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Eaton Bray aka Eaton Manor, Bedfordshire, England

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  • John la Zouche, 7th Baron Zouche (1459 - c.1526)
    Family Group Record FamilySearch™ Ancestral File v4.19 Search Results | Download GEDCOM | Print -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Husband's Name ...
  • Sir William la Zouche, 1st Lord of Harringworth (1276 - c.1352)
    Primary Sources Inquisitions Post Mortem for William la Zouche, of Haryngworth, Writ, 13 March, 26 Edward III [1352]. He died on 10, 11 or 12 March [1352]. William la Zouche, son of Eudo la Zouche, a...
  • Milicent de Cantelou (1250 - 1299)
    Milicent la Zouche (de Cantilupe) is Queen Elizabeth II's 18th great grandmother; (through her daughter, Eleanor) and 19th great grandmother; (through her daughter, Eva) Married 2: Millicent De CANTE...
  • Baron William la Zouche, 2nd Baron of Harringworth (c.1321 - 1382)
    Primary Sources Inquisitions Post Mortem for William la Zouche, or Souche, of Haryngworth, knight, Writ: 26 April, 5 Richard II [1382]. mention: Elizabeth, his wife, deceased, Thomas, their son, who ...
  • Joan de Cantelou (c.1242 - c.1271)
    Joane de Cantilupe born about 1240 Calne, Wiltshire, England died before June 1271 buried Grey Frier's, Coventry, Wiltshire, England father: William de Cantilupe born about 1216 Calne, Wiltshire,...

Eaton Bray aka Eaton Manor, Bedfordshire, England

Pictured right: Tomb of Lady Jane Brereton

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire published in 1912, has a history of the manor as set out below. It seems reasonable to assume that this manor was simply the continuation of the holding of twelve hides, one virgate of Bishop Odo of Bayeux, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

When Odo organised a rebellion against William II (1087-1100) in 1088 in favour of William's older brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, his estates were seized by the Crown. During the reign of Henry II it was granted out to farm, for £20 rent, to Osbert Martel, whose name appears on the Pipe Rolls from 1166 to 1173. It was then transferred to Aldulf de Braciwho held it at the same farm until 1179 or later. It next appears in the possession of Eleanor widow of Henry II, who in an undated charter granted the whole of her vill of 'Eaton by Dunstable' to Engelram her butler, and in 1196 confirmed his grant of half the vill to Fontévrault Abbey. Queen Eleanor, whose interest was for life only, died in 1204, and the following year the manor was granted by the king to William de Cantlowe, in exchange for 300 marks and his manor of Cockeswall.

William de Cantlowe Mascelin daughter of Aldulf de Braci, who held Eaton at farm from 1173. William married secondly Millicent daughter of Hugh de Gurnay (ut infra) He obtained the manor by grant of the king and the 7 hides comprising the remainder of the vill by subinfeudation from his wife Millicent's family. (NOTE - the GENi tree has Millicent as the wife of his son]

William, who is returned as tenant in chief of Eaton in 1211, took the side of the king in his war with the barons, and in 1225 among the sums of money allocated to him in repayment of his financial support was the first scutage due from his fee in Eaton.

The manor was confirmed to him by a fresh charter in 1227 by Henry III. He built himself a castle at Eaton Bray in 1221.

