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Notes for Walter Roberts

1463 Walter Roberts and his first wife Margaret Penn were married on October 23. [1] [2]

1480 Margaret (Penn) Roberts died on May 6.

1483/84 Walter's manor of Glassenbury was the scene of a well-documented episode during the War of the Roses. At the parliament that began on 23 January and ended on February 20, in the first year of King Richard III, Walter Roberts was attainted and his lands forfeited: [3] [4]

Forasmoche as oon Walter Roberd, late of Crambroke in the Countie of Kent . . . accompanyed with Sr George Browne, Sr John Gylford, and other the Kyngs Traytors and Rebells, the xviiith day of October, the first yere of the Reigne of the Kyng oure Soveraigne Lorde, falsly and traiterously levied Werre ayenst oure said Soveraigne Lorde. And afterwards, the xth day of Fevrier, the said fyrst yere of oure said Soveraign Lorde, the said Water [sic] . . . herboured, comforted and ayded the same Sr John, and othre the Kings Traitors and Rebells . . . Bee it therfore ordeigned . . . that the said Water Roberd be atteynted of high Treason, and forfaite . . . all his Lands and Tenements, and other Hereditaments and Possessions, that he . . . had . . . the said xviiith day of October.

A vivid account of the attempt to arrest Walter Roberts on February 10 is given in the 1592 and 1629 Roberts pedigrees: [5] [6] [7]

On the Wednesday following the Purification of the Virgine in the first yeare of that Kings reigne Edw: Stanley and John Savage Knights guarded with an extraordinarie Companye of Souldiours did with extreme violence enter the house of Glastenbery and there apprehended Sir John Guildeforde whom they Deteyned prisoner, wherewith Walter Rooberts being feared and doubting further evills to fall upon himselfe did yet set a good countenance thereon preparing a costly Dinner for Stanley and Savage. But when they were at their Repaste Walter beying let downe out of the House by a Sheete, for Stanley and Savage had so fastened the Doors yt none might enter in or out did forsake his house and committed himselfe to Sanctuary in whichhe lay secretly 3 yeares . . . until King Hen: the 7th obtained the Crowne at length; when Stanley and Savage knew the departure of Walter forthwith they seised upon his goods, spoyled his house and carried away the valew of A Thousand pounds declaring all there doings to King Richard whereupon the king beying heavily incensed against Walter Rooberts condemned him of High Treason and entered upon all his goods and possessions.

1492 20 February, Walter Roberth, esq, William Gought, Henry Burgeys and George Hopper to George Nevell kt, Lord Burgavenny, John Nayler, Robert Nayler, Richard Sondys, William Assheburneham, esq, Richard Culpepir the elder, esq, Richard Culpepir the younger and John Culpepir in trust
1. Various lands and tenements called Great Smowgle, Little Smowgle, Pykenden and Pykenden Bokherst, Comden, Scowperys and The Forde lying dispersed in Cranbrook and Goudhurst
2. Lands and tenements, rents and services in Ticehurst, Etchingham, Rye and Brightling
For WR, his wife Alice and their heirs in tail male, remainder to WR
Edward Strangways and John Hewet attorneys to deliver seisin
Clerk's name in turn-up: Gardyner
W to livery of seisin at Boarzell in Ticehurst: Thomas Naysshe the farmer there, Thomas Hunt, John Naysshe, farmer, Robert Naysshe, Thomas Horstede
A seal-tag formed from letters of attorney, George... and Giles... to Walter Colyns. Endorsed: my mother's jointure [8]

1491/92 Elizabeth, daughter of Walter and Alice Roberts, was "borne 13 March being Tuesday about 2 of ye clock in the after Noone 1491." [9] The Hayley manuscript states that Elizabeth was "borne on Saterdaye ye 13 or Marche aboute 2 of ye clocke in ye afternoone in ye yere 1492." [10]

1494 Thomas, son of Walter and Alice Roberts, was "borne on St Mathews day being Thursday in ye 10 of Henry 8: [sic] Ao Dni 1494." St Matthew's Day, September 21, was a Sunday, not a Thursday in 1494. [11]

