Population: 1911, 1,646; 1921, 2,281; 1931, 4,426.
As a civil parish Exhall has been extinguished; certain detached portions were amalgamated with Foleshill in 1885; by the Coventry Extension Act of 1931
part was included in the City and County Borough of
Coventry, and in 1932 it was transferred to the parish
of Bedworth. (fn. 1) Like other parishes in the neighbourhood it seems to have had no main village, but a number of hamlets, such as Newland, Ash Green, Exhall
Hall Green, and Neale's Green. In recent years the
development of coal-mining and brick-works has led
to much building of small houses, especially along the
Bedworth Road and at Ash Green and Goodyers End.
The coal-mines in this parish have been worked from
at least the beginning of the 17th century. (fn. 2)
The bounds of the parish as set out in 1411 (fn. 3) seem to
have remained unchanged until the 19th century.
They begin on the west in the neighbourhood of Grove
Lane (which marks the site of Corleygrove, adjoining
the park of Newland): from the corner of Newland by
the ditch of the hospital of St. John called Corlehay to
Corlebroke (now Breach Brook), so to the sluice of the
mill of Smerecote (in Bedworth), by the hedge and
ditch called Rowdech to Cattescroftelane (now Goodyers End Lane), to Little Heath, to the gate of the
rectory of Bedworth, to the Downebroke. Then follow
several lost landmarks, but 'the ditch between the
Hay and Sydenhalewode' is evidently Little Sydnall
Lane, and there is a reference to the boundary crossing
the highroad from Coventry to Nuneaton. This road
runs through the eastern portion of the parish, the
extremity of which still farther east is crossed by the
railway and the Coventry Canal; Longford and Exhall
Station is just outside, but Hawkesbury Lane Station
is just within the parish.
Newland Hall Farm, west of Ash Green, was formerly the manor-house of the Coventry Priory estate.
Just to the south and east of the house a depression,
now mostly drained of water, probably marks the site
of fish ponds; there is no evidence of its having been
part of a moat. The depression is crossed by a causeway some 50 yds. long where large stumps of recently
felled trees suggest an avenue; and its grass banks are
broken by ancient sandstone retaining walls of varying
height. (fn. 4)
The house consists of a main block facing south and
one running northwards from the north-eastern angle.
The former is three-storied, with tall gables, and the
latter two-storied, carrying a hipped roof. Both roofs
are of tile and the eaves run at nearly the same level;
their walls are of red and grey sandstone up to eaveslevel, except the whole of the west gable end, a portion
of the main north wall, and the upper part of the east
gable, which are of 18th-century brickwork. The
stonework appears to be uniformly of the 15th century.
The wing has a small extension to the north, one story
in height, with a gabled roof stopping against its north
wall: this is timber-framed and of the late 16th century.
The roofing tiles are modern and the chimney-stacks
appear to have been rebuilt in the 18th century.
There are two entrances; one is on the west side of
the wing; the other, in the southern half of the main
eastern gable-end, has square jambs and a square
lintelled head. The door is of heavy studded oak set
within an oak frame and threshold, and is probably of
the 16th century; it is held by two wrought-iron
strap-hinges. This doorway and the adjacent window
in the end of the main block have label-moulds; the
two windows of the north wing have never had labelmoulds: all three windows have lost their mullions.
Those in the wing have a single chamfered order, and
that alongside the doorway has two such orders. At
first-floor level, at even intervals across the width of
the main block, are four stone corbel heads, early-17th-century in character and probably incorporated from
another building in the 18th-century renovation.
Lighting the two floors above are two 18th-century
casements set in brickwork, and over each ground-floor
window in the north wing is another casement. Only
the main block stands upon a plinth.
In the south wall there are four windows—with
three at ground-floor level; that to the east is four-light,
the others two-light, and all have mullions and labelmoulds. The westernmost window is blocked with
brickwork and occurs so close to the west corner that
the 15th-century walls evidently continued beyond the
present 18th-century gable-end. A heavy oak wallplate, 7 in. deep, is exposed at the eaves, and three
anchorages can be seen, consisting of ancient wroughtiron dogs and straps, where roof trusses occur. (fn. 5) The
chamfered plinth continues along the south wall but
returns downward near the western corner, and a plain
stone plinth, one course higher than the other, runs
along the foot of the west gable brick wall, in which
the windows are of the 18th century.
