Pakenham History : The History of Nether Hall

"The History of Nether Hall and the Various Owners "
A short history written by W.R. Rayner
with kind permission given by his daughter Gill Applegate to publish on
the Pakenham -Village web site.

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The Lower Manor of Pakenham next passed to Edmund de Pakenham, a brother of the first mentioned John de Pakenham in 1292. By this time Edmund held other lands in Pakenham, Thurston, Stowlangtoft, Ixworth and Great Barton, which he renounced in favour of Henry de Staunton. When Edmund died in 1332 the lesser manor passed to his widow, Rohais, or Rosia (rose) de Pakenham, who held it from the Abbot for the annual rent of three shillings and ninepence. After her death in 1352 it passed to her son, Edmund, and thence to his widow, Mary de Pakenham in 1360.

Dame Mary was the first recorded person in Pakenham to show an interest in education. We read that she gave the reversion of part of her estate to support Monks studying at Oxford, and another part of it towards the maintenance of the Hall of the Annunciation of Our Lady, i.e., Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. The Rev. C.W. Jones, writing in 1865, states that the College still then profited from her bequest, and that her portrait, the authenticity of which he doubted, was preserved in the College. We have no record that this is so today.

The Manor of Nether Hall remained in the possession of the de Pakenham's for about six descents. Theobald de Pakenham, the last holder, died without male issue. His daughter, Margaret, married Sir William de Bardwell, the standard bearer to the Black Prince; and the family of the de Pakenham's pass from the history of the village. Their memory is recorded in ancient stained glass in a window of Bardwell Church. The sword which hangs in the church is reputed to be that of Sir William de Bardwell.

Eventually we find the main branch of the Pakenham family settling in Ireland, where it has a residence to this day. A former member of the family, as the result of a military adventure, was rewarded with a grant of land in West Meath in Tudor times. They called their residence "Pakenham Hall", where Lord Longford, the direct descendant of the family, still lives. They use the family name of Pakenham, but pronounce it "Packenham", which suggests recognition of "Pacca", the original Anglo-Saxon head of the family.

After the disappearance of the Pakenham family from the village the Nether Hall Manor reverted to the Abbey of St. Edmundsbury. Little is known about the tenancy of what was then the Inferior Manor of Pakenham until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, although we find a reference to part of it being farmed by the Drury family of Rougham, the family which gave their name to Drury lane, London. This reference may explain how the Battlies, Rougham, were at one time linked with the Nether Hall Estate.