Picture of church



There were two smaller manors at Cranham, i.e. smaller than Wokydon Episcopi (see Chapter 2). The task of this chapter is to provide their timelines. In one case, Crauho seems to have faded away in the later middle ages, whilst Beredens seems to have emerged at about the same time. However, Beredens is not simply Crauho by another name.


"Craohv. ten & hugo de epo qd tenuit Aluuin lib hom p.m. & p.i. I hid & d. Sep I uitt & I bord Tc I car M dim. Silu C porc I ac & dem pti. Tc & post ual L sol. m. xx."

"Craohu is held by Hugh of the Bishop [of Bayeux], which Alwin, a free man, used to hold as a manor of 1 hide and a half. Always 1 villein, 1 bordar. Then 1 plough, now a half. Woodland for 100 pigs, meadow 1 acre and a half. Value then 50 shillings, now 20."

Domesday (pua), 18th holding, para. 33.

Crauho was the second manor in Domesday Cranham. Crauho was smaller than Wokydon Episcopi, being about 45 % of the size of its larger neighbour discussed in Chapter 2.

The Domesday survey records that a Saxon called Alwin was dispossessed after the Conquest, and that Crauho's new Lord of the manor was a Frenchman called Hugh. Hugh's overlord, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, was the King's half-brother. This was the impact of the Norman Conquest at the local level. It is probable that this was the same Hugh that held Wokydon Episcopi, and this began the process that led to the whole parish being named after its smaller manor (see below).

Crauho was a small manor by Essex standards. The Conquest had brought about a further decline in its value. Although, in material terms, the only reduction in composition of the manor appears to be half a plough (up to 4 oxen), it is uncertain whether these alone could account for the difference in value of 30 shillings. It is more likely that fields had ceased to be cultivated, and that the value of woodland (to which unattended land will soon revert) was less than that of arable.

The exact site of Crauho is uncertain. It must have been in the north of the parish because:

  1. Wokydon Episcopi occupied a large area in the south,
  2. Manors were typically 1.5 - 2.5 km apart in Essex, and
  3. in all directions except northwards, there are the authentic Saxon manors named Gaines (Upminster), North Ockendon, Warley Franks, and Great Warley.

The road system in Cranham, is significant for this problem. As one proceeds North from the church, one crosses St.Mary's Lane, passing the pond on the right hand side of Front Lane and then meets the Front Lane / Moor Lane junction. At this point, Front Lane bears West of North, whilst Moor Lane heads East, and then turns North after about 400 yards (one of the rectangular features noted in Chapter 2). The two lanes come together again about 2 km further North, now the other side of the Southend Arterial Road. The distance from the centre of this oval-shaped piece of land to Wokydon Episcopi is highly consistent with the average distance between Domesday manors in Essex. On the map it appears that the road Northwards splits and deviates around some obstacle, whilst there is an ancient footpath crossing its middle. However, in comparison to the 3.1 square kilometres that Wokydon Episcopi occupied, Crauho is almost exactly 1 square kilometre between Front and Moor Lanes. In terms of Domesday worth, therefore, the area of the land at 30 % of Wokydon Episcopi compares to about 45 % in terms of money. Given the inexactness of the fiscal assessments of land, and the likelihood of greater valuation of arable compared to woodland, these conjectural boundaries, together with the road pattern seem to be consistent.

It is significant that Crauho, unlike Wokydon Episcopi, was a manor had been held by a freeman before the Conquest. In Essex, many manors had their origins where men with enterprise cleared small areas of the forest for themselves. These clearings or "assarts" were then farmed without overlordship. The small size of the manor, its location in the north of the parish amongst the scattered areas of woodland that may have developed after the Roman withdrawal, and the specific indication that Alwin was a freeman all suggest that Crauho is an example of an assart. If so, then it is unlikely that Alwin himself had been the original man of enterprise. Crauho is a much older Saxon word and combines Crau (meaning literally a crow, but also used as a male forename) and oho, meaning a ridge, now most easily seen when driving up Moor Lane or Cranham Gardens (12).

In 1081, King William returned to Normandy, and temporarily entrusted his English kingdom to his half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeaux. Quite suddenly, however, in 1082, the King had Odo arrested. The reasons behind this famous event are obscure; it may have been that Odo aspired to become Pope, which would have been viewed as a serious defection from the Conqueror (256). In any case, Odo was imprisoned for the rest of King William's reign. In spite of this imprisonment, however, Odo was not dispossessed of lands, because in Domesday (compiled in 1086), Odo was still the second or third largest landowner in England. Odo's status during this period, as Hugh's overlord, is therefore uncertain.

