Interior of the Lord Nelson Brightwell Baldwin
In 1515 John married Magdalen Brome, daughter of Sir John Brome of Holton. They had six sons, two Johns, Edward, George, Thomas and William, and four daughters, Jane, Anne, Bridget and Dorothy.
John’s father transferred him a lease on Caversfield in his 1533 will, although this may have already expired by then. In 1541 John’s ongoing argument with the Langstons over Caversfield flared up and his servants rioted against John Harman, a local MP. As a result there was an investigation by the Privy Council into the affair. They sound a fractious lot as another dispute arose when John tried to prevent his tenants from felling trees or leasing their tenements at will. The court ruled that they should enjoy their customary rights. John was later charged with ignoring this decision and threatened with a £200 fine. This suggests our general belief that the lords of the manors ruled completely autocratically and without central interference is far from true.
Rather more usefully John also inherited the manors of Foscott and Appleton. However, he settled initially in Blackthorn and became known as ‘of Blackthorn’. Many of his children were born in Hampton Poyle; all these are places in the general area around Bicester.
St Mary the Virgin, Ambrosden
Ambrosden is five miles from Caversfield in Oxfordshire. It was crown property until 1542 when Henry VIII granted it to John in exchange for Foscott and a payment of £57 12s 9p and three farthings – the deal also him granted John Nun’s Place (aka King’s End) in Bicester. John sold Appleton on gaining occupation of Ambrosden in 1564, passing it to John Fettiplace, a stepson of Thomas Denton.
John had a succession of roles in Oxford and Oxfordshire rising to become sheriff of the county from 1557-8. He also became the MP for Banbury in 1558 at a time when this type of dual role was not normally permitted. While he was sheriff John appointed his brother Thomas (GGF11) as one of the knights for Oxfordshire. As an MP he served on the Commission of the Peace under Mary I, suggesting he must have shared the Catholic beliefs of his wife and his sister Susan, the nun.
He prepared his will in 1573 and died in 1576 but his namesake son pre-deceased him, thus his second son Edward became his heir. Edward married Joyce Carleton of Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire – for a time this was the location of one of my favourite local pubs for a special meal – The Lord Nelson.
The Lord Nelson, Brightwell Baldwin, Oxon
In his will John left forty shillings to his sister Susan and named one of his younger sons William as his executor, to be supported by three overseers – his brother-in-law Sir Christopher Brome, his nephew Alexander Denton and his son Edward Denton. His wife Magdalen survived him for twenty years and in her own will provided £20 for a tomb or monument of marble to be erected in Ambrosden church. I could find no trace of it.