A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The three parishes of Sawtry lie on the Great North Road, and are bounded on the north by Conington, east by Higney and Wood Walton, south by Abbot's Ripton, Upton and Copmanford, and south-west by the Giddings. Of the area thus enclosed, the northern part forms the parishes of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew, but the two parishes are so intermixed that it is impossible, without a map, to know where the divisions between them run, and the houses are all grouped together in one village just west of the Great North Road. The church of All Saints stands on the eastern edge of the village, while that of St. Andrew was on the eastern side of the road, where its churchyard still lies.
The southern part of the area formed the parish, now the extra-parochial district, of Sawtry Judith. The abbey, with the church of St. Mary, stood in the north-east corner, but most of the houses are now grouped together much farther west and adjoining the village of the other two parishes.
The three parishes were consolidated by different steps during the 19th century. In 1851 the Sawtry Local Government District was formed from the two parishes of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew, under the Public Health Act of 1848. (fn. 1) In 1873, the two ecclesiastical parishes were united, (fn. 2) and in 1879 the two churches were pulled down, a new church being built on the site of All Saints. In 1886, the two civil parishes were consolidated into the parish of Sawtry All Saints and St. Andrew. (fn. 3)
Sawtry Judith has been an extra-parochial district since 1573, but the inhabitants attend the parish church of All Saints. For educational purposes it was joined in 1874, with Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew, into the Sawtry United School District. (fn. 4)
The area of the united parish of Sawtry All Saints and St. Andrew is 3,341 acres, and of Sawtry Judith 2,932 acres. The subsoil is mainly Oxford Clay. A considerable area is fen land which has now been drained. In 1278, 15 acres of meadow had been recently reclaimed from the fen and added to the manorial demesne of Sawtry Moyne, while some of the inhabitants of Sawtry Judith paid rent to the lord of Sawtry Moyne manor for common rights in Sawtry Fen. (fn. 5) The main portion of Sawtry Fen was included in the Great Level Drainage undertaking of the Duke of Bedford in the 17th century. (fn. 6)
The parish of All Saints appears to have had but little woodland, although Stalling Wood is mentioned in 1278; (fn. 7) but St. Andrew's parish had a wood now called Aversley Wood. Sawtry Judith had a great wood known as Ewingeswood, and later as Monks' Wood, and a smaller wood known as the Little Wood, but now called Archer's Wood. There are two moat sites not far from All Saints' Church, the one to the south-west being probably the site of the windmill. (fn. 8) A third homestead site lies to the south-west of Archer's Wood. Stone implements of the Neolithic Age or later have been found, the most important being a British hammer axe found in Sawtry Fen. (fn. 9) Roman remains were found near Ermine Street in 1722. (fn. 10) An Iron Age and Romano-British village site at Stocking Close, near Monks' Wood, has been excavated by Dr. Garrood in recent years. (fn. 11) The village lies to the west of the Great North Road, about 4 miles south-west of Holme Station on the London and North Eastern Railway. The parishes of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew were inclosed in 1804 by Act of Parliament. (fn. 12) Jean Dubordieu, a refugee from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, was presented to the rectory of All Saints in 1701 by the Duke of Devonshire. (fn. 13)
The Cistercian Abbey of Saint Mary was founded about 1147 (fn. 14) by Simon de St. Liz, Earl of Northampton, its site lying in the extreme north-east of the parish, as far removed as possible, as befitted a Cistercian house, from the traffic of the Great North Road. (fn. 15) The abbey demesnes were surrounded on three sides by deep ditches, and one of the first works of the original monks who came from the Abbey of Warden, co. Beds, was to make a ditch or lode from the new site to Whittlesea Mere, along which building materials and other goods could be brought by water. (fn. 16) Little is known of the history of the abbey, although it was famed in local rhyme for its generosity in almsgiving. (fn. 17) The royal court stayed at Sawtry, presumably at the abbey, on various occasions on journeys to and from the north, and royal documents were dated there in 1235, 1293, 1315, 1324, 1332 and 1334. (fn. 18) In 1315, Edward II was clearly there himself. (fn. 19) The abbey was entirely destroyed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and nothing remains of its buildings, church, gate-house and bell-tower, nor of the parish church at its gates. (fn. 20) The site was excavated in the middle of the 19th century, when the foundations of many of the buildings were traced. (fn. 21)
A great many place-names are to be found in the documents relating to the abbey lands at Sawtry; of these may be specially noted Stanegate, (fn. 22) the 'Stumpyd Crosse,' (fn. 23) Cowbridge, Slakemere, Stanchille, Wileweuestubstede, Greenhurst and Prestescroft. (fn. 24)
Manors: Sawtry Moyne
