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Helmdon Trail - Early History

 
Helmdon is a village full of history
Helmdon is a village full of history

This history section is under research - it is only one interpretation of the available information. Contact us to add your ideas and thoughts.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor "Elmedene" (1. Saxon for Valley of Elms or 2. Helma's Valley) was the freehold of Alwin & Godwin. At the Domesday survey of 1086 the land belonged to the Earl of Moretain who was William the Conqueror's half brother. He held land in 20 counties and had 99 manors in Northamptonshire alone, making him the second largest land owner in England after the king himself.

In Helmdon the Count held four hides and the arable land was ten carucates. In demesne were two hides and five carucates: and two servants, and seven villeins, and two cottagers had two carucates. There was a mill of the yearly rent of 12 d. The whole was rated at six pounds. By 1206 the land had passed to Simon de Turville of Rushton in Northamptonshire. In around 1315 the Manor of Helmdon passed to the Lovett Family through the marriage of Sir Robert Lovett to Sarah de Turville, the only child of Nicholas de Turville. The Lovetts of Liscombe in Buckinghamshire held the Manor of Helmdon for at least the next 200 years and can then subsequently be found at Astwell. In 1513 Thomas Moore Esq. is recorded as the Lord of Helmdon although it is not known how he came to own it.

In the 1700s the Manor passed to Worcester College Oxford.

As well as the main manor, known as Overbury Manor, there were several other manors in Helmdon. Netherbury Manor is recorded as early as 1235, held by Matthew de Rumelli and is probably the result of an early subinfeudation. In 1513 Netherbury Manor was held by the Cope family who then married back in to the Lovett Family. This manor had several owners and in the early 1600s was held by the Shortlands. Middlebury Manor, or Minnicourt Manor, is recorded as early as 1511 when it was held by the Crispe Family. This manor too passed through several hands and from 1678 for at least 100 years was in the possession of the Fairbrothers whose descendant built the Reading Room. In addition Biddlesden Abbey held land in Helmdon, probably a collection of small parcels of land gifted to the abbey by other land owners. So, unlike most parishes Helmdon never had a single dominant, resident Lord. This was fortuitous because, unlike neighbouring Stuchbury, there was no Lord of the Manor to turn the villagers out at Enclosure.

[An article entitled "The Manorial History Of Helmdon" by Kathryn Mawson and Danny Moody appeared in Aspects Of Helmdon No. 4]

 
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