The Knights Templars
owned Swanton Manor in Harrold in the 13th century. They claimed in
1278-79 to hold it of John de Grey of the gift of a certain "Flandina
Maudyt" in the reign of Henry III. This refers to a grant made in
1240 by Ralph de Carun, his wife, and her heirs, of one-sixth of a
mill and 151 acres of land in Harrold to Robert de Sanford, Master
of the Templars, which grant was ratified in 1242.
In 1244 the Master made complaint that Ralph Morin had trespassed on his common pasture, and Ralph recognized
his right to common pasture in Swanton for 460 sheep (of which pasture
for 80 was of the gift of the said Ralph), 35 cattle and 40 pigs.
In 1253 the Knights Templars obtained a grant of free warren in
their possessed lands of Swanton and Harrold.
Major landowners in Harrold and holders
of the Manorial Rights, were the de Greys. The fourth lord, Edward,
changed sides and betrayed the Lancastrian King Henry VI at Northampton
in 1460 and was rewarded by Edward IV, becoming Treasurer of England
from 1463-64 and Earl of Kent in 1465.
It was fortunate that when the Lancastrian
Henry VII triumphed in the wars of the Roses, he consolidated the
warring factions by marrying Edward's daughter, Elizabeth, and the
second Earl redeemed himself by playing his part in suppporting
Henry VII against an uprising in Cornwall. The third Earl, however,
was a gambler. He alleged that the King's advisers tricked him out
of substantial estates. Nevertheless, he continued to play a
prominent role under Henry VIII, but his attempts to rehabilitate
his fortunes merely made matters worse. When he died, his impoverished
son merely styled himself Sir Henry Grey.
For further information on the manors and landowners of Harrold click onto Bedfordshire Community Archives - Harrold Pages