Parishes: Copmanford

Pages 35-38

A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.

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In this section


Copemaneforde (xi cent.); Coppeneford (xii cent.); Copmanford (xiii–xix cent.); Copmanesford, Coupmanneford (xiii cent.); Copmandesford (xiv cent.); Copyngford (xvi cent.).

The parish comprises 828 acres of clay land, of which about 64 acres are woodland and the remainder about half arable and half pasture. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and beans. From the Mile Brook, (fn. 1) a tributary of the Alconbury Brook on the west side of the parish, where the land is about 80 feet above the Ordnance datum, the ground rises to about 170 feet in the village. The Ermine Street for a short distance forms the eastern boundary of the parish. It is interesting to note that in 1242 (fn. 2) John de Neville, bailiff of the king's forests, was ordered to cause a cutting (trenchia) to be made through Sawtry Wood, Coppingford Wood, and Upton Wood of sufficient width for the security of travellers, as far as a road there extended. (fn. 3) It would seem probable that the road referred to was the Ermine Street. The other road in the neighbourhood is the Bullock Road, which also for a short distance forms the parish boundary, but this is unlikely to have been the subject of the order.

About a mile west of the Ermine Street, on high land, where a by-road from Upton called Coppingford Lane meets a by-road from Hamerton to Sawtry, stands the little village of Coppingford. The moated site of the manor house, probably built by the Copmanford family, about 1200, is in Coppingford Spinney, on the west side of the village. The church of All Hallows, which was destroyed before 1707, is supposed to have stood in a square paddock of half an acre, inclosed with a hedge, at the north-west angle outside the moat of the manor house. The position favours the theory, but no evidences of graves or foundations have been found, although a few wrought stones, now in the garden of the Farm House, are said to have been dug up here. This Farm House is a little to the east of the manor house site and is an early 17th-century timber-framed cottage with thatched roof. There are modern additions on the east side in which some old fittings have been re-used. This cottage is supposed to be the hiding place of Charles I on the night of 2 May 1646, when he fled from Oxford to join the Scottish army. (fn. 4) It is thought that he went first to John Ferrar at Little Gidding, who led him to this cottage which he considered a safer lodging than the house of such wellknown royalists as the Ferrars. (fn. 5)

The Priory of Bushmead (Beds) held lands in the parish, (fn. 6) and Joseph de Copmanford was prior there. (fn. 7)

The nearest railway stations are at Abbots Ripton (5 miles) and Holme (6 miles).


The manors of COPPINGFORD and Upton, held by Edgar in 1066, were assessed at 4 hides each in 1086, when the overlord was Hugh, (fn. 8) second Earl of Chester. The two places formed two knights' fees in the early 13th century, and subsequently only one. (fn. 9) Earl Hugh died in 1101, and his son Richard in 1120, without lawful issue. Earl Ranulph, Richard's cousin, succeeded in 1121, and died about 1129, when Ranulph de Gernon, his son, became Earl. Hugh de Kevelioc, his son, was earl 1153–81, and Ranulph de Blundeville, his son, from 1181 to 1232. On his death without issue, John le Scot, son of his eldest sister Maud and David Earl of Huntingdon, succeeded. (fn. 10)

Chester. Azure three sheaves or.

Wake. Or two bars gules with three roundels gules in the chief.

John le Scot died in 1237 and the Coppingford overlordship was inherited by Devorgilla, daughter of his sister Margaret Galloway, who married firstly Nicholas de Stuteville and secondly John de Balliol. (fn. 11) Devorgilla was holding Coppingford of the honour of Chester in 1279, (fn. 12) and her property passed to her daughter Joan de Stuteville, wife of Hugh Wake, who died in 1241. Joan was dead by 1276, (fn. 13) and the overlordship remained in the Wake family, but during the minority of Thomas, son of John Wake, it was in the hands of John de Britannia in 1303. (fn. 14) Thomas died seised in 1349, when his heir was his sister Margaret, Countess of Kent. (fn. 15) Her son John, Lord Wake, Earl of Kent, died in 1352; (fn. 16) and the overlordship followed the descent of the Earldom of Kent until the death of Edmund, Earl of Kent, without issue in 1408, when it went to his eldest surviving sister Joan, Duchess of York. (fn. 17) She died in 1434, leaving several co-heirs, and was succeeded by her great-nephew Richard, Earl of March and Duke of York, son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and Anne, daughter of her eldest sister, Eleanor, Countess of March. (fn. 18) His sons ascended the throne as Edward IV and Richard III, and thus the overlordship became merged in the Crown.

