Reputed manor of Henwick

Was Henwick a manor? One question I get asked and it is complicated. In short yes there is a Henwick manor, but should there have been one?

Background

Thatcham was a manor but in the late 13th century, it is thought, a charter of incorporation was granted making a borough. Thus there were two manors. To reduce confusion between the two manors, the Thatcham manor (country manor) became known as "the manor of Thatcham, otherwise Henwick" and the borough (town manor) as "the manor of the borough of Thatcham."

So any early mention of Henwick manor, before c.1548, refers to the manor of Thatcham, otherwise Henwick. This is easy enough.

In the old documents, Henwick is not mentioned as a separate manor or even as a sub-manor of Thatcham, but as one of the districts comprised within the manor of Thatcham. In other words Henwick is an area (hamlet or tithing) within Thatcham. Indeed tithings are noted for Henwick and Henwick Parsonage (a church house provided for a member of the clergy).

The Winchcombe Family

In the 1500s the Winchcombe family were lords of both manors and lands passed down through the generations. In c.1548 Barfield notes Winchcombes state "Henwick parcel of the manor of Thatcham." A further reference says there is an estate at Henwick that includes "the mansion there known as the Manor House, and lands extending to Ashmore Green, Cold Ash Common, and Burton's Heath. This estate was afterwards known as the manor of Henwick."

In 1596 there is the first reference in the Winchcombe documents to the manor of Henwick. Shortly after documents mention the "manors of Bucklebury, Thatcham, and Henwick, as also the borough of Thatcham." So it seems that the Winchcombe family insisted it was a separate manor.

The estate at Henwick was later, c.1669, sold eventually passing to Sir Jemmet Raymond. General Waring came to own Thatcham Manor and thus in the early 1700s a dispute broke out between Raymond and Waring as to the existence of Henwick manor. Raymond believed he owned the manor of Henwick and was such Lord of the Manor. Waring claimed there was no such manor, only the "manor of Thatcham, otherwise Henwick" and as such Raymond had no claim. This dispute went to the Court of Chancery, the court found in favour of Raymond. However the evidence presented was lacking and the only items of evidence noting Henwick manor were Court Rolls but only for 1735, 1736 and 1737. And so Henwick manor became confirmed in the court.

In 1807 Henwick manor was sold to Mr. William Mount who already owned the manor of Thatcham and so the manors were rejoined.

Is Henwick a manor?

As noted above it was confirmed in court and so yes Henwick is a manor. However there is still debate around the topic and it would appear that Henwick was grouped as an area by Winchcombe and labeled a manor. Was Winchcombe and Raymond just calling their house and estate a manor or had it actually become a manor? For that they would have had to held a court and the only records of that are during the years of the disput. Coincidence?

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