Vastern – a little known Yorkist manor

In 1376 King Edward III granted the manors of Vastern and Wootton to his son Edmund, Earl of Cambridge. The manors adjoin, with Wootton know better known as Royal Wootton Basset, Wiltshire.

Vastern Manor still exists, although it has been extensively rebuilt. The core of the stucture is, however, said to be fifteenth century. It used to be fortified, and was quite an extensive building, though perhaps not quite on the scale of Fotheringhay or Ludlow. It is likely that it was used as a hunting lodge. Henry VIII was to use it for that purpose in later years.

Philippa, Duchess of York was allowed to live at/was imprisoned at Vastern in 1405 while her husband was imprisoned at Pevensey. It was doubtless from here that she petitioned Henry IV for her husband’s release.

There was not just one park, but three across the two manors, two being attached to Vastern.

Edward, Duke of York effectively mortgaged the manors to pay for his religious foundation at Fotheringhay; nevertheless his widow Philippa secured a one-third share as part of her dower. Eventually everything reverted to Richard, Duke of York, and in later years Cecily, Duchess of York had possession.

After her death in 1495 the manors passed to the Crown and were generally part of the dower of successive queens, starting with Elizabeth of York. Later, the manors passed into private hands.

This link leads to a much more detailed account of the two manors.

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