An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 6, Architectural Monuments in North Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1984.
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Southwick is a large parish of 1873 hectares to the W. of the R. Nene. The parish was originally about 558 hectares but was augmented in 1869 by the addition of the extra-parochial forest area of Morehay, comprising 1315 hectares. The village seems to have been outside the forest, but had common rights in Morehay. The original settlement was probably at Perio in the Nene valley, on the E. edge of the parish from where occupation spread W. up the valley of the small brook which formed the axis of the original parish.
The manor was held by the Knyvet family from the 12th century, and they lived at Southwick. In the 14th century Richard Knyvet and his son John both married heiresses. John rose through ability in the legal profession, eventually becoming Lord Chancellor. He rebuilt at least the tower of the church and built extensively at Southwick Hall (2) which has continued to be occupied by the lords of the manor. The copyholds in the village had all been extinguished by 1834, probably in the 16th or 17th century. The population was fairly low, with 32 families in 1673 and 22 in 1801; few households were exempted from Hearth Tax in 1673. Early houses are few and not outstanding. The only outlying farms before 1850 were at Perio and Stonepit Lodge, both owned by freeholders. The forest are of Morehay follows a different pattern of occupation. The keepers from the early 17th century were the Earls of Westmorland, and the only buildings were four keepers' houses. These became farms during the 19th century as a result of agricultural reorganization, and all but Crosswayhand Lodge (9) were rebuilt. Earlier assarts in Morehay itself are few (RCHM, Northants. I, Southwick (14) for example).
In the N.W. corner of the parish is a chalybeate spring, the medicinal properties of which were recognized in the 17th century (13); it is called King's Cliffe Spa because it was in that part of Morehay over which the people of King's Cliffe exercised rights of common.
The former village of Perio lay on the bank of the Nene, on river gravel, just S. of Perio Mill (RCHM, Northants. I, (13)). A small hospital was founded there in 1282. The village was abandoned by the end of the 16th century but the mill continued in use, becoming a paper-mill by 1718.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary (Fig. 179; Plates 20, 73) stands at the E. end of the village in a triangular shaped churchyard. It comprises a Chancel, Nave and West Tower with spire. The walls of the chapel and nave are of coursed limestone with freestone quoins and dressings; the tower walls are of larger blocks and the spire is of fine ashlar. The Church Survey Books of 1605–6 and 1619 (NRO, X622/1, X662/3) show that the church then had N. and S. aisles, but that on the N. was ruinous. By 1719 the N. aisle had been demolished (Bridges II, 470). The tower is mid 14th-century and bears shields of Knyvet and Basset; John Knyvet, Chancellor of England, married Eleanor Basset, and died in 1381. The chancel and nave were rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century at the instigation of George Lynn who died in 1758. The chancel arch, probably of the 13th century, was retained but may have been rebuilt. In 1864 the windows of the nave and chancel were altered from round-headed to pointed, and a classical pedimented S. doorway was replaced by one of Gothic design (Whellan). The present pointed W. window in the tower is also of this date. The former appearance of the church was recorded by Flesher in c. 1810, by Clarke in 1846 and by J. C. Buckler in 1858 (NCL). In 1905 the interior walling was stripped of plaster.
Architectural Description – The Chancel has a hipped roof covered in stone slates, and plain eaves. Windows in the E. and S. walls in the Decorated style are of 1864. On the N. is a recess, lined with ashlar and with a round head, in which is the Lynn monument. Opposite, in the S. wall, is a rear arch with a similar round head and jamb stones continuing to the ground, probably implying an intention to have a recess corresponding to that on the N. side; in the event the opening was made slightly narrower to take a window (see Clarke's drawings (Plate 73)). The chancel arch, probably 13th-century but rebuilt, has a hollow and plain chamfered head, semi-octagonal responds with roll-moulded capitals and hollow moulded bases. The Nave has a plain parapet and a modern N.W. buttress. The windows and S. doorway are all of 1864, in the Decorated style. The former doorway had a round-headed opening with quoins and voussoirs below a pedimented cornice carried on brackets. The heads of the 18th-century round-headed windows are faintly visible in the N. wall.
