The borough of Bedford
Castle and barony

Sponsor

Victoria County History

Publication

Author

William Page (editor)

Year published

1912

Pages

9-15

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'The borough of Bedford: Castle and barony', A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3 (1912), pp. 9-15. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42370 Date accessed: 21 September 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

CASTLE AND BARONY

As has been seen from the early history of the borough, Bedford was fortified during Saxon times, traces of such fortifications still remaining in the carefully preserved King's Ditch on the south side of the river. (fn. 1) It has also been stated that an earlier stronghold preceded the Norman castle, which some time during the 11th century became the caput of the great local barony of Beauchamp of Bedford. It was probably granted to Hugh de Beauchamp by William II, who succeeded his father the year following the Survey, for the barony and castle were later found held by service of acting as almoner at the king's coronation. (fn. 2) Hugh de Beauchamp has been identified as the successor of Ralph Taillebosc, (fn. 3) and in 1086 was already one of the largest landowners in the county; entries of his property occur under forty-five parishes and hamlets, embracing some 160 hides, whilst he also owned smaller properties in the neighbouring counties of Buckingham and Hertford. (fn. 4) Little else is known of him, but he attested the foundation charter of Lessay Abbey at Caen on 14 July 1080 (fn. 5) and was still living c. 1091–7, about which time he appears as a witness to a charter granted to Ramsey Abbey. (fn. 6) His successor was Simon de Beauchamp, in all probability his son, (fn. 7) who had succeeded some time before 1114, about which date he was overlord of Robert de Brienne and others in Bedfordshire. (fn. 8) His death took place c. 1137, when he left a daughter as heir. (fn. 9) The following year the castle is found in the possession of Miles de Beauchamp, described as one of the sons of Robert de Beauchamp, (fn. 10) who is presumed to be a younger brother of Simon de Beauchamp. Miles appears to have held in trust only, for the king having arranged a marriage between Simon's daughter and Hugh the Pauper, Earl of Bedford, sent to Miles commanding him to render up Bedford Castle to Hugh. (fn. 11) On Miles' refusal to comply, Stephen advanced against him with a large army, and Miles, provisioning the castle with forced supplies from a neighbourhood which he had hitherto treated with consideration so unusual as to call for remark, prepared for the long blockade which formed the usual military tactics of the period. Stephen at first attempted an assault, but so great was the strength of the entrenchments and ramparts that he determined to starve the garrison into surrender. He was strengthened in this resolution by the raids of King David of Scotland in Northumberland, which made his presence in the north imperative, and so he departed, leaving Hugh le Pauper with the greater part of his army encircling the castle. Miles and his men were eventually obliged to surrender, but the triumph of Hugh, 'vir laxus et effeminatus,' was short-lived, for Miles, erstwhile humiliated and depressed, to use the expression of the chronicler, returned elated and keen, recovered the castle and drove out the intruders. (fn. 12) Miles de Beauchamp, who appears to have retained the castle, was an adherent of the Empress Maud, for his signature is found attesting her charters in 1141 and again in 1142. (fn. 13) In 1146 the Earl of Chester joined the king's party and took Bedford 'civitatem,' (fn. 14) and apparently proceeded to the siege of the castle as well, for the earliest Pipe Rolls of Henry II have an entry of 20 marks levied on the burgesses of Bedford for being in the castle against the king. (fn. 15) No further opposition is found to the claims of Miles de Beauchamp to the castle and barony, which he continued to hold till his death— of which the date is uncertain. His heir was Payn de Beauchamp, who is expressly so described in a grant made by Miles of Bedford Mill to Bermondsey Priory, (fn. 16) and who was probably the brother who in 1138 assisted in the defence of Bedford Castle. By 1155–6 both Miles and Payn were dead and Simon de Beauchamp, son of the latter by Rohese widow of the notorious Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, (fn. 17) was under age, and his lands valued at £40 farmed by the sheriff of the county. (fn. 18)


Beauchamp of Bedford. Quarterly or and gules a bend sable.

