A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
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Serintone (xi cent.); Sirinton, Schirinton (xii cent.); Shyriton (xiii cent.); Shringtone, Scringtone, Sheryngton (xiv cent.); Shryngton (xiv–xv cent.).
This parish covers 1,805 acres, of which 605 are arable, 944 permanent grass and 45 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is various, the subsoil limestone and clay, the principal crops grown being wheat, barley, beans and roots. The ground falls from about 300 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north to about 200 ft. in the west and south, where the River Ouse and Chicheley Brook form the boundary. The river is here crossed by Sherington Bridge, a structure of three large and two small arches (fn. 2) which carries the main road from Onley to Newport Pagnell. This road is joined about a quarter of a mile east of the river by the high road to Bedford.
The village of Sherington, which is large and straggling, lies along the road from Newport Pagnell to Olney, here called High Street. Gun Lane (which ends as Parson's Lane) and Perry Lane branch off to the east and south-east from the High Street, and with it almost encircle the village, the northern and higher end of which is called Church End, this name appearing early in the 16th century. (fn. 3) Here the church of St. Laud the Martyr stands on elevated ground, with the rectory about 300 yds. to the south. The latter is a 17th-century stone house of two stories, built probably about 1607, the date inscribed upon a stone set in the south wall; additions and alterations have been made in modern times. Some original panelling still remains in the hall. Near it is the school. Yew Tree Farm, in the village, is a stone house of the late 16th century, with subsequent additions; a panel on the north front bears the date 1595. Further to the south is another stone house of about the same date, now called the Laurels. It retains some original fittings, including the staircase. At the south end of the village is the Manor House, now occupied by Mrs. Taylor. The present house, which was built probably in the 18th century, is surrounded by a moat. It is uncertain to which manor this house belonged, but as the Umneys, who owned Caves Manor, apparently resided here, (fn. 4) it may have been the manor-house of that manor. The principal manor-house, which was occupied by the Linfords, Ardes, Lowes, Adams and Chesters, was situated north of the church, according to Browne Willis. (fn. 5) Another manor-house in the parish, which is now known as the Mercers' Farm, is situated to the north of the Manor House.
There is a Methodist chapel north-west of Mercers' Farm, and a Congregational chapel is situated north-east of the Manor House and south of Crofts End.
In the west of the parish are parts of an abandoned railway.
About a quarter of a mile south of the village is a district called Chicheley Hill. The northeastern angle of the parish is occupied by Sherington Wood.
In 1086 SHERINGTON was included among the lands of the Bishop of Coutances, and was assessed at 10 hides. Six hides of this manor had previously been held as one manor by Edwin son of Borret, 1 hide had been held as one manor by Alwin his man, and 3 hides as one manor by Osulf, a man of King Edward, the last two being able to assign and sell. (fn. 11) This land owed the service of two knights, (fn. 12) each of the three manors, later distinguishable in this parish as Sherington, Cockfield and Fitz Johns, being afterwards answerable for that proportion of the original estate which they represented. This arbitrary division of responsibility seems, however, to have resulted in some confusion, for, though one-third of the whole two fees went to form Fitz John's Manor, (fn. 13) the remaining two estates were still said to owe one fee each. (fn. 14) The tenants of the more important of these, Sherington Manor, owed suit twice yearly at Northampton and at the hundred court, and paid 40d. for ward of La Ho (? Cainhoe Castle, Bedfordshire) and for ward of