An Interview with Professor R H Graveson

Notes of an interview with Professor R H Graveson made by Nicholas Butler on 27 April 1982

These are the notes made by Nicholas Butler who interviewed Professor R H Graveson CBE, QC on 27 April 1982 as part of his research for his book “The Story of Wivenhoe”. These notes have been re-typed by Ann Jones from Nicholas Butler’s original notes and posted here by Frances Belsham.

What Professor Graveson told Nick Butler

Professor Graveson told NB he had visited Wivenhoe on more than one occasion.   As a Professor of Law at the University of London with a special interest in legal history he wanted the University Library to buy the Manorial Rights of Wivenhoe, or rather the documents associated with those rights, when they were up for auction in 1954.   When the library declined he contacted the purchaser and eventually managed to buy the documents and the rights from him, seemingly in 1961.   He has deposited some of the material in the Essex Records Office; the rest is at his London home in Grays Inn.

Professor Graveson showed NB a map of Wivenhoe which he thought had been made at the end of the 18th century.   It measured about 3ft by 4ft and had a large wooden spindle at one end.   It showed Wivenhoe Park as belonging to Slater Rebow which suggests a date post 1804.   There was more activity at The Cross then, than at Wivenhoe itself, or almost more.   The ferry was shown as ‘graving bridge’.

He then produced the following items:-

  1. Envelope containing nine rolls of bailiff’s accounts.
  2. Ten rolls of bailiff’s accounts
  3. Envelope of bailiff’s accounts 1588
  4. Envelope containing: (a) a small packet of dust. (b) an envelope with a small pebble in it and (c) two pieces of wood tied together.
  5. Envelope containing accounts
  6. Envelope containing five rolls of rentals and extracts.
  7. Envelope containing 14 rolls of bailiff’s accounts.
  8. File containing:-
  1. Cutting from The Times – 25:iii:55 P 9 right hand column.   “Whether Corporation can be made to operate Ferry”.   The case came before the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Goddard.
  2. Auction catalogue of the Fourth Auction of Lordships of Manors on 1 December 1965 at Stanfords, 23 High Street, Colchester.
  3. Several typed copies of a petition signed by Wivenhoe inhabitants in 1641 about one Edward Mayer, who chose to live in a boat drawn up on the Quay which had a chimney which might have set other houses alight.
  4. Cutting from The Times 2:xii:65 on the sale of the Lordships of Manors.   The sale, which was televised, was in the Moot Hall.   Auctioneer Mr Frank Cadman.   Average price paid £628.   Fifteen Lordships sold, Wivenhoe not one of them.
  5. Correspondence between the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London WC2 and H Hutchinson Esq of The Hollies, 55 Derby Road, Heaton Moor, Stockport, Lancs who bought the Lordship of Wivenhoe in 1954.   Later his address was 8 Broadway, Bramhall, Cheshire.
  6. Poster of sale in Wivenhoe at the Rose and Crown on 8 August 1850.   Good, thick type.   Would re-produce well.
  7. Typewritten note by ‘K de B’ dated 13 December 1954.

‘Manor of Wivenhoe  

Mr Poulter informs us that the rolls of this Manor had been rescued from the Repertory Theatre where they had been used as a stage prop.   The theatre had got them from the ‘Solicitors opposite’ who had thrown out a lot of documents when moving.   Mr Poulter had discovered this was going on by chance, had telephoned Mr Emmison who had immediately come over by car and removed all he could find.   Mr Poulter did not know who had the Wivenhoe rolls now.  K de B ‘

(h) Schedule of old court rolls of Wivenhoe.

(i)  Cutting from the Essex County Standard – 2:x:55.

“Quayside tenants win rates fight”.   They objected to the Quay being assessed as a private Quay.   Objection upheld.   The objectors included Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller, Lally Walsh.”

(j)  Cutting from the East Anglian Daily Times – 1:xii:54 “Call to re-open Essex Ferry”

(k)  Cutting from the Daily Mail – 24:iii:55 – “Fingringhoe sues for its 2d Ferry”

(l)  Cutting from The Times – 23:iii:55 – “Whether owners of Fingringhoe bound to operate      Ferry. (see (a) above.

(m) Cutting from the Daily Express – 2:x:59.   The William Hickey column.   It would seem that Mr Charles Gooch’s first and second wives were sisters.   He himself is described as a wealthy Essex landowner and distinguished London clubman.   Mr Gooch married his first wife, Joan Spicer, in 1946.   Then he married Elizabeth Spicer in Geneva in 1950.   A third sister Margaret Elizabeth Spicer, lived with her American husband Mr Burgess, at Wivenhoe Park.

(n) Essex Review – January 1955 P8.   There was a sale of Lordships of Manors on 3 November 1954.   Wivenhoe was bought by Harry Hutchinson.

(o)  Extract from the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, Volume 10 part 4. A note on the Manor of Wivenhoe by Chapman Waller FSA to be consulted.

(p)  Margery Dean Antiques catalogue with a picture of Margery Dean sitting in her showroom on the front.

(q)  Country Life 6 November 1958. P1040 “Living in a Folly by Mark Girouard”   About the Quarters Arlesford, with several good photographs.

9 Sixteen volumes (two slim, the rest substantial) of the proceedings of the Court Baron at Wivenhoe.   The first, from 1706 to 1731, appears to be in Latin, the rest are in English.   The last one is from 1895 onwards.   From a cursory glance it would appear that the transfer of land was the only matter the Court dealt with.

10 Envelope containing documents including Transfer of manorial rights to R H Graveson, Abstract of Title of Mr Ernest Stanley Beard to the Manor and Lordships of Wivenhoe in 1899, Conveyance of the Manor of Wivenhoe from N C C Lawton Esq. to E S Beard Esq on 16 March 1899.   Conveyance of the Lordship of the Manor on 3 December 1954 from H F and J L Beaumont, Solicitors to Harry Hutchinson.  (He paid £430 for it)   He is described as a retired house furnisher.

The Lordship cost Professor Graveson £500.   It went from Lawton to Beaumont for £13,000.   It went from Beard (Estate Agent) to Beaumont (Solicitors) for £2,700.   It went from Beard to Beaumont on 29 September 1899.


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