Parishes: Dunton with Millo

Pages 218-222

A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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In this section


Daintone (xi cent.); Dontone (xiv cent.); Dounton, Donton (xv cent.); Melnho, Milneho (xi–xviii cent.).

The parish of Dunton covers 2,649½ acres, and is bounded on the south-east by Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, from which it is separated by the River Rhee. The slope of the land is to the north-east; the highest point attained is 183 ft., the lowest 104 ft. above the ordnance datum. Of the acreage, 1,854½ is arable land, 263¼ permanent grass, and 2 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is greensand and strong clay, the subsoil clay. No railway line passes through the parish, the nearest station being Biggleswade, 3 miles off on the Great Northern Railway. The parish, which includes Dunton village and Millo and Newton hamlets, is traversed by two main roads, one in the west of the parish, running from north to south, the second crossing the other, running from east to west through the centre of the parish.

The village and hamlets are in the western and central districts, the remainder is devoted to agriculture. The road from Edworth, which enters Dunton from the south, is marked at first by a sharp rise in the ground, which shortly after begins to slope gradually downward, and continues to do so until it reaches the parish boundary. Some distance off the road on the east lies Millowbury Farm, and a little further on the entrance to the hamlet of Millo is marked by the old Gravel Pits, beyond which lies Millowbury. At Millow Hall Farm, still on the same side of the road, a branch road leads down to Dunton Lodge in the south-east of the parish. The road, leaving Millo behind on the west, passes the point of intersection with that leading to Dunton, and approaches the hamlet of Newton, whence a footpath leads northward to Newton Bury. The road from Eyworth on the north-east leads down into the small village of Dunton, which is near the centre of the parish. The church, standing a little back, is in the middle of the village, and the rectory lies on the opposite side on the outskirts of the village, where the road—hitherto running south—takes a turn due west. A footpath approaches Middlesex Farm, and shortly after the road crosses that running north, and passes to the western boundary of the parish. This parish was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1797. (fn. 2)


At the time of the Domesday Survey, Richard Pungiant held in Dunton 8 hides and I virgate of the king in chief. This manor, part of which became later known as DUNTON CHAMBERLAIN or NEWTONBURY, had formerly belonged to Archbishop Stigand. (fn. 3) In 1200 the king granted the overlordship of this manor to William Brewer, (fn. 4) but after his death in 1227, (fn. 5) it reverted to the crown, of whom it was henceforth held by the service of one-tenth of a knight's fee. (fn. 6)

No trace of the descent of this manor can be found during the next hundred years, but the Chamberlains, from whom the manor derived its distinctive name, appear to have acquired it some time in the twelfth century, for in 1210 William Brewer acquired the wardship of Geoffrey Chamberlain, who held 2 carucates of land in Dunton, (fn. 7) and whose father Robert had already preceded him in Dunton. (fn. 8) In 1284 Hugh, probably a grandson of the above Robert, held the manor, (fn. 9) and was succeeded by Robert Chamberlain, (fn. 10) who in 1307 alienated the manor, under licence from the crown, to Richard de Grymstede, retaining only a life interest for himself. (fn. 11) Richard was probably followed by Thomas de Grymstede, who at his death in 1328 was seised of the manor. (fn. 12) He left a son John, aged two, who only survived his father a few months, and the manor passed to Katherine sister of Thomas Grymstede. (fn. 13) Katherine was married twice, first to Ralph de Boklond, who died in 1332, (fn. 14) and secondly to John Avenel. She died in 1334, leaving a daughter Mary by her second husband, (fn. 15) and the latter was holding the manor for her in 1346. (fn. 16) Mary married Warin de Bassingbourne, and was holding the manor in 1367. (fn. 17)

Between this date and 1403 the manor passed to Ivo de Harleston, who held it at his death in that year, though the method of the transference has not been discovered. (fn. 18) He left a son John, who was an infant. (fn. 19)

Another gap here occurs in the descent of this manor, which next appears in the possession of John Manyngham, who in 1474 was attainted and his lands granted by Edward IV to his wife's kinsman Anthony Grey. (fn. 20) The attainder was, however, almost immediately reversed and the manor restored; and two years later the manor was alienated by fine to Thomas Rotherham, archbishop of Canterbury, (fn. 21) who granted it for a term of years to the prior of Huntingdon, with reversion in fee to Thomas son of John Rotherham, the archbishop's brother. (fn. 22) Thomas Rotherham at his death left a son Thomas, who in 1535 alienated the manor to John Gostwick, (fn. 23) on the death of whose son William in 1546 the manor passed to his uncle William Gostwick. (fn. 24) His son John died in 1581 holding this manor, (fn. 25) and left a son William, who in 1587 transferred the manor by fine to John Burgoyne. (fn. 26)

