Bradwell: Ancient and Modern

A History of the Parish and of Incidents in the Hope Valley.

By Seth Evans (1912)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

Chapter VI.

WHEN KNIGHTS WERE BOLD.

THE STRELLEYS OF HAZLEBADGE AND BROUGH.
CURIOUS TENURE OF BROUGH MILL.

“I come to where the old Corn Mill
Cast its long shadows down the hill;
Through the rent sails the wind did moan.
The battered top returned a groan;
The canvas flapped - each creaking sail
Bore to my ear a mournful tale;
And, listening as the breezes stir'd.
This strange soliloquy I heard”.
--- PLATTS, Eyam.

What historian, or archæologist, or antiquarian, can pass through the Roman station of Brough and look at the old corn mill, built of the stone from the Roman camp, without thinking of the once powerful family of Strelley? They were original owners of the place near Nottingham, from whence they derived their name, and possessed lands there long before the Norman conquest. And they were amongst the first in antiquity and prestige in Derbyshire.

In or about the first year of Henry II., A.D. 1154, Hazlebach, with the rest of the Peveril estates, was forfeited by its owner for poisoning the Earl of Chester, and it came into the hands of the Strelleys.

Hazlebadge Hall
HAZLEBADGE HALL,
where the kingly Vernons held their courts
and Sir Richard Vernon lived.

But what about Brough? It is certain that Philip de Strelley was in possession of Brough Mill before King John began to reign in 1199, because in the Pipe Rolls there is a list of those assessed for the Coronation of King John, among them being “Philip de Strelley, £4 for the Mill of Burgh”. And in the Hundred Rolls of 1275 it is recorded that “the Mill of the Burgh was in the hands of the said King John, and he gave it to Philip de Strelley for the service of finding a valet for carrying a falcon trained to take herons in the season, and so it was held from King to King, by heir to heir, and Hugo Strelley now holds it”. It was indeed a curious tenure, but a great honour to attend the King on horseback whenever he should come into Derbyshire carrying a heroner. “If his horse should die on the journey, the King was to buy him another, and to provide two robes and bouche of court”.

But the office was no sinecure, because the King was often in Derbyshire, and sometimes on the very threshold of Brough and Hazlebadge. King John was often in the county, Henry III. stayed at the castle of the Peake in 1264, and Edward I. visited Derbyshire in 1275, and stayed both at Tideswell and Ashbourne, while Edward II. was often here. Henry IV. was frequently in the Peak. and in 1402 tarried for a time at Tideswell, from which town he issued orders as to military preparations against the Welsh, and the Strelleys were horsemen under Henry V. at the Battle of Agincourt.

There were strange doings in those days, for we are told that Philip de Strelley paid to the King ten marks and a palfrey (i.e., a small horse fit for ladies) for the privilege of marrying Avicia, the posthumous daughter and heiress of Richard FitzRogers. Sampson, son and heir of Philip, paid two marks for his relief of the mill at Brough in 1247, and in 1250 he held the manor of Hazlebach. In 1252, Adam de Langesdone and Albredo, his wife, gave to Sampson de Strelley, for a sparrow hawk, 3 oxgangs of land in Haslebach, in fee, performing all services pertaining to the same land. In 1250 William Burdett granted to Robert “Molendarins” (the miller), of Haselbache, half a vigate of land in the fields of Haselbache. and there are other charters of about the same date confirming to Sampson two “tofts” of land in Haselbache, “pay-yearly one pair of white gloves as one farthing”. Hugh de Strelley died in 1292, and in a transcript of the original inquisition, held at Hazlebadge in the 20th year of King Edward I., when “Nicholas, Clerk of Bradwall, and Robert, son of William or Bradwall”, were on the jury, they “say

