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Girtford Manor

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1908, gives the history of manors in Sandy as far as they were known at the time. Girtford is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and the first likely reference to the manor is in the early 13th century when Henry, son of Hugh de Sandy granted land to Newnham Priory in Bedford. In 1291 the priory owned land in Girtford worth £3/11/10 per annum.

Newnham Priory was dissolved in 1539 and in 1541 King Henry VIII granted Girtford Manor and its grange (a manor house forming part of an agricultural holding of a religious house) to John Burgoyne who alienated it to Edward Cosyn in 1562.

 The Russell family coat of arms
The Russell family coat of arms

By 1614 the manor was in the hands of the Earl of Salisbury, who sold it to Francis, Lord Russell in that year. Four years later Lord Russell alienated Girtford Manor to John Taylor. Taylor's widow Alice married Oliver Bromhall who purchased more land in Girtford to add to the manor. His son, also Oliver, sold the manor to Jasper Edwards, Chief Registrar in the Court of Chancery in 1657 and his son Richard transferred the property to Robert Pulleyn of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] in 1695.

The Kingsley family coat of arms
The Kingsley family coat of arms

Pulleyn sold Girtford Manor in 1741 to Heylock Kingsley, who also held Hasells Manor. His daughter married William Pym in 1748 and the manor remained in the Pym family into the 20th century. 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 Pym family coat of arms
The Pym family coat of arms