Dunton Church, East End

In 1593, on the marriage of a kinsman, Bartholomew Chishull, John Burgoyne settled 'the manor or farm' of Chamberlains Bury on the former, who, dying in 1619, was succeeded by a son John Chishull, and he transferred the manor to Nicholas Franklin in 1638. (fn. 27) The Franklins appear to have retained this manor for some time; John Franklin was in possession in 1759, (fn. 28) but between that date and 1797 it had become the property of Earl Spencer, to whom Dunton Goyes (q.v.) at this time belonged, and the manors have since followed the same descent. (fn. 29)

Rotherham. Vert three running harts or.

Gostwick. Argent a bend gules cotised sable between six Cornish choughs.

An estate which the family of Goyes held in the early thirteenth century became known two centuries later as DUNTON GOYES manor, though it does not appear ever to have attained the status of a manor.

The family of Goyes was certainly holding land in Dunton from the early part of the thirteenth century onwards. In 1227 Andrew le Goyes alienated land in Dunton to John le Goyes, (fn. 30) and in the charters of the Chamberlains to Holwell Priory the names of members of this family recur as witnesses. (fn. 31) In 1385 Thomas de Senhous, as heir of Thomas le Goyes, granted to John de Fourneys his lands in Dunton. (fn. 32) This estate next appears in 1474, when, together with the manor of Dunton Chamberlain, it was the property of Sir John Manyngham, (fn. 33) and until they were alienated to John Burgoyne in 1587 the descent of these two properties is the same. (fn. 34) John Burgoyne held Dunton Goyes for a few years only, and in 1598 alienated it, together with the advowson of Dunton church, to Robert Spencer. (fn. 35) He was created baron Wormleighton in 1603, and died in 1627, (fn. 36) when his son William succeeded to the manor. (fn. 37) In 1662 Robert Spencer, grandson of William and second earl of Sunderland, held Dunton Goyes. (fn. 38) His son Charles, who died in 1722, left the property to a younger son John, who was created Earl Spencer in 1765, and it remained in the direct line in this family (fn. 39) until 1812. It appears later as the property of Earl Brownlow, who held it in 1869, and since 1877 has belonged to the Rev. John Richardson.

Spencer, Earl Spencer. Argent quartered with gules fretty or over all a bend sable with three scallops argent thereon.

The manor of MILLO formed part of the original endowment of Waltham Abbey, founded by Harold son of Earl Godwin, and is mentioned in the confirmation charter of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 40) It was seized by William the Conqueror together with other lands of the abbey, and granted by him to the bishop of Durham, who held this manor at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 41) It is not clear whether it had come into the Conqueror's hands by exchange or violence, but it was subsequently recovered by Waltham Abbey, (fn. 42) and is mentioned as part of the endowment (fn. 43) in the charter of confirmation of Henry II. The abbot claimed view of frankpledge and free warren in Millo manor in 1311, (fn. 44) and it continued in his possession down to the Reformation. In 1541 the king sold the manor for £305 10s. to John Burgoyne, (fn. 45) who on his death in the following year left it to his son Thomas, (fn. 46) who died in 1550 leaving a son John to inherit. (fn. 47) He alienated Millo in 1599 to Robert Spencer, (fn. 48) together with the manor of Dunton Goyes (q.v.), and the history of the two manors henceforth coincides.

Waltham Abbey. Argent a cross engrailed sable and thereon five crosslets fitchy or.

Walter Giffard possessed 5 hides at the time of the Survey, which constituted a second MILLO MANOR. (fn. 49) This manor reappears later as the knight's fee which Walter Marshal earl of Pembroke held in Millo. (fn. 50) On the death of Walter without male heirs this fee passed to his sister Maud, and through her, as in the case of a moiety of the Edworth overlordship (q.v.) to the earls of Norfolk. (fn. 51)

Ralph de Langetot held this manor of Walter Giffard at the Survey, but no further trace of tenants has been found until the fifteenth century, when the family of Enderby are found holding. In 1474 Maud Bothe, widow of John Enderby, died seised of a messuage and land in Millo held of this overlordship. (fn. 52) The inquisition held at the death of her grandson John Enderby in 1509 states that he died seised of the manor of Millo held in a similar way. (fn. 53)

Francis Pygott, who married his daughter Eleanor Enderby, transferred the manor in 1544 to John Poley, (fn. 54) who held it till his death in 1559, when he left a son Francis as heir. (fn. 55) One further mention of this manor has been found in 1591, when Michael Fynderne and Alice his wife alienated it by fine to George Smith, (fn. 56) after which all further trace of it is lost.

