Fooks and Fowke Family Genealogy



EARLY ENGLISH HISTORY
OF
BREWOOD, GUNSTONE, FOWKE FAMILIES & PROPERTIES


References mainly include: Domesday Book Records -
British History Online - Brewood: Introduction, manors and agriculture;
Brewood: Churches, schools and charities;
Genuki Website - Brewood Parish: 1834 Directory


Early history documents produce a bewildering array of explanations, ancient word usages, meanings and spellings. An understanding of what many of these mean in modern terminology is most important in order to fully appreciate the complexity of many of the situations. It is hoped that the following information and explanations will be of interest and assist the reader in adding to their understanding of this very early, and complex family history.

Meaning of Words ‘manor’, ‘messuage’ and ‘capital messuage’

The word ‘manor’ in early documents has the meaning of land tenure (manorialism) and a particular manor, referring to a land area, could contain several villages and hundreds of households. These days this word can be confused with ‘Manor’, as in ‘Manor House’, the house of a lord or important person, etc.

The word ‘messuage’ refers to a specific dwelling with its outbuildings and possibly some adjacent land. A manor (area) could contain several ‘messuages’, each occupied by a different family. Not all such messuages would be owned by the occupier. Messuages could be traded, meaning sold, bequeathed, named as part of an estate in a Will, rented or leased.

The words ‘capital messuage’ refer to that dwelling occupied by the owner of that particular messuage, together with its outbuildings and possibly some adjacent land.

As the centuries passed, portions of the original manor lands were separated, then separated again, by sale of woods or ponds or of land only, or by sale of messuages and capital messuages, or by sale of dwellings on small title with no significant land attached. Of course the property owners could, in turn, trade them or occupy them, as they saw fit.

Note: Where appropriate in these notes the word ‘manor’ is used without a capital when referring to an area of land


The manor of BREWOOD (Breude) and Associated Families

The manor of Brewood was among the possessions of the Church of Lichfield prior to the Conquest of 1066, and in 1086 was held by the Bishop. King Henry II also granted to the Church 80 acres of asserted land from the royal forest some time after 1135, probably about 1155. After centuries of trading, what was left of the manor of Brewood remained with the Bishops of Lichfield until 1852 when it passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The manor of BREWOOD (Breude) and Associated Families - continued

By 1321 the capital messuage of the manor of Brewood which was then referred to as a ‘manor house’ including a garden and a close, had been leased out by the Church for a rent of 18 pence. There was also a fish-pond but no rent was received for it at that time. To whom this messuage was leased is still under investigation.

Although the manor house was occupied by William Fowke (1403-1438) at some time between 1403 and 1413 it is unclear at this point whether he rented, leased or owned it during his occupation.

It is assumed that Roger Fowke (born about 1425) son of William Fowke above, was also involved with the manor of Brewood house but further research is required to establish this. It is recorded, however, that Roger Fowke commenced renting, ‘for life’, the manor of Engleton, a listed ‘member’ of the original manor of Brewood (see notes below), in 1446.

The Brewood ‘manor house’ is recorded as being the seat of William Fowke (born abt.1450) son of Roger Fowke. Also, in 1473 there is a record of Brewood manor house being leased to the Vicar of Brewood. No other details.

By 1538 it seems that the Brewood manor house was no longer in existence. No record of its actual demise has yet been located, however there is a record dated 1538 of the Bishop of Lichfield leasing to Roger Fowke (abt.1480-1546), son of William Fowke, pasture (only) where the manor of Brewood house previously stood and the right to take timber from the common wood of Brewood (called Bishop’s Wood or Kerrimore) for forty years.

Brewood Hall, seemingly the name finally given the original manor house, is recorded as being the seat of William Fowke (1520-1558), son of Roger Fowke. Further data to establish when this came into effect is being sought and whether Roger Fowke (1558-1594), son and heir of William Fowke, was ever involved with this property (land only) after the manor house ceased to be.

