Henley and Henley Hall
The Dameron-Damron ties with Suffolk County, England, have been frequently discussed. References to Dameron-Damron ownership of Henley Hall have become rather common. Although no proof has been discovered that definitely connects Lawrence Dameron with this group, circumstantial evidence does seem to indicate that he possibly did originate from Suffolk County, probably from the Ipswich vicinity. Below is the extracted text of a section of The Manors of Suffolk, published in England in 1905-1911, that provides a history of Henley and Henley Hall. The complete text of the section appears here as it was published except that the Dameron and Damron names are shown in bold print. Yes, the name appears in both spellings.
Note: A glossary of some of the more obscure words that are used follows the body of the extracted text.
In the time of King Edward the Confessor a manor was held here by Uluric, a freeman, who had a carucate of land and 70 acres. Attached to this manor were 2 bordars, 2 ploughteams in demesne, 1 belonging to the tenants, 4 acres of meadow, 3 rouncies, 2 beasts, 10 hogs, and 40 sheep. Also a church with 8 acres, valued altogether at 40s. By the time of the Domesday Survey, the value had increased to 48s., the manor being then held by Roger of Walter the Deacon, and the King and the Earl having the soc. The details of the belongings of the manor had considerably varied, for at the time of the Survey there were 6 bordars, 3 beasts, 2 hogs, and 43 sheep, but one less ploughteam in demesne. There were also held by Walter the Deacon, 6 freemen with 36 acres, 1 plough team in place of 1 1/2 employed earlier, of which the value was 7s., as against the valuation in Saxon days of 6s. 8d. This also Roger held of Walter the Deacon. A second manor was included in the possessions of this Walter the Deacon. It had been held in the Confessor’s time by Swaine, a freeman, with 40 acres. There was 1 ploughteam, together with 1 bordar. The earlier valuation was 10s., but by the time of the Survey the value had risen to 18s. This Walter the Deacon held in demesne. 1t (whatever this referred to) was one league in length and half a league in breadth, and it paid in a gelt 20d. Both of this last manor and the preceding holding the King and the Earl had the soc.
A third manor was held in the Confessor’s time by Tepekin, a freeman under commendation to Harold, and consisted of 2 carucates. There were 16 bordars, 4 serfs, 3 ploughteams in demesne and 4 belonging to the tenants, 8 acres of meadow, wood sufficient for 6 hogs, 7 beasts, 14 hogs, and 30 sheep. To the church appertained 2 acres. The whole was valued at £4. At the time of the Great Survey this manor was held by Eudo the Steward in his demesne of Roger de Oburville the tenant in chief, and the value had decreased to £3. The serfs by this time seem to have disappeared, and there was a ploughteam less in demesne, and also one less belonging to the tenants. To this manor 4 freemen having 8 acres and a team of 2 oxen valued at 2s. were added, and of these the King and the Earl had the soc.
There were also in this place a few small holdings. Robert Malet held a freeman under commendation to Stanwin with 3 acres under Harold, valued at 8d. This at the time of the Survey was held by Humfrey. Humfrey held of Robert Malet 3 acres which had formerly been held by a freeman under commendation to Stanwin under Harold, valued at 8d. The soc was in the abbot. In the possessions of Roger de Poictou was a freeman holding 6 acres, valued at 12d., of which holding the soc was in the King; and a freewoman with half an acre valued at 1d. of which holding the soc was in the King and the Earl. The Abbot of Ely held a freeman by commendation and soc, having half an acre, valued at 1d.
Finally, amongst the lands of Isaac, the Domesday tenant in chief, were 16 acres of free land in Henley, but belonging to Hemingstone, and included in its valuation.
The three manors in Henley must at a very early date have gone into two or merged into one, for it is not quite clear whether there were not two manors here in the middle of the 17th century. Roger de Oburville seems to have been the chief lord in the time of William the Conqueror, though Davy assigns this position to Roger de Poictou. In the time of King John the Bishop of Norwich must have had a considerable holding in Henley, as he had then a grant from the Crown of the view of frankpledge and assize of bread and ale. The Bishop no doubt exercised manorial rights, and in 1307 we find a grant of free warren to the prior of Holy Trinity, Norwich.
The Davy MSS. state that John Sturmyn held the manor, and that in 1239 the same passed to his son and heir, Robert Sturmyn, also that in 1259 John de Weyland was lord, and had a grant of free warren here. The lordship seems to have belonged later to the Honor of Eye, for it was included in the grant made of this by King Edw. III. to his brother, John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, who died without issue. Amongst the Ministers’ Accounts in the Public Record Office for 10 Edw. III. will be found the Commissioner and Receivers’ Accounts of land there stated to be “late of John, Earl of Cornwall,” in Henley.
The manor subsequently became vested in Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh, for he obtained a charter of free warren in 1349 to himself, his wife, and their heirs, and on his death the manor passed to his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, wife of Edward Despencer. A fine was levied of the Manor of “Henley Hall, in 1546 by William Dameron and others against Thomas Sekford and others, but the following year there appears to have been a grant by letters patent of confirmation by the King, and an Act of Parliament vesting the manor in the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, and amongst the Additional Charters in the Brit. Mus. will be found a Lease granted in 1567 by the said Dean and Canons both of the manor and the advowson to Thomas Gooche.
