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The Manor of Campton

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908. The work gave detailed histories of every manor in the county. We know from the Domesday book of 1086 that at this time the overlordship of Campton belonged to Walter Giffard. Ralph de Langetot held the manor as undertenant at this point, but there then follows a period of 150 years in which ownership is unknown. In 1228 it was in the possession of Henry, son of Gerold, who gave it to Warine, son of Gerold. Warine's descendants held the manor until it was transferred into ownership of the Crown sometime between 1392 and 1428.

The de Grey coat of arms
The de Grey coat of arms

It is likely that the Crown granted the manor to Reginald de Grey, who held it in 1428. In 1467, the Manor of Campton cum Shefford was valued at 25 pounds, 19 shillings and one penny [Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume 46 page 13]. Reginald's great, great grandson was holding the manor in 1504, but by 1508 it had been alienated to Giles, Lord Daubeny, whose son then conveyed it to Sir William Compton. When Sir William died in 1528, the manor again passed to the Crown as part of a pre-existing arrangement.

The Gostwick family coat of arms
The Gostwick family coat of arms

Henry VIII (1509-1547) leased the manor to his auditor John Gostwick, and Edward Copley, in 1530, then annexed to the Honour of Ampthill in 1543. We know that Thomas, Viscount Fenton was steward of the manor on behalf of the Crown, surrendering his office in 1613, succeeded by Edward, Lord Bruce. From this point, the office continued in the family of the earls of Elgin and Aylesbury. They sold this to the Duke of Bedford in 1738 who held the office until 1839, at which point the manorial rights returned to the monarchy, who continued to hold them when The Victoria County History was compiled. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s abolished manorial fines and incidents as well as copyhold land tenure, thus abolishing manors in practically all but name.

Arms of the Duke of Bedford
Arms of the Duke of Bedford