The post-dissolution history of Windlesham has been very well covered by Marie Eedle. 2
Windlesham was odd in that, although surrounded by, it was not part of Chertsey Abbey’s Godley Hundred estate but instead was a detached part of Woking Hundred.
Windlesham first appears in the records in the second half of the twelfth century and in 1226 – both in connection with the church – see below.
Marie Eedle gives earliest dates for mentions of Bagshot of 1165 (Bachesheta), 1204 (Bacsete) and 1253 (Baggeshete). 13th century boundary documents refer to what appears to be a waterway ‘la Shete’ and a 15th century grant from the Prioress of Broomhall mentions ‘le gutter called la Thete’ 2 p9 The ‘shete’ part of Baggeshete therefore seems to refer to what is now called the Windle Brook which runs through Bagshot.
Henry III’s 1226 perambulation of his Windsor forest boundary seems to follow more or less the county boundary.
Manor of Bagshot
This manor was closely associated with Windsor Forest. In 1254 Geoffrey de Baggesate held this manor from Sir William de Windsor. Geoffrey also held the Hesle estate in Chobham. The de Bagshot male line failed and in 1331 the manor was said to consist of a ruinous messuage 80 acres of arable, 8 acres of pasture and 20 acres of wood.2 p18
Before the dissolution, Broadways appears to have been the major estate. Modern Broadways lies on Chobham’s border, within Windlesham parish. It appears to have been a substantial estate, probably stretching along the Bourne/Windle Brook from Hook Mill to Bagshot.
Adam de la Garston was a prominent freeholder who held land in many parts of Surrey, apparently including Broadways. He inherited estates by 1229 but died before July 1252. He left two sons, Joel – the eldest, and John and a widow Emma.
About 1250, Joel de la Garston, who was still a minor, inherited his fathers estates, came of age between 1255/60 and was still living in 1294. 1 Vol XII p lxvi
In 1255 or 1263 (according to the witness list) – maybe when John came of age, Joel gave Bradeweye ‘in the manor of Chobham’ in perpetuity to John for a lump sum of £10 – this transaction was recorded ‘by writ of the lord King at Gyldeford at the Justices Itinerant’. In the Chobham Court, Emma gave up to John whatever rights as Adams widow she had over the land in return for a peppercorn rent of gillyflower per annum. She absolved John of all service, custom, suit of court and secular demands. 1 Vol XII 759,760 The land was described as being in the manor of Chobham but it appears the landowner reports to another manor court since Emma is able to absolve John of attending her court (the Garston’s manor court? – wherever that was. There is a ‘Manor Farm’ and ‘Manor Farm Wood’ just beside Hook Mill). It appears that the Garston’s hold the land directly from the King – hence the need to attend the King’s court at Guildford. This is early evidence that the King owned Windlesham.
The list of witnesses shows that Emma records her donation in the Chobham Manor Court – because she is passing Broadways into the jurisdiction of that court?
In 1275 John de la Gerstune donated his estate, at that time called Bradeweyeslond, to the Abbot of Chertsey in return for ‘the salvation of my soul’. The Abbot gave John a pension of 100s a year for the rest of his life – an enormous amount, being equal to the total of all rents received by the Abbot from his land at Chobham.1 Vol XII 758 – maybe John was not expected to live too long.
There is no mention in any of these deeds of the land being within the forest.
The estate is described as being in the ‘manor of Chobham’, a term apparently used here to define its location rather than which court it answers to. Its capital lord is not the Abbot but the King. There is no mention of Windlesham or of the Woking Hundred. It is possible that the monks added ‘in the manor of Chobham’ to their records in the hope one day of acquiring the land for the Abbey? It would be interesting to see whether the words ‘in the manor of Chobham’ were included in the royal record of the transfer from Joel to John de Garston in King’s court at Guildford. In the 13th century it was likely that Windlesham was occupied only along the Windle Brook and may not have had a name. This is probably the earliest evidence we have that Windlesham was owned by the King.
In 1309 the abbot gave Bradeweyeslond to Sir John de Hamme of Chertsey in perpetuity in exchange for part of his Hesle estate. The land is now described as being in the ‘vill of Chabeham’ and is answerable to the Chobham manor court.
After the dissolution, the estate was absorbed into the manor of Fosters.
Manor of Windlesham
From at least the 14th century this manor was held by the Prioress of Broomhall who held courts in Windlesham. It included the common fields; Estersh, Westersh, Northersh, Down and Thorndown. After the dissolution St John’s College, Cambridge became the owners and held courts here.2 p15
Manor of Broomhall
This manor was partly in Windlesham but mostly in Berkshire. Broomhall Convent was the owner until the dissolution when it passed to St John’s College, Cambridge. 2 p17
Manor of Freemantle
This manor apparently originated in the early 14th century and was connected with the parish church of Windlesham and the chapel at Bagshot. The advowson passed with the manor. 2 p19
The advowson of this church was granted to Sherburne Priory in the time of Henry II (1154-89). The church is included in a list of churches c. 1270 in the register of the Bishop of Winchester.
Windlesham was part of Woking Hundred and so it is not surprising when in 1226 Newark Priory disputed Sherbourne’s right of advowson to the ‘chapel’ and won the case in 1230. It was held by Newark until 1447 until the church became attached to the manor of Freemantle. The old church burnt down in 1676.2
Bagshot was a chapelry of Windlesham until it became a full parish in 1874. The first reference to the chapel was from 1480 when a guild was licensed in St Mary’s chapel at Bagshot.2
In the 12th century, Henry II afforested his royal manors that were close to Windsor forest, Guildford, Woking, Brookwood and part of Stoke. It is likely that the King owned Windlesham at this time and it was part of his Woking manor so Windlesham was probably also afforested. He later went on to include the whole county as forest – but probably meant all his royal estates in the whole county.
A possible history of Windlesham can be constructed: the 673AD grant of land to Chertsey Abbey included the Godley Hundred manors of Egham, Thorpe, Chertsey and Chobham. Possibly soon after William created Windsor Forest he bought from the Abbey the NW part of Chobham as an extension of his hunting park. This area, which we now call Windlesham, was still understood to be part of the vill or manor of Chobham. Although mostly heath, it had a ribbon of valuable arable and meadow land called Bagshete and Bradeweyeslond which the King removed from forest jurisdiction and leased to the de Garston family. Eventually the Garston family transferred, with the King’s permission, the ownership of Bradeweyeslond back to the Abbey. Bagshot and the remaining heathland, still afforested, remained with the King.
Windlesham parish was included in Woking Hundred in the Lay Subsidy of 1332.
1 Chertsey Cartulary, Surrey Record Society
2 A History of Bagshot and Windlesham. Marie de G. Eedle. Pub: Philimore 1977