Lordship Title of Aldermaston ID14160

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Robert Achard, to whom the manor of ALDERMASTON was granted by Henry I, held it and four other manors by the service due from one knight's fee. It passed to his son and grandson, both named William, in turn. The former answered in 1160–1 for five knights' fees, and of these his father had granted three to sub-tenants. In 1171–2 William claimed to hold all his lands as the fee of one knight, and from that time his service was reduced in accordance with the original grant. Aldermaston was held in demesne by William and his descendants until the latter half of the 18th century. The second William died before 1229, when his son and heir Robert obtained a confirmation of the grant of Henry I of the manor. Robert Achard died about 1241, and the custody of his lands, excepting the dower of his widow Hawise, was granted to William Englefield until Peter Achard, his son and heir, should be of age. Peter was succeeded by his son Robert, who in about 1294 granted the manor to Master Richard de Coleshill, as trustee for a settlement on his nephew Robert, the son of Coleshill's brother Ellis. Richard de Coleshill died seised in 1296, and his brother and heir Ellis shortly afterwards released the manor to Robert Achard for life. On the death of Achard in 1298 it passed by the settlement to his nephew Robert, son of Ellis de Coleshill, and not to his brother and heir William Achard. This Robert did homage for the manor in 1299 and obtained seisin, with the exception of the dower granted by the king to Joan, Robert Achard's widow. He assumed the name of Achard on succeeding his uncle, since it seems clear that he must be identified with the Robert Achard who obtained a grant of free warren in 1304 and held the manor in 1316. In 1338 he made a settlement of the manor on himself and his second wife Agnes. A final settlement was made in 1342, by which the manor was to be held jointly by Robert Achard and Agnes for their lives, with remainder to Peter Achard (Robert's son by his first wife Joan) and his wife Elizabeth in tail, and contingently to Peter Delamare, kt., and his wife Joan for their lives, and afterwards to their son Thomas in tail and to his brother Richard successively. Robert died in 1353, and Agnes held the whole manor till her death in 1358, when it passed to Peter Achard. Peter died in 1361, his wife Elizabeth having predeceased him. He had no children, and the manor of Aldermaston passed to the Delamares. Presumably, Joan the wife of Sir Peter Delamare had been a sister or daughter of Robert Achard, and her son Thomas succeeded under the settlement of 1343. In previous histories of the manor Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of Robert Achard and wife of Sir Thomas Delamare, is mentioned, but no contemporary reference to her has been found. There is no mention of her in any of the settlements of the manor, while Thomas Delamare is not the first of his family mentioned in the remainders, and the name of his wife is given in other documents as Margaret. Sir Thomas, who was the tenant in 1401–2, died in 1404, and was succeeded by his son Robert, the tenant in 1428. Robert died in 1431, his heir being his grandson Thomas, who was a minor when the manor descended to him. This Thomas was knighted, and was in turn succeeded by his grandson Thomas, also a minor when his grandfather died. The boy, however, died in 1493 before attaining his majority, and his heirs were his two sisters, Elizabeth and Frideswide. In the partition of their inheritance the manor of Aldermaston was assigned to Frideswide, who became the wife of John Moreton. She died in 1497, and her sister Elizabeth eventually became the sole heir of her grandfather's estates. She married George Forster, who was later knighted, and her descendants held the manor of Aldermaston till the 18th century. Elizabeth died in 1526, her heir being her son Sir Humphrey Forster, who died in 1556, and was succeeded by his son William (died 1574–5), whom Queen Elizabeth visited here in 1558. While Humphrey son of the last-named William was lord of the manor Queen Elizabeth again visited Aldermaston in 1592, where a meeting of the Privy Council was held on 17 August. She knighted him in the same year. Another William son of Humphrey inherited the manor, and on his death in 1617–18 it passed to his son Humphrey, who was created a baronet in 1620. At the outbreak of the Civil War Sir Humphrey supported the king, and his estates, which were in the 'King's quarters,' were sequestered. He had mortgaged his estates for £14,000, and this was one of the reasons for the sequestration, the Committee for Compounding taking the view that he had raised the whole of this sum of money to help the king, and that it was therefore a very serious case of delinquency. Sir Humphrey, however, protested, and it seems probable that he had raised part of the money for his own purposes, since in 1636 he had rebuilt Aldermaston Court. He further urged that his son had served the Parliament, and offered to pay for his discharge. The proceedings dragged on for several years, and when the discharge was at length granted in 1653 it was cancelled the following year. He recovered possession of Aldermaston, however, and lived to see the restoration of Charles II. He died in 1663, and was succeeded in his baronetcy and estates by his grandson Humphrey, who lived till 1711, but left no male heir. Aldermaston passed to his sister Elizabeth, the wife of William Pert, and afterwards to her daughter Elizabeth, who married as her second husband the third Lord Stawel of Somerton. The latter held the manor of Aldermaston in her right in 1733. She died in 1748, and the manor appears to have passed to her daughter and heir Charlotte Stawel, who held it jointly with her husband, James Mack Carley, in 1742. Charlotte married as her third husband Ralph Congreve of Congreve, co. Staff., but she died in 1762 leaving no children, and the manor passed for the first time from the descendants of Robert Achard, the original grantee of the manor. Ralph Congreve owned Aldermaston till his death in 1775; having no children he settled it on an unmarried sister, with reversion to the elder branch of his own family. In 1798 it was in the possession of William Congreve, on whose death in 1843 his estates came into the Court of Chancery, and were ordered to be sold for the payment of his creditors. It was bought in 1847 or 1848 by Daniel Higford Burr, who pulled down and rebuilt Aldermaston Court, which had been partially burnt in 1843. He was succeeded by his son, who took the additional name of Higford, and the latter sold it in the year 1893 to Mr. C. E. Keyser, the present lord of the manor, who resides at Aldermaston Court.
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