Ambrose Mathew of Odiham ~ 1572

Upton Grey Manor: 1467 ~ Sir Henry Grey of Codnor, Derbyshire sold Upton Manor to Sir Richard Illingworth, (Baron of the Exchequer of Henry VI.) for £40. The manor then descended from one Illingworth generation to another until 1571 when Ralph Illingworth, in the reign of Elizabeth I, sold it “to a certain Ambrose Matthew”.

So who was this Ambrose Mathew who had the finances to buy Upton Grey Manor? Brief Genealogical Note on the MATHEW family, of Llandaff, Radyr in Glamorgan ~ David Mathew left seven sons, several of which founded branches of the Mathew family ~ one “came and resided at Hoddington in Com Southton temp Hen octavi”. Many sources maintain this Welsh descent for the Upton Grey Mathew family:

Patronymica Britannica

Focus on Ambrose Mathew

We know that Ambrose was a member of the Upton Grey family of Mathew as his mother told us: ‘Margaret Mathew, widow of Upton Grey, left a Will when she died in 1568: “I geve & bequeth the lease of Wastes grounde to Thomas Mathewe my sonne and I wyll that the sayde Thomas do suffer his Bretherne James Mathewe and Ambrose Mathewe my sonnes, to have eache of them a close”. (Close = enclosed field). Usually, people listed their children in birth order so we can assume that Ambrose was the youngest surviving son. Ambrose also received “a brasse pott of 4 galons” and 40 shillings. Thomas and James Mathew are known entities being associated with Hoddington Manor ~ the other Upton Grey Manor.

We can track Ambrose Mathew down to Odiham!

George Flower (sometimes given as Floure) was appointed Perpetual Vicar of Odiham in 1547 and he followed orders from Edward VI’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, to begin keeping a Parish record of baptism, marriage, and burials but he did not see the need to include the last name of brides in Odiham marriages!

Ambrose Mathew is recorded as the father of baby Thomas, baptized 10 October 1551 in Odiham Parish Church and Abraham 27 June 1553. Names of babies’ mothers were not recorded.

Johan Mathew ‘wife of Ambrose’ was buried 6 December 1561 in Odiham Parish Churchyard.

Ambrose Mathew remarried in 1562 to ‘Jellian’ ~ given as ‘Julian’ in Ambrose’s Will

Now we arrive at the record that sparked this post ~ the sale of Upton Grey Manor to Ambrose Mathew by Ralph Illingworth in Elizabeth 13 ~ 1571 in other words. The Illingworth family came from Mitcham, Surrey and owned ‘diverse lands and manors’ in many counties and probably never lived at Upton Grey and would have employed a steward to run the property. Ralph Illingworth of Mitcham parted with Upton Grey Manor just before he died in 1572. He was buried at Mitcham.

The Manor House in Upton Grey dates from the late 1400’s so it is likely the Illingworth family had it built, even though it wasn’t their primary residence. Did Ambrose Mathew of Odiham ever live on the Manor? Probably not, as like Ralph Illingworth, Ambrose died in 1572 and in his Will he called himself ‘Ambrose Mathew of Odiham‘.

Ambrose Mathew was buried at Odiham 28 November 1572. His Will named his wife Julian as his executor and he left his property to her for her life with provision for sons Thomas, Abraham, and George (no baptism record found for George). The Odiham Mathew family appears to fade away with the burial of Thomas Mathew in Odiham Churchyard in 1609.

What Happened Next?

The Victoria County History of Hampshire said that “in 1606 Andrew Matthew, probably son of Ambrose, conveyed all their right in the manor to Roger and John Loker.” Here we have to disagree with the VCH as Andrew Mathew was the son of James Mathew of Upon Grey, Yeoman ~ Ambrose’s brother. This relationship is supported by James Mathew’s 1583 Will in which he left his properties to sons Nicholas and John with their brother Andrew being Lord of Upton Grey Manor ~ so Nicholas and John owed to their brother Andrew: “all such rents as the copy holders have accustomably payed”.

Regardless of Andrew Mathew’s lineage, Upton Grey Manor was only in the hands of the Mathew family from 1571 to 1606.

Roger Loker did not live at Upton Grey either ~ he was a wealthy resident of Andwell in Up Nateley and when he died in 1625, he left money to the poor: Basingstoke ~ £20, Upton Grey ~ £5, Up Natley ~ £5, Basing ~ £5, and Alton ~ £5. His property (including Upton Grey Manor) passed out of the Loker family through the marriage of Roger’s daughter Barbara.

Final Word on the Grey Family: The title had fallen into abeyance in 1496 on the death of Sir Henry Grey. A House of Lords Committee examined Charles Cornwall-Legh’s claim to the peerage title Baron Grey de Codnor, of Codnor in the County of Derbyshire and in 1989, after 493 years, it was called out of abeyance and Charles Cornwall-Legh CBE became the fifth Baron Grey of Codnor.

Select Sources

  • A History of the County of Hampshire Volume 3 (Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908)
  • Hampshire Archives and Local Studies; Winchester, Hampshire, England; Anglican Parish Registers
  • Hampshire Archives and Local Studies; Winchester, England; Probate Records: Wills, Inventories and Administrations Proved in the Church Courts of Winchester Diocese, 14th Century to 1858
  • Glamorgan Archives