The priory of Holywell (co. Midd.) owned DUNTON MANOR, the fifth in this parish, which originated in various grants of land there to the priory, of which the earliest was that of Roger de Brahi in 1181. (fn. 57) Geoffrey Chamberlain and William his brother both gave half a virgate of land to the priory in the early thirteenth century, (fn. 58) and these grants were confirmed in 1235. (fn. 59) In the fourteenth century the prioress successfully claimed view of frankpledge twice yearly in Dunton, (fn. 60) and at the Dissolution the manor, which was valued at £13 6s. 8d., (fn. 61) lapsed to the crown, and was granted in 1579 to Edward Downing and John Walker, but no further trace of it has been found. (fn. 62)

Plan of Dunton Church

At the time of the Domesday Survey Ralph de Langetot also held 1 hide of Walter Giffard in Dunton, (fn. 63) and this probably became absorbed in his larger manor of Millo in the same parish.

In the confirmation charter to the monastery of Warden by Richard I mention is made of a grange in Dunton. (fn. 64) At the Dissolution it was valued at 50s., (fn. 65) and in 1540 was granted to John Gostwick, (fn. 66) who held the manor of Dunton Chamberlain, in which it is henceforth included.


The church of OUR LADY is a fine building of fourteenth and fifteenth-century date, with no remains of earlier work. Its chancel, measuring 37 ft. by 18 ft., belongs to the middle of the fourteenth century, and has a marked deviation to the south; at its north-east angle is a modern vestry. The nave, 50 ft. by 21 ft., has a north aisle of fifteenth-century date, 10 ft. 9 in. wide, and a south aisle c. 1330, 14 ft. wide, with a contemporary south porch to which an upper story has been added in the fifteenth century. The west tower has been entirely rebuilt in modern times except for its fourteenth-century eastern arch. The roofs are of low pitch, with plain parapets, only that of the clearstory being embattled, and the walls are of rubble masonry of flints and freestone, with wrought stone dressings, much renewed in places. In the chancel the window tracery in both windows on the north side, and in one on the south, is entirely new, with leaf tracery of fourteenth-century design, each window being of two lights. In the east window the tracery is old, the mullions alone being modern; it is a very fine example of mid-fourteenth-century work, of five trefoiled lights with net tracery over, and vertical lines in the upper part of the head which show the impending transition to the straight-lined openings of the succeeding style. The chancel has a south doorway in modern masonry, and to the west of it a square-headed low side window of two trefoiled lights in early fifteenth-century style, and of later date than the chancel. There are three sedilia, with cinquefoiled heads, and a piscina, also cinquefoiled, which are part of the original work, and plain but good specimens of their date.

The chancel arch has responds of three engaged round shafts with small rolls between the shafts, an arch of two wave-moulded orders, and moulded capitals and bases; the details are very like those of the south arcade of the nave, and must be of much the same date, c. 1330.

The nave is of four bays with a north arcade of early fifteenth-century date, with columns of four engaged half-octagonal shafts having small rolls in the angles, capitals with plain bells and moulded abaci, and arches of two moulded orders with a hollow between. The north aisle appears to be of the same date, and has three three-light windows on the north and one at the east, all much repaired or renewed, with tracery of fifteenth-century style. The north doorway is also in modern stonework, and in the wall above it are traces of a tall two-centred arch which may be that of a destroyed window. The south aisle has evidently had an important altar, probably the Lady altar, at the east end. The east window is of four cinquefoiled lights with beautiful flowing tracery in the head, cusped and feathered, and retaining a little old glass. To the north of it is a fourteenth-century image-bracket in the shape of a beardless human head, carrying a modern chamfered abacus, and across the south-east angle of the aisle is a large moulded and carved bracket, also of the fourteenth century. Close to it is a contemporary piscina recess, cinquefoiled. There are two windows on the south, the easternmost square-headed, of three trefoiled lights, a fifteenth-century insertion, and the other a good fourteenth-century example of three trefoiled lights with net tracery. The west window, also of three lights, is a fifteenth-century insertion with a four-centred head. The south doorway, of two continuous wave-moulded orders, is coeval with the aisle, together with the lower part of the south porch, which formerly had a steep pitched roof, as the marks over the doorway show. It has small modern windows on the east and west sides, and an outer archway of two orders with shafts to the inner order. Over it is a fifteenth-century parvise, lighted by a two-light window on the south, and reached by a stone stair at the north-west, the entrance to which is in the aisle just west of the south doorway.

