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The Manor of Herne

The arms of Woburn Abbey
The arms of Woburn Abbey

In the early part of the reign of King Henry III (1216-1272) a small property at Herne to the west of the village of Toddington was granted to the monks of Woburn by Simon son of Hugh of Stanbridge, and in 1235 the Abbot of Woburn was granted a further three carucates of land by Humphrey of Herne. This property later became known as Herne Grange or Herne Manor, a grange being a manor held by a religious institution. In 1291 this was valued at £6.0s.10d. in land, rent and profits, and at £1.18s.4d. p.a. in moveable property. In 1302-3 the property was assessed as two-thirds of half a knight's fee. At the Dissolution of Woburn Abbey in 1538 the revenues received from Herne Grange were £9.19s.12d. The following year Herne Grange was leased to Roger Lee for 21 years at a rent of £6.13s.4d. In 1547 the reversion of this property at the end of the lease was granted to Sir William Paget, but by 1557 it had been purchased by Richard Bury. In 1560 Herne Grange was settled by Richard's son Humphrey Bury on his daughter Jane and her husband, Sir Thomas Rotheram.

 The Rotherham family arms
The Rotherham family arms

During the 17th century the manor changed hands a number of times. In 1625 William Brett held a third part of Herne Manor until his lands were confiscated after he was attainted for felony and were granted to his brother Robert. In 1635 the capital messuage (the house and farm buildings at the centre of the property) was one of the properties held by a John Wainright at his death, but no mention is made of the manor. There is no further mention of Herne Manor until 1690 when it was in the possession of Arthur Mawditt. By 1715 it had been inherited jointly by his three daughters, Elizabeth Cley (widow), Maria Mawditt and Sarah Mawditt. In 1813 Charlotte Georgina Bettesworth and Frances Herne, wife of John Quantock held equal rights in the property, which was sold first to Richard Gutteridge and then by 1822 to Richard Thomas Gilpin of Hockliffe.

A small number of 16th century records relating to Herne Manor are held by The National Archives.