The Manor of Little Stukeley

Historical notes about the Manor of Little Stukeley, Huntingdonshire, England, UK


Land at STUKELEY formed part of the endowment given to the Abbey of Ramsey in the 10th century by Aylwin, the founder. In 1086 the abbey possessed 7 hides here, with land for 11 ploughs, besides demesne land for two ploughs; it was then worth £4 10s., having had a value of £6 in the time of King Edward. The manor remained in the possession of the abbey until the Dissolution.

Domesday Little Stukeley - Land of St Benedict of Ramsey

In LITTLE STUKELEY the Abbot of Ramsey had 7 hides to the geld. [There is] land for 11 ploughs. Apart from these hides [he had] land for 2 ploughs in demesne. There are now 2 ploughs in demesne; and 16 villans and 2 bordars having 6 ploughs. There is a church and a priest, and 24 acres of meadow, [and] woodland pasture 4 furlongs long and 3 broad. TRE worth £6, now £4.10s. Richard and Hugh, 2 knights of the abbot, have 3 hides of this land, and have 3 ploughs in demesne there, and [their land] is worth 30s.

(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.)

At the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) two knights, Richard and Hugh, held three hides of the abbot. Possibly one of these knights was father of Nicholas, archdeacon of Huntingdon (ob. c. 1110), the father of Henry of Huntingdon, the historian, who apparently succeeded his father as archdeacon and died c. 1155. We know Henry the archdeacon had houses on the demesne of the abbot and held Stukeley at fee farm. He was succeeded by his son Adam, who held the vill for £8, with two ploughs. In the time of Abbot Robert (1180–1200), Adam de Stukeley, with Aristotle his son, made an agreement with the abbot to farm Stukeley for £5.

Between 1214 and 1216, however, the abbot assigned the manor of Stukeley towards the upkeep of the fabric of the abbey and of the infirmary. Nicholas de Stukeley, the son of Aristotle, however, entered on a suit against the abbot with the view of establishing some hereditary right to the manor. Eventually, in 1228, Nicholas renounced all claim to this manor and that of Gidding, receiving 30 marks from the abbot.

In 1239 the manor was leased to Thomas, the abbey's porter, for seven years at a rent of £20 payable to the master of the works and the master of the infirmary. The grant excluded yearly tallage, sheriff's aid and hundred aid with ward peny and other customs due to the abbot's chamber from the manor, as from other abbey manors put to farm. Notwithstanding the surrender by Nicholas to the abbey we find that Paulinus de Stukeley was holding a carucate of land as a manor in Little Stukeley of the abbot with suit at the abbot's court at Broughton in 1279 and that Ralph de Stukeley his son had lands there in 1308.

In the 12th and 13th centuries the family of Lenveyse were, except for the Stukeleys, the chief tenants of the abbot. Jordan Lenveyse held land here in 1199 and in the next century he, or his namesake, owed suit at the abbot's court at Broughton and service. In 1279 Ralph Rastel owed similar service.

After the Dissolution the manor appears to have remained some years in the crown, though numerous life-grants and leases of small parcels of the manor were made.

In 1590 the whole manor was granted to Richard Younge, Edward Rust and George Garth and their heirs. Edward Rust held a court here in 1592. In 1594 Richard Younge died holding two-thirds of the manor leaving his son Edmund as heir. By 1604 the manor had passed to William Buggins and in 1625 Elizabeth Buggins was lady of the manor. It was held in 1653 by William Buggins and in 1664 by John Buggins. he last-named sold the manor about 1665 to Anne Bigge, widow. John Bigge held the property in 1673 and his son John Bigge left it at his death in 1748 to his sister Lucy (d. 1748) for life, with remainder to his friend Sir John Bernard. The manor passed before 1767 to his son Sir Robert Bernard, bart. who died unmarried in 1789. From this date it followed the descent of the Bernards' estate in Brampton (q.v.) and the Duke of Manchester is the present owner.

