A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Tingrith has an area of 1,120 acres, of which 296½ acres are arable land and 443 permanent grass. (fn. 1) The slope of the ground is irregular, and varies from 266 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north to 369 ft. in the south. The soil is marl, clay and sand, the subsoil gravel; sand-pits have been worked in the south-west of the parish. The principal crops produced are wheat, barley, oats, beans and peas.
Tingrith is very scantily supplied with water from a feeder of the Ivel in the north-east of the parish. There is a considerable amount of woodland, averaging 170 acres. (fn. 2) Washers Wood and Daintry Wood (which perpetuates the name of the Daventries, 13th-century lords of Tingrith Manor) are in the south-west and Hills Plantation in the north.
The main road enters the parish from Flitwick and Eversholt in the north, and, passing Home Farm on the west, skirts the eastern boundary of the Tingrith estate. The manor-house, at present the residence of Captain Trevor-Battye, is a modern building standing in a park of 120 acres, with two large ornamental fish-ponds. About midway through the parish the road turns to the south-west, passing through the village of Tingrith.
As the road enters the village the Manor Farm, an early 19th-century building, is situated on the south, whilst beyond on the same side is the Swan Inn, with the village school opposite. West of the schools, standing on high ground off the main road, are St. Nicholas Church and the entrance to Tingrith Manor. Passing the rectory, a red-brick Queen Anne building, on the south, the road leaves the village, when it divides into two branches, one going due south to Toddington, the second running west and merging into a footpath leading to the Castle Farm, an 18th-century brick building.
Abraham Hartwell, who was rector of Tingrith in 1572, is the author of a curious work entitled 'Pigga fetta (Phil.), Reporte of the Kingdom of Congo, a Region of Africa,' which claimed to prove that 'the blacke colour which is in the skinnes of the negroes, proceedeth not from the Sunne.' (fn. 3)
Mr. Witton, a later rector, was an ardent Royalist, and was sequestered in 1646 to give place to 'some orthodox and godly divine,' because it was proved that he had published royal proclamations in his church, but had refused to recognize parliamentary ones, and had declared the Earl of Essex and all his adherents traitors. (fn. 4)
The only mention which occurs of Tingrith at Domesday is under the lands of Nigel de Albini, of whom TINGRITH MANOR, assessed at 2 hides 1 virgate, was held by Turgis, who had been preceded by two thegns of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 5) Subsequently two manors are found in this parish attached to the Cainhoe barony, one of which, sometimes called DIXWELLS MANOR, follows the same descent as Wrest Manor (q.v.) in the family of de Grey. It is enumerated among those manors which in 1509 Richard de Grey Earl of Kent sold to Henry VII, (fn. 6) and which the following year were granted back to him. (fn. 7)
It eventually became Crown property c. 1525, (fn. 8) and so remained until 1554, when Tingrith Manor was granted by Queen Mary to George Bredyman for twenty-one years. (fn. 9) Two years later he received a grant in fee on the occasion of his marriage with Edith Brocas, one of the queen's chamberwomen. (fn. 10) He died seised in 1580, when Tingrith passed to his son Edmund, who made a settlement of the manor in 1592, (fn. 11) and by a series of settlements between the years 1598 and 1600 finally alienated Tingrith to Robert Hodgson. (fn. 12) The latter, by a will made in May 1622, bequeathed the manor to William Ashton in consideration of a sum of money owing to him. The day after making this will he borrowed money from Thomas Roupe and Leonard Welstead, granting them the manor as security. (fn. 13) He died the same year, and these three creditors in 1629 made a settlement of Tingrith Manor, which eventually passed to William Ashton. (fn. 14) Robert Ashton held the manor in 1651 and 1654, (fn. 15) which later passed to Sir John Buck, bart., on his marriage with Mary Ashton, described as daughter and heir of William Ashton. (fn. 16) Their son, Sir William Buck, bart., together with Frances his wife, made a settlement of the manor in 1697. (fn. 17) He died in 1717, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Charles Buck, who in 1720 suffered a recovery of the manor, (fn. 18) and four years later conveyed it to Ambrose Reddall. (fn. 19) One of the same name still held in 1762, (fn. 20) after which date no further trace has been found of this property.
