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Manor of Redlands

This page was written by Sally Williams

In addition to the main manor of Cranfield estates built up chiefly at Bourne End by two families during the middle of the medieval period also achieved manorial status. The property which became known as the manor of Redlands was accumulated in a similar way to that of Washingleys Manor.  The Redlaund (Rodlaund, Rodlond or Redlond) family were prominent in Cranfield during the 13th century; they must have built up this estate which took the family name.

A Geoffrey Redlaund was a member of the presenting jury for Redbornestoke Hundred in 1247 and later appeared as Sir Geoffrey Redlaund, Knight. His son Richard Rodland appears as a witness on documents up until 1307 and there is a mention of Rodland, son of Richard.

The Honour of Ampthill Ministers Accounts for 1542 lists the assise rents for the Manor of Cranfield and mentions the Heirs of Broughton, Knight, as paying rent of 3s 4d on closes of pasture (56 acres) and 8 acres of arable in a common field called Redlands.This may be the first reference to the landholding that became the manor.

In 1563 the manor was called Rudlandesfelde and was owned by Sir William Paulet.  In 1575 he conveyed it to Jeremy Weston, whose son Richard was created Lord Weston in 1628, and Earl of Portland in 1633. The Earl, at the time of his death, about two years later, was in possession of the manor. In 1640 his widow and her son Jerome - second Earl of Portland - parted with the property to Mr Bray Chamberlain.

A survey of the enclosed lands in Cranfield parish made in 1623 shows the Manor of Redlands to have been a substantial property.  However, most of the land was tenanted out to several individuals and there was no manor house. [CRT130CRA10] During the second half of the 17th century the Chamberlains sold off much of the land.

In 1640, a conveyance by Bray Chamberlain transfers some land which is part of the Manor of Cranfield to Henry Butler of Lidlington, yeoman:

a) two pightles with the appurtenances called Manor Place called Rutlands or Rudlands, Cranfield containing 5 acres in occupation of Henry Wheeler;

(b) Bushy Close, part of Rudlands Manor, now divided into three parts containing 24 acres in occupation of Thomas Baker;

(c) grove or spinney on North of (b) containing 2 acres

The property was to be held of Lionel, 1st Earl of Middlesex as part of the Manor of Cranfield at a yearly rent of 10d. [R6/15/3/2]

In 1642, in a complex arrangement, Henry Butler, in consideration of a forthcoming marriage between Thomas Butler (his son and heir) and Elizabeth Reddell, daughter of Richard Reddell of Lidlington, yeoman, made a marriage settlement including some lands which formed part of Redlands Manor: two pightles called Manor Place of Rutlands alias Rudlands containing 5 acres and occupied by Henry Wheeler; and Bush Close, held of Rutlands Manor, divided into three parts and containing 24 acres, occupied byThomas Baker. The property was settled for life, to the use of Thomas Butler and heirs begotten on the body of Elizabeth. However, if there are no children, the land will be passed to Sarah Butcher and her offspring.

In 1669 land conveyed  to Thomas Bromfield, amongst other plots, included 2 closes of pasture called Great Ridlands both previously occupied by Bray Chamberlin (approx. 30 acres); and 2 other closes of pasture called Ridlands south of Leigh Lodge, a house and premises lately occupied by Bray Chamberlin. The property formed part of the Manor of Rutlands, alias Ridlands, alias Rudlands, alias Rudland Fields, in the parish of Cranfield, and had been purchased by Bray from the Right. Honourable Jerome, Earl of Portland [AD3221-22].

There is a reference from 1692 to a mortgage by demise for 1,000 years from Henry Sibthorpe alias Butcher of Lidlington, gentleman, to Richard Smyth of Woburn, woollen draper, of a cottage and some land. This comprised “six closes of pasture in Cranfield containing together 31 acres in occupation of Mary Plomer heretofore lands of Chamberlayne reputedly part of the Manor of Redlands alias Rutlands alias Rudlands with lands of Peter Edwards N, lands of Thomas Field S, ground of Baker NW of one of the closes called Home Close” [R6/15/3/10]. Interestingly, Henry Sibthorpe is assumed to be illiterate as he made his mark on the documents rather than signing.

The same cottage and lands were presumably sold on because in January 1696/7 they were leased by John Seabrooke of North Crawley [Buckinghamshire], gentleman back again to Richard Smyth of Woburn, woollen draper for a demise (lease), this time of 500 years. [R6/15/3/18]

In 1698 Henry Sibthorpe alias Butcher of Lidlington, gentleman, and Elizabeth, his wife sold property and land to William Pancost of Milton Keynes [Buckinghamshire], grazier for £745 and one guinea. The property consisted of:

(a) cottage in Cranfield in occupation of William Plomer, lately purchased from William and Alice Smith;

(b) six closes of pasture in Cranfield adjoining (a) containing together with 35 acres in occupation of William Plomer heretofore lands of Chamberlayne reputedly part of the Manor of Redlands alias Rutlands alias Rudlands with lands of Peter Edwards to the north, lands of Thomas Field to the south, ground of Baker north-west of one of the closes called Home Close

(c) spinney of wood of three acres on north part of (b)

The majority of the Redlands lands lay as a group of closes to the east and south east of the present College Farm at Bourne End.  They adjoined the Washingleys Manor lands and included the two large closes called Redlands in 1840.  Far Ploughed Close and First Ploughed Close together were originally known as Great Redlands.

List of sources held at Bedfordshire Archives

  • WN 1-140: Washingley family deeds; 1220-1360;
  • X 278/1 -7,16,23,25-6,29- 33,36: deeds relating to property at Bourne End, Cranfield: 1646-1821;
  • R6/15/3/2: feoffment by Bray Chamberlayne to Henry Butler: 1640;
  • R6/15/3/10: mortgage by demise: 1692;
  • R6/15/3/18: mortgage by demise: 1697;
  • AD 3221 -5, 3228: deeds: 1669, 1675, 1676, 1686;
  • Z 297/1: terrier of open and common fields in the parish of Cranfield: 1827;
  • A and MA 77: enclosure award and map for Cranfield, 1840