The manor of Sawtry Moyne (fn. 25) (at one time called Sawtry BELLERS), (fn. 26) or the lands of which the manor was formed, was one of the earliest endowments of the Abbey of Ramsey, being apparently given by Ailwin, the founder of the abbey. (fn. 27) The manor was held in demesne by the abbey in 1086, when 7½ hides and half a virgate of land were attached to it as well as a considerable amount of woodland. (fn. 28) Between 1120 and 1130 Abbot Reginald granted it with lands in Great Raveley, Luddington and Gidding, to Hervey le Moyne in fee farm at a rent of £4 a year. (fn. 29) His successors, however, performed the military service due and held Sawtry Moyne and Luddington as one knight's fee. (fn. 30) In 1278, Sir William le Moyne also paid an annual rent of 40s. to the abbey, (fn. 31) and it was probably this rent which appears as still received from the manor in 1510–11. (fn. 32) The Moynes owed suit twice a year to the honour court of Broughton, the head of the Ramsey barony. (fn. 33) In the 13th century one of the manorial tenants held 2 virgates of land by the service of doing the suit due from the manor to the county court and court of Norman Cross Hundred. (fn. 34) The manor followed the descent of Great Raveley (q.v.) until the death of Sir William le Moyne in 1404. (fn. 35) He had succeeded his grandfather, (fn. 36) William le Moyne, before 1353, when the first of his many settlements of the manor had been made. (fn. 37) One of the feoffees was Nicholas de Stukeley, (fn. 38) second husband of Sir William le Moyne's aunt, Juliana le Moyne. (fn. 39) She had married as her first husband William Clarevaux of Upwood, who died before 1347, leaving their son and heir William, then of age, and a daughter Maud. (fn. 40) Stukeley died before 1379, when his widow made a quitclaim of all her right in the manor. (fn. 41) In 1371, it had been granted by feoffees to Juliana, the widow of John Mauduit of Warminster, Wilts, with reversion to Sir William le Moyne. (fn. 42) The relationship of this Juliana to Sir William does not appear. She had married Mauduit by 1332, (fn. 43) when she was apparently still a minor. (fn. 44) He died in 1364, (fn. 45) and his widow in 1379. (fn. 46) Their heir was their granddaughter Maud, by the latter date the wife of Sir Henry Green. (fn. 47) The manor of Sawtry Moyne reverted under the grant of 1371 to Sir William le Moyne, (fn. 48) who about 1387 (fn. 49) married Mary, widow of Thomas de Alberton and of Thomas de Kingston. (fn. 50) She had been in the service of Queen Philippa and was a Hainaulter by birth, but had evidently retired from the court, as arrangements were made for her annuity of 20 marks to be paid from the issues of the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon, instead of at the Exchequer. (fn. 51) There seems to be no record of her own family, although the arms on the brass of Sir William have been identified as those of the Somayne family. (fn. 52)
In 1387 he settled Sawtry on himself and his wife and their heirs and assigns, (fn. 53) and in 1394 obtained a quitclaim of her right in the manor from his widowed cousin Maud Horewood alias Bosam, the daughter of William Clarevaux and Juliana. (fn. 54)
On his death in 1404, his widow succeeded to the manor, and her feoffees (fn. 55) obtained a quitclaim of all their right in it from Thomas Priour and his wife Joan by a fine levied in 1405, to which William Clarevaux senior and Robert Langton were also parties. (fn. 56) On her death in 1411 or 1412, (fn. 57) Sir William's inheritance was divided into three pourparties, the lands of the Moynes' manor being divided presumably between three heirs, whose relationship to Sir William does not appear, nor have their names been found except in the case of Robert Langton, to whom the manorial rights appear to have passed. He answered for the whole knight's fee in 1428, (fn. 58) and in the same year gave a quitclaim of another share of Sawtry Moyne over which there had been litigation. (fn. 59) It passed into the hands of various feoffees to use. In or shortly before 1438, Sir Nicholas Stukeley, Sir Thomas Wauton, knights, and others granted Moyne's manor to John West junior, Thomas Rede and others, who then enfeoffed Thomas Calys clerk, Robert Snow and others. (fn. 60) In 1441, Sir Richard Sapcote held the court of the manor and was described as lord of Sawtry, (fn. 61) but he may have been merely a feoffee to use. (fn. 62) In 1461, John Bellers was lord of the manor. (fn. 63) In 1471, Bellers granted it to feoffees to use, who transferred it to other feoffees, probably in connection with its acquisition by Ramsey Abbey, Abbot John Stowe having obtained licence from Edward IV. (fn. 64) Before 1510–11, Moyne's manor was granted to the Abbey of Sawtry to hold at a rent of £4 a year. (fn. 65) Both manor and rent came to the Crown on the dissolution of the two abbeys, (fn. 66) and in 1537 Henry VIII granted the reversion of the manor, which was held on a lease from Sawtry Abbey by William Symcote, to Sir Richard Williams, alias Cromwell. (fn. 67) He died seised of the manor in 1544, (fn. 68) and it passed to his son Sir Henry Cromwell and grandson Sir Oliver in turn. (fn. 69) Oliver sold it in 1608 to William Lord Cavendish, afterwards Earl of Devonshire. (fn. 70) The manor was sequestrated during the Commonwealth, (fn. 71) but was afterwards recovered (fn. 72) and the Duke of Devonshire was lord of the manor in 1818. (fn. 73) It passed into the possession of the Hon. Charles Cavendish, (fn. 74) great-grandson of the 4th Duke of Devonshire, who was created Baron Chesham in 1858. (fn. 75) His great-grandson, the fourth Baron Chesham, (fn. 76) was lord of the manor in 1919, when he sold the estates.
Another portion of the estate which was probably inherited by Joan, wife of Thomas Priour, (fn. 77) consisted of 3 acres of meadow and 40s. rent, which were separated from the lordship of Moyne's manor, but had been in the possession of Sir William le Moyne. (fn. 78) With the manor of Great Raveley, they were granted by Joan, widow of John Tyndall, in 1413 to Thomas Hore, of Childerley (Cambs), and other feoffees. (fn. 79) She probably married John Hore, (fn. 80) of Childerley, and the meadow and rent passed with Great Raveley (fn. 81) (q.v.), and were bought by John Stowe, Abbot of Ramsey, in 1453. (fn. 82)
The share, which presumably passed to William Clarevaux, the son and heir of Juliana le Moyne, (fn. 83) by her first husband, seems to have passed with Moyne's manor in Great Gidding (q.v.).
