Sir Thomas ALSTON Kt & Bt. of Odell 
- Christened: 28 Aug 1609, Newton Nr Sudbury SFK
- Marriage: Dame Elizabeth ST JOHN  in 1640 in Woodford nr Thrapston NTH
- Buried: 11 Jul 1678, Odell BDF
Sir Thomas of Odell Castle Beds., was a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire 1641, created Baronet by Charles 1, 13 June 1642. Noted as having seven sons and two daughters, Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, Vol IV., and on the Memorial in Odell Church. Cresswell was able to trace only six.
Thomas Alston - Admitted pensioner at Caius College Camb 7 June 1626; Matric (as Alsten) 1626; afterwards as fellow commoner, Admitted at the Inner temple 17 Nov 1627; Barrister 1639; Knighted c 1641 etc. Of Woodhill Beds. (Venn I. 276: degree wrongly assigned there; G.E.C.)
Manor of Odell.
In 1632 Sir Richard Chetwood and Dorothy his wife conveyed the manors of Great and Little Odell by fine to Roger Nicholls and Thomas Tirrell, (fn. 105) preliminary to a sale to William Alston which took place the following year. (fn. 106) William Alston, who was of the Inner Temple, was made keeper of the writs in the King's Bench, a post according to Cooper 'of considerable profit and honour, being conferred only on the nobility or some other eminent persons.' The same authority states that he was a pious and charitable man, giving to the church of Odell a large chalice of silver-gilt, and completing a peal of five musical bells. (fn. 107) He died unmarried in 1638, when his brother Thomas, also of the Inner Temple, succeeded to the Odell property. (fn. 108) He was created a baronet in 1642, in which year he was sheriff for the county. By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rowland St. John and sister of three successive Lords St. John of Bletsoe, he had two sonsThomas, who predeceased him, and Rowland, who together with his father made a settlement of the manor in 1674. (fn. 109) Sir Thomas Alston died in 1678, when Rowland acquired the Odell property. He died in 1697, (fn. 110) and was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Alston, bart., (fn. 111) who sat for Bedford borough in 1698, and on whose death unmarried in 1714 Odell passed to his brother Rowland. He died in 1759, aged eighty, (fn. 112) when his son Thomas succeeded to the baronetcy and family estates. He, who sat as member for the county in 1747 and for Bedford borough in 1760, died in 1774, (fn. 113) having devised his property by will to his natural son Thomas Alston, who with his son Justinian made a settlement of the manor in 1803, (fn. 114) and again in 1814. (fn. 115) Justinian Alston succeeded his father in 1823, and was followed by his son Crewe Alston, on whose death in 1901 the castle and manor passed to his son Rowland Crewe Alston, the present owner.
Parliment held on 26 May 15 Chas I AD1639.
Thomas Alston called to the bar.
Inner Temple records 1603-1660 Vol II. NZSOG.
Alston, Thomas: (second) son of Thomas Alston, gent. Born at Newton, Suffolk. (bap. Aug. 28, 1609). At school (there) three years, under Mr Mede. Age 16. Admitted pensioner to the bachelors' table, June, 7, 1626, under his tutor and surety, Mr Moore. (Re-admitted as fellow-commoner, Feb. 21, 1626/7). B.A. (Kings) 1629/30: M.A. 1633. Admitted at the Inner Temple, Nov. 17, 1627. Of Woodhill Beds., knt. Sheriff of Beds., 1641. Created baronet, June 13, 1642. Married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rowland St John, K.B. Buried at Odell, July 11, 1678. Will proved at P.C.C. (F.G.). See William of 1624.
Ref: Gonville & Caius College Register Pg., 276. Dr Venn. NZSOG.
Sir Thomas Alston of Odell was an important county, if not national, figure. His establishment at Odell Castle was more impressive than the Alston home in Pavenham. In 1671, he paid hearth tax on fourteen hearths, twice as many as were levied on Berrystead Mansion. He was a member of parliament when the Civil War broke out in 1642. He gave his support to the ordinance putting Charles I on trial and remained in parliament after his execution. Bedfordshire was divided in its loyalties, but Sir Thomas was one of a band of county parliamentarians which included the Earl of Kent and John Vaux. He was a member of the Midland Association, an amalgamation of eight counties set up by parliamentary ordinance to raise forces, not always an easy task as military service was unpopular and the people of the countryside found themselves politically unenthusiastic about either side of the contest.
