Samuel Rudder was a Gloucestershire topographer, printer and antiquarian who was born in Uley and baptised there in 1726. He ran a printing and bookselling business in Cirencester in the 1750’s and wrote and published several important works on the history of Gloucestershire. ‘A New History of Gloucestershire 1779’ includes historical accounts of various towns in Gloucestershire. It was compiled from printed questionnaires, which Rudder said made him very troublesome to his friends. He also used the research of other people including Sir Robert Atkyns who wrote ‘The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire’ in 1712. Samuel’s work was well received by critics and Horace Walpole described it as ‘the most sensible history of a county that we have yet’. It had taken 12 years to complete.
For the purposes of this website, we have extracted that section of Rudder’s document which relates to Thornbury and the surrounding villages and then divided the transcription into separate pages covering different aspects of the historical account. The following text is a transcription of part of Samuel’s document as it relates to Thornbury Manor.
Of the Manor and other Estates
The following abstract from Domesday stands under the title Terra Regis:
‘Brictric the son of Algar held Turneberie in Langelei hundred. In the time of king Edward there were eleven hides, and four plow-tillages in demean, and forty-two villeins, and eighteen radchenisters, with twenty-one plow-tillages; and twenty-four boardars, and fifteen servi, and four coliberti. There were two mills of 6s 4d a wood a mile long, and a mile broad. There was a market of 20s. The steward hath now added a mill there of 8d.
This manor was queen Maud’s. Hunfrid paid 50l for it by tale. In this manor is a meadow of 40s and at Wiche, forty sextaries of salt, or 20d and the fishery of Gloucester, 58d. Domesday p. 68.
The manor of Thornbury descended like that of Tewkesbury, and the honour of Gloucester, ‘till it came into the possession of Ralph lord Stafford, in right of his wife Margaret, sole daughter and heiress to Hugh de Audley, earl of Gloucester.
The above Ralph lord Stafford was descended from Roger de Toeni, who was standard-bearer of Normandy, and descended from Malahulctus, uncle to Rollo duke of Normandy. Robert, a younger son of Roger, was founder of the abbey of Conches. Nicholas Toeni was son of Robert, and another Robert, son of Nicholas, came into England with king William the First, who rewarded him with one hundred and thirty-one manors, whereof eighty-one were in Staffordshire. He was also made governor of a castle in Stafford, and thence he assumed the name of Stafford. He married Avice de Clare, and lies buried at Stone in Staffordshire, where he had founded a priory for canons regular, of the order of St Augustin.
Nicholas de Stafford, son and heir of Robert, was high sheriff of Staffordshire in the reign of king Henry the First, and was buried with Maud his wife in the monastery of Stone. Robert de Stafford, son and heir of Nicholas, was also high sheriff of Staffordshire from the 2d to the 6th year of king Henry the Second. He likewise was buried at Stone, and left a son named Robert, who died without issue, whereby Milisent, sister to this last Robert, became his heir.
Which Milisent was married to Hervey Bagot, of an ancient family in the same county, who, in her right, succeeded to the barony of Stafford. Hervey Bagot, son and heir of Hervey and of Milisent, assumed the name of his mother, which was the custom of those times, when the mother was a considerable heiress. He married Petronilla, sister to William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, and died 21H.3. A third Hervey de Stafford, son of the last, succeeded to the barony and estate, but dying without issue, his brother, Robert lord Stafford, became his heir, and had livery granted to him of all his brother’s lands 25 H.3. He married Alice, one of the coheirs of Thomas Corbet, of Caus in Shropshire, and dying 10 E.1. was buried with his ancestors at Stone.
Edmond lord Stafford, son of Robert, married Margaret, daughter of Ralph lord Basset, of Draiton, whereby the estate of the Basset family, for want of heirs male, descended afterwards to the Staffords. e died 2 E.2. and was buried in the monastery of the Friers Minors in Stafford.
Ralph lord Stafford, son of Edmond, was nine years old at his father’s death. He had livery of his paternal estate 17 E.2. and became eminent in military employments. He married Margaret, the daughter and heir of Hugh de Audley, earl of Gloucester, and was created earl of Stafford. He died seized of the manors of Thornbury and Rencombe in right of his wife, 46 E.3. and was buried at Tunbridge in Kent. Ralph his eldest son had married Maud, daughter of Henry de Lancaster, earl of Derby, but died without issue before his father.
Hugh earl of Stafford, surviving son and heir of Ralph and Margaret de Audley, was twenty-eight years old at the death of his father, whom he succeeded in title and estate. He followed the wars in France and Scotland, and married Philippa, daughter of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Dying at Rhodes, in his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 9 R.2. his body was brought into England, and buried at Stone. He died seized of Thornbury, with its members, Oldbury, Kington, Morton, Falfield and Mares, and of the manors of Rendcombe and Estington and was succeeded by his son.
Thomas earl of Stafford, who married Anne, the daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, by his wife Eleanor, eldest daughter and coheiress of Humphry de Bohun, earl of Hereford. But this Thomas died before he could consummate the marriage, and was buried at Stone 16 R.2. whereby his brother William, who was his next heir, succeeded to the title and estates; but he died unmarried 18 R.2.
Edmond earl of Stafford was brother and heir to William, and by special licence from the king, he married Anne, his brother Thomas’s widow, with whom he had the manor of Wheatenhurst. He was slain at the battle of Shrewsbury, fighting for king Henry the Fourth against Hotspur, son of Henry earl of Northumberland, 4 H.4. and was buried in the Augustine friery at Stafford. He died seized of Thornbury, with its members aforesaid, and of the manors of Rendcombe and Wheatenhurst, and of the castle of Caldecot in Gloucestershire. The countess Anne, his relict, died 17 H.6. and was buried at the priory of Lanthony, near Gloucester.
