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Shortgrove Manor

Dunstable Priory coat of arms
Dunstable Priory coat of arms

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and gave the histories of manors in the Manshead Hundred. Shortgrove Manor extended into the parishes of Kensworth, Totternhoe, Studham and Whipsnade. It was given to Dunstable Priory by William de Cantlowe in 1209 and was held by the priory until it was dissolved by King Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1540. The priory’s last tenant was William Belfield, whose rent was forty quarters of wheat per annum.

In 1546 the manor was granted to Sir Roger Cholmeley and Christiana, his wife. At some point they conveyed the manor to Sir Thomas Russell, Richard Lygon and Mary, his wife, as in 1567 they obtained a licence from Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) to sell it to Michael Lodge and Ellen, his wife.

The Lodge family held the manor until 1655 when Henry Lodge senior and his son, also Henry, sold it to Henry Honnor. He sold the manor, in 1712 to Thomas Cowslade. In 1774 John Cowslade, Thomas’ son, conveyed the manor to Frederick van der Meulen of Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] for £6,500 [BW192]. In his will of 1778, van der Meulen devised the manor to his son, Joseph Pomfret van der Meulen [BW192]. In 1837 Joseph’ son Frederick held the manor [BW192]. The manor was probably centred on Shortgrove Manor Farm on the boundary of Whipsnade and Kensworth.