Staffordshire Historical Collections, Vol. 4. Originally published by Staffordshire Record Society, London, 1883.
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Church Eaton Church.
The Church of Eyton is an ancient foundation which existed in Saxon times. It was given to the Nuns of Pollesworth, in Warwickshire, towards the close of the eleventh century, or very early in the twelfth century, by Edelina, the Lady of Eyton, and confirmed, as I suppose, by her relative and chief lord, Robert de Stafford. (fn. 1) As the right of Godwin, the Priest of the said Church, was specifically reserved to him, I presume that the Abbess and Convent did not enter into possession of the fruits of the benefice until after his decease. From after that time it appears that they received twothirds of the income. The Vicar who served the Church retained the other third, out of which he had to pay them a further sum of 3 marks annually for the demesne of the Church. (fn. 2)
It has been stated in speaking of the manor that in 1198 a suit was commenced in the King's Court at Westminster, between the Abbess of Pollesworth and Eva de Longford, the granddaughter of Edelina, concerning the advowson of the Church of Eyton, which was decided in favour of the Abbess in 1203. I presume, therefore, that the above-mentioned arrangement continued in force till about the year 1260, when the decision was challenged by Adam de Brumpton, the grandson of Eva, who claimed against the Abbess the right to present to the Church, then vacant by the death of William de Eyton, the late Vicar.
This dispute was determined by Roger Meuland, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, with the consent of his chapter. By his award, which is dated on 1st April, 1260, it was settled that the Lord of Eyton and his heirs should nominate a fit Clerk to the Abbess and her Convent, who should present the same Clerk, and no other, to the Bishop for admission and institution. The said Clerk, before his institution, was to swear that he would pay to the said Abbess and her Convent an annual pension of 20 marks from the fruits of the benefice in lieu of their claim to two-thirds of the income. (fn. 2) This arrangement seems to have been accepted and acted upon for more than two centuries afterwards; but there is no institution of a Clerk recorded in the Diocesan Register till the year 1305. The Church, which was situate in the Deanery of Lapley-cum-Tresel, was valued for Pope Nicholas's Taxation, in 1291, at 30 marks, i.e., £20.
The Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1534–35 gives Thomas Sall, Clerk, as Parson there.
From which are to be deducted the following payments, viz.:—
Incumbents of Church Eaton.
XIII. kal., April. (i.e., 20th March), 1305, Hugh de Hotoft was admitted to the Church of Eyton, to which he was presented by the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth, on the nomination of Sir Adam de Brympton, Knight, and promised to pay to the said ladies a pension of 20 marks, which was due to them by ancient custom. (fn. 3)
VII. kal., Februarii, 1310 (i.e., 26th January, 1311), Thomas, son of Sir Adam de Brympton, Knight, Acolyte, was admitted to the Church of Eyton, void by the resignation of Sir Hugh de Hoctot, to which he was presented by the Abbess and Convent, and swore to pay their annual pension of 20 marks. (fn. 4)
VIII. id., Januarii, 1320 (i.e., 6th January, 1321), William de Ipstones was admitted to the Church of Eyton-juxta-Gnousale, to which he was presented by the Abbess and her Convent on the nomination of the heir of Sir Adam Brumpton, reserving to the Nuns the annual pension which had been secured to them by the ordination of the late Bishop, Roger (Meuland); the said Church being void by the resignation of Thomas Brumpton, the late Rector, who had resigned iij. id., Decemb. (11th December), 1319. (fn. 5)
