Parishes: Milton Ernest

A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'Parishes: Milton Ernest', in A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3, (London, 1912) pp. 143-149. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


Mildentone, Middeltone (xi cent.); Middelton Ernys (xiii cent.); Milton Herneys (xiv cent.); Mylton Harneys (xv cent.); Milton Harnes (xvi cent.).

The parish of Milton Ernest lies on the high road between Bedford and Higham Ferrers, some 5 miles north of the county town. The southern and eastern portions of the parish are on high ground, whilst the land on the west is flat and low, and is frequently flooded by the waters of the River Ouse which flows through the parish. The total area of the parish is 1,598½ acres, of which 596 acres are arable land, 819¼ acres permanent grass and 11 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is clay and the subsoil clay and gravel. The chief crops grown are wheat, barley, beans and peas. Entering the parish from the south, a long, steep slope known as Milton Hill has to be climbed. As the slope downwards on the farther side is equally steep, an extensive view over the surrounding country can be obtained from the top of the hill. To the north, some half a mile from the foot of the hill, lies the village of Milton Ernest. To the west is the River Ouse, which the main line of the Midland Railway here crosses by a fine viaduct. Beyond the river are the low, well-wooded slopes of Pavenham. On the east is a high table-land stretching away towards Thurleigh and Bolnhurst, which somewhat limits the outlook in that direction.

The church stands off the main road on high ground facing the village green on the north. Red-brick almshouses, bearing the date 1695, stand near by; they were founded by Sir Edward Turner, lord of the manor at that date, to provide homes for the aged poor. The Manor Farm, south-east of the church, marks the site of the old manor-house. Although much modernized it still retains many richly moulded oak beams and a late 16th-century brick chimney. None of its original windows remain. It is built of stone plastered over and has a tile roof. On the opposite side of the road is a stone and thatched house dated 1670. This retains most of its old oak mullioned windows in an excellent state of preservation. A stone barn belonging to and standing by the side of this house is dated 1668. Opposite the church, approached by an avenue of fine elms, stands Milton Hall, the residence of Lord Ampthill. It is a modern building built in 1856 on the site of an older house. In the fields adjoining is a brick and tile hexagonal pigeon-house.

In the south-west of the village a small lane bordered by quaint but dilapidated cottages is known as London End, and runs down to the river at a point where there is a ford. Flewton End is in the northeast of the village. A modern water-mill stands on the river in the south of the village, where was formerly an ancient mill. The kennels of the Oakley fox-hounds are in Milton Ernest. There is a Wesleyan chapel in the parish erected in 1839.

It is curious that this small village should have boasted a printing press in the early part of the 18th century. The printer, Underhill Robinson by name, lies buried in the churchyard, his tombstone bearing the date 1719. (fn. 2) A copy of a book printed by him at Milton Ernest (in the year of his death) entitled Vindiciae verae Pietatis is still extant. (fn. 3)

The parish was inclosed in 1803. (fn. 4)


The manor of MILTON ERNEST or HARNESSE MANOR is probably the 3 hides and 1 virgate of land in Milton Ernest held in 1086 by the wife of Hugh de Grantmaisnil. (fn. 5) Ivo her husband's steward was her tenant. The land was then valued at 60s. (fn. 6) The history of this property may be divided into two distinct periods, the first of which extends from the 13th to the early part of the 14th century. During this period the de Grey family held it of the Earls of Leicester as parcel of the honour of Leicester. (fn. 7) On the death of Simon de Montfort in 1265 his estates were declared forfeit, and the honour of Leicester was granted by the king to his youngest son Edmund. The latter's son and successor Thomas died without heirs. His brother Henry succeeded and is found claiming a view of frankpledge in Milton Ernest in 1330. (fn. 8) Between this date and 1346, however, this property was detached from the honour of Leicester, and the de Greys from mesne lords became seised in chief. (fn. 9) Henceforward the manor was held of them as of their castle of Bytham. (fn. 10) The last mention of the overlordship occurs in 1528, when John Zouche, the heir of Henry Lord Grey, held it. (fn. 11)