It is uncertain when the mesne lordship of the Patrics under the Earls of Chester at Coppingford and Upton began. According to Ormerod, (fn. 19) Robert Fitz Hugh, who held Malpas (Ches.) of the Earl of Chester in 1086, had two daughters, the elder of whom, Lettice, married Richard Patric. Richard's son, William, died in 1184, (fn. 20) leaving a son William, whose widow Emma in 1199 successfully claimed dower in Coppingford from Robert, son of William Patric, late her husband. Emma married, as her second husband, Reginald de Blancminster or Whitchurch (de Albo Monasterio), (fn. 21) who in 1221 had a gift of four oaks for the repair of houses in Coppingford (fn. 22) which had been burnt. In 1225 Reginald and Emma were sued for the manor of Coppingford, (fn. 23) and in the same year Robert's son, William Patric, confirmed the grant of dower to Emma in Buscot (Berks). (fn. 24) William Patric died in 1242 and was succeeded by Robert, his brother. (fn. 25) Emma probably died before 1244, when Robert was returned as mesne lord of half a fee, apparently in Coppingford, held of the honour of Chester. (fn. 26) Robert died before 1279, when Upton is said to be held of his heirs. (fn. 27) He had a son William, who appears to have died in his father's lifetime, leaving an only daughter, Isabel. The first husband of Isabel was Philip de Burnel, who died without issue in 1281. Isabel married secondly Richard de Sutton, who was returned as one of the lords of Coppingford and Upton in 1316. (fn. 28) In 1293 Isabel confirmed the dower held by her grandmother Isabel, widow of Robert Patric, in Buscot. (fn. 29) Richard de Sutton and Isabel had a son John who died before 1339. His son, John, was summoned to Parliament as Lord Sutton de Dudley in right of his mother, Margaret daughter of Roger de Somery, in 1342. After this date we lose sight of any connection of the Suttons with Coppingford and Upton, and the mesne lordship seems to have died out.

Patric. Gules three molets or.

The undertenant of Coppingford in 1086 was Humphrey [de Costentin], who held the manor, assessed at 4 hides, of the Earl of Chester. William de Costentin, the son probably of a later Humphrey, held Coppingford in 1199 as a knight's fee. This William seems to have had a son Humphrey living in the time of Henry III, who was known as Humphrey 'le Constable.' (fn. 30) It was his son William, probably, who gave land in Tushingham (Ches.) to his brother Simon. (fn. 31) It would seem that William had two sons, Simon and William, and in 1225 Simon son of William sued Reginald de Blancminster and Emma his wife for the manor of Coppingford. (fn. 32) He appears to have gained his case, as in 1235 he presented to the church; (fn. 33) and in 1236–8 he held a knight's fee in Coppingford of the Earl of Chester. (fn. 34) Apparently he took the name of Copmanford and as Simon de Copmanford he presented to the church in 1249 and 1252 (fn. 35) and was appointed in 1258 one of the four knights of the county to inquire as to excesses. (fn. 36) He was dead before 1274, when Coppingford had passed to co-heirs, namely, Cecily, the wife of William Engaine, and Isabel, the wife of Silvio or Silvester L'Enveise (fn. 37) (le Waise, Vesey). William and Silvester were holding lands and the advowson in 1279, and Cecily, daughter of Silvester, held one and a half virgates in demesne; there was also a third tenant, Robert Beaumes of Sawtry (q.v.), who held one and a half virgates with his wife in free marriage. (fn. 38)

