The Manor of Warboys

History of the Manor of Warboys in Huntingdonshire, UK


Warboys was the gift of Archbishop Dunstan to the Abbey of St. Benedict of Ramsey, and was confirmed by King Edgar in 974, by Edward the Confessor, by William the Conqueror in 1077, and by Edward III in 1334; and further by Pope Alexander in 1178, and by Pope Gregory in 1229.

Domesday Warboys - Land of St Benedict of Ramsey

In WARBOYS the Abbot of Ramsey had 10 hides to the geld. [There is] land for 20 ploughs, and [he had] land for 3 ploughs in demesne, apart from the aforesaid hides. There are now 3 ploughs in demesne; and 34 villans and 13 bordars having 16 ploughs. There is a priest and a church, and 3 acres of meadow, woodland pasture 1 league long and 1 league broad, [and] marsh 1 league long and half a league broad. TRE as now, worth £12

(Note: Demesne - Land retained by the Lord of the Manor for his own use and TRE - Tempora Regis Eduardis - In the time of King Edward the Confessor.)

Warboys was returned in the Domesday Survey among the lands of St. Benedict of Ramsey; and it was stated then that the abbot had 10 hides in the manor which paid geld. There were a priest and a church and 3 acres of meadow. There was wood for pannage 1 mile long and 1 mile broad. The same hidage was given in the 13th century survey for 'Wardebois cum Caldecote,' 30 acres being reckoned to the virgate and 4 virgates to the hide. An inquisition concerning customs and rents in 1251 again returns Warboys and Caldecote as of 10 hides.

There was a wood belonging to the manor extending from Middelgrave to Mareweye, from Mareweye to Wolfheye, from Wulfheye to Newedyche, and from Newedyche to Middelgrave. The marsh of Warboys belonging to the manor was a subject of dispute during the abbacy of Abbot Rainulf (1231–53) with the Abbey of Thorney. The dispute resulted in Abbot Rainulf granting to Thorney half the herbage, between the weirs of Tyllingwere and Wulveywere from the river to the next 'merefen' in Warboys marsh, for a rent of one penny. Thereupon the Abbot of Thorney acknowledged that all the soil of the marsh was the property of the Abbot of Ramsey as belonging to his manor of Warboys. The Abbot of Ramsey's tenants at Broughton had rights of pasturage, etc., in this marsh, but had to pay to the manor of Warboys for licence to enter. The tenants of Warboys with those of Broughton had rights of common in Wystow Marsh, but not beyond the "Drauht" without licence of the abbot.

In 1279 the Abbot of Ramsey held the manor of Warboys cum Caldecote of the king, including a windmill, and a messuage with a garden of 2.5 acres, and gallows, tumbrel, view of frankpledge and all appurtenances. In 1535 the site of the manor was leased by the abbot to John Mayhue or Mayhew of Warboys, husbandman, for 40 years at a rent of £8. Two days before, a close in Warboys called Caldecotts had been leased for 40 years with the site of the manor of Broughton to John Lawrence of Ramsey, bailiff of Warboys.

After the Dissolution the manor of Warboys with grange or farm, wood, fisheries and marsh, was granted in 1540 to Richard Williams alias Cromwell, and followed the descent of Ramsey until 1622, when Sir Oliver Williams alias Cromwell, jointly with his wife Anne, Henry his son and Dame Anne Carr, Henry's wife, and Henry Williams alias Cromwell his brother, sold the manor to Sir John Leman, Kt., citizen and alderman of London, to Robert Leman, and William Leman, son of Sir John's deceased brother William. In the following September, Sir Oliver Williams alias Cromwell of Hinchingbrooke, Kt., with Henry Williams alias Cromwell of Ramsey, Esq., his son and heir, leased to Henry Williams certain land in Upwood, in consideration of the latter conveying his interest in the pasture or warren of Woolvey (Wolvey) in Warboys to Sir John Leman. Robert granted his interest in the manor to Sir John and his nephew William in 1628.

Leman Arms

The Arms of Leman of Warboys and of Northaw, Baronet.

The Arms of Leman of Warboys and of Northaw, Baronet.

Azure a fesse between three dolphins rising argent.


