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The Audley’s

The Audley’s were former lords of the manor. Madeley and lands as far away as Market Drayton were used for deer hunting.

1215/1220’s – Heighley Castle built by Henry de Audley.

1226 – A charter of King Henry III made to Henry de Audley gifted all the land which lies under the Castle of Helyh.’

1251 – Henry de Audley born.

1271/2 – Two of Lord James Audley’s men killed a man in a case of mistaken identity.

1276 – Henry de Audley and his mother make a gift to Trentham Priory.

1276 – Henry de Audley died, aged twenty-five.

1289 – Nicholas de Audley born.

1316 – Baron Nicholas Audley dies aged twenty-seven.

1316 – James, aged only three is heir.

1320 – (Michaelmas) Roger de Swynnerton makes complaint for assault against Thomas de Warwyk former clerk to the Countess of Heighley.

1322 – Rebellion by the Earl of Lancaster, Audleys choose to support Lancaster.

1322 – Audley lands confiscated.

1327 – James aged fourteen marries Joan on instruction of her father Mortimer.

1330 – Mortimer was dead, James Audley regains control of Heighley and the rest of his lands.

1345 – April to November, James joins Henry Earl of Derby in the Gascony campaign.

1346 – James in France fighting at Crécy and Calais.

1352 – James two eldest sons led some of his own men on a foray attacking their father’s castle at Heighley and Redcastle in Shropshire.

1356 – James was very badly wounded at the Battle of Poitiers.

1360 – In the kitchen at Heighley Castle, William the son of John of Bromley murders Thomas the Cook, fleeing he joins the army, fighting in France.

1363 – William Bromley returns to Heighley, with the King’s pardon in his pocket.

1386 – James dies, aged sixty-eight. Buried in the Church of our Abbey at Hulton.

1386 – Nicholas his only surviving son is heir.

1391 – Nicholas dies, buried in the Church of our Abbey at Hulton.

1400 – Elizabeth wife of Nicholas dies and is buried beside her husband.

1400 – Foulk Fitzwanen, who was James Audley’s great grandson, held Heighley Castle until his death when the Barony passed through the female line to John Touchet.

1400 – James Touchet born. Married 1. Margeret d. of Lord Cobham (two daughters)
2. Elenaor, d. of Edmund Holland Earl of Kent and Lady Constance Platagenet (d. of Edmund Langley Duke of York, the g,father of Richard Duke of York.

1422 – James Touchet, Lord Audley, returned to England with King Henry V’s body from France.

1431 – James Touchet, Lord Audley has a command in France.

1431 – Bill in Parliament 9th Henry VI against Eleanor Lady Audley, upon which she was declared to be the offspring of ‘pretended espousals’, and consequently entitled to nothing. Hence bringing forth a grievance of long standing against the Duke of York and both branches of the Neville family.

1457 – James Touchet, Lord Audley received a commission to summon, if necessary, the sherrif and posse comitatus of Herefordshire to suppress any designs formed by the King’s enemies in that county.

1459 – Audley was chosen by the Queen to uphold her cause in the midland counties in September.

1459 – Battle of Blore Heath. James Touchet, Lord Audley commander of the Lancastrian forces killed. Veteran of the the war in France.

1497 – The son of the Lord Audley who turned Yorkist and fought against his father’s friends, rebelled against Henry VII, was captured at Blackheath and beheaded on Tower Hill.

1500’s – Leland in his itinerary mentioned Heighley Castle in existence but by then was ‘…old and ruinous…’

1500’s – Court of Star Chamber records show that despite Heighley Castle being ‘ruinous’ some parts of it were still inhabited.

1500’s – Heighley Castle sold and the Audleys finally left North Staffordshire.

1535 – The Manor of Buglawton belonging to the Audley’s was surrendered to the Crown.

1559 – The manor of Hawkstone, the site of Red Castle was held by Sir Rowland Hill.

1577 – Audley was sold to Sir Gilbert Gerard. Sir Gilbert was then lord of the Manor.

1600’s – Parliamentary Committee order Heighley Castle demolished to prevent it becoming a Royalist stronghold.

1617 – George Lord Audley was created Earl of Castlehaven.

1694 – Celia Fiennes noted Heighley Castle’s existence with ‘…ruinated walls…’

1777 – Earl of Castlehaven dies and the old barony of Audley passes to George Thicknesse.

1790 – Ralph Thicknesse sells Balterley Hall.

1840’s – Rumours that the Chartists were attempting to fortify as a refuge.