The Tower (Plate 20), in three stages, has weathered angle buttresses rising into the second stage, those on the N.W. being masked by massive buttresses possibly of the 18th century. Large head corbels, in the angle of the tower, from which spring wall ribs, testify to the original intention to vault the lower stage of the tower; comparison may be made between these corbels and those in Southwick Hall (Plate 44). The tower arch consists of three wave-moulded orders, the inner carried on moulded responds with capitals and bases (Fig. 180). Above is a blocked opening, probably a window, now divided by the nave roof but originally within the gable of a roof of steeper pitch. The 19th-century W. window replaces a rectangular mullioned window of post-medieval date, set within the blocking of an original pointed window. Below the first string course are shields of arms in relief: on the N. of Knyvet, on the S. a variation of Basset, and on the W. two shields of the same. On the N., S. and W. are small single-light cusped windows. The belfry windows are of two transomed lights with trefoil ogee heads, central quatrefoils and labels with head stops. The plain parapets are pierced with crosses, possibly 18th-century additions. The octagonal spire has pronounced crockets and two tiers of lucarnes, the lower of two lights, the upper of one.
Fittings – Bells: (1), with shield bearing initials 'TN' for Thomas Newcombe of Leicester, probably Thomas II, active 1562–80; (2), attributed to Henry Penn of Peterborough, active 1703–29, on the evidence of the characteristic rough band in the place of an inscription (inf. R.W.M. Clauston). Bell frame: for three bells, post-medieval. Brass indents: in nave – (1), with floriated cross and civilian figure, 14th-century; (2), with figures of a man in armour and wife in shroud, with children, mutilated, 15th or 16th-century. Coffin lid: in churchyard, with omega ornament, 13th-century. Communion rails: oak, turned balusters with square knop, moulded top and bottom rail, mid 18th-century. Door: oak in blocked S. doorway of chancel, fielded panels, mid 18th-century. Font: round bowl on baluster-shaped stem, 17th-century, now in sanctuary.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in chancel – (1), in recess in N. wall, of George Lynn, 1758, attributed to Roubiliac (Gunnis, Dictionary, 331), grey and white marble, shaped inscribed base, obelisk background with cartouche of arms of Lynn impaling Bellamy, draped oval portrait medallion with profile of Lynn, seated figure of his widow mourning and supporting an urn, all enclosed by railings (Plate 71); (2), of Augusta Lynn, 1827, sarcophagus tablet, by Whiting of Northampton; (3), of George Lynn, Feb. 1824, also his sons Walter, 1816, George, March 1824, and his daughter Isobella, 1817, as (2) by Whiting. Floor slabs – (1), of Elizabeth Lynn n.d.; (2), of George Lynn, 1742; (3), of Martha Broade (Lynn), Feb. 1796; (4), of Elizabeth Lynn, 1737; (5), of Rev. John Lynn, 1749; (6), of Anne Lynn, Jan. 1756; (7), of Ann Lynn, 1767, black marble with lozenge of arms of Lynn quartered impaling Bellamy; (8), of George Lynn, 1758, with the arms of Lynn (Plate 72); (9), of Rev. Francis Broade, 1791, black marble with arms of Broade (?) impaling Lynn. In churchyard, gabled grave slab with central rib and cross, medieval.
Panelling: in chancel, in three heights, run-through panelling, removed from Southwick Hall, 17th-century. Pulpit: oak, octagonal, moulded base and top rail, fielded panelled sides, part of a three-decker, mid 18th-century. Miscellanea: loose in nave – (1), small wheel-headed stone with incised compass cross; (2), fragment with Agnus Dei carved in shallow quatrefoil, perhaps once within a floriated cross; both probably medieval but of unknown purpose.
