A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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The parish of Horton (Hortune, xi cent.) contains an area of 1,366 acres. There are 803 acres of arable land and 580 of permanent grass, but no woodland. (fn. 1) The slope of the land is almost uniformly from 57 ft. to 67 ft. above the ordnance datum, and the maximum height attained is 80 ft. in the extreme north of the parish. The soil is loam, the subsoil gravel, and the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and roots. Horton is well watered by various small feeders of the Rivers Thames and Colne. The Colne separates it on the east from the county of Middlesex. The village of Horton occupies a central position in the parish. A large elm tree stands on the village green at a point where three roads converge. There is a tradition that it was planted to commemorate the death of a child belonging to the Crown Inn opposite, who was accidentally killed by the fall of the maypole on this spot. Close by is the school, and to the north of it the rectory-house, a large early 17th-century building refaced with brick and surrounded by trees. From it there is a fine view of Windsor Castle. The church stands on the south side of the village street in a large churchyard, where there are two ancient yew trees. A very thick brick wall, thickly covered with ivy, separates the churchyard on three sides from the grounds of Horton Manor, the property of Mrs. Owen Williams and residence of Mr. Ronald Cunningham. The Elizabethan mansion known as Place House which was adjacent to the south side of the church tower, having been allowed to fall into decay, was taken down in 1785. (fn. 2)
To the east of the village is Berkin Manor, the property and residence of Mrs. Tyrrell. The house, which stands in a small park, was built about the middle of the 19th century on the site of an old house, supposed to have been that rented by Milton's father in 1632, (fn. 3) and pulled down at the end of the 18th century with the exception of a red brick dovecote. (fn. 4) Milton wrote his earlier poems at Horton, where he lived for six years. (fn. 5) The impressions which the scenery of the neighbourhood produced upon his mind may be found in l'Allegro and II Penseroso. The poet's mother died at Horton in 1637 and was buried in the parish church. (fn. 6) There are several picturesque farms in Horton, among which may be mentioned Mildridge Farm (fn. 7) in the north of the parish, Moor Farm in the east, and Asgood Farm, a two-storied 17th-century building with a facing of modern brick. The Colne Bridge Mills at Horton have been used for various purposes. The rags collected for paper-making in the 17th century brought the plague into this neighbourhood. (fn. 8) In 1626 the outbreak was accountable for thirty-four burials at Horton, and in 1637 for fourteen out of thirty-one deaths. (fn. 9) The names of paper-makers are found in the parish register in the middle of the 18th century. (fn. 10) In the middle 19th century the shawl-printing carried on by Messrs. Tippet & Co. gave employment to many persons of both sexes. (fn. 11) There is a moat at Horton Manor, another to the south-west of the mills, and the remains of a third at Berkin Manor. (fn. 12)
Horton parish was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1799. (fn. 13) The award map allows for three gravel and clay pits and 8 acres of land for the poor and for cottage allotments, and 260 acres for the lord of the manor. (fn. 14)
The following place-names occur in the 17th century: Barrow-fields, Bulstrode Close, Colbrookfield, Colley Mead (this also occurs in a glebe-land terrier of 1760), (fn. 15) Ford's Close, the Leaze, Ray Hill, and Shollen. (fn. 16) Welly (to which reference has been made under Colnbrook) survives in Welly Meadow, appurtenant to the Cedars.
In 1086 HORTON MANOR, assessed at 10 hides, was held by Walter son of Other. (fn. 17) His descendants the Windsors (fn. 18) continued to hold it of the king in chief as appurtenant to the barony of Windsor, which owed ward to Windsor Castle, (fn. 19) and as parcel of the manor of Stanwell, Middlesex. (fn. 20) In 1542 the Crown made a grant of lands to Andrew Lord Windsor in exchange for Stanwell Manor, (fn. 21) and Horton was henceforward held as of the royal manor of Stanwell, (fn. 22) which by 1613 had been included in the honour of Hampton Court. (fn. 23) In that year a grant of Stanwell Manor was made to Thomas Lord Knyvett. It included certain lands in Horton valued at £4 7s. 4d. yearly, as parcel of that manor. (fn. 24) Stanwell Place has been the seat of the Gibbons family since 1754, (fn. 25) and the present representative, Sir Alexander Gibbons, bart., owns manorial rights in this part of Horton, which is now included in the ecclesiastical parish of Colnbrook.
