V  Manors

The result of the plague was to reduce the population to such an extent that labourers were in short supply, and could command better conditions. This is reflected in a series of documents dated between 1391 and 1396. They show that the behaviour of some foresters at Whistley and Winkfield was more typical of the 21st, rather than the 14th century. In fact they held a meeting, and decided to go on strike. Peter, the Abbot, appealed for help from the King who set up a 'Commission of oyer and terminer' that is, to listen and determine;

On information that bondmen and bondage tenants of Peter, Abbot of Abingdon, Lord of the manors of Hurst and Wynkefield, co. Berks, had rebelliously withdrew their services in assemblies ... contrary to the late ordinance of parliament.

The commission had power to imprison all adjudged before them. On questioning the foresters they discovered that the trouble was caused by their right to claim a weekly supply of two meals for themselves and their servants, a right that their predecessors had held 'since time immemorial'. The strike was called when the Abbot decided to withdraw this food. But the tenants lost out: they had to return to work, when the King released Peter of all his obligations to supply the customary meals.

Location of manors.
Select a name for more details, or click the map to scroll through the maps.
(Map distorted and not to scale)

Much clearing of the forest occurred in the 13th and 14th centuries, new manors were formed and new lords took possession. Hinton, in the Wiltshire part of the forest, was split into three estates, Broad Hinton, Hinton Pipard and Hinton Hatch.

Twyford, 1862, showing the complex boundaries between Broad Hinton and Whistley.

Broad Hinton, from which the other two estates were created, occupied much of the land to the north and east of the parish and included parts of Twyford. From Henry de Mara the manor passed to Peter de Monfort, then through him it descended to the Earls of Warwick. By the end of the 15th century Broad Hinton was in the possession of the Neville family.

Hinton Pipard seems to have been created when Henry de Mara had a licence to clear 140 acres of wood at Hinton in 1246. It's name came later, from Simon Pipard, who lived in the area in 1297. A century later John Pipard was holding land at Hinton, Hurst  and Ruscombe. Hinton Pipard passed to the Thorpe family of Thorpe in Surrey. Elizabeth, a daughter of the family, inherited the estate and married Nicholas Stanlake, and from that time, Hinton Pipard became known as Stanlake.

Hinton Hatch, the third clearing, now occupying the land around Hinton House and Hinton Lodge, was referred to in the latter half of the 13th century. John etta Hatch of Hinton, and Scolostica, his wife, were holding half a messuage and 70 acres of land there. Many years later Hinton House was in the possession of William Hyde.

Twyford is not often mentioned in the early records as a separate manor. There was a manor listed in the 16th century, but it was mostly divided between Hinton Pipard and Whistley. In 1186 there is mention of 'Wimund the miller of Twyford', and a water mill was associated with a manor called Odes in 1363. With branches of the Loddon flowing through it, taking water from the Emm brook, Broad water and the old lake at Ruscombe, Twyford must always have been a most natural site for at least one mill. The fords, providing a crossing place for the highway from London to Bristol, would have created an ideal environment for a community to develop. Travellers arriving at the crossings on their way through the forest would have found it a natural place to rest and water their horses. Some enterprising forester would have quickly discovered that there was reward to be had by supplying refreshments. An inn would have been built to provide food and accommodation, particularly required when the fords were too deep and the water running too fast for a safe crossing. Later, a community with a blacksmith, a saddler and a baker, and all kinds of trades flourished there.

The area we now call Haines Hill was formed by combining a number of small manors. Various members of the Ode families were in the neighbourhood in the 13th and 14th centuries. William Ode in 1224, Thomas Ode in 1327 and Adam Ode in 1332. Then in 1363 the manor called Odes was settled on Sir Peter de Montfort. From him it passed to Richard, an illegitimate son, and his wife Rose, and then on to their heirs. The next time the manor appears was in the 16th century when it was in the hands of the Norreys family.

The Norreys were well established in the vicinity. In 1430, John Norreys, who held the posts of King's Sergeant and Yeoman of the King's chamber in the reign of Henry VI, was given the keeping of 200 acres of wood in Hurst, co. Wilts, and of the hundred of Ashridge, with all the rents, services, profits and commodities. His son William died in 1507, possessing a manor called Norreys in Wokingham. But the family ran into trouble when John Norreys was indicted for the murder of John Enfold of Nettlebed and had to forfeit the manor of Odes to the King as part of his price for a pardon.

The manor was later returned to the Norreys family, for Henry, Lord Norreys sold Odes, together with another estate called Mordells to Henry Hawthorne, who lived in a house called Banisters. These three properties were eventually owned by Sir Thomas Windebank of Haines Hill and became part of that estate.

Woodley, Sandford, Winnersh, Sindlesham, Bearwood and Newland were for centuries part of the Bishop of Salisbury's manor of Sonning. Later, some of the land at Woodley was formed into the manor of Bullmarsh. In 1447 it was held by John Lovell who granted it to Richard Neville, who had gained the Earldom of Salisbury through his wife, Alice de Montague. The manor spent 100 years passing from one owner to another and in 1544 it was owned by perhaps its most colourful squire, William Grey, ballad writer and citizen of London. He was M.P. for Reading in 1547 and died four years later. Before he died, he wrote his own epitaph. In it he describes his wife as 'a wecked wife, she was the shortynge of his life by many days and Yeres'. With a wife like that he was unlikely to have children and so he died without an heir. But his wife had been married previously and the manor of Bullmarsh passed to one of her sons, John Blagrave.

Sindlesham, which was held by Robert de Sindlesham who had rights to the chapel there was, by the year 1320, held by Margaret de Lenham. She may have been a descendant of his. The manor stayed with her descendants until the 16th century.