From the de Badsells to the Stidulphs

The last of the de Badsells occupied the house in the early fifteenth century. Marion inherited the manor from her father John Badsell and married a Thomas Stidulf, from Surrey. Although the source has not been identified there is an account that presumably originates from some manorial records, ‘She appears to have been a good chatelaine ‘providing her household with beef, mutton pork and the usual variety of fish, both fresh and salted.’ During Lent, she freshened the meagre diet with fruits and nuts from Spain. Marion bought regularly dried peas and oatmeal in quantity, and used a great deal of honey from the garden, because then sugar was still a luxury. Grapes, apples, pears and fresh vegetables also came from the garden. Like everybody else in England at that time, except the poor, she seasoned her dishes with cloves, pepper, ginger, saffron and mustard.’’

There had been some unrest for a couple of years prior to Jack Cade’s uprising of 1450. In a fury over mainly political matters but also unfair taxes, indiscriminate land seizures and forced labour, Cade’s mob marched on London. As they made there way across Kent it is highly likely that they would have passed Badsell shortly before confronting and beating the King’s forces at Sevenoaks. This was no mere labourer’s insurrection. In addition to the ‘husbandmen’ and labourers were artisans and over ninety men described as gentlemen or ‘esquire’ together with one knight. Initially they were reasonably well received when they made their demands. The first of these relating to a rumour that the whole of Kent was to be turned into a royal forest! The mood towards the rebels changed when they demanded the execution of the Sheriff of Kent and the Lord Chamberlain.

It is believed that Thomas Stidulph gave shelter and food to some of Cade’s supporters during the Jack Cade Rebellion of 1450. This does not seem implausible, as there was considerable sympathy for their cause amongst the minor landlords. If so it is ironic that several of his descendants were to become Sheriffs of Kent.

thomas stidulph brass memorial

Brass plaque in memory of Thomas and Marion Stydolph

When Thomas died he was buried in Tudeley Church. In the floor of the chancel (hidden under a rug, presumably for protection) there is a small but very attractive brass, dated 1457, showing a man and woman and a narrative ‘Hic jacet Thomas Stydolf Gentilman et Mariona uxor eis q quide Thomas obit 1 die mes Nomeb Ao dni MCCCCLVII’. (Roughly translated this means ‘Here lies Thomas Stydolf Gentleman and Marion wife Thomas died first day November 1457’.)
Badsell was inherited by Thomas and Marion’s son Henry. There is a document (untraced) which states that Henry ‘enfeoffed John Sampson and others of the Manor of Badsell with 200 acres of land, 60 acres of meadow and 100 acres of wood in Tudeley, Hadlow, Capel, Brenchley and Pembury.’’

Henry had at least two children, Thomas and Agnes. In due course the estate passed to his son Thomas Stidulf. When this second Thomas passed away he had no issue and as a result Badsell Manor passed to his sister Agnes, who through marriage in 1511 brought the estate into the Fane family. At the time of her marriage Agnes would have been 30 years old and as the sole heiress would have made an attractive marriage proposition. It is therefore unsurprising that she married into the up and coming Fane family. They and their descendants were to be the owners of the Manor for the next 400 years!