Sparrowes Nest

Sparrowe’s House (Sparrows’ or Sparowe) now known as the Ancient House at 30 Butter Market, Ipswich. Parts of this Ancient House date back to Henry VII (1485-1509) and one George Copping disposed of the property in 1573 to William Sparrowe (1545-1615) (PSIA II, 164-7) and the Sparrowe family retained the freehold until 1966, nearly 400 years. However William’s grandson another William Sparrowe (1600-1649) did build a mansion on the outskirts of Ipswich about 1635, namely Sparrowe’s Nest which was in the ancient area originally called Thurleston, which has since been absorbed into Whitton and in its turn, into Ipswich.

The history of this house starts with ownership of the lands in Thurleston with its two manors of Dale Hall and of Barnes (Sparrowe’s Nest]. Sir William de Brews granted by fine in 1272, to his son Sir Richard de Brews, who married Alice le Rus, the manor and advowson of Akenham, with those of Claydon and Hemingstone, in exchange for that of Bromley, Surrey. In 1277 Richard and Alice gave lands in Thurleston to the canons of St. Peter and St. Paul, Ipswich this was the manor of Barnes (Bernes) along the Henley Road (Akenham Manorial Records). Following the dissolution of the monasteries grants were made by Cardinal Wolsey as a foundation for his new school that he was building in his native town.

1528. Grant to Cardinal Wolsey of Barnes Manor in Thurleston, in the King’s hand (State Papers 4424 20 Hen. VIII).
1528. Grant by Thomas Wolsey to William Capon, Master of Cardinal College, Ipswich of…Bernes in Thurleston and the advowson in Thurleston 5s.[25p] per annum from the manor of Dalehall… (State Papers 5280)
On the downfall of Wolsey
1531. Reversion to the Crown.
and four years later
1535. Letters patent. Grant by Henry VIII to Thomas Pope Kt. of Holy Trinity…and lands in Whitton.

In 1541 (State Papers 580 32 Henry VIII) we find a lease of the ‘rectory of Barnes in Thurleston’ made to Francis Bernard, the property being described as that ‘which belonged to St Peter’s monastery, Ipswich, then in the King’s hands by attainder of Cardinal Wolsey.’ The lease was for 21 years at £8. 6s. 8d (£8.33) rent, and 6s. 8d. (33p) increase. In 1577 the manor was granted to Thomas Seckford, only for the profit motive, who sold it shortly afterwards, for in

1580. Deed of feoffment of Edmund Withipoll of Withipoll. House to Thomas Cornwallis &c. of the manor of Ipswich alias Withipoll House…the rectory or church of Bernes in Thurleston and lands and tenements in Thurleston and Whitton.

Edmund Withipoll died on 16 May 1582 when the manor, rectory and church of Bernes in Thurleston was granted to his grandson Paul Withipol, who died possessed of the manor on 3 April 1585. At the inquisition taken at Ipswich on 15 June 1585 his brother [Sir] Edmund Withipoll, who was then aged only 12, took possession.

1585. Inquisition [Edmund Withipoll relating to the manors of…and the rectory of Bernes in Thurleston and Whitton.] Edmund married Frances, daughter of Sir William Cornwallis and was knighted in 1600.

1597. Settlement on the marriage between Edmund Withipoll, junior and Frances, daughter of Sir William Cornwallis. 1597. Emplification of recovery suffered by a member or members of the Withipoll family on the manors of Barnes and Rise Hall and lands and tenements in…Thurleston, Whitton…rectory of Barnes
On Edmund’s death in 1619 the manor passed to his son Sir William Withipoll [c.1596-1645] of Rendlesham, whose daughter Elizabeth [d.1670], married Leicester Devereux, 6th Viscount Hereford [1617-1676]. Owing to the severe financial position of his estates Sir William was forced to sell some of his manors, including that of Barnes.

1626-32. Withipoll deeds…mortgages and settlements by Sir William Withipoll made on Leicester Devereux and his wife Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of Sir William Withipoll and lands and tenements in Whitton cum Thurleston and the rectory of Thurleston. 1631. sale of parts of Withipoll estate on behalf of Sir William Withipoll by mortgagees Charles le Gross, Sir Richard Brook, Sir Isaac Jermy, John Clench, Miles Ferneley to Stephen Downing of Claydon, yeoman, &c. Thomas Sickelsmere and John Sickelsmere of Ipswich, gents. Thos. Fyn of Akenham, yeoman, John Bennet of Washbrook, gent. as to lands and tenements of lands and tenements in Akenham, Whitton and Thurleston.
The manor and lands of Barnes in Thurleston were purchased by the said John Bennet of Washbrook. Later William’s son-in-law, Leicester Devereux, sold his other substantial estates including Christ Church, which had been initially purchased in 1545 by William Withipoll, a rich London merchant, to the Fonnereau family.

Thus in 1631, John Bennet of Washbrook, became the owner of the lands at Whitton-cum-Thurleston consisting of some 400 acres. Bennet, an armorial family (ermine, a bend engrailed Sa, over all an escutcheon Gu.), married a daughter of Nicholas Timperley (c.1564-1624) of Hintlesham Hall, and his wife Anne, daughter of William Markham, of Cotham, Northamptonshire. Their daughter and co-heir, Annie married, as his second wife, the above William Sparrowe (1600-1649), receiving the lands and manor of Barnes at Thurleston by marriage settlement on which William built the house known as Sparrowe’s Nest.

It was constructed on an ‘E’ shape with two side wings fronting the Ipswich-Henley turnpike, with five elaborate gables and mullioned windows. Kirby in his Suffolk Traveller (Ipswich 1735) writes that ‘in the church at Whitton is buried John Eliott, who for a long time farmed the lands on which Mr. Sparrow built his house’. John Eliott was buried on the 30 September 1636, aged 79. Matthius Candler records ‘In Thurleston, William Sparrow of Ipswich, gent. Portman, hath built a faire house in the time of King Charles’ (1625-1649).

Pencil drawing is from the scrap-books of Edward Robert Starkie Bence (1823-1889)
The above pencil drawing is from the scrap-books of Edward Robert Starkie Bence (1823-1889) of Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk, son of Henry Bence Sparrow (1788-1861), whose father had taken the name of Bence in 1804, and was a descendant of the Sparrow family, and through his mother Elizabeth Susanna Starkie (c.1795-1862), whose mother was Katherine Edgar (c.1767-1814), a descendant of the Edgar family.