1521/22 Walter Roberts wrote his will on February 11. [12] [13]

I Walter Roberthe of Crambroke esquyer make my testament &e. To be buried in the churche of Crambroke betwene the ymage of our Lady of Pytye and my pewe and ther I wylle a stone be leyde vpon my body. I bequethe towards the makyng of the middell ile of the said churche the oon half of all the tymber that shall long to the makyng of the Rooffe of the said worke. To the churche of Gowtherst 12 okes the best they can chose vpon the landes I bought of ------------ Baseden the whiche lands --------- Patynden now fermyth.
To euery of the doughters of John Roberthe my sonne 10 marcs at their mariage. To Walter Henele 12 okes to be takyn vpon my lands called the Forde. To Clement my sone my baye colt and oon of my mares. Residue to Alyce my wife and Thomas my sonne indifferently betwene theym and they to be executors.
This is the last will &e: made 11 February 13 Henry 8 of all maners, lands, tenements &e in Kent and Sussex and the five portes wherof at this instant tyme Edward Nevell Knyght, Henry Wyat Knyght, Wm. Assheburnham Esquire and other stande to be seased to the vse of me and my heirs.
First: Thomas my sonne shall have all myn manours &e in Kent, except a pece of land to Clement my sone and for lacke of heirs to remain to Clement and for lack &e to John my sonne and for lack of heirs then to William my sonne, to George my sonne, to Edmunde my sonne and for lacke of heirs to martyn my sonne and after his dethe to Elizabeth Hendle my dowghter and for lak of heires male to Mercy Seint Nicholas my doughter and for lak &e to Johan Horden my doughter and for lak &e to Elizabeth Tukke and for lak &e to Johan Leede and for lak &e to Dorathe Seint Nicholas my doughter and heires make and for lak to Anne my doughter and lak &e to William Assheburnham of Assheburnham and for lak &e to Walter Roberthe so nne of the said Thomas my sonne and to his heires and my manors &e shall not be dyvyded betwene heires males as longe as ony of the said entayles before lymyted shal contynue and not be devyded or departed betwene heires males after the custome of Gavelkynde vsyd within the said Countie of Kent.
Twenty pounds to the vse of Elizabethe now the wife of the saide Thomas my sonne. Also to said Thomas all my landes in Sussex or wt in the fyve porteis excepted certeyn parcells appoynted to Roger Seint Nicholas my sonne in lawe and vnto Anne my doughter. And if my son Thomas be disposed to sell my maners, lands &e in Cattysfeld, Bexill and Batell then I will my cosyn William Asshburnham or his heires by them before an other man.
I will Clement my sonne have a pece of lande called --------------- the whiche Walter Portreffe nowe occupieth and feermyth. To Alyce my wyff an yerely annuyte of 40 marcs owt of all my maners, she to release all right in my lands &e by reason of her joynter or Dower.
To Roger Seint Nicholas my sonne in lawe my safferyn gardyn in Rye that ---------- Pedull now fermyth and occupieth and 16 acres called the Reches lying besyds Rye the evidents wherof remayne in the custodye of Gervase Hendle my sonne in lawe, vppon condicon that the said Roger doo ensur vnto Dorathee his wiff her joynter.
I will my said Recouers graunt vnto Sr. Martyn my sone an annuell rent of 20s. forterme of his lyffe uppon condicon that yf the said Sr. Martyn be avounsid vnto an other benifice then the said annuytie to cesse.
My sonne Thomas to fynde all my sonnes under 21 meat, drynke and apparell and also fynde theym after his discretion at scole vnto the age of 21. I will Anne my doughter one half part of my Wyndemyll at Rye.
I will Thomas my sonne shall find an honest secular priste to sey masse and celebrate divyne service in the parysshe churche of Cranebroke at Seint Gyles awlter for the sowles of my father, my mother my wyves souwles, my owle and all cristen sowles, according to the last will of John Roberthe my father.
Provided if it shall happen the wif of Thomas my sonne or the wif of onny of the next heires abouesaid of the said manor of Glassingbery shall happyn to lye a childebed in my said place caled Glassenbery or elles if the pestelence happyn to Rague and contynue in Cranebroke that then for the tyme of the contyn nance therof and also durynge the tyme of suche lying a childebed vnto the tyme and tymes of their purificacon shall say masse at my place called Glassenbury and that then the said priste for the said tyme to be encused of attendaunce in the parisshe churche, and the said priste to have 10 marks of the issues of my lands lying uppon the Dennys of Iden, Comden, Rysseden, Forde and Smowgley in the said parisshes of Cranebroke and Gowtherst.
I will this my last wille be engrosid by the Counsell of Walter Hendle of Grayes Yne and any dowte to be reformyd by the ouersighte of John Assheburnham and Robert Naylor.
Proved 18 October 1522 by Alice relict and Thomas Roberthe, executors. (P.C.C. 28 Maynwarynge)

