Barony Title of Eaton and Eaton Socon ID11261

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At Domesday Eaton Socon was the seat of Eudo Dapifer, who had succeeded Wulfmar, the great Bedfordshire thegn. His lands later became known as the barony of Eaton. Eudo was also tenant at this date in Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Northants, but his principal property was in Bedfordshire, where he held 67 hides 2 virgates, of which EATON MANOR comprised 20 hides, and included two mills worth 36s. 2d., 100 eels, woodland for 400 swine, and 2 acres of vineyard. Eudo Dapifer died in 1120, when his Bedfordshire lands, escheating to the Crown, were granted to a member of the house of Beauchamp. The barony of Eaton is not mentioned in the returns of 1166, but Hugh son of Oliver de Beauchamp, the earliest baron of Eaton of whom mention has been found, paid £23 1s. 3d. for his lands in Bedfordshire on the occasion of an aid in 1156. According to Dugdale, about the year 1176 he accompanied the daughter of Henry II to Palermo, where her marriage with the King of Sicily was celebrated, and in 1186 he went to Palestine on pilgrimage. This latter statement is confirmed by an entry in the St. Neots cartulary recording a grant of lands by Philippa wife of Hugh de Beauchamp on the occasion of her husband going to Jerusalem. Dugdale states that he died on pilgrimage, but it would appear that he survived into the early part of the following century at an advanced age. Between the years 1200 and 1203 he was engaged in litigation with William de Lanvaley, who claimed the vills of Eaton and Sandy as the right of his mother Gunnora, granddaughter of Hamo de St. Clare, who held the lands of Eudo Dapifer in 1130. Between 1210 and 1214 Hugh de Beauchamp rendered knight's service for two fees in Eaton, the service by which this barony is henceforward found held. He died soon after, for in 1217 Roger de Beauchamp, his brother, having done homage, entered upon his inheritance in Bedfordshire. Roger died about 1221, when John son of William de Beauchamp and nephew of Roger paid £10 to have seisin of his uncle's lands in Eaton and Sandy. About the year 1240 the barony included six tenants holding fractions of knights' fees of the new enfeoffment and twelve of the ancient. About this date John de Bury and Hadwisa his wife (daughter of William Lanvaley, who petitioned against Hugh de Beauchamp) unsuccessfully renewed the former claim to Eaton and Sandy. John died before 1287, when his son Ralph de Beauchamp claimed certain rights and privileges in his manor of Eaton as the caput of his barony. Ralph died in 1294, when the inquisition then taken states that he held the manor of Eaton by barony, doing service of one knight's fee in the king's army. Roger de Beauchamp was his son and heir. In 1296 Roger de Bray and Isabella his wife acknowledged Roger de Beauchamp's right and that of his wife Alice to lands in Eaton and Wyboston. Roger held the barony for two knights' fees in 1302–3, and appeared before the king's justices in 1330 to prove his right to certain manorial privileges. In 1343 Roger acquired licence to alienate Eaton Manor to John d'Engayne, retaining for himself £4 rent, five messuages and 26 acres of land, which were to revert on his death to John. In 1346 John d'Engayne and Roger de Beauchamp and their tenants are declared to hold the two fees representing the barony, but after the alienation of Eaton Manor, though the overlordship of manors held of this barony passed to John d'Engayne and his descendants, they made no claim as barons. Returning to the history of the manor, John d'Engayne made a settlement of the manor on his son John and Joan his wife in 1348. He died in 1358, his son John having predeceased him, and Eaton Manor passed to Thomas, his eldest surviving son. Joan widow of John d'Engayne, junior, had meanwhile married Sir William Colville. Thomas d'Engayne died in 1367, when his three sisters—Joyce wife of John Goldington, Elizabeth wife of Laurence de Pabenham, and Mary wife of William Bernake—became his co-heirs. To Joyce passed that third which later became Goldington's Manor (q.v.), and which was retained by Joan Colville till her death in 1390. Mary and Laurence de Pabenham retained the remaining two-thirds of the manor, which from the 15th century is called Eaton Manor. In 1399 Katherine daughter of Laurence de Pabenham received pardon, on payment of a fine of 10 marks, for acquiring two-thirds of Eaton Manor from her father without licence. This was probably on the occasion of her marriage with Sir William Cheney, on whose death she married Sir Thomas Aylesbury, who died in 1418. Eaton Manor next passed to her son Laurence Cheney, who held one fee of Eaton Barony in 1428. His son Sir John Cheney died seised in 1489. In 1492 Thomas son of John Cheney, and the last of the name to hold the manor, was engaged in litigation with John Ormond and Joan his wife, who declared that Thomas d'Engayne (ob. 1367) did not die without issue, and that they represented such issue. Their claim came to nothing as regards Eaton, which Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of Thomas Cheney, brought in marriage to Thomas Lord Vaux of Harrowden. This family, whose descent has been traced under Pavenham (q.v.), retained Eaton Manor until 1624, when Edward Vaux Lord Harrowden sold it to Rowland Squire of Ford End in this parish. At his death in 1644 Eaton—which now begins to be called Eaton-cum-Soka, or Eaton Socon—passed to his son Gaius Squire. He made a settlement of the manor in 1656. He had a daughter Mary (aged about four in 1634), who is perhaps to be identified with the Mary Mathew, widow, who with Henry Ashley, junior, and Alice his wife conveyed this manor in trust to Edward Carter in 1692–3. In 1708 Henry Ashley, senior, and Henry Ashley, junior, made further settlements preparatory to a sale, which took place in the same year, to the Duke of Bedford. It was retained by the Dukes of Bedford until towards the middle of the 19th century. In 1847 John Hill Day of St. Neots was lord of the manor, which belongs at the present time to his representative, Mr. Frank Day.
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Listed in the Domesday Book:

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