Whittingham Hall, Fressingfield, Suffolk

Domesday Book: Wettingaham: Roger de Poitou. Beehive. 40 goats.

In Fressingfield parish “licence to continue enclosed piece of land, formerly waste, on which cottages were built by W. (William?) Barber – Manor of Whittingham with Wakelyns. It was held in Saxon times by Uluric the Thane." There was a chapel at Whittingham around 1326.

In 1580 Thomas Baker held Whittingham manor; in 1678 it was held by Sir. John Hammer; and then, in 1821, by Sir Henry Edward Bunbury. With it was a piece of land (copyhold), called Whittingham Little Green, on vestiges of old Roman Road, in Fressingfield parish.

James Barber (1748 - 1808) - (likely a tenant) of Whittingham Hall, died on 30 November, 1898, and was buried on 6 December. He left a Will, dated 11 May, 1808.

His son, James (christened 22 November, 1778), makes frequent references to visits to Whittingham Hall, in his diary for 1801. Whittingham Hall was owned by Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury who, apparently, was usually known by his second forename, Charles. James Barber makes reference to attending tithe feasts by Sir Charles Bunbury in his diaries. In the Land Tax Assessments for 1799, both a Robert Barber and a James Barber are shown as tenants of land owned by Sir Charles Bunbury, which tends to confirm the assumption that James (d. 1808) was only a tenant farmer at Whittingham Hall.









Sir Richard De Brewes of Stinton (born before 1232 and died before 18 June, 1292; buried Woodbridge Priory) was married to Alice Le Rus (1245 - around 1301; buried Woodbridge Priory). She was the widow of Richard Longespee and became heir to Stinton, Norfolk; and Akenham and Whittingham in Suffolk, following the death of Sir Richard (De Brewes also spelled de Braose). A descendant of Richard - William Brewes, is buried at Fressingfield church, where there is a 1489 brass in his honour, now hidden from view in the floor by renovations in the 19th century.


A fine Hen 56 No. 70, between Richard de Breous and Alice his wife, and John Giffard and Maltida [sic] his wife, as to the manors of Akenham, Whitingham (sic), Brumleigh, Stradbrok, Clopton, Asketon, Stynton, Lubure, and Syvelyngton in cos. Suffolk, York, Lincoln, Norfolk and Surrey. They are the right of Alice; and Richard and Alice grant Asketon and Stinton to John Giffard and wife, for life of the said Maltida [sic]. De Braose Family, D.G.C. Elwes '



de Braose or de Brewes

1. John de Braose, of Bramber and Gower, d. 1232, m. Margaret ferch Llywelyn
2. Richard de Braose, 2nd son, of Stinton, d. bef 18 Jun 1292, m. Alice le Rus
3. Richard de Braose, 2nd son; m. Alianore
4. Sir Richard de Braose, aka Sir Richard Brews, of Wingfield, co. Suffolk;
subject of the will of Sir John Wingfield
5. Alianor de Braose or Brews,
b. say 1320,d. after 1362; m. Sir John Wingfield, of Wingfield [acquired
manor of Wingfield by marriage]
6. Katherine Wingfield, m. bef 18 Oct 1361 to Michael de la Pole
This line is ancestral to the subsequent
Earls and Dukes of Suffolk



"1316 - Brewosa, Ricardus de - Ricardus filius Egidii certified, pursuant to writs tested at Clipston, 5 March as Lord or Joint Lord of the following townships Norfolk - Salle, Brisingham, Fressingheld ( to the later he is in the wardship of Edmundus Bacon) Suffolk - Stradboke and Wingfield, Martlesham, Newbourn and Waldringfield" Parliamentary Writs and Military Summons by Palgrave. V2:589

The manors Stradbroke, and Wingefield and also Stinton were held in turn by William de Rus and his heir Alice de Rus (inq. p.m. 44 Hen 111, No. 15), her husband Richard de Breuse d bef 1292 (Coram Rege, 49 111, m. ii, a fine Hen 56 No. 70, ). There is no mention of the Stradebroke and Wingfield manors in the Inq.p.m's for Alice, her son Giles, his sons Richard, and Robert.


