Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt.

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ChartsAncestors of Edward Ambrose Cooke
Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt., son of Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt., was executed at Winchelsea, Sussex, England, in 1321.1

Thomas married Margery (---), whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here).1

Sir Thomas Culpeper of Bayhall, seems to have married Margery, a daughter of the Bayhall family, and either by this match, or by purchase, acquired the Bayhall estates. This Thomas is called in 1306 "fil' Thom' Colepeper de Brenchesle."

Sir Thomas Colepeper, who "pro bono servicio in partibus Scotie," received a pardon in 32 Edward I [1304] for breaking the park of the Prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, at Westwell, and the park of the Prior of Michelham, in 29 Edward I [1301].

In 1313 or 1314 Thomas Culpeper of Bayhall and his wife Margery acquired a messuage and 60 acres of land in Buxted from Ralph Marescot and in 1319 or 1320 another messuage and 50 acres in Buxted and Maresfield from Reynold Burgess. Culpeper was appointed forester of Rotherfield in Tonbridge chase in 1315, and in 1318, at the request of his patron, Bartholomew de Badlesmere, and others, Edward II granted to him the forestership of Ashdown and the keeping of Maresfield park.

By a fine levied in 1320, part of his estates, consisting of 2 messuages, 2 mills, 405 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 60 acres of pasture, 80 acres of wood and 20 shillings annual rental in Pepyngbery, Thonebregg and Teudele, were settled on himself and Margery his wife for life, with remainder to their sons Walter, John and Richard in succession.

Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt. was involved with Badlesmere and took the side of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in his rebellion against the Despencers and the King. Being Governor of Winchelsea, Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt. was sentenced to death and hung, drawn and quartered there in 1321 [perhaps 1322?]. The King had seized all his lands on 6 November 1321, though the final battle of the rebellion at Boroughbridge did not take place until 16 March 1321/2.

In the Inquisition de terris forisfactis, 17 Edward II. [1324], taken at Lamberhurst, mention is made of Thomas Colepeper's estate in Pepynbery, included in the fine levied in 1320, besides which it is stated that he had acquired 50 acres in ffoghelesdenne from Thomas Colepeper, senr., in 1310, 1 messuage and 1 carucate of land in Bernette and Ramherste from Richard Wych in 1320, 1 messuage and 60 acres of land in Bocstede from Ralph Marscot, 10 acres in Bayrugge from Michael de Bettesfield, and 40 acres in ffernth (i.e., Frant) from Roger de fferrugge. All these lands had been seized by the King on November the 6th, 1321, on account of the felony of the said Thomas, and for no other reason.

It was not long, however, before all these estates were restored to the family. By deed bearing date 1st July, 17 Edward II [1324], Margery, widow of Thomas Colepeper, agreed to grant the Pepinbury estate to the King for the term of her life on the payment of 12 marks per annum from the Exchequer. But apparently she soon repented of this bargain, and addressed a petition to the King praying that "le manoir de la Bayehalle" might be restored to her, the grounds for the request being that the King's ministers had not only neglected to pay the rent, but had let her houses go to ruin, "a g'nt damage de l'avantdite Marg'ie de xlli." On this the King issued a commission to Henry de Cobham and others to investigate the matters set forth in the petition, and the direct result of this inquiry was an order for the immediate restoration of all the, property. The outlying estates were to be restored unconditionally, and if lands had been "demised at term" the farmers were to be satisfied for their expenditure on the land, while with regard to Bayhall and the land included in the fine levied in 1320, there was this saving clause, viz., that this portion of the property was to revert to the King in case all the parties mentioned in the fine died without issue.

From this order it appears that Thomas Colepeper acquired the Buxted property mentioned above in 7 Edward II [1314], and in 13 Edward II [1320], he purchased from Reginald, son of Reginald Burgeys, of Boxstede, 1 messuage and 50 acres in Boxstede and Marsefeld. The 40 acres in Fernth (Frant), co. Sussex, is supplemented in this order by 10 acres of wood bought in 10 Edward II [1317] from Roger, son of Richard de Ferrugge, while another 20 acres in the same town is stated to have been acquired from William son of John de Netteworth.

Finally, by Inquisition taken at Tunbridge 25th February, 1 Edward III. (1327), it was found that Thomas Colepeper died seized of Bayhalle, with lands in Pepyngbery, Thonebregg and Teudele, and that Walter was his son and heir, aged 22 years on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary last past (2nd February, 1327). Son and heir, Walter (Walter Culpeper), died childless between 14 July 1359 and 20 July 1364, and the estate descended under an entail to Walter’s younger brother, Sir John Culpeper.

By 1378 Sir John had been succeeded in the estate by his son Sir Thomas, who died late in 1428 or early in 1429. Sir Thomas devised it to a younger son Nicholas, who died late in 1434 or early in 1435. From Nicholas it descended to his daughter Joyce (d. 1486) and her husband Walter Lewknor (d. 1498), whose elder brother Richard Lewknor (d. 1503) held the manor of Buxted itself in 1483–4. Walter’s and Joyce’s son and heir, Humphrey Lewknor (d. by 1531), later sold Oldlands to George Nevill, Lord Abergavenny (d. 1535), who sold it in 1533 to Edmund Pope of Little Horsted.

The Buxted and Oldlands estates of the Culpepers became important centers of iron production. The date at which iron-working was begun on Oldlands is unknown, but the Culpepers of Bayhall in Pembury, Kent, who had iron works near by at Tudeley may haved owned it perhaps as early as the 14th century when Iron was certainly founded at Buxted in 1492. The frequent changes of ownership in the 16th and early 17th centuries suggest commercial activities connected with the iron industry, either from direct exploitation of the estate or, more likely, through letting it to tenants.2,3

Citations

  1. [S1912] F. W. T. Atree and J. H. L. Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," Sussex Archaelological Collections 47 (1904): 47-81 and 48 (1905): 65-98, at chart facing 56, further cited as Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers."
  2. [S1913] Culpepper Family Tree, online http://gen.culpepper.com/ss/master_index.htm, "Sir Thomas Culpeper of Bayhall in Pembury, co. Kent" at http://gen.culpepper.com/ss/p8400.htm, accessed Dec 2012. Hereinafter cited as Culpepper Family Tree.
  3. [S1912] Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," 51-54.
  4. [S1912] Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," 54.