Humphry earl of Stafford, son and heir of Edmond, was very young at his father’s death, and married Anne, daughter of Ralph Nevil earl of Westmoreland. He was governor of Calais, and was created duke of Buckingham 23 H.6. A dispute arising concerning precedency between him and Henry Beauchamp, duke of Warwick, it was decided by act of parliament, and ordered, that these two dukes should take precedency by turns, one one year, the other the next; and that precedency should be given to such of the posterity of each as should first have livery of their lands. He was slain at the battle of Northampton 38 H.6. wherein king Henry the Sixth was taken prisoner.
Humphry earl of Stafford was the eldest son of Humphry duke of Buckingham. He married Margaret, daughter and coheir of Edmond duke of Somerset, and was slain at the battle of St Albans, in his father’s life-time.
Henry duke of Buckingham, son of Humphry earl of Stafford, and grandson of Humphry duke of Buckingham, succeeded his grandfather in honour, and in the manor of Thornbury. Being under age at his grandfather’s death, he was in ward to the king, and the care of his education was assigned to Anne, dutchess of Exeter, the king’s sister. He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Wodeville, earl of Rivers. He was highly instrumental in king Richard the Third’s unjustly obtaining the crown, and afterwards, thro’ remorse of conscience, took up arms against him, and being taken, he was beheaded at Salisbury 1 R.3. without any judicial proceedings. A proclamation had been issued, offering a thousand pounds reward to whomever should apprehend the duke, which tempted Humphry Bannister, his servant, to betray him; but he went without reward, for king Richard said That he who would betray so good a master would be false to all others. This, however, was no justification for the king’s breaking his faith. Richard’s morals and politics were equally bad, and as by this instance of his conduct he appeared to be one that could not be relied on, so very few would have entered into his service on future occasions.
Edward duke of Buckingham was son of the last Humphry. He had livery of his lands 14 H.7. and obtained a licence to impark a thousand acres of land in Thornbury 2 H.8. He married Alianora, daughter of Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. The king conceived a jealously of him for some very hot and indiscreet expressions, for which he was tried by his peers upon an accusation of high treason, and found guilty; and disdaining to ask his life, was beheaded 13 H.8. The principal witness against him was Charles Knevet, whom he had discharged of his service at the clamour of his tenants. His haughty spirit, and contemptuous carriage towards cardinal Wolsey, contributed to his ruin. The duke was presenting the bason on his knees for the king to wash his hands after dinner, and when the king had done, and was turned away, the cardinal sportingly dipt his hand in the bason whilst the duke was on his knees. The duke resented it as an affront, and rising up, poured the water into the cardinal’s shoes. The ecclesiastic was nettled in his turn, and threatened the duke to sit upon his skirts. The duke, therefore, came the next day to court, without skirts to his doublet, and being asked the reason of it, told the king that it was to avoid the cardinal’s anger, for he had threatened to sit upon his skirts. The duke had his jest, but the cardinal had his head afterwards. All the monuments of this great family, upon the dissolution of the priory of Stone, were removed 30 H.8. to the friers Augustins at Stafford, in hopes that the Mendicant friers might be spared but those costly tombs were destroy’d, and buried in the ruins of that monastery.
Henry Stafford, eldest son of Edward duke of Buckingham, was by act of parliament restored in blood, but not to his father’s honours and estate 14 H.8. However the king soon afterwards granted several of the lands of the late duke of Buckingham to this Henry Stafford, and to Ursula his wife, and their heirs. She was the daughter of Sir Richard Pole, by Margaret his wife, who was the daughter of George duke of Clarence, brother to king Edward the Fourth. The manor, castle, town and park etc of Thornbury, and the manor of Bedellanam in Thornbury were granted to Henry lord Stafford, and to Ursula his wife 2 Mar. He was a person of great learning and virtue, and having translated several pieces of divinity, died in the year 1558.
Edward lord Stafford, son and heir of Henry, married Mary, daughter of Edward earl of Derby, and left Edward lord Stafford his son and heir, who had livery of the manor of Thornbury, and of the rest of his father’s lands, in 1592. He married Isabel, daughter of Thomas Foster, of Tonge in Shropshire, and died in 1625.
Edward lord Stafford, son of the last Edward, married Anne, daughter of James Wilfords, of Newnham-hall in Essex, and died before his father, leaving a son Henry, and daughter Mary. Henry died young in 1637.
Mary Stafford, daughter of the last-mentioned Edward, and heiress of the family, was married to William Howard, a younger son of Thomas earl of Arundel and Surry, who, in her right, was seized of the manor of Thornbury. He was created viscount Stafford by king Charles the First, and was beheaded in the reign of king Charles the Second, upon the testimony of the famous doctor Oates, as being guilty of the popish plot. In the reign of king James the Second, an attempt was made to reverse the attainder of this lord by a bill in parliament, against which some of the lords protested, and the commons threw it out.
Henry-Stafford Howard, son of William viscount Stafford, was created earl of Stafford by king James the Second, and was lord of the manor of Thornbury at the beginning of the present century. The duke of Norfolk is the present lord of the Manor.
William Heron, of London, haberdasher, and Joan his wife, levied a fine of lands in Thornbury to the use of themselves 33 H.6. John Stanshaw, and Humphry his brother, levied a fine of lands in Thornbury 12 H.7. Richard Forster levied a fine of the moiety of lands in Thornbury, Oldbury and Falfield 12 H.7.