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. 

Following the Black Death, the Peasants Revolt, and the War of the Roses, during the 14th and 15th centuries, the English population began to increase, but was still less than 2 million in 1600 - probably not to dissimilar to the population during the time of Roman Britain. The growing population stimulated economic growth, accelerated the commercialisation of agriculture, increased the production and export of wool, encouraged trade, and promoted the growth of major cities such as London.

The high wages and abundance of available land seen in the late 15th century and early 16th century were replaced with low wages and a land shortage. Inflationary pressures, perhaps due to an influx of New World gold and a rising population, set the stage for social upheaval with the gap between the rich and poor widening. 

The bonds between the Church, the Crown, and the populace was changed forever with the creation of the Church of England and the dissolution of the monasteries. This led to religious wars and extremism; and then in the 1600s the schism between the Crown and Parliament led to the Civil War that tore the country, and often families, apart. 

Perhaps the most significant affect of the change to be seen in Great Addington was the rise of a middle class; property owning, and aspirational. There is a wealth of documents regarding Great Addington throughout this period and into the later Georgian relating to tax and property sales, not just amongst the rich but in a new class of Yeoman farmers and skilled trades people.

The Tudors

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.

Crowland parish church of St Mary, St Bartholomew, and St Guthlac The remains of the Abbey of Croyland

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. 

At the time of their suppression, a small number of English and Welsh religious houses such as the Abbey of Croyland could trace their origins to Anglo-Saxon foundations before the Norman Conquest, but the overwhelming majority of the 625 monastic communities dissolved by Henry VIII had developed in the wave of monastic enthusiasm that had swept western Christendom in the 11th and 12th centuries. 

Monastic houses income came from landed estates and in the form of tithes appropriated from parish churches. As a consequence religious houses controlled appointment to about two-fifths of all parish churches in England and owned around a quarter of the nation's landed wealth.

The closure of the religious houses in the 1530's gave the Crown roughly £100 million additional income per year, and from 1540 onwards the buildings began to be sold, netting the Crown further wealth.

Purchasers of the former religious lands were predominantly leading nobles, local magnates and gentry, with a drive to maintain and extend their family's position and local status. The landed property of the former monasteries included large numbers of manorial estates, each carrying the right and duty to hold a court for tenants and others. Acquiring such feudal rights was regarded as essential to establish a family in the status and dignity of the gentry; but for a long period freehold manorial estates had been very rare in the market. Consquently, families of all kinds seized on the opportunity now offered to entrench their position in the social scale. Nothing would subsequently induce them to surrender their new acquisitions. 

In Great Addington there was no significant Abbey owned buildings but there were manorial rights that went with the Abbey's lands here.

The more conventual buildings owned by the monasteries - such as Abbots lodgings, gate houses, etc were converted to form the core of Tudor great mansion. Otherwise the most value in monastic buildings was likely to be the lead on roofs, gutters and plumbing. Buildings were burned down as the easiest way to extract the lead. Building stone and slate roofs were sold off to the highest bidder. Great abbeys and priories like Glastonbury, Walsingham, and Bury St Edmunds were reduced to ruins.

The Abbey of Croyland was one of 117 former religious houses that were converted into a parish church, though only those parts of the buildings that had been used for public worship were retained. At Croyland, following its dissolution in 1539, the north aisle of the abbey was converted into the parish church of St Mary, St Bartholomew and St Guthlac. The remaining building were used as a convenient quarry, though impressive fragments still stand.

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

"Grant by Letters Patent from Philip and Mary, to Robert Lane of Horton, Northants, and Anthony Throckmorton of Chesterton, Oxfordshire, of the manor of Great Addington, formerly belonging to the monastery of Crowland, Lincs: and the right of patronage to the parish of Addington; and the manor of Brinklow, the manor of Ludbroke, late the land of Lady Mary, late Duchess of Richmond; before that the property of the dissolved monastery of Combe, in Warwickshire; a messuage and lands in Upelmer, called Cotes-on-the-Hill, in the parish of Wolbeding in Sussex; lands in Montgomeryshire; 2 cottages in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire; a messuage in Hatton, Warwicks., belonging once to the Prior of Studley, Warwicks; King's Field alias Showland in Edgbaston, Warwicks; late part of the land of Fulk Brimincham; and all rights and revenues, and the rights of the Dean and Chapter of the late College of the Blessed Mary in Warwick. (The grant gave the yearly value of each manor and parcel of land). All advowsons except the aforesaid are reserved to the Queen. Enrolled before John Swifte, Auditor, and Robert Multon, Deputy Auditor. "

Sir Robert Lane and Anthony Throckmorton then sold the manorial estate in 1562 to a Henry Clarke of Stanwick, presumably making a good profit in the process. The deed of sale also mentions for the first time a local landmark, Willy Watts Mill, though it is referred to as "Willywater mill"

"10th May 1562 - relating to the manor of Great Addington, Willywater mill in Woodford, and 15 selions (roughly 15 acres) of land in Woodford, with appurtenances, all lately belonging to the dissolved monastery of Crowland, Lincs., conveyed by Sir Robert Lane, of Horton, Northants., knight, and Anthony Throckmorton of Chesterton, Oxon., to Henry Clarke of Stanwick, Northants."

