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The Manor of Husborne Crawley

The histories of manors in Husborne Crawley are given in Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire published in 1912. The manor of Husborne Crawley traces its history back to the manor owned by Nigel d'Aubigny in 1086, as recorded by the Domesday Book. The manor may have been in Church End as the other manor recorded in Husborne Crawley included mills suggesting it lay in the southern part of the parish. The overlordship was held by the Barony of Cainhoe, which is last mentioned as overlord at the beginning of the 16th century.

The de Grey family coat of arms
The de Grey family coat of arms

A man named Thorgils was tenant of the manor in 1086. The next known tenant is John de Northwood in 1276. The manor passed into joint ownership of the Northwood and de Grey families between 1316 and 1346. In 1360 the manor was wholly in the hands of Roger de Grey. The manor remained in the hands of the de Grey family until conveyed by Henry Grey in 1525 to Sir Richard Wingfield and Richard Weston. They may have been royal agents because King Henry VIII was Lord of the Manor in 1527. In 1542 he annexed the manor to the newly formed Honour of Ampthill.

The Thompson family coat of arms
The Thompson family coat of arms

In 1570 the Crown leased the former Grey lands in Husborne Crawley to Robert Rookham and in 1579 granted them to John Thompson. Thompson united the three manors of Husborne Crawley – Crawley Manor, Brays Manor and Husborne Crawley Manor which all thereafter shared a common history.

The manor house of Husborne Crawley Manor may have been Manor Farm near the church. In 1721 all three manors in Husborne Crawley were sold to the Duke of Bedford but the manor house of Crawley Manor was exempted from the sale and not sold to the duke until 1794 when he promptly pulled it down. This house lay between School Lane and Turnpike Road just behind today's Dairy Farm. A map of 1760 [R1/42] shows Manor Farmhouse as being owned by the Duke of Bedford and it is described as the Manor House meaning it was likely the manor house of Husborne Crawley Manor as Brays Manor was a lesser creation and both were held by Sir John Thompson by the late 16th century, the time the house was built.

Manor Farm January 2011
Manor Farm January 2011