1366 and All That: Chaldon in the 14th Century

1366 and All That was the title of a Chaldon History Group event in 2016 at Chaldon Court to celebrate 650 years since the oldest remaining part of Chaldon Court had been built, and when the will of one of its owners, Margaret de Covert, had been written in 1366.

Notes were prepared for display on what was happening in the manors that made up the Parish of Chaldon, in the church and in the stone quarries during the 14th century or thereabouts. These notes are reproduced here. The sources for the material were the Bourne Society publication Village Histories 7: Chaldon (2002), The Victoria County History (1912) and various online archives.


Chaldon Church – 1366 and All That

By 14th century, the church was almost the shape and size it is now. The nave and chancel are 11th century, the south aisle and St Katherine’s chapel 12th century and the north aisle probably 13th century.

Records exist for the Rectors throughout the 14th century, and it’s a long list of people:

William de Alneto 1304
Roger Burnel 1305
Richard de Geddyng 1307
William de Geddyng 1313
William de Gatewyke. 1322
Richard Le Knyt or Knygth 1334
John de Warden 1339
John Le Vyne 1346
John atte Wood 1349
Richard Bekke
Thomas Aleyn 1355
Thomas Denton 1363
John Merlon de Est Derham
alias John Derham 1372
Robert Catour 1380
Simon Ingolf 1382
Nicholas Sprot 1391

The de Covert family who owned Chaldon Manor including Chaldon Court held the ‘advowson’ which meant that they chose who was put forward as the new rector.

The records of the Bishop of Winchester include the following: December 1346 ‘John Atte Vyne, rector of Chaldon, clerk, for one year for study, with no obligation of residence, but he is to proceed to the subdiaconate within a year.’ John had only been made rector in October 1346. Here he is being granted study leave which was extended by another year in 1347.

Tollsworth – 1366 and All That

Tollsworth was probably at first a sub-Manor of Chaldon but by this time had become a Manor in its own right. Tollsworth is a Medieval hall house with a cross wing solar (private living quarters). It has been dated by dendrochronology (measuring the tree rings in the timbers), giving the solar a building date of 1326, and the hall range 1433. To the south of the house is a substantial medieval earthwork, thought to be the remains of a fortified surround for an earlier house.
Tollsworth belonged to Merton Priory throughout the 13th, 14th, 15th centuries and part of the 16th century. It was probably granted to the Priory by Peter de Talewrth about 1200, and in 1201 William Hansard granted further lands to Merton ‘next the grange*’, which seems to indicate that by then Tollsworth was a grange for Merton Priory. Tollsworth remained with the priory until its dissolution in 1538.
*grange – an outlying farm with tithe barns belonging to a monastery or feudal lord.
Merton Priory (in the present day London Borough of Merton) was a large and important Priory of the Augustinian order. The same site later became known as Merton Abbey, and housed a mill used for the production of fabrics for William Morris / Morris and Co, and Liberty and Co.
Chaldon – 1366 and All That

The manor of Chaldon is listed in The Domesday Book of 1086:
‘Ralph also holds* Chaldon from the Bishop (of Bayeux). Dering held it of the King. Then and now it answered for 2 hides. Land for 2 ploughs; they are in lordship. A church.’
*This is because the entry follows that of Banstead, and Ralph is listed as holding two hides there.
Chaldon was a sub-manor of Banstead manor. The de Covert family, who also owned lands in Sussex, owned Chaldon from the early 12th century until 1476.
In 1298 when Roger de Covert died, Chaldon consisted of:
‘A capital mansion [manor house], with gardens etc inclosed, value per annum 6s 8d; 160 acres of Arable at 3d – 15s; 6 acres of Meadow at 2s 2¼d – 13s 4½d; 12 acres of Underwood at 4d – 4s; Rent of Assize of Free Tenants 35s 10½d; Customary rents 7s 10d; of the Customary Tenants 12d at Easter for harrowing; and for harvest work and carrying out the dung 5s; 6 Hens at Christmas 9d; 2 Capons 4d. The whole 115s 1½d; out of which was paid for Castleguard to Rochester Castle 24s; to the Manor of Banstead 4s 5½d.’
John de Covert, his son and heir was 12 years old. John (who was made a knight) owned lands in Chaldon, Tadworth and Waleton (Wallington) in Surrey as well as lands in Sussex, including Sullington, where he lived.

Sir John died c.1350 leaving a widow, Margaret, and a son, Baldwin, married to Isabella. We don’t have Sir John’s will, or Baldwin’s, but Margaret’s will from 1366 has survived (the year that the existing Chaldon Court building was built) and Isabella’s will from 1400.

Margaret’s lists a huge range of belongings, from silver spoons and towels to books by title, and cooking pots, farm animals and carts etc. She wants to be buried in Sullington, Sussex, where we think she lived. Isabella’s will is very short, and she wants to be buried next to her husband, Baldwin’s tomb in Chaldon Church. She leaves ‘a cow to help light two candles in the church’.

Willey – 1366 and All That

At the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) it seems that Chaldon parish was formed largely out of two Domesday manors, Chaldon, a sub-manor of Banstead, and Willey, a sub-manor of Limpsfield.
Willey is not mentioned in Domesday as such but later evidence from court rolls shows it was included as part of the entry for Limpsfield.

The first documentary reference to the manor of Willey is in the 13th century. John de Warbleton held the land of the Abbot of Battle and his family held the lands until the dissolution of the monasteries. Battle Abbey had been set up by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. To provide income for the upkeep of the abbey he gave to the Abbott the manor of Limpsfield, which included its sub-manor of Willey with its stone quarries.

Fryern Farm – 1366 and All That

Fryern Farm was a holding in the manor of Willey. A 13th century reference in the St Thomas cartulary reads:
“Elicia de Chalvedon, for the good of her soul and that of Ralph de Bristowe, her late husband and of her father and mother, gave to the hospital, all her land in Chalvedon which she held of the Warbletons. Later, about 1235, the hospital agreed to provide Alice with a chamber within the court of the said hospital, to dwell there during her life, with reasonable necessities as if for two sisters of the same house and her servant …”

Stone Quarries – 1366 and All That

Two stone quarries in the manor of Willey are listed in the Domesday Book, 1086 (under the Limpsfield entry) with only six other stone quarries in the country. Chaldon is frequently noted in medieval building accounts as the source of stone.
In 1359 John and Philip Prophete were appointed ‘masters of quarries at Merstham and Chaldon, for the supply of Windsor Castle, with power to impress labour.’ If men refused to work in the quarries, then they were sent to Windsor Castle as prisoners.
The quarry entrances are alongside Rockshaw Road and Spring Bottom Lane, and the quarries themselves go under the hill that Chaldon is on. Large quantities of the best quality stone were extracted and used in Norman, medieval and even pre-conquest castles, cathedrals, churches, and palaces in South East England. It was used in Canterbury Cathedral, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St Pauls Cathedral.