The 16th century was a period of population rise and price inflation. The social pressure on those with wealth to display it was considerable. Fortunes were poured into building grand houses and providing lavish hospitality. Landowners were also always in debt. Not because they were suffering from serious financial problems but because their rental income varied and they often need to borrow large sums to fund expensive projects such as house building.

Most landowners were, however, more than able to cope with these pressures. Rising food prices and population created a demand for tenancies and this, combined with increases imposed on existing tenants by landlords, made for higher rents. Holdings were also expanded as the sales of ex-monastic lands mostly went to existing rather than new owners. From the second half of the century in particular, the numbers of men who might be classed among the gentry or aristocracy significantly expanded. For the labouring population this was not such a good time. While wages did rise, they did not increase as fast as prices and with an increasing population there was more competition and many were forced to take to the roads in search of work.

Henry Clarke was the son of William Clarke of Potterspury, Northamptonshire who had good connections having been serjeant-arms to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, and appears to have prospered through this connection. When Henry Clarke died in 1574 he left a significant inheritance of lands across Northamptonshire. He lived on his farm at Stanwick with his wife Anne ad their three sons Gabriel, Christopher, and the eldest son and heir, William. 

William Clarke died in 1604, leaving a widow Eleanor but no heir. His brother Gabriel then sold some of the inheritance, including one parcel of land in 1606-7 to Margery Curtis (spelt Curteys in the deed of sale) and her son Christopher, both of Great Addington. The land deeds include: 

15 tofts of land, 20 acres of meadow, and 40 acres of pasture in Great Addington, Little Addington, and Woodford. 

A toft of land meant a house and small area of land for a family. The spelling of "Curteys" given in the deeds is likely to be a misspelling of the surname "Curtis". Margery Curtis and Christopher Curtis reappear in a number of other land transactions around the same time.

Christopher Curtis built the house that we know as Great Addington Manor, though at the time it was built the house was smaller than it is today and shaped like the letter "E" in plan. The house would have been a statement of wealth, being by far the largest building in the village, and represented a superior and substantial farmhouse. Christopher Curtis's wife was Dorothy, so presumably the "C" and "CD" on the date stone of the house stands for Christopher & Dorothy Curteys, with a building date of 1610. 

Around this time we get one of the first property deeds that mention the Beeby family (Warwickshire Archive Ref: CR0162/354) dated to 20th March 1611:

Conveyance by Christopher Curtis of Great Addington, Northants., yeoman, to Alexander Beebie of the same, shoemaker, and John Beebie, his son, of a messuage in Great Addington on the High Street, between the messuages of George Smith and John Bolney, and a ½ yardland.


In 1618 Christopher and Dorothy sell the house and estate for the enormous sum of £1,000 to Thomas Bletsoe:

that capital messuage (superior property)...in Great Addington now in tenure of Christopher Curtis...and late in the tenure or occupation of Margery Curtis, widow, mother of said and now or lately reputed to be the manor of Great Addington.

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:

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

Henry de Vere's grandson

John 2nd Baron Mordaunt in 1564 (1508-1571)

Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery

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:

Within 50 years of Henry's death all of his estate, though originally shared out amongst his four daughters, was now in the possession of John Mordaunt, 1st Baron Mordaunt (d: 18 August 1562).

He was the son of John Mordaunt of Turvey, Bedfordshire, a member of parliament and speaker of the House of Commons of England

He was made a Knight when the future Henry VIII was created Prince of Wales on 18 February 1503. On his fathers death in 1504 he inherited the Bedfordshire estates at Turvey and was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1509. He was a member of Henry VIII's court and was with him at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 and a member of his council in 1526 and was created Baron Mordaunt in 1529. He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1532. The following year he assisted at the reception of Anne Boleyn and subsequently took part in her trial.

He was active in local government though rarely visited Parliament. He died in 1562 and was buried in Turvey church alongside his wife, who had predeceased him. They had four sons and four daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son John Mordaunt, 2nd Baron Mordaunt. His second son Edmund became MP for Bedford.

The Mordaunt family continued to live at the former de Vere property of Drayton House into the Georgian period. Drayton House was larger, grander, and more "modern" than the old Medieval Manor house in Great Addington and was developed into the grand stately home we see today. 

By the end of the 16th century all the shares of the land in Great Addington was in the hands of  Lewis, 3rd Baron Mordaunt (b:1538 d:1601) Henry de Vere's great-great-grandson. 

In 1609 when Lewis's son Henry, fourth Lord Mordaunt, died he held the manors of Great Addington, Thrapston, Lowick, Islip and Slipton, and also the chantry of Great Addington. The new owner was John Mordaunt the 5th Baron who, on the orders of King Charles I, was made the 1st Earl of Peterborough in 1628. 

