WRAY, MANOR OF

The history of the manor of Wray or Hayne is extremely complicated and difficult to unravel. What is clear is that Alstan held the manor of Wray at the time of Edward the Confessor’s death; in 1066, and that Godwin held it in 1066, when it paid tax for one hide of land. The Domesday entry adds that ‘There are six ploughs there, which is all that there is land for; there are four serfs, eleven villeins and 3 bordars. There are eight acres of meadowand five acres of pasture. Ther are eight cattle, four pigs and thirty sheep. It was formerly worth 60s; now it is worth 30s.’ The lands of the king’s thanes at Domesday (of whom Godwin was one) mostly ended up being held of the honour of Gloucester, and indeed we find an entry in Feudal Aids for 1284-6 that Wray was then held by William de Cheverstone from John de Umphraville, who held the Honour of Gloucester. However, whether this was just the area in Moreton parish to the south of the manor of Moreton, or included East Wray Barton and Wreyland in the parish of Lustleigh, is not clear. It might even include Lustleigh itself – which does not appear in Domesday Book under its later name. In resolving this, it is best next to jump forward to the last days of the manor of Hayne. When William Cary, lord of the manor of Hayne, Lewdon and Lettaford (and many other manors ) died in 1549, the inquisition post mortem noted that he held this manor from Thomas Arundel, of his manor of Lapford. Lapford was an inheritance of the Honour of Gloucester, which descended from the Humphraville family to the Arundell family of Trerice. Therefore there is good reason to believe that the Domesday manor of Wray included Hayne, Lewdon and Lettaford, and that the Cary manor here was a parcel of what had once been Godwin’s land. Reginald Fitz Reginald acknowledged Beatrice, wife of Ingelram de Bray, to be the holder of a fourth part of a knight’s fee in Wray in 1238 (Wreyland Docs, p. 104). In 1249 Ingelram de Bray and Beatrice granted this land, which they described as ‘a moiety of 1 hide of land in Wray, Leudon and Lettaford’ to Ralph de Cheverston, ‘to have and to hold of the heirs of Beatrice forever’ (Feet of Fines, i, no. 464). The key word here is ‘moiety’ – they granted a portion of a manor (a moiety normally being a half). From the wording, it would appear that Hayne, Lewdon and Lettaford was the moiety of Wray that they granted; these must have formed part of the Domesday manor. As this land was Beatrice’s inheritance, not those of the Bray family: a previous lord must have left only daughters and the manor of Wray had already been divided in half between them – possibly between Beatrice and her sister. Who this family might have been is not known: . Nor is it known how much longer after 1286 the de Cheverstone family held their moiety. But clearly by 1249 Wray had been divided into two small manors, and that Hayne, Lewdon and Lettaford formed one of these, possibly with Wray Barton.

There is some late evidence that the other manor lay tot he south of Wray Barton and Lewdon. In 1570 Richard Wannell of Moreton, gent., sold to John Wannell alias Voisey, yeoman, of his messuages called ‘East Ludon, Forde, Willaway Cleave and Willaway Wood in Moreton INCLUDING HERIOTS’ (WCSL Enrolled deeds, no. 881). Heriots were a fine (often the best beast) payable to the lord of the manor on the death of a tenant and so Richard Wannell’s ability to level this fine suggests he enjoyed some sort of manorial rights in these four places. FORD was alienated by William de Mandeville at an early date, and may well have been a separate manor. East Lewdon, Willowray Cleave and Willowray Cottage all fall into the most southern section of the parish, and may represent a residue of the moiety of the manor of Wray which did not pass to William de Chiverstone in the 13th century.

If all the land in the parish of Moretonhampstead but south of the manor boundary was one moiety, and the other moiety was to the south in Lustleigh, then it is likely that WRAY BARTON was the principal house of the Moreton part, which became the manor of Hayne. However, Wray Barton had become a free tenement by 1396 at the latest. For the later history of the manor of HAYNE, see under that entry. [IJFM]

 

 

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