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that the said Hugh on the day of his death held a certain water mill at Brough, in chief of our Lord the King, by the service of carrying a heron falcon to the court of our lord the King in the season, at the King's charge, whilst he shall dwell there, except that he shall have his own proper horse when he come to offer his service, which horse, if he die, shall be made good to him by the King. And the mill is worth £9 6s. 8d. per annum. Item, they say that the said Hugh on the day of his death had a certain manor at Hasseibach with edifices and enclosures, and it is worth eleven and a half marks per annum. Item, he had in demesne five bovates of land worth six shillings the bovate yearly. Item, he had in bondage sixteen bovates of ploughland, worth six shillings the bovate yearly. Item, in free tenants, six shillings. Item, ‘Loth Minerie’, worth 10 shillings”. (A tenure of lead-mining upon which the King claimed every thirteenth dish). “Item, profits of Court, worth half a mark. Item, herbage in a certain wood they value at 40 pence. There is a certain mill at Hasel-Bach enclosed worth 20 shillings per annum. Item, the said Hugo had from a certain freehold in Wardlow six shillings. Item, they say that the said Hugh held the manor of Haselbach of Mr. Robert de Strelley, by homage, and the service of the fourth part of a knight's fee. Item, they say that Philip, son of the said Hugo, is his next heir, and is of the age of twenty years on Michaelmas next”.

The Strelleys held Brough and Hazlebadge until 1421, when Joan, widow of Sir John Strelley, Knight, granted to Richard Vernon and his heirs all their estates in Castleton, Hathersage, Brough, Haselbach, Allestree, etc., on payment to her of ten marks annually during her life, and so the estates passed into the hands of the Vernons of Haddon. The Hazlebadge mill was in what is now known as “Mill Meadow”.

Bishop Littleton was here 11th August, 1743. He says: “A Roman road is very conspicuous near Braddall in this (Hope) parish”, being about 6 feet in breadth, and rising about 2 feet above the line of the meadow where he first observed it. The course of this road, he thinks is from Castleton westward up the ridge of the hill called Waller Edge eastward on the summit of which I heard there were entrenchments. The road is called the Bullwark. Query if it has not a communication with the Batham Gate leading from Buxton to Burgh. At Burgh, vulgarly called Brough, the ruins of round buildings are daily discovered, and just by the town in a rough stone enclosure I met with a carved stone representing a man's head, which, though not very well executed, yet was undoubtedly dug out of the adjacent mines, and a work of the Romans. I also purchased of one of the inhabitants a fine vase, somewhat broken, with the following letters: V T A R. Between Braddal and Brough are certain grounds called the Stead Fields, where they say a battle hath been fought, and I was told that sword blades, rings, and coins were sometimes discovered by the plough. The inhabitants have a tradition that a great town was overwhelmed by an earthquake, that one King Peveril had a palace here and one King Aiding, of Hathersage, the next adjoining parish, and they have the following saying:-

“When King Peveril reigned at Brough,
Then there was gold and silver enough.”

King Peveril was Robert Peveril, the great Norman Baron. As to King Aiding, I can say nothing, but by the name I should guess he was a Saxon thane”.

HAZLEBADGE HALL AND THE VERNONS.

A Portion of Dorothy Vernon's Dower.

“I'll show you ancient ruins,
Of castle, camp and hall,
Where feudal chiefs and barons
Once held high festival”.
--- J. H. J.

Bradwell has reason to be proud of one of the most historical and finest manor houses in the county, in Hazlebadge Hall, at the head of Bradwell Dale, an old home of the Strelleys. What history is there in every stone of the building! But the Hall of the Strelleys has long ago been demolished, and the material used up in the erection of farm buildings, the present being a wing built by the Vernons in 1549. What a grand Elizabethan gable is that which fronts the road, with its magnificent mullion windows and how bold in the apex stands out the Vernon crest, a boar's head ducally gorged, and the quartered arms with the Vernon frett, and the Swynnerton cross fleury! And the initials H.V and the three strokes are no longer a puzzle to the wondering beholder, for they are doubtless the initials of Henry Vernon, the son of Sir John, who rebuilt this part of the Manor House, just about the time of the birth of his second son, Henry, and signalised the birth by terming the new comer Henry Vernon the Third.

