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The Mansions of Herefordshire and their Memories: CJ Robinson

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Charles John Robinson MA was Vicar of Norton Canon in Herefordshire, and his book was published by Longmans & Co. of London in 1872. It includes comments on the parishes and prominent families of the county. The following entry is for Walterstone:


“Walterstone derives its name from Walter de Lacy, and is included in the great manor of Ewyas (see p. 115), but the memory of its earliest lord has been in a measure obscured by that of the family (illustrious in its branches) which occupied ALTERYNNIS for several centuries. The genealogy of the Sitsylts, or Cecils, has suffered so severely at the hands of unscrupulous heralds who thought to flatter the pride of Lord Burleigh, that it is almost impossible nowadays to recover the truth. The fictitious ancestry (for such we believe it to be) of the Marquises of Salisbury and Exeter may be found in any peerage, and may be dismissed with the remark that had the Sitsylts, or Cecils, been persons of the importance which it is feigned they were, it is strange that their names should not once occur in the lists of Sheriffs and Knights of their native Shire[*]. The first of the family who can be identified with anything like certainty, is Richard Cicile, who was appointed in 1458, Forester of the then royal manor of Ewyas Lacy (Pat. 37 Hen. IV.) His son, or grandson, Philip Cicile, is said to have married Maud, d. and h. of William ap Philip Vaughan of Tiliglas, and by her to have had two sons, the younger of whom – David Cyssel – settled in Lincolnshire, and was grandfather of Queen Elizabeth’s most sagacious statesman.[†] The elder son, Philip, succeeded to Alterynnis and was father of John Sycill of that place, who died in 1551, leaving issue, by his wife Margaret Winston, two sons, William and Philip. The former was living at Alterynnis in 1584, but died without male issue, and it is supposed that the estate was on this account sold for the benefit of his seven daughters (Duncumb ii. 310)[‡]. It passed into the hands of the Delahays of Peterchurch, and was alienated by Bennett Delahay[§] about the year 1730, to the Governors of Guy’s Hospital, who sold it to the Rev. John Rogers of Abergavenny, father of John Rogers, the present proprietor. Alterynnis (i.e. steep island), now a substantial farm-house, stands close to the junction of the rivers Munnow and Honddu, and at a survey taken in 1647, contained a great hall, 30 feet long and 20 feet wide, communicating with “a faire wainscot roome, usually employed for a dining roome.” In the windows of this room were two (duplicate) coats of arms: one of them has since been inserted in the south chancel window of Walterston church, and the other is at Trewyn[**]. There was a gatehouse (described as “old” in 1647) at the first entrance into the green court, and occupied by labourers who found employment in the large farm attached to Alterynnis. Trewyn, connected with the old mansion of the Cecils by an avenue of firs fast going to decay, belonged, for many generations, to a branch of the Winstons of Winston[††]. From them it descended to James Eysham, or Evesham, whose grand-daughter and ultimate heiress married, first, James Shaw, and secondly, Jeremiah Rosher. The grandson of the latter is the present proprietor, and a representative of the Winstons of Trewyn. The mansion underwent many changes in the seventeenth century, when the Hall was curtailed of its original dimensions, and at a later date the chapel was pulled down and most of the old features removed. There is, however, still an old Tudor doorway in the north side which seems to mark the date of the mansion.

The church was formerly attached to the Abbey of Llanthony, and after the Dissolution belonged to the Arnolds of Llanvihangel, the Harleys and others. The monuments are few and comparatively modern[‡‡].

[*] The name is not to be found in the Return of the principal inhabitants, made by order of Henry VI. in 1431.

[†] David Syssell, sometime Alderman of Stamford, held a number of offices connected with the stewardship of Crown lands in Lincolnshire, and died, possessed of considerable wealth, in 1541. He left two sons, 1. Richard, who succeeded his father as bailiff of Wittlesea Mere & c, and was Constable of Warwick Castle, yeoman of the Robes, & c; and 2. David, who possibly is identical with David Cecill of Orcop, co. Hd., d. 1592. The eldest son (d. 1587) was father of William, Lord Burleigh, who was born in his grandfather’s house at Bourn, co. Linc., 13 Sep. 1520.

[‡] But in 1652 the chief owners in Walterston were John Delahay, gent., and the Earl of Salisbury (son of Sir Rob. Cecil, younger son of Lord Burleigh).

[§] Son of John Delahay, by his wife Elizabeth, dau. of John Hoskyns, D.C.L., Vicar of Ledbury, younger brother of Serjeant Hoskyns. Bennett Delahay, m. Catherine, wid. of Rich. Poole, and d. of Thos. Carpenter of Tillington, by Ann Rodd. His dau. m. Rev. W. Reece, V. of Clodock.

[**] Quarterly of six; 1. Cecil; 2. Winston of Winston (per pale gules and az. A lion ramp. of the first on the sinister side, supporting a tree eradicated ppr. on the dexter); 3. Winston of trewyn –(Sa. a plate betw. 3 Towers arg.); 4. Ekinton. (Arg. on a bend cotised gu. 3 cinquefoils or); 5. Walcot. (Arg. a chevron erm. bet. 3 chess rooks of the second)  6. Cecil

[††] From the Taddy MSS, it appears that Thomas Winston, by Eliz. d. of  John ap Jevan Winston, had issue, Robert and William. The latter mar. Elizabeth, d. of John Sitsylt of Alterynnis and o.s.p. The former mar. Maud, d. of John Gwyn of Gellygaer, and had Watkin Winston of Ewyas, who by his wife, Joan, d. of Thomas Baskerville of Pontrilas, left a son, Thomas of Trewyn, who mar. Margaret, d. of Richard Smyth of the Wear.

[‡‡] Christian, relict of James Evesham, d. 19 Dec. 1775, aet. 72; Ann, w. of … Delahay, d. 8 Oct.1689; Thomas Delahay, d. 8 Sep. 1712, aet. 63; Jane, his wife, d. 15 Oct. 1721, aet. 79; Thomas Delahay, d. 26 May, 1724, aet. 44; Helen, d. of Thomas and Jane Delahay, d. 20 Oct. 1709. (Duncumb)

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