The First Ferrers

Baddesley Church stained glass

The Ferrers family were descended from Henri de Ferrières, a nobleman who was Master of the Horse to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

As a reward for his bravery, King Norman granted him 210 manors and he went on to become one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates. In 1086 he was put in charge of the West Midlands part of the survey which resulted in the Domesday Book. 

Henri's eldest son, William, inherited the family’s French property, his second son, Enguenulf, died young and so it was his youngest son, Robert, who inherited the English estates. He was made the first Earl of Derby in 1138 for his valiant conduct in the Battle of Northallerton. The family held the title for six generations until the Sixth Earl, Robert de Ferrers rebelled against King Henry III in 1266. He was imprisoned by the King and had his lands and titles forfeited. 

Robert's younger brother, William, became Baron Groby in a gift from his mother, Margaret de Quincey, in 1299. Groby is a village in Leicestershire. The 5th Lord Ferrers of Groby, another William, died in 1445. Because his eldest son had died before him, the Ferrers barony descended to his granddaughter's husband. Thus, when William Ferrers died, the last Ferrers title, which had begun in England with the Norman conquest came to an end.  

However, the family continued. William's second son, Thomas, inherited Tamworth Castle in 1423 through his marriage to Elizabeth Freville. He had two sons, Thomas and Henry who was Sir Edward Ferrers’ father. 

 Sir Edward Ferrers married Constance, Nicholas Brome’s daughter, in 1497 and so, on Nicholas’ death in 1517, Baddesley Clinton passed into the hands of the family who were to continue to own it through a dozen generations and nearly 500 years.