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The Manor of Tempsford

Volume II of the Victoria County History of Bedfordshire was published in 1909 and gives the history of the manors in Tempsford.  At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, the Manor of Tempsford was held by Eudo Dapifer, steward to William the Conqueror and son of Hubert of Ryes. The Survey records the extent of the manor at 5 hides and 2 virgates, of which 4 hides and 1 virgate was held by his undertenant William de Carun. After Eudo’s death in 1120 the Manor reverted to the crown and was granted to the Beauchamp family of Eaton Socon. However William de Carun and his descendants continued to hold the manor as undertenants until well into the 13th century.

In 1297, following the death of Robert de Carun, the manor passed to his two daughters, effectively splitting the manor in two. The portion belonging to Agnes wife of Roger de Cantilupe continued to be known as Tempsford Manor but her sister Joanna, wife of Miles of Drayton, took the portion that came to be known as Drayton Manor. At some point between 1346 and 1428 Tempsford Manor passed away from Agnes’s descendants to the College of Northilll. At the time of the dissolution of the religious houses in England by Henry VIII (1509-1547) the College’s possessions in Tempsford consisted of 13s 3½d rent from free tenants and 6s 8d by the bailiff.

The Keynsham family arms

In 1550 Edward VI granted the Manor to William Fitzwilliam. It was alienated to Thomas Sheffield in 1553 and transferred to George Keynsham in 1565 along with Drayton’s Manor. Now united, both manors stayed with the Keynshams until 1639 when fourteen year old Anne Keynsham inherited them both on the insanity of her father. She married Anthony Saint John and died in 1700. Some time later the manors passed to Henry Bendish and then in 1772 to Sir Gillies Payne.  In 1830 they were sold to William Stuart and his grandson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dugald Stuart, was still Lord of the Manor of Tempsford with Drayton when the Victoria County History was published in 1909. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s effectively abolished manors in all but name.