From Parochial and family history of the parish of Blisland, in the county of Cornwall

by John Maclean. London, Nichols 1868

The Manor and Lordship of Blisland

This important manor and lordship appears in Domesday under the name of Glustone, probably an error in the initial letter made by the transcriber. It was held by the King in demesne. In the time of Edward the Confessor it had been held by Earl Harold. There were four hides, but it was taxed for two hides. The arable land was thirty carucates; of it there was in demesne one hide, and there were two ploughs, and twelve bond servants, and twenty bordars with seventeen ploughs: there was one acre of meadow; pasture, three miles long and one mile and a-half broad; wood, one mile long and half a-mile broad; it yielded six pounds (L) by weight. It is further recorded that on the day on which King Edward died one manor called Pendavid belonged to this manor, but that it had been taken away. It contained one hide and six carucates of arable land. At the time of the survey Boia, the priest of Bodmin, held it of the Earl of Moreton. It was then worth ten shillings, and when the Earl received it it was worth twenty shillings.

The Earl of Moreton had received from William, who was his half-brother, as many as 284 manors in this county, but the manor of Bliston remained in the King's hands as ancient demesne. In 23 Henry II an aid was passed on the demesne lands in Cornwall, and one mark was assessed for the aid of Blaiston [ Pipe Roll, 23 Hen I1 ]; and in 1 John ten shillings was tallaged for the "vele" of Blaston. In the 17th King John the whole of the County of Cornwall was granted to farm to Henry Fitzcount, illegitimate son of Reginald surnamed de Dunstanville, who was one of the illegitimate children of Henry I. Reginald had been invested with the Earldom of Cornwall by King Stephen, but having afterwards taken up the cause of the Empress Maud, his sister, he forfeited his lands and honours. The Castle and Honour of Launeeston, to which this manor belonged, were granted to Henry Fitzcount on the like conditions; and on the accession of Henry III (A.D. 1216) a further grant was made to Fitzcount, by which he was to hold the county with all its appurtenances in as ample a manner as his father Reginald had held it. This grant of the whole county with the demesnes would seem to be in terms sufficiently ample to include this manor. However this may have been Henry Fitzcount soon fell under the King's displeasure, and, as it would appear, the county was again taken into the King's hands; who (A.D. 1225) committed it and all things pertaining to it to his brother Richard, King of the Romans, during pleasure, to support him in the King's service. This same Richard was afterwards raised to the dignities of Earl of Poictou and Earl of Cornwall, and by charter, dated 10th August, 1231, the King granted to him the whole county in fee, with all its appurtenances, by the service of five knights [ Charter Roll, 15 Henry III, m. 4 ].

The next record of this manor which we find is in "Testa de Nevill," from which it appears that Ralph de Toni, or Tony [ This family bore arms: Argent, a maunche gules. ], was taxed to the amount of 8s. 4d. for his small fee in "Carneston, Bluston, and Helveston" in respect to the aid granted in the 19th year of Henry III on the marriage of that King's sister Isabella to Frederick the Roman Emperor. The history of the grant of these manors to the family of De Tony is given in the Hundred Rolls of the 4th Edward I; wherein it is stated that Henry III held the Castle of Launceston and all the County of Cornwall, as well in fee as in demesne, .and that he gave the castle with its appurtenances to his brother Richard, King of the Romans and Earl of Cornwall; also that the manor of BLISTON was a manor Crown, and that the King at the same time gave this manor to the said Richard, and that the said Richard gave it to Ralph de Tony and his heirs, to hold of the said Earl in chief, and that William St. Omer then held it with Petronilla his wife, who had been the wife of the said Ralph, in the name of dower [ Hundred Rolls, 4 Edw I #2, m. 31 d. ]. The manor at the time of its alienation from the Crown is stated to have been of the value of 10L per annum [ Records of the Court of the receipt of the Exchequer ]. This Ralph de Tony, or Toni, was the seventh in descent from Ralph de Toni, Lord of Toni in Normandy, Standard Bearer to William the Conqueror, from whom he received grants of divers lordships. On his death, this manor, with his other possessions, descended to his son Roger de Toni, who was summoned to Parliament from 10th April, 27 Edward I (1299) to 16th June, 4 Edward II (1311). He died, sine prole, in 1310 [ Inq. post mortem, 3 Edw II #33 ], seized of this manor, and also of the manors of Helleston in Trigg and Carneton in Pider, leaving his sister Alice his heir. She was born in 1285, and married, first, Thomas de Leybourn of Leybourn in the county of Kent [ Arms: Azure, six lioncels, argent ], who died 1307 [ Inq. post mortem, 31 Edw I #10 ]. She afterwards married Guy de Beauchamp, eleventh Earl of Warwick [Arms: Checky or and azure, a chev. erm.], to whom she carried her great estates. This nobleman died, 9 Edward II, leaving his son Thomas, aged two years [ Inq. post mortem, 9 Edw II #71 ] , his heir. The certificate of escheator of Cornwall is not with the documents relating to the inquest taken after the death of Earl Guy, but there can be no doubt that he died seized of his Cornish manors, for we find by the Feodo Fines of 18 Edward III that these manors were vested in his son (then in wardship) for life, with various remainders.