On the division of the barony of Windsor in 1198 between two branches of the Windsor family the holder of the Stanwell half acquired all rights in Horton from the holder of the other half in return for an annual rent of a pair of gilt spurs. (fn. 26) This was the recognized payment made during the 13th century by William de Windsor to Hugh de Hodeng and Thomas de Lascelles, the representatives by female descent of half the Windsor barony. (fn. 27) By 1302 it was equivalent to the services of one knight's fee owed by Richard de Windsor to Thomas de Hodeng alias de Huntercombe and the Abbess of Burnham (fn. 28) due, as appears later, (fn. 29) to the manor of Huntercombe in Burnham (q.v.). In 1402 these services absorbed the rents from Horton Manor. (fn. 30) The last mention of this connexion with Huntercombe Manor occurs in 1428, when Burnham Abbey was sole owner. (fn. 31)
The Windsors had subinfeudated Horton by 1254, in which year Richard de Oxhey was lord, and paid to the overlords in hidage 20s. (fn. 32) He held the manor (fn. 33) until his death about 1295, (fn. 34) and after the death of his wife Joan before 1303 (fn. 35) Horton Manor was divided between her daughters Joan and Margaret. (fn. 36) After Margaret's death her moiety was held by her husband, John son of Geoffrey de Wheathampstead, for life. (fn. 37) He died before 1320, (fn. 38) and Roger de Louth, apparently a descendant of his son Thomas (fn. 39) in the female line, was holding in Horton in 1346. (fn. 40) In 1357 he obtained a settlement by which Robert Tame and his wife Alice quitclaimed their interests in the moiety on behalf of themselves and Alice's heirs. (fn. 41) Roger de Louth was Sheriff of Essex in 1358 (fn. 42) and was living in 1360. (fn. 43) In 1374 his widow Amice was holding his Horton estate for life from her son John, the reversion to pass to Sir John Devereux. (fn. 44) This settlement was apparently binding in 1394, when the king, as guardian of the land and heir of Sir John, who had died a year previously, (fn. 45) made a presentation to Horton Church. (fn. 46) Four years later the Devereux claim was represented by trustees, chief among whom was Edward Earl of Rutland (afterwards Duke of York), and to them, Joan and Kathleen, daughters of Amice de Louth, (fn. 47) surrendered all claims to half of Horton Manor. (fn. 48) They were still holding in 1415, (fn. 49) but by 1428 this moiety had passed to Thomas Pantor. (fn. 50) In 1451 it had recently been held by John Pury, who had also held an additional quarter of the manor (fn. 51) (treated under the mill, q.v.). In 1486 these estates belonged to William afterwards Sir William Danvers and his wife Anne. (fn. 52) His son John predeceased him in 1508, and left a son John, then aged six months, (fn. 53) who succeeded to Horton on the death of Sir William Danvers about 1509 (fn. 54) and died in 1517. (fn. 55) Reginald Digby and his wife Anne, eldest sister and co-heir of John Danvers, (fn. 56) settled the estates in 1532 (fn. 57) and again in 1538. (fn. 58) Reginald died before 1552 (fn. 59) and Anne in 1558. (fn. 60) Her son and heir John Digby survived her a few months only, and left as heir his son George, a minor. (fn. 61) He was knighted in 1586 (fn. 62) and died in the following year. (fn. 63) His son and successor Robert (fn. 64) in 1617 conveyed the Digby estates in Horton to Henry Bulstrode (fn. 65) of Berkin Manor (q.v.). By this transsaction Horton Manor came again under one owner. Some settlement with regard to it was made by Henry Bulstrode with Simon and Coluberie Mayne in 1626. (fn. 66) Thomas Bulstrode, Henry's second son, (fn. 67) sold it in 1650 to Daniel Cox and Sir John Pettus, (fn. 68) who resold it eight years later to Robert Scawen. (fn. 69) He died in 1669 and was buried in Horton Church. (fn. 70) His son Edward, (fn. 71) who succeeded him, (fn. 72) died in 1691. (fn. 73) Thomas Scawen, who followed his father in the ownership of Horton Manor, (fn. 74) was one of the Governors of the Bank of England and was knighted in 1714. (fn. 75) He, dying in 1730, (fn. 76) left this manor to his wife Martha for her life with reversion to his son Thomas. (fn. 77) She died in 1766, (fn. 78) and her grandson James Scawen, who succeeded, (fn. 79) sold it in 1779 to Alexander Croke. (fn. 80) After passing through several hands, Horton Manor was purchased in 1794 by Thomas Williams, (fn. 81) in whose family it has since remained. (fn. 82) His great-grandson Lieut.-Gen. Owen Williams died in 1904, (fn. 83) and his widow Mrs. Williams, of Temple House, Bisham, is the present owner.
