Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study - by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Property      Loudham Hall, Suffolk
 
 
 
DOMESDAY
The Domesday Book has Loudham named Ludhum or Ludehum, with a church and a mill, located near to the River Debden and the town Wickham Market.  Loudham was held by Count Alan; Robert Malet's mother and Walter FitzAubrey and Walter de Caen from her; Roger Bigot; Abbot of Ely; Bishop of Evreux; Hervey de Bourges.
 
 
 
THE CHURCH
A Until the 13th century people attended Loudham church beside the Hall and this remained in use until 1589 when it was partly dismantled. In 1609 the church was used to store hay while the steeple became a dove house. Divine service was sometimes read in Loudham Hall.  Parishoners then began attending Pettistree church.  No trace of the church at Loudham remains, what was left was completely demolished shortly after Jacob Whitbread purchased the Hall in 1792.
["Pettistree with Loudham: A Village and its Heritage" p.2 published <date?>]
 
THE MANOR
In 1280 the Manor of Loudham was held by John de Loudham, of the family of de Loudham or de Lowdham who took their name from the manor.  John's son William de Lowdham gained Frenze, Co.Norfolk in 1297.  William's grandson Sir John de Lowdham (b.c1308 d.1355) gained Kelvedon, Essex by his marriage to heiress Joan de Kelvedon.  From Sir John de Lowdham the manors of Loudham, Frenze and Kelvedon passed by descent to his great-grandson John de Lowdham (b.c1377/8).
 
John's only daughter and heir Joan de Lowdham (b.c1409/10 d.20-Jun-1501) as a child married in 1422 or earlier to Thomas de Heveningham, who died soon after, in 1422. She married secondly in 1423, at the age of 14 years, to Ralph Blenerhayset esquire, of Carlisle, Cumberland, they becoming ancestor of Blennerhassett of Co.Norfolk, Co.Suffolk, Co.Fermanagh & Dublin.  Thus the manors of Loudham, Frenze & Kelvedon passed to the Blennerhasett family.
 
Following his marriage Ralph Blenerhayset and his wife resided first at Loudham, later at Frenze. On his death in 1475 he was interred in the church of St.Andrew the Apostle at Frenze, where his monumental brass and several others of his family may still be seen.  From Ralph Blennerhassett the three manors passed by descent to his son John, his grandson Sir Thomas Blennerhassett of Frenze (Minister, Seneschal, Steward or Principal Household Officer for the 2nd Duke and 3rd Duke of Norfolk), his great-grandson George Blennerhassett of Kenninghall, Norfolk, and his great-great-granddaughter Mary Blennerhassett of Loudham.
 
Mary Blennerhassett married firstly Thomas Culpepper of Bisshe Court, Co.Kent (son of Nicholas Culpepper of Wakehurst, Co.Sussex) and secondly Francis Bacon of Hessett, Suffolk. No, not "the" Francis Bacon...
 
 
 
Loudham after the Blennerhassetts
Francis Bacon died in 1580, interred in Pettistree church, where his monumental portrait brass mounted on the south wall of the chancel depicts him standing between his two wives.  Mary Bacon died 17-Sep-1587, interred in Frenze church, where she has her own brass has no portrait. A probate inventory of her personal effects, dated Sep-1587, is at Norfolk Record Office [NRO].
 
Medieval Loudham Hall was rebuilt in the late 16th century, perhaps about 1580, the year of of Francis Bacon's death.
 
Mary's 2nd cousin Samuel Blennerhassett Sr (b.bef.1597 d.1625) inherited, he residing at Loudham Hall c1591 to c1615 and most probably later, until his death in 1625.  Samuel was son of Thomas Blennerhassett of Barsham, Co.Suffolk ("Old Blunderhazard") and grandson of Mary's uncle, John Blennerhassett of Barsham.
 