In 1278, the Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Huntingdon held 1 virgate of land in the manor of Sawtry Moyne. (fn. 84) In Henry VIII's reign the value of the lands of the hospital there was returned as 6s. 8d. a year. (fn. 85) At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries the hospital was refounded as St. John's Hospital and Grammar School, and the endowments were not seized; (fn. 86) it was probably some of the same land which was still in possession of the hospital in 1779 (fn. 87) and 1917.
A half-hide of land, probably in Sawtry All Saints, was held in Edward the Confessor's reign by Alwin, one of the king's thegns. His wife still held it in 1086, (fn. 88) but shortly afterwards Eustace the Sheriff, or possibly Walter de Beaumes, the sheriff's tenant in Sawtry Beaumes (q.v.), seized it. (fn. 89) Apparently the Abbey of Ramsey claimed this land, and William Rufus, before 1091, ordered its restitution to Abbot Herbert. (fn. 90) It was probably this half-hide which Abbot Reginald (1114–30) granted to Roger, son of Mowin. (fn. 91) Possibly he was the ancestor of the Mowin family, who appear at Sawtry in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, (fn. 92) and do not seem to be identical with the Moynes. It is possible that their holding may be identified with Sawtry Place, which in 1447 was granted by Richard Couper and John Steuenys to William Wynkylle and William Spenser, (fn. 93) who in turn in 1463 granted it to Lionel Louthe, (fn. 94) of Sawtry St. Andrew.
William Moyne obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands in Sawtry in 1328. (fn. 95)
It is not certain whether the view of frankpledge for the manor of Sawtry Moyne was held either by the Abbey of Ramsey or by their sub-tenants. After the dissolution of Ramsey and Sawtry Abbeys, Sir Richard Cromwell held a view of frankpledge for the tenants of the manor as early as 1544, (fn. 98) and his son held the court in 1588. (fn. 99) In 1285 the Abbey of Thorney claimed to hold a view of frankpledge and waifs in Sawtry Moyne in right of the Hundred of Norman Cross. (fn. 100)
In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Tosti, one of the king's thegns, held 3 hides and 3½ virgates of land, (fn. 101) which may be identified with the manor of Sawtry Beaumes. He is said to have bequeathed them to the Abbey of Ramsey, who were to have possession after the death of his brother Eric and his sister. Eric apparently survived him and held the land till his death, (fn. 102) but after the Norman Conquest it was seized by Eustace the Sheriff. (fn. 103) It is not clear whether the Abbey had ever obtained possession of the bequest or not, but Eustace kept the manor, and after his death it passed with his other lands to the Lovetots and formed part of their barony. (fn. 104) The overlordship was sold in 1258 by Nigel de Amundeville, one of the heirs of Nigel de Lovetot, to Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 105) and was held of the earl's descendants till the execution of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521. (fn. 106) In 1534 the manor of Sawtry Beaumes was held of Henry Norres, as of the manor of Southoe (q.v.), which had descended similarly to the Duke. (fn. 107)
Eustace the Sheriff subinfeudated the manor before 1086 to his knight Walter de Beaumes, (fn. 108) who also temporarily held another half-hide in Sawtry. (fn. 109) The manor was held by the family of Beaumes by the service of one knight's fee till the end of the 14th century. (fn. 110) The immediate successors of Walter de Beaumes seem to have borne the same name, which appears c. 1150, (fn. 111) 1166, (fn. 112) 1175–6, (fn. 113) and 1198. (fn. 114)
The last Walter was living in the early years of the reign of Henry III, (fn. 115) but in 1220 Sawtry had passed to Robert de Beaumes. (fn. 116) He was probably the Robert de Beaumes who died seised of the manor in 1263, when his son and heir Reginald was 40 years old. (fn. 117) The latter was living in 1273, (fn. 118) but had been succeeded by Sir Robert de Beaumes, kt., in 1276. (fn. 119) In 1295 Sir Robert's son William was a minor, in the wardship of Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester, who assigned tenements in Sawtry to Margery, Sir Robert's widow, in satisfaction of her dower. (fn. 120) William was apparently of age in 1301. (fn. 121) His heir was his son John, who abandoned the use of 'de' in his surname, and had succeeded to the manor before 1333. (fn. 122) It was settled on himself and his wife Juliana for their lives, with remainders to their sons and daughters. (fn. 123) John, the eldest son, died childless, (fn. 124) and the manor passed to his brother Robert, (fn. 125) who was probably in seisin by 1386. (fn. 126) Robert's son and heir, Nicholas, died as a minor in 1390 or 1391, and his heir was his cousin Thomas atte Hethe or Grendall of Fenton, the son of Cecily, daughter of Margaret, sister of William de Beaumes. (fn. 127) Grendall in 1391 granted the manor to Sir William le Moyne, lord of Sawtry Moyne, and his wife Mary, (fn. 128) and also granted him the arms of the Beaumes family. (fn. 129) In 1393, however, he brought a successful action to recover two-thirds of the manor from the Moynes, (fn. 130) the remaining third being presumably held in dower by the widow of one of the Beaumes, but they seem finally to have settled the transfer of the manor in 1395. (fn. 131) Mary, wife of Sir William le Moyne, had been in the service of Queen Philippa, and was a Hainaulter by birth. Sawtry Beaumes manor was settled in 1395 on William and Mary and their heirs and assigns. (fn. 132) He died in 1404, and she succeeded to the manor. (fn. 133) By various settlements, she granted first the reversion and then the manor itself to Roger Louthe, the husband of her kinswoman Mary, another Hainaulter. (fn. 134) She had two daughters by her first husband, Thomas de Alberton, who died before 1371, (fn. 135) when the king granted her their wardship and marriage, but Mary Louthe was more probably her niece. (fn. 136) John Louthe, Archdeacon of Nottingham, in the 16th century claimed that his ancestress was a relative of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, but of this there is no evidence. (fn. 137) In 1411 Roger Louthe obtained a ratification of the estate from Henry IV, necessitated by the foreign birth of his wife and her kinswoman. (fn. 138) He had acquired land in Sawtry as early as 1400, (fn. 139) and the Louthes settled at Sawtry Beaumes.