The other moiety of Horton Manor inherited by Joan the elder daughter of Richard de Oxhey, about 1303, was held for life by Richard de Caen (Cadamo), her husband, in 1308. (fn. 84) It formed part of the inheritance of William Tolimer of Wisbech, who in that year conveyed his reversionary interests to John de Caen, Richard's son. (fn. 85) Richard de Caen was still holding in 1315, (fn. 86) but during the next year the moiety had passed to Nicholas 'Cane.' (fn. 87) This portion of the manor was held in 1346 in separate moieties by Michael Belet and Miles de Longtoft. (fn. 88) The Longtoft part had devolved in 1376 on a relative of Miles, Ralph de Longtoft. (fn. 89) It afterwards became known as BERKIN MANOR. At the end of the 14th century it had passed to the Drus. Laurence Dru, as guardian of Miles Windsor, received a life grant in 1399 of the rents due to his ward from Horton. (fn. 90) His son Thomas in 1428 quitclaimed the estate to Richard Wyot, his wife Alice and others, (fn. 91) to whom another son Robert had in the previous year already surrendered his rights. (fn. 92) Later owners were Edmund Brudenell, before 1451, (fn. 93) and Richard Bulstrode, who held it in 1485 (fn. 94) in right of his wife Alice. (fn. 95) The descent of Berkin in the Bulstrode family is the same as that of Chalvey Manor (q.v.) during the next century. (fn. 96) Henry Bulstrode, a direct descendant of Richard in the fifth generation, obtained a grant of court leet and view of frankpledge in 1615 (fn. 97) and of free warren in 1617. (fn. 98) In this year he purchased the other three-quarters of the manor with which Berkin appears to have been held until 1782, when part of the estate was sold to William Whitaker. (fn. 99) In 1848 Berkin Manor was purchased from the trustees of John Cooke by Mr. Edward Tyrrell, who was appointed City Remembrancer in 1861. (fn. 100) He was succeeded by his son Mr. Avery Tyrrell, whose widow is the present owner. The Belet portion of Horton Manor can be identified with Horton Mills in the 14th century and with the so-called manor of HORTON PURY, to which references occur in 1532 and 1538. (fn. 101)
The 3 virgates in Horton which in 1198 did not belong to the barony of Windsor (fn. 102) possibly represent OKHIDE MANOR or a quarter fee in Okhide held in chief of the honour of Wallingford in the 14th century. (fn. 103) It remained under this overlordship (fn. 104) and under the honour of Ewelme its successor in the middle 16th century, (fn. 105) the last reference in this connexion occurring in 1673. (fn. 106)
Before 1296 Richard Stonor granted Okhide Manor to John Chanceux or de Cancellis and his wife Alice. (fn. 107) He was still holding in 1302, (fn. 108) but before 1346 had been succeeded by Martin Chanceux, (fn. 109) probably his son, who was still living in 1353. (fn. 110) In connexion with Horton, Okhide is last mentioned in 1410 as a part of Horton Common inclosed by Thomas Melreth. (fn. 111)
SPEELINGS or SPILLINGS
SPEELINGS or SPILLINGS derived its name from William Speeling, who at the end of the 14th century inclosed a part of Horton Common and made a pond. (fn. 112) William Peters owned Speelings at his death in 1611 (fn. 113) and was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 114) He was buried at Horton in 1658, (fn. 115) and his son Charles Peters (fn. 116) sold the property before 1679 to Edmund Hearne, (fn. 117) who died in 1686. (fn. 118) He left it to his wife Dinah for life, with remainder to his nephew Edward, son of his brother William Hearne, and the heirs of both, and to his sons-in-law Francis and Samuel Bowry and others. (fn. 119)
A small estate in Horton known as The Cedars has been owned by various members of the Tupp family since the middle of the 18th century, when it was purchased by Mr. John Tupp, (fn. 122) who died in 1813 and was buried in Horton Church. (fn. 123)
Eton College owns a small property in Horton. (fn. 124)
In 1086 a mill in Horton was worth 20s. (fn. 125) In 1213 it was granted for four years by William de Windsor to Hamon son of Henry and his heirs. (fn. 126) This grant was afterwards made permanent, for in a lawsuit in 1222 Hamon produced a deed giving him the mill with all appurtenances and the right of grinding for the lord's household and for the vill of Horton. (fn. 127) This probably represents the estate held by Adam Horton later in the 13th century. (fn. 128) References occur to John of the mill of Horton in 1279 (fn. 129) and 1286. (fn. 130) Towards the close of the next century the occupant, William Blakemore, diverted the water-course near his mill and built a fullingmill. (fn. 131) For sixteen years after his death it was occupied first by his widow and then by her tenant, Thomas Melreth. (fn. 132) In 1408 it was found by inquisition that the mill, then worth 13s. 4d. yearly, had been built on the waste lands of Horton Common and they were dispossessed. (fn. 133) Two years later they succeeded in obtaining a writ of restoration on the ground that William had built the mill on his own lands. (fn. 134) In 1428 Thomas Melreth was still holding this property (as a quarter of Horton Manor by the service of a quarter fee). (fn. 135) It was soon afterwards acquired by John Pury (hence the alternative name), who in 1451 had lately held this quarter and the other half of Horton Manor, (fn. 136) with which its later descent corresponds. It was leased by various members of the Phipps family during the 17th and early 18th centuries, (fn. 137) by John Shepherd, William Ford and William Butler in 1799, (fn. 138) and in the 19th century by Messrs. Tippet & Co. (fn. 139) When their shawl-printing premises were dismantled in 1859 the whole property was purchased by Mr. Edward Tyrrell with the exception of one factory with a right of water-course which was reserved by the lord of the manor. (fn. 140)
The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of a chancel measuring internally 20 ft. 6 in. by 17 ft. 6 in., nave 44 ft. 6 in. by 21 ft., north transept 19 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft., north porch, south aisle, west tower 15 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in., and south vestry.