The chief tenants of the de Greys were the family of Erneys or Hernis, from whom the manor later took its distinctive name. The first mention of them in Milton Ernest occurs in 1221, when it is recorded that John de Hertewell owed 'half a mark for having brought a suit against Robert son of Ernis for land in Middelton.' (fn. 12) In 1279 the land in Milton Ernest held by John son of Roger Erneys of the de Greys amounted to 6½ virgates, including 12 acres of wood. (fn. 13) They also owned one-third part of the fishing from the torrent of Humberdale to the head of the millpond. (fn. 14) John Erneys was succeeded by another John Erneys who held the property in 1316, (fn. 15) and in 1346 either the same John Erneys or another of the same name was holding. (fn. 16) In 1361 Philip Erneys was seised, (fn. 17) while in 1428 another John Erneys held it. (fn. 18) Philip Erneys died seised of the property, here for the first time called a manor, in 1471. (fn. 19) His heir was his son Edward. (fn. 20) William Erneys, who on his marriage with Elinor daughter of Elizabeth Fitz Jeffrey, was promised further property in Milton Ernest by the latter, (fn. 21) died seised of the manor in 1528. (fn. 22) He had been insane for some eighteen years before his death. (fn. 23) His heir was his son John, then five years old. (fn. 24) On the death of Walter Erneys (living 1550) (fn. 25) the manor was divided among his daughters. One of these had married Christopher Turnor (fn. 26) and another William Strange (fn. 27); a third was probably Sybil Keale, who is found quitclaiming a third of the manor to Edmund Turnor, son of Christopher before named, in 1575, (fn. 28) thus uniting two-thirds of the manor in the Turnor family. This double share is hereafter always spoken of as the manor of MILTON ERNEST. The Stranges' third following a different descent is treated later. Edmund Turnor was succeeded by his son Christopher, (fn. 29) who died seised of the manor in 1619. (fn. 30) His son Christopher, of the Middle Temple, (fn. 31) succeeded him. (fn. 32) Being charged with delinquency his estates were confiscated, but, the charge not being proved, they were restored to him in 1647. (fn. 33) On the Restoration he was knighted, created third baron of the Exchequer and placed on the commission for the trial of the regicides. (fn. 34) He was a member of the special court of summary jurisdiction created to adjudicate on disputes between owners and occupiers of property in the districts ravaged by the Great Fire of London, and in recognition of his services in that capacity a portrait of him was placed in the Guildhall. (fn. 35) He died in 1675, and his son and grandson, both named Edmund, having predeceased him, his estates passed by purchase to his younger brother, Sir Edmund Turnor of Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire. (fn. 36) The latter left the manor of Milton Ernest to his grandson John, (fn. 37) on whose death it passed to his elder brother Edmund. (fn. 38) The latter alienated the manor to his cousin (fn. 39) Streynsham Master in 1715. (fn. 40) Margaret Master, probably a sister of the last named, with her husband Lord Torrington and her sisters Mrs. Stuckley and Mrs. Bramston, was party to a fine levied of the manor in 1725. (fn. 41) Mrs. Stuckley later owned the manor and left it by will to Withers Bramston, (fn. 42) who was holding in 1799. (fn. 43) The same year Arthur Bramston sold it to Robert Gibbins, (fn. 44) whose name appears in the Inclosure Award in 1803. (fn. 45)

Erneys. Argent a cheveron sable with three drops or thereon.

Turnor of Stoke Rochford. Nine pieces erminees and argent with four millstone turners sable.

Lord Brownlow was lord of the manor in 1864, but by 1869 it had passed to Mr. J. Tucker. The latter was succeeded by his daughter Mrs. Burton Alexander, whose son Mr. J. Tucker Burton Alexander of Pavenham Bury is the present lord of the manor.

The third share of the manor inherited by Margaret wife of William Strange followed a different descent. William Strange, after the death of his wife, became tenant for life of the said property, but ignoring the limited powers of a life tenant he sold it in 1562 to Thomas Rolt. (fn. 46) The rightful heirs of Margaret, on arriving at full age, refused to confirm the sale, and Thomas Rolt is found petitioning for redress of his grievances. (fn. 47) In 1571, however, Walter Strange, presumably the rightful heir, quitclaimed the manor to him. (fn. 48) The further history of this property is the same as that of the manor of Bassets (q.v.).

