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Tenants in Bletsoe in 1624

Countryside near Park Farm September 2009
Countryside near Park Farm September 2009

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is lucky enough to hold a highly detailed survey of the Bedfordshire lands of Richard Wade-Gery of Bushmead Priory conducted between 1623 and 1628 [WG10] which has been transcribed and is available in the searchroom library [CRT110/34]. The title is, however, misleading as the introduction makes clear: "The manors surveyed all belonged to Oliver Saint John of Bletsoe, for whom, no doubt, the survey was prepared. The volume apparently came into the hands of a Peterborough man, and was perhaps purchased by William Gery, to whose descendants it belongs. The Gery family (as far as it is known) do not own any pf the property described in the surveys. If the volume did not get into their possession through purchase, it probably formed part of the muniments of the steward of the Bedfordshire manors of Lord Saint John, and it is to be noted that the firm of solicitors (Wade-Gery and Brackenbury), acted in that capacity…The watermark is the fool's cap with bells".

The following list is a summary of the manor's tenants in Bletsoe. A brief summary of their landholding is included. The original survey is more detailed including abutments, but it is not possible to work out where each piece of land was because the vast majority of the names have not survived and there was no parliamentary inclosure for Bletsoe meaning no detailed map and award.

Church End

  • Jeromye Croftes: a cottage called Bayliffe's with stable, barn and croft totalling two roods; Pippens Close of two roods, twenty poles; Bayliffes Close of one acre, two roods, thirty poles; Bells Close of four acres, one rood, thirty two poles; Greenedishe Close of eight acres; a parcel of meadow in Broade Meade of one acre - total sixteen acres, one rood, two poles;
  • John Darlinge: a cottage called Sutton's with a croft and barn south-east of Bletsoe Green and totalling three acres, one rood, ten poles; Spinkbreade Close of two acres, ten poles; Long Bletsoe Close of five acres, twenty three poles; Humberdale Hill Close of four acres, three roods; one rood in River Meade - sixteen acres, one rood, thirteen poles;
  • Evans Davids: a cottage called House Grindon with barn and orchard west of Bletsoe Green with a croft totalling one rood; a croft adjoining the house of one acre, twenty poles; Coplowe Greene Close of one acre, three roods, ten poles; Stonhill Close of two acres, twenty poles - total five acres, one rood, ten poles;
  • John Gyles: a house, barn and stable with an adjoining croft containing one acre one rood; Coplowe Pightle of two roods twenty poles; Coplowe Close of one and a half acres; New Coplowe Close of four acres, two roods, twenty poles; Great Gosbreade Close of seven acres, one rood, twenty poles; Cuppwell Close of twenty acres, twenty poles and a total of one acre, five poles of meadow in four parcels in River Meade - a total holding of thirty six acres, two roods, five poles;
  • Edward Islipp: a cottage called Martin's and croft comprising twenty poles;
  • Simon Latham: a cottage called Bell's adjoining John Marshall's cottage, with barn, orchard and croft comprising one acre, thirty poles; Coplowe Close of three acres, ten poles; another Coplowe Close of seven acres, twenty poles; Wooddams alias Northend Close of three acres, ten poles; Conye Crofte of three acres, one rood, thirty poles; Honymeade Close of three roods; three parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising two acres - total: twenty seven acres, two roods, twenty poles
  • John Marshall: a cottage called Marshall's with barn, orchard and croft next to Simon Latham's cottage and comprising two roods, thirty poles; Perkins Close of one acre, twenty poles; Wildgoose Close of one and a half acres; Piccardes Close of four and a half acres; Bennells Close of six acres, one rood, twenty two poles; River Close of four acres, one rood, twenty poles - total eighteen acres, two roods, twenty two poles;
  • Nicholas Purvy: a cottage called Knobbes alias Broyes with croft called Bellarswicke on Bletsoe Green and comprising one acre, two roods; Honiemeade Close of three roods, twenty poles; Mull Close of four acres; Stoakebrooke Close of seven acres; parcels of meadow in Snellfordes comprising one acre, two roods, twenty poles; meadow in Broade Meade comprising three roods, five poles; four acres of arable dispersed in the common fields and bought from John Woodham of Sharnbrook in 1625 - total nineteen acres, one rood, five poles;
  • John Wrenn: a house called Walton's west of the street [The Avenue?] with barn, stables, garden, orchard and croft comprising one acre, one rood, ten poles; Little Close of on acre, one rood, twenty poles; Little Bells Close of one acre; Great Cosbread Close of six acres, three roods, twenty poles; Ashbrooke Close of sixteen acres and two roods; Little Reades Pasture of twenty acres, three roods; Little Reades Grove of two acres; two parcels of meadow in River Meade totalling three roods; two parcels of meadow in Broade Meade totalling one acre, three roods, five poles; a cottage called Whyte's with a little yard totalling ten poles - a combined total of fifty two acres, one rood, twenty five poles;
  • Henry Wrighte: cottage "taken out of the waste" with orchard and backside comprising thirty poles.

