Annex 3

de Stanburns

An attempt to trace the history of the name de Stanburn in the village

It runs from 1172 or earlier to at least 1485 when the last de Stanburn here was Thomas, a Gentleman of Blake Notely. There is another file on the manor of Stambourne Hall itself that lists all the known owners and does not beg the question of whether it ever belonged to this family; which I suspect it never did.

Primary Sources

  • Little Domesday Book (hereafter LDB): This does not mention that its use of the word Stanburna may be as a surname as well as a place name. One of the t.r.e.owners was Alestan, translated as Alstan.
  • Charter of Thomas Becket (hereafter CTB): Quoted by Newcourt, 1160-72; but the event described may well be earlier.
  • The Stoke Charters for the period 1218 – 1252 (hereafter SC).
  • The deeds of Queens College justifying their title to a purchase of 1482 (hereafter Q) They are described in Chapter 9, p9 (??).
  • The Lay Subsidy of 1327, Stambourn & Redeswell. Dr Jennifer Ward’s typescript.

Secondary Sources

  • Morant, who is slavishly copied by Wright. His paragraph is:

    A family of note lived in, & took their furnames from, this place. John, Edmund & Thomas de Stamborne were witneffes (& signatories) to deeds of the Peyveres, (of grants to themselves & others in the Queens deeds – JBE) in the reign of King Edward III, and had these arms on their seals, ermines, a chevron engrailed.
  • Muilman (aka Chiswell) does not mention the word as a surname.


t.r.e.LDB has a landowner, Alstan (Alestan9) a freeman, owning land in both Stambourn, (where it probably corresponded to the Manor of the hall) and in Toppesfield (where it is thought to be Scoteneys, on the Yeldham border). The superscript abbreviation 9 usually means –us, but in some places is used for whole words. It is not impossible that it was in full spelt Alestanburna. JBE proposes the hypothesis that in this place this abbreviation stands for ‘burna’ and that the name, if not so abbreviated would imply the same and that this “Elder of Stan[burna]” was the de Stanburn’s progenitor.
1160cTebald de Stanburn gives some property to the church [CTB]. He lives perhaps 1130-90. I call him #1, pace Alstan.
1218Roberto de Stanburn is Capellano, #2. [SC581]
1212-35Hugh de Stanburne, s.o. Pain or Pagani has to pay 16/2d to Peter, Clerk of Toppesfield [SC615] #3
1242Paulinus de Peyvere was granted the manor of Stambourne by King Henry III as a reward for war service in Poitou, Acquitaine. The King will have taken it from the successors of Hamo, if any, or perhaps the de Stanburns, to make the grant, though it may have reverted to the crown by then.
1251-2Roberto de Stanburn appears in SC 623 and 624, first as owner of land at Suggebrigge (near Great Yeldham) and in the next charter as Roberto Capellano de Stanburn. This could well be the son of the same Roberto as in 1218 AD, above, or perhaps the son of that holy cleric. #4.
<=1323Philip de Stanburn is the first bearer of the surname recorded in the deeds of Queens’ College [Q1]. He lived, perhaps, from 1270-1330. [Q1] itself is undated; my guess is 1322. #5.
1323John de Stanburn appears in [Q2]; he lived (?) 1290-1350. #6.
1327Johanne de Stamborne pays vj duty in Redeswell (doubtless R Norton). This assessment of one tanner in the lay Subsidy compares with Johanna de Greneville in Stambourne itself, in which none of the Stanburns is taxed; she pays the highest amount of 10s 10 1/2d. Dr Ward’s rather poorly typed transcript has clearly been altered, perhaps to emphasise that Johanna ends in ‘a’. Johanne & John de Stanburn are, however, probably the same male person. #6.
1327-77 = “in the time of Edward III” in which Morant places John, Edmund, Thomas.
1340Edmund appears in [Q5]. He lived perhaps 1310 – 1370. #7.
1390Thomas, who specifies he is son of Edmund, appears in [Q8] and [Q9]; hereafter Thos I. #8.
1395Thomas again in [Q10]. Presumably the same Thos I (#8). He lives perhaps 1340-1400. In these two years deeds are witnessed by, inter alia, Thomas MackWilliam. This is the first local record of this name I have found.
1436Thomas appears in [Q12] & [Q13].
1438Thomas again in [Q14] & [Q15]; in the latter he has a head lease. These 4 entries will all relate to the same man who lived perhaps 1370-1430 – hereafter Thos II. #9.
1438In the same [Q15] William receives a grant of land formerly held of Thomas senior; I take this to refer to his grandfather, Thos I (#8), who lived 1340-1400c. William lived perhaps 1400-60 – hereafter #10.
1438/9Thomas writes a quitclaim in [Q19]; presumably this is Thos II (#9) but it matters not which of them it is.
This sequence seems to have been preserved to establish the right of the last Thomas (IV) de Stamborne to sell off the land, though Dr Williams, who abstracted & published the deeds in 1933, says he is not sure whether it is all one lot. I am convinced that it is. Ref: Trans Essex Arch Soc XXn.s. 78.
1481/2The actual transfer to the officers of Queens takes place 43 years later from another Thomas (III, as I think) who is now dignified as “Gent.” [Q 23, 24, 25] #11.
1482He refers to “William, his father & Thomas, his Grandfather” in [Q25]. I take this sequence to be:

Thomas (Thos III), the grandfather who lived perhaps 1400-1460. #11
William (Wm II), the father, whose span was perhaps 1420-1480. #12
Thomas (Thos IV), the Gentleman, who lived perhaps 1440-1500. #13

The grammar of the translation strictly attaches these last two old men to one, John Pelham, but I am sure they are the forbears of Thomas de Stanburn.
1482Thomas, (not otherwise specified) again, appears in [Q26]; I suspect this to be insurance against action by Thos III.
1483/4A series of receipts, quitclaims, powers of attorney & seisins confusingly indicate that everyone is satisfied. The are executed to Thomas de Stanburn of Blake Notley, and for the first time refer to “Margaret, his wife”. He reiterates his relationship to Thos III & Wm II. It seems to me that Thos IV had moved up in the world and gone to live on his rich wife’s estate 30 miles away. These sales of all his property here was his finally shaking the dust of Stambourne off the feet of the de Stanburn family after some four or more centuries.
1911Queens’ College is still shown on an auctioneer’s map as owning land in Chapel End


Deed [Q30] of this date ?1483/4? refers to “praying for the soule of Thomas Stanborn, Squyer”; I guess this to be another sideways glance at Thos III but it also suggests that the whole family had recovered its earlier status.

There follows a series of deeds up to [Q52] which cover some 40 years and include, inter alia, two consecutive 21 year leases. The name of de Stanburn does not appear in them or again in this series – or indeed anywhere else that I have seen. The property that is the subject of these deeds (and which I now think of as the four division of our village) is repeatedly described in much the same terms as in the “Final Accord”, [Q36] of April 1485. It is “a messuage, 100 acres of arable land, 2 acres of meadow, 50 acres of pasture and 20 acres of wood in Brodbroke, Stanborne & Rodeswell.”

In support of this quadripartite concept the other three manors all have remains of moats – though that of Grenvilles was filled in when the cottages were restored, around 1985. That of Moone Hall is represented in the garden of nearby Church Farm, with another vestige some 800 yards along Grange Lane from the present building. There is a fourth moat in the middle of this area and it may well have been the site of a mediaeval hall house.

Assuming we talk of the area that became Ridgewell Norton after about 1560 and was, from time immemorial, part of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Laurence, the place where these three parishes came together is along the road now called Chapel End Way which leads southwards to Cornish Hall End. It must be that which is called In Nortuna in [LDB] and which is translated as Cornish Hall in the Phillimore edition [ref: English Place Names Society (hereafter EPNS), which I believe to have been written by Reaney]. In EPNS XII however, Reaney says it derives its name from one Henry Norton [ref: 1529-32 ECP.

What is now Revels was Stambourne Green in 1787 [Chapman & Andre] so the Green originally extended further to the south-west than it now appears to do – the present Green Farm is a twentieth-century building; the name was earlier used for the site on which the Victorian Revels building and cottages now stand.

This property of 172 acres would have been about 1 mile long & up to ¼ mile wide. It would stretch from “Wast”, on which the Chapel was built in 1715 (and was thus uncleared in 1480 and also uncultivated) as far as the two Farms, Great & Little Nortons, identifying this separated section of Ridgewell with the name it held from Domesday until very recent times. It would include all of Stambourne Green with its eponymous Motts Farm, which is actually mentioned in the Queens’ deeds. There are also mentions of Sanbornes & Sanborne Grove. Slough Farm, on the Birdbrook turning, was probably the eastern limit of this division – though it is an early building it is not mentioned and may be a little later than 1480.

Thus it seems probably to me that this large estate, some 10 per cent of the surface area of the village and a much higher proportion of the useful land, was centred upon a medieval farm hall-house at Stambourne Green; this probably formed the site of Barker Myall’s new mansion in the 1850s, though it was probably to the east of the moat. The influential Ruffle family owned 192 acres at Stambourne Green in 1890. It had the Burn along its lower border, though the two flat Stans were a mile away below the church. What is clear is that Stambourne Green was flattened by the Brickworks, and therefore no large building can now be identified.

I am repeatedly surprised how small are the holdings of rich, even armigerous, mediaeval persons. I guess this to be as large as any and perhaps the largest of the family properties in our village prior to the fusion of the three manors of the McWilliam family.


The de Stanburns did first live in the centre of the village near the church and the ford of two large stones that appear in the East Window. These now lie beneath a bridge built on the footpath from the churchyard to Wesley End in about 1975. The Pevers acquired the manorial title from King Henry III in 1242 as a reward for war service. This suggests some failure of accommodation between them and the de Stanburns. This latter family may well have had its origin in the ‘xii freemen’ associated with Alstan and retained an interest in the southern part of the village. The Queens deeds show later transfers of parcels there from Pevers to Stanburns, consolidating the position of the latter. In the course of all this they decamped down there where they prospered until well after the Pevers were no more than a memory.

It is quite conceivable that, as NJE suggested years ago, they did build the first Stambourne Hall. It may well have been by the church, though this belonged to the DeGrenvilles by1270. They certainly did not build the present one, which is perhaps of a date close to 1550.

Return to Chapter 3 – The people