The manor of BASSETS formed about one-third of the whole parish of Milton Ernest. (fn. 49) The first mention of this property occurs in 1086, when William Basset held 2 hides less 1 virgate from Hugh de Beauchamp. It was then valued at 30s. (fn. 50) The overlordship of this manor followed the same descent as the Steingrave-Patishull portion of the barony of Bedford (q.v.). (fn. 51) In the 13th century Robert Basset held the property as a sixteenth part of a knight's fee, (fn. 52) and was granted rights of free warren in his demesne lands in this parish in 1252. (fn. 53) William Basset, who succeeded him, is recorded as holding 2 hides in 1278; 1 carucate of this was in demesne, whilst the 3 virgates in villeinage were valued at 20s. per annum. (fn. 54) In 1302 Sibyl Basset held the property 'as dower.' (fn. 55) In 1330 the property was in the hands of Nicholas de Wortele or Wettele, (fn. 56) possibly Sibyl Basset's second husband, for in this year Nicholas was summoned to show by what warrant he claimed rights of free warren in Milton Ernest, but made default. (fn. 57) He was still holding in 1346, (fn. 58) but by 1372 the property had reverted to the Basset family. (fn. 59) In this latter year Sir John Basset died in Gascony. His property in Milton Ernest consisted of 120 acres of arable land, 8 acres (fn. 60) of meadow and 4 acres of pasture, with rent from free tenants worth 6s. 8d. per annum He also had the reversion of 40 acres of land, which he had granted to Norman and Katherine Basset for their lives. (fn. 61) His son and heir John died in Brittany the next year. (fn. 62) The latter was succeeded by his sister Alianor wife of John Barle. (fn. 63) After the death of John Barle the manor appears to have been divided. In 1414 John Martyn and John Sampson quitclaimed a moiety of the manor to Robert Fitz Robert and William Babyngton, (fn. 64) while the next year the other moiety was quitclaimed by Sir John Stanley to William Penythorn, William Anable and others. (fn. 65) The first-named moiety appears by 1432 to have passed into the hands of Nicholas Ryggley, who in that year quitclaimed it to William Penythorn and William Anable, who thus became seised of the whole. (fn. 66) William Penythorn some time before his death placed the manor in the hands of trustees to the intent that they should settle it again upon himself and wife and son. (fn. 67) This they afterwards refused to do, and William Penythorn the younger is found petitioning for redress of his grievances. (fn. 68) The descent of this manor here becomes obscure, no further mention of it being found for more than a hundred years. In this interval it appears to have become divided, and in 1560 Richard Styrop quitclaimed one quarter of the manor to Thomas Rolt, (fn. 69) while in 1568 another fourth part of the manor was leased to Thomas Rolt for sixty years by Peter Rosewell and John Dawson for an annual rent, the reversion of the same to go to John Crispe and Anne his wife. (fn. 70) In 1573–4 John and Anne quitclaimed a quarter to the same Thomas Rolt. (fn. 71) It would seem that Thomas Rolt by 1578 had become seised of the whole manor of Bassets, and in that year he settled it upon his son John on his marriage with Judith widow of George Fitz Geoffrey. (fn. 72) John Rolt continued to hold the manor until his death, which occurred in 1627. (fn. 73) He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who levied a fine of the manor in 1639, (fn. 74) and suffered a recovery the same year. (fn. 75) He died early in 1649, (fn. 76) and was succeeded by his son Sir John Rolt, kt., who was buried here 20 November 1651, leaving a young son Thomas, who died 1672, aged thirty-one. On coming of age he leased the manor in 1662 to Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, (fn. 77) while his son Samuel Rolt, M.P., who died 1717, aged forty-six, appears to have granted a further lease of it to Samuel Barnardiston in 1692. (fn. 78) In 1734 Thomas Rolt was lord of the manor. (fn. 79) Twelve years later he conveyed it by fine to John Orlebar of Hinwick Hall, (fn. 80) a connexion by marriage. (fn. 81) In 1785 it was the property of Francis Anthony Herman, (fn. 82) whilst at the beginning of the 19th century Mrs. Boyden was lady of the manor. (fn. 83) From her the manor passed to John Donne and Dinah his wife, who levied fines of it in 1821. (fn. 84) After the early part of the 19th century no further reference has been found to this manor. (fn. 85)

In 1278 William Basset owned a third part of a fishery in Milton Ernest from Humberdale to the mill-pond, (fn. 86) while in 1372 Sir John Basset's fishery brought in 12d. per annum. (fn. 87) Rights of fishery attached to this manor find mention in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 88) There is record of four watermills in 1639 (fn. 89) and of five in 1734. (fn. 90)

A third manor in Milton Ernest has its origin in the 2 hides held in 1086 by Rainald of Walter le Fleming. It was then worth 20s.; in the time of the Confessor two sokemen, men of Brictric, held it. (fn. 91) This property with the rest of Walter's fief later became parcel of the barony of Wahull. The last mention of the overlordship occurs in 1537. (fn. 92) In 1279 the tenant of this property (then assessed at 2½ hides) was William de Lega. (fn. 93) He had 1 half hide in demesne and owned one-third of a fishery. (fn. 94) In 1371 Peter Hulier held it, together with land in Thurleigh, as one knight's fee. (fn. 95) No record of this property for the next 140 years has been found, but before 1511 it had come into the hands of William Fitz Geffrey, who in that year settled it, here for the first time called a 'manor,' on his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 96) In 1535 his son John Fitz Geffrey died seised of the manor, and was succeeded by his half-brother Edward, (fn. 97) who levied a fine of it the next year, (fn. 98) and was in turn succeeded by his younger brother George. (fn. 99) The latter died in 1575, (fn. 100) leaving a widow Judith, who in 1578 married John son of Thomas Rolt, (fn. 101) and a son George, who conveyed the manor by fine to Thomas Rolt, Oliver St. John, Nicholas Luke and others in 1575. (fn. 102) No further mention of this manor has been found. It is possible that it became absorbed in Thomas Rolt's other manor of Milton Ernest (q.v.). (fn. 103)