He held the manor in 1428, (fn. 140) but apparently died soon after 1441, and was succeeded by his son Lionel, who died seised of the manor in 1471, his heir being his son Thomas. (fn. 141) The latter lived till 1533, when he must have been about eighty-six, (fn. 142) and had survived both his eldest son Edmund and his grandson Lionel. (fn. 143) The manor passed to Lionel's little daughter Margaret. (fn. 144) Edmund had died at Sawtry in 1522 from injuries received in a quarrel with the Skeltons, tenants of the Abbey of Sawtry. (fn. 145) Many years afterwards, his youngest son John, then Archdeacon of Nottingham, sent an account of the quarrel in a letter to Foxe, containing material for the 'Book of Martyrs,' and implicated the abbot and monks as the instigators. (fn. 146) He represented his family as the champions of Protestantism and morality, and attributed the fact that the murderers were never brought to trial to ecclesiastical influence. There is apparently no other evidence as to the origin of the quarrel, but from the Archdeacon's own evidence his family were not without influence at Court, and his father was hot-tempered and quarrelsome, while old Thomas Louthe had been sued by his rector for tithes. (fn. 147) Edmund's eldest son Lionel appears to have settled at Cretingham, in Norfolk, which he inherited from his grandmother, Anne Mulso, who died in 1526. (fn. 148) At the end of his life, Thomas Louthe had married a young wife, named Thomasina, on whom he settled the manor of Sawtry Beaumes. (fn. 149) In 1546 she sued the heiress Margaret, who had married Richard Cornwallis, for possession. The action was continued by Thomasina and her second husband, John Villiers. (fn. 150) They were probably successful, since in 1554 (fn. 151) they presented to the church of Sawtry St. Andrew, of which the advowson (q.v.) belonged to the lords of Sawtry Beaumes. In 1551, however, settlements of the manor had been made on Margaret and Richard Cornwallis, (fn. 152) and the former was in seisin of the manor, as a widow, in 1582. (fn. 153) In that year she and her son and heir, John Cornwallis, sold 174 acres of pasture and 66 acres of wood belonging to the manor to Sir Henry Williams, alias Cromwell, (fn. 154) who was lord of both Sawtry Moyne and Sawtry Judith (q.v.) at the time. She died in 1603, (fn. 155) and in 1619 Thomas Cornwallis, her grandson and successor, sold Sawtry Beaumes to John Cotton, (fn. 156) who died there in 1636. (fn. 157) It passed to his great-nephew, Sir Thomas Cotton, bt., (fn. 158) whose direct male descendants held it till the death of Sir John Cotton, the fourth baronet, in 1731. (fn. 159) His heir was his sister Frances, who married William Hanbury. (fn. 160) Their daughter and heir Mary married the Rev. Martin Annesley, who died in 1749. (fn. 161) The manor, however, came into the possession, before 1762, of his nephew Arthur Annesley, of Lincoln's Inn, and Bletchingham Park (Oxon). (fn. 162) It passed to the Cavendish family, and has since followed the descent of Sawtry Moyne. Mr. John Norman Heathcote is the principal landowner.
