The Manors of Effingham

Much of the land within the parish of Effingham has belonged to various manors. The map below shows at a glance the complicated distribution of the manorial holdings within the parish boundary. 



A high-resolution version of this map can be viewed or downloaded (in pdf format, size 470Kb) by clicking here.

Two of the manors - Effingham East Court (the orange areas) and Effingham Manor : La Legh & La Place (the purple areas) - are of particular interest through having had manor houses situated within the parish. One of these houses, now called Browns, survives to the present day - its location is marked on the map by the third 'Manor House' icon shown in the key.

Below is a preliminary article by Susan W. Morris clarifying the structure, court functions and lordships of manors in general and, in particular, of those in Effingham.

Manors in Effingham
by Susan W. Morris


What was a ‘manor’?

A ‘manor’ is a term which describes an area of land. However, in the past, it was much more than this. It also conveyed how the land was occupied, and who kept control of the folk living in that area.

Any largish area where people have settled needs to be kept under control (‘civilised’) for the common good. In the most simplified terms, here are two ways of organising this:

The residents are free. Each owns or rents their own land, as they can afford.  Also, separately, there is a system by which the residents can elect people to create law and to decide how to provide justice or defence for them all.

A large piece of land is owned by one person. All people residing on his land owe him something for living there. They can pay with manual labour, skilled services, goods, or money. In return, he personally must see to it that peace and justice are provided for them locally, and that the relevant taxes are collected or fighting men mustered for regional or national needs.

Again this is heavily simplified, but

Before the Norman Conquest (in Anglo-Saxon times), the first option was nearer the situation.  Locally, people grouped themselves in Tithings (tens) to answer for each others’ good behaviour. The Tithings grouped themselves into larger Hundreds to provide arms, armour, men etc for mutual needs of justice or defence at regional or national level.


After the Conquest, the second option was nearer the case. In theory, the King now owned all the land in the country. He split it up and granted large areas to important men (nobles, bishops, abbots). In return, they owed him. It might be money, prayers, food, services, a labour force or fighting men when called for; and the essential item owed was of course unblemished loyalty, which they must regularly pledge in public. If these great men defaulted on any of what they owed to the king, the contract was over, and they could lose everything.  They were land-holders out on good behaviour, rather than landowners.

Each of these magnates, in their turn, then split their land up into pieces manageable enough, and economically viable enough, for one important man / family to live off and control. These smaller pieces were the manors. A great lord might have hundreds of manors that he could grant in this way to deserving individuals amongst his own supporters. The lucky recipient, in return, owed his lord. And, just as before, if the supporters defaulted on the contract made with their lord, they could lose everything.

This system effectively merged land occupation with systems for keeping the peace, delivery of justice, taxation and military readiness. It was known as the feudal system. The ‘middling’ sorts of people likely to be holding the manors were knights (‘the knights of the shires’), and in rough translation a feu was the Old French word for the typical sort of mutual contract for service between a knight and a lord. It is close to the word ‘fee’; and also ‘fealty’ which is a sort of loyalty the knight was obliged to demonstrate publicly and uphold.

Which brings us to a manor. A manor was an area of land - possibly a village-sized piece, possibly a bit larger or smaller - held by a lord. It would probably have been granted to him by a very important landowner who held tens or even hundreds of manors around the country. As long as nothing went wrong, the manor would stay in the use of the lord’s family perhaps for several generations. The lord might be also fortunate enough to be trusted with more than one manor, which obviously raised status and wealth.

Walking around a typical manor, you would expect to find

  • the Manor House (the most important house in the area) and some land around it, both for the lord’s own private use; the land was called the demesne (pronounced domain);
  • plots which the lord had granted to free-born tenants to farm and to live on, and each of these would have its house or larger cottage;
  • plots which the lord had granted to peasants (or villeins; not freeborn) to farm and live on, and their cottages or hovels;
  • the land fit for tilling, which would be great open fields, divided into strips, each strip allocated to one of the people above;
  • the waste land, not fit for tilling, which would be used for pasturing; the lord would grant people the right to pasture so many animals or fowl or collect sticks or whatever on this.