Thomas de Beauchamp, the eleventh earl, was, 21 Richard II, declared a traitor and attainted, consequently he forfeited his honours and estates [ Inq. post mortem ]. The Manor of Bliston with the other manors above mentioned were in the same year granted to John Holland, Duke of Exeter [ Patent Rolls, 21 Rd II, part 3 m. 1 ] , the King's brother. He however held them but a very short time, for upon the turn of the wheel of fortune on the accession of Henry IV, all the proceedings in the Parliament of the 21st year of his predecessor were annulled [ Act 1 Henry IV, cap. 5 ], whereby the Earl of Warwick recovered his honours and lands. He died 1401, and was succeeded by his son Richard de Beauchamp, who in 1411 was created Earl of Albemarle for life. He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heirof Maurice, tenth Baron Berkeley, by whom he had three daughters; and secondly, Isabel, sole heir of Thomas, seventh Baron Despenser, and widow of Richard, Earl of Worcester. He died seized of these manors, 17 Henry VI [ Inq. post mortem, 17 Henry VI ], leaving Henry, his only son by his second wife, his heir. Henry de Beauchamp, thirteenth Earl of Warwick, was, on April 14, 1445, created Duke of Warwick, and in the same year was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, by King Henry's own hands. He died seized of these manors on June 11, 24 Henry VI, leaving his daughter Ann, aged two years on February 24 preceding, his heir [ Inq. post mortem, 24 Henry VI, #43 ]. The Cornish manors were held by his widow, Cecilia, Duchess of Warwick, in dower. She died possessed of them 28 Henry VI [ Inq. post mortem, 28 Henry VI ] . Ann, the only child of Henry, Duke of Warwick, styled Countess of Warwick, died in infancy, and conesquently Ann, the sister of the said Duke, succeeded to the earldom (the dukedom having become extinct) and estates. She married Richard Neville, who, on July 23, 1449, was confirmed in the Earldom of Warwick. [ It appears from the escheats of 1 Edward IV that Lena, wife of Thomas Bonville, Esq, and daughter and heir of J. Gorge, held the Manor of Porlylygres, with its appurtenances, of Richard, Earl of Warwick, as of his Manor of Blysland by fealty for all services, and that the said manor was of the value per annam, altogether, 5 shillings. That Anna, daughter of Johanna Bonville deceased, late wife of John Bonville, Esq, daughter of the aforearid Lena was the next heir of the said Lena, and that the said Ann, daughter of the said Johanna, was of the age of twenty-three years and more (Inq p.m., 1 Edw IV, # 24). ] This patent he resigned, and was granted a new patent with different limitations, March 2, 1450. Richard was to be Earl of Warwick during his life, and Ann Countess for her life, and after the deaths of Richard and Ann the heirs of Ann were to possess the dignity; and if Ann died s. p. after the death of Richard and Ann the earldom was to descend to Margaret, Countess of Shrewsbury, the eldest of the three daughters of Richard de Beauchamp, the twelfth earl by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of the Baron Berkeley, with other remainders.

