A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
This parish covers 891 acres, of which 165 are arable and 694 permanent grass. (fn. 1) The soil is clay. The south of the parish is watered by two streams, and the land here is lowest—about 300 ft., rising in the north beyond the Great Central railway to nearly 400 ft. above the ordnance datum. The church of St. James, a few farms and other buildings stand near the centre of the parish, on its chief road, and a smaller road branching off to the south leads to the manor-house, which till the latter half of the 19th century was a farm, but is now occupied by Lieut.-Col. C.W. Trotter. It is built of stone, and the date 1635, which with two letters, perhaps T.L. for Thomas Lisle, is inscribed on a stone in the west gable, probably gives the date of the original building and the name of the builder. The house has, however, been much altered and modernized, through it still retains some of its mullioned windows, an original fireplace, staircase, and 17th-century panelling. In the grounds is a much-altered cottage which seems to have formed part of a 16th-century house, possibly an earlier manorhouse. Some of the windows have their original mullions. The King's End Farm, near the church, is a 17th-century stone house, and belonging to it is a stone barn of the same date with a thatched roof.
In the middle of the 16th century the tenants accused the lord of the manor of wrongfully inclosing some 30 acres of ground near the church, called Porter's Lees, which should have been common for half the year and through which, at all times, there was a common highway to drive cattle and for carriage to and from the village or town of Barton Hartshorn, and a passage to and from the church. As a result of this wrongful inclosure, the tenants were forced to use 'a fowle and myrie lane' next adjoining the said land, to their great 'dyscomodytie and anoyance.' The lord of the manor, whom the complainants variously stated to be 'a gentleman of a covetous and envyous mynde,' of an 'obstinate and presumptuous mynde' and of 'a dyvellishe and myschevous mynde,' was also accused of having wounded one of the complainants in an affray which had occurred on the lees, but he stated that he had been at some distance off, standing near his house and, having a bow and arrows under his girdle merely to shoot at coneys near the house, he had shot an arrow in defence of his son when he saw him attacked. (fn. 2)
An Act for inclosing the lands of the parish was passed in 1812. (fn. 3)
Wilaf, a thegn of Earl Lewin, held the manor of BARTON before the Conquest, but it passed before 1086 to the Bishop of Bayeux, of whom it was held at that date by Ernulf de Hesding. (fn. 4) After the forfeiture of Odo's possessions, this overlordship appears to have come into the possession of the Earls of Pembroke, being held by William de Valence in 1284–6, (fn. 5) and in the 14th century by his heirs, the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury. (fn. 6) Barton was held under these overlords by the family of Dyve of North Witham, Lincolnshire. John Dyve is mentioned in 1254–5, (fn. 7) and again in 1284–6, when he was found to pay for his holding here 12s. per annum to Rochester Castle for ward. (fn. 8) In 1328 Geoffrey Dyve as mesne lord was successfully sued by his under-tenant for quittance of services demanded of him by the Talbots. (fn. 9) Thomas Dyve held in 1365. (fn. 10) In 1585 a special inquiry was made as to the tenure of the manor, and it was then found that it was held in chief, there being no mesne lord between the queen and the lord of the manor. (fn. 11)
The early lords of Barton took their name from the place. It seems probable that the half hide in 'Burton' held by the daughter and heir of Walter de Burton in 1185 for serjeanty of di-penser (dispensarie) (fn. 12) refers to land here. Ivo de Barton was certainly lord here before 1198, at which time, and later, his son John confirmed various grants made to Biddlesden Monastery by the father. (fn. 13) Henry son of Ivo de Barton succeeded his brother and held land here in the early years of the reign of Henry III. (fn. 14) John de Barton was lord in 1254–5, (fn. 15) and another Henry in 1284–6. (fn. 16) Roberga, widow of Henry, held in 1302–3, (fn. 17) but had been succeeded by Henry de Barton, probably her son, before 1316. (fn. 18) He was still holding in 1327–8, (fn. 19) but Thomas de Barton was lord in 1346. (fn. 20) In 1421 John de Barton, jun., Margaret, sister of Henry de Barton, and others, probably trustees, granted BARTON HARTSHORN MANOR, first so called, to Henry de Barton and Alice his wife. (fn. 21) It was held in 1498 by John Porter and Joan his wife, (fn. 22) who was the heir of the Barton family. (fn. 23) John and Joan settled the manor in that year on Thomas Porter and Agnes his wife, with remainder, in default of issue, to George brother of Thomas, and Joan their sister. (fn. 24)
The manor continued in possession of this family. John Porter was lord about the middle of the 16th century, and had a son of the same name. (fn. 25) In 1577 Edward Porter died seised of the manor, leaving a son Richard, (fn. 26) who attained his majority in 1590. (fn. 27) At his death, which occurred in 1629, he was succeeded by his son Edward. (fn. 28) At about this date, according to Willis, the manor was sold to Thomas Lisle, (fn. 29) whose heir, Fermor Lisle, held it at his death in 1742, when he left it to trustees to the use of his sister and heir Elizabeth, wife of the Rev. Thomas Bowles, and her heirs. (fn. 30) Elizabeth's son, the Rev. William Thomas Bowles, died in 1786, leaving the manor to his wife Bridget for life with the remainder to all his sons as tenants in common. (fn. 31) Two of the sons, the Rev. William Lisle Bowles and Charles Bowles, were lords of the manor in 1812, (fn. 32) and the family still held about 1840. (fn. 33) By 1862 the manor was in possession of the Rev. J. Athawes, (fn. 34) whose family retained possession as late as 1899. Soon after this date it was acquired by Major, now Lieut.-Colonel, Charles William Trotter, who is the present lord of the manor.
