A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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Weston Favell is a large parish, covering an area of nearly 2,000 acres and, since 1900, including part of the parish of Abington. Owing to the expansion of Northampton the population of the ecclesiastical parish had risen to 1,094 in 1931. Much of the land consists of permanent pasture, but cereals and beans are grown. The lower part of the parish, which lies by the River Nene, the southern boundary, is covered with trees which border the lane ascending from the Billing Road to the village, but the northern part, which lies much higher up, is more open in character although broken by one or two spinnies. The north of the parish is crossed by the main road from Northampton to Kettering, while the Wellingborough road, off which lies the village, divides the upper and lower parts. Two roads lead off the highway to the centre of the village where stands the church, one of them forming the main street of the village, with a public house and Methodist chapel, while the other skirts the high stone wall which inclosed the grounds of where the Ekins's mansion formerly stood, and passes by the small cemetery and picturesque group of thatched cottages with stone mullioned windows opposite the church. There are several good stone houses clustered round the church, while the rectory, a red-brick house built by the Rev. James Hervey just before his death in 1758, stands slightly to the south.
To the north of the parish, just off the Kettering road, lies Weston Favell House, a stone house built by Mr. James Manfield in 1900, with a small park. The ground reaches here an altitude of 400 ft., and a fine view is obtained over the sloping fields of the Nene Valley and of the rising land beyond. From 400 ft. the ground declines to 300 near the Weston Favell Convalescent Home, and from this point there is a gradual descent to the River Nene on which the mill, formerly belonging to the Ekins, is placed, the land there not rising above 200 ft.
John Cole, bookseller and antiquary, was born at Weston Favell in 1792, and, after living at Lincoln, Hull, and Scarborough, opened a shop in the Market Square, Northampton, about 1830, and after many vicissitudes of fortune died in 1848. (fn. 1)
In 1086 the overlordship of WESTON (FAVELL) was vested in the Count of Mortain (fn. 2) and passed with that of Overstone (q.v.) through the families of Mundeville and d'Avranches into the possession of the Crevecoeurs, Robert being overlord in 1284. (fn. 3) After this date the overlordship may have been acquired by John de Bois who was holding under Robert Crevecoeur in 1284 (fn. 4) and whose representative William la Zouche (fn. 5) was overlord in 1336. (fn. 6) The Zouches possibly alienated to the Abbots of Pipewell who appear as the overlords from 1483 until 1509. (fn. 7) John de Bois had inherited as younger, but eldest surviving, son of Ernald de Bois (fn. 8) who held 2/3 of a small fee of Mortain in Weston in 1242. (fn. 9) This estate had been returned in 1236 as of the fee of Nicholas de Haversham. (fn. 10) This Nicholas was succeeded by a son Nicholas, (fn. 11) whose heir was intermediary between John de Bois and the actual lord of the manor, John Favell, in 1284. (fn. 12) The heir in question was his daughter Maud, who married Sir James de la Plaunche, and their son Sir William de la Plaunche held Weston under Sir William la Zouche in 1336. (fn. 13) As late as 1570 the manor was said to be held of 'the heir of Nicholas de Haversham', (fn. 14) but this was probably an empty formula.
The land of the Count of Mortain was divided into two portions at the Domesday Survey, one of which, consisting of 3 hides, was held of him by Walter, (fn. 15) and the other 2½ hides in extent was held by the Count himself. (fn. 16) These two portions probably coalesced to form the 4 hides held by Richard de Weston in the 12th century, (fn. 17) but did not long remain intact as on the death of Richard the estate was divided between Ralph Griffin of Gumley, Leicestershire, the husband of Richard's sister Alice, (fn. 18) and John Favell of Walcot who probably married another sister and co-heir and from whom Weston derived its additional name of Favell. The moiety held by John Favell, known as WESTON FAVELL MANOR, was confiscated by King John on account of his adherence to the Barons, (fn. 19) but was restored by Henry III in 1216 (fn. 20) and remained in the Favell family, whose pedigree has been traced under Walcot in Barnack, (fn. 21) until on the death of Sir William Favell without heirs, c. 1316, it passed into the Griffin family by the marriage of Elizabeth his sister with Sir John Griffin, (fn. 22) the great-grandson of Ralph above-mentioned, and lord of the other moiety of Weston. The manor, thus reunited, remained vested in the Griffin family for many generations, (fn. 23) but by the marriage of Thomas, Sir John's grandson, with Elizabeth the daughter and ultimate heir of Sir Warine Latimer, the Griffins acquired the manor of Braybrook, (fn. 24) which then became the seat of the family. By a settlement made in 1528 when Sir Thomas Griffin was lord of the manor, Weston was to pass after his death to his son and heir Richard. (fn. 25) Richard, however, died during his father's lifetime leaving an only child