The Manor of Alconbury Cumweston

Historical notes about the Manor of Alconbury Cumweston, Huntingdonshire, England, UK


The manor of ALCONBURY-CUMWESTON belonged to the king in 1086, when 10 hides in Alconbury and its berewick, Gidding, were assessed. The soke of Thurning was appurtenant to Alconbury, and Eustace the Sheriff held it in demesne, together with his lands in the present Alconbury Weston, Gidding and Winwick (Hunts) and in Luddington (Northants). There is, however, no further mention of any dependence of these places on Alconbury-cum-Weston. Like all the demesne of the Crown in Huntingdonshire, except Godmanchester, Alconbury, by 1086, was in the custody of Ranulph, Ilger's brother, who held the manor of Everton, and in or before 1091 succeeded Eustace as sheriff of Huntingdonshire.

Domesday Alconbury - Land of the King

In ALCONBURY and Great Giding, a BEREWICK, there were 10 hides to the geld. [There is] land for 20 ploughs. There are now 5 ploughs belonging to the hall, on 2 hides of this land; and 35 villans have 13 ploughs there, and 80 acres of meadow. TRE worth £12, now the same. Ranulph, Ilger's brother, has custody of it.

(Note: Demesne - Land retained by the Lord of the Manor for his own use and TRE - Tempora Regis Eduardis - In the time of King Edward the Confessor.)

The manor remained with the Crown until the end of the 12th century, when it was granted to John Lupus, chamberlain of the Emperor of Germany, but before 1199 he was disseised of the manor and his goods sold. In that year the men of Alconbury gave 40 marks for having the vill at farm, and two years later they paid for having it as in the time of Richard I.

In 1203–4 King John gave 10 librates of land in Alconbury and 10 in Brampton to David, Earl of Huntingdon, younger brother of William the Lion of Scotland, as 2 knights' fees. After David's death in 1219 the custody of his son and heir John, Earl of Huntingdon, together with his lands in Alconbury and Brampton, were granted to his maternal uncle Ranulph, Earl of Chester.

Segrave Arms

The Armorial Bearings of the Segrave family.

The Armorial Bearings of the Segrave family.

Sable a lion argent crowned or.


During the minority of John le Scot, in 1219–20, Stephen de Segrave, Justiciar of England, received a grant of Alconbury during the king's pleasure, and between 1230 and 1233 John alienated Alconbury in fee to Stephen de Segrave, retaining the overlordship, which descended with the neighbouring manor of Brampton. The last mention of the overlordship is in 1375, after which it passed to the Crown. Following this grant the Crown attempted to regain possession of the manor on the ground that it had only been granted to Earl David until the king should give him other lands in exchange. Stephen, whose grandfather held Seagrave (Leics) in 1166, became Chief Justiciar in succession to Hubert de Burgh in 1232. He was one of the most unpopular favourites of the king and the barons showed their dislike by burning Alconbury in 1234. He was in disgrace at the time of the above suit, but he managed to retain his land and regain the royal favour. On his death in 1241 this manor was granted in dower to his second wife Ida, sister of his overlord Henry de Hastings, with reversion to his son and heir Gilbert.

In 1247 Ida married Hugh Pecche, her brother's steward. Sir Hugh Pecche was a rebel follower of Hastings in 1264, when the manor of Alconbury was seized by Sir Reginald de Grey, who still held it in 1265. Hugh Pecche and Ida regained possession and were holding in 1285. Gilbert Segrave, son of Stephen, a judge, died in 1254 and was succeeded by Nicholas his son, a strong supporter of Simon de Montfort, who, however, afterwards returned to the king's favour. He was summoned as a baron to the Shrewsbury Parliament of 1283, and died in 1295 seised of the manor. John, his son, the second baron, died in 1325; his son Stephen survived only a few months, leaving a son John aged 9 years and a widow, Alice, who received Alconbury in dower. John married Margaret, daughter and heir of Thomas, Earl of Norfolk. Their daughter and heir Elizabeth married John, Lord Mowbray of Axholm, who died seised of Alconbury in 1368, leaving a son and heir John, a minor, created in 1377 Earl of Nottingham, and a younger son Thomas, who succeeded John in 1382.

