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Historic Buildings of Bedfordshire, England

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  • Ancestry public tree - shared by Wendy Skelley and dibar44
    John Cooper (1759 - 1817)
  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland (1591 - 1667)
    Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland== Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland (1591 – 25 March 1667) was a Cavalier general who fought for Charles I during the English Civil War. He was the eldest ...
  • Thomas Cheney, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (1485 - 1558)
    Thomas Cheney, (1482/87-1558), of the Blackfriars, London and Shurland, Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Born BET 1482/87, first son of William Cheney of Shurland (d. 8 May 1487) by his second wife, Agnes (Marga...
  • James Wyatt (1746 - 1813)
    James Wyatt RA= From Wikipedia James Wyatt RA (3 August 1746 – 4 September 1813), was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style and neo-Gothic style.===Early classical care...
  • Isaac Ware (c.1704 - c.1766)
    Isaac Ware - English Architect= From WIkipedia Isaac Ware (1704[1] — 1766) was an English architect and translator of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.[2] Early life Ware was born to a lif...

Historic Buildings of Bedfordshire


Image right - Turvey Abbey

© Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in the county of Bedfordshire, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.

See Historic Buildings of Britain and Ireland - Main Page

// //

If you have information about any of the Buildings mentioned below please share it here. If you have ancestors linked to any of the places please add them to the project.


Abbeys and Priories

Bushmead Priory

Chicksands Priory //

Image By Ashley3D CC BY-SA 2.0, WIKI

Dunstable Priory

Historic houses in alphabetical order

Including Castles, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest

Full sizes of the thumbnail images can be seen in the Gallery attached to the project or by clicking the thumbnail image TIP - Use ctrl+the link to open the image in a separate tab, or use "back" to return to this project page) Sources for the images can be found in the image details as seen in the gallery.

Names with Bold links are to Geni profiles or projects. Other links take you to external biographical web pages. Please copy and paste the bullet used - ● - instead of * when adding items to the list.


// Ampthill Park

Image Right - © Copyright Paul Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

Ampthill Park and Ampthill House is a country estate in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England. The park was opened to the public after the Second World War . From the 14th century Ampthill Park was a royal lodge and hunting park. In the 15th century it was occupied by Sir John Cornwall, who had married the king's sister, Elizabeth of Lancaster, Duchess of Exeter. Sir John amassed a large fortune and constructed Ampthill castle, a fortified house. After his death Ampthill Park passed to Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent before becoming royal property again. Henry VIII used it for hunting and to hold Katherine of Aragon during the annulment of their marriage. By 1600 the castle was ruinous and in 1661 the park was given by Charles II to John Ashburnham, a Royalist supporter. The present house was built from 1687-1689 by architect Robert Grumbold for the Ossory family who held the estate under lease. In the late 1700s the house was remodelled by Sir William Chambers and the grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. On the death of Lord Upper Ossory in 1818, Ampthill Park became the seat of Lord Holland in whose time Holland House in Kensington, London, became famous as a gathering place for intellectuals. Notable 20th century architect Sir Albert Richardson lived in Ampthill from 1919 until his death in 1964. During World War II the estate was occupied by the army. There was a farming camp near Ampthill, where volunteers recovered sugar beet and were accommodated in tents in the grounds. After the war it was sold to Bovril Limited, becoming a Cheshire Home for the Disabled in 1955. In 1979, the mansion was rescued from dereliction and divided into four large homes. It is a grade II* listed building. The park is listed grade II. Ampthill Park was the burial place for the golden hare in the Kit Williams treasure hunt Masquerade.

Apsley Guise Manor Most of the cultivated land was of course held by the manor in the medieval period.[ This stayed in Acard's family until his descendant, Reginald de Ivri granted a lease to Falkes de Breauté. On the confiscation of Falkes's estates in 1225 the relatively young King Henry III granted the rest of the lease to Henry de Capella, however by 1227 a certain "Reginald de St. Valery" was free to release the land (entire fee) to his regent, now Henry was a 20-year-old adult, Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, with an official approval (confirmation of alienation). Similarly however, in 1233 the King confiscated his lands, however Hubert was restored to all his wealth the following year in the Testa de Nevill. By 1267 it is established in the royal returns and copies (literally, rolls) of letters that he had subinfeudated the manor to Anselm de Gyse, in return for knight's service to John de Burgh and heirs. After the middle of the 14th century the heirs of Hubert de Burgh in Aspley seem to have lapsed, and the manor was held directly of the barony of Bedford. As such the tenancy's was in this period the de Guise's. Anselm died in 1295 left as heir a son John, then aged seventeen - his descendants inherited this tenancy and became direct tenants as mentioned. In 1428 the lord of the manor's lord briefly changed to Giles Bridges, who had married Catherine Gyse, widow, of the previous lord, Reginald Gyse, however this was brief. Nonetheless, Catherine had from her first marriage, male issue and the House of Gyse remained with the manor's possession. As such, Sir John Gyse created a knight by Prince Arthur (Tudor), died holding Aspley Guise Manor in 1501. By hook or crook, in 1541 the manor of Aspley Guise was annexed to the newly formed honour of Ampthill, which in 1551 was granted for life to Princess Elizabeth (later queen). An extent of the manor in 1560 mentions two windmills, but none survive in the historic ecclesiastical parish. In 1560 she gave this asset by royal grant to Sir Richard Lee, military engineer: summarised as being worth a fairly average £14 13s. 11½d., &c. (i.e. additionally, impecuniary benefits accrued) per year. His daughter Ann, later Mrs Ralph Norwich, received permission to alienate (sell) the manor to Francis Bury, whose heir, Frances, by arrangement or fate married Ann's grandson, Thomas Lee Sadleir. The estate passed down in a straightforward line of Sadleirs to Richard Vernon Sadleir who died in 1810, whose sister Ursula Moody inherited it. The owner in 1912 was accordingly her descendant, a certain Mr F. Moody. The current manor house was built about 1700


