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The Manor of Houghton Conquest alias Conquest Bury

Volume III of the Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and contains details of the manors of Houghton Conquest. In 1086 Countess Judith, niece of William I (1066-1087) held half a hide in Houghton Conquest and ten hides in Kempston. However, it seems as if a good number of the hides accounted as being in Kempston were adjudged to be in Houghton Conquest and formed part of the manor of Houghton Conquest alias Conquest Bury. Judith’s holdings afterwards came to be known as the Honour of Huntingdon and the hour remained overlord of the manor until it is last mentioned in 1571.

Conquest family arms

The Conquest family were first mentioned in a document of 1224 when Geoffrey Conquest was engaged in a legal suit against his mother-in-law over her actions on land of his at Houghton. A Geoffrey Conquest, either the same man or his son, is described as holding the manor about 1240. This would have been as tenant of the overlord, the Honour of Huntingdon. The Conquest family held the manor until 1741 when Benedict Conquest sold it to John Fitzpatrick, 2nd Lord Gowran, afterwards created 1st Earl of Upper Ossory.

Russell family arms

In 1818, on the death of the 2nd earl, the manor passed to his nephew Stephen Fox, 2nd Baron Holland. Henry Edward, 4th Baron Holland sold the manor to the Duke of Bedford in 1849. It then remained a property of the dukes into the 20th century. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s effectively abolished manors in all but name.