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The Manor of Westcotts

Coat of arms of the Beauchamp family, Lords Saint-Amand
Coat of arms of the Beauchamp family, Lords Saint-Amand

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It gives detailed histories for each of the manors in Wilshamstead. Westcotes Manor can be traced back to the holding of Nigel de Albini in Westcotts as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Westcotts seems to have been the eastern half of the modern parish and to have formed an approximate mirror image to Eastcotts to the east. The de Albini family held the manor until about 1233 when it passed to Azeline, wife of Ralph de Saint Amand. The Saint Amands then held the manor until the family died out in 1403 when it passed to Gerard de Braybrooke, at that time a minor. After his death it passed to his daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir Walter Beauchamp.

About 1428 Elizabeth Beauchamp sold some of her property to Sir John Cornwall but retained the Manor of Westcotes. She married Sir Roger Tocotes as a second husband and he forfeited the manor to the Crown and King Richard III (1483-1485) granted it to John Grey, whose family held it into the 17th century.

The Mordaunt coat of arms
The Mordaunt coat of arms

By 1609 the Grey family had sold the manor the Henry, Lord Mordaunt who died holding it at this date. It remained in the Mordaunt family until about the end of the English Civil Wars when it passed to John Manley of Wilshamstead, who also held the Manor of Wilshamstead. By 1670 the manor was probably in the hands of Thomas Beech who settled it on William Bedell, just like Wilshamstead Manor.

By 1741 the manor had come into the possession of James Baker and the family held it until 1800 when it was sold to Samuel Whitbread II of Southill. The Whitbread family then continued to hold 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