A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Wallingtone (xi cent.); Waudlington or Wadlington (xii–xiv cent.); Wadelington (xv cent.).
The village of Wallington lies on the northern slope of the chalk hills about 3 miles south-east of Baldock station on the Cambridge branch of the Great Northern railway.
The single village street lies at right angles to the road from Sandon to Baldock. The village has a plentiful water supply, and the hill on which it stands is almost surrounded by the Cat Ditch, a tributary of the River Beane. At the head of the street, 466 ft. above the ordnance datum, is Wallington Bury, and just below it lie the church and rectory faced by the Manor Farm. Below these the street follows the slope of the hill in a north-easterly direction, and at its centre the road to Baldock turns westwards near the school. (fn. 1)
Wallington, like the adjacent parishes of Bygrave and Clothall, is still uninclosed, and it retains a few features of the mediaeval village community. The great open arable field, covering nearly two-thirds of the whole area of the parish (2,043 acres), lies on the sloping ground to the north of the village. Its wide expanse is unbroken by hedge or tree and only divided from the open fields of Bygrave by the Icknield Way and from those of Clothall by an open roadway. In its centre, at Metley Hill, is a tumulus of unknown date and origin. At the present day the villagers apparently claim no rights over the field, which is farmed by the occupiers of the Manor Farm, Wallington Bury and the Lodge Farm. The cottagers have, however, the right to keep a cow and a calf on the small common pasture in the south of the parish. (fn. 2) This district is well wooded and contains inclosed meadows and fields. The permanent grass increases and the population of the parish diminishes. (fn. 3) The inhabitants are almost entirely employed in agriculture.
In 1401 a house with 360 acres of land in Clothall and Wallington was purchased from Richard Martell of Dunmow by the Prior of Dunmow. (fn. 4)
The modern estate of Wallington was consolidated early in the 16th century by John Bowles, who acquired the three manors of Wallington, Monks and Montfitchets. These three were evidently identical with the two holdings of Robert Gernon and Goisbert de Beauvais at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 5)
In 1086, however, there were three other holdings in Wallington. Wimund held 2 hides less 10 acres of Count Alan of Britanny, lord of the honour of Richmond. Before the Conquest this land had been held by two sokemen of Eddeva, (fn. 6) probably Edith the Fair. (fn. 7) It was possibly a part of the 'two hides and one virgate' in Wallington which with a virgate in Clothall was held in the 12th century by Robert of Abinger (de Habingwurth, de Abbingburne). (fn. 8) The mesne lord of the fee was then Ruald Pincerna. (fn. 9) The heir of Robert of Abinger was a leper and a minor, and therefore his inheritance was seized by the Crown about 1185. (fn. 10) One part of the fee was then in the occupation of the lords of the manors of Wallington and Monks, while Warin de Bassingbourn held a carucate 'by so much knight's service as pertains to a hide.' (fn. 11) It appears possible that the first portion became absorbed in the two manors of Wallington and Monks. In 1275 the bailiffs of Richmond Honour still took 12d. yearly from the tenement which had belonged to Theobald 'de Mora,' (fn. 12) and may have been that formerly held by Warin de Bassingbourn. 'William' of Abinger is said to have given two thirds of the tithes of Wallington to the priory of Bermondsey. (fn. 13) Evidently this gift was of two thirds of the tithes arising out of the 'Abinger fee' in Wallington. It gave rise to a dispute between William de Thorntoft, parson of Wallington, and the Abbot of St. Albans in 1308. (fn. 14)
Of the other Domesday holdings, the one belonged to the fee of Hardwin de Scales, of whom it was held by Siward. It included 1½ hides and 26 acres, and had formerly been held by Wlware, a man of Anschil of Ware. (fn. 15) No later trace of this holding has been found. It may have been attached to Hardwin's neighbouring manor of Reed (q.v.). It is not clear whether it was this same Siward who held a virgate in Wallington of Geoffrey de Mandeville. (fn. 16)
The manor of WALLINGTON seems to be identical with the 3 hides and 40 acres of land there which were held of Goisbert de Beauvais by a certain Fulk in 1086. The greater part of this holding was occupied before the Conquest by Edric, one of Earl Algar's men; but a small tenement of 24 acres was held by a sokeman of Eddeva the Fair, and subsequently came to Ralf Earl of Norfolk. It was amalgamated with the main manor before 1086, and probably before 1075, for it was not then held by the earl. (fn. 17)
In 1543 the manor was said to be held as of Little Wymondley (fn. 18); this was probably an error for Great Wymondley, for a portion of the latter was held by Goisbert de Beauvais in 1086. (fn. 19) From the 13th century onwards the overlordship of Wallington Manor was held by the Argentines and their successors, lords of both Great and Little Wymondley (q v.), of whom it was held by the service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 20)
