Radbourne was recorded in the Domesday Book as a small village of eleven households, with meadows totalling twelve acres and smaller areas of woodland. The Lord of the Manor at the time of the Norman conquest was Wulfsi, and by 1086 the lordship had passed to Henry de Ferrers. By the early 1100s it was held by Robert Walkelin, who was possibly related to the Ferrers. His son, also named Robert, inherited Radbourne. It was eventually bequeathed to his eldest son, Sir Robert FitzWalkelin. The Manor then passed to FitzWalkelin’s two daughters, one of whom married Roger de Chandos. A later descendent, Sir John Chandos, was a knight in the Hundred Years Wars during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Cooper (2016) has detailed the death of Sir John Chandos and subsequent history of the estate. Chandos died in combat in c.1370 and with no heir, his estate passed on to his sisters. One sister married Sir John Laughton/Lawton, and their daughter Elizabeth became the sole heir to the Chandos Estate. Elizabeth married Peter de-la-Pole, and thereafter the Estate continued to descend through the Pole family. In 1807, Edward Sacheverell Pole (1769-1813) reinstated the Chandos name to form Chandos-Pole, a surname which has been retained by the family since.
Although born in Radbourne, Sir John Chandos’ spent much of his adult life in France where he had a noted military career and was a close friend and confidant of Edward, The Black Prince (e.g. Barber, 1986; Jones, 2017). Much of this is detailed elsewhere e.g. in Steven Cooper’s Sir John Chandos. The Perfect Knight. While he was in France his family continued to live in Radbourne in the fourteenth-century (Cooper, 2016: 17) and the house may have survived for some time.
A sixteenth-century account by the antiquarian John Leland suggests that Sir John built a large moated house close to Radbourne Church. In terms of a house, Leland visited Radbourne some sixty years after Sir John’s death and wrote:
“The olde howse of Rodburne is no greate thinge, but the laste Chaundois began in the same lordshipe a mighty large howse of stone withe a wonderfull cost, as it yet aperithe by foundations of a man’s height standinge yet as he left them. He had thowght to have made of his olde place a colledge.” (cited by Toulmin Smith (1910) V. 147-148.)
This mighty large house was said to have one hundred rooms, stabling for two hundred horses, and vast cellars.
The history of the house is sketchy and we don’t yet have a clear picture of events. What we do know is that in 1664, the hall had twenty hearths were recorded as eligible for taxing (Craven and Stanley, 2004). The house was rebuilt or extensively refurbished at the end of the seventeenth century by Samuel Pole (d. 1731) who succeeded to the Manor in 1683, but a little over a century later, Pilkington (1789) wrote that the previous house (to the present one) ‘is now in ruins’. Pilkington is surely referring to the building depicted on a map of commissioned by the Pole family in 1711 and made by Thomas Hand.
A limited initial investigation of historical sources has already shown that there is further evidence available that will add to the story of Radbourne. For example, Cox (1912) provides details of legal activity contained in the Wolley Manuscripts, between the 13-16th centuries including the lease of a mill at Radbourne during the reign of Henry III (1207–1272). Carrington (1895) provides us with names of villagers mustered as part of mobilisation in preparation of the expected Spanish invasion in 1587. Clearly there is a history of the parish waiting to be told, and research into historical sources and archives such as probate inventories etc will certainly add to the story.
Barber, R. (1986). Life and Campaigns of the Black Prince. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.
Carrington, W.A. (1895). Papers relating to Derbyshire musters temp. Q Elizabeth, with muster roll for 1587. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, vol 17.
Cooper, S. (2016). Sir John Chandos. The Perfect Knight. (see link above)
Cox, J.C. (1912). The Wolley Manuscripts. An Analysis of volumes six to ten. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 34: 81-132.
Craven, M. & Stanley, M. (2001). The Derbyshire Country House. Ashbourne: Landmark Publishing.
Pilkington, J. (1789). A view of the present state of Derbyshire; with an account of its most remarkable antiquities. Derby: Drewery.
Toulmin Smith, L. (1910) The Itinerary of John Leland. Part V. (147-148.) (Access here)