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The Manor House

The Manor

The history of the Manor and its moat goes back over 900 years. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave the whole of Sherington to one of his followers, Geoffrey de Mowbray, who was Bishop of Coutances. Subsequently, it passed to the de Carun family. At that time the Manor House was located inside the moat.

In the mid-1100's William de Carun moved the main Sherington Manor to a site next to the Church, where Church Farm is now. Parts of his estate were sold off, including the moated Manor House, creating several smaller Manors. In the mid-1200's the moated Manor House was purchased by John de Cave, a Yorkshireman. It was then passed down through several generations of the de Cave family, before being transferred to other owners.

The present Manor House, outside the moat, was built by Dryden Smith, a shipbuilder from Wapping in London, after he inherited the Manor from his father in 1770. He demolished the original building inside the moat and converted it to a garden and orchard. Subsequent owners included Dr John Cheyne, who was Physician-General to the Army in Ireland, who has a memorial in St. Laud's churchyard.

By the time of the Second World War, the estate was still over 76 acres (although in 1580 it had been over 220 acres) and included the farmland to the south of the house. Since then the estate has been split up. The Manor House, with its garden (including the moat), is now a private residence. Manor Farm (Plot 88 on the map) is now farmed by J W Cook and Son, and the renovated buildings between the House and the Farm, Manor Courtyard (the lower part of Plot 89 on the map), now accommodate a number of small businesses.

1796 Enclosure Map shows the Manor House as No. 89

Further Information

1796 Enclosure Map

The Manor House is marked on the 1796 Enclosure Map (shown on the right) as Plot 89 ('Homestead and Garden'). Plot 90 is the 'Orchard and Moat' and Plot 88 is the 'Home Close', all owned by Dryden Smith.

Dryden Smith also owned 'Sturmors Close', Plot 56, on the opposite side of the High Street, Plots 98 ('Close by Gardens') and 99 ('Captains orchard') next to the Home Close, Plots 102 and 103, 'Upper and Lower Wood Close' on the east side of Bedford Road, and Plots 127 and 128 ('Wood' and 'Close behind the Wood') in the north eastern corner of the Parish.

As a result of the Enclosure Act, he received two new allotments: Plot 78, 'Second Allotment at Gooms hole', and Plot 86, 'First Allotment at Townsend furlong'.

1851 - 1935 Residents

The censuses from 1851 to 1901, and the trade directories from 1854 to 1935 provide some details of the Manor House's residents, families and their servants over this period.

ResidentDate (Data source)Notes
Christopher Bennell1851 (Census)Christopher Bennell, age 52, Farmer 70 acres, born Houghton Conquest, Beds
John Bennell, age 50, visitor, born Houghton Conquest, Beds
Emma Bass, age 47, servant, born Wootton, Beds
Dorothy Bass, age 38, servant, born Wootton, Beds
Emma Bass, age 11, visitor, scholar, born Ampthill, Beds
Elizabeth Rogers, age 19, servant, born Newport Pagnell
John and Christopher Bennells are listed in 1853 (Musson & Craven) as farmers, and in 1864 (Post Office), and John Bennells in 1869 (Kelly), but no address given
John Bell1854 (Post Office)
Alfred Umney1861 (Census)Alfred Umney, age 72, Landed Proprietor, born Sherington
Wife: Georgiana: age 62, born Middlesex, London
Elizabeth Bennett, age 49, cook, born Newport Pagnell
Ann Cooper, age 21, housemaid, born Grafton Underwood, Northants
James Dalby, age 41, gardener, born Burton Latimer, Northants
Alfred Umney (born 1789) died in 1863 - Marble ledger in St Laud's
Charles Powell1864 (Post Office) and 1869 (Kelly)
?1871 (Census)The Manor House is not explicitly mentioned
Rev John Y Seagrave1876 (Harrods)
?1881 (Census)The Manor House is not explicitly mentioned
Wellesley Taylor1883 to 1891 (Kelly)
? Taylor1891 (Census)Head of household missing from current data
Daughter: Dorothy M M Taylor, age 9, born Culsworth, Northants
Daughter: Doris Florence Taylor, age 6, born Sherington
Son: John W Taylor, age 2, born Sherington
Sarah E Masters, age 28, domestic servant, born Flore, Northants
Mary Chapman, age 36, domestic servant, born Chapel Brampton, Northants
Henry Hughes, age 36, domestic servant, born Totton, Herts
Angelina Hines, age 19, domestic servant, born Harpole, Northants
Sarah Jane Buck, age 47, domestic servant, born Holmside, Durham
Wellesley Taylor1895 to 1899 (Kelly)
Wellesley Taylor1901 (Census)Wellesley Taylor, age 48, living on own means, born Bradford, Yorks
Wife: Florence Mary, age 43, born Dudley, Staffs
Daughter: Dorothy May Muriel, age 19, born Culdworth (?), Northants
Julia Shotton, age 25, parlor maid, born Moreton, Staffs
Annie Robinson, age 24, house maid, born Lavendon
Fanny Hill, age 20, kitchen maid, born Newport Pagnell
Edith Ellen Leeks, age 25, cook, born Hindlesham, Suffolk
Wellesley Taylor died in 1903 - double plot and cross in St Laud's
Mrs Taylor1907 to 1935 (Kelly)Also Major John W Taylor in 1924
Mrs Taylor recorded as a JP from 1928 to 1935
Mrs Florence Mary Taylor (born 1858) died in 1936 - double plot and cross in St Laud's
John Wellesley Taylor died in 1926 - double plot and cross in St Laud's
1851 - 1962 Owners