Ref . PAVENHAM, The Life story of a Village, by Rachel Marchbank.
ALSTON v. ALSTON & others.
Chancery Proceedings before 1714. Collins 227.
Bill 24 October 1677, by Sir Thomas Alston of Odell, co. Beds. Knight and Baronet v. William Alston, John Alston and Sir Edward Alston.
William Alston, late of the Inner Temple, London, Esq., being possessed of a considerable personal estate made his will 2 March 1637, and (inter alia) bequeathed to William Alston, his nephew and godson son of his brother John Alston, Esq. L300, and made Dame Francis Temple, his mother, his executrix, who paid the sum to the boy's father.
By her will, dated 3 August 1642, and also by word of mouth, she gave to your orator the household goods then remaining in the mansion house of Odell, and made her two youngest sons, the defendants last named, her
The complaint relates merely to the performance of the bequests abovenamed.
Continuation of family dispute see William Alston 
Alstoniana Page 180
SYMONDS v ALSTON
Bill, 22 November 1644., by Richard Symonds of March, co. Cambridge, gent. v. Sir Thomas Alston, - Hooper,
William Bletsoe, John Dillington and others.
Sir Thomas Alston is now sheriff of the county of Bedford, and is made a party to the suit, which relates to the
financial affairs of the defendant Bletsoe, only by virtue of his office.
Bridges. 617. 1644.
Alstoniana Pg 197
BOTELER, Kt. v. ALSTON, Bart.
The answer, 16 May 1648, of Sir Thomas Alston bart., to the complaint of Sir William Boteler, knight.
Defendant acknowledges that orator and his ancestors for 60 years past have been seised of woods called Wood End in the parishes of Odell and Puddington, co. Bedford ;but he denies their right to a freeboard of seven feet wide extending round the said woods.
Defendant has lately become possessor of woods and grounds late belonging to Sir Richard Chetewood. Knight, deceased, adjoining the said woods &c.
Collins. 41 1648
Alstoniana Pg 198
FILL v ALSTON Knt
Bill, 22 June 1648, by Nicholas Fill of Lidlinch, co, Dorset, yeoman, Bartholomew Romayne of the same yeoman, and John Vowles of Haydon, co. Dorset, yeoman, v. Sir Thomas Alston and Anne Molynes.
Sir Thomas Alston of Westhall has acquired certain lands called Bagber farm in Lidlinch, of which Fill holds a lease from one Edward Molynes of Westhall, co. Dorset, and others. The suit is brought for redress against a claim for payment of rent twice over, Sir Thomas sometimes pretending that the rent is due to him, sometimes that
it should be paid to Mrs. Anne Molynes, the other defendant, whose guardian he is.
Collins. 120 1648.
Alstoniana Pg 198
See also MONSON v. ALSTON. Alston Monson 
TYRINGHAM v. ALSTON.
Bill, 15 February 1653/4, by William Tyringham of Tyringham, co. Bucks. Esq. v. Sir Thomas Alston of Odell, Kt.
Relating to payment of a bond, on which complainant became security for his brother, since deceased. Sir Thomas Alstone is angered against the complainant, because he refused to join with Alstone's brother in the sale of certain lands of inheritance ; and he has absented himself from his lodgings in London and from his house in the country whenever complainant, or any one on his behalf, has attended to make payment of the sums still due.
Reynardson 15/158 1653/4
Alstoniana Pg 201
ST. JOHN v. ALSTON.
Bill, 15 April 1668, by St. Andrew St. John, bart., Rowland, Oliver, Barbara, Sibilla, Elizabeth and Dorothy St.
John, children of Sir Oliver St. John, late of Woodford, co. Northants, bart. decd., by Dame Elizabeth Bale, widow
of Sir John Bale, late of Carlton Curliew co. Leicester, Kt., v. Miles Fleetwood and Dame Barbara his wife, Sir Thomas Alston and Sir John Robinson.
The defendant Barbara, mother of complainants, and the said Sir Thomas and Sir John are trustees under the will of the said Sir Oliver St, John, and have neglected all the terms of the trust, and all care of the estate.
Sir Thomas and Sir John, in their answer, say that they have not yet received any of the profits of the said estate.
