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Veseys or Vaseys Manor Great Barford

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, gives the histories of all the five manors in Great Barford as far as they were known at the time. Of these five manors only one, Veseys, or Vaseys, can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086.

The coat of arms of the Barony of Bedford
The coat of arms of the Barony of Bedford

In 1086 Veseys Manor was held by Hugh de Beauchamp, who would later be created Baron of Bedford. His tenant was Ansketel the priest and it extended over 1½ hides. The manor clearly lay, in part, on the River Great Ouse as it included a watermill. The overlordship of the manor continued to form part of the Barony of Bedford until 1265 when it was dismantled and divided amongst the three sisters of John de Beauchamp who had die fighting for Simon de Montfort against King Henry III at the Battle of Evesham.

The L'Enveise family coat of arms
The L'Enveise family coat of arms

The first known tenant of the manor after Ansketel is Robert, son of Ralph in 1191, a full century after Domesday. Robert de Suppethorp succeeded Robert, son of Ralph and was recorded as having 1½ hides in Great Barford between 1250 and 1270. In 1303 Robert alienated the manor to Walter L'Enveise, hence the name of Veseys Manor. Walter was still tenant in 1316 and on his death his widow succeeded him. She remarried Sir Richard de Lacy and still held the manor in 1346.

At some point before 1424 the manor passed to Edmund Brudenell and Alice, his wife, "who possibly was the daughter of Alice L'Enveise". In 1424 Brudenell alienated the manor "called Voysys near Newenham" to Henry Chicheley, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1414 to 1443. Chicheley had been born at Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire and, in 1428, founded a college in the town, to which he gave Veseys Manor in 1435 to help towards the college's support.

Higham Ferrers college was disbanded in 1542 during the suppression of all the religious houses under King Henry VIII. Veseys was then given to Robert Dacres of Cheshunt [Hertfordshire]. He died in the following year and was succeeded by George Dacres, who died in 1579. He left the manor in his will to his third son Robert.

The Francklin family coat of arms
The Francklin family coat of arms

By 1630 the manor had been alienated to the Hatley family as in that year Robert, John and John's wife Anne alienated Veseys to George Francklin. The manor remained in the Francklin family 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. Two members of the Francklin family served as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.