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 covers 1,295 acres, of which 604 are arable land, 573 permanent grass and 34 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil and subsoil are various and the chief crops are wheat, barley and beans. The general level of the ground is well over 400 ft. above the ordnance datum, 430 ft. being reached about the north centre of the parish; on the west border by the River Ouse the land drops to 339 ft.
The road from Brackley to Buckingham throws off a branch leading north to Turweston village, about half a mile distant on the Oxfordshire border The village is small, but rather straggling, and contains some 17th-century stone cottages. The church is at the east entrance, and to the east of this again, across the road, is the Rectory House, built in 1855.
About 200 yards north of the church is Turweston Manor House, the seat of Sir John Frecheville Ramsden, bart. It is an early 17th-century stone house of two stories, built probably by the Haynes family, who were lessees under the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Before the west front of the house stretches a park of about 35 acres, the great part of which is in Brackley, the River Ouse, which flows at the foot of the lawn, forming the dividing line. In the grounds is a stone house with mullioned windows, which bears the date 1638. It is now divided into two cottages, and has been considerably restored.
Turweston House, a modern building, was bought from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster by their lessee, Mr. J. Locke Stratton. (fn. 2) It is now occupied by his widow.
At the north-west end of the village stands Turweston Mill, perhaps on the site of the one worth 7s. 6d. mentioned in Domesday, (fn. 3) for which, with half a virgate of land, William the Miller paid 14s. in 1278. (fn. 4) William le Muney (Meunier ?) brought an action in 1302–3 against William Maunsell for having by night, out of malice aforethought, thrown a great quantity of quicksilver in the mill pond at Turweston, causing damage to the amount of £100. (fn. 5) The Haynes family afterwards held the old watermill on lease from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and the removal of a plank bridge leading thereto was the subject of a lawsuit in 1680. (fn. 6) Another 17th-century document refers to arable land called Upper and Lower Wakes Mill and to Old Windmill Hill, together with an existing windmill. (fn. 7)
Some 17th - century place-names are Tarriers meadow, Curlockes mead, the Plocke and Cat braines. (fn. 8)
The open lands in Turweston were inclosed by an Act of Parliament passed in 1813. (fn. 9) Right of common on Wanfordfield, adjoining Westbury, when it should lie fallow, had been claimed in 1566 by Robert Mordaunt, lord of Westbury, by virtue of a grant made to his predecessor Andrew de St. Lys by the Abbot of Westminster in 1313–14. The fields of the two manors adjoined and were undivided by hedge or ditch. Richard Wygorns, on behalf of the township of Turweston, ejected Mordaunt's cattle about 1562, (fn. 10) and no further claim to common rights in Turweston appears to have been put forward by the lords of Westbury.
Wenesi, the chamberlain of King Edward, held and could sell TURWESTON, a manor of 5 hides which by 1086 had passed to William de Fougeres (Felgeris), and was his only holding in this county. (fn. 11) The overlordship rights afterwards passed to the Mortimers Earl of March, of whom there is record in Turweston from 1278 (fn. 12) until the 15th century. (fn. 13) Holding an intermediary lordship under them were the Zouches, whose rights were recognized from the early 13th century (fn. 14) until the 15th century. (fn. 15) The service rendered was for half a fee, one fee, one-third fee and one and a third fees at varying times, but after the grant to Westminster Abbey the interest of the Mortimers and Zouches must have been purely nominal, and during the 14th century the abbot was said to owe the service of one fee to the king. (fn. 16)
Turweston was obtained in fee by the Scovill family before the 13th century. The Humphrey de Scovill who made an arrangement with his father Ralf concerning the manor of Hilperton (Wilts.) in 1205 (fn. 17) was probably the Humphrey de Scovill against whom Laurentia de Scovill brought an action of novel disseisin in Turweston in 1218. (fn. 18) His name is given as lord of the whole 'villata' about 1235, (fn. 19) but it was probably a descendant Humphrey who was in possession in 1274. (fn. 20) He died shortly after 1278, (fn. 21) leaving a widow Florence and four sons, Ralf, Humphrey, Baldwin and William. (fn. 22) Florence received Hilperton in dower, but exchanged it for two parts of Turweston with Henry de Mountfort, to whom Ralf de Scovill had transferred his right. After Ralf's death Henry de Mountfort acknowledged the right of Humphrey de Scovill, brother and heir, to Hilperton and a third of Turweston, and Florence bestowed her two parts, in which she had only a life interest, on her son William. (fn. 23) In the meantime Humphrey died, about 1281, and the third brother, Baldwin, inherited the third of Turweston, Florence acknowledging his right in return for a rent of 6 marks. (fn. 24) Baldwin then proceeded to eject from the other two-thirds of the manor his brother William, and his action was upheld by the court in a suit lasting from 1284 (fn. 25) to 1286. (fn. 26) Simon de Clesworth, whom Baldwin de Scovill apparently enfeoffed of the manor, (fn. 27) was said to be responsible for the feudal aid of 1284–6, (fn. 28) but Turweston afterwards escheated to the Crown and was bestowed on Queen Eleanor. (fn. 29) After her death in 1290 a life grant made by her to Otho de Grandison was confirmed by Edward I in 1291 with reversion to himself. (fn. 30) The following year the manor, advowson and liberties, including free warren, were bestowed on Westminster Abbey in free alms for keeping the anniversary of Queen Eleanor, (fn. 31) Otho de Grandison receiving the manor of Shenley, Hertfordshire, in compensation. (fn. 32) Denham (q.v.) was given at the same time on the same conditions, and the two manors henceforward descend together, (fn. 33) the estate at Turweston being augmented in 1340 by 7 messuages 5 virgates of land, (fn. 34) in pursuance of a licence granted in 1316. (fn. 35) After the Dissolution Turweston was confirmed to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1542, (fn. 36) and a further confirmation was obtained from Elizabeth in 1560. (fn. 37) Under the Act for abolishing deans and prebends, the trustees of the lands held by them sold Turweston to Nicholas Workman and Henry Lane of Hanslope, (fn. 38) but Westminster afterwards regained its possessions, and Turweston continued with the dean and chapter, (fn. 39) the Ecclesiastical Commissioners exercising the manorial rights at the present day.