Collins, 180. 1668,
Alstoniana Pg 205
EARL OF PETERBOROUGH v. ALSTON.
Bill, 8 February 1669/70, by Henry, Earl of Peterborough, v. Sir Thomas Alston of Odell alias Woodhall, co. Bedford, bart.
The Earl's father about November 9 Charles I (1633/4) settled the manor of Carlton, co. Lincoln, to the intent that he might sell the same ; and shortly afterwards did sell the same to the defendant. The deed included the settlement of other manors on the orator., but cannot be found. Sir Thomas Alston refuses to allow orator to inspect his part of the indentures, and maintams he has no such deeds.
Sir Thomas in his answer says the deeds and copies he holds relate to his title to the premises, part of which he has since sold to the Bishop of Norwich; and he conceives he is not bound to produce them to any one except of his own free will.
Collins. 188. 1669/70.
Alstoniana Pg 205
COUNTESS OF PETERBOROUGH v, ALSTON.
Bill, 29 June 1670, by Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Peterborough, and John, Viscount Mordant of Aviland,
v. Sir Thomas Alston, bart. and Henry, Earl of Peterborough.
The late Earl of Peterborough, husband and father of the two complainants, by deeds of 14 and l9 Charles I
(1638/39 and 1643/4) settled the manors of Chellington and Stagisden, co. Bedford, on the said Elizabeth for life, with remainder to his eldest son, the present Earl, in tail male, and contingent remainder to Viscount Mordant. One Mr. Richard Cocks, who had the custody of most of the countess's deeds and evidences pretends he has a settlement in his hands of 9 Chas. I (1633/4) barring these remainders. The present Earl and the said Sir Thomas conspire to uphold this alleged deed, and to defraud the countess of her rents, &c.
In his answer Sir Thomas says that about 30 years ago he purchased from the late Earl of Peterborough the manor of Carleton in co. Bedford, and obtained copies of the writings relating to the said manor; but never examined them. About three years since he sold part of the manor to the Bishop of Norwich, and on that occasion shewed the copies to the Bishop's solicitor. About a year since the Countess Dowager, now complainant, had defendant
examined in chancery to prove the writing of Sir Rowland St. John, Kt. of the Bath, his son in law. It was only after this, and after the present Earl exhibited a bill against him in or about Hilary term last, for the setting forth of evidences, that defendant ever perused his copies, and then found the settlement of 9 Charles I amongst them.
Mitford, 286/26 1670.
Alstoniana Pg 205
Court of Chancery, Six Clerks Office.
Pleadings before 1714, Whittington C 10/2/118
Elizabeth [Howard] Mordaunt dowager Countess of Peterborough v Sir Thomas Alston baronet, Edward Alston, Joseph Alston and William Blomefield: manor of Grafton Underwood, [Northants]. Two answers . Date: 1649.
ASHTON v. ALSTON.
Bill, 12 February 1674/5 by Thomas Ashton alias Benson of Senthill, co. Bedford, yeoman, v. Sir Thomas Alston bart., William Ashton alias Benson and others.
Sir Thomas Alston is made a party only as Lord of the manor of Stephenton, lands in which are the matter in dispute.
Bridges. 436/97. 1674/5
Alstoniana Pg 207
PICKERING v. ALSTONE.
Bill, 24 November 1679, by Sir John Pickering of Tichmarsh, co. Northants, bart., v. Sir Rowland Alston, bart. and Mary Pheasant.
Sir Thomas Alston of Odell, bart., having, and having always expressed a particular affection for his davghter Frances, promised complainant, when he treated with the said Sir Thomas about a marriage with the said Mistress Frances, that he would at or before his death., give her L500 in addition to her portion. This has never been paid, and Sir Rowland alleges there is not sufficient to pay the whole of the legacies, &c., after satisfaction of Sir Thomas's debts.
Attached to Sir Rowland's answer are 2 schedules (I) of the whole of the personal estate of the said Sir Thomas, (2) of his debts. The former includes a complete inventory of the furniture. No pictures are mentioned. Among the sums spent by the executor is L120 for erecting a monument in the chancel of Odell church, in memory of William Alston, Esq. and of Dame Frances Temple. L300 has been spent in funeral charges and expenses connected with the will.
