Tudors & Stuarts
1485 to 1714
It is striking that when we start to look at the period of history between 1485 & 1714 - referred to as the Tudors & Stuart after the names of the royal houses - that there is so little information about Great Addington compared to the Medieval period. Across England and the rest of the world, momentous events occurred but Great Addington seems to have settled into a rural quiet that doesn't change until much later with the industrial revolution, and some might even say continues to the present day.
The Medieval period between 1066 and 1485 opened with the Domesday Survey and ended with the will of Henry de Vere of Great Addington, the last male descendent of Aubrey de Vere who had accompanied William the Conquer in 1066. The original de Vere house was let to various tenants and eventually disappears from the records and the village - either demolished or replaced. No new building work was to be undertaken on the church for nearly 400 years. The villagers Medieval houses were gradually replaced by later Georgian and Victorian buildings. The only significant buildings that we can categorically date to this period are Great Addington Manor and the Rectory, now known as Great Addington House.
Most historians see the key events of the Tudor period - 1485 to 1603 - to be the English Reformation, when the England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practise of Christianity in western and central Europe. Causes included the invention of the printing press, increased circulation of the Bible and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, and the upper and middle classes. The five sovereigns, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I had entirely different approaches, with Henry VIII replacing the pope as the head of the Church of England but maintaining Catholic doctrines, Edward imposing a very strict Protestantism, Mary attempting to reinstate Catholicism, and Elizabeth arriving at a compromise position that defined the not-quite-Protestant Church of England.
However, away from church, court, and politics, in Great Addington at the beginning of this period two events occurred that were to have a long lasting and defining affect upon Great Addington.
The first was the death of Henry de Vere in 1493 without a male heir (see the Medieval section). Great Addington lost the last Lord of the Manor, a continuous family line going back to 1066. The Medieval Lord of the Manor was to the inhabitants of the village the voice of the King and held great power over the village, you could not marry or even leave the village without his agreement. Following the erosion of feudalism that started in the early 14th century and with the death of Henry de Vere in the late15th century, Great Addington was no longer the family home of influential and connected figures in Northamptonshire and English history, but rather just another village with absentee land owners, and a growing middle class of property owners.
The second event was also related to land ownership. With the dissolution of the monasteries, the land in Great Addington controlled by the Abbey of Croyland for nearly 700 years was taken by the Crown and then sold to Tudor property speculators.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, occasionally referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries, in England, Wales and Ireland, expropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s.
The Abbey Lands of Great Addington
In 4 December, 1539, Henry VIII's commissioners arrived at Croyland, and the surrender of the Abbey to the King was signed by the abbot and twenty-eight monks. Probably for his compliance the last Abbot, John Bridges, was awarded a large pension of £133 6s. 8d., (about £60,000 a year in 2021) and the rest of the monks received pensions varying from £5 to £10 a year, roughly equivalent to a skilled workers wages for a year. Aproximately 12,000 members of religious orders received pensions for life as part of the dissolution process. Some sixty years later there are records showing some were still receiving their pensions.
The Crown took the value of the Abbey's possession, which when sold in 1544 by the crown-bailiffs brought in £1,434 11s. 4½d. (about £600,000 in 2021). On 25 March, 1544, the Abbey lands in Great Addington - including where Great Addington Manor now stands - were sold as part of a portfolio of lands to Sir William Parr, Lord Horton; who was uncle to Catherine Parr (6th wife of Henry VIII) and whose daughter, Maud, was lady-in-waiting to Catherine Parr. Maud later married Sir Robert Lane of Orlingbury, who became Sir Robert Lane of Horton following her fathers death in 1547.
As Sir William Parr had no male heir a fresh grant was made in 1558 by Queen Mary (Tudor) and her husband, King Philip of Spain, to Sir Robert Lane of Horton and Anthony Throckmorton of Chastleton, Oxfordshire. Throckmorton was a Member of Parliment and was close to Queen Mary and then later Queen Elizabeth. Throckmorton also purchased Milbourne Grange, Warwickshire in February 1556 and later sold it in April 1565 to Sir Thomas Leigh; clearly he was an entrepreneur able to raise sufficient capital to enter into significant land speculation. Throckmorton's sister, Merial Throckmorton, married Thomas Tresham and their son Frances Tresham was one of the main conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. In partnership, they purchased not only the manor of Great Addington, but also other land and manors across the country for over £1,000; an enormous sum of money at that time.
