Lordship Title of Northill College or Rectory ID1211

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Previous Lords:
The RECTORY, afterwards NORTHILL COLLEGE MANOR, was an important manor in Northill. In the time of Edward III Roger de Lameleye, parson of Northill Church, claimed view of frankpledge over all lands pertaining to the glebe of the church, stating that his predecessors had been seised of these liberties from time immemorial. When Northill parish church became collegiate in 1404 Sir Gerard Braybrooke and the other executors of Sir John and Sir Reginald Trailly obtained a licence to appropriate it in mortmain in aid of the maintenance of Northill College. The rector was created master of the college, and so the Rectory Manor became the College Manor, which was further increased in 1518–19 by Edward Stacy's grant of land to the college, of which particulars will be found under Beeston. At the Dissolution Northill College Manor passed to the Crown, and in 1549 it was granted to Sir William Fitz William, who died in 1559, being succeeded by his widow, the Lady Joan. After her death in 1575 the manor, which was held of the queen in chief for one-hundredth part of a knight's fee, was divided between Sir Thomas Browne, who had married Mabel, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Sir William Fitz William, and his other surviving daughters, Katherine wife of Christopher Viscount Gormanston, Elizabeth wife of Innocent Rede and Elizabeth wife of Francis Jermy. Sir Thomas Browne acquired two of the last three moieties in 1577 and 1580 respectively, and Katherine died without issue, so that eventually the whole of the manor reverted to Richard Browne son of Sir Thomas, who was in possession in 1597. In 1610 he sold the manor to Edward Osborne of the Inner Temple, second son of Sir Edward Osborne, who held it until his death in 1625, and was succeeded by his son, another Edward, also of the Inner Temple, who in 1651 suffered a recovery. He was buried at Northill in 1679, leaving his property, which in his will was no longer called Northill Manor, to his grand-niece Elizabeth Osborne. During the next century the Osborne estate must have become quite dispersed, and no reference is found to it when the parish was inclosed in 1780, with the interesting exception that College Farm was in the possession of John Harvey of Ickwell Bury. St. Anne's Farm at Thorncote, which belonged to St. Anne's Chantry (see below), is named in the Court Roll of Northill College Manor in 1381 as being in the tenure of one William Feevell. In 1548 it consisted of 64 acres of land and 4 acres of meadow and was in the tenure of John Rysley, who paid a yearly rent of £2 14s. 4d. The steward of the manor, at a court held in 1612, stated that one Ferneslie or Verneslie dwelt at St. Anne's Farm and that the croft near was called after his name. A manuscript book of Northill College Manor, which is extant, contains a brief history of it between the years 1380 and 1612 with catalogues of Court Rolls (most of which are preserved in the Public Record Office) and rentals and of the names of tenants with notes of the tenures, rents and services of each. In the earliest existing Court Roll, that of 1381, William Borstall, the rector, as lord of the manor held a court leet and court baron in the parsonage-house. Heriots were due to the lord. A survey of the college in 1535 shows that the manor consisted then of a mansion-house called the City, 80 acres of arable land, twelve small pastures and meadow land, with Drew's Wood (demised in 1536 to the Abbot of Warden for forty years for a yearly rent of 10s.). Stacy's Wood and another small wood provided with the hedgerows an abundant supply of firewood. The college had the right of keeping on the town commons 300 sheep and other animals. A mill and mill-house stood within the precincts of the college, which were leased in 1545 to William Wood for twenty-one years at 13s. 4d. rent, but no further mention of them has been found.
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Listed in the Domesday Book:

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