Manor of Hall Fee

Historical notes about the Manor of Hall Fee in Elton, Huntingdonshire, UK


Hall Fee Manor

The so-called manor of HALL FEE may be identified as originating in the hide of land held of the Abbey of Ramsey by the family of Aylington, but it is difficult to fix the date when they obtained it. In a survey of the manor of Elton recording the tenants in the time of Henry I, no free-tenant held as much as a hide of land, the largest holding being the three virgates of Reiner son of Ednoth, nor does the hide appear in the survey probably made in the time of Abbot William (1160–1177). A Reynold de Aylington, however, appears as a witness of a charter of Abbot Walter (1133–60), and the same abbot granted two virgates of land, which Thuri, the priest, had held temp. Henry I, to Richard son of Reynold. A rent of 66s. 11d. at the close of the 14th century was described as 'the ancient rent sometime of Reynald de Ayllyngtone,' and it seems probable that Reynald was the first member of the family who can be identified. John, son of John de Aylington, held the hide of land in 1218–19, for which he did suit to the county and hundred and also twice a year to the Abbot of Ramsey's court of the Honour of Broughton. If, however, the king's writ was brought into the honour court, he did suit every three weeks. He and his tenants came to the view of frankpledge in Elton and he paid to the abbot as capitagium for his men 2s. a year, the separate payment of which is recorded on the court rolls until 1536. In 1230 John de Aylington obtained two virgates of land in Elton from Ralph son of Reynald, but this was probably a family settlement. From this time the hide of land was held by a John de Aylington until 1410, but it is impossible to separate the different tenants. From 1414 to 1425 the tenant was Oliver de Woderove and from 1429 to 1447 William Wolston.

The Arms of Sapcote.

Sable three dovecotes argent


In 1451 Richard Sapcote was the tenant, and at this time the holding seems to have been known as the Hall Fee or Hall Place. The Wolstons bore for their arms argent, three turnstiles (or reels) sable, and these were the arms of Sir Richard's wife, although the heraldry does not represent her as an heiress; she was Isabel, the widow of Sir John Frauncis, of Burley, Rutland, and died in 1493. As Sir Richard Sapcote, he was holding in 1473, and is said to have died in 1477. In 1495, when his son, Sir John Sapcote, was the tenant, the Hall Fee was first described as a manor. To his wife, Elizabeth, sister and co-heir of John, Lord Dinham, he left his manor and other property in Elton, for her life, with remainder to his son Richard, vesting it in trustees. At his death in 1501, Richard was a minor, betrothed to Alice or Anne, daughter of Sir Nicholas Vaux. He afterwards married Christian, daughter of Sir John Hungerford, who survived him. He died in 1542, directing in his will that he should be buried at Fotheringhay College, near to his grandfather, Sir Richard Sapcote. During the minority of his son and heir Robert, he left a moiety of his lands to the use of the king, but Elton had been settled on his wife for life. In 1573, Robert returned that he held the manor, 602 acres of arable land, 50 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture, for which he owed fealty and suit of court and paid an annual rent of 22s. 8d. and 2 capons. He had enlarged his park since 1574, by taking in certain copyhold lands by an exchange arranged with the tenants; he also obtained some of the lands formerly belonging to the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, besides holding the rectory estate on lease. He died 4 January 1600/1, and in 1601 his eldest daughter Eleanor and her husband Henry Sapcote of Bracebridge, Lincs, had succeeded him at Elton.

By 1609 the manor had passed to their daughter and heir, Elizabeth, and her husband, Sir Thomas Beaumont, of Cole Orton (Leics), although Henry Sapcote and Elizabeth were still living in 1617, when it was sold to Sir Nathaniel Riche. Its history for the next fifty years has not been traced, but by 1664 it belonged to Sir Thomas Proby, bart., who probably acquired it at the same time as the manor of Elton (q.v.). By 1668 he had rebuilt Elton Hall, the Sapcotes' house. In 1719, in the settlement made on the marriage of John Proby, senior, it is mentioned separately from the manor of Elton, as the 'manor or reputed manor of Aylton' in the counties of Huntingdon and Northampton.

In Domesday Book (1086) the Abbey of Ramsey held half a hide of land in Elton, in Northamptonshire, where there were two villeins. A few years later it was held by William Fitz-Ketelber(n), but it probably afterwards formed part of the Hall Fee of which part of the lands lay in Northamptonshire, as part of the park does to this day.

The Abbey of Peterborough also held land in Elton in Northamptonshire. In 1086 it held a hide and a half. In 1125 certain sokemen held one hide and one virgate there, and served with the knights of Peterborough. In 1290 Hugh son of Ralph Crane of Elton held a messuage and 60 acres in free socage of the abbey at a rent of 11s. 8d.

In 1086 there were two mills at Elton, rendering 40s. In Henry I's reign a virgate of land and 6.5 acres of meadow were attached to the mills, which rendered 40s. a year. The water-mills and their repair are continually mentioned in the manorial accounts and they were generally let on lease. In 1551 Edward VI granted them to George Raylton on a lease of 21 years at a rent of £6 13s. 4d. a year, but he seems to have assigned it to John Hixon, probably his brother-in-law. In 1556 Hixon left his lease of the mills to his son Thomas. In 1568 Queen Elizabeth granted them to Ralph Rawlinson, at the same rent, to hold for 21 years, beginning on the expiration of Raylton's lease, and in 1586 she granted them to Thomas Hickson, on a lease of 21 years, starting in 1593, on the expiration of Rawlinson's lease, and lastly she granted them to William Kirkham on a lease of 40 years, starting in 1614. In the meantime, however, Peter Proby appears to have obtained a lease of the mills from one of these lessees and held them in 1605 at the same rent, and continued to do so, although James I granted them in 1614 to William Whitmore and Edward Sawyer, fishing grantees, to hold to them, their heirs and assigns. A fulling-mill existed in 1296–7. In 1350 it was said to be in such disrepair that no rent was received for it.

Two common ovens belonged to the manor, one in Nether End opposite the manor house, the other in Over End.

In 1279 an agreement was made between the Abbots of Peterborough and Ramsey, by which in return for certain grants the Abbot of Peterborough agreed that the Abbot of Ramsey might hold a market on Mondays or Tuesdays at Elton, without any hindrance from the abbots of Peterborough. There is no evidence, however, that the market was ever established.

Victoria County History - Published 1932