A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
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Buckworth parish covers an area of 2,023 acres of clay land, most of which is arable. The principal farms are Fuller's Lodge, Park Lodge, Brook Lodge, Black Lodge and Holly Lodge. The ground rises from a stream which forms the north-east boundary of the parish, where it is about 75 ft. above Ordnance datum, in a south-westerly direction towards Barham, where, on the boundary, it reaches 190 ft. The village is on the slope of the hill facing northeast and lies along the by-road from Alconbury Weston to Barham. The church is in the middle of the village and clustered round it are the Manor House to the east and the rectory and school to the west.
Place-names in the parish include Stone Hill, Bury Leys, Trouds Wall (Walk) and the Mill Wall (Walk) in 1712, (fn. 1) and Great Hall Yard, Town Walk and Mount Pleasant in 1745.
Ten hides at BUCKWORTH, which had formerly belonged to Tosti, Earl of the Northumbrians, were returned in the Domesday Survey among the lands of the Count of Eu (Ewe, Augi or Owe), the lord of great estates in Sussex. Buckworth had been a berewick belonging to Paxton, and its pre-Conquest value of £10 remained unchanged. The count had 2 hides in demesne; a knight held 2½ hides; and there was a priest and a church to which ½ hide belonged. (fn. 2) Buckworth was a much subinfeudated manor. It was held under the Counts of Eu by the Wakes, under whom were the Houghtons with their co-heirs, the Grimbalds and Boys, and lastly holding of them were the tenants in demesne, the Fitz Richards or Fitz Simons.
The Counts of Eu remained chief lords of Buckworth, except for forfeitures from time to time, until the end of the 13th century. Robert Count of Eu died about 1090. His son William forfeited his estates on account of his adherence to Robert Curthose. He died shortly after 1095 and was buried in the free chapel of St. Mary in the Castle of Hastings. His son Henry was imprisoned for siding with William, son of Duke Robert of Normandy, against Henry I and died a monk, at Foucarmont Abbey in 1140. John, Count of Eu, made his peace with King Stephen, but he also became a monk at Foucarmont and died in 1170. He left a son Henry, a minor, who became an adherent of 'the Young King' who waged war against his father, Henry II. He was succeeded in 1183 by his son Raoul or Ralph, who died in 1186, leaving as his heir his sister Alice, wife of Ralph de Lusignan, who became Count of Eu in right of his wife. John seized the lands of the Count and granted them in 1201 to John de Eu, uncle of Alice, but regranted them to Ralph and Alice in 1214. Ralph died in 1219 and Alice held the lands of the county until 1244, when she forfeited her English possessions as an adherent to the King of France. (fn. 3) The honour of Eu was granted to Peter of Savoy and later to Edward son of Henry III. (fn. 4) When Edward ascended the throne the overlordship of Buckworth, unlike the Sussex property of the honour of Eu, which was granted to the Earl of Bretagne, continued in the Crown. (fn. 5)
It is possible that the 2½ hides in Buckworth, held in 1086 by a knight, (fn. 6) may be represented by the Wake mesne lordship. The earliest reference to this mesne lordship is in 1279 when Baldwin Wake held it of the honour of Eu. (fn. 7) Baldwin died in 1282 (fn. 8) and was succeeded by his son John (d. 1300). Thomas Wake, of Liddell, his son, died in 1349, without issue, leaving his sister Margaret, Countess of Kent, his heir. (fn. 9) John, Earl of Kent and Lord Wake, her son, died in 1352 leaving as his heir his sister Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, the wife of Thomas de Holand. (fn. 10) This mesne lordship passed with the earldom of Kent until the death of Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Kent, in 1411, (fn. 11) when it went to Eleanor, sister of Edmund, Earl of Kent (d. 1408), and wife of Thomas, Earl of Salisbury. Thomas died seised of it in right of his wife in 1428, leaving as his heir his daughter Alice. (fn. 12)