Mitford. 302/119. 1679. Ref TNA C8/302/119
Alstoniana Pg 208
This has been placed in Sir Thomas's notes as a view on his financial position at his death as represented by his executor
Norfolk Record Office:
THE WODEHOUSE FAMILY OF KIMBERLEY
Catalogue Ref. KIM
TITLE DEEDS TO WODEHOUSE PROPERTIES
FILE - Conveyance from William Alston to Thomas Alston of land in Kimberley - ref. KIM 3/11/16 - date: 9th May 1667
Ref A2A It is not known (2005) if this item is correctly placed.
Inner Temple Records 1660-1714 Vol III - NZSOG
Miscellanea - Parliment held 29 Nov 29 Chas II AD 1677
Alston at his request is discharged continuing Master of the Revels
Uncertain placement - Revels were a celebration of the intervention of Robert Dudley in the 1560's settling a dispute in the Temple's favour.
THE WILL OF SIR THOMAS ALSTON OF ODELL . Knt & Bart.
Dated 25 April 1678
I desire to be buried in the Church of Odell -
I give to my son Rowland all the furniture in my house at Odell, plate and books Brewing Vessels, Carts Ploughs
I give to my son in law Sir John Pickering L20
To my daughter Dame Frances Pickering wife of above L40
To my grandson Gilbert Pickering L20
To my son in law Stavely Staunton L20
To my dau. Elizabeth Staunton L40
To all the children of the said Stavely and Elizabeth Staunton L10 each
To my grandchildren, children of my son ------ Alston L10 each
To my brother Sir Edward Alston L10
To my brother John Alston L10
To my nephew William Alston son of Sir Edward L20
To my nephew Charles Alston to buy books L50
To my daughter Alston wife of my son Alston L20 for a ring I desire my executor to spend L120 in erecting a tomb in the Chancel of Odell in memory of my brother Will. Alston decd and my mother Dame Frances Temple decd.
To my servant Henry Woodward L20
To my servant Richard Clarke L5
To my servant Thomas Sherman L5
I give to the poor of the parish of Odell L5
I give to the poor of the parish of Stevington L3
I give to the poor of the parish of Patenam, Carleton and Cherrington each 40/-
I give to my son Rowland L500 owing to me by Lord Crew and Sir Thomas Crew The residue of my estate I give to my sons in law Sir John Pickering and Stavely Staunton whom I appoint joint executors, to whom also I leave my farm and land in Kimberley co. Norfolk to be sold in payment of my debts and legacies But should my son Rowland Alston give sufficient security to the executors above named for the due performance of my will, then I desire that he may be executor and receive the lands and farm in Kimberley (Signed) THO. ALSTON
Witnesses : Robt Guy, John Ekins, Henry Woodward, Tho Sharman,
Proved: 19 July 1678 by Rowland Alston son and executor named in will.
Ref. Reeve 73.
Page 118 Alstoniana
Monument Odell Church.
Here Lie Interred The Bodies Of.
Sir Thomas Alston Baronet 2nd son of ye said Thamas
and Frances and Heire of ye said William who
married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Rowland St.
John of Woodford Northampton Shire descended
of ye honourable family of St. John of Bletshoe
and lived with her xxxviii yeares having issue by
her vii sonnes and two daughters he was buried
July xi 1678.
ODELL CASTLE was originally built by Walter Flandrensis, a Norman adherent of William the Conqueror, it was progressively rebuilt by the Alstons emerging as a stone-build mansion of some magnificence, with its stable yard and broad terraced lawns which were once the outer bailey, the great well called King John's Well, its "Monk's hall", panelled in dark oak, its Renaissance south-facing facade, with finely moulded window frames and chimney-caps, and its rooms hung with old oil paintings.
However by the start of the 20th C it was in a depleted state, and was destroyed by fire on the 24th Feb 1931, the present house was rebuilt on the site.
BEDFORDSHIRE TIMES AND INDEPENDENT
FRIDAY 27 FEBRUARY 1931.
ODELL CASTLE DESTROYED BY FIRE.
RAPID SPREAD OF FLAMES. One of the historic mansions of Bedfordshire, Odell Castle, was also completely destroyed by fire on Tuesday. The Castle, which dates back several centuries, is situated in one of the most delightful parts of the county, and stand on high ground overlooking the picturesque River Ouse, from which panoramic view of the surrounding countryside is obtained. It has a wealth of historical associations and in the reign of King John was used by that monarch as a hunting-box when the chase of wild deer took place in the extensive park.
