Baddesley has Saxon origins, although no buildings from the time remain. A man called Baeddi, Badde or Bade drove his cattle up to the Forest of Arden and made a clearing in the wood for extra grazing. It would have been protected from predators with a ditch and wooden palisade. Such a clearing was known as a ‘leah’ or ‘ley’ – hence Badde’s Ley.
Lords of the Manor
After the Normal Conquest the estate was granted to Geoffrey de Wirce ‘of noble birth’ and later to Nigel d’Albini ‘an Andegavanian knighte.’ In about 1100 the then Lord of the Manor, Roger de Mowbray, gave the Baddesley estate to Walter de Bisege. Baddesley remained in the Bisege family for four generations until Walter’s great-granddaughter, Mazera, who was heir to the property, married Sir Thomas de Clinton in about 1290, and the name of the estate became Baddesley Clinton.
The de Clintons
The first generation of the de Clinton family to live at Baddesley Clinton was Sir Thomas and Mazera’s younger son James in the early 14th century. It is probably James de Clinton who had the moat dug, and the earliest buildings built. The thicker walls of the eastern half on the south range may be all that is left of the de Clinton’s house.
The estate changed hands several times until it was acquired by an influential lawyer who went on to become Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, John Brome, in 1438. Baddesley was improved by Brome into a house of status to befit his ambitions. He provided sophisticated garderobes (toilets) and a sewer under the west wing.
His bailiff’s accounts for 1442-58 provide a glimpse into the running of the estate. ‘Thorns and undergrowth’ were cleared to grow cereals, though most of the estate was devoted to pasture for the fattening of beef cattle.
Brome supported the wrong side in the Wars of the Roses and was stripped of his Court appointments. He quarrelled with John Herthill, steward to the ‘Kingmaker’ Earl of Warwick, over a mortgage, and in 1468 was murdered by him in the porch of the Whitefriars church in London.