A second TINGRITH MANOR was also attached to the barony of Cainhoe, (fn. 21) and was so held by the Pinkneys before the 13th century. When the manor passed from the Pinkneys by marriage (see below) they retained an intermediary lordship, and Tingrith is subsequently described as held of them and they as holding of the barony of Cainhoe. (fn. 22) Tingrith was attached to Datchet Manor (co. Bucks.), of which Henry de Pinkney died seised in 1256. (fn. 23) Datchet passed later to the Moleyns, and Tingrith is declared to be held of Lord Moleyns as of the manor of Datchet in 1508, 1562 and 1614. (fn. 24)
The history of the overlordship, drawn from documents as quoted above, confirms the statement made by Baker that Tingrith Manor originally belonged to the Pinkneys, and was granted by Robert de Pinkney c. 1231 to Walter son of Simon on the occasion of the latter's marriage to his daughter Isabella de Pinkney. (fn. 25) Walter son of Simon, called de Daventry from his principal seat, held by knight service in Tingrith about this date, (fn. 26) and was succeeded before 1255 by his son Robert son of Walter. (fn. 27) He obtained a grant of free warren in his manor in 1272 (fn. 28) and was holding as late as 1301–2, (fn. 29) about which time he died, for his son Walter son of Robert was returned in the feudal assessment of 1302–3. (fn. 30) He died in 1328, leaving a son Thomas, (fn. 31) who held here in 1346. (fn. 32) He died c. 1361, leaving a son Thomas and two daughters Joan and Matilda. (fn. 33)
Thomas died before 1387, and his two sisters became his co-heirs, the manor being divided into moieties, of which that of Joan will be treated later. Matilda married Thomas Curtis, and in 1387 recognized the right of Joan to a moiety of Tingrith Manor, charged with 10 marks yearly rent to herself and her heirs. (fn. 34) In 1409–10 Alice wife of Edward Courtney is mentioned as having a life interest in the manor, (fn. 35) but it has not been found possible to ascertain her relationship to Matilda and Thomas Curtis, (fn. 36) nor has it been possible to trace the descent of the manor during the remainder of the century. It reappears in 1489 as the property of John Broughton, (fn. 37) whose son Sir Robert Broughton, kt., died seised in 1508. (fn. 38) He also held Toddington Manor (q.v.), with which its history is identical for some time. Like that manor it passed to Sir Thomas Cheney in 1540 on his marriage with Anne Broughton, sister and co-heir of John Broughton. (fn. 39) It remained with the Cheneys, whose family later acquired the earldom of Cleveland, until the latter half of the 17th century, when they appear to have alienated Tingrith Manor to the Chernocks of Holcot. In 1708–9 Sir Pynsent Chernock, bart., who had involved himself in great expense in contesting county elections with the Russell family, made a settlement of this manor preparatory to a sale to David Willaume. (fn. 40) From him it passed to his eldest son Edward Willaume, whose second son Charles Dymock Willaume held the manor in 1801. (fn. 41) Between this date and 1820 it was sold by his brother John to Robert Trevor, (fn. 42) who died in 1834, leaving his property to be divided among his three daughters, Mary, who died unmarried in 1883, Elizabeth, who died in 1866, and Catherine in 1871. By the will of Mary her moiety of the manor passed to her kinsman William Wilberforce Battye, and in 1891, in compliance with a further clause of the will, the remaining moiety was purchased, and thus included in one ownership. Mr. Battye's widow assumed the name of Trevor in addition to that of Battye by royal licence in 1890, and their son Captain C. E. Trevor-Battye is the present lord of the manor. (fn. 43)
The moiety of the manor which Joan, co-heir of Thomas de Daventry, inherited from her brother became known as WALWEYNS MANOR, but there is very little to be found as to its subsequent history. Joan was the wife of Philip Walweyn when in 1387 she acknowledged a very heavy rent-charge payable to her sister from her moiety of the manor. (fn. 44) The following year they placed their property in the hands of trustees. (fn. 45) Philip predeceased his wife, who in 1409–10, then the wife of Thomas Beaumont, recognized the right of Alice Courtney to a moiety of Tingrith Manor. (fn. 46) In 1422–3 Ralph Dusburgh and Matilda his wife quitclaimed to Sir John Cornwall (fn. 47) a manor in Tingrith, but whether it was this one is uncertain. In 1443–4 Sir John Cornwall was declared to have held a manor in this parish 'not held of the king but of one Nicholas Borus,' (fn. 48) and in the same year Nicholas Ashton, serjeant-at-law, devised this and other manors of Sir John Cornwall to the Bishop of Lincoln and other trustees. (fn. 49)
The manor reappears in 1504, when, called Walweyns, it was the property of Sir Thomas Rotherham, kt., of Luton. (fn. 50) It must have diminished considerably in importance, for no further trace of it as a manor has been found, though it is possible that the lands and tenements in Tingrith which Alexander Kirke in 1528 and William his son in 1538 (fn. 51) held of Thomas Rotherham may represent part of the original property.