Mowbray Arms

The Armorial Bearings of the Mowbray family.

The Armorial Bearings of the Mowbray family.

Gules a lion argent.


Thomas was created Earl of Nottingham in 1383 and Duke of Norfolk in 1397. After the latter's death in 1400, his widow Elizabeth and her fourth husband Robert Goushill, kt., held one-third of this manor as dower. (Her son Thomas, Earl Marshal, but never styled Duke of Norfolk, predeceased her, having been beheaded in 1405 at the age of 19 for participation in Scrope's rising. His widow, Constance, died seised in 1437. She had married as her second husband John, son of Reginald, Lord Grey of Ruthin, who was returned as lord in 1428. John, brother and heir of her first husband, died in 1432, having been restored to the Dukedom of Norfolk in 1424. His son and heir John died seised of Alconburycum-Weston in 1461, and was succeeded by his son John, who died in 1476, leaving a daughter Anne, aged 4 years. Anne was forthwith married to Richard, Duke of York, second son of Edward IV, who was created Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal and murdered in the Tower in 1483. Anne's mother, Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk, received Alconburycum-Weston as dower in 1488, with reversion under settlement by Anne's father to William, son of James, Lord Berkeley, and Isabel, daughter of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. William, who was created Earl of Nottingham in 1483, and Marquess of Berkeley in January 1488–9, settled Alconbury in 1488 and died in 1492. He was succeeded by Maurice his brother, who was called simply 'esquire,' and died in 1506. He left a son Maurice 'esquire' who had licence of entry in 1507, and is said to have been summoned to Parliament as a baron but never took his seat. He died seised in 1523, his brother Thomas the great grazier in 1533, and Thomas, son and heir of Thomas the grazier, in 1534.

Berkeley Arms

The Armorial Bearings of the Berkeley family.

The Armorial Bearings of the Berkeley family.

Gules a cheveron between ten crosses formy argent.


Henry, Lord Berkeley, posthumous son of the latter Thomas, was compelled by debts to lease this manor, and sold it in 1600 to Sir John Spencer, kt., of Althorp, for £4,000. He died seised in 1610, when his heir was his daughter Elizabeth, wife of William, Lord Compton. William was created Earl of Northampton in 1618 and died in 1630. Elizabeth died in 1632 and her son Spencer, Earl of Northampton, succeeded. He was killed fighting on the king's side at Hopton Heath in March 1643. His son James, Earl of Northampton, conveyed the manor in 1655 to John Bedell, who was described as lord of the manor in 1656 and 1660.

Compton Arms

The Armorial Bearings of the Compton family.

The Armorial Bearings of the Compton family.

Sable a leopard or between three helms argent.


In 1705, William Hanbury and Frances his wife conveyed the manor to Charles Sowning, and three years later (the Rev.) Robert Bragge had a grant from Edward Salwey and John Basnett. Robert Bragge, M.D., was lord from 1738 to 1755; Robert Bragge succeeded him and retained the manor until it passed in 1778 to Sir John Chapman, bart., son of Sir William, first baronet, Lord Mayor of London. It was then acquired by Robert Lathropp, and in 1781 it was held by Robert Booth of Huntingdon, fourth son of John Booth of Theobalds (Herts). Robert died in 1798, leaving a son Robert, a minor, who became a clergyman and held the manor  until 1840, after which it passed to James Rust, lord in 1841, who in 1873 held 1,273 acres here. He died in 1875 and was succeeded by his nephew, George John Rust, who died in 1922. The manor has since been purchased by Mr. R. H. Edleston, the present owner.

Like other lords of manors which had been ancient demesne of the Crown, the lord of Alconbury took tallage whenever the king tallaged his demesnes, and he had gallows, view of frankpledge, fines, and services from free tenants, sokemen and cottars. Leyrwyte and Merchet are mentioned and the tenure of borough english is found. (fn. 82) A court leet and court baron are specified in the transfers of 1655 and 1709. In 1302 a grant was made to John de Segrave and his heirs of free warren in their demesne lands here.

Victoria County History - Huntingdonshire Published in 1932