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, during the contentions of the factions of the Roses, took, as is well known, a very prominent part, giving through his great power and influence success to one side or the other as he pleased. He finally met his death on the field of Barnet, fighting for the House of Lancaster, and his estates were consequently confiscated. He left two daughters, co-heirs; Isabel, the eldest, a short time previously had been clandestinely married to her cousin George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, who had been enticed over to Calais, of which dependency Warwick was then governor, for that purpose, and who had received as her marriage-portion a settlement of one-half of the Countess of Warwick's rich inheritance. [ The Pope's dispensation for the marriage, for they were within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, is dated at Rome in l468. Richard Duke of York, father of the Duke of Clarence, had married Cecely, sister of the Earl of Warwick. ] Ann, the younger daughter, was at the time of her father's death betrothed to the young Prince Edward, only son of Henry VI. The young Duke of Clarence had been inveigled by his father-in-law to lend himself to the Lancastrian cause, but became reconciled to hls brother Edward IV immediately before the final conflict at Barnet, whereby his share of the Warwick estates escaped forfeiture. [ Dugdale, vol. ii. p. 162 ] The other moiety, in which was included the Cornish manors, like the rest of the Earl's estates, were seized by the Crown.

The Lady Ann Neville, after her affianced husband had fallen in the Battle of Tewkesbury, married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the King's brother, afterwards King Richard III, and, notwithstanding considerable opposition on the part of the Duke of Clarence, who, in consequence of the attainder of the Countess of Warwick and her daughter Ann, claimed the whole estate, received a grant of the second moiety of the forfeited lands. [ In the apportionment made by the arbitrators appointed by King Edward IV the Manor of Bliston was allotted to the Duke of Clarence. See De Banco Rolls, 15 Edward IV m. 126.] As, however, under the Patent of 1450, upon the death of the Earl the dignity and estates of the De Beauchamp family devolved upon the Countess, in 14 Edward IV, for the purpose of securing the estates to the King's brothers by an Act of Parliament it was ordained that the unfortunate Countess should be treated as naturally dead, and that the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester, in right of their wives, should possess, inherit, and enjoy all honours, lordships, &c., belonging to the said Countess of Warwick. [ Rot. Parl. vol. vi p. 100 ] This Act was annulled by another of 3 Henry VII, as "against all reason, conscience, and the course of nature, and as being contrary to the laws of God and man ;" but the parsimonious Henry, although ready to stigmatise the act of his predecessor, seems to have been induced to do so, more with a view to his own interest than from compassion for the unfortunate Countess, for we find that no sooner was she repossessed of her great estates than she was, from causes of which we have no knowledge, cited by the King to appear in the Court of King's Bench and show by what right she held her lands and manors. She appeared, and in Court ceded and granted the whole to the King and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten. This cession included the Manors of Bliston, Carnaton, and Helston-in-Trigg. [ De Banco Rolls, 3 Henry VII, Hil. Term, m. 208. See also Pedes Finium.] We search in vain for any further trace of her history.

No sooner was Henry VII by these means possessed of the great estates of the Beauchamps and Despensers, than by letters patent, dated 1st June in the same year [ Pat. Rolls, 3 Henry VII, part 2, m. 15 ], he granted the manors of Bliston, Carnanton, and Helstonbury, with their appurtenances, to Richard Nanfan [ Richard Nanfan was knighted, and served the office of Sheriff of Cornwall, 12 Henry VII. His heiress mar. Trenowth. Arms: Sa. a chev. erm. between three wings displayed argent. ], Esquire of the King's body, and to the heirs male of the body of the said Richard, to hold by the service of one knight. It appears from the accounts of John Arundell, of Talvern, Sheriff of Cornwall, 12 Henry VIII [ Escheator's accounts ] that Richard Nanfan [ At an inquisition taken at Exeter, 14th October, 2 Henry VIII, before Will Wylford, Esch. after the death of Margaret Nanfan, widow, the jury say that John Arundell, Clerk, and John Benson were seized of certain lands in South Beaucombe, Subbroke, and Wood, in co. Devon, which they gave to a certain Richard Nanfan, and Margaret his wife, and their heirs; and if they should die without heirs, the lands would go to Richard Holbeine, and Johanna his wife and their heirs, with remainder to the direct heirs of Margaret. Richard died seized without heirs, and his wife survived him, and held the hands; and she died without heirs, and the lands descended to Philip Holbeine as son and heir of Robert and Johanna. The said Margaret died 6 April last past. ] died without issue male of his body, and that William Vivian, sheriff, seized the aforesaid manors on behalf of the King.

