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Hotofts Manor Cople

The Spencer family coat of arms
The Spencer family coat of arms

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, gives the histories of each of the six manors in the parish. It was reckoned that this manor first appeared in the historical record in 1548 when owned by Thomas Spencer, who also had Rowlands Manor. However, the estate archives of the Dukes of Bedford include court rolls for the manor of William Hotot in 1418 [R8/14/1/13].

The manor remained in the Spencer family until the early 18th century, when Sarah, Dowager Duchess of Marlborough purchased it. She was widow of the great general, the victor of Blenheim, she died in 1744. She also obtained Willington Manor, Cople Manor and Woodend Manor.

In 1779 the Duke of Bedford purchased Hotofts Manor from the Duke of Marlborough and it remained in the family's possession until 1902 when it was sold to George and James Keeble of Peterborough. The manorial estate was quickly broken up with Colonel Frank Shuttleworth of Old Warden being the principal landowner in  Cople. 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.