Darcys' in the Manor House

The BHO records the fact that the manor house of Great Addington was leased by the Mordaunt family to a Arthur Darcy in 1604 with the chief messuage (principal dwelling house) in the tenure of a John Cootes. It was only in 2021 that I was able to work out who these men were and their connection to the Mordaunt family.

The Darcy family were not only in trouble with the Crown for being recusants (a refusal to attend Church of England services) and possibly participating in Roman Catholic mass in secret, but there also appear to be financial problems as a record from 1604 indicates:


 Granted by the Justices of Peace within the County of Northampton

 To Henrye Darcye of Addington Magna, Esq., who was in debt, to travel to Yorkshire to survey his estates there, as he did not attend church on Sundays.

Date: 28 July 11 Jas I [1604]

The original document is held by Northamptonshire Archives.

In 1610, a term of six years still remaining of this lease was granted to a George Chambers on the conviction for recusancy (being a Catholic) of Arthur Darcy and his son Henry. However it would appear that within 2 years Arthur had been rehabilitated and regained his lands in Yorkshire.

In Carcrofts Peerage and other sources, Arthur Darcy and his son Henry Darcy are both referred to as "of Addington Magna" so presumably they were continuing to live in the village. Henry had a son named Philip, also referred to as "of Addington". Philip is named in a libel court case in The Court of Chivalry when he was accused of cowardice and of not being a gentleman. 

I have included the full court document text below as it gives an insight into the world Stuart England, with Charles 1st on the throne. A world where men wore swords and carried pistols, even when just going to the pub!  All the spellings in the section below are as per the original court documents.

Philip Darcy of Addington, co. Northampton, gent v Tobias Green of St Mary Whitechapel, London, tanner

Darcy claimed that Green had abused him with a series of insults in several London locations between January 1638 and February 1640. The first occasion had been in Whitechapel, Middlesex, when, in the company of others, Green called him 'a base rogue and a rascall', and said that 'he woare a sword but durst not draw it'. The insults continued, on later occasions, at the Horseshoe tavern in Drury Lane, on Tower Hill and at the Queen's Head tavern in East Smithfield. In early 1640 Green had met a Mr Wootton in the City of London and told him that he heard that Darcy would sue him in the Court of Honour and he wondered why he had not heard from him, bidding Wootton to tell Darcy 'that he had provided 20 marks and laid it aside of purpose to spend ...in the Court of Honour; and he knew that was the worst the Court of Honour could doe him.' Process was granted on 16 April 1640 and bonds were entered in June; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

5/80, Petition

Darcy had 'been divers times, and in severall places, in the presence and hearinge of divers honest and substantiall witnesses, most insufferably reviled and scandalized by one Tobias Greene who amongst other opprobrious and scandalous words did utter and speak as followeth: That the petitioner was a base rogue and a rascall and that he woare a sword but durst not draw it; and that he would spend 100li a day for 7 yeares together which the petitioner. And then Green hearinge that the petitioner would question him for these words in the Court of Honour,

Petitioned that Green be brought to answer.

Maltravers (Henry Howard, Baron Maltravers) granted process, 16 April 1640.

5/79, Plaintiff's bond

16 June 1640

He was to 'appear in the Court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster.'

Signed by Philip Darcy.

Signed, subscribed and delivered by John Watson.

5/93, Defendant's bond

25 June 1640

He was to 'appear in the Court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster.'

Signed by Tobias Green.

Signed, subscribed and delivered by John Watson.

20/2e, Libel

1. Darcy's family had been gentry for up to 200 years.

2. Greene was not a gentleman and had been a tanner for up to 30 years.

3. From January to August 1638 in Whitechapel parish, co. Middlesex, Green called Darcy 'a Rogue, a Rascall, a base fellowe' and said that Darcy wore a sword by his side but did not dare draw it. When Darcy left Green and went into the Queen's Head tavern (East Smithfield) with a friend or two, Green followed him and again said that 'Darcey was a Rogue and a Rascall and a base Rogue, and flinging of his coate', approached Darcy 'in a hastie manner with his fists clenched', saying that Darcy 'was a base Rogue', and 'nothing but a base serving man', and that Darcy 'wore a sword but durst not drawe it'. Green added that he did not care for Darcy, nor his sword, nor pistol, and that Darcy 'carried that pistol for some Rogues.'

4. From June to September 1638 at the Horseshoe Tavern, Drury Lane, co. Middlesex, Green called Darcy 'base Rogue, Rascall, dogge', and often gave him the lie.

5. From March to September 1639, on Tower Hill, Green said that Darcy was 'a base fellow and called me dogge Rogue and gave me the lye, with other opprobrious language'.

6. From October 1639 to February 1640, Greene met a Mr Preston and others at the Queen's Head Tavern in East Smithfield, 'and they asking how Darcey did', Green replied that Darcy 'was a Rogue and a base knave and a dogge'.