(2) Southwick Hall (Fig. 181; Plates 80, 81), stands in a small park immediately E. of the parish church. The house consists of a main range and cross wing probably of 14th-century origin, which were rebuilt in the late 16th century; to the N. a 14th-century stair turret and a small vaulted compartment survived this rebuilding. The south range, a tall block built later in the 14th century, stands to the S.W. of the main range. This block joins awkwardly on to the cross wing of the main range, and is on a different alignment to it, suggesting that it is an addition, although there may not have been a long interval between the two building dates. The tall block itself was built in two phases in the 14th century. A W. wing was added in the 18th century and a kitchen in the early 19th century. Across a courtyard to the N., an early 18th-century range incorporates a 16th-century detached kitchen. The house is mainly of two storeys, of coursed rubble and ashlar, with stone-slated roofs.
The Knyvet family, established in Southwick by the late 12th century, came to hold the manor in the 13th century with the Earls of Warwick as their feudal superiors. Richard Knyvet, who died in 1352, and his son Sir John, who died in 1381, were probably responsible for all the surviving early medieval work in the house as well as for the church tower. Richard first appears in 1324 when he was appointed Keeper of the Forest of Cliffe; he served on Commissions of the Peace, was engaged in other aspects of local government, and appears to have traded in wool. Sir John had embarked on a legal career by 1347, rising to become Chief Justice of the King's Bench in 1365 and Lord Chancellor in 1372; he was the most distinguished member of the family.
Sir John Knyvet's son and grandson both served in local administration but in 1442, the grandson being held prisoner in France, Southwick was sold by Sir John's great grandson to his brother-in-law John Lynne, apparently as a family arrangement. The Lynnes were merchants based in London who invested their profits in land. Southwick became the inheritance of John Lynne's younger son William and remained in the hands of his descendants until the early 19th century.
The 14th-century house probably consisted initially of a hall and cross wing on the site of the present hall and dining room. In the third quarter of the 14th century Sir John Knyvet added a two-storey tower containing the so-called Gothic Room which was used as an inner chamber and entered from the S.W. corner of the cross wing. This tall block was extended to the W. later in the same century by the building of a three-storey addition which contains the so-called Priest's Room. A stair turret and vaulted lobby, entered from the N. side of the hall, gave access to the first floor of the cross wing. As the ground floors of all the surviving 14th-century rooms have vaulted undercrofts, it is probable that the cross wing had an undercroft also. The first-floor Gothic Room was entered from the solar in the cross wing, and has a fireplace, but an E.-facing oriel with a piscina in the S. flank suggests a liturgical use for the room. If these features are in situ, this room was perhaps an inner chamber with an oratory rather than a permanent chapel. The first-floor room in the W. addition, the Priest's Room, is reached only from the Gothic Room; the small vice on the S. served only the second-floor room. The Priest's Room had a door in the N. wall opening outwards into a narrow, apparently timber-framed structure, probably a garderobe. The upper room in the cross wing, the Gothic Room and the Priest's Room therefore formed a suite of rooms.
In the late 16th century the hall and cross wing were rebuilt by George Lynne, apparently on the line of the former building. This work, dated 1571 and 1580, is in contemporary style and provided a newly-fashionable ceiled hall. The main entrance must have been on the N. of the hall by way of a medieval doorway which was retained; the S. doorway is apparently later and may have replaced a window. At the E. end of the hall is a small room which was an office by c. 1800 and was called the Justice Room in 1873. If it was not originally a service room it may always have had an administrative function, representing the removal of manorial administration from the hall itself. The 16th-century kitchen was in a cruck-roofed building in a separate range on the N. side of the courtyard, perhaps perpetuating the medieval arrangement.
No further major work on the house is known until the time of George Lynn who inherited in 1742 and died in 1758. On his monument in the church he is said to have 'improved' the house, and to him can be ascribed the refitting of the cross wing to provide a Dining Room, and the heightening of the N. stair turret to serve the improved attics. The hall may also have been refitted at this time but the present panelling is probably 19th-century; however the passage on the E. has mid 18th-century fittings. A blocked opening in the cross wing implies the existence, or intended existence, of a range to the W. but the present stair and Breakfast Room are now largely of a date later in the 18th century.