The immediate tenants of this manor in the 12th and two following centuries took their name from Wallington. They may possibly have been descendants of Fulk, the tenant in 1086. William de Wallington appears to have held the manor in 1185. (fn. 21) He was probably the son of Robert de Wallington and the same William who gave the church to the monks of St. Albans. (fn. 22) William and Reginald de Wallington served as jurors with Richard of Clothall and others in 1200. (fn. 23) John de Wallington witnessed charters relating to neighbouring lands in 1279. (fn. 24) This or another John held the manor in 1303, (fn. 25) and was still living in 1324. (fn. 26) Apparently he was succeeded by Richard Monchesney, (fn. 27) the king's escheator in Hertfordshire, (fn. 28) who had grant of free warren in Wallington and also in Clothall, (fn. 29) where his interest was for life only. (fn. 30) Walter Monchesney, evidently the heir of Richard, seems to have conveyed the manor to Sir John Lee, kt., lord of the neighbouring manor of Botteles in Clothall, for a yearly rent of 100s. (fn. 31) Sir Walter Lee, kt., son of Sir John, (fn. 32) released all his rights in Wallington to Richard Ravensere and others in 1376, (fn. 33) evidently in trust for sale. (fn. 34)
The history of the manor during the next century is obscure. William Brid was holding it in 1428. (fn. 35) In 1455 it was settled on John Prisot, a judge and member of the commission for raising funds for the defence of Calais, (fn. 36) and his wife Margaret with remainder to the heirs of Margaret by her former husband William Walkern. (fn. 37) Richard Echingham and his wife Joan were parties to this settlement, and appear to have been the heirs of Margaret, (fn. 38) since the manor subsequently descended to Sir Edward Echingham of Ipswich, kt. (fn. 39) In February 1515–16 he sold Wallington Manor for 400 marks to John Bowles, gent., who already resided at Wallington. (fn. 40)
John Bowles purchased also the manors of Monks and Montfitchets (q.v.), thus consolidating in Wallington a considerable estate, which he settled upon his grandson Thomas. (fn. 41) The latter was aged thirteen at his grandfather's death, which took place in 1543. (fn. 42) In his time a single court was held for his manors in Wallington. In consequence even the tenants of his son and successor Thomas Bowles began to doubt the existence of two distinct manors of Monks and Wallington, while the existence of Montfitchets was almost forgotten. (fn. 43) Thomas Bowles the younger settled the Wallington estate on John son of his eldest son Lewis with remainders in succession to Lewis and to the latter's younger brothers, Charles, Thomas and others. Thomas Bowles died 10 September 1626, (fn. 44) and John, the grandson, on whom the estate had been settled, 28 January 1627–8, (fn. 45) leaving a brother and heir Thomas. Lewis Bowles survived till 1 February 1633–4, when his son Thomas was still living. (fn. 46) It is not clear whether this Thomas was to inherit under his grandfather's settlement. A Thomas son of Thomas Bowles and probably nephew of Lewis was dealing with the estate in 1659, (fn. 47) and was possibly the same Thomas who in 1671 sold it to the Rev. John Breton, D.D., Master of Emanuel College, Cambridge. (fn. 48)
The latter bequeathed it to Thomas Breton, a merchant of London, who was succeeded by his son Francis Breton. A life-interest was bequeathed by Francis Breton to his widow. (fn. 49) His daughter and heir, Alice Breton, married Sir John Jennings of Newsells in Barkway. (fn. 50) Their granddaughter Hester Elizabeth Jennings carried the estate in marriage to John (Peachey) Lord Selsey. (fn. 51) Their second son and ultimate heir Henry John Lord Selsey died childless 10 March 1838. (fn. 52) The estate descended to his sister the Hon. Caroline Mary Peachey, who married the Rev. Leveson Vernon-Harcourt, and died without issue in 1871. (fn. 53) In accordance with her mother's will, Wallington then passed to Hugh Henry Rose, Lord Strathnairn of Jhansi, who had distinguished himself in the command of the Central India Field Force during the Sepoy Mutiny. (fn. 54) He died in 1885, and his estate was administered by his great-nephew Admiral the Hon. George Henry Douglas, who succeeded to the Wallington property. (fn. 55)
Apparently Mr. John Dorsett Owen of Plastyn Grove, Ellesmere, Salop, purchased the whole of the Wallington estate, which was held by his trustees after his death in March 1905. They sold to Mr. Philip Arnold. The estate has again been divided in recent years. The Manor Farm, with the manorial rights, was purchased by Mr. Hugh Rayner, junior, whose father has long been tenant of the farm. The Bury Farm was purchased in two lots by Colonel H. A. Remer and Mr. Pratt. (fn. 56)
Half a knight's fee in Wallington was held early in the 14th century as a separate tenement. Richard de Hoggeswell held it of the lord of Wallington in 1303. (fn. 57) He was still living at Wallington about 1322. (fn. 58) He seems to have been succeeded by William de Hoggeswell, but this holding evidently escheated to the lord of Wallington before 1428, (fn. 59) and was probably absorbed in the main manor.
