Lilincletone (xi cent.); Lillingestan, Lutlingeton,
Lytlington (xiii cent.); Lutlyngton (xiv cent.).
The parish of Lidlington has an area of 2,544 acres,
of which 888¾ acres are arable, 1,316¼ permanent
grass and 51 acres woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The
southern boundary of the parish is coincident with
the parliamentary county division boundary. The
soil is sand, gravel and clay, the former of which is
worked in the large pit to the south of the village.
The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, beans, peas
and roots, and the inhabitants are principally engaged
in agriculture, though some of the women make lace.
The land to the south and east of the parish
reaches an elevation of over 400 ft., but it falls away
sharply to the north, where there is a stretch of flat
country not rising much above 150 ft., formed by
the Vale, Lower End and Common Farms.
The village is situated at the foot of a steep hill
along the road running north to Marston Moretaine,
and has a station on the Bedford branch of the
London and North-Western railway. It is remarkably compact in form, the northern end forming a
square, on the south side of which are some modern
brick and slate cottages with the Primitive Methodist
chapel. On the north and east are half-timber work
and thatched cottages, while at the south-east corner
is the modern church given by the ninth Duke of
Bedford in 1886.
The old church, which is now used for burial
purposes only, stands in a prettily wooded churchyard on rising ground on the opposite side of the
main road, and is approached by a winding path
planted on either side with trees. A short way up
the hill on the west side of the main road is the
parish room, a daub and wattle structure with a
thatch roof. It was formerly two cottages, and is
of similar design to many of the cottages in Ampthill
and Ridgmont erected by the fifth Duke of Bedford,
some of which bear the date 1799. Opposite to it
stands the Wesleyan chapel, and the road continues
to the scattered hamlet of Boughton End, about half
a mile further south.
Directly to the north of the village is Thrupp
End, where traces of an extensive moat exist. Two
other moats are to be seen in the parish—one round
Lower End Farm, the other at a point midway
between the latter and Vale Farm.
The following place-names are worthy of notice.
Syrloklond and Tolyeshey in the 13th century.
Berefield, Clanders, Claycroft, Sundon, Westwood
and Longe Course were known to witnesses in
a Chancery inquisition in 1612 (fn. 2) as being part of
common fields granted by Henry VIII to the
inhabitants of Lidlington. (fn. 3) Again, in a survey of
the manor of Lidlington in the next year, (fn. 4) it is
stated that 'there is an auntient comon called Westwoodd … which was for the most part taken into
Broughberrowe in the time of Henry VIII.' Berriefield and Clunders also fared similarly with Westwood.
In connexion with Berryfield it is interesting to find
that in 1535 the manor of Lidlington was known by
the alias le Berested. (fn. 5) These 'common lands,' which
in 1612 had an area of 200 acres, (fn. 6) now remain in
the names of North Common and Common Farm.
In the above-mentioned survey the following places
throw light on the past life of the parish. A cottage
called 'Whyte's'; messuages called 'Barkers,' 'Meggmeade,' 'Greenewick,' and 'Balles'; yard-lands called
'Balles,' 'Fryars' and 'Goslands.' (fn. 7) Again, in the
extent of Combe Park, 'vulgarly called Litlington,'
in 1627–8 we find the Meadowe Lawn, the Horse
Close, Church Lawn, Bowlinge Leas, Haydon Hill,
Fallowhill, Coningse Corner, Foxborough Hill, and
Hallow Bottome. (fn. 8) In 1637 mention is made of
Throp or Thruppe End, Battles End, Fryers, Church
End and Bowden End. (fn. 9) The last is clearly discernible in the modern Broughton End, to the south
of the village.
In the Survey of 1086 only one mention
is found of Lidlington, when the Abbess of
Barking held LIDLINGTON MANOR.