Battlesden House A manor house was constructed in the late 16th century and was associated with the family of Lord Bathurst before he sold the estate to Sir Gregory Page in 1724. The estate was later inherited by Page's great-nephew Sir Gregory Page-Turner in 1775. The original house was demolished in 1860 and a new house was built in 1864. This had 40 rooms and a large ballroom and cost £70,000 to build, while the surrounding parkland and lake were created by Sir Joseph Paxton. However, the owner, Sir Edward Page-Turner did not like the house, preferring to let it to a wealthy tenant before selling the estate to Francis Russell, 9th Duke of Bedford in 1885. The Duke, who already owned two country houses in the county, was interested in the land rather than the building, so he ordered the partial demolition of the house in 1886. Only the ground floor was retained, which was used as a nursing home during the First World War and a maternity home in the Second World War. This was demolished after the war leaving just the Garden House, which is today a private dwelling. According to legend, the house was haunted by the ghost of a steward, who would recite the rhyme:

Milk and water I sold ever,
Weight and measure I gave never
And I shan't rest, never, never.

Bedford Castle castrum Bedefordie; castello de Bedford Timber Castle , Masonry Castle masonry footings

Blunham House In 1086 the land which afterwards became the manor of BLUNHAM was held by Baldwin, Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, who owned 4 hides 1 virgate of the king in chief in Blunham, (fn. 8) and a further half-hide of the Countess Judith. (fn. 9) The overlordship remained in the hands of the Abbots of St. Edmunds until the Dissolution, when it lapsed. (fn. 10) No tenant is mentioned as holding of the abbot in 1086, but, together with Sidegate in Suffolk, Blunham was subsequently granted by the Conqueror to Ralph, who held it of the abbot by the service of steward. The manor next passed to Maurice de Windsor, whose tenure was confirmed by charter of King Stephen. Ralph de Hastings, nephew of Maurice, succeeded his uncle and held Blunham in the reign of Henry II. Before 1182 he was succeeded by his nephew William Hastings, who, dying in that year, was followed by his son Henry, a minor. Henry de Hastings accompanied Richard I on crusade in 1191–2, receiving remission of his scutage in that year. He died in 1195–6 when William his brother paid 100 marks' relief for his lands and offices. (fn. 11) William de Hastings still held Blunham in 1205, (fn. 12) and in 1240 his grandson Sir Henry de Hastings, one of the barons who later joined Simon de Montfort against Henry III, held 5 hides there of the Abbot of St. Edmunds. (fn. 13) In 1247 Hugh Peche and Ida his wife, sister of Henry de Hastings and widow of Stephen de Segrave, held the manor for her life. John de Hastings, the son of Sir Henry de Hastings, succeeded his father in 1268. (fn. 14) He became Lord Abergavenny in 1273 in right of his mother Joan de Cantelow, the sister and co-heir of George Lord Abergavenny. In 1297 a licence was granted him, when 'going beyond seas with the king on his service,' to demise the manor of Blunham to Agnes de Valencia, kinswoman to Edward I, for her life. (fn. 15) She still held the manor in 1309 when she received a grant of free warren of Blunham. (fn. 16) John de Hastings died in 1313 seised of the manor. He was succeeded by his son, another John, who in 1316 was lord of Blunham. (fn. 17) He died in 1325, and, as his son and heir Laurence was then only six years of age, (fn. 18) his wardship was granted to Roger Mortimer Earl of March. (fn. 19) In 1339 Laurence de Hastings was created Earl of Pembroke; he died in 1348, and during the minority of his son John the custody of Blunham Manor was granted to John Malyn and his son John. (fn. 20) John de Hastings died in 1375, (fn. 21) when the manor was assigned by the king to Anne widow of the late John de Hastings during the minority of her son John. On the death of the latter in 1389 Blunham passed to his cousin and next heir (of the whole blood), Reginald de Grey of Ruthyn. (fn. 22) From this time the descent of the manor is identical with that of Wrest in Silsoe (fn. 23) (q.v.) until the death of the last Earl Cowper in 1905, since which date it has remained in the hands of his trustees.


Bozunes Manor

Bow Brickhill Manor

Bromham Manor


// Caddington Hall

Image By Unknown Public Domain, WIKI

Caddington Hall was a country estate in Markyate, Bedfordshire, England. The house was demolished in 1975. In 1804, a family by the name of Pedley traded their farm for the estate, where a small house had stood. They tore it down and built Caddington Hall.

Caldecott Manor

Campton Manor In 1560 Queen Elizabeth granted the manor to Joan Ventris. The Ventris family built the manor house in 1591 partially on the foundations of an older building. Although added to and much altered, the manor house can be seen and admired to this day. In 1645, Sir Charles Ventris and his family were living in the house. Sir Charles was a Knight Banneret (for he had been knighted on the field of battle for bravery during the Civil War between King Charles' armies and the Roundheads). Knowing the occupant of the Manor House to be an ardent Royalist, a small armed band of Roundheads came by night to Campton, crept up to the house, peeped through the leaded windows and saw Sir Charles in the main downstairs room. One of the band drew his firearm and fired. Fortunately his aim was poor and he missed and the shot was embedded in the oak panelling. The damaged panel, now covered with glass, is still to be seen. In 1778 the manor - house and land was sold to Sir George Osbourn Bart whose family had been in possession of the Chicksands manor since 1578. In 1797 the house became a private school, hence the bell tower. Later in the 19th century it became the dower house of the Osbourn family. Mr. Gerald King bought the house from the Osbourns in 1967 less the land on either side of it. This land now occupied by Grange Gardens and Elm Close. In recent years the Manor has been owned by a number of private Mr & Mrs Fletcher. The current owner of the Manor purcahsed it in 2014 and has undertaken extensive refurbishment and landscaping both inside and out, which is still on going (due to be completed by the end of 2015). Details of Campton and Shefford Manor can be found on the County Archive Website