Records of leases of the manor exist from the 16th century onwards. A lease for twenty-one years, at a rent of £5 6s. 8d., was obtained in 1534 by Henry Dorell, and at its expiration he remained on the premises as tenant at will of the dean and chapter. (fn. 40) In the meantime, however, a lease, evidently in reversion, had been granted in 1550 to Robert Chichester, and by him transferred to Simon Haynes. (fn. 41) The latter, when an infant of five, brought an action for trespass against Dorell in the reign of Philip and Mary, (fn. 42) and in 1566 had trouble with his neighbour Robert Mordaunt, lord of Westbury, as to pasturage in the common fields of Westbury. (fn. 43) A further lease of Turweston was given in 1610 to Simon Haynes for the lives of his wife Anne, son Henry and daughter Joan, the rent of £13 6s. 8d. being reserved to the schools and almshouses at Westminster at the sale of these lands in 1650. (fn. 44) Simon Haynes died in April 1628, (fn. 45) and left as executrix of his will his widow Anne, (fn. 46) who died about 1647. (fn. 47) Her son Henry Haynes in 1650 sued in Chancery a neighbour Thomas Yates (fn. 48) and claimed four years later to have bought the manor from the Parliamentary trustees. (fn. 49) His infant son, Simon, inherited in 1656. (fn. 50) Joseph Haynes held in 1671. (fn. 51) Leases of Turweston in the 18th century were held by Lord Hillsborough, the Weldmans and by Mr. Derbishire, in whose representatives it was vested in the early 19th century. (fn. 52) By 1813 George Courthope had the leasehold rights, (fn. 53) and from about the middle of the 19th century onwards (fn. 54) these have been held by the Stratton family.
The church of the ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN consists of a chancel measuring internally 25 ft. 10 in. in length with an average width of 12 ft. 7 in., north vestry and organ chamber, south chancel aisle, nave 32 ft. 3 in. by 16 ft. 6 in., north and south aisles each 11 ft. 8 in. wide, south porch, and west tower 10 ft. by 9 ft. 2 in. It is built of stone rubble, the nave roof being covered with lead and the other roofs with slate.
This church dates from the 12th century and consisted at the end of that period of the nave, north aisle, and probably a small chancel. The south aisle was added early in the 13th century and the chancel rebuilt about 1250, while the west respond of the south arcade was renewed and the arch above it altered at this latter period. In the 14th century a clearstory was added to the nave, and the aisles were widened. During the 19th century the whole fabric was restored and the vestry, chancel aisle, porch and tower were built, the tower probably on old foundations.
The east window of the chancel, which is of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery, was inserted in the 15th century, but there is an original lancet with an external hollow chamfer moulding at the east end of each side wall. The inner jambs of the south lancet were carried down in the 14th century to form a sedile, to the east of which is a large 13thcentury piscina with a pointed head, continuous moulded jambs and a quatrefoil bowl, part of which has been cut away. Below the north lancet is an ogeeheaded tomb recess of about 1400, which has a moulded edge and crocketed label with a foliated final and flanking pinnacles; the sill and part of the moulding of the west jamb have been cut away. At the west end of the chancel are a modern arch to the vestry on the north, and a modern arcade to the chancel aisle on the south. Reset in the east wall of this aisle is a 14th-century traceried window of two trefoiled lights, probably taken from the chancel. The pointed chancel arch, of about 1250, is of two hollow-chamfered orders, the outer dying into the walls on the east side, and the inner supported by halfround shafts with moulded capitals and bases, the latter of which have been considerably cut away. The chancel has a modern timber roof with plastered compartments.