7. In January and February 1640, Green met Mr Wootton in the City of London who also asked how Darcy did. Green replied that Darcy 'was a Rogue and a base Rogue, and further told Mr Wootton that he heard that Darcey would sue him in the Court of Honour', and that he wondered why he had not heard from Darcy, and bade Mr Wootton tell Darcy that he said Darcy 'was a base Rogue and that he had provided 20 markes and laid it aside of purpose to spend with me in the Court of Honour; and he knew that was the worst the Court of Honour could doe him.'

No date.

Signed by Richard Hart.

Philip Darcy died c1670, the probate record following his death is held by The National Archives, Kew:

PROB 4/4989

Description: Darcy, Phillip, of the City of London ob at Great Addington, Northants.

Date: 1670 13 June

The Darcy family, who had been living as tenant of their wealthy relatives the Mordaunts, disappear from the records following Philip's death.

The title to the manor - though over the following years much of the land was sold - passed with the barony of Mordaunt and earldom of Peterborough until 1814, when the last Earl of Peterborough died without an heir.

In the History, gazetteer, and directory of Northamptonshire, 1849, produced by William Whellan, it reads:

"Thomas Andrew, Esq., of Harleston, whose predecessors bought it (the Manor) of Lord Mordaunt, was lord of the manor in Bridges' time (1712)."

The History of Northamptonshire by John Bridges was not published until 1791, nearly 50 years after his death, but it would seem that much of the information about Great Addington was collected by Bridges around 1710-20. In his published work it gives us the only documented reference to the location of the medieval manor house:

"Thomas Andrew of Harleton Esq; whose predecessors bought it of Lord Mordaunt is now lord of Addington-magna. Between this and Little Addington is the manor house, inhabited by a tenant, pleasantly situated amongst woods, with a stream running by it."

This sale of the house and lands by the Mordaunt family to the Andrew family must have occurred some time between 1610 and 1645 as we know that William Andrew, the father of Thomas Andrew, is recorded as being a "farmer" in Great Addington; and Thomas was born and lived the first part of his life in Great Addington. 

See below for information about the Andrew family of Northamptonshire.

Great Addington Tax Payers 1524 & 1545

We have the English tax records from 1524 and 1545 to thank for the next set of records giving names of some of the inhabitants of the village.  A few names appear in both sets of records, though whether it is the same person or a descendent in unknown. 

These are the first records since the 1301 Tax Asessment (see Medieval section) and the names of individuals are no longer their occupations but are recognisable forename and surname combinations. Apart from the individuals names and the amount of tax they had to pay there is no other information given, so we don't know their occupations or where they lived. 

A few of the records have in lucro entered against the record, which translates as in profit, but what this implies is unclear.  

A number of the names are difficult to translate, for instance one surname has been translated as Golney, but should probably be Bolney, as a family of that name are know to have lived in the village from the 16th century up until their last decendent, Elizabeth Bolney, died in 1806. 

The 1524 records are also the first time we see the Beeby family name appearing in the village. This surname would be a constant in the village until the death of the last descendent, George Beeby, who was living in Great Addington in the 20th century. 

1524 Assessment

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. 

Twenty one years later in 1545 there is another tax assessment of the village, this was a smaller tax assessment and the sums raised were much smaller, being measured in pennies rather than pounds or shilings.

 1545 Assessment


When Elizabeth I died, her closest male Protestant relative was the King of Scots, James VI, of the House of Stuart, who became King James I of England in a Union of the Crowns, called James I and VI. He was the first monarch to rule the entire island of Britain, but the countries remained separate politically. Upon taking power, James made peace with Spain, and for the first half of the 17th century, England remained largely inactive in European politics. Several assassination attempts were made on James, the most famous of which on 5 November 1605, was the Gunpowder Plot, by a group of Catholic conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, which caused more antipathy in England towards Catholicism. 

From this point onwards the 17th century was a period of huge political and social upheaval. From an age characterised by the Crown’s tight control of the state, the century witnessed years of war, terror and bloodshed that enveloped the kingdom, as well as the execution of Charles I and the introduction of a republic. Yet all this was again to be overthrown with the restoration of Charles II: a short-lived return to autocratic royal influence finally swept away with the installation of William and Mary as ruling monarchs.

The First English Civil War broke out in 1642, largely due to ongoing conflicts between James' son, Charles I, and Parliament. The defeat of the Royalist army by the New Model Army of Parliament at the Battle of Naseby in June 1645 effectively destroyed the king's forces. Charles surrendered to the Scottish army at Newark. He was eventually handed over to the English Parliament in early 1647. He escaped, and the Second English Civil War began, but the New Model Army quickly secured the country. The capture and trial of Charles led to the execution of Charles I in January 1649 at Whitehall Gate in London, making England a republic. 