Tenants who held land of the lord of the manor and had a document to prove it were called ‘copyholders’.

Separately, you would find Glebe land. This was land owned by the village church. It could be rented out to people to farm, thus providing income for the incumbent. Separately again, all villagers also owed the Parson annual tithes – this could be food, goods, animals, service or money.

Many lords held more than one, or even several, manors. Therefore, there is no guarantee that all lords of the manors of Effingham resided here as their main base all, or indeed any, of the time. They could install tenants if they wished.

Manor courts

One of the lord’s main duties was to keep the peace locally and to provide access to justice. A court would be held in the manor house at intervals. The names of many manor houses reflected, and indeed still preserve, the memory of this very important function, for example "East Court". 

Not all manor courts were the same. They had different capacities and procedures. What sort they were seems partly to have depended on the perceived importance of the manor locally, and also what had been the tradition there. 

Local residents owed ‘suit of court’ to their local manor court, ie they must attend.  This could be when all were summoned for events of importance to the whole manor. But also they had to present themselves individually for a hearing at particular times of importance in their own lives, for instance to get confirmation of a change in land-holding arrangements such as when a son inherited from a father, or a widow took over from her husband etc.

There were two main types:

  • Court Leet with view of frankpledge, and
  • Court Baron

Court Leet with view of frankpledge

Frankpledge was the ancient obligation for all men over 12 years to belong to a Tithing within a Hundred, for purposes of local peace. Summonings at regular intervals served to make sure that people re-confirmed their responsibility. After the Conquest, this system of local peace-keeping was not totally dismantled, but the king added to it by setting up a new system of sheriffs. These were officials (i.e. their position was not based on land-holding like the magnates). There was one or more sheriff (shire-reeve) for each shire. Because they were appointed by the king and served him directly in person, sheriffs were his watchdogs. They kept an eye on the magnates as well as everyone else. Their interference was much disliked and to be averted as much as possible. One of a sheriff’s functions became the duty to summon the Hundred at the prescribed interval to see that everyone re-confirmed their pledge (the ‘view’ of frankpledge). Over time, as lords of the manor settled into their localities and supposedly proved their trustworthiness, they began to ask the king for, and be granted, the right to do this themselves for their own manors, instead of the sheriff. This ‘liberty’ (freedom from or exemption from, the system) was much coveted and valued if achieved. 

Manorial Courts of frankpledge also dealt with the election of locally-needed posts such as Constable, Ale-taster, Pounder (of stray animals) etc, and hearing of cases of petty misdemeanour.

Court Baron

The Court Baron was of lesser scope. It was mainly concerned with changes in tenancy of copyholders (tenants / cottagers), minor infringements of property rights, regulation of the common fields and meadows, over-stocking or over-grazing of the commons, the clearing of ditches and the lopping of trees fronting the highways, and the failure to do labour services well or at all.

N.B. The manor courts dealt with temporal matters. A system of church courts, from the local vestry gathering up to the abbot or bishop’s court, dealt with spiritual matters.

So who was Effingham’s Lord of the Manor?

Several people simultaneously, because there was more than one manor. 

Over time, of course the simple arrangement described above became more complicated, and the feudal system slowly disintegrated. Great landlords were eventually able to buy pieces of land from the king and own them outright.  They could then split them up and sell them on.  A lord of a manor might be able to buy additional pieces of land to expand the extent and value of his manor, even though the actual land was some distance away.  Fields and farms which today are situated in the modern parish of Effingham belonged to some five different manors (plus the Church’s glebe). 

Below is a simplified account of the two / three main manors in Effingham – ones which had their manor houses in Effingham - after the Conquest.

N.B. This is an attempt to describe the main Effingham manors in a very basic narrative form. I have taken the information about Effingham land and people from two main secondary sources. The first was ‘The History of Effingham’ by Monica O’Connor, which includes a map of the location of the different manor lands originally compiled by Margaret Leech.  (Monica’s book has more information about other manors, such as Byfleet, which also had lands in Effingham but did not have their main manor houses in the parish). The second source was an anonymous typescript which quotes a section of Brayley’s ‘History of Surrey’ vol IV, pp 486 8. I have not checked with any primary sources.  Any inaccuracies or misconstructions arising from this approach are obviously all mine and will benefit from correction as soon as possible.

