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Ronhale Manor (Ravensden Grange)

This page was submitted by Trevor Stewart

Barony of Bedford coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Barony of Bedford

Various lands held from the barony of Bedford in Ravensden were given to  the abbot and monks of  Warden Abbey, who held them Ronhale Manor (or Ravensden Grange) from the barony.  According the Victoria County History the donors included the Engayne and Rous families and Simon clerk of Ravensden, and the abbey's possessions were confirmed by Philippa and by Simon de Beauchamp.  In 1252 the abbey received a grant of free warren in the woods belonging to their grange of Ravensden.  This estate, which was  estimated at 8 virgates and 3 acres in 1257, was assessed with Biddenham in 1291 at £6 8s., but by 1535 Ravensden alone was valued at £14 19s


The Gostwick coat of arms

After the dissolution the abbey surrendered its estates to the Crown in 1537. In the following year the reversion of Ravensden Grange, which was then leased by William More of Ravensden, yeoman, was granted to John and Joan Gostwick.  The Gostwicks leased the manor to John Rawlyns of Ravensden, yeoman, on whose death in 1599 the remainder of the lease descended by will to his son and heir Stephen and the latter's children.  Stephen obtained possession of bonds worth £1,000, and refused to restore them to his mother Agnes or to allow her to enter the Grange.  In 1615, on the death of Sir William Gostwick, the Grange was among the properties he left;  although it is not mentioned again under the title of the Grange until 1776, it descended with the rest of the family lands to Sir William Gostwick, the last baronet, and passed from the Duchess of Marlborough to the Duke of Bedford in 1774.

In 1776 the property was divided into two parts; one  was held by Henry Southhouse, and it was probably his widow, Mrs. Sarah Southhouse, who owned the property at the beginning of the 19th century.  In 1804 the second part was held by Edward William Scrimshire Green, and in 1818 by Andrew Pellett Green.  The history of this property during the nineteenth century is obscure, but it may have been purchased, as a whole, by the Sunderland family, who lived at Ravensden Grange from the middle of the 19th century. The Rev. Thomas S. J. Sunderland lived there in 1854 and Mrs. Sunderland in 1864 and 1877.

The site of the original Grange owned by the Gostwicks can still be traced behind Great Wood and Little Wood on the north side of the Bedford to Kimbolton Road (the B660), about half a mile north of the building now known as The Lower Grange or simply Ravensden Grange. .