Lordship Title of Leighton Prebendal or Prebendal or Rectory ID1174

Title Type:
Previous Lords:
When the church of Leighton was converted into a prebend in the cathedral of Lincoln part of the bishop's estate was taken to endow the prebendal stall and was known as LEIGHTON PREBENDAL or RECTORIAL MANOR. The manorial rights were exercised by each prebendary in virtue of his office in conjunction with those of patron and rector, and, as Leighton Buzzard was a particularly wealthy prebend, there was great competition to secure it. The origin of the bishop's estate in Leighton would seem to be twofold. In 1066 the church, with 4 hides of land, was held by Bishop Wulfwig of Dorchester. It duly descended to his successors. On the other hand, in an original charter of Henry II, the king confirms to the church of Lincoln Leighton (Lectona) 'which earl Waltheof gave by the hand of King William.' The charter, though unusual in form, is authentic; the grant by Waltheof agrees with other evidence which suggests that in his time Bedfordshire was annexed to the earldom of Northampton; his gift probably represents the origin of the rectorial estate, which is described below. In 1247 the tenants of this manor brought an important action against John, the prebendary at that date, who wanted to impose servile services on them. They stated that, as freeholders, they paid 4s. a year for each virgate and owed two works in winter, during one of which the lord was bound to feed them. In summer, too, they were to make hay in 'Bellammede,' the lord providing four men, a horse and sled. These services and these only had been attached to the land since Domesday. They had refused the prebendary's orders to do suit at his court, to pay tallage and merchet for their daughters and sisters, and could not be called upon to act as his reeves. Nicholas de Hegham, who held the office of prebendary in 1286, claimed in that year to hold view of frankpledge and waif and stray in his manor, and these privileges were again called in question in 1330, when John de Podio Barsaco, an Italian who was also Archdeacon of Stow, was prebendary of the church. In 1340 the manor with its appurtenances was valued at £22 10s. 8d., and in 1498 the executors of the will of William Pykenham, the late prebendary, were called upon by Hugh Oldham his successor to repair the waste in houses buildings and stock of cattle. The manor was afterwards held at lease by Sir Christopher Hoddesden and the Leighs under the prebendary. William Johnson, who was one of the defendants in an action brought by Sir Thomas Leigh in 1620, said that he and many of his ancestors lived in the principal dwelling-house called the Prebend Fee, which had since been decayed 'in the willfulness or negligence and meere default' of Sir Christopher Hoddesden. During the troubles of the Commonwealth the trustees for the sale of church lands entered into an agreement with George Smith of London in 1650 for the conveyance of the prebendal estate, comprising the Prebend House, Dovehouse Close, Parsonage Close, Parsonage Hooke and 'Robery' Field, but the sale was nullified at the Restoration and the Leighs acquired a renewal of the lease.
Other Information:
Listed in the Domesday Book:

of pages