Richard De Braose Of Stinton, Sir 1 2 3 4
Born: Bef 1232, Bramber, Sussex, England 1 2
Marriage: Unknown Bef 09 Sep 1265 1 2
Died: , at age 60 1 2

Sir Richard de Braose, said to be a younger son (not fully documented), Lord of Stinton, Norfolk; Brumlagh, Surrey; Ludborough, co Lincoln; Akenham, Hasketon, Stradbrooke, and Rouse Hall, Suffolk, all in right of his wife; also granted part of the manor of Thorganby, co York by his brother William; born before 1232, died before 18 June 1292, buried Woodbridge Priory; married before 9 Sep 1265 Alice le Rus, widow of Richard Longespee, died shortly before 28 Jan 1300/1, daughter and heir of William le Rus of Stinton, Norfolk by Agatha (dsp shortly before 27 Dec 1261), daughter and heir of Roger de Clere of Brumlegh, Surrey and Ludborough, Lincoln. [Magna Charta Sureties]


SIR RICHARD DE BREUSE, a younger son of John de Breuse, Lord of Bramber and Gower, by Margaret, daughter of Llewelyn ap lorwerth, PRINCE OF NORTH WALES, born 1232. He was summoned cum equis et armis 12 December 1276 to 14 June 1287, and to attend the King at Shrewsbury, 28 June 1283, by writs directed Ricardo de Brehuse or Breuse.

He married, before 9 September 1265 Alice, widow of Richard LUNGESPEYE (who died s.p. shortly before 27 Dec. 1261, and daughter and heir of William LE Rus, of Stinton, Norfolk, Akenham and Whittingham, Suffolk, by Agatha. daughter and heir of Roger DE CLERE, of Bramley, Surrey, and Ludborough, co. Lincoln. She was born 25 December 1245 or 1247, or 1 January 1245/6. He died before 18 June 1292 (i). His widow died shortly before 28 January 1300/1. They were buried in Woodbridge Priory.

(i) At which time his widow was claiming her dower. On the morrow of St. John the Baptist 25 Edward I, Richard de Brewose obtained from (his mother) Alice, que fuit uxor Ricardi de Brewesa, the manor of Stradbroke, Suffolk. The younger Richard m. Alianore. He was summoned cum equis et armis 12 Mar 1300/1. Blomefield erroneously assigns to the elder Richard the Inq.p.m. on his nephew Richard.



Sir Thomas de Brewse, died on the 17th June 1482, and the manor devolved to his son and heir, William de Brewse, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Hopton. On William de Brewse's death on 28th October 1489, the manor descended in moieties to his two daughters and co-heirs Thomasine and Anne. His widow Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Hopton, married secondly, Sir John Jermy.


In 1780 Lord Derby and Lord Bunbury (then owner of Whittingham Hall) decided to hold a new race for three year olds at Epsom. Derby won the coin toss that awarded him the right to choose the name (i.e The Derby), but Lord Bunbury's Diomed won the first annual race.


Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury (1740-1821), 6th Baronet of Barton, and Edward Smith Stanley (1752-1834), the Twelfth Earl of Derby, had the idea of a single race over a mile and a half for three-year-old fillies. Derby won the first running of the Oaks with Bridget on a Friday in May of 1779. The all-fillies race took it's name from Derby's home near Epsom, a former ale house, known as the Oaks.

At a party after the running of the Oaks, a race open to colts was conceived. Lord Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury allowed the legendary coin toss to decided who should have the honour of naming it. Lord Derby called the toss. On Thursday May 4, 1780 nine colts lined up to compete in the first running of the Derby. Bunbury won the first race with Diomed. The first four races were run over a course of a dog-leg mile and carried a first prize of 1,075 Guineas. Later the Derby course was lengthened to the same mile-and-a-half or twelve furlongs as The Oaks.

Diomed, foaled in 1777, won the first Epsom Derby in England in 1780 for his owner Sir Charles Bunbury. He was bought by an American, Colonel John Hoomes, in 1798. Diomed had a reputation in England as "a bad foal-getter. " but in America Diomed sired some of the most famous horses in American turf history.



Diomed - Chestnut colt, 1777. Florizel - Sister to Juno by Spectator.

Diomed is one of the most noteworthy horses on both sides of the Atlantic. He was the winner of the very first Epsom Derby in 1780, and in later life he was exported to America to become the premier sire there, leaving a dynasty that was to last for generations down through the great era of Lexington in the last half of the 1800s.

