Hassop branch of the Eyre Family


Stephen Eyre, bap 1443, the 10th and youngest son of Robert Eyre of Padley and Joanna nee Padley, was the forefather of the line of Eyres that would be known as the Eyres of Hassop. This family acquired considerable wealth and eminence in the county and outlasted all the other lines of the family in their position and standing in the community. The last Eyre at Hassop was Lady Dorothy Eyre who died in 1854.

Stephen Eyre as the youngest son, was most likely born around 1443 his father Robert died in 1459. So the eldest brother Robert would have had the responsibility for assisting Stephen in establishing himself in the absence of his father.

Robert Eyre I had been Seneschal for quite a few estates, and one in particular for the Earl of Shrewsbury for his Derbyshire estate. These positions meant that the Eyre family moved in places and with people of importance, and yet never attracted honours or titles. The Seneschal position was passed on to Robert Eyre II which enabled Robert to be in a position to ensure the younger sons had advantages that position of influence can bring.

Being involved with other noble families is borne out by the number of documents that have been witnessed and being recorded in the rolls for such events.

It is recorded that Stephen became bailiff of the Earl of Westmorland's manor of Ashford and he could well have been involved with other estates. His brother Robert brokered Stephen's marriage to Katherine Dymock of Kyme. It is this connection that Stephen Eyre is recorded in the Letters of Patent of Edward IV granting him a pardon for a long list of offences committed before 30th Sept., 1471. In Lincolnshire around Mar 1470 there was a rising which involved the Dymocks and other family members. Sir Robert Dymock and his brother in law Lord Welles were executed by Edward's order. The king won the day.

On the 1st February 1480 Stephen leased the manor of Hassop from Sir William and Robert Plumpton for a period of 12 years. Stephen died around 1488, which he was probably around the 45 years of age. His children married well and it is assumed he must have been in a comfortable position. His widow Katherine renewed the lease of the manor of Hassop.

Rowland Eyre, the eldest son of Stephen and Katherine Eyre, became the holder of the lease of the manor of Hassop. The date of the death of his mother is not known. Rowland first married Dorothy Everingham of Stainborough, the marriage settlement is dated 20th January, 1513.

Stephen Eyre the eldest son of Rowland and Dorothy Eyre had two marriages the first being to Ellen Downes, the marriage settlement dated at 22nd Aug. 1536, she died not long after. The second marriage to Anne Blackwall, the Blackwalls was noted in the legal circles holding positions as Master in Chancery and Serjeanty at law. Stephen died around 1557, and his brother Edmund became head of the house and negotiated the lease extensions for the manor of Hassop. Edmund was involved in commerce as well agricultural pursuits, and he died 24th May 1569 at Chesterfield.

Rowland Eyre the eldest son of Stephen and Anne Eyre, born 29th Nov. 1533. Rowland married Gertrude Stafford around 1569. Gertrude's mother was Lucy Eyre of the Eyres of Holme Hall, Chesterfield. Gertrude had two previous marriages the first to Thomas Woodruffe who had died before July 1564. The second to Thomas Eyre of Edale, who died within a few years, Gertrude was still childless and possibly around 20 years of age when she married Rowland Eyre. While she was a heiress it was not until she came of age did she inherit her share of the estates. Rowland representing Gertrude through legal proceedings ended up with the most favourable settlement from the disputed estates. Edward Eyre of Holme Hall, father of Lucy Eyre mentioned above, married Alice Pursglove this was his second marriage. Alice was possibly a sister to Bishop Pursglove. Edward Eyre had two sons Robert and Thomas who he left Holme and Dunston respectively. When Bishop Pursglove lost his position during the reign of Elizabeth, he lived in retirement during which he organized the foundation of his Grammar schools at Tideswell and Guisborough. In his later years it is thought that he lived at Dunston Hall, the house of his nephew Thomas Eyre.

Lucy Eyre had a brother Anthony Eyre, whose son Gervase was Gertrude's first cousin and nearest male relative at this time, and there appears to be a close relationship with Rowland. Gervase Eyre established the Eyres of Rampton in Nottinghamshire.

Rowland had his financial problems in the first years by 1584, his fortunes had improved, as a administrator for John Manners, from his lead mines also he had become the Farmer of the Queen's lead mines. He seized the opportunity to purchase the other half of the moiety of Hassop from Clifford's estate. Rowland ended up in legal battles over rights to the commons etc. with adjoining freeholders, it was not until 1590 that Rowland completed the transfer.

Rowland around 1594 began the building of a new Hassop Hall, which took some 4 years to build. The position of Barmaster of the lead mines had been a point of dispute, it was not until 1614 that Thomas Eyre, Rowland and William Eyre his sons were regranted the Barmanship for their lives for the longest liver. The Eyre family with no doubt made a fortune out of the mining of lead over the next 200 years.





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