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Harrold Priory Manor

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, gives details of each of the four manors in Harrold. This manor, as the name implies, was owned by Harrold Priory. When this religious house was founded in the 1130s it benefitted from grants of land by Sampson le Fort, the de Blosseville and Morin families, successively Lords of the Manor of Harrold. Kings of Scotland, David I (1124-1153), Malcolm IV (1153-1165), William I (1165-1214) and Robert Bruce (1306-1329), as overlords of the Honour of Huntingdon and thus overlords of Harrold Manor, issued successive charters confirming these grants.

The manor comprised four virgates of land, in two holdings, twenty acres of woodland and a carucate (120 acres) of land. Five roods of land and two acres of pasture were added in 1392 with a house and 129 acres in 1393.

The Farrar family coat of arms
The Farrar family coat of arms

When the priory was dissolved in 1536 its property was valued at £11. A year later the site of the priory and the advowson of Harrold church were granted by the Crown to John Cheney for twenty one years at £10 rent per annum. When the lease expired London grocer Ralph Farrar received a permanent grant of the site. His son Francis died in 1616 leaving a daughter as his heir.

The Boteler family coat of arms
The Boteler family coat of arms

Anne Farrar married Sir Thomas Boteler of Biddenham and Harrold Priory Manor remaine din the Boteler famly for two generations before reverting back to the Farrar family. This happened when Sir William Boteler's daughter and heir, Helen married her second cousin Thomas Farrar in 1651 and the manor formed part of the portion she brought to the wedding. In 1680, in another instance of cousins marrying, William Farrar, son of Thomas and Helen married Mary, daughter of William Boteler.

In 1714 William Farrar alienated a house, almost certainly Harrold Hall, and land representing Harrold Priory Manor to Anne Joliffe, half-sister to Jemima, Duchess of Kent who, at that time, owned Harrold Manor. In 1732 Anne died and her estates in Harrold passed to her neice Anne Alston. She married into the Mead family and lived at Harrold Hall until her death in 1763. The property which had formed Harrold Priory Manor was dispersed during the 18th century and the manor ceased to exist.