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The Manor of Kempston Hardwick

The arms of Christ's Hospital, London
The arms of Christ's Hospital, London

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and contains histories of each of the manors in Kempston. The entry suggest the manor may have its genesis in a fee held by Nicholas de Mule and Ralph Russell in the 13th century.

In 1456 this manor is first referred to as such and was then held by Richard Boughton. When he died in 1485 the manor passed to his six year old son William. In 1542 Edward and Elizabeth Boughton alienated the manor to King Henry VIII (1509-1547) in exchange for lands in Warwickshire. The next year Henry annexed the manor to his Honour of Ampthill.

In 1560 Elizabeth I (1558-1603) granted the manor, with its mansion, to widow Elizabeth Snowe who left two-thirds of it to her daughter Rebecca, wife of William Gery, for her life with a reversion to her son Edward to was given the other third outright.

Edward Snowe died in 1587 leaving three daughters, Elizabeth, Alice and Sarah, all under seven. With Edward dead his sister Rebecca inherited the two thirds but was dead by 1604 when Sarah, the youngest child, came of age and received her third of the property. In 1606 the three women combined to sell the manor to Thomas Parsons who, with his wife and son, sold it to Christ’s Hospital, London, in 1627, which remained the lord of the manor thereafter. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s extinguished all manorial incidents, courts and copyhold tenure of land. This effectively abolished manors in all but name.