Mary, the wife of Thomas Markham of Ollerton, Notts., (fn. 26) and a fresh settlement was made in 1561 (fn. 27) by which Mary and Thomas Markham released all their right in the manor to Sir Thomas Griffin: the latter died in 1566, when Weston passed to his son Thomas of unsound mind, (fn. 28) for whom it was held in trust by the executors of Sir Thomas's will, of whom Edward Griffin was one, and a fresh arrangement was made the following year by which the reversion of the manor was settled in Mary and Thomas Markham. (fn. 29) Thomas Griffin, the idiot, dying without issue, Weston Favell passed to Mary while Braybrook was inherited by Edward. (fn. 30) Thus the connexion between the two manors was severed, and Weston was apparently settled on Sir Griffin Markham, son of Mary, but was confiscated by James I in 1603 on the attainder of Sir Griffin for implication in the Bye plot, (fn. 31) and although Sir Griffin was remanded his estates were not restored and Weston was bestowed on Sir John Harrington in 1604. (fn. 32) Mary Markham, however, appears to have obtained a restitution of the manor for in 1608 she alienated it to Henry Travell (fn. 33) by whom it was sold in 1616 to Alexander Ekins. (fn. 34) The latter was succeeded by his son and grandson, both of the name of Alexander, (fn. 35) the second of whom acquired Tyringham's Manor in Weston Favell by his marriage with Rebecca one of the daughters and co-heirs of Martin Hervey. (fn. 36) In 1664 he petitioned the King for a letter to the mayor and aldermen of Northampton, to elect him to the stewardship of the corporation, alleging that he lost most of his estates during the war for adherence to the sovereign, (fn. 37) and in 1666 he was appointed deputy to James Earl of Northampton, Master of his Majesty's Leash, with authority to take as many greyhounds within 10 miles of Weston Favell as he should think fit. (fn. 38) Alexander died in 1676, (fn. 39) leaving Weston to his son Hervey Ekins, Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1681, upon whose death in 1730 the manors were inherited by Rebecca, his only surviving child, wife of Justinian Ekins, her cousin. (fn. 40) As Rebecca died without issue, Justinian settled the estate on his nephews Hervey Ekins, Justinian, William, and Robert Kerry respectively in tail male (fn. 41) but all dying without issue within a few years of one another, (fn. 42) the manors reverted to Elizabeth Ellen, the widow of Hervey Ekins, nephew of Justinian, who demised them to trustees to be sold for the benefit of the representatives of her husband's sisters. (fn. 43) In accordance with the terms of her will, Weston was sold in 1814 for £23,970, the two principal farms being purchased by Edward Bouverie of Delapré Abbey (fn. 44) from whom they have descended to Miss Bouverie, now of Hardingstone, (fn. 45) while the manors were acquired by Thomas Butcher, solicitor, of Northampton. After this date the manorial rights appear to have lapsed; for, although in 1874 Mr. H. B. Whitworth is described as lord of the manor, (fn. 46) there is no trace of them at the present day.
One hide in Weston in 1086 was appendant to the manor of Torp (Kingsthorpe), part of the ancient demesne of the Crown, (fn. 47) and was so held in the 12th century. (fn. 48) It was probably comprised in the estate held by Alan de Stokes who died in 1393 seised of 5 messuages, 1¼ carucate of land in Weston Favell held of the King in chief, and for 8d. yearly paid to Kingsthorpe Manor. Alan left two nieces as his heirs, Maud wife of William Smith and Agnes wife of Thomas Knight, (fn. 49) but there is no further mention of this estate. It is possible that it reappears in TYRINGHAM'S MANOR. John Tyringham of London and Northampton, lord of the manor of Tyringham, Bucks., (fn. 50) in his will, dated 12 July 1484, mentions his nephew Thomas Tyringham of Weston and his daughters, of whom Elizabeth is named; (fn. 51) but this manor is first mentioned by this name in 1509 as a moiety held by Richard Higham and Anne his wife who in that year alienated it to Thomas Edon. (fn. 52) This Anne was apparently one of the daughters and co-heirs of Sir William Chamberlain, who had held the manor; her sister Mary had married John Higham. (fn. 53) A moiety was in the possession of Richard Edon in 1523. (fn. 54) Thomas Edon with Griselda his wife held, apparently, the whole manor in 1537, (fn. 55) and conveyed it in 1546 to John Davenport. (fn. 56) The latter with Anne his wife in 1555 sold their right in the manor to Edmund Tyringham of Stanton Wyville, Leicestershire, (fn. 57) probably a descendant of the original owners. Edmund was succeeded by his son Francis, (fn. 58) who alienated this estate in 1615 to Thomas Pentlowe, (fn. 59) and when the latter in 1620 conveyed it to Stephen Hervey Joseph Tyringham the son of Francis released any claim he might have in the manor. (fn. 60) In 1635 Stephen Hervey and Elizabeth his wife settled it on their son Martin on his marriage with Rebecca the daughter of George Strode, (fn. 61) and on Martin's death before 1670 it was inherited by his three daughters, of whom Rebecca the second daughter acquired her other sisters' moieties, (fn. 62) and brought the manor into the family of her husband Alexander Ekins, lord of the principal manor of Weston, with which Tyringham's Manor was afterwards held.
