The descent of the manor
The early history of Hartshorne is
obscure. By 1066 there were already two long established manors
of Hartshorne, both held by Alvric or Aluric. The First assessed
in the geld at four carucates had enough arable land cleared to
support four ploughs, and was worth £4. The second "in
another Hartshorne" assessed at two carucates, had arable for
two ploughs, and was worth £3. Now the geld was a fossilised
tax assessment of the late ninth or early tenth century, and a carucate
was as much land as could be tilled in a normal year by a plough
team of eight oxen, usually reckoned about 120 acres. So the two
Hartshorne settlements were of some age and had grown little if
at all since the geld assessment.
Doomsday in 1086 records the manors
as waste, a clear indication that their Lord and his men had joined
the Saxon resistance to the Norman conquerors in or soon after 1066,
and that their homes and fields had been laid waste in reprisal.
Recolonisation after the Norman harrying had already started in
some areas by 1086, but not in the two Hartshornes. They were still
waste, worth only 10s. each, and held by Henry de Ferrers as part
of his barony.
The location of the larger manor "in
Hartshorne" and the smaller manor "in another Hartshorne"
is not readily identifiable. The larger is almost certainly the
settlement which was the later church village in which lies Upperhall
or the house now called Hartshorne Manor. The smaller could have
been either Nethertown where Netherhall lies or that detached part
of Hartshorne lying between Smisby and the Ashby/Ticknall road which
was incorporated in Smisby in 1885. The probable explanation of
this detached part is that the men of the Mercian or pre-Danish
village of Hartshorne pastured the woods south of Hartshorne to
the edge of Ashby Wolds, and may well have worked iron on the later
Smisby site. The Danish invaders who settled the district after
the division of the kingdom of Mercia in 878 would not want an iron
working site so near the border of their newly conquered territory
to remain in hostile hands, and themselves planted Smisby, the smith's
farm, on the southern edge of those woods, cutting across in all
likelihood between the main village of Hartshorne and a tiny daughter
settlement, the later detached part of Hartshorne. The phrase "in
another Hartshorne" seems a strange description for a settlement
as near the mother settlement as Nethertown.
The main village must have been re-settled
and its lands reclaimed within a couple of generations of Doomsday.
About the same time the holder of the Ferrers family must have granted
the manor to one of his followers as mesne lord to hold by knight
service. This sub-infeudation must have been within a couple of
generations of Doomsday because before 1160 at the latest there
had been at least three generations of mesne lords of Hartshorne.
No baronial overlord would have enfeofed a woman to hold by knight
service, yet Henry de Hertishorn, son of the Lady Agnes de Hertishorn,
gave the canons of Calke three acres of his arable land at Hertishorn.
This gift was made before the new priory of Repton at its foundation
absorbed its mother foundation of Calke. This foundation is dated
by Dom David Knowles between 1153 and 1160 at the latest. The grant
of mesne lordship of Hartshorne must have been made to the father
or grandfather of Lady Agnes, pushing the grant and therefore the
reclamation of the manor back to probably the early twelfth if not
the late eleventh century.
The lords of Hartshorne must have
regularly lacked male heirs and lands and rights been divided between
co-heiresses. According to J C Cox the Testa de Neville in the reign
of Henry III, 1216-1272, records Henry de Hartshorn and Richard
de Hartshorn each holding half a knights fee in Hartshorne under
Robert de Ferrers. The advowson which should originally have been
appurtenant to the manor had been split off before 1317 and was
held separately by Robert de la Ward of Roxton, Lincolshire, at
the time of his death in that year. Joan, his daughter and heiress,
inherited as well as the advowson
of Hartshorne the manors of Newhall, Stanton ??? and Heathcote Woodall
in the neighbouring parish of Stapenhill. She took them in marriage
to the Eeynell family whose heiress in turn took them to the Dethick
family who held Newhall and the advowson until the early seventeenth
century. There were then several failures of the male line and the
advowson was split, probably in the late seventeenth century, between
four co-heiresses whose heirs took it in turn to present to the
living. Two of these turns were bought by the Earl of Chesterfield,
a purchase which later resulted in much litigation.
