The Manor of Brittains

Historical notes about the Manor of Brittains, Huntingdonshire, England, UK


Land in Buckden held by the family of le Breton, de Britannia or Briton, in the 13th century, appears to have been the origin of a manor of BRITTENS alias BUCKDEN BRITTENS alias BRITTAINS in Buckden and Stirtlow which from the 16th was held of the bishops of Lincoln as of their manor of Buckden. In 1218 William Dacus granted to Ralph de Bray the homage of Geoffrey le Breton in Buckden, and in 1248 a fine was levied between Hugh and William le Breton (Bretan) of 2 carucates of land in Buckden and 2 virgates in Grafham and Beachampstead. In 1252 Hugh le Breton conveyed to Thomas le Breton lands in Buckden, and in 1260 was engaged in a dispute with John Russel about common of pasture in his lands in Buckden. In 1272 a fine was levied between Stephen de Graveshende and Thomas le Breton of a messuage 4 virgates of land and 13s. 10d. rent in Buckden with half a virgate in Grafham. may have been this land which in 1376 was released by Nicholas Grymbaud kinsman of William Grymbaud with the manor of Grymbaud in Diddington to Nicholas Stukely.

In 1380 John Brunne, Richard Hemingford, John de Stukely and others, evidently feoffees, by deed dated at Buckden, leased to Nicholas de Stukely and Blanche his wife, daughter of Sir Andrew Luttrell and the heirs of their bodies, the manors of Madingley (co. Cambs.) and Buckden, and all the lands there of Nicholas de Stukely the elder. The manor continued to be held by the Stukelys and was in 1477 conveyed by John Stukely and his wife Margaret with the manors of Beaufoes and Crofts in Beachampstead to John Broughton, junior, William Broughton, Thomas Taylard, clerk, William Taylard, and Thomas Burton. With Grymbauds it passed to the Taylards and, at the death in 1514 of William Taylard, to his brother and heir Laurence, these boys being the grandchildren of William and Elizabeth Taylard of Diddington, sons of their son Walter. Elizabeth, then the widow of William Taylard, died in 1518.

Sir Laurence Taylard, kt., of Diddington, was dealing with the manor in 1549, and by the marriage of Katherine, daughter and sole heir of his son and heir Geoffrey, with Robert Brudenell of Diddington, it passed to the Brudenells of Deene, co. Northampton, who continued to hold it with Diddington. William Taylard of Upwood, second son of Sir Laurence, with his own son and heir Laurence Taylard, covenanted to secure possession of the manors of Buckden, Grymbauds, Everton, Tetworth, etc., in 1574 to Robert Brudenell and Katherine. It was coupled with Diddington in a grant of free warren in 1616 to Sir Thomas Brudenell, bart.

Brudenell Arms

The Armorial Bearings of the Brudenell family.

The Armorial Bearings of the Brudenell family.

Argent a chevron gules between three hats azure.


In 1627, in a grant of the recusancy of Sir Thomas Brudenell to Francis Earl of Rutland, a concession was made because Robert, son and heir of Sir Thomas, had been held to ransom in Flanders by the King of Spain. Thomas, created Lord Brudenell of Stonton in 1628, and Earl of Cardigan in 1661, his son and heir Robert, and the latter's wife Anne, were dealing with both manors in 1656–7, but in 1676 Brittens was in the hands of George and Roger Smith, John and Robert Peter, who made a conveyance of it to Robert Williams.

A Robert Williams was holding in 1744 and his widow Ann in 1754. On the death of Ann the manor appears to have been divided into moieties held in 1755 by John Gray and Elizabeth Harvey. John Gray sold his moiety in 1755 to Francis Nailour of Offord Darcy and Elizabeth Harvey sold her moiety to him shortly after. Francis Nailour settled the manor in 1756 and his son and heir William Nailour, who took the name of Blundell, sold it in 1763 to John Waller. Leonard Waller was lord in 1778 and John Waller in 1796. Before 1815 it had been purchased by Laurence Reynolds. From him it passed to Edward Reynolds, whose sisters, Mrs. Irene Larsen and Miss Gwendolen Reynolds sold it in 1920 to Mr. Robert Holmes Edleston, the present owner.

Licence was granted to Ralph de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, in 1245 to inclose his wood at 'Stert,' so that the king's wild deer could go in and out, to assart and cultivate it, and that the grange he had built himself there should not be taken into the hands of the king's justices. This appears to be identical with 2 carucates in Stert in the said earl's manor of Southoe Weston of which the earl died seised in 1270, and which has been identified with Stirtlow in Buckden. Stirtlow House was in 1768 in the occupation of — Alexander and in 1784–90 Lancelot son of 'Capability' Brown is described as of Stirtlow. Stirtlow House had been acquired before 1820 by Lawrence Reynolds and before 1854 by Col. Linton and is now in the possession of Capt. H. Linton.

The mill in Buckden has always been of importance, and directions appear in the Inclosure Act of 1813 that nothing done was to prejudice Buckden mills. Bishop Hugh de Welles granted the monks of Elstow a rent of 10s. from Bugden Mill, which they retained until the Dissolution. Thomas Williamson and his wife Dorothy conveyed a horsemill with two messuages, lands, etc., in 1561 to Henry Williamson and his wife Florence, who were dealing with them in that year and in 1564–5. These, with the close called Harthay, were later the subject of Chancery proceedings instituted by Henry Williamson of Buckden against Ellen widow of James Caterall. The abbey of Sawtrey had grants of lands in Buckden in the 13th–14th centuries.

Victoria County History - Huntingdonshire Printed 1932