The Conqueror died in 1086, shortly after the completion of Domesday. His son, William II ("Rufus") had less compunction in dealing with Bishop Odo. All the Bishop's lands were taken away in 1088. Most of these in Essex passed into the hands of the Diocese or Bishop of London; whilst we do not have the specific record for Crauho, this was certainly the case at nearby Aveley and Stifford (12).

It was probably common sense to amalgamate Crauho with Wocheduna Episcopi. Both Crauho and Wocheduna Episcopi were held by the Frenchman called Hugh in 1086. Crauho was managed by 2 men for 160 acres (a large area for two men, even if a fiscal rather than physical measure). This compares to the 27 labourers for 400 acres at neighbouring Wokydon Episcopi. It would have been a reasonable solution for Hugh to use some of the labour due to him from the men of Wocheduna Episcopi on lands which he also held, but actually lay within the manor of Crauho. It would have mattered little to the illiterate peasants where they provided their free labour. Then after 1088 there was a further trend to joint management, when Odo's dispossession led Crauho, like its larger neighbour Wokydon Episcopi, to also become the property of the Bishop of London.

References to the manor of Crauho are very scanty after Domesday. Most refer to transactions with St.Paul's in London, and this may reflect that Crauho fell under the Dean and Chapter, rather than as the Bishop's direct holding (the technical distinction between Terram and Feudam Episcopi Londoniensis in Domesday). It is stated that in 1232 Crauho was owned by a certain John de Beauchamp; there are at least five different men by this name in the heraldic rolls of the period, and which one owned Crauho is uncertain. In that year, de Beauchamp leased the manor to Thomas de Hayer.

In 1235, Thomas de Stortford was Lord of the Manor at Crauho. De Stortford was a Praecentor at St.Paul's cathedral, and rents from Crauho were delivered to the chapter (12). In one document, the manor is referred to as Wokydon Powell, indicating both a close association with Wokydon Episcopi, and also ownership by the cathedral (if one reads Powell as a phoenetic equivalent of Paul). In 1272, William of Crauho acknowledged that he was 8/=d. in arrears to St.Paul's. This is the last specific reference to the small manor.

The importance of the tiny manor, of course, is that eventually it gave its name to the whole parish. This is an unusual example, of a parish named after one of its smaller manors, rather than the manor which was largest or most important. The placename has evolved to today's Cranham, and their dates are as follows (65):

1344Crawehalle (Cranham Hall)
It must be remembered that spelling was Phoenetic and non-standard for many centuries and that these spellings may represent fewer different pronunciations

There are other explanations for the name of our parish, some verging on folk-lore. Morant, in 1768, thought that Cranham was more convenient than Bishop's Ockendon; plausible so far, but he then went on to say that he imagined that Cranham referred to a resort for the hunting of cranes (wading birds), which, he assured us, was an ancient sport in the reign of Edward I. Morant added that "we must imagine the stomachs of that fighting age of a strange tone" (11). Cameron, writing in 1961, broadly agreed; for him, "Cran-" meant crane or heron, and "-ham" meant enclosure or homestead (23). This pleasant fantasy was extended during the modern development of the parish: the longest street in Lot no. 8 of the Benyon estate is Heron Way, and the newest public house in the parish is the "Golden Crane". Both developers barked up the wrong tree. Cranham, as a place name, is derived from the small manor of Crauho.


Morant (11) describes Beredens as a manor with some doubt, using the phrase "reputed manor or capital messuage, about two miles north from the church towards Warley". The Victoria County History (12) also provides an account of this place. Its status as a fully-fledged mediaeval manor is questionable.

About 1350, there is no doubt that Beredens existed as a sub-unit of Wokydon Episcopi. It was rented to a certain Peter de Wokydon by Nicholas de Halughton, who, as we have seen, was Lord of the Manor at Wokydon Episcopi. On his death, Peter left half of his rights in Beredens to each of his two daughters. Their names are now lost, but one in 1357, and the other in 1362 sold the rights in the property to John de Berden, after whom the estate was named. Sales of rights rather than conveyancing of lands suggests something less than autonomy for the owner of Beredens.

An highly significant transaction took place in 1363. John de Berden is recorded as purchasing outright a house and 52 acres from Sir Ralph St.Leger, the Lord at Wokydon Episcopi. Perhaps it is only at this late stage that we can consider Beredens as a distinct estate, and the recent epidemic of the Black Death is said in Essex to have serously devalued the land, in comparison to the price of labour, thus encouraging the divesting of freeholds in the last half of the fourteenth century. The sale of 1363 indicates not only the independence of Beredens, but also the freedom of Ralph St.Leger and Wokydon Episcopi from St.Paul's. Therefore we can state that at Cranham the feudal system's demise came sometime before 1363.

