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.
The parish of Edgcott contains 1,140 acres, of which only 82 are arable land, the rest being permanent grass. (fn. 1) The soil is clay with a subsoil of clay. The parish is bordered on the west and southeast by branches of the River Ray. The land here and in the north-west is little over 200 ft. in height, but rises in the centre and in the north-east to about 310 ft. above the ordnance datum. The village lies at the foot and on the lower slopes of Perry Hill, and contains some 17th-century cottages with thatched roofs. A few more houses straggle along the road leading south out of the village, and there are one or two farms in the outlying parts of the parish.
The Manor Farm, which stands near the church, and was formerly the Manor House, is a late 17thcentury building of brick with a tiled roof. Near it is the old Rectory, an early 17th-century house of brick and timber with a thatched roof, much modernized. There is a small Congregational chapel in the village dating from 1825.
Before the Conquest EDGCOTT was held in four several parts by four thegns. One, Alwin, had 2½ hides as one manor, a second had a hide and a virgate also as a manor, Almar held half a hide, and Thori, a house carl of King Edward, 3 virgates. (fn. 2) All these portions were held of Walter Giffard in 1086 as one manor, (fn. 3) which thus became a parcel of the honour of Giffard, (fn. 4) and the overlordship descended with that of Whaddon Manor in Cottesloe (q.v.), being vested in the Duke of Buckingham in 1514. (fn. 5) After his attainder in 1521 (fn. 6) Edgcott was held of the Crown, at first as of the duchy of Buckingham for a pair of gilt spurs or 6d., (fn. 7) and afterwards as of the manor of East Greenwich in 1627. (fn. 8)
Ralf was the tenant of Walter Giffard at the time of the Survey. (fn. 9) Possibly a family taking its name from the place were tenants in Edgcott in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Alan de Englefield certainly held the manor before 1219, (fn. 10) but a deed of 1226 records the acknowledgement by Henry de Edgcott to Alan de Englefield of rent and service for the 'vill' of Edgcott held on lease for nine years. (fn. 11) The Englefield family afterwards obtained full possession. Their chief seat was at Englefield, Berkshire, (fn. 12) and the references to their connexion with Edgcott are few. William de Englefield, son of Alan, (fn. 13) leased land here to Henry de Edgcott in 1235, (fn. 14) and held the vill in demesne as one knight's fee. (fn. 15) He acquired rights in half a hide in 1243, (fn. 16) and was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 17) whose son William granted the manor to Roger Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield before 1277, (fn. 18) when the latter was sued by John's widow Burgia, who claimed dower. (fn. 19) At this date the bishop was said to hold the manor on a life grant, (fn. 20) but in 1284–6 it was stated that he held as guardian to William's heir, (fn. 21) Roger, who was seised in 1302–3. (fn. 22) He retained Edgcott until some time after 1316, (fn. 23) but his son Philip (fn. 24) was in possession in 1318. (fn. 25) Philip was still alive in 1346, (fn. 26) but little is known of the history of the manor between that date and 1398, when his descendant John Englefield held the manorial rights. (fn. 27) His mother had married as her second husband Thomas Prior, (fn. 28) which may account for the name of Julian Prior being returned as lord of Edgcott in 1418. (fn. 29) A Richard Prior was interested in the settlement made upon Gerard Braybrook re1422 by Philip Englefield. (fn. 30) The Braybrooks retained some right in Edgcott for several years, (fn. 31) but in 1453 Richard Prior quitclaimed his interest to Robert Englefield, who with John Englefield appears to have mortgaged the manor for £4,000 to William Brook of London. (fn. 32) Robert Englefield held until his death in 1469, (fn. 33) when he was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, his son John having died in 1466. (fn. 34) Thomas Englefield was returned as lord in 1493 (fn. 35) and died seised of the manor in 1514 (fn. 36); his son, also called Thomas, (fn. 37) died in 1537. (fn. 38) Sir Francis Englefield, son of the latter, held Edgcott until his attainder in 1585. (fn. 39) In 1601 the manor was granted by the Crown to Robert Wright and Henry Maye and their heirs. (fn. 40) It passed before 1607 to Sir William Dormer and Sir John Dormer, (fn. 41) in whose family it descended, with Long Crendon Manor (q.v.), until 1716, when John Dormer sold Edgcott to Sir Samuel Garth, (fn. 42) the fashionable physician and poet. He died in 1719, (fn. 43) leaving the manor in trust for Henry Boyle, son of his daughter Martha Beaufoy by William Boyle. (fn. 44) Henry died unmarried in 1756. (fn. 45) His sisters, Beaufoy, Elizabeth and Harriet, had married respectively John Wilder, Matthew Graves and William Nicholas. (fn. 46) Under the terms of Sir Samuel's will the manor passed to them and their heirs as tenants in common, and Edgcott was therefore held, after Henry's death, by Beaufoy Wilder, (fn. 47) Henry Boyle Graves (fn. 48) and Robert Boyle Nicholas. (fn. 49) In 1795 William Graves conveyed his third of the manor to Joseph Bullock, (fn. 50) who obtained the remainder of the estate from Henry Wilder, (fn. 51) Beaufoy's son. (fn. 52) After that date Edgcott was held with Caversfield (q.v.), being, however, retained by the Bullock-Marshams when they alienated Caversfield, the present lord of the manor being Mr. Charles John Bullock-Marsham.
