THE VICTORIA HISTORY OF THE COUNTIES OF ENGLAND
Published for the University of London
Institute of Historical Research
Reprinted from the Original Edition of 1924
Dawsons of Pall Mall
Folkestone & London
Page 230 DODDINGTREE HUNDRED
ASTLEY is said to have originally belonged to the church of Worcester, under whom it was held by Ocea, a Dane, from whom Ralph de Barnack (Beornaco), sheriff of William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford, wrested it, so that the church of Worcester lost possession of it.(32) At the date of the Domesday Survey it was held by Ralph de Toeni, who had possessed himself of other lands belonging to Ralph de Barnack,(33) and had previously been held by Ernesi. Six hides paid geld, and there were appurtenant to the manor two burgesses at Worcester and one salt-pan at Droitwich.(34) Towards the end of the 12th century Roger de Toeni was still recognized as overlord of Astley,(35) but after that time the connexion of this family with the manor is not mentioned.(36) The tenure of the manor was not known in 1436.(37)
The church of St. Gauren at Evreux held Astley in 1086 under Ralph de Toeni and of this gift, the church holding 4 hides 'quit and freed from all dues belonging to the king, as was granted by King William himself when Raif gave it to the saint.'(38) The history of the manor is the same as that of the priory until the Dissolution.(39) In June 1544 Astley Manor was granted in fee to Sir Ralph Sadleir and Ellen his wife.(40) It seems to have been purchased from him in the same year by Robert Blount,(41) who died at Astley, seised of the manor, on 25 May 1573.(42) He bequeathed certain rents to his second son Walter, and was succeeded by his eldest son Thomas.(43) Two parts of the manor, then in the queen's hands, by reason of the recusancy of Thomas Blount, were leased for twenty-one years to John Harrris in 1600.(44) In 1620 Thomas Blount sold the manor to John Winford.(45)...
(32) Heming, Chartul. (ed.Hearne), 256.
(33) See Alton in Rock, and Lower Sapey.
(34) V.C.H. Worc. i, 310.
(35) Ibid. i, 329; Cott. MS.Vesp. B xxiv, fol. 8.
(36) See, however, V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 180, where Parnel de Toeni is shown to have claimed some interest in the prior in 1280.
(37) Chan. Inq. p.m. 14 Hen. VI, no. 35.
(38) V.C.H. Worcs. i, 310. The gift had been made with the consent of King William (Cal. Doc. of France, 106).
(39) V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 180-2. It appears to have been granted by Thomas Earl of Warwick, as was much other property in Worcestershire, to his brother William Beauchamp of Bergavenny, whose widow was holding it in 1431. (Feud. Aids, v, 329). She died seised of it in 1435, when it passed to her granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of Edward Nevill (Chan. Inq. p.m. Hen. VI, no. 35).
(40) L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), g. 278 (68).
(41) Habington, Surv. of Worcs. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), ii, 14.
(42) Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxv, 191.
(43) Ibid.; Exch. Dep. East. 27 Chas. II, no. 20.
(44) Cal. S. P. Dom. 1598-1601, p. 387.
(45) Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
...GLASSHAMPTON...The manor was held in the 17th century by the Crown as of the hundred of Doddingtree, in socage, but by what service was not known.(71)
An estate here seems to have been held in the 13th century by the Actons, a 'family equallling for continewance any in England,'(72) for in 1290 Mary Acton, received license to alienate a rent of 42s. in Glasshampton to the nunnery of Westwood,(73) which in 1535 was receiving a rent of 6s. 8d. from lands in Astley.(74) In 1538 a grant in fee was made to Robert Acton and Charles Acton his son of all lands in Glasshampton formerly belonging to the nunnery of Westwood.(75) This estate, afterwards called a manor, may have passed to the Blounts in the same way as Acton in Ombersley,(76) though nothing has been found connecting Walter Acton with it. Thomas Blount settled it in 1590 on himself and his second wife Bridget, one of the daughters of Sir Christopher Broome of Holton, co. Oxon., and their heirs male, with remainder to his own right heirs.(77) With Astley it was leased by the commissioners in 1600 to John Harris on account of the recusancy of Thomas Blount(78) who did not sell it with Astley to John Winford, but died seised of it on 30 November 1624, Francis Blount, his son by his second wife Bridget, succeeding him in the manor.(79) Before 1641 it had been sold to John Winford, lord of Astley, who settled it on his second wife Elizabeth Williams.(80) It has since been held with Astley,(81) and was long the seat of the lord of the manor of Astley....