Diomed (ch.c. 1777 by Florizel-Sister to Juno by Spectator) was bred by the Honorable Richard Vernon of Newmarket and sold to Sir Charles Bunbury, president of the Jockey Club in England, for whom he raced. Diomed was considered a special colt as a three-year-old, perhaps the best since Eclipse of a decade before. He was unbeaten in seven starts at three, including the first running of a stakes held at Epsom named for Lord Derby which was later to become England's premier classic race, the Epsom Derby. He came back again at four, extending his winning streak to ten races, then was beaten for the first time by Fortitude at Nottingham, and the next time out, beaten again at Newmarket by Boudroo.

After this taxing campaign, he was freshened and then put back in training. Although he forfeited a race to Crop at five, he did not race again until the following year at the age of six. He returned, but without his former brilliance. His first race back in 1783 was a victory in a King's Plate (4-mile heats at Guildford) carrying 168 pounds. He was beaten in his next start, the Craven Stakes, by Alaric, and beaten in six more races before coming up lame in a race at Winchester, at which point Bunbury retired him to stud.

Due to his tarnished reputation, Diomed's initial fee was a low 5 guineas (about $25), standing first at Up Park Stud in Hampshire and later at Barton, Suffolk. He was modestly successful, and his fee was upped to 10 guineas in 1789. His best runner sired in England was Bunbury's good colt Grey Diomed (gr.c. 1785) which the GSB notes "was sent to Russia, where he ran with success; afterwards several of his brothers were bought for that country." Diomed also sired three useful daughters, Young Giantess, Fanny, and Young Noisette. Young Giantess produced a notable brood which included the Derby and Oaks winner Eleanor (dam of the sire Muley), Sorcerer (an important sire of the early 1800s), and two sisters to Eleanor which between them produced Derby winners Priam and Phantom, and 2000 Guineas winner Antar. Fanny produced St. Leger winner Fyldener, besides the sires Sir Oliver and Amadis. Young Noisette produced the stallion Marmion.

But interest in Diomed as a sire waned. Several of his sons displayed temperament problems, stubborness and excitibility. Along with this, his fertility had begun to decline, and his fee fell as low as 2 guineas. In 1798, Bunbury sold the 21-year-old stallion to the partners Mr. Lamb and Mr. Younger, the price 50 guineas. That same spring, two Virginian horsemen were looking for stallions to bring to America on speculation. Colonel John Hoomes of Bowling Green, and John Tayloe III of Mount Airy sent notice through their English agent, James Weatherby (of General Stud Book fame) to inquire about Diomed. Weatherby responded negatively, informing them that the old horse was a "tried and proven bad foal-getter". There being a ready market for blooded stallions in America, Hoomes and Tayloe were not disuaded, and purchased the horse at a quick profit to Lamb and Younger of about 1000 guineas.

Although it was the middle of the breeding season, Diomed was immediately put on a boat to America and his new owners wasted no time in recouping their investment. He therefore had the distinction of being one of the few stallions to have covered mares in England and America in the same season. Replacing Hoomes' deceased stallion Cormorant, Diomed stood his first season at Bowling Green, with Tayloe's patronage. In the fall of 1798 he was sold to Colonel Selden (and later a partner Thomas Goode) for a price reported to be at least six times the original investment. He stood the next two years at Goode's stud in Chesterfield, Virginia and as was the custom of the time, moved from farm to farm over the course of his career, largely in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. In the end, he came back into the ownership of Col. Hoomes, and died at Bowling Green in 1808 at the age of 31. He was considered a national hero, and his death was widely mourned.

What is amazing is that the aging, infertile Diomed, apparently in robust enough health to survive the Atlantic crossing, took a new lease on life in his adopted country. Not only did his fertility improve, but the quality of his offspring proved utterly revolutionary. His best runner was Sir Archy, bred by Tayloe and considered America's first great racehorse. Sir Archy himself became a legendary sire, his best foals included Sir Charles and Bertrand, racing champions who vied for the leading sire title for many years, as well as (Sir) Henry, Timoleon (sire of Boston), Lady Lightfoot, Flirtilla, and numerous others.

