Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

The Siffrewast Family

William de Sifrewast was recorded as a Berkshire landowner in 1160.

  William de Sifrewast was still a landowner in 1167, having paid one mark re his lands in Berkshire.  He paid another twenty shillings in 1171 By 1186 William de Sifrewast had been succeeded as Lord of the Manor of Purley Parva by Halnoth de Sifrewast, possibly his grandson. Halnoth was recorded  in the Red Book of the Exchequer as paying 20s 

  Halnoth de Sifrewast paid 10s and one knights fee in Berkshire in 1190 and 20s and one knights fee in Berkshire in1194 when for some reason his lands (in Purley, Aldworth and Hampstead Norris) were temporarily  forfeit  His sister Isabella was a also active in the courts (see below). Halnoth seemed intent on collecting in his debts and in 1195  Ralph of Purley paid one mark which he had owed to William de Sifrewast. The next year Halnoth again paid 20s and one knight's fee in Berkshire.  Again in 1201 his lands were temporarily forfeit to the Crown   Halnoth de Sifrewast was still Lord of Purley Parva,  in 1212 when he held one knights fee in Berkshire.

  Halnoth de Sifrewast is presumed to have died in 1217 and been succeeded as lord of the manor of Purley Parva by his son William who did homage and received seisin of his lands on payment of a relief of 100s.  William de Sifrewast examined and confirmed the charter which had been made by his aunt Isabella in 1194(?) by which she gave a half virgate to Reading Abbey. The reason was that it had been given to her as a wedding portion and might otherwise have been thought of as properly reverting to the donor or his heirs on her death.  The Great Assize came to Berkshire in 1220 to examine witnesses, among whom was Gilbert de Aubern, about conflicting claims by the Abbot of Hide and William de Purle (presumably William de Sifrewast) about a half virgate of land in Purley. It was decided that William had the greater right but that he should hold it from the Abbot in perpetuity. William de Sifrewast held one knights fee in 1229. He accounted for 20s  re Ada de Muntsorel. He paid one mark and owed 2½ marks 

    Also in 1229 a Richard Sifrewast paid 12s for 'escambio terre sue'  Later in the year he rendered account for 8 marks as a levy for his son to hold the office of a painter.  He paid 2 marks and owed 6 marks   William de Sifrewast stood surety in 1233 for Simon de Fissburn and Ranulf de Whatvil  who were imprisoned for going around armed, contrary to the King’s peace. In 1234 William de Sifrewast had paid a fine of 100s for the lands of Roger of Hyde at Hyde and the bishop of Winchester instructed the holder of the Honour of Wallingford not to trouble William further. Roger was William's brother and he and his other brother Richard seemed to be feuding about land all the time. It would seem that Roger had been in residence at La Hyde and moved to Purley Magna on his brother's death.

  In 1242 William de Sifrewast held a writ to confirm that he had paid his scutage in Berks, Oxon, Essex and Southamptonshire  and  held 8 parts and one fee in Purley and also had lands in Hampstead and Aldworth   He died in 1242.  the wardship of his heir Nicholas was given to Bartholemew Pecche. He held one fee in each of Aldworth, Hamstead Norris and Purley which he had inherited from his father Halenoth. Why the wardship should have been given to Bartholmew is unclear, as Nicholas' uncles Richard and Roger were still alive, it could be because the two of them could not agree.