The west side of the north wing is of massive ancient
stonework, except for 18 in. where it joins the main
block; this is of brick, with a straight joint between the
stone and the brickwork. Close to this angle is the
entrance referred to above; the heavy oak frame and
the door, of which the outer face is of very heavy oak
boards spiked onto vertical and horizontal oak bars,
appear to be of the 15th century.
The timber-framed gable of the north extension is
filled with brick nogging and the walls below are of
brick and stone bonded together.
The whole of the interior was replanned in the 18th
century and the plain staircases are probably of this
date, but the original 15th-century roof trusses have
been left in position and are well preserved. The main
tie-beams occur at second-floor level and upper collarbeams at the level of the second-floor ceiling, which
conceals the upper framework. The exposed beams
are chamfered, and ancient wrought-iron straps
strengthen the joints.
The eastern entrance door gives access to a kitchen,
with a large ingle-nook and heavy oak beams supporting
the wall over this opening and carrying the floor joists;
these are treated with stopped chamfers. The room in
the north wing has 16th-century doors, lightly framed
in oak with linen-fold panels.
On the first floor the only room of interest is that
arranged in the east gable, spanning its full width. Its
walls are panelled in moulded oak, the panels being
small and plain, of the early 17th century. The east
and south walls have panelled dadoes only, but the
north wall is panelled to its full height and has a contemporary fire-place and surround, the overmantel
being treated with three main Doric fluted pilasters,
having finely moulded caps and bases; between them
are smaller pilasters which may once have supported
enriched semicircular-headed panels.
Black Horse Road crosses the Coventry-Bedworth
main road and then runs south-west, passing the Moat
House, which is modern and surrounded by woodland,
on the west side. Farther along, on the same side, is
Manor House Farm. It is mainly of 18th-century brick
and tile construction, but the rear facade (west side)
belongs to the 17th century. It is divided into two bays
by means of three fluted Doric pilasters, which stand on
pedestals each supporting a triglyph, but the cornice
over has been removed. These features are of brown
sandstone, and except for a stone plinth and stringcourse the remainder is of brick with sash windows of
a later date. The whole appears to constitute a central
entrance bay and a south wing, slightly recessed, the
balancing wing to the north having been demolished.
The original centre door architrave remains, with two
flanking Doric columns supporting blocks of entablature and a segmented pediment.
A quarter of a mile to the north of Moat House a
by-road runs west past a field on the north side which
contains a conspicuously large ash tree raised on a
slight mound and protected by iron railings. A track
across the same field leads to High Ash Farm, the north
wing of which is timber-framed and of the 16th century. Just to the east of the farm are the remains of a
circular brick windmill of 18th-century type.
Farther west the road slopes down to join another
from the parish church, at Exhall Hall, now divided
into three tenements. The plan of the house is Lshaped, with a large projecting gable-end on the south
end of the west side, about 25 ft. wide. It is two
stories in height, with attics in the tiled roof. From the
west a short track crosses a moat surrounding the house
by a bridge with modern stone parapets and an arch of
18th-century brickwork. Here the moat is 25 ft. wide
and runs parallel with the house, 10 ft. clear of the
gable-end. The latter has been stuccoed and the openings are modern, but the timber-framed construction is
evident on account of the gable projecting 2 ft. 6 in.
Two heavy oak corner-posts are exposed with their
feet at first-floor level, rising about 13 ft. to the eaves;
octagonal shafting is worked on their face up to twothirds of their height, where a moulded oak capital
carries chamfered brackets which support the ends of an
overhanging beam. This, though decayed, still carries
moulded top and bottom edges, the former cambered.
The soffit is coved in plaster, and this curves down to
meet two more exposed beams embedded along the
top of the lower wall-surface; they are each about 5 ft.
in length and there is a gap in the centre, and each is
treated with embattled cresting.
