After 1066 William the Conqueror found that he had a huge amount of land to administer. He commissioned the Domesday book to find out precisely what he owned, down to the last minute detail. He called on his Norman friends and Magnates to come to England to help him administer it. One of them was Anketil (variously spelt Anschketill, Anschketillus and Anketill. One of them was given the Manors of Houby (now Hoby), Sutone Cheynil (now Sutton Cheney) and Anabein (now Ambion Hill) where the Battle of Bosworth was fought nearly 400 years later. We know from Domesday that at least three Anketills are recorded, all from William’s homeland of Normandy but we don’t know exactly which one received Houby. Much of Normandy had been settled by Viking invasion long before and the author carries their genes in his DNA.
Since Houby was the largest of those Manors Anketill took his name as de Houby. His son, also an Anketill, is mentioned as Anketill de Houbie, Leicestershire in the Pipe Rolls of 31 Henry I (1130). His descendant, also Anketill backed the wrong side in the Stephen/Matilda Wars and was fined £11.13s 4d in 1141 “in order that he could keep his force (army)”. Lioful de Hobi and Alan de Kirky appear in the Pipe Roll of 1 Richard I (1157) and Aleni de Hobi – also recorded as Alanus and Alano de Holby/Hobi/Houby in the Curia Regis Rolls of 13 John (1179). Alanus had two sons, Henry and Nicholas are also mentioned. A further son was Waleran who fathered Henry, who in turn was the father of William de Houby who owned land in Segrave in 1216. The family, including a Thomas, Roger and Hugh, make regular appearances in these Rolls together with the Curia Regis Rolls, the Calender of Close Rolls and the Calender of Patent Rolls.
Alanus de Houby appears in 1222 (6 Hen III) and his son, Gilbertum de Hoby, is first mentioned in 1219 (12 Hen III) and again in 1265 (49 Hen III) – the latter in regard to land in Thrussington, Melton Mowbray. At this time a relative, Ralph de Houby, was the vicar at Ho(u)by from 1220 – 1223. Gilbertus (as he was recorded) was Member of Parliament for Leicestershire and his coat of Arms were recorded in Collins’s Roll c.1295. They can be seen in the frieze in Hoby Church. He married Maud de Kirkby, sister and co-heiress to John, Bishop of Ely in 1286 and later, Chancellor of England. Their combined Arms would have had the Arms of Kirkby on a small shield in the middle of de Houby to show that she was an Armorial heiress.
Maud appears to have gained a reputation as a vexatious litigant because she was always suing people for rent. In those days there was no Land Registry as we know it so the only way to prove that you owned a property or land was by having the fact that you were owed rent recorded for posterity.
Gilbert and Maud had three known children, Walter (who married Alice), Sir John (also married an Alice) and Alice. Alice must have been a popular name in the 13th Century. There was also a contemporary William de Houby, born circa 1271 and died 1349. Walter and Alice had five sons and a daughter, Gilbert, Anthony, John* (recorded as at Holt in 1374) , Robert , Agnes and Eustace de Houby. Robert married Joan de la Rivers in Yorkshire and when Robert died she married Robert de Rouclyf whose brother was the Contable of the castle in Pickering, Yorkshire. His tomb (with him and his armour) is in the Bruce Chapel at Pickering Church
Gilbert, whose wife is unknown, has a son Anthony and a daughter Alice who married Thomas de Sutton als Houby. Little more is known of Anthony so one assumes that he died unmarried. We do know that Thomas de Sutton, who took the additional name of Houby in the right of his wife, bore Henry V’s armour “to the warres of France”, including Agincourt. Because of the laws of primogeniture (by which everything passed to the eldest son and his heirs) the Lordship of the Manor passed via Alice to their only daughter Elizabeth who married first a Belers (now Kirkby Belers) by whom she had a daughter, Joan (who quartered the Arms of her parents and died on the 22nd April 1472) and secondly, a Segrave which produced no children.
Joan had married William Vilers (also spelt Villiers) of Brokesby in the 20th year of the reign of King Edward the IV.
In the early 17th Century their great-great-grandson, Sir George Villiers, was created Duke of Buckingham. You will see from his Arms all of these families on the left hand side. Both Villiers coats (ancient and modern) are on the top left.
Of course, every family has its black sheep and the de Houbys were no exception. It is on record that one had his fine for not appearing in court rescinded when it was pointed out that he could not attend because he was currently a guest of the Sheriff of Nottingham, languishing in his prison. The reason, alas, is not given.
Meanwhile John* de Houby had moved to the Norfolk/Suffolk border where the family farmed quietly. When they went to market and met their future spouses they traditionally moved to the wife’s village and one can plot this slow migration from village to village and parish to parish over the centuries. The name also changed phonetically from de Houby to Juby (try saying “de Hou” in a Norfolk/Suffolk accent and you get a ‘J”)
Major cities became magnets and London was no exception. Edward Juby had a family there and was a key member of the Admiral’s Men. It was also called the Admiral’s company, more strictly, the Earl of Nottingham’s Men; after 1603, Prince Henry’s Men; after 1612, the Elector Palatine’s Men or the Palsgrave’s Men and was a playing company or troupe of actors in the Elizabethan and Stuart eras. It is generally considered the second most important acting troupe of English Renaissance theatre (after the company of Shakespeare, the Lord Chamberlain’s or King’s Men). Its favourite playhouse was the Rose and it was a thrilling experience to stand on the spot where the stage had been and recite some of the words that he would have spoken many centuries before.
The families, spread slowly until the coming of the railways. The Jubys (many of whom are still in East Anglia, and with the Jubey spelling are in the Kings Lynn area) were spread far and wide and are now to be found throughout the U.K., Canada, the U.S.A., South Africa, Australia and France. Despite this relative explosion the name is still recognised genealogically as a rare one.
The Lordship of the Manor thus passed from the de Houby family, via the Belers to the Villiers where it rested until 1702. After several changes (see the list of the Lords of the Manor) and after a period of some 600 years it reverted to the original family. The coat of arms is that of Dr Bernard Juby, together with that of his wife, Pamela (née Lines) on the small central shield.
Dr. Bernard Juby, 17th August 2014
The author has the records of most known members of the family and even then there are only about 500 branches world-wide. He has recently started a DNA study to try to link all of these branches genetically together.