Some 70 odd dwellings make up the village, some dating back to the 16th century. One old cottage is part built of wattle and daub. Old articles about the village mention a manor,its exact site is unknown, although believed to be between Church Farm and Middle Farm. ref 1.
There is no mention of Souldrop in the Domesday Book, as it was probably included under
Sharnbrook. The Bishop of Coutances, ‘who had three holdings there, amounting to 4½ hides in all’, also held Melchbourne in 1086. The ‘Melchbourne Preceptory’, a house of the Knights Hospitallers, was origally founded by Alice de Clermont in the reign of Henry II. ref 2 .
In 1278–9 the prior claimed ‘view of frankpledge’ in the manor,(then containing 6 virgates), and the following year ‘obtained a charter of free warren’. Souldrop was held by the prior,
‘by service of a quarter of a knight’s fee’. In 1302 six of the prior’s tenants, William de le Despenser, Michael in Le Lane, Warin Duke, William Bacon, William Faber and Robert Bacon, ‘combined to render this service’. ref 2 .
After the Dissolution :
There are references to two historical manors in the village locality.
Souldrop was granted to Thomas Cobbe of Sharnbrook. This was prior to 1573, as this was the year Thomas Cobbe died. The Cobbes were the Lords of the Manor of Souldrop until 1655, after which it was conveyed to Laurence Wright, thus uniting Souldrop with Knotting.The manor then passed to the Wrights, the Pyes, The Dukes of Bedford, then Mr.Albert Edward Bowen. ref 2 .
A second SOULDROP MANOR appears after the Dissolution, previously belonging to Newnham Priory. ‘Its history is identical with that of the manor of Tofte in Sharnbrook, but no mention of it has been found previous to 1539, in which year, with Tofte, it was granted to George Boteler whose family owned this manor until the late 18th century. In 1876 it was purchased by Mr. C. Magniac, who also owned Colworth Manor in Sharnbrook.
© Ella Jo Street