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value in William's reign, having in Edward the Confessor's reign been valued at £6, which gives good evidence of the depreciation of land consequent on the upheaval caused by the Conquest. This £6 is generally calculated as equivalent to about £200 of our money, for which speculators of the present day would no doubt be ready enough to buy the property.
William Fitz Ansculf had little personal connection with his manor of "Stoches Ditton," being lord of sixteen manors in this county, twelve in Berkshire, and sixty-eight elsewhere, while his principal seat was at Dudley, in Worcestershire.
His daughter Beatrice married Fulk Paganell, of a family that owned many manors in the county, and built a castle and founded an abbey at Newport Pagnell. Hawse Paganell married one John de Somerie about 1200, and in the family of the latter the manor remained for eight generations until 1322.
Meanwhile, the occupiers of the land had connected themselves more closely with the history of the place; for from it the tenants from 1086 to 1291—the family of one Walter—took their name, calling themselves de Stokes. In the fourteenth century the manor gradually gained its present name. In 1291 the name of Poges first occurs, and in 1322 the place is for the last time called Stoke Ditton. About 1291 Amicia de Stoke married Robert Pogis, who owed his name probably to a village Poges on the coast of Normandy, near where the Black Prince was knighted; and thus the tenancy passed out of the Stoke family. Of the latter, one member, Hugh, may be mentioned, who
in 1106 granted the tithes of the place to the Abbey of St. Mary Overy, in Southwark, of which mention is made in the history of the church.
Robert Pogis appears as a knight of the county for Edward I.'s Parliament; but being prevented by some illness from serving, he was compelled to send a substitute in the person of Gerard de Braybrooke. Although never sheriff, he was a man of importance, and held two manors in Kent, one in Oxfordshire, and probably that of Arrington, in Cambridgeshire.
In 1331 a new era began for the manor. Having passed out of the possession of the de Somerie family in 1322, it was held for nine years by some unknown. It then came into the hands of Sir John de Molines, who made it his abode. The Pogis family vanishes into oblivion before the splendour of the new possessors. The two families were, however, distantly connected, Margaret Pogis having married John Maudit, the cousin of Sir John Molines' wife Egidia.
Sir John held a high place among Edward III.'s nobles. He was made, in 1331, a gentleman of the privy chamber; in 1335 created a knight banneret, and granted the manor of Ludgershall, in Bucks. As falconer to the king he held the manors of Aston and Ilmere. He was seized suddenly in 1340 for some unknown cause, and thrown into prison, while all his lands were forfeited to the king. Six years later he was restored to favour, and in 1347 created a peer of the realm, and summoned as a baron to Parliament. In 1352 he was made supervisor of the queen's castles. The last notice of him is in a complaint made to Parliament in 1353 for the enormous fines which he levied, after which he disappears from history, probably to die in prison ; for his death remains as deep a mystery as the beautiful tomb he built in the church which he founded. His career is typical of many in that age, when men rose often—like Wolsey at a later time-only to fall as deep.
The manor in his time included Datchet, Fulmer, part of Burnham, and Cippenham. He obtained the right to erect a gallows in the manors, of which he had twenty in different parts of the country, to judge all malefactors himself, and to seize all goods of felons within his domains, and to regulate assizes of ale and bread at Stoke. Of the castellated manor which he erected there nothing remains; it was probably removed to make way for the present Elizabethan house.
The ancestor of Sir John Molines, Guiscard Lord Molines, had come over from France with Henry I., and was probably connected with the Lancashire family of the same name and origin.
The Lady Egidia died in 1367, and the property passed to her son William, and from him to Richard Molines in 1381. The last of the name was killed in 1428, while defending a bridge against a sortie during the siege of Orleans, having held the manor for forty years.
On his death the manor came into the possession of Robert Lord Hungerford, who married his daughter Alianore de Molines. She, with her father and mother, Sir William and Lady Margaret de Molines, lie buried within the sanctuary of the church.
The Hungerford family was deeply engaged in the Wars of the Roses. Lord Robert fought for Queen Margaret at Towton and Wrexham, flying after the former battle with the royal family to Scotland, and after the latter being beheaded at Newcastle, and buried in all probability at Salisbury.
Alianore, whom Edward committed to the care of Lady Wenlock, afterwards married Sir Oliver Manningham. Meanwhile, Stoke had been sequestrated; nor was it recovered until the time of Mary, the only daughter of Sir Thomas Hungerford, the son of Lady Alianore, who had been beheaded at Shrewsbury in 1467
Mary married Edward, son of William Lord Hastings, in 1480, and received back all the huge Hungerford estates. One of his ancestors, William, had been steward to Henry II. ; while his father, Baron of Ashby-de-la-Zouche, had a share in the murder of Prince Edward at Tewkesbury, and left provision for a thousand priests to say a thousand masses on one day for his soul.
On the death of Lord Edward, Mary married Sir Richard Sacheverell, an ancestor of the more famous doctor of Queen Anne's reign, and settled the estate upon him at her death. Both lie buried in St. Mary's Church, Newark. Sir Richard and his stepson George both signed the letter written to urge Pope Clement to greater expedition in the matter of King Henry VIII.'s divorce. George was, in 1529, created first
Earl of Huntingdon by Henry VIII., doubtless for his service in that “great matter"; and we find him still a faithful servant to the king in 1536, when he was sent to aid the Earl of Shrewsbury to quell the dangerous revolts in the North caused by the ruthless suppression of monasteries. The fall of Anne Boleyne, a few years later, gave this time-serving lord a fresh opportunity for displaying his ready pliancy, and he was one of the peers who condemned her. He died in 1544, and was buried, as is shown by his son's will, in the Hastings chapel of Stoke Church.
He left three daughters and five sons, the eldest of whom, Francis (the second Earl), was a privy counsellor of Edward VI., and later a strong supporter of Lady Jane Grey. But when the storm burst over the heads of that party he wisely bent to it, securing his safety by a marriage with the niece of Reginald Pole. He died in 1561, and was buried at Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
Sir Edward Hastings (the third son of George Earl of Huntingdon), however, is a person of far greater interest to us, as the founder of the hospital and builder of the Hastings chapel. Unlike his brother, he was a staunch supporter of the Roman cause, and, consequently, in high favour with Queen Mary, by whom he was created a Knight of the Garter and Lord Hastings of Loughborough in 1557. His brother Francis had been made a knight of the same order by Edward VI., and was busy proclaiming Lady Jane Grey, while his more fortunate brother was raising 4000 men in Bucks against the Earl of Northumber