The order from Philip and Mary, 4th February 1558: reads
Master William Cockland
The rector of All Saints between 1509-1526 seems to have been a colourful character. Two extracts from diocesan records relate to him:
John Smith and Roger Salford both of Adyngton say that Thomas Parker of Copmanford has reported and expressively said that the Rector of Addington has two children by the wife of his servant, namely, his cook, and that the said woman was formerly the wife of one Bryde, who was hung at Lincoln. (He said) that she was put in the stocks at Fyskarton and sat in them for two house in the sight of the said Rector. And it is said that the Rector customarily wears, by day and night, chain mail beneath his gabardine (overcoat), which he frequently wears, and not priestly garb, contrary to honest priesthood.
The next section of text is somewhat garbled
The parson said he could not keep a priest there and that (the forename of her husband is crossed out in the text) Wethercotes hath putt 4 or 5 priests, thei were suspecte with Wethercotes wife, (the last few words have been crossed out in the original document) thens bicause her husband was jelious of her.
The date given is either 1526 or 1527 - there is confusion in the handwritten record. The servant, Wethercotes, was probably the curate as the accounts for the parish church in 1526 list the following payments, including one for a curate and no other servant is mentioned:
William Cokeland, rector £9 (the spelling of the surname is slightly different)
Curate's stipend 53s 4d
Synodal dues & payments to papal collectors 10s 7d
Payment to Crowland Abbey 10s
Payment to Thorney Abbey 6s 8d
On these the subsidy was assessed at 9s 11 & quarter d
John Rowth chantry priest received £6 on which he paid 8s (the chantry priest was paid from the trust established by Henry de Vere)
A second entry relating to William Cockland is dated 12 September 1538, at Liddington some 12 year after he had left Great Addington. He was called to answer as to why he had not celebrated divine service on St. Anne's day. Cockland appeared at Irthlingborough on 27 September 1538 and confessed that he was away from his parish on the day of the Holy Name, and St Lawrence's day; that they were not kept as festivals and neither were the bells rung nor was mass celebrated. On those days he was at Lincoln (Great Addington was part of Lincoln Diocese at that time). The judge dismissed him when this was sworn. As for the rest he denied it.
Drayton House, Northamptonshire. 2021
John 1st Baron Mordaunt husband of Elizabeth de Vere.
Gates & Entrance to Drayton House, Northamptonshire. 2021
The Darcy family of Great Addington, at least 3 generations lived in Great Addington. We know that Arthur Darcey had leased the Medieval Manor House from the Mordaunts of Drayton circa 1604.
The DeVere Manor House: End of the Era
Sir Henry de Vere, Sheriff of Northamptonshire was born c1460 at Great Addington, Northamptonshire, England. He married Isabella Tresham, daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham and Margaret Zouche, c1482. He had been Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1485. The role of Sheriff was the highest office in the shire and was responsible for law and order in the county and was a position held for one year only.
When Henry died he left a widow and four daughters as heirs by his wife Isabella Tresham, all under age. The four daughters were also co-heirs of their mother to the lands of Constance the daughter of Sir Henry Grene and wife of John Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire, following the death of their son Edward, Earl of Wiltshire in 1499. The de Vere co-heiresses were:
Elizabeth, who married John son of Sir John Mordaunt in 1499. John Mordaunt who was created a baron in 1522, and whose descendants eventually obtained nearly the whole of Henry de Vere's property.
Anne, who first married Robert Mordaunt, another son of Sir John Mordaunt, but they had no children. Following Robert Mordaunt's death she married her second husband Humphrey Brown, brother of Sir Wistan Brown, by whom she had a son George who also died without an heir in 1558. After George's death his share in the manor of Great Addington was transfered by the three daughters of Sir Humphrey Brown by his second wife Anne, daughter of John, Lord Hussey, and their descendants, to the Mordaunt family before the end of the 16th century.