Cardington Manor The main manor can be traced back to the holding recorded in Domesday Book of 1086 as belonging to Hugh de Beauchamp, created Baron of Bedford by King William II (1087-1100). The manor remained in the Beauchamp family until 1265 when John de Beauchamp was killed at the Battle of Evesham fighting for Simon de Montfort against King Henry III (1216-1272). The manor, like the rest of John’s substantial possessions, including the Barony of Bedford, was then divided. A lesser part of the manor passed to Beatrice, youngest sister of John de Beauchamp and was, confusingly, simply known, like the greater part of the original manor, as Cardington Manor; the other lesser portion was later known as Wake Manor. Beatrice was wife of Thomas Fitz Otho, who died in 1274 and she then married William de Monchessy. The property passed to Beatrice’s daughter by Thomas, Maud, who became wife of John de Botetourt. Their daughter Elizabeth married William de Latimer and the manor thus passed into that family. William Latimer’s granddaughter married John de Nevill of Raby in Leicestershire and the manor remained in this family until 1577 and the death of Sir John Nevill, Lord Latimer. The manor then passed to his second daughter Dorothy, wife of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter (half brother of Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury). The last mention of the manor in the historic record is in 1643 when the 3rd Earl of Exeter died. Exeter Wood, presumably part of the manor, was purchased by Samuel Charles Whitbread in 1879 from the 2nd Marquess of Exeter.

Clarendon School Country house, now school. Originally called Hawnes. Various building periods, incorporating and replacing earlier structures. W elevation c.1725 for Lord Carteret (Earl Granville from 1744, and prominent statesman), probably by Thomas Ripley of the Board of Works. S elevation c.1785-90 for Henry Thynne, Baron Carteret, probably by James Lewis. E elevation 1849-50 for Rev. Lord John Thynne, Canon and Sub-dean of Westminster, by Cubitts.

Clophill Manor

Colworth House is an 18th-century mansion set in an area of parkland on the edge of the village of Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire. The current house was started 1715 by Mark Antonie, a self made man who aspired to become part of the landed gentry. The surrounding site has been occupied since prehistoric times. It is a Grade II* listed building. The house and extensive grounds, also once the home of Henry Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett, were acquired by Unilever in November 1947 and restored and developed into a research laboratory through 1948, with the first staff moving in in 1950. Unilever employed up to 1,750 people at Colworth during the 1970s and constructed several laboratory buildings surrounding a central grassed park.

Cranfield Court built between 1862 and 1864 by the Rev. George Gardner Harter the then Rector of Cranfield. He came to live in the village in 1845 and bought several estates in the parish including four in the Wood End Area. It was on part of this land that Cranfield Court was built. The Court was designed by Thomas Hine of Nottingham. A red brick building in the French Gothic style, it appears to have been the first house in England to have double glazing. Around the Court was an area of common land and closes which were laid out as a 60-acre park. Water was supplied from a spring to a reservoir, from which it was pumped to the house. It also had its own gas supply from its own gas works in the grounds. On the death of Rev. Harter the house passed to his son James and the family continued to live there until James's death in 1910. The majority of the house was demolished in 1933/4, with only the servants quarters remaining. These were transformed into a private house. The former entrance to the property still stands in Lodge Road. It is simply called The Lodge.



Eaton Manor aka Eaton Bray

Edworth Manor was home to the Spencer family. John C. Spencer (c.1505–68) and Ann Merrill (died 1560) owned the house in the 16th century.

// House

Eggington House

Image Above By Maypm - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, WIKI

Eggington House is the manor house of the village of Eggington situated near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England. The house is regarded as a very fine example of late 17th century domestic architecture, and is a Grade II* listed building. At the time of its construction in 1696 it was completely up to date and innovative in its design - which was unusual in the provinces, where architectural styles usually lagged behind that of the larger cities. This small mansion, built for a Huguenot from Montauban in France, a Merchant taylor John Renouille who became Sheriff of Bedfordshire. The house is of red brick. The main facade is of seven bays of classical sash windows and three storeys high. The roof line is concealed by a panelled parapet decorated with urns. The interior contains a staircase with twisted balusters. The house has had a varied ownership, the Renouille family anglicised their name to Reynal moved to nearby Hockliffe Grange and let Eggington. The last of the Reynal's predeceased his wife, who remarried which caused to the property to pass to her new husband named Francis Moore. By 1840 Eggington House belonged to a family called Adams. Later, circa 1900, it belonged to a family called Hodgson who frequently entertained the suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. During World War I the house was requisitioned by the Army. From 1950 to 1976 it was the home of Sir Gilbert Inglefield, the 1967 Lord Mayor of London, and his wife. It was then the residence of Lord Slynn and his wife. Today, the house remains in private ownership.