The next subtenancy of the manor seems to have been held by the Houghton family. William de Houghton, who was living in the middle of the 12th century, had a son Pain de Houghton. Pain had two daughters, Maud, who married Robert Grimbald, and Emma, the wife of Ernald de Boys. (fn. 13) Their descendants each held half a knight's fee in Buckworth. (fn. 14) Robert Grimbald died before 1163 and his widow, Maud, married Richard del Peak. Robert was succeeded by his son William, and he by a son Robert, who was holding in Buckworth in 1243. (fn. 15) The latter Robert had a son William, (fn. 16) who was returned as holding in Buckworth of Baldwin Wake in 1279 (fn. 17) and 1282. (fn. 18) William's grandson William, son of William Grimbald, held in 1349 (fn. 19) and 1350. (fn. 20) The halffee belonging to Emma, daughter of Pain de Houghton, and Ernald de Boys her husband, whose father, Ernald de Boys, founded Biddlesden Abbey (co. Buck.) in 1147, (fn. 21) was held by a succession of Ernalds (Arnold, Arnulf). Probably a younger Ernald was living in 1203–4 and the custody of another Ernald, possibly his son, was granted to Roger de Bassingham in 1205. In 1243 an Ernald de Boys was holding in Buckworth, (fn. 22) and probably it was he who died in 1277 and was succeeded by John, his son. (fn. 23) John died in 1290 without issue, leaving a wife Joan. He was succeeded by his brother, Master William de Boys, possibly a priest, (fn. 24) who also died without issue in 1313. (fn. 25) His sister Isabel, the wife of John, Lord Lovel of Titchmarsh, was his co-heir, and her daughter Maud married William la Zouche of Haringworth, (fn. 26) son of Eudo and Milicent, sister and co-heir of George Cantilupe, who had obtained a grant of Buckworth from William de Boys. (fn. 27) In 1364 Buckworth was held of William, son of Eudo la Zouche, and grandson of William and Maud. His son and successor William held this half-fee in Buckworth at his death in 1396. (fn. 28) In 1418 the manor was returned as held of Lord Ferrers of Chartley as of the honour of Winchester. (fn. 29)
The tenant in demesne in the time of Richard I was Simon son of Richard, who was suing the Count of Eu and the Canons of the free chapel in the Castle of Hastings for the advowson of the church of Buckworth in 1207. (fn. 30) The suit was continued by Richard, son and heir of Simon son of Richard, in 1218 (fn. 31) and was still pending in 1221 and 1223, (fn. 32) when it was decided in favour of Richard. Alice, Countess of Eu, thereupon in 1225 granted the advowson to Richard son of Simon. (fn. 33) In 1243 it was ordered that seisin of lands in Buckworth should be given to Simon son of Richard, he having reached his majority. Ernald de Boys obeyed the mandate, but Robert Grimbald refused. (fn. 34) Simon, however, obtained possession, and in 1247 the king presented with his consent. In 1256 he was granted the right to hold a market every Tuesday and a fair on the Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun week. (fn. 35) In 1279 he was holding this 'market town' as one fee and had 3 carucates in demesne, a park of 12 acres, a windmill, etc., with free warren in Buckworth and Hamerton. (fn. 36) He was still alive in 1286, (fn. 37) but before 1294 he had been succeeded by Richard son of Simon and his wife Amice. (fn. 38) Richard was returned as holding Buckworth for half a knight's fee in 1303 (fn. 39) and presented to the church in 1305; but by 1310 the manor was held by his widow Amice, and the reversion of it was granted by Simon son of Richard to Thomas Mauduit and Eleanor, his wife. (fn. 40) In 1316 Amice le Strange, apparently the widow of Richard, was holding the vill. (fn. 41) Amice and Simon were dead before 1327 and Thomas died in 1327–8, when Simon's widow Nichola, who had married Thomas de Hindringham, sued Eleanor, widow of Thomas Mauduit, for having unlawfully entered the manor in spite of a grant of it for life to Simon and Nichola. (fn. 42) In 1332 Sir John Mauduit, son and heir of Thomas Mauduit of Warminster, proved his age. (fn. 43) He presented to the church in 1338, (fn. 44) and in 1341 Sir Richard son of Simon released to him all claim to the manor. The deed is witnessed, among others, by John son of Richard, (fn. 45) of whom, in 1343, John Mauduit of Warminster complained that he, with others, had broken his park and houses at Buckworth, carrying away deer, etc. (fn. 46) John Mauduit, chivaler, settled the manor on his son Thomas (who predeceased him in 1360), and Joan wife of Thomas, and died in 1364. (fn. 47) Maud, the daughter of Thomas, her