(71) Fine R. 2 Chas. I, pt. iii, no. 34.
(72) Habington, op. cit. ii, 14.
(73) Cal. Pat. 1281-92, p. 352. John Acton dealt with land at Glasshampton in 1342 (Feet of F. Worcs. East. 16 Edw. III).
(74) Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 276.
(75) L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), g. 1309 (26).
(76) V.C. H. Worcs. iii, 465. Walter Blount, whose tomb is in Astley Church, was tenant of Glasshampton in 1538 He married Isabel daughter of Walter Acton.
(77) Recov. R. East. 32 Eliz. m. 38; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxvii, 52. Thomas was grandson of Walter Blount and Isabel Acton (P.C.C. 22 Peter).
(78) Cal. S.P.Dom. 1598-1601, p. 387.
(79) Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxvii, 52; Fine R. 2 Chas. I, pt. iii, no. 34. Glasshampton Park was held with the manor at this date.
(80) Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 423, no. 61; Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
(81) Feet of F. Worcs. East. 49 Geo. III.
Page 236 [The Priory Church of St. Peter]
...In the north chapel there are two late 16th-century table tombs with recumbent effigies, marginal inscriptions, and some confused heraldry. That near the north window is to Robert Blount, who died 24 May 1573,(22a) and Anne (Davies) his wife, who was still living at the time of the erection of the tomb. Their recumbent effigies are on the tomb, the esquire in armour, and his dame in the dress of the period, both having their hands in the attitude of prayer. Round the sides of the tomb are the figures of their children in low relief, with labels bearing their names: on the north side are Walter and Thomas, and between them a shield of Acton charged with a cheveron between three cinqfoils, on the east Elizabeth, and on the west Margaret, while on the south side are three panels enriched with roses within circular wreaths and divided by pilasters. On the west side there is also a tablet inscribed 'Jhon Gildon of Hereforde made this towmes anno Domini 1577.' The marginal inscription reads: 'Here lieth the bodi of Robert Blonte Esquier who decesed the XXIIII daie of maie Ano 1573 and Anne his wife being as yet living desiring God to continew her life.' The other tomb, which is of similar character, is placed under the arch between the chancel and chapel, and is to Walter Blount, who died in 1561, and to Isabel (Acton) his wife, who died in 1562-3. The effigies are similar in style to the last, but the esquire holds a book. On the north side are the figures of their children, Joyce, Elizabeth, and Anne, on the west Isabel, on the east Margery, and on the south Richard and Francis. Between the latter are two panels, one of which contains a badge within a wreath and the other a shield of Blount impaling the cheveron and cinqfoils of Acton. Above the tomb, on the respond of the arch, is a tablet inscribed 'Robert Blount Esquier was the foundor of thies towmbes and the overseers of the same were they whos names arr subscribid Frauncis Blount esquier and Justice of Peax and James Young.'(22b)...
To view photos of these tombs, click here.
A church and a priest at Astley are mentioned in the Domesday Survey.(23)...
(22a) The date as given in the inquisition on Robert's death is 25 May 1573 (Chan. Inq. p.m. [Ser. 2], clxv, 191).
(22b) Robert son of Walter Blount by will of 3 April 1573 made provision for the erection of these tombs; Francis Blount was his brother (P.C.C. 22 Peter).
(23) V.C.H. Worcs.i, 310.
...The advowson has always been held with the manor,(29) except for a short interval after the sale to John Winford in 1620, when it was retained by Thomas Blount. His son James had livery of it in 1627,(30) but with his brother Francis conveyed it to John Winford in 1629.(31)...
(29) [List of Patrons given by Nash, i, 45] Ibid.; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Feet of F. Worcs. East. 23 Chas. II; East. 49 Geo. III.
(30) Fine R. 2 Chas. I, pt. iii, no. 24.
(31) Feet of F. Worcs. East. 5 Chas. I. George Wood presented, however, in 1611 and the Crown in 1634 and 1649.