Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

The Hyde Families


There are three distinct Hyde families associated with Purley, although it is possible that they may be linked. In the early middle ages there were the Lords of the Manor of La Hyde who were known as ‘of Hide’. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were the Hydes of Hyde Hall (now Purley Hall) who acquired the estate by marriage. Finally there was the association through Ann Hyde with the famed Earls of Clarendon and particularly the first Earl, Edward Hyde.

The De La Hydes

In 1234 Roger de La Hyde, son of Richard sold the manor of La Hyde to William Siffrewast. However selling land is a modern conception and it is very doubtful whether the sale was anything more than a lease. In this year William paid a Fine of 100s for the lands of Roger of Hide and the Bishop of Winchester instructed the holder of the Honour of Wallingford not to bother him any further. What had probably been happening was that the keeper of Wallingford Castle was trying to get the holder of the land to do his knights service, the Hide family were not willing or able to perform their duties and so made the land over to the Siffrewasts who were prepared to pay the Fine which exempted from service.

However in 1248 Roger of Hyde was in dispute with the vicar of Purley, by name John, over grazing rights. The case was brought before the Berkshire Eyre and Roger claimed that John had occupied a quarter of an acre of pasture upon which he was grazing his beasts. Roger claimed the land back and won his case, John being fined two pence. Roger’s son Richard later ‘gave seisin’ of some fields in Purley to Hugh de Philibert. Hugh had been Lord of the manor since 1283 and was probably trying to establish a more certain claim to the land which was certainly hotly disputed a few years later. The fields were known as Oxecrofte, Hugemede, Hurland, Hegecrofte and Rudinge. and there was also some land in the common meadow. The Power of Attorney to effect the transfer was given to Richard, then the vicar of Pangbourne. The field names are interesting in that they indicate a very early enclosure of land. (ref 313).

These Hides now disappear from the Purley scene although one can trace their descendents to almost the present day. (ref 20)

The Hydes of Letcombe

The second Hyde association with Purley arose from the death of Nicholas Carew in 1485. Nicholas’?s family had acquired both the manors of Purley Magna and La Hyde and when he died the manor of La Hyde became the property of Elizabeth, who had married Walter Twynhoo. When Elizabeth died their son Edward inherited first and then their grandson Anthony. The latter did not live long and in 1529 his sisters Katherine Dauntsey and Ann Heydon became the new joint owners of the Manor. . This was still the situation in 1543. When Katherine, who had married John Dauntsey of Compton, died, the whole estate passed to her daughter Bridget despite the fact that her sister Ann had a son Francis. Bridget had married Hugh Hyde of Letcombe, who was directly descended from the earlier Hydes of Purley, and it remained in the Hyde family until 1720 when it was sold to Frances Hawes.

Hugh and Bridget had a son Francis who married Anne and three children, Frances, Bridget and Joan. Hugh died in 1594 and when Bridget died, the estate passed to Francis. It was he who built the present manor house, which he named Hyde Hall, in 1609. Francis was a Roman Catholic who refused to attend the services of the church of England and was declared a recusant. As a result the manorial rights were revoked. Two thirds of the lands were seized by Charles I who leased them to William Smith of Whitchurch in 1627 (ref a). Francis died in 1634 and the estate passed to their son Richard who had married Mary, daughter of William Smith of Whitchurch in 1618. It was her father who had been granted the lease and it is believed that this Royal lease was responsible for the anomaly, not corrected until 1892, of part of the Parish of Whitchurch extending over into Berkshire.

Richard and Mary had nine children, Francis, William, John, George, Charles, Richard, Mary, Constance and Jane. When he died in December 1676 he was buried at Purley and Francis inherited.

It would seem that Francis married at least twice although his first wife is not recorded. However his son John was baptised at Purley on July 20th 1642, he having apparantly bowed to the Puritan pressures as it is noteworthy that no other Hydes were baptised or married although many are buried in Purley churchyard. He married a distant cousin, Anne Carewe in 1654 and had at least five children by her: Francis, Anthony, Mary (died 1671), Isabella (d1674) and Richard (d1670). He appeared before Elias Ashmole in his visitation of Berkshire in 1665 as Lord of the Manor although his father was still alive and the manorial rights had been revoked. Francis died in August 1686 but his widow Anne continued to live at Hyde Hall. She died and was buried at Purley on June 7th 1706. In his report on Dissenters to the Bishop of Salisbury dated Jan 17th 1706 (ie 1707) the rector of Purley, William Gostwyke, described the house and remarked that her only son Francis, a widower and reputed papist, was residing at present in Burghfield. (ref 134)

The younger Francis had married Jane in 1695. He presumably moved into the Hall on his mother’?s death as he is recorded many times as a subscriber to church Briefs in the Parish registers. In 1670 he contributed 10/- to redeem slaves in Turkey, in 1763 he paid 6d towards a fire loss at St Catherines in London, in 1680 1/- towards redeeming captives in Algiers and in 1707 2/- for what is euphemisticly called ‘Trophy Money.’ His son was recorded also in 1671 as giving 1/- for the relief of Protestants in Poland, which might have been a dodge to preserve his father’s Catholic scruples. (ref 27)

When he died he was also buried in Purley Church on Jan 18th 1712 aged 55, His incised marble gravestone disappeared after rebuilding in 1870. He left the estate to their son also Francis who lived at St James Westminster and sold the Hall and its lands to Thomas Hawes in 1720.

Frances Hawes renamed the hall Purley Hall, which name it retains today. Francis married Elizabeth but no issue are recorded. His brother John married Mary in 1750 and their son John, who married Charlotte, lived at Marlborough. They remained staunch Roman Catholics and their house in Marlborough was renowned as a Mass centre. In June 1753 Bishop Laurence Yoke, Vicar Apostolic of the Catholic Western District confirmed seven person there (ref 276)

The Clarendon Hydes

The final Hyde connection is with Ann the wife of Edward Hyde. She was the daughter of Sir George Ayliffe of Grittenham in Wiltshire and she married Edward, who was a student at the Middle Temple at the time, in 1629. During a journey from London to her father’s home in Wiltshire in 1632 she fell ill in Reading. She was taken to ‘a friends house’ in Purley where she was diagnosed as suffering from smallpox. She was pregnant at the time, miscarried and died two days later on July 2nd aged 20. She was buried in Purley church beneath the chancel and Edward erected a memorial to her which is presently located in the tower. (ref c, 12)

There is considerable debate as to where she died. The later owners of Purley Hall claimed that because the house was occupied by Hydes at the time, this is where she was brought. However it seems much more likely that she was taken to the manor house of Purley Magna which was adjacent to the church and which was occupied by her uncle Sir John St John at the time.


a - Patent Roll 3 Chas I pt 33 no 10

c - Life of Clarendon by T H lister 1838

12 - Monumental Inscriptions in Purley Church

20 - Berks Local History Records

26 - VCH Berkshire

27 - Purley Parish Registers

134 - Dissenter Returns for Purley 1706 (Wilts Record Office)

155 - Roll and Writ file of the Berkshire Eyre 1248

276 - VCH Wilts volume 3 page 91

313 - Magdalen College papers


Some further articles which may be of interest
The Hyde Connections by John Chapman pointing out connections to other people

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