The First Four Hundred Years

With no more than a few thousand men to control the whole of England, the King introduced a system that centralised his authority in a way never before achieved, and which turned into a single, cohesive nation those who had previously bickered and fought amongst themselves. What he did was to remain in place for hundreds of years, bringing about a social structure clearly recognisable today.

Annulling all existing land and property ownership, and after declaring one-third of all England to be “Royal Estate” owned by the Crown, King William then gave the remaining two-thirds to only eleven Normans either related or trusted and close friends.

Those so chosen became immediately extremely powerful, with vast estates that included control and authority over the people that lived within their boundaries, and presenting what on its face was an enormous administrative responsibility for them.

The King was both a realist and a pragmatist: he knew that in a newly conquered country still in a state of flux, attitudes and loyalties could change very quickly... Especially towards himself! He did two things that, above all else, ensured the continuation of his new system of governing England.

The first of these was to make very sure that each of the eleven received individual estates that were not only relatively small but separated from the rest by distance and scattered all over England, making it impossible for any of them to collect together a very large force without knowledge of it reaching royal ears!

The difficulties of looking after so many relatively small estates all over the place the King overcame by giving permission to these eleven premier Earls and Dukes the right to themselves appoint "household knights" who could be sworn to loyalty to their respective overlords.. and to give to these knights and their descendants properties which, in effect, were then held by grace of that overlord. The Knights became responsible for administering and looking after such grants and for collection of taxes demanded by the Earl or Duke from whom the grant was received.

This tiered arrangements known as the "Feudal System", enabled the King to impose taxes and manpower needs upon the eleven who in turn imposed them... plus whatever was required for their own upkeep... upon the enfeoffed Knights.

It was within this scenario that Adam de Bartelot and other Normans proceeded to make new lives in an atmosphere that would have been largely hostile and made it essential for the possession of land to remain in their hands. It was to remain a matter of tradition for a long time, that no Norman male property owner should permit a daughter to marry an Anglo-Saxon for fear of this situation changing. Generally at first there were very few marriages to local women either because of this matter of land ownership or as the result of distrust and dislike for the conquerors, although this disappeared after a while.

Given these attitudes, and knowing from records that at the time of his death Adam had two sons at least in England, both old enough to hold property, it can be assumed that he was joined at Stopham by a wife who came from Liseux. The couple may well have had other offspring but if so nothing has been recorded to evidence this was the case.

In order to trace the path which is to lead us to Pendomer we shall be concentrating upon these two sons of Adam, the elder of whom was baptised Robert with his younger brother named Radolphus, more familiarly recorded as ”Ralph”, but before doing this - and because of the long-term effects the bonds first forged between Adam and the de Bryans were to have upon all that followed, it is necessary for us to achieve a more detailed appreciation of just what happened to Guy de Bryan and his family.

As is known, de Bryan was one of those retained by the King to Command his soldiers and this is evidenced clearly in the then contemporary "Anglo-Saxon Chronicles" begun in the reign of King Alfred (871-99) and completed in 1154.

Those chronicles tell us of the landing at the mouth of the River Taw in North Devon of an Irish army under the leadership of dead Harold Godwinnson's sons in the year 1069... only three years after the Norman arrival. When King William heard of that landing he ordered Guy de Bryan to march there with all haste and to drive the Irish off. The Chronicles report:-

"After this came Harold's sons from Ireland at Midsummer with sixty-four ships into the mouth of the Taw and went unexpectedly inland. Earl Bryan came upon them unawares with no small host, fought with them and killed all the best men in that fleet, the other small host fled out to the ships.. and Harold's sons went back to Ireland."

It was certainly a victory for Earl de Bryan.. but one for which he, and many of his male successors, were to pay dearly, for not only was he immediately sent off to fight the Welsh but the precedent was set for future de Bryans to be consistently and repeatedly called upon to serve their monarchs in army or navy until finally no males remained to carry on the de Bryan name!

Just how far this tradition influenced the family's future is no better illustrated than by King Edward I's elevation of the then Guy de Bryan to the rank of "Baron Tallatharn" with the gift to him of Tallatharn Castle in the Marches of Wales... along with a command that de Bryan not leave the place until the Welsh tribes had been subdued! As we know that was to take centuries! Historical records naming de Bryans and their achievements leave no doubt but that their menfolk were allowed scant time to look after either their families or their many estates.

