Peter Brown Family History

Blundell history Extract


The following extract was part of a document about Michaelmas Farm, Lower Gibbs & Bludell's issued by Felbridge & District History Group. ( )

History of the property held of the manor of Walstead  

A large part of Michaelmas Farm is made up of land that once belonged to the atte Fenn [Fenner] family who had connections with Worth dating back to at least the mid 1300’s when Gilbert atte Fenne gave his name to the property Gybbes affen [Gibbshaven], to the south of Michaelmas Farm [for further information see Handout, Gibbshaven Farm, JIC/SJC 07/07].  Since completion of the Gibbshaven handout, a very informative document has come to light that shows that the Worth lands of the atte Fenn family not only included Gibbshaven Farm but also further land to the north, also called Gibbes affen [Gibbshaven].  This land later became known as Lower Gibs a Ven [Gibbshaven] and is sometimes referred to as Little Gibs a Ven [Gibbshaven], although it should not to be confused with property known as Little Gibbshaven in the 19th century that lies on the site of the former Felbridge Nursery [for further information see Handout, Little Gibbshaven, SJC 07/08] to the southeast of the current property called Gibbshaven.

 One of the few surviving records referring to this piece of land (Little/ Lower Gibs a Ven) is a transcript of a document, now lost, which was held in the Gage papers, lords of the manor of Hedgecourt.  The record, dated 19th April 1600, refers to a court case that John Gage, as lord of the manor of Hedgecourt, brought against William Blundell for trespass concerning the tenure of land called ‘Little Gibbs[Lower Gibs a Ven] otherwise Fennes in Worth’.  The piece of land abuts Gibbshaven which was held by the manor of Hedgecourt and Gage must have thought that William Blundell’s ‘Little Gibbs’ was also part of his manor.

 The transcript details the history of the piece of land back to the death of Roger at Fenn who died seized of ‘12 acres called [Lower]Gibbs affen’ in 1531, which by deed dated 3rd September 1532,  was given to William Tomson of Horne in Surrey.  The same year William Tomson granted the land to John Payne of Brambletye in East Grinstead, Sussex.  On 20th May 1538, John Payne granted[Lower] Gibbes affen to Michael Egerton and the land then descended to his son Thomas Egerton, who in turn ‘released and quit claimed’ [sold] the property to John Dallet and his wife Ursula and the heirs of Ursula.  For the stipulation that the property pass to the heirs of Ursula suggests that Thomas Egerton and Ursula may have been related, but unfortunately there are no surviving records to prove this. 

 John and Ursula Dallet held the property until 12th June 1564 when they sold [Lower] Gibbs affen to John Blundell and his heirs.  At the time of sale [Lower] Gibbs affen consisted of a cottage, 4 acres of land, 3 acres of meadow, 6 acres of pasture and 1 acre of wood, an increase of two acres since the death of Roger at Fenn in 1531.  John Blundell then enfoeoffed (surrendered to a group of trustees) the property for his youngest son, William.  It was proved that William Blundell held ‘the lands called [Lower] Gibbes affen in Worth containing by estimation 12 acres holden of Thomas Challenger of Linfield [Lindfield], as of his manor of Walstead’ at a rent of 4d. Hence in April 1600 the court found against John Gage and in favour of William Blundell as the true owner of the ‘cottage and approximately 13 acres called [Lower] Gibbes affen in Worth’.

 From the transcription of the court case it would seem that the original land holding of ‘Little Gibbs’ [Lower Gibbshaven] acquired a cottage under the ownership of John and Ursula Dallet and it is probable that this cottage is now Michaelmas Farmhouse.


Blundell family

The first Blundell to be associated with Little/Lower Gibs a Ven [Gibbshaven] was John Blundell who bought the cottage and fourteen acres of land from John and Ursula Dallet in 1564, although no record survives to confirm the sale.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine much about the early life of John Blundell except that he married Johan [Joan] Swane in Worth on 18th February 1559 and was buried in East Grinstead on 12th September 1596.  John and Joan had at least five children; Johan baptised on 31stJanuary 1560, Mary baptised on 6th October 1561, Edward baptised on 13th November 1566 and Roger baptised on 21st March 1571, all baptised in Worth, and William (date of birth not yet established but he was listed as John’s youngest son and heir in 1600).

 Roger Blundell and his wife and had at least six children; George and Thomasyn (dates of birth not yet established), Dorothye baptised on 1st January 1586/7, Ursula baptised on 5th April 1590, Margerye baptised on 26th November 1592 and John baptised on 3rd August 1595, all baptised in East Grinstead.  

 As established above, John Blundell enfoeoffed Little/Lower Gibs a Ven [Gibbshaven] to his son William, evoking the inheritance custom of Borough English whereby the youngest son was the heir to his father’s lands and tenements.  William Blundell and his wife Agnes had at least two children; Elizabeth baptised on 20th February 1602/3 and Joahne baptised on 1st March 1606, both in Worth. Little else is known about William’s life except that at the time of writing his will on 9th January 1607 he was a sheath maker, someone who makes scabbards for swords.  However, from the will some family information can be gleaned. 

 The will was witnessed by Richard Ledger, neighbour Roger Croucher [see below] and Roger Parrham (related to Roger Croucher’s wife[see below]).  The will was written when William Blundell was ‘of indifferent health’, although he died within forty days of writing it. William Blundell left money to Alice Saunders of Horne who was living in Worth at the time, to Dorothy Blundell his niece, who was working as his servant, and to Elizabeth his only surviving daughter, he left £25 to be taken out of his stock and goods and put in trust until she was of age.  William made his wife Agnes sole executor and instructed her to keep their daughter until she reached the age of eighteen or she married, which ever was sooner.  William Blundell gave his lands in Horne and Worth to his brother Roger, including the house in which Roger was living, for the remainder of his natural life and on his death the property was to go to Roger’s son George and his heirs.  The house was that which is now Felcot Farmhouse [for further information to Handout, Felcot Farm, JIC/SJC 05/08]

 William willed the house and lands in Worth in which he was living (Little/Lower Gibbshaven) in trust to John Blundell (brother of George) and his heirs, although William’s wife Agnes and their daughter Elizabeth were to remain in occupation until Elizabeth reached the age of eighteen or married, which ever was sooner, when the property would become Elizabeth’s.  William also put on the condition that Agnes was to keep the property in good order.  A codicil to the will continued that should Elizabeth die before she reached the age of sixteen then £20 of her £25 bequest was to go to Agnes and the remaining £5 to William’s brother Roger Blundell.  William also added a bequest that his nephew George Blundell was to pay £4 to each of his siblings, Thomasyn, Dorothye, Ursula, Margerie and John, raised from the possession of the land that he had inherited from him.

 At this point in time there is a complete absence of records relating to Lower Gibbshaven in any of the court books.  However, it would appear that the property became the freehold of John Finch, although it has been impossible to discover whether he acquired it through marriage to a Blundell or whether he purchased it from a member of the Blundell family, nor has it been possible to determine at what date.