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Manors around Burntwood
The following extract from the Victoria County History of Staffordshire shows how complex patterns of landholding could be.
'There was a manor of Pipe by 1135, the tenant having been enfeoffed with ? knight's fee by the bishop of Coventry. It was also known as Great Pipe, as distinct from Little Pipe, a detached part of the parish of St. Chad, Lichfield. Held as ¼ fee by the 1240s and assessed at 1 hide c. 1255, Pipe remained a member of the bishop's manor of Longdon, which in 1546 passed to the Paget family (successively barons Paget, earls of Uxbridge, and marquesses of Anglesey).
The bishop's tenant in 1167, and apparently in 1135, was Henry of Pipe, who witnessed a deed c. 1150. William of Pipe may have held the manor in 1199. Richard of Pipe held it in 1242–3 and he or another Richard in 1284–5. Sir Robert, son of Richard of Pipe, held it in 1293 and died evidently in 1306; he was a royal commissioner and tax collector in Staffordshire and bailiff and steward of the bishop. He was succeeded by his son Thomas Pipe (Sir Thomas by 1311), who was summoned to a council at Westminster in 1324 and was a royal commissioner in Staffordshire and Shropshire in 1327. He was dead by 1329.
In 1332 Pipe was held by his widow Margaret. Her son James Pipe granted the manor to her in 1334–5, and in 1337–8 she assigned it to Sir Richard Stafford, a son by her first husband, Edmund Stafford, Baron Stafford (d. 1308). In the earlier 1340s James Pipe unsuccessfully sued Sir Richard for the manor, claiming that he had made the grant to his mother while under age. Sir Richard was M.P. for the county in 1341, a soldier, and a diplomat. He was succeeded in 1380 by his son Edmund, bishop of Exeter 1395–1419, keeper of the privy seal 1389–96, and lord chancellor 1396–9 and 1401–3. On Edmund's death in 1419 a life interest in Pipe passed to his nephew Thomas Stafford (d. 1425).
The manor then passed to Edmund's great-niece Maud, wife of Thomas Stanley of Elford. On Thomas's death in 1463 their son Sir John succeeded. Several times sheriff and M.P. for Staffordshire, he was living at Pipe in 1458. In 1461 he settled the manor in trust for his third wife Elizabeth and their son Humphrey, then aged about six. After Sir John's death in 1476 Humphrey's right was challenged by his half-brother John, and the dispute was settled in Humphrey's favour in 1490–1. Knighted by Henry VII at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 and created a banneret at the battle of Stoke in 1487, Sir Humphrey, who lived at Pipe, was three times sheriff and several times M.P. for Staffordshire. He died in 1504 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His son and heir John, who also lived at Pipe, died in 1514, leaving two infant daughters and coheirs, Elizabeth and Isabel.
The lord of the manor surnamed of Pipe in the mid 12th century presumably had a house there, and in 1299 Sir Robert Pipe dated a deed from Pipe. In 1371 the bishop licensed the performance of a marriage in the chapel within the manor of Pipe, presumably a chapel in the manor house. The hall of Pipe was mentioned in 1436. Walter Heveningham was assessed for tax on 15 hearths there in 1666. By the earlier 1690s Pipe Hall was occupied as a farmhouse by the Bates family, still the tenants in 1778 and probably in 1781.
An estate at Pipe in 1167 was described as the land of three canons. It may have been the land given to the canons and lay brothers of Farewell by Bishop Clinton c.1140. Soon afterwards the bishop made a grant, probably of the same estate, to the nuns of Farewell at the request of three hermits and brothers. The grant included land at Pipe. Henry II, probably in 1155, confirmed the nuns in their possession of a carucate of land at Pipe assarted from Cannock forest. That may be the origin of the Abnalls estate which was within the nuns' manor of Farewell by the early 14th century. When the priory was suppressed in 1527, its estates included land at Ashmore Brook, Pipe, Abnalls, and Burntwood. Later in 1527 the Crown granted the priory's possessions to the dean and chapter of Lichfield, who in 1550 granted Farewell Manor to William, Lord Paget.
A house and virgate at Abnalls were held of Farewell priory by Roger of Abnall (Abenhale) in 1318 or 1319, probably in succession to Thomas of Abnall who was a tenant of the priory in the earlier 1290s. Roger was still alive in 1327 but had probably been succeeded by Amy (or Amice) of Abnall by 1333. In 1357 the estate, consisting of a messuage, a mill, a carucate, and other land in Abnalls, Pipe, Elmhurst, and Lichfield, was held by Nicholas Taverner, described as parson of Stretton. Probably by 1378 a house and ½ virgate in Abnalls had passed from him to Aymer Taverner, a prominent citizen of Lichfield also known as Aymer Lichfield. Aymer probably died in 1399. The Abnalls estate was held in the early 15th century by William Newport, who made it his home. He was knighted in 1400 and was three times sheriff and three times M.P. for the county. He evidently died in 1415 or 1416, and Abnalls passed to Sir William Lichfield, Aymer's heir and kinsman, who was living there in 1417. In 1421 he made a settlement of what was called the manor of Abnalls. The manor then descended with his share of Freeford, passing in 1537 to the Wingfield family. The Wingfields conveyed the manor in 1566 to Sir Edward Littleton of Pillaton, in Penkridge, who at his death in 1574 was holding it of Thomas, Lord Paget, as of the manor of Farewell. The Wingfields retained some property in Abnalls which passed with their Freeford estate to Jane Kniveton c. 1600. In 1609 Sir Edward Littleton's son Sir Edward conveyed a house and land in Great and Little Abnalls and elsewhere in the area to Thomas Sprott of Ashmore Brook, whose family had held another house and land at Abnalls at least since the earlier 16th century.
An estate in Ashmore Brook held by Thomas of Hamstead (d. by 1254) was probably that held of the bishop in 1298 by another Thomas of Hamstead as ? knight's fee. It was later held by Nicholas of Hamstead. It eventually passed to Roger Fordiave, who was succeeded in 1420 or 1421 by his daughter Mar garet and her husband John Sprott; the inheritance included four messuages in the area which were held of Farewell priory. In 1510 Ashmore Brook was the home of Thomas Sprott, who died in 1531 and was then serjeant of Lichfield cathedral. He held what was described as a capital messuage at Ashmore Brook of the bishop as ? knight's fee, along with three messuages in Abnalls, Burntwood, and Hammerwich and other property in the area. He was succeeded by his son Edward. In 1571 Edward was living in the capital messuage, which had an estate of 85 a. attached to it; he had a second house at Ashmore Brook with 74 a. attached. Both were held of the former Episcopal Manor of Longdon, and he held two other houses in the area, one of them at Abnalls, as tenant of Farewell Manor. Edward died in 1591.'
From: 'Burntwood: Manors, local government and public services', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield, M W Greenslade (1990), pp. 205-220.
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