Northampton Castle. (fn. 15) The other fee at that date (1276) was said to be held of the king in chief, but the Abbess of Fontévrault, by gift of the king's ancestors, took the 32s. due. (fn. 16) In 1284 the service was unknown, while Sherington Manor was held by the service of two armoured horses in the king's army. (fn. 17) The service for the two fees is duly recorded all through the 14th century, but in the 15th the Cockfield portion is returned as owing one-fortieth of a fee only (fn. 18) and the chief manor one-third of a fee. (fn. 19) An inquisition of 1637, stating that the principal manor was held of the king in chief, (fn. 20) corrects a former one of that year whereby the overlordship was ascribed to Newport Pagnell Manor. (fn. 21)
After the forfeiture of the lands of the Bishop of Coutances in the reign of William Rufus, Sherington passed to the family of Carun (Karon, Caroun), known also as Sherington. William de Carun, or de Sherington, son of Ralf de Carun or de Sherington, bestowed the church of Sherington on Tickford Priory before 1150. (fn. 22) He paid 4 marks scutage in 1160–1, (fn. 23) and was paying scutage from that date to 1171–2. (fn. 24) He was succeeded, probably in 1188, by his son Richard de Carun, (fn. 25) who owed 100 marks fine for land in Sherington in that year. (fn. 26) Felicia, widow of William son of Ralf, who claimed a hide of land in Sherington in 1194, (fn. 27) was probably the widow of William de Sherington. Richard must have been dead before 1201–2, when Robert Vipount gave the king 20 marks and a palfrey to have the wardship of the lands of Richard de Sherington, (fn. 28) for which lands he paid £4 farm in 1202. (fn. 29) Richard left a son Ralph, (fn. 30) who was succeeded after 1210 (fn. 31) by his son John, who, as John de Carun, in 1232 claimed two separate properties of 10 acres of land and 2 acres of wood each against John son of Hawise and John de Coveleigh and his wife Scholastica, daughter of John de Carun's grandfather Richard. (fn. 32) Some arrangement was concluded in the following year, (fn. 33) and John de Carun was in possession in 1234–5. (fn. 34) He was succeeded after 1237 (fn. 35) by his son Ralph, who died without issue. (fn. 36) Martin, brother and heir of Ralph, (fn. 37) complained that in 1272 several persons, including Roger Fitz John of Hanslope, probably identical with the Roger Fitz John to whom Martin gave one-third of the manor, had carried off his corn at Sherington. (fn. 38) He is returned as lord in 1276 (fn. 39) and in 1284. (fn. 40) A comparison between an extent of the manor taken in 1289 (fn. 41) and another taken in 1295, after Martin's death, (fn. 42) shows a decrease in the number of acres of land, &c., which may be due to the alienation of the third to Fitz John. Martin was succeeded by his son Roger, (fn. 43) against whom complaint was brought in 1298 by David le Graunt that, after demising the manor to him for a term of years, Roger de Carun had entered with Simon Spigurnel, before the term was expired, had ejected Graunt's men and carried away corn and other goods. (fn. 44) Roger de Carun died before June 1301 seised of the manor, and leaving a daughter Sibyl, then under two years, (fn. 45) who, as the heir of Roger de Carun, was returned as holding Sherington in 1302. (fn. 46) Three years later Reynold de Grey successfully claimed against her guardian, Richard Golde, one-third of six messuages, 2½ virgates of land, 40 acres of wood, and 6s. 1½d. rent in Sherington as dower of her mother Joan. (fn. 47) The custody of the person and lands of Sibyl had been first granted by the king to Edmund Earl of Cornwall, whose executors sold it to Richard Golde. He granted it to his brother Thomas Golde, by whom it was in turn granted to Roger de Pateshull (? Pattishall, Northamptonshire), parson of Bletsoe (co. Beds.). (fn. 48) While in his custody Sibyl was in 1311 carried off by John de Burgh, who, with a crowd of armed supporters, broke the hearthstone and windows of the manor-house, and married her against the will of her guardian. (fn. 49) Complaint