In 1160–1 Simon was still under the guardianship of his mother Rohese (fn. 19) ; he is mentioned as one of the knights of Ramsey Abbey in 1184, (fn. 20) and between 1194 and 1199 his name appears in various suits against the Abbot of Ramsey, the Prior of Leighton and others. (fn. 21) By 1210 he had been succeeded by his son William, who was then declared to hold forty-five knights' fees. (fn. 22) In 1215 after the siege of Northampton Castle was raised the barons, representing the progressive party against John, marched to Bedford Castle, where they were received with respect by William de Beauchamp, who thus allied himself with their cause. (fn. 23) On hearing of this Falkes de Breauté, a foreign mercenary and favourite of King John, descended on the castle during the temporary absence of William and demanded its surrender. The garrison held out for seven days, when, help failing to arrive, they were obliged to yield the castle to Falkes, to whom it was granted by the king, together with the hand of the noble lady Margaret Rivers in marriage. (fn. 24) During his nine years' occupation of Bedford Castle Falkes pursued a definite policy of rapine and plunder, and used it as a rallying point for raids on the surrounding country. In January 1217 he made a night attack on the town of St. Albans, and returned to the castle with many prisoners, men and children. For this he was excommunicated, but, inspired by a vision and exhorted by his wife, he professed repentance. He obtained absolution, but characteristically enough is stated to have returned none of his spoil. (fn. 25) His abuse of the abbot's property at Luton and his treatment of the thirty-two freemen there have already been dealt with. (fn. 26) These depredations with many others culminated in very heavy charges, more than thirty in number, brought against him at the Assize of the Justices Itinerant at Dunstable in June 1224. The justices, among whom was Henry de Braybrook, behaved with great impartiality, and, ignoring Falkes' formidable reputation, amerced him at the rate of £100 for each charge. (fn. 27) Falkes, who was absent at the time, was exceedingly angry on hearing of this sentence, and sent a message to his brother William de Breauté, whom he had left in charge of the castle, that he should straightway seize the justices and carry them in chains to Bedford. (fn. 28) News of this command coming to the justices' ears, they hastily retired and with the exception of Henry de Braybrook succeeded in escaping. His capture aroused great indignation, and his wife begged an audience of the king, then at Northampton, to whom she recounted her wrongs with tears. Henry III took counsel of those with him, and it was declared with one accord that this seizure of a king's justice in the execution of his office must be avenged, and that the castle must, if necessary, be attacked.

Pacific measures were first resorted to, and messengers sent to William de Breauté demanding the instant release of Henry de Braybrook and the surrender of the castle. William refused to yield to any but his brother, and the king, exceedingly wroth, prepared for hostilities by levying a special aid. (fn. 29) The king caused unavailing search to be made for Falkes, who meanwhile had taken refuge in the lands of the Earl of Chester, thus arousing momentary suspicion as to that noble's loyalty. From thence he fled to North Wales, where Llewellyn received him for one day, and justified his action in the matter by claiming equally with the King of Scots the right of receiving outlaws. (fn. 30) Falkes subsequently returned to Northampton, but does not reappear till after the capture of the castle. Preparations meanwhile were carried forward with great thoroughness, help of varying nature being commandeered throughout the country. The Sheriff of London was commanded to send among other things fusees for mangonels and catapults, also a clerk to write letters. (fn. 31) From Cambridge, Lincoln and Windsor carpenters were to be sent with all speed travelling by night and by day, whilst the Sheriff of Bedfordshire was commanded to supply as many 'quarreatores' and cutters of stone as possible, with hammers, mallets, wedges and other utensils necessary for making catapults. Northampton was ordered to send fifty good picks and two loads of good Gloucester iron, and all the smiths there were to work day and night till 4,000 quarell bolts were dispatched. Cords were supplied from many places as far afield as Dorset, which sent £10 worth, whilst at the later and more critical stage of the siege a general summons was sent to Cumberland ordering all who held there of the king in chief to come to his army at Bedford. Almonds, spice and ginger were ordered for the royal still-room, greyhounds were sent for sport, whilst large quantities of wine were requisitioned from the royal stores at London, Northampton and from St. Ives.

The siege, which was destined to last nearly two months, began about 22 June. The attacking party had a petrary and two mangonels constantly battering the tower on the eastern side, two mangonels attacked the ancient tower on the west, whilst two more, one on the north and one on the south, continually made breaches in the walls. In addition to these ordnance the besiegers constructed two wooden towers, rising higher than and commanding the whole castle and its interior, from which the bowmen and archers let fall a constant shower of arrows. In addition the besiegers were busy undermining the walls, being protected in their operations by the use of the timber-covered way known as the Cattus. The besieged party appear to have shown as great determination as their opponents, and early in the siege refused to parley, whereat the king swore in anger, by the soul of his father, that if the defenders were taken by force they should all be hanged on gibbets, an oath to be fulfilled later with grim precision. Four stages mark the eventual capture of the castle. The barbican was first taken, when four or five were slain. Entrance was next effected by the men of Dunstable to the outer ward of the castle. The loss of life was now very severe, and the munition of the castle, which was kept here, fell into the hands of the besiegers, who burned the outhouses in which the corn and hay were stored, but retained the horses with their harness, the arms and the live stock which they found. Meanwhile the miners had been working to some effect, and the wall near the ancient tower on the west now fell down, and an entry was forced into the inner bailey; the resistance here was very desperate, so much so that ten men of Dunstable were carried prisoners into the castle. Finally on the Vigil of the Assumption (14 August) at the hour of vespers, the miners having undermined the old tower, fired the props. The besieged seeing smoke issue forth and cracks appear in the walls, at last realized that their position was untenable. Margaret, Falkes' wife, together with all the women, Henry Braybrook and other imprisoned knights were sent out of the castle and the royal flag hoisted in token of submission. The defeated garrison remained the night in the tower, but the following day were brought before the king and his justices, and after having received absolution from sentence of excommunication pronounced early in the siege, were almost without exception hanged. Eighty, including William de Breauté, suffered this fate; three were spared at the request of the Templars to fight in the Holy Land; whilst the chaplain of the castle, whose fate has not been traced, was handed over to the spiritual power. Falkes, who had been deceived by the belief that his castle could stand a year's siege, hearing of this unexpected disaster, threw himself on the mercy of the king, by whom he was treated with some clemency. Having been deprived of his lands, he was exiled to the Continent, (fn. 32) where he died a year later on his way to Rome. Five days after the surrender the king issued orders for the destruction of the castle: the sheriff was ordered to fill up the trenches and level the surface of the outer ward, whilst the walls of the inner ward were to be reduced to one-half their former height, and three of the four ancient towers were to be laid low. The stones resulting from such destruction were to be assigned for building purposes to William de Beauchamp, to whom the site of the castle was now restored, to Caldwell Priory and to Newnham Priory, to the latter being assigned the larger share in consequence of having supplied stones for shot during the siege. (fn. 33) A few days later this order was enforced by another directing Henry de Braybrook (who must have taken peculiar pleasure in his duty) to see to its prompt execution. William de Beauchamp was to be allowed to build a dwelling-house on the site of the castle, but it was not to be crenellated. (fn. 34)