The Knights Templars claimed view of frankpledge extending into Tingrith in the 13th century, when Peter de Tingrith was their tenant. (fn. 52) Their interest subsequently passed to the Knights Hospitallers, (fn. 53) of whom William Inge held in this parish in 1322 by fealty and the rent of one clove gillyflower. (fn. 54) At the Dissolution Sir Richard Long received a grant of Shingay Preceptory, to which this view was attached, (fn. 55) and mention is found of appurtenances in Tingrith attached to the larger property as late as 1689, when it was owned by Sir Edward Russell, kt. (fn. 56)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of a chancel 18 ft. 9 in. by 16 ft., a north vestry, nave 36 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft. 9 in., north and south aisles 7 ft. wide, and a west tower 9 ft. 9 in. by 11 ft. 2 in., internal measurements.
The whole of the church was rebuilt in the latter half of the 15th century, the angles of the chancel being stiffened by hexagonal turrets. The windows of the chancel have cinquefoiled lights and perpendicular tracery under four-centred arches with labels and head stops, there being on the north and south sides one of two lights and another of three lights, and in the east wall a four-light window; all the mullions and tracery are modern and the jambs and heads covered with cement. In the north wall of the chancel is a small cinquefoiled opening blocked by a buttress. The inside of the chancel is faced with modern ashlar, and on each side of the east window is a niche and beneath it a square locker; the piscina, south doorway and north vestry are also modern. The roof is of simple 15th-century character, also modern. The chancel arch is pointed in two chamfered orders, with half-octagonal moulded capitals.
The nave has north and south arcades of three bays, with inner hollow-chamfered and outer double-ogee moulded orders springing from shafts composed on plan of four rounds separated by a hollow chamfer and having 15th-century capitals and bases. Over each bay is a clearstory window of three cinquefoiled lights and perpendicular tracery under depressed four-centred heads. The nave roof is modern, of 15th-century style, and of low pitch, divided into three bays with moulded timbers having fine bosses and angels supporting the secondary rafters; the principals are braced and rest on stone corbels.
The north aisle has two three-light windows in the north wall, the west window being modern, and the east window is of two cinquefoiled lights. The north door is pointed in two hollow-chamfered orders, and has a low massive buttress on each side. There is a plain piscina, of which the basin has disappeared. In the north-east angle is an image corbel carved with two eagles supporting a shield, and to the south of the east window is a small moulded bracket. The roof is of 15th-century style, with angel corbels of wood supporting each principal and carved bosses.
The windows and roof of the south aisle are of a similar type to those in the north, and the doorway is moulded with a square head and pointed sub-arch, the spandrels being carved with foliage. To the north of the east window is an image corbel carved with an angel, and in the south-east angle is a canopied niche with a ribbed vault and a bracket resting on a grotesque head corbel. The porch is embattled, and the doorway, which is faced with cement, is moulded and pointed; on the east and west sides are windows of three cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head and label.
The tower is built of large coursed rubble with an embattled parapet, moulded plinth and diagonal buttresses ending below the belfry stage; at the north-east angle is an octagonal stair turret. The west doorway is like the south doorway, and the west window of three lights like those in the chancel. The belfry windows each consist of two cinquefoiled lights under a pointed head and label.
In the north wall of the chancel is a small brass effigy and inscription to Robert Hogeson, sometime lord of the manor, who died 1611; arms, Gules, three scimitars or. In the floor is a slab inscribed to William Mole, who married Anne the second daughter of Sir William Boteler, and died in 1656; arms, Two bars with three roundels in chief and a trefoil in fesse point; impaling a fesse checky between six crosses. There is also another stone in the floor to Joanna wife of Alexander Read, 1629.
The right of presentation to Tingrith Church appears to have been attached to the manor held in this parish of Lord Moleyns. The Abbess of Elstow claimed the advowson in the early part of the 13th century, (fn. 57) but did not succeed in substantiating her title, and in 1320 the lord of Tingrith Manor exercised the patronage of the church, (fn. 58) which follows the same descent as the manor till 1642. At this date it was alienated by the Earl of Cleveland to William Ashton, (fn. 59) lord of Dixwells Manor in the same parish, with which manor it descended until 1724, when Sir Charles Buck presented. (fn. 60) Between this date and 1742 it was transferred to David Willaume, (fn. 61) and has since followed the descent of Tingrith Manor (q.v.). The living, which is a rectory, was worth £9 at the Dissolution. (fn. 62)
A light in the church was endowed with land of the yearly value of 10d., and the stock of money in hand for both these endowments was declared to be 9s. 4d. (fn. 63)
In 1725 Thomas Deacon by will charged a cottage in Dennell End, parish of Flitwick, with 5s. a year for ever for bread for the poor, and in 1730 Mrs. Dorothy Astry gave for poor widows the profits of 2 acres of open-field land in Cranfield Mead, which produces £2 10s. a year. The two charities are administered together, the income being distributed amongst widows and old men.