The mansion is owned by Mr. Rowland Crewe Alston, who occupied it until a year ago, when on medical advice he went to live in a bungalow at Little Odell. During this time the Castle has been unoccupied, but Mr. Alston, a venerable figure in his 80th years, never lost interest in the Castle, which had been in his family for over 300 years.
On the day of the fire he had arranged to lunch there, together with his wife, son and daughter. The outbreak is believed to have originated in the boiler house which connects with the heating installation. There was no sign of any danger when the caretaker, Mr. George Askew, left to go to his breakfast. On his return at 10.30 a.m. he discovered the outbreak, but by this time the flames had got a strong hold on the aged woodwork, and fanned by a light breeze quickly enveloped the west wing of the Castle, and spread rapidly throughout the adjoining rooms. (Temperance Alston says, not quite the true version - 2003)
In an interview with the caretaker, Mr. George Askew, a Bedfordshire Times reported elicited the fact that there were no signs of anything being on fire when he left the castle. After going to breakfast he returned to the Castle at 10.30 a.m. to light the boiler fire of the heating apparatus, and another in the main hall. On entering, he smelt fumes in the passage and saw smoke issuing from between the boards. He went down to the basement where the fire was and saw flames where the chimney of the stokehold joins the wall. He tried to quench the flames, and with another workman succeeded in deadening the fire by throwing water on the blaze, but it afterwards "beat them". The estate steward Mr. Hawkes, summoned the fire brigades by telephone. Asked his opinion of the outbreak Mr. Askew said he believed it was due to a broken flue pipe through which the flames penetrated.
The Bedford brigade received the call at 11 a.m. and proceeded to Odell with country fire-fighting equipment under Chief Officer Corby, Second Officer Grice, Foreman Nutting and other members of the brigade, quickly followed and had begun operations on the arrival of the Rushden brigade.
The fire by this time had got such a strong grip on the mansion, which was blazing fiercely, that they could only concentrate on saving the north and east wings. Their work was particularly hazardous, falling beams and masonry preventing any operations from within. Intense heat and walls of flames forced the firemen back, and several were nearly trapped on the narrow landings and winding stairways which run throughout the house. They directed their efforts to smashing in the windows and roof, and by these means got their hosepipe's into play, but by this time the upper storey's were a raging inferno. Ample water was available from the river, and Mr. Alston, a pathetic figure in the loss of his stately home, watched the firemen combat the conflagration.
When a Bedfordshire Times reporter called at his bungalow later in the day he was stated to be prostrated and not fit to be interviewed. Little could be salved from the fire, so fiercely did the castle blaze, the smoke issuing from the building being visible for many miles around. In their work to subdue the flames several firemen had miraculous escapes when brick-work weighing my tons hurtled down, but they were just in time to jump to safety, the falls being preceded by ominous cracks. Otherwise they would have been buried beneath the debris. The collapse of a large stone chimney nearly entrapped Fireman Northwood, of the Bedford brigade, for it fell within a foot of where he had been standing a few second previously. He noticed the pile tottering and although inside the walls managed to jump clear at the same time giving the warning to two Rushden firemen who had just got to safety.
The force of the water from the hose-pipes dislodged projecting masonry and when in apparent safety and viewing the damaged interior from the balcony, foremen, police officers and two reporters had a fortunate escape from falling brickwork. They emerged unhurt from a cloud of dust, the accumulation of centuries. After four hours work the Rushden brigade was able to return, the fire then being under control. Bedford continued to watch the building and quelled any further outbreaks until 8.40 p.m. when they returned to their station. Owing to the dense volume of smoke issuing from the castle ruins on Thursday morning the Bedford brigade was summoned as a precautionary measure and remained on watch, as a strong wind made a further outbreak probable.
Only an estimate of the damage can yet be given, but it is understood to run into thousands of pounds. Amongst the valuables was some Victorian furniture which was destroyed and also some antique china and plate.
A FIRE FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
It is the second time in the history of the castle that it has been burnt down and a legend is attached to the story. Some five hundred years ago the castle was used by the then Baron de Wayhull, who had an attractive daughter whose hand was sought by Baron Felversham. He met with refusal and the story goes that Baron Felversham, enraged, traversed an underground tunnel which led from Radwell to Odell and sought to capture her. He attacked the castle, and when repulsed set fire to it and razed it to the ground.
