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the first of the Ardens. This family held some forty-eight estates in various parts of the midland counties. Ethelfleda, the courageous daughter of king Alfred, built a fortified dwelling on a mound near the Avon, and added a keep or dungeon ; from which has arisen the noble towers of the present castle of Warwick, built on a rock rising from the west bank of the river, and only a short distance from Offchurch Bury, where Offa, king of Mercia, is said to have held his court. Turchil, son of Aluuinus, was lord of Warwick when Harold mustered his forces after his victory at Battlebridge, over Harfager the Norseman, and marched against Duke William the Norman to resist the invaders. But Turchil, who was probably a partisan of Edgar, the legitimate king, did not join the Saxons and Harold to repel the Normans—a circumstance which was, no doubt, remembered in his favour by the Conqueror, at least for a brief period. The rapacious Normans took possession of many of the castles and estates of the Saxons who opposed them, and Turchil compounded with the king for the title of Earl of Warwick during his life. The old chroniclers in their quaint way inform us that even those who did not muster their men at Hastings to oppose the Normans, were removed from their lands and possessions ; and declare also, that “it is evident to be seen what vast possessions the Conqueror did bestow upon those Normans, Britons, Anjovins, and other French, that assisted him thé better in keeping of what he had thus by strong hand got ; and shall further crave leave, considering how vast a change this conquest made. And first, for his cruelties to the native English–tis evident that he spared not the very clergy, imprisoning Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, till he died, with many others : degrading divers Abbots, wasting the lands of Wólstan, Bishop of Worcester; Walter, Bishop of Hereford ; and Frethric, Abbot of St. Albans; compelling many of the nobility and others to forsake the kingdom ; forcing divers, as well priests as laymen, driven out of their possessions, to betake themselves to woods and deserts where they were constrained to live as savages, whereby there was scarce a great man left; all sorts of men being reduced to such misery and servitude that it was a disgrace to be accounted an Englishman.”*

* These severe measures of the Conqueror will explain the cause of the resistance of the Robin Hoods of this and subsequent reigns.

The casties, the curfew, and the taxes, subdued the spirit of the people. “The poor English were so humbled, that they were ylal to imitate the Normans, even in the cutting their hair, and shaving their beards; and to conform to the fashions of their new masters."

Turchil was ordered to enlarge and fortify the castle of Warwick ; but when this was done, the Noman king became doubtful and suspicious of the Saxon Thane, who was removed from his dignity. A Norman follower, Henry de Newburgh, was the first Norman advanced to the rank of Earl of Warwick. This no doubt led to the adoption of the name of Arden, for Turchil now first assumed the surname "from their residence in this part of the country, then as now called Arden by reason of its wodinesse. Not that Turchil or his descendants lived here ; for their principal seats were in other places, viz., Kingsbury, and Hampden in Arden, on this side the shire ; as also Rotley and Radburne on the other, while some male branches lasted ; but because this is the chief place which continued longest in the family, even till the late time, and was near to that where for the last 300 years they had their residence." Dugdale also says that Turchil “ was one of the first here in England that, in imitation of the Normans, assumed a surname ; for so it appears he did, and wrote himself Turchillus de Eardene, in the days of King William Rufus."

The Conqueror was a far-seeing, shrewd, practical, yet despotic reformer; for the old historian M. Paris states, "in the year in which the Norman triumphed, he took with him some of the English nobilitie into Normandy, and married them to Norman ladies ; and in like manner did he marry divers English women to his Normans; continually loading the people with heavy taxes, to the end they might have enough adoe in busying themselves how to live, rather than have any leisure to stir up commotions." William also brought over a number of Norman priests to preach submissiveness and reverence to the conquerors.

The perigree of the Ardens from the time of Williamı the Conqueror to that of Mary Arden, stands thus :

Turkillus de Warwick=Levurunia.

Siwardus de Arcena.

Osbertus de Arden=Matilda.





Henry de Ardena.

Amicia ux. Petri de Bracebrigge.

1 William

William de Bracebrigge.





attainted Radulphus


obiit Walter


17 H. VII. John Arden, arm, pro corp,

Regis HEN. VII., married John Bracebrigg, Alicia married
Alicia, daughter of Richd. arm. obiit 23 Marti. John Arden.

7 HEN. VII. This John Arden had brothers and sisters-Martin, Thomas, Robert, Henry, William, Alicia, and Margaret. It is assumed that Robert, the son of this Robert, was Robert of Yoxall ; and that his son was Robert of Wellingcote, near Stratford, whose daughter Mary was the mother of Shakespere, as stated in the grant of arms to John Shakespeare in 1599, viz. :Robert, brother of John Arden, had Robert of Yoxall, whose

son was Robert of Wellingcote, the father of Mary, married

to John Shakspeare, the father of William Shakspeare. By the above pedigree we find that Turchil* de Arden had by his first wife a son named Seward de Arden, and by his second wife Leverunia, he had Osbertus de Arden. These two sons were the founders of several of the

Turchil, Turkitellus, Turkillus, otherwise Thorkill, are the same man, and the name evidently derived from Thor, of which many exist, as Thorold, the name of the father of Lady Godiva, of Buckendale, in Lincolnshire, and others.