Some idea of just what this must have meant can be got from an examination of those estates known to have belonged to the family within the borders of counties in which the name of Bartelot figures so largely. There were many others:-

In Dorset: Werdesford Castle; Neweton; Rammersham; Hasilbury Bryan; Bryanston; Bryanspiddle; Wroxhall; Puncknoll
Somerset: Brean; Bradford Bryan; Northaller; Stogursey; Rocumb.
Devon: Nympton-St.George; Northam; Slapton-cum-Ingleborn; Satterleigh; Appledore.

In spite of the family's relatively short period of existence that so much information should exist about it is due to its eminence as soldiers etc.; in similar circumstances other families have virtually disappeared from the record books without trace!

From this list of properties (and it is unlikely to be complete), it can be seen that they were widely distributed and would have required some form of localised supervision in nearly each case; besides which those were extremely dangerous times when there was always someone ready to take advantage of any failure by landowners to safeguard their properties. It follows without question that de Bryans not only had to appoint others to do this in their name, but because of their own absences that those chosen to do this could be entirely trusted. It has to be remembered that in the de Bryans' case it was often not just property that had to be protected, but their womenfolk and children!

With Guy de Bryans esquire and special companion, Adam de Bartelot, now a landowner himself - and in any event incapacitated - it was logical and in complete accord with fealty expectations that the father's sworn duty should be undertaken by his elder son, Robert. Probably so much a matter of honour as to make son, Robert. Probably so much a matter of honour as to make refusal unthinkable, nevertheless the promise of adventure and personal advancement that would surely have accompanied a position of such trust must have looked irresistible to any young Norman man whose father was still alive and occupying the family estate.

We should here take note of some of the marriages entered into by members of the de Bryan family because of what these tell us about its standing and influence.. factors that would have loomed large to Robert.

Elizabeth de Bryan married William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury; Maude de Bryan married Nicholas Martyn (Mortaine) of Waterston Manor, Piddleton, Dorset, an estate to figure large in our story; Phillipa married (i) Sir John Devereux & (ii) Sir Henry le Scrope; Elizabeth wed Sir Robert Lovell and her daughter, Matilda, became Countess of Arundel; whilst Avril married the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond. Such connections were capable of extending family influence to the monarchy itself!

It can come as no surprise to anyone that Robert chose as he did by accepting - as his father had done before him - a role of trusted steward to the de Bryan family with the power to assure the continuation of loyalty to that family by his appointment of his own sons and relatives to the various estates.

The scenario represented by what we now know includes Adam’s death circa 1077, agreement between his two sons by which the younger was given the family property, Stopham, by the elder Robert who was already sworn to serve the de Bryans and had elected to continue with them. It should also be noted that Robert even permitted his young brother Ralph to take unto himself the descriptive title “de Stopham” as well as a separate coat-of-arms in which the traditional three left-handed gloves were replaced by crescents. Because crescents are the correct "blazons" to be used by younger sons, this substitution was entirely correct.

In effect, what had taken place was the establishment of two branches of the same family - one continuing to use the family name de Bartelot with the other able to describe itself as "de Stopham"; each had its own coat-of-arms but sharing the same descent.

Although this might cause some minor confusion for the researcher, it became resolved and clarified in 1379 when Joan de Stopham married her cousin John de Bartelot and both took up residence at Stopham to adopt a coat-of-arms composed of both gloves and the crescents as a quartering.

Doubtless because it was the first part of England to be subdued, Sussex conditions were far more settled than elsewhere so consequently landowners there avoided the strife in other parts. Next to Stopham was the large estate owned by the Earls of Arundel who lived at Arundel Castle. As with the de Bryans, the Stopham Bartelots continued a long and lasting relationship with this family and examples of the patronage enjoyed are to be seen in local and national affairs. A seat in the Westminster Parliament to represent Cinque Ports became a traditional Bartelot gift, whilst members of the family also became trustees and treasurers for successive Arundels as well as associated families.

That this closeness to the Arundels was not limited to Sussex alone nor to the Bartelots living in that county is evident from the inclusion of Robert de Bartelot of Dorset in the Will of William and Alice Arundel under terms of which he was left property at Shaftesbury, Dorset, "...for himself and his heirs for ever..". (Ref: Dorset Feet of Fines 1332).