With the death of George Lynn's sister, Martha Broade, in 1796 the direct line of the Lynns came to an end, and the history of the building's occupation is obscure. The present kitchen was built in the early 19th century, but when the house was advertised for sale in 1834 it was described as 'much neglected'. In 1840 it was bought by George Capron, the solicitor-son of Thomas Capron of Stoke Doyle. In 1872 an ambitious remodelling of the house and garden to plans by E.F. Law of Northampton was begun by Rev. George Capron who inherited in that year. The work included the rebuilding of a range on the E. of the courtyard. The plans for a complete remodelling, were abandoned on the death of Capron's wife in 1875. A two-storey stable range in Gothick style was built to the N. of the house in the late 19th century. Since then the only alterations of importance have been the creation of a new entrance on the ground floor of the Gothic Room block in about 1909, and an internal remodelling of the early 19th century kitchen in 1962 (A. Oswald, Country Life, 24, 31 May, 7 June 1962).
A small park was created in the 18th century, with a lake to the E. formed by building a dam across a stream. The lake is now drained and the park curtailed, but the road still crosses the valley on the dam.
Architectural Description – The S. Range is of two builds, the two-storey tower containing the Gothic Room on the E. and the three-storey Priest's Room block with staircase on the W. (Plates 80, 81). The Gothic Room block has on the E. a shallowly-projecting bay with stone roof; the ground stage was originally blind but now has a cusped window with square label and head stops removed from the S. wall in 1909. Above, is a two-light window with label and head stops and renewed Geometric tracery. To the S. of the bay is a cusped window with square label. On the ground stage the wall is continued N. under a weathering to join the cross wing; above this the masonry is 18th-century with an ogee window at first-floor level and a pointed window in the finialed gable. At ground level is a square-headed door inserted in the late 16th or early 17th century, and blocked since 1872. The S. elevation has at ground stage a Tudoresque doorway inserted in 1909, and above, an original two-light window with pointed head, all much restored. On the N. wall at first floor is a similar window retaining original tracery, mullion and transom, the label having mask stops.
The Priest's Room block is of later 14th-century date. The stair, built at the same time has an elliptical-headed doorway with continuous double-ogee moulding, inserted in the early 16th century; it was lit by small loops and a small square traceried opening. There are two medieval sundials on the S. face, one with numbers. The windows on the adjoining S. wall are 17th-century. In the N. wall is a single-light ogee-headed window at ground and first floors, and at first floor is a blocked door below the scar of an asymmetrical pitched roof. The absence of other scars suggests that this covered a timber-framed structure, possibly a garderobe. The W. wall has three windows similar in design to that in the S. wall of the Gothic Room. These appear on Clarke's pencil sketch of July 1846 but in their present form may all date from alterations of 1873 or 1909. Above the gable is a 14th-century octagonal chimney of ashlar with cusped openings on each face (Plate 83); it is probably reset and its spire is missing.
Internally, both blocks have undercrofts with chamfered ribs. The E. undercroft, now an entrance hall, has head corbels in each corner and a boss carved with two faces of a green man (Plates 44, 81). In the N. wall is a single-light window with iron glazing bars and to the E. a doorway with two-centred head, both being original. A chamfered doorway with bar stops leads to the W. undercroft which has a vault springing from plain shield-shaped corbels, and a chamfered doorway to the stair.
On the first floor the E. room, the Gothic Room (Plate 82), has an oriel window on the E., in the sides of which are two round-headed plastered recesses of uncertain date; in the S. recess is a cusped piscina with quatrefoil sinking. On the W. wall is a restored fireplace with two human head-corbels supporting the hood. The N. and S. windows are rebated for shutters and have window seats; in the tracery is 14th-century glass with the arms of Montfort of Beaudesert on the N. and Bohun on the S. A 14th-century doorway with bar stops leads to the W. room; the 16th-century ceiling with moulded ribs is almost entirely concealed. The Priest's Room, on the W., has an original doorway, now blocked, on the N., and a modern doorway from the stairs. In the W. wall is a blocked fireplace beneath the window. On the second floor is an original doorway from the stairs. The roof is modern; an ogee-headed doorway leads to the parapet from the stairhead.