At some time (maybe years) prior to 1643 the manor of Brewood had been leased to the Giffard Family of Chillington and Peter Giffard, the leasee c.1647, at the time of his sequestration (becoming a bankrupt) was paying a rent of 58 pounds 3 shillings. Although there appears to be several ownership contestants of the manor at that time, and some lease and rent disputes, it appears that the Giffard family retained a leasehold, on such manorial rights that continued to exist at that time, of the manor of Brewood until 1852, when Mr T. A. Giffard of Chillington purchased the rights from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The present Brewood Hall is located on the eastern outskirts of Brewood Township in Staffordshire and was built in the 17th Century. c.1640. In 1680 Brewood Township was the nucleous of the manor of Brewood, containing some 60 houses.

The ground plan of the present Brewood Hall appears to follow the layout of an earlier, probably medieval, plan so its location could be that of the original Brewood manor house but that cannot be proven at this time. More research is required to establish the actual location of the original manor house.

In 1666 Brewood Hall was occupied by Mary Fowke (nee Ferrers), widow of Thomas Fowke (1582-1652). In 1743 a Thomas Plimley was living at Brewood Hall, as a tenant.



The present Brewood Hall,
Brewood, Staffordshire, England


Brewood Hall then appears to have descended along with the Fowke share of the manor of Engleton for a period. However, research has not progressed sufficiently to document this accurately as yet. The Hon Edward Monckton purchased Brewood Hall from the Fowke family but that date is also yet to be established. A further record indicates that Brewood Hall was then sold to Major R. F. P. Monckton.

From 1743 to 1930 it is still unclear as to who or which families were in residence at Brewood Hall but apart from the Moncktons who possibly owned and occupied Brewood Hall at various times during this whole period, other ‘residents’ whose names appear from time to time in documents and history notes are likely to have been tenants only. From 1834 to 1924 Brewood Hall seems to have also been occupied by various tenants including members of the Monckton family.

In 1930 Major Monckton sold Brewood Hall to Mr C. O. Langley who was steward of the manor of Brewood and deputy-steward of the manor of Deanery which was a parcel of land of the manor of Brewood owned by the Deans of Lichfield until 1868 when, on the death of Dean Howard, the ownership became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who in 1904 conveyed some acres to various other people and organisations. Mr C. O. Langley was living at Brewood Hall in 1956.


Members (locations) of the manor of Brewood and Associated Families

Over the centuries the manor of Brewood had been subjected to a large number of divisions due to land title, messuage and capital messuage trading. So as to understand all the implications such changes made to the Fowke family and other families involved in the region, the following information is an important ingredient when reading all the records. You will note many family surnames with whom the Fowke family were associated by marriage.

In 1473 the following ‘members’ (locations) of the manor of Brewood were recorded: Brewood, Horsebrook, Engleton, Somerford, Gunstone, Hyde, Broom Hill, and Chillington. Further data still needs to be located to establish the actual date (or year at least) in which each of these ‘members’ were created.

Horsebrook contained 30 houses circa 1680.

Engleton contained 5 or 6 houses circa 1680. Alan de Withyfield (Lord Engleton) and his wife, Joan, conveyed what was called ‘the manor’ (Engleton) to Roger Fowke (born about 1425) and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Wybaston), for their lives in 1446, at a rent of 25 shillings. (This may have been only a portion of the manor - see references to ‘the other half’ later in this explanation).

Roger Fowke (1558-1594), descendant of Roger Fowke, was described as ‘lord of the manor’ between 1582 and 1594, while his son, Thomas Fowke (1582-1652), and Thomas’ son, Ferrers Fowke (1612/3-1682), together made a settlement of the manor in 1641. Thomas Fowke died in 1652 and in 1682 Ferrers Fowke with his younger son, Thomas Fowke 1640-1692), made a further settlement. By 1691 the manor had passed to Phineas Fowke (1638-1710), second cousin of Ferrers Fowke, and Phineas Fowke was succeeded in 1711 by his nephew Fowke Hussey who was holding the manor in 1724. Phineas Hussey, son of Fowke Hussey, held the manor in 1734, and in 1767 he conveyed it to Thomas Plimley who made a settlement of it in 1778. Plimley conveyed the manor in 1785 to the Hon Edward Monckton who was living at Engleton Hall in 1817, and whose son, Edward Monckton (c.1841) owned the land there, most of which, including Engleton Hall, was in the hands of tenants. The estate seems then to have descended with the manor of Somerford, and in 1929 Major R F P Monckton sold Engleton Hall to the tenant, R. M. Walley, whose son, Mr W. Walley, succeeded (c.1953) and still lived there in 1957. Major R. F. P. Monckton however, still owned some land in the manor in 1956.
The other half of the manor of Engleton had been held by William Buckingham before 1473, when his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, still under age, was in the custody of the Duchess of Buckingham. By 1544 this land was held by Thomas Moreton and his wife, Margery.

