History of our Manor

The origins

The Manor of Ivinghoe / Ivanhoe : a double history

The history of this Manor can be traced to before the Norman Conquest when it was part of the estate of the Church of St Peter in Winchester. Some sources note that Ivinghoe was granted to the church by Queen Emma, the wife of Ethelred in 1042, in commemoration of her son Harthacanute who had ruled as king of England for just two years before his death. After the Norman conquest 24 years later the Manor remained as part of the church’s lands. The village was within the Domesday manor of Ivinghoe which remained in the ownership of the Bishops of Winchester until 1551 (when it was surrendered to the Crown).

Here you see the blazon of the bishops of Winchester: a sword and two keys

Land and Valuation - A.D. 1086

The name appears in the Domesday Book. The book, commissioned by William the Conqueror in Christmas 1085 and completed in 1086, was a survey of most of the area of England and Wales. The information recorded in the book included details on the owners of every parcel of property, population, and taxable value of the land.

Ivinghoe had a recorded population of 38 households in 1086, putting it in the largest 20% of settlements recorded in Domesday.

Its surface could be evaluated in about 5000 acres ( = 2023 hectares or 20,23 sq km )

Land and resources

Ploughland: 25 ploughlands. 3 lord's plough teams. 1 lord's plough teams possible. 20 men's plough teams. Other resources: 5.0 lord's lands. Meadow 5 ploughs. Woodland 600 pigs.


Annual value to lord: 18 pounds in 1086; 10 pounds when acquired by the 1086 owner; 15 pounds in 1066

The Name of the Manor

Evinghehou (xi cent.); Iuingeho, Hythingho, Yvyngho (xii–xiii cent.); Ivanhoe (xvii cent.)

The place-name 'Ivinghoe' is first recorded in Domesday Book (1086), in the form "Evinghehou",from OE Ifinga-hō(g)e, "the hoh ['projecting ridge of land, a promontory'] of Ifa's people". Allen Mawer notes that Ivinghoe is located "at the base of a considerable spur of land jutting out from the main range of the Chilterns".

The following passage from Mawer is worth quoting in full:

The curious way in which Scott, who is always thought (and probably rightly so) deliberately to have altered Ivinghoe to Ivanhoe, actually hit upon one identical with a form found in documentary evidence in the 17th cent. (not then published) is worthy of note. The coincidence is the more remarkable seeing that an for ing is without parallel in other p[lace].n[ames].

The occurrence of the place-name in the form 'Ivanhoe' is attested and found in the Hertfordshire county sessions records for 1665.

It is curious that these county sessions had not been published when Scott wrote the novel. He was a man of antiquarian tastes and interests; probably he could have come across the village name in the form 'Ivanhoe' in some historical work, or may be the Rhyme still contained the form of 1665.

The History of the Lordship: before 1551

Ivinghoe Manor: It is recorded in Domesday Book as being assessed for 20 hides and being valued at £18. The land in Ivinghoe was very fertile and provided the Bishops with an abundance of produce as well as timber from their considerable woodlands. Wheat crops, barley, oats, peas and beans were all grown here and in 1318 the Bishop received protection for the corn which was being sent from the Manor to London. In the same year he was granted a charter of a weekly market to be held every Thursday. The unusual survival of such a long run of detailed manorial records makes it possible to find out much more about Ivinghoe in the medieval period.

The Fictitional History: The fief of Ivanhoe in the Romans

Sir Walter Scott took the title of his novel, and of its hero, from the feudal title of Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in moder english Ivinghoe. "The name of Ivanhoe," he says in his Introduction, "was suggested by an old rhyme. All novelists have had occasion at some time or other to wish, with Falstalf, that they knew where a commodity of good names was to be had. On such an occasion the author chanced to call to memory a rhyme recording three names of the manors forfeited by the ancestor of the celebrated Hampden for striking the Black Prince a blow with his racket when they quarrelled at tennis :-

"Tring, Wing and Ivanhoe,
For striking of a blow,
Hampden did forego,
And glad he could escape so."

The Fief of Ivanhoe

A "fief" or Lordship would be the plot of land granted to a faithful person, probably knight, in return for service to the Lord. In Ivanhoe Sir Wilfred received his fief from King Richard, who, though the reader knows he is back in England in the disguise as the Black Knight, is thought to be captive still, So Prince John has assigned the fiefdom to Front-de-Boef. John justifies the possession of the fiefdom by saying his followers have been with him, doing his bidding, rather than abroad where he could "neither render homage nor service when called upon."

The Lordship 1551-Today

Edward VI granted Ivinghoe manor to Sir John Mason in 1551 but in 1553 it was restored to Winchester who retained it until 1558 when it was returned to the Mason family. It was held for short periods of time by Charles Glenham (1586-1589) and Lady Jane Cheyne (1589-1603). Since then the manor has belonged to the owners of the Ashridge estate (VCH). By 1862 Sheahan says both this principal manor and the Rectory Manor were held by the Brownlows of Ashridge and the court-leet was being held each year in the King’s Head. The last of the Egerton family to hold the manor was the 53th Lord of Ivinghoe to which succeded the actual 54th lord of the Manor : dr. Marco Paret