A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Everton is a parish on the Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire borders with an area of 1361 acres, of which 604¼ are arable land, 367¾ permanent grass, and 32½ woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The eastern half of the parish is on the high ground bounding the valley of the Ouse, and the western in the valley, the lowest point being 60 ft. above the ordnance datum, and the highest 224 ft. The greater part of the parish is devoted to agriculture; the soil in the high lands is sand, and the subsoil sand rock, in the low lands clay to an unknown depth.
The parish is crossed from east to west by a road from Potton to Tempsford, and from south to west by a second road from Sandy to Tetworth. The village of Everton itself stands at the edge of the high ground which forms the eastern boundary of the valley of the Ouse, at the junction of these roads. A small detached portion, which includes the church of St. Mary, and the site of the ancient manor-house of Everton, is by schedule M. of the Act 2 and 3 Will. IV, cap. 64, declared to be part of Huntingdonshire, and is therefore included in the parish of Tetworth. In the north-east of the parish lie Biggin Wood, in which is a moat, and also Little Biggin Wood. The Great Northern Railway passes through the parish, the nearest station being at Sandy, 2½ miles off. Everton was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1807, and the inclosure award, including a plan, is kept at the Public Record Office. (fn. 2)
The following place-names have been found in Everton:— Pondennellehul and Boresleile in the thirteenth century, (fn. 3) and Sibbesyard, Wendewod, Grogones, Ballardes (a messuage) and Gores in the fifteenth. (fn. 4)
Two entries with regard to Everton occur in the Domesday Survey. The Bedfordshire inquisition states that a manor of 5 hides in EVERTON, which had formerly belonged to Earl Tosti, now belonged to Potton, the manor of Countess Judith, of whom Rannulf, Ilger's brother, held it. (fn. 5) The history of this manor, of which no further trace has been found in Everton, may probably be identified with one of the sub-manors in Potton (which lies contiguous to Everton), held of this honour of Huntingdon.
In the second entry, which is to be found in the Huntingdonshire inquisition, mention is made of 7 hides of land in Everton, held of the king in chief, formerly belonging to Ingewar, but now to Rannulf, the same probably who held of the Countess Judith. (fn. 6) By 1140 this property had passed to Gilbert earl of Pembroke, who in that year granted the church to St. Neots. (fn. 7) The Pembrokes, and through them the Norfolks, continued to be overlords of Everton, Everton manor being held as of the manor of Weston. (fn. 8) The last mention that has been found of the overlordship is in 1626, when the manor was held of Sir Thomas Puckeringe as of his manor of Weston. (fn. 9)
In the thirteenth century Roger Burnard was holding, as under-tenant of the Earl Marshal, land in Ever ton which ultimately became known as EVERTON MANOR. (fn. 10) In 1247 Odo Burnard acquired 40 acres of land in Everton from Michael Burdet for which he paid 10s. rent, (fn. 11) and in 1263 Nicholas Burnard and Felicia his wife alienated a messuage and a carucate of land with appurtenances to Thomas D'Espaigne. (fn. 12) Between this date and 1307 this property passed to Walter Langton, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, who in that year obtained a grant of a market and fair in Everton manor, here first definitely so called. (fn. 13) He held the manor at his death in 1322, when its extent included a capital messuage, with garden, 275 acres of arable land, rent from free tenants amounting to £6 10s. yearly, rents and works of other tenants value 7s. 6d., and fines and profits of court. (fn. 14) Everton manor passed on the death of the bishop to his nephew Edmund son of Robert Peverel, (fn. 15) and he left a son John from whom the manor passed to a sister Margaret wife of William de la Pole, who held the manor in 1354. (fn. 16) Their son John de la Pole, married to Joan daughter of John de Cobham, had succeeded by 1359, (fn. 17) and his daughter Joan, suo jure Baroness Cobham, was, together with her second husband Sir Reginald Braybroke, in possession of Everton manor in 1403, (fn. 18) and held it till her death in 1433. (fn. 19) Her daughter Joan married Sir Thomas Brooke, and died about 1442, and her granddaughter Elizabeth Brooke, who married Robert Tanfield, was in possession of Everton manor at her death in 1503. (fn. 20) Her grandson