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The Manor of Eversholt Rectory

Knights Hospitaller
Arms of the Knights Hospitaller

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and contains details on the manors of Eversholt. The Manor of Eversholt Rectory is first mentioned in 1331 when the Rector, John de Staunfordham, gave half a mark for various manorial rights which his predecessors had claimed from “time immemorial”.

The advowson of the church was held by the preceptory of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem at Shingay [Cambridgeshire] which, thus, appointed every rector of the parish and these rectors held the manor. The holdings of the knights were confiscated during the dissolution of religious houses by Henry VIII (1509-1547) and the advowson went to the Crown.

 

In 1540 Sir Richard Longe received the holdings of the former Shingay preceptory including the advowson of Eversholt and thus the manor. His son Henry devised Eversholt to his wife and daughter Elizabeth on his death in 1573. Elizabeth married Sir William Russell and, on her death, it reverted to her mother, who settled it on a son by a third marriage to Charles Morrison. This was disputed by Elizabeth’s son Francis, 4th Earl of Bedford and in 1649 the manor and advowson were held by his son John.

The manor remained in the Russell family for some time, though in a collateral branch to the Dukes of Bedford, owners being: Edward Russell, son of John; William Russell, son of Edward; Edward Russell, brother of William and later created Earl of Orford in 1697. On Edward’s death in 1727 the manor descended to his niece Anne, wife of Sir Thomas Tipping. She was succeeded by her eldest daughter, Letitia, wife of Samuel, 1st Baron Sandys. On the death of Samuel’s son in 1797 the manor was settled in his wife for the remainder of her life, then on the second son of the Marquess of Downshire.

 Arms of the Dukes of Bedford
Arms of the Dukes of Bedford

In 1839 the manor was purchased by the Duke of Bedford who continued to hold it into the 20th century. In the 1920s a succession of Law of Property Acts effectively abolished manors in all but name.