Archive:Castles of Herefordshire

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Rev. Charles John Robinson, A History of the Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman and Co., 1869).

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[pp. 91, Kinnersley Castle]

... it was sold to Francis Smallman, a cadet of the Elton family of that name, who, after serving as M.P. for Leominster, in 1620, died at Kinnersley in 1633. His son, by his second marriage, succeeded him and married a daughter of that gallant cavalier Sir Robert Whitney, who, surviving her husband, remarried John Booth of Letton, "an old royalist and a zealous lover of the Church of England." (Mon. Ins. in Cathedral.) Kinnersley passed with Lucy elder daughter and co-heir of William Smallman to her husband James Pytts of Kyre, co. Worcester.


[pp. 135-136]

WHITNEY CASTLE

WE are unwillingly compelled to imitate the Danish writer on the Natural History of Iceland whose Chapter on Snakes Dr. Johnson was able to quote because it consisted only of the words "There are no snakes in the whole island." Of Whitney Castle we can say little more than that there is no trace of a castle there now, but tradition asserts that beneath the river, which changed its course in the year 1730, are still to be seen masses of masonry which might have belonged to such a structure. Certain it is that as late as 1675 the tower of a castle was, if not in existence, at least in the memory of those who had dwelt beside it. (Blount's MS.) No less certain is it that the place was the seat of a most ancient family which derived its name from it and flourished for some 500 years, yielding in nearly every generation one or more members of eminence.

The Whitneys, like the Lingens, trace their descent from Turstin the Fleming who held both Pencomb and Whitney, and being the mesne lords of both places took their surname from the latter. Eustachius de Whitney had a grant of free warren in Whitney in the year 1283 (Rot. Turr. 12 Edw. I) and in 1306 was knighted.

"From him descended cross-legg'd knights,
Fam'd for their faith and warlike fights
Against the bloody cannibal,
Whom they destroyed both great and small.

and they could point to their arms--(azure a cross checky, or and sable) as a proof, which Hudibras did not possess, of the part they had taken in the Holy Wars. Robert Whitney was Sheriff of the county in 1377 and like his father Eustace and more than one of his descendants, was also Knight of the Shire. The family intermarried with the Audleys, Baskervilles, Vaughans, Lucys of Charlecote, and other well-known stocks, but the fate of the main line was no uncommon one. Sir Robert Whitney, its representative at the time of the civil war, was a devoted royalist and sacrificed much of his property in the service of the king. Symonds says that his estate was worth £1000 a year, but before his death in 1653 the valuable lands in Pencomb had been sold and, by the decease of his only son without issue, the name became extinct and the family property was divided amongst his daughters and co-heirs. One of these, Anne, the wife of Thomas Rodd, of Moreton Jeffreys, appears to have purchased her sister's shares, but as her only son, Robert Rodd, of Foxley, died also without male issue (in 1681) the estate of Whitney devolved on his second daughter, Ann Sophia, who married William Wardour, Clerk of Appeals. His two sons, William Wardour, M.P. and Col. Tomkyns Wardour (of kin to the ancient family of Tomkyns of Monnington and Garnstone) successively enjoyed it and by the latter it was bequeathed to his godson Tomkyns Dew, the grandfather of the present proprietor.


[Appendix, p. i]

Almeley.--Appendix I.

The connection of the Oldcastles with Almely and its neighbourhood is sufficiently proved by the following references:- Cal. Rol. Pat. 7 Hen. VI. Pro Henrico de Oldecastell fil. Et haer. Johis de Oldecastell, militis, Domini de Cobham, de manerio de Almeley ac aliis terros &c., in qua continetur totus processus ac attinctura dicti Johis. Ibid. 10 Hen. VI. Pro eodem de codem man. Ac de diversis aliis terries et tenem’in com. Heref. Ibid. 19 Hen. VI. Rex conc. Walt Devereux in foedo tres acras prati in Webbeley nuper Joh. Oldecastell mil. Att.

The pedigree of Oldcastell of Oldcastell as given in the Heraldic Visitation of the county in 1589 is as follows:--

                   Peter Oldcastell
                          |
                   John Oldcastell
                          |
                   Sir Richard Oldcastell
  ________________________|________________________________________________________
 |                                                                                 |
Sir John Oldcastell      Thomas Oldcastell = dau. and heir      Catherine = Thomas Bromwich
  Lord Cobham                2nd son       | of Pembridge.
              _____________________________|_________________________
             |                                                       |
            Elizabeth = Walter Hackluit                            Jane = Whitney
                           of Yetton.

To this we may add on the authority of an old MS. in Dr. Coningsby's collections (penes Rev. A. Clive) that John Merbury of Webley esq. in 1418 held the manor of Eton (apparently in right of his wife Alice Pembridge) for life, with remainder to Richard Oldcastle, son of the said Alice by her first husband, Thomas Oldcastell.

Among the issues of the Exchequer, 5 Hen. IV., 27 Feb., is a grant of £10 to John Merbury "for the good and grateful service by him bestowed and to be bestowed upon the Lord the Ling; and also because that he married Alice Oldcastle of the county of Hereford."


[Appendix, pp. iii-iv, Bredwardine]

Common Roll. Easter 3. Ph & Mary [1557] role 410.

Hereford. John Vaughan Esq. & Milo Whitney gent. versus Watkin Vaughan Esq. & Joan his wife. The Manors of Cusoppe, Bradwardyn, Grove, Mochaas, & Allmaley* with app & 20 messuages 200a of land 604 of meadow 200a of pasture 40a of wood & 100a of furse & £5 of rent in Cusoppe Bradwardyn Dorsston Mockaas Allmaley Maddelay Kyngston Droxton (Thruxton) Kenchirche Kenerdisley & Letton.

John Mile recorder.

________

'* This was probably a subdivision of the Manor of Almeley, and perhaps derived through the marriage of Whitney with Oldcastle. (See Appendix I., ante.)


Copyright © 2006, 2007 Robert L. Ward, Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq., and the Whitney Research Group

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