A comparison of sites owned by the De Bryan family with places where the Bartelot/Bartlett name made an appearance in the earliest written records.
County de Bryan estate Locality and date of our appearance
Wiltshire Neweton, Salisbury... Wishford (1273), Harnham (1438), Kyngeston (1318)
Devonshire Appledore, Newton, Bushell, Brangcyn, Dunster Appledore/Northam (1392), Branscombe (1465), Nympton (1316), Dunster (1350)
Dorset Werdesford, Bryanston, Hasilbury Bryan, Stockwood, Brianspiddle, Wroxall, Puncknoll & Rammersham Bryanston (1235), Stockwood (1380), Stourpaine (1346), Shaftesbury (1332), Dorchester & Piddleton (1450)
Somerset Stogursey, Bradford, Byan, Taunton, Wells Yeovil (1235), Wells (1250), Wembdon (1342), Buckland Ripers (1346), Taunton (1497), Bitton (1367)
Note i) Places listed above where the Bartelot/Bartlett name made its appearance are all at - or within three miles of the corresponding de Bryan estate.
Note ii) On the border with Wales, where the de Bryans held Tallatharn Castle, the Bartelot name is recorded at Williamston, Pembrokeshire, from 1367.
Figure 3

In the war with France, John de Bartelot of Stopham led the English assault on the Castle of Fontenoy, for which he was personally awarded the right to add a castle as crest to the family coat-of-arms by the Black Prince himself. A second crest - a white swan - became added later after the family received Royal permission to keep swans on their stretch of the Arun River from Stopham to Northam: all swans in England are considered be the property of the King. Henry Bartelot was Sheriff of Sussex, Edward became King's Counsellor, Roger de Bartelot was King's Huntsman, whilst King Edward IV entrusted to Sir Robert de Bartelot the task of bestowing the Order of the Garter upon Federic Urban, Duke of Orbino.

It can be truthfully claimed that the family has made some small mark on English history, and so far as the Sussex branch is concerned has held the land grant made to it in 1066 for one thousand years, being one of the few able to so claim.

In the case of those descended from Adam's elder son, Robert, their distribution geographically around the counties of Dorset, Somerset and Devonshire became - at least initially- determined by the services they rendered the de Bryans. They made their homes at places where that family had estates so that the Bartelot name was to be found at virtually all such places!

It came about in due course when these services were no longer required that Bartelots living at those places remained locally. This parallel distribution can be clearly recognised in the Figure 3 above.

Given such a long and enduring association and the reflected honour it bestowed upon the Bartelots, what a disaster it must have seemed when, towards the end of the 1300's, the imminent demise of the de Bryan name could be foreseen! By then it would have become obvious no further male children were going to be born - and already females were taking land holdings as dowries to their marriages and into their husbands' names.

As it turned out the last Sir Guy died in 1405, when estates not already accounted for in that way were destined to move into other hands... and with no menfolk the de Bryan name ceased!

One such marriage of great importance to the Bartelots took place in 1235 when Amabil de Bryan de L'Isle married Ralph (de Bartelot) de Stopham and took with her a share in the Manors of Bradford Bryan, Somerset, near Yeovil, and of Bryanston, Dorset. The other shares were held by her sister, Alice de Brito, and William de Glamorgan, but after the death of her father it was mutually agreed between them that Amabil should have full possession of both manors so they became Bartelot of Stopham properties.

Now renamed Bradford Abbass the site of Bradford Bryan is less than three miles from Pendomer, whilst Bryanston is south of Blandford Forum, Dorset, and approximately ten miles from Piddleton, and that is only a couple of miles from Werdesford Castle, at that time the principal home of the de Bryan family. Subsequent events have shown the hamlet and manor of Hasilbury Bryan, also in Dorset, and close to Glanvilles Wootton where the name of Bartlett has a long history, was a part of Bryanston.

Besides formally joining Bartelots to the de Bryan name and by so doing forming similar links with other influential names, this marriage between Amabil and Ralph put both properties into the Bartelot name and control so that, regardless of what the situation may have been up until that time in Dorset and Somerset, the family were thereupon landowners in their own right.

