This collection consists of the Berkshire estate papers (the Maidenhead area) of the Grenfell family of Taplow Court, Buckinghamshire, Barons Desborough, 1290 - 1940. It is notable in particular for the fine series of records for the manor of Bray (part of the Queen's jointure in the 15th and 16th centuries), 1296 - 1924, including an enrolment of the deeds establishing Cookham almshouses, 1668; and for records of other manors in the parish of Bray, 1659 - 1932. Maps of the estate include development plans for central Maidenhead, 1868 - 1888. There is also a detailed series of accounts and rentals, 1804 - 1940. Other records of the family are deposited at Buckinghamshire Record Office.
|Administrative / biographical background:
The nucleus of this estate was the manor of Bray, which was purchased by Pascoe Grenfell, Esq. in 1818 from the Crown. Prior to that date, Bray had been ancient demesne since the Domesday survey, except for a period during the Commonwealth. During the 18th century the crown had leased the manor; in 1771 to Charles Ambler, Esq., the steward there; in 1783 to the Rt.Hon.James Lord Brudenell, who became 5th Earl of Cardigan in 1790; and in 1811 to George, Earl of Winchelsea and the Rt.Hon.Thomas, Lord Walsingham jointly. On the death of the purchaser, Pascoe Grenfell (1761-1838), it passed by descent to his great grandson, William Henry, who was created Baron Desborough in 1905. He died without heirs male and the estate passed to his daughter, the depositor.
Within the parish of Bray, 12 other manors or reputed manors are recorded (V.C.H.iii.99, passim), and of these, 7 are represented in this collection. Though the conveyances of Ive's, Ockwell's and Kimber's are enrolled at Bray Court Baron and might therefore be presumed to be freehold or copyhold parcels of the manor with prescriptive exalted titles, Courts Baron were held independently for the manors of Lowbrook, 1706-1904 (see M117) and Foxley's, 1690-1805 (see M115-116) and by their respective lords. The book of the 'Suitholds' of Bray (M106) shows, however, that all these were "copyholds of the Crown", surrenders and admittances with heriots being regularly noted to c.1816. The exception is the manor of Cresswell's or Filbert's, bought by Edward III in 1352 and granted to St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and which was thereafter a leasehold manor (see Cat. of Muniments of St. George's: Leases 1582-1711, xv.58.E.49). Charles P. Grenfell bought the residue of such a lease in 1859.
These subsidiary manors were united to form the Taplow Court Estate by Mr.Pascoe Grenfell's purchase of the manor of Ives (1800), now known as the Boyn Hill Estate, Maidenhead; and Shoppenhangers (1801); and his son Charles Pascoe Grenfell's acquisition of Ockwells (1846), Kimber's (1846), Taplow Court from Lord Orkney (1852), Lowbrooks (1856), Cresswell's (1860), Philbert's (1863), and Foxley's (1864), besides many small holdings.