Chibnall's book and the trade directories from 1877 to 1939, provide some details of the Manor House's owners over this period.

OwnerDate (Data source)Notes
Alfred Umney1856 (Chibnall)Buys the Manor from Mrs Cheyne (Chibnall's spelling: Cheney)
He and his wife live in the house: see above for details in 1861 census
Mrs Umney1877 to 1891(Kelly)Described as 'Lady of the Manor'
According to Chibnall, Georgeana died around 1886 and the Manor House passed to her son-in-law George Nelson
George Alfred U. Nelson1895 to 1903(Kelly)Described as 'Lord of the Manor'
Trustees of late George Alfred U. Nelson1907 to 1915 (Kelly)
Col Owen Williams1920 to 1924 (Kelly)
Mrs Owen Williams1928 to 1939 (Kelly)
Williams' trustees1945 (Chibnall)Start to dispose of the estate piecemeal
P Perrottet1962 (Chibnall)Recorded as owner of the Manor House, whilst Manor Farm is now owned by John Cook

Note: there are some inconsistencies in the census data. At present, it is not known if some of these may just be transcription errors, due to difficulties in reading the handwriting, or if they were in the original.

Archive Photo

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger size copy of the photo.

View of the junction of High Street and Crofts End with an Ivy covered Manor

Sherington Village Fetes 2003 and 2005

More recently, on 21 June 2003 and 25 June 2005, two Sherington Village Fetes have been held in the grounds of the Manor House, by kind permission of the owners Dianne and Andy Stewart. They were very successful in raising a combined total of around 25,000 for St Laud's church, village organisations and other local causes. Further details and photos, showing the lovely setting, can be found on the two fete web sites: 2003 Fete and 2005 Fete.

Canoeing on the Moat at the 2005 Sherington Village Fete

Grade 2 Listed Building

On 27 February 1984, the Manor House was included in the Department of the Environment's List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest for the District of Milton Keynes under Section 54 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. The description is as follows:

SP 88 46, SHERINGTON HIGH STREET(east side), 11/162
The Manor House - II Farmhouse. C18, altered C19.
Coursed rubblestone, slate roofs. 3 storeys. 4 bay street front with lower 2 bay west wing and C19 rear block. Right hand c1840 door in rectangular porch with piers, entablature and blocking course. Sash windows. Bay 2 has arched staircase window. Render strips to each end. Centre and flanking stacks. Lower wing has 2 bays of sashes and central door. Rear block has panelled eaves with reeded strip, decoration to the soffits, tripartite and modern sashes. Interior has early C18 oak closed string staircase from first floor up. Ground floor to first floor stair flight has 3 balusters per tread. First floor left hand room has C18 panelling.

The Manor is also listed as Monument 2 in the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England)'s ' An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire Volume Two' in 1913, where it is described simply as: 'HOMESTEAD MOAT, at the Manor House, 600 yards S. of the church'.

The Moat - Ancient Monument

The moat is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Read a transcription of the Inspector's Report, which describes its features, history and significance.

Manor House History - Moat Ancient Monument
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Latest Revision: 29 December 2011