Lords of the Manor of Walsall from 1159 to date

In 1159 King Henry II granted the estate to Herbert Ruffus. By 1177 Herbert and his son William had died, and William’s young son, also named William inherited the estate, which was managed by the sheriff until he came of age.
In 1197-8 William took over the running of the estate, and in 1227 Henry II confirmed his grant of the manor to him. In 1235 he was described as a knight. He died in 1247 and the estate was divided between his daughters Emecina and Margery.
By 1247 Emecina had married Geoffrey de Bakepuse, who had died by 1262 when she married William de Morteyn. Around 1275 her son Sir William de Morteyn took over the running of her share of the manor. He died in 1283 and was succeeded by his nephew Roger de Morteyn who had been knighted by 1298. He mortgaged his share of the manor to John, Lord Somery, in 1311. At the beginning of 1314 he conveyed his share of the manor to Ralph, Lord Basset of Drayton, who also acquired Margery’s share in 1338.
In 1247 Margery was under age and was put into the guardianship of her brother-in-law Geoffrey. She married Richard de Alazun, but about 8 years later was abducted by John de Lay. Richard fled and left Walsall. In the early 1280s Margery married John Paynel who was killed at Walsall in 1298. Margery was arrested and accused of his murder. She was eventually acquitted in 1302. Margery died in 1302 or 1303 and was succeeded by her son Thomas, who had been knighted by 1304. In 1335 the king released Thomas for life from his rent for his share of the estate. In 1338 he gave his share of the estate to Ralph, Lord Basset.
Ralph, Lord Basset only controlled the whole estate for five years. He died in 1343 and the estate was passed on to his young son, called Ralph, after his father. Ralph junior married Joan, the daughter of Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who managed the estate until 1355 when Ralph came of age. Ralph junior died in 1390 and the estate was passed on to his brother-in-law Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. In 1397 the earl's estates were confiscated and Walsall Manor came into the possession of John Beaufort, marquis of Dorset who held the estate until May 1399, when Warwick regained ownership. Warwick died in 1401and the manor remained in the hands of the Warwick family until the death of Anne, countess of Warwick in 1492.
The manor returned to the king, who granted it to his son Henry, duke of Richmond in 1525. After Henry’s death in 1536 it was passed on to Sir John Dudley, later the Earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland. He was found guilty of high treason and executed in 1553, after which Walsall returned to the crown. In 1557 the manor was sold to Richard Wilbraham of Woodhey in Faddiley, Cheshire.

Richard died in 1558 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who died in 1610. Walsall was then passed on to his son Sir Richard, who became a baronet in 1621. He died in 1643 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who died in 1660. Thomas’s son, also named Thomas inherited the estate. He died in 1692 and the estate was passed on to his daughter Mary, wife of Richard Newport, later Earl of Bradford. When Mary died in 1737 the estate was left to her son Thomas, Earl of Bradford. He died in 1762 and the estate was passed on to his sister, Diana, countess of Mountrath. She died in 1766 and left Walsall to her son Charles, Earl of Mountrath.

On his death in 1802 it passed to his cousin Orlando Bridgeman, Baron Bradford, later Earl of Bradford. The manor remained in the Bradford family’s hands until 1945 when only the freehold ground-rents remained, most of which had been sold by the 1970s.

Herbert Ruffus was a knight of Robert of Stafford, who also had an estate in Warwickshire, possibly the Manor of Caldecote, which remained with the Ruffus family for sometime. Ruffus meaning red, was also referred to as le Rous.

Herbert had two brothers, William, Chamberlain to King Henry II, and Richard, Chamberlain to Henry, Duke of Saxony.

Margery Ruffus was a very generous lady who gave many gifts to the church, and purchased serfs for 15 or 20 shillings, and made them free men. She was constantly involved in legal proceedings and quarrels with her relations and tenants, and sensitive to her rights and privileges.

Emecina Ruffus married Geoffrey de Bakepuse from the Derbyshire family who owned the Manor of Barton Blount. In 1263 her second husband, William de Morteyn, was granted the right to hunt foxes and cubs with dogs in the royal forests in Staffordshire.

The Warwick family had other local possessions including Great Barr, Perry Barr, Sutton Chase, Sutton Town, and Shenstone.

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