The origin of the manor of BABS or BALLS is obscure, and documents illustrating its descent are few. The first bears the date 1544, (fn. 104) and is a record of a conveyance by fine from Richard Greyves of Newarkupon-Trent and Agnes his wife to Richard Lewen of a moiety of a manor of Milton Ernest. (fn. 105) In 1557–8 the same Richard Greyves sold the other moiety of his Milton Ernest property to Ralph Astrey for £100. (fn. 106) Later Ralph Astrey is found complaining that Thomas Litten and others by colour of a former bargain with Richard Greyves had entered into the said premises. (fn. 107) No further mention of this manor occurs until the early part of the 18th century. In the interval its distinctive title of Babs or Balls had been affixed to it. In 1711 William Faldoe was the claimant in a suit concerning a moiety of the manor. (fn. 108) Seven years later Elizabeth and Katherine Haselden owned a moiety. (fn. 109) In 1746 a half of this manor was in the hands of Richard Huskey (fn. 110); it passed from him to J. R. Throckmorton Huskey, who was the owner in 1775. (fn. 111) At the beginning of the 19th century Lysons describes this manor as being in parts held respectively by Thomas Fisher, Ellis Shipley and Samuel Wyatt. (fn. 112) This is the latest reference to it which has been found. A free fishery was attached to this manor in 1544; it is further mentioned as appurtenant to the Huskeys' moiety in the 18th century. (fn. 113)

In 1086 Turgis held 3 hides less 1 virgate in Milton of Nigel de Albini formerly held by six sokemen. (fn. 114) Nigel's fief afterwards became known as the barony of Cainhoe, but no reference to land in Milton Ernest being held of this barony has been found. The amount of land is, however, considerable, and the fact that an identically similar quantity of land there (11 virgates) was quitclaimed in 1227 by John de Hertewell to John Erncys (fn. 115) seems to suggest that the Albinis had granted their Milton property to John de Hertewell. In 1279 John Erneys is also recorded as holding 9 virgates in Milton Ernest of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem for 10s. per annum. (fn. 116) No further reference to the Knights Hospitallers in Milton Ernest, however, occurs, and it would seem that this land became joined to the other property of the Erneys family, and followed the same descent as that of the manor of Ernes (q.v.).

In the Domesday Survey it is recorded that two sokemen held 16 acres of the land of Miles Crispin in Milton Ernest, but that Robert de Oilly (Miles' predecessor) had unjustly attached the same to Clapham (q.v.). (fn. 117)

A half-virgate in Milton Ernest was in 1086 held of the king by a certain bedell who had succeeded his father in the tenure. (fn. 118) This is probably the same half-virgate that Roger de Wilye in 1278 held of the king by serjeanty. (fn. 119)

The Abbot and monastery of Warden in 1279 rented a mill in Milton Ernest from John Erneys for 7s. a year and held three-quarters of a virgate of arable land of him in free alms. (fn. 120) They had other land there besides, and in 1291 their property in this parish was valued at £3 7s. 2d. (fn. 121) At the beginning of the 14th century the land in Milton which the abbot held of Henry de Grey, together with that of the Prior of Caldwell, amounted to one-sixth of Henry's holding. (fn. 122) At the time of the Dissolution Warden Abbey owned several mills in this parish valued at £9, (fn. 123) though there were annual charges on them amounting to £1 13s. 4d. (fn. 124)

The Prior and convent of Caldwell also held land here, which appears to have included a hermitage and grange, for in 1271 Simon of Langenhoe when about to milk a cow belonging to the prior at his hermitage and grange in Milton Ernest received a 'mau del flaunke' from which he died immediately. (fn. 125) In 1279 half a virgate of arable land and 6 rods of pasture, being part of this property, was held by the prior of John Erneys for three masses for the souls of John's ancestors. (fn. 126) The sum total of their land and rents in Milton Ernest and the neighbouring parish of Clapham in 1291 amounted to £2 2s. 6d., (fn. 127) while in 1342 it was assessed at the same amount. (fn. 128) At the Dissolution their property in Milton and Thurleigh was valued at £1 17s. 10d. per annum. (fn. 129) This land formed part of the grant made by Henry VIII to Henry Audely and John Maynard. (fn. 130)

Robert de Camera held 1½ hides of land in this parish of Henry de Grey in 1278. (fn. 131) By 1316 he had been succeeded by John de la Leye, (fn. 132) who was still holding in 1346. (fn. 133) The latter's holding together with that of John Erneys was held of John de Grey as half a knight's fee. (fn. 134) By 1428 John de la Leye's portion had passed to John Fitz Geffrey and Walter Milbrook. (fn. 135) It probably was later merged in the Fitz Geffreys' manor of Milton Ernest (q.v.).