Elstow Moot Hall


Image by Robin Drayton, CC BY-SA 2.0,WIKI


// Flitwick Manor

Image Right - © Copyright Barry Ephgrave and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

Flitwick Manor was built for John Thomas Brooks in 1816 following his marriage to Mary. It remained in the family, including the Lyall family descendants until 1934 when it was sold by the Lyall family. It stayed in private hands until 1984 when Somerset Moore converted it to a restaurant. This was sold in 1990 and it became a Menzies hotel. Today it retains many old antiques and old furnishings. When the manor was undergoing renovation, Jim Sparkes, a builder, discovered a wooden door beneath the roof tiles, opening into a hidden secret room. Inside the room was a bricked-up doorway which had led into the upper floor of the manor. The room was believed to have been the quarters of an old white-haired housekeeper who was once dismissed after the family believed she was responsible for the death of one of the children by poisoning him. Flitwick Manor is reported to be haunted and apparitions of this housekeeper have been reported. A hotel manager has reported being confronted by her in a corridor and the staff are reportedly very familiar with her presence and know her favourite chair, as she often leaves an impression on the cushion. It is also believed to be the wife of Mr. Brooks, whose daughter (Mary Ann) died of cancer early on in her life. This drove the couple apart, and Mrs. Brooks left Flitwick Manor because of it


Goldington Bury (demolished)


// Harlington Manor

Image Right - By Prurpnit - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, WIKI

English Heritage, in their listing notice, ascribe Harlington Manor to the 16th century, though it has been suggested that the house dates, in fact, to 1396. The house was owned by the Burwell Family of Virginia, from around 1500, but it passed, through intermarriage, to the Wingate family in the early 17th Century. It was, the listing notice claims, owned by Edmund Wingate, mathematician and tutor to Queen Henrietta Maria. Famously, John Bunyan, the English divine, was interrogated by Sir Francis Wingate and briefly imprisoned in the house, in November 1660. Bunyan was sent to Bedford gaol where, over the next 12 years, he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress. It is thought that Harlington Manor is the only building, still standing, at which Bunyan is known to have stayed. Charles II is said to have stayed briefly at the house in late 1660, apparently to thank Sir Francis Wingate for his help in dealing with the potential sedition of John Bunyan.[4] Harlington Manor was formerly known as Harlington House, its name being changed at some point towards the end of the 19th century.

Harrold Hall was a country house in Harrold, Bedfordshire. Dated to 1210, the house was demolished in 1961, in what appeared to be an act of vandalism.

Hinwick House is a grand Grade I listed Queen Anne country house near Podington, north Bedfordshire, modeled on the original Buckingham Palace, Buckingham House and set in 36 acres of magnificent parkland. The estate consists of the Queen Anne Main House, The Victorian Wing, The Victorian Wing Extension, Garage Block, Stables, 3 cottages, a clock tower, a walled garden and a period dovecote It was built in 1709-10 for Richard Orlebar, first occupied in 1714, stands to the north of the hamlet of Hinwick, Bedfordshire, England. The house stands in its own park of about 36 acres (150,000 m2) on the west side of the road from Podington and to the south of the Wollaston Road from which the house is approached along a drive. At the end of which are wrought-iron gates with stone piers surmounted by collared eagles' heads with wings displayed, the crest of the Orlebar family by whom the house was built. In the 1880s, the house became a school and during World War 1 was used as an auxiliary hospital for convalescing wounded soldiers.

Hockcliffe Manor According to Victoria County History, was the residence of Major Haynes, in the main road, appears to be partly of 18th-century date, the older portions being half-timbered. Hockliffe House, occupied by Mrs. Mann, at the southern extremity of the village, is a pleasant-looking late Georgian building. Here are some 15th-century remains, which may have formed part of the Hospital of St. John.

// Houghton House

Image Right - By APB-CMX at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, WIKI

Houghton House is a ruined house located near Houghton Conquest in Bedfordshire, on the ridge just north of Ampthill, and about 8 miles south of Bedford. It is a Grade I listed building. Being set above the surrounding countryside, it commands excellent views, and can be visited during daylight hours. It is an English Heritage property which is free to visit. The house was built in approximately 1615 for the writer, translator, and literary patron Mary Sidney Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke (born 27 October 1561), but she died of smallpox on 25 September 1621, not long after its completion. A Jacobean style frieze on the western side of the house incorporated devices from Mary's ancestral Sidney and Dudley families. After the Countess' death, the house passed to Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin, in 1624. The Bruce family owned the house until the 2nd Earl of Ailesbury, a strong supporter of the Stuarts, retired to exile overseas in 1696 on account of his loyalty to King James II of England. Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury, never returned to Houghton and so sold the house to John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, in 1738, whose principal seat was Woburn Abbey, less than seven miles from Houghton. The 4th Duke was predeceased by his sons (the 4th Duke's son and heir, Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock, died when he fell from a horse whilst hunting) and therefore the house and the dukedom passed to his grandson, Francis Russell. In 1794, Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, stripped Houghton House of its furnishings and removed the roof. This may have been due, in part, to his father's horseriding tragedy. The Duke never married nor had he produced a legitimate heir. He died in 1802 by which time the house, now open to the elements, was already in decay.


Ickwell Bury at the heart of the former manor of Ickwell, first built by John Harvey in 1683 near the site of an older manor house. The Harvey family continued to own the house until 1925, although from 1900 it had housed Horton Preparatory School. In 1898, Ickwell Bury was the property of John Edmund Audley Harvey DL JP and was described as "a mansion of red brick, in the Queen Anne style, standing in a park and woodlands of about five hundred acres, approached by an avenue of trees about a mile in length". The school closed in 1937, and soon afterwards most of the empty house was destroyed in a fire, though a 17th Century wing with its Thomas Tompion clock were saved. The property was then bought by Colonel George Hayward Wells, chairman of the brewery Charles Wells, who rebuilt the house on a smaller scale and on his death left the Ickwell Bury estate to the Bedford Charity to be used by Bedford School, his own old school.