William de Beauchamp did not submit to these conditions without a protest, and even attempted to evade the king's orders, but in vain, and the work of destruction was accomplished. (fn. 35) With the close of this memorable siege the history of Bedford Castle ceases to be important, and it might be well to conclude it here before passing on to the later history of the barony. On the partition of the Beauchamp property amongst female co-heirs, the site of the castle descended with that portion of the barony which passed to the Moubrays. A three-weekly court baron was held here from the 13th to the 15th century, (fn. 36) and a fishery in the Ouse and a mill were also attached. (fn. 37) In 1361 it is described as a void plot ' of old inclosed with walls,' (fn. 38) whilst a few years later the castle, including the courts and 5s. rent, amounted in value to 14s only yearly. (fn. 39) In 1383 the value with appurtenances had risen to 40s. (fn. 40) The site was worth 10s. in 1399, because it was neither built on nor inclosed. (fn. 41) In 1457–8 the steward of the castle returned 53s. 4d. from profits of herbage from the castle mound; the fishery, then on lease, brought in 26s. yearly, whilst the profits of fifteen courts baron amounted to 33s. 9d. (fn. 42) By Leland's time (fl. 1506–62) the castle mill still remained, but there were no buildings; he mentions, however, the 'great round hill' as a burrow for foxes, and notes 'a place called Falxherbar against the castle,' an interesting relic of Falkes de Breauté's occupation. Camden, writing a generation or so later, speaks of the ruins of the castle as still overhanging the river on the east side of the town. The site appears to have been used as a fortification during the Civil War. In 1645 the Bedford Parliamentary Committee is found writing to the Lord General, ' The mount is still defended with violence by Captain Hudson and his soldiers who use it as a refuge and a prison.' (fn. 43) It at this date belonged to Thomas Snagge, of Marston Moretaine (cf. history of barony), and already there was built on part of the site the original Swan Inn, which has since given place to a building erected in 1794 by the Duke of Bedford. (fn. 44) In 1658 the site was purchased from Thomas Snagge by John Hutchinson, the proprietor of the 'Swan Inn,' and after divers intermediate purchases and descents became the property of Captain John Staines (or Stands), from whom it was purchased in 1787 by the Duke of Bedford, (fn. 45) from whose family it has recently passed by sale to Mr. Higgins. The foundations of the keep can still be traced; the flat summit of the mound was for more than 200 years used as a bowling-green, and within the last year, after twenty-five years' cessation, has again been used as a bowling-club. The mound stands about 25 ft. high, and is about 180 ft. across the summit; the slopes are planted with trees, and the middle has been excavated out to form a domed brick ice-chamber. About 100 yards to the north, in the garden of a private residence adjoining, is a smaller mound partly built over.


Snagge of Marston Moretaine Argent three pheons sable

Returning to the history of the barony after the destruction of the castle in 1224, William de Beauchamp is found restored to his former dignities, and in 1236 claimed to act as almoner at the coronations of the sovereigns of England as Baron of Bedford. His claims are set forth with much detail as follows: The cloth which was spread under the king's feet, from the room where he assumes the regalia to the pulpitum in Westminster Abbey, was laid down by the almoner, who, after the ceremony, gave that part which was in the church to the sacristan, the remainder going to the poor. He also claimed all right of jurisdiction over beggars in case of disputes arising; further, he claimed the silver almsdish which was used on this occasion, and a tun of wine. (fn. 46) William de Beauchamp was summoned to perform military service in Wales as knight of Ramsey Abbey in 1245, but sent in his place Godfrey de Drivval. (fn. 47) He and his second wife Ida appear in the Annals of Dunstable as great oppressors of the religious houses. In 1247 Newnham Priory suffered much damage from the extortions of his steward. (fn. 48) Seven years later, on the death of Prior Walter, Stephen the Canon was installed as his successor, with the consent of the bishop. William, to whom the advowson of the priory belonged, marked his protest at the non-recognition of his right by driving him out of St. Paul's Church with threats, then took him by the hand, and, leading him to the choir, installed him as prior. (fn. 49) The same year the Abbot of Warden brought seventeen suits against him, and, on his refusal to appear, his barony was temporarily seized by the Crown. (fn. 50) At this date he conveyed his castle and barony to his son William by fine, (fn. 51) which conveyance was recognized by the king on payment of 500 marks. (fn. 52) He died in 1260, (fn. 53) when the barony would appear to have passed to his eldest son Simon, who must have died very shortly after, leaving a daughter Joan. (fn. 54) She does not appear to have survived her father long, and the barony next passed to his brother William de Beauchamp. He died in 1262, (fn. 55) and his brother John de Beauchamp, the last feudal Baron of Bedford, died in 1265 fighting against the king at Evesham. (fn. 56) The barony was now subdivided between the three sisters and co-heirs of the two last barons—Maud wife of Roger de Moubray, Beatrice wife of Thomas Fitz Otho and Ela wife of Baldwin Wake.