As has already been written, in 1332, Robert Bartelot - seeming the same Robert Bartelot recorded as living at nearby Stourpaine twenty years later in 1352 - was named as a legatee under the will of the Arundels and received a significant Shaftesbury property. That bequest may be a pointer to some of the later features in our history because it proves the Dorset branch was known to a family that held considerable estates in that county.. and wielded much influence.

It must be explained that, under the Rules of heraldry, a cadet son of a family identified by the name of its family property who at any time occupied and exercised control over another estate - regardless of who might own that estate - must revert to the use of that family's proper name. This heraldic requirement becomes of significance to our history at Bryanston and Bradford Bryan where it must be assumed a cadet Bartelot fulfilled such a role.

Evidence of this is contained in the recorded history of Bryanston in the Title Deed of which there is a condition that requires the owner to provide the King, when called upon by Royal proclamation, with one foot-soldier armed with bow and arrows, to serve in the army for forty days. This condition reads:-

“...unum hominem peditum, ad servit doming regis cum arcue et bosona, per 40 dies ad custag dicti pro’obitus servitiis ...”

The de Stophams had already been called upon to comply with this condition several times before the death of Sir Ralph in 1272, when all his estates were inherited by his five year old son Ralph, then living with his mother in Sussex where, at Stopham, a similar title requirement also applied. However, in the case of Stopham it is known that a Royal dispensation extending relief from the obligation, was extended to young Ralph on account of his age on several occasions; so the same might have been expected at Bryanston. But this was not so: from the "Writ of Summons” issued there by the Constable and Earl Marshall, and served at the Manor in the year 1277, a foot-soldier was demanded to attend a Muster to be held at Worcester "..within eight days of St. John the Baptist.." to take part in an expedition against Llewellyn of Wales. That Writ was not served upon young Ralph, the owner, but upon “Ricardus le Chapeler Serviens" who is thereby shown to have been living at, and exercising full control of, Bryanston.

The first name, Richard, is a familiar one in the Sussex family and invariably given to younger sons - first son being Ralph and second son, John - and it is probable and therefore reasonable to believe that the Richard in control of Bryanston was a younger brother to Ralph and had been appointed to that post whilst Ralph was alive. It seems likely that such a "caretaker" situation would have continued up until 1415 when Eve de Bartelot de Stopham married William Etchyngham and the Manor passed into their possession to later pass by inheritance to the Rogers.

However, the importance of this Title condition and its application is that Richard would have had to be known as "Bartelot" and not de Stopham, which provides yet another source of the name in Dorset.

The yearly rents of Assize ascribed to Bradford Bryan (19 Henry III) amounted to £6.13.4 (the same amount collected from Bryanston) being for what is described as "...a demesne, two caracutes and two mills . . "

For those Bartelots living on the de Bryan estates of Werdesford, Puncknoll, Wroxhale and Rammersham, all in Dorset, the de Bryan patronage ended with the marriage of Isobel de Bryan to wealthy landowner Robert Fitzpaine in 1389 which was followed by her father's death in 1405. It is unlikely that Fitzpaine would have tolerated a family owing fealty elsewhere, so the appearance soon after of Bartelots in the near vicinity but in new roles is hardly surprising. At Dorchester, (4 miles from Werdesford) Robert Bartelot was appointed layer in 1450 followed by John Bartelot as the town's bailiff in 1453, suggesting de Bryan past status was still standing them in good stead.

A similar pattern of appearances of the Bartelot name elsewhere but under the same circumstances suggests that family members employed with de Bryans would have found themselves compelled to seek somewhere else to live and another occupation.

