Today Eyebury is a quiet farm to the south of Eye village but in the 14th century it was a busy monastic moated grange & park with deer and cattle roaming the fields under the ownership of Peterborough Abbey. Until the dissolution in the mid 16th century it was one of the occasional residences of the abbots of Peterborough.

The present house at Eyebury was built in the late 17th century. In the cellar is the last remaining piece of the old monastic buildings, an old octagonal column which holds up a heavy ceiling beam. It’s highly likely that much of the monastic old buildings were used to fill in the moat.

The history of Eyebury began in the 12th Century. Abbot Walter of Bury built a hall which had an upper chapel and a new barn, and surrounded it with a moat and a drawbridge. This lasted over 100 years until Abbott William of Woodford arrived. The only part of the moat that still remains is to the north of the property as most has been filled in.

Looking south across Eyebury Farm today
Looking south across Eyebury Farm today

eyebury-farm-640The Abbot William of Woodford started to build a new hall but it was his successor, the Abbot Godfrey of Crowland, who completed it in 1299. In the first 20 years of the 14th century Godfrey added a cook house, dairy, orchard, game park, windmill, stable, a large stone barn, dug four fish pools, built a wall around the Garden, added new chambers and offices and last of all in 1315 he added a brew house, lime kiln and poultry house.

Known Abbots that have spent time at Eyebury:

  • Abbott Walter of Bury (1233-1246)
  • Abbot William of Hotoft (1246-1249
  • Abbot William of Woodford (1295-1299)
  • Abbot Godfrey of Crowland (1299-1321)
  • Abbott Adam de Boothy (1321-1338)
  • Abbot Henry Morcot 1338
  • Abbot William Genge 1405

An inventory of livestock kept at Eyebury in the year 1539 recorded that there were:

  • 590 sheep
  • 19 oxen
  • Five bulls and bulchins
  • 18 kine (cows)
  • 13 heifers (two years and upwards)
  • Eight steeres
  • 12 yearling calves
  • Four geldings for the saddle.

As part of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, Eyebury came under the ownership of the crown and was subsequently let to Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford.

Woburn Abbey, current residence of the Duke of Bedford
Woburn Abbey, current residence of the Duke of Bedford

earofbedfordarmsHaving entered royal service in about 1506 Sir John Russell served in the army of Henry VIII in France and was knighted for valor in 1522. He enjoyed the privileged position of a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and was entrusted with many state offices and diplomatic missions. Most of the family estates were granted to him as a reward for these services. There is the The Duke Of Bedford Hall and Duke Of Bedford Primary School at nearby Thorney.

In the 18th century its recorded that a Mr John Goude an opulent grazier (meaning wealthy farmer who grazes cattle) was living there.

In 1810 the Leeds family who were originally farmers, came to Eyebury and lived there for over 100 years. The family were famous for the number of fossils they collected from nearby pits. The Leeds Hall in the village is named after them.

The Leeds family in 1906 showing Alfred Leeds (left), Mary Leeds (rear) and their five sons, left to right Edward Thurlow Leeds (1877-1955), Alexander Andrew Fergusson ('Fergie') Leeds (1876-1913), Lewis Alfred Leeds (1833 - 1918), Keith Ferrier Newzam Leeds (1894-1974)(front) and Charles Herbert Leeds (1878-1954). To the rear is Eyebury House.
The Leeds family in 1906 showing Alfred Leeds (left), Mary Leeds (rear) and their five sons, left to right Edward Thurlow Leeds (1877-1955), Alexander Andrew Fergusson (‘Fergie’) Leeds (1876-1913), Lewis Alfred Leeds (1833 – 1918), Keith Ferrier Newzam Leeds (1894-1974)(front) and Charles Herbert Leeds (1878-1954). To the rear is Eyebury House.


1885 map
1885 map


In the 1990’s Eyebury Park (the land to the south and west of the farm) was converted to a members 18 hole, par 70 golf course until financial problems meant it was closed. For a time in early 2000 Peterborough United trained on a football pitch there although it’s now disused and just rough grassland.

Today Eyebury Farm House is privately owned, last sold in 2006 for £499,000 although there is more than one property on the plot.


* Wikipedia
* Gentleman’s magazine and historical chronicle, volume 83 January 1798 by John Nichols
* History, Gazette and Directory of Northamptonshire 1849
* The History of the Ancient Abbeys, Monasteries, Hospitals, Cathedral and Collegiate Churches
* The documentary archive of Edward Thurlow Leeds at the Ashmolean Museum

8 thoughts on “Eyebury

  1. Peter Fryer says:

    It is stated that the farm was sold in 1917 to a Charles Patson. I can confirm the surname was actually Patston…I knew Jack Patston (presumably the son) very well during the nineteen sixties until his death in, from memory, the early nineties. Jack also farmed at Stibbington, Ayston and Stockerston ( both near Uppingham.) He also had business interests in Huntingdon.
    Jack and his wife are buried in Stockerston churchyard.
    I was born and brought up in Stockerston, my mother lived there throughout her life, my father farmed there from his marriage until his death in 2003.

    • Steve Walker says:

      I think you and my Dad Brian Walker are cousins. I am his son Steve and did our family tree years ago and am trying to pick it up a little again. Your father I think was Walter and my grandma was Gladys Walker nee Fryer/Sharp. I am trying to find out about Walter Fryer your grandfather my great grandfather – especially his birthday. Also what events have happened on your side of the family. If you want to get in touch please use the email with this message. Best wishes. Steve

  2. Val Alemanno says:

    My parents (Alf and Pat Hand) bought the house and farm in 1969 from the Patston family who they knew through the farming community. This was the family home for me from 11years old until I married in 1978. They lived in the main house until 2007 ish then moved into the converted listed barn at the front of the property. My father lived there until his death on May7th 2019.

  3. Paula Cockctoft says:

    Dear Val

    We have just purchased 2 Eyebury Cottages, Grade II Listed.

    We are just about to start extensive renovations to make it into a beautiful home.

    We would very much like to more about the cottage and it’s history, but cannot find anything, and wondered if you could perhaps help ?

    Thanking you in advance

    • Valerie Alemanno says:

      Hi Paula,

      Do you mean the two cottages adjacent to Eyebury House and Eyebury Barn ie over the road? I have limited knowledge of the history of those two cottages but if you’d like to know what I do know, please email me on val_alemanno@yahoo.co.uk. Good luck with the renovations.


    • Valerie Alemanno says:

      Hi Mick,
      I’m sure there is. My parents moved into The Barn from Eyebury House as the big house was getting too much for them, to be honest it’s not much different size wise ..just a different shape. I hope you’ll be very happy there. I go by both houses a few times a week so remember all the time with my father before he passed away. It’s a great house just needs a bit of tlc. Val

  4. Val Alemanno says:

    Hi All,
    Just been for a last look round for my memories of all the buildings/land/moat from the field adjacent to the moat.
    I loved all the buildings of Eyebury Farm especially working with my horse Likely Lad…and he was…in my teenage years.lol

    If anyone who has purchased any of the buildings are interested in any of the secrets hidden within and under the main house and it’s gardens…or what The Barn was used for over the years, and ofcourse the Bungalow as I call it but was advertised as the ClubHouse as its been many things over the years lol. You’re more than welcome to contact me.

    My name is unusual so Google it and if it’s linked to my book The HorseListener you’ll know you have the right person.

    Bye for now,

    Val Alemanno

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