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The Manor of Potton Regis

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908 and contains histories of all the manors in Potton. Potton Regis was the principal manner of the parish and the overlordship was held by the Earl of Huntingdon. This was because Potton was held in 1086 by Countess Judith, and her daughter Maud married the King of Scotland, David, who was also Earl of Huntingdon. The last Earl of Huntingdon, John le Scot, died without issue in 1237 and the overlordship of the various Potton manors was divided between his sisters Margaret, Isabel and Ada. The overlordship of Potton Regis passed to the second sister, Isabel, wife of Robert Bruce. Their grandson King Robert Bruce forfeited his English possessions through his wars with England and the overlordship passed to the English Crown.

The Latimer family coat of arms
The Latimer family coat of arms

The earliest known tenant of the manor is Wischard Ledet in 1214. Their heir was their daughter Christina, who married Henry de Braybrook. In 1271 the manor was held by her granddaughter Alice, wife of William le Latimer. The Latimers held the manor until 1381 when William Latimer died without male heirs and was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Neville of Raby. In 1392 Henry, Earl of Derby, son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, successfully claimed the manor under a settlement made by Alice le Latimer in 1315. The manor thus formed part of the Duchy of Lancaster and was leased out at various times – to Henry Longdon in 1402 and to Elizabeth Swinford in 1427.

The Burgoyne family coat of arms
The Burgoyne family coat of arms

In 1544 the manor was settled on Thomas Burgoyne and that family held it until the middle of the 18th century. By 1774 the manor was held by George, Viscount Torrington and in 1795 he sold the manor to Southill brewer Samuel Whitbread. This family held the manor 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.

The Whitbread family coat of arms
The Whitbread family coat of arms