grandfather's heir, married Sir Henry Green, kt., with whom she was dealing with the manor in 1385, still at that date in the hands of her mother. (fn. 48) At the death of Sir Henry in 1399 the manor passed to their son Ralph, (fn. 49) who settled it on his wife Katherine in 1416, (fn. 50) after it had been quitclaimed to him by his brother John. (fn. 51) He died in 1417, his brother John being his heir, (fn. 52) and his widow Katherine married Sir Simon Felbrigge, kt., who was holding Buckworth in 1428. (fn. 53) It next passed, by marriage with Constance daughter and heir of John Green's son Henry, to Sir John Stafford, kt., third son of Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, (fn. 54) created Earl of Wiltshire in 1470. After the death, without issue, of their son Edward, Earl of Wiltshire, in 1499, it was settled on his widow, Margaret, in 1500; (fn. 55) after her death it passed to the earl's co-heirs, the daughters of Sir Henry Vere, son of Sir Richard Vere by Isabella, sister of Sir Henry Green. The eldest, Elizabeth, had married John, Lord Mordaunt; the second, Anne, married firstly Robert, son of Sir John Mordaunt, and secondly Humphrey Browne, brother of Sir Wistan Browne of Abbot's Rooding in Essex; the third, Constance, married John Parr and died without issue in 1501; and the youngest, Audrey, was the wife of Sir Wistan's son and heir John. (fn. 56) The manor and advowson were held in thirds by the representatives of these co-heirs (fn. 57) until Lewis, Lord Mordaunt, the grandson of Elizabeth Vere, ultimately obtained possession of the whole, which, with his son and heir Henry and the latter's wife Margaret, he conveyed in 1601 to Thomas Hetley, of Brampton, and William Walden, of Godmanchester, trustees for Sir Gervase Clifton, kt. (fn. 58) Sir Gervase, who was created Lord Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in 1614, (fn. 59) died in 1618, seised of the manor, which passed to his only daughter and heir Katherine, (fn. 60) the wife of Esmé Stuart, Duke of Lennox and Earl of March. They were dealing with one moiety in 1622 (fn. 61) and the duke died in 1624. Katherine married as her second husband James, Earl of Abercorn, and died in 1637. Her son, James, Duke of Lennox, was created Duke of Richmond in 1641 and died in 1655. He was succeeded by his son Esmé, second Duke of Richmond and Lennox, at whose death, unmarried, in 1660, Buckworth passed to his cousin and heir male Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox. (fn. 62) He conveyed the manor and advowson in 1666 to John Backwell and Robert Clayton, (fn. 63) and Edward Backwell, who succeeded John Backwell, presented in 1681. In 1697 an arrangement was made between the creditors of Edward Backwell, late of London, bankrupt, and his sons, John and Richard, for the sale of the manor and advowson, (fn. 64) and they were conveyed in 1700 to Sir Charles Duncombe, Lord Mayor of London. (fn. 65) Sir Charles was dealing with the manor and advowson in 1708 (fn. 66) and died in 1711. (fn. 67) The presentation was made by Anthony Duncombe of Barford (Wilts) in 1735, and in 1764 the manor and advowson were in the hands of Thomas Duncombe (fn. 68) of Duncombe Park, Yorks, who died in 1779. Anne, his daughter and sole heir, married Robert Shafto of Whitworth (co. Durham). Robert Shafto died in 1797 and was succeeded by his eldest son John Shafto, at whose death unmarried in 1802 the family estates passed to his brother Robert Eden Duncombe Shafto of Whitworth Park, co. Durham. (fn. 69) He was dealing with the manor and advowson in 1827, (fn. 70) and died in 1848. He left a son and heir, Robert Duncombe Shafto of Whitworth Park, who died in 1889, but some twelve years or more before his death the manor became the property of John Remington Mills, and before 1885 it had passed to his nieces the Misses Mills, who, as Mrs. Cholmondeley and Lady Fox, continued to hold the manor until 1917; it was sold apparently by Lady Fox late in 1918. The manorial rights now appear to have been lost.
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (34 ft. by 16¼ ft.), nave (39½ ft. by 19¼ ft.), north aisle (11½ ft. wide), south aisle (12¾ ft. wide), west tower and spire (13½ ft. by 12½ ft.) and south porch. The walls are of rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with tiles and lead.