In addition to the Count of Mortain's land, Gunfrid de Cioches had ½ virgate in Weston in 1086 which was held of him by John. (fn. 63) This small estate passed to the Prestons of Little Billing (q.v.), who held that manor of the same overlord, and is found in their possession in 1273, (fn. 64) but after that date no further mention has been found of this land.
Weston Favell appears to have possessed many mills at one time, and in 1562 four are mentioned (fn. 65) while the number had increased to six in 1567. (fn. 66) In 1580 Edward Griffin brought an action against William Raindford, Henry Nelson and his wife for arrears of rent due from two water-mills, one a corn-mill and the other a fullingmill, and for damage done to the groundwork and floodgates of the mills. (fn. 67) A mill was purchased by George Spokes at the sale of the Ekins estate in 1814 (fn. 68) and is apparently the one situated on the Nene at the present day.
The church of ST. PETER consists of chancel, 29 ft. 3 in. by 16 ft. 4 in., with north vestry and organ-chamber, nave of three bays, 41 ft. 6 in. by 22 ft., north aisle, 13 ft. 6 in. wide, north and south porches, and west tower, 9 ft. 6 in. square, all these measurements being internal.
The tower is of late-12th-century date, of Transitional Norman character, and the chancel belongs mainly to the first half of the 13th century, being a rebuilding at that time of a 12th-century chancel, the priest's doorway of which was retained. This doorway is earlier than the tower and indicates the existence of a mid-12th-century building. The north aisle dates only from 1881 but takes the place of a former aisle which was injured by the fall of the spire in 1725 (fn. 69) and was afterwards taken down. The spire has never been rebuilt, but its base, covered with a low pyramidal roof, still remains, forming a rather unusual feature. In pulling down the north wall of the nave in 1881, preparatory to rebuilding the new aisle, a large number of stones of various periods were found, some in the window-jambs, others at the bottom of the footings and in other parts of the walls. These included a Transitional Norman capital and base, (fn. 70) considerably injured, part of a lancet window-head, (fn. 71) portions of circular pillars, probably from a former arcade of late-12thcentury date, and a quantity of 15th-century tracery. (fn. 72) From the presence of these fragments in the wall it has been surmised that the nave as it then was had been wholly rebuilt since the 15th century, possibly in 1725, though there is apparently no documentary evidence of this. (fn. 73) In 1851 the chancel was restored, (fn. 74) in 1869 the nave was re-roofed, the chancel arch rebuilt, and the south porch restored, and in 1892 the north porch was added. There was a general restoration in 1925.
The tower and chancel are of rubble with dressed quoins, and all the roofs are covered with slates. (fn. 75) The north aisle and organ-chamber are faced with brown Duston stone.
The chancel is unbuttressed and has a modern east window (fn. 76) of three lancets under a 13th-century hoodmould. The south wall is pierced by an original window of three lancets under a single hood-mould west of the priest's doorway, the portion farther east being blank. The doorway has a semicircular arch of two square orders and hood-mould, with chamfered jambs and imposts. There is a trefoiled piscina recess in the plastered wall, and in the north wall a square-headed aumbry. The wide semicircular chancel arch is of two chamfered orders.
The tower is of four receding stages, and is considerably battered in the upper stage. (fn. 77) It has a plain parapet carried on a corbel table of carved heads, and gargoyles at the western angles. The round-headed west doorway has long been blocked and little or no architectural detail remains: above it in the second stage is a double lancet with head cut from a single stone, but the third stage is blank. The bell-chamber windows are of two widely spaced lancets with separate hood-moulds carried round the tower as a string. (fn. 78) The walls are of great thickness in the lower stage and are unbuttressed, but heavy buttresses have been added at a later time at the junction with the nave. The pointed tower arch is of three square orders, with chamfered imposts and hood-mould.