To Maud the eldest sister passed the site of the castle, the manors of Hawnes, Stotfold and Willington with lands in Wotton, Bromham and Barford in Bedfordshire and Lincelade Manor in Buckinghamshire. (fn. 57) Roger de Moubray, her first husband, died in 1266, when she married Roger Lestrange, who survived her and held this portion of the Bedford barony until his own death in 1311. (fn. 58) John de Moubray, grandson of Maud, (fn. 59) then succeeded. He, who married Aliva daughter of William de Braose, (fn. 60) joined the insurrection of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, and was hanged after the battle of Boroughbridge in 1321–2. He left a son and heir John, who was restored to his father's estates in 1327, (fn. 61) and died in 1361, when he is described as holding ' a certain lordship in Bedford.' (fn. 62) His son, John de Moubray, died seised of a third of Bedford barony in 1368. (fn. 63) John de Moubray, his son, was little more than three years old at the time of his father's death; nine years later, at the coronation of Richard II, he was created Earl of Nottingham, (fn. 64) and on the same occasion his claim, together with that of Lord Latimer, to exercise the office of almoner was admitted. (fn. 65) He died in 1382 without having attained his majority, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas de Moubray, a youth of sixteen, (fn. 66) who in 1397 was raised to the title of Duke of Norfolk, and in 1399–1400, on the death of his maternal grandmother, became Earl of Norfolk. He died in the same year, (fn. 67) leaving a son Thomas, aged fourteen, whose death took place in 1405, when his brother John, aged seventeen, succeeded him. (fn. 68) His widow Constance married John son of Reginald Grey, Lord Ruthin, and in 1414, together with her husband, she recognized the right of John de Moubray to this part of the barony. (fn. 69) John de Moubray died in 1461, (fn. 70) leaving a son and heir John, who died without male heirs in 1475–6, when his daughter Anne, aged three, succeeded him. (fn. 71) When only five years of age a marriage was arranged between herself and Richard Duke of York, younger son of Edward IV, who obtained a grant of the dignities and estates of his wife's father. (fn. 72) She died whilst still an infant, and after the murder of the duke in the Tower, in 1483, this part of the barony of Bedford, together with the castle site, reverted to William Viscount Berkely, (fn. 73) a direct descendant of the Moubrays in the female line. (fn. 74) In 1487–8 he received licence to alienate them to Sir Reginald Bray, Minister of State to Henry VII. (fn. 75) Edmund Lord Bray succeeded his uncle, and held this barony in 1538, in which year he made a settlement of it by fine on Sir Thomas Audley and others. (fn. 76) He died in 1539, (fn. 77) when this interest passed to Sir Edward Bray, kt., who in 1569 alienated the barony and castle by fine to Thomas Snagge, eldest son and heir of Thomas Snagge of Letchworth, co. Herts., and Thomas Snagge the younger his son. (fn. 78) The former, who subsequently became a serjeant-atlaw and Speaker of the House of Commons, (fn. 79) held the castle site and the barony till his death in 1594, (fn. 80) when Thomas his son, who was knighted in 1603, succeeded him. He claimed to act as almoner at the coronation of James I, when Lord Burghley was appointed to serve the office with a salvo jure to Sir Thomas Snagge and William Gostwick. (fn. 81) In 1620, together with his wife Agnes daughter of George Rotherham, (fn. 82) he made a settlement preparatory to proving his title to the castle and one-third of the barony. (fn. 83) He died in 1626, (fn. 84) and in 1634 his son, also Thomas, appears to have made a settlement of this, among other property, on his wife Anne daughter of Edmund Mordaunt, grandson of John Lord Mordaunt of Turvey. (fn. 85) This last-named Thomas Snagge died in 1642, (fn. 86) and it was his son Thomas who alienated the site only of the castle by sale in 1658 as related above. This family have, however, from time to time asserted their claim to act as almoner. At the coronation of James II, when the Earl of Exeter served the office, his claim was declared to be recognized pro hac vice with a salvo jure to Thomas Snagge and Sir George Blundell. (fn. 87) Again at the coronation of William and Mary in 1689 the office of almoner was claimed by Sir Francis Blundell, bart., and by Thomas Snagge of Marston-Moretaine (then a minor); when Sir Francis Blundell was appointed to perform the duties of the office with a salvo jure to Thomas Snagge. (fn. 88) Sir Thomas Snagge, kt., judge of county courts for Bedfordshire and a deputy lieutenant for Oxfordshire, tenth in male line of descent from Serjeant Snagge the Speaker, now represents the Snagge interest.