Cromwell was given the title Lord Protector in 1653, making him 'king in all but name' to his critics. After he died in 1658, his son Richard Cromwell succeeded him in the office but he was forced to abdicate within a year. 

The monarchy was restored in 1660, with King Charles II returning to London, though the power of the crown was less than before the Civil War.  After Charles II died in 1685 and his younger brother, James II and VII was crowned, various factions pressed for his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband Prince William III of Orange to replace him in what became known as the Glorious Revolution. In November 1688, William invaded England and succeeded in being crowned. 

The Acts of Union between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland were a pair of Parliamentary Acts passed by both parliaments in 1707, which dissolved them in order to form a Kingdom of Great Britain governed by a unified Parliament of Great Britain according to the Treaty of Union

In 1714 ended the reign of Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James VI & I.

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:

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:

There were a further 45 names all with one hearth.

These records show a number of interresting facts:

 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; 

Reference: CR162/366

Henry, Earl of Peterborough named above is Henry Mordaunt 2nd Earl of Peterborough. 

There are a large number of property deeds held by Warwickshire Archives relating to the village, and those for this period mention many of the same names that are listed in the Hearth Tax records, with additional details regarding the individuals, for example:

Reference: CR162/374

a cottage in Great Addington, conveyed by Thomas Woodruff of Great Addington, yeoman, to Robert Smythe of the same, carpenter, and by him to Samuel Whitby of the same.

Reference: CR0162/376 (16th April 1682)

Settlement made on the marriage of Robert Smythe of Great Addington and Eleanor Glover of Wellingborough, Northants, widow; John Braunston of Halloughton, Leics., Eleanor's father settles 3 acres of arable land in Great Addington, to his own use for life and then to the use of Eleanor and the heirs of the marriage. 


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 earliest poll record is from 1702, the first election under the new Queen Anne, and list the following men (women could not vote until 1928) who were entitled to vote. It should be noted that the original records often contained errors. I believe that the surname "Bolney" which was known in the village for many years has been misspelt in the records as "Boney" and also "Bolvey". The surname "Vorley" has also been spelt as "Virley". I have inserted in brackets what I believe to be the correct name based on Great Addington family names from that period:

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:

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":

Great Addington

Little Addington

The Midland Revolt & The Newton Rebellion

The Midland Revolt was a popular uprising which occurred in the Midlands of England in 1607 and culminated with the Newton Rebellion.

The revolt began in late April 1607 in Haselbech, Pytchley and Rushton in Northamptonshire, it spread to Warwickshire and Leicestershire during May. The riots were a protest against the enclosure of common land and drew considerable support, led by "Captain Pouch", otherwise John Reynolds, said to be from Desborough, Northamptonshire. He urged them to use no violence in their efforts to destroy the enclosures. Three thousand were recorded at Hillmorton, Warwickshire and 5,000 at Cotesbach, Leicestershire. A curfew was imposed in Leicester, for fear its citizens would stream out to join the riots. 

In May 1607, King James I issued a proclamation:

Whereas some of the meaner sort of our people did of late assemble themselves in riotous and tumultuous maner within our Countie of Northampton, sometimes in the night, and sometimes in the day, under pretence of laying open enclosed grounds of late yeeres taken in, to their damage, as they say. The repressing whereof we did first referre only to the due course of Justice, and the ordinary proceedings of the Commissioners of the Peace, and other our Ministers in such cases: Forasmuch as Wee have perceived since, that lenitie hath bred in them, rather encouragement then obedience, and that they have presumed to gather themselves in greater multitudes, as well in that Countie, as in some others adjoining, We find it now very necessary to use sharper remedies.

King James I ordered his deputy lieutenants in Northamptonshire to put down the riots.

Event culimated in June 1607 when over a thousand protesters, including women and children, gathered in Newton, Northamptonshire (near Geddington) to protest against the enclosures by pulling out hedges and filling ditches. The wealthy Tresham family of Newton and their better-known cousins at Rushton Hall were unpopular for voracious enclosure of land. Sir Thomas Tresham of Rushton was the gentleman described as the "most odious in this country". The Roman Catholic family of Treshams had been in a long dispute regarding lands with an emerging Puritan family, the Montagus of Boughton House. Now Tresham of Newton was enclosing common land, known as the Brand, which had been part of Rockingham Forest.

Edward Montagu, a deputy lieutenant, had spoken against enclosure in Parliament some years earlier, but was now placed by the King in the effective position of defending the Treshams. Local militia refused to serve, so that landowners had to use their own servants to suppress the rioters on 8 June 1607. The Royal Proclamation was read twice, but the protestors continued at which point the gentry and their forces charged. Between forty and fifty were killed in the pitched battle and the captured leaders of the protest were hanged and quartered.

There is a memorial to the executed at St Faith's Church, Newton, but parish and assize records have not survived. The Tresham family declined soon after but the Montagu family went on through marriage to become one of the biggest landowners in Britain.

