Abandoned Communities ..... Stowe
By 1590 most of the parish of Stowe was owned by the Temple family. The survey of 1633 reveals that as well as owning the manor of Stowe itself the family owned Dadford (1171 acres) and a large part of Lamport. Boycott came into their possession later, under Richard Temple in the eighteenth century.

In 1633 the owner of the Stowe estate was Peter Temple. His father, Thomas Temple, was still alive, but there had been a major row between them. Years before, when Peter married Anne Throckmorton, Thomas made a legally binding commitment to allow Peter to receive the income from parts of the estate, but subsequently he encountered financial difficulties and tried to sell some land to clear his debts. In 1627 Peter Temple began legal action to prevent the sale. The case dragged on until 1630 when Thomas Temple decided to transfer the estate to Peter and went to live with one of his daughters in Warwickshire.

A major objective for the Temple family was the enclosure of land for a deer park. Within the park hunting would be enjoyed, and the proceeds could be eaten or sold. In an entertaining article Dan Beaver has also argued that another motive for developing a deer park would have been to enhance the family’s social status, or “honour”.

The article, “Bragging and daring words”: honour, property and the symbolism of the hunt in Stowe, 1590-1642, is chapter 6 in M J Braddick & J Walter (Ed.), Negotiating Power in Modern Society, Cambridge, 2001. In preparing the article Beaver had the advantage of access to the Stowe records at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, a treasury of some 525,000 documents.

The first step towards the creation of a deer park was the purchase, from King James I, of the rights to free warren on the estate, completed in 1617. Thomas Temple then established a park that was relatively modest, though large enough to arouse protests from neighbours on the western border who complained that the empaling of the park prevented them from making use of common land in which they had a share.

Peter Temple enlarged the deer park in 1637. On this occasion other neighbours felt strongly aggrieved, in particular the Dayrell family who owned land in Lamport and had a modest share in the common fields and woodlands of Stowe and Lamport.

This branch of the Dayrell family were closely related to the Dayrells of Lillingstone Dayrell, one of whom, Thomas Dayrell, was responsible for the depopulation of the village of that name in 1493. See the section on Buckinghamshire in this website.

In 1637 the head of household among the Lamport Dayrells was Abel Dayrell. He had inherited the estate at his father’s death in 1633. His father, Edmund Dayrell, had on his deathbed charged him “that he should not molest or trouble Sir Peter Temple concerning his park”, but when Peter Temple enclosed land belonging to the Dayrell family within the paling of his extended deer park Abel Dayrell responded by raising the number of his cattle on the common pasture above the “customary stint”. Employees of Peter Temple issued three verbal warnings and then in 1639 impounded some of Abel Dayrell’s cattle. Next Abel Dayrell ordered his staff to pull down part of the paling and admit his cattle to the common land within the enclosed park.