By a 12th-century extent of the lands of Ramsey Abbey we find that Josceline de Stukeley held 2 hides and a virgate in Stukeley. These lands seem to have extended into Great Stukeley. Josceline was a contemporary of Henry [de Stukeley] archdeacon of Huntingdon (1110–55) and was probably grandfather of Josceline, son of Walter de Stukeley, who married Aline, afterwards the wife of James Wake, and was sheriff in 1205. Walter, son of Josceline de Stukeley, appears as steward of the abbey lands (1214–15). He died about 1237 in the time of Abbot Ranulf (1231–53) when Alice his wife agreed with the abbot for the custody of her three daughters and 'the little one not yet born. Walter, however, left a son Barnabas, probably the little one then unborn, who was said to be seventeen at the death of his grandmother, Aline, wife of James Wake, in 1254. Barnabas died without issue, leaving a widow Margery who afterwards married Norman Darcy. Barnabas's heirs were his three sisters, Joan the wife of William le Waleys who died without issue in 1281, Alice who married William le Coynte and died in 1280 leaving a son and heir William le Coynte, and Mary who married Peter de Boweles and left a son John de Boweles.

In 1259 William le Waleys and Joan and William le Coynte and Alice conveyed their two-thirds of a messuage and 3 carucates of land in Stukeley to William de Swyneford and Margery his wife. William de Swyneford was imprisoned during the Barons' Wars as one of the king's enemies and in 1266 his lands in Stukeley were seized by the sheriff of Huntingdon. He was succeeded by John de Swyneford, and he by his son John (then aged four years) in 1332. Margaret de Swyneford, wife of Thomas FitzEustace, possibly a sister of John, died seised of a ruinous messuage and 240 acres of land in Stukeley of her own inheritance held of the Abbot of Ramsey in 1349. She left a daughter Joan and a kinswoman Eleanor, wife of William de Swyneford, who had a son Thomas, 15 days old, and daughters Isabel and Elizabeth. The Swyneford two-thirds fell to co-heirs and in 1368 were apparently conveyed by William Scot de Holbeach of Yaxley, fisher, and Emma his wife as a moiety of the manor of Great Stukeley which Thomas FitzEustace and Eleanor his wife held for the term of the life of Eleanor to Nicholas de Stukeley, Robert Waryn of Offord and other Stukeley trustees. It would seem that Thomas Fitz Eustace had married Eleanor the kinswoman and one of the heirs of his former wife Margery Swyneford. Seisin of a portion of the Swyneford property called 'Swynefordsmanere' in Great Stukeley was in 1380 given to William Burgate.

In 1293 John de Boweles, who held the remaining third part of the manor, conveyed the third of a moiety of the manor of Stukeley which Margery, widow of Barnabas de Stukeley, then held in dower, and also a third of the manor of Stukeley which Norman Darcy and Margery his wife held as dower, to William son of Thomas Inge of Dunstable. William Inge, who was Chief Justice of the King's Bench, left a son Fremund, who died childless, and a daughter Joan, who married Eudo la Zouche. This part of the manor, like the Swyneford portion, fell into the hands of feoffees in trust for co-heirs.

It would seem that the various interests in the manor were united under the name of RAWLYNS MANOR which in 1386 Thomas Hildegare conveyed to Sir John Holt, John Warwyk and others. In 1388 John de Stukeley and Agnes, his wife, conveyed it to Sir John Holt, Nicholas de Stukeley and others with warranty against the heirs of Agnes. For some time this property seems to have followed the descent of the manor of Nokes in Great Stukeley (q.v.). In the early part of the 16th century, however, it appears to have passed from the chief line of the Stukeley family and was held by Thomas Stukeley whose daughter and heir Anne married George Wynsore. The Wynsores sold it in 1535 to Edward Montagu and henceforth it followed the descent of Hinchingbrook (q.v.) in the family of the Earl of Sandwich.

Victoria County History - Huntingdonshire Published in 1932