John Bridges's, History of Northamptonshire, 1719, recounts information held in the Great Addington parish register that he read when he visited:

"In the Parish Register are entered accounts of several memorable things by Thomas Cox, Rector, who died in 1640; from one we learn that in 1607 were insurrections of the common people in many counties & here at Rushton & Pightesley (Pytchley), to destroy the hedges & other mound of the inclosed fields in those parishes. And that on the eight day of June in this year, assembling for the same purposes at Newton near Geddington & not dispersing after the proclamation had been read, a skirmish ensued between the populace & the justices & gentlemen who met to oppose them. In the fray some were killed & wounded & many taken prisoner, who afterwards were hanged & quartered & their quarters set up at Northampton, Oundle, Thrapston & other places."

The survivors were granted a Royal Pardon, provided they presented themselves before Michaelmas to Sir Edward Montagu at Boughton and signed, or left their mark on, a submission document. About 110 people - including one woman, Winifred Turner of Stanion - left their mark. Less than thirty signed their names showing that the majority of those involved had little or no education. 

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.

It is difficult to trace back the family much before Thomas Andrew, Mercator, (d:1496) of Charwelton, near Daventry, Northamptonshire. His son, also called Thomas(b:c1468), married Emma Knightley of Fawsley and then following her death in 1490, he married Elizabeth Pultney of Misterton, Leicestershire.  In 1500, Thomas purchased the manor of Harlestone, and in 1502 he was made Sherriff of Northamptonshire. On his death, the eldest son by his first wife, Thomas Andrew (d. 1541), inherited the Charwelton estate, while the eldest son of his second wife, Richard Andrew (c.1496-1539), was given the estate of Harlestone. From these two sons sprang the two main lines of the family. 

One of the descendants of the Charwelton branch of the family, Sir Thomas Andrew, was present at the execution of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587. In his capacity as High Sherriff of Northampton he was unexpectedly caught up in national events when called upon to manage the secret execution. For his courtesy to the Queen she gave him a crucifix before going to the block. He was also charged with procuring two surgeons to embalm the queen's body and burying her heart and other internal organs 'in a secret place known only to himself'. The crucifix remained in the Andrew family for many generations.

The Harlestone estate descended from father to son through five generations, down to Robert Andrew (c1605-c1674) of which I can find no reference to a marriage or any children.

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 had either brought the old de Vere Manor and estate from the Morduants or had inherited it in some way, but it has not been possible to identify how the land and property changed hands or when. The only thing we do know is that he was living there in 1645 when his son Thomas was born. On the death of Williams brother Robert in 1674 he came into possession of the Harlestone estate as well but died the following year.

There is a record in Northampton Archives in the Andrew Collection (ref: A87) of a lease of land in 1649 by William Andrew to a William Hudsonn. The lease is on very reasonable terms!

Lease (Counterpart)

 William Andrew of Great Addington, gent.,

 To William Hudsonn of the same. miller,

 Of water corn mill and lands c.p. in Great Addington, little strip of ground northward to the stile at the upper end of the dam going over to the bridge, little square parcel of grass near the mill tayle adjoining eastward on the highway between the Whinyard and the said parcel of grass, and the fore cropp of ground called the bull tounge (excepting all trees &c.,) 

For 7 years from Michs. for a bushel of barley weekly on Saturdays and a peck of wheat.

*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

The mill mentioned here is the mill on the stream at the bottom of Lower Street that was still working into the early 20th century and was most probably the same one as mentioned in the Domesday book. 

On the death of William, his son, Thomas Andrew (c.1645-1722), inherited both the Harlestone and Great Addington estates 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" and shown as having been born in Great Addington. 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 appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire by Henry Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, in 1688. Around 1702-03 he seems to have stepped down from active politics and retired to his country estates - now living at Harlestone - where he died in 1722.

There is a deed of sale (known as a Concord at the time) dated to 1664 when Thomas Andrew sells a considerable amount of land in Great & Little Addington and Woodford. The deed clearly states that the sale is of the Manor of Great Addington, presumably this is the original de Vere Manor, though how it came to be in the ownership of the Andrew family is unknown:

Copy of Final Concord.

 Henry Hemington, gent. and John Clarke, gent. plaintiffs (buyers)

 Thomas Andrew, gent., deforciant, (seller)

 Manor of Great Addington, 2 messuages, 2 cottages, water and windmill, dovecote, 4 gardens, 4 orchards, 220 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 20 of pasture, 50 of heath, 8d. rent and commons, in Addington Magna, Addington Parva and Woodford.

The original document is held by Northampton Archives, reference A40, as part of the Andrew Collection.

In the same year there is a lease agreement between Thomas Andrew and a Elizabeth Mulsho of Twywell of a close (enclosed land) which clearly states the land is near the capital messuage (main house) of Thomas:

Lease with Proviso.

 Thomas Andrew of Great Addington, gent., son and heir of William Andrew of the same, gent.,

 To Elizabeth Mulsho of Twywell, widow,

 For £60

 Of Sale Close in Great Addington of 8 acres near the capital messuage of T. A.