The nave has a clearstory with four two-light windows a side, of fifteenth-century date, the north range looking older than the other. Each window has cinquefoiled lights and a four-centred head, but the sections are different on the two sides; the southern range may date from the end of the century.

The tower, except for the eastern arch, of which mention has already been made, is modern, with an embattled parapet and tall transomed belfry windows of fourteenth-century style; at the north-east angle is a projecting staircase.

The roofs of the church are all modern, and there are no old wooden fittings. The font, at the west end of the north aisle, is octagonal, with two cinquefoiled panels on each face; it is probably of the latter part of the fourteenth century.

In the east window of the south aisle are a few quarries of ancient glass. There are five bells in the tower; until 1887 there were only two, the treble by Mears, 1839, and the second by William Haulsey, 1622.

The plate consists of a communion cup and cover paten of 1569, with a narrow engraved band of ornament on the bowl, and leaf pattern on the foot, and a pewter almsdish.

The registers begin in 1553, the first book containing all entries to 1670, and the second those from 1701 to 1773. The third book contains the marriages 1755–87, and the fourth baptisms and burials 1774–1812. In the fifth are the marriages from 1795 to 1811.


The first mention that has been found of the church of St. Mary, Dunton, is in 1189, when Richard I confirmed its possession to the priory of Holywell; (fn. 67) a subsequent confirmation was obtained from Henry III in 1235. (fn. 68) The advowson, which came to the crown at the Dissolution, was granted to John Burgoyne in 1582, (fn. 69) and by him alienated to Robert Spencer in 1599. (fn. 70) It has followed the same history as that of Dunton Goyes manor (q.v.) till Earl Brownlow alienated his estates in Dunton to Mr. Richardson. He retained the advowson till 1892, (fn. 71) between which date and 1898 it was transferred to Mrs. Sandall, and is at present the property of Mrs. J. W. Adams. (fn. 72)

The rectory of Dunton belonged like the advowson to Holywell Priory till the Dissolution. It was at first the subject of temporary grants, in 1586 it was granted to Richard Pickman at a rent of £11 6s. 8d., (fn. 73) and in 1607 to Roger Rogers, (fn. 74) and by 1628 it had come into the possession of Robert Lord Spencer, who owned the manor of Dunton Goyes. (fn. 75) There is a Baptist Chapel in Dunton.


The Rev. Robert Bamford, vicar, who died on 24 August, 1720, by his will charged his property then known as the Black Bull Inn, in St. Paul's parish, Bedford, with an annuity of 50s. to be distributed weekly in bread in the church every Lord's Day from Michaelmas to Lady Day to the poor of the parish not receiving benefit from the collection. The rent-charge is duly paid to the vicar and churchwardens by Mr. E. P. Rose from 50, High Street, Bedford, being the property charged, which has been converted into a dwelling-house and draper's shop. The distribution in bread is made among ninety recipients.

The charity of — Banks, date unknown, formerly consisted of an annual charge of £1 out of a farm known as the Mills, part of an estate in this parish belonging to Earl Spencer. The charge was redeemed in 1859 by the transfer to the official trustees of £33 6s. 8d. consols.

Poors Land—This parish was formerly possessed of about two acres in Dunton Fen. In 1859 the land was sold and proceeds invested in £182 10s. 7d. consols with the official trustees. The dividends on the two sums of stock, amounting to about £5 8s., are applied in gifts of money to poor widows, old men and women, and poor householders, about seventy in number.

In 1877 the Rev. John Taddy, vicar, by his will bequeathed £100, income to be applied by the vicar for the time being in the distribution of money to poor widows. The legacy is represented by £101 18s, 2d. consols with the official trustees.

In 1883 Edward Glynn Taddy by his will left £100, income to be distributed among the poor by the vicar and churchwardens, represented by £97 13s. 7d. consols, also with the official trustees, the dividends being applied in gifts of 1s. each to twenty poor inhabitants.


