A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1930.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The parish of Stoke Doyle, which lies about two miles south-west of Oundle, contains 1,570 acres, the greater part of which is laid down in permanent grass. The subsoil is Oxford clay, stone marls and cornbrash. The land rises gently to the west from the River Nene, which forms the eastern boundary. Along the river bank the ground falls to a little below the 100 ft. contour line, but in the north-west of the parish near Stoke Wood it reaches 238 ft. above the ordnance datum. Stoke Doyle was formerly within the metes of the Forest of Rockingham, but in 1638 Edward Doyley obtained licence to disafforest his manor which contained 1,200 acres of land within the Forest. (fn. 1) There are two disused stone quarries in the parish.
The village lies along the road from Wadenhoe to Oundle, where the road is crossed by a stream rising in Lilford Wood and running into the Nene. The church stands on the east side of the road. A little distance to the south-east is the Rectory, a 17th century house with later additions. On one of the bay windows is the date 1633 with the initials T. B., and a gable of this north wing is dated 1731. The old manor house south of the church was pulled down about 1870 and a farm house erected on the site. (fn. 2) A square stone dovecot with hipped roof and lantern survives from the old buildings.
The manor of STOKE DOYLE may be identified with one of the Domesday holdings of the Abbey of Peterborough, which contained 2 hides and a virgate of land, but was then appurtenant to Oundle manor. (fn. 3) By 1125, the land had been subinfeudated, but the overlordship was held by the Abbey, until its dissolution. (fn. 4) Afterwards the manor was held of the Crown as of the Hundred of Navisford (fn. 5) (q.v.), and when the latter was granted by James I to Lord Montagu, he also obtained the overlordship of Stoke Doyle. (fn. 6)
About 1125, Wymund de Stoke was the tenant of this land, which he held as one knights' fee, but claimed to hold 1½ hides in socage. (fn. 7) In the 12th century survey of Northamptonshire, Stoke does not appear, but as Wadenhoe, Pilton and Stoke formed one township, (fn. 8) it is possible that the entries under Wadenhoe include holdings in the other two parishes. Wymund appears as holding one virgate of land, (fn. 9) which may have been the virgate which the lords of Stoke Doyle afterwards held of the manor of Pilton, (fn. 10) but if so his main holding is omitted. He was probably succeeded by another Wymund before 1146. (fn. 11) In 1189, the fee was held by Guy de Stoke, (fn. 12) and in 1199 Robert de Stoke agreed to perform the military service due from half a knight's fee and to pay a rent of 8s. a year for the other half. (fn. 13) He was living in 1227, (fn. 14) but was succeeded by Edmund or Simon de Stoke shortly afterwards. (fn. 15) In 1242–3 John de Stoke was the tenant, (fn. 16) but he had died before 1246–7, (fn. 17) and in 1254 the half fee was held by the heir of Robert de Stoke. (fn. 18) In 1275 John de Stoke was lord of the manor, (fn. 19) but he apparently died before 1280. (fn. 20)
The manor then passed to Alice, the wife of John Doyley, who obtained in 1313, (fn. 21) from Robert son of John de Stoke, a quitclaim of his right in the manor. In the same year they settled it, with remainders to their son Thomas and the right heirs of Alice. (fn. 22) Thomas did homage to the abbot in 1322. (fn. 23) A John Doyley, possibly son of Thomas, held the manor in 1341 (fn. 24) and in 1353 he made a settlement on his son Thomas by his second wife Margery. (fn. 25) This Thomas seems to have died young, and the manor went to Henry Doyley, probably his great-uncle, son of John Doyley and his wife Alice. (fn. 26) On his death after 1367 the manor went to John, son of Robert Knightley (d. c. 1326) and Alice his wife (d. 1349), who was sister of Henry Doyley. John Knightley presented to the church in 1369 and 1390. (fn. 27) A settlement of Stoke Doyle was made in 1370 (fn. 28) on Joan, said to be daughter and heir of Sir John Doyley, and Thomas, son of Roger Lewkenor of Sussex, her husband, (fn. 29) and in 1391 a further settlement of the manor was made on Joan and her second husband, John Cobham, with a life interest to John Knightley. (fn. 30) Roger Lewkenor apparently