Bletsoe Mills

  • Thomas Aspland at Bletsoe Mills: Two corn mills and a wheat mill "with sufficiente howse adioyninge under one roofe and the fishinge and profits of the river of Ouse extendinge and goinge in lengths so farr foorth as the dams and his backe waters above the myll's Northwarde and below the mylls as the Orchyarde or Close corner" - three roods; a close and orchard of two roods - total one acre, one rood;

North End

  • Henry Beamonde: a house called Clegge's with barn, stable and homestall comprising two roods, twenty poles; Bowtons Close of two acres, twenty poles; Pippens Close of three acres, one rood, thirty poles; Carters Close of two acres, ten poles; Coles Close of five acres; Parke Close of four acres; Aldermarshe Close of twelve acres, three roods, twenty five poles; Long Headons Close of four acres; Woodhul cum Belfordes and Trunketts Close of thirty seven acres, three roods; one selion in Sharnbrook Field of one rood; one ley in Sharnbrook Field of two roods; five parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising two acres, twenty five poles - total seventy four acres, three roods, ten poles;
  • Thomas Darlinge: house called Darlinge's with homestall, barn, stable and orchard comprising three roods, twenty poles; an adjoining croft of one acre, fifteen poles; Websters Close of three acres, three roods, twenty poles; James Close of five acres, one rood, twenty poles; Buckstyle Close of one acre, one rood; Long Bletsoe Close of seven acres, two roods, twenty eight poles; Longe Headens Close of three acres, three roods, twenty three poles; Elvershotte Close of thirteen acres, one pole; Langlande Close of seventeen acres, one rood; three parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising one acre, twenty seven poles - total sixty two acres, one rood, twenty three poles;
  • William Gates: a house called Woodcrofte with barns, stable, orchard and adjoining croft comprising two acres; Lyncrofte Close of three acres, twenty poles; Painters Close of three acres, two roods; Preestes Close of eight acres; Aldermarshe Close of fifteen acres, three roods, thirty poles; Mordende Close of twenty nine acres, three roods; three parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising one acre, twenty poles - total sixty three acres, one rood, thirty poles;
  • William Lybbytt: a cottage called Park Keeper's with croft comprising three roods; Parke Close of two acres, one rood, twenty poles; Whitwicke Close of one and a half acres; Langlande Close of four acres, thirty poles; three parcels of meadow in Broade Meade totalling two acres - total ten acres, three roods, ten poles;
  • Thomas Maxey: a house called Maxey's with barmen stable, homestall, orchard and Meadecroft adjoining comprising four acres; Doles Croft of one acre, three roods, thirty poles; Lewys Close alias Maxey's Pitell of one rood; Leye Close of three acres, thirty poles; Brayfielde Close of three acres, one rood, thirty poles; Water Slade Close of fifteen acres, three roods, ten poles; Chadwell Close of twenty seven acres, three roods, thirty poles; Mousehyll Close of five acres, two roods, thirty poles; four parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising one acre, one rood, twenty poles - total sixty three acres, two roods, twenty poles;
  • Henrye Mylls: a house called Churche's with barn, stable, orchard and croft west of North End Green and comprising two acres; an adjoining croft of four acres, twenty poles; Doles Ashe Close of one acre, one rood, twenty poles; Honimeade Close of two acres; Mousehyll Close of fourteen acres, one rood, thirteen poles; Crosse Close of eighteen  acres, three roods, twenty three poles; Welches or New Close of four acres, thirty poles; Stonnhyll Close of seven and a half acres; two parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising one acre, ten poles - total sixty acres, one rood, thirty six poles.