Diomed's other top runners included Ball's Florizel, Potomac, Stump-the-Dealer, Duroc (sire of American Eclipse), Wilkes Wonder (sire of Tennessee Oscar and Bet Bosley), Centinel, Peacemaker, Top Gallant, Old Flirtilla, Vingt'Un, but the most memorable of all after Sir Archy was a slight filly from his last crop of foals. Haynie's Maria was foaled in 1808, conceived when her sire was 30 years of age.

In the first quarter of the 1800s, it was not unusual for a runner to be closely inbred to Diomed. One of his best grandsons, Sir Henry, was by his son Sir Archy and out of a daughter of Diomed. Through Sir Archy's son Timoleon, and Timoleon's great champion son Boston, his blood came to Kentucky. Boston, in turn, sired the champion racehorse Lexington, who became the leading sire in America for 18 years, and whose sons and daughters dominated racing and breeding up to the turn of the century.

The portrait of Diomed by Sartorious that hangs in the Jockey Club in Newmarket, England shows him to have been a chestnut with a star between his eyes and two white legs. He had a stockinged left hind and a left front ankle, with a spot of white on his right front coronet. Trevathan, no doubt relying on the Stubbs painting above, described him somewhat differently "He was a fine, clear chestnut, without white, except for a small touch on one of his hind heels, scarcely perceptible." Trevathan also noted he was "about 15 hands three inches high; a little dish-faced; rather straight in the hocks, and bent a little too much in his hind fetlocks."





Highflyer -- Bay colt, 1774. Herod - Rachel by Blank. Family 13.

Magnificent Highflyer was the hero of his time, first an unbeatable racehorse, and then the greatest stallion of his era.

He was bred by Sir Charles Bunbury, the fifth Baronet, who, upon the death of his father, Sir William Bunbury in 1764, had inherited the title and family estates at Mildenhall and Great Barton Hall in the eastern county of Suffolk. The breeding center of England had begun to shift from the northern counties of Yorkshire and Durham, south, to the area around Newmarket. The Godolphin Arabian had stood in neighboring Cambridgeshire, and Highflyer's sire, Herod, spent his entire career at Neather Hall Stud, near Bury St. Edmunds just east of Newmarket. It was at Great Barton, just northeast of Bury St. Edmunds, that Highflyer was foaled in 1774.

Bunbury was a long-standing member of Parliament, but it was his role as a member, and later Steward, of the Jockey Club which made him noteworthy. He was also a notorious gambler, a worse hypochondriac and his wife had left him amid much scandal. He had previously raced the popular little grey horse Gimcrack (1760), and three years after Highflyer was foaled, bred another one for the ages, Diomed (ch.c. 1777). As a three-year-old in Bunbury's colors, Diomed had won the first running of the Derby Stakes at Epsom, a race for which the name was determined by a coin toss between the Lords Derby and Bunbury. Had luck smiled another way, the classic would have been known as "the Bunbury Stakes." Diomed stood at stud with some success at Great Barton, but when exported to Virginia as an aged stallion, reinvented the racing breed in the United States.



The Bunbury Papers

The early 19th century correspondence relates mainly to Lady Sarah Bunbury's children by her second husband, Colonel the Hon. George Napier (whom she married in 1781 and who died in 1804), Comptroller of Army Accounts in Ireland, 1799-1804. One of their children, Emily Napier, married in 1830, as his second wife, General Sir Henry Bunbury, 7th Bt, nephew and successor of her mother's first husband, Sir Charles Bunbury, 6th Bt. This explains why these papers, in spite of Lady Sarah's divorce from Sir Charles in 1776, come to be in the Bunbury family archive. The copies were made in the 1860s by William Henry Bunbury (although they are in fact written in several hands).


Bunbury, Sir Charles (1740-1821)
The baronet had a country estate in Suffolk, and a London town house close to that owned by the Montagus. A number of Sancho's friends were employed by Sir Charles Bunbury, and it is probable that Sancho became acquainted with Bunbury's servants when they were his neighbours. Bunbury was one of Samuel Johnson's Literary Club.



HOPTON FAMILY RECORDS - FILE - Particulars and conditions of sale of the Wittingham Hall Estate, Norfolk, comprising 5 farms, sundry cottages and allotments, the manor of Wittingham with Wakelyns and the rectorial tythes of the parish: to be sold at Garraway's Coffee House, Cornhill, London. - ref. HB26/412/1828 - date: 27 Aug 1856



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