Sadly there are no visible remains today of the many fine houses of the Bayntun family, except for Spye Arch, which was the entrance to both Bromham House and Spye Park House

The Bayntuns accumulated a tremendous amount of wealth through many judicious marriages in medieval times and during the reign of Henry VIII they increased their possessions even more by acquiring a great deal of monastic land.

It is thought that the de Baintons arrived in Britain from Normandy in the 12th century and by the early 1200's, this noble family, whose female pedigree is linked with a Royal lineage through Alfred the Great (c849-899) and Charlemagne (742-814), had crossed the Channel to establish their roots in Wiltshire.

The name is toponymic from the following locations: a Yorkshire village called Bainton – which lies at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds; a parish in Northampton; a parish in Oxfordshire; a tything in the parish of Edgrington, Wiltshire, also found in Northumberland.

There are few families whose fortunes during the last 900 years have been more identified with the history of Wiltshire than that of the Bayntuns of Faulston and Bromham.

A pedigree of Bayntun – a small part of a much bigger collection of documents – held at the Records Office in Trowbridge, lists eight generations of the family prior to 1382, complete with the names of their respective wives, but no dates are included. However without more detailed evidence, this line can not be considered accurate.

There is also a pedigree of Bayntun preserved in the British Museum, however the early part of this line, prior to Edward I, is not authentic. It appears that in the time of Henry II, the Bayntuns were Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Sir Henry Bayntun was said to have been a Knight Marshal to the King, an office of high authority in those days.

Before 1500, detailed records are scarce. Many were destroyed at the time of the Suppression of the Monasteries and later in the Great Fire of London, though some early records do exist for the Bayntuns due to their exploits both for and against the Kings of England, for which they were either knighted or beheaded.

Sir Henry Bayntun, taking part with the Earl of Northumberland, was beheaded at Berwick and his second son, Henry, also a Knight of St. John, was slain in Bretague in 1201. In 1471, Sir Robert Bayntun fought for King Henry VI against the forces of King Edward IV at Tewkesbury. He was attained and died in custody.

At Hampton Court, Sir Edward Bayntun stood high in favour with King Henry VIII, and from 1533, was Vice-Chamberlain to five of his Queens (Ann Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr). Royalty were frequent visitors to his Bromham mansion and both King Henry VIII and King James I are known to have stayed there. Henry visited Bromham House twice in 1535 and Queen Catherine of Aragon was also a frequent visitor. It is said she and Sir Edward were good friends.

King James I visited Bromham House in 1618 and 1620, when yet another Sir Edward Bayntun (the grandson of the above) was Lord of the Manor, and again from 29th to 31st July in 1623 when he went deer hunting with the Bayntun family.

But this magnificent house was destroyed by the Royalist troops from the Devizes Garrison during the Civil War when it was burned to the ground on 5th May 1645. The Bayntuns immediately built another fine house at Spye Park, just outside of Bromham and continued to live there until the middle of the 19th century. This mansion was known as Spye Park House.

The beautiful Church of St. Nicholas in Bromham, a large 12th century building, has a Chantry Chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas, which is a gem of late Gothic architecture. The chapel was built by Sir Richard Beauchamp (Lord St. Amand) and his mother's second husband Sir Roger Tocotes and contains monuments, brasses and tomb crests of many of the Bayntun family. There are some very interesting tombs and description plates inside on view giving many dates and an historical record of the famous Bayntun family.

By 1716 this direct line of male Bayntun descendants had died out in the county when John Bayntun died and his estate went to his sister Anne. Upon her death in 1734 her second son Edward Rolt, later known as Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt was the heir to the family estate.

100 years later the Starky family inherited through similar circumstances when the estate went to Maria Barbara Bayntun Starky, the daughter of Sir Andrew Bayntun Rolt in 1816.

There are no standing monuments to the Bayntun family today, except for Spye Arch. It is said that originally the arch was at the entrance to Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire which was purchased by Sir Edward Bayntun at the time of the Suppression of the Monasteries in 1536. The Abbey was completely demolished, but the gatehouse was dismantled and re-erected at the entrance to Bromham House, as a gift from his good friend and wife of Henry VIII – Catherine of Aragon.

After the fire at Bromham House the gateway was rebuilt once again on its third site, at the entrance to Spye Park, where it is still standing, having escaped fire and destruction for the second time.

Today Spye Park is largely a wooded area with no trace of the house to be seen. A small farm stands near to the site of an open field where Bromham House stood and nothing remains of this fine building but for a couple of foundation stones buried in the ground.

The Bayntun's other residence, Faulston House is long since demolished and today all that remains is one of its four towers which now stands alongside a farmhouse. Traces of a moat can be seen today on the north, east and south sides of the present house and in the south-east angle of the enclosure there is the tall circular tower with evidence of high abutting walls on two sides.

 


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