Research Notes:

Hasted wrote, [14]

The manor of Glassenbury claims over the greatest part of the town of Cranbrooke; the manor of Godmersham claims over the remainder of it, and all the denne of Cranbrooke, excepting the George inn, with its appurtenances, which is out of it, and is held of the king by knight's service; and the liberty of the manor or Wye claims over the brought of Frechisley, alias Abbots Franchise, which has a court leet of itself, the borsholder where of is chosen there, and the inhabitants of the same owe no service to the court leet holden for the hundred, only at this court a constable for the hundred may be chosen out of that borough.

The manor of Glassenbury is of considerable note, the mansion of which is situated near three miles north-west from the church. This seat was for many generations the residence of the antient family of Rokehurst, the first of whom, who settled in this county, was William Rookehurst, alias Roberts, a gentleman of Scotland, of the shire of Anandale, who, leaving his native country, came to the adjoining parish of Goudhurst in the 3d year of king Henry I. and then purchased lands at Winchett hill there, where he built a mansion for his residence; which lands were afterwards named from him, the lands and denne of Rookehurst, which name it still retains, and there is a tablet put up over a tomb in the south chancel of this church, giving an account of him and his posterity, who bore for their arms, Azure, on a chevron, argent, three miles, sable. This family continued at Goudhurst for 274 years, till, in the reign of king Richard II. Stephen Roberts, alias Rookehurst, marrying Joane, daughter and heir of William Tilley, esq. of Glassenbury, whose ancestors had resided here, as appeared by private evidences, from the time of king Edward I. removed to his manor, where he built a mansion, on the hill of Glassenbury, which came by lineal descent to Walter Roberts, esq. who possessed it in the reigns of king Edward IV. and Henry VII. and was the first who wrote himself by that name only. He, about the year 1473, pulled down this antient seat, and built another lower down the valley, being the present seat of Glassenbury, which he moated round, and inclosed a large park which lay at some distance from it; to enable him to do which, in the 4th year of king Henry VII. he had a grant to impark six hundred acres of land, and one thousand acres of wood, in Cranebrooke, Gowdehurst, and Ticehurst, in Kent and Suffex, and liberty of free warren in all his lands and woods, and of fishing in all waters in his lands in those parishes, with all liberties and franchises usually granted in such cases. The park of Glassenbury has been long since disparked. He was afterwards dispossessed of this seat, and forced to fly into sanctuary. for endeavouring to conceal his friend and neighbour Sir John Guildford from the resentment of king Richard III. for which he was attainted, and this manor and seat, together with all other his lands in Kent, Suffex, and Surry, were granted by the king, in his first year, to his trustly friend Robert Brackenbury, esq. constable of the tower; but on the accession of Henry VII. his attainder was taken off by parliament likewise, and all his estates restored to him. And in the 5th year of that reign, he was sheriff of this county, He died in the year 1522, aged more than eighty years, and was buried under the old tomb on the north side of the south chancel, being the first who appears by clear evidences to have been interred in this church, in which there are many gravestones and memorials of his posterity, who continued to reside here, several of whom were at times sheriffs of this county, until within memory.