A second manor of BARTON had its origin in lands here granted to the priory of Chetwode in 1246 by Ralph de Norwich (fn. 35) and Sibyl de Caversfield. (fn. 36) The latter held her lands by grant of John de Barton. (fn. 37) They passed with the priory's lands to Nutley Abbey, and were granted in 1540 as the 'Manor of Barton Hartshorn' to William Risley. (fn. 38) Thenceforward they descended with the priory manor of Chetwode (q.v.). No mention of it, as a manor, occurs after 1840, (fn. 39) but the owners of the priory estate in Chetwode have continued to hold land in this parish.
By 1254–5 the abbey of Oseney was seised of land in Barton (fn. 40) which was afterwards known as the manor of BARTON HARTSHORN alias BEGGARS BARTON, and held it until the Dissolution. (fn. 41) In 1541 it was granted in fee to John Wellesbourne, (fn. 42) who died in 1548. (fn. 43) His son John conveyed the manor in 1569–70 to Edmund Packson or Paxton, (fn. 44) who died seised in 1596. (fn. 45) His son William succeeded him, (fn. 46) and died in 1628, leaving a son Thomas. (fn. 47) After this date it passed, according to Willis, to the Butterfield family, a member of which had married the heiress of the Paxtons. (fn. 48) About 1716 Eleanor Butterfield married George Southam, to whom she brought this estate, which he held in 1735. (fn. 49) There is no further trace of it after this date, but Sheahan, in 1862, refers to an ancient stone house in the parish then occupied as a farm by Mr. Henry Paxton. (fn. 50)
The church of ST. JAMES consists of a continuous chancel and nave 63 ft. 6 in. by 14ft., north and south transepts, north and south porches, a western bellcote for two bells surmounted by a cross, (fn. 51) and north vestry. The walls are of stone rubble and the roofs are tiled.
The chancel was rebuilt in the 19th century, and the transepts were added in 1841 by the patron, Mr. W. H. Bracebridge, the only ancient part of the church now left being the nave, which is probably of 13th-century date. The two square-headed windows in the south wall, each of two lights, are of the 14th century, and between them is a pointed south doorway of 13th-century date reset. In the north wall are two 16th-century square-headed windows, the eastern of two lights and the western a single light; the north doorway, between the two windows, has a reset segmental head, and chamfered jambs which may be of original 14th-century date. The blocked west doorway is of late 15th or early 16th-century date; above it is a 13th-century lancet, with rebated jambs. The north porch is modern, but the south porch may be of the 17th century.
The church of Barton is thought to have formed part of the endowment of Chetwode Priory about 1245, (fn. 52) and was confirmed to that house by Bishops of Lincoln in 1268 and 1303. (fn. 53) Presentantion was made to the vicarage from 1276 onwards, (fn. 54) the church being served by canons of the priory. (fn. 55) The 'church of the Blessed Mary at Barton' is mentioned in the deed of the priory's surrender in 1460 (fn. 56) before it was annexed to Nutley Abbey. In 1540 the advowson of the vicarage and the rectory of Barton were granted, with the possessions of the late priory of Chetwode, to William Risley, (fn. 57) and the property has since passed with the priory estate in Chetwode (q.v.), the advowson being at present held by Major G. F. Green. After the Dissolution the living was presented to as a curacy only in 1525 and 1542. (fn. 58) Since the latter date the same incumbents have served both Chetwode and Barton; the living is now a vicarage with Chetwode annexed to it.
The poor's allotment, containing 2 a. 2 r. 35 p., was allotted for the benefit of the poor by an award made under the Inclosure Act. The land is let in allotments, producing about £4 5s. yearly, which is distributed in coal.