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The Manor of Ickwell

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, gives the histories of all the manors in the parish of Northill as far as they were known at the time. Ickwell is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 but the Victoria County History states that 1½ hides owned by Eudo the Steward, also known as Eudo, son of Hubert and tenanted by one Ralph later became Ickwell Manor. The overlordship of the manor lay with the Barony of Eaton [Socon]. Later the overlordship passed to the de Beauchamp family which held it as late as 1284.

At some time prior to that date Ickwell Manor belonged to the English division of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem, a crusading order similar to the Knights Templar which fought against the Muslim states in the Holy Land as well as tending sick Christians. The order's holdings in England were dissolved in 1543 as part of King Henry VIII's attack on religious orders and houses in England.

The Barnardiston family coat of arms
The Barnardiston family coat of arms

Ickwell Manor was granted by the Crown to John Barnardiston and his wife, Joan. The manor remained in that family for over a hundred years, being conveyed by George Barnardiston to John Harvey in 1680. He built Ickwell Bury as the seat of the manor close to the previous manor house. The manor remained in the Harvey 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.

 Ickwell Bury September 2007
Ickwell Bury September 2007

The Victoria County History states that in 1639 Ickwell Manor comprised 487 acres worth £404/15/4 with timber in the woods worth an additional £400. Some land also lay over the parish boundary in Old Warden and this parcel was worth an additional £60/6/8.