John Marshal of Wootton held a virgate of arable land and 3 acres of pasture (in Milton Ernest) of John Erneys in 1278. (fn. 136) His descendants continued to hold land, and a member of this family (John le Marshal) died in 1361 seised of a messuage and 20 acres held of Philip Erneys, and of 60 acres of arable land held of John de la Legh and Sir Thomas de Reynes by foreign service and rent of 5s. 4d. (fn. 137)

Mention of fisheries in the waters of the Ouse in this parish is frequent in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 138) John Harvey had a mill there in the latter half of the 16th century. (fn. 139)


The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 26 ft. 6 in. long by 11 ft. 6 in. wide, nave 45 ft. long by 16 ft. 3 in. wide, north aisle 15 ft. 3 in. wide, south aisle 10 ft. wide and west tower 11 ft. 10 in. by 11 ft. 3 in. wide. The west half of the chancel is the oldest part of the church, dating from the early years of the 12th century. The axis of the chancel is set more to the north than that of the nave, and the irregularity seems to exist in the early walls as well as in the eastern half of the chancel, which is an early 14th-century addition. The west tower was built in the 13th century, and in the early part of the 14th century a south aisle was added to the nave; the north aisle dates from later in the same century, and in the 15th century the clearstory and south porch were added and the south aisle practically rebuilt.

The east end of the chancel contains no old feature except the arched head of an early 14th-century piscina recess set in the west jamb of the south-east window. The chancel is fitted up with tile and marble panelling, stained glass and painted roof from the designs of Butterfield, and is very dark. On either side, a little to the west of the middle, are small round-headed lights of early 12th-century date, with splayed jambs and rear arches, now set in a modern zigzag plaster edging.

At the south-west is a recess for the chancel seats apparently made in the 15th century. On account of the narrowness of the chancel it is spanned by two oak timbers, and in it is a low side window, now blocked, of two cinquefoiled lights. On the opposite side a similar but deeper recess contains the organ: it is modern, but probably is a deepening of an old recess made for the same purpose as that on the south, and it has a small square window, which is old, in its north wall.

The chancel arch, of two continuous chamfered orders, is perhaps 14th-century work.

The nave arcades are of three bays, the north having sharply pointed arches of two chamfered orders springing from octagonal dies over plainly moulded octagonal capitals and shafts; the west respond is unusual, being a half octagon set diagonally, while the east respond is square and has a piscina set in its face. The south arcade has tall pointed double chamfered arches with octagonal moulded capitals and shafts, the responds being square. The clearstory windows, four on each side, are of three cinquefoiled lights under four-centred heads. The nave roof is a fine specimen of 15th-century work with moulded timbers, and has a number of bosses carved with foliage at the intersections of the beams.

The north aisle has two square-headed north windows of 14th-century style, each of three trefoiled lights with cusped spandrels; the heads of the windows, with the upper part of the tracery, are made of oak bressummers. At the east end, high in the wall, is a wide 15th-century window of four cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a low four-centred head, and at the west end is a three-light window with intersecting mullions, which has modern tracery. In the north wall is an ogee-headed crocketed tomb recess, c. 1340, under which is laid a worn marble grave slab with a Calvary cross. Near the west end of the aisle is the north doorway, of two continuous wave-moulded orders c. 1340–50, and in the west wall is a low square-headed recess, which looks like a blocked fireplace.

The windows of the south aisle are all of one type, of three cinquefoiled lights with a transom and tracery under a four-centred head, of 15th-century date much restored.

At the south-east is a piscina recess, and in it are kept the head and part of the shaft of a late 12th-century pillar piscina. At the east end is part of the block of the ancient altar, and on it is set an old iron-banded chest.

The south doorway is of clunch, in two continuous hollow-chamfered orders, and opens to a 15th-century porch with an upper story or parvise which has lost its floor; access to it must have been by a wooden stair of which nothing remains, but a wide opening from the upper story to the aisle is still visible above the south doorway. This probably opened on to a gallery over the door.

The porch has a four-centred outer arch under a square head, the spandrels being septfoiled with a flower in the centre.