Records state that the original caste dated back to Saxon times. In later times it was a secret rendezvous for priests and usurpers fleeing from tyranny and religious suppression. Mr. Alston has found subterranean passages and blackened ruins under the castle. A secret door unbolted by pressure on an oak panel led up to a small room sparsely furnished with a crude wooden bench and table, which it is thought was used by the priests as a retiring room. Many such legends enshroud its history, but their accuracy cannot be vouched for.
On another occasion Mr. Alston when exploring the old well in the courtyard discovered some quaint old pewter mugs and plates. The well takes its name from King John and is fed by a spring of sparkling water. A crack in the wall a few years ago exposed some exquisite oak paneling and although Mr. Alston expressed a deep wish to carry on his work of exploration he was prevented by the presence of foul air in the cellar, which are filled with old wine casks.
Odell Castle was a large and partially embattled mansion of stone, and the grounds, which are tastefully laid out, extend over about 11 acres. The manor of Great Woodhull, (one of Odell's former names) was sold to the Alstons of Suffolk early in the 17th century and has remained in the family ever since. Sir Thomas Alston, knight, was created baronet by Charles I. In 1641, he was sheriff of the county and in 1642 he married a member of the St. John family.
The second baronet, Sir Rowland, married Temperance, daughter of Lord Crewe, and after Sir Rowland's death she married Sir John Wolstenholme. It was Lady Wolstenholme who built the greater part of the existing Odell Castle on the sire of the old castle keep.
The third baronet, Sir Thomas, was M/P/ for Bedford Borough in 1698. The fourth baronet, Sir Rowland, was M.P. for the county in the parliaments of 1722, 1727, and 1734.
The fifth baronet, Sir Thomas, was Tory M.P. for Bedford county in 1747 and 1754, and for Bedford Borough in 1750. The baronetcy became extinct at the death of Sir Rowland the sixth baronet, colonel of the first regiment of Foot Guards, and Sheriff of the county in 1779. The property then passed to Thomas Alston of Harrold, and his descendants.
The Castle, only a small part of which was older than the beginning of the 18th century, had several noteworthy tenants during the last century. Through a considerably part of the former half of the century the Castle was tenanted by the third Earl of Egmont (half-brother of Spencer Perceval, the prime minister who in 1812 was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons by the mad John Bellingham) and the earl's half-sister, Lady Elizabeth Perceval. Odell has borne a prolific crop of superstitious tales, in which the Castle has always figured prominently.
The late Mr. Arthur Ransom contributed to this journal in 1899 the following account of his investigations into the story of the "Odell Ghost". Among the earlier Alstons was one who, for some cause of other acquired after his death the sobriquet of "the wicked Sir Rowland". It may be that his wickedness was not worse but only more conspicuous on account of his social position and the candour with which he acted, than that of many who have helped to invent and perpetuate the legends that have amused the listeners and frightened the timid on many winter's night.
These legends exist in several variants, which is common to them all being the assertion that Sir Rowland's ghost, after his death, was disturbing the peace of the living. He would ride his black charger up the hall of the castle; and those who doubt it may still see the print of one of the horse's hoofs in one of the flags of the floor. So intolerable became his mad pranks to the villagers that a solemn attempt was made to lay the ghost; and rumour says that twelve clergymen with books and torches assembled round the pond on Odell Wold (near which then stood what is known as Sir Rowland's haunted cottage) and did their best to "lay" the troubled and troublesome spirit. Having got him into the middle of the pond, they were startled to see rise up above the water the central mound that still exists. It is a pity that no discoverable documents still exists containing the names of the twelve reverend men who engaged in this pious work.
BEDFORDSHIRE TIMES & CITIZEN
Sept. 25th 1997.
A CASTLE built in the 1960's in a Bedfordshire backwater is up for sale at L.1.7 million. Dowager Lady Luke has found Odell Castle too large for her purposes since the death of her husband, Lord Luke, last year and is looking to sell. Also in the sale are 514 acres of farmland and ancient woods. Estate agents Strutt and Parker says it has had interest from local buyers in the house, reputedly haunted by Sir Roland (sic) Alston, as well as prospectors from London. The present Odell Castle was built in the 1960's after fire destroyed the 17th century mansion that stood on the sire once occupied by a medieval castle and, before that a wooden fort. Brian Dickson, of Strutt and Parker, said:" You can see stonework from the middle ages around the base of the house and there are thick walls which are obviously from earlier times. "Odell Castle itself is not actually a listed building, but some of the cottages in the grounds are. There is a lot of work that needs doing inside for whoever buys it."
