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The Manor of Saint Thomas Chapel

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908. The work gave detailed histories of every manor in the county. The first reference to this manor is in 1285 when Edward I (1272-1307) granted a warren to Chicksands Priory as Lord of the Manor. Clearly the manor was based around Saint Thomas' Chapel and the next door farm. By 1291 the annual value of the manor was £10/13/6.

Early in the 14th century the priory mortgaged the manor, together with Hawnes Grange, to Genoese merchant John Puisaquila as security for a loan of £200. The manor was released back to Chicksands Priory in 1325 on part repayment of the loan.

The de Grey coat of arms
The de Grey family arms

Chicksands Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) when its Meppershall lands were worth £15/10/- per annum. The crown leased the manor for a short time to one Henry Stringer and in 1542 Henry granted it to Sir Henry Grey of Wrest Park, the manor remaining in that family for 167 years. In 1639 Sir Henry Grey's sister, who had married Sir Michael Grey Longueville inherited the manor. In 1709 Anne Longueville and her son Grey Longueville sold the manor to Christ's Hospital, London, who held it into the 20th century. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s effectively abolished manors in all but name.

The Longueville family arms
The Longueville family arms