Soon after this a great controversy arose between William de Ipstones and Thomas de Brumpton concerning the possession of the Church, in which nearly all the leading families in that part of the county took part on one side or the other. In 19 Edward II. (1325–6), a special commission was sent into Staffordshire, "ad inquirendum de congregationibus illicitis, homicidiis, depredationibus, combustionibus, &c., in comitatu Stafford;" and among the pleas heard before the King at Tamworth (fn. 6) in that year, with respect to felonies committed, the jury of Cuttlestone and Pirehill presented that in 17 Edward II., about Holy Trinity (1324), a quarrel arose between Thomas de Brumpton and William de Ipstones respecting the Church of Church Eyton, to which Thomas had been instituted, who had held it until William de Ipstones, John his brother, (fn. 7) Henry de Cresswall, (fn. 8) Philip de Ipstones, (fn. 9) Philip, son of Vivian de Chetewynd, William de Chetelton, John de Picheford, (fn. 10) and others, had ejected him by force; and they had besieged the manor of Mary de Brumpton, (fn. 11) at Eyton, with swords and bows and arrows, to the great terror of the people, and held the Church until the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24th June, 1324), when Thomas de Brumpton, John, son of William de Stafford, junior, (fn. 12) Walter and William, his brothers, Roger, (fn. 13) son of Roger de Trumwyn, Roger de Chetewynd, John de Bowlewas, Henry de Sogenhill, and Richard de Aston, near Stone, Robert de Greseleye and Roger his brother, and John, son of John de Perton, by the maintenance and advice of Sir William de Stafford, Knight, and Sir Roger Trumwyne, Knight, came armed with horse and foot and ejected William de Ipstones by force. And on Thursday before the Feast of St. Chad, 17 Edward II. (January or March, 1325), after the return of John de Ipstanes from Gascony, on the day that the full county was held at Stafford, there came the said Sir John de Ipstanes, Knight, Sir Thomas Withers, Knight, Sir Nicholas de Longeford, Knight, Sir Edmund de Appelby, Knight, William de Chetelton, Henry de Creswall, and Thomas his son, Richard de Hastang, and Humfrey his brother, Geoffrey Biroun, John, son of Vivian de Chetewynde, Richard Shirard, and William his son, and William de Chetelton, of Draycote, armed, to the great terror of the King's subjects, and against the King's peace.
The jury of Lichfield said that John de Bowlewas and others unknown had killed John de Couleye, of the retinue of William de Ipstanes; and John, brother of James de Stafford, and William his brother, had wounded John de Picheford, who was with William de Ipstanes, so that he died at Stafford six days afterwards.
The Stafford jury said that William de Ipstanes, Clerk, John de Ipstanes, Edmund de Appelby, Nicholas de Longeford, Thomas de Barynton, Thomas Wither, Hugh de Meignil, junior, William de Chetelton, Henry Creswall, Geoffrey Biroun, Thomas de Grenewey, Philip, son of Vivian de Chetewynde, Ralph de Stafford, William de Hastang, Humfrey de Hastang, Philip de Barynton, Knight, William Shirard and Richard his brother, Philip de Ipstanes, Theobald de Barynton, Thomas de Creswall, John de Staundon, Robert de Pipe, of Rydware, Richard Hastang, William le Champion, John, son of Thomas de Stafford, John de Salt, and others, came into Stafford armed day and night to the terror of the people, and that Thomas de Pipe and Margaret his wife are of the maintenance of William de Ipstanes. They also said that Thomas de Brumpton, John de Stafford, Walter and William his brothers, James Trumwyne and Roger his brother, Roger de Chetewynd, David de Pyvelesdon, Roger de Greseley, Robert Beaumeis, Richard de Venables, Richard de Aston, Thomas de Aston, John de Verdoun, Hugh, son of Hugh de Wasteneys, and Pagan de Wasteneys, held the Church of Eyton by force, by the maintenance of Sir William de Stafford, Knight, and Isabel, Lady of Ingestre, and that Henry de Creswall is a common malefactor, and had wounded Walter de Pykstok and William de Aston at Stafford in 17 Edward II.
The Sheriff is ordered to arrest Richard, son of Vivian de Chetwynd, Robert de Greseley, John, son of John de Perton, Roger Trumwyne, Knight, William de Chetelton, of Draycote, and Philip his brother, William Wither, William de Lutteley, Ralph de Stafford and Richard his brother, Edmund de Apelby, Knight, Adam de Gaweley, Richard de Longeford, Knight, Thomas de Barynton, Knight, Thomas Wither, Knight, Hugh, son of Hugh de Meignil, Knight, William de Hastang, Philip de Barynton, Knight, William Shirard and Richard his brother, Philip de Ipstanes, Thomas de Creswall, John de Standon, Richard Hastang, William le Champion, John de Salt, Walter de Stafford and William his brother, David de Pyvelesdon, Roger de Greseley, Robert de Beaumeis, Richard de Venables, Richard de Aston, Robert de Aston, Hugh, son of Hugh de Wasteneys, Pagan de Wasteneys, and Isabel, Lady of Ingestre. Some of these are bailed, and some are not to be found. The Sheriff is ordered to distrain upon the latter.