LIne of la Zouvche descent/ownership followed as below-

  • William de Cantlowe (son of William and Millicent se Braci) held Eaton till his death in 1254
  • succeeded by a son of William de Cantlowe, described as 'a boy named George de Cantelupe, not quite three.' During his minority the Crown held the custody of his lands who died in 1273 d.s.p. He left only two sisters - Millicent de Cantelou, the wife of Eudo la Zouche and Joan de Cantalou, widow of Henry de Hastings.
  • Eaton Manor was assigned to Millicent and on her death in 1298 it passed to her son
  • Sir William la Zouche, who also held the manors of Whipsnade, Houghton Regis and Totternhoe.
  • He settled Eaton on his second son William who released his claim in 1333 and his father made a fresh settlement of the property in favour of
  • William la Zouche, son of his eldest son Eudes Eon la Zouche, Lord Zouche of Haringworth, who had died in Paris 1325-6. When Lord Zouche died in 1382 the manor passed to
  • his son William - 3rd Baron of Haryngworth, one of the "evil councillors" of Richard II (1377-1399). He died in 1396.
  • His son and heir William la Zouche, 4th Baron Zouche (1373-1415) took part in the French wars, and in 1413 was Lieutenant of Calais.
  • He was followed at his death in 1415 by his son William(1402-1468).
  • His son and heir was William (1432-1468).
  • John la Zouche, 7th Baron Zouche (1459-1526), was a minor at the time of his father's death. His mother, who married a second husband, Gilbert Debenham, held Eaton Park as dower until her death in 1470. John la Zouche, lord of the manor, was summoned to the Parliament of 1483, and was with Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. He was attainted by the Parliament of 1485 and his estates were confiscated. (Note: This not reflected in the GENi tree]

In 1490 Eaton Manor was granted by King Henry to Worcestershire man Sir Reginald Bray who had fought on his side at Bosworth and became the king's chief minister as High Treasurer and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1496 John le Zouche's attainder was reversed by Bray kept his Bedfordshire lands on paying him 1,010 marks. He was the architect of both Saint George's Chapel, Windsor [Berkshire] and King Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. He died childless and Sir Edmund Bray, 1st Baron Braye, his nephew, son of his brother John, inherited Eaton Bray.

Edmund was created 1st Baron Bray in 1529 by Henry VIII (1509-1547). He was Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1514 and 1515 and died in 1539 having settled Eaton Bray on his son John Bray with a remainder settlement to his brother Sir Edward Bray, MP, of Vachery Park. The 1st Baron was buried in Chelsea, like his father, but his widow Jane, who later married Sir Urian Brereton, was buried in Eaton Bray and her brass and tomb may be seen in the church.

John, the 2nd Baron died of wounds received at the Battle of Saint-Quentin in 1557 where the Spanish defeated the French. As Philip II of Spain was also King of England (being married to Henry VIII's daughter Mary I (1553-1558)), Bray was fighting on the Spanish side. As he had no children the barony died with him but his brother Sir Edward Bray, MP, of Vachery Park succeeded to the barony for a year before his own death in 1558 when his son Edward succeeded and settled the manor on his wife Elizabeth in 1560 but six years later he alienated it for 2,000 marks to Edmund Bray, who sold the estate to Walter Sandys in 1574. By 1577 trustees for Miles Sandys had acquired the manor and ten years later he settled it on his son Edwin.

Sir Edwin Sandys settled the manor on his kinswoman Elizabeth who was also his wife. Sir Edwin died in 1608 leaving a son, William who, in 1622, settled it on trustees but the following year he and his brothers Miles and Henry quitclaimed the manor to John Huxley.

Huxley’s son, another John, was knighted at the Restoration of Charles II (1660-1685) and died in 1675. The Huxleys remained lords of the manor until the mid 18th century – Thomas Huxley left the manor to his brother-in-law Isaac Hughes in trust for sale in his will of 1742. The manor was bought by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Potter. The Potters then owned the manor until 1763 when it was sold to Lord Mayor of London, William Beckford and that family held it into the 19th century.

In 1854 the manor was in the hands of Anne, widow of Arthur Macnamara. She died in 1875 when the manor passed to her son Arthur until 1906 when it passed to his twin brother John who held it until the time the Victoria County History was published. 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. In 1936 the two Ladies of the Manor were stated to be Winifred May Wallace of Poplar Farm, spinster and Harriet Frankham Gray, wife of Ernest Gray of Comp Farm by conveyance of 2nd June 1931 from William Edmund Wallace of Poplar Farm.

References, Sources and Further Reading

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