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THE BRADFIELD ST.CLARES

The lands of Marlingford, Norfolk, are mentioned in the Great Roll of the Pipe, 1189-90, as being in possession of Richard de Sancto Claro. In 1196 they are sold by Gerebert de Sancto Claro. The latter appears frequently in Palgrave's Ancient Calendars and Inventories, 1195-99, his name being spelt with considerable variation. He was attorney for one Adam of Hilleg, sheriff of Norfolk, whom he afterwards succeeded in that office. "Gilbert de Sancto Claro, Vic. de Norfolf & Suffolk" is one of 150 witnesses, 1217. In the reign of Henry II, ante 1180, Gibert de Sancto Claro holds one miles, or knight's fee from the abbey of St.Edmondsbury. In a letter to the sheriff of Essex from Henry III, 1217, is noted "Eod. mo. scribitur Vic. Essex. p. Jam. de Seincler", and the same year, "Eodem mo. scribitur Vic. Suff. p. Rob. de Seinclow". In 1218 Gerebert gave lands in Stone and Bishopstone, Bucks, to a Hugo de Seincler, and in 1227 gave large additions there. John de Sancto Claro succeeded Hugh as heir in 1237. There are numerous transactions of Gereberd's with Jews about monies, and it would appear that he died about 1251. In a record of 36 Henry III (1252) is an entry, De servitiis regi debitis: Gereberdus alias Gerebaldus de Seint Cler et Johannes de Seint Cler defunci" by which it appears that Gereberd and his successor John were both dead at this date, and their properties awaiting possession by the new heir. They must have died within a year of each other: from the Cal. of Inq. after death of 36 Henry III, number 22 deals with Gerebert as quondam [the deceased] proprietor of Topesfield of the honour of Bolonia in Essex; and number 48 of 36 Henry III, John de Sancto Clauro for the same place. In 37 Henry III, John is again mentioned as formerly of "Bradfeud maner, Suffolk"

In the Patent Rolls of the Tower of London, 40 Henry III, John is mentioned as "nuper defunctus" in connection with 80 acres and one messuagium which he held for the third part of a knight's fee, and also occurs "Idem tenuit duo feod' mil' in Bradfield et Watlesfield de Abbate Sancti Eddi" (Edmondsbury) in which was formerly Alesia, Countess Warrenne. In the Testa de Nevill, the book of the fees in the court of the treasury, he appears under "Norfolk" as holding half a fee of Elvedon from the feoda of the Count Warrenne.

On the death of John in 1252 the family branched into two, in the persons of John his successor, and Robert. This second John had Bradfield St.Clare as the head of his barony, and of him considerable account has survived. He "kept court" at Bradfield from 41 Henry III On his father's death a mandate was sent with regard to the Essex lands. "The king commanded the abbott of [Pershore] Gloucester that without delay he must take into the hand of the king the manor of Topefield, which was that of John de St.Claro, who held in capite from the king the honour of Boulogne, and that he keep that safely till the king has given further order: With the king witness, at Woodstock, 16th August [1252]". The Inq. p.m. being held shortly thereafter, this is the result in Essex, where Topefield was the head property: "Johannes filius Johannis de Sancto Claro propinquior haeres ejus est et est de aetate novendecem annorum". The following year, by an exactly similar process, he was declared heir to the Suffolk lands. In the State Rolls of 51 Henry III, 1257, there is a presentation by Richard de Bosco against John de Sencler, Robert de Mundeville, milites, Edmund de Seincler, Peter de Sencler, parson of Weathersfield, summetar John de Sencler, and others, sent by Robert Euel, or Howel (the head of the. Montfort malcontents in the Isle of Ely), who had come with horses and arms to his house in Walberwickham and removed cups, dresses, gold rings, weapons of war, and other valuables. Morant says John occurs in 52 Henry III (1268) as a lord, his possessions compelling him to the full duties of a baron of the kingdom. The Rotuli Hundredorum was drawn up by commission subscribed under the Great Seal, 11th October 2 Edward I (1283). There were ten men appointed for the St.Edmondsbury district, and there John de Sco. Claro appears as one of the four of best rank - miles. As late as 1302 a John de St.Cleer pays his feudal respect to the abbot of St. Edmondsbury for some possessions connected with the manor of Bradfield St.Clare.

