Main Text from Bridges History of Northamptonshire


The Manor


Thornhaugh, or Thornhaw, is bounded on the east and north , by Bernack and Wittering, and on the south and west by Walmsfors. Here is an old stone manor house, formerly the residence of the family of St Medard, Semarc or Semark, who were lords of the manor. It stands about a quarter of a mile from the church, and is embattled all round, with a small embattled hexagonal tower. Part of the gate house, which is also embattled, is still standing. On the south side is a porch, inhabited by a tenant. Within are old arched stone doors, and stone staircases, leading to the chambers above. Behind the hall is a kitchen or brewhouse; and adjoining to the turret, a passage with arched doors leading into another large kitchen; which are all now remaining. To the east of the of the house is a little mount; and beyond the rivulet, which encircles the north part of it are marks of fish ponds. The woods, and whole estate, are free-hay, and called Bedford purlieus. Major Cambridge, who in Oliver Cromwell’s time held this house by lease from the Russell family, was shot to death by mistake for a deer.




Manor circa 1721






St Medards


 In the bull of Pope Eugenius dated in 1146, the fee of Anketil of St Medard, in Thornhaw, Wettering, Sibberton, Angoteby, and Etton, with their appertenances, was confirmed, amongst many other possessions, to the abbey of Burgh. This is the first account we find of Thornhaw lordship, no mention of it being made in the Domesday Survey. Of the lands which composed this fee, ten hides, and three parts of one rood, were in Northamptonshire, and three carucates in Angoteby in Lincolnshire.

 Anketil of St Medard, had two sons, Richard and Girard; which Girard the younger, had issue, Robert; which Robert had Margaret, a daughter, who held land in Siberton and Etton. Richard, the heir of Anketil, by Mabel Ridel, his wife had Gefforey, of St Medard, and Hugh, who assumed his mother’s name of Ridel. This Geoffrey was succeeded by his son Peter, who had issue, Geoffrey, his son, in ward to Benediet, abbat of Burgh, and afterwards a leper. His successor was Peter, his son a ward to Abbat Acharius, and father of Geoffrey de St Medard, who was a ward of Abbat Martin.

 In the thirteenth year of King John, after the decease of Abbat Acharius, who in consideration of one hundred pounds, had granted the wardship of the heir of Geoffrey de St Medard, two parts of Thornhaugh manor, to Geoffrey Gilwyn; the said Geoffrey was summoned to show cause, why he laid claim to the said two parts of the manor; and produced the abbat’s charter in his defence. But the Crown baliff persisting to trouble him, he gave the King two palfreys for the quiet possession of the premises. In the family of St Medard, or Semarc, Thornhaugh lordship continued for many generations.

 By inquisition, taken in the twenty-fourth year of Edw I. [Circa 1296] it appears that Geoffrey de St Medard held in Thornhawe, Siberton, Wittering, Walmesford, and Etton, four knight’s fee of the abbat of Burgh; but no mention is made of whom the abbat held them. In the ninth of Edw II [Circa 1316]. Thornhawe lordship was in the hands of Nicolas de St Medarde. This Nicholas de St Marco, as he is stiled, or Semarc, died at his manor of Thornhawe, in 1327, Edw III and a mortuary of a warhorse, with its furniture, being paid to the Abbat and Convent of Burgh, licence was given for burying him in Thornhawe Church, where he had founded a chantry. Successor to St Nicholas de St Medard, was John St Medard, his son who in the third year of his reign, was presented in the court of Kings Bench, because being of full age, he had not taken upon him the order of Knighthood. The same year an action was brought against him by John de Tame, of Siberton, for having unjustly deprived the said John of common of pasture for cattle of all kinds, during the whole year, in two hundred acres of pasture and woodland, within his manor of Thornhawe. On the determination of the cause, he was condemned in 1x s. cost of fruit. In the following year a fine was levied of Thornhaugh and Siberton manors, between this John, son of Nicolas de Semarc, Elizabeth, his wife and Nicholas, their son, demandants; and William de Semarc, a patron of the church of Thornhaugh, and John in the lane, of Walmesford, deforciants, in free tail. He died in 1334, and though his ancestors were usually buried in the monastery of Burgh, he was interred, as he had himself chosen, at Thornhaugh. As he had no horse, Elizabeth his relict, paid 1x s in Silver, for a mortuary, in lieu of the horse and its furniture. Upon levying the aid, for the knighthood of the king’s son, in the twentieth year of his reign, Nicholas, son and successor to John de Semarc, and Hugh Ridel, accounted for the fees and an half, and a fourth part of one Knight’s fee, in Thornhawe, Walmesford, Siberton and Witerying of the fix fees which Walter Bayolet, and others had formerly held. And this Nicholas, who held Thornhaugh manor of Burgh Abbey by knight’s service, dying in 1349, a black horse with his saddle, bridle and arms, was delivered as a mortuary.

