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The Manor of Newbury

The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912, traced the histories of the various manors in the county. This manor can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was held by Nigel d'Aubigny. The overlordship continued to be held of the d'Aubigny's Barony of Cainhoe.

The FitzRichard family coat of arms
The FitzRichard family coat of arms

The tenant at Domesday was simply recorded as a concubine of Nigel's. By 1284 Ralph FitzRichard was Lord of the Manor under the Barony of Cainhoe. They still held the bulk of the manor in 1396 but had alienated part of it because in 1302  part of the manor was held by Ralph de Limbury and tenants of the lands formerly belonging to a Henry, son of William and a William Wiscard. By 1346 John Morice held this smaller part of the manor, through his wife Margaret and by 1428 it was John Wayte.

The Barnardiston family coat of arms
The Barnardiston family coat of arms

In May 1524 Henry Wayte agreed to make over to George Barnardiston "a good, clear and sufficient estate in fee simple in the law of and in the profits of ground beforesaid" before the next Christmas [L5/344]. A recovery was suffered in Wayte's favour in the November [L5/345] to ensure that he had good title to the manor which he then sold to Edward Daniell with a proviso that he could buy the manor back and have Daniell as a tenant for twenty one years paying rent of £9 per annum. In the event Wayte did not have the money to pay Daniell back so he quiteclaimed the manor to him in November 1528 [L5/346-347].

In 1573 Stephen Daniell maried Elizabeth Huett of Ampthill and the manor formed part of the marriage settlement [L5/349]. Stephen conveyed the manor to his son Richard in 1605 [L5/353] and in December 1624 he conveyed it to trustees for Thomas Daniell [L5/361]. Thomas married Elizabeth Moulsoe in 1658 and the manor formed part of the marriage settlement, at which time it comprised four hundred acres in Flitton, Silsoe, Clophill and Maulden [L5/372-373]. Thomas Daniell died in 1664 and during his burial service two men named William Wheeler and John Webb, both of Silsoe, joined others in refusing to allow the parson to continue the service, throwing him out of his own church by force!

In 1668 Thomas' successor William mortgaged the manor to Amabell, Countess Dowager of Kent, for £200 [L5/388]. The mortgage was increased to £500 in 1670 [L5/389-390]. In 1673 Daniell took out a separate mortgage for £700 with Sir Charles Scarborough of Saint Giles-in-the-Fields, London [L5/391] and in 1675 the countess assigned her £500 mortgage to Richard Scarborough [L5/392-393]. William Daniell sold the manor to Robert Nicholls of Saint Albans [hertfordshire] in 1686 for £6,500 [L5/396].

In 1681 a rental of the manor was made which included the following properties:

  • a farmhouse in wardhedges with verious closes and pieces of land, all in the occupation of Benjamin Piggott at £75 per annum;
  • a cottage in Silsoe called The Warren House with a hundred acre rabbit warren and closes occupied by Henry Jellis at a rent of £35 per annum;
  • a house in Flitton with closes of land in Flitton Field, occupied by Thomas Bunyan at a rent of £35 per annum;
  • a house and closes in Flitton occupied by William Gibbons, who paid £27 per annum;
  • a house in Flitton with a pair of watermills and closes - Hollington Mill - occupied by Andrew How for £18 per annum;
  • a house in Silsoe with a pightle of land attached occupied by Widow Ammont for £5 per annum;
  • a cottage in wardhedges occupied by Widow Lake for £1/3/- per annum;
  • nine other small amounts of land let to different tenants.

Total rents were £307.

The de Grey coat of arms
The de Grey coat of arms

In 1775 the executors of the Duke of Kent bought the Manor of Newbury from the sisters of Robert Nicholls' son William and the executors of the mortgagees for £10,189/5/- [L5/411-412] though they had to raise £6,612 from John Yorke to do so. This mortgage was repaid by Jemima, Marchioness Grey in 1796 [L5/413] thus bringing the Manor of Newbury into the ownership of the Earls and Countesses de Grey and, later, the Barons and Baronesses Lucas of Crudwell and thus merging it with the Manor of Wrest

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.  

It is easy to see that Newbury Manor was based at today's Newbury Farm, the farmhouse of which has been renamed Newbury Manor. Manor houses were generally encircled by a moat and there is just such a moat at Newbury Farm.