The circular Stair Turret to the N. of the main range, has a weathered string, small rectangular loops and a slab pierced with a cross. The 18th-century heightening is timber-framed and hung with stone slates, and capped by a conical roof of the same date. The staircase is now of wood and is approached on both floors by short flights with ramped handrail and turned balusters, of c. 1740–50. Adjoining on the E. is a three-storey block gabled on the N. At ground floor is a single-stage buttress, and a square panel pierced with a quatrefoil, now blocked; on ground and first floors are 17th-century mullioned windows. The top stage was heightened in the 18th century and is slate-hung on the E.; in the original gable is a blocked round-headed window of uncertain date. Inside, the ground stage is vaulted, the chamfered ribs descending to floor level except on the S.W. where a door in the W. wall causes the rib to spring from a moulded corbel. There are two doors with shouldered heads in the W. wall; both have been altered. In the S. wall is a blocked door formerly leading to the hall; on the N. wall is a moulded and embattled bracket of 15th-century date, perhaps a light sconce.
The Main Range (Plate 80) has a T-shaped plan representing the hall and cross wing of the original house. To the E. of the hall is a narrower but contemporary continuation of the range, of two storeys, with ashlar S. wall and rubble E. wall. The three-light windows have transoms which have been removed on the first floor; below the upper window is a slab inscribed '1571'. The hall is faced in ashlar; it has two finialed gables, that on the E. having a bell-cote above the kneeler. The ovolo-moulded windows are set symmetrically but not centrally below the gables and resemble those to the E. On the ground floor is a doorway with ovolo mouldings, which cuts the plinth. The cross wing, of two storeys and attics, projects on the S. where it is gabled on the S. and E.; it is of ashlar with rubble in the upper parts. The three-light windows are transomed at ground stage, and above the first floor S. window is a slab inscribed 'GL 1580 ML' for George Lynne and his wife. The W. wall of the cross wing has a large stack rising in four weathered stages above a plinth. On the first floor is a mid 18th-century elliptical-headed doorway with triple keystones, now blocked. An attic level is an 18th-century gable with circular window. The N. wall is mainly timber-framed hung with stone slates and has a pointed window at attic level, all probably 18th-century. Surmounting the roof is a wooden bell-cote.
Inside the hall a passage is partitioned off the E. end; it is spanned by an 18th-century round arch with key block above which are the arms of Lynn on a baroque shield. At the N. end is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered head and segmental rear arch. The hall has a large fire surround and doorcases with pulvinated friezes, all apparently 19th-century copies of 18th-century work. To the E. of the hall the Justice Room has an 18th-century stone fireplace with eared surround and fluted frieze flanked by scrolls. Above the hall are two parallel rooms with barrel ceilings behind the gables. That on the W. has scratch-moulded panelling with carved frieze, and a stone fireplace with rectangular opening and stone shelf. The E. room has an 18th-century stone fireplace with egg-and-dart enriched eared surround. The W. room is approached by a lobby in the compartment W. of the stair turret but the original access to the E. room is unknown.
On the ground floor of the cross wing is the Dining Room with mid 18th-century skirting, dado-rail and enriched cornice. The ornamental wooden fireplace surround has a central panel with head and sunburst (Plate 113). On the first floor are two rooms and a passage, all with fielded panelling in two heights. The larger, S., room has a fireplace with wooden eared surround and enriched frieze (Plate 113), and above is a plain panel for an overmantel. The attics were remodelled in the 18th century and have a barrel-vaulted ceiling and plaster floors. The S. of the two rooms has a quadripartite vault.
The W. Range (Plate 80), running W. from the cross wing, was built in two stages in the 18th century. The narrower E. section is earlier. Inside, a 19th-century stair and panelling apparently imitates an 18th-century original; some panelling is 18th-century. The W. section, of one storey and attics, has a wooden bay window of Gothick design with a frieze enriched with quatrefoils. On the first floor are three pointed-headed windows of the late 18th or early 19th century. The ground-floor room, called the Breakfast Room in 1872, has 18th-century fielded panelling and a half-domed cupboard. The kitchen to the N. of the Breakfast Room was built in the early 19th century; it is of two storeys with hipped roof and sash windows. A first-floor triple sash window with Gothick glazing bars leads on to a terrace with an iron trellis balustrade.