Leighton Buzzard manor of the bishop of Lincoln Prebendal mansion Palace masonry footings

Luton Hoo


// Milton Ernest Hall

© Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

The most imposing of buildings and possibly the most covert. Milton Ernest Hall was surrounded in intrigue and rumour. Other than the official recognition as 8th Air Force Service Command HQ it was thought to be central to a wider group of 'stations' concerned with secret allied radio and propaganda transmitting, political warfare, and undercover operations by British and American units. Several government ministers were thought to be located there as well as mention of having it's own runway, although it has always been closely associated with Twinwood airfield. Some local rumour has it a tunnel connects the two, although the surrounding landscape would make that highly improbable. Glenn Miller often stayed at Milton Ernest Hall and along with Don Haynes (manager) based the administration and organisation of the band to the USAAF bases in the UK. The band were also taken out there for its meals in between broadcasts and rehearsals at the Co-Partner Hall in Bedford. In return for the hospitality shown by General Goodrich and his officers at the hall, Miller agreed to play a concert in the grounds on the afternoon of July 16. 1944. A huge success with 1600 officers and men present. He went on to spend about 4 months on and off there - "the longest period being when Bing Crosby came on 29 August 1944. Miller lived in the huts in the grounds for about a month and then shifted back into the house." Victor Stillwell. Batman to Glen Miller. Although the hut, flag pole and path are now gone the building has barely changed at all. The huge rose bush as seen here at the front of the hall can also be seen on the 1945 photograph (left), then only half the present size.

Moggerhanger House


Image © Copyright Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

// Moreteyne Manor

Image Right - © Copyright Paul Billington and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

From 1562 the Manor House of the village was occupied by the Lord of the Manor, Thomas Snagge. The property then passed to his son, Sir Thomas Snagge who was MP for Bedford in 1586, Speaker in the House of Commons in 1588 and Sheriff of the county in 1607. Sir Thomas held the Manor for 32 years till his death in 1626 when it passed to his eldest son, Thomas, the second member of the family to be made sheriff. He died in 1675 and his sons, Thomas and Edward successfully inherited. The latter was succeeded by his only son Edward in 1715 who died in 1739. The Snagges then sold the property to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough who left it to her grandson the Honorable John Spencer. The Spencers continued to hold the property until 1811 after which the Manor passed to the Alington Family. The Duke of Bedford bought the Manor from Mr Julius Alington of Great Barford in 1873. The building was substantially renovated in 1880 when it was converted in to the farmhouse of the Moat Farm. During the works all the oak panelling was removed to its present location in Woburn Abbey. The farm and house were then sold in 1920 to the Franklin family who later sold it to the present owners’ father, Mr E. J. Hillson in 1948 for the sum of £7,500. The house was converted into one of the finest restaurants and wedding reception venues in Bedfordshire, between November 1983 until the opening on 1st August 1985, when the name changed to Moreteyne Manor. Chef Mark Hickman and his wife Jacqui acquired and re-opened the restaurant in June 1996. They have run Moreteyne Manor country house restaurant as a husband & wife team to the present day.



// Odell Castle

Image from Bedford Archives - letter written requesting permission to use; CJB

11th-century castle in the village of Odell, in the county of Bedfordshire, England. The land where Odell Castle stood was originally owned by Levenot, a thegn of King Edward the Confessor. At the time, the land and village were called Wahull. After the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror gave the lands, manor, and title, to Walter de Flandrensis (circa 1068). Walter was titled the Baron of Wahull, and was thus recorded as Walter de Wahul. De Wahul built a motte-and-bailey castle, with a stone keep, on the land. The family lived here for some 400 years. In 1542, the title died out with the absence of a male heir and came into the possession of 17-year-old Agnes Woodhall, a descendant of de Wahul's. Upon her death in 1575 it passed to her son Richard Chetwood, who sold it to William Alston in 1633. The family were later created Alston baronets of Odell. By the time of the sale, the castle was already in ruins. Alston built a new residence, incorporating the remains of the keep, the oval motte of the old castle still held up by a retaining wall. Alterations were made by his descendants in the 18th century. It stayed as thus until 24 February 1931, when the manor burnt down. A new manor house was built on the site in 1962; it is currently owned by Lord Luke. The old stones were used in the construction of the new manor, but otherwise there is little left of the original castle. Only cropmarks and earthworks remain.


Pavenham Manor was a country house in Pavenham, Bedfordshire, England. The house was demolished in 1960

