1559 - Wroughtons and Montagus

The Wroughtons and Montagus owned the entire village from the late 16th century through to 1900-19. The Wroughtons became Lords of the Manor when Sir Thomas Wroughton married into the family that owned it from shortly after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

They inter-married with the Montagus three times in the mid-18th century.

George Wroughton, who died in 1779, apparently built the current Manor Farm at some point before his death. Since his only son had already died in 1773, he provided for the division of the estate between his three daughters; and it was only reunited in 1829.

Susannah Wroughton (1732-1816) shaped the plan for the new canal in the 1790s. Her son-in-law Admiral Sir George Montagu (1750-1829) built Stowell Park by 1814, and moved the hamlets of East Stowell and Stonebridge to round Wilcot Green by about 1825; and his son provided the school in 1840-1.

Curiously, that son (1788-1871) was called George Wroughton Montagu, but had to adopt ‘Wroughton’ as a surname in order to enter into his full inheritance; so he called himself George Wroughton Wroughton.

Admiral Sir George Montagu seems to have built Wilcot Lodge by 1823, perhaps for a member of his family. By the 1890s it was let out to others, but in 1907, it was occupied by Mrs Curry, (re-married) widow of Admiral Sir George’s grandson.

One of the tenants in Wilcot Lodge, Mr Wilbraham, hosted a village club fete in the grounds, presumably some time soon before 1914:

Mrs Curry’s son, Captain George Edward Stirling Montagu (1874-1956), was the last of the Montagus to own property in Wilcot. He sold the Stowell Estate properties in 1900 and Wilcot Manor in 1919.  But he had built Cross Hayes for himself by 1910, and lived there from time to time until shortly before his death:

And at some point around 1920 he built Little Abbots for his mother, Mrs Curry:

The new owners of the Manor were Lord and Lady St Maur, whose family had rented the Manor in the 1870s and 1880s, and who were distantly related to the Montagus. Until recently, several villagers had vivid memories of the often high-handed behaviour of Lady Ernest.

Of GES Montagu’s three sons, two were RAF war heroes killed in 1940 and commemorated on the War Memorial. He gave the rights to appoint Wilcot’s vicar (the ‘advowson’) to the Church of England in 1954. He continued to own Cross Hayes until his death in 1956, but did not always live there. He was a long-serving member of the Hut & Green Committee.