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The Manor of Billington

The Manor of Billington was not an ancient institution. At the time of Domesday Book (1086) Billington formed part of the Royal Manor of Leighton Buzzard and does not have an entry in that volume. It may be that Billington was included in the seven hides held by Starker, a thegn of King Edward the Confessor in 1066, or six hides held by Wynsi the Chamberlain in 1066, both of which were added to the Royal Manor by Ralph Tallboys between the Conquest and the compilation of Domesday Book.

The earliest date known for the estate which later formed the Manor of Billington is 1349 when John Billington made a settlement of his estate in Leighton Buzzard, Billington and Stanbridge on himself, with remainder to his son John (i.e. it was to go to the younger John on the death of his father). The estate was first called a manor in 1496 and was still held by the Billington family at that date. However, in 1527 it was conveyed by Joan Haselwood to Robert Dormer. Dormer alienated the manor to William Jackman in 1539 and he settled it himself in 1543 with remainder to his three sons William, Clement and John.

The manor remained in the hands of the Jackman family until alienated by Elizabeth Jackman to John Huxley in 1636. The Huxleys sold the manor some time before 1808 as it was then owned by the Pottengel family, the Hanmer family acquiring it some time before 1869 and in 1910 it was owned by J. T. Mills. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s then rendered manors obsolete in all but name, stripping their income from them by abolishing copyhold land tenure.

The building named Billington Manor today is not an ancient structure. It was built in the 19th century but may be on or near the site of the former manor house.