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The Manor of Knotting

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, has a detailed account of the Manor of Knotting. In 1086 the manor was held by Michael, Bishop of Coutances. On his death the manor reverted to the Crown and the overlordship was later granted to the Ferrars family, Earls of Derby.

The first tenants of the manor known  is John Bossard in 1224. The Bossards held the manor from the overlord until the death of Giles Bossard in the latter half of the 14th century, at which point the manor was divided between two co-heirs one of whom was the wife of Gerard Braybrook who held other local manors. In 1428 Braybrook surrendered his half of the manor to the dean and chapter of Saint Paul’s in London as trustees for his granddaughter Elizabeth, Lady Saint Amand. That same year the other half of the manor was given to the cathedral by Richard and Alice Brounder.

Beauchamp Lord Saint-Amand
Arms of the Beauchamp family, Lords Saint-Amand

In 1483 Elizabeth’ son Richard Beauchamp, Lord Saint Amand was attainted for treason by Richard III (1483-1485). The following year Richard granted Knotting to Thomas, Lord Stanley, who was to betray his king in 1485 at Bosworth Field resulting in his death and the usurpation of Henry VII who, restored Richard Beauchamp as Lord of the Manor on his accession as Saint Amand had been a Lancastrian loyalist.

On Saint Amand’s death in 1508 Knotting was eventually granted, after a dispute, to Thomas Brook, Lord Cobham. He leased the manor to Gregory Cusson in 1526 for ninety years at £24 per annum rent. Despite this lease Cobham’s son George forcibly entered the manor and evicted Cusson’s tenant Elizabeth Hanley and her daughter. Cusson appealed to the Court of Star Chamber which upheld his complaint. Nevertheless Cobham continued to persecute Cusson and his tenants. Finally in 1554 he alienated the manor to Sir Thomas Pope. In 1599 Pope’s nephew transferred the manor to Robert Waller.

Arms of the Russell family, Dukes of Bedford

Waller’s son, poet Edmund Waller, transferred the manor to Lawrence Wright in 1644. Lawrence’s son Sir Henry succeeded him and died in 1681. His widow married Edmund Pye and his family held the manor until 1774 when poet laureate Henry James Pye sold the manor to the Duke of Bedford. In 1884 the Duke sold the manor to Charles Magniac of Sharnbrook who sold on the land, though not the manorial rights, in 1892 to Samuel Whitbread. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s abolished almost all manorial rights and thus manors themselves in all but name.