A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Farndish is a small village comprising about 672 acres, of which 375 acres are arable land and 177 permanent grass, (fn. 1) situated 14 miles north-west from Bedford. The land is chiefly arable, the soil is loam, gravel and clay, the subsoil limestone, ironstone and gravel.
The principal road, which is also the county boundary between Bedfordshire and Northants, is in the west of the parish; a branch of it running from north-west to south-east of the parish passes through Farndish village. The parish church of St. Michael is in the north of the village, where a branch road runs past the church to Rectory Farm in the south. Manor Farm is in the south-east.
The parish of Farndish, up to the 19th century, is mentioned in documents as both in Bedfordshire and Northants. The Domesday Survey gives it under both counties, whilst the Inclosure Act of 1800 states it to be 'in the counties of Bedfordshire and Northants or in one of them.' (fn. 2) Before this inclosure the lands in the open fields and others were so intermixed that in crossing a furling parts of the two counties would be traversed several times. (fn. 3) Since 1884 Farndish has been attached to Podington for civil purposes by Local Government Order.
The Inclosure Award of 1800 made an allotment to the rector in lieu of tithes, and also exonerated him from keeping a bull or a boar for the use of the parish. (fn. 4)
About 1828 Anglo-Saxon remains, including amber beads and a skeleton, were found in this parish. (fn. 5)
Three mentions of estates in Farndish occur in Domesday, two under Bedfordshire and one under Northamptonshire. The hide held by Henry son of Azor eventually became a small manor, and will be found treated of below, whilst no further mention has been found of the 3 virgates held by William Peverel, which should have passed to the honour of Peverel of Nottingham. (fn. 6) The origin of the principal FARNDISH MANOR is to be sought in the 2 hides held here in 1086 by a certain William who has not been further identified. (fn. 7) Farndish Manor was attached to the barony of Warden (q.v.), the first mention of the overlordship occurring in the Testa. (fn. 8) The mesne lords at first owed service to the Toni family as of this barony, (fn. 9) but from 1345 are declared to hold of the heirs of John Bowels of Warden. (fn. 10) The last mention of the overlordship occurs in an inquisition taken in 1532, when Farndish Manor was held of John Warden as heir of John Bowels. (fn. 11)
A family of de la Huse appear to have been tenants of this manor from the early part of the 13th century. The first member of whom mention has been found is Thomas de la Huse, who at the time of the Testa held half a knight's fee here and in Hinwick. (fn. 12) By 1278 he had been succeeded by Geoffrey de la Huse, who held 3 hides of land in Farndish at that date. (fn. 13) He was still holding in 1287–8, (fn. 14) between which date and 1302 the estate passed to Henry de Tichmarsh, who then held in Farndish by knight's service. (fn. 15) Two years later Henry de Tichmarsh and Isabel his wife settled Farndish on themselves for their lives with remainder to John de Pabenham and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 16) Henry de Tichmarsh held 'half the vill' of Farndish as late as 1316, (fn. 17) but the manor subsequently passed to the Pabenhams, and followed the same descent as Pavenham Manor (fn. 18) (q.v.), passing from the Pabenham family to that of Tyringham. After the death of Sir Thomas Tyringham in 1637–8 (fn. 19) Farndish appears to have been alienated, and in 1653 was the property of Thomas Dudley and Elizabeth his wife, who in that year conveyed it to Samuel Collins. (fn. 20) By 1703–4 this manor had become divided into moieties, half of it being the property of Edward and Anne Halford, William and Anne Hayter and Benjamin and Margaret Poole, who in 1703–4 and again in 1719 conveyed this portion to trustees. (fn. 21) After this date no further mention of this moiety has been found, unless it is to be identified with the land which Robert Alderman, Henry Hensman (in right of Martha his wife) and John Clarke held in Farndish at the inclosure of the parish in 1800. (fn. 22) The Clarkes retained property in the parish until c. 1888, when the representative of the family, Miss Clarke, sold their land in Farndish, then consisting of a small farm with farmhouse attached, to Mr. Watts, by whose trustees it has been recently sold. (fn. 23)
The other moiety was in 1706 the property of Thomas Maidwell of Gretton in Northants. (fn. 24) He was succeeded in 1720 by his son Cutts Maidwell. (fn. 25) Lysons, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, says it passed some time during the 18th century from the Maidwells to the Lockwoods by marriage. (fn. 26) They assumed the name of Maidwell, and William Lockwood Maidwell is described as a landowner here in 1800 (fn. 27); but all subsequent trace of the manor has disappeared.