The nave dates from about the middle of the 12th century; a south aisle was added about the end of the same century, but only the arcade opening to it now survives, the aisle having been rebuilt in 1875–6. The north transept and west tower were built in the 15th century, and the latter seems to have been largely reconstructed about 1580. The chancel was rebuilt at the same time as the south aisle, the vestry also being added, and the whole fabric thoroughly restored.
The walling is of flint and stone, some brick being used in the tower, and the roofs are tiled.
The chancel has been entirely rebuilt with the exception of the pointed chancel arch of two chamfered orders, the inner of which is supported on head corbels, and dates from about 1500. On the north side of the chancel arch is a corbel which possibly supported the rood-loft. It is formed from a 12th-century cheveron-moulded voussoir. At the west end of the north wall of the nave is a fine doorway of mid-12th-century date. It has a semicircular head of four orders, the innermost of which is square and continuous. The second order has a cheveron and lozenge enrichment, and springs from attached shafts with carved capitals and moulded bases. The third and outermost orders are enriched respectively with a continuous bead and reel ornament and a cheveron of four rolls. At the north-east of the nave is a 15th-century pointed arch to the transept, and west of it is an early 16th-century window of two lights with four-centred heads. The late 12th-century arcade on the south is of three bays with pointed arches of a single plain order, springing from circular columns and responds with moulded capitals and bases, underbuilt with modern brickwork. On the soffit of the western arch are the remains of a red scroll-pattern painting, and at the east end of the arcade is a roodloft stairway with a pointed doorway.
The north transept is lighted by a three-light window in the east wall, two windows in the north wall, and one in the west wall, all practically modern, but the trefoiled piscina dates from the 15th century. All the details of the south aisle are modern. The west tower is of three stages with western diagonal buttresses and an octagonal stair-turret at the north-east angle, the latter rising above the brick embattled parapet; the four-centred tower arch, the west doorway and the three-light window above, are all of the 15th century, but the external stonework of the window has been renewed, and the doorway, which has a pointed arch under a square head with foliage and shields in the spandrels, seems to have been altered about 1580, and has been partly renewed. The second stage has a blocked four-centred doorway in the west wall, and modern single lights on the west and south, while in each face of the bell-chamber is a late 16th-century window of two lights under a square head. The north porch is lighted on either side by ten glazed lights which have been made up from 15th-century moulded timbers. The roofs of the nave and north transept, and the ceiling of the lowest stage of the tower, are of old timbers, the nave having roughly finished tie-beams and king-posts.
The font has a 12th-century circular bowl, with a cable moulding round the top; the lower part has apparently been retooled and the base is modern. In the chancel are two 15th-century standards with poppy heads, one of which has been repaired.
In the chancel is a floor slab to Milton's mother Sarah, who died in 1637. There is also a slab, probably of the 16th century, with matrices for the brass figures of a man, woman and children. In the south aisle is a floor slab with arms commemorating Agnes wife of Thomas Pitt, who died in 1650; Thomas Pitt, her husband, who died in 1667; Edwin Blunt, who died in 1664; Anne wife of Robert Blunt, who died in 1682; three children of Thomas Pitt; and four children of William Clifton, jun. There is also a slab to Elizabeth, wife of Edwin Griffen, who died in 1670. In the pathway outside the north porch is the top slab of a tomb with a much-worn marginal inscription. Only the Christian name 'William' can now be deciphered, with the remainder of the inscription stating that he was a skinner, and died in 1612.