The buyer might also have to contend with the ghost of Sir Roland (sic), a former resident, who is said to gallop into the main hall on a spectral horse on the anniversary of his death. No less that 12 priests attempted to exorcise his ghost in the last century, all to no avail. The estate is being offered as a whole, or in seven parts. Dowager Lady Luke will be moving to a smaller house in Odell village when the sale of the castle goes through.
Note: In 1934 George Lawson-Johnson by then the first Lord Luke purchased Odell Castle Estate, which had been leased to the Repton family, from the Alstons.
BEDFORDSHIRE TIMES and CITIZEN
Thursday January 29th 1998. By Mark Carter.
HAUNTED Odell Castle had been bought by a mystery local businessman to use as his home. Agents Strutt and Parker, who are selling the mansion, are refusing to reveal the identity of the man who has bought the L.1.7million former home of the late Lord Luke., who died in 1996. The buyer has purchased virtually the entire estate, which was being sold in seven parts, including Odell Great Wood, hundreds of acres of farmland and two 17th century cottages.
Mark McAndrew, of Strutt and Parker, said: " He's not a ghost hunter or a lottery winner, he is a local businessman who wants to turn the castle into his home. "He obviously isn't worried about any hauntings. I have been there a few times myself but, unfortunately never saw anything" The house is reputedly haunted by Sir Roland (sic) Alston, who is said to gallop into the hallway on a ghostly horse on the anniversary of his death.
The present house only dates back to the 1960, when it was rebuilt after fire destroyed the original 17th century mansion. Odell Castle takes its name from the Norman fortress that originally stood on the site. The foundations can still be seen around the base of the present house. Dowager Lady Luke and her son, the present Lord Luke, have moved out of the castle into homes in Odell village. Mr. McAndrew said: " The house needs work to be done inside, which I'm sure the new owner will be undertaking. "The sale will be completed on February 2 and he will be moving in shortly after that."
Bedford PRO - Photographs of thumbnail sketches of houses and coats of arms from William Gordon's map of 1736. FILE - Odell - Sir Rowland Alston. - ref. Z 50/143/225 - date: c1962 - c1995 FILE - Pavenham - William Alston. - ref. Z 50/143/226 - date: c1962 - c1995 Not of note
ALSTONE V. SAUNDERS & others.
Bill 10 May 1651, by Thomas Alston, Kt. and Bt., Edward Alston, Kt., and John Alston Esq. V. John Saunders,
Peter and Robert Sewell, John Trott and William Preston.
Orators are trustees for Dame Frances, wife of William, Viscount Mounson ;and the suit is to recover rent, etc. from defaulting tenants of the said Dame Frances,
Alstoniana Pg 174
House of Lords Record Office: House of Lords: Journal Office [HL/PO/JO/10/1/120 - HL/PO/JO/10/1/224]
Catalogue Ref. HL
House of Lords
Records of the Parliament Office, House of Lords
House of Lords: Parliament Office: Journal Office
[Access Conditions] All records are open.
House of Lords: Journal Office: Main Papers - ref. HL/PO/JO/10
House of Lords: Journal Office: Main Papers 1509-1700
FILE - Main Papers - ref. HL/PO/JO/10/1/130 - date: 22 Jul 1642 - 9 Aug 1642
[from Scope and Content] 1 Statement of Sir Thomas Alston, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire. In compliance with an order has made diligent search in Sir Lewis Dyves' house.
[from Scope and Content] 2 Certificate of Sir Thomas Alston, High Sheriff, and Thomas Rolt, one of the justices of Bedfordshire. After Sir Lewis Dyves had ridden away, and the riot was past, fourteen persons were produced, but there was no proof that any of them were actors in the riot, except Edward Stevenson, Thomas Cashe, and John Albonie.