+ The descendants of Osbert owned the old palace of the Saxon Kings at Kingsburg on the Tame, which must have descended to Turchil from his ancestress Leonetta, daughter of king Athelstan as the Bracebridges of Kingsburg, Ardens of Pedimore, New Hall, Castle Bromwich, and Cudworth, and now of Longcroft, near Rugeley, in Staffordshire.


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most note-worthy of the Warwickshire families, among whom the large and numerous estates of Turchil became apportioned and divided. Seward de Arden was not, however, allowed to enjoy any large proportion of his father's lands; the Norman Earl, Henry de Newburgh, had the greatest part assigned to him and his posterity. That portion which he was allowed to retain, was held by him and his posterity for military service, of the Earls of Warwick-showing that the Saxons who had not opposed the Normans were only allowed a portion of their possessions. This, no doubt, reduced the estates and the condition of the Ardens, but they still had large possessions in the country, and some of them have been held by the descendants of Osbert, son of Turchil, as the Bracebridges, the Adderleys of Hams, and Bagot of Pipe Hayes, all seated in the valley of the Tame, down to the present time. The ancestors of the Ardens held Rieton from the reign of Edward the Confessor till the time of Edward I. In the 7th of that king's reign, Thomas de Arden held it of the Earl of Warwick by the service of half a knight's fee. He was one of the benefactors to the monks of Stoneleigh Abbey, and gave them the church at Rotley. Amicia, the daughter of Osbertus, son of Leverunia and Turchil de Arden, married Peter de Bracebrigge, of Bracebrigg, county Linoln, from whom the Bracebridges of Kingsbury and Lindley, and of Atherstone, are descendel. Sir Thomas Arden held Cudworth; and his grandson Giles had a daughter who married a Greville, from whom the Grevilles are derived.

Henry Arden, brother of Sir John Arden, was the first of the family that occupied Park Hall. In the 48th of Edward III. he obtained grants of several manors, such as Crombe-Adam, Grafton-Flenorth and others. With this branch the Bracebridges had divided the vale of the Tame from Birmingham to Tamworth, in 1100. Henry was a Member of Parliament, and in the Commission with the Earl of Warwick and others of rank, appointed to suppress the rebels at the time Jack Straw became notorious. He was also one of the retinue of the Earl of Warwick at the siege of Calais.

Robert, the son of Sir Henry, served in Parliament, but joined the Yorkists, and was taken prisoner at the surprise


of Northampton by the Lancastrians, convicted of treason, and beheaded. Walter, the son, succeeded in obtaining the father's property by the king's precept and escheator, and married Eleanor, daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden in Buckinghamshire—the ancestor of John Hampden, the patriot, who had both a fine head, a susceptible temperament, a large perceptive region, and a practical range of intellect. The

blood of the Hampdens and Ardens united in the son of Walter, who was Sir John Arden, the elder brother of Robert, said to be the great-grandfather of Mary Arden, the mother of Shakspere.

Dugdale gives the following account of a romantic passage of arms between the families of Arden and Bracebridge, relating to the marriage of this said Sir John Arden :

“This Walter left issue John Arden his son and heir, one of the Esquiers of the body to King Henry VII: which John wedded

Alice, daughter to Ric. Bracebrigge, of Kingsbury, Esq. But concerning this marriage there arose no small difference on each side ; Walter Arden (the father) alledging that the said Richard and his servants had stolen away his son: howbeit at length by a reference to Sir Sim. Mountfort, of Colshill, Kt., and Sir Ric. Bingham (the Judge who then lived at Middleton) it was determined that the marriage should be solemnized betwixt them in February, 1473, 13th Edward IV.; and in consideration of c. . Mark's portion a convenient jointure settled: as also that for the trespasse done by the same Richard Bracebrigge in so taking away the young gentleman, he should give to the before specified Walter Arden, the best horse that could by him be chosen in Kingsbury Park.” This little cabinet picture of courtship

in the 15th century, shows that the lady of Kingsbury Park had greater courage and daring than the heroines of modern romance. Alicia and her servitors had doubtless an easy conquest over the future body guard of the king, who cried for quarter before much mischief was done ; while the 6 trespasse" was paid for by the best horse in Kingsbury Park --which doubtless

gave ftill satisfaction to the son of the Knight of New Hall, for being bewitched away or stolen by his ladyelove.

The Ardens were held in great consideration in the reigns of Henry VI. and Henry VII., Sir John Arden being Esquire to the body of the latter; and his will, dated 1526, indicates

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