1.  Effingham East Court manor (Effingham EC)

This was the principal manor in the parish after the Domesday survey. It was held from the crown by a succession of important, high-born aristocrats. These men did not live in Effingham – tenants of theirs held Effingham East Court from them.

In 1066 the manor was held from the crown by Richard Fitzgilbert of Tonbridge (and it remained with Richard’s descendants until the 3rd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason in 1521 by Henry VIII). Richard Fitzgilbert was a very highly-connected man. Through his mother he was the half-brother of William the Conqueror. Through his father he was also a second cousin to William. He accompanied William to England and assisted in the Conquest, for which he was rewarded with 38 manors in Surrey and 94 in Suffolk.  In 1073 William appointed him Chief Justice of England. Richard is said to have become a monk and died at St Neot’s Priory in 1090. 

Richard’s grandson, also Richard, took the name ‘de Clare’. He founded Tonbridge Priory; was slain by the Welsh in 1139. Richard’s great grandson was Richard de Clare Earl of Hertford. He was one of the magnates at Runnymede compelling King John to sign Magna Carta. He, and his son Gilbert, were among the 24 Barons who were trustees to see that John carried out his undertakings. The sixth generation successor, Earl Richard de Clare (1222-62), was one of the benefactors of Westminster Abbey.

Seventh in line of descent was Gilbert Clare, Earl of Hertford and Gloucester (1243-95), nicknamed The Red Earl.  He married Edward I’s daughter, Joan of Acre. This Earl took Effingham EC manor into his own hands. He died in the Welsh Marches and was buried at Tewkesbury Abbey. Gilbert and Joan had one son, also called Gilbert, who inherited the earldom and estates but he was then killed at the battle of Bannockburn in 1313 – the last Earl of the famous de Clare family. He had no children, so his three sisters Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth jointly inherited his estates, titles and honours. 

Elizabeth founded Clare College, Cambridge. Margaret married Piers Gaveston, the favourite of Edward II. After Piers’ execution, she married again: Hugh de Audele or Audley who was created Earl of Gloucester in 1337. When Hugh died in 1347 he was seised of lands and tenements in Effingham and also of the manor.

Hugh left no male heir, only one daughter called Margaret. The title of Earl of Gloucester became extinct. Margaret had married Ralph Earl of Stafford so Effingham EC, with Hugh’s other estates, descended to him.

Ralph’s only son Hugh, Lord Stafford, died in 1386, and gave the estate to his son Hugh de Stafford, who had the title of Lord Bourchier through his wife. Lord Bourchier had no child so Effingham EC became the property of his cousin Humphrey Lord Stafford, who was created Duke of Buckingham by Henry VI. 

Buckingham was killed in the king’s service in the battle of Northampton in 1460 (Wars of the Roses). But in 1427 Buckingham had made a settlement of which of his children should inherit what. This meant Effingham EC passed to Buckingham’s younger son John Stafford, later created Earl of Wiltshire.

John married Constantia, the widow of Sir Henry Green. John died in 1474. The Countess held Effingham EC until her own death in 1476. Their two sons had already died, without children of their own. In 1499 the estate descended to another member of the Stafford family: Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham KG (Knight of the Garter and Lord High Constable of England to Henry VIII). In other words, Buckingham was a man of the highest rank. But by descent he had connections with the ‘wrong’ royal family – the Yorkists, (White Rose), defeated in 1485 by Henry Tudor (Henry VII). Apparently he was ‘slow-moving and unimaginative’ but he was also pious, and thus attached to the traditional church – disliking the radical changes made by Henry VIII. While Henry had no son he became increasingly suspicious of the Yorkist families, and convinced they were plotting to overthrow him. Eventually Buckingham was convicted of treason (“imagining the death of the Sovereign”), executed and attainted in 1521. (Cardinal Wolsey was of ‘low birth’ and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V is reported to have said “A butcher’s dog has killed the finest Buck in England!”).