The parvise was lighted by square-headed lights on the west and south, and the porch has a square-headed window of two cinquefoiled lights on the west and there are traces of another on the east. Into its west wall is built a small circular cross-head, probably the headstone of a grave; it is perhaps of 14th-century date.

The aisle and porch have buttresses with cinquefoiled gabled heads, inclosing saltires, and the upper part of the buttresses batters considerably.

The tower, which dates from the 13th century and has been much restored, is divided into two stages, the lower of which contains a lancet window on the west. There are an embattled parapet and a modern chamfered plinth; the belfry windows are of two pointed chamfered uncusped lights under a pointed head. The tower arch is a later insertion, of two chamfered orders dying into the jambs. At the north-east is a square stair turret.

The font of the 15th century is in clunch, and has an octagonal traceried bowl with angle buttresses carried down clear of the stem; the west face is solid. Opposite the south doorway is the stump of the old churchyard cross. At the west end of the nave is shelving for a dole of twelve loaves, the money for which was left in 1726 by a Mrs. Susannah Rolt, whose monument is in the north aisle, and across the tower arch are low wrought-iron railings of good 18th-century design. At the east end of the north aisle the 15th-century rood screen, with the open traceried front of its loft, is set to cut off a narrow space for a vestry. It has been a little shortened to make it fit the aisle, but is very well preserved, and has two wide, flat-headed openings on either side of the central doorway, with a band of running ornament and battlements above. The original colouring of red, white, green and gold has been reproduced. In the south aisle is a wall monument to Christopher Turnor 1675 and another without a name of 1615, and in the north aisle to Susannah Rolt 1726 and Stephen Rolt 1738. In the nave is a fine brass hanging chandelier, the gift of Thomas Rolt in 1729.

There are six bells: the first is modern; the second, fifth and sixth are by Newcome of Leicester, 1611; the third is recast from one dated 1678 and the fourth is by Edmunds of London, 1765.

There are a communion cup with a paten cover of 1570 and a modern flagon, cup and paten.

There are six books of registers before 1812:— Book i contains all entries 1538 to 1679; book ii the same, 1687 to 1739; book iii the same, 1740 to 1783, marriages ceasing at 1753; book iv has marriages 1754 to 1812; book v burials 1783 to 1812; and book vi baptisms 1783 to 1812.


The advowson of the church of Milton Ernest was early in the hands of the Albini family; Cecilia mother of Robert de Albini granted it to the priory of Beaulieu (or Moddry) founded by her son as a cell of the abbey of St. Albans. (fn. 140) Her grandson sought to reclaim the church in the early part of the 13th century. (fn. 141) He was apparently successful in his suit, and is found presenting in 1220. (fn. 142) In 1275 the church was appropriated to Beaulieu by Bishop Gravesend on account of the poverty of the priory. (fn. 143) The value of the living in 1291 was £7 6s. 8d. (fn. 144) After the Dissolution it would seem that it remained in the hands of the Crown until 1677, when it was granted to Sir Ralph Verney. (fn. 145) From him it passed to the Rolt family, who had the right of presentation for the next fifty years. (fn. 146) By 1775 it had passed into the hands of the Turnor family, (fn. 147) who have continued to present down to the present day. The present patron is Mr. C. Hatton Turnor.

The rectory in 1291 was valued at £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 148) Described as 'late the property of the monastery of St. Albans' it was granted by Queen Elizabeth to John Cotton. (fn. 149) By 1619 it had become the property of the Franklin family of Maverns in Bolnhurst, (fn. 150) who enjoyed it for the next forty years. (fn. 151) Before 1693 it had been bought by Sir Edward Turnor, who in that year endowed the vicarage with the greater tithes, then let at £100. (fn. 152)


The Turnor almshouses, founded and endowed by Sir Edmund Turnor, kt., in or about 1697, consist of six houses for aged persons and are endowed with 31 a. 1 r. 26 p. let in allotments of the annual value of £28 or thereabouts, and £224 18s. 11d. Bank of England stock held by the official trustees arising from sale in 1906 of 20 acres of land in Oakley, producing about £21 a year. The net rents are applied in pensions to the inmates.

Rolt's charity for bread consists of an annuity of £5 4s. issuing out of an estate in the parish, formerly belonging to the Rolt family, (fn. 153) as appeared from an inscription in the church. Twelve twopenny loaves are distributed regularly week by week from the church, the payment for the same being made by Lord Ampthill, the present owner of The Hall.

Church Land.

