The Badenhalls of Baden Hall


Last updated 23/03/2008

Pre-13th Century 

So far no positive references to the de Badenhall personal name have been found that are earlier than the 13th century.  However, Moxon, in an unpublished work (Old North Staffordshire, John F. Moxon, Keele University, Vol. I) implies, without giving any basis for this, that the name Bladenhale is the same as Badenhale.  If his assumption is correct, then the earliest references to the family occur in 1164 when the Pipe Rolls  record that  Navena de Bladenhall owed 52 marks for the right of’ "land pro recta ferme ".  This was the right to bring a case in the King’s Court about a right to land. Navena died in 1173/4 with 40s of the debt still unpaid.


13th Century 

The earliest clear references to the de Badenhall family so far found, occurs in Staffordshire, in 1220, when Robert de Badenhall. witnessed a grant of land in Charnes, Eccleshall, by John de Saucheveral to Reginald de Charnes. The other witnesses were  Brother Thomas Abbot of St. Marys, Croxton and Robert de Sugnall. (Staffordshire Record Office DW1082/L/10/10). Two other references occur in 1227. 

In one of these, William de Badenhale  Robert de Offileg, Robert de Arbelastir, and William son of Roger were accused by Ciprian de Tunstal, of ejecting him from a house in Tunstal, a hamlet about half a mile from Adbaston in Staffordshire. (Staffordshire Assize Roll, Plea Rolls, 12 Henry III. Collections For A History Of Staffordshire, Vol. IV, Page 53. William Salt Archaeological Society:) In the other reference, Robert de Badenhale, Jordan de Pivelsdon, (Puleston), and Hugh de Flotesbroc accused Henry de Rewel (Rule) of ejecting them from 18 acres common pasture belonging to their free tenement in in Haldeton . They won their case and Henry had to pay 2s damages. (Staffordshire Assize Roll, Plea Rolls, 12 Henry III,. Collections For A History Of Staffordshire, Vol. IV, Page 53. William Salt Archaeological Society)

These are very interesting cases because of the names of the people involved, the relationships between them and the places to which they refer.  Adbaston, a Staffordshire parish,  lies about 5 miles to the south of Eccleshall, close to the Shropshire border. It consists of four villages or hamlets- Adbaston cum Knighton, Bishop's Offley (formerly Cyprian's Offley), Flashbrook and Tunstal. The Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield was the Lord of the Manor. 

The association of the de Badenhales with these places in Adbaston and neighbouring Haughton (Haldeton) suggests that the family might have its origin there. Furthermore, the people who, with Robert de Badenhale, took action against Henry de Rewel, were described as "co-parceners", a term which meant "those who share equally in the inheritance of the estate of a common ancestor". (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1977. Vol. 1). Thus it seems likely that the de Badenhall family of Staffordshire may be a junior branch of a family whose main estate was (in the 12th century) in or near Adbaston.  

Other references suggest a close family relationship between the de Flotesbroc and  the  de Puelsdon family and later in the 13th century, the de Badenhalls. In 1299, for example, Jordan de Flossebrok acted as a surety for William son of Hugh de Badenhale when he issued a writ against William son of Robert de Badenhale, respecting common of pasture in Badenhale, Staffordshire.  (Plea Rolls Of The Reign Of Edward I. Collections For A History Of Staffordshire, Vol.VII, Page 63. William Salt Archaeological Society). Much further research will be needed to trace the ancestors of the early de Badenhalls.

Knights of  the Shire 
Robert de Badenhall was one of twenty four knights who were summoned in 1228, to swear on oath as to the King’s rights and dues in Staffordshire. The 24 included Geoffrey de Greseleg, Roger de Rideware, William de Stafford, Robert de Sogenhull, Hugh Bagod, Milo de Verdun, Robert de Mere, and Stephen Meverel. This is the first reference that provides some evidence of the status  of the de Badenalls at this time.

