Whitney and Clifford Manuscripts

Scope and Content

A collection relating mainly to the manors and parishes of Whitney and Clifford in northwest Herefordshire. It comprises deeds and documents concerning lands in Stow, Millhalf and Whitney, 1333-1852; records of the court leet and court baron of the manor of Whitney, including presentments, suit rolls, surveys and valuations, maps and plans, 1676-1874; deeds and documents concerning lands in Castleton and Clifford (alias Llanfair-ar-y-bryn), 1339-1855; records of the manor of Clifford, including bailiffs' accounts, presentments, rent rolls, surveys, valuations, maps and plans, 1381-1889; deeds relating to lands and properties in the parishes of Winforton and Brilley, 1594-1866; wills, letters and administration, etc., relative to members of the Whitney, Wardour and Dew families, lords of the manors of Whitney and Clifford, 1567-1828; miscellaneous accounts, vouchers etc., 1776-1846 and correspondence, including letters addressed to Tomkyns Dew (II), 1724-1889. The collection also includes a few deeds concerning properties in Ireland (Galway), Hertfordshire (Sarratt), Middlesex and London 1722-1802

Administrative / Biographical History

The manor of Whitney is stated to have been obtained by one Thurstin the Fleming, a companion of the Conqueror, who married Agnes, only child of Alured de Merleburgh, and their son, Eustace, assumed the name de Whitney from this manor. His descendant, Sir Eustace de Whitney, who was M.P. for Herefordshire in 1312-1313, figures as party to the first deed in the collection, dated 1333. It was his grandson, Sir Robert de Whitney who in 1402 received a grant of the castles and lordships of Clifford and Glasbury from Henry IV. They were in consideration of the services of his father, the first Sir Robert, who was killed at the battle of Pilleth in 1401 while opposing the forces of Glyn Dwr.

Both manors, together with other lands in the parishes of Winforton and Brilley remained in the possession of the Whitney family until 1692-1693, when William Wardour, of Lincoln's Inn and Westminster, Clerk of the Pells in Chancery, acquired by purchase the four equal shares in the estate. Previously these shares had gone to the two sisters of Thomas Whitney, son of Sir Robert Whitney (d.1653), following his death without issue. They were, Lucy, wife of Robert Price of Bwlch y beudy, co. Denbigh; Susannah, widow of Henry Williams of Cabalva; Ann, widow of Thomas Rodd of Foxley; and Eleanor, widow of Dr Nathaniel Wright. William Wardour died in 1699 leaving his estate to his eldest son, Col. William Wardour, who died unmarried in 1746, and left it to his only brother, Tomkyns Wardour. In 1767, by the will of Tomkyn's widow, the Whitney and Wardour property came to her sister, Mary Bourne of St. George's Hanover Square, Middlesex. She in turn left it to Tomkyns Dew of Lincoln's Inn, the first of three of that name who feature in the collection as lords of the manor of Whitney from 1780 to the close of the nineteenth century.

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