of forcible entry was made in 1313 (fn. 50); in the following year John de Burgh and Sibyl, then his wife, having proved her age, had seisin of her father's lands. (fn. 51) Her husband had apparently acted with the king's consent, (fn. 52) and Sibyl, being deaf and dumb, was unable to hear or to give evidence (fn. 53); the case against John de Burgh was still unconcluded in 1315. (fn. 54) In 1316 he was holding the manor, (fn. 55) but before 1327 Sibyl was apparently married to Richard Linford, then described as Richard Linford of Sherington. (fn. 56) He was returned as lord in 1346, (fn. 57) and in 1348, with his wife Sibyl, settled the manor on themselves and their heirs. (fn. 58) Richard Linford was succeeded by his son John, who in 1355 acquired a carucate of land in Sherington, (fn. 59) and died in 1360, (fn. 60) when the wardship of his lands and son and heir John was granted to Roger Grote (or Groton). (fn. 61) During the minority of this John Linford a rent of 18 marks was paid out of the manor to Henry Sterky, who assigned this annuity first to John Fitz Richard of Olney and then to Sir Ralph Basset of Drayton. (fn. 62) John Linford proved his age on 2 October 1372, (fn. 63) and obtained seisin of his lands on 2 February 1373–4. (fn. 64) In 1383 he acquired licence to settle the manor on himself and his wife Katherine in tail, with remainder to Roger Groton of Calverton in tail and final remainder to himself in fee simple, (fn. 65) the settlement taking place in 1386. (fn. 66) In the following year John Linford incurred a debt to John Hende, to whom the manor, of which an extent was taken at that time, was afterwards assigned in security. Linford re-entered the manor and ejected Hende, who thereupon sued him, obtaining a verdict in his favour. (fn. 67) John Linford died seised of Sherington in 1401, when he was succeeded by his son, a third John Linford. (fn. 68) About 1429 either the same John or a successor of the same name conveyed the manor in fee simple to Walter Fitz Richard and other feoffees, (fn. 69) and in 1450 it was settled by Walter Fitz Richard on John Ardes and his wife Isabel, (fn. 70) the daughter and heir of John Linford. (fn. 71) According to Browne Willis, the last John Linford was buried in the church with his wife Isabel, under a monument bearing the date 1468 (fn. 72); but it is more probable that the tomb was erected to John Ardes, the husband of the Linford heiress Isabel, who may have taken the name of Linford. John Ardes was succeeded by his son Michael, lord in 1491. (fn. 73) Michael Ardes was succeeded before 1527 (fn. 74) by his son Anthony, (fn. 75) from whom the manor passed before 1545 (fn. 76) to his son Edward. (fn. 77) In 1570 Edward Ardes settled the manor on his wife Katherine, daughter of Thomas Lowe of Clifton Reynes, with remainder in tail-male to his sons Richard, Thomas, Israel, Francis, Edward, Andrew, Sherington, Philip and Humphrey respectively. (fn. 78) Edward Ardes died in November of that year, (fn. 79) and in 1571 his widow was holding the manor, (fn. 80) which she and her second husband Raphael Pemberton conveyed in 1588 to her son Richard Ardes. (fn. 81) In the following year Richard Ardes conveyed to Thomas Tyringham and Anthony his son, LINFORDS alias ARDES MANOR, with the exception of ten messuages, one dovecot and nearly three quarters of the land. (fn. 82) The manor descended with Tyringham (q.v.) until sold in 1682 by Sir William Tyringham and others, apparently trustees for Elizabeth Tyringham and her husband John Backwell, to Roger Chapman, (fn. 83) attorney of Newport. On his death in 1702 it passed to his eldest son Thomas Chapman, (fn. 84) who was holding it in 1734, when, according to Browne Willis, though reputed the principal manor, the demesnes were worth only £50 per annum. (fn. 85) It was purchased by Barnaby Backwell, who, by his will dated 24 December 1753, left the manor to the use of his wife Sarah for the education of his eldest son. (fn. 86) It has since descended with Tyringham, (fn. 87) the present owner being Mr. F. A. Konig of Tyringham.