The site of the manor, mentioned in 1576, (fn. 53) was held by Sir Francis Englefield at his attainder. (fn. 54) Leases of it were granted by the Crown in 1591 and 1596 to Carew Reynolds and John Wineard respectively, (fn. 55) but it was nevertheless included with the manor in the grant of the latter made in 1601. (fn. 56)
The plan of the present building is probably the result of the gradual rebuilding of a 12th-century church consisting of a chancel and nave. The first stage in its evolution, so far as can now be traced, was the rebuilding of the chancel in the middle of the 14th century. About a century later the nave was in turn partially rebuilt, and the west tower was added, new windows, doorways and roof being constructed. The church was restored in 1604 and again in 1875, when the north vestry was added.
In the east wall of the chancel is a modern pointed window of three lights. In the north wall are two 14th-century windows, the western of which is transomed to form a low-side window, the sill being prepared for a shutter. In the south wall is a 14thcentury single light, to the east of which is a modern doorway to the vestry incorporating parts of a 14thcentury window formerly in the same wall. The chancel arch is of the 14th century, though much restored, and has remains of painted scrollwork on the inner order.
On the south side of the nave are two 15th-century windows, one of two, and the other of three, trefoiled lights, and between them is a 15th-century doorway with a 17th-century door. The windows on the north side are modern except part of the sills and jambs. The 15th-century staircase to the roodloft with contemporary upper and lower doorways still remains at the south-east of the nave. Over the latter doorway are the remains of a 12th-century window, and above the doorway to the loft is a small trefoiled light. The flat nave roof is of the 15th century, but has been considerably restored.
The tower is of two stages; in the west wall of the ground stage is an original pointed doorway with a two-light traceried window above it. The upper stage is lighted by two-light windows, also of original detail. In the north wall of the tower is a corbel with a curiously carved head. Part of the 16thcentury rood screen has been used to form the back of the return stall on the north side of the chancel, and other parts of the stalls here, and some of the seating in the nave, are of the same date.
There are three bells: the treble, by John Danyell, is of the 15th century, and is inscribed 'Sancta Katerina ora pro nobis'; the second is by R. Taylor & Son, and is dated 1829; and the tenor is inscribed 'James Keene made me 1626.' The sanctus is by Edward Hemins of Bicester, 1730.
The earliest recorded presentation to the church was made between 1209 and 1219 by the lord of the manor, (fn. 57) to which the patronage has ever since remained attached. (fn. 58) The church was valued at £12 10s. in 1535. (fn. 59)
The chantry returns show that a rent of 6d. was received from lands in the parish, given for the maintenance of a 'lampe light' in the parish church. (fn. 60)
Gang Monday Land.—This charity dates from 1582, when an acre of land was left by Isabel Ledbrook, widow, to the poor of Edgcott, the proceeds to be distributed in cakes and ale at the perambulation of the parish every Rogationtide. The rent-charge was redeemed in 1862 by the transfer of £66 13s. 4d. consols to the official trustees, now producing £1 13s. 4d. yearly, which, with money added by the squire, Mr. C. J. Bullock-Marsham, is distributed in coal.