Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Stewartby > The Manor of Pilling Rowsberry

The Manor of Pilling Rowsberry

The coat of arms of Sidney Sussex College
The coat of arms of Sidney Sussex College

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It gives detailed histories for each of the manors in Wootton. The manor of Pilling Rowsberry was centred on Wootton Pillinge, which was later transferred to help form the new civil parish of Stewartby.

The manor is first recorded in 1248 in the possession of Geoffrey le Rous. In 1347 Laura, daughter of Simon le Rous married John Oyldeboeuf of Colmworth. When Simon died his wife inherited the manor of which nothing is then heard until 1497 when the manor is recorded as held by William Church and Katherine, his wife who, in that year, conveyed it to John Mordaunt.

The Mordaunt family then held the manor until 1588 when Lewis Mordaunt alienated it to Thomas Terle who sold some of the manor lands to Thomas Spicer alias Helder in 1596. In 1605 the manor itself was acquired by Sir Francis Clerke who also had the Manor of Pilling Shingay, giving both, in 1627, to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge to found four new fellowships and eight scholarships. In 1836 both manors were still in possession of the college, remaining so into the 20th century. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s extinguished all manorial incidents, courts and copyhold tenure of land. This effectively abolished manors in all but name.

Clerke seems to have retained the manor house in 1627 for his own use. By 1812, however, it had been demolished.

The Mordaunt family coat of arms
The Mordaunt family coat of arms