The land excepted from the sale of Linford's Manor in 1589 appears to have passed to Reynes Lowe, who with John Coles, sen., and John Coles, jun., was holding a manor of LINFORD or LINFORDS in Sherington in 1611. (fn. 88) From Reynes Lowe it passed before 1634 (fn. 89) to a kinsman Thomas Lowe of Sherington, (fn. 90) who was dealing with it in 1650. (fn. 91) In 1660, with his wife Anne, Thomas Lowe conveyed it to John Adams, (fn. 92) the husband of his daughter Anne. (fn. 93) It remained in the Adams family, by whom it was conveyed in 1725 to Sir John Chester, bart., of Chicheley (fn. 94) (q.v.), with which manor it was still held late in the 19th century. (fn. 95)
According to Browne Willis the manor-house did not pass with the manorial rights to the Tyringhams, but descended with this property. (fn. 96)
A property known from the 13th century as a manor of Sherington, and from the 15th as a manor of CAVES or SHERINGTON, was held of the principal manor by fealty and rent of 1d. (fn. 97) It appears to have originated in the amalgamation of numerous small estates in Sherington acquired by John de Cave, from whose family it took its distinctive name. In 1253 William le Curt and his wife Amphyllis granted him a messuage and 11 acres in Sherington. (fn. 98) In the year before he had received a grant of 6½ acres from William Vintner of Stratford and his wife Emma, (fn. 99) who in 1255 granted to him a messuage, with the reversion of all the lands in Sherington which Sarah, wife of William le Franceys, and Olive, wife of Ranulph le Franceys, held in dower of the inheritance of Emma, and all other lands belonging to Emma in Sherington, John de Cave paying 60 marks for this grant. (fn. 100) In 1257 John le Blake and his wife Felise (apparently one of four co-heirs of a branch of the Sherington family) granted to John de Cave half a messuage, 20 acres of land, and one quarter of a moiety of three mills in Sherington, which they held in right of Felise, together with the reversion of all lands Felise might inherit in Sherington, and one-fourth of all the lands which Beatrice widow of William de Sherington held in dower of her inheritance there, John paying 20 marks for this grant. (fn. 101) John de Cave acquired more land from Simon son of Gervase and his wife Agatha in 1260, (fn. 102) and in 1261 from Jane daughter of Richard de Newenton, a messuage, one-eighth of a mill, and all Jane's pasture between the Ouse and the arable lands. (fn. 103) He was probably dead before 1275, when Geoffrey Kaldsweyn and Lucy his wife, and Eustace le Carpenter and Hawise his wife, granted two parts of a messuage and 18 acres of land in Sherington to Robert de Cave. (fn. 104) All this property, now first called a manor, was demised by Robert de Cave for ten years to William de Cave. The latter assigned his term to John de Thorntoft, whose executors in 1291 complained that in spite of this demise, Robert, with his sons John and Nicholas, among others, had entered the manor and ejected them. (fn. 105) It was probably the son John here mentioned who in 1318 granted a messuage, land, and rent in Sherington to Richard de Cave, with remainder to Thomas, Robert, and Roger, brothers of Richard, and to his own right heirs. (fn. 106) Richard, who appears to have been John's eldest son, was appointed sheriff on 30 May 1319, (fn. 107) and in 1322 obtained the restoration of his lands in Sherington which had been forfeited on information that he was in the company of rebels against the Crown at Kingston, though in matter of fact he had been with the Bishop of Ely in the Isle of Ely for its protection. At the same time Roger de Cave, probably his brother, who had been arrested as a rebel, was delivered by the sheriff. (fn. 108) There is mention of Richard Cave of Buckinghamshire two years later, (fn. 109) and of John Cave in 1363, (fn. 110) 1364, (fn. 111) 1378 and 1381, (fn. 112) and the manor probably remained for some time in the Cave family, since, when it next appears in 1491, it was designated Cave's Manor. Richard Maryot died seised of it on 18 July of that year, leaving a daughter and heir Joan, wife of Humphrey Catesby. (fn. 113) The manor appears to have been held by Katherine, widow of Richard Maryot, still alive in 1526, (fn. 114) since 15 acres of pasture was all that Humphrey Catesby held in Sherington at his death in 1503, (fn. 115) and Katherine was sued for detaining the deeds of the manor of Sherington by Margaret Horsington. She claimed as daughter and eventual heir of Hugh Horsington, after the death of his son John and of the latter's son Randolph without issue. (fn. 116) For more than a century all trace of this manor is lost, but in 1627 it was conveyed by Sir Francis Clarke to Sir Richard Norton, bart., and others, (fn. 117) probably trustees for William Norton, who was living at Sherington in 1634. (fn. 118) His widow Anne, daughter of Sir John Brett, joined with their son Brett Norton and his wife Sarah in a conveyance of the manor in 1655. (fn. 119) In 1689 it had passed to Owen Norton, (fn. 120) who was holding it in 1697 with Robert Norton and his wife Sarah. (fn. 121) It appears to have passed by marriage from the Nortons to the Pargiters, and again by marriage, circa 1710, from the Pargiters to the Smiths, being in the hands of John Smith of Passenham (co. Northampton) in 1736, according to Browne Willis, whose account of Sherington, however, is very confused and by no means reliable. (fn. 122) At the passing of the Inclosure Act for the parish in 1796 it was held by Dryden Smith, (fn. 123) son of Dryden Smith, shipwright of Wapping. (fn. 124) He was succeeded by his son James, who in 1813 barred the entail on the manor (fn. 125) as a preliminary to its conveyance to Dr. Cheyne, (fn. 126) whose trustees in 1857 sold it to Alfred Umney. (fn. 127) Mrs. Umney held the manorial rights for about thirty years, but before 1895 they had passed to George Alfred U. Nelson, whose trustees have held since 1907.
