Leighton-Linslade Past Times: including Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge
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Grovebury Manor  |  Prebendal Manor
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Manorial History - Prebendal, or Rectorial Manor

Prebendal HouseLeighton Prebendal, 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. 11d.

Afterwards the 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 Manor.

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), Dovehouse Close, the Vicarage Island, Little Kings Mead and meadows to the south of All Saints church 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 lives.

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 parish.

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)