It was assessed at 10 hides and was worth £8. (fn. 10) She
continued to hold the manor
till the surrender of all estates
by Barking Abbey in 1537. (fn. 11)
By the time of Edward I the
whole of the vill was in her
fee; she held a view
of frankpledge once a year,
without service to the king, (fn. 12)
and she had also the right of
free warren. (fn. 13) In 1330 it
was proved that, though she
held a view, she had no
pillory, as was demanded by
law. (fn. 14) In 1291 her manor
was valued at £17 12s. 11d., (fn. 15)
a very considerable sum at
that date. Two years before
the Dissolution the manor
was leased to William Carewrike, (fn. 16) and in 1537
Dorothy Barleigh, the last Abbess of Barking,
surrendered to the Crown her estates, (fn. 17) amongst
which was Lidlington. It remained in the possession
of the Crown for over ninety
years, (fn. 18) being in 1541 made
parcel of the honour of Ampthill. (fn. 19) In 1628–9 the manor
was granted to Edward
Ditchfield, (fn. 20) and within the
next seven years had been
purchased by Sir Anthony
Chester, first baronet. (fn. 21) It
was then held by nine members of his family in succession,
until in 1769 (fn. 22) it was sold
by Sir Anthony, the ninth
baronet, to Isaac Hawkins. (fn. 23)
The latter in 1774 conveyed
it to the Earl of Upper
Ossory, (fn. 24) and in 1801, by
an exchange with the Duke
of Bedford, the manor became the property of the
duke's family, (fn. 25) in whose possession it now is.
Barking Abbey. Azure three roses or with three lilies slipped in the chief argent having their leaves and stalks vert all within a border gules with roundels argent thereon.
Chester, baronet. Party argent and sable a cheveron engrailed between three rams' heads with golden horns all countercoloured and an engrailed border gules bezanty.
A second manor in Lidlington was known as
GOLDINGTONS MANOR, of which the site is
marked at the present day by Thrupp End Farm.
This manor also was held of the Abbess of Barking,
and its earliest traces appear in 1415–16. (fn. 26) In that
year it was proved that John Goldington of Lidlington
held two messuages and 2 carucates of land of the
abbess, valued at £10. No earlier evidence can be
found that the Goldingtons held lands in this
parish before this date. The
family was undoubtedly holding these lands till we have a
definite mention of the manor
in 1521, (fn. 27) for in Lidlington
Church there is a memorial
tablet (fn. 28) of William Goldington and his family dated 149-.
In 1503–4 his son Thomas
Goldington held land in Lidlington to the value of 10
marks. (fn. 29) In 1521 it was held
of the Abbess of Barking by
Richard Decons, (fn. 30) whose son,
Thomas Decons or Dycons,
succeeded him in that year and held it still in
1548. (fn. 31) Eleven years later it was in the hands
of his son and namesake. (fn. 32) Elizabeth, the daughter
of this Thomas, in 1572 married Thomas
Snagge of Marston Moretaine. Elizabeth's husband was Attorney-General for Ireland from
1578 to 1582 and Speaker of the House of
Commons in 1588–9. (fn. 33) Their eldest son was
knighted (fn. 34) and was high sheriff of the county in
1607. (fn. 35) A later Thomas Snagge was sheriff in
1665. (fn. 36) The family of Snagge continued to hold
the manor, (fn. 37) which in 1737 was in the hands of
Edward Snagge (fn. 38) of Marston Moretaine, who
before his death in 1739 sold it to Sarah Duchess
of Marlborough, from whom it passed by will to
her grandson John Spencer. (fn. 39) By 1775 it had come
into the possession of John second Earl Spencer,
who continued to hold it four years later. Thrupp
End Farm is now in the occupation of Mr. R. W.
Inwards. The site of the ancient manor can
still be distinctly traced in a field near Lidlington
Goldington. Argent two lions passant azure.
There is still in existence an interesting letter, dated
from Lidlington (fn. 40) 5 March 1665, from which the
following is an extract:—
There being now a person condemned in Bedford Goall [it
runs] for unfortunately striking a tobacco pipe into ye eye Brow
of a Man who is since Dead, And ye person prosecuted by one
sole witness …, And since Sentence passt, A Gentlewoman
Surgeon of sound Judgment and good repute, has been before
severall Justices of ye County, (being much troubled in mind
she was not call'd to the Barr to give in her evidence) which she
is since ready to attest on oath, that she first dresst the person
of his wound, and soe continued her care of him to ye Last, and
that the wounded person dyed noe more of that wound then of
a Cutt finger.