In 1801 about 5 acres were awarded to the churchwardens for the repairs of the church in lieu of other lands in the open fields. The land is let in allotments, producing in 1909 £5 17s. 4d. a year, which is carried to the churchwardens' accounts.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Beds. N. and Q. iii, 320.
  • 3. Ibid. 255.
  • 4. Local Act, 43 Geo. III, cap. 48.
  • 5. V.C.H. Beds. i, 260b.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 321; Feud. Aids, i, 9.
  • 8. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 46.
  • 9. Feud. Aids, i, 26.
  • 10. Ibid. 38; Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. IV, no. 13.
  • 11. Exch. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), file 22, no. 3.
  • 12. Pipe R. 5 Hen. III, m. 4 d.
  • 13. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 321.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. Feud. Aids, i, 18.
  • 16. Ibid. 26.
  • 17. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. ii, no. 6.
  • 18. Feud. Aids, i, 38.
  • 19. Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. IV, no. 13.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 119, no. 32 & 33.
  • 22. Exch. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), file 22, no. 3.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. Feet of F. Beds. Mich. 4 Edw. VI.
  • 26. A scion of the old family of Turnor of Haverhill, co. Suffolk; Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 147.
  • 27. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 154, no. 19.
  • 28. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 17 Eliz.
  • 29. Harl. Soc. Publ. loc. cit.
  • 30. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dclv, 113.
  • 31. Harl. Soc. Publ. loc. cit.
  • 32. Chan. Inq. ut supra.
  • 33. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii, App. i, 12.
  • 34. Dict. Nat. Biog. lvii, 372.
  • 35. Dict. Nat. Biog. lvii, 372.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Add. MS. 9408, fol. 314.
  • 38. Ibid.
  • 39. Joyce daughter of Sir Christopher Turnor married James Master of London (Dict. Nat. Biog. loc. cit.).
  • 40. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 1 Geo. I.
  • 41. Ibid. Hil. 11 Geo. I.
  • 42. Add. MS. loc. cit.
  • 43. Recov. R. Trin. 39 Geo. III.
  • 44. Add. MS. loc. cit.
  • 45. Local Act, 43 Geo. III, cap. 48.
  • 46. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 154, no. 19.
  • 47. Ibid.
  • 48. Feet of F. Beds. Mich. 12 Eliz.
  • 49. Add. MS. 9408, fol. 313.
  • 50. V.C.H. Beds. i, 239b.
  • 51. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 249; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322; Feud. Aids, i, 9, 26; Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III, no. 8; 47 Edw. III, no. 7.
  • 52. Testa de Nevill, loc. cit.
  • 53. Cal. Chart. 1226 57, p. 385.
  • 54. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322.
  • 55. Feud. Aids, i, 9.
  • 56. This name appears as 'Wortele' in Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 44, and as Wettele in Feud. Aids, i, 26.
  • 57. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 44.
  • 58. Feud. Aids, i, 26.
  • 59. Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 8.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Ibid.
  • 62. Ibid. 47 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 7.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 2 Hen. V, no. 15.
  • 65. Ibid. 3 Hen. V, no. 40.
  • 66. Ibid. East. 10 Hen. VI, no. 24.
  • 67. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 10, no. 306.
  • 68. Ibid.
  • 69. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 2 Eliz.
  • 70. Ibid. Mich. 10 Eliz.
  • 71. Ibid. Mich. 16 Eliz.
  • 72. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxii, 163. Thomas Rolt lived for many years after he made over this property. He died in 1617 (ibid.). Mr. Round points out that the Rolt family was numerous in the hundred of Stodden throughout the 17th and latter part of the 16th century. The name appears as early as 1542 in the Milton Ernest Registers, and in 1541 William Rolt of Chigwell Hall, Essex, sergeant at arms to Henry VIII, mentions in his will his house on the green at Little Staughton and makes a bequest to Staughton Church (Essex Arch. Trans. [new ser.], xi, 15).
  • 73. Recov. R. Trin. 4 Jas. I, rot. 17; Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 4 Jas. I; 8 Jas. I; Fine R. 16 Jas. I, pt. i, no. 46; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxxix, 153.
  • 74. Feet of F. Beds. East. 15 Chas. I.
  • 75. Recov. R. Trin. 15 Chas. I, rot. 36.
  • 76. a Will proved P.C.C. 31 Mar. 1649.
  • 77. Com. Pleas Recov. R. Hil. 14 & 15 Chas. II, m. 11.
  • 78. Feet of F. Beds. Mich. 4 Will. III.
  • 79. Recov. R. Trin. 7 & 8 Geo. II, rot. 302.
