Population: 1911, 131; 1921, 119; 1931, 103.
Until 1840, when this parish was transferred to
Warwickshire, by which county it was entirely surrounded, it formed a detached island of Gloucestershire, owing to its having been originally part of the
possessions of the early Saxon monastery of Deerhurst.
The main portion of the parish lies on the right bank
of the River Stour, which forms its southern boundary
for some 2 miles. At the south-west angle, near where
the Brailes Brook, running south-westwards through
the parish, enters the Stour, on the left bank of the
river extensive remains of a moat mark the site of the
manor-house. Just across the river lies the village, its
stone-built houses and cottages, few of which appear
to be earlier than the 17th century, grouped round the
Green and surrounded by trees. One of the thatched
cottages on the west, now tenements, is ancient and
retains inside the southern half (No. 17) a pair of
medieval crucks. The lower room has an inserted 16thcentury ceiling with a heavy stop-chamfered beam and
joists. It has a wide fire-place with an oven that projects in front of the house. North-west of the churchyard is a stone-built 17th-century house of two stories
and attics. It has mullioned windows; a wing at the
east end was pulled down in recent years. The church
is at the north-west angle of the village, and from this
point a narrow limb of the parish extends northwards
for a mile, with a breadth of about 200 yds., between
Brailes and Cherington. The country is hilly, rising
sharply from 300 ft. at Sutton Mill (fn. 1) on the Stour to
620 ft. at the northern boundary with the parish of
At the time of the Domesday Survey
SUTTON was a 5-hide berewick of the manor
of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire (fn. 2) which had
been given to Westminster Abbey at its foundation by
Edward the Confessor. (fn. 3) It had therefore once belonged
to the Saxon Priory of Deerhurst, whose possessions
were shared between Westminster and the Abbey of S.
Denis near Paris. (fn. 4) It remained in the hands of the
monks of Westminster, who in 1291 had 1 carucate of
land in Sutton worth 20s., rents to the amount of 30s.,
and farm-stock worth 20s. (fn. 5) The manor is said to have
been held of the Honor of Gloucester as 1/5 knight's fee
in 1386. (fn. 6) By 1535 the abbey's estate was yielding
rather over £22 yearly. (fn. 7) After the Dissolution the
manor, with a water-mill, a tenement called Smith's
Place, and a rabbit warren, was granted to Sir William
Petre, the King's Secretary, and Anne his wife in 1545, (fn. 8)
to whom it was confirmed, quit
of the rents which had been
reserved, in 1553. (fn. 9) It descended
with the Lords Petre for over
300 years, (fn. 10) being sold by Robert
Edward, 9th Baron, in 1784
to Charles van Notten, (fn. 11) who
took the name of Pole in 1787
and was created a baronet in
1791. In this family it has remained.
Petre. Gules a bend or between two scallops argent.
The parish church
of ST. THOMAS
BECKET consists of a chancel, nave, and
The nave dates from the 12th century, but the only
remaining architectural feature is the north doorway,
which was re-discovered and opened out in the 19th
century. The east halves of the side walls are probably
original: on the north side this half leans outwards, but
the west half has been rebuilt plumb vertical, probably
when the clearstory was added in the 15th century,
the 12th-century doorway being reset, so that although
the eaves line is flush throughout there is a difference
of 10 in. inside (at floor-level) and outside at the base.
The chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century and
seems to have been lengthened eastwards at the end of
the same century and larger windows than the original
lancets provided. The south tower was an addition of
c. 1340 but it was probably later in the century that
the top was completed.
There was a large restoration of the building in 1879
at a cost of £2,000, when the walls were stripped of
plaster and external cement, the west and the southwest walls of the nave rebuilt and new roofs provided.
The chancel (about 28 ft. by 16½ ft.) has a fine late13th-century east window of three plain pointed lights
and tracery including three circles, now provided with
modern foils, all in a two-centred head. The jambs
and head are of two orders with edge-roll moulds: the
very obtuse splays inside are of rubble with angle
dressings that also have edge-rolls. The head inside
has an extra moulding against the tracery, stopping at
springing-level. The rear-vault of ashlar is splayed and
the rear-arch has an edge-roll. The edge-rolls of the
tracery-circles are distinct from those of the pointed
heads of the main lights, conforming more to the platetracery motif than to the later forms. There are hoodmoulds inside and out with human-head stops. The
middle light is wider than the others and the mullions
are moulded like the jambs.
In the north wall are three windows: the easternmost, of the same date as the east window, is of two
plain pointed lights and plain tracery in a two-centred
head with an external hood-mould with men's-head
stops, the eastern bearded. The jambs are of two hollowchamfered orders, and the rubble splays have dressings
with an angle-roll, and a hood-mould with head-stops,
the eastern a man and the western a pretty lady with a
caul or crispine, fillet and barbette
of the 13th century. The middle
and western windows are 12 in.
lancets of the early 13th century
which were partly remodelled
later in the century. The middle
window has hood-moulds, that
inside with carved stops, a fox's
head, and a bat or monster. The
western has no hood-moulds.
