A History of Cromwell Manor
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Cromwell Manor Services & Facilities

History of Cromwell Manor

Kings, Lords, Earls and Princesses

Looking back through history books on both Pitsea itself and Cromwell Manor the earliest records indicate that the land of Pitsea was owned by Eudo Dapifer, Steward to William the Conqueror.

In 1539, King Henry VIII granted the Manor of Pichesey (Pitsea as we know it today) to his 1st Minister Thomas Lord Cromwell. On 18th April 1540, Lord Thomas Cromwell was granted the title Earl of Essex, however, only 3 months later he was sentenced to death and executed. There is conflicting evidence as to why Thomas Lord Cromwell was executed, but it appears that within months of his death King Henry VIII raged at his Council accusing them of lying and deliberately destroying his most faithful servant. After Lord Cromwell's death the land of Pitsea was reverted back to the Crown and assigned and appointed for the maintenance of the Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

Henry and Katherine were subsequently divorced and upon Henry VIII's marriage to Ann Boleyn, Princess Mary was classed as illegitimate. She was relieved of her 'Princess' title and thereafter referred to as Lady Mary. Lady Mary later became the godmother of Prince Edward, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. In 1547, after a 38 year reign, King Henry VIII died leaving his son, Prince Edward, to take the throne at the tender age of 9. Prince Edward sadly contracted Tuberculosis and died some 6 years later and upon Edward's death in October 1553, Mary became Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary).

Mary's reign was also short and she died, childless, in November, 1558. On 14th January 1559, Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, became Queen of England and in 1562 she granted The Manor of Pithesay (alias Pitchesey) to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. However in 1572 Queen Elizabeth I ordered Thomas Howard to be sentenced to death for seeking the crown itself by planning to marry Mary Queen of Scots and he was subsequently beheaded in June 1572 at Tower Hill.

The Manor of Pichesey then descended to his eldest son Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel. Although Queen Elizabeth I had executed his father she made Thomas one of her favourites at Court. He was dazzlingly handsome, quick witted and articulate and in February 1580, received the title of Earl of Arundel. During his lifetime Thomas did alienate Pitsey Hall Manor to Edward Cook Gent.

Thereafter we find the estate in the family name of Moyer. Sir Samuel Moyer, Sheriff of Essex, and later his nephew Benjamin Moyer.