Treason meant, of course, that the contract of loyalty between subject and monarch had been well and truly broken. In these circumstances, the crown re-claimed all lands held by the traitor: in 1523 the Effingham EC lands ‘escheated’ or returned to the crown estate. The King could, if he wished, keep them or grant them again to someone else. In the event most of it went to peers with court connections.   

Henry VIII granted Effingham EC to John Bourchier, Lord Berners. When Berners died in 1532 it returned again to the crown, supposedly in payment of a debt to the King.

Not long afterwards, Effingham EC and other estates which had belonged to the late Duke of Buckingham were granted to Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter – again a member of the house of York. He divided his time between his house in Horsley and his London mansion. Sadly after a time things went wrong again. The Marquis was discovered to have been in correspondence with his cousins Sir Geoffrey Pole and Cardinal Reginald Pole (an exiled Catholic who had a claim to the throne through his Yorkist mother), and was ‘proved’ to be part of a treasonable conspiracy. The Marquis was beheaded in January 1540 and lost his honours and estates.

Effingham EC was next granted to Sir Anthony Brown who was created Viscount Montague of West Horsley Place and Cowdray Place in Sussex. Queen Elizabeth visited him at West Horsley Place as he was dying. His successor was his grandson. In 1616 the grandson sold the manor of Effingham EC and a farm called ‘Nyce Court’ (Indian Farm) in Effingham to Thomas Gray.

From him Effingham EC descended to this gentleman’s grand-nephew, also Thomas Gray esq., who sold it to Matthew Taylor, a London grocer.

In his will dated 27 March 1678 Matthew Taylor left the estate in trust for his grandson, Thomas White. 

In 1695 Thomas White married Jane, daughter of William Pellatt esq. ‘and made a settlement.’

Thomas and Jane’s son William White ‘in 1732 suffered a recovery’ (meaning unclear).  In William’s will dated 19 February 1758, he arranged for the property to be transferred to trustees after his death, to sell, for the payment of debts and legacies.

However in 1763, William’s son, also William, discharged the debts and legacies himself and the trustees conveyed the estate to him. In 1790 he sold Effingham EC to William Bryant esq. for £10,000.  Records from about this time reveal that the ancient manor house of Effingham EC was in the north-east corner of what is now the St. Lawrence churchyard – nothing of it is now still standing.

In 1793 William Bryant re-sold it to Gerard Dutton Fleetwood esq. Bryant died in 1795 and left the estate to a Mr John Fuller of Givons Grove, Leatherhead (the transactions here are unclear). Bryant also sold a residence called Effingham House (now the Golf Club house) to Lieut-General Oliver de Lancey (more of him below) who was occupying it by 1796.



Effingham House, now the Golf Club

(source : "The History of Effingham", © Effingham Parish Council)

In 1799 Mr Fuller sold Effingham EC manor to Oliver de Lancey esq., Barrack-Master General, who also bought other lands in the area and built a house (‘mansion’) for his own residence on the site of a house formerly called Tibs. The new residence was named Effingham Hill House (now St. Teresa’s Convent and School).


Effingham Hill House c.1799, now St. Teresa's School

(source : "The History of Effingham", © Effingham Parish Council)


Lieut-General De Lancey had been an American loyalist, who came to England after American Independence. But in 1806 De Lancey’s estates were seized by the state ‘in consequence of his having been a public defaulter’ (he swindled the Army).



Oliver de Lancey, Barrack-Master General (c1749-1822)


Effingham EC was transferred to William Mitford and Joseph Alcock esqs., Clerks of the Treasury, so it could be put up for sale to recoup the money. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1807 to establish the title (in other words, that the rightful owner was now the state). The estate was indeed put up for sale, but not sold at that time. Sir Frederick Morton Eden made an agreement to purchase but then backed out. 

In 1806 De Lancey sold Effingham House to George Bogle esq. with 16 acres, for £2,700. Bogle and two of his three daughters died in 1813. The house was acquired by Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece, Bart. Later, after Apreece purchased the manor of Effingham (i.e. not the manor of Effingham EC) in 1832, he used Effingham House as his Manor House, preferring it to the original manor house.