The manor of Sawtry Beaumes did suit, either once or twice a year, to the court of the Barony of Lovetot at Southoe, the value of the pleas of the court in 1263 being 20s. a year. (fn. 163) In 1278, however, complaints were made that the bailiff of the Earl of Gloucester forced the tenants to do suit at the three-weeks court as well as at the honour court. (fn. 164) About 1236, the lord of the manor owed one suit a year to the county court, (fn. 165) and this in 1278 was performed by the tenants of a certain virgate of land, (fn. 166) while the suit to the Hundred of Norman Cross for the whole fee was performed by another tenant. (fn. 167) In 1263 a yearly payment of 2s. for view of frankpledge was made by the Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 168) but in 1275 he had withdrawn his tenants from the sheriff's tourn and no longer made the payments due to the sheriff. (fn. 169) His successors held the view of frankpledge at Sawtry until the attainder of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, (fn. 170) and the view for the tenants at Stilton, Folksworth, Winwick and Wood Walton was also held at Sawtry. (fn. 171) After 1521 the view of frankpledge was not finally alienated by the Crown until James I granted it to James Whitmore in 1611. (fn. 172) The Earl of Gloucester also claimed to have gallows, trebuchet and the assizes of bread and ale in Sawtry in 1275. (fn. 173) A grant of free warren in the demesne lands of Sawtry was made in 1333 to John de Beaumes. (fn. 174) In 1278, a windmill was attached to the manor. (fn. 175) At the same date Robert de Beaumes held certain assarts, for which he paid 24s. yearly to the king, while another 5 acres had recently been reclaimed from the fen. (fn. 176)
In the 12th-century foundation charter of Sawtry Abbey it is recited that King Cnut gave Sawtry to Turchil the Dane, who by the same king's orders divided the fen near Whittlesea Mere between Sawtry and the neighbouring townships. (fn. 177) He was banished in 1021, but died apparently in England in 1039. (fn. 178) A century later, the tenants of Sawtry said that their grandfathers had held of Turchil the Dane, (fn. 179) but it is probable that, with regard to Sawtry, they confused him with Turchil of Harringworth, who was living between 1050 and 1070 and consented to his wife Thurgunt or Hurugonda leaving land in Sawtry by will to Ramsey Abbey. (fn. 180) Turchil and Hurugonda seem to have been followed at Sawtry, as they were at Conington, (fn. 181) by Waltheof, who married Judith, (fn. 182) a favourite niece of the Conqueror, (fn. 183) and retained his earldom till the rebellion of 1075. (fn. 184) Judith retained a large fief after her husband's execution and held Sawtry in demesne in 1086. (fn. 185) It afterwards passed to her daughter Maud, who married, first, Simon de St. Liz and, secondly, David, King of Scotland; (fn. 186) it passed to Maud's eldest son, another Simon de St. Liz, who was Earl of Northampton and of Huntingdon. (fn. 187) The earl founded the Abbey of Sawtry about 1147, and endowed it with the manor of Sawtry Judith; (fn. 188) he claimed more land than he actually held, and Alexander Maufe and Richard Walensis held an inquest to establish the boundaries. (fn. 189) The jurors swore that the boundaries, which they described, had been those of the manor since the time of Turchil the Dane, (fn. 190) but they extended beyond the boundaries of Sawtry Judith at the present day and even in the 12th century would have infringed the rights of neighbouring townships. (fn. 191) This suggests that the manor of Sawtry was larger in Turchil's time than it was in that of Earl Simon. The monks of the newly founded abbey evidently did not press their claim beyond the bounds of the present parish, and held at Sawtry Judith about half of the land included in Earl Simon's grant. (fn. 192) They also obtained confirmation of the grant from Malcolm of Scotland. (fn. 193) The site of the abbey in 1278 covered 15 acres, including all inclosures, and there were also cowhouses and stables, with land covering 5 acres, as well as two granges, the Old and the New Grange, each with 6 acres of garden. (fn. 194) At the dissolution of the abbey in 1536, the demesne lands were valued at £33 6s. 4d. a year, while various tenements in Sawtry Judith were let on leases at a rental of £22 6s. 0d. a year, (fn. 195) but this seems to have been an extraordinary underestimate of their value since, in the hands of the Crown, the bailiff in the year 1535–1536 accounted for £164 3s. 0d. from the farm of the site and demesne lands of the abbey, which was exclusive of the rents of the windmill, certain farms held by lease and the rent of the Old Grange. (fn. 196) The manor was granted in 1537 to Sir Richard Williams alias Cromwell to hold as one-tenth of a knight's fee at a rental of £14 12s. 8d., (fn. 197) and from that time followed the descent of the manor of Sawtry Moyne (q.v.). (fn. 198)
The manor of Sawtry Judith, which Countess Judith 'especially loved and frequented,' was freed by William I, as a mark of favour to her, from all dues to the Crown, including murdrum and danegeld, (fn. 199) so that the Abbey of Sawtry was enabled to hold it in frankalmoin, entirely free from any service either to the Crown or to the founder. Further privileges were obtained by the descendants of Earl Waltheof and Judith from William II and Henry I, who released the manor from suit to the shire and hundred, (fn. 200) and granted exemption from toll, passage, pontage and other customs. (fn. 201) The abbey claimed to hold the view of frankpledge by prescription, but its right was disputed in 1285 by the Crown on the ground that there were no judicialia on the manor and that the abbey did not hold the whole township of Sawtry. (fn. 202) The matter was, however, settled in favour of the abbey, which was able in 1294 to grant certain lands in Sawtry to sub-tenants at a money rent and suit at the two great courts. (fn. 203) After the Dissolution, Sir Richard Williams alias Cromwell held a view of frankpledge for Sawtry Judith. (fn. 204)
In Domesday Book, woodland for pannage containing 18 furlongs by 4 furlongs was attached to the manor, (fn. 205) and William II or Henry I freed the woods of the manor from all interference by the royal foresters. (fn. 206) The wood, surveyed in 1086, afterwards known as Monkswood, (fn. 207) was granted by Earl Simon to the abbey at its foundation. (fn. 208) King John in 1205 granted the monks permission to inclose all their woods with a hedge and ditch, (fn. 209) while in 1242 they had leave to make a trench through it for the better protection of travellers. (fn. 210) In 1279, besides Monkswood, there was a wood called Athenrys, and in neither did the king's foresters either hunt or in any way interfere. (fn. 211) In 1537, 422 acres of wood in Sawtry Judith were included in the grant to Sir Richard Williams. (fn. 212) Earl Simon also granted fen and fisheries in Sawtry to the abbey, stating that the boundaries described in his charter were those assigned to Sawtry when, by order of Cnut, Turchil the Dane divided the fen amongst the neighbouring townships. (fn. 213) These boundaries, redefined in the inquest held by Alexander Maufe, with the fishing rights in the fen, (fn. 214) would have brought the monks into conflict with their neighbours, particularly at Glatton and Wood Walton, and they were evidently not exercised by the abbey. In 1279, however, it is interesting to note that they had certain fishing rights beyond those attached to the manor of Sawtry Judith, which included a fishery in the ditches inclosing the abbey and a fishery near Whittlesea Mere. The monks had besides a fishery in Blakemere in the fen of Walton, and they claimed a fishery in Whittlesea Mere with one boat, from which they had been deprived when Glatton was granted to Richard, Earl of Cornwall and brother of Henry III. (fn. 215) They also formerly had common rights in the whole fen of Wood Walton and Conington, while certain tenants of the abbey still paid 15 capons a year to Sir William le Moyne, lord of the manor of Sawtry Moyne, to have common in the fen of Sawtry. (fn. 216) The abbey also held 15 acres of meadow, newly reclaimed from the fen. (fn. 217)
In the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) there were three churches at Sawtry: (fn. 218) (1) in the Abbey of Ramsey's manor (Moyne's Manor), dedicated to All Saints; (2) in Eustace the Sheriff's manor (Beaumes' Manor), dedicated to St. Andrew; and (3) in the Countess Judith's manor, dedicated to St. Mary. (fn. 219) The last probably became merged into the parochial church at the gateway of Sawtry Abbey and disappeared at the Dissolution. The other two remained until 1879, when they were both pulled down and a new church incorporating parts of both was erected on the site of All Saints.
