The Early Hanningfields, the Churches and their Patrons.
The Hanningfields are within the Hundred of Chelmsford and consist of three historic parishes: East Hanningfield, West Hanningfield and South Hanningfield. Each appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. There has never been a North Hanningfield. The churches of these parishes for much of their early years shared a similar patronage.
South Hanningfield church, however, was for many years in the Gift of the Priory and Convent of Leeds in Kent. That priory was founded by Robert de Crevequer of Chatham and his son Adam in 1119. Dedicated to The Blessed Virgin and St Nicholas it was a monastery for Black Cannons, so described because of the colour of their cloaks. The priests followed the Order of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430). For whatever reason the South Hanningfield church, which is dedicated to St Peter, was alienated from the priory sometime at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The priory held the advowson when Elias Popeley was appointed rector on 8 October 1401, but not when William Appulton was appointed on 12 November 1426 after the resignation of his predecessor Robert Ferby, for whom there are no appointment details. Ferby is later found at St Ethelburg in London (1428). At the time of William’s appointment the right to appoint a member of the clergy to the benefice was with the Beauchamps. Thus the alienation occurred between 1401 and 1426, but most likely before the appointment of Ferby, whenever that was.
The All Saints church at East Hanningfield and the church at West Hanningfield, which is dedicated to St Mary and St Edward, were held by Dionisia, the daughter and heir of William Munchensey and granddaughter of Warine de Munchensey. Dionisia married Hugh de Vere, the younger brother of the then Earl of Oxford but they died without issue so Dionisia’s heir became Audomere Valentina, the son of Dionisia’s aunt Joan and her husband William de Valence. William was the son of Isabella Angouleme, the widow of King John and then wife of Hugh X, the Count of La Marche. Thus William was a half-brother to Henry III. Audomere, Earl of Pembroke, also known as Aymer Valence, married twice. His second wife was Marie de St Pol, who is best known for being the founder of Pembroke College, Cambridge. He died without issue, so the Audomere’s estate was divided between his three sisters of which Isobel received the Hanningfields.
Isobel was the first wife of John Hastings who in 1273 became Lord of Abergavenny. Their son, also John Hastings, married Juliane de Leybourne. John appointed Thomas de Swalcline (1332), Johannes de Langtoft (1334) and Johannes de Stondon (1337) to West Hanningfield church. After John’s death his and Julianne’s son, Lawrence, was presented for tuition to William de Clinton, the then Earl of Huntingdon. William and Juliane subsequently married and Juliane, as Countess of Huntingdon, appointed John Wyrgeyn to the church at East Hanningfield.
Lawrence married Agnes Mortimer and their son, another John, was left fatherless when he was only one year old. This John died while on a journey to Calais and he too left behind a young child, also named John. He lived with his mother Ann whose life share of her husband’s estate included the Manors of East and South Hanningfield. This John died without issue, age seventeen, having been killed at a tilting (a type of jousting event), in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. John’s father, however, by the King’s Licence, granted the property by fee to William Beauchamp de Bergavenny , Chevelier, who was the son of Katherine (Mortimer), his mother’s sister. William died in 1411* and his only child, Richard, became Earl of Worcester in 1420/21. Richard, however, was fatally wounded when hit by a stone from a sling at the Siege of Meaux, France, during the Hundred Years’ War. Elizabeth, Richard’s only child, inherited. She married Edward Neville whose mother was Joan Beaufort, the daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.
Edward Neville first presented at South Hanningfield on 10 November 1443 when John Warde, priest, was appointed. His first presentation at West Hanningfield was William Hayne, priest, on 17 May 1447. At East Hanningfield it was Johannes Barber, priest, on 19 January 1448.
The Neville’s held the Hanningfields for many years until another Edward Neville (or a successor) sold the manors and advowsons to Lord William Petre. Edward Neville last presented to the church of East Hanningfield one William Osbolston as rector on 21 January 1616 at the death of his previously appointed incumbent, Zachariah Pasfield. His last presentation at South Hanningfield was John Eaton on 28 April 1598. I do not have the details for West Hanningfield.
It should perhaps be noted, however, it was possible to recommend or appoint a person to a benefice by grant. For example, William Serridge was appointed to East Hanningfield on 7 August 1566 by Kenhelm Throckmorton, who did so by a grant from Richard Young who had received a grant from Henry Neville, Lord Bergavenny. A similar grant was probably used on 6 February 1400 when, interestingly, William Scott was appointed to West Hanningfield by the Abbey and Convent of Bermondsey. This was a Cluniac priory but was naturalized and gained independent status from Cluny in 1390. It may have been under Royal Custody in 1400.
In his “Repertorium or an Ecclesiastical History of the Diocese of London Vol II” published in 1710, Richard Newcourt includes an inventory of the properties for each rectory of which West Hanningfield is the most substantial. Each Terrier is dated 1610.
For East Hanningfield there was a dwelling house with about ten rooms, a Boulting House, a Gate House with one chamber, a barn, a stable and a Hay House. There was also a dwelling house and shed remote from the Parsonage House.
At South Hanningfield there was a Mansion House, barn, shed, stable and hen house.
West Hanningfield had a tiled dwelling house with a hall in which there was a closet, two butteries, an entry, a large parlour, a newly built study and a tiled kitchen. Corn lofts were above the kitchen and the hall. There were lodging chambers for servants above the parlour and servant accommodation in the loft above the butteries. The Boulting House had a cheese loft above it and there was a corn loft over the newly built Brew House. Above the corn loft was a Garrett and at the end of that a tiled Hen House. There was a newly built barn, a thatched porch with a Hay House at the end, a Hogs-Coat boarded, a Stable and a Quern House. There were four Cart Houses. One was at the end of the newly built Cow House. Another, newly built Cart House, had a room above it to hold hay. A third was at the end of a large Hay House and the fourth, also newly built, appears to have stood alone. There were two small Cotes to fat fowl in. There was also a Gate House with a Milk House inside. Above the Milk House was a loft to store cheese and fish.
*N.B. Newcourt has the death of William de Bergavenny as 1407 but 1411 appears to be the accepted date.