The advowson therefore can be discounted
as a guide to the descent of the manor or part manor. In 1317 Theobald
de Verdon, a great magnate with lands scattered through England,
died, possessed according to his inquisition post mortem of a knight's
fee at Iiartshorne and half a fee at Newhall. How he came by these,
whether by narriage, inheritance or purchase is not known, nor is
it known what happened to them after his death. At some time after
Verdon's death the manor of Hartshorne was again divided into two
manors, the manors of Upper Hall and Netherhall, each forming part
of different baronies. By 1504 the two manors were held by John
Ireland, Netherhall from the Earl of Shrewsbury and Upper Hall from
William Abell. John's co-heirs were the three children of his two
sisters, Thomas Moliet, and Margaret and Johanna Sayer. It is not
la7own how the co-heirs divided John's property but it is likely
that John was the last man to hold the two new manors or Upper Hall
and Nether Hall together.
After John's death the ownership of
the manor of Upper Hall is untraced until 1792. when it was in the
hands of John Cantrell the elder of fIartshorne, gentleman. John
Cantrell wanted to provide a portion of f1000 for his younger son
Robert Cantrell, formerly of the City of London but then of Hartshorne,
a haberdasher of hars. With the consent of his elder son, John Cantrell,
late of Hartshorne and then of Cirencester, gentleman, John Cantrell
the elder and his trustees leased to Robert Cantrell and his trustees
for 500 years the manor of Hartshorne with its appurtenances including
the Upper Hall manor house or capital messuage with the backside
called the Barley Orchard or Cherry Orchard in two parts divided
in the tenure of John Cantrell the elder of his assigns, ten cottages
in named tenures, and the inclosures or enclosed grounds of arable
land, meadow or pasture called the Wheat Flatt meadow, Wheat Flatt
Top Broad Meadow, Pool Bottom, Elbow Wood, the meadow at Carbrooke
in Hornsfield with the Ley Baulke and part of the pool, the Dovehouse
field, the closeat-#iddlepool head, the Baulkes on the outside Dovehouse
field, Middle Flatt and Overfl'a'its, the Middle Flatts, Over Flatts
and Lane, and part of the Home Hill and the Horne Hill Spring, and
the Riddings Close now divided into two parts, all now in the several
tenures of John Can:rell the elder and Nicholas How, with all buildings,
outhouses, tofts, crofts, ways, streams, fishing, mines, quarries
and various recited manorial rights and dues. John Cantrell the
elder was to hold the manor and land until his death without impeachment
of waste. It was then to pass to Robert Cantrell and his trustees
for the remainder of the term of 500 Years unless John Cantrell
the younger paid them f1000 within 6 months of his father's death.
If the payment was made the lease was to be null and void. In other
words it was simply a means of securing that the younger son received
his portion of £1000.
John Cantrell the elder was still
living in 1796 when he and his sons jointly mortgaged a cottage
for f250. He and his elder son were living in Hartshorne, and his
younger son at Thatcham in Berkshire. The date of the death of John
Cantrell the elder is not known but John Cantrell the younger died
in the winter of 1722/3. His will was proved in the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury on 24 April 1723, his executors having produced
a probate inventory of his goods. This inventory may still survive
in the Public Record Office and if it does will probably list his
goods room by room. John Cantrell the younger left his lands to
trustees to hold in trust to allow f30 yearly for the maintenance
of his daughter Anne until she came of age or married, and then
to pay her a portion of £1000. His son John Cantrell was to
receive the remainder of the rents and profits not needed for these
payments and was to hold his
father's lands in tail general with reversion in tail general to
his sister Anne if he himself had no surviving children, with further
reversion to his uncle Robert, the testator's younger brother. Reference
was made in the will to the impending division and enclosure of
the waste grounds and commons of the'manor of Rartshorne which if
properly handled should benefit the testator's heirs.
In 1726 John Cantrell and his father's
executors mortgaged the manor of liartshorne and lands there. Robert
Cantrell received his f1000 and released his interests under the
lease of 1712. On 15 February 1729/30 John Cantrell of Broughton,
Leicestershire, gentleman, son of John Cantrell the younger, mortaaged
to his brother-inllaw, William Cant of Broughton, gentleman, his
manor of Ha~tshorne with the Upper Hall manor house, lands, buildings
and various rights as security for his sister's portion of f1000.
The estate according to several county historians later passed into
the hands of the Cant family but whether by foreclosure, inheritance
or purchase is not known.
The ownership of the Upper Hall or
as it is now known Hartshorne Manor is therefore not known for the
period 1504 to 1712, the period in whieh the present house was built.
It is however possible to trace its tenants for most of this period.
