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|THE STORY OF THE VILLAGE (2)
Normans invade England: the Parish of Campton is devastated
In 1066 William
of Normandy invaded England. After its decisive victory at Hastings
his army swept Northwards and into Bedfordshire. As it advanced
the army plundered and burnt. Campton along with many other villages
was stripped of its possessions.
Once he was
crowned, King William set about dispossessing all the Saxon thegns
of their land and creating Norman manors which were granted to
his knights and others who had supported him.
two manors were created in our Parish. One later became the possession
of the Gilbertine Priory which was founded at Chicksands in 1154.
rebuilt in Stone
unlike the Danish invaders who preceded them, had been converted
to Christianity. Once the country had recovered from the terror
and destruction of the invasion, the Church grew in strength.
Norman clerics were appointed to most parishes. The first priest
recorded for Campton was Richard de Camelton (Richard of Campton).
For 200 years
it would appear that worship continued in a wooded church, but
towards the end of the 13th century this was replaced by a more
noble structure built of rough hewn, brown red sandstone. (See
separate notes on Church)
of agricultural life
were the last invaders from the Continent and from the 11th century
onwards the village settled down to centuries of agricultural
and death strikes in the mid 14th Century
medieval days there were no doctors, nurses and hospitals. When
illness and disease came the villagers coped as best they could.
The death rate was very high and few saw old age.
In 1348 they
suffered the cruellest blow of all. They called it the pestilence,
we know it as the Black Death.
must have died when the plague reached this part of Bedfordshire.
Probably the Rector, Thomas Atterbrigg died of it for he was succeeded
by Ralph Snow in 1349.
of the Monasteries: The Osbourn Family arrive; The Manor House
Black Death the village slowly recovered and eventually the land
was being farmed much as before the plague. Labour was in short
supply, wages rose and the lot of the villagers generally improved.
In 1536 Henry
VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries and in 1539 the
Gilbertine Priory at Chicksands ceased to be. The great house
and all its lands passed into the King's hands. In 1578 this extensive
property came into the possession of the Osbourn family.
Manor lands in Campton were leased to one Sir Thomas Palmer who
turned out to be a "bad lot", and Queen Elizabeth had
him executed for treason in 1560. The Queen granted the land to
Joan Ventris and it was her family that built the manor house
towards the end of the sixteenth century. (See separate notes
on the Manor House).
Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)