Isabel, Lady of Ingestre, on being questioned by the Justices, did not deny that she had maintained an armed body of men in support of her kinsman Thomas de Brumpton, but not to the terror of the people, or in contempt of the King.
William de Stafford and James de Stafford surrendered, and did not deny that they were of the maintenance of Thomas de Brumpton, their kinsman, but denied that they armed to the terror of the people or to the King's detriment. Philip, son of Vivian de Chetewynd, on being questioned by the Judge, did not deny that he armed on the side of William de Ipstanes, but not to the terror of the people, &c.
Thomas Wither stated that William de Ipstanes was his kinsman, and after John de Ipstanes, brother of the said William de Ipstanes, returned into England from Gascony, he armed in concert with the said John to maintain the part of William.
Hugh, son of Hugh de Meignil, did not deny that after his return from Gascony he rode armed in company with Thomas Wyther and others.
Philip de Ipstanes admitted that he armed in support of his kinsman.
Richard de Venables admitted that he rode armed in support of Thomas de Brumpton.
Ralph de Lutteley denied that he had armed, but said that he had assisted John de Ipstanes with his advice.
Roger de Trumwyne, Knight, admitted that he had assisted Thomas de Brumpton and William de Stafford in the matter of the Church of Eyton.
Philip de Barynton said that he had not borne arms for six years past, but he had assisted John (Thos. ?) de Brumpton with his advice.
John de Verdon denied he had anything to do with the matter, and was acquitted by the jury. (fn. 14)
I suppose that this notorious breach of the peace had brought down ecclesiastical censures upon the contending Clerks, for in or about the year 1328, it is recorded in the Diocesan Register (that of Bishop Norbury's time) that notice had been sent to the Crown of the Rector of Eyton's absolution. But who that Rector was I cannot say, for we are not informed of the issue of the quarrel. We have seen that Ipstones was duly admitted on the presentation of the Abbess, at the nomination of the heir of Sir Adam de Brumpton, after the resignation of him whom I suppose to be the same Thomas de Brumpton. I suppose this heir of Sir Adam de Brumpton to have been his son, Sir John de Brumpton, Knight, who was then of full age. But it is probable that Mary, the widow of Sir Adam, who held the manor of Eyton for her life, had claimed the right to nominate, as Lady of Eyton, and forbade the former Rector, whom I take to have been her own son, to give up possession until her right had been allowed. I suspect that she succeeded in establishing her right, and in that case Thomas de Brumpton, or the Rector whom she nominated, will have died or resigned before April, 1335; for on 3rd April of that year the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth petitioned the Bishop to admit to the vacant Church Robert Trumwyn, Clerk, whom they presented for institution, begging him to reserve to them their annual pension of 20 marks from the profits of the said Church. (fn. 15) There is no mention in their letter of any nomination having been made to them by the Brymptons, nor do I know whether the said Clerk was instituted to the Rectory or not. As the Trumwynes took part with Mary de Brumpton in what seems to have been a family quarrel between her and her eldest son, I suspect that she was still living and nominated her Clerk in 1335. Indeed, we know that she was living in the previous year, though she must have then been far advanced in years. She probably died soon after this, for (her son) John de Brumpton died seised of Eyton in August, 1336, and in 1338 the next presentation was made by his widow as Lady of Eyton.
In the meantime William de Ipstones, Clerk, was admitted to the Church of Longford, in Shropshire, on 5th October, 1332, at the presentation of Sir John de Brumpton, Knight, and probably died in 1343, when his successor was presented to the said Church.