Constance, the third daughter, who married John Parr and died without children in 1501, at which time her share went to her three remaining sisters;
Audrey, the fourth daughter, married John Brown, son and heir of Sir Wistan Brown; they and their son George conveyed their share in Great Addington to Sir John Mordaunt in 1548.
Darcys' in the Manor House
Great Addington Tax Payers 1524 & 1545
Records for other will's from the period include: John Curtis the younger (1533) presumbly the son of the John Curtis mentioned above, Henry Abbot (the date is unclear but is either1524 or 1527), Thomas Brewster (1511), John Heyds (1546), Christopher Raunden (1560), and Roger Campyon (1546). The last individual has an unusual and distinctive surname, french in origin, and is possibly a descendent of either Alice Campion or William Campion who were living in the village in 1301.
English Civil War
Throughout the turbulent Stuart period Great Addington seems to have been largely unaffected, though whether this was the reality of events at the time or just that no writings regarding the village from the time have yet been found is unknown. Northampton, Naseby and other sites to the west of Northamptonshire were key battlegrounds in the English Civil War (1642 to 1651) yet east Northamptonshire is barely mentioned in the histories of the time. No significant battles occurred in this area, though raiding parities from both sides would undoubtedly swept through the area on a number of occasions, and there would have been individuals from the village who joined up to fight. It is estimated that circa 4% of the population died from war-related causes during this period, which, when compared against 2-3% of the population during WW1 gives an understanding of the scale of the impact of the conflict on society. In Scotland the figure is estimated to be 6% of the population and in Ireland almost 41% of the population is estimated to have died.
Northampton had declared for the Parliamentary forces against the King, but the shire was split with Royalist and Parliamentary factions often separated by only a few miles.
In March 1643, during a Parliament raid on the north of the county which swept through Market Harborough and Oundle, Lord Grey captured Rockingham Castle without a fight. He immediately set about strengthening its defences and adding cannon. Also, in May, a raid led by Royalist Henry Hastings, soon to be 1st Baron Loughborough, went through Wellingborough and Kettering and to the walls of Rockingham, disarming “malignants” as they went, before being driven off.
On 29 July, leading a raid from Huntingdon, Oliver Cromwell, then a Colonel, captured Burleigh House (still in Northants at that time). He took two Colonels, six Captains, four hundred foot, and two hundred horse prisoners, killing sixty more.
Royalist parties from Belvoir and the garrison at Newark continued to raid east Northamptonshire through April to late July 1643, before being stopped by Oliver Cromwell’s cavalry.
There is one written record specific to Great Addington, though written nearly 150 year later by the Rev. John Tyley, rector of Great Addington:
Two skeletons had been previously discovered in 1804...as the new road to Little Addington was forming....They were probably the remains of some who fell in the civil wars of this kingdom; wounded fugitives perhaps from the battle of Naseby; or some of King Charles's troops, whom the Parliamentarians intercepted at Stamford & chased over these parts, skirmishing frequently with them on their rout.
Apart from this one, potentially fanciful account, it seems that Great Addington may have been spared much of the bloodshed and chaos that affected other parts of the county. For instance, Royalist raiding parties in the west of the county in early 1643 are said to be:
“leaving in many Villages, neither beds to lie on, nor bread to eate, nor Horse, Cow, nor Sheepe.
The Battle of Naseby in 1645 is seen as the turning point in the war, but it would not be until 1651 that war ended across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Great Addington at the End of the 17th century
After the restoration of the crown with Charles II in 1660, England settled into a quieter phase and the economy started to recover.
