A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
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Brington parish forms a long, narrow strip of land about 4 miles in length from north to south and covers 1,055 acres. The land rises from the brook forming the southern boundary, where the height is a little over 100 ft. above the Ordnance datum, to about 245 ft. in the north on the borders of Northamptonshire. Some parts of the high land here are known as the Wolds. The soil and subsoil are clay with tracts of boulder-clay. The greater part of the parish is occupied by four large farms including Church Farm and Rectory Farm. A road from Kimbolton passes from south to north through the middle of the parish and a part of it is known as Cockbrook Lane.
The village is formed round a triangle of roads, the apex of which is to the south, where the Kimbolton Road forks; Church Lane forms the base of the triangle in the north. The church is at the northwest angle of the triangle and Church Farm, to the south of it, is a timber-framed 17th-century house with some later additions. On a chimney-stack are the initials p h and date 1617. Belonging to the farm are two 17th-century barns, one of which bore the arms of Pocklington and the date 1672. (fn. 1) At the east end of Church Lane is a 17th-century timberframed and thatched cottage, now the post office, and near it is the square base of a wayside cross. An Inclosure Award was made in 1804. (fn. 2) The nearest railway station is at Kimbolton.
Athelstan, the Ealdorman of East Anglia, who was called the 'half-king,' (fn. 3) held BRINGTON, which descended to his son Aylwin, founder of Ramsey Abbey. It was granted by Aylwin to Ramsey, (fn. 4) and subsequently to 1086, when it was assessed to the geld as a 'manor' of 4 hides, it became a member of the manor of Old Weston (q.v.), together with Bythorn; Brington and Bythorn formed one 'vill' in 1285. (fn. 5)
About 1360 there died a Margaret de Brington who held lands in Brington that had been granted to Ramsey by William de Walde, kt. of Old Weston, in the time of Henry III, and the family of Bythorn claimed these lands. (fn. 6) A fuller account of these families will be given under Bythorn and Old Weston (q.v.).
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (29¼ ft. by 19¾ ft.), nave (40 ft. by 19 ft.), west tower (9½ ft. by 8½ ft.) and south porch. The walls are of coursed rubble with stone dressings, but those of the tower are of ashlar; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead.
The church is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, 1086, but is recorded elsewhere as existing in 1178. (fn. 7) The 12th-century church evidently consisted of a chancel and an aisleless nave, the former being rebuilt in the 13th century, and the latter c. 1330. The western tower and spire were added about 1370, and the porch a few years later. The chancel was again rebuilt and the rood-stairs added about the middle of the 15th century, and probably at the same time the nave walls were heightened and a new roof put on. The nave roof was renewed in 1674, and some repairs were done to the chancel in the next year. The church was restored in 1868, when the chancel was re-roofed with a high-pitched roof and the walls heightened. (fn. 8)
The mid 15th-century chancel has a three-light east window with a four-centred head; northward of it is a square-headed locker. In the east gable, outside, is a lozenge-shaped stone with the date 1675. The north wall has a two-light window with a fourcentred head; and portions of a 13th-century double piscina built in, consisting of jambs with attached shafts, circular central shaft of Purbeck marble, moulded capitals and bases, moulded lintel, and a chamfered shelf without basins. The south wall has two windows similar to that in the north wall, the easternmost of which has the sill carried down to form a seat; and a modern doorway under a 17thcentury square label. The contemporary chancel arch is two-centred, of two chamfered orders, the inner order resting on semicircular attached shafts with moulded capitals and chamfered bases. To the south of it is a square-headed squint.
The nave, built c. 1330, has in the north wall a late 14th-century two-light window with a four-centred head, an original square-headed two-light window, and a late 14th-century doorway with continuous moulded jambs and a four-centred head. At the extreme east end, the rood staircase has been built as a projection from the wall, and the lower doorway has a square head; the similar upper doorway is in the angle of the east wall. The south wall has two original square-headed two-light windows, a threelight window of c. 1350 with rich tracery in a twocentred head and containing some small fragments of 14th-century glass, and an original doorway with a two-centred head of two continuous moulded orders. The low-pitched oak roof, of 1674, is of four bays and has chamfered beams, jack-legs and braces, but incorporates a few 15th or 16th century moulded beams in the western bay, and at this end the jack-legs rest on two grotesque carved stone corbels; the eastern tie-beam bears the date 1674.
