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The Manor of Wingfield

 The arms of Dunstable Priory
The arms of Dunstable Priory

The histories of the manors in Chalgrave can be found in Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire published in 1912. It is hypothesised that Wingfield Manor was created in the 14th century from land granted to Dunstable Priory out of the Manor of Chalgrave by one of the Loring family. The manor was thus a grange, a manor held by a religious house.

Dunstable Priory had land in Chalgrave as early as 1210 when a red rainbow was noted in the sky over their Chalgrave lands by the canons at Dunstable. Land in Chalgrave was acquired in 1238 with buildings erected on it in the same year. A dovecote was erected in 1248, a sheepfold in 1250 and a cow shed in 1253. A further 12.5 acres were granted to the priory in 1257 by Walter and Mary Godmar.

The manor is first mentioned in 1334 when a rent of twenty shillings per annum arising out of it was alienated to Lincoln Cathedral. When the priory was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1540 the manor went to the Crown. It seems to have been granted to William Smith and his son William in 1549 when they acquired the advowson.

The Smiths alienated the manor to Thomas Sibley, whose son William conveyed it to Thomas Impie in 1569. The manor then disappears from the historical record until 1797 when Richard Gilpin was Lord of the Manor. His descendent Peter Valentine Gilpin of Hockliffe Grange was the lord 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 Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. Site number 14450 is New Farm in Tebworth Road, Wingfield. This is given as the site of the manor house for Wingfield Manor, though today's property is modern.