In 1286 Richard, son of David de Oggerston and Wenthliana his wife, brought an action against William Engaine and Cecily, his wife, for a moiety of the manor of Coppingford, except a messuage, etc., and against William L'Enveise for the other moiety of the manor. They claimed that Humphrey 'le Constable,' great-grandfather of Wenthliana, was seised of the manor in the time of Henry III and from him the fee descended to his son and heir William, and from William to his son and heir William, father of Wenthliana. William Engaine and Cecily and William L'Enveise showed that they held the mill, which was an appurtenance of the manor, in common, and so Richard and Wenthliana lost their case. (fn. 39)

For over a century the manor passed in moieties. Walter L'Enveise was lord of the L'Enveise moiety in 1316, (fn. 40) and in 1324 Ralph de Bramerton, probably as feoffee, conveyed half the manor to Walter L'Enveise and Amice his wife. (fn. 41) In 1348 William L'Enveise released to his brother Edmund and Margaret, his wife, for their lives, the manor of Coppingford which had belonged to their father. (fn. 42)

John Plecy, said to be son and heir of John L'Enveise of Stoke Pogis (Bucks), made a settlement of lands in Coppingford in 1372. (fn. 43) Amice, niece (fn. 44) and heir of Sir John Plecy, kt., married firstly James de Beele, of Liege, merchant, and secondly Geoffrey Kyndersley, alias Huntynton, and with her first husband in 1380, and with her second husband in 1383, conveyed half the manor and advowson to Sir John Cheyne, jun., kt., of Isenhampstead, Edmund Brudenell and others. (fn. 45) This conveyance seems to have been to the use of Sir John Cheyne, who acquired the interest of both moieties of the manor and advowson. In 1397 he was condemned as a Lollard to perpetual imprisonment. He was succeeded by another John Cheyne of Isenhampstead Chenies (Bucks, q.v.), (fn. 46) who before 1415 must have conveyed the whole manor of Coppingford, formerly called Constantins, including one moiety called 'Lengaynesmanoir,' and the other 'Veyciesmanoir,' with the advowson, to John Stukeley, who in that year conveyed it to John Shadworth and others, evidently trustees. (fn. 47) Before 1465 Richard Sapcote had acquired the advowson (fn. 48) and probably the manor; possibly he obtained it before 1442, when he was dealing with the adjoining manor of Upton (q.v.). The manor remained with the Sapcotes of Elton (q.v.) until the end of the 16th century. (fn. 49)

Sapcote. Sable three dovecotes argent.

In 1600/1 Robert Sapcote died and left Coppingford to his daughter Bridget, widow of Edmund Molineux. (fn. 50) Bridget Molineux conveyed the manor of Coppingford to Henry Sapcote, husband of her sister Eleanor, and others in 1605, (fn. 51) and she, John, Rutland and Edmund Molineux made a settlement in 1611. (fn. 52) In 1623 Henry Sapcote conveyed the advowsons of Upton and Coppingford to Sir Sidney Montagu, kt., (fn. 53) and in 1652 Samuel Johnson, D.D., conveyed the manor of Coppingford to Edward, Lord Montagu. (fn. 54)

The manor and advowson descended through the Earls and Dukes of Montagu to Edward Hussey-Montagu, created Lord Beaulieu 1762, and Earl of Beaulieu 1784, (fn. 55) who married Isabella, Dowager Duchess of Manchester, daughter and co-heir of John, second Duke of Montagu. His wife and two children predeceased him, and at his death in 1802 they passed to Elizabeth, Duchess of Buccleuch (d. 1827), the daughter of his wife's only sister. (fn. 56) From her it descended to the present Earl of Dalkeith, son and heir apparent of the Duke of Buccleuch, (fn. 57) but the lands have been sold and Mr. James Swales is now the principal landowner.

