We need to be clear about the manors (at least as clear as we are able!) as they are in effect the early history of the villages, other than the churches. Then we will know who is writing about what manor. The things that in essence defined a manor were its geographical area, the fact there was a Lord of the Manor, and that it had a Manor Court.



Appears in charter of Wulfhere to P’boro in 664, but not in Domesday Book (probably included in Ailsworth/Castor entry)

12cent, Godwin of Upton, then held by Watervilles of Marholm, then various people such a s de Dives, Camoys, Torpel family

1308 granted to Piers Gaveston by EdII, then Jn E of Surrey, neph of King EdII, other relations of royal family etc

1492 to Eliz wife of HenVII

1543-4 to Sir Richard Wingfield

1625 sold to Sir Wm Dove son of Bp Dove of P’boro

1750 sold by Doves to Milton Fitzwilliams.

There was a second manor at Upton, never became a full manor, and by marriage passed to Wingfields, thus uniting all Upton Manor

The Manor House in Wingfields was on  site Manor Farm (part still there, but only fraction of size), most pulled down, rest left as farmhouse.



Abbey of P’boro manor, run by Almoner

1541 granted to Dean and Chapter

1854Taken over by Ecclesiastical Commissioners

1898 Bought by Revd Wm Hopkinson

1997 Current Lords of Manor now the Bishop family(this is a surname, not the Bishop) who bought Grange and manor title off Hopkinsons



Mystery, not in Domesday, was it part of Milton, and the Church the Chapel-of-ease to Castor?

By 1228 Church had its own rector, although later to share again with Castor.

In 1502 Wm Fitzwilliam bought Milton from Robt Wyttilbury, purchase described as Manors of Milton, Marham with their appurtenances in Milton, Marham, Caster,(sic) Etton, Maxsey Norborough and Depyngate”. Clearly two separate manors, that of Marholm and Milton (Milton being in Castor parish), and the overlord being the Abbot (cf Domesday book entry for Milton).


MILTON – see above Lords of Manor from 1502 were Fitzwilliams – Manor House at Milton Hall


CASTOR – confusing  consisted of three manors at one time (this is excluding Upton, Sutton, Belsize and Milton all in Castor parish)


  1. ABBOT’s MANOR (Castor or Berrystead)

      Abbot of P’boro until 1537 (dissolution) then granted to Dean and Chapter. This is almost certainly the same Manor described as the Manor of Castor or Berrystead by the Parliamentary Commissioners in 1647, stolen off church by Cromwell’s lot, then reverted back to Dean and Chapter in 1660 (restoration of King Chas II). Taken over by Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1836. The Manor Farm for this is the one (I think) now called Village Farm, descended from the Manor that Abbot Alexander of Holderness had 1222-1226, who built the hall at Castor –possibly now the Sched Mon in the Empties (The Enties) opposite Village Farm.


  1. THOROLD’s MANOR also in Castor, otherwise called Butler’s Manor

      By 1136 held by Thorold, father of Richard and Geoffery, it was split into two parts viz:


      Richard son of Thorold was a priest, he took one third plus the church, then became a monk, and the land went to the Abbey/ Dean and Chapter etc.

      The other two thirds went to Geoffery, his successors incl more Thorolds, then in 1460 to Sir Guy Wolston (now also described “as the Manor of Castor, otherwise called the manor of Butler’s and Thorold’s”, then to Thomas Empson (son-in-law of Wolston) then in 1515 to Richard Fitzwilliam. In 1534 William Fitzwilliam died holding this manor, now still held by Milton. Page 1 of 1

BELSIZE – In Castor Parish, but treated in book by Marholm chapters

Was it a manor, sometimes described as such but no manor court?

In 1214 Abbot Robert built houses at Belsize. By 15th cent clearly a small hamlet, eg 100 tenants there. Run by Cellarer for Abbey (also went with it, land in Marholm, Woodcroft and Milton).

1541 went to Dean and Chapter, stolen by Cromwell’s men off church in 1650, then reverted to Dean etc in 1660, then passed from Dean and Chapter to Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1836 (who at that stage I think sold it to Milton; the Fitzwilliams having held it(rented it) off the Dean etc as tenants certainly since before 1700 cf Francis Guybon’s letters from the then Lord Fitzwilliam, who complained I recall, about the  rent paid to Dean & Chapter)


AILSWORTH – in Castor Parish

Mentioned in Domesday Book (this entry prob included Sutton and Upton) as held by Abbot of P’boro.


Note: (Records of part of Ailsworth at one stage being owned by Torpel family (1253), probably only a half manor which in reality consisted of sundry tenements. According to VCH, these bits may be part of Manor of Minskipp in Castor and Ailsworth shown as held by Lord Fitzwilliam in 1620)


Most of Ailsworth held by Abbey and in 1541 granted to Dean and Chapter. The Manor Farm House still on Main Street (now nos 50 and 52, being split into two houses). Stolen by Cromwelll’s lot in 1650, and given back to Dean etc in 1660 then passed from Dean and Chapter to Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1836. Nearly whole of Ailsworth owned by Church Commissioners until recently.


Most of this gleaned from VCH.



There would however, nearly always be a manor farmhouse; this was the demesne or manor farm and the Lord of the manor kept all the income from it, whereas he only took rents from other farms in his/her manor. The manor  farmhouses are the best clue to the Manors in our area.

 Therefore Eg:

UPTON: Manor farmhouse at Upton = Upton manor

SUTON: Manor farmhouse at Sutton = Sutton manor

MARHOLM: Manor farmhouse at   Marholm = Marholm manor

MILTON: Milton was  a manor house itself, therefore it would have had a Home Farm to meet its domestic needs for meat, milk etc(not primarily for income,) presumably this was Home Farm Marholm

CASTOR: Castor – two manors originally perhaps three

·         Dean and Chapter manor,(Castor or Berrystead manor) for which I think Theo’s old place Village Farm was the manor farmhouse.(some church docs refer to it as the Village Manor Farm)

·         Butler’s or Thorold’s Manor aka as Castor, from 1515 was Fitzwilliam, but no obvious manor farm house

·         Manor Farmhouse in Castor was always owned by the church, but I think the name is recent, ie given by Fletchers, not its original name.


AILSWORTH Ailsworth Manor Farm = Ailsworth Manor. Note that this is the house The Manor Farm House still on Main Street (now nos 50 and 52, being split into two houses where Sarah and Gerry Rideout and Maurice Wickam has his surgery). It is not the place where Andrew Harrison Smith now lives. He took the name with him, when the Harrison Smiths moved from Manor Farm House Main Street (owned by church at time), and called his new residence Manor Farm House. I do not think that there has been a manor house there either, the church being absentee lords of the manor. The house the Chambers call Manor House Ailsworth is as a name a recent acquisition I think.


All clear as mud, but we need to know who is writing about which manor; if any problems, just summarize the VCH for your area.


Where did Castor House fit in all this? Clearly owned by Church for 200 years



  1. As Claire Winfrey says, we should not always be looking for a building as Manor House. If the manor was held by someone not living in Manor, the manor court would be held in pub or church!

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  1. When we say land was owned by church we need to aware there were at least three different church proprietors: viz:





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