The records in this collection consist of a small number of medieval records, mostly for the 15th century, a fine 17th century plan and survey book, and a large number of 18th century estate papers, mostly deriving from the period of ownership by the Amyand family. A large proportion of these have been severely damaged by exposure to water, and it may not be possible to produce them until essential extensive conservation work is carried out.
MANORIAL RECORDS: bailiff's accounts, 1447-1468 (incomplete); survey, nd [1445-1460].
TITLE DEEDS: property in Crookham, 1306-1790; Chamberhouse manor, Thatcham, 1439-1798; Chamberhouse mill, Thatcham, 1456-1754; tenements in South Street, Thatcham, 1547; property in Henwick, Thatcham, 1585-1749; land in Chapel Street, Thatcham, 1711; messuages in Thatcham, 1713-1754; land in Thatcham, 1732-1790; Cold Ash Farm, Henwick and Thatcham, 1747-1790; Chamberhouse Farm, Thatcham, 1754-1790; Frilsham manor, 1788; Frilsham Farm, 1790; Ealing manor and property at Ealing, Hampstead Norreys, 1788-1790; property in Hampstead Norreys, 1730-1800; property in Everington, Yattendon, 1800; property in Herefordshire, 1790; property in Sussex, 1657.
ESTATE AND FAMILY PAPERS : survey and plan book : Chamberhouse manor and Cold Ash Farm, 1691-1748; Lansdell family and estate papers, 1716-1720; Amyand family papers, 1729-1741; papers re purchase of estate by George Amyand, 1730s-1750; estate papers re Chamberhouse and other property of the Amyand family, 1745-1767; Cornewall family papers, 1756-1779; papers re sale of estate, 1779-1799; miscellaneous, 18c.
MISCELLANEOUS : records of legal proceedings against John Pury of Chamberhouse, 1457-1458.
|Administrative / biographical background:
Chamberhouse manor is first recorded as such in 1445. Prior to that date it was an estate within the manor of Crookham, held by the service of a pair of gilt spurs or 6d yearly. It has been suggested (without conclusive evidence) that the estate derives its name from Roger de la Chambre who, with his wife Felicia, conveyed property in 1250 to John Picard (to settle on the heirs of his daughter's marriage to Felicia's son), and in 1257 to Reading Abbey, which owned Crookham manor. The road leading to Thatcham which serves as one of the estate's boundaries was known as Chamberlane by 1384, and a messuage called Chamberhouse is mentioned in 1397 (D/EZ 77/2/11), identifiable as land formerly held by Thomas att Chambre by 1334.
In 1395 Richard Pavy, an esquire of the Earl of Salisbury, purchased the hereditary post of bailiff of the parks and keeper of the warren of Crookham (which seems subsequently to have become attached to the Chamberhouse estate) and at approximately the same time acquired the estate. He certainly owned it by 1397, when he was granted a license to celebrate divine service in his "house at Chamberhouse"; the chapel was subsequently noted by Ashmole, and may have been dedicated to St Anne.
In 1404 Richard Pavy granted the estate to Sir John de L'isle of Wotton, Isle of Wight; it then consisted of two messuages, three carucates of land, 50 acres of meadow and 50 acres of wood in Crookham and Thatcham. The estate remained in the Lisle family until 1439, when the third Sir John Lisle to own Chamberhouse appointed his sister Elizabeth and her husband John Pury to the post of bailiff of the parks and keeper of the warren at Crookham. In 1445 Pury purchased the whole estate from his (now former) brother-in-law; the "manor of Chambrehous", this being the first record of manorial status, now comprised eight messuages, a mill, 500 acres of land, 50 acres of meadow, 50 acres of wood and 100 acres of marsh in Crookham and Thatcham. Additional land in Colthrop, Henwic and Thatcham (all in Thatcham parish) were purchased in 1447, the year in which Pury received a royal licence to enclose, crenellate and embattle the manor with stone and lime, create a park from 300 acres of land, 40 acres of wood and four acres of meadow, and hold a manor court. Duly fortified with a moat, the house was for some time known as Chamberhouse Castle. Pury had Lancastrian connections, which may have been significant in this context.
John Pury died in 1484, and Chamberhouse passed to his daughter (by his second marriage) and heiress Anne, wife of Sir William Danvers, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1504, Lady Danvers, now a widow, granted her interest in the estate to one of her daughters, Isabel, wife of Martin Docwra. Isabel was succeeded in turn by her two elder sons, Edward (d.1545) and Edmund, notable for presenting Thatcham parish church with its earliest surviving register book in 1572. Edmund Docwra mortgaged the estate twice in the 1570s, to John Asteley, treasurer of the Queen's jewels and plate in 1572, and to the Earl of Leicester in 1573.
In 1583 Edmund Docwra sold the Chamberhouse estate to Nicholas Fuller, but the problem of the mortgages forced a Chancery case to clear Fuller's title in 1590. Nicholas Fuller was a convinced Puritan, whose nonconformist sympathies led to a period in prison in 1607-8; his wife's family were Quakers. Nonetheless he played a prominent role in parish life, encouraging record-keeping. He died in 1619/20, and the estate remained in the Fuller family until 1716 when the heiress Margaret Fuller and her husband Samuel Pargiter (who had added her surname to his) sold the estate to John Lansdell, having pulled down the old manor house and chapel, c.1713-1716.
John Lansdell and his sons remained owners of Chamberhouse until 1748, when the estate was purchased by George Amyand, a well-connected merchant created a baronet in 1764. He built Crookham House on part of the property, and Chamberhouse Farm on the site of the old manor house. His son and heir, another Sir George, adopted the name Cornewall on marrying an heiress of that name in 1771, and moved to her house, Moccas, in Herefordshire.
(For a map of the Chamberhouse estate which remained in this family's hands, see D/EX 8 P1.)
In 1790 Sir George Cornewall's trustees sold Crookham House to Richard Tull, and in 1798 they sold Chamberhouse to his brother Henry Tull. The two estates both descended to the family of Richard Tull; in 1872 Albert Richard Tull of Crookham House enlarged the estate by purchasing Crookham manor.
For further details, see Samuel Barfield, Thatcham, Berkshire and its Manors (Oxford and London, 1901) and the Victoria County History.