Appearances of the Bartelot/Bartlett name in the counties of
Dorset, Somerset & Wiltshire
YEAR NAME PLACE
1086 Robert Salisbury, Wilts.
1235 Ralph (kt) Bryanston, Dors.& Bradford Bryan, Somerset
1250 Adam Mells, Somerset
1273 William Wishford, Wilts.
1317 Adam Grovely Forest, Wilts.
1342 John Bridgewater, Somerset
1346 William Buckland Ripers, Dorset.
1352 Robert Stourpaine, Dorset.
1364 John & William Bridgewater, Somerset
1367 Thomas Bitton, Somerset
1380 Thomas Stockwood, Dorset.
1397/1418 Richard Catherton & Hinton Martel, Dorset
1406 Henry Bath, Somerset, Member of Parliament.
1420 William (Kt) Popelowe, Somerset, King's Tax collector (*)
1423 William (Kt) Stockwood , Dorset
1431 John Buckland Ripers, Dorset.
1438 Isabel & son William Harnham, Wilts.
1443 Thomas Wotton Fitzpaine, Dorset.
1446 Thomas Yeovil, Somerset
1450 Robert & John Dorchester, Dorset
" Henry Fordington, Dorset
1465 William Dorchester/Piddleton, Dorset
1495 John etc., Piddleton, Dorset
1497 John Stogursey, Somerset
1497 Matthew Yeovil, Somerset
1525 William, Richard & Robert Piddleton, Dorset
1544 John Holway, Dorset
1548 Michael Goathurst, Somerset
1552 John Taunton, Somerset
1558 Margaret Corton Denham, Dorset
Thomas Galhampton, Somerset
1561 William baptised Pendomer, Somerset
1575 William Winterbourne Monkton, Dorset
1600 John All Cannings, Wilts.
1622 Thomas Broadway, Dorset
1649 Edmond Hinton Charterhouse, Somerset
1651 Thomas & Francis brewers at Puncknowle & Bridport, Dorset
1654 Henry Charminster, Dorset
1659 Nicholas Dunster, Somerset
Note: Advowson of Buckland Ripers church held by Frampton family who owned Little Piddle manor and married with Bartletts.
Figure 4

 

Sir William Bartelot

Sir William Bartelot was the King’s Tax Collector for Somerset, born circa 1358 and known to have been living at Peplowe, Somerset, at the time of his death. It is probable that Sir William was descended from Bartelots in the service of de Bryans at their estate of Brean, Somerset.

WILLIAM BARTELOT

AD 1420 Henry V I William Bartelot:

My body to be buried in the chancel off the Parish Church of Popelowe (Publow);
To the same church 100s;
To the Parish Church of Kyngeston Saymour 40s;
To John, my son, 10 marks;
To Edith, my daughter 20 marks;
To Agnes, my daughter, 20Li;
To Walter, my brother, 10 marks;
To the Four Orders of Friars in Bristol, to each order 20s;
To the child in the womb of Agnes, my wife, 20Li;
To Nicholas, my apprentice, 20s;
Residue to Agnes my wife, Walter Mylton and Nicholas Dewe, my executors, to be divided equally between them to dispose thereof for my soul.

Note: Kyngeston Saymour is close to Bleavane Churchill, both de Bryan possessions.

Note: coincidentally, in the year 1442, a Richard Bartelot of Stanford Dingley, held the position of Collector of King’s Taxes for the county of Berkshire.

Figure 5

 

Bartlett & Hancock family members recorded in public documents of East Dorset ...1346 to 1654.
1346 - 1391 ...William Bartlet, rector at Buckland Ripers (*)
1377 ...John Bartelot, vicar at Bound.
1380 ...Thomas Bartelot, Heralds' Visitation, Stockwood.
1389 ...Thomas Bartelot, Prior at Horcham.
1396 ...Richard Bartelot, rector at Catherton.
1401 - 1423 ...William Bartelot (Kt), Stockwood Manor Court.
1403 ...Richard Bartelot, rector Hinton Martel.
1418 ...Richard Bartelot, curate at Stoke Abbott.
1431 - 1437 ...John Bartelot, rector at Buckland Ripers. (*)
1443 ...Thomas Bartelot, rector at Wootton Fitzpaine.
1448 - 1458 ...Richard Hancock, chaplain at Wootton Glanville(*)
1448 - 1452 ...Robert Bartelot, Mayor of Dorchester.
1453 ...John Bartelot, bailiff of Dorchester.
1458 ...Richard Bartelot, vicar at Winterbourne Stapleton.
1486 ...Henry Bartelot, vicar at Charninster.
1490 ...Richard Hancock, rector at Winterbourne Farington.
1490 - on ...Bartelots/Bartletts recorded in Piddleton registers.
1525 - on ...     "        "             recorded in Subsidy Lists and Muster
1545/6 ...John & son Robert identified in Deeds of Muston Manor, Piddleton.
1563 ...Thomas Hancock, rector at Milborne St. Andrew
1569 ...Robert Bartlett alias Hancock, Muster Roll Piddleton
1574 ...John Bartlett, rector at S.Perrot & Mosterton
1575 ...William Bartlet, rector at Winterbourne Monkton
1594 ...John Bartlett, Subsidy Roll, Piddleton.
            "           Subsidy Roll, Little Cheney.
1620 - 1670 ...Thomas Bartlet, rector at Broadwey (1/4 mile from Upwey)(*)
1656 ...William Bartlett buried at Ilsington, Piddleton.
(*).... it appears too much of a coincidence that the advowsons (right to award local church "livings") at Auckland Ripers, Wootton Glanville, Little Piddle & Upwey, were held by either the Frampton family or the de la Lynde family - both of which were joined to the Bartelots by marriages. It is a matter of record that it was Margaret Frampton who gave the Buckland Ripers living to John B. in 1431, as the result of which a branch of the family began there.
 