The manor of FITZJOHNS or SHERINGTON had its origin as abovesaid in a grant for life made by Martin de Carun to Roger Fitz John of Sherington of one-third of his manor, this third being quitclaimed for ever to Roger Fitz John in 1297–8 by Martin's son and successor Roger de Carun. (fn. 128) Roger Fitz John, the grantee, died before June 1313, when his son Robert was his heir. (fn. 129) Robert held in 1316, (fn. 130) and in 1351 there is reference to John son and heir of the late Robert Fitz John of Sherington. (fn. 131) John Fitz John of Sherington in 1369 claimed a toft, 30 acres of land, and 2 acres of meadow, as heir of his grandfather Roger, and great-grandfather Roger Fitz John, against Emma, daughter of Thomas Fitz John, and three other ladies (? apparently co-heirs with her of Roger Fitz John, John's great-grandfather) and their husbands. (fn. 132) John Fitz John, or a successor of the same name, died seised of the manor on 31 March 1413. (fn. 133) His son John, who then succeeded, appeared in pleas of debt in 1425 (fn. 134) and 1426. (fn. 135) In 1436 John Fitz John granted half of a messuage, many acres of land, a rent of 6s. 5d. (in all apparently a moiety of this manor) to John Chamberlain and Margaret his wife for life (fn. 136); and in 1440 granted the reversion of this moiety together with the other half to Nicholas Wymbyssh, clerk, and others, (fn. 137) apparently feoffees. In 1491 the manor, then for the first time called Fitz Johns, was held by Richard Maryot with his other property in Sherington, (fn. 138) but after this date its history becomes obscure for more than a century. In 1599 the site of the manor of Fitz Johns was held by William Mountgomery and his wife Margaret, (fn. 139) who two years later conveyed this manor, then called Sherington, to their son Sherington Mountgomery. (fn. 140) This was possibly the property which in 1623 Sir Anthony Chester, bart., held in Sherington, (fn. 141) and which was called the manor of Sherington in 1638, when he obtained leave for his son Henry to levy a fine with him for the purpose of making a twenty-oneyears' lease. (fn. 142) The messuages in Sherington held by Sir Anthony Chester, bart., and his son John in 1687 (fn. 143) may represent this estate, which may later have merged into the Chesters' manor of Linford in this parish.