On the N. side of the courtyard is an early 18th-century range which in 1872 was used as a brewhouse etc.; it is of two storeys except for the lower single-storey E. end of 16th-century origin, which in 1872 was called the Old Kitchen. Inside the Old Kitchen is a wide fireplace, now blocked, to the N. of which is an elliptical-headed doorway, also blocked. The roof is supported on a cruck truss and is smoke-blackened (Fig. 182). The cruck has a saddle, ridge-piece, and a collar, the ends of which project to carry the purlins. The curved feet of the blades rise above modern doorways. The range to the W. has openings with flat arches and triple keystones. In the S. wall is a large lunette window with a seven-light wooden-framed window above. Internally, there are heavy beams with wave stops, and the roof has two tiers of staggered purlins. On the first floor is an original fireplace of ashlar with a segmental arch, projecting keystone and moulded shelf; the stair and plaster floors are contemporary.
(4) Eden Cottage, one storey and attics, parapeted gables, thatched roof, leaded glazing, class 8 but with stair in turret at rear, opening out of an end room; 17th-century. The interior, sub-divided into two cottages in the 19th century, has axial beams and a chamfered fireplace bressummer with bar stops.
(5) Shuckburgh Arms, two storeys, thatched, class 2, 17th-century; addition on the E. and alterations internally when the house became an inn in c. 1840. A chamfered fireplace bressummer has bar stops.
(8) Towns End Farm, two storeys, parapeted gable, thatched, sash windows, early 19th-century. L-shaped plan, four-bay main front. In 1834 the house was occupied by Isaac Knighton who farmed 240 acres (100 hectares) (Sale Catalogue, Southwick Hall). (Not entered)
(9) Cross Way Hand Lodge (SP 996921; Fig. 183) was built for a forest keeper in the early 18th century and payments for oak boards and plaster in January 1729 suggest it was finished soon after that date (NRO, W(A) 4.III.4). The five-bay front is of three storeys with a cellar but the building is of one storey only at the back, the rear rooms being roofed by a catslide. The walling is of carefully coursed rubble with flush quoins and the gables are parapeted. On the front elevation the windows have plain projecting architraves under rubble relieving arches and wooden mullions and transoms and the central doorway has a moulded architrave and pediment. Windows on the rear elevation have flush architraves, wooden frames and leaded lights; the western has square stone mullions. A small gabled dormer is secondary. Inside the two main rooms and the kitchen behind have chamfered cross beams with differing stops. Original fittings included a round-headed corner cupboard with shaped shelves, panelled doors and a key block, and some simple fireplace surrounds. In 1979 the front wall of the house was rebuilt.
(11) Stone Pit Lodge (TL 039931), two storeys and attics, banded masonry front wall, parapeted gables. Class 3 a main range with original lean-to wing. The house is early 19th-century in its present form but may incorporate an earlier building.
(12) Perio Lodge (TL 044924) is at the N. end of the site of the deserted medieval village of Perio (RCHM, Northants. I, Southwick (13)). By the early 18th century the mill, which remained in use after the settlement became depopulated, was a paper mill (Guildhall Library, MS 11936/9, p. 167) and remained as such until at least 1851; by 1871 it was again used for corn (Census). The present buildings consists of a long range which is of 17th-century origin at the W. end and which has the former mill at the E. end. The house had become cottages by the 19th century (Scottish Record Office, GD 15/11/167/5).
(13) King's Cliffe Spa (SP 996959; Fig. 184). A chalybeate spring rises from the ferruginous Cornbrash on the boundary with King's Cliffe. Its potential as a spa was first exploited in about 1670 by Dr. Brown, a physician of King's Cliffe, who 'publicly recommended it' at that time. By 1712 there was 'a fit cistern of stone at a convenient distance from the spring, to take in water for the use of those who have cutaneous diseases or ulcers' (Morton, 274). The remains consist of a rectangular tank with ashlar walls and a flight of steps in the centre of one side. The tank was fed through a complex of deep channels in the S.W. corner, which may also have been used for immersion. Both tank and channel are bordered by paving. Graffiti on the upper courses of the ashlar date from 1747 to the end of the 19th century.