The church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), but the earliest parts of the present church are the 12th-century eastern angles of what was probably an aisleless nave. The south arcade and south aisle were built towards the end of the 13th century; the tower and spire, c. 1300; and the chancel, north arcade and north aisle about 1310. The south aisle and the north wall of the north aisle were rebuilt c. 1490, (fn. 71) and the clearstory and porch added. The church was restored in 1862, when it was re-roofed, and the spire in 1884; the tower was repaired in 1908, and the spire again repaired in 1925 after being struck by lightning.
The chancel, c. 1310, has a modern three-light east window with tracery in a two-centred head. (fn. 72) The north wall has a late 15th-century three-light window with a four-centred head, and a blocked 14th-century doorway, with a pointed ogee head, to a vestry now destroyed. The south wall has an original three-light window with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head, a blocked space where there was another window; an original doorway with a two-centred arch of two moulded orders, the outer order resting on circular shafts having moulded capitals and bases; an original piscina with a clumsily reset twocentred moulded head, quatrefoiled basin and wooden shelf. The contemporary chancel arch is two-centred, of two hollow-chamfered orders on modern responds.
The 13th-century nave has an arcade of three bays on each side, having two-centred arches of two chamfered orders. The north arcade, c. 1310, has octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds have moulded corbels under the lower order of the arch. The late 13th-century south arcade has circular columns with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds have semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The north-east angle outside has a 12th-century angle-shaft with spiral flutings and a volute-capital; two stones of a similar angle-shaft remain at the south-east angle. The late 15th-century clearstory has three twolight windows with simple tracery in four-centred heads.
The modern roof is dated 1862, but the jack-legs rest on 15th-century stone corbels carved with angels holding shields. There are four large carved bosses under the tie-beams, probably from the 15th-century roof; and modern bosses carved with the arms and crests of the Duncombe Shafto family, the See of Ely and the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and one with the date '1862.' The weather-moulding of the earlier high-pitched roof remains on the east wall of the tower.
The north aisle, c. 1310, has a three-light east window, of c. 1330, with reticulated tracery in a twocentred head. The north wall has two three-light windows, of c. 1500, with four-centred heads; a reset doorway of c. 1310, with a two-centred moulded head and moulded jambs with circular jamb-shafts having moulded capitals and bases. The west wall has an original three-light window with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head.
The south aisle, rebuilt c. 1490, has a three-light east window with a four-centred head. The south wall has three similar windows and a contemporary doorway with a two-centred arch and continuous moulded jambs. The west wall has a three-light window similar to the rest.
The west tower, c. 1300, has a two-centred tower arch of four orders, the inner order resting on moulded corbels with notch-head terminations. The west doorway has a two-centred arch of three moulded orders, resting on jambs having three engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases; above it is a lancet window. The north and south walls have each a similar window. The next stage has a square-headed opening on to the roof, in the east wall; a circular window with continuous moulded reveals and six trefoiled cusps, in the west wall; and similar circular panels in the two side walls. The belfry stage has in each wall a wall-arcade of three two-centred arches resting on engaged jamb-shafts at each end and on grouped triple-shafts between the bays; the centre bays are pierced with transomed two-light belfry windows with plain spandrels in the heads; the heads of the side arches are cusped with trefoiled and cinquefoiled cuspings. The tower has a moulded plinth; square buttress set in from the angles and rising to the base of the spire, and is finished with a moulded cornice enriched with notch-heads. The octagonal spire has very large broaches (having a strong entasis) and bases of pinnacles at each corner. There are three tiers of spire-lights, all on the cardinal faces; the lowest are very large transomed two-lights with plain spandrels in two-centred heads; the next are simple two-lights, and the upper are singlelights.
The south porch, c. 1490, has a two-centred outer arch of two moulded orders, the lower order resting on attached semicircular shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The sides have each an internal wallarcade with four-centred arch and continuous chamfered jambs, under each of which is a two-light window with a four-centred head.
