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A sample of the stories:

Meet William de Parles, husband of an heir to a quarter of the knight’s fee.  Found guilty of murder and hanged in 1278, his family asserted his innocence and claimed a rigged trial … all to no avail. 

Similarly, the intriguing Catesby family, who came to hold the third manor of Watford by marriage.  William was beheaded for treason by King Henry VII, while Robert, 120 years later, was shot dead after discovery of the Powder Plot. 

Eustace de Ardern de Watford, barely able to pay scutage - a fine - for not sailing with the king's army to France. 

Thomas Burneby, in prison for debt, at the point of losing his manor. 

Along the way, a Burneby heiress, married off at the age of 15, is dead at 19.

A narrative of the Knight's Fee and Manors of Watford in five parts.
Told through true stories of the manor through medieval times.

Part 1 :

Watford after the Conquest

The people :

de Clare

de Arden / Ardern / Arderne

de Watford

Arms of de Clare

Arms of de Clare

Arms of  de Watford

Arms of de Watford
Part 2 : 
The de Burneby 
The people :
de Burneby
Arms of de Burneby
Part 3 : 
The de Parles &
Cumberford Manor
The people :
de Parles
Arms of de Parles
Part 4 :
The de Watford & 
Catesby Manor
The people :
de Watford
Arms of de Catesby
Part 5 :
The End of the Watford Manors
The people :
Craven, Clarke, Francklin, Becher, Hanbury
Earl Spencer
Lord Eden Henley


The Timeframe:

In 1066, the Normans Conquer England.

The Lords of de Clare hold Watford for more than 50 years

In the early 12th century, the parish is given to the Arderns of Watford. 


150 years, the manor is held by the Arderns of Watford


1276, Lord Eustace de Watford IV dies; 

Watford split into several manors


350 years, the three manors of Watford held by the heirs of Ardern

1626, George Clerke the elder begins buying Watford lands

 For more than 50 years, one manor of Watford is held by the Clerkes

1689, George Clerke the younger dies,

1690 - 1725, George Clerke's estate is shared among his daughters and nephew, and/or sold 

Images of the Ancient Arms of Catesby, Parles, and Burneby by Swyrich Corporation.

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