Later, in 1243, the returns of Fees and tenants for the Scutage of Gascony (otherwise known as the Testa De Neville) records Robert de Badenhale, as holder of one tenth of a Knight’s Fee within the Barony of the Bishop of Chester.  A Knight’s Fee is generally thought to have been the amount of land which could support a knight and his family for a year and could vary between 2 and 48 hides or ploughlands depending on the quality of the land.  In the Worcestershire 5 hides was the usual size of a Knight’s Fee.  In return for his holding a knight would be required to perform military service to the Crown. This would normally mean the provision of a fully armed knight and his servants for 40 days a year but often a monetary payment was accepted instead.  Scutage or “shield money” was one form of this and it enabled the tenants in chief of the Crown to commute their military obligations to a fixed money value- 10 shillings or 20 shillings per fee in the 12th century. The tenants in chief (the Bishop of Chester in the case of Baden Hall) would recover this from their tenants. . In the 13th century holders of land worth £20 a year or more (equivalent to £350 a year in 1926 and about £# to-day) were expected to become knights.  According to A.L.Poole, there is evidence to show that a holding of about half this value may have been more common.

Robert de Badenhale paid 12 shillings a year chief rent for his 1/10th Knight’s Fee and had in addition to fulfil certain other requirements.  These requirements are most clearly described in the survey of the Bishop of Chester’s Manor of Eccleshall drawn up in 1298 and show that the de Badenhalls not only had to make suit of court for the two virgates which they held but also had to provide two men to attend the Bishop’s chace for 3 days, three times each year. If war broke out men had to be provided for the Castle guard.  Should the Lord of Badenhall die, his estate had to pay a herriot: if the heir was less than 21 years of age the Bishop took the property into his own hands (or more likely that of his seneschal) and the heir became the Bishop’s ward.  Should the Bishop wish, he might transfer the property and the custody and wardship of the heir to someone else who might be a relative of the heir or might not.  The chief matter as far as the Bishop was concerned would be what the comparative advantages to him or either retaining or releasing control of the estate and heir to others.

The actual entry in the Court Roll states:  Willimo de Badenhale tenet duas virgates in Badenhale per servicium decime p(ar)tis unius feodi milit(i)s et faciet sectam quibz cur~ inueient duos ho(min)es ad chaceam ter p anii~ unaqua~ vice p iij dies & valet dieta cumsbz ho(min)is ob~ hiect~ ut p(ri)us & Wardami in castro ut p(ri)us & heres et erit in custodia d(omin)i si infra .ace~ f(orens)ico.

14th Century  

The De Badenhall family remained Lords of Baden Hall under successive Bishops until at least 1298 but sometime in the early 14th century the situation changed- possibly around the time that the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Walter Langton, was arrested on Edward II’s orders in August 1307.  Langton (who at the time of his arrest was Chancellor of England) was released in 1308, re-arrested and subsequently, in 1311, released again.  All the charges against him were dropped and his lands and debts were returned to him in 1312.

Whatever the reason, the effective holder of the lands had changed by 1324 when Robert de Hastang, Lord of Desire, granted a messuage in Badenhall which Felicia de Badenhall had once held to John son of William one time Lord of Badenhall to hold of him and his wife Emma.  The process of change may have occurred around 1299 when Felicia brought an apparently unsuccessful Assize of Novel Disseisin against Robert son of Robert de Hastang.  The Grant of Free Warren in their lands in Newbold, Badenhale, Eccleshall and Covele to the Hastangs in 1314 seems to indicate that they had already become mesne Lords of Badnall between the De Badenhalls and the chief lord, the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.  The change is confirmed by the deletion of William de Badenhale’s name and the insertion of “Dmns Robert de Hastang “ as the holder of Badenhale in the records of the Bishop’s estates.  The insertion is tentatively dated at 1335 but may of course be earlier.

John de Badenhall continued to occupy Baden Hall until approximately 1348, i.e. until the arrival of the Black Death.  Whether members of the family continued to live there after this date is uncertain since no dated references to them in this period have yet been found.  John de Badenall seems to have been fairly well off for in the Lay Subsidy of 1337 his assessment was the same as that of his nominal overlord Robert de Hastang.

The evidence for the statements made may be found in the "Archives" under

     A.W.Bednall, Macclesfield 1996-2000