In Brian Duncan's history he identified and reported on two documents held by the Northamptonshire Records Office, the Hearth Tax returns for September 1662 and March 1674. The Hearth Tax was a tax based on the number of "hearths" or fireplaces a house had - the presumption clearly being that the bigger the house, then the more hearths it would have, and therefore its owner could afford to pay more tax. The tax was used to pay for the upkeep of the newly restored King Charles II as Parliament would not pay for the King. The Hearth Tax was eventually abolished in 1689 when Parliament agreed to pay for the Crown. A commentator of the time said of the tax:
"Not only a great oppression to the poorer sort, but a badge of slavery upon the whole people, exposing every man’s house to be entered into, and searched at pleasure, by persons unknown to him. "
There are 32 named individuals for 1662, including:
Theopholus Sanderson - 10 Hearths
William Edward - 7 Hearths
Rev. Josiah Hall - 5 Hearths
Henry Hemington - 3 Hearths
Alexander Beeby - 3 Hearths
John Abbott - 3 Hearths
William B???? (perhaps Beeby)- 2 Hearths
According to Brian Duncan there were a further 25 names listed, all with one hearth.
In March 1674, another Hearth Tax record for the village is produced, this time with 55 names including:
Thomas Sanderson - 10 hearths
William Edward - 7 hearths
Rev. Josiah Hall - 5 hearths
John Beeby - 3 hearths
William Bosworth - 3 hearths
Thomas Silby - 2 hearths (he is also named on the 1662 Hearth Tax return as a wittness)
William Beeby - 2 hearths
Thomas Woodruf - 2 hearths
Robert Smith - 2 hearths
George Brown - 2 hearths
There were a further 45 names all with one hearth.
These records show a number of interresting facts:
The number of households in the village in 1662 is 32, but by 1674 jut 12 years later it is now 55 - an increase of 72% - a very significant increase in both population and buildings. The number of multi-hearth properties has also increased from 7 to 10.
Rev. Josiah Hall having a large house with 5 hearths yet the accepted view is that the Rectory (now Great Addington House) was built in 1670 - perhaps there was a building on the same site that pre-dates it, or he was living in another as yet unknown building, or even that the dating of the Rectory is wrong.
Theopholus (Thomas) Sanderson, is in the largest house in the village with 10 hearths. In the Warwickshire Archives are a number of documents including a bundle of 25 papers relating to the lands acquired by the Sanderson family. The summary of the document bundle reads:
a messuage, with close (a house with an enclosed field) adjoining in Great Addington, and 2¾ yardlands with 4 acres of meadow in Great Addington, Little Addington and Woodford, formerly owned by Henry, Earl of Peterborough, was acquired by Laurence Sanderson of Little Addington in 1647; in 1678 Laurence Sanderson the younger of Great Addington purchased 4 acres of arable land and ½ an acre of meadow, the holme (home farm?), in Great Addington from Christopher Freeman; in 1679 he purchased a ½ yardland in Great Addington, from William Bosworth of the same; in 1682 he purchased a dwelling-house with close adjoining in Great Addington, next (to) the messuage of the Earl of Peterborough, and arable land, lay and meadow in Great Addington, of John Bolney the elder and Priscilla his wife;
Henry, Earl of Peterborough named above is Henry Mordaunt 2nd Earl of Peterborough.
Families of Great Addington: Elections of 1702 & 1705
In 1832 the records of the votes for Members of Parliament for Northamptonshire were gathered together and published listing all those who had voted and who they voted for by village in each hundred of Northamptonshire.
Secret ballots were not introduced in the UK until 1872 when the law was changed, prior to that those who were eligible to vote had to declare their choice in public, a system that was open to bribery and intimidation.
The next election was in 1705. The politics at the time was chaotic and the Tory party which had won the majority in 1702 had become unpopular. The election was fiercly fought and there was mob violence in many places across the country. The 1705 electors in Great Addington are listed as follows:
John Beeby (this may be an error as the same name and the same voting record are repeated)
James Bolvey (Bolney)
The Church in a Poor State of Repair
It is quite surprising to find that the parish church, which had played such an important role in life for nearly a thousand years, had by the 1600's become quite neglected. We tend to think of early generations being more religious, but the reality was that attendance at high Anglican churches had been in decline for many years. Attempts to standardise religious practice in the early 1600s was one of the key factors that led to the conflict between King Charles I and Parliament. Protest took place at what many saw as moves by the King and the Church to reintroduce Catholicism. In 1633, Charles appointed William Laud, his main political advisor, as Archbishop of Canterbury and started making the Church more ceremonial. The Church authorities revived laws from the time of Elizabeth I about church attendance and fined Puritans for not attending Anglican services. Archbishop Laud also introduced a high Anglican Book of Common Prayer that was met with opposition by the Puritans who accused Laud of reintroducing Catholicism. The combination of decades of dwindling attendance at chruch, the rise of non-conformism and puritanism was a lack of communal support for the parish church and revenues were in decline. This was a common problem across the country and it is not until the later part of the Victorian era that many church buildings were repaired and maintained.