The occupancy of Upper Hall Manor
In 1547/8 there was no landowner living
in Hartshorne for the Repton and Gresley tax list for that year
shows no one in Hartshorne assessed on land. There were however,
a number of prosperous farmers described as husbandmen and assessed
on goods. These were headed by Ralph Benskyn, yeoman, assessed at
f20 in goods, worth twice as much as his nearest rival, Robert Daliyn
assessed at f10 in goods. A marginal annotation of £15 scribbled
against Benskyn's name suggests a possible later ??? or appeal but
even fls for a tenant's goods indicates an unusually solidly prosperous
man. The implication of so large an assessment is that Benskin was
farming the desmesne lands of the manor, which would normally be
much the largest holding in the village. This is clinched by the
description of Benskyn as a yeoman. This is a term normally reserved
for substantial landowners in the lower ranks of country gentry,
and applied most sparingly to only the very largest tenants.
The surviving churchwardens accounts
for Hartshorne begin in 1612, and the first church rate is dated
1619. John Benskin was again much the most heavily rated, paying
8s.10d. as opposed to the two next biggest James Royle paying 4s.4d.
and HughRoyle paying 4s. The Royles held the manor of Short Hazels,
formerly a monastic grange, in the south of the parish. One man
paid 2s.4d., another 2s.3d., 16 others between ls. and ls.l0d. and
15 paid less than John Cantrell was rated at.
In succeeding church rates John Benskin
remained much the largest payer with the Royles the next biggest.
In 1620 when the basis of the rate was a penny a beast for cattle
and 4d. a score for sheep John Benskin was rated at 9s.4d. In 1627
Mr Benskin senior was valued at 10s.6d. in the Flay levy, 1Os.5d.
in the December one. Mr Royle, the runner up at 6s.8d. and 5s.6d.,
and this out of totals for the parish of £2.19s.3d., and 53s.2d.
Mr Benskyn junior appeared tucked in his father's train rated at
5d. in the May levy and not at all in the December levy. Samuel
Benskin also appeared well down the list in 1628 rated at 2d.
In 1629 under a rate by livings [?
Farms] Mr Benskin was rated first at 16s. and then for his new house
(this new house is now refered to as The Old Manor House, Nos 6-10
Main Street, Hartshorne) at 8s. Benskin junior did not appear, but
Samuel Benskin well down the list was rated at 12s. One other person
paid 12s. and no one else more than 9s.4d. Royle only paid 2s. John
Cantrell, whose payments had been creeping up, paid 2s. Under that
year's rate on beasts and sheep Mr Benskin paid fl.l0s.ld., Royle
18s., one man 10s.8d. and no one else more than 7s.8d. Samuel Benskin
paid 7s.2d. and John Cantrell 5s.6d. In 1630 John Benskin junior
reappeared Lpaying a few pence only. His father was still the heaviest
payer at 8s.10d. with
Royle at 6s. and Samuel Benskyn the
next largest at 3s.2d. No one else paid more than 2s.lld. In 1635
the larger holdings were identified. John Benskyn senior for the
Upper hall paid 4s. on his living and 10s.4d. on his goods or beasts
and sheep. Mr Thomas Royle paid 2s.6d. for the Short hazels, 3s.
for his tenant's house at the Towne sometime Tohnes, and 4s.3d.
for goods. Thomas Mellor paid 16d. for part of the tenements called
Halls and Roes and John Benskyn the younger Sd. for the residue
of them. They paid jointly 16d. for goods. Samuel Benskyn for the
h~eather Hall paid 3s. and a further 3s.3d. on his goods.
The entries for 1636 and 1637 are
incomplete and there may be pages missing. Samuel Benskin and the
Nethertown farmers appear but not the Short hazels or church town
farmers. 1638 is back to normal with one John Benskin paying 4s.8d.
on his living and 9s.4d. on goods, Royle paying 4s. on his living
and 6s. on goods, john Cantrell 6d. and ls.8d., and Samuel Benskyn
3s. and 4s.6d. John Benskyn the elder had apparently died or retired
and his son taken over.
John Benskyn continues to dominate
the church town and Samuel Benskyn Nethertown until 1655 when John
Benskyn paid 7s.7d. and Samuel Benskyn 4s.3d. Only one other person
paid over 3s. The entries from 1655 to 1663 are missing.
In 1663 Mr John Benskyn and his sons
still head the church rate paying 8s.1Od. Five places lower in the
list comes Mr Coulson, outstripping them with a payment of 9s.,
and then Samuel Benskvn heads the Nethertown farmers paying 7s.1Od.
