Live like a lord of Old Sleaford

Bristol Arcade, which bears the coat of arms of the Marquis of Bristol. EMN-190705-122745001
Bristol Arcade, which bears the coat of arms of the Marquis of Bristol. EMN-190705-122745001

Ever felt like lording it over the rest of Sleaford? Well here is your chance!

According to manorial auctioneer, Robert Smith of London, on the instructions of the Marquess of Bristol, the Lordship of Old Sleaford has been put up for sale for the princely sum of £8,750.

Manorial titles are based on the Lord of the Manor titles recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Apart from conferring prestige, for many years they have been largely meaningless.

Much of this area of south Lincolnshire has been in the hands of only two families since the fifteenth century. These are the Carres, who were baronets, and the Herveys - Earls of Bristol.

The manor was held in 1086 by Remigius of Fecamp, in Normandy, when the Domesday Book states: “in Ewerby thirteen bovates of land taxable. Land for two ploughs. Land for ten oxen. A jurisdiction of (Old) Sleaford.” It also referred to Quarrington and Howell.

Remigius was probably related to William, Duke of Normandy, and supplied a ship and 20 knights, to the Duke. He was made Bishop of Dorchester (on Thames), the largest see in England, extending from the Thames to the Humber. He died in 1092 and was buried in a tomb in the new cathedral at Lincoln.

As Lord of the Manor of Old Sleaford and important landowner, successor Bishop of Lincoln, Alexander de Blois built a castle at Old Sleaford but little is left of this structure.

The ancient knightly family of Hussey became Lords of Old and New Sleaford, and in 1534 John Hussey was elevated to the peerage by Henry VII as Baron Hussey of Sleaford but was later beheaded.

The Carre family picked up the Hussey lands and titles, including the Manor House, now known as the Old Place, when Robert Carre bought up land seized from the monasteries. Sleaford Hospital was built and endowed by the family, for the maintenance of elderly men who had worked on the Carre estates.

In 1688, the 1st Earl of Bristol married Isabella, the daughter and sole heir of Sir Robert Carre, the last of the baronets.

With their lands around Ickworth, in Suffolk, the Herveys were one of the richest families in the kingdom and with the acquisition of the Lincolnshire estates to add to those in Suffolk, the family were raised to the rank of Marquesses of Bristol in 1826, and the eighth and present Marquess is the Lord of this Manor of Old Sleaford.

The auctioneers have a manuscript history of the Carre family, commissioned by the 2nd Marquess of Bristol in 1861. A copy will be handed to the buyer of the lordship.