The main block is raised upon a plain stone plinth
and the wall above is of 18th-century brickwork, with
two dormer windows in the roof. The moat is rectangular and passes fairly close (fn. 6) by the south side, where
the eaves-line runs back from the base of the timberframed gable. This façade is entirely modernized, but
there are three more vertical oak posts (all plain)
exposed above first-floor level, the length being divided
into three bays. The east and north sides have been
The interior of the house at the time of its conversion
into tenements contained moulded oak beams and
open fireplaces, (fn. 7) but these features are no longer visible.
Some ancient panelling then found lining the rafters
over the timber-framed roof has been removed to The
Grove. Some of these panels show slight traces of
human figures of medieval character and may have
formed part of a church screen. Others are 16th-century linen-fold panels, of which the longest bears
also a shield charged with a merchant's mark and the
initials 1 n, probably for Julian Nethermyll, merchant
of Coventry, who bought the manor in 1535 (see
below), or perhaps his son John.
There are many yew trees on the banks of the moat
to the north and east. To the south-west lies the farmyard, one side of which is occupied by a long 16th-century timber-framed barn.
The road running south through Ash Green passes
on to Neal's Green, where tracks lead west to Exhall
House and east to Exhall Grange; the former is an
18th-century residence and the latter is chiefly of the
same century and mainly of brick, but part of its length
is plastered over and is probably constructed in 16th-century timber.
EXHALL is not individually mentioned
in Domesday; it probably formed part of
the lands of the Countess Godiva, being
included in the 9 hides of Ansty and Foleshill, (fn. 8) as, like
most of her estates, Exhall passed to the Earls of Chester,
and in the reign of Stephen Ranulf, Earl of Chester,
granted a portion of wood and waste in Exhall and
Keresley estimated at 280 acres to Coventry priory. (fn. 9)
On the death in 1232 of the grandson of the above,
another Ranulf, his estates were divided amongst his
four sisters, (fn. 10) Exhall coming to Mabel, wife of William,
Earl of Arundel, whose son Hugh d'Aubigny held half
a knight's fee in chief in Exhall in 1235–6. (fn. 11) In 1243
this half fee, then held by Maurice le Butiller, was
assigned to Isabel, Hugh's widow, in dower. (fn. 12) She
survived till 1282, and in 1275 Exhall is again recorded
as part of the honor of Chester, being at that date
among the knights' fees held of the manor of Coventry
of the honor by Robert de Monhaut (Monte Alto)
sometime steward of Chester. (fn. 13) In 1303 another
Robert de Monhaut was in trouble for breaking into
the several closes of the Prior of Coventry at Exhall and
Newland with a multitude of armed men, carrying
away deer and assaulting his servants. (fn. 14) Robert de
Morlee, his kinsman and heir, made an indenture with
Isabelle, queen of Edward II, which was confirmed in
1335 after he had come into his estates, (fn. 15) whereby he
exchanged, for the manor of Framsden (Suffolk),
various rents and services including those due from
James Daudeleye in Exhall. (fn. 16) The holding of the
latter, including a portion in Foleshill, was reckoned as
half a knight's fee in 1275. (fn. 17) The earldom of Chester
had been annexed to the Crown in 1265 and became
the appanage of the heir apparent. The manor thus
was held of the Crown in 1416, (fn. 18) there being at that
time no heir apparent, but in 1542 it was stated to be
held of Prince Edward as of his manor of Cheylesmore,
parcel of the Duchy of Cornwall. (fn. 19) In 1549 Edward VI
granted Cheylesmore to the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 20) who
immediately leased it to the corporation of Coventry.
