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The Manor of UpperCaldecote alias Blundells alias Harteshorne

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 the origin of Upper Caldecote Manor is obscure. John Blundell held land of Northill Rectory Manor in 1381 but in 1558 it was stated that it was not known from which overlord Blundells alias Upper Caldecote Manor was held. The manor was later known as Blundells alias Upper Caldecote alias Harteshorne. Harteshorne Farm in Ickwell was, in 1561 and 1606, held of the Crown.

The Harteshorne family are encountered holding land locally at the end of the 12th century and in 1439 the family name was connected with Ickwell. Scattered references tie the Blundell family to Upper Caldecote from the late 13th century. Yet there is no mention of this manor until the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553). At that time John Poley, who also held Lower Caldecote alias Carminos Manor, acquired Blundells Manor from the Colt family.

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

John Poley's granddaughter Alice married Robert Reade and they alienated the manor to George Mordaunt and Cecilia, his wife, in 1588. The Mordaunt family owned the manor for nearly a century, until it was conveyed to William Atkins and others in 1686. John Mordaunt held Blundells in 1728 but Master's Chancery Exhibits [CRT130Northill16] show that between at least 1745 and 1758 Rev. Robert Audley Brittain was Lord of the Manor. A settlement was later made to John Edrop senior of Upper Caldecote, carpenter and Mercy Audley, his wife, presumably she was Robert Audley Brittain's relative, probably his daughter. In 1773 this settlement was varied in that Edrop's son, also John and also a carpenter received the manor in trust to sell it after the death of Mercy or during her lifetime with her consent and to divide the profits with his father and siblings.

By 1801 the manor, now called Upper Caldecote, belonged to John Harvey of Ickwell Bury and, like Northill Manor and later Ickwell Bury Manor, remained in that family's hands into the 20th century. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s abolished manorial fines and incidents as well as copyhold land tenure, thus abolishing manors in practically all but name.