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The Manor of Zouches Caddington

Saint Paul's Dean and Chapter
Saint Paul's Dean and Chapter

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908 and carries an account of Zouches, or Sowches, Manor. Like the other manors in the parish it seems to have been held by the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul’s in London - certainly the whole village was held by Saint Paul's in 1086. The dean and chapter leased the manor out to a family named la Zouche of Harringworth in Northamptonshire hence the name of the manor. The last mention of Saint Paul’s as overlords is not stated.

Zouche of Haringworth
Zouche of Harringworth

The earlier tenants seem to have been the Inge family since there is a grant of free warren (to stock rabbits, an important food source) in Caddington to one Edward Inge in 1310-1311 as well as a cancelled patent to Richard Inge to alienate the manor in 1322-1323. By 1395 William la Zouche was tenant, having inherited the tenancy from his father of the same name and the suggestion is that the manor passed to the Zouches from the Inges by marriage. A third William conveyed his interest in the estate to a kinsman, Sir John Lovett, in 1396-97 though the Zouches continued as tenants in Caddington until at least as late as 1535 so Lovett was probably acting as trustee in a family settlement.

Richard Marshe was tenant of the Manor of Zouches in the second half of the 16th century and an action to eject him was brought by Thomas Franck. Franck claimed that John, Lord Zouche had conveyed the manor to his father, also Thomas, twenty eight years before. Marshe declared that he had inherited the manor from his father in 1573. Franck’s action must have been unsuccessful because Richard Marshe conveyed the manor to his brother Henry who then conveyed it to Thomas Marshe in 1583. In 1605 Henry’s son Rotherham Marshe sold the manor to John Clerke of London.

John Clerke the younger died seised of the manor in 1664 but by 1673 it was in the hands of the Strode family, Robert conveying it to William in that year. By 1750 the manor was in the hands of John Shirley who conveyed it to Nicholas Coulthirst from whom it was recovered by Robert Joyce in the same year. In 1781 a Thomas Smith held the manor. Zouches Farm, in the north-west of the parish is probably the site of the manor house.