Henry III seems to have been himself at the manor. Peter died in 1235 and was succeeded by his son Herbert Fitz Peter, who was ordered in that year to give reasonable dower to Isabel, his father's widow. Herbert died about 1248, and his brother and heir Reynold held Crookham Manor until his death in 1286, when it passed to his son and heir John Fitz Reynold, the son probably of his first wife Alice. The new lord of the manor challenged the rights of Reading Abbey over Crookham, and Abbot John only obtained his homage and the payment of a relief of 100s. in 1300, after an appeal to the king. John appears to have granted the greater part of his lands to Edward II, and to have received some of them back to hold for his life, but Crookham Manor must have been granted either by John or the king to Piers Gaveston before 19 May 1308, since on that day a grant of it from Gaveston to the king is enrolled. In the following month Edward II granted it back to Gaveston and his heirs, but it was forfeited after the execution of Gaveston in 1312. John Fitz Reynold had died in 1309 or 1310, but his son and heir Herbert did not succeed in regaining his inheritance, which the king granted immediately after the death of Gaveston to John de Knokyn for life. Edward II was himself there in 1317. When John de Knokyn died about 1320 Herbert Fitz John seized the manor and a considerable quantity of goods. The king ordered the escheator to recover possession owing to the reversion to the Crown on the death of John de Knokyn, but Herbert had drawn attention to his rights in Crookham and a settlement was made whereby he obtained the wardship of lands to the value of £20 a year. This closed the connexion of his family with Crookham, and after his death in 1321 his widow Eleanor could not obtain dower there, although it had been granted to her on her marriage in 1291. Edward III gave the manor in dower to Queen Isabella. She surrendered it in 1330, and it was granted to William Montagu in 1331, while a few months later free warren was granted to him and his wife Katherine and the heirs of his body. Montagu was created Earl of Salisbury in 1337 and obtained various other confirmations of the grant of Crookham Manor. The countess survived her husband and held it until her death in 1349. The extent of the manor made at that time shows the ravages caused by the Black Death in the neighbourhood. The value of rents and services of the customary tenants was usually £10 a year, but the tenants were all dead of the plague; their holdings were in the lord's hands, and, as no one would take them up, the land lay useless and uncultivated. The manor remained with the Earls of Salisbury, the Montagus, Nevills and Plantagenets, except during minorities and the vicissitudes of the Wars of the Roses, until the attainder of Margaret Countess of Salisbury in 1539. In 1540 Henry VIII leased the manor of Crookham to William Earl of Southampton, and two years later granted it to him in tail-male, with remainder to William Lord Herbert, son and heir of Henry Earl of Worcester. The new grantees were connected with the old lords of the manor, the earl's mother Lucy being one of the eight daughters and co-heirs of John Nevill Marquess of Montagu, the second son of Richard Nevill Earl of Salisbury, while Lord Herbert was the son of Southampton's half-sister Elizabeth the daughter of Lucy Nevill and her second husband Sir Anthony Browne. Southampton died in 1542, and the manor passed to Lord Herbert, who succeeded his father in the earldom of Worcester in 1549 and held the manor till his death in 1588–9. His son Edward, who then became lord of Crookham, married Elizabeth Hastings, a descendant of Margaret the last Countess of Salisbury; he died seised of the manor in 1627–8. His heir was his son Henry, the tenth earl, who was created Marquess of Worcester in 1642–3. The marquess and his son Edward, who succeeded him in 1646, were prominent Royalists, and the lands of the family were seized by Parliament; but they do not seem to have been sold, since in 1652 Henry Lord Herbert, the son and heir of the second marquess, was able to buy back from the Parliament several manors, including Crookham, for £800. The second marquess returned to England at the Restoration and died in 1667, leaving his estates much encumbered. His son obtained in the same year from Charles II a new grant of the manor and of the reversions remaining in the Crown. This grant enabled him to sell the manor at once to Andrew Barker and William Robinson, who appear to have conveyed it to Samuel Mico, since in 1675 Mico, who is described as of Magdalen College, Oxford, made a settlement of the estate. He died before 1681–2, and his sister and heir Winifred the wife of Thomas Powell shortly afterwards sold Crookham to Sebastian Lyford of Reading. Lyford, who died in 1703, left it by will to his grandson Clement Kent, who was lord of the manor in 1704. Kent sold it in 1729 to Bulstrode Peachey, who afterwards took the surname of Knight; from him it passed by will to his brother Sir John Peachey, bart., for life, and then to his nephews John and James, who held it successively. James was created Lord Selsey of Selsey in 1794, and Crookham, after the death of the third and last Lord Selsey in 1838, passed to his granddaughter Caroline the wife of the Rev. Leveson Vernon Harcourt. After her death it was bought in 1872 by Mr. A. R. Tull, whose family had been settled at Crookham for three centuries or more. In 1790 Richard Tull, the grandfather of the purchaser of the manor, had bought a considerable estate from Sir George Cornewall, including the house at Crookham in which Sir George and his father Sir George Amyand lived. On its site the present Crookham House, the residence of Mr. A. R. Tull, now stands.
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