The nave is of two bays and is lighted by a clearstory with two 14th-century pointed windows on both sides, all renewed externally. On the north is a late 12th-century arcade of two bays with round arches of two plain orders, supported by a central pier and responds having engaged half-round shafts and edge rolls with moulded capitals and bases. The main capitals of the central pier have rudimentary ornament, but those of the responds are more elaborately treated with rich foliage, that at the west being delicately undercut. The floor of the north aisle has evidently been lowered at some period, as the square plinths of the piers and responds now stand upon rough masonry 12 in. high. The south arcade is also of two bays and has arches of two chamfered orders, the eastern semicircular and the other pointed. Both were originally semicircular, and of the early 13th century, but about 1250 the west respond was rebuilt and the western arch altered to its present form, thus accounting for the break in curvature about 1 ft. 9 in. from the springing line. Both responds of the eastern arch and the east respond of the other are original and have three large rolls with moulded capitals, the central roll being filleted. The bases have been restored in a plain manner and the eastern capital has been entirely renewed. The west respond is similar to those of the chancel arch and has a half-round shaft with moulded capital and base, and hollow chamfers on both sides with moulded stops. The pointed tower arch in the west wall is modern. The nave has an open timber low-pitched roof with traceried spandrels, which probably dates from the early 16th century.
The north aisle is lighted from the north by two traceried windows of two lights, originally dating from the 14th century, but almost entirely renewed, and from the west by a narrow round-headed light of the late 12th century, now high in the wall, and, owing to the widening of the aisle, much out of centre. A window on the east, similar to those on the north, has been blocked by the Haynes monument. At the south-east are the remains of a piscina. The east wall of the south aisle is pierced by a modern arch opening into the chancel aisle. In the south wall are two windows of about 1350, each of two trefoiled lights, the eastern with running wheel tracery, the other with flowing tracery. Near the north end of the west wall is a 13th-century lancet similar to those in the chancel. The south doorway, which has a round head and plain continuous chamfer, is modern.
The tower is of three stages with western diagonal buttresses and is surmounted by a saddle-back roof covered with slates; reset in the south wall of the second stage is a two-light traceried window, probably of about 1700.
The font and pulpit are modern. On the north side of the chancel is a beautifully drawn brass figure of a priest in mass vestments of the early 15th century, and on the south are two small brass figures of a man and woman of about 1470 with the inscription, 'Orate pro animabus Thome Grene Johanne et Agnetis uxorum eiusquorum animabus propicietur deus Amen.' Blocking the east window of the north aisle is a marble monument to Simon Haynes (d. 1628); he is represented with his wife kneeling on either side of a prie dieu, in front of which is a child on a low bed, and the monument is flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and cornice with arms. On the north wall of the tower is a monument to George Harris (d. 1689) and Alice his wife, and on the south wall a monument to William Harris, eldest son of George Harris (d. 1674).
The advowson of the church of Turweston has always descended with the manor, and is now vested in the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (fn. 55) In 1279 there is mention of an endowment of one virgate of land, (fn. 56) and in 1291 it was assessed at £8 exclusive of a pension of 4s. paid to Eynsham Abbey (fn. 57); by 1535 the value had increased to £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 58) In 1346 a quarrel between the Prior and the Abbot of Westminster as to the exercise of the patronage was decided in favour of the former. (fn. 59) The abbot would not accept the verdict (fn. 60) and upon complaint by the prior in 1347 that a conspiracy was on foot to prosecute appeals and bring the case into the court of Rome, an order was issued for the arrest of all persons therein concerned. (fn. 61)
The Rev. William Fairfax, a former rector, who died in 1762, by his will bequeathed £100 for putting out poor children to learn to read. The endowment now consists of two cottages, presumably purchased out of the trust funds, and £33 14s. 5d. consols with the official trustees. The income of about £7 10s. a year is applied for educational purposes.
On the inclosure of the parish in 1814, 2 r. 32 p. known as the Town Plot were allotted to the churchwardens and overseers, and 3 r. 11 p., known as the Constables Hook, were allotted to the constables of Turweston. The Fuel allotment containing 11 a. 3 r. 32 p. was at the same period allotted in lieu of the right of the poor to cut fuel from the common lands. The land is let at £6 a year, which is distributed in coal.
The Causton Memorial, founded by deed, 12 June 1850. A sum of £102 13s. 11d. consols was raised to perpetuate the memory of the Rev. Thomas Causton, D.D., Prebendary of Westminster, for many years rector of the parish. The sum of stock is held by the official trustees, and the annual dividends amounting to £2 11s. 4d. are applied in the distribution of winter clothing.