The church of ALL SAINTS consisted of a chancel, nave, north and south transepts, north and south aisles, and a western tower with a low broach spire. The tower and spire had been rebuilt in 1683, (fn. 220) at which time, presumably, the aisles were destroyed. The chancel was rebuilt about 1810. (fn. 221)
The chancel of c. 1810 was built of large stones, but had no buttresses; its roof was covered with tiles which overhung at eaves and gable, and it was ceiled inside with a flat plaster ceiling which came much below the apex of the chancel arch. The east window was a plain round-headed opening filled in with a three-light wooden frame; above it was a plain projecting band of stone. In the north wall there was no window, but triple sedilia which had been very badly reset. (fn. 222) The south wall had a square-headed window and fragments of a fine canopied altar-tomb. (fn. 223) The two-centred chancel arch was of two chamfered orders with a label moulding on the west side, the lower order resting on semicircular engaged shafts, with mutilated moulded capitals; it had a considerable settlement towards the south. The gable above was surmounted by a plain cross.
The late 13th-century nave had an arcade of four bays on the south; two of the arches opened into the transept and were two-centred, of two chamfered orders with a label moulding towards the nave. They rested upon a rather slender octagonal column with a moulded cap, and an almost destroyed eastern respond which seems to have been a semi-octagonal attached shaft. The two western arches had been blocked up when the aisle was destroyed, but they appear to have been similar and had a label moulding towards the aisle; inserted under them were two plain square-headed 17th-century two-light windows, each with a lozenge-shaped panel over it. It is said that previous to 1683 the nave was one bay longer. (fn. 224)
The roof was covered with tiles overhanging at the eaves and also, with the exception of the extreme apex, at the gable; it was very little higher than that of the chancel, and at the western end was a plain dormer window above the south wall.
The north transept, which seems to have been largely rebuilt at a late date, (fn. 225) had a round-headed 17th- or 18th-century window at the north end, and a square-headed two-light window in the east wall. It was roofed with tiles, but had a low parapet to the gable wall.
The south transept had a window with a square label at the south end; in the east wall was a late 13th-century two-light window with a trefoiled circle in its two-centred head; and about the middle of the west wall was a buttress which probably marked the position of the aisle wall. The roof was of tiles similar to that on the north.
The west tower, of 1683, was probably built of re-used 14th-century material. It had no buttresses except at the north-east and south-east corners, where parts of the west wall of the nave and of the former aisles had been re-modelled as large buttresses. It was of four rather boldly diminished stages; in the lowest was a semicircular-headed 17th-century doorway; in the second stage was a square-headed three-light window, possibly partly of re-used material, above which a large piece of carving of uncertain date had been built in; and the third stage had a small single-light window. The belfry had a two-light window formed of re-used material in its west wall, and a single-light window in each of the other walls. The tower was surmounted by a low broach spire having one tier of single-lights on its cardinal faces.
It had two bells: (1) inscribed Mater Dei miserere mei Amen; (2) had no inscription, but bore the Leicester crown, rebus shield and ornament. The former hangs in the present church and the latter went to the Albert Place Schoolroom, Peterborough. (fn. 226)
A good deal of the ancient seating remained, and some mutilated fragments of the rood-screen and of a screen to the south transept. The chancel was almost filled with large pews; and on its floor was the fine brass of Sir William le Moyne, d. 1404, and Maria his wife.
Various coffin slabs from Sawtry Abbey were placed in the church about 1850, with more which were already there, but reversed in the pavement. (fn. 227)
The church of ST. ANDREW consisted of a chancel, nave, west tower and south porch. The records of it are scanty, (fn. 228) but its walls seem to have been of rubble largely plastered outside, and its roofs of tiles overhanging at the eaves.
The chancel had in its east wall a plain wooden window inserted in the partly blocked opening of a window with a pointed head. In the south wall was a somewhat similar window inserted under a square label moulding; a single-light windowwith a depressed ogee head; and a modern door under a segmentalpointed arch with a label moulding.
The nave had a modern rectangular window in the south wall; and the rood-stairs seem to have occupied a small square projection at the south-east corner. (fn. 229) The tiled roof had three dormer windows on the south side, and the east gable was surmounted by a fine cross.