Potton Manor



Ragons Manor A second manor in Maulden parish known later as RAGONS MANOR was held at the Survey by Walter Gifard, and was assessed at 3 hides. In the Confessor's time this land had been held by Alwin brother of Bishop Wlui. (fn. 25) Unlike most of the lands of Walter Gifard, which on the death of his son without heirs passed to the family of the Earl of Pembroke, (fn. 26) his Maulden estate became annexed to the barony of Wahull, of which it was held in the early 13th century. (fn. 27) The overlordship of this manor remained attached to the barony of Wahull, and is last mentioned in 1428. (fn. 28) In 1086 Hugh Bolebec held this manor, (fn. 29) of which his descendants afterwards became the intermediary lords. Hugh was succeeded by his sons Hugh and Walter. The latter's daughter and heir Isabella married Robert Earl of Oxford, (fn. 30) and their son Hugh inherited the manor, which he held in 1286. (fn. 31) No later mention of the intermediary lordship has been found. The manor was subinfeudated some time in the 13th century, and was held by Hugh de Bray (fn. 32) and afterwards by Matilda, (fn. 33) doubtless his widow. In 1286 Godfrey de Lyner was in possession, (fn. 34) but in 1287 the manor had reverted to Geoffrey son of Hugh, who in that year brought an action against Robert de Hoo for unjustly entering into the estate described as one messuage and a carucate of land. (fn. 35) In 1304 and 1346 (fn. 36) it was held by David son of Hugh de Esseby, but for the next hundred years its descent has not been traced. It reappears in 1428 in the hands of Reginald Ragon, (fn. 37) who had as early as 1377 held other lands in Maulden inherited from his father Sir John Ragon. (fn. 38) Reginald, from whom it derived its distinctive name of Ragons Manor, was succeeded by a son Sir John, but there is no further mention of the manor until the beginning of the 16th century, when it was held by John Hill. (fn. 39) His son John left it by will in 1546 to his wife Alice and son Edward, (fn. 40) and the latter's son Richard was in possession in 1590. (fn. 41) The manor remained in this family for the next hundred years, and in 1634 Richard Hill, sen., quitclaimed his right in it to Richard Hill, jun. (fn. 42) From him it descended to John Hill and his wife Mary, who in 1691 alienated it to Thomas Earl of Ailesbury, lord of Maulden Manor.


Sandy Manor Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1908, gives the history of manors in Sandy as far as they were known at the time. The Domesday Book of 1086 states that Eudo the Steward, also known as Eudo, son of Hubert, had a large holding of sixteen hides, one virgate in Sandy as well as numerous other holdings in Bedfordshire and other parts of the country. Eudo died as late as 1120 and his estates were then taken by the Crown and granted to the Beauchamp family which held Sandy manor until 1347 when Roger de Beauchamp alienated it to John d'Engayne. It was then worth ten marks or £6/13/4 per annum. By the time Thomas d'Engayne died in 1367 the manor was worth a third more - £10 per annum. Thomas d'Engayne left three sisters as his heirs - Joyce, wife of John de Goldington, Elizabeth, wife of Laurence de Pabenham and Mary, wife of William Barnacke. Thomas' widow Katherine continued to hold the manor until her death in 1399 and it then, by agreement between the three co-heirs, descended to Mary Barnacke who was, by then, wife of Thomas la Zouche. Mary died the next year and was succeeded by her son John Barnacke, who died in 1409 leaving a son, John, who died in 1421 aged just twenty one. His brother Edmund died a few days after John and so their two sisters Joan and Mary were left as their heirs. Mary married Robert Stoneham and became sole heir on the death of her sister. In 1437 Robert and Mary Stoneham secured the succession of their daughter Elizabeth by fine. She married John Broughton and Sandy manor remained in the Broughton family until the early 16th century when it passed to Katherine Broughton and, before 1560, to her daughter Agnes, who married William Paulet, Lord Saint John of Bletsoe. In 1572 Lord Saint John alienated Sandy Manor to Sir Robert Catlin, who was succeeded by his daughter Mary, wife of Sir John Spencer. Her son William was created Baron Spencer of Wormleighton in 1603 and held the manor at the time of his death in 1638. His son Henry was created Earl of Sunderland (at a cost of £3,000) and was killed fighting for King Charles I at the First Battle of Newbury in 1643 aged just 23. His son, Robert, sold Sandy manor to Sir Humphrey Monoux in 1670. Sir Philip Monoux died in 1809 and his property was divided amongst his four sisters. His second sister Frances, wife of Samuel Ongley, received Sandy Manor. After her death the manor house and park (but not the manor itself) were sold to the Brandreth family, who sold it to the Foster family in 1872 and to Sir Robert Pearce Edgecumbe in 1877. He sold them to Walter Graves in 1905. Part of the Sandy Manor estate was bought by Sir William Peel VC (after whom a public house in the town is named), son of the prime minister Sir Robert Peel and, after his death in 1858, passed to his mother who died the following year and the property passed to her youngest son, Viscount Peel, who owned it into the 20th century. The Victoria County History noted "All manorial rights appear to be in abeyance".

// Shortmead House

Image Right - © Copyright Philip Jeffrey and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

There has been a house at Shortmead since the early 16th century with the first mention in 1543 when a Thomas Butcher, the owner of Shortmead Farm, gave money in his will to St Andrew’s Church in Biggleswade. In the 1790s the house was transformed into the Georgian manor house you see today. Sadly in the nineteenth and twentieth century the house and estate were auctioned which explains the reduction in the estates acreage. When it was first auctioned in 1884, it sold with 133 acres of land. Today the site covers 20 acres, but the long-term plan is to recover as much of the original area as possible to help restore the original feel of the house and grounds.

● Silsoe Manor

Someries Castle (Summeries)

Image Right - © By Forscher scs - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, WIKI

Someries Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in the Parish of Hyde, near the town of Luton, Bedfordshire, England. It was built in the 15th century by Sir John Wenlock, whose ghost is reputed to haunt the castle. Although always referred to as a castle it was actually a fortified manor house. The name of "Someries Castle" was derived from William de Someries, who had a residence on this site, but the title "castle" is contentious since it hardly describes the structure to which it is applied. The site was acquired by Wenlock in 1430 and building the mansion commenced. The house is unique in that it is regarded as one of the first brick buildings in England. The house was never completed by Wenlock, and was partly demolished in the 18th century. The brickwork can still be seen in the remains of the gatehouse, incorporating the chapel and lodge, which still stands today.