The middle window in the
south wall is a lancet like that
opposite: the hood-moulds have
human-head stops, one of those
inside is a woman's head with a
square coif. The eastern window
has mouldings like that opposite,
but its elevation approximates
more to the east window: it is of two pointed lights
with a trefoil in a two-centred head. The trefoil was
in a circle but it is now distorted as though the tracery
had collapsed or been reset badly. The tracery inside
has a roll-mould that stops at the springing line of the
jambs on little grotesque heads but is continued down
the mullion. The rear-arch is segmental-pointed and
the hood-mould has stops carved as foliage, the western
having also a small ape's head in the foliage.
The westernmost window is a late-15th-century
insertion of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and plain
circular tracery lights in a square head with an external
label having return stops: the jambs, of dark brown
stone, are of two chamfered orders: the splays are
obtuse and have yellow angle-dressings. This window
is set low and its masonry is plumb vertical while the
wall itself leans outwards so that it has an oversailing
course above the label and the wall-face sets back inside
above the rear-arch. East of the window is a priest's
doorway of the late-13th-century period with a pointed
head and jambs of two hollow-chamfered orders with
broach base-stops, and an external hood-mould of plain
round section like the internal string-course. The latter
runs round the chancel at window-ledge level, lifted
over the priest's doorway as a hood-mould, and stops
at the south-west window.
Below the north-east window is a square locker with
rebated stonework for the door, and under the southeast window a 13th-century piscina with a trefoiled
head below a round hood-mould, also an outer square
hood-mould, both of the same section as the stringcourse, with which the latter is conjoined. The basin
is circular and partly in a projecting moulded sill
which has a defaced head-corbel. On either side of the
east window is an image bracket. The northern is a
13th-century moulded round capital re-used, the
southern is a late-13th-century bracket, of which the
upper part is square in plan and the lower part of
circular plan with a trefoiled rosette carved in the
soffit. Near the east end of the north wall is also a
human-head corbel, perhaps also for the same purpose.
The east wall is mostly of uncoursed yellow rubble
up to the base of the gable, with a chamfered plinth.
The gable-head is of later coursed squared stones and
has a modern coping. At each angle is a pair of ashlarfaced square buttresses, of the late 13th century, with
the same plinth. The north and south walls are of
roughly coursed rubble below the windows, without a
plinth, probably early-13th-century work, but each
wall shows a slight change of texture where the walls
have been lengthened. These walls have late-14thcentury hollow-chamfered eaves-courses, decorated
with carvings of grotesques and beast-heads, &c. On a
stone of the south doorway is scratched a sundial, and
there is another on the east buttress of the same wall.
There is also a peculiar scratching, probably random,
on the north buttress on the east wall, a device with a
pair of scrolls at the top and over it a carved riband on
which is some lettering.
Plan of Sutton-under-Brailes Church
The internal faces are of uncoursed rubble, with
return dressings in the east angles, except below the
string-course in the north wall, where there is an
attempt at coursing in largish stones (perhaps re-used
12th-century stones). In the east wall and the east half
of the north wall above the string-course the masonry
is neatly coursed, suggesting modern treatment. This
is less noticeable on the south wall.
The roof is modern: it is of three bays with arched
trusses and exposed framing, and is covered with tiles.
The chancel arch is of the 13th century, in deep
yellow and brown stone, but may have been reconstructed in 1879. It is of two chamfered orders with
small courses and voussoirs: the inner order has re-cut
capitals. The two-centred head has plain hood-moulds.
The nave (about 51½ ft. by 22½ ft.) has only one
lower window in the north wall, near the east end. It
is an insertion of c. 1500 set in a segmental-headed
recess (11 ft. wide inside and 3½ ft. deep) and projecting outside about 21 in. The window is of three trefoiled depressed ogee-headed lights and late foiled
tracery piercings in a square head with an external
label. Against each splay is a stone seat. The feature
was probably provided for the reception of an altar
tomb that may not have materialized.
Farther west is the break outwards, already mentioned, of c. 10 in. at floor-level, with modern angledressings, and next west of it in the vertical part of the
wall is the plain 12th-century doorway with chamfered
jambs and round head.
There are two south windows. The tall eastern has
a head of the same type and date as the east window of
the chancel, being of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoiled circle in a two-centred head which is all of one
piece of stone. The inner order is chamfered, the
outer has an edge-roll with a plain hood-mould. The
lights were made wider at a later date by the insertion
of shoulder-corbels immediately below the head: the
jambs are of a similar section. All the stonework is of
a like dark brown. The splays are of rubble with
dressings, and high up in the east splay is a reset
carved corbel, perhaps to do with a former rood-loft.
Below the window is a 14th-century piscina with a
shouldered lintel and round basin. The western window is a single trefoiled ogee-headed light with a
modern square head and label. The jambs, of one
chamfered order, are of old stone partly retooled and
the wide splays are of rubble with partly old dressings.