It is also important to remember that there was no "lord of the manor" resident in either Great or Little Addington by the end of the 15th century, and therefore nobody wealthy enough or willing to pay for maintenance of the church.
We have two reports following building surveys of the churches in Great and Little Addington from 1631 which give an insight into the poor state of repair the buildings were now in. All Saints in Great Addington, though lacking windows and with a broken floor, appears to be in a better state than Little Addington church, which would appear to have been in a very neglected state - including holes in the floor "deep enough to bury a child":
One of the windows on the northside of the church and two on the southside are in part boarded up and stopped up, seats want boarding.
The pavement (floor) of the church is broken in divers (many) places. The pavement of the aisle on the northside of the chancel is a great part there of broken by reason of burial there.
The want of a poor mans box (no alms box for the poor)
The chancel is altogether imparied, and there be diverse holes in the floor deep enough to bury a child in.
The seats are broken, and very undecent in the chancel which the proprietry ought to repair in right of the rectory.
The cover of the east end of the chancel (which was wont to be over the high alter, and might now seem to cover the communion table and to save from any filth falling upon it) is broken and very indecent.
The chancel door is patched with rough boards and very undecently.
The chancel wants whiting, plastering and paining in divers places.
One window on the south ide of the chancel hath above half the glass broken and the other windows are faulty in divers places.
The stones in the bottom of the windows at the upper end of the chancel are broken up very unseemly.
The roof of the chancel wants pointing in divers places in so much that the chancel is utterly unlawful for people to assemble in at the communion or for any persons to sit in to hear divine service or sermons.
The Midland Revolt & The Newton Rebellion
Extract from The Natural History of Northamptonshire by John Morton, 1712
Extract from The Natural History of Northamptonshire by John Morton, 1712
A Great Heat & Other Stories
In "The Natural History of Northamptonshire", by John Morton, 1712 there are a number of reference to Great Addington - spellings and capitalisation are as originally published.
The first is in relation to two heat waves that affected the area in 1638 & 1701
In 1638, in the Time of Harvest, which was an extreme Hot Time many People then at Work in the Fields at Adington, in the Upper Part of the Country, fell sick, and some of the dy'd. So remarkable was this Accident, that the then Minister of the Parish thought fit to note it in the Register. But the most remarkable Instance of that Kind was upon Aug 6 1701 for the extreme Heat of it, vulgarly called the Hot Wednesday, when ended in much Thunder and Lightning. Upon that Day a great many People in the Higher Part of the county, fell sick, and some fell down dead, particularly in the Fields at Ringsted and Dodington. And upon or immediately after that Day, there fell sick above Twenty Children, and other of Acute Distempers in Rowel (Rothwell)
John Morton also writes about a great flood that affected Great Adidngton in 1640:
In the Month of April, 1640 was a sudden Overflowing or Inundation of the River Weland to an incredible Height. On the Wall of a long Entry in the Bede-hous, on the Southern Bank of that River in St. Martin's-Stamford, is the Mark of how high it rose, which is Five Foot, Eight Inches above the Ground. This was called the Easter Flood.
At the same time as as great and sudden an Overflowing of the River Nyne. Tis noted in great Adington Register, that in 1640 April 8 Wednesday in Easter-Week, was the greatest and suddenst Flood that ever had been.