They were confirmed in possession in 1568, (fn. 21) and were
thus the chief lords of Exhall the last time an overlord
is mentioned (1575). (fn. 22)
The tenants of Exhall manor from 1243 (fn. 23) were the
Butler or Boteler family of Warrington (Lancs.), their
holding in Exhall being reckoned as half a knight's fee
then and in 1275. (fn. 24) William le Boteler was granted free
warren in his demesne lands in Exhall and elsewhere in
1285. (fn. 25) In the same year he was involved with William
Charnels of Bedworth in a dispute over common pasture in their respective manors, and quitclaimed all
right of pasture in Bedworth in return for a similar
undertaking by Charnels regarding Exhall, together
with a grant of 2 acres in Exhall given to Charnels by
Roger de Craft. (fn. 26) In 1314 the manor was leased by
William le Boteler and Sybil his wife to Ralph de la
Chaumbre, (fn. 27) and in 1340 was settled on Richard,
William's grandson, (fn. 28) and his wife Joan, in tail, with
contingent remainders to John his brother (and eventual heir) in tail, and the right heirs of William their
father. (fn. 29) The Botelers continued in possession for
nearly 200 years more, (fn. 30) the manor being finally disposed of in 1535 by Sir Thomas Butler and Baldwin
Porter to Julian Nethermyll, draper and alderman of
Coventry, Christopher Wareyn, and Richard Humphrey. (fn. 31) Julian died seised of Exhall manor, with lands
in Exhall, Foleshill, and Keresley, in 1539, when his
son John was 24. (fn. 32) The latter also became an alderman of Coventry (fn. 33) and was succeeded by his son,
another John, who, in 1605, leased the manor to Richard
Chamberlayne and Henry Crofts. (fn. 34) A third John
Nethermyll, great-grandson of Julian, sold it to Sir
John Garrard, alderman of London, (fn. 35) some time
before 1621, when the son of the latter, on whom he
had settled the manor, (fn. 36) leased it to Joseph Galliard
and Thomas Meek. (fn. 37) The younger John Garrard,
who became a baronet in 1622, (fn. 38) settled the manor on
his wife and eldest son, and died in 1637. (fn. 39) Soon after
this the Garrards, whose main seat was in Wheathampstead (Herts.), must have parted with Exhall, which in
1650 was conveyed by George Dyer, junior, and
Edith his wife to William Dyer. (fn. 40) Later it passed to
Sir Arthur Cayley, (fn. 41) who was patron of the living
between 1662 and 1686. (fn. 42) He is styled 'of Newland
in the County of the City of Coventry', (fn. 43) so that at
this period the former monastic lands in Exhall, which
had had an independent manorial existence under the
name of Newland since the 14th century, may have
become reunited to Exhall proper. Cayley's daughter
and heiress Mary married Sir Samuel Marow, bart. of
Berkswell, who was lord for a short time before his
death in or before 1699. (fn. 44) He or his widow sold the
manor 'about thirty years ago' (i.e. circa 1700) to William Cheslin, whose son George was lord in 1730. (fn. 45)
In 1755 there was a conveyance of Exhall manor
between Thomas and Martha Rollinson and John
Williamson, (fn. 46) and in 1769 Charles Vere of London
was lord. (fn. 47) He and Martha Vere conveyed it in 1789
to Henry Boulton and others. (fn. 48) Latterly the manor
has been in the hands of the Startin family, George
Startin being lord in 1850 (fn. 49) and Mr. H. W. Startin in
1936 and later. (fn. 50)
Butler. Azure a bend between six covered cups or.
Nethermill. Argent a cheveron between three crescents azure.
The lands of Coventry cathedral priory in Exhall,
consisting originally of the 280 acres of waste, lying
between the Breach Brook and the road from Coventry
to Astley, granted by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in the
12th century, in lieu of the right to take wood daily in
his woodlands, which he had previously granted them, (fn. 51)
were considerably enlarged at various times. Licences
to alienate Exhall property in mortmain to this monastery were granted in 1349 (fn. 52) and 1369. (fn. 53) In 1332 the
prior had received licence to impark 246 acres of waste
and wood in the manor of NEWLAND, (fn. 54) and in 1535
the total value of the Coventry monastic estates in
Exhall was £8 9s. 9d. (fn. 55) After the Dissolution they
were granted out in the first instance in small lots.
