IN response to a request for information about members of the Heydon family, Mrs Maureen Grillo, of Chilterns, Melville Street, Sandown, Isle of Wight, replies.

The following was researched by my aunt, Mrs Winifred Grillo (ne Cushion) who was known as "Cushy" for many years and had a great interest in Watford:

The exact connection of this branch with the Norfolk line is not distinctly stated anywhere in the authorities consulted, but from a careful comparison of names and dates, with attendant circumstances, appears to be as follows:

Sir Richard Heydon, second son of Simeon Heydon, the fourth heir of the Norfolk line, lost his life, it would seem, pretty well advanced in age, in the wars which Edward III and the Black Prince waged in those days against France.

At that time the Manor of Cassiobury, at Watford, was a royal domain. The Black Prince died in 1376, and Edward himself died the next year, June 1377.

We find no record of the Heydons at Watford until the year 1400, when John Heydon, the first of the Watford branch, died there possessed of that portion of the old Manor of Cassiobury which is known as The Grove, and which is now, 1877, the seat of the present Earl Clarendon.

According to a later record, the Heydon family held this manor directly of the King, "by fealty, suit of court, and an annual rent of 37 shillings and twopence".

It would seem, therefore, that this John was the son of Sir Richard, and must have had this manor conferred upon him by the King at a nominal rent in consideration of his father's services in the wars.

It is spoken of both by Clutterbuck and Chauncey as "the ancient seat of the family of Heydons". We have then;

1. John Heydon, of The Grove, as the head of this line. His wife's name was Joan. Some accounts say he lived until March 1, 1408, which is most probable. He was succeeded by his son William Heydon, of the Grove, Esq.

2. William, who with his mother Joan, rebuilt or restored, in honour of his father, the small aisle or chapel dedicated to St Katherine, on the south side of the chapel in Watford Church, and placed there a tablet with an inscription. His arms are carved in stone under the capital of one of the pillars which separate this chapel from the chancel. The date of his death is uncertain, as his inscription is worn off.

It is difficult to fix his immediate successor. The books give it as William. But as the William whom they name did not die till 1515 there must have been one or two generations intervening. The only one I am able to certify, therefore, is either his grandson or great-grandson and heir.

3. William Heydon, or the Grove, Esq., who died in April 1515, and according to Salmon's History of Herts County (Lond., 1728), was buried in Westminster Abbey. He married the daughter of Robert Aubury, of the county of Bucks, by whom he had the son and heir who succeeded him, viz.

4. William Heydon, of the Grove, who married Alice, daughter of Alexander Newton. His will is dated May 8, 37th of Henry VIII (1546); he died the next year. He appears to have left several sons, for the one who succeeded him is called "his eldest son and heir".

5. Henry Heydon, of the Grove, who was 38 years of age at his father's death, and married Anne, daughter and heir of Edward Twyboe, of Chipton, county of Gloucester. His son and heir was Francois Heydon, of the Grove, Esq..

6. Francois married Frances, daughter of Arthur Longville, Esq. In the 25th Elizabeth (1583) he was constituted Sheriff of this county. Arms quarterly, argent and azure, a cross engrailed counter-changed, crest a talbot passant spotted sable.

He had five sons and four daughters, the dates of whose baptising are all given in Clutterbuck. By an indenture dated Sept 30, 1602 (44 Elizabeth), this Francis conveyed the Manor, the Grove, to Sir Clement Scudamore, who again, in 1631, sold it to the Ashtons.

The Heydons possessing other property in Watford, remained there after the sale. His sons were Edward, Jeronomy, Charles, Henry and Francis. The family owned and built Watford Place, New Street, and according to the accounts, the eldest son succeeded to that property, who was Edward Heydon, of New Street, Esq.

7. Edward's arms are given as "quarterly, or an azure, a cross engrailed, quarterly counterchanged; crest on a wreath, a talbot passant, argent spotted sable." He was succeeded by Michael Heydon.

8. Michael, who (Dec 18, 1614) granted a lease of Watford Place, situated in New Street, with its appurtenances, for the term of 100 years, at the yearly rental of £8, to Lady Morrison, who placed therein Thomas Valentine, A.M., Preacher of God's Word, and four poor women, in several rooms, parcel of said massuage, to continue therein during their lives and good behaviour; and intended that after their departure thence other like learned preachers and poor widows should be successively placed in their stead during the term of the lease. On inquiry in Watford in May 1877, I find the old buildings there, and the charity to the "four poor women" continued.

There was at Watford a Daniel Heydon as late as 1765; but I find none later than that.

Watford Church says Clutterbuck, "this church, which is dedicated to St Mary, stands at the upper end of the town, on the west side of the main street. It is constructed of flints and stones loosely cemented together and covered with a coat of plaster, and consists of a square tower surmounted by a short spire, a nave, and two sides aisles, and a chancel, with its adjacent chapels, covered with lead.

"The east end of the nave is terminated by a handsome gallery built with oak and supported by pillars of the same material, which was erected in the year 1766. On the south side of the church is a small aisle or chapel dedicated to St Katherine."

This is the chapel spoken of above as having been rebuilt by William Heydon, and which contains the tablets of the Heydons for many generations. The inscriptions are now mostly effaced; and the new organ placed there within a year or two occupies this chapel, and so nearly fills it a margin of only three or four inches remaining around it that it is impossible now to examine the Heydon monuments. The chapel on the opposite side is occupied by the monuments of the Earls of Essex.

Our visit to Watford was in May, 1877, when by an introduction obtained through our good friend Dr Charles R. Coffin, of London, we were kindly allowed by Lord and Lady Clarendon to view every portion of their fine estate and mansion, The Grove, and at the vicarage were kindly received and shown through it by the Rev RL James the present incumbent, who also placed the records of the parish before us, and added from his own knowledge a number of interesting facts to our information.

June 21, 2002 11:00