And the fine old Hall has played a prominent part in the history of the district for not only did it shelter the Vernons for many generations, but was a residence of the family, and a shooting box for the lords of Haddon. But it was more. “It was dignified as a vice-regal lodge. It was the seat of judgment, for here Sir Richard Vernon, as High Steward of the Forest and Constable of the Castle, held his Courts”.

The records of these courts of this high and mighty man go to show that he carried things with a high hand. On one occasion, Roger Clark, one of Sir Richard's servants, went with seven men armed with Jacks and salets, and hauled Robert Bagshawe, one of the King's tenants off to the Castle of the Peak, and imprisoned him there for three days without any cause.

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And he was oppressed by various amercements being made upon him. Well might poor Bagshawe complain to the Earl of Suffolk. On another occasion William Hadfield, a tenant of the King in Edale, complained to the King's Council of the Duchy of Lancaster that Sir Richard had sued him in the King's Court for trespassing with his cattle. And Hadfield was so terrified that he declared “the said Richard is so mighty in the said county that the said ‘besecher’ may not abide the danger of his suit”.

The mighty Sir Richard was evidently very fond of throwing his neighbours into prison, for there are many such complaints. One day in 1440, the notorious Roger Clark, with his seven armed men, collared Robert Woderofe, of Hope, one of the foresters of fee of the High Peak, hurried him off and imprisoned him in the Castle without any cause. And he did this, in spite of the fact that Woderofe and his fellow foresters had had liberty since the time of King John, Duke of Lancaster, either to occupy their claim with cattle of their own, or to agiste the cattle of other people.

In 1480, at the Court of Henry Vernon, Esq., held at Hazlebach, a large number were fined for various offences, among whom were Elias Furness, Wm. Poynton, Thos. Bytley, Hugh Howe, Robert Eyre, Uxor (widow) Thurston Eyre, Hy. Stafford, Thos. Middleton, Thomas Bradwall, Hy. Ellott, Elias Marshall, and Denis Marshall, of Bradwall. At a great Court held at Hazelbach on the 4th August, 1488, there seems to have been a regular raid on offenders against the laws, as the records contain the following: - Jo. Bradwall of Bradwall, trespassed with 20 sheep; Wm. Bradwall the like, with 20 sheep and cattle; Hugh Johnson 12; Robt. Middleton 40: Elias Marshall 40; Edwd. Bradwell 16; Hugh Howe 1 cattle 60 sheep; Richard Cox 20; Thos. Howe, 1 mare and 12; Roger Eyre, 1 mare and 3; Richard Thompson, 1 mare 14 beasts; John Donne, 1 mare 20 beasts; John Elliott the same; Wm. Elott, 1 mare 4; John Middleton 20 sheep; Richard Elott the same; Robert Halom 30 beasts; Christopher Stafford, 1 colt 30 sheep; Nicholas Seward, 4 beasts and sheep. There were about a score others fined for similar offences, those from Bradwell being Wm. Poynton, Elys Furness, Roger Bradwall, John del Hall, Robert del Hall, Denis Marshall, Henry Hawksworth, Thurston del Hall, Nicholas Marshall de Butts, and Jo. Halom, of Overtown.

But more interesting still is the old Hall as having been the property of the famous Dorothy Vernon, who brought it to the Manners family, in whose possession it still remains. It is a pity that a score years ago the fine old building was disfigured with a roof of blue slate, when it might just as easily have been roofed with grey slate in conformity with the structure. Well might the late Duchess of Rutland condemn such disfigurement the first time she beheld it.

Under date 1630, there is the following entry in Hope Church Register:- “John Manners, of Haddon, Esquire, grants liberty to install a seat in the place belonging to the House of Hazlebadge, in Hope Church, during the pleasure of Thomas Eyre, of Southwinefield, gentleman”.

This is interesting as showing how the famous Dorothy Vernon brought Hazlebadge to John Manners.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2013.

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