Moubray. Gules a lion argent.


Bray. Argent a cheveron between three eagle's legs razed sable.

To Beatrice, second sister and co-heir of the Bedford barony, passed as her share of the inheritance the manors of Dilewick, Wootton, Cardington, Ronhale and Bromham, with twenty knights' fees extending into various parishes in Bedfordshire. (fn. 89) On the death of her first husband, Thomas Fitz Otho, she married William de Monchensey (whom she predeceased), who held her estates till his own death in 1286. (fn. 90) Maud daughter and heir of Beatrice and Thomas Fitz Otho married John Botetourt, (fn. 91) and in 1328 made a settlement on her daughter Elizabeth wife of William Lord Latimer, to whom this moiety of the barony now passed. (fn. 92) William Latimer died in 1335, and his widow married Robert Ufford, and was still living in 1366. (fn. 93) William Latimer her son claimed to act as almoner at the coronation of Richard II in 1377, (fn. 94) and died four years later, when his daughter Elizabeth wife of John Nevill of Raby became his heir, (fn. 95) though she did not acquire possession till the death of her mother in 1384. (fn. 96) John Nevill died in 1388, (fn. 97) his wife, who subsequently married Lord Willoughby de Eresby, surviving till 1395. (fn. 98) John Nevill Lord Latimer, son of the above Elizabeth and John, married Maud widow of the Earl of Cambridge, and, having no issue, in 1418 settled his Bedfordshire and other estates on his halfbrother on his father's side, Ralph Earl of Westmorland. (fn. 99) John Nevill's death took place in 1430, (fn. 100) and George Nevill, fifth son of Ralph (who had predeceased his half-brother in 1425), succeeded him, being raised to the title of Lord Latimer in the following year. (fn. 101) He died in 1469, when his grandson Richard son of Henry Nevill, then aged one year, was declared to be his heir. (fn. 102) He married Anne daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford, and in 1500, in conjunction with his wife on the occasion of Lord Willoughby's claim to the barony of Latimer, is found making a settlement of all his Bedfordshire property on the Archbishop of Canterbury and other trustees. (fn. 103) He died in 1530, and was succeeded by John Nevill his son. He, who was a zealous Catholic, took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, and was one of the nobles selected to treat with the king's forces, subsequently receiving pardon. His third wife was Katherine Parr, who later became sixth and last wife of Henry VIII. On his death in 1543 John Nevill, his son by his second wife, acquired his titles and estates, (fn. 104) who dying without male issue in 1577 left four daughters as co-heirs. They were Katherine wife of Henry Earl of Northumberland, Dorothy wife of Thomas Cecil, Lucy wife of Sir William Cornwallis and Elizabeth wife of Sir John Danver, who in 1579 combined to make a settlement of this barony on Thomas Somerset and other trustees. (fn. 105) Various settlements of the barony were made by these co-heirs during the next ten years, the Bedfordshire property eventually passing to Dorothy wife of Thomas Cecil. (fn. 106) In 1603 Thomas Cecil, who had meanwhile succeeded his father as Lord Burghley, was admitted to act as almoner at the coronation of James I in right of his wife. (fn. 107) Two years later he was created Earl of Exeter. His wife died in 1608–9, (fn. 108) and he survived till 1622–3. He was followed by his son William, who died in 1640, when his various dignities and estates passed to David Cecil grandson of Thomas and nephew of William. (fn. 109) David Earl of Exeter was succeeded in 1643 by his son John, then aged fourteen years. Amongst the claims made at the coronation of Charles II his right as seised of the barony of Bedford to be almoner was accepted. The earl was absent at the coronation, Sir George Carteret acting as his proxy, and it was expressly agreed that the earl should not be prejudiced thereby. (fn. 110) He made a settlement of the barony by fine in 1670. (fn. 111) He died seven years later, and his son John, together with Thomas Snagge and Sir George Blundell as co-heirs of the Bedford barony, preferred a claim to the office of almoner at the coronation of James II, with the rights and privileges claimed by William de Beauchamp early in the 13th century—viz. the silver alms basin, the fine linen towel, the distribution of all the cloth spread on the ground on which their majesties walked and a tun of wine. The silver almsdish and cloth only were allowed, and the Earl of Exeter appointed pro bac vice. (fn. 112) He died in 1700, and the Earls of Exeter have ever since retained this interest, though they have long ceased to hold any property in the county. Brownlow Earl of Exeter, son of the last-mentioned earl, suffered a recovery of the barony in 1748. (fn. 113) In 1754 he was succeeded by his son Brownlow, whose duties at the coronation of George III are thus described: 'Two breadths of blue broad cloth are spread all along the middle of the Passage from the stone steps in the Hall to the Foot of the Steps in the Choir, ascending the Theatre, by order of the Lord Almoner for that day amounting in all to 1,220 yards which Cloth is strewed with nine baskets full of sweet herbs and flowers by the Strewer of Herbs in ordinary to his majesty assisted by six women, two to a basket, each basket containing two bushels.' (fn. 114) Henry Cecil, nephew of Brownlow Earl of Exeter, suffered a recovery of the barony in 1776 (fn. 115) and succeeded his uncle in 1793. (fn. 116) He was created Marquess of Exeter in 1801. At the coronation of George IV his son Brownlow acted as almoner, receiving the accustomed perquisites of silver alms basin and the cloth upon which the sovereign walked. (fn. 117) At subsequent coronations this office has not been exercised, as there has been no feast.