This manor having now again reverted to the Crown, it was granted, 13th February, 1510, to farm to Thomas Carmynowe, Esq, at a rent of 23L 13s ld per annum [ Pat. Rolls, 1 Henry VIII, p. 2, m. 34 ], and on 14th January, 1553, being then described as parcel of Warwick's and Spencer's lands, it was granted for twenty-one years by King Edward VI to Richard Bushopp [ Before Carminowe and Bishop Sir Thomas Arundell was farmer of the manor, (deposition in the Exch. 30 Eliz.) but the date of the grant to him is not traced.] and John May [ Crown Inrolment Office Register, vol. iv. p. 95 ] at the same rent; and again on May 3, 1572, Queen Elizabeth granted it to George Turville [ Idem.] for a similar term and the same rent, upon the payment of a fine of 47L 6s 4d, the woods being excepted. It seems to have fallen again into the Queen's hands before the expiration of this term, for on November 19, 1581, she granted it for a term of twenty-one years, at the same rent, to Anthony Ashfield, gent. [ Idem, vol. vi. p. 126. On 23rd October, 26 Elizabeth, the office of Steward of the Manor and Lordship of Bliston, parcel of the lands of the Duke of Richmond, was granted to Henry Kelligrew during pleasure. Idem, vol vii. 64.]

Ashfleld appears soon to have come into collision with the tenants of the manor. In 1584 an action was brought in the Court of Exchequer by William Lanxon, a tenant of the manor, against one Richard Treffry, Crown farmer under Anthony Ash field, for forcibly entering his close and ten acres of land called Le Demmyns, parcels of the said manor, and depasturing cattle thereon, when verdict and judgment were given for the plaintiff. [ Exch. Pleas, 25 Elizabeth, Pasch. m. 23 d.] In 1586 a similar action was brought by Richard Condie, Crown tenant of Cades and Hilland, parcel of the Manor of Blisland, against James Tyllesley and John Dyer, for forcibly entering his house there, and his closes called Backehouse Park and Hilland Closes, and treading down the produce. The defendants pleaded that they entered upon the said premises as the servants of Anthony Ashfield, to whom the said manor had been demised by letters patent, dated 19 November, 23 Elizabeth (1580), for twenty-one years. The plaintiff replied that the said tenements were customary tenements of the manor of Blisland, and demisable by copy of Court Roll; that long before the said lease William Woolcock was seized of and surrendered the same into the Queen's hands 8 November, 24 Elizabeth, and that on the same day they were demised to him by copy of Court Roll. The defendants denied that William Woolcock was so seized, but the jury found for the plaintiff. [ Exch. Pleas, 27 Elizabeth, Trinity, m. 13 d ] In 1587, John Mathew [ It appears from depositions in the Exchequer in Easter Term, 30 Elizabeth, that George Woolcock held a customary tenement called Cades and Hilland; after whose death, Jane, his wife, had her widow's estate, and did surrender the same to one William Garland; and afterwards one Thomas Woolcock, son and heir of George, did surrender his right of the said tenement to Richard Treffry, of Tremeare, and the said Treffry surrendered the same to one Richard Condye, and the said Condye surrendered the same to one John Mathew, who then held and enjoyed the tenement according to the custom of the manor. ] complained against Robert Garland and Robert Oliver for forcibly entering and ejecting him from his farm and 80 acres of land, called Cades and Hilland. [ Exch. Pleas, 28 Elizabeth, Hil., m. 28 d ]

On June 27, 1598, Queen Elizabeth by letters patent, in consideration of the sum of £ 4872 1s, granted to Michael Stanhope [Sir Michael Stanhope, knight, was of Sudborne, in co. Suffolk. His brother, Edward Stanhope, knighted 23 July, 1603, was Doctor of the Civill Laws, and one of the Maisters of his Majesties High Court of Chancery,Vicar-Generall of England, Chauncellor of London, and one of the Maisters of the Fine Office, &c. Who continued Chauncellor of London in the time of five Bishops, and three of Canterbury, for the space of thirty yeares or thereabouts. Who deceased the 16 day of March, An. Dom. 1607. ... Arms of Stanhope: Quarterly erm. and gules. Crest: A tower az. thereon a demi lion ramp. or, ducally crowned gu. holding a grenade fired ppr.], Doctor of the Civil Law and one of the Masters in Chancery, and to Edward Stanhope, his brother, Groom of the Privy Chamber, among other lands and manors in various counties the Manors of Bliston and Pendevy, [It is worthy of remark that the Manor of Pendavy, which had been taken away from this manor at the time of the Conquest was, after a period of 500 years, again vested in the same persons. It was stated in Domesday that at the date of that record it was held by Boia, the priest of Bodmin. It remained a part of the possessions of the priory of Bodmin until the dissolution, when it was surrendered to the Crown.] in Cornwall, to be held by knight's service of the honour of Hampton Court, but not in capite. In this grant of the Manor of Blisland, the advowsons of all churches and chapels pertaining thereto, as well as all mines, quarries, royal trees, judgment in felonies, &c. &c., were specially reserved to the Crown. [ Pat. Rolls 40 Elizabeth, part 19, m. 1]

