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The Manor of Kensworth

Arms of the Dean and Chapter of Saint Pauls
Arms of the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Hertfordshire was published in 1908 and despite the fact that Kensworth had been transferred to Bedfordshire eleven years earlier the parish was included under Hertfordshire instead of Bedfordshire. The Manor of Kensworth originated in the ten hide holding of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Kensworth was frequently leased out by the cathedral to the same person as the neighbouring Manor of Caddington which it also held.

Except for a short period during the Commonwealth, the manor continued to be held by the cathedral until 1872 when ownership passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In 1649, the year of the execution of King Charles I (1625-1649) the manor was sold to William Barbour of Redbourn [Hertfordshire]. On the restoration of King Charles II (1660-1685) however, the manor was restored to the dean and chapter of the cathedral. 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.

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. Entry 12,711 states: "Bury Farm close to the church is the site of the old Manor (first documented 12th century), and the remains of a moat can be found at one side of the farm house. When repairs were being done to this ancient farmhouse some years ago, carved stones which date from Norman times were found built into the walls. Also some ancient carving is found there. A watching brief during the conversion of the barns for residential use recorded the remains of a post medieval well".