In 1813 the Effingham EC estate was bought by Miles Stringer esq.  He died in 1839 and the estate was held by his widow.

10 August 1869 : Conveyance of manor and land, Miles Stringer to Lady Caroline Fitzharding Maxse.

12 March 1886 : Deed poll by Admiral Frederic Augustus Maxse enlarging a term of 1000 years into an estate in fee simple; 13 July 1886,  admission of Admiral Maxse to lands copyhold of the manor; a few months later, 12 October 1886, award of enfranchisement of the above copyhold premises to the Land Commissioners; the following day, 13 October 1886, conveyance from Admiral Maxse to Julius Caesar Czarnikow. The latter died in 1909.

18 November 1910 : Conveyance H Czarnikow [presumably Julius Caesar's son Horace] to Mrs Ada Lucy Jenkinson [Julius Caesar's daughter]. Mrs Jenkinson married Capt. C. E. St. John Frederick on 5 December 1911.

1 July 1912 : Mrs Jenkinson and others to Azalea Caroline Keyes.  Azalea Keyes married Audley Count Lewenhaupt Falkenstein on 8 July 1912.

25 October 1916 : Azalea Keyes to R. R. Calburn.

In 1921 Mr Calburn also acquired the entirely separate manor called Effingham Manor – see below.

Effingham East Court manorial court was Court Leet with view of Frankpledge. The last convening of the Manor Court recorded was in 1885.

2.  Manor of Effingham la Legh, (or Lye, Leigh, Ley)

3.  Manor of Effingham La Place, or Effingham Place Court

The above were two separate manors. They seem to have begun life as two units transferred together, then were held separately, until in 1449 they were held by the same person again. From then on they stayed together and became known simply as the Manor of Effingham or

Effingham Manor

1066 : Oswald the Saxon held a manor from the Abbot of Chertsey Abbey (Oswald was a brother of the Abbot, Wulfwold). The whole manor was called La Legh. Part of this was in Effingham.

1086 : The La Legh manor was still held by the same Oswald the Saxon (or a successor with the same name) from Chertsey Abbey. Oswald’s family adopted the surname ‘de la Legh’ or ‘la Lega’. Later records refer to two subordinate manors: Effingham La Legh or la Lega, and Effingham la Place. (Oswald also held ‘Epingham Estcot’ – Effingham East Court).

1135 : Oswald assigned tithes from both manors to Hugh, Abbot of Chertsey. These tithes were later granted to Abbot Rutherwyke of the Priory of Merton.

In 1305 John Pickard held them (as a tenant of the La Leghs?]. In 1309 he mortgaged them to Henry de Guldeford and Henry, son of John de Stockton or Stoughton.

By 1312 they were held by Walter Geddyinges as a tenant of the La Legh family. He was Sherriff of Surrey in 1302 and 1307. There is a monument with an inscription in the Church commemorating him. It seems that Walter might have been the first occupant of the moated manor house site of Effingham La Legh, which was called Lee House, situated in Great Lee Wood. It is now the site of a scheduled ancient monument which was excavated in 1952-3.

In 1317 Thomas de Geddyng held the lands of Effingham La Legh when he died. He was also holding land of ‘la Place in Effingham, of the same manor’. In 1320 Thomas’s heir Walter de Geddyng conveyed the land to Master John Walewayn.

1329 : William de Bohun had a grant of free warren (right to catch rabbits) for himself and his heirs at Effingham la Legh. He may have been the last tenant of Lee House, because the latest finds discovered by the archaeological excavation date from the mid-14th century.

1347 : Humphrey de Bohun granted the reversion of certain lands (i.e. when the current tenant left) to Sir John de Pulteney (five times Lord Mayor of London).

1362 : Sir William de Pulteney conveyed the manor to trustees John de Baronelle Bishop of Worcester, John de Ludham and William de Churchull.

In 1363 the trustees settled it on Nicholas de Lovayne and Margaret his wife, who was the widow of Sir John de Pulteney.