Amongst the Exchequer Depositions are particulars of four different suits respecting the manor and the advowson, all of which show that the Dean and Canons were interested. The first was taken at Henley in 1611-12 in a suit betewen [sic] Daniel Heron and John Maplesden respecting the manor, parsonage, vicarage, and tithes, and in it is mentioned an agreement between the Monastery of Norwich and Thomas Gooch touching the tithes.
The second was taken at Codenham in 1621 in a suit between the same Daniel Heron and the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Norwich, and others. It related to the town and vicarage, the manor and the tithes, and these are stated to have been the possessions of the late monastery of Norwich. Sir Richard Sorrell, John Maplesden, and Richard Hutchinson, vicars, are mentioned.
The third was taken also at Codenham the same year in a suit between the said Daniel Heron and Andrew Sorrell; and the fourth was also taken at Codenham in 1634 in a suit between the said Dean and Chapter and Jeremias Catlyn and others respecting the manor and parsonage of Henley and rectory of Barham, and deals with meets, bounds, and perambulations, and also encroachment tithes, and right of way. It is in view of what has been said above that we are inclined to think there must have been two manors in Kenley, for it is clear that the existing manor was vested in William Dameron at the time of his decease in 1558, when it passed to his son and heir, John Dameron.
This family had long been settled at Henley for we find amongst the wills of residents here proved at Ipswich between 1444 and 1455, the will of Galfridus Damron, and that of John Damron.
They certainly had the hall, known as “Henley Hall.” Edward Dameron seems to have succeeded John. He married Margery, daughter of Judge Clench, of Holbrook. Edmund, their son, sold the manor and hall to Ralph Meadows, a younger son of William Meadows, of Witnesham, in 1630. Meadows, who was one of the chief constables of the Hundred of Bosmere and Claydon, and had an estate of about £200 a year, married Mary, daughter of Robert Denny, of Stonham Parva, and died in 1679. John Meadows held the manor about 1750, and married Mary, eldest daughter of Francis Brooke, of Kersey Priory. He died, and was buried at Henley, 4th July, 1760, when the manor passed to his son and heir, John Meadows, of Henley Hall, who in 1774 obtained an Act of Parliament enabling him to take the surname and arms of Theobald pursuant to the will of his aunt, Elizabeth Theobald, widow.
He was High Sheriff for Suffolk in 1787, and married Elizabeth, daughter of James Morgan, of Hemingstone. In 1776 another Act was passed to amend the former, and also to enable John Meadows, eldest son of the said John (then John Meadows Theobald) and the heirs of his body to take the said surnamne and bear the arms of Theobald.
John Meadows Theobald the elder died 2qth April, 1788, when John Meadows Theobald, his son, succeeded. He was a Deputy Lieutenant and magistrate for the county of Suffolk, and married 1st Mary, daughter of William Snell, of Needham Market, who died without issue; and 2ndly, Mary Penelope, widow of Thomas Barstone, Capt. in the service of the East India Company, and daughter of William Strutt, of Sudbury, by whom he had issue a son and a daughter. He died at Claydon Hall, 4th May, 1830, in his 82nd year, when his only son, the Rev. John Meadows Theobald, succeeded him. In 1885 Mrs. Catherine Theobald held the manor. Henley Hall is now the residence and property of Mrs. Arthur Wolfe.
Arms of MEADOW: Sa., a chevron Erm. betw. 3 pelicans with wings endorsed. Or.
- Advowson was the right to present a cleric to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice. A valued source of patronage, such rights often came as part of a fief, though it could be granted on its own.
- Beasts referred to cattle.
- Bordars were smallholding cottagers of lesser standing than villiens (the highest class of dependent peasantry, often holding between 30 – 100 acres) but better off than cottars (lowest of the main groupings of peasants in doomsday. They had 4 acres or less of land to farm).
- A carucate was a land measurement used in the eastern counties of England that had been settled by the Danes; the equivalent of a hide, about. 120 acres.
- Desmesne was the highest class of dependent peasantry, often holding between 30 – 100 acres. They were below Sokemen.
- Frankpledge was a system to preserve law and order that consisted of making members of a household or small village (above the age of 12) all responsible for one another’s behavior.
- Gelt referred to Anglo-Saxon but may refer to Dane Geld (gold).
- Money: The common currency in England in the late middle ages was the Pound consisting of a pound of silver which was divided into 20 shillings (20s.) or 240 pence (240d.). One penny equaled two half-pence or four farthings. Thus, for example, £1 11s. 6d. was the equivalent in decimal terms of £1.575.
- A plough team was assessed as 8 oxen per team – however this varied from area to area dependent on the harshness of the land.
- A rouncy was a riding horse.
- A Soc, or soke, and sokeland was land attached to a central manor for the payment of dues and for judicial purposes. The Sokelands were often large in size and may be of very old origin.