The Engaine moiety of the manor and advowson followed the descent of Little Gidding (q.v.). William Engaine, who married firstly Cecily de Copmanford, and secondly Amice, by whom he had two sons, died shortly after 1298, and he was succeeded by his son Ralph Engaine, parson of Coppingford, who settled Little Gidding and probably his other property on William, presumably his brother, with remainder to William, son of William and Agnes, and contingent remainder to Warner, son of William Engaine, the elder, subject to the dower of Amice, widow of the elder William. Apparently William, son of William and Agnes, died young, as in 1361 the manor and advowson of Coppingford which Richard de Eye held for life were settled on Amy, probably the granddaughter of William and Agnes, and on Gilbert Haysand, her second husband. (fn. 58) Amy, or Amice as she is called later, married as her third husband Robert Stokes, who presented to the church in 1378, and on whom and Amice the moiety of the manor and advowson were settled in 1389. (fn. 59) Amice died in 1390, as in that year the manor and advowson of Coppingford and the manor of Little Gidding were settled on John Stukeley and John Lord. (fn. 60) About this time the two moieties became united in the ownership of John Stukeley and followed the descent already given.

Courts leet and baron, free fishery and free warren, are mentioned in the 18th century. (fn. 61)


The church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), and seems to have been standing as late as 1526, when it was served by a curate under the Rector of Copmanford with Upton, (fn. 62) but by 1707 it had been pulled down, (fn. 63) and no record remains as to its form. The dedication appears to have been All Saints, (fn. 64) although one record gives it as St. Mary. (fn. 65)

A tradition in Alconbury Weston states that the masonry piers which carry the wooden footbridge over the brook, at the west end of that village, were built of the stones of Copmanford Church, but there is nothing visible to confirm this statement.


There were a church and priest here in 1086, (fn. 66) and in 1225 the patronage belonged to the Costentin family. (fn. 67) It has since descended with the manor (q.v.) until 1918, when it was conveyed to the Bishop of Ely. During the time that the manor and advowson were held in moieties the presentation seems to have been made by arrangement between the holders of the moieties. From 1465, when William Sherard was instituted Rector of Coppingford and Upton, all succeeding rectors have been so instituted. (fn. 68) In 1583 the church was called the 'church or chapel,' (fn. 69) but Coppingford is still regarded as a living attached to Upton.

The lands of Bushmead Priory were held by the service of celebrating Mass for the souls of the lords of Coppingford, (fn. 70) and in 1279 the carpenter held 2 acres for which he paid 10d. for a light in the church. (fn. 71)

There are no charities for this parish.