The modern font is octagonal with a panelled bowl having roll-mouldings on the angles which are carried down the stem and finished with a moulded base on to a bold plinth moulding. The old font was a plain square bowl on a round pedestal. (fn. 73)
There are five bells, inscribed: (1) J. Taylor & Co.: founders Loughborough 1885 Catherine D. Shafto gave me 1885 Praise the Lord. (2) Geve God the preasee. 155. (3) Geve thankes to God alwais. (4) J. Taylor & Co: Founders Loughborough 1884. (5) Celorum Xte placeat tibi Rexsonus iste. In 1552 there were four bells and a sanctus bell. (fn. 74) The old fourth bell, recast in 1884, is said to have had similar lettering to the second and third bells, which are by Newcombe, of Leicester, c. 1540. The fifth bell is by Robert Oldfield, of Nottingham, c. 1520. (fn. 75) There is an undue interval in the sizes of the fourth and fifth bells, said to be due to Leighton having buried a man from Buckworth and claimed a bell as forfeit, but the Leighton bells do not seem to confirm this. (fn. 76) The bells were rehung in 1885, and on the frame is cut 'William Sisman churchwarden William Eaton fecit 1885.'
There are two fragments of a 13th or 14th century coffin-lid with ornamental crosses under the northeast buttress of the north aisle. Some pieces of 15th-century tracery lie loose in the tower. A small stone carved with the figure of a man holding a book is now fixed as a bracket on the south wall of the chancel; it was found in the foundations of the north-east corner of the chancel in 1907.
There are the following monuments: in the north aisle, to the Rev. Jonathan Ponsonby, d. 1781; the Rev. John Mitchell, Rector of Kingston Baptist, Bucks, and Curate of Buckworth, d. 1800; Robert Charles, infant son of the Rev. John and Catherine Duncombe Shafto, d. 1840; the Rev. Slingsby Duncombe Shafto, Rector, d. 1847; Lt. Col. Ernest Walter Yeatherd, killed in the South African War, 1900, Capt. Montagu Locke Yeatherd, his elder son, killed at Arras, 1917, and Lieut. Raymond Gilbert Hooker Yeatherd, his younger son, killed at the Somme, 1916; and glass window to Catherine Harriet Duncombe Shafto, d. 1888. In the south aisle, to William Stevenson, d. 1711; Susanna, widow of William Gray, d. 1859, William, her son, d. 1802, Mary Nickolls, her sister, d. 1794; Alexander Findlay, d. 1899; and glass window to John Eden Duncombe Shafto, d. 1882, and Frederick, his brother, d. 1876.
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms 9 January 1664/5 to 18 November 1789, marriages 20 September 1676 to 15 October 1753, burials 2 May 1670 to 20 November 1789; (ii) baptisms and burials 21 March 1790 to 21 August 1812; (iii) the official marriage book 11 October 1755 to 7 December 1812.
The church plate consists of a silver cup gilt inside, hall-marked for 1856–7; a silver cover paten, hall-marked for 1671–2; a silver standing paten inscribed 'Presented by Mrs. John Duncombe Shafto to Buckworth Church. 1858,' hall-marked for 1854–5; a silver plate, hall-marked for 1857–8; a silver flagon, hall-marked for 1856–7.
The advowson of Buckworth church was claimed by the canons of the free chapel of St. Mary in the Castle of Hastings, probably under an alleged gift of their founder, Robert Count of Eu, who died about 1090. As early as the reign of King Richard I the advowson was the subject of dispute between the canons and Simon son of Richard, the holder in demesne of the manor of Buckworth. The canons failed to maintain their claim and, to complete the title of the lord of the manor, the Countess of Eu, as overlord in 1225, granted her interest in the advowson to Richard son of Simon, (fn. 77) then lord of the manor. Notwithstanding this grant, the church was described in 1247 as belonging to a prebend of Hastings of the king's patronage. (fn. 78) From this date the advowson continued to be held with the manor until the sale of the manor by Robert Duncombe Shafto to John Remington Mills, when it was purchased by the Rev. John Duncombe Shafto (rector from 1831 to 1840 and 1854 to 1863) from his brother Robert Duncombe Shafto. After the death of John Eden Duncombe Shafto, son of the Rev. John Duncombe Shafto, in 1882, the advowson went to his sister Dulcibella Maria, who was the wife of the Rev. Arthur Majendie of South Shields. From them it passed to their son, the Rev. Lionel Majendie of Newbury (Berks.), who conveyed it in 1913 to the Bishop of Ely, who is the present patron.