There are six bells, of which the third is by Ellis and Francis Knight, 1647.
The communion plate includes a chalice and cover paten of 1697.
The registers begin in 1571.
The walls bounding the churchyard on the east, west, and south are constructed in part with large bricks, probably of late 16th-century date; the east wall is buttressed and the west wall has semicircular turrets and two gate-posts.
The advowson of Horton Church, mentioned in 1198, was appurtenant to the manor, (fn. 141) and when that was divided in the early 14th century the advowson was also divided, the owners presenting in turn. (fn. 142) This arrangement gave rise to a law-suit in 1315 between John de Wheathampstead and Richard de Caen. (fn. 143) Since John won the case, as Richard had already made one presentation, he received in compensation for loss one half of the value of the church for one year. (fn. 144) Later on the holder of each of the two quarters of the manor owned also one quarter of the advowson. (fn. 145) The presentation made by the king in 1394, as guardian of the heir of Sir John Devcreux, (fn. 146) was set aside in the following year in favour of John Forest, (fn. 147) whose claim was supported by Laurence Dru. (fn. 148) In 1617 Henry Bulstrode became sole owner of both manor and advowson, (fn. 149) which descended together until 1779, (fn. 150) James Scawen retaining the advowson until 1782, when it was purchased by John Brown. (fn. 151) His son the Rev. William Brown, who in 1796 presented himself as patron in his own right, (fn. 152) sold it a little later to Thomas Williams. (fn. 153) The descent of the advowson in his family has since followed that of the manor (q.v.).
Horton Church, which is a rectory, was valued in 1291 (fn. 154) and 1315 (fn. 155) at £14 and in 1535 at £23. (fn. 156) In 1631 there were no lands in Horton exempt from the payment of tithes (fn. 157) still paid to the rector in kind in 1788. (fn. 158) In 1799 an allotment was made to him in lieu of tithes with permission to grant leases not exceeding twenty-one years. (fn. 159) This land comprises 244 acres, the net value of which is estimated at £350 yearly. In 1770 the glebe lands yielded £9 1s. yearly. (fn. 160)
The church lands consist of a public-house, called the 'Five Bells,' with about an acre of meadow land, let for £122 15s. per annum; 3 a. 2 r. let at £18, and four cottages of the annual rental of £28 12s.; £156 5s. consols, producing £3 18s. yearly, arising from a sale of land in 1878, and £649 6s. 1d. consols, representing accumulations of income entitled 'the Church Fabric Renovation Fund.' The sums of stock are held by the official trustees. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Court of Chancery of 14 May 1859, the income being applied to the expenses and repairs of the church.
In 1686 Edmund Hearne, by his will proved in the P.C.C. 8 July, charged certain lands near the manor-house, formerly called Spillings, with the annual payment of £1 10s., to be applied for the benefit of the poor. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 15 March 1907.
Mrs. Sarah Wagstaffe, who died in 1826, as stated on a tablet in the church, left for the poor for ever the interest of £100 stock to be given in bread on Christmas Day and Good Friday. The trust fund is now £94 7s. 5d. consols.
In 1831 Mrs. Catherine Gossett, by her will proved in the P.C.C. 4 November, gave £20 to the poor of Horton, to be laid out at the discretion of the minister and churchwardens. The legacy is represented by £22 4s. consols.
In 1850 the Rev. William Brown, by his will proved at London 20 December, bequeathed £450 consols, the dividends to be distributed in bread the first Sunday in every month to the poor present at morning service.
The several sums of stock above mentioned are held by the official trustees, producing in the aggregate £14 3s. a year, which, with the sum of £1 10s. belonging to Hearne's charity, are applied together. In 1908 the sum of £9 18s. was distributed in bread on the second and fourth Sundays to poor attending matins and the balance in the distribution of flannel.
In 1898 Miss Jane Stevens, by her will proved at London 17 October, bequeathed £1,000, the interest to be applied in keeping the churchyard in order and the residue in the purchase of bread for poor members of the Church of England. The legacy was invested in £945 12s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, producing £23 12s. 8d. yearly. In 1908 £5 was expended on the churchyard and the remainder in bread.
The parish land.
The official trustees also hold a sum of £90 consols arising from the sale in 1904 of 3 r. 19 p. at New Butts Green, acquired in 1801 under an inclosure award. The dividends, amounting to £2 5s. yearly, are, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 13 November 1903, applicable for the benefit of deserving poor in clothes, linen, bedding, fuel, tools, medical aid, food or other articles in kind. In 1909 forty poor parishioners received I cwt. of coal each.