Robert de Trumwyne, who was presented to Church Eaton in 1335, was one of the sons of Sir Robert Trumwyne, Knight (brother of Sir William Trumwyne, Forester of Cannock), by his wife Joan, the widow of Owen de la Pole, Lord of Powis, with whom he acquired a considerable property in Shropshire and Staffordshire. (fn. 16)
The next admission to the Church of Eyton recorded in the Diocesan Registry is that of Master Thomas de Neuport, Priest, who was admitted and instituted in 1338, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth by the dimission of Dame Isabella de Brumpton, Lady of Eyton. (fn. 17)
After this I do not find any fresh institution recorded in the Registers till the year 1432. In the meantime, however, I find another William de Ipstones described in the will of Sir John de Ipstones, Knight, in 1394–5, as parson of Eyton. (fn. 18)
Supposing him to have been the Rector, he may perhaps have succeeded the Master Thomas de Neuport who was instituted in 1338; for the latter (or one of the same name) was Rector in 1390, as appears by a fine levied at Westminster on 6th October of that year, between Thomas Newport, Parson of the Church of Eyton, and Thomas Corbet, Chaplain (Plaintiffs), and Peter de Caverswall and Mary his wife (Deforciants), of the manor of Ercalwe, whereof was Plea of Convention. The Deforciants first acknowledge the Plaintiffs' right. The latter then settle the manor on the Deforciants; to hold for their lives, of the King, by the usual services, with remainder to Thomas Gech and Isabel his wife, and Thomas son of Thomas Gech, and his heirs,—to hold of the King, "by whose precept this fine was levied." (fn. 19)
The next Rector I meet with is Mr. Richard Braunsporth, whose institution is not recorded.
On 16th April, 1432, Sir Thomas Sawyer, Priest, was admitted to the Church of Eyton, vacant by the death of Mr. Richard Braunsporth, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth at the nomination of Dame Isabella Franceys, Lady of Eyton. (fn. 18)
On 14th May, 1462, Sir William Holden, Priest, was admitted to the Rectory of Church Eyton, vacant by the death of Sir Thomas Sawyer, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth. (fn. 18)
On 24th July, 1482, Master Thomas Gybons was admitted to the Church of Eyton, vacant by the death of William Holden, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent, according to the nomination of Henry, Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 18)
Thomas Phillipps was probably the next Rector.
On 31st September, 1509, John de la Corte, M.A., was admitted to the parish Church of Church Eyton, vacant by the death of Thomas Phillipps, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent of Pollesworth, (fn. 20) to whom he was nominated on 17th September, 1509, by Edward, Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 21)
Parson de la Corte, or Delacourte, died about the year 17 Henry VIII. (1525–6), when a fresh controversy arose between Henry Lord Stafford, son and heir of the late Duke of Buckingham, and the Abbess, with respect to the right of patronage. Lord Stafford nominated Mr. John Bulcombe to the Abbess for presentation, who does not appear to have been admitted until some time afterwards. Perhaps he had refused, at the instigation of his patron, to make the usual oath to pay the annual pension to Pollesworth Abbey, with respect to which there seems to have been some relaxation made by the nuns a few years afterwards, as we shall have occasion to show. In the meantime, Henry Lord Stafford and John Bulcombe are summoned in Hillary Term, 18 Henry VIII. (October, 1326), to answer to Alice, Abbess of Pollesworth, and to show cause why she should not be allowed to present a fit Parson to the vacant Church, to which Anne (Fitzherbert), the late Abbess, had presented John Delacourte, who was instituted in the time of the late King Henry VII., and on whose death the right to present belonged to the present Abbess. From this she was unjustly debarred by the said Henry and John, for which she estimated her damages at £40. The said Henry and John appeared by their attorney, Thomas Moreton, and denied the force and injury alleged, and a day was given in the quindene of Easter for the hearing of the case; at which day the said Henry and John appeared and denied that the Abbess possessed the right which she claimed. Judgment was given in favour of the Abbess, who seems to have presented the said John Bulcombe, who was admitted on 8th August, 1528. He held the benefice for a few years, and then resigned it into the Bishop's hands. (fn. 21)
On 13th April, 1532, Master Thomas Saull, B.A., was admitted to the Church of Church Eaton, vacant by the resignation of Mr. John Bulcombe, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent, to whom he swore to pay the customary pension of 20 marks, (fn. 20) and at the nomination of Lord Stafford. (fn. 21) He resigned in December, 1536. (fn. 21)
On 2nd March, 1536 (7), Mr. John ap Harry, M.A., was admitted to the parish Church of Church Eyton, vacant by the resignation of Mr. Thomas Saull, on the presentation of the Abbess and Convent, having sworn to pay the annual pension, (fn. 22) and at the nomination of the Lord Stafford. (fn. 23) In his time a fresh dispute arose with respect to the customary annual payment, and a new arrangement was made between the contending parties in the time of Bishop Roland, by which the Abbess, for herself and her successors, agreed to remit to the Parson of Eaton 5 out of the 20 marks he had been accustomed to pay. (fn. 23) Mr. John ap Harry (or Parry) was admitted to the Rectory of Blymhill in 1544, (fn. 22) was made Prebendary of Pipe Parva in the Cathedral Church of Lichfield in 1547, (fn. 24) and died Archdeacon of Northampton in 1549. (fn. 24)
I do not find the name of the next Rector or Rectors.
