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The Manor of Chalton

The arms of the Cooper family of Toddington
The arms of the Cooper family of Toddington

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and included short histories of most of the manors in the county. Chalton Manor first occurs in the historical record in 1366 when it was held of Sir Walter Massey and Elizabeth, his wife and was attached to the manor of Weston near Baldock. The manor, which included a small chapel, was held by Sir Henry Grene, who died in 1369 when he was succeeded by his son Thomas.

In 1562 a Manor of Chalton was held by the Browne family. The manor was later divided into thirds for the three daughters of Humphrey Browne. By 1590 the whole manor was reunited in the hands of Francis Bigg who died in 1618. His grandson died without issue in the 1630s leaving the manor to his sisters Mary Goldsmith, Abigail Wainwright, Sarah Shepherd and Agnes Burr. By the time of his death in 1674 Mary's son Thomas had reunited the four parts of the manor in his ownership.

The Goldsmith family continued to hold the manor until 1754 when William Goldsmith sold the manor to David Willaume for £500 [AD518]. The Willaume family held the manor until 1763 when it was sold to James Hibbins [AD518]. He died in 1774 and the manor was auctioned, being bought by Edward l'Epine of Lewisham [Kent] for £660 [AD518]. L'Epine died in 1788 leaving the manor to his daughter Maria, who died in 1798, the manor passing to Richard, Earl Howe, under the terms of the will of Edward L'Epine [AD518]. Earl Howe died in 1799 and his wife in 1800. In 1832 the manor was acquired from the family of Earl Howe by William Dodge Cooper of Toddington. The manor then descended through the Cooper family until 1905 when, on the death of William Cooper, it was inherited by his daughter Elizabeth Georgina Warren-Vernon. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s effectively abolished manors in all but name.