The Manor of Yelden
The de Trailly coat of arms
Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and gives a history of Yelden Manor. Domesday Book tells us that Yelden was held by Geoffrey de Montbray, Bishop of Coutances. His tenant was Geoffrey de Trelly or Trailly. Trelly is a small town in Normandy not far from Coutances. The de Traillys held significant lands in Bedfordshire but Yelden castle suggests that this was their main base, at least for the first few decades. One of the Traillys married Albreda, sister of Walter Espec, founder of Warden Abbey, in 1158. The family were commonly said to have held a barony, though this may not have been true in the fullest sense of the word.
Walter de Trailly died in 1360 at which point the Manor of Yelden comprised a dovecote, an orchard, 660 acres of arable land, meadow and pasture and a windmill all, with the profits of the manorial court, worth £13/16/8 per annum. Some time before 1400 John de Trailly alienated the manor to Edmund Hampden.
The Saint John family arms
In 1520 Yelden was in the hands of Barbara Hampden. She later married Edmund Smith. They had one daughter, Anne, who married William Paulet. Paulet's granddaughter Elizabeth married Oliver Saint John, 1st Earl of Bolingbroke.
The Crawley family coat of arms
The manor remained in the hands of the Saint John family until at least 1722. By 1728, however, it was held by Sir Jeremiah Vanacker Sambrook, MP for Bedford from 1730 to 1740. On his death in 1740 Yelden passed to his three sisters, Elizabeth Monoux, Judith Sambrook and Susannah Crawley. By 1801 the Crawley family held the greater part of the manor was were described as lords of the manor in the early 20th century. In the 1920s a succession of Law of Property Acts abolished manors in all but name.