The owners of the Manor of Water Stratford
1553 to 1919

The Frankish/Edgerley family, 1553 to 1698
Both John2 Frankish and Thomas Edgerley served as Sheriff of Buckinghamshire so we may assume that, unlike their successors, this family were not absentee landlords.  The presence of the Franckyshe Memorial in the church suggests the family were living in or near Water Stratford in 1629.  Many Frankish and Edgerley christenings were recorded in the village between 1598 and 1667 and two Frankish daughters were married in Water Stratford in the 1640s.  Indeed, the family seem to have continued to live here long after ceasing to be Lords of the Manor.  This coat-of-arms is a detail from the Franckyshe memorial but Robin Wilmington has kindly pointed out that the colours are completely wrong.  John Philpott's The Visitation of Buckinghamshire in 1634 gives the shield's quarters as '1st and 4th Vert a saltire engrailed Or, 2nd & 3rd Sable three combs, 2 and 1, Argent'.  In other words, a gold saltire on a green background and three silver combs (probably wool-combs) on a black ground.  Whether this discrepancy is due to fading or to someone repainting it incorrectly is lost in history.  The saltire is the Frankish coat-of-arms; the combs must come from a marriage to another armorial family.  Again we are indebted to Robin for finding that the Tunstall family carried these arms, so we are now looking for a Frankish/Tunstall marriage.  The Tunstalls came from near Lancaster and were rather more eminent than the Frankishes.

The Victoria County History of 1907 tells us: 'In 1550 Humberston granted his interest to John Frayne, who conveyed the manor in 1553 to John Frankish and Mary his wife.  John Frankish died in 1554, and Mary held Water Stratford till her death.  Their son and successor Anthony in 1605 settled the manor on his wife Grissel and his eldest son Gerrard.  Anthony died in 1615.  His son Gerrard died without issue before 1650 and was succeeded by his half-brother, Anthony Frankish, whose daughter and heir probably married Thomas Edgerley.  Thomas Edgerley was succeeded in 1659 by his grandson, also Thomas Edgerley, who in 1670 joined with his wife Frances and Anthony Frankish in a settlement of the manor.  Thomas Edgerley was Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1678.  In January 1698-9 he sold Water Stratford to Thomas Winford.'

This somewhat incoherent and inaccurate account, together with Philpott's Visitation, which shows the family trees of all the notable families in the county, suggests that the following members of the Frankish family were Lords of the Manor.

John1 Frankish d1554, m Mary Heydon
Mary Heydon/Frankish/Cornwall d1596, wife of John1, m 2 William Cornwall
Anthony1 Frankish 1540-1615, son of John1 & Mary, m 1 Dorothy Bellamy 2 Grisell Finch
Gerard Frankish, only son by Dorothy, dsp in Rome, possibly a Catholic novice or trainee priest
Anthony2 Frankish, eldest son by Grisell, m Anne Pool
John2 Frankish, second son by Grisellm 1 Mary Birtwistle (d1629) 2 Jane or Anne Oxley
Frances Frankish b1624, daughter of Anthony2 and daughter-in-law of John2, m 2 Thomas Edgerley

The Frankish family originated in Lincolnshire, but Anthony1 Frankish helped them populate Buckinghamshire too, siring three children with his first wife and twelve with his second.  Many of these children (John2 Frankish and his younger siblings) produced families in this area.  Anthony must have been responsible for the completion by 1598 of what is now called The Manor at the northern edge of the village.  This is rather an odd position, as the church and manor house are usually adjacent in mediaeval villages.  Maybe Anthony built on a greenfield site and the original manor house was at the southern end of the village, perhaps being demolished to make way for the Rectory which was built in the 1630s.  Since the Frankishes were probably the first 'Lords' to live here for many years, it may be that the original home of the de Stratfords had fallen into disuse or ruin.

