The de Badsells
So who were the de Badsells? Although surnames had occasionally existed back in Saxon times, it wasn’t until the end of the twelfth century that they became common. Surnames usually originated from the name of the father, personal characteristics, occupation or most commonly from a place name. ‘Gilbert of Badeshell’ is a good example of a name coming from someone’s place of residence. It is likely that Gilbert held the manor as a ‘fee simple’ from the de Clares. Until 1290 all land was owned by the crown and the holder of an estate could not sell it but instead would sub-infeud it. Whilst Gilbert de Badseshell would technically have been a tenant, his occupation would have been close to what we now know as a freehold, with rights of succession.
The surname Badsell, with its variant spellings, next appears in a further perambulation. This time the survey was undertaken in 1279 and one of the 24 jurors was a Mertun de Badeshell of the parish of Tudeley. It would not be an unreasonable guess that he was the current incumbent of the Manor, perhaps the son of Gilbert.
In 1345 a ‘John of Badsell (in Capel) son and heir of John of Badsell’ is recorded as having granted a lease to a watermill called Brontebregge Mill in East Peckam. After that the next reference to a Badeshull is in a charter dated 1360 where a Walter de Multon, chaplain, and John son of Richard Clerk of Westfarlee transfer ‘all their lands as fully as they lately had the same of his gift and feoffment, in the parishes of Teudelee, Capele, Brincheslee and Estpeckham…’ to William son of Edmund de Badeshull. This land would presumably have included Badsell Manor. It is possible that this transfer was the settlement of an estate by the executors to a will. Whilst we can not know the exact extent of the land involved, the villages mentioned cover a considerable area and it is likely that the estate was very extensive.
Charter of Walter de Multon chaplain and John son of Richard Clerk of Westfarlee, demising to William son of Edmund de Badeshull all their lands, as fully as they lately had the same of his gift and feoffment, in the parishes of Teudelee, Capele, Brincheslee and Estpeckaham co. Kent, to hold to William and the heirs of his body, remainder to Walter brother of the said Thomas son of Thomas and to the heirs of his body, remainder to Joan and Alice sisters of William, their heirs and assigns.
Witnesses: John Colpeper
Thomas de Brencheslee
Dated Teudelee, Saturday before Purification 34 Edward III
It is interesting to note that two Colpepers were witnesses to this document.
xvii. Ernest F. Henderson. ‘Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages’ publ. George Bell and Sons pages 149-150.
xviii. This information has come from an unknown history of the Manor, in the ownership of the writer. It is simply headed ‘Badsell 658,447’
xix. Chartae Antiquae ref CCA-DCc-ChAnt Canterbury Cathedral Archive
xx. Calendar of Close Rolls Edward III vol X! 1360 – 1364 3 February 1360 Reading (copy in Maidstone County Records Office)