  • 1. From the 'Kaupmanna' or 'traders' ford' over this brook the parish is thought to take its name: Place Names Beds and Hunts (Place Name Soc.), 237–8.
  • 2. Cal. Close R. 1237–42, pp. 447–8.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Alfred Kingston, East Anglia and tbe Great Civil War, p. 224; Hist. MSS. Com. (Portland MSS.), Rep. xiii, App. pt. i, passim.
  • 5. Alfred Kingston, op. cit. pp. 224–7; Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, ix, p. 21; Family Memoirs of tbe Rev. William Stukeley, M.D. iii, App. pp. 456–7; Peckard, Memoirs of Nicholas Ferrar, p. 277.
  • 6. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 620; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xviii (2), g. 241 (34–5).
  • 7. Beds N. and Q. iii, 130.
  • 8. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 347a.
  • 9. Farrer, Honors and Knights' Fees, ii, 23, 26, 27.
  • 10. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), iii, 164–9.
  • 11. Farrer, op. cit. 358.
  • 12. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 632.
  • 13. V.C.H. Yorks N.R. i, 513.
  • 14. Feud. Aids, ii, 470. In 1306 Edw. I gave John de Britannia, his nephew, various lands of John de Balliol (Farrer, op. cit. 26).
  • 15. Cal. Inq. ix, no. 219.
  • 16. Ibid. x, no. 46.
  • 17. Chan. Inq. p.m. 10 Hen. IV, no. 51.
  • 18. Ibid. 12 Hen. VI, no. 43; G.E.C. Complete Peerage, v, 244.
  • 19. Hist. of Ches. ii, 592.
  • 20. Farrer, op. cit. 23.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 515b.
  • 23. Cal. Pat. R. 1216–25, p. 581.
  • 24. V.C.H. Berks, iv, 515.
  • 25. Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 366. Ormerod gives Robert as son of William.
  • 26. Cal. Close R. 1242–7, p. 206.
  • 27. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 620.
  • 28. Feud. Aids, ii, 472.
  • 29. V.C.H. loc. cit.
  • 30. Assize R. 348, m. 2; Farrer, op. cit. 27.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Cal. Pat. R. 1216–25, 581.
  • 33. Rot. Rob. Grosseteste (Cant. and York Soc.), p. 250.
  • 34. Farrer, loc. cit.
  • 35. Rot. Rob. Grosseteste (Cant. and York Soc.), pp. 294, 300.
  • 36. Cal. Pat. R. 1247–58, p. 646.
  • 37. Cal. Feet of F. Hunts (Camb. Antiq. Soc.), p. 38.
  • 38. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 619–20.
  • 39. Assize R. 348, m. 2.
  • 40. Feud. Aids, ii, 472.
  • 41. Cal. Feet of F. Hunts (Camb. Antiq. Soc.), 63.
  • 42. Cal. Close R. 1346–9, p. 517.
  • 43. Add. Chart. 22609.
  • 44. Lipscomb, Hist. of Bucks, ii, 361, 377 n.
  • 45. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 4 Ric. II, no. 47; Hil. 6 Ric. II, no. 74. The latter document states that Philip de Vache and Elizabeth his wife held the second moiety for the life of Elizabeth.
  • 46. V.C.H. Bucks, iii, 200.
  • 47. Cal. Close R. 1413–19, p. 284.
  • 48. Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 193.
  • 49. Cal. Feet of F. Hunts (Camb. Antiq. Soc.), 174, 185; Cal. Inq. Hen. VII, ii, no. 406; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), lxix, 92.
  • 50. Ibid. cccliii, 87; W. and L. Inq. p.m. xxviii, 124.
  • 51. Feet of F. Hunts, East. 3 Jas: I.
  • 52. Ibid. Mich. 9 Jas. I.
  • 53. Ibid. Hil. 21 Jas. I. Elizabeth Beaumont, widow, held in 1638 (Recov. R. Hunts, Mich. 14 Chas. I, ro. 83).
  • 54. Recov. R. Hunts, Mich. 1652, ro. 70.
  • 55. Ibid. Hil. 3 Anne, ro. 226; East. 33 Geo. II, ro. 164; 8 Geo. III, ro. 481; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 56. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), ii, 58.
  • 57. Ibid. 369–73.
  • 58. Cal. Feet of F. Hunts (Camb. Antiq. Soc.), p. 80.
  • 59. Ibid. p. 93.
  • 60. Ibid. p. 94.
  • 61. Recov. R. Hunts, Hil. 3 Anne, ro. 226; East. 33 Geo. II, ro. 164; 8 Geo. III, ro. 481.
  • 62. Subsidy collected in the Diocese of Lincoln, 1526, edited by the Rev. H. Salter.
  • 63. A terrier, dated October 1707, says: 'Coppingford is united to Upton, hath no church, only a churchyard unfenced, pays no tythes great or small to the Rector, nor contributes to the repair of Upton Church' (Rec. Archd. of Hunt. no. 232, Terriers).
  • 64. So given in Wills, 1540 and 1546 (Wills, Archd. Hunt. Reg. vi, fol. 193; Reg. viii, fol. 31). Also by Bacon, Liber Regis, 1786, p. 525.
  • 65. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, p. 620.
  • 66. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 347.
  • 67. See above.
  • 68. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 260.
  • 69. W. and L. Inq. p.m. xxviii, 124.
  • 70. Rot. Hund. loc. cit.
  • 71. Ibid.