Robert Andrew senior (1735-1807) of Harlestone
Painted by James Millar (c1755-1805)
Robert Andrew (1735-1807) being charged by a stag in Harleston Park. Painted by James Millar (c. 1755-1805)
Mary Queen of Scots Crucifix given to Sir Thomas Andrew of Harlestone by Mary on the day of her execution at Fotheringhay, 1587. Later given as a gift by Robert Andrew the younger to his wife Frances Packe on their wedding day 1799.
Harlestone House, house and garden design painting by Humphrey Repton
The expense of the buildings and landscaping forced the eventual sale of the estate to the Earl of Spencer
The Andrew Family
During the Stuart period the Andrew family of Northamptonshire become involved with the village through the purchase of the medieval de Vere estate in Great Addington from the Mordaunts. There are a number of branches of the Andrew family in Northamptonshire, but the Andrews of Harlestone and Great Addington is the focus in this section. The Andrew ownership of land in Great Addington continued until family debt forced the sale of the lands in 1865 to James Rennie Wilkinson (see Victorian & Edwardian) section.
The family name varies over the centuries, starting as Andrew, it is sometimes listed as Andrews or as Andrewe, which makes tracing the ancestors quite difficult. Much of the information in this section comes from the web site of Nicholas Kingsley, the Landed Families of Britain and Ireland, which proved an to be a invaluable source. Additional information came from the Northamptonshire Record Society article regarding the The Andrew Family of Daventry.
William Andrew (1606-c1675) was the brother of Robert and is recorded as being a landowner in Great Addington in the early 17th century. He inherited Harlestone on the death of his brother, but he himself died within a year.
*A mill tayle would be the mill race or stream flowing out from under the mill wheel. The bridge mentioned is the same bridge a mentioned in the 1803 inclosure documents as the millers bridge.
On the death of William, his son, Thomas Andrew (c.1645-1722), inherited both Harlestone and Great Addington estate in 1675 and went on to have a distinguished public life. He is recorded on the History of Parliament web site as "of Great Addington and Harlestone". Thomas was MP for Higham Ferrers,1689-1698, and later for Northampton, 1701-1702. Thomas was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1662) and Middle Temple (admitted 1675). He was Justice of the Peace for Northamptonshire, 1680-85 and again in 1687-1722. He was apointed Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire by Henry Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, in 1688.
In 1675 much of Northampton was destroyed in a fire which destroyed about 700 buildings including All Saints church, in six hours. Three quarters of the town was destroyed, 11 people died and about 700 families were made homeless. Thomas was appointed commissioner for the rebuilding of the town. In 1724, the town's new appearance inspired author and traveler Daniel Defoe to describe Northampton as the:
"handsomest and best built town in all this part of England…..finely rebuilt with brick and stone, and the streets made spacious and wide".
Thomas was also twice Sheriff of Northamptonshire, in 1687-88 and also between Mar-Nov, 1689.
It is presumed that on inheireting the Harlestone estate - and with a career as an MP - Thomas did not farm the estate in Great Addington, which was then probably let to tenants, and would have lived at Harlestone. He had married Anne Kynneston of Broughton, Northants, in March 1665 and they had 4 children:
Robert Andrew (d. 1739);
Thomas Andrew; died in infancy;
Anne Andrew (d. 1710)
Dorothy Andrew (d. before 1722) married John Stokes.
He was buried at Harlestone, 19 October 1722, and was commemorated by a monument there; his will was proved 1 February 1722/3. His wife had died many years earlier in February 1677/8.
Robert Andrew (d. 1739) of Harlestone was the only surviving son of Thomas Andrew. He was unmarried and died without an heir on the 7th July 1739 and is commemorated on his father's monument at Harlestone church. He inherited the Harlestone estate from his father in 1722 and appears to have built a new house there about 1728. At his death the estate was bequeathed to his godson, also called Robert Andrew, son of John Andrew of Creaton.
Robert Andrew (1735-1807) was a justice of the peace in Northamptonshire for nearly 50 years and like may of his ancestor was made Sherriff of Northamptonshire (1777). In March 1763 he married Frances Thornton of Brockhole and they had 10 children.
In the following year Thomas Bletso the younger sells his land holdings to Samuel Whitby a merchant in London.