Henry son of Azor owned 1 hide of land in Farndish at the Survey of 1086, which never appears to have attained the status of a manor, though occasionally so-called in the 16th century. This hide was held by Ralph Basset by serjeanty of a small hound (possibly a Basset hound) in the 13th century, (fn. 28) but in 1379, when the last mention of such due is found, it had been commuted for 5s. 10d. paid yearly to the sheriff. (fn. 29)
Two sokemen held this land of Henry at the time of the Domesday Survey, and by 1194 it had passed to William Hatecrist, who at this date paid 12s. 6d. to the sheriff for 1 hide in Farndish. (fn. 30) Between 1204 and 1207 William Hatecrist was engaged in litigation with Adam son of Mary, who claimed this land as having been held by Reginald his father and Mary his mother in the reign of Henry II. (fn. 31) William Hatecrist appears to have established his claim, for an early entry in the Testa declared him to hold by serjeanty in Farndish. (fn. 32) This land next passed to Ralph Basset, who held here by knight service previous to 1284–6. (fn. 33) The Basset family continued to hold for the next sixty years, though documentary evidence is scanty, and it has not been found possible to find to what branch of this family they belonged. In 1344 William Botevilein and Juliana his wife received pardon for acquiring four messuages and 2 virgates of land from Robert Basset without licence, (fn. 34) and this land henceforward follows the same descent as Boltvileyns Manor in Hinwick (q.v.), but no mention of it has been found later than 1555. (fn. 35)
The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS consists of a small nave and chancel with a west tower. The plan is of c. 1180 with a small tower built inside the west end of the nave in the 15th century, and windows inserted in the old walls at various periods.
The church, which is built of rough rubble, is very small, and the chancel has a 15th-century window at the east end of three trefoiled lights; there are no windows on the north side, but in the south wall is a square-headed 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights. The chancel arch is pointed, of two square orders.
The nave has on the north side a window of two lights with 14th-century tracery, and a pointed 12thcentury doorway, now blocked, with a plain arch and small double-chamfered label resting on a rude abacus and square jambs. On the south side is a pointed 12th-century doorway of three recessed orders resting each side on three shafts with foliate capitals; to the east is a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights, and to the west is an ogeeheaded 14th-century window with a label terminating in a carved finial, and two cinquefoiled lights with tracery.
The tower is built inside the nave, and its east wall, which has an arch of two chamfered orders, divides the window last described. The parapet is plain and the belfry windows are trefoil-headed, the lower west window being pointed and consisting of two lights with early 15th-century tracery.
The first book of registers has been badly damaged by damp and a great part is illegible, but it contains the baptisms, burials and marriages 1587 to about 1667. The second book contains all those between 1671 and 1734, and the third book continues them to 1812.
Until the 17th century the right of presentation to Farndish Church belonged to the lord of the principal manor in Farndish (q.v.). The first mention of the church has been found in 1278–9, when Godfrey de la Huse had the advowson. (fn. 36) Farndish Church was valued at £5 in 1291, (fn. 37) which value at the Dissolution had increased to £10 10s. 6d. (fn. 38) Its history diverges from that of the manor after the death of Sir Thomas Tyringham in 1637–8. (fn. 39) In the following year John Digby Clerke and Elizabeth his wife alienated their share in the advowson to Humphrey Vivian, (fn. 40) a connexion of whom, Christopher Vivian, presented in 1671. (fn. 41) The bishop of the diocese presented by lapse in 1724 and again in 1726, (fn. 42) and by 1784 the advowson had passed to Charles Chester, (fn. 43) in whose family it has since remained, the right of presentation at the present day being vested in trustees of Mr. H. M. Chester. (fn. 44)
Previous to the Dissolution there was a drinking (or church-ale) on Rogation Monday in Farndish which was endowed with the rent of a tenement valued at 20d., whilst the farm of a cottage, bringing in 2s. yearly, went towards the maintenance of a lamp in the parish church. (fn. 45)