Archive:Catalogue of the Earl Marshal's papers

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Francis W. Steer, ed., A Catalogue of the Earl Marshal's papers at Arundel Castle, With a foreward by Sir Anthony Wagner, Harleian Society Publications, Registers, v. 115, 116 (London: Harleian Society, 1964).

page 2

From the Court of Chivalry Dated Cases

7 Petition of Eustace Whitney, gent., who was told by Thomas Higgins that petitioner's grandfather was a bastard whereas he was a gentleman well descended of an ancient family allied in blood to the Scudamores, Baskerviles and the best gentlemen of the country. Prays for a warrant for bringing Higgins before the Earl Marshal. Endorsed 4 June 1622.


HIGGINS, Thomas - of Bach i/t/p Dorstone, gent., 24 Jan 1665. (when sick in body) to be buried in Dorstone churchyard.
Sole Executrix: wife Anne who is to have my house in Dorstone bought from Thomas BEVAN and Eleanor his wife as well as 11 acres bought from Samuel ?TRACY Esq and the messuage called 'the Grannige' (all these properties lying in Dorstone and Clifford) for life and then to: my nephew Symon HIGGINS (son of my brother Robert HIGGINS)
to my brother Robert HIGGINS - the tenement where James POWELL lived recently and which I bought from Roger WESTON, Philip POWELL and Matthew POWELL (in Dorstone) - for life and then to Symon HIGGINS, Robert maintaining Symon at school; my reputed daughter Margaret HIGGINS (who is living with me); John, Elizabeth and Elenor ?HANCORN [?HAMKORNE] (the children of my sister Elinor); money for the making of a causey [causeway] in the highway leading from Bach to Arthurston [?Arthur's Stone in Dorstone] Mowntayne [Mountain].
Witnesses: Walter WILLIAMS, Margaret WALLWINNE [Walwyn], Thomas SMITH, and John WELLINGTON Proved PCC London 11 May 1666 by Anne the Relict.
Notes: Thomas HIGGINS was probably the son of Robert HIGGINS, gent and his wife Jane, daughter of Valentine PARRY of Ewyas Harold, gent. After his death, his widow Anne may have married Edward LLOYD in June 1667 at Dorstone. Thomas' brother Robert HIGGINS was buried 25 Aug 1685 at Dorstone leaving a son Symon (who was buried there 11 Aug 1727). Symon married Blanche FRANCIS on 1 May 1680 at Abbeydore.

This is almost certainly the same family that eventually acquired Middlewood Farm in Clifford, Herefordshire.

Redistribution of land

When the Priory was dissolved, the advowson (right of appointment of a priest) passed to the Walwyn family together with the ‘greater tithes’ (part of the income from the parish). Meanwhile the Priory’s lands were sold off to powerful local families, in particular to the Middlewood estate, the Whitney estate (by this time, owners of Clifford castle), and the Moor estate owned by the Penoyre family.


... These three families were to dominate the local area for the next few hundred years. For example the Middlewood estate was owned by the Higgins family from the early 1700’s until 1905. William Higgins is listed on the 1851 census as Attorney and Solicitor, and a holding cell in the property of Middlewood House still exists where prisoners were held.

Obtained and transcribed by Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq. with additional notes by Tim Doyle.

Copyright © 2009, Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq., and the Whitney Research Group.

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