 For 99 years void upon repayment as specified.

 Endorsed with memo of deposit of indenture of release dated 27 Feb. last from William Andrew to Thomas Andrew with Robert Guy of Isham, gent., for use of both parties to this deed.

Some 13 years later there is another document dated to 1677 in which Thomas and Anne Andrew sell buildings and land in Harleston, Great Addington, and a number of other villages in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

Final Concord.

John Clendon, Esq., and Thomas Bletso, gent., plaintiffs (buyers)

Thomas Andrew, Esq., and Anne his wife, deforciants (sellers)

Manors c.p of Harleston and Addington Magna, 41 messuages, 27 cottages, 24 crofts, 2 water mills, a windmill and 6 dovecotes, 43 gardens, 41 orchards, 1300 acres of land, 270 of meadow, 920 of pasture, 20 of wood, 600 of heath and 12s. rents in Harleston, Addington Magna, Addington Parva, Woodford, Creeke, Brington Magna, Brington Parva, Brockhall, Whilton, town of Northampton, 1/6 of manor of Creeke, advowsons of the Churches of Harleston and Creeke; 1 messuage 80 acres meadow, 360 pasture in Calcott, Grandborowe and Napton (War.)

Manors c.p. stands for Manors Capital which means "everything" i.e. the Manor and all buildings and land. The original document is held by Northampton Archives, reference A44, as part of the Andrew Collection.

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 inheriting the Harlestone estate - and with a career as an MP - Thomas did not farm the estate in Great Addington, which was then presumably 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: 

Thomas died and was buried at Harlestone on the 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 had inherited the Harlestone estate from his father in 1722 and appears to have built a new house there in about 1728.  At his death the estate was bequeathed to his godson, also called Robert Andrew, son of John Andrew of Creaton.

The Andrew family of Northamptonshire by the end of the Stuart period and into the early Georgian period were an established, wealthy, and connected member of the Northamptonshire landed gentry. By now the family had lands in Harlestone, Creaton, Crick, and Great Addington. The Andrew estate at Harlestone was next to the estate of Earl Spencer and there is an interesting account of the relationship between the two families:

"The park wall on the south side divides the properties of the Andrew and Spencer families. In the time of Charles some hounds of Squire Andrew broke loose, and trespassing upon the premises at Althorpe, the Earl ordered his game keeper to shoot one of them. A short time after, the Duke riding upon a grey horse was met by the squire, who presenting a pistol towards the horse, addressed him thus: - “Duke dismount-otherwise I may shoot you as well, as your horse. A horse for a dog as long as your grace pleases”. The Duke as may be naturally supposed dismounted quickly, and his horse was as quickly shot dead. Its noble owner being struck by the decisive method, as well as the just cause, of retaliation, turned round and addressed the Squire thus:- “Mr Andrew you are a gentleman, and I have done wrong; give me your hand”.- and ever after the closest intimacy existed between them."

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.

The eldest son of Robert and Frances was Robert Andrew the younger (1770-1831) who was born in 1770 and married Frances Packe, daughter of James Packe of Leicestershire in 1799. The Mary Queen of Scotts crucifix was given to Frances on her wedding day. Frances died in childbirth in 1800 and the memorial plaque in St Andrews church at Harlestone carries the inscription, “Her infant son did not survive his mother”. Robert never remarried and died without an heir in 1831.

On inheriting the estate in 1807, Robert Andrew (the younger) embarked on a substantial remodelling of the house at Harlestone and the laying out of the grounds to designs by Humphrey Repton. 

The works at Harlestone contributed to a growing debt, estimted to be £85,000 by 1824, in which year he vested all his estates in his brother-in-law, Colonel Henry Packe, as a trustee for their sale. An initial sale of land at Crick realised some £15,000; but in 1829 the decision was taken to sell Harlestone itself. After protracted negotiations, a price of £135,000 was agreed for the estate with Earl Spencer. Robert Andrew died before the sale of Harlestone went through, but it was completed after his death, ending the family's long record as Northamptonshire landowners. 

The Great Addington part of the estate remained with the Packe family until 1865 when the executors of Colonel Henry Packe, including his wife Eliza, sold the lands to James Rennie Wilkinson. In total the estate in Great Addington was nearly 435 acres. The deed of sale sincluded the names: Robert Isham, Nicholas Hamond and Eliza Packe (1800-1895). Eliza was the widow of Colonel Henry Packe and was born Eliza Isham of Lamport. Robert Isham and Nicholas Hamond are named as the executors of Henry Packe in his will; Nicholas being his nephew and Robert his brother-in-law.