William, then aged fifteen, was her heir, and held the manor till 1530, (fn. 21) when he was succeeded by his son Francis, whose son Clement died seised in 1587, (fn. 22) and in 1615 William Tanfield his son conveyed the manor by fine to Sir Humphrey Winch, one of the justices of the King's Bench. (fn. 23) From Sir Humphrey Winch, who died in 1624, (fn. 24) the manor passed through Onslow, his son, who was holding in 1652, (fn. 25) to his grandson Humphrey, who in 1659 alienated the manor to Philip Story. (fn. 26) In 1693 Philip Story still held the manor, of which no further trace has been found; (fn. 27) the Inclosure Act of 1807, whilst enumerating other manors in this parish, makes no mention of this property. (fn. 28)
The origin of EVERTON MOSBURY MANOR is to be found in a grant made some time previous to 1284 to the abbey of Stratford Langthorne in Essex. It originally formed part of the 7 hides held by Rannulf at the time of the Survey. (fn. 29) From the Pembrokes the overlordship passed, as in the case of a moiety of Edworth (q.v.), to the Talbots. The first mention is found in 1322 when it was held by Richard Talbot, (fn. 30) and after 1537, when it was still held of the Talbots, earls of Shrewsbury, no further mention has been found. (fn. 31)
No trace has been found of the original grant of this manor to Stratford Abbey, but it must have occurred before 1284 when the abbot already rendered feudal service in Everton, (fn. 32) and this manor remained the property of the abbey until, in 1322, the abbot conveyed it to John Morice and Agnes his wife. In 1362 Sir John Morice enfeoffed John Colyn, vicar of Everton, of Everton manor to the use of William de Weston, master of St. Leonard's, Bedford. Ten years later, the latter transferred the manor in fee simple to Thomas le Dale or Fulthorpe, who guaranteed in return to appropriate to St. Leonard's a church of the value of £20 per annum. (fn. 33) Courts of the manor were held by John Martyn, Hugh Lotrell, and others in 1418–19, (fn. 34) probably as trustees for one of the Fulthorpes, for in 1428 Thomas Fulthorpe rendered service for two parts of a half-fee in Everton 'formerly held by John Morice.' (fn. 35) From 1428 until the death of William Dale in 1537 Everton manor follows the same descent as Little Barford (q.v.). William Dale left Everton Mosbury to his daughter Joan wife of William Wollascott. (fn. 36) Their son William died seised of Everton Mosbury in 1618, and was succeeded by a son William, who, dying in 1640, left a son also named William, as heir. (fn. 37) In 1653 he was in possession of Everton Mosbury manor, (fn. 38) but between that date and 1689 it had passed to Walter Cary, (fn. 39) who retained it until 1714, when he alienated it to William Astell. (fn. 40) Richard son of William Astell held the manor in 1738, (fn. 41) and on his death, without issue, in 1777, was succeeded by his nephew William Thornton, who assumed the name of Astell. (fn. 42) He died in 1847, and of his two sons, William the elder died unmarried in 1864, and John the younger succeeded to the Everton property. He died in 1887, and was followed by a son William Harvey Astell who, at his death in 1896, left a son Richard Astell, born in 1890, who is the present representative of the family. (fn. 43)
No mention has been found of a third manor in Everton—that of EVERTON BIGGIN—prior to the late fifteenth century; it appears to have been an off-shoot of Everton manor of which it was held when it first appears in 1480. (fn. 44) The last mention that has been found of the overlordship occurs in 1640, when William Wollascott held Everton Biggin of Onslow Winch, lord of Everton. (fn. 45)
In 1480 John Dale, who also owned Everton Mosbury, died seised of this manor (fn. 46) and from that date Everton Biggin has followed the same descent as Everton Mosbury (q.v.). (fn. 47) It did not, however, become immediately absorbed in the larger manor, but preserved a separate identity certainly down to the late eighteenth century. (fn. 48)
In 1307 Walter Langton, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, obtained a grant of a market to be held every Wednesday at his manor of Everton, and also of a three-days fair yearly on the feast of St. Bartholomew (24 August), (fn. 49) but no further trace has been found of the exercise of these privileges in Everton. At the same time a charter of free warren was granted to the lord of the manor, (fn. 50) who also possessed the right of holding a three-weekly court baron, (fn. 51) and of a view of frankpledge within the manor. (fn. 52) The owner of Everton Mosbury also received a charter of free warren in 1331, (fn. 53) and the privilege was still claimed in the eighteenth century. (fn. 54)