Sir John Leman was a member of the Fishmongers' Company, and Lord Mayor of London, 1616–17. He was the son of John Leman of Beccles in Suffolk and died unmarried in 1632. His elder brother William had four sons, John, Robert, William and Philip. John the eldest predeceased his uncle, leaving a son William, who was his grand-uncle's heir. Sir John Leman, however, bequeathed Warboys to his nephew William, third son of William his brother. William married in 1628 Rebecca, daughter and co-heir of Edward Prescott, of London, and they together in 1655 settled the manor and advowson, with view of frankpledge, etc., on their son William's marriage with Mary, daughter of Sir Lewis Mansel by his third wife Elizabeth, and granddaughter of Henry Montagu, first Earl of Manchester. This son William was created a baronet in 1665; he succeeded his father in 1667, became sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1676, and M.P. for Hertford in 1690. In 1670 an Act was passed for settling the boundary between Warboys and Ramsey manors. The Bedford Level Commissioners had placed Warboys Fen within the manor of Warboys, and Sir Henry Williams attempted unsuccessfully to have it included in Ramsey.

In 1682 and 1683 Sir William Leman, bart., with his wife Mary and his son Mansel Leman, settled the manor and advowson,  evidently at the marriage of Mansel with Lucy, daughter of Richard Alie, alderman of London. Mansel died in 1687, and his father Sir William in 1701. Mansel's son Sir William Leman, bart., of Northaw, co. Herts, in 1708 settled the manor of Warboys. He married Anna Margareta, daughter of Colonel Brett, and mistress of George I, and with her settled the manor in 1738. Sir William Leman died childless in 1741. His widow died on 24 December 1745, her sister-inlaw, Lucy Leman, the heiress of her brother, having predeceased her on 3 October 1745. Mansel Leman's sister Elizabeth had married Henry, son of Richard Alie, brother of Mansel's wife. Their son Richard Alie was adopted by Sir William Leman, and inherited Northaw, and presumably Warboys, but died childless in 1749, after having assumed the surname Leman. His sister and heir Lucy died childless in 1753. She gave Northaw to John Granger, who took the name of Leman, and dying childless as John Leman was buried at Warboys in 1781, leaving his estates to his wife with a reversionary interest to William Strode, whom she afterwards married. William Strode of Loseby, co. Surrey, was holding the advowson of Warboys in 1795, but not the manor, which appears to have passed to the family of Mansel Leman's sister, Theodosia, who had married Lewis Newnham, of London and Sussex. In 1769 it was held by John Newnham, apparently of Maresfield Park, Sussex, whose daughter Wilhelmina married Sir John Shelley, bart., by whom the manor was held in 1794, when he conveyed it to William Palmer. The inclosure Acts of 1793 and 1798 return John Richards of Brampton and John Kirton of Gray's Inn as lords of the manor. In 1813 John Carstairs, of Stratford Green, Essex, appears as lord, and in 1815 one-fourth part of the manor was conveyed to him by George Farcy (sen.) and Frances his wife. John Carstairs left two daughters and co-heirs, Cecil, who married Wilson Jones of Hartsheath, co. Flint, in 1822, and Johanna, who in 1840 married Sir John Henry Pelly, bart. The Rev. Hugh Chambers Jones seems to have held the manor for a time and afterwards it passed to Henry Carstairs Pelly, son of Sir John Henry Pelly. After his death, in 1877, it was held by his trustees. His daughters, Annie Evelyn, widow of Capt. Thomas Rivers Bulkeley (killed in 1914) and Constance Lilian, wife of David, 27th Earl of Crawford, in 1918 joined in selling the manor to W. L. Raynes, of Cambridge, who conveyed it to Mrs. Fanny Elizabeth Spearing and Mrs. Mary Florence Raynes, the present owners.

A field called Wolfheye was mentioned in 1251 and as Wolveye in 1291, later as belonging to the infirmarer of Ramsey, seems to have been the origin of a property referred to as the manor of WOLVEY. In 1535 John Warboys, Abbot of Ramsey, leased it pertaining to the infirmarer's office, to John Somerbye of Ramsey for 40 years at a rent of 53s. 4d. In 1540 the manor or farm of Wolvye was leased with the site of Warboys manor to Gabriel Throckmorton 'in like manner as William Pope lately held it.' The separate conveyance of Wolvey pasture or warren was made to Sir John Leman, since which date it has followed the descent of the principal manor.

Victoria County History - Published 1932