From the Stanhopes the Manor of Blisland passed 4 James I to William Parker, third son of Robert Parker, of Bronsholm, Co. York. [ Deed in possession of William Morshead, Esq.] This gentleman was in holy orders, and was admitted to the Rectory of Blisland in 1601, and made Archdeacon of Cornwall. He also acquired the Manor of Trengoff, in Warleggon. In 14 James I he conveyed the Manor of Blisland, and also the tenements of Trencreek and Fentenhorn, then lately purchased of Thomas Robins, and certain lands in Tregenna, then lately purchased of William Stone, together with the lands and tenements called Gawens and Newton, then lately purchased of Thomas Kendall, Esq., all in this parish, to Sir Richard Buller of Shillingham, Knight [ He married Alice, dau. of Sir Rowland Hayward, Knight, and was the ancestor of the Bullers, of Shillingham and Morval.], in consideration of a marriage about to be solemnized between James Parker, son and heir-apparent of the said William Parker and Katherine Buller, eldest daughter of the said Sir Richard, to the use of the said William Parker and James Parker his son, during their joint lives, and after the death of the said William to the use of the said James Parker for his life, and after his decease to the use of the said Katherine for her life, and after her decease to the use of the heirs of the bodies of the said James and Katherine. [ Deed in the possession of the Rector of Blisland.] This marriage took place before 16th James I.

James Parker, by indenture dated 10th October, 1635, granted a lease of Blisland Green for a term of 200 years to Obadiah Reynolds, Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall.

The deed describes the premises as those lands, &c., commonly called "Blisland Green," with all wastes, &c. &c., thereto belonging, viz., on the south-east from Trewint Lane by Church Bridge unto Lanxon Lane End in the north-west, and from Cassacawn Cross, or bound, in the east unto Lavethan Gate, or Gross, on the south-west, and on the north-west extending from Cross Gate, near Pendreef Lands; all which lands or grounds are taken and reputed part of the wastes of the Manor of Blisland, together with all trees growing, or which shall grow, in or upon the premises.

On a portion of this waste, lying between the Church Town and Cassacawn Cross, was, according to tradition, the ancient archery ground where the inhabitants of the parish, or, perhaps, rather the tenants of the manor, practised shooting at the butt. It is about 100 yards in length and 20 yards in breadth, and is still known as "The Butts." It is now planted with trees.

The manor, however, soon passed from the family of Parker. James Parker and others in 1649 suffered a fine in favour of William Orchard and others, and in 18 Charles II (1666) it was finally conveyed by James Parker and William Orchard to Francis Reynolds, gent., son of Obadiah above-mentioned. On the 16th April in the following year, an indenture was made between Francis Reynolds, of Blisland, gent., and Mary his wife, John Arundell of Sheviock, gent., Trehane Seawen of Probus, gent., and Walter Arundell of Sheviock, gent., of the first part, and John Thomas, jun., of St. Martin-in-Meneage, gent., and Melchisedeck Ringwood, of Bradocke, gent., of the other part, by which indenture the first-named parties conveyed to John Thomas and Melchisedeck Ringwood the whole of the manor and lordship, to hold the same in fee simple and inheritance. This deed [ Deed in the possession of William Morshead, of Lavethan, Esq.] sets out in detail all the manors, farms, and estates held of the said manor and lordship, with the customary rents, &c., paid for the same.

This brings us to the time of the Restoration, and the end of this excerpt.

See also Maclean's History of Bodmin excerpted on this site.