Inclusion of the de la Lynde coat-of-arms in both those of Bartelots and Holles as quarterings, and the extraordinary appearances of de la Lynde heirs, Collier and Lawman, as lessees of Bartlett named property at Piddleton and later of Robert Bartlett as lessee or owner of previously Hollis owned farms, all adds to odds against coincidence!!
Figure 6

In the Figure 4 and Figure 6 above, the lists not only evidence the correlation between places Bartelots /Bartletts are to be found, but also the nature of their activities and how these changed from such as churchmen to suddenly hold land and public office. In particular such positions at Dorchester, the most important centre for this part of England, are indicative.

These were difficult times in England which was far from recovered from the plague of 1348/9 that killed one-half of the population of Dorset and Somerset, whilst the country was still embroiled in the never ending war with France. Discontent with social conditions and the church was making itself felt.

It was a bad time for Bartelots to have lost the patronage they had enjoyed for so long, and it will be seen that not only were status and lives to become dramatically changed but the effect to be felt by generations yet to come.

Like the overwhelming majority of other Dorset families, the Bartelots would have been decimated by the plague with numbers considerably reduced by the start of the 15th century, by which time all the known de Bryan estates in the county had changed hands except for only Stockwood Manor, where as late as 1423 there is shown by records of the "Manor Court" held there of Sir William Bartelot still in residence. Since it appears this was also still the home of Phillipa de Bryan, another daughter of the last Sir Guy, we can take it she had inherited right of occupancy and William as the oldest and probably longest serving Bartelot, was retained by her. A Court Roll of 1444 at Stockwood also includes his name so it is known he was still alive there at that time.

Although little has been found which permits precise relationships between Bartelots who then appeared locally in other roles, it is possible to construct a likely scenario.

For example: it is known from "The History of Dorset" that it was about this time that a property in the hundred of Litton Cheney known as "Nallers" became occupied by Bartelots under what later events show clearly must have been lease arrangements entered into with owners living in Hampshire, and later purchased outright. It remained in Bartelot hands for the next 100 years, being later added to by acquisition of adjoining property. - The appearance here of George as a landholder and Robert about the same time as a local dignitary at Dorchester, and so soon after the disappearance of the de Bryan name, provides evidence of the changed Bartelot circumstances whilst also marking what was, in effect, a beginning of two separate branches of the name at these two places. The presence in 1444 at Stockwood of their father William can be discounted as he can be assured to have died soon after.

It is known there were other branches in Devon and Somerset and possibly elsewhere in Dorset such as Hasilbury and Rammersham, but for our purpose we need to consider only those identified and how the changes taking place affected them.

Although the founding family at Stopham in Sussex continued to develop its own descent and history, for all intents and purposes it had become a separate entity even though family connections in that time and age were a vital feature to be maintained in the interest of self-preservation! From what is known, it can be taken that most if not all the scattered Bartelot branches knew of the existence of the others and kept in touch to some degree. The still existing links between Norman descended families, with their very positive attitudes to land ownership, ensured their close watch of marriages and associations around them in order to protect their own positions!

Research has disclosed that friendship between Bartelots and sole other families that had been granted land close to estates held by de Bryans were formed in many places.. and the same names have been found is very disparate parts of the counties making up Wessex. In this part of Dorset - that is Litton Cheney, Dorchester, Piddleton etc., - there were three particular examples, all prominent families in their own way, with which special relationships existed that are shown to have a significant bearing on all that was to happen later.

