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The Manor was a local system of government and law enforcement, primarily concerned with agricultural administration and land ownership. The Lord of the Manor, although enjoying considerable autonomy, was answerable to the King. He preserved his system of law and order through a manorial court whose proceedings were recorded in Court Rolls.
The Manor of Chelsea, which included Kensal, passed through many hands, including Henry VIII. It was purchased by Sir Hans Sloane in 1712 and thereafter held by his descendants. All the Lords of the Manor spent some time in Chelsea. The original manor house stood just north of the Parish church. Henry VIII built a new mansion now occupied by 19 to 26 Cheyne Walk, which was demolished in 1755.
The De Vere family retained their manor of 1200 acres for nearly 500 years, but they were absentee landlords and a steward managed their affairs. Altogether there were four manors: Abbots Kensington, Knotting Barns, West Town and Earl’s Court. It was here that the de Veres, now Earls of Oxford, held their manor court. The courthouse shown stood on a site occupied today by Earl’s Court Station. By the end of 16th century the estate had passed out of their ownership.