Nevil, Lord Latimer. Gules a saltire argent with a ring sable thereon.


Cecil, Earl of Exeter. Barry of ten pieces argent and azure six scutcheons sable with a lion argent upon each.

There now remains to be traced that third of the barony which passed to Ela de Beauchamp wife of Baldwin Lord Wake. She left three daughters and co-heirs, Ida, Elizabeth and Joan. Elizabeth, the second daughter in point of age, wife of John de Hoobury, (fn. 118) died without direct issue in 1315, when her ninth part reverted to the heirs of her sisters and no further individual reference has been found to it. (fn. 119) Ida eldest daughter of Ela married John de Steingrave. Her ninth of the barony included Keysoe Manor and lands in Wotton, Bromham, Lincelade and Houghton Conquest. (fn. 120) Her daughter and heir Isabel married first Simon de Patishull, and second Walter de Teye. By her first husband she had a son John de Patishull, who entered into possession of his mother's estates in 1324–5. (fn. 121) He was summoned to the King's Council as a baron in 1342, but this meeting is not considered technically as a Parliament. (fn. 122) His daughter Katherine, sister of William de Patishull, who eventually became one of her brother's co-heirs, married Robert de Tudenham, who died in 1361–2. (fn. 123) She survived her husband many years, dying in 1383 seised of rights in the court of the barony of Bedford, held every three weeks and worth nothing beyond reprises. (fn. 124) John de Tudenham her son died in 1392 seised of this fraction of Bedford barony. (fn. 125) His heir was his son Robert de Tudenham, then aged twenty-six and upwards. On his death in 1406 he was succeeded by a son, also Robert, then under age. (fn. 126) He died in 1418, his heir being his brother Thomas, (fn. 127) from whom this interest passed to his sister Margaret wife of Sir Edmund Bedingfield. She died in 1474, (fn. 128) this interest in the barony remaining in the Bedingfield family until 1540, (fn. 129) when Sir Edmund Bedingfield, kt., combined with other members of the same family to convey it by fine to John Gostwick and Joan his wife. (fn. 130) William Gostwick, son of the above, preferred a claim to the office of almoner at the coronation of James I, the solitary instance of the office being claimed in this line of descent, (fn. 131) and no further mention has been found of the Gostwicks asserting their right to the privileges attached to this portion of the barony, from which all the lands formerly attached had long been alienated. (fn. 132)

The ninth part of the barony of Bedford which passed to Joan third daughter of Ela follows the same descent as Cardington Manor (q.v.). Joan married first Michael Pigot, and second Ralph Paynel. By the former she had a son Baldwin, who predeceased her, and whose son John Pigot succeeded his grandmother in 1318. (fn. 133) The descent (which has been traced in detail under Cardington) may be briefly summarized as follows:— By the marriage of Dorothy granddaughter of John Pigot with James Gascoigne this property passed to the Gascoignes, by whom it was retained in the direct line till towards the close of the 16th century. (fn. 134) About that time John Gascoigne (fl. 1586) left two daughters, Dorothy wife of Sir Gerard Harvey, kt., of Thurleigh and Elizabeth wife of Sir George Blundell, (fn. 135) whose claim to 'one-third' of the barony was acknowledged in 1612. (fn. 136) In 1685 Sir George Blundell, kt., a descendant of Elizabeth, claimed to act as almoner at the coronation of James II, and though the Earl of Exeter was awarded the privilege, a special salvo jure was allowed to Sir George Blundell. (fn. 137) At the coronation of George IV in 1821 William Henry Whitbread claimed 'as being possessed of one-third of the Barony by conveyance from William Nailour Blundell to Samuel Whitbread, father of Petitioner.' (fn. 138) No further trace has been found of this last remaining part of the Bedford barony.

Footnotes

1 V.C.H. Beds. i, 281.
2 Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 759, where the office of almoner is described.
3 V.C.H. Beds. i, 199.
4 V.C.H. Bucks. i, 263. He held 20 hides in this county; V.C.H. Herts. i, 327, 344. He held 10 hides here.
5 a Cal. Doc. France, no. 919.
6 Chron. Abbat. Rames. (Rolls Ser.), 212.
7 Dugdale's version which makes Simon the elder and Payn the younger son of Hugh de Beauchamp is not compatible with documentary evidence and has been discarded.
8 Cart. Mon. de Rames. (Rolls Ser.), i, 83, 143. He attested as dapifer Stephen's great (Oxford) charter in the spring of 1136 (J. H. Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 171).
9 Hist. Eccl. Orderici Vitalis, 966. Mr. Round points out that he occurs on the Pipe Roll of 1130 in connexion with Beds. and Bucks.
10 Ibid.; Gesta Steph. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 30.
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid. iii, 73; iv, 134; Hoveden, Chron. (Rolls Ser.), i, 192; Matth. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 166; cf. also V.C.H. Beds. ii, 24.
13 V.C.H. Beds. ii, 25.
14 Chron. Steph. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 117.
15 Hunter, Great Roll of the Pipe, 22. Mr. Chambers (cf. political history) is inclined to surmise a second siege c. 1150.
16 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 445. The date of the grant is here given as 1180, an altogether impossible one.
17 Harl. MS. 3656; Rot. Cur. Reg. (Rec. Com.), ii, 252; J. H. Round, op. cit. 392–3.
18 Hunter, Great Roll of the Pipe, 22. The early descent of this feudal barony, which presents many complications, has been taken to be as follows:—