In 1634/5, John2 Frankish served as Under Sheriff of Bucks, the High Sheriff at the time being Sir Peter Temple, the second baronet of the family that was to become a major political force from its base at Stowe, two miles north-east of Water Stratford.  It is reputed that John2, like John
who was also a Buckinghamshire man and the symbol of Aylesbury Vale (his statue in Aylesbury is pictured right), refused to pay Ship Money to Charles I.  In 1637 Hampden and other men of this county refused to pay the tax.  He was prosecuted by the Crown and gained a moral victory by only being found guilty by a majority of seven judges to five.  This was one of the steps on the way to the Civil War of 1642-51.  Sir Peter was unhappy about the Ship Money collection duties laid on him as High Sheriff and sent John2 Frankish to consult lawyers on the matter on his behalf, which probably gave rise to the legend that John2 refused to pay.  Sir Peter's grandson, Viscount Cobham, included Hampden's bust in Stowe's Temple of British Worthies in 1735.

John2 Frankish's heir, Alexander, married his first cousin Frances in Westbury on 5th July 1647.  She was the daughter of Anthony2 Frankish, is described by both Philpott and Victoria County History as his 'daughter and heir', and was the same age as Alexander, who must have died before his father.  The Anthony3 Frankish who settled the manor in 1670 was the son of Alexander and Frances, probably their only child, who was christened in Water Stratford on 7th December 1648.  Frances then had at least five children with Thomas Edgerley, all christened here between 1654 and 1667.  The youngest, Roger, was described as 'Gentleman of Water Stratford' at his death in 1700 and the eldest, Thomas, belatedly married Sarah Buckingham here on 22nd September 1708, their son, another Roger, being christened on 28th November 1708.  After Thomas died, Sarah married Henry Markham of neighbouring Tingewick in the village on 16th February 1723.

All this suggests that the Frankish/Edgerley connection with the village long outlasted its sale to Thomas Winford and that they may have become his tenants or agents or both.  Indeed the name Markham (perhaps coincidentally) continued to have associations in the area until modern times, with a notable and still-lamented hardware store of that name in Buckingham and Sir Frank Markham being Buckingham's MP from 1951 to 1964. 

The Winford family, 1698 to c1760
Thomas Winford of Glasshampton, Worcestershire bought the manor from the Edgerleys in 1698 and from then on there is no indication of the owners living in the village or even the county.  He was made a baronet in 1702 and died the same year, being succeeded by his nephew, also Thomas, who became Sir Thomas Cookes Winford (1673-1744) under the terms of the will of his maternal uncle, Sir William Cookes Bt (1648-1701) which made him his heir on condition that he changed his name.  Sir William funded the creation of Bromsgrove School in 1693 and his will allowed the founding of Worcester College, Oxford in 1714.  In 1744 the estate again passed to a nephew, Thomas Geers Winford, who was MP for Hereford.  Victoria County History states that 'on his death it was sold to Benjamin Hayes before 1813', but this is very misleading as Thomas Geers Winford died in 1753 and Benjamin Hay(e)s in 1793.  So all we know is that the estate changed hands sometime between 1753 and 1793, probably nearer the earlier date.

The Hays/Praed/Parker family, c1760 to 1919
Benjamin Hay(e)s died in Wimbledon, which was where his son and heir, Treby Hele Hays, was born.  But Treby (1764-1837) inherited Delamore Hall, Cornwood, Devon from his mother, Anne Treby, and this was the base of all the owners of the Water Stratford estate thereafter (the Treby coat of arms is shown left).  Treby's only son, Benjamin, was drowned at Windsor Weir in the Thames in 1814 while bathing with other boys of Eton College.  So the estate passed from Treby to his daughter, Anne Frances (1796-1870) and her husband, William Mackworth Praed, a barrister and magistrate whose younger brother Winthrop (1802-1839) was a celebrated politician (MP for Aylesbury at his death) and poet (the poetry society at Eton is still called the Praed Society).  In 1862 the estate was left to their only daughter, Anne Elizabeth (1832-95), who married Rear Admiral George Parker (son of Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Parker, one of Nelson's captains) in 1857.  On his death in 1904 it was inherited by their son, later known as Colonel William Frederic Parker (1860-1941), who sold most of the estate, around 1,000 acres, as separate lots in the great sale of 12th July 1919, though the Old School was given to 'the incumbent and churchwardens' in the late 1930s.