The slab in the sanctuary floor which marked the burial-place of the Rev. James Hervey, rector (d. 1758), 'that very pious man and much admired author', is now placed upright in a recess on the north side of the chancel. There are brass floor plates to Elizabeth, wife of Francis Hervey (d. 1642), and Mary, wife of William Hervey (d. 1645), and a number of 18th-century mural tablets. In the vestry is preserved a piece of needlework representing the Last Supper, wrought by the wife of Sir John Holman in 1698, and formerly over the communion table. (fn. 79)
There are five bells, four cast by Henry and Matthew Bagley of Chacombe in 1683, and the tenor by Henry Penn of Peterborough in 1707. (fn. 80) In 1552 there were three bells and a sanctus bell.
The plate consists of a silver cup and paten 'the gift of Lucas Ward minister of Weston in ye county of Northampton 1674', and a silver alms dish of 1724 given by Frances Lady Twysden in 1725. (fn. 81)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1540–1735, marriages 1545–1735, burials 1540– 1678; (fn. 82) (ii) baptisms and burials 1735–1812, marriages 1735–53; (iii) marriages 1754–1812. The first volume has been newly bound.
The first mention of Weston Favell church occurs about 1200 when Richard de Weston bestowed the advowson upon St. Andrew's Priory, Northampton. (fn. 83) He, moreover, bequeathed to the Prior and Convent 1 virgate of land in Weston which Godric held, with his palfrey, harness, and saddles, a barn and 10 measures of corn to make wafers, 7 silver spoons, a silver cup with carved handle, and a silver gilt ring. (fn. 84) The right of presentation to the church was afterwards contested by John Favell and Ralph Griffin, but decided in favour of the priory in 1233. (fn. 85) Sir Hugh Favell the son of John bestowed upon the Prior and Convent a messuage in Weston, to be held by the rectors for the time being, (fn. 86) and in 1261, with Richard Griffin, the grandson of the above-mentioned Ralph, confirmed to the priory the advowson, of the gift of their ancestor, Richard de Weston. (fn. 87) The church, which was worth £6 in 1291, (fn. 88) had increased in value to £17 6s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 89) After the dissolution of St. Andrew's in 1538, (fn. 90) the advowson was apparently granted to Sir Thomas Brudenell who died seised of it in 1550, when it was inherited by his son Sir Edmund (fn. 91) who in 1573 alienated it to Richard Burbanke. (fn. 92) By 1580 it was in the possession of Robert Gage and Anne his wife, who in that year conveyed it to William Gage and Margaret his wife. (fn. 93) In 1583 they sold it to Edward Travell and Clara his wife; (fn. 94) the latter in 1593 alienated it to Henry Travell, a brother of Edward, and Elizabeth his wife, (fn. 95) of whom it was purchased three years later by their nephew Robert Travell, (fn. 96) afterwards rector of Weston, who was deprived for non-conformity but restored, on submission, in 1605, (fn. 97) and retained his office until 1640. (fn. 98) The right of presentation then passed, probably by purchase, to Francis Hervey, nephew of the Stephen who acquired Tyringham's Manor in 1620, (fn. 99) and he was succeeded by his son William, patron and rector of Weston, who died in 1736. (fn. 100) His son, another William, also patron and rector of the church, died in 1752, (fn. 101) when the right of presentation devolved on his son James, rector there, and the author of Meditations among the Tombs. (fn. 102) On his death in 1758, without issue, the advowson ought to have been sold according to the terms of the will of his father, (fn. 103) but an arrangement was arrived at in 1777 by which it passed to his sister Mary and her husband Robert Knight, the rector of Weston, (fn. 104) and after their deaths it was inherited by their son Robert Hervey Knight, also rector. (fn. 105) It is now in the gift of the Church Association Trust.
The Charities of Hervey and Elizabeth Ekins for education, apprenticing for the poor, and for a sermon, were founded by indentures of lease and release dated 27 February 1704 and augmented by land conveyed by deeds in 1707, 1717, and 1755. The charities are administered by a body of trustees, of whom the rector is one, appointed by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 22 December 1874.
By a Determination Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 2 November 1906, £80 Consols out of Stock representing accumulations of income was set aside to provide the endowment of the Poor Charity of Hervey and Elizabeth Ekins and £32 Consols for the endowment of the Ecclesiastical Charity of Hervey and Elizabeth Ekins. The income of the Poor Charity amounting to £2 yearly is distributed in bread on St. Andrew's Day and 16s., being the income of the Ecclesiastical Charity, is paid to the rector for a sermon on that day.
Lady Jane Holman by her will dated in or about the year 1711 gave to the minister and churchwardens a close of land of about 8 acres called Greenway Furze, to pay out of the rents 20s. a year to the minister for a sermon on Good Friday and to distribute the residue to the poor. The land was sold in 1919 and the proceeds invested, producing £37 5s. 2d. yearly in dividends. The charity is administered by the rector and two trustees appointed by the Parish Council in place of the churchwardens. Varying cash payments are made to about fifty poor.