His descendant Sir Thomas Roberts, of Glassenbury was created a baronet in 1620, the lands of whose grandfather Thomas Robertes, were disgavelled by the act of 2 and 3 of King Edward VI. and from him it continued in succession down to Sir Walter Roberts, bart. who new fronted this antient mansion, in which he resided with a most distinguished character for his worth and integrity. (fn. 2) He died in 1745, leaving only one daughter and heir Jane, who carried this manor and seat, together with the rest of her estates, in marriage of George Beauclerk, duke of St. Albans, who died in 1786, s.p. on which this manor and seat, with the rest of the estates of the late Sir Walter Roberts, in this county, came by the duchess's will, who died before him in 1778, and was buried in the family vault in this church, (having been for several years separated from him, and residing at Jennings, in Hunton, a seat of her father's) to the youngest son of Sir Thomas Roberts, bart. of Ireland, to whom the title had descended on Sir Walter's death, and he is now entitled to the see of them.


[1] William Hayley, “Sussex: viz. Genealogica, Vol. II” (British Library Add. MS 6347), fol. 1–6, of which folios 2-5 and the front of fol. 6 are numbered in Hayley's hand as pages 1-9 and provide a transcription of a pedigree, dated 1592, of the Roberts family of Glassenbury), 4.

[2] Fane Lambarde, “Roberts of Kent,” Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Ser. 5, Vol. 6 (1926-1928), 168–187 at 71, [FHLCatalog].

[3] Chris Given-Wilson, Paul Brand, Seymour Phillips, Mark Ormrod, Geoffrey Martin, Anne Curry and Rosemary Horrox, eds., Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275-1504 (British History Online, originally published by Boydell Press, 2005), [BritishHistoryOnline].

[4] Rotuli Parliamentorum, 6 vols. in 7 parts (London, 1767–77), 6:251, [FHLCatalog], [Family_History_Library].

[5] Adrian Benjamin Burke, John Blythe Dobson, and Janet Chevalley Wolfe, "The Exhurst Ancestry of the Stoughton Siblings of New England," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 166 (2012), 46-70, at 47-48, [AmericanAncestors].

[6] William Hayley, “Sussex: viz. Genealogica, Vol. II” (British Library Add. MS 6347), fol. 1–6, of which folios 2-5 and the front of fol. 6 are numbered in Hayley's hand as pages 1-9 and provide a transcription of a pedigree, dated 1592, of the Roberts family of Glassenbury), 3.

[7] Fane Lambarde, “Roberts of Kent,” Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Ser. 5, Vol. 6 (1926-1928), 168–187 at 184-185, [FHLCatalog].

[8] The National Archives of the United Kingdom Catalog, AMS4666/32, East Sussex Records Office, [UKNationalArchives].

[9] Fane Lambarde, “Roberts of Kent,” Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Ser. 5, Vol. 6 (1926-1928), 168–187 at 172, year transcribed as 1492. A reprint of Lambarde's article bound with photographs of the 1629 pedigree is held at the library of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In an image of the pedigree, provided by Assistant librarian Adrian James, the year could be read as 1491. March 13 was a Tuesday in 1491/92, [FHLCatalog].

[10] William Hayley, “Sussex: viz. Genealogica, Vol. II” (British Library Add. MS 6347), fol. 1–6, of which folios 2-5 and the front of fol. 6 are numbered in Hayley's hand as pages 1-9 and provide a transcription of a pedigree, dated 1592, of the Roberts family of Glassenbury), 6.

[11] Fane Lambarde, “Roberts of Kent,” Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Ser. 5, Vol. 6 (1926-1928), 168–187 at 172, which notes that Henry 8 should be 7, [FHLCatalog].

[12] Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858, PROB 11/20/22, Piece 20: Maynwaring (1520-1522), 5 pages, [AncestryImage].

[13] Leland L. Duncan, Tudor P.C.C. Will Transcription, Books 49 & 50, p. 44, [KentArchaeologicalSociety].

[14] Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol. 7 (1798), 94, [HathiTrust].