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Chalgrave Manor House

The medieval manor house for the Manor of Chalgrave was built in the early 13th century when Chalgrave Castle was abandoned. It would have been the seat of the Loring family and their successors as Lords of the Manor of Chalgrave. It may have stood on or near the site of the later Chalgrave Manor Farm where ponds and a moat can be seen on early Ordnance Survey maps. Alternatively it may have been the building later known as the Chantry House.

We have a full description of the medieval manor house made after the death of Sir Nigel Loring, the last of his family to be Lord of the Manor, in or around 1386. The house seems to have been divided between Sir Nigel's two daughters (simply noted as A and B in the document). A translation of the description was made by Marian K. Dale in the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume XXVIII devoted to the court roll for Chalgrave Manor from 1278-1313 and published in 1950. The description is as follows.

"A shall have the whole hall with tables and screens in the same, with the chapel and all chambers next to the eastern end of the same hall, the whole garden called "le chapelgardyn" [i.e. the chapel garden] and another small garden adjoining the hall on the southern part. Item, two stables between the inner door and the granary and a moiety [i.e. half] of the same granary towards the eastern end (saving to B free entry and exit for her share of the same)".

"Item, the whole "heybern" [i.e. the nay barn], the whole strawbarn, three bays in the large barn, namely at the end next the haybarn. Item "le bernzathous" [i.e. barn gatehouse] (saving to B free entry and exit), the whole carthouse, "le dyehous" [i.e. the dairy], the whole cowhouse and a moiety of the pigsty, namely, the eastern end: the small sheepcote and two and a half bays in the large sheepcote, namely, in the end next to the park".

"Item, a moiety of the windmill and dovecote, one pond adjacent to "le korner" of the park by the garden called "le Netherorchard" [i.e. the lower orchard], with one moat adjacent; two ponds in the field called "Fletpond" and a moiety of the pinfold [the pound in which straying animals were detained until ransomed by their owners by payment of a fine]. Item the outer "Zathous" [i.e. gatehouse], saving to B free entry and exit. Item, two moors of pasture, namely, "overmor" and "nethermor".

"B shall have the pantry and buttery and the wine-cellar with the large chamber and two other adjoining chambers, whereof one is above the entrance to the hall, and the other within, with the latrine next to the same and one small lower chamber under the same called "le wodhous" [i.e. the woodhouse] annexed to the same chamber at the western end of the hall. Item, the whole chamber with two larders and one solar upon the old larder, the bakehouse and brewhouse, the whole malthouse, the whole well-house, with the whole well; the whole "kylnehouse" [i.e. the kilnhouse] and also "le Boorsty" [i.e. the buttery?] and one common latrine with the other small empty place of land there; the "knedhous" [the kneading house - i.e. bakery?] and the whole "zylhous" [i.e. the brewhouse]. Item, three other chambers with two chambers above them called "le Gestchamber" [i.e. the guest chamber], with one garden called "kenelwyk" [it must have been adjacent to the kennels for the hunting dogs] between the said chambers and the oxhouse".

"Two stables between the inner door and the oxhouse, with the inner door, saving to A free entry and exit by the said door. Item, she shall have the whole oxhouse and carter's stable. Item, the whole "Pesebern" [i.e. barn for peas], four bays of the large barn, namely, at the end towards the "Pesebern" and a moiety of the pigsty, namely, the western end; and five and a half bays of the large sheepcote, namely, the end towards the small sheepcote".

"Item, a moiety of the dovecote and the windmill, one garden called "le Neweorchard" [i.e. the new orchard] lying between "le Ymphey" [perhaps a thicket or a nursery garden] and the whole way leading from "brodbrok" [i.e. broad brook] to "le weyour" [perhaps the wier] with one pond, and one moat in the same; another garden called "le Netherorchard" with two ponds adjacent to the same garden, whereof one pond is below "le Ymphey". Item, the moiety of the granary, namely, the western end, and a moiety of the pinfold".

"B shall have the new postern gate with the way from the entrance to the hall on the south, for her passage to the Nether Orchard. Item, all the vivaries [i.e. fish farms] between Long Mead and her two ponds. Item, she shall have all the place of land between the carthouse and the large barn".

"Item A and B shall have all the basecourt in common. Item, they shall have the inner court in common".