The other half of the manor of Engleton had been held by William Buckingham before 1473, when his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, still under age, was in the custody of the Duchess of Buckingham. By 1544 this land was held by Thomas Moreton and his wife, Margery.

The present Engleton Hall, now a farmhouse, was probably built in 1810, a date which appears on the brickwork. Ponds and depressions surrounding the present house possibly indicate the position of a moat which surrounded an earlier Hall.

Somerford contained 30 houses circa 1680. Probably in 1779 the capital messuage (including the original Somerford Hall) passed to the Hon Edward Monckton who was a younger son of Viscount Galway who died in 1751 after making a large fortune in India. The Hon Edward Monckton was responsible for making extensive alterations to the then, existing Somerford Hall, which included a porch and Adam-type fireplaces. The Hon Edward Monckton was succeeded by his son, Edward Monckton in 1828, who was followed by his brother, George Monckton in 1848. Francis Monckton, nephew of George Monckton’s younger brother, Henry Monckton, succeeded in 1858, and was followed by his son, Major R. F. P. Monckton in 1926, and following a period of tenants the house was later converted into flats c.1945. Standeford was a ‘vill’ in Somerford, circa 1680.

In 1724 the recorded Townships within the manor of Brewood were: Brewood, Horsebrook, Kiddemore, Engleton, Somerford, Chillington, the Hattons and Gunstone.

Kiddemore (Kiddemore Green) contained 30 houses including a farm called Hawkeshead House belonging to Edward Moreton of Engelton circa 1680. Bishop’s Wood was a little ‘vill’ just beyond Kiddemore Green circa 1680.

Coven contained 40 houses, circa 1680 although is not yet mentioned in the records as a manor ‘member’ or Township. Aspley (which was within Coven by 1310) was described as a ‘manor’ in 1507 and held by Thomas Ellyngbrigg who was then succeeded by his infant daughter, Anne Ellyngbrigg. There was a Hall here by the 16th Century and in 1704 the manor and capital messuage (Hall) were held by Thomas Fowke (1654 -1708) and his wife, Mary (nee Pearl), who in that same year sold them to Thomas Bracegirdle. The manor subsequently passed to Thomas Watson Perks of Shareshill by his marriage to a daughter of Henry Bracegirdle. In 1774 the manor seems to have been held by John and Ann Perks and William and Mary Bromley, then sold again to Hon Edward Monckton. In 1841, as Aspley Farm, it was owned by his son, Edward Monckton, the tenant then being Michael Lovatt. There is a ‘blank’ gap here in the records, then ownership is recorded by Major R F P Monckton of Stretton Hall, in 1956.

Chillington contained 30 houses, circa 1680. Chillington Hall is largely the work of Sir John Slone c.1786. A complete rebuild was undertaken by Sir John Giffard, probably after his mother’s death in 1537. Peter Giffard, who succeeded his cousin in 1718, demolished some of the Tudor buildings and erected the present three-storey brick range on the south side of the quadrangle. Between this and the Hall he inserted a staircase block. The south wing is attributed to Peter and Barbara Giffard and dated 1724. Considerable other alterations and improvements were executed up to 1823 and are recorded. In 1957 further restoration progress was being recorded under the supervision of the Ministry of Works.


The manor of Gunstone (Gunston) and Associated Families

Gunstone contained 10 houses and was originally contained within the manor of Brewood. At some time prior to 1279 one-third of the capital messuage of the manor of Gunstone was held by Alice, wife of Henry de la Pyrye of Gunstone, who after Henry’s death exchanged it with their son, Hugh, for a messuage and land in Chillington.