granted it to trustees, (fn. 31) one of whom, Nicholas Nymmes, did homage in 1401, (fn. 32) and the trustees still held it in 1412. (fn. 33) By 1428 the manor had reverted to Thomas Lewkenor, Joan's grandson, (fn. 34) whose son Roger presented to the church in 1453 and died in 1478, leaving a son and heir Thomas, (fn. 35) who forfeited his lands, probably as a Yorkist. Stoke Doyle was granted to William Sapcote in 1484, (fn. 36) but Lewkenor was probably reinstated in possession, as his son Roger presented to the church in 1491. (fn. 37) He left four daughters, and his heirs apparently sold the manor to Sir George Puttenham, who in 1526 levied a fine of it against Roger Corbet. (fn. 38) It seems to have passed, with other property to Andrew, first Lord Windsor, before 1536. (fn. 39) On his death it passed to his son William (fn. 40) and grandson Edward. The latter sold it in 1560 to Richard Palmer, (fn. 41) who was already lord of another manor in Stoke Doyle (q.v.). Richard Palmer died in 1570, (fn. 42) and the property passed in direct descent to Anthony (d. 1633), Edward, Edward, Geoffrey (living 1677), and Anthony Palmer. (fn. 43) The lastnamed sold it in 1697 to Sir Edward Ward, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 44) His sons, (fn. 45) Edward (d. 1734), (fn. 46) and Philip, successively succeeded him. (fn. 47) On the death of the latter in 1752, (fn. 48) the manor was divided amongst his sisters or their descendants. (fn. 49) The whole manor, however, was obtained before 1789 by Rowland Hunt, grandson of Jane, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Ward, (fn. 50) who married Thomas Hunt (d. 1753) and had a son, Rev. Rowland Hunt, D.D., rector of Stoke Doyle (d. 1785). Rowland Hunt (d. 1831), his son, apparently conveyed the manor to the Rev. Robert Roberts, D.D., after whose death it was put up for auction in March 1830, when it was stated to be discharged from tithe and to extend over 1,300 acres, and there went with it the right of fishing in the Nene for nearly two miles, and the right to cut rushes. In April 1830, however, it was privately sold by the trustees of Dr. Roberts to George Capron. It passed on his death in 1872 to his son, the Rev. George Capron, whose son, Mr. G. Herbert Capron, is the present lord of the manor. (fn. 51)
In 1086, the Abbey of Peterborough had a second holding in Stoke. The under tenants were two knights, two serjeants, with one sokman, who held 2 hides and 3 virgates of land. (fn. 52)
One of the knights may be identified with Geoffrey Infans, said to have been nephew of Abbot Thorold (1069–98), and tenant of 8 hides in Gunthorp, Southorp, Stoke and Hemington. (fn. 53) Geoffrey Infans or de Gunthorpe seems to have had three sons, Ive, Richard and Ralph. Ive apparently left no issue. Richard, who succeeded him, had a son Geoffrey whose son Geoffrey is mentioned in 1189. In 1198 Waleran son of Ralph, who took the name of de Helpston, claimed against Geoffrey, son of Geoffrey, 3 knights' fees in Southorpe, Gunthorpe and Stoke. (fn. 54) Geoffrey was succeeded after 1212 by his son Robert, who was followed by Thomas, his son, and another Geoffrey, son of Thomas. Geoffrey de Southorpe conveyed the manor of Southorpe, with the homages and services pertaining to it, to Stephen de Cornhill, citizen of London, probably in security for a loan. Stephen de Cornhill sold the manor and services to Elias de Bekyngham, apparently on behalf of the abbot of Peterborough. Geoffrey de Southorpe, however, being imprisoned for a debt to Queen Eleanor, repudiated the conveyance of Southorpe, saying it was made while he was under duress, and therefore of no effect. But William de Woodford, out of respect for Geoffrey's poverty and to avoid a scandal, gave him 10 marks and two horses, and Geoffrey confirmed the manor to the abbot. The transactions were completed in 1291. (fn. 55)
