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The Manor of Backenho

The de Grey family arms
The de Grey family arms

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, has details of every known manor in the county. It notes that Backenho Manor is first mentioned when Sir John Ragon died holding the manor 1377 from its overlord, the Barony of Wahull. The Ragon family continued to hold the manor until 1453 when Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Ragon, grandson of Sir John, granted it to John Heton. Twenty years later William Heton transferred the manor to John Stafford, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and on his death of passed to his kinsman Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, who was executed for treason in 1521 and his lands appropriated by the Crown.

The Ragon family arms
The Ragon family arms

The following year Backenho Manor was granted by the Crown to Nicholas Harvey for life the reversion, after his death, being settled on Robert Tyrwhitt in 1534. Tyrwhitt granted the manor to William Ryce in 1562 and he immediately alienated it to Richard Tyrrell. In 1581 Edward Tyrrell sold the manor to Sir Edmund Anderson of Eyeworth. He sold the manor to George Smythe in 1596.

The manor remained in the Smythe family until 1693 when it was alienated to John Lawson. At some unspecified date between 1753 and 1792 the manor passed to James Stuart and May, his wife and this family were recorded as holding the manor in the middle of the 19th century. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s abolished manors in all but name.