One fee, or half of the original estate in Sherington, was obtained in the 13th century by the Cockfield family, by whose name this manor was later distinguished. Though the Caruns do not appear to have subinfeudated this fee, which was held by the Cockfields of the king in chief, yet they evidently had some interest, since it reverted in the 14th century to their successors the Linfords, of whom tenements in the manor were afterwards held. (fn. 144) Robert de Cockfield (Cocfeud, Kockefeud) was in possession c. 1235. (fn. 145) He was probably identical with the Robert de Cockfield who in 1223 granted a messuage and 5 acres in Sherington to Simon son of Adam in exchange for another messuage and a virgate quitclaimed to himself and to Denis de Cockfield and William de Sherington by Simon. (fn. 146) Early in 1240–1 Robert de Cockfield and William de Sherington owed arrears of rent for the mill-pond to Robert le Blund and his wife Mabel, who renounced their claim to the arrears and all future rent. (fn. 147) Robert de Cockfield, still alive in 1260, (fn. 148) appears to have been succeeded before 1276 by John de Cockfield, (fn. 149) probably his son, who by 1284 had subinfeudated this estate to Adam de Cockfield. (fn. 150) It was probably the same Adam and his wife Lucy whose confirmation of the gift of 2 virgates of land in Sherington by Robert de Tinchelray and Aveline his wife to the Abbess and nuns of St. Mary (Delapré Abbey), Northampton, was inspected and confirmed in 1328. (fn. 151) No later member of the Cockfield family is recorded as tenant, and this fee reverted to the Linfords, who had succeeded the Caruns in the principal manor. It must be this manor which in 1374 was bestowed by John Linford on Henry Lord Grey de Wilton, for although it was then said to be held of the king in chief for 3s. yearly at Northampton Castle and 5s. hidage to the king, a service associated with the principal manor of Linfords, and although it was expressly stated that John Linford had nothing except this manor, (fn. 152) yet the Linfords continued to hold the principal manor, and the Greys certainly afterwards owned the manor once held by the Cockfields. In 1380 Henry Lord Grey de Wilton made a settlement on himself and his wife Elizabeth of Sherington Manor, (fn. 153) a third of which, at his death in 1396, was said to be held for life by Joan Basset in dower, of the gift of her husband Ralf Basset. (fn. 154) The Greys of Wilton also held Water Eaton Manor in Bletchley, but after the death of Richard Grey in 1442 (fn. 155) the two manors appear to have diverged, the renunciation of claim by Margaret, Richard's widow, in 1448 (fn. 156) evidently not taking effect, since property in Sherington, amongst which were closes called Jurdens and Heynes, was included among Margaret's dower at her death in 1452. (fn. 157) It had passed to Edward Grey of Bletchley by 1491, when it was called COCKFIELD MANOR, (fn. 158) and at his death in 1504 came to his cousin and heir, Edmund Lord Grey de Wilton. (fn. 159) It was possibly this property which was acquired by Dean Colet and given to the Mercers' Company in trust for the endowment of St. Paul's School in 1510, (fn. 160) and in which the company claimed manorial rights in 1796. (fn. 161) It is still held by the company, being known as the Mercers' Farm.
The Bassets of Drayton held lands in Sherington as part of their manor of Olney, and in 1326 (fn. 162) and 1331 (fn. 163) Ralph Basset of Drayton complained that his free warren, etc., in Sherington had been broken into by Richard Linford and others. These lands descended with the manor of Warrington in Olney. The Bassets about 1359 obtained Newton Blossomville Manor (q.v.), with which this property, described as 50 acres of land, 8 acres of meadow, and 10s. rent, (fn. 164) descended through the Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, and with which it was granted to Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers, in 1524. (fn. 165)
A property mainly in Sherington, but extending into the neighbouring parish of Lathbury and comprising four messuages, 100 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 10 acres of pasture, 6 acres of wood called le Hoo, 15s. assize rent, (fn. 166) was known in the 17th century as LE HOO MANOR. (fn. 167) A Margery Del Hoo is mentioned in connexion with Lathbury in 1278, (fn. 168) and about that date Joan Dakeney, lord of the principal Lathbury Manor, claimed warren and a new park at le Hoo. (fn. 169) The Tyringhams held rights over this estate in 1405 (fn. 170) and probably earlier, for Sir Roger Tyringham and Simon his brother were among those who broke Ralph Basset's closes in 1331. (fn. 171) It descended with their manor of Tyringham (q.v.), with which it was held in 1614 by Sir Antony Tyringham. (fn. 172)
Two virgates in Sherington were granted to Tickford Priory with the church, to which one of them belonged, (fn. 173) and at the dissolution of the priory were bestowed in 1526 on Cardinal Wolsey for the college founded by him in Oxford. (fn. 174)
A mill worth 26s. was held with the manor in 1086. (fn. 175) The mill pond passed into the possession of Robert de Cockfield and William de Sherington early in 1240–1, (fn. 176) and the former had evidently a right to the mills in Sherington in 1260. (fn. 177)
An extent of the principal manor of 1301 included two-thirds of a fishery in the Ouse. (fn. 178) The remaining third was evidently granted to the Fitz Johns with their third of the manor of Sherington, as the moiety of a third of a fishery in the water of Sherington was held with a moiety of Fitz Johns Manor in 1436. (fn. 179) Free fishing in the Ouse and waters of Sherington was attached to the principal manor in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 180)
Free fishery in the Ouse was held with the manor of Caves in 1813. (fn. 181)
A several fishery in the Ouse was granted with Cockfield Manor to Henry Lord Grey de Wilton by John Linford in 1374. (fn. 182)
The church of ST. LAUD consists of a chancel measuring internally 30 ft. 10 in. in length with a mean width of 16 ft., north vestry, central tower 11 ft. 4 in. by 11 ft., nave 54 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft. 4 in., north and south aisles each 10 ft. wide, and south porch. It is built of large rubble; the roof of the chancel is covered with tiles and those of the remainder of the church with lead.