Eliza Packe was the daughter of Vere Isham of Lamport. Her father’s forename is unusual and gives a hint of another link to Great Addington. Her ancestor, Thomas Isham was born in Pytchley, Northamptonshire in about 1456 as the only son of William Isham and succeeded in c1475 to his father's lands. He married Elena de Vere in 1485, the daughter of Richard de Vere of Addington and Isabella Green. Elena was the sister of Sir Henry de Vere, the last de Vere lord of Great Addington. It would seem that the name Vere - which had an important pedigree with its connection to the Norman conquest - was then used as a forename by a number of generations of the Ishams of Lamport.

Thomas Isham's son, Rev. Robert Isham (c.1521-1564), entered the church and became the Rector of Grafton Underwood and Pytchley, and Prebendery of Peterborough and Windsor. He is said to have been the favourite chaplain of Queen Mary Tudor. In 1659 Robert and his younger brother John purchased the estate at Lamport, Northamptonshire where the Isham family resided for the next four centuries. The property was brought for £610 from Sir William Cecil of Burghley, who had purchased the estate just 6 months earlier on May 7, 1559 for £530 from Sir John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. The Earl of Oxford being a distant cousin of the de Veres of Northamptonshire – yet another, though tenuous, link to Great Addington.


The family name Bletso (and also Beltsoe) occurs in various documents associated with Great Addington during the Stuart and into the Georgian period. There are also numerous legal documents held by the National Archives relating to the family name Bletso during this period and which mention properties in Woodford, Ringstead, Denford, Bozeat, Rushden, Irchester etc. However, despite all these documents it is difficult to gain a deeper understanding beyond the scant information held in the archives of who Thomas Bletso was and how he came to own so much land. This is not helped by the fact that the forename, Thomas, seems to have been used by multiple generations and cousins, so that the 17th century records have multiple different Thomas Bletso's, living in many different villages and towns in this area.

In 1618 Christopher and Dorothy Curtis sell for the enormous sum of £1,000 to Thomas Bletso a parcel of land that includes:

"that capital messuage...in Great Addington now in tenure of Christopher Curtis...and late in the tenure or occupation of Margery Curtis, widow, mother of said and now or lately reputed to be the manor of Great Addington."

The capital messuage mentioned in the text is the house that we now call, Great Addington Manor House, though at the time it was a large Jacobean farm house.

Thomas Bletso does not have the funds for the purchase, instead the money is advanced on his behalf by his father William Bletso of Wymington and Robert Sanderson of Rushden. William Bletso had acquired land in Wymington in 1591 and then the manor in 1598.

In 1644 Thomas Bletso gives the land to his son (also called Thomas) and his future wife, Anne, as part of a marriage settlement. 

In the Northamptonshire Archives there is a legal document from September 1660 relating to lands in Ringstead and Denford with the purpose of securing an annuity (annual payment) of £50.00 for a Thomas Bletsoe the younger, on lands owned by his father Thomas Bletsoe the elder of Mill Cotton; which was a small hamlet located to the south of Ringstead, and across the river Nene from Great Addington, which by the end of the 18th century had ceased to exist as a working village and is now a "lost village".


 (1) Thomas Bletsoe the younger of Great Addington, gent, son and heir of Thomas Bletsoe the elder of Cotten alias Cotes alias Mill Cotten esq

 (2) Thomas Bletsoe the elder and wife Anne

 Capital messuage at Cotten (etc)

 Chappell Close, moiety of 1 une (?June) meadow and lands in Crumm(?) fields of Ringsted and Denford

 To secure annuity of £50 pa

Date: 17 September 12 Charles II [1660]

There is an entry in Barton Seagrave parish register for the burial of Anne Bletso, wife of Thomas Bletso the younger, in 1662.

In the following year Thomas Bletso the younger sells his land holdings to Samuel Whitby a merchant in London.

"the manor of Great Addington, the mansion house, 4¼ yardlands; Long Lane Close, Cooks Leyes Close, Widow Batson Close and Abbot's Tongue in Great Addington, Little Addington and Woodford; a messuage in Great Addington, 2 tenements, and a ¼ of a yardland in the same; conveyed by Thomas Bletso the younger of Coton alias Cotes, to Samuel Whitby of London, merchant."

Thomas Beltso the elder, Gentleman of Cotton, the elder dies c1697 and his will is to be found in the National Archives. There are a number of striking points in the text of the will. Firstly, the bulk of the inheritance goes not to his son Thomas, but rather to "my loving kinsman, John(athan) Bletso of Wellingborough". The second thing that is clear, is the large amount of land and property that Thomas Bletso owned. As well as the house in Cotton, he leaves the following to John Bletso:

"messuages, cottages, land, and tenanments, meadows, close (enclosed fields), pastures, mills, royalltyed (royalities?), ffishings (fishing rights or fisheries)...whereever situated lying and being within...parishes...of Cotton...Ringsted (Ringstead), Denford, Woodford, Great Addington, Little Addington, Rushden...Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough....Shelton (Bedfordshire)" 

There are still Bleso descendents living in the area, perhaps most well known is the Bletsoes business of Agricultural & Development Consultants, Chartered Surveyors, Auctioneers & Estate Agents based in Thrapston since 1881.