// Southill Park

Image By John Preston Neale - This file is from the Mechanical Curator collection, a set of over 1 million images scanned from out-of-copyright books and released to Flickr Commons by the British Library. Public Domain, WIKI

When the former Department of Environment listed Southill Park in 1952 they decided it was a Grade I building - "of exceptional interest". George Byng acquired the old mansion in Southill in 1693, he was created 1st Viscount Torrington in 1721 due to his success as an admiral and his will [Z728/3] refers to a capital messuage newly erected "at some distance from the old one pulled down" though when the building took place is not known for certain - the illustration above dates to about 1739 and shows a house not so different in footprint to today's mansion. The architect of Torrington's Palladian style house is not known - it was long thought that the house had been built in the 1750s by Isaac Ware (the Department of Environment stated as much when listing the property) but evidence suggests that the house was complete by 1726 and Ware only began his apprenticeship in 1721, not obtaining a commission until 1733. Samuel Whitbread I, founder of the brewery from which the family fortune sprang, purchased Southill Park and its estate from the now impoverished Byngs in 1795 for a total of £93,000 but he died the next year. However, before his death he appointed London born architect Henry Holland (1745-1806) to remodel the house. He built a new service wing to the east including a kitchen and laundry; the former hall was extended to form a drawing room. He chose Totternhoe limestone for the bulk of the rebuilding. The work was complete in 1800. The interior of the house retains much of Henry Holland's original decoration.Southill Park remains the home of the Whitbread family; it is a private house, not open to the public.

Stockwood Park When Stockwood house was built in 1740 by John Crawley, the grounds were laid out in a fashion befitting one of Bedfordshire’s leading landowners. The enclosed walled gardens provided shelter for growing fruit and vegetables for the house. One of the walled gardens now displays a series of ga
rdens illustrating the changing styles of gardening through the ages. Soon after the outbreak of World War II, the house was converted to a hospital catering for children suffering with hip diseases. The patients were transferred by converted single deck buses from the Bartholomews Hospital at Swanley in Kent. It was considered to be too dangerous in that area because it was on the edge of the balloon barrage. However Luton saw enemy activity due to the nearby motor works. Initially there was not any X-ray facility there, but one was added later and housed in the stable block. Before that installation, patients were taken by private car to nearby Luton and Dunstable hospital. The house was then named Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease.

Stratton Park


The Mansion House (Old Warden Park) The Old Warden estate was bought in the late 17th century by London merchant Sir Samuel Ongley. It passed down in the Ongley family until 1872, when the 3rd Baron Ongley, in financial difficulties, sold it to Joseph Shuttleworth of the Lincoln engineering firm of Clayton & Shuttleworth. It thereafter became better known as the Shuttleworth estate. The mansion house which stands today was built for Joseph Shuttleworth by Henry Clutton, the prominent Victorian architect, to rival the Shuttleworth mansion at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire. Built of ashlar in the Jacobean style, it is a 3 storey rectangular block which replaced an existing house and is a grade II* listed building.[2] Clutton's design with its high chimneys and 100 foot high clock tower have defined and distinguished the mansion for over a century. In addition, Clutton designed many of the interior features such as the carved doors, balustrades and chimneypieces. Gillows of Lancaster made many of the interior furnishings and there are several magnificent examples of 19th-century paintings by prominent artists such as Sir Frank Dicksee, William Leader, George Vicat Cole and Frank Holl. The Shuttleworth crest and arms illustrate the origins of the Shuttleworth family’s wealth in weaving and wool. During the Second World War, the house was a Red Cross convalescent home and auxiliary hospital for airmen. It then opened as an agricultural college in 1946. Today, Bedford College Services manage the Mansion and the Shuttleworth College on behalf of the Shuttleworth Trust. In an adjacent part of the estate the Swiss Garden houses a number of other grade II* listed structures including bridges, the Indian kiosk and a grotto.

// Toddington Manor

Image from Country Life

Was owned by YBA artist Damien Hirst and not open to the public. The 300-room manor is used for his art collection. The 10-acre gardens at Toddington Manor were largely replanted after 1979. It has a herb garden, rose garden, swimming pool garden and herbaceous borders. The estate also includes 100 acres of woodland, streams and two lakes.

Within the grounds are the remains of a 13th century manor built by Sir Paulinus Pever, a royal steward under Henry III.

The Manor stands on the site of a 16th century house built by the Cheney family. Sir Thomas Cheney gained the estate in 1559 when he married Anne Broughton, the daughter of Sir John Broughton of Toddington. Cheney was an influential politician in the court of Henry VIII and over time amassed vast estates in Bedfordshire and Kent. His son Henry Cheney built a manor house at Toddington, and it was here that he was knighted by Elizabeth I in 1563. The manor house stood three storeys high, with imposing corner towers.

Sir Henry Cheyne was summoned in 1572 as Lord Cheyne of Toddington, died s.p. in 1587, having wasted his estate. His three half-sisters, daughters of the first marriage of his father Sir Thomas Cheyne of Sheppey, K.G., were his coheirs. Anne Cheyne, the third of these, was the first wife of Sir John Perrot, the lord deputy of Ireland, and mother of Sir Thomas Perrot his heir. Sir John Perrot, who was reckoned a bastard son of Henry VIII., died in 1592.

When Lord Cheney died without heirs the Toddington estate passed to the Wentworths of Nettlestead. Baroness Wentworth had a tumultuous life; she had an affair with Charles II's illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, and in 1683 the Duke hid at Toddington Manor after the ill-judged Rye House Plot to kill the king was discovered. Baroness Wentworth followed Monmouth into exile, but returned to Toddington and died at the Manor in 1686, one year after Monmouth's execution.