Richard Andrewys and Leonard Chamberleyne of
Woodstock (Oxon.) were granted a wood called Calverley, in the tenancy of Henry Waver, in 1542, (fn. 56) and
William Pulteney of Exhall received a 21-year lease
of lands in 1544. (fn. 57) In 1542 Michael Cameswell obtained a confirmation of the lease of chambers, &c., in
Newland mansion granted to him by Thomas Cameswell the last prior in 1538. (fn. 58) The freehold of this house
was granted in 1544 to John Wade and Thomas
Gregorye. (fn. 59) In 1553 the manor of Exhall lately held
by Coventry priory and all possessions of that priory in
Exhall except the rectory and advowson were granted
to Thomas Browne and William Breton of London, (fn. 60)
who in the same year received licence to alienate them
to Michael Cameswell, Elizabeth his wife, and their
heirs. (fn. 61) Cameswell, with Peter Temple of Burton
Dassett, was confirmed in possession in 1557, (fn. 62) when
the annual value was £13. Two years later Cameswell
had licence to alienate his manors of Newland and
Exhall, with all the lands appertaining, to Stephen
Hales. (fn. 63) His grandson, another Stephen, who died in
1624, (fn. 64) was involved with Humphrey Fenn, one of
his tenants, in lawsuits over property. (fn. 65) His son Charles
was vouchee in a recovery of the manor in 1627, (fn. 66) and
Charles's son Stephen was lord in Dugdale's time
(1640). (fn. 67) In the latter half of the 17th century this
manor or manors (Newland and Exhall being mentioned separately from 1559 onwards) became reunited
with the non-monastic manor of Exhall (q.v.) in the
hands of Sir Arthur Cayley, who had married the widow
of Charles Hales; (fn. 68) but in 1695 Francis Fisher, younger
son of Thomas Fisher who was the second husband of
Mary (daughter and heir of Sir Arthur Cayley), widow
of Sir Samuel Marow, was concerned in a recovery of
Newland manor without mention of that of Exhall; (fn. 69)
and John Knightley or Wightwick, who had married
the elder daughter of Sir Samuel, similarly in 1709. (fn. 70)
In 1730 Elizabeth, Sir Samuel's second daughter, was
lady of the manor of Newland, (fn. 71) Exhall being by this
time in other hands. The manor of Exhall of which
John Wightwick was lord in 1789 (fn. 72) was probably this
one, Exhall proper having been conveyed by other parties in the same year. Newland was considered as a
separate manor as late as 1850, when Benjamin Parker
was lord. (fn. 73)
The Carthusians of Coventry held land in Exhall.
In 1544 their property, including a grove called Robyns
Grove in the tenancy of Julian Nethermyll (lord of
Exhall manor), was granted to John Burges and
Edward Wotton, doctors in medicine, of London. (fn. 74)
In 1546 it was regranted to Edward Watson of Rockingham and Henry Herdson, skinner, of London. (fn. 75)
The church of ST. GILES is situated
in the centre of the parish where the road
from Bedworth Heath forks to Ash Green
on the west and Neals Green to the south, and is
skirted on the south-west side by Breach Brook. It
consists of a square-ended chancel with vestry attached
on the north side, nave, north and south aisles, and
western tower; there is a small south porch. The nave
contains three bays, and two timber roof trusses divide
the chancel into three bays.
The nave and chancel appear to originate from the
13th century, (fn. 76) although the nave has been rebuilt in
modern times, when extensive restorations were carried
out to the chancel also. The tower appears to have
been added in the 14th century, and subsequent additions have been recorded on a tablet under the window
of the west wall of the north aisle which states that the
north aisle was added in 1609 'as the burial place of
the Hales family', the south aisle in 1842, and the
vestry, with an extension of the north aisle, in 1885.
The chancel is mainly of the 14th century (early?),
and the exterior face of the north wall is covered by the
vestry, except for a narrow unpierced bay to the east,
which is bounded by a buttress on the west side against
which the vestry gable is built. All the plain wallsurfaces are plastered, leaving only the red sandstone of
the buttresses, surrounds to the openings, parapets, &c.