About 1140 Gilbert earl of Pembroke granted land in Everton, together with the advowson of the church, to the prior of St. Neots, (fn. 55) who in the thirteenth century claimed a view of frankpledge here, (fn. 56) and also rendered feudal service from 1284 to 1428. (fn. 57) At the time of the Dissolution the temporalities of the priory in Everton were valued at £12 11s. 10d., (fn. 58) and together with the rectory and advowson (q.v.), they were granted to Clare College, Cambridge. (fn. 59)
Sawtry Abbey was the recipient of various small grants of land in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from the Burnards and St. Neots Priory. (fn. 60) At the Dissolution these lands were granted to Richard Cromwell, (fn. 61) who, in 1538, received a licence to alienate them to John Burgoyne. (fn. 62)
The church of ST. MARY stands at the north end of the village, west of the road between Sandy and Tetworth, and consists of a chancel 29 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft., a nave 47 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft., north and south aisles 7 ft. 6 in. wide, and a western tower 13 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in.
The chancel appears to be the oldest part of the church, its eastern quoins, in large stones irregularly bonded, looking very much like pre-Conquest work. The absence of anything else of the same character in the chancel makes the matter doubtful, but as other details of the chancel belong to the first half of the twelfth century, the earlier date is not impossible. The chancel, being of the full width of the nave, should in the ordinary course of development be the successor of a narrower chancel, but in this instance the process seems unlikely, and it is just possible that, as elsewhere, the present chancel was the early church, to which a nave and aisles as at present were added in the twelfth century.
The existing nave arcades belong to c. 1140–60, the north arcade appearing to be of somewhat earlier detail than the south. The only alterations in plan of a later date are the addition of a west tower and of a south porch in the fifteenth century. The nave clearstory is also of this date.
The east window of the chancel is modern, and the gable over it has been rebuilt. In the north wall are two plain round-headed lights with a small outer reveal, the heads being worked in a single stone, and in the south wall are two corresponding to them; they belong to the first half of the twelfth century. The external stonework is in the same shelly oolite as the eastern quoins of the chancel, but does not show the tendency to long and short work which suggests an early date for the latter. At the west of the chancel are north and south windows of two lights, c. 1500, and the chancel arch, with shafts and halfoctagonal capitals to the inner order, is probably contemporary with them. The traces of a blocked doorway are to be seen on the south side of the chancel; it is shown open in a plan of 1837 preserved in the library of the Society of Antiquaries. The nave arcades are of three bays, with round shafts and scalloped capitals, those of the south arcade being of somewhat later type. The arches are semicircular, of a single square order, and the date of the north arcade is c. 1140, the south being probably twenty years later. At the west end of the north aisle is a twelfth-century round-headed light, probably not in its original position, while at the east is a squareheaded two-light window of the sixteenth century. In the north wall are two three-light windows, one modern and the other perhaps of early sixteenthcentury date, and between them is a north door with a fifteenth-century outer arch, but semicircular rear arch.
The south aisle has a fifteenth-century east window of two lights and two south windows in modern masonry. Between them is the south doorway, c. 1160, with an arch of two orders, the outer one moulded, with scalloped capitals, and ringed shafts in the jambs. Over it is a late fifteenth-century porch of good detail, with a panelled plinth and parapet with projecting gargoyles; it has two-light windows on north and south. The west wall of the aisle has been rebuilt, and its window, a small twelfth-century light, reset. The nave has a late fifteenth-century clearstory with three quatrefoiled openings on the north, and on the south three square-headed windows, two of four lights and one of two, the former probably of the second quarter of the sixteenth century, and replacing earlier and smaller lights.