The south doorway opening from the tower-porch has
wave-moulded jambs and pointed head with a hoodmould: a few stones in the west jamb may be of c. 1340
but otherwise the doorway has been restored. The
inner square reveals are of old brown stone but the
segmental-pointed rear-arch is modern.
The clearstory has three 15th-century windows on
each side. The northern and the south-western are
each of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a
square head with a label, all of deep-yellow stone: the
wide inner splays are of rubble with rough-tooled
dressings. The two south windows east of the tower
are each of two cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and
tracery in a square head with a label. The window on
the west wall is of three cinquefoiled ogee-headed
lights with trefoiled piercings in a square head: the
jambs of two chamfered orders are old (15th-century),
of grey stone: the mullions and head are modern.
The masonry on the north wall east of the break is of
irregular rubble with a change to generally larger stones
in the clearstory. West of the break the masonry is
more regular, being approximately coursed, and there
is no change between that of the lower part and that of
the clearstory. With the fact that apart from the doorway there is no piercing in this half it is probable that
it was rebuilt when the clearstory was added. At the
east angle is an ancient square buttress. The buttress
and the projecting window-bay have chamfered plinths
on rough footings but the remainder of the wall has
only rough footings. The south wall, east of the tower,
is of irregular rubble, with a low buttress of old ashlar
at the angle. West of the tower the wall is modern
or rebuilt. Internally the whole wall is of approximately coursed rubble and there are relieving arches
over the south doorway and south-west window. At
the top, from a level about 2 yds. below the wall-plate,
are the straight joints and quoin-stones of the
tower with the later clearstory wall built against it.
The walling between the quoins is of small streaky
stones. The east wall is of approximately squared and
coursed rubble: above the apex of the chancel-arch are
reset two human-head corbels. The west wall is
The embattled side-parapets and the low-pitched
gabled roof are modern. The roof is divided into five
bays by trusses that have cambered tie-beams with
curved braces with traceried spandrels. Above are
middle arches with king-and queen-posts and tracery.
The south tower (about 9 ft. square) is divided into
two stages by a plain string-course which is level with
the top of the nave-parapet: the lower stage is therefore
of two stories, the lower being the porch. The walls
are of grey and yellow ashlar in small courses and finejointed up to the string-course: at the south angles are
diagonal buttresses of the same stone. These, with the
south and east walls, have plinths of two courses, the
upper moulded, but the west wall has only the lower
The upper stage is of less finely jointed ashlar and
in its upper part of browner stone. The parapet is
plain and there are gargoyles on the string-course and
stumps of former angle-pinnacles.
In the north-west angle is a stair-vice entered by a
plain doorway in the south wall of the nave. It projects slightly on the west face as two sides of a hexagon
above the nave and there was originally a superstructure, of which fragments remain.
The two-centred south entrance, of the 14th century, has moulded jambs and head of two orders in one
splayed line with an external hood-mould: this has
defaced stops and is turned up at the apex with an ogee
curve with a small trefoiled roundel carved on the face.
In the west wall of the porch is a trefoiled ogee-headed
window with small foiled piercings in a square head
with a moulded label.
In the east wall at floor-level is a recess with a
cinquefoiled ogee-head and perhaps remains of a
crocketed hood. It has a narrow stone bench in it
provided for, or at least used by, a bell-ringer, as the
head is much scored by the friction of bell ropes. The
chamfered jambs are of modern grey and brown stone,
the old head of a lighter yellow stone. The upper story
has a 14th-century south window of two trefoiled
ogee-headed lights and tracery in a square head with
a label; and in the east wall is a small trefoiled ogeeheaded light. The bell-chamber has windows of two
trefoiled ogee-headed lights and varying tracery in a
square head with a label.
The font and other furniture are modern.
A table-tomb in the churchyard south-west of the
tower, dated 1675, is that of John Thornitt, who left £10
to the poor of the parish. (fn. 12) It has elaborately carved
sides with oval frames flanked by scrolls and cornucopiae.
There are other 17th- and 18th-century headstones.
The five bells (fn. 13) are of 1701, but only three bear the
date with the initials or names of the founders, Will.
Cor and Rob. Cor.
The registers begin in 1577, but the volume containing most of the 17th century is missing.
The church was valued in 1291 at
£5 6s. 8d., in addition to 20s. payable
for tithes to the Priory of Deerhurst (fn. 14)
(reconstituted as a cell of St. Denis). The rectory
and advowson belonged to Westminster Abbey and
in January 1541 were granted to the newly formed
bishopric of Westminster. (fn. 15) After the suppression of that
see the rectory was granted in 1550 to the Bishop of
London, with whom it remained until about 1823,
when the Bishop of Bristol was patron. (fn. 16) In 1919 the
patronage was conveyed to the Bishop of Coventry, who,
since the union of the benefice with that of Cherington
with Stourton in 1929, presents to alternate vacancies.