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held the manor called Stokes manor, in Hanslepe, of Richard Duke of Gloucester, by the service of a fourth part of one knight's fee, and by paying yearly one pair of gilt spurs of the value of six-pence, or six-pence instead, at the feast of Easter: it was worth 181. She died on the 1st Oct. last past, and William Hampden, son of Elizabeth daughter of Agnes, is her cousin (grandson) and heir, and of the age of 25 years and more.
The Hampden Family was even then one of the most ancient and opulent in the county, and derived the surname from one of its best estates; Hampden being—as the old parchment roll belonging to the Earl of Buckinghamshire expresses it—"a Lordshipp and Mannor scituat on Chiltren Hille.” The same very curious roll supplies much interesting information respecting the pedigree and alliances of the Hampdens; and from it we learn that “the first mention which is founde to be made of any of the Hampdens, is to be sene in an auncient antiquitie written in parchement and remeyning at Hampden, whereof there be sondery coppies in sondery partes of the same sheire, and thereby it appeareth that before the Conquest there was a comission directed to the Lorde of Hampden then being, that he should be assistant with his ayde towards the Xpulsion of the Danes out of this Lande, wch by reasonable conjecture should be at the generall avoidance of that Nation, by Edw. the Confessõ, Kinge of England, in the yeare of our Lorde 1043, and before the Conquest 23 yeares.”
The manor appears, by the ancient rent-rolls which are still preserved, to have improved under the Hampdens, although occasional and arbitrary fines of land were laid on by the hand of power. At the astounding crash of Church property which took place at the Reformation, Oseney Abbey was suppressed, when its possessions reverted to the Crown, and were reserved in the King's hands for about three years.
The lands in the Hartwell estate * which
On an inquisition taken at Stone on Monday next after the feast of Saint James the Apostle, 12 Ric. II. (139 .), it was returned that it was not to the damage or prejudice of the king or other, if the king granted to William vicar of the church of Cudlyngton, Elias vicar of the church of Wycombe, Ralph Hale, and John Worton, to give a toft and 84 acres in Stone and Hertwell to the Abbat and Convent of Oseney; also a messuage, one caru
the convent had held, were made part of the endowment of the Dean and Chapter of Oxford; and are described in the Valor Eccles. 26 Hen. VIII. as being of the annual value of forty shillings, subject to two shillings and six pence hidage (impp" p'hidag. ibm pr. ann.) to Sir John Verney, Knight, and his heirs. The clear annual amount (valet clare) consequently is stated to have been thirty-seven shillings and six pence. The eastern boundary of the manor was also impinged upon by the grasping tyranny of Henry, in his hunt after the ecclesiastical property of the once holy Aylesbury. And this lawless rapacity was carried on throughout the kingdom with severity and cruelty, by him who, in an early proclamation (see Rastell's Entries) to his good and loving subjects, asserted that, “having alway a tender eye, with mercie, pitie, and compassion toward his sayd subiects, minding of his high goodnesse and greate benignitie, so alwayes to imparte the same vnto them, as justice being daylie administered, all riggour be excluded.” Such was the initiatory promise of the gross and sanguinary Hal!
This branch of the Hampdens remained in possession of Hartwell upwards of one hundred and eighty years, when Sir Alexander Hampden-a cousin of the celebrated Patriot-and who had received the singular honour of being knighted by James I. at his own house,—having no surviving issue, made his will in
according to the computation of the Church of England.” This was a testament of great moment in the succession, for Sir Alexander's sister, Eleanor, being married to Sir Thomas Lee, Knight, of East Claydon, and Morton (Moor-town), in Dinton, and now becoming the heiress both of her father and brother, brought their manor and estate into the possession of that ancient family: this lady was married in November, 1570, at the age of sixteen years, and a necrological inscription to her memory exists on a brass plate, inserted in a slab, within the communion rails of Dinton Church, in Roman capitals.
cate of land, and twelve acres of meadow in the same vill, which John Bracy and Alice his wife hold for life, and would after their deaths come to the aforenamed. The whole were held of John Bryan by knight service, and the rent of 98.; the messuage, toft, and land, were worth 16s. 8d. a-year, and the twelve acres of land 6s. 8d. (Esc. 12 Ric. II. No. 116.)
As Dr. Lipscomb, in his County History, has given a death-blow to the rhyming conclusion of this memorial, and is otherwise inaccurate, the reader may like to have the exact words
The family into which Eleanor Hampden had thus married, was an off-set of the Lees or Leighs of High Lee, and Lyme, in Cheshire ; * but is understood to
, have had its first settlement in this county at Morton, in Dinton, one of the nine manors which tradition asserts Queen Emma to have bestowed on the church, in gratitude for her signal escape from the ordeal of the red-hot ploughshares. The time of the Lees being first introduced into this neighbourhood is now not exactly ascertainable: but from a careful examination of the early monumental brasses still remaining in Dinton Church,t some elaborate pedigree-lists, and other trusty documents, it is clear that they were established here at an earlier period than is usually assigned. Some of these must necessarily be produced, to establish the starting-point. In the ordinary accounts, the first of this family distinctly mentioned
* This was a very potent family. Dr. Pegge observes that there are five different ways of spelling their name, as Lea, Lee, Legh, Leigh, Ley: and, he asserts, there were such numbers of this name in Cheshire that they have still a common saying there—“as many Lees as fleas.”
† Dinton Church, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is entered by a very curious Norman door-way; and close to it is the old manor-house, now the property of the Goodall family, but formerly the seat of Mayne, the Reyicide.
mentioned as having come to Morton was William Lee, who died in 1486; and the authority for this is a brass inserted in a long stone slab, whereon are the graven effigies of a male and a female, the latter in long robes, but injured by the loss of the head. The man is beardless, and habited in a close doublet with a belt, from which hangs a rosary ; his hair is short, shoes pointed, and his hands elevated in prayer. The inscription, in three lines, runs
The Morton branch were of great consideration in this district. On an old brass plate in the south aisle of this church we read
Pray for the Sowle of Joh'n Lee of Morton gentilman
And on clearing away some old pews in the same church, in 1829, a stone slab was discovered under the seat belonging to the Rev. Mr. Goodall’s tenants, opposite the manor-pew, with the small effigies of a man and woman in brass, and the subjoined inscription under them on a plate. This, agreeably to Plato's advice, consists of four lines only; though some illegible vestiges of words cut in the freestone below the brass plate, indicate a continuation. The effigies are more matter-of-fact memorials than had obtained in an earlier age, when the lion typified the gentleman's courage, and the dog shewed the obedience and fidelity of the lady: here we behold Francis Lee in a furred civic gown, with
long hanging sleeves, and his hands devoutly placed together, while his wife is habited in a very matronly style
These Lees were probably the immediate successors of the Comptons (temp. Hen. IV.); and those of Quarrendon, though they arrived from Warwickshire, were also remotely from Cheshire. This stock, of which the present representative is Lord Dillon, was seated in Buckinghamshire from the year 1460; and a little more than a couple of miles N. by E. of Hartwell House, are the remains of the once-interesting chapel of Quarrendon. It stands in