MONKS' MANOR in Wallington and Clothall originated in grants of lands to the monks of St. Albans by William son of Robert de Wallington and several others. (fn. 60) These gifts were confirmed by Henry II between the years 1174 and 1182. (fn. 61) It was probably assigned to the use of the monks' kitchen, as was Wallington Church. (fn. 62) In 1291 the manor was worth £7 12s. 4d. (fn. 63) The lands, with reservation of the courts baron and view of frankpledge, were let to farm in the 16th century and were held by John Bowles, (fn. 64) who was also tenant of the monks' lands in Bygrave (q.v.).
A field called 'Monks' Piece' still belongs to Wallington Manor. (fn. 67)
The manor of MONTFITCHETS is probably identical with 3 hides all but 20 acres held of Robert Gernon by a certain William in 1086. This land had been held by Alvric, a man of Goduin son of Ulestan. (fn. 68) It was probably acquired in the time of Henry I by William Montfitchet together with the estate at Letchworth held of Robert by the William of Domesday Book. (fn. 69) The overlordship apparently descended in the Montfitchet family. Richard Montfitchet (son of Gilbert and grandson of William) succeeded to the Letchworth Manor (q.v.) about 1190. The latter's son and heir died about 1258, and the fee of Montfitchet in Wallington was ultimately assigned to Margery Corbet, granddaughter of his sister Margery. (fn. 70) It was held by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 71) As in the case of Letchworth a subfeoffment seems to have taken place, the actual tenant of Montfitchets being John Muschet, (fn. 72) a name which is possibly a corruption of Montfitchet. (fn. 73) With Letchworth the Wallington quarter-fee had certainly come by 1295 to a younger branch of the Montfitchet family. (fn. 74) It seems possible that the feoffment was made to a younger son of William Montfitchet during the 12th century, as in 1198 Richard son of William Montfitchet unjustly disseised Warin son of John of a tenement in Wallington. (fn. 75) Before 1295 the overlordship had been acquired by Philip Burnell, heir of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was assigned to his widow Maud. (fn. 76)
The subsequent history of Wallington Montfitchets is identical with that of Letchworth Montfitchets until 1539, when John Hanchet, gent., sold the former to John Bowles, (fn. 77) who had already purchased the main manor of Wallington. Thenceforward these two manors have been amalgamated.
The church of ST. MARY consists of chancel 27 ft. by 17 ft. 6 in., north chapel 24 ft. by 11 ft. 6 in., nave 47 ft. by 20 ft. 6 in., south porch 10 ft. 6 in. by 9 ft., west tower 11 ft. square; all internal dimensions.
The walls are of flint rubble, all covered with cement except the chancel, the dressings are of stone; the chancel roof is slated, that over the nave being covered with lead.
The general walling of the nave and chancel may be of the 14th century, but the absence of such early detail makes the date uncertain. The west tower belongs to the beginning of the 15th century, and the north chapel and north nave aisle were probably added shortly afterwards, and at the same time new windows were inserted throughout; the south porch is of late 15th-century date. In 1864 the chancel was almost entirely rebuilt and a new chancel arch inserted.
All the details of the chancel are modern with the exception of the arch opening into the north chapel, which dates from about 1440–50. It is four-centred and consists of two wave-moulded orders, the outer order being continuous, the inner resting on shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The east window of the chapel is of three cinquefoiled lights with rectilinear tracery under a fourcentred arch; the two windows in the north wall have each three lights under a four-centred arch. In the south wall are the remains of a piscina projecting from the wall on a semi-octagonal moulded pedestal; in the north-east angle, high up in the wall, is a stone roof corbel carved with an angel bearing a shield.
On the north side of the nave is an arcade of three bays with pointed arches of two moulded orders upon piers composed of four semicircular shafts separated by hollows; the shafts have moulded capitals and bases; the shafts on the east and west sides of each pier are larger than those on the north and south, and their capitals are deeper. In the east end of the south wall is a low-side window of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head, very similar in position and detail to that at Hinxworth Church, and belonging to the same period (about 1440). The two other windows in the south wall are of three plain lights under four-centred arches; these belong to the 15th century, as also does the south doorway of two moulded orders with label. In the north-east angle of the nave is the doorway to the stair to the rood loft. The roof over the nave is of the 15th century, plain.
In the north wall of the north aisle are three windows similar to those in the north wall of the chapel, and the west window in the aisle is like the east window of the chapel. The north doorway is blocked; it has a fourcentred arch under a square head. The roof over the aisle is original, about 1440–50, and has moulded principals with carved bosses at the intersections; at the feet of the principals are carved figures of angels. The roof is carried to a point a little to the east of the chapel screen, the remainder of the chapel having a flat panelled modern roof.