Descent of the barony of Beauchamp

19 Pipe R. 7 Hen. II (Pipe Roll Soc.), 123 he made return of his barony in 1166 as fifty-three knights' fees (Red Bk. of Exch. [Rolls Ser.], i, 319–22).
20 Cart. Mon. de Rames. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 48.
21 Rot. Cu. Reg. (Rec. Com.), i, 111; ii, 7, 12, 89, &c.
22 Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 538.
23 Matth. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 586; Ann. Loudoniens s (Rolls Ser.), i, 17.
24 Matth. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 638, &c.
25 Ibid.
26 V.C.H. Beds. ii, 350.
27 Matth. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 843.
28 Ibid.; Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 86.
29 Ibid. On the occasion of this aid those assessed were granted a special charter of immunity, so that it should not be considered a precedent (ibid.).
30 Royal Letters, Hen. III (Rolls Ser.), i, 129.
31 Rot. Lit. Clans. (Rec. Com.), i, passim.
32 Cal. Pat. 1216–25, p. 462, &c.
33 Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 632, 654.
34 The siege of Bedford has been described with more or less detail by many of the contemporary chroniclers, from whom this account has been derived; notably may be mentioned Matthew Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 84 et seq.; Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 86 (Dunstable); ii, 299 (Waverley); cf. also Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, passim, which for this year are full of the preparations for the siege, whilst those of the following year contain many entries relating to successions to the inheritance of those hanged at Bedford.
35 Royal and Historical Letters (Rolls Ser.), i, 236.
36 Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Edw. II, no. 67; Add. Chart. 657, &c.
37 Ibid.; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 4, &c.
38 Chan. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. ii, no. 10.
39 Ibid. 43 Edw. III, pt. ii (1st nos.), no. 7.
40 Ibid. 6 Ric. II, no. 58.
41 Ibid. 1 Hen. IV, pt. i, no. 71 d.
42 Add. Chart. 657.
43 Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii, App. i, 5.
44 Ibid. 7. This later inn was built on a changed site.
45 Add. MS. 9408, fol. 137; information supplied by the Duke of Bedford. At the coronation of George IV the Duke of Bedford counterclaimed the office of almoner as seised of the site of the castle. (Coronation Roll, Geo. IV.)
46 Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 756.
47 Cart. Mon. de Rames. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 352.
48 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 172.
49 Ibid.
50 Ibid.
51 Feet of F. Div. Co. 41 Hen. III, no. 332.
52 Cal. Pat. 1247–58, p. 553.
53 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 215.
54 Cf. Cal. Close, 1302–7, p. 265, where Maud, Beatrice and Ela are declared to be 'neptum' of Joan grand-daughter of William de Beauchamp. There is no definite evidence that Simon survived his father; the conveyance to William his younger brother in 1254 may point to his not having done so. His daughter Joan appears from the above entry to have had possession of his lands.
55 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 219; Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Hen. III, no. 13.
56 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv, 171, 174.
57 Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Edw. II, no. 67.
58 Ibid.
59 He was son of Roger, Maud's son by her first husband.
60 V.C.H. Beds, ii, 300.
61 Chan. Inq. p.m. 1 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 87; Cal. Close, 1327–30, p. 152.
62 Chan. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. ii (1st nos.), no. 10.
63 Ibid. 43 Edw. III, pt. ii (1st nos.), no. 7.
64 He had also acquired the title of Lord Segrave from his mother Elizabeth, suo jure Baroness Segrave.
65 Riley, Mun. Gildhall. Lond. ii, 471.
66 Chan. Inq. p.m. 6 Ric. II, no. 58.
67 Ibid. I Hen. IV, pt. i, no. 71a.
68 Ibid. 8 Hen. IV, no. 76.
69 Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 1 Hen. V.
70 Chan. Inq. p.m. 1 Edw. IV, no. 46.
71 Ibid. 17 Edw. IV, no. 58.
72 Parl. R. vi, 108b.
73 Ibid. 411.
74 V.C.H. Beds. ii, 340.
75 Parl. R. vi, 531; Pat. 3 Hen. VII, pt. i. In 1491 Maurice Berkely and Thomas Earl of Surrey both relinquished all claims they might have on the barony in favour of Sir Reginald Bray (Feet of F. Beds. 6 Hen. VII; De Banco 6 Hen. VII, m. 81).
76 Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 30 Hen. VIII. Cf. also Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lix, 105.
77 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxii, 25; G.E.C. Peerage, ii, II.
78 Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 11 Eliz.; in this fine messuages, lands and rents are said to extend into thirty-nine Bedfordshire villages and hamlets; Memo. R. Trin. 13 Eliz. m. 3.
79 a Dasent, Speakers of the House of Commons.