By 1665 Mr Ol?ldershaw heads the list paying 5s.8d.; then Richard
Benskyn paying 2s.8d., Mr John Benskyn 4s.10d. for the Coppies,
Mr Thomas Coulson 8s.8d., and Mr Samuel Benskyn 7s.10d. It would
seem likely that Mr Benskyn had died and his sons had not :aken
over his holding. In 1666 Mr Ouldershaw was rated at 2.10d. on the
ould hall, Coulson was rated at 4s.3d. but his lands were not identified.
Ouldershaw k·as replaced by Mr Thomas Greene paying 7s.8d.
for the ould hall in 1668, with the occupant of the hall not merely
heading the list but paying far more than anyone else. In December
1671 Thomas Greene was still at the Old Hall heading the list, but
in 1672 ;he old hall had been partitioned and only one of the tenants
was named. John Beighton, paying 5s. for part of the ould Hall.
An unnamed person was paying 5s.8d. for the Coppy Hall. Samuel Benskyn
was still at Netherhall paying 7s.10d. After that reference was
made to the Old Hall land only until 1679 when The Upper Hall was
rated at 7s.7d. The Upper Hall lands then continued to head the
list but no occupant was named. Thomas Benskyn was at Netherhall
from 1678 to 1680, and John Cantrell was in the Nethertokn part
of the rate from at least 1663 onwards.
In 1681 John Cantrell junior headed
the list for Hartshorne rated at 7s.7d. There was no reference to
Old Hall or Upper Hall. John Cantrell was rated in Nethertown for
Lea Wood, and the Netherhall entry appeared immediately below with
no tenant given. He was rated again apparently for the Nethertown
holding he had held for some years. By 1688 Upper Hall and Leawood
were rated together, Netherhall land was separately rated. No Cantrell
was mentioned in the list of occupiers but John Cantrell headed
the list of persons approving the accounts. The poor rate of 1690
rated John Cantrell at 17s., the next highest occupier at 9s.6d.,
and Netherhall, not attributed to any occupier at 7s.10d.
It seems likely that John Cantrell
occupied the Upper Hall lands in 1681, and that his father in the
same year took over Lea Wood and possibly also the netherhall lands.
Everything points to the family buying the Upper Hall manor in the
1680's, although it is not mentioned in John Cantrell's marriage
settlement of 1694. This carefully limits his wife's right to dower
to certain named other properties.
Upper Hall or Hartshorne Manor house
The tax assessment 1547/8 and the
17th century church rates for Hartshorne clearly indicate that the
Benskin family were occupying the manor in the mid sixteenth century
from at least 1619 to 1665. It seems highly probable that the tenancy
was unbroken from 1619 to 1665. From the fourteenth and fifteenth
century onwards it was normal
in south west Derbyshire for the lords of manors and monastic granges
to enclose for private grazing the bulk of the meadows and better
pastures, leaving as little as possible of the commons and wastes
for use by the commoners. It is obvious from the church rates that
the beasts and sheep were regarded as the real source of wealth
in the village, and it is equally obvious from the 1712 lease that
much of the lands in the hands of the lord of the Cpperhall manor
were already then privately enclosed, including several meadows
and part of Hornshill. In addition to this Cantrell's will of 1722
makes it plain that he had valuable grazing rights in the remaining
commons and wastes. Although the enclosure of these was contemplated
in 1722 the enabling act was only passed in 1765.
The Benskin family were therefore
big graziers, big enough to be described as yeomen in 1547/8 and
to dominate a village with a resident lord of the manor or old grange
of Shorthazels. The 1629 rate with the two ratings for Mr Benskin's
livings, one for the main living and the other for his new house,
dates the replacement of Benskin's house. The new house which is
presumably that referred to as Upper Hall in 1635 is not mentioned
again until 1679 when Upper Hall was rated at 7s.7d. It seems unlikely
that it should be identified with the Ould Hall which is first mentioned
in 1666. It is possible that the Benskyn family continued to live
in the house built for Benskyn about 1629 but did not farm on the
earlier scale. On this premise the lands formerly farmed with the
Benskyn house were split up and fanned by different people, and
partly from the Old Hall. There seems to have been difficulty in
attracting tenants to the Old Hall. In these circumstances the Benskyn
family were probably persuaded to release their tenancy of the Upper
Hall, and from 1679 the manor demesne lands were again farmed from
the Upper Hall. Certainly the Cantrell family used it as their manor
house. The post Cantrell history of the Upper Hall or Hartshorne
Manor as it is now known has not been traced. The architectural
style identifies it as the house described as Mr Benskin's new house
in 1629, which was later described as Upper Hall.