The Manor of Walkern
From ‘Parishes: Walkern’, A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 (1912), pp. 151-158.
[Source: British History Online]
In the time of Edward the Confessor WALKERN was held by Alwin Horne, one of the king’s thegns.
After the Conquest it was granted to Derman, a thegn of William the Conqueror, at which period it was assessed at 10 hides.
Derman was succeeded in the manor of Walkern, as in Watton, by his brother Leofstan, but the two manors did not continue in the same hands. It seems probable that Walkern was the ‘manor of Derman, which Leofstan his brother held,’ given by William Rufus to Eudo Dapifer, for he seems to have possessed the tithes of Walkern, and the manor appears to have been subsequently held by his successor Hamo de St. Clare, who gave the mill of Walkern to the church of St. Mary for the souls of King Henry and Queen Maud and Eudo Dapifer.
The manor passed from him and his wife Gunnora to their son Hubert de St Clare, who was living in the reign of Stephen, and who died in 1155.
Hubert’s daughter and heir Gunnora married William de Lanvaley, whose son William married Hawise daughter of Hugh de Bocland, and was one of the barons appointed to impose the observance of Magna Charta.
Hawise survived William and died before 1233, her son William de Lanvaley having apparently predeceased her, for his daughter Hawise, the wife of John de Burgh, seems to have succeeded her grandmother.
John de Burgh’s son John predeceased his father about 1278, when John de Burgh, senior, was said to be holding the manor by courtesy as of the barony of Lanvaley, of the heirs of John his son. In 1281 John granted to Ralph de Hauville, for his service and for 100 marks, 14 acres of the demesne land ‘lying between the croft that belonged to Warin de Waukre and the Greneweye and the Heldeburweye, together with Richard de Boxe, Ralph de Boxe, William de Boxe, William Aumfrey, Godahuge, Stephen de Boxe, Geoffrey son of Adam, Mila atte Holm, Isabella Ruald, Basilia Wlmer, John son of the beadle, and Walter de Boxe, formerly John’s bondmen, with all their issue, chattels and tenements held by them of John in Walkern, rendering therefor two barbed arrows fledged with peacock feathers yearly at Midsummer.’
John de Burgh died shortly afterwards, leaving as his heirs his two granddaughters Hawise widow of Robert Grelle, and Devorgill the wife of Robert Fitz Walter, and Walkern was assigned to the latter in 1282.
In 1294 Robert Fitz Walter went to Gascony on the king’s service and let the manor to farm in the mean time to Reginald de Silverle. Devorgill died in 1284. In 1313 a purparty of her lands was assigned to her daughter and co-heir Christine, who granted her reversion of this moiety to her father, then holding the manor for life ‘by the courtesy of England’ of the inheritance of his wife.
Two years later Robert Fitz Walter granted the reversion of the manor after the death of a life-tenant, John Bensted, to John Lord Marshal, of Hingham, co. Norfolk.
Upon his death without issue in 1316?17 it passed to his sister Hawise, the wife of Robert, second Lord Morley.
Robert died in 1360, leaving a son William, the third lord, who in 1379 was succeeded by his son Thomas, fourth Lord Morley, his widow Cecilia holding a third of the manor in dower until her death in 1386.
The fourth lord, who was Marshal of Ireland and a Knight of the Garter, died in 1416, being succeeded by his grandson Thomas.
Anne widow of Thomas, fourth Lord Morley, married secondly Sir Hugh Hastings, and held the whole manor until her death in 1426.
Thomas, fifth Lord Morley, was succeeded in 1435 by his son Robert, who died in 1442, leaving an only daughter Eleanor, at that time only forty-two weeks old. She subsequently married William Lovel, who was thereupon summoned as Lord Morley. They both died within a month of each other in 1476.
The custody of their son Henry during his minority, together with his marriage, was granted to Richard, Bishop of Salisbury, and Peter Courteney. He died without issue in 1489, his lands passing to his sister Alice, who married first William Parker, and secondly Sir Edward Howard, afterwards Lord High Admiral.
Shortly after 1506 Alice and Sir Edward Howard sold the manor of Walkern to Sir William Capell, Lord Mayor of London, who died seised of it in 1515, and whose descendant Arthur Lord Capell of Hadham was created Earl of Essex after the Restoration. Walkern has descended in this family, and is now held by the seventh earl.
View of frankpledge, amendment of the assize of bread and ale, gallows, tumbrel, infangentheof and free warren were claimed by Robert Fitz Walter in 1287.