View of Frankpledge at Westwood 1535

Westwood, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


The Priory of St Swithun at Winchester held the Manor of Westwood from Late Saxon times until dissolution in 1539; the holding continued under Winchester Cathedral until 1911, when the remaining property in Westwood was sold off.

As part of the feudal land of the Priory an official visited Westwood, as well as the other manors it owned and held court there to hear various matters concerning the manor and make judgements. In the progress book (a working document written while the official was touring the properties) of the Priory of St Swithun for 1535 is an entry for the Court at Westwood. It is Latin and some of the handwriting is very hard to decipher and there is no punctuation; Dr Brian Collins, a researcher in Winchester Cathedral’s archives has supplied a rough translation, with some gaps.

Frankpledge, or francipledge in this document, was a system in which members of a community were responsible to each other for law and order and a representative, a tithingman, would present cases of misdemeanor at the feudal court.

The text in round brackets is the result of the court’s decision and was added in a different hand at the end of the court proceedings – e.g. (3s. 4d.) is a fine paid or (he is completely pardoned).


Westwoode – The View of Franciplege with the Court there held on the 12th day of April in the 26th year of the reign of King Henry VIII


The tithing-men there sworn present from the cert-money on this day – 4s.

Also that the Prior of Henttone (he is completely pardoned) Thomas Halle (he appeared) Thomas Horttone (he appeared) for the land lately of Dawncis the same Thomas for the other land which he acquired from [blank] [they made] free suit default therefore they are in mercy

Also 1 sheep [?????] with a lamb coming from strays at the Feast of All Saints last past and remaining in the custody of the Lady Mary Hortone widow

Also it is ordered to the Lady Mary Hortone (she emended) and Matilda Harres (she emended) sufficiently to repair and to make their hedges at le Breche before the Feast of Pentecost next under penalty for which – 40d.

Also it is ordered to the same (they emended) to make their hedges at Chisleys before the Feast aforesaid [under] penalty for which – 3s. 4d.

Also it is ordered to John Dagget (he forfeits) to John Crey (he forfeits) and to John Burges (he forfeits) sufficiently to make their hedges at [blank] between Lyppers Yet and Yvardes Yate before the Feast of Saint George next under penalty for which – 3s. 4d.

Also no one hereafter nor their servants hereafter shall break the fences and hedges in any place under penalty for which – 20s.

Also it is ordered to the Vicar (he forfeits) to make his hedges at Heycrofte between Yvarde Filde and the Close of the said Vicar in Wodhylle Lane before the Feast of Saint George next under penalty – 3s. 4d.

Also that John White (he is completely pardoned) 3 [?????] and he broke the assise [?????] he is not in [mercy]

Also that William Byrde (3s. 4d.) the Vicar of Bradforde unjustly occupies the common tenencies of the Lord of Westwode with 60 sheep and common wethers he has [nec = ?????] [pasture or pastured] therefore [he is] is in mercy

The price of grain – of corn – 10d. of barley – 5d. of oats – 3d.


The Prior of Henttone = Hinton Charterhouse Priory in the neighbouring parish in Somerset; the Priory held land in Iford in Westwood.

Thomas Halle [Hall, fl. 1558] was a prominent resident of Bradford, living in The Hall mansion just off the Holt Road.

Thomas Hortone [Horton, who died in 1549] lived in a mansion in Church Street, Bradford and at Iford in Westwood.

Le Breche would be Breach, a frequent name for a parcel of land which has been put to the plough.

Chisleys was a field name; names like that usually suggest the remains of a Roman building (there is one in Westwood).

Lippers Yet is a leap gate or lippiat (a low fence to allow deer to jump over); yet and yate = modern gate.

Yvarde  = modern Iford.

William Byrde/Birde (Vicar of Bradford 1491-1540) got into much more trouble later. He was attainted for treason for his remarks about Henry VIII and lost his living (but his patron, Lord Hungerford lost his head).