FILE - Main Papers - ref. HL/PO/JO/10/1/180 - date: 10 Feb 1645 - 19 Feb 1645
[from Scope and Content] 13 February 1645 -- Petition of Peter Alston, gent., prisoner in Newgate. Petitioner while serving under Colonel Martin, Governor of Aylesbury, was sent to London in charge of Colonel Busbrigg and other prisoners, and as he was returning, was arrested at the suit of his mother-in-law, Katharen Alston.
[from Scope and Content] 1 Affidavit of Robert Sharpe, that he has been unable to serve the order upon Katharen Alston.
FILE - Main Papers - ref. HL/PO/JO/10/1/181 - date: 20 Feb 1645 - 7 Mar 1645
[from Scope and Content] 3 March 1645 -- Petition of Clara, wife of Peter Alston. Her husband, notwithstanding the order for his discharge, is still detained in Newgate by the keeper.
FILE - Main Papers - ref. HL/PO/JO/10/1/189 - date: 24 Jun 1645 - 9 Jul 1645
[from Scope and Content] 8 Information of Doctor Alston, taken before the Committee. 13 June.
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service:
Archdeaconry of Bedford
Catalogue Ref. AB
Creator(s):Church of England, Archdeaconry of Bedford, Bedfordshire
Case Papers - ref. ABCP
FILE - Church repair: (Stevington) churchwardens (Robt. Gael, Jn. Cox) v. Sir Tho. Alston - ref. ABCP40-42 - date: [After 1660]
[from Scope and Content] Jn. Odell of Pixhill, farmer, 78, has lived there 50 yrs.; has lands & tenements worth L.30 p.a. The 2 aisles of the church are much decayed, and part fallen down. It has always been reported that the owners of the manor or courthouse should repair them. This for 20 yrs. has been Sir Tho. Alston. For 40 yrs. the owner of the manor or courtho. & his tenants have sat in the N. aisle; and the owner has usually buried in the S. aisle & allowed no other burials there. Deponent has heard that Robt. Brumall, while tenant of the manor or courtho., buried his w.'s dau. in S. aisle & refused fee.
[from Scope and Content] Margt. Bromhall of Stevington, wid., 70, has lived there 28 yrs. Sir Tho. Alston is owner of manor or courtho., & has been since her husband's d. 7 yrs. ago. Her lands are worth L.20 p.a. She & her husband once suggested that they should repair the aisles if freed from church rates.
[from Scope and Content] Ralph Harvey of Stevington, mercer, 61, has lived there 27 yrs. He & Bernard Hopkins were churchwardens 1643-8 and mended leads of N. aisle by parish rate. Sir T. Alston has lands & tenements in Stevington to a very considerable value, usually taxed towards church repair.
Alston (Thomas). Sir. 1st Bart. Letter to Parliamentary Committee for co. Bedf. 1646.
Alston (Thomas). Sir. 1st Bart. Orders by, as member of sequestrations committee for co. Bedf. 1644-1646. Mostly drafts. Partly signed.
Alston (Thomas). Sir. 1st Bart. Pass issued by 1645. Copy.
Ref British Library 2007
Commissioners of Assessment for Bedfordshire 1660
Ordered, That William Beecher Esquire, St. John Thompson Esquire, St. John Charnock Esquire, Henry Chester Esquire, Oliver Luke Esquire, Sir William Palmer, Sir Thomas Alston Knight and Baronet, John Alston Esquire, John Neale Esquire, John Harvey Esquire, William Butler Esquire, Walter Robert Esquire; Edward Cater Esquire, and Sam. Bedford be, and are hereby, nominated and appointed Commissioners for the Assessment for the County of Bedford: And that they, and every of them be, and are hereby, impowered and authorized, to sit and act as Commissioners for the Assessments, as fully to all Intents and Purposes, as if they had been named in the Act, intituled, An Act for an Assessment of One hundred thousand Pounds, by the Month, upon England Scotland, and Ireland, for Six Months.
1. Odell Castle: Extract from the Millennium Book: by Barbara Corley. A brief history.
2. Odell and surrounding Villages, 1885/1900.
Courtesy of National Library of Scotland
Thomas married Dame Elizabeth ST JOHN  [MRIN: 1017], daughter of Sir Rowland ST JOHN KB of Woodford Northants.  and Sibilla , in 1640 in Woodford nr Thrapston NTH. (Dame Elizabeth ST JOHN  died on 8 Sep 1677 in Odell BDF and was buried on 10 Sep 1677 in Odell BDF.)