What was called ‘the manor’ had passed by 1419 to Joan, widow of Ralph de la Hyde, son of Thomas de la Hyde. Joan then conveyed all her estate in it to Ralph de la Hyde’s daughter and her husband, Richard Lane. Lands here were held by Richard Lane and his son, John Lane in 1434. In 1597 John Lane conveyed land to John Fowke, described as of Gunstone, who made a settlement of the estate there, including the capital messuage, in 1618, the capital messuage being Gunstone Hall.

John Fowke (1555-1642) was succeeded by his son, Roger Fowke (1588-1649), in 1642, who on is death in 1649 was followed by his son, John Fowke (1613-1669). Gunstone Hall was noted as ‘the seat of Squire Fowke’ in 1666. John Fowke was succeeded in 1670 by his son, Roger Fowke (1645-1698) who was living there c.1680. The subsequent history of this manor tenancy is not yet known but there is now no visible trace of the original capital messuage called Gunstone Hall.

The present Gunston Hall is a gabled stucco farmhouse dating from about 1840 and stands on the location occupied by the original Gunstone Hall. By c.1841 the land within the manor of Gunstone was owned by T. W. Giffard, and most of it was in the hands of three tenant farmers. The owner in 1956 was T. A. W. Giffard. No Fowke family occupation is recorded.



The present Gunston Hall was built about 1840
on the location of the original building which
featured prominently in Fowke family history.
However, no Fowke family occupation of this building is recorded.


The Hattons evolved from the manor of Gunstone, the Hattons being two farms there c.1680. A messuage and land was held here by a Roger de Sparham of Hatton in 1302. Richard Lane of Bentley (Wolverhampton) and Hyde, and his heirs, was granted by the Bishop, what was described as the ‘manor of Hatton’ in 1428. Lands here, together with lands at Hyde, descended in the Lane family until at least 1477 but in 1495 the bishop leased all his messuages and lands at Hatton to Sir John Giffard and Roger Fowke (b.1460), for 99 years. In 1540 Bishop Roland Lee seems to have granted a messuage and lands in Hatton to Roger Fowke’s son, John Fowke (b.abt.1490-1547), lands which John Lane was claiming c.1547. In 1571 Roger Fowke, son of John Fowke, made a settlement of lands and a free fishery in Hatton. An estate here then descended in the Fowke family, along with the manor of Gunstone, until at least 1680, when Joyce Fowke (nee Marche), widow of John Fowke owned the two farms called ‘The Hatons’, devised to her by her husband. Joyce seems to have been living at Hatton House, presumably the present Old Hattons, the oldest of three on the property. Part of this estate was sold to one of the Giffards of Chillington, while the remainder, continuing to be called The Hattons, was sold, c.1698, to a Mr Nichols who in turn sold it to a Mr Stannier, c.1713. By 1728 it was occupied, and probably owned, by Thomas Plimley, while the Giffard portion was divided between two tenants. Sir John Giffard’s grandson, John Giffard made a settlement in 1579 and purchased another messuage and lands in Hatton and Brewood from John Lane in 1592. John Giffard was holding lands in Hatton at his death in 1613, and his grandson, Peter Giffard, held the ‘manor or lordship of Hatton’ in 1633. Peter Giffard’s son, John Giffard, held the manor of Hatton in 1689, but the subsequent descent is obscure.


Longbryche. Land by this name adjoined the land owned by John Fowke in Hatton and was granted to him by the bishop in 1540. The land and a house built on it called ‘The Long Birch’ were held by Roger Fowke who shortly before his death assigned part of the estate to the use of his three unmarried daughters. What was then described as ‘the capital messuage called Long Birch’ was occupied in 1664 by James Greene and his mother. In about 1677 Long Birch was sold by one, Fowler of Salt, to Walter Giffard. Other owners and occupiers ensued.


The old house at Long Birch appears to have been of three distinct dates. Medieval origin, late-16th Century and mid-17th Century.



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