The west tower, built about 1370, has a two-centred tower-arch of three chamfered orders, the inner order resting on attached semicircular shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The west window is of two lights, with a two-centred head; in the stage above is a small single-light in the west wall, and a squareheaded opening on to the roof; and the belfry windows are two-lights with transoms and two-centred heads. The tower has clasping buttresses at the north-west and south-west angles rising to the sills of the belfry windows; a moulded plinth; and a band of panelling, partly of trefoiled niches and partly of quatrefoiled circles and lozenges, below the spire. The broach spire has three tiers of spire-lights, all on the cardinal faces; the two lower tiers are of two lights and the upper tier is of single lights. The tower stairs are in the south-west corner.
The font has a crude oval tub-shaped bowl of uncertain date, but probably 12th or 13th century, standing on a plain 14th-century base, square below and octagonal above, with coarse ridged stops. It has a simple 17th-century pyramidal oak cover.
There are four bells, all inscribed: C. & G. Mears Founders London 1845. On the bell frame is cut Jonathan Lewin Churchwarden. John Eaton fecit, Titchmarsh, 1845. The bells are referred to as early as 1396, (fn. 9) and in 1552 there were four bells. (fn. 10) There were still four bells in 1796, although the second was cracked; their inscriptions are given: (1) Moriendum est omnibus. 1615. (2) - - - -. (3) Multi vocati, pauci electi. 1604; w: c: (4) Annson me fecit. (fn. 11) In 1840 the bells and frame are recorded as being out of repair; and in 1842 three out of the four were said to be cracked. (fn. 12)
There are the following monuments: in the chancel, to the Rev. Charles Favell, Rector, d. 1807; the Rev. Francis William Lodington, Rector, d. 1857; and floor slabs to John Knight, d. 1629/30; the Rev. John Kippax, Archdeacon of the Isle of Man, d. 1760, and Alice, his wife, d. 1761; and the Rev. John Kippax, Rector, d. 1777; in the tower, to the Rev. Oliver Pocklington, Rector, d. 1681; and Philip and Elizabeth Hustwaite, and Hannah Lord their daughter, erected 1748.
The church plate consists of a silver cup engraved with the arms of Pocklington, Paly of six argent and purpure (fn. 13) a bend counterchanged, and inscribed 'Brington com Huntingdon. 1664,' hall-marked for 1663–4; a silver plate hall-marked for 1638–9 or 1678–9; a plated flagon; a coarse pewter flagon; a small pewter plate; a brass plate inscribed 'Brington. 1903.'
Old Weston was the manorial centre, and Brington the ecclesiastical centre, of a group of hamlets consisting of Old Weston, Brington and Bythorn. Although the church and priest at Old Weston (q.v.) are mentioned in 1086, no such entries occur for the other two hamlets; all three churches, however, were in existence in 1178, when Pope Alexander III confirmed them to Ramsey Abbey. (fn. 14) Both Brington and Old Weston (q.v.) were stated to be 'mother' churches in the 13th century, (fn. 15) but a little later the former had become the head of the three; Bythorn and Old Weston were subsequently chapelries to it and the united living was in the gift of Ramsey Abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 16) The capital mansion of the rector was at Brington, and he continued to hold the rectory in right of his church. In 1566 Thomas Withers, then rector, leased the churches of Bythorn and Old Weston with all tithes and oblations to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, kt., for 70 years. Sir Robert, in 1567, demised his interest to Sir Henry Darcy, kt., who granted it to Peter Ashton, of Old Weston (q.v.). (fn. 17) The interest in the lease seems to have passed later to Thomas Parratt, and in 1598 to Sir Gervase Clifton, of Leighton Bromswold.
The advowson was apparently retained by the Crown until 1581, when it was in the queen's hands, (fn. 18) and granted with the manors in this year to Edward Downing and Peter Ashton. (fn. 19) Thomas Ashton was patron in 1601. (fn. 20) In 1616 Robert Spicer and Mary his wife, and Martin Perse and Katharine his wife, conveyed the advowson to John Brasebone; (fn. 21) and in 1617 Martin Perse and Katharine conveyed it to Richard Skynner and John Scott. (fn. 22) The living was sequestered in 1645. (fn. 23) In 1663 Thomas Wright, M.D., presented Oliver Pocklington, (fn. 24) and although Thomas Sheppard presented Abel Sheppard in 1666, Oliver Pocklington was rector in 1668. John Pocklington had become patron by 1681 and in 1690 presented Henry Lee. (fn. 25) He sold the advowson at about the same time to John Henry Lee, of Titchmarsh, (fn. 26) who empowered his wife to sell it. As, however, he mentioned his brothers-in-law, John and Francis Weyman, in his will, (fn. 27) it is likely that the Weyman Lee who was patron in 1714 (fn. 28) was his son. By 1755 the advowson had come into the possession of Clare College, Cambridge, (fn. 29) which still retains it.