Ten years later, in 1373, Stephen Wylot owned Beredens. The story is lost until 1442, when a mill was said to be on the Beredens estate. There is no suitable river, and windmill technology did not exist; we must assume that the mill was driven by an animal. One of the fields on the estate is still called Millfield (4).

John Rand of Barking bought Beredens in 1453, and was succeeded by his son William in about 1480. Under the Rand family, the estate grew from 52 to 213 acres, almost quadruple in 70 years, and a measure of prosperity. Either this William Rand, or more likely a son of the same name, sold the estate to Sir William Roche in 1523.

Sir Ralph Latham, goldsmith of London, bought Beredens in about 1543. Here is another example of a London merchant building up a country estate (Wright did the same at Cranham Hall). Latham also had 1000 acres at Gaines in Upminster in 1543, and bought the manor of Upminster Hall from the King for £848 and £39 per annum for life in 1543 (26). One might expect that the land must have been sublet (London goldsmiths surely knew little about farming), but there is no record of the tenant at this time. Beredens then descended with the Upminster estates for the next century (25).

The Feet of Fines is a mediaeval document which lists land transactions. For Essex this has been published, volume by volume, over the last twenty years. It is possible that we shall soon know more about the history of Beredens when the next volume is available. However, at present, the details for Beredens in the late middle ages are scanty.

The Lathams divested the lands on January 20, 1641. Beredens was sold to a certain Stephen Beale, being split from the Upminster estates, which were bought by the Viscountess Cambden (passing thence to the Earl of Gainsborough and then, by sale, to the famous Branfill family).

Stephen Beale left the estate to his son Joshua in about 1645. Joshua had no children, and willed the estate to be divided between Stephen Jermyne, a salter of London, and Nathaniel Lacey. Lacey sold his half to Jermyne for £1000 in 1646 (24), and the price compares favourably to that of Bishop's Ockendon, selling as an entire manor sold for £6100 in 1647. Jermyne also took the trouble to obtain an Act of Parliament which would guarantee the inheritance to his sons; not only was this one way of protecting his title to the property, but also it prevented inheritance by his widow or eldest son (27).

The rent for Beredens in 1710 was 5/=d. per annum, this being paid by Samuel Cruwys and Edward Tyson. This seems an unreasonably small amount, and thus it is uncertain whether this was for the whole of the estate. Jermyne survived his own children, and in 1724 Beredens was inherited by a grandson, also called Stephen (fig.11).

On October 28, 1748 the Commissioners for the Insane stated (24):

"Found Stephen Jermyne to be a lunatic, not enjoying lucid periods or intervals and incapable of governing himself, his manors, tenements, messuages, lands, goods and chattels. By what manner the said Stephen Jermyne became of unsound mind the jurors were altogether ignorant, unless by the visitation of God."

Stephen Jermyne lived until 1795. He was not so mad as not to marry, but his wife, Jane Pettiward, died earlier. They had no children and Stephen left no will. After considerable investigations, the estate was settled on a second cousin, George Francis Tyson. It is not known whether the new owner was related to the tenant of the same name 85 years earlier.

At face value, it is remarkable that the Pettiward family died out in a single generation. Jane's parents had had five children. Amongst these only a single grandchild had appeared, and this child did not survive until maturity. On the other hand, this pedigree (fig.11) was drawn up in support of the probate application by Tyson. It is possible that investigations to track down surviving relatives were not as assiduous as they could have been.

In 1801, Tyson sold Beredens to Ralph Nicholson. The estate was now of 460 acres, and valued at £8,230. Nicholson leased the house and land to William Rummy in 1801, and to Henry J.Hance in 1822.

Hance bought Beredens outright in 1839. The house on the estate was known as "Bellevue" by this time (18). Hance also rented two cottages to labourers (4). The main house was at grid reference TQ 576898 (6).

The Beredens estate was divided and sold in 1865. A large fraction was bought by R.T.Stoneham, and in 1910 it passed to his grandson R.T.D.Stoneham. In 1918 there was a further sale, and much of the land was amalgamated with the Goldings estate, centred in Great Warley. In 1920, Bellevue was occupied by Lady Etheldre Petre, who became the first member of the famous Petre family to reside in Cranham for 400 years.

The house was destroyed during the Second World War. No photographs of it seem to have survived. In 1945 the site was bought by M.E.de Rougemont, and it was then sold in 1971 to the Greater London Council (GLC). With the abolition of the GLC in 1988, presumably the site is now owned by the London Borough of Havering. Concrete foundations may still be observed where the house stood.