The Manor of Wootton
The arms of the Barony of Bedford
Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It gives detailed histories for each of the manors in Wootton. The Manor of Wootton was the principal manor in the parish, tracing its history back to the manor held by Albert de Lorraine as recorded by the Domesday Book of 1086. Later in the 11th century the manor was acquired by the de Beauchamp family, who became Barons of Bedford, probably during the reign of William II Rufus (1087-1100).
The manor remained part of the Barony until the death of John de Beauchamp at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, fighting for Simon de Montfort against King Henry III (1216-1272). The manors of the former barony, including the Manor of Wootton, were vested in John’s three sisters Maud, Ela and Beatrice, however, the manor had been assigned to Isabel, wife of Simon de Beauchamp, John’s deceased elder brother as part of her dower rights, she died in 1295, the three sisters then divided the manor between them, as they did the other manors which comprised the former barony.
Beatrice, the youngest sister, married Thomas Fitz Otho who died in 1274 when she married William de Monchensey. She was succeeded by her daughter from her first marriage, Maud, wife of John de Botetourt. Maud and John’s daughter married William le Latimer and was granted the manor in 1328. John de Nevill of Raby [Leicestershire], who married Latimer’s granddaughter Elizabeth, Baroness Latimer in her own right was holding the manor at the end of the 14th century and in 1495 the lord of the manor was Richard Neville, Lord Latimer.
The arms of the Lords Latimer
The Latimers continued as lords until 1577 when John Neville, Lord Latimer died leaving four daughters as co-heirs. Dorothy, the second daughter, wife of Sir Thomas Cecil, later Lord Burghley and the Earl of Exeter inherited Wootton Manor. He settled the reversion of the manor on his daughter Mary, wife of Edward, Lord Denny of Waltham and Earl of Norwich and their only child, Honoria, who married James Hay, Viscount Doncaster and Earl of Carisle and had a son, James, who was Lord of the Manor in 1638. By 1666 the manor had been sold to Sir Humphrey Monoux, baronet, bringing the two thirds of the original manor given to Maud and Beatrice into the same ownership.
The Monoux family coat of arms
In 1809 Sir Philip Monoux died and the manor was inherited by his second daughter, Mary, whose second husband, Joseph Francis Buckworth, was Lord of the Manor in 1836. On Mary’s death in 1850 the manor was inherited by her son Charles by her first husband John Payne. The manor then continued in the hands of the Payne family into the 20th century. 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. The land of the manor included the site of today’s Wootton House.