Scope and Content

History of the ownership of the Crowsley Park Estate and its Location

Crowsley Manor is located three miles from Henley, three from Shiplake and five from Reading and 1 1/2 miles south east of Rotherfield Peppard.

The first reference to a Crowsley Farm otherwise Cowseley farm was in the reign of Elizabeth which was recorded as being late in the tenure of Walter Germotte deceased and now in the tenure of Joan Germotte, widow. At this stage there is only the farm and not the manor house. Indeed there is no record of the date of building of the house but it is supposed to have been built in the reign of James the second. In 1685 the original manor came into the possession of the Stonors and in 1701 the estate was sold to the Aldworth family who are believed to have built the house soon after. According to Pevsner in his buildings of Oxfordshire:-

Crowsley Park was, "built c.1720 gothicised and enlarged c 1800 when the battlemented porch and corner turrets were added. The crest above the entrance is of the Baskerville family the early 19th century owners".

By 1725 Francis Heywood had bought the estate from the Aldworths and it remained in the family until 1842. During that time it was rented to various people as follows:-

1738 The Earl of Effingham

1744 Lord Dungamon

1760s Henry the second Earl of Uxbridge

1769 On the death of the Earl of Uxbridge it was let to William Egerton and George F. Tufnell rented the park and land

1771 John Fane with Mr Tufnell still paying for the park

1779-1782 Alexander Cotton esq.

1783 Elisha Biscoe

1790 Mrs Mary Wright nee Heywood came to live at Crowsley

1793 John Atkins the nephew of Mary Wright and in 1796 he assumed the name of Atkyns-Wright. He died in 1822 but the property remained in the hands of Mrs Atkyns-Wright until her death in 1842

The property was then thrown into chancery pending the settlement of various claims and it was bought out in 1845 by Henry Baskerville. It is claimed that he built the victorian extension and the manor passed to his son John in 1877. According to Burke's landed gentry for 1937, John Baskerville JP amongst other titles he obtained, was colonel in the late commission of the Queen's own Oxfordshire hussars, formerly in the 6th dragoons and Major of the 14th Hussars, lord of the manors of Crowsley, Shiplake and Lashbrook. he was born 9 November 1839 educated at Eton and married in July 1869 to Caroline daughter of William Charles Henry of Haffield County Hereford. John lived at Crowsley until his death in 1927 and the manor was then occupied by his wife Caroline until her death in 1939. In 1942 the manor was requisitioned by the war office on behalf of the B.B.C. who purchased it in 1950. The B.B.C separated the park from the manor and gardens and recently leased it to Hugh Morris who is still believed to occupy the manor.

The Documents

All of the material in this collection was deposited with us in July 1993 and was then assigned the accession number 3682. The majority of the records in the collection relate to John and Caroline Baskerville and their children especially Geoffrey who was born in 1870 and who became a midshipman in the Royal Navy 1886-1890. The records include title deeds and related papers, accounts mainly household, diaries of various Baskervilles, probate material, correspondence between Muggletonians and ephemera ranging in date from 1752-1952.

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