The eastern gable has two diagonal buttresses at the
angles, each with two offsets, above which project
carved heads supporting the kneelers, which are each
weathered and faced with trefoiled gablets having
moulded ridges; a modern cross stands upon the apex
stone. The east window is original and consists of a
two-centred lancet-shaped head with a hood-mould
terminating in heads inclined inwards. It is divided
into three lights and the tracery, concentric with the
head, has no cusping. The jambs are of two chamfered
orders, which return along the sill. The south wall has
one intermediate buttress of two offsets. Immediately
to the west of the buttress is a small doorway of a single
chamfered order and with a two-centred head and
hood-mould with head-stops. It contains an 18th-century door with contemporary wrought-iron latch.
West of it is a small window with a lancet-shaped head
and chamfered jambs, 3 ft. high and 11 in. wide. To
the east of the buttress is one window of two chamfered
orders containing a single light; the two-centred head
with the hood-mould has been recently renewed. All
the original work appears contemporary with the east
gable except for the small lancet, which must have
remained in a portion of early-13th-century walling.
The arcades to north and south of the nave are
similar; each is modern and consists of three bays, the
piers being octagonal with moulded caps supporting
four-centred arches of two chamfered orders, the centre
spans being slightly wider than the others. The responds are in the form of half-piers, except that against
the south wall of the tower, which has been reduced
to accommodate a moulded corbel 12 in. below the
abacus for the support of a gallery constructed late in
the last century and since removed. The chancel arch
also is modern; it is two-centred and of two moulded
orders, with a hood-mould stopped on carved heads.
The tower arch is of the 14th century and spans the
whole of the interior width of the tower, the jambs
being square with chamfered angles towards the nave,
the two centres of the arch are below the level of the
springing, and there are two chamfered orders.
The two distinct periods when the north aisle was
built and then extended are evident from the exterior.
The tiled roof, with centre ridge, terminates in a west
gable of red sandstone with sloping parapet walls and
containing a three-light window similar in type to the
lower west window of the tower, but the whole is
modern with the exception of an inset shield of grey
sandstone, protected by a modern drip-mould. It
presumably dates from 1609, as it bears the arms of
Hales—three arrows, with a molet for difference.
There is a diagonal buttress on the north-west angle,
and the north wall is pierced by two windows, forming
two bays, the bay to the west being narrower than that
to the east. The division is marked by a buttress with
two weathered offsets; it is similar to the angle buttress
and they are modern, together with the whole of the
bay between them. Both windows have three trefoiled
lights, with four-centred heads, but that to the east is
of 17th-century workmanship with its arched head
more depressed, the trefoiled heads contain narrower
top lobes, the fillet to the tracery is set out with great
freedom of line and not geometrically, and the hoodmould is cut off abruptly at each extremity.
Although both bays are of red sandstone and carry
a similar ovolo moulding to support the open eaves,
that to the east consists of more irregular masonry.
Furthermore the eastern bay carries between the eaves
and the apex of the window hood a stone inscribed
'an[n]o do[mi]ni 1609'. In the corresponding position in the
western bay is a stone inscribed 'a.d. 1885'.
There is a similar diagonal buttress on the north-east
angle of the aisle, and further to the east the line of the
aisle is continued by a modern vestry of lesser proportions. This is entered from the aisle by a modern
doorway, of which the head is formed by that of the
original 17th-century window. Another modern doorway gives access to the chancel. The vestry is of red
sandstone; it has a doorway with a two-centred head on
the north side. The north-east angle is marked by a diagonal buttress and a stone chimney-stack from a heating
chamber beneath. Below the two-light east window
is a large stone inscribed 'Erected a.d. 1885, W. Scott,
Vicar ...', &c. The vestry roof, of tile, is lower than
that of the aisle, consequently the gable of the latter rises
above it, and displays the Hales shield, as at the west.
The south aisle is modern and is built of rough grey
sandstone with a chamfered plinth, buttresses, corbeltable, and surrounds of openings, in red sandstone. It
consists of three bays divided by shallow buttresses, set
diagonally on the angles. It is roofed with tiles like the
nave, with open eaves and plain parapet walls at the
gables. The centre bay is occupied by a small modern
porch of similar treatment with small single-light windows in each side wall. A two-light window occupies
each of the flanking bays, and there is a three-light window
in each of the gable walls to west and east. All the
windows have two-centred heads and trefoiled lights.
All the floors of the interior are entirely modern.