On 22nd May (1553), King Edward VI., in the seventh year of his reign, gave the advowson of the Rectory of Church Eaton to Thomas Lord Darcy, of Chiche, Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty's Household, and a Knight of the Garter, who the next day passed it to Thomas Underwood, alias Cragge, of Eccleshall, Gentleman, who on 14th June, 3 and 4 Philip and Mary (1557), conveyed it to Robert Sutton, of Stafford, Clerk, who on 12th March, 4 Elizabeth (1562), sold it for £28 to Henry Lord Stafford, who on 16th May, 5 Elizabeth (1563), sold it for £40 to Ralph Blore, Clerk, to whom Edward Lord Stafford confirmed it three years afterwards, being brother and heir to Henry Lord Stafford, which Ralph Blore sold it to John Blore of Hurtwell, who had issue Francis, who had issue John Blore, of Harlaston, yeoman, who in 15 Car. I. (1639–40) sold it for £150 to Thomas Chetwynd, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Church Eyton. (fn. 25) Notwithstanding this grant of the advowson by King Edward VI., and its confirmation by Edward Lord Stafford in 1566, the Staffords do not appear to have relinquished their title to it, for in 31 Elizabeth, Edward Lord Stafford has licence to alienate to his sister Dorothy Stafford, widow, the advowson of the Church of Church Eaton, together with the manor. A like licence was afterwards granted to the same Dorothy Stafford in 36 Elizabeth to alienate it to Richard Drake, Esq., who in 38 Elizabeth renewed a similar licence to transfer it with the manor to Walter Chetwynd, Esq., and his heirs. (fn. 26) The claim of the Staf fords, however, does not appear to have held good against the title of the grantee of the Crown, for on 21st October, 1579, Thomas (Aw)sten [?], Clerk, was admitted to the Rectory of Church Eaton, vacant by the death of Thomas Bolt, on the presentation of John Blore. (fn. 27)
In 1663, William Jennings, of Church Eaton (who I suppose to have been the then Rector), has a licence or faculty from the Bishop "ad concionandum." (fn. 27)
On 27th April, 1664, Richard Davies, Clerk, M.A., was admitted, on the presentation of (Walter) Chetwynd, Esq. (fn. 27)
In April, 1697, Walter Jennings, Clerk, was Rector of Church Eaton. (fn. 28)
On 12th July, 1757, Richard Fawcett, D.D., was instituted to the Rectory of Church Eaton, void by the death of Edward Byrd, on the presentation of John Lord Viscount Chetwynd. (fn. 29)
On 23rd December, 1766, George Taylor, M.A., was instituted to the said Rectory, void by the cession of Richard Fawcett, on the presentation of John, Lord Viscount Chetwynd. (fn. 27) He was of Maridge, in co. Devon, and was also Rector of Alford, co. Cest., and for many years Chaplain to King George III. He died at Church Eaton, 9th November, 1810, in the eightieth year of his age, and was buried in the Cathedral at Lichfield. (fn. 30)
On 29th December, 1840, George Talbot, Clerk, M.A., was instituted to the vacancy created by the death of George Taylor, on the presentation of Charles Chetwynd Talbot Chetwynd, Earl Talbot. (fn. 27)
On 20th March, 1813, the Hon. and Rev. John Chetwynd Talbot, Clerk, M.A., was instituted to the Rectory, void by the death of George Talbot, on the presentation of Charles Chetwynd Talbot Chetwynd, Earl Talbot. (fn. 27)
On 31st May, 1825, Edward Levett, Clerk, M.A., was instituted to the Rectory, void by the death of the Hon. and Rev. John Chetwynd Talbot, on the presentation of Charles Chetwynd Earl Talbot. (fn. 31) The Rev. Edward Levett resigned on 4th February, 1829. (fn. 31)
On 27th March, 1829, the Hon. and Rev. Arthur Chetwynd Talbot, B.A. (the present Rector) was instituted to the Rectory of Church Eaton, void by the resignation of Edward Levett. (fn. 31) He is also Rector of Ingestre.