Guy St.Clair, escheator to the king, was probably of the Bradfield connection. He is noticed in 1335 as, with his wife Marjory, holding Wyrun Hall, Norfolk. In 1349 be was made King's vice-comes, or sheriff, of the united counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon, in both of which he had lands and held office till 1354. In 1356 he became escheator for Norfolk and Suffolk, in 1357 was sheriff of same, and in 1353 had re-appointment. The last of his sheriffships traced was in 1359, but he was often escheator at other periods, and there is preserved in the British Museum a parchment carta, an order by him as vice-comes of Norfolk in 1357. His son Pain, or Paganus de St.Clare must have died without male issue, for in 1376 he pre-leases to Edward de St. John and Joan his wife and her heirs all his right in the manor of Grimston.

Contemporary with Gerebert, Robert St.Clair appears as signing a mandate for the viscount of Lincoln, from the king, 2 Henry III, "Eod mo. scribitur Vic. Suff. p. Rob. de Seinclow". They may have been brothers. As the pious gravestone has it, "In their death they were not divided". One of the open rolls of the tower, 36 Henry III, the year of Gereberd's death also, gives account of Robert and his son Robert. "Concerning homage taken: The king took homage of Robert Sayncler, son and heir of the late Robert Sayncler, for all the lands and tenements which the aforesaid Robert, his father, held from the king in capite in the day on which he died, and he restores to him those lands and tenements. And it was ordered to Master William Clifford, escheator for this side of the Trent, that having accepted security from the aforesaid Robert about his reasonable tax to be rendered to the king at the treasury of the king, he make him heir, without delay, with full possession, to the same Robert with regard to all his lands and aforesaid tenements, and in respect to which the aforesaid Robert, his father, was possessed in his own demesne as of a fief in the day on which he died, and what by reason of the death of that Robert was taken into the king's hand: with the king witness, at Saint Edmundsbury, 14th February 1252. "Robert junior, had Edmund for successor, probably he of 1266, who raided R. de Bois. In 1294 Edm. de Sco.Claro and others attest a gift of Suffolk lands, and again two of the same place in 1339. To another of the same lands in 1351 Edm. Synclowe is a witness, and again in 1360.

It has been noticed that Gereberd gave Stoue in Bucks to a Hugo, who had also Essex properties. Hugo dying in 1227, the seat reverted to John FitzGerebert, who died in 1252. A connection got it again at a later period. He appears as Robert de Seyncler of Stone at an enquiry in which he took part, and in 1274 William de Sco.Claro, a proprietor of large substance, appears as of Stanes, Bucks. At this same time there were Stephen St.Clare in the hundred of Balberg, Suffolk; Gerard St.Clare in that of Periton, Ox.; and a Geffrey St.Clare in Upthorp, Hunts. Thirty years later a John held Calendon in Beds. In Leicestershire, 41 Edward III, John Seincoler had Lobenham, and in 46 Edward III (1373) his son John is put in possession of the same manor. Still another John, with his wife Alicia, held it 3 RichardII Adam St.Clere, who was born out of wedlock, had II Henry IV, Warton, Stippershall, and divers messuages and lands as from the castle of Tamworth. These properties were in Warwickshire. A Peter held Chaddesden II Edward III, and in 36 Edward III a Margaret St.Clare died possessed of Boyleston manor as of the honour of Tuttebury Castle in Derbyshire. By the Inq. p.m 1387, Maria, the wife of Sir Roger Bellers, "prius nupta John Seynt Clere" possessed Grymston, Cryche, etc., in Leicester and Derby. In 19 Richard III (1396) Rowland Sentclire had land from the fief of William de la Zouche, miles of Haryngworth in Northamptonshire. In the Roll of the Hundreds, 1274, Philip de Sancto Claro appears frequently as a prominent proprietor in Cambridgeshire. In 1280 he is one of a jury sworn by Sir William Muschet. A Robert de Sancto Claro is also noted in this roll record. Philip was succeeded by Nicolas de Sancto Claro.

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