  • 80. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 19 Geo. II.
  • 81. Burke, Landed Gentry. Mary daughter of Samuel Rolt married John Orlebar.
  • 82. Recov. R. Hil. 25 Geo. III, rot. 183.
  • 83. Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (i), 116.
  • 84. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 1 & 2 Geo. IV; Trin. 2 Geo. IV.
  • 85. No manorial rights are now exercised.
  • 86. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322.
  • 87. Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III, no. 8.
  • 88. Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 2 Eliz.; Mich. 16 Eliz.; Recov. R. Trin. 15 Chas. I, rot. 36.
  • 89. Recov. R. 15 Chas I, rot. 36.
  • 90. Ibid. 7 & 8 Geo. II, rot. 302.
  • 91. V.C.H. Beds. i, 249b.
  • 92. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lviii, 69.
  • 93. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322.
  • 94. Ibid.
  • 95. Chan. Inq. p.m. 45 Edw. III, no. 57.
  • 96. Ibid. (Ser. 2), Iviii, 69.
  • 97. Ibid.; Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 25.
  • 98. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 28 Hen. VIII.
  • 99. Ibid. Trin. 17 Eliz.; Harl. Soc. Publ. xix, 26.
  • 100. Blaydes, Gen. Beds. 286.
  • 101. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxii, 163.
  • 102. Feet of F. Beds. Trin. 17 Eliz.
  • 103. Some land in Milton Ernest, however, remained in the hands of the St. Johns. In 1623 Oliver Lord St. John conveyed land in Milton to John Lord Bridgewater (Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 21 Jas. I).
  • 104. Ibid. 36 Hen. VIII.
  • 105. Ibid.
  • 106. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 4, no. 63.
  • 107. Ibid.
  • 108. Feet of F. Beds. East. 10 Anne.
  • 109. Recov. R. Hil. 4 Geo. I, rot. 118.
  • 110. Ibid. Mich. 20 Geo. II, rot. 249.
  • 111. Ibid. East. 15 Geo. III, rot. 463.
  • 112. Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (i), 116.
  • 113. Feet of F. Div. Co. 36 Hen. VIII; Recov. R. Mich. 20 Geo. II, rot. 249; East. 15 Geo. III, rot. 463.
  • 114. V.C.H. Beds. i, 244b. This entry lacks a hundredal heading. But Mr. J. H. Round has identified this 'Mildentun' with Milton Ernest, pointing out that the 11 virgates here mentioned is exactly the amount required with the other Milton Ernest land to complete the 10-hide limit.
  • 115. Feet of F. Beds. 12 Hen. III, no. 37.
  • 116. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 321.
  • 117. V.C.H. Beds. i, 234a.
  • 118. Ibid. 265b.
  • 119. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322.
  • 120. Ibid.
  • 121. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 48.
  • 122. Feud. Aids, i, 9.
  • 123. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 193.
  • 124. Ibid. 194.
  • 125. Coroners' Rolls (Selden Soc.), 17. The townships said that as far as they knew he met his death accidentally.
  • 126. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 321.
  • 127. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 48.
  • 128. Cal. Pat. 1340–3, p. 370.
  • 129. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 189.
  • 130. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), g. 465 (99).
  • 131. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 322.
  • 132. Feud. Aids, i, 18.
  • 133. Ibid. 26.
  • 134. Ibid.
  • 135. Ibid. 38.
  • 136. Hund. R. loc. cit.
  • 137. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. ii, no. 6.
  • 138. Feet of F. Beds. East. 11 Eliz.; Mich. 1 Jas. I; East. 4 Jas. I; Hil. 9 Jas. I. N.B.—These references are exclusive of the rights of fishery attached to the different manors in Milton Ernest.
  • 139. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Trin. 7 Eliz.; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxliii, 58.
  • 140. Cur. Regis R. 58, m. 4 (15 John); V.C.H. Beds. i, 351.
  • 141. Cur. Regis R. loc. cit. The Prior of Ashby also claimed a quarter of the said church by right of a grant of William Ursel. Cf. also John of Whethamstede Reg. Mon. S. Albans (Rolls Ser.), ii, 22, 98, 224.
  • 142. Roll of Hugh Welles (Canterbury and York Soc. Jan. 1905).
  • 143. V.C.H. Beds. loc. cit.
  • 144. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 291.
  • 145. Pat. 29 Chas. II, no. 20.
  • 146. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Recov. R. Trin. 7 & 8 Geo. II.
  • 147. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 148. Pope Nich. Tax. loc. cit.
  • 149. Pat. 32 Eliz. pt. xxv.
  • 150. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxxiv, 101.
  • 151. Ibid. ccccxxxiii, 29; ccccxci, 64; Feet of F. Beds. Hil. 1659.
  • 152. Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (1), 118.
  • 153. Mr. Round points out that, by his will dated 16 Mar. 1622–3, proved 27 Feb. 1625–6, John Rolt left to the poor of Milton for ever £5 to be laid out in land (Gen. Bedf.).