The tower is constructed in two stages with diagonal
buttresses, each having four weathered offsets. The
plinth consists of two weathered and moulded offsets
(much defaced). The whole is about 55 ft. in height
and is built of a cream and grey coloured sandstone
which has weathered black in patches. The lower stage
contains one glazed opening which is on the western
face; it has two chamfered mullions recessed between
hollowed jambs. The head is four-centred, and each
of the three lights is trefoiled; (fn. 77) the hood-mould has
simple return-ends. The staircase to the belfry is
contained within the south-west angle, and up to the
top of the lower stage it is lit by two open chamfered
slit lights which pierce the western face. Three other
chamfered rectangular lights open to the chamber
beneath the belfry, one on each face.
A weathered string-course divides the two stages
and stops against the buttresses at their third offset.
Between this string on the west face and the head of
the window below a carved square block of stone is
bonded. It contains a shield, bearing what seems to be
a monogram, set within a quatrefoil.
The eastern buttresses of the tower thicken out at
their bases to form wide chamfered piers, (fn. 78) around
which the plinth is returned.
There are four belfry windows—one to each face;
they each have two lights and a two-centred head
approximating to a semicircle, the lights are trefoiled,
and the jamb and head consist of two chamfered orders.
The hood-mould has a chamfered underside which
returns at the ends to form its own chamfered weathering. The upper offsets to the buttresses line through
with the springing level of the belfry windows, and
slight diagonal projections build up from them, intersect with the upper string-course, and support small
plain pinnacles at the angles, now much decayed. The
tower roof is modern and of slate. Rising from the
apex is a gilded wrought iron weather vane.
The doorway to the tower stair in the south wall has
a two-centred stone head set on chamfered jambs. There
is an outer and an inner door, the latter being ancient.
The interior walls of the tower consist of the bare
stonework; other walls are mainly plastered. On the
wall of the north aisle there are four moulded corbels
at a height of 7 ft.; two similar ones are set high at
the springing level of the windows; the former evidently supported the gallery referred to above, and the
latter may have supported an exposed roof truss, now
removed. Two arched recesses, one in the west wall
of each aisle, situated against the line of the nave
arcades, mark the positions of staircases to the galleries.
Similar corbels are ranged along the wall of the south
aisle for the support of a gallery.
All the glazing is modern, and many of the windows,
including those in the chancel, have stained glass. The
east window of the south aisle is filled with plain glass,
probably because it is partially obscured by the small
modern organ; ranged alongside this is an oak panel
forming the First World War memorial.
All the roof construction is modern. The nave is
spanned by two roof trusses of the king-post type, but
the spaces between the members are divided by chamfered vertical rails. Modern moulded corbels carry each
truss by means of a wall-post and bracket. There is an
octagonal plaster ceiling springing from a thin plaster
moulding above the arcades. Both aisles have octagonal
plastered ceilings, that above the north aisle has neither
exposed trusses nor cornices, but the tie-beams of four
trusses are exposed in the south aisle. There are two
exposed roof trusses over the chancel, both supported
on brackets; they are of the arched-brace type; between them the rafters are exposed, sloping down to an
oak moulded cornice. The vestry has a plain octagonal
A modern font is placed beneath the tower arch.
The oak choir stalls and altar rail, and the gilded oak
reredos are all part of the complete modern restoration
of the chancel. In the centre of the vestry floor stands
an ancient heavy oak table. The top has apparently
been made up, but it is fixed to a 16th-century frame.
The top horizontal bearers are finely moulded along
the base of the vertical face, there are bottom rails
similarly moulded, and the four legs are 4 in. square
and turned between bearer and bottom rail into baluster
shapes without carved enrichment.
A monument of some importance is erected against
the centre of the north wall, overlooking the north
aisle. It consists of upper and lower panels of black
marble, surrounded by a frame in marble of varied
lighter colours. It commemorates John Phillips, died
1716, and Mary his wife, died 1762. It is framed by
two Corinthian pilasters borne on moulded corbels.
Above the moulded cornice there is a plain upper
panel surmounted by a broken curved pediment, which
leads up to a coat of arms set independently in the wall.