There was one modern bell, (fn. 230) without inscription, which is believed to have gone to St. John's Chapel, Ludlow.
There was a memorial inscribed to Robert Williamson, Rector, d. 1669, and to Elizabeth his wife, d. 1667; (fn. 231) and a brass inscription plate to Mary, wife of John Newton, Rector, d. 1633.
The modern church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (25 ft. by 18¾ ft.), organ chamber and vestry on the north (14½ ft. by 13¼ ft.), nave (58 ft. by 21¼ ft.), and north aisle (9 ft. wide). The walls are of coursed rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with tiles.
The chancel has a three-light east window with tracery in a two-centred head. The north wall has a single-light window, and an arcade of two pointed arches of two chamfered orders resting on an octagonal column and similar half-columns to the responds all with moulded capitals and bases; this arcade is composed largely of the materials of the south arcade of the old church. The south wall has two singlelight windows grouped together and a third farther east which has the sill carried down to form a seat; and a plain piscina. In the two grouped windows are fragments of 14th- to 17th-century glass formerly in the windows of Sawtry Beaumes Manor House, given by Miss Harriet Newton in memory of her sister, Miss Anne Maria Newton, and refixed here in 1905; they include four shields of arms, heads of saints and others, crocketing, etc. The chancel arch is two-centred of two chamfered orders, the lower order carried on corbel shafts.
The organ chamber and vestry has a three-light window in the north wall; a plain doorway and a single-light window in the east wall; a segmentalpointed arch to the aisle; and a fireplace in the northwest corner.
The nave has a north arcade of four bays of twocentred arches of two chamfered orders carried on three circular columns with moulded capitals and bases; the eastern respond has a corbel-shaft, and at the west end the arch dies into the wall. In the south wall are three two-light windows with tracery in pointed heads; and in a slight projection of the wall is a doorway with a two-centred head. The west wall has two two-light windows with tracery in pointed heads and having a buttress between them; the gable above is surmounted by a stone bell-cot for one bell.
The north aisle has two threelight square-headed windows, one similar four-light, and one similar two-light in the north wall; of these, the eastern and the western are largely of 14th-century date from St. Andrew's Church. The west wall has the 13th-century two-light window from the south transept of the old church reset. The modern font has an octagonal bowl on an octagonal stem having four engaged circular shafts and an octagonal base.
In the vestry are a 17th-century Communion table and a 16th-century chest having slight remains of painted decoration. A 17th-century chest is in the nave, and there are four stools of similar date. Hanging in the vestry is an iron frame enclosing some 13th- or 14th-century paving tiles from Sawtry Abbey. (fn. 232) A rough stone stoup lies loose in the chancel. Four coffin-lids have been fixed on the walls of the nave: (a) the easternmost is the lower part of a lid and has a cross-stem rising from a calvary; (b) is the upper part of a lid, with a round cross in the head; (c) is similar to the last; and (d) the westernmost is a whole stone with ornamental crosses at head and foot. All have the double-omega ornament, and (a), (b) and (d) came from All Saints' churchyard, while (c) came from a ditch near St. Andrew's churchyard. They none of them fit the known coffins from the abbey. An early 14th-century stone coffin still lies in St. Andrew's churchyard.
The brass of Sir William le Moyne and Maria his wife, still fixed in its original stone, has been fixed against the south wall of the chancel. (fn. 233) It consists of figures of a knight in armour, his head resting on a helmet with crest of a demi-monk with flagellum, and his feet resting on a lion; and a lady with veiled head-dress, her head resting on two cushions, and a small dog at her feet; indents of four shields, (fn. 234) and a fragment of inscription '. . . mense Aprilis ano Dni m. cccc. iiij. et Maria ux. ej. quor a . . . Amē.' The brass plate to Mary Newton, d. 1633, from St. Andrew's Church, is fixed on the north wall of the chancel.
There are the following other monuments: in the vestry, glass window to Frederick Newton, d. 1863; in the nave, to John Hinde, d. 1816, Sarah his wife, d. 1821, and Sarah Gamble, their niece, d. 1801; Tom Hill, killed in the South African War; to the Rev. Robert Black, Rector 1904–12, and Louisa Catherine, his wife; and the Rev. Charles Tucker Eland, Rector, d. 1922.
The registers are as follows: All Saints: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials 1591 to 1642, badly damaged by fire; (fn. 235) (ii) the same, 15 March 1642 to 12 February 1692/3; (iii) the same, 17 April 1693 to 13 March 1785, marriages end 6 November 1753; (iv) baptisms and burials, 20 March 1785 to 27 December 1812; (v) marriages, 22 January 1755 to 30 November 1812.—St. Andrew's: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials, 31 July 1662 to 20 March 1734/5; (ii) the same, 10 October 1735 to 25 December 1812, marriages end 11 October 1753; (fn. 236) (iii) marriages, 16 October 1754 to 19 October 1812.
The church plate consists of: All Saints: a silver cup inscribed 'Presented by Louisa Ellen Birch to the Church of Sawtry All Saints, 1843,' hall-marked for 1843–4; (fn. 237) a silver standing paten similarly inscribed and hall-marked.—St. Andrew's: a plated cup inscribed 'Sawtry St. Andrews, 1830'; (fn. 238) two plated alms plates each on three legs, similarly inscribed; a silver flagon inscribed 'Presented to the Church of Sawtry St. Andrew's by Arthur 11th Viscount Valentia, a.d. 1878,' hall-marked for 1876–7.