  • 1. Statistics from the Bd. of Agric. 1905.
  • 2. Acts Priv. and Local, 38 Geo. III, cap. 47.
  • 3. V.C.H. Beds. i, 252b.
  • 4. Cal. of Pat. 1225–32, p. 308; Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 243b; Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii, 279.
  • 5. Dugdale, Baronage, i, 701.
  • 6. Feud. Aids, i, 3, 19, 23; Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 250; Cal. of Pat. 1307–13, 156; Cal. of Close, 1330–3, 478; Chan. Inq. p.m., 2 Edw. III, Nos. 36, 58; 6 Edw. III, No. 26; 7 Edw. III, No. 15; 5 Hen. V, No. 33.
  • 7. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 243b. The Testa says that Geoffrey held of William Brewer by serjeanty. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii, 279.
  • 8. Ibid; Harl. Chart. 83 A. 49.
  • 9. Feud. Aids, i, 3.
  • 10. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 250.
  • 11. Cal. of Pat. 1307–13, p. 156; Feud. Aids, i, 19.
  • 12. Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Edw. III, No. 36.
  • 13. Ibid. No. 58.
  • 14. Ibid. 6 Edw. III, No. 26.
  • 15. Ibid. 7 Edw. III, No. 15.
  • 16. Feud. Aids, i, 23.
  • 17. Feet of F. Beds. 41 Edw. III; Hoare, Wilts. v, pt. i, 80.
  • 18. Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Hen. IV, No. 33. The manor was worth £10 at this time.
  • 19. Cal. of Pat. 1401–5, p. 367.
  • 20. Ibid. 1467–71, p. 485.
  • 21. Feet of F. Div. Cos. 16 Edw. IV, file 76, No. 108.
  • 22. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xvii, No. 92.
  • 23. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 27 Hen. VIII.
  • 24. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), Ixxiii, No. 13.
  • 25. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxciv, No. 9.
  • 26. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 29–30 Eliz.
  • 27. Ibid. Mich. 14 Chas. I; Recov. R. Mich. 14 Chas. I.
  • 28. Recov. R. Hil. 32 Geo. II, rot. 6.
  • 29. Acts Priv. and Local, 37 Geo. III, cap. 23; Lysons, Mag. Brit. i, 78.
  • 30. Feet of F. Div. Cos. 12 Hen. III; Cal. of Pat. 1225–32, p. 156.
  • 31. Harl. Chart. 83 A. 49, 50.
  • 32. Close, 9 Ric. II, pt. 1, m. 13.
  • 33. Cal, of Pat. 1467–71, p. 485. It is here for the first time called a manor.
  • 34. Cf. Hist. of Dunton Chamberlain, ut supra.
  • 35. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 41 Eliz.
  • 36. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccci, No. 8.
  • 37. Ibid.; Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 4 Chas. I.
  • 38. Recov. R. Mich. 14 Chas. II, rot. 119.
  • 39. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Hil. 7 Geo. II; Recov. R. Mich. 20 Geo. III; Acts Priv. and Local, 37 Geo. III; V.C.H. Northants Families, i, 298.
  • 40. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 56.
  • 41. V.C.H. Beds. i, 227a.
  • 42. Ibid. 312.
  • 43. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 63; Cart. Antiq. M. 15.
  • 44. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 8, 15.
  • 45. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. 1.
  • 46. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxiii, No. 20.
  • 47. Ibid. lxxxiv, No. 2.
  • 48. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 41 Eliz.
  • 49. V.C.H. Beds. i, 232a.
  • 50. Chan. Inq. p.m. 40 Edw. III, No. 53.
  • 51. Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III, No. 38; 1 Hen. IV, No. 72; 1 Edw. IV, No. 46; 13 Edw. IV, No. 46; (Ser. 2), xxv, No. 154; Cal. of Close, 1339–41, p. 36; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 12.
  • 52. Chan. Inq. p.m. 13 Edw. IV, No. 46. The land was held of John duke of Norfolk for fealty and 10½d. rent.
  • 53. Ibid. (Ser. 2), xxv, No. 154.
  • 54. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Mich. 36 Hen. VIII.
  • 55. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxxii, No. 5.
  • 56. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 34 Eliz.
  • 57. Harl. Chart. 83 A. 47.
  • 58. Ibid. A. 49, B. 10, 39, 40.
  • 59. Cal. of Chart. R. i, 201.
  • 60. Plac. de Quo War. (Rec. Com.), 34.
  • 61. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 394.
  • 62. Pat. 21 Eliz. pt. 6.
  • 63. V.C.H. Beds. i, 231b.
  • 64. Dugdale, Mon. v, 372.
  • 65. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 93.
  • 66. Pat. 31 Hen. VIII, pt. 1, m. 16.
  • 67. Dugdale, Mon. iv, 393.
  • 68. Cal. of Chart. R. i, 201.
  • 69. Pat. R. 29 Eliz. pt. 5.
  • 70. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 41 Eliz.
  • 71. Clergy List, 1858–92.
  • 72. Ibid. 1892–1906.
  • 73. Pat. R. 29 Eliz. pt. 5.
  • 74. Ibid. 4 Jas. I, pt. 19.
  • 75. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxli, No. 8.