Stoke, the heiress, with Robert de Pogeys. Under the sovereignty of Edward the Third, 1346, John de Molines, originally of French extraction, and from the town of that name in Bourbonnais, married Margaret de Pogeys; and, in consequence of his eminent services, obtained license of the king to make a castle of his manor-house of Stoke Pogeys, fortify with stone walls embattled, and imparke the woods; also that it should be exempt from the authority of the marshal of the king's household, or any of his officers; and in further testimony of the king's favor, he had summons to Parliament among the barons of the realm.
During the wars of the rival Roses, the place was owned by Sir Robert Hungerford, commonly called Lord Moleyns, by reason of his marriage with Alianore, daughter of William, Lord Moleyns.
This Lord Robert, siding with the Lancasterians, or the Red Roses, upon the loss of the battle of Towton, fled to York, where King Henry the Sixth then was, and afterward with him into Scotland. He was attainted by the Parliament of Edward the Fourth; but the king took compassion on Alianore, his wife, and her children, committing her and them to the care of John, Lord Wenlock, to whom he had granted all her husband's manors and lands, granting them a fitting support as long as her said husband, Lord Robert, should live. But the Lancasterians making head in the north, he "flew out" again, being the chief of those who were in the castle of the Percys, at Alnwick, with five or six hundred Frenchmen, and being taken prisoner at the battle of Hexham, he was beheaded at Newcastle on Tyne, but buried in the north aisle of the cathedral of Salisbury.
Lady Alianore, his widow, lies buried in the church of Stoke Pogeys; and her monument may still be seen, with an epitaph commencing thus:
Hic, hoc sub lapide sepelitur Corpus venerabilis
DominæAlianoræ Molins, Baronissiæ, quam
prius desponsavit Dominus Robertus Hungerford,
miles et Baro. &c. &c.
Notwithstanding the grant to Lord Wenlock, Thomas, the son and heir of Lord Robert Hungerford, succeeded to the estate. For a time he sided with the famous Earl of Warwick, the king-maker, who took part with Edward the Fourth, but afterward "falling off," and endeavoring for the restoration of King Henry the Sixth, was seized on, and tried for his life at Salisbury, before that diabolical tyrant, crook-back Duke of Gloucester, afterward Richard the Third, where he had judgment of the death of a traitor, and suffered accordingly the next day.
But during the reign of Henry the Seventh, in 1485, when the Red Roses became triumphant at the decisive battle of Bosworth, and these unnatural and bloody wars which had devastated England for nearly thirty years, being brought to a close, by the union of Henry with Elizabeth of York, representative of the White Roses, the attainder of Thomas, as well as that of his father, Lord Robert, being reversed in Parliament, his only child and heir, called Mary, succeeded to the estate.
Lady Mary married Edward, Lord Hastings, from whom the present Earl of Huntingdon is descended. She used the title of Lady Hungerford, Botreux, Molines, and Peverell. To this marriage Shakspeare alludes in the tragedy of King Henry the VI., Part 3, A. 4, Sc. 1, when he makes the Duke of Clarence say ironically,
For this one speech Lord Hastings well deserves
To have the heir of the Lord Hungerford.
Lord George Hungerford succeeding his father, was advanced to the title of Earl of Huntingdon by King Henry the Eighth, in 1529. He died the 24th of March, 1543, and lies buried in the chancel of Stoke Pogeys. Edward, his second son, was a warrior with King Henry the Eighth, and during the reign of Henry's daughter, Queen Mary, 1555, declared his testament, appointing his body to be buried at Stoke Pogeys, and directing his executors to build a chapel of stone, with an altar therein, adjoining the church or chancel, where the late Earl Huntingdon and his wife (his father and mother) lay buried; and that a tomb should be made, with their images carved in stone, appointing that a plate of copper, double gilt, should be made to represent his own image, of the size of life, in harness, (armor,) and a memorial in writing, with his arms, to be placed upright on the wall of the chapel, without any other tomb for him. He died without issue. Earl Henry was the last of the illustrious family of Huntingdon who possessed the manor and manor-house of Stoke; and the embarrassed state of his affairs compelled him to mortgage the estate to one Branthwait, a sergeant at law, in 1580, during which period it was occupied by Lord Chancellor Sir Christopher Hatton, the fine dancer, one of the celebrated favorites of Elizabeth, the lascivious daughter of King Henry the Eighth—a woman as fickle as profligate, as cruel and hard-hearted, so far as regarded her numerous paramours, as her brutal father was in respect to his wives.
This historical detail, gathered from Domesday Book, Dugdale, and other authorities, is narrated in consequence of its bearing upon some celebrated poems hereafter to be noticed, and is continued up to the present period for a like reason.
Sir Christopher Hatton died in 1591, and settled his estate on Sir William Newport, whose daughter became the second wife of Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, who purchased the estate of Stoke. After the dissolution of the Parliament by King Charles the First, in March, 1628-9, Sir Edward Coke being then greatly advanced in years, retired to his house at Stoke, where he spent the remainder of his days in a quiet retirement, universally respected and esteemed; and there, says his epitaph, crowned his pious life with a pious and Christian departure, on Wednesday the 3d day of September, A. D., 1634, and of his age 83; his last words, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!"
Upon the death of Sir Edward Coke, the manor and estate of Stoke devolved to his son-in-law, Viscount Purbeck, elder brother of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who perished by the hand of the assassin, Felton.
Lord Purbeck, upon the death of his wife, daughter of Sir Edward Coke, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Slingsby, by whom he had a son, Robert, which Robert, marrying the daughter and heir of Sir John Danvers, one of the judges who sat on the trial of King Charles the First, obtained a patent from Cromwell, Protector of the Commonwealth, to change his name to Danvers, alledging as the reasons for his so doing "the many disservices done to the commonwealth by the name of the family of Villiers."
In 1657, Viscount Purbeck granted a lease of the manor and house of Stoke, to Sir Robert Gayer during his own life; and in the same year, his son, Robert Villiers, or Danvers, sold his reversionary interest in the estate to Sir R. Gayer for the sum of eight thousand five hundred and sixty-four pounds. The family of Gayers continued in possession until 1724, when the estate was sold for twelve thousand pounds to Edmund Halsey, Esq., M.P., who died in 1729, his daughter Anne married Sir Richard Temple, created Viscount Cobham, who survived him; and she resided at Stoke until her death in the year 1760.
The house and manor of Stoke were sold in the same year, by the representatives of Edmund Halsey, to the Honorable Thomas Penn, Lord Proprietary of the Province of Pennsylvania, the eldest surviving son of the Honorable William Penn, the celebrated founder and original proprietary of the province.
Upon the death of Thomas Penn, in 1775, the manor of Stoke, together with all his other estates, devolved upon his eldest surviving son, John, by the Right Honorable Lady Juliana, his wife, fourth daughter of the Earl of Pomfret.
In 1789, the ancient mansion of Stoke, appearing to Mr.