Manorial History - Prebendal, or Rectorial
or Rectorial Manor, originates from when the church of Leighton Buzzard
was coverted into a prebend in the cathedral of Lincoln. On conversion
part of the bishop's estate was taken to endow the prebendal stall,
and became the manor.
Each successive prebendary exercised manorial rights in virtue
of his office, in conjunction with those of patron and rector. Leighton
Buzzard was always a very wealthy prebend, and as a result securing the
prebend was very competitive.
In the 1534 the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Lincoln
gave consent to the prebendary to lease the Prebendal estate with the
mansion and glebe lands etc. for £76 13s. 4d. and in the following year
the Valor Ecclesiaticus of Henry VIII valued the rectory at £68 15s.
estate was leased to Sir Christopher
Hoddesden followed by Sir Thomas
Leigh, who held the lease at the time of the Civil War. Sir Thomas
Leigh was also at this time the lessee of Leighton
During the Civil War by the Act of 1643 the Prebendal Estate
passed into the hands of trustees for the sale of Church lands. In approximately
1644 the parsonage was sequestered from Sir Thomas Leigh, due to his
support for the King. However, at the Restoration, it reverted to the
Prebend, and the Leighs acquired a renewal of the lease.
In addition to the Great Tithes, the Prebendal Estate consisted
of Prebendal House and gardens (see picture above),
Vicarage Island, Little Kings Mead and meadows to the south of All Saints
together with approximately 60 acres of land in the form of strips in
open fields. In 1843, at the Inclosure, the strips were changed for 58
acres in Hangings Furlong, 29 acres in Kings Mead and Hooket.
In 1824 the estate was leased to the Prebendary, Rev. Edward
Harvey Maltby (who later became Bishop of Durham), and also to Thomas
Douglas Hodgson, and Frederick William Maltby, for the term of their
George Villiers Villiers held a lease of the tithes due from
Grovebury and received £75 per year. The remainder of the Pebendal Tithes
were held by John Fielder of Chelsea, who received £417 7s. 9d. per annum
until the termination of the lease.
In 1864 the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners purchased both the Great Tithes and the Prebendal Estate,
and on the death of the last leasholder,
Thomas Douglas Hodgson, the estate passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
With regard to Prebendal House, documents show that this was
in existence in 1344. It is clear that some Prebendaries did live from
time to time at the property, but generally they were non-resident, as
was a common practice, leaving the Vicar to attend to the care of the
In 1534 the house was leased to William
Johnson, who occupied
the house until his death in 1557. In 1620 a John Johnson a descendant
of William was in residence.
Afterwards the house was occupied by the Leigh family until
the end of the 18th century, when it was let to John Dickenson.
It is believed that the house was demolished somewhere between
1809 and 1819. Its location was situated in what is now All Saints Churchyard
(this was expanded in the 1800s and enclosed the former site of the house).
The gardens to the house fall within what is now Leighton Middle School
(formerly Cedars School)