First of these was the Churchills - a name originally spelt "de Curcelle” and later to become widely known as that of the Dukes of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill. At the time of which we write their homes were at Dorchester and nearby Stinsford Manor, and like the others they were descended from a Norman of the original name who had come ashore at Pevensey in 1066 with that part of the forces led by Robert of Mortaine and Count Guido de Brionne, and in many places in both Somerset and Dorset received land grants close to, sometimes even adjoining, those given to de Brionne (de Bryan).

At the time of which we now write, 1400-1500, and in this part of Dorset, the Churchill name was prominent in Court circles in London as well as in Dorchester.

A second name that was to be associated with the Bartelots for a very long time, and to be linked by a series of marriages, is that of Prowte.

Also of Norman descent and very extensive landowners at Litton Cheney, Out Rhyme, Frampton and Bridport, the Prowtes held office as Mayor and Bailiffs of Bridport - the second most important county town after Dorchester - and William Prowte was Member for the county at Westminster.

The last of the trio is named Freke and was a family with great standing both as landowners and in England's legal fraternity; members already held high office in London, but would soon rise to positions of considerable influence.

That these four families - Freke, Prowte, Churchill and Bartelot were so close as to be connected by a web of marriages is nowhere more readily to be seen than on the elaborate tomb of Denzil, Lord Holles, erected upon his death in Dorchester.

Prominently displayed on this tomb is the coat-of-arms of Lord Holles and included as quarterings (thus proving Holles descent from marriages with the families they represent) are the armorials of the Frekes and the Bartelots! Lord Holles was himself married to Joan, widow of a Freke but born "Joan Prowte"...and the great niece of Alice Prowte who married Robert Bartlett at Piddleton in 1542!

As will be found as our history unfolds, these names will appear again and again in any number of ways.

Before continuing along the path that will lead us to Pendomer it will be helpful to dispose of others left by members of the family going elsewhere:

It is apparent that Sir William of Stockwood had two brothers named Richard and John (familiar enough names!) both of whom are shown to have entered the church... a career often followed by younger sons. They became county parsons and their progress can be traced in various Dorset "livings", but only John is of any interest to this history - and then through his son the reverend Ralph Bartelot and the share of Sock Dennis Manor passed down to him in due course.

Nothing is known about Richard, but since the property is later held only by two of the family it seems he died without issue.

A long line of Bartelots/Bartletts has been traced at Ilchester extending down to modern times and can be attributed to Ralph, son of John.

Turning next to the family branch that began with the acquisition of the Litton Cheney property "Nallers" - still today known by the same name but a substantial farm - it appears from Hutchin's research that it was first held by a George Bartelot and then by a John, who is identified by the 1525 Subsidy List as still paying tax on the place, and therefore alive, in that year. The same List also confirms he had a son - also named John - living somewhere close by since named for tax and young enough in 1542 to be attending the local Muster on horseback. These facts can be seen in Figure 7, below, in which are reproduced Subsidy Lists and Ouster Rolls in respect to both Litton Cheney and Piddleton.

Appearances of the Bartlett (or Bartlett alias Hancock) name in Muster Rolls and lay Subsidy Lists .. 1525 & 1545, 1569, 1594.
YEAR LITTON CHENEY PIDDLETON
1525...Subsidy List John (jnr) £25
John (snr) £15
William £30, Richard £3, John £2.
1542... Muster John mounted on horse and armed. John mounted on horse and armed.; Richard, William, Robert & Thomas all on foot and listed as "Hancock".
1545...Subsidy List John £25 John £35, Richard £2, William £1, Robert £2, Thomas £3.. all listed as BARTLETT
1569... Muster - Robert Bartlett.
1594...Subsidy List John, Edmund, William, Margery (widow) ..amounts not known. John B. £3
Note i) William Bartelot (recorded Bartelet) is recorded as being at Stockwood Manor, Dorset in 1401 and listed in the Herald's Visitation as Sir william in 1423.
Note ii) According to Subsidy lists of 1525 and 1545, Bartelots/Bartletts were only included as property owners at Piddleton Frampton, Little Cheney, Wootton Glanville, Compton and Stourton Caundle in the county of Dorset. These are not only in accordance with the expected spread alongside de Bryans, but also accord with branches of the family recognised and dealt with in this history.
Figure 7

The £25 for which the father John was liable in 1525 was due on "Nallers" whilst the £15 from his son, John, arose from his occupation of the adjoining property called "Stanscombe", and when taken together such amounts mean we are looking at a very well-to-do family! Something is in fact known about Stanscombe which is described as being "...one messuage, 50 acres of arable, 8 acres of meadow in Wood Mead, 200 acres of pasture and 20 acres of furze and heath.."