Bolnend [Bourne End]

  • William Sharpe: Ladye Leyes of thirty five acres;
  • Thomas Throssell: a house called Gurtinge's with barn, stable and croft comprising two acres, one rood; Broadecrofte Close of one acre, three roods, twenty poles; Little Kinges Pightle of one rood; Roade Close of three roods, thirty poles; Hales Hole Pightle of one acre, eighteen poles; Cherrye Pightle of three acres, twenty poles; Temple Close of eleven acres, three roods; Halesholme Close of eight acres, two roods; Haddecott Bush Close of seven acres, one rood, twenty poles; Forrest Gapp Close of twelve acres, two roods; Chillwood Common Close of ten acres; twenty eight lands of arable in Merrells Field comprising five acres; four selions of arable in Brownes Furlong comprising one acre; four selions of arable in Broade Merrell Furlong comprising one acre; four more selions of arable in Broade Merrell Furlong comprising one acre; thirteen lands of arable in Merrell Furlong comprising three acres, two roods; ten selions, three gores of arable and half a headland in Merrells Furlong comprising five acres, twenty poles; five selions of arable in Merrells Furlong comprising two acres; two selions in Merrells Furlong comprising three roods - total seventy nine acres, two roods, eight poles;
  • Thomas Warde: Reades Pasture Magna Close of thirteen acres, two roods, twenty poles; Great Reades Pasture of thirty seven acres, one rood, twenty poles - total fifty one acres

Whitwick End

  • George Chitlowe: a house called Chitlowe's with barn, stable, homestall and orchard comprising three roods; an adjoining croft of two and a half acres; an adjoining croft of three acres, three roods; an adjoining croft of one acre, one rood; Parrocke Close of eight acres, three roods; Conycrofte Close of two acres, three roods, twenty poles; Langland Close of eleven acres; Greene Close of five acres, thirty poles - total thirty six acres, ten poles;
  • Robert Church: a cottage on Upper Whitwick Green and land comprising seven acres, one rood;
  • Henry Dawson: a cottage called Bounde Cottage with two crofts comprising two acres, one rood; an adjoining croft of one acre, one rood, twenty poles - total three acres, two roods, twenty poles;
  • Robert Gudgen: a cottage an croft on Whitwick Street comprising three acres, twenty poles; Longe Bletsoe Close of four acres; Coplowe Close of three acres; two parcels of meadow in Broade Meade comprising two roods - ten acres, two roods, twenty poles;
  • John Hynde: a house on The Green with land comprising one acre;
  • Richard Peck: a cottage called Pecke's Cottage "lately erected" on Whitwick Green with land comprising one acre, three roods;
  • Thomas Pecke: a house called Pecke's on Whitwick Street with orchard and homestall comprising two acres; an adjoining close of one acre, one rood; an adjoining close of five acres, one rood, twenty poles; an adjoining close of three acres, two roods, twenty poles; Broadecrofte Close of seven acres, three roods, twenty poles; Coplowe Close of one and a half acres; Honymeade Close of nine and a half acres; Woodlandes Close of thirteen acres, one rood; Myhaire Close of seven acres, two roods, twelve poles; two parcels of meadow in River Meade comprising two roods, five poles - total fifty two acres, one rood, thirty seven poles;
  • George Robartes: a cottage called Charles with a croft comprising one acre, one rood; a pightle of one rood; Wigney Close of four acres, three roods, twenty poles - six acres, two roods, ten poles;
  • Richard Warde: a newly erected cottage on Whitwick Green with a close comprising one and a half acres.