The knight's service held in Stoke was in respect of the manor of STOKE or STOKE DOYLEY. (fn. 56) At what date it was sub-infeudated is not known, but in 1242–3 Thomas Wake held a quarter of a knight's fee of Thomas, son of Robert, and Thomas of Peterborough Abbey. (fn. 57) In 1316, Hugh Wake was the tenant, (fn. 58) and in 1329 Andrina Wake, possibly his widow, holding for life, had apparently succeeded him. (fn. 59) Thomas son of Hugh was at this time a minor in the wardship of the abbot. (fn. 60) Another Hugh Wake appears in 1347, (fn. 61) and he seems to have been succeeded by Thomas Wake. (fn. 62) A Hugh Wake of Stoke Doyle was living about 1400. (fn. 63) The manor seems to have been bought either by Sir William Thorpe, senior, or his brother Sir Robert Thorpe, since Sir William Thorpe, junior, inherited it (fn. 64) and settled it in 1383. (fn. 65) After his death it passed with the manor of Pilton (q.v.) to the Mulshos and Treshams. (fn. 66) Just before his death in 1533, Richard Tresham sold the manor to John Palmer, (fn. 67) and the transaction was completed by his son and heir John. (fn. 68) John Palmer died in 1558, (fn. 69) and the manor passed to his son Richard, (fn. 70) who some years later purchased the main manor of Stoke Doyle (q.v.). The manor is mentioned separately in the inquisition on the lands of Anthony Palmer in 1633, (fn. 71) but the two manors afterwards became merged.
The second knight, who held of the Abbey of Peterborough, apparently only held 3 virgates of land, and his holding may be identified with the land held by Ingram (d. 1114), whose fee was seized by Geoffrey de Gunthorpe. The next holder was Hugh Olifard of Stoke in 1125. (fn. 72) Hugh held another third part of a virgate, (fn. 73) but later documents show that some land in the quarter of a knight's fee held by his successor lay in Churchfield. (fn. 74) His land passed in succession to Ingelram, who was the tenant in 1146, (fn. 75) and to Vivian de Stoke, who, however, had died before 1189. (fn. 76) Ive de Stoke was holding in 1189, and Henry his son was the tenant in 1211, (fn. 77) and he was followed by another Ive de Stoke. (fn. 78) By 1243 it had passed to Henry Knight (Miles), (fn. 79) and in 1254 Robert Knight paid the scutage due from a quarter fee. (fn. 80) In 1300 Nicholas Knight did homage for his land in Stoke, (fn. 81) and another Nicholas did homage in 1322, (fn. 82) but shortly afterwards he gave it to William de Whatton, rector of the church of Stoke, who sold it to Thomas Doyley, (fn. 83) the lord of the chief manor of Stoke Doyle (q.v.), to which this quarter fee seems to have been united. (fn. 84)
A free fishery was apparently parcel of the second manor of Stoke Doyle, and is mentioned in 1537 and 1610. (fn. 85)
A fulling mill is referred to in 1408. (fn. 86)
The church of ST. RUMBALD or ALL SAINTS stands on the east side of the village, and is a plain, classic structure erected in 1722–25 on the site of an older building. The former church, which appears to have belonged mainly to the middle of the 13th century, consisted of chancel with north chapel (or 'burying isle,') nave with north aisle, and west tower surmounted with a broach spire. The nave was of four bays, and the chancel opened to the chapel by an arcade of three arches. There was a large roundheaded south doorway with many shafts and ornamented with dog-tooth, but no porch. (fn. 87)
In a petition to the bishop to pull down the old church it was stated that the building had become 'so ruinous that to repair it would be a burden too heavy for the parish to bear'; the spire (fn. 88) was in danger of falling, and the structure was described as 'very much larger than is necessary for the inhabitants of so small a parish.' The building, therefore, was pulled down in the spring of 1722, and the first stone of the new church laid in May of that year. The roof was completed in the autumn, but no joiners' work was done in the interior until the summer of 1724, (fn. 89) when the pews, pulpit, wainscot and doors were put in, the windows glazed, and the ceiling and walls plastered. The tower was begun in June, 1724, and finished in August, 1725, but the building was not opened until the following March. (fn. 90)
The church as then completed remains unaltered. In plan it is a rectangle measuring internally 61 ft. by 24 ft. 6 in., (fn. 91) with west tower, and mortuary chapel, now used as a vestry, at the east end of the north wall; it is faced with ashlar, and has a cornice and plain parapet, and semi-circular headed side windows with moulded architraves and sills. The east window is of the three-light 'Venetian' type, and the south doorway has a semi-circular arch, pilasters, and broken segmental pediment. The tower is of three stages, with balustraded parapet and angle pinnacles, round-headed bell chamber windows, and west doorway.
