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The Manor of Souldrop

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and gives details of the manors in the county. Unusually, Souldrop is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It sems likely that it was included under Sharnbrook, which was held by the Bishop of Coutances. Souldrop was part of the initial endowment of the preceptory of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem at Melchbourne in the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189) and remained so until the dissolution of the religious houses by King Henry VIII (1509-1547).

Following the Dissolution and before 1573, the manor was granted to Thomas Cobbe of Sharnbrook. The Cobbe family held the manor until 1655 when Thomas Cobbe conveyed it to Laurence Wright, who also held the Manor of Knotting.

Arms of the Russell family, Dukes of Bedford

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.