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Copy of The Manor of Caldecote

Warden Abbey coat of arms
Warden Abbey coat of arms

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. The work states that Caldecote Manor, which lay in both Caldecote and Ickwell, probably consisted of lands formerly part of Northill Manor. Warden Abbey claimed possession from the 12th century and in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) the right to the view of frankpledge (manorial jurisdiction) was granted to the abbey. The manor remained the property of the abbey until it was dissolved in 1537.

In 1564 the manor was granted to Queen Elizabeth's favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. In 1603 George Fish of Southill died owning the manor. By 1674 the manor was in the hands of John Moore and Mary, his wife who then quitclaimed it to Nicholas Ratchford. In the late 17th and early 18th century it was in the hands of George Vaughan but it was conveyed to trustees in 1714 to Mrs. Stukeley, sister-in-law of Sir George Byng and his grandson George, 4th Lord Torrington was the owner in 1776.

The Thornton family coat of arms
The Thornton family coat of arms

The Victoria County History states that the manor was probably purchased from Lord Torrington by Thomas Smith, a lawyer if Grays Inn, London  who certainly held it in the early 19th century. By 1821 Colonel Godfrey Thornton was the owner, the last date at which the manor is mentioned as a separate identity.