Monday, October 18, 2010

The de Wolverton family

I outlined the first 6 generations from the Breton Baron who established Wolverton as the centre of his power here. This post continues the story.

The third Hamon, who probably died around 1198, had three sons who inherited the estates and the title: Hamon, d. 1211, William d. 1246, and Alan d. 1248. Alan was the first to style himself de Wolverton and he was the only one with a male heir, John, who lived to 1274.
His son, Sir John de Wolverton, succeeded to the title as a minor. He appears to have been an uncooperative character, at least as far as the crown was concerned, and from the standpoint of history his accession marks the beginning of a slow decline in the de Wolverton fortunes.
In 1284, as he was a minor and a ward of the crown, Queen Eleanor chose a bride for him. He refused to marry her. In 1297 he was required to undertake military service overseas. He declined and paid a fine. In 1328 he argued for exemption from the Assize and in 1342 it is suggested that he had not been fulfilling his service duties at Northampton Castle. He was the last of the de Wolvertons to be summoned to Parliament and it seems that the Barony died with him. He died in 1342 and his son John succeeded to the estates but not the dignity of Baron.
This John had four daughters by his first marriage and two daughters and a son, Ralph, by his second marriage. When John died in 1349 (the date would suggest death from the Bubonic Plague) Ralph was only two years old.
Ralph did not last long and died in 1351 and at this point it becomes complicated.
The Chalfont portion of the Barony appears to have been divided between the daughters of the first marriage. The lands in North Bucks, including Wolverton Manor, were divided, after the death of Ralph, between the two daughters of the second marriage, Margery and Elizabeth. Margery and married John de Hunte of Fenny Stratford and the had one daughter, Joan, who became the heir. She married John de Longueville of Little Billing and when the dust settled after the early deaths of other possible male heirs, it was John de Longueville who ended up with the Wolverton Manor in 1427. Thus the male de Wolverton line came to an end.

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