The moat measures 70 m by 60 m and originally stood in the Forest of Bernwood.
Little is known of the actual site, but there are some very interesting stories relating to the people who once held the manor.
William Peverill – Legend states that he was the illegitimate son of William the Conqueror, but this is still to be proven. William Peveril the Elder came to England with William the Conqueror and is listed on the Roll of Battle Abbey. William presented the manor to the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem. The lands are mentioned as belonging to him in the Domesday Book.
Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem – The Hospitallers were founded to care for the pilgrims that came to the Holy Land, who usually arrived in poor shape or unwell from their long journeys. They kept a hospital for this purpose at in 1113 were granted a Papal Bull acknowledging them and their name. They conducted themselves under strict rules. William Peveril granted them the site, but It is not known how long they held it.
Henry de Chequers (de Scaccario) – The de Chequers family was a well-known family in Buckinghamshire. They were the builders of Chequers – the home of the British Prime Ministers. Associated with them is the Dormer family, and as you can see from the family tree, Sir William Hawtrey married Winifred Dormer, and Winifred’s brother married Dorothy Hawtrey – a lot of love amongst those families!!
Algernon William Stephen Temple-Gore-Langton, 5th Earl Temple of Stowe – Born in 1871 and passing in 1940, Algernon was a JP for Somersetshire, late a Lieutenant of the Coldstream Guards, and Captain of the 3rd Battalion, Somersetshire Light Infantry. His portrait, in Army uniform, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
Timeline for the site through the information relating to the families who held the land,
Saxon Held by Alwin, thegn to King Edward.
1086 Held by William Peveril.
1181 The manor was for a short time held by the Crown – Richard I.
1199 King John confirmed the gift of the manor farm from William Peveril to the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem.
<1222 Held by Henry de Chequers (de Scaccario), tenant of the Knights Hospitallers. They provided him with 16 oaks from the forest for repairs to the site.
1254 Held by Ralph de Chequers (de Scaccario).
* Held by William Hawtrey through marriage to Katherine, daughter of Ralph de Chequers.
1286/7 The site was granted to William Hawtrey by his parents (see previous) while they were still living.
1302 Held by William Hawtrey.
<1346 William de Hawtrey died, and his son Thomas inherited the lands.
* Thomas was succeeded by his second son, Nicholas.
* The lands stayed in the Hawtrey family for another three generations.
<1490 Held by Thomas Hawtrey.
1522 Thomas Hawtrey died and his son, Thomas, succeeded him. Thomas married Sybil Hampden.
1544 Thomas died and was succeeded by his grandson, Thomas Hawtrey.
1589 Held by Sir William Hawtrey, Knight, who married Winifred Dormer. Sir William’s sister married Michael Dormer, brother of Winifred.
1591 Winifred died, after her husband, and the lands were divided between their three daughters, Mary, Bridget and Anne.
1639 Mary died and her lands were divided between her two sisters.
Married Sir Frances Wolley and died childless. and her share of the lands passed to her two sisters.
Bridget married Sir Henry Coke and
1615 Bridget sold her share of the lands to Robert Jenkinson.
1618 Robert Jenkinson died and was succeeded by his son, Robert.
1645 Sir Robert (now a Knight) died and was succeeded by his son Robert.
1661 Robert was created Baronet.
1677 Sir Robert died, and he was succeeded by his son, Sir Robert Jenkinson, bart.
1703 Sir Robert Jenkinson, bart., sold the manor to Edward Mitchell.
1631 Anne was married to John Saunders, and she granted her share of the lands to her daughter Elizabeth, who had married Sir Walter Pyre.
1640 Elizabeth died.
1647 Elizabeth’s share of the lands were sold to John Irons.
<1697 John Irons sold his share of the lands to John Deacle.
1723 John Deacle died, and his tenant Thomas Holton held the lands.
1717 Thomas Holton was disposed of the lands after a bit of wrangling! They went to William Deacle, relative of the previous John Deacle.
<1777 The lands were brought by George Grenville.
1927 The lands were held by Algernon William Stephen Temple-Gore-Langton, 5th Earl Temple of Stowe.
1947 Aerial photograph.
1976 Aerial photograph.
As you can see, the site has had some colourful owners. As far as I have been able to research, there has been no actual archaeological work carried out on the island of the moat. A lot of its history will be unfolded once this is undertaken, but until then, we can only guess as to who actually held the piece of land that the moat is located upon.
References & Bibliography
Bryant. C. 2017. Entitled: A Critical History of the British Aristocracy. Transworld.
Farrer. W. 1924. Honors and Knights’ Fees Volume 2. Manchester University Press.
Fox-Davies. A. C. 1910. Armorial Families: A Directory of Gentlemen of Coat-Armour. T.C. & E.C. Jack.
Hawtrey. F. M. 1903. The History of the Hawtrey Family. G. Allen.
Lysons. D. 1806. Magna Britannia: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire. T. Cadell and W. Davies.
‘Parishes: Ludgershall with Kingswood’, in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4, ed. William Page (London, 1927), pp. 68-73. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/bucks/vol4/pp68-73
Platt. D. 2011. Tetchwick Farm, Tetchwick Lane, Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire; an archaeological recording action. Reading: Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd. https://doi.org/10.5284/1008794.
Public Record Office, Palgrave. Sir. F., & Duffus Hardy. Sir. T. 1881. Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, Volume 42. George Eyre & William Spottiswoode.
Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. 1886. Walks and Excursions. Proceedings of the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society, Volume 5, 1889. P. 233.
Shearhan. J. J. 1862. History and Topography of Buckinghamshire Comprising a General Survey of the County, Preceded by an Epitome of the Early History of Great Britain. Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.