  The brothers Roger and Richard de Syfrewast were in hot dispute about their inheritance (from their brother William). It had been agreed that the inheritance would be halved, as would the legal fees of acquiring the inheritance. The manor of Herriard should have been part of the inheritance and Roger had sued Fulk of Coudrai for it. He claimed that Richard had given Fulk a Quitclaim for his rights and this had cost Roger £100. Richard had denied he had issued a quitclaim. It was adjudged that ’Richard is without day and Roger is in Mercy’   Richard de Syfrewast was summoned to appear at Westminster in 1247 to answer Roger de Syfrewast and explain why he did not appear on 27th Jan. Roger was apparently living at Purley and was otherwise known as Roger de Purle. He appeared several times as a juror in the Berkshire Eyre. In 1248 there was a dispute between John, Vicar of Purley and Roger of Hyde who had complained that John had disseized him of a quarter of an acre of pasture which he had used to graze his beasts. Roger was given back his grazing rights by an Assize of Novel Disseisin   The dispute over Roger de la Hyde's land had still not subsided by 1256 as he appointed John Hirdman as his attorney in a case he brought against Laurence, parson of Tidmarsh and Juliana de Bendeng at Windsor concerning tenements at Pangbourne and Lething.

  In 1253 Nicholas de Sifrewast finally succeeded to the manor of Purley Parva , presumably because he had come of age. He did homage at Windsor on Jan 25th 1258 for all the lands which he had inherited from his father William In 1266 he was granted a licence for life to hunt with his own dogs the hare, the fox, the badger and the cat through all the forests in the counties of Oxford, Berks and Southampton. In  1270 he obtained from Thomas de Clare, to whom he had sold Hamstead, a Quitclaim of  'all rights in the manor of Porleye which Alice Punchardon holds'.  In return Thomas de Clare had a promise that when Nicholas died, the manor of Aldworth would revert to the de Clares 

    Richard de Sifrewast died in 1274 and his widow Elizabeth was given as her dower a great chamber with a little stable and a little garden on the west side and with a third of a fishery, a dovecote and a wood on the south side. She was also given a third of the rent of assize of the free tenants including 2s from Ralph of Purley

.   William de Sifrewast paid 20s pa for one knight's fee in Berkshire in 1293 so we assume Nicholas had died by then.  In 1302 he enfeoffed Henry Buskre de Malines and Cecily his wife, as Lord of the Manor of Purley Parva.   Henry Buskres de Malines was a merchant from Belgium, and this lease seems to have turned into a sale although sales of land were virtually impossible to arrange in that period due to the laws of entailment. However the deal held and there were a number of quitclaims whereby other members of the original family formally renounced any claims.

  Isabella de Sifrewast and Thomas de Markant were granted a Papal dispensation in January 1347 to enable them to remain married even though they were in the third degree of affinity

An earlier Isabella de Siffrewast was the aunt of William de Siffrewast who was lord of Purley Parva from 1217 to 1244. She was presumably the sister of Halnoth de Sifrewast (lord from 1186 to 1217). Her father was Robert de Sifrewast and her mother's name was Emma. Isabella de Sifrewast, with her husband Michael de Baseville, brought an action in Dorset against Richard de Sifrewast concerning the dower given her by her former husband, Simon, son of Robert Sifrewast    It would seem she had been given some land in Purley as her wedding portion and she granted a half virgate of land to Reading Abbey around 1195 in memory of her parents and husbands all of whom were buried in Reading. One of these husbands, Michael de Baseville,  is known as in 1194 he and Isobel brought an action against Richard de Siffrewast re the dower she had been left by her former husband Simon son of Robert. Her nephew William inspected the charter around 1230 as he suspected that as the land had been a marriage portion it might revert to the donor's heirs in due course. However the land seems to have remained with the Abbey as a similar portion in Purley was among the lands sold after the dissolution to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick in 1550. It lay just to the west of Purley Lane.

  The land in question had been held in villeinage by Osbert son of Gilbert the fisherman, free and quit from all custom and exaction and demand and immune from all secular service. It was left to the monks of Reading Abbey to determine whether he could continue in villeinage or pay an annual rent for the land. Osbert seems to have established an early connection between Purley in Berkshire and the area which was later to become Purley in Surrey. His son William was granted 'a moiety of a wood in Nithea in the manor of Saunderstead' sometime in the 12th century by the Abbot of Hide.  Saunderstead was held by the Huscarles as their main manor and one can assume that William had gone from Purley, one of the Huscarles manors to work there for them.

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