A church existed here in the 12th century, (fn. 183) but the earliest parts of the present building, consisting principally of the north arcade and the lower stage of the tower, date from about 1250, when the church appears to have consisted of a chancel, central tower, nave and narrow north aisle. Both the chancel and north aisle were rebuilt early in the 14th century, and it is probable that the completion of the tower was contemplated at the same time, (fn. 184) but little beyond the insertion of the turret stairway was completed at this time. About 1350 the south aisle and the twostoried porch were added, and the nave was widened towards the north, its west wall being rebuilt. The bell-chamber and buttresses were added to the tower late in the 15th century, when the nave clearstory was also added or remodelled, new tracery was inserted in the large west window, and the nave and aisles were re-roofed. In 1870 the whole fabric was restored and a modern vestry has been added.
The chancel widens out towards the east, and was probably begun at that end before the original structure was removed. The head and jambs of the pointed east window, enriched internally with a continuous edge-roll, are of the 14th century, but the tracery is modern. On the south are two three-light windows with vertical tracery, both of which were inserted in the late 15th century, and a moulded doorway of the 14th century with a segmental head, while a small low-side window of one trefoiled light pierces the tower buttress at the south-west. There is now no piscina, but on the south are three sedilia of the 15th century, all under one head with chamfered mullions and unpierced vertical tracery. A large recess has been formed at the north-west for the organ, and there is a modern aumbry at the north-east.
The tower is of three stages, with diagonal buttresses extending to the foot of the bell-chamber, and is surmounted by an embattled parapet and slender spirelet. The ground stage opens to the chancel and nave by pointed arches of about 1250, each of three chamfered orders supported by large responds of trefoil plan with moulded capitals and bases. When the bell-chamber was added in the 15th century it was evidently found desirable to reinforce the north and south walls of the tower, in order that the structure should be more accurately square; this was done from the inside. At the south-west is a pointed doorway to the turret stairway, and above it is a four-centred doorway, now blocked, which led to the rood loft. There is no external division between the two lower stages, and they are quite plain except that the second stage has a small pointed window on the south. The bellchamber is lighted from all sides by twin windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head; the contrast with the plain walls below is greatly enhanced by the projection of the bellchamber on all sides on four-centred arches which spring from the upper parts of the buttresses, and, except where interrupted by the stair turret, span the walls between them.
The nave has arcades of four bays with pointed arches on either side. The north arcade, which is supported by circular columns with moulded capitals and bases, dates from about 1250, but it appears to have been reconstructed about 1 ft. further to the north in the mid-14th century, when the south arcade was built. The west respond is formed by a semicolumn, but the east respond is of the same plan as those of the tower arches. The south arcade is supported by octagonal piers and responds with moulded capitals and bases. There is a large pointed window of five cinquefoiled lights on the west, with jambs and head of the 14th century, but the tracery is of the late 15th century; the nave is further lighted by a clearstory with four windows on either side, each of three uncusped lights under a four-centred head.
The eastern part of the north aisle is lighted by two four-centred windows which were inserted about 1500, one of these, of three lights, being on the east and the other, of two lights, on the north. At the south end of the east wall is a 13th-century piscina, with a trefoiled head and round bowl, now partially covered by the north wall of the nave. The north doorway has a pointed head and elaborate continuous mouldings, but only the east jamb and part of the arch are original. Near the west end of the north wall is an original pointed window of two trefoiled lights with flowing tracery.