 It appears by inquisition taken in the thirty-fifth year of Edw III [circa 1362] that John, son of Nicolas de Semarc; died seized of the lordship of Thornhaugh, which had been settled on the said Nicholas for his life with remainder to the said John, and his heirs male; with remainder, in case of failure of such issue, to Nicholas de Semarc, his younger brother, who was at this time a minor, eighteen years old, and on his brother’s decease, without children, succeeded to this manor. The next possessor, of it, that occurs is Thomas Seymark. Thomas married a daughter of William Lexham, Thomas Seymark in the thirtieth of Hen VI [Circa 1452] levied a fine of Thornhaugh and Siberton, and of the advowfon of the Church. Inquisition post mortem taken 37 Hen. VI. (1459) Thomas Seymark of Northants is described as an ARMIGER [summary: Null' Tenuit terr' neque ten' in com]



 He appears to have left an only daughter , Anne Seymark [later research has shown Ann was a co-heir, A Semark line related to Anne Seymark can also be traced to the Cecil’s of Burghley]  a minor, in ward to Sir Richard Sapcote, Knt of Elton in Huntingdonshire, who in 1462, presented to the rectory. This young lady became the wife of William Sapcote, Esq, second son the said Sir Richard Sapcote, and after his decease, married Sir David Phelip; which David in the fourteenth year of Hen VII  [Circa 1499] was sheriff of the counties of Bedford and Buckingham. He was a benefactor to the church of Holme, in Huntingdonshire; this inscription being formerly preserved in a window of that church : Of your chartie pray for Sir Davy Phelip and my lady his wife, and for all benefactors of this windowe.


St Mary’s Church Stamford – David Phillips


"The tomb between the two Alters is that of Sir David Phillips, who died in
1506, and his wife. He fought at Bosworth Field alongside Henry VII, whose
mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, lived in the Palace at Colly Weston, near
Stamford. Sir David who was a Welshman, has the Dragon of Wales on his Tomb,
together with crowned Tudor Roses, and the Portcullis emblem of the Beaufort
family. He was steward to Lady Margaret Beaufort, a keeper of the Kings
Swans and of the Royal Forset of Cliffe which bounded his estates"



Pictures of the Tomb within St Mary’s Stamford said to be of David Phillips and his wife. David Phillips connections with Stamford are with the Cecil’s of Burghley House. David Phillips is attributed to being an Uncle or distant relative to David Cecil. The Henry VII notes confirm this is Phelip husband of Anne Semark.


Tomb Picture
















Rose of Tudor and Welsh Dragon












Henry VII Westminster November 1506

(Slightly different date to St Mary’s Church records)



10 November 1506; Pardon and release to Hugh Phelip, Edward Hawtre, Clerk, David Cecill and Hugh Edwards, executors of David Phelip of Thornehowe County Northampton, alias of Esthamstede Cheyny, County Buckingham, Knight, late Sheriff of Northampton, Bedford and Buckingham.


12 November 1506; Licence for David Cecile, one of the executors of David Phelip, Knight to fund a Chantry of two chaplins or one chaplin perpetual in the church of St Mary Stamford County Lincoln for the good estate of the King while he lives and for his soul afterwards and for the soul of Elizabeth his late consort and the soul of the said David and of his father and mother and Anne his wife (when she dies) and all faithful definet with licence for the said chaplin to acquire in mortmoin lands to the value of 9l a year.


[Cecil is obviously Cecil of Stamford/Burghley House and Anne, Anne Semark]


Buckingham Records


Buckinghamshire Sheriff’s records also state David Phillip was related to Cecil, and confirms the date of his office as indicated by Bridges. Bosworth historians give Phillip as Welsh and based in Thornhaugh, the home of his wife Anne Seymark. House of Commons papers state David Phillips wife as a kinswomen to the wife of David Cecil of Stamford.



Sapcote, Broughton and Russell



William Sapcote, Esq, by Anne, his wife left issue Sir Guy Sapcote, who marrying Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Guy Wolston, had Anne, his only daughter, who as heir to her grandmother, was Seized of this lordship of Thornhaugh. She was first married to Sir John Broughton, Knt of Chenys in Buckinghamshire and Tuddington, in Bedfordshire; and with her said husband, in the eighth year of Henry VIII [Circa 1517] levied a fine of Thornhawe Manor. Her third husband was Sir John Russell, Knt in 1538, 29 Hen VIII. Advanced to be a baron of the realm, by the title of Lord Russel, of Cheneys, in the county of Buckingham and in 1549, 3 Edw VI created earl of Bedford. By this marriage he became possessed of the lordship of Cheneys and Tudington, which are still remaining in the family [Sold Early 1900’s].



[Royal Servants]