History of Stourton Caundle

Sir Ivo FitzWaryn

By Richard Miles

Part 4 – His Caundle Haddon legacy, 1414 to 1441

There’s an enormous amount that can be written about the life of Sir Ivo and I shall return to that subject in later accounts of our village history but for now I’ll continue with the theme of Sir Ivo’s legacy.

An imaginative suggestion made in Part 3 was that the name Cat Lane honours his legacy in bequeathing in his will sufficient monies to mend the way linking this village to Lydlinch. This was just one of more than 50 specific bequests that he made in his will of 6th November 1412. Though he died on the 6th or 7th September 1414 at the age of 66 or 67, he may have been quite ill before then as his will was proved on 5th February of that year with Richard Whityngton (the famous Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London) as an executor. Richard, at the age of about 48, had married Ivo’s daughter, Alice in 1402 when she was in her early twenties.

I visited the Dorset Record Office soon after it was renamed the Dorset History Centre in 2005 and discovered in their archives a translation of a parchment entitled, “Dorset Inquisition taken at Sherborne, Tuesday before Purification BVM, 2 Henry V”, which date was interpreted as 29th January 1415. The text came from a court or Inquisition held following the death of an important landowner in the county of Dorset – in this case Sir Ivo FitzWaryn. Well nowadays all these Inquisitions held in the various English counties and dating from 1320–1480 have been translated and miraculously put online, including the one I came across at the Dorset History Centre. It turns out that Inquisitions of Sir Ivo’s estates also took place in the counties of Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Essex, Wiltshire (2) and Somerset given that he held property across the land.

In August 1402, Sir Ivo made arrangements for some of his estates in Somerset and Wiltshire to pass to his daughter, Alice, and her husband, Richard Whittington, and the rest of his holdings to his other daughter, Eleanor, at that time the wife of John Chideock. By that time it was clear that he and his wife, Maud who was by then aged about 54, would produce no male children. So in April 1403, Henry IV granted to his own son John (later Duke of Bedford) the reversion after Sir Ivo’s death of estates at Wilton, Barford St. Martin and Powerstock, which Ivo held by royal grant in tail-male, i.e. they would only stay in the FitzWaryn family if there was a son to inherit.

Sadly, Alice became ill in 1409 and died in either 1410 or 1411, leaving her sister Eleanor Chideock as sole heir to the remainder of their father’s estates that had been transferred to them in 1402. According to the Inquisition at Sherborne, when Ivo died he also owned the manors at Lydlinch, Lydlinch Baret and Up Cerne, and land at Antioch and Caundle Marsh. It appears that some of these including that of Caundle Haddon were managed by Sir John Arundel, Lord Maltravers whilst Ivo lived in London or elsewhere. Ivo’s wife, Maud died shortly before him and there is a record that he actually died at Up Cerne: both victims of the plague.

Eleanor (aka Alianore) appears to have had an eventful life after being born at Caundle Haddon around 1384. Her marriage to John Chideock was agreed whilst she was still a child and they eventually had two children, John and Elizabeth, but he died in September 1415. effigy.png Remarkably she married a Ralph Busshe, Esq. only a few months after her first husband had died. There appears to some notoriety surrounding this marriage. He was actually fined the very substantial sum of 400 marks for his trespass in neglecting to seek the King’s licence to marry her. But I imagine he cared little for this as he had married a very wealthy heiress in Eleanor. They eventually had three children, William, John and Margery, and he acquired much status becoming MP for Dorset in 1419 and 1429. She died in December 1433 and all of their 3 children died before Ralph did so when he passed away in 1441, the manor of Stourton Caundle reverted to his stepson, John Chideock. It is almost certain that the 15th-century alabaster recumbent effigy in St Peter’s Church is that of Eleanor. Although her figure must have been later defaced thanks to Henry VIII and the Dissolution in the 16th Century, you can still see the figurines of her five children: two by her first husband along her left side and the other three along the right.

During the early years of their marriage, Eleanor and Ralph lived in the Castle in Caundle Haddon, its probable location near Court Barton is marked on some early maps. My next article will be about the history of the Castle since it has been mixed up in much intrigue and was demolished in the late 16th Century as part retribution for a double murder. It turns out that Eleanor’s husband Ralph also had some involvement in a murder in 1418, the plans for which appear to have also been hatched in the Castle. More anon.


Richard Miles