A reprieve is therefore sought by the Duke of
Bedford and Thomas Snagge high sheriff of the
The old church of ST. MARGARET
is now in a ruinous condition and disused, and is of no interest architecturally,
consisting of a classic nave about 31 ft. long by 25 ft.
wide, a chancel about the same length and 16 ft. wide,
built of yellow brick with windows of 15th-century
style, and a west tower 8½ ft. square, dated 1809.
There is a fine brass in the chancel to William
Goldington, 149-, with effigies of himself and his
wife. There is an inscription—part of which is
missing—round the stone having symbols of the
Evangelists at the corners, and beneath the effigies are
smaller brasses of two sons and four daughters. At
the corners were four shields: (1) and (4) on a bend
three fleurs de lis; (2) now gone; and (3) same
impaling Party palewise in sinister chief a quarter
charged with two stags' heads caboshed.
There is also a slab to Richard Jones, a London
grocer, who died 1669.
There is one bell cast by Mears in 1874.
The modern church is of 13th-century style, and
consists of chancel, nave and north and south transepts,
with a vestry on the north side of the chancel. There
is one modern bell.
There are two modern sets of communion plate:
one silver, the other electro-plated.
The registers before 1812 are in six books, containing: (1) all entries 1564 to 1639; (2) the
same, 1653 to 1706, burials ceasing in 1677;
(3) burials 1678 to 1754; (4) all entries 1705 to
1767, marriages ceasing in 1754; (5) baptisms and
burials 1767 to 1812; and (6) printed marriages
1754 to 1812.
There appears to be little doubt
that Lidlington Church belonged to
Barking Abbey, which owned the
whole parish from before the Survey down to the
Dissolution. No definite mention of it in connexion
with the abbey has been found, however, previous to
1409–10, in which year the abbess, to whom the
patronage is stated to belong, received a licence to
appropriate the rectory. (fn. 41) Barking Abbey retained
the advowson till the Dissolution, when the living,
which is a vicarage, became Crown property. (fn. 42) The
right of presentation was exercised by the Crown
certainly as late as 1641, (fn. 43) but early in the 18th century had passed to Sir John Chester, lord of Lidlington Manor, (fn. 44) and has since followed the same descent
as that manor (q.v.). (fn. 45)
Lidlington rectory was appropriated to Barking
Abbey in 1409–10, (fn. 46) and followed the same descent
as the advowson (q.v.) down to the Dissolution. In
1543 it was leased by the Crown to Thomas Griffin, (fn. 47)
and in 1559–60 sold to Richard Champion, an alderman of London, and John Thompson. (fn. 48) By 1558
it had passed to Thomas Lillingston, (fn. 49) who in 1609
conveyed the rectory by fine to Roger Hacket,
Doctor of Theology. (fn. 50) He did not long retain it,
for in 1621 (fn. 51) it was the subject of an alienation by
fine from Robert Fountain and Katherine his wife to
Richard Jones, the latter having married Dr. Hacket's
eldest daughter. (fn. 52) It remained in the latter's family
until 1716, (fn. 53) in which year Charles Jones suffered a
recovery of Lidlington Rectory. (fn. 54) Three years later
it was in the hands of Sir John Chester, (fn. 55) lord of
Lidlington Manor (q.v.), and henceforward follows
the descent of the latter. In 1775, (fn. 56) at the time of
the Inclosure Award, the tithes, then the possession
of the Earl of Upper Ossory, were commuted. (fn. 57)
In 1624 Thomas Johnson by deed
granted to trustees an annuity of £16
issuing out of a mill and mill-house
at Eaton Bray and closes adjoining containing 8 acres
or thereabouts, to be applied in education, clothing,
and for the benefit of poor aged men and women
attending church on certain days.
The trustees became possessed as owners of the
property charged, which is now let at £45 a year.
The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity
Commissioners of 15 October 1881, one moiety of
the net income, after deducting £1 6s. 8d. for
sermons, being applicable for educational purposes
and the other moiety for eleemosynary purposes. In
1909 £1 6s. 8d. was paid to the vicar, £9 10s. in
respect of school children's money, £11 8s. in coals,
and £10 11s. 9d. in drapery, coats and hats, and in
making of gowns for poor women.
See article on 'Schools.' (fn. 58)
The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, comprised in
indentures of 1815, is regulated by scheme of Charity