The outer doorway of the south porch is of two moulded orders, the inner order forming the arch and resting on shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases, the outer order being carried over square; the arch spandrels are pierced. On either side of the porch is a three-light window, most of the stone-work being modern. In the north-east corner are the remains of a stoup.
The tower arch is of three orders, a plain splay between two hollow chamfers; the semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases. The buttressed tower is of three stages; the west window in the first stage is of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoiled opening above; the second stage has a narrow single light on the south side; the belfry windows are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoiled opening in the head, but are much decayed; the tower is finished with an embattled parapet.
A 15th-century oak screen separates the north aisle from the chapel; the open upper panels have traceried heads, and the lower closed panels are also traceried. The doorway has an ogee crocketed arch; a portion of the carved and moulded cornice remains. (fn. 78) There are some plain old pre-Reformation seats in the nave, and the oak communion table belongs to the early part of the 17th century.
In the north window of the chapel are some fragments of 16th-century glass with the arms of Piggot and Prysot.
In the chapel is a 15th-century altar tomb panelled alternately with cusped niches containing small figures of saints, and large cinquefoiled panels containing shields bearing the arms of Piggot and Prysot; on the west end one panel contains a shield, and the other a carving of a pelican in her piety. On the covering slab are indents of a man and his wife, four shields and a marginal inscription. In the nave floor is a slab to Richard Blow, who died in 1698. In the chapel are the indents of an early 16th-century brass of a man and his wife, with four sons and four daughters, also two shields and a representation of the Trinity, and in the south porch is the indent of a 15th-century brass of a priest or civilian.
In the churchyard are remains of the old font, which is much broken. The octagonal bowl is of the late 12th century, and has shallow arched sinkings on the sides; the clunch base is of the 15th century and is moulded with cusped panels.
There are five bells, all by John Briant, 1794.
The communion plate consists of a cup of 1754, paten of 1840, a modern plated flagon and two pewter almsdishes.
The registers are in three books: (i) baptisms and burials from 1661 to 1753, marriages 1661 to 1751; (ii) baptisms and burials from 1754 to 1812; (iii) marriages from 1754 to 1812.
The church was given to the monks of St. Albans with the manor of Monks by William de Wallington. (fn. 79) In 1218 Honorius III confirmed the assignment of Wallington and Bygrave Churches to the use of the kitchen of the monastery. (fn. 80) Apparently no appropriation took place, but an annuity of £1 was assigned to the abbot. (fn. 81) The right of presentation remained with successive abbots until the Dissolution, but the advowson for one turn was often granted by the abbot to private individuals. (fn. 82)
The subsequent history of the advowson is coincident with that of Monks Manor until 1660, when Thomas Bowles sold the advowson for one turn to Neville Butler. (fn. 83) Upon the death of his nominee, which took place in 1714, Francis Breton, to whom the advowson then reverted, gave it to the Master of Emanuel College, Cambridge, on condition that the incumbent should always be a Fellow of the College. (fn. 84)
The advowson was subsequently transferred to Mr. Owen, who died in 1905. It was purchased by the late Mrs. Clara Risdon. (fn. 85)
In 1645 the ejected minister, John Bowles, evidently a relative of Thomas Bowles, then patron of the living, assaulted William Sherwin, a Puritan divine of some note, who had been appointed to the living upon its sequestration. (fn. 86) Sherwin ceased to preach at Wallington either in 1660 or in 1662. (fn. 87)
In 1736 the Rev. John Browne by his will gave £100 for a schoolmistress. The same testator also gave £20 for aged poor, the interest to be distributed every year on Easter Monday. These legacies were invested in £131 17s. 4d. consols with the official trustees, and in 1868 £106 13s. 4d. stock was sold to provide a cottage and premises for the residence of a schoolmistress. By an order of the Charity Commission, dated 5 August 1904, it was determined that the cottage and premises and a sum of £3 4s. 5d. consols should form the endowment of 'Browne's Educational Foundation,' and the residue £21 19s. 7d. consols should form the endowment of 'Browne's Charity for the Poor.'
Joseph Edmonds gave, but at what period is unknown, a sum of £5, the interest to be paid to the most constant communicants among the poor. This legacy was invested in £5 8s. 5d. consols in the name of the official trustees, producing 2s. 8d. yearly.
In the Parliamentary returns of 1786 it is stated that £30 was given many years ago by an unknown donor for the benefit of the poor. This sum was invested in 1864 in £32 18s. 7d. consols in the name of the official trustees, producing 16s. 4d. yearly.
The income arising from 'Browne's Charity for the Poor' and the two last-mentioned charities is distributed among poor communicants and those attending church.