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X758-1-17-34 Ickwell Green in 1873 
Ickwell Green in 1873 [X758/1/17/34]

Ickwell is a hamlet in the parish on Northill. It was first recorded in the early thirteenth century as Ikewelle and over the next two hundred years underwent a bewildering variety of different interpretations of this including: Chikewelle; Geykewelle; Gigewell; Gikewelle; Jekewelle; Yekewell; Yikewell; Zekewekk and Zykwell. The name seems to mean Gicca's stream or spring, Gicca being an Anglo-Saxon personal name.


Ickwell is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, however, it does record that Eudo, son of Hubert, held three hides in Northill. One and a half of these were tenanted by a man named Ralph and his holding included five smallholders and three slaves as well as woodland for a hundred pigs. This holding had been worth 60 shillings in 1066, when it was held by two freemen. This had declined in value, probably due to the depredations of William I's army as it moved north to quell rebellion, to 40 shillings by the time Eudo acquired it but had again risen to 60 shillings by 1086. It is believed that this holding was largely, or wholly, in Ickwell and formed the basis of the later Manor of Ickwell.

Manor of Ickwell or Ickwell Bury

This manor was part of the Barony of Eaton, along with Eudo's other Bedfordshire estates. At some time before 1284 the manor was given by William Hobcote to the prior of the Knights Hospitaller of St.John of Jerusalem, with whom it remained until 1543, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when it was granted by the Crown to John Barnardiston. The manor remained in the Barnardiston family until 1680 when George Barnardiston conveyed it to John Harvey and it was this family that held the manor into the 20th century. For a history of the building of Ickwell Bury please see the appropriate page.

A Fair at Ickwell

Interestingly George Barnardiston was granted the right to hold a fair on Ickwell Green in 1676 to be held on the three days 25-27 March (unless one day was a Sunday, in which case the day did not count). In 1812 it was stated in a letter that the fair was now held in Beeston (in the parish of Sandy) rather than Ickwell.