Little Barford


The Abbey of St Benedict, Ramsey, held Little Barford Manor in chief both at the time of and previous to the Domesday Survey. An early charter of the abbey records, says that a certain Ædgiva granted land at Barford to the abbey, which probably became the manor assessed at 5 hides referred to in Domesday. Between the years 1133-1160 the manor was alienated by Abbot Alwin (this Abbot I think should be Walter, if the dates are correct) to Hugh de Beauchamp for £10 without the consent of the monastery, but in 1194 Hugh surrendered the 5 hides of land which constituted the manor to Abbot Robert.

Until the Dissolution of the Monasteries Ramsey Abbey continued to exercise the overlordship of Little Barford, which was invariably held by the service of one knight’s fee and the rent of a mark of silver. It then lapsed to the crown, and the last mention of the overlordship occurs in 1563, when the manor was held of the Queen ‘by reason of the dissolution of the abbey.’

At the time of the Survey this manor was held of Ramsey Abbey by Eudo Dapifer, who had as under-tenant one Osberne, Eudo appears to have been followed by the Leyhams, who were holding in Barford as early as 1194, in that year Peter de Leyham rendered homage for this manor to the abbot.

Matthew de Leyham, probably a grandson, one of the knights of Ramsey Abbey, who performed service in Poiton, Gascony, and Scotland in the years 1240, 1242, and 1244 respectively, confirmed his right to the manor by fine 1243.

By the year 1316 the manor had passed to Thomas de la Dale, probably on his marriage with Isabel de Leyham. A fine levied a year later, declared the manor to be the right of Isabel formerly wife of Thomas Dale, which lends probability to this assumption. Thomas Dale, son of Isabel, held the manor in 1346, and was succeeded by a son, Thomas, whose wife Isabel in 1408 obtained the marriage and wardship of her grandson, Thomas, on payment of 100 marks to Ramsey Abbey within twenty years. He rendered feudal service for the manor in 1428, and in 1480 his grandson John Dale, son of another Thomas, died seised of this manor. (Ref 28)