The shield bears a lion rampant and above it is a helmet—all of marble.
There is a smaller wall monument reset within the
recess at the west end of the south aisle, to James
Pickard, died 1757, and Ann his wife, daughter of
John Phillips, died 1762.
On the south wall of the tower is a brass tablet which
states that 'The three bells and belfrey were restored
and rededicated to the Glory of God St. Thomas' Day
A.D. 1900'. There are now six bells, all of which were
recast round about 1920.
The registers begin in 1540.
Exhall was originally a chapelry of
St. Michael, Coventry, being granted
therewith to the cathedral priory, (fn. 79)
and appropriated thereto by Bishop Molend in 1260. (fn. 80)
The curate serving the chapel was removable at the
will of the prior, and received £5 of the small tithes as
his stipend in 1535. (fn. 81) The church does not seem to
have become parochial till after the Restoration; from
1662 to 1747 the advowson was held by the Cayley
family or their descendants the Marows. (fn. 82) Annabella
MacCullock presented in 1771, and in 1804 and 1805
John Wightwick Knightley, (fn. 83) a descendant of the
Marows. His daughter Jane married Lord Guernsey, later Earl of Aylesford, with which family the
advowson remained until about 1925, when it was
acquired by the Bishop of Coventry, the present patron.
George Bruton by will dated 13
May 1926 bequeathed £50 together
with the proceeds of sale of his household furniture and other articles to the vicar and
churchwardens of Exhall, the interest to be applied for
the benefit of the poor of Exhall and in aid of the
general church expenses of the parish. The annual
income of the charity amounts to £2 9s.
Dinah Duck by will dated 1 January 1932 bequeathed to the churchwardens of Exhall £100, the
income to be used for the upkeep of the churchyard.
The testatrix also bequeathed the residue of her estate,
the income to be expended upon the upkeep of the
fabric of the church. The income of the charities
amount to £3 11s. 2d. and £89 11s. 4d. respectively.
Emily Neale by will dated 16 July 1934 bequeathed
to the vicar and churchwardens of Exhall £100, the
income to augment the funds for the annual outing of
the choir boys of the church. The income of the
charity amounts to £3 7s. 2d.
Miss H. A. Sanders, by will dated 7 January 1936
bequeathed £100, the income, now £3 6s. 10d., to be
applied towards the upkeep of the fabric of the church.
William Wilkinson Smart by will dated 2 November
1937 bequeathed £200, the income, now £6 13s. 2d.,
to be applied in keeping the graveyard of the parish
church in good order.
Charlotte Mary Freeman by will dated 25 May
1914 bequeathed £100, the income to be expended
upon the maintenance of the churchyard. The testatrix also bequeathed one third part of the residue of her
estate, the income to be applied in the maintenance of
the fabric of the church or the permanent fittings
thereof. The annual income of the charities amount
to £2 18s. 4d. and £7 18s. 10d. respectively.
Job Potter by will dated 10 October 1686 charged
certain property in Berkswell with the annual payment
of the sum of 10s. to the churchwardens of Exhall to
be distributed by them amongst poor parishioners on
St. Thomas's day. The rentcharge was redeemed in
1947 in consideration of a sum of Consols, producing
an annual income of 10s.
William Bentley's Charity for Poor. By a scheme
of the Charity Commissioners dated 19 April 1882
made in the matter of 'William Bentley's Educational
and Bread Charities', founded by the will of William
Bentley dated 13 July 1808, and 'The Poor's Charity'
it was provided that the sum of £3 2s. 6d., part of the
net yearly income of the charities, shall be annually
expended by the trustees in the purchase of bread or
other food which shall be annually distributed amongst
deserving and necessitous persons resident in this parish.
By an Order of the said Commissioners dated 13 May
1904 it was determined that the whole of the endowment of the charities is held for, or ought to be applied
to, educational purposes, with the exception of the
said yearly sum of £3 2s. 6d. The Order further
provided that the educational endowment and the noneducational endowment respectively shall henceforth
constitute a separate Foundation and a separate Charity
called respectively the Exhall Educational Foundation
and William Bentley's Charity for Poor.