The church [of All Saints] (fn. 239) was mentioned in 1086 (fn. 240) and was confirmed to the Abbey of Ramsey by Pope Alexander III in 1178. (fn. 241) The patronage, however, was probably granted with the manor some years earlier to Hervey le Moyne. (fn. 242) In 1226 Philip de Horeby presented to the rectory in right of the dower of his wife Alice de Baumville. (fn. 243) She presumably was the widow of one of the Moynes, and from 1299 to 1411 the Moyne family remained patrons of the rectory. (fn. 244) On the death of Mary, widow of Sir William le Moyne, about 1411, the advowson like the manor was divided amongst three heirs. (fn. 245) Two pourparties passed in the later 15th century to the Abbey of Ramsey (fn. 246) and were granted to the Abbey of Sawtry, which presented in 1487. (fn. 247) These two turns passed with the manor to Sir Richard Cromwell (fn. 248) and later to the Cavendishes. (fn. 249) They have remained in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, (fn. 250) who still owns them. The remaining third of the advowson appears to have remained in the possession of the Clarevaux family. John Clarevaux may possibly have been the tenant both of the manor and advowson under Sawtry Abbey, since he presented with the abbot in 1488 and alone in 1489 and 1503. (fn. 251) In 1524 his widow Emma, who had married Edward Watson, presented, (fn. 252) and the latter's right was recognised by the Crown when the manor was granted to Sir Richard Cromwell. (fn. 253) The Clarevaux holdings had been subdivided among heiresses before 1511, (fn. 254) but the third of the advowson seems to have come into the permanent possession of the Watsons. (fn. 255) Sir Lewis Watson, bt., who was created Baron Rockingham in 1645, presented in his turn in 1630, (fn. 256) and his son and successor, Edward, was the owner in 1654. (fn. 257) Elizabeth Topham, widow, presented in 1687, (fn. 258) but Edward, the 2nd Baron Rockingham, who died in 1689, apparently left it to his third son Thomas, who took the name of Wentworth. (fn. 259) His son Thomas presented in 1727 (fn. 260) and succeeded his cousin in 1745 as Baron Rockingham. (fn. 261) The following year he was created Marquess of Rockingham, but at the death of his son Charles in 1782 all the family honours became extinct, while the estates passed to the family of Fitzwilliam. (fn. 262) The third part of the advowson was presumably sold, since in 1823 Marmaduke Middleton Middleton presented. (fn. 263) It still belonged to him or to his son Marmaduke in 1849, (fn. 264) and in 1854 John Carver Athorpe was patron for the one turn, (fn. 265) but in 1873 the two rectories of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew (q.v.) were united (fn. 266) and the patronage of the third of the advowson of All Saints disappeared. From that time the Duke of Devonshire presented to the united rectory alternately with Viscount Valentia, the patron of Sawtry St. Andrew's. (fn. 267)
The church was valued in 1291 and 1428 at £8; and in 1536 at £9 3s. 0d. (fn. 268)
The church [of St. Andrew] is mentioned in Domesday Book, (fn. 269) when it belonged to the Manor of Eustace the Sheriff. In 1278, it had an ancient endowment of 1 virgate of land. (fn. 270) The advowson passed with the manor until the Annesleys sold the manor to the Duke of Devonshire. They retained the advowson, which still belongs to Viscount Valentia. (fn. 271) In 1873 the rectories of Sawtry St. Andrew and Sawtry All Saints were united (fn. 272) and the alternate presentation now belongs to Viscount Valentia.
In 1359, a layman named William the Oylemaker of Sawtry began to build a chapel in Sawtry, in which he erected various images. No bishop's licence was obtained and Bishop Gynewell condemned the undertaking on account of fraudulent devices, and ordered the rectors of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St. Andrew immediately to remove the images to the parish church and there to desecrate them by the great cross of the church. (fn. 279) Presumably they were to be burnt in the churchyard, but there is nothing to indicate to which of the two parishes the entry relates.
The church [of St. Mary] attached to the manor of Sawtry Judith in 1086 (fn. 280) was granted to Sawtry Abbey, at its foundation by Simon de St. Liz about 1147. (fn. 281) It seems, however, to have paid a rent to the Bishop of Lincoln, from which the earl freed it by substituting an annual rent of 1 mark payable to the Bishop and church of Lincoln from other lands. (fn. 282) The church of St. Mary stood at the Abbey gates (fn. 283) and was served by the monks, so that no vicarage was ordained. (fn. 284) In 1393 the Pope granted an indulgence for visits and alms given to St. Mary's altar in the church. (fn. 285) At the dissolution of Sawtry Abbey, the parish church, with the tithes and oblations and the lands and rents from the rectory, was valued at £8 a year. (fn. 286) Some stipulation seems to have been made by the Crown that the stipend of the rector or chaplain of Sawtry Judith should be paid out of the rectory, but this was not done by the local royal officials in the year following the dissolution on the grounds that no such payment had been made in the time of the abbot, as one of the monks had served the church without stipend. (fn. 287) The rectory and advowson were granted with the manor to Sir Richard Williams in 1537, (fn. 288) when a vicarage is also mentioned, but this appears to be an error. They passed to the subsequent lords of the manor. (fn. 289) The whole endowment of the church passed into lay hands, and no provision was made for serving the church, which fell into disuse and, like Sawtry Abbey, was ultimately entirely demolished. The parish became an extra-parochial liberty and the inhabitants for ecclesiastical purposes are now dependent on Sawtry All Saints Church.