In 1449 Laurence a Downe, of Downside, King’s Servant, was tenant of both manors of La Legh and la Place. From then on they always descended together as Effingham Manor.

1479 : Laurence a Downe died seised of the manors of Effingham Place Court and and de la Legh.

1491 : John Donne (not the famous one!) sold the manors to John Legh.

1544 : John Legh, or another of the same name and family, conveyed them to King Henry VIII.

1551 : Edward VI granted the manors, and also the manor of Great Bookham, to Lord William Howard. 

In 1554 Lord Howard received the title of Baron Howard of Effingham as a reward for his services in suppressing Wyatt’s rebellion. His son and heir, Charles Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham, distinguished himself as Commander in Chief against the Spanish Armada and in 1586 was created Earl of Nottingham by Queen Elizabeth I. 

In 1624 on his death the manor passed to his eldest surviving son Charles, 2nd Earl of Nottingham. In 1633 Charles leased the manor for 10 years, probably in exchange for release from a debt. In 1642 it was leased again for 31 years, as a way of rewarding someone for supporting Nottingham. The 2nd Earl died in October 1642. Early in 1643 Charles the 3rd Earl (a son of the 1st Earl’s second marriage) settled the manor of Effingham on his eldest son, but later in the same year he granted a 21 year lease to Mr Thomas Turgis ‘Citizen and Grocer of London’ in payment of the Earl of Nottingham’s debts. By October, it had been decided that even this was not enough and they moved to sell the manor to discharge the Earl’s debts.

In 1647 the 3rd Earl conveyed the manors of Effingham and La Legh to Thomas Turgis (or Sturgis) esq. of St. Dions Backchurch, London for £3,600. Moving alongside these transactions of the manor was the sale of the property ‘Hansards’ which Nottingham had granted to a supporter, Richard Chapleine, but Chapleine also clearly needed money and had to lease Hansards to Turgis. This transaction was completed on 15 May 1647 for a loan to Chapleine of £600. (Hansards may have been part of the Manor of Byfleet, which also had land in Effingham held by the Howards.)

In 1703 by the terms of a (different?) Thomas Turgis’s will the manors passed to William Urry.

They passed from William to Thomas Urry who died unmarried in 1776. Thomas left them to his neice, Elizabeth Brown (who married Windsor Heneage and became Elisabeth Heneage. The Heneages had two daughters, Elisabeth who married Basil Fitzherbert esq and Mary who married William Fitzherbert Brockholes. Mary and William Brockholes’ son was Thomas Brockholes. He inherited the manor in 1832 when his mother died and put it up for sale in lots that year – about 800 acres in all including Upper Farm, Lower Farm, Banks, Lee Wood, sundry cottages and detached lands (but not Hansards). At this time the Manor House was situated on the Upper Farm. It is now the house called ‘Browns’ after a late nineteenth century tenant farmer called Samuel Brown.



Browns, at lower centre

 (source : "The History of Effingham", © Effingham Parish Council)


Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece, Bart. purchased most of this in 1832. At the time he was living at Effingham House (now the Golf Club - perhaps called ‘Hansards’ before ‘Effingham House’). When he became Lord of the Manor, he stayed living there so this house effectively now became the manor house and ‘Browns’ became known as Manor Farm. Apreece died shortly afterwards in 1833. 

Either: He left an only son, Sir Thomas G Apreece, who died unmarried in 1842. The estate passed to Mrs Lucy Parratt and Miss Louisa Venmore, but it is apparently not known why or what the connection is. 

Or: He left the the property to Mrs Lucy Parratt, wife of Capt. Hildebrand Parratt and to Miss Louisa Venmore, who were all living at Effingham House at the time.

Either: The estate remained with the Parratts until the death of Col. E. Latimer Parratt in 1911. It was vested in his trustees, who ceded the manor in 1921 to R. R. Calburn.

Or: it was sold by the last of the family, Mrs Tristram Parratt, in 1921 to R. R. Calburn, Lord of the manor of Effingham East Court.

Effingham Manor Court was a Court Baron.