The vestry, or mortuary chapel, opens to the sanctuary by a round stone arch and has a window facing east. It contains an elaborate marble monument to Sir Edward Ward, knight, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer (d. 1714), with reclining figure in judge's robes, said to be by Rysbrack. (fn. 92) In the sanctuary is a canopied mural monument in marble and alabaster to Mrs. Frances Palmer (d. 1628), wife of Edward Palmer, Counseller at Law, and memorials to Katharine (d. 1760), wife of Dr. Rowland Hunt, rector, and to Hannah (d. 1819), wife of the Rev. R. Roberts, curate, the latter by Chantrey.
There is a ring of five bells by Thomas Eayre, of Kettering, cast in the winter of 1727. (fn. 93)
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten, flagon, and two plates of 1734, each inscribed 'Stoke Doyle in Northamptonshire.' (fn. 94)
The registers begin in 1560. The first volume has all entries to 1653, the second from 1654 to 1736, and the third from 1736 to 1812. (fn. 95)
On the south side of the building is the base of a churchyard cross, of somewhat unusual form, the chamfered stops of which have scroll-like projections. (fn. 96)
Bridges records in the chancel of the old church a stone 8 ft. long, on which was cut the name 'Ricardus Ashton.' (fn. 97)
A recumbent effigy of a priest now in the churchyard to the east of the chancel was formerly in the old church, between the chancel and north chapel. (fn. 98)
The advowson of the church of Stoke Doyle has been always held by the lords of the first manor of Stoke Doyle, the earliest recorded presentation being in 1222, by Robert de Stoke. (fn. 99) Mr. Capron is the owner of the advowson at the present day.
A rent of 10s. a year from the rectory of Stoke Doyle was paid to the Sacrist of the Abbey of Peterborough in 1291. (fn. 100) All portions, tithes and pensions in the parish were granted in 1541 to the dean and chapter of the newly founded cathedral. (fn. 101)
At the Dissolution of the chantries, a sum of 53s. 4d. existed to maintain an obit and light in the church as well as an annual rent of 2s. (fn. 102)
In 1591 a dispute arose as to a messuage and 20 acres of land held for the benefit of the parish for repairing bridges, the relief of the poor, etc. The deeds were in the possession of Anthony Palmer, the lord of the manor, and two others, who, it is alleged, tried to conceal the property, pretending that it had been given for superstitious uses. (fn. 103)
Thomas Hewitt in 1749 left £20 for the poor. This sum was subsequently invested in £20 8s. 9d. Consols producing 10s. yearly in dividends. The income is distributed by the rector and churchwardens in bread on St. Thomas's Day to about 20 recipients.
George Capron by indenture dated 24 June 1844 gave £200 to the rector and churchwardens for charitable purposes. The money was invested in £215 10s. 10d. Consols producing £5 7s. 8d. in dividends. £2 is distributed to the local Clothing and Coal Clubs, £2 in aid of the Sunday School and £1 to Peterborough Infirmary.