The south aisle is lighted by three large windows on the south and one on the east. The east window, with the exception of the label, has been entirely renewed externally, and modern tracery has been inserted in the south-east window, but the adjacent window on the west, with its fine flowing tracery, dates entirely from about 1350; the pointed south doorway, enriched with continuous mouldings, is also of the same period. To the east of the doorway is a low plain recess with a depressed head, and to the west of it is a pointed doorway to the parvise stairway. The south-west window, which has uncusped lights and restored geometrical tracery, dates from the 13th century, and was probably reset here from the nave wall when the aisle was built. At the south-east is a trefoiled piscina of the 14th century with a broken quatrefoil bowl, and on the face of the east respond of the arcade is a trefoiled image niche.
The ground stage of the porch is carried by a stone quadripartite vault with chamfered ribs, and has wall arcades on the east and west, each consisting of three trefoiled arches with traceried spandrels, that on the west being modern; at the north-east is a plain stoup, the bowl of which has been broken away. The entrance archway has been extensively repaired. The parvise has small pointed windows and a straight parapet.
The nave has a low-pitched moulded roof of about 1500, with shields at the feet of the intermediate rafters. The aisles have lean-to roofs of the same period, that of the north aisle having figures at the feet of the principals, one holding a scroll and the others shields.
The font, which dates from the late 14th century, is octagonal and has a panelled bowl and stem, and a moulded base. On each side of the bowl is a defaced figure of a saint under an ogee crocketed label. The figures of St. Paul, St. Andrew and St. Catherine can be easily recognized. On one of the stalls is a leather bound book of Common Prayer 'Printed by the Assigns of John Bill Deceased and by Henry Hills and Thomas Newcomb, Printers to the Kings most excellent Majesty. 1683'; on it is written 'Thomas his Book 1686'
The tower contains a ring of five bells; the second, inscribed 'Gabrel' but not dated, the fourth and the tenor, both dated 1591, were all cast at Bedford by one of the Watts family; (fn. 185) the fourth and tenor are inscribed with the letters of the alphabet, the former in Gothic smalls and the latter in Gothic capitals. The treble is by Pack & Chapman of London, 1773, and the third by Henry Bagley, 1672.
The communion plate consists of a chalice and cover paten of 1733, dated 1735; a flagon of 1769; a spoon of 1806; and a chalice and standing paten, both of 1843.
The registers begin in 1695.
The advowson was held by the Caruns or Sheringtons with the principal manor until granted by William de Sherington to Tickford Priory at some date before 1150. (fn. 186) An attempt made in 1229 by John de Carun, William's great-grandson, to recover possession of the advowson, in spite of the confirmation of his father Ralph, was unsuccessful, (fn. 187) and it remained in the possession of the priory (fn. 188) until granted by it in 1293 to the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 189) It remained the property of the bishops (fn. 190) till 1852, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Oxford. (fn. 191)
A rent of 8d., issuing from land in Sherington held by Gervase de Carun, was devoted by his brother Richard (temp. Richard I) to the maintenance of a lamp before the altar in the church. (fn. 194) At the dissolution of the chantries it was found that land worth 6d. yearly was given for an obit, and other land, worth 11d. yearly, for a lamp. (fn. 195)
Edward Fuller, by his will, 1705, devised £5 yearly, to be applied on 27 March as follows: 20s. to the minister for a sermon, 10s. to be expended on the minister and churchwardens, 5s. to the parish clerk, and £3 5s. to be distributed in half-crowns to twentysix poor. The rent-charge is paid as to £2 10s. out of the Latimer estate belonging to Lord Chesham, £1 5s. out of Gregory's Field, and £1 5s. out of Umney's Close, both in Sherington.
Stonepits Land.— There is a piece of land in the parish containing 2 a. 2 r. 31 p., let at £8 10s. 6d. yearly, which is applied by the Parish Council in lighting the village with street lamps.
Unknown donor's charity or Midsummer Holm consists of a yearly rent-charge of £2 issuing out of Waypost Close, now belonging to Mr. George Fleet, which is applied in aid of church expenses.
Alfred Umney's charity, founded by will proved at London 25 November 1863, consists of £371 14s. 4d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees, the dividends of which, amounting to £13 yearly, are applicable in aid of the religious and moral instruction of poor children of the parish.