The manor was inherited by the future Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland in 1614. The debts incurred by both the Earl of Cleveland and his daughter, Lady Henrietta Maria, meant that the manor fell into decay; it was demolished in the mid-18th century by Lord William Strafford.

John Cooper purchased the manor of Toddington in 1808 and the family remained lords of the manor for just over a century. John's daughter Elizabeth married her second cousin William Dodge Cooper Heap and he changed his surname to Cooper as part of the settlement of the estate of his father in-law, thus becoming William Dodge Cooper Cooper. In 1824 John Cooper died and Elizabeth and William moved to Toddington to take up their inheritance and built Toddington Park as their residence. Later they renovated the largely ruinous manor house and moved in there. The last of the family to live there was Edith Georgina Warren Vernon born Cooper, daughter of [William Smith Cooper William Smith Cooper Cooper. She sold the house in 1912 to Weston Webb who, in turn, sold it to Mrs Hamilton Williams toward the end of the Great War and then sold in 1922 to Captain McAndrew Shepherd. He sold the house in 1925 to W Harold Edwards.

In the 1930s the Manor was sold to Colonel Edward Skinner and, after his death, the house was sold to The Fish Meal Manufacturers Association in 1950. By 1977 when the Manor was put up for sale, along with the Lodge, Herne Poplar and Herne Grange Farms, part of the house had been converted into three flats and bedsitter which were occupied by members of staff of Toddington Manor Research Farms Limited.

The Manor was purchased by Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, who owned the forklift manufacturers Lancer Boss, based in Leighton Buzzard. Once again the house was offered for sale in 2010.


Tofte Manor, Sharnbrook.

Turvey Abbey was the home of Charles Longuet Higgins. It is dated 1603 on the side facing the road and 1608 on the garden side. It underwent considerable additions in 1855 and 1860. The Abbey was owned by Mr & Mrs Rupert Allen in the early 1950’s. Rupert Allen owned the Allen’s engineering factory in Bedford.



Wardon Manor

Wavendon Hall

Willington Manor

// Woburn Abbey

Image © Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. Geograph

Wodhull Manor

Woodcroft Manor; Luton possessed, at various times twenty five manors. The histories of all these manors are given in the Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1908 and due to be updated early in the 21st century. Woodcroft Manor was the result of dividing the medieval Manor of Luton into six parts on the death of Isabel de Clare, wife of William Ferrers, Earl of Derby in 1275 - one share going to each of her daughters. Woodcroft was the share of Eleanor de Leyburne but was not known as Woodcroft until a little later. Eleanor's one sixth share seems to have been sold almost immediately to Walter de Mandeville who was described as owning 153 acres at Woodcroft together with £9/6/11½ per annum in quitrents in 1288. Walter's heir was his sister Sibil, wife of Henry de Boderigan but by 1310 the manor was held by John le Poer and in that year he granted Woodcroft Manor, as it was now known, to Robert de Kendale. Kendale died in 1330, leaving as heir his son, Edward who, in 1372, conveyed the manor to trustees. He died the next year and both his sons died without issue in 1375 and their sister Beatrice, wife of Sir Robert Turk, inherited the property. On Turk's death in 1400 his daughter by Beatrice, Joan, wife of John Waleys succeeded him at Woodcroft. Her heir was her eldest daughter, another Beatrice, wife of Reginald Cockayne of Bury Hatley. On Cockayne's death Beatrice married William Milreth, alderman of London and on her death in 1448 Woodcroft Manor passed to her son John Cockayne who died in 1490. Cockayne's widow Joan held the manor at her death in 1507 when Edmund Cockayne succeeded to the estate. In 1522 William Markham and Frances, his wife (Née Cockayne) conveyed the manor to John Markham and at some point between 1584 and 1630 the manor passed to Edward Wingate, who also owned Woodcroft alias Halyards. In 1653 Wingate conveyed both the Woodcroft manors to Robert Napier, effectively reuniting it with the other four sixths of the medieval Manor of Luton, though both manors maintained a separate identity, although in the same ownership. However, a succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s effectively abolished manors in all but name. including copyhold land and manorial courts and income.

// Woodland Manor Hotel

Image right from Wedding Venues

In 1812 the present hotel site came up at auction as part of a 23 acre lot containing a cottage and carpenters lodge. The sales description predicted that it had "the capability of being made into a highly ornamental and picturesque residence". Attracted by the lands "extensive views and rich quality", as well as parish rates averaging 6d, John Thomas Dawson purchased the land and built the original mansion four years later. After his death in 1850 the house passed to his eldest son the Reverend John Dawson and it was the clergyman's own demise twenty years later which led to a macabre attempt to settle a dispute over inheritance. Reporting on the grisly occurrence, the local newspaper revealed "The carpenter who had screwed down the lid averred that previous to this being done the nurse who had attended the deceased in his last illness placed under his body a bundle of documents tied with red tape". It took all night to lift the gravestone while constables stood by to keep back sensation seekers. At last the coffin was broached to reveal the documents - love letters which had passed between the Reverend and his first wife and placed there at his dying request. Subsequently the property passed into the hands of the local Justice of the Peace, William Long Fitzpatrick, who may have been related to the Novel Irish Family that inherited Ampthill Park in 1736 and provided three Members of Parliament for Bedfordshire over the ensuing 80 years. It was William who commissioned the Manor we see today, built by the local architects Usher and Anthony. The date of the building-1901-and the Fitzpatrick family crest are displayed over the main entrance. After World War II the Manor was used as a guest house and as a hospital for the Ministry of Supply. Later it was used as a research established for a time before becoming a hotel in 1973.

Wootton House

Wrest Park


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