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The Manor of Chicksands

Barony of Bedford
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 book observes that at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 there were two manors in Chicksands. The first was held by three sokemen of Azelina, wife of Ralph Taillebois, who claimed it as part of her dower. The overlordship then passed to Hugh de Beauchamp, later Baron of Bedford, who was also recorded as holding land elsewhere in Chicksands. These two estates merged, and likely comprise the manor granted to the priory of Chicksands towards the end of the 12th Century by Payn and Rose de Beauchamp.

During the 13th and 14th centuries, the priory was given a second manor by John Blundel. From this point, the two manors follow the same descent.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries the manor was taken by the king. It was then leased in 1540 to Thomas Wyndham. However, within the same year Henry VIII (1509-1547) granted the Manor of Chicksands to Richard Snowe and his wife Elizabeth. Richard died in 1553, and the manor passed to his son Daniel who sold it to Peter Osborn. This sale was contested by Daniel's brother Edward Snowe, who brought a suit against Osborn claiming the estate as next of kin. This appears to have been to some extent successful, as the manor is then conveyed to Peter Osborn again, and his son John, in 1587, this time by Edward and his wife Emma. John Osborn inherited the manor on his father's death, and was knighted in 1618.

The manor remained in the hands of the Osborn family during the Civil Wars, and Sir Peter Osborn, son of Sir John, was fined for assisting the king in his fight against parliament. After the restoration, the family's loyalty was rewarded as Sir Peter's son John was created a baronet in 1662. The manor remained in the Osborn family for over two hundred years and was held by Sir Algernon Kerr Butler Osborn, baronet, 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.