The tower is of four stages with a modern embattled parapet and two-light belfry windows, with a stair in the south-west angle kept within the line of the walls, while the three-light west window of the ground stage is set out of centre to make room for it. The whole seems to be a fifteenth-century addition, and has an eastern arch of that date.
The woodwork in the church is modern, but there are some fifteenth-century stone corbels to the nave roof, while others, of wood, have the classical egg-andtongue moulding, and are probably of seventeenthcentury date. The former arrangements of the church, as shown in the plan of 1837 already referred to, are worth recording as a fine example of the 'preachinghouse' ideal.
At the west end of the nave was a children's gallery on four wooden pillars, and immediately in front of it the pulpit, reading desk, and clerk's desk, facing eastward. Round them were grouped a few benches which were the free seats, while the rest of the nave was taken up with square pews. The pulpit and desks seem to have been before this time set against the south arcade, about midway in the nave, and facing northwards. The chancel arch was blocked by a great faculty pew, or rather gallery, as it appears to have been reached by a staircase in the chancel, and the east end of the north aisle was the vestry or robingroom. The font stood in the west bay of the south arcade as at present.
The only monument of interest beyond the matrix of a large fifteenth-century brass 6 ft. 9 in. by 3 ft. 8 in., at the east end of the nave, is that of Sir Humphrey Winch, 1624, on the wall above the pulpit at the north-east of the nave. It is of alabaster and coloured marbles, a very well-designed and effective composition, having in the middle a recess containing a half-effigy in judge's robes, the face keen and life-like, and above it a pyramidal design of two stages surmounted by the arms of Winch. The inscription implies that Sir Humphrey is buried in the wall, and at the back of the monument a masonry projection has been added which seems to give grounds for the statement.
There are five bells, the treble and second by John Keene, 1630, the third by Richard Oldfeild, 1611, the fourth by John Dier, c. 1590, inscribed 'Johannes Dier hanc campanam fecit,' and the tenor by Christopher Graye, 1681, recast 1894 by Mears & Stainbank.
The plate includes a cup of Elizabethan type without hall-marks, probably of local make, having a shallow bowl with spreading lip, and a roughly-engraved band of ornament. On it is the word 'Everton.' The paten, with no other mark than that of the maker, 'E. S.' in a dotted oval, is likewise undated, but may by the mark be connected with the London smith who made in 1652 a silver-gilt porringer noted by Cripps (Old English Plate, 374). The flagon is of 1694, given 1695, and has an inscription within a border of feather mantling, recalling the type in fashion some twenty years before.
The registers begin in 1656, a few earlier entries from 1650 being copied in, and the first book ends in 1738, containing a list of briefs, 1659–1705. The second book, of burials in woollen, runs from 1678 to 1706, and contains briefs, 1723–9. The third, 1727–1813 (marriages to 1754), was given by the Rev. Robert Greene, who wrote a long and laudatory account of himself in a somewhat overloaded Latinity on the flyleaf. The fourth book, with printed forms for marriages, runs from 1769 to 1819.
The Domesday Survey mentions the existence of a church and priest in Everton. (fn. 63) This church was given about 1140 by Gilbert, earl of Pembroke, (fn. 64) to St. Neots Priory, which continued to hold it down to the Dissolution, (fn. 65) when it passed to the crown, from whom it was purchased in 1544 by Clare College, Cambridge, to whom the advowson at present belongs. (fn. 66)
Poor's Money or the Carey Fund.—In 1764, legacies amounting together to £160 left by the wills of Walter and Elizabeth Carey were received by the vicar and churchwardens. The legacies are now represented by £174 London and North Western Railway £3 per cent. debenture stock with the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £54s. 4d., are distributed in coals among the poor of Everton and Tetworth.
Under the Everton Inclosure Act (fn. 67) 1 a. 2 r. of land was awarded to the parish officers with the right to take gravel for the repair of the highways, and 3 a. 1 r. 31 p. in lieu of tithes, in respect of which an annual sum of £1 16s. is received by the churchwardents and applied in aid of church expenses.