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The Manor of Chicksands Priory

Arms of the Barony of Bedford
Arms of the Barony of Bedford

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908. The work gave detailed histories of every manor in the county. The authors recorded that a second manor existed in Campton, belonging to the Priory of Chicksands and likely originating in the land recorded as being held by Thurstan from the King in the Domesday book. The land appears to come into possession of the Beachamp family, Barons of Bedford, sometime before the 1150s. By 1346, the land was held by the king as a knight's fee (a piece of land deemed sufficient to support a knight). The Crown continued to hold the overlordship until after the dissolution of the monastaries.

At the dissolution, the manor was taken by Henry VIII (1609-1547) and in 1548 Edward VI (1547-1553) granted it to Sir Thomas Palmer. However, only five years later Palmer, a supporter of Lady Jane Grey's claim to the throne, was executed on charges of treason. The manor, along with the rest of his possessions, were forfeited to the Crown.

Elizabeth I (1558-1603) then granted the manor to Joan, widow of John Ventris, and her heirs and it was this family which built the manor house - today called Campton Manor. The manor was then held by the Ventris family for over two centuries. The final Ventris to hold the manor was Sir Charles Ventris Field, who according to the Victoria County History, sold it to Sir George Osborn Bart in 1803. This was then sold again to Mr John Lewis Fitche, who was known to be lord of the manor in 1877. Following his death in 1902, the rights passed to his trustees, who held the rights when The Victoria County History was compiled. 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.