Samuel's son Samuel Blennerhassett Jr (b.1602 d.1639/40) in 1627 sold the manor of Loudham out of the family, to Sir Henry Wood (d.1671, bur. nearby at Ufford), a wealthy man who already possessed considerable estates in Suffolk so did not take up residence at Loudham until after the reformation. Sir Henry was close to the Royal family, being Treasurer of the Household of the Queen Dowager Henrietta, one of the Council of Queen Catherine and Clerk of the Board of Green Cloth.
 
NOTE: In 1636 Samuel Blennerhassett Jr. with his brother Edward Blennerhassett (b.c1604 d.1641, bur. in Campsey Ash church) also sold the manor of Frenze, to Richard Nixon Sr (b.c1589 d.1666). This sale was made jointly with John Prettyman and Sir Henry Wood who appear to have been financial partners of the Blennerhassetts in the rebuilding of Frenze Hall c1632-1636).
 
Sir Henry Wood also purchased the site of Convent of Campsey at Campsey Ash (now called Campsea Ashe, a mile from Loudham Hall), from Frederick Scot, who had obtained this from the heirs of John Lane [NICHOLS p.26]. 
 
Sir Henry Wood's second wife Mary <???> was Maid of Honour to Queen <???>. Their daughter Mary Wood (b.1664) at the age of 7 or 8 years was betrothed to Charles Fitzroy (b.1662 d.1730), one of "Barbara's Brats", the illegitimate children of King Charles II by his mistress Barbara Palmer, with a proviso that the marriage be delayed until Mary reached the age of 16. NOTE: Barbara Palmer, nee Villiers (b.c1641 d.1709) was Countess of Castlemaigne, Baroness Nonsuch, Countess of Southampton & Duchess of Cleveland.
 
Sir Henry Wood died 25-May-1671, interred in the south aisle of Ufford church, following which event the Duchess of Cleveland took charge of his daughter Mary Wood, intending to raise Mary with her own children. Charles FitzRoy was given the title of Duke of Southampton.  He did marry his bethrothed Mary Wood but she died at a young age on 15-Nov-1680.
 
Following the death of Charles FitzRoy in 1730 Loudham was inherited by Charles Cranmer, great-nephew of Sir Henry Wood (Sir Henry Wood's sister had married a Cranmer).  On inheriting the property Charles Cranmer changed his name to Wood, and it is believed he may be the man who made extensive alterations to Loudham hall starting c1730 and continuing to c1750, by which time a complete new wing, as large as the original house, had been added ["Suffolk Houses" by Eric Sandon].
 
The Wood estate, including Loudham & Campsea, passed to Robert Oneby of Barwell, Leicestershire, then to Sir William Chapman of Loudham (d.1785).
 
Following Sir Henry Wood’s death in 1671 his brother Thomas, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, resided for nine years in the house, and during this period there were court cases involving the Duke of Southampton and certain sums of money.
 
In 1792 the Loudham estate was acquired by Jacob Whitbread (I), nephew of the founder of Whitbread Brewers and half brother of the Cardington benefactors. His son Jacob Whitbread (II) having died aged 32 years, the estate was inherited by his 11 year old son Jacob Whitbread (III), then by Col. Howard Whitbread.  Following his death and that of his wife in 1919 the estate passed to the Wigan family in 1921.
 
Loudham Hall was sold in 2009. The house is grade II listed.
  

 
The manor of Loudham and the family name deriving from it have over the centuries been spelt Loudham or Lowdham more-or less at random, but in modern times the place name is spelt Loudham, the family name usually Lowdham.
 
The "listed building" description for Loudham Hall states the house has a 16th century core, altered c1750 and again later in the 18th century, but some of the surviving structure may perhaps be of earlier date.
  

 
 
 
Much of the information on this page is courtesy of Joan Peck and Cath Caudwell,
enthusiastic and dedicated Local History Recorders for the parish of Pettistree with Loudham, Suffolk
 
Take a video tour of Loudham Hall, video courtesy of Savills estate agents, London, 2008 
NOTE: the opening remark on this video, about Loudham Hall being built
in 1580 "for the Duke of Southampton", is out by about 100 years...
 
  
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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