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Clophill Hall Manor

The Dakeney family coat of arms
The Dakeney family coat of arms

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1908, gives the histories of all the five manors in Clophill as far as they were known at the time. Clophill Hall Manor only gained this name in the 16th century but the Victoria County History traces it back to 1354 when Joan, widow of Roger Dakeney granted land to Gerard de Braybrook and his wife Isabella. This land comprised four acres of meadow and two hundred and fifty acres of woodland. Joan inherited a third of the Manor of Clophill and Cainhoe and a sixth of the Barony of Cainhoe in 1272.

Gerard de Braybrook died in 1359 ad was succeeded by his son, another Gerard. The Victoria County History states: "The manor then probably followed the same descent as that of Clifton". If so the manor was passed on down the Braybroke family until 1427, when it passed to Sir William Babyngton on the death of another Gerard Braybroke. Babyngton died in 1454 and it is suggested in the Victoria County History that his son conveyed the manor to Sir John Fisher, who died owning it in 1510. His son Michael succeeded him and on his death in 1549 it passed to Agnes, daughter of his son John (who had died in 1528). She married Oliver Saint John of Bletsoe  and that family owned the manor until 1598 when Oliver, Lord Saint John of Bletsoe alienated it to Thomas Anscell [L4/32], who conveyed it to Richard Charnock in 1605 [L4/35].

The Charnock held Clophill Hall and Beadlow manors until 1651 when they sold Clophill Hall to James Beverley, from whom it was purchased by Lord Bruce in 1656 [L4/37-38]. By 1772 Amabel, Lady Grey held this manor, as she did Beadlow and Clophill and Cainhoe Manors. The manor remained with the heirs of Lady Amabel (Lord Lucas and Dingwall by the 20th century) until 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.

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] lists every historic building and landscape feature in the county and is now available on-line as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for the site of Clophill Hall Manor [HER 9131] reads as follows: "It seems likely the manor house of Clophill Hall became the Lordship house or great house and possibly 'the house with high chimneys' in 17th and 18th century deeds, its position was just in front of the present Brickwall Farm and there is the remains of the moat in the orchard". The entry notes from the deeds of The Manor of Clophill Hall in the Lucas Archive [L4/23-48] which date from 1544 to 1685.

Brickwall Farmhouse July 2010
Brickwall Farmhouse July 2010