Lordship Title of Southcote ID14159

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The hamlet of SOUTHCOTE (Sudcote, Southcott) lies to the south-west of Reading. In 1086 Southcote was held by William de Braose. By the early 13th century it had been attached by the Braoses to the honour of Knepp (co. Sussex), of which it was held by Henry Belet. In 1337 a grant of free warren was made to Michael Belet for his demesne lands there. In 1365 Southcote was held by Thomas Restwold and Alice his wife, who appears to have been an heir. Lucy daughter of Henry Restwold married Lawrence Drew of Seagry, Wiltshire; their son Thomas Drew of Seagry left a daughter Margaret, born about 1420, who became her father's heir. She married Walter Sambourne and died in 1494. The inquisition taken after her death stated that she held the manor of Southcote of Hugh Kenepy by fealty only for all service, and that it was worth £20; but according to the inquisition taken after the death of her son Drew Sambourne the manor was held of the Abbot of Reading 'as of Canape Manor.' The correct tenure had evidently been lost. Drew Sambourne's heir was Margaret the daughter of his eldest son William; Margaret married William second Lord Windsor, whose grandson Henry Lord Windsor sold Southcote to Anthony Blagrave. The foundation of the importance of the Blagrave family in Reading was the marriage of Robert Blagrave's widow Agnes with William Grey, who in 1545 had been granted extensive property in the town which had belonged to the abbey. Grey died also seised of the manor of Bulmershe, Berkshire. The property had been settled on his wife Agnes, whose first husband, Robert Blagrave, was the second son of Ralph Blagrave of Staffordshire. Their son John became the inheritor of his step-father Grey's property under a settlement made in 1552 on his marriage with Anne daughter of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Little Shefford. Anthony their son and heir was about forty years old when he acquired Southcote. He was still alive in 1610, and was succeeded by his eldest son John, who was knighted and who held the property during the Civil War. In 1643, during the siege of Reading, the Earl of Essex had his quarters 'at the house of one Sir John Blackgrave' (no doubt Southcote Manor House) 'with the souldiers in the fields about,' and local tradition relates that Oliver Cromwell held a council of war in one of the oak-panelled rooms which still exist. The sympathies of the Blagraves were with the Roundheads. Sir John's first cousin Daniel Blagrave was one of the regicides; at the Restoration the latter fled from England and died in poverty at Aix-laChapelle in 1668. John, the second son of John Blagrave and his wife Anne Hungerford, devoted himself to mathematical studies and was esteemed 'the flower of Mathematicians of his age'; his principal work, A Mathematical Jewel, was published in 1585. He possessed a house at Swallowfield, where he sometimes lived, but he usually describes himself as 'of Reading,' and from his will and from other evidences it appears that he lived at Southcote Lodge, a house on the Blagrave estate, which he held under a lease of ninety-six years, dated 1596, from his elder brother Anthony at a rent of £10 per annum. After his death it was occupied first by his brother Alexander and then by his nephew Daniel, from whom the corporation of Reading had difficulty in getting the rent, £50 per annum, which was secured on it to that body under John Blagrave's will. The Southcote estate remained with the Blagrave family until the death of Anthony Blagrave, the grandson of John Blagrave of Southcote, M.P. for Reading 1660, 1679 and 1680–1, who was the nephew of Sir John Blagrave, son of Anthony, mentioned above. Anthony Blagrave's heir was his daughter Frances, who was born in 1761 and who in 1778 married John Blagrave of Watchfield, in the parish of Shrivenham, Berks., apparently not a relative. Their descendant in the male line, Mr. Henry Barry Blagrave of Calcot Park (q.v.), now owns the Southcote property.
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