It is also known that this property was at first leased by the family from the de Moigne family living in Southampton, Hampshire, but later purchased outright, after which both titles remained in Bartelot/Bartlett hands continuously beyond the year 1659, at which time one Leonard Bartlett died there and left his Will by which the properties were bequeathed to his children John, Henry, Edith and Joan. That Will also left the sum of £120 each to those children ...excepting Henry to whom his father only left one sheep!! It appears Henry must have done something to upset his father!

Before moving on, it is interesting that from a son of the widow, Margery Bartlett, included in the 1594 Subsidies at Litton Cheney - yet another John who married an Emme Prowte - there descended a line of Bartletts that has been traced firstly to Stourton Caundle and then to East Chinnock the next village to Pendomer, Somerset, and from there even back to Piddleton (by then Puddletown) in the late 1800's! [Dr. Robert Mesley, who now lives near London, is a genealogist descended from that line and has been most helpful by passing-on the fruits of his research.]

Having completed these brief outlines of other branches, let us resume the main thread of our story:

The Archives of Dorchester - then, as now, the administrative centre for the county of Dorset - record the fact that Robert Bartelot was its mayor from 1450 to 1453, and that his son John was then appointed the town bailiff, so it does seem that the family's standing as stewards for the de Bryans must have counted for something locally. It also follows that to fill such positions both must have lived in, or very close to, the town.

In fact, it is shown by the records of the Prebendiary Manor of Fordington - a suburb of modern Dorchester - that the Bartelot family occupied that manor from about that time through until well into the 17th century so we can be reasonably sure that it was at Fordington Manor that both Robert and John lived.

Dorchester occupies a rather special place in the history of this part of England dating back to its time as a Roman garrison and even beyond. However, to our story the significant part it, and its residents, played in the establishment of alternative religious sects to the Church at that time is the important feature.

As we already know, Denzil, Lord Holles was prominent in that anti-church movement... and lived in Dorchester as did the Bartelots; it could well be, therefore, that the presence of descendants of Robert and John Bartlett among those now known as the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to North America in the early years of the 17th century to escape Catholicism of the English church, reflected long held family beliefs.(*)

(*)...during the 16th century, THOMAS HANCOCK, a licensed preacher, became a well known Dorset figure for his vehement sermons and lectures deleivered all over the county. His views were labelled "..contrary to proclamation.." but both church and officialdom failed to quieten him! He exhorted people to renounce the church and its "idolatrous" practices; he lived for periods of his life with the Duke of Somerset at Sion House, but retired to Poole, Dorset, where he died about 1570.
[Ref:" English Church in the 16th Century" by Jas. Gardner]

 

In summary: positive pointers to certain relationships that existed between Bartelots/Bartletts in this part of Dorset are:-
i...
the marriage of John de Bartelot of Stopham, Sussex, to Joanne atte Forde at the time (1410-1422) when Simon atte Forde occupied the office of mayor of Bridport, Dorset, only a few miles from where both Bartelots and Prowtes lived...both families also involved in local government either at Bridport or Dorchester.
ii...
''William Prowte paid taxes on a manor at Frampton (Marshal), where a branch of the Bartelots is also recorded as landholders.
iii...
the coat-of-arms of Denzil, Lord Holles, which is found upon his tomb in Dorchester, includes as a quartering the Bartelot armorial including the word "Stopham"... whilst his wife was a g.g.grandaughter of Agnes Bartlett (nee Prowte!).who married Robert Bartlett alias Hancock at Piddleton in the year 1542.

Be that as it may, it is with Robert and son John that the Bartelot history enters a phase of quite dramatic change... so we shall mark this in an appropriate way - with a new chapter.

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