80 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxli, III.
81 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603–10, p. 24; Coronation Roll, Jas. I.
82 Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 50.
83 Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 18 Jas. I; Memo. R. Mich. 18 Jas. I, rot. 272.
84 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxxxiv, 107.
85 Ibid. ccccxcviii, 37; Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 141.
86 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxcviii, 37.
87 Sanford, Hist. of Coronation of Jas. 11 (1687), 131; Coronation Roll, Jas. II, no. 21.
88 a Coronation Roll, Will. and Mary, no. 26. Information supplied by His Honour Sir T. W. Snagge.
89 Cal. Inq. Edw. I, 370; Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Ric. II, no.52, &c.
90 Cal. Inq. Edw. I, 370.
91 V.C.H. Beds. ii, 203.
92 Ibid.; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 77.
93 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 302.
94 Riley, Mun. Gildhall. Lond. ii, 471.
95 Chan. Inq. p.m, 4 Ric. II, no. 35.
96 Ibid. 7 Ric. II, no. 52.
97 Ibid. 12 Ric. II, no. 40.
98 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, v, 23.
99 Feet of F. Div. Co. Trin. 6 Hen. V.
100 Chan. Inq. p.m. 9 Hen. VI, no. 24.
101 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, v, 25.
102 Chan. Inq. p.m. 9 & 10 Edw. IV, no. 28.
103 Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 15 Hen. VII; De Banco Trin. 15 Hen. VII.
104 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxix, 221. The fraction of the Bedford barony is here called one-fourth, but throughout this and succeeding centuries it is very loosely described, the fraction being at times omitted.
105 Feet of F. Div. Co. Trin. 21 Eliz.; Recov. R. Mich. 21 Eliz. Richard Nevill, heir male but not heir general, is here called to vouch.
106 Pat. 22 Eliz. pt. xxii, m. 12; Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 31 Eliz. There seems to have been considerable litigation, for about this time Sir Thomas Cecil is found bringing an action in the Court of Requests against Robert Johnson. The latter, steward of the barony for many years, had in his possession many Court Rolls and rentals relating to the property. These he was accused of cutting and defacing, and even giving away. He was now no longer steward, and Thomas Cecil claimed that he might be compelled to state on oath by whose orders he had cut and defaced the documents, whose injury involved much present and future loss to the plaintiff (Ct. of Req. bdle. 33, no. 77).
107 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603–10, p. 24.
108 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 299, gives 1608 as the date, quoting from a monumental inscription; but both she and her husband conveyed the barony by fine in Hil. 6 Jas. I, i.e. 1608–9 (Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 6 Jas. I).
109 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), Misc. dxxxvii, 8; dxxiv, 4.
110 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1660–1, p. 585.
111 Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 22 Chas. II; Recov. R. East. 22 Chas. II, rot. 25. This settlement was probably on the occasion of his marriage with May widow of Francis Palmer, which took place at this date.
112 Sanford, Hist. of Coronation of Jas. II (1687), 131.
113 Recov. R. Trin. 21 & 22 Geo. II, rot. 155.
114 Account of Coronation of Geo. III (1–61).
115 Recov. R. East. 16 Geo. III.
116 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 300.
117 Blythe, Hist. of Bedford (1873), p. 19.
118 A farm of this name still exists in the north of St. Paul's parish.
119 Chan. Inq. p.m. 8 Edw. II, no. 5.
120 Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i, 182.
121 Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i, 182.
122 He is amerced as a baron in the Quo Warranto Rolls (Plac. de Quo Wan. [Rec. Com.], 58).
123 Chan. Inq. p.m. 33 Edw. III, no. 40; 35 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 71.
124 Ibid. 7 Ric. II, no. 77.
125 Ibid. 16 Ric. II, pt. i, no. 30.
126 Ibid. 7 Hen. IV, no. 18.
127 Ibid. 5 Hen. V, no. 42.
128 Ibid. 15 Edw. IV, no. 38.
129 Ibid. (Ser. 2), xii, 103; Feet of F. Beds. East. 20 Hen. VIII; Harl. Soc. Publ. xxx, 28.
130 Feet of F. Beds. Mich. 31 Hen. VIII. It is here described as 'one-half' of the barony of Bedford.
131 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603–10, p. 24.
132 Cf. history of Keysoe and other parishes in which the co-heirs of Ela inherited. It is believed that the family of Gostwick is extinct. The name 'Gostick' occurs in a list of Bedford tradesmen in Kelly's Directory, 1910.
133 Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. II, no. 33.
134 Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 173.
135 Ibid. 161.
136 Memo. R. East. 9 Jas. I, rot. 218.
137 Sanford, Hist. of Coronation of Jas. II (1687), 13.
138 a Coronation Roll, Geo. IV. Information supplied by His Honour Sir T. W. Snagge.