A Steeple Claydons’ History


On the death of Katherine of Arragon the principal manor  reverted  to  the  Crown,  and  in  August  1557  it  was  granted   by   Katherine’s daughter, Queen Mary, to Sir Thomas Chaloner. The Rectory Manor had passed to the Bishop of Oxford when Oseney Abbey was suppressed in 1529, which leased it to Sir Thomas and later sold it to his son. Chaloner was a diplomatist by profession, rising to be English ambassador at Madrid ; he also  has  a  small place in English literature as  poet  (he  contributed  to  The  Mirror for Magistrates and translator. Sir Thomas (1521-1565) was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas II (1561-1613), who was a courtier and   scientist.   During   his   minority   his father’s friend William Cecil Lord Burghley, the great Elizabethan Statesman, superintended the Claydon properties.” The  younger  Chaloner, unlike his father, spent much of his time at Claydon;  the  Manor House a roomy Building of Studd and Plastered  walls,’  was pulled down in 1720, when the present

Manor Farm was built on this site. Two of Sir Thomas 11’s sons were Members of the Long Parliament and signed King Charles’s death warrant. They were  Thomas’  (1595-1661)  and  James  (1603-1660). During  the  Civil Wars  Claydon was  held  by  them   in  trust  for  their  young  nephew Edward. It was therefore a  natural  choice  for  Cromwell  to  make when selecting a  village  to  garrison  his men  in  prior  to  attacking the  Royalists in  Hillesden  House.    Cromwell  probably  slept at  the Manor House;  his  men  are traditionally  believed  to  have  passed the night on the opposite side of the  road  on  the  site of  the  house till railed ‘The Camp.’ The present inscription on the ‘Camp’ barn is, however, incorrect. The attack on Hillesden House was made· on March 4th and not (as the inscription records) on March 3rd.  It was Thomas Chaloner  the  regicide  who  in  1656 built  the  one room school  which  has  now  been  enlarged  to  make  the  Public Library.  He  settled  £ 12    a year for   the schoolmaster’s maintenance, for   which he was ‘to   instruct children to read English, write, and cast accounts.  At the  Restoration  the  Chaloners Claydon  properties  were confiscated  and  given  to Sir  Richard Lane who, had  helped  Charles  II  to  escape  from  the  Battle  of  Worcester. But in 1662  they were bought back  by  Edward  Chaloner  and  remained in the  family until 1704, when they were sold to Lord Fermanagh  of Middle Claydon.