Overlords, Lords, and religious patrons of Water Stratford
As Water Stratford lies on the Roman road from Dorchester-on-Thames to Towcester and may contain the junction with a further road to Stony Stratford, it is not surprising that traces of Roman occupation have been found. But its written history starts with the Domesday Book, which states that in 1066 the manor was held by Azor, son of Toti, while by 1086 its lord was Turstin under the overlordship of Robert D’Oyley, Lord of Oxford. His family, with names changing when it passed through female lines, were the overlords until the time of Edward I. The succession seems to be:
1090: Nigel, brother of Robert
1112: Robert, son of Nigel. He founded the Abbey of Osney or Oseney at the request of his wife, who wanted to atone for her past sins as Henry I's mistress. The Abbey was in Botley, near the present Oxford railway station, and briefly served as Oxford's cathedral between the Reformation and the building of Christ Church, whose famous bell, Great Tom, came from Osney. Robert gave part of the Water Stratford estate to the abbey.
1150: Henry, son of Robert
1168: Henry, son of Henry
1232: Thomas de Newburgh, sixth Earl of Warwick, nephew of Henry
1242: Margaret du Plessis, sister of Thomas
1263: Hugh du Plessis, stepson of Margaret
1292: Hugh du Plessis, son of Hugh. He gave some of his lands to Edward I and Water Stratford appeared among the assets of successive Princes of Wales until the concept of overlordship lapsed in the Civil War of 1642-51.
Turstin's successors took the name de Stratford. 'William lord of Stratford and William his son' were witnesses to a legal document in 1240, and one of them granted land here to Biddlesden Abbey around this time.
By 1346 a century of legal battles over the estate commenced:
c1346: John de Stratford died, leaving the estate to his widow Isabel and their three daughters.
1349: William de Stratford from a junior branch of the family wrested control of the manor from Isabel and was succeeded by his brother Thomas.
c1359: Thomas passed on the manor, possibly only in trust, to Sir John Giffard of Twyford, but the Giffards kept it for themselves, with Sir John's son Thomas and grandson Roger also being Lords of the Manor.
1398: Descendants of Isabel's daughters took legal action to recover the estate. It is not clear when they succeeded but Roger Giffard (d1409) and his son Thomas (d1469) certainly lost control at some point, though they retained some land here (one of several barn conversions in the village is called Giffard's Barn).
c1409: History repeated itself when another de Stratford entrusted the manor to John Barton who passed it on to his son, also John.
1433: John Barton junior died and passed the manor to trustees, who were again sued by descendants of Isabel's daughters.
By 1452 the manor passed to William Fowler of Lambard's Manor, Buckingham and then to his grandson Richard. After Richard it changed hands rapidly for twenty years:
1533: Richard's son John to his brother-in-law, Christopher Wescott of Ludgershall
1546: Westcott to Sir Edward North
c1548: North to William Humberston
1550: Humberston to John Frayne
1553: Frayne to John1 Frankish.
The Giffards, Bartons and Fowlers were all prominent families in the Buckingham area and probably never lived in the village, but the Frankish family were from Lincolnshire and almost certainly settled on their new estate in due course. Thus it seems likely that the de Stratfords and the Frankish/Edgerleys were the only Lords ever to live in the village, and the gap of over one hundred years between them may account for Anthony1 Frankish needing to build a new Manor House by 1598.
Three families owned the manor between 1553 and 1919:
1553: John1 Frankish
1554: Anthony1 Frankish, son of John
1615: Gerard Frankish, son of Anthony
c1620: Anthony2 Frankish, son of Anthony
c1625: John2 Frankish, son of Anthony
c1650: Frances Frankish, daughter of Anthony2 and daughter-in-law of John2, and her second husband Thomas Edgerley
1698: Thomas Winford of Glasshampton, Worcestershire
1702: Sir Thomas Cookes Winford, Bt, nephew of Thomas
1744: Thomas Geers Winford, MP for Hereford, nephew of Sir Thomas
c1760: Benjamin Hayes of Wimbledon
1793: Treby Hele Hayes of Delamore Hall, Cornwood, Devon, son of Benjamin
1837: Anne Frances Hayes, daughter of Treby, and her husband William Mackworth Praed
1862: Anne Elizabeth Praed, daughter of Anne and William, and her husband Rear Admiral George Parker
1904: Colonel William Frederic Parker, son of Anne and George
On 12th July 1919 the estate was auctioned in separate lots at the Swan and Castle Hotel in Buckingham, when several tenant farmers and others took the opportunity to buy their freehold.
Some of Water Stratford had been given to Luffield Priory and in the reign of Henry VII this was transferred to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, who thus gained the right of presentation to the church until the dissolution of religious houses at the Reformation (largely complete by 1541). In 1551 this land, together with that which had been given to Oseney Abbey, was transferred by Edward VI to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, who was a cousin of Catherine Parr and an important courtier under the last three Tudor monarchs, especially Elizabeth I. At his death in 1571 the 'Advowson' of Water Stratford passed to his son, Sir Arthur Throckmorton of Paulersbury, whose sister incurred the Queen's displeasure by secretly marrying Sir Walter Raleigh. The 'Patronage of the Rectory' then passed to the Temples of Stowe with the marriage of Sir Arthur's younger daughter, Anne, to Sir Peter Temple in 1614.
Anne died in 1620 and the Temple male line continued through Sir Peter's second wife, Christina Leveson. But Anne's daughter, Lady Anne Temple (1618-96), who became Viscountess Baltinglass, seems to have kept the right of presentation during her lifetime, after which it reverted to the male Temple line until about 1850. According to Myres, she presented John Mason in 1674, his predecessor in 1661 and his successor in 1694. He doesn't mention that she died in the Fleet Debtors Prison in 1696 and that the Earl of Ailesbury described her as 'a heap of flesh and brandy'!
The Advowson appears to have been sold by the Duke of Buckingham around 1850 when the family was heavily indebted. It passed to the Chawner family, from whom it was acquired in about 1877 by William Joseph Dewes Andrew, a solicitor who was the elder (and presumably richer) brother of the incumbent, Revd Edward George Andrew. It was bought from William's trustees in 1897 by the Revd Louis Ernest Goddard who, after his own retirement in 1921, presented the next four Rectors, and it is now held by the Diocese of Oxford.