A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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This small but delightful parish, bounded on the east by Bozeat, north by Grendon, and west by Yardley Hastings, lies on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, and west of the road between Wellingborough and Olney. The whole parish, which contains an area of 1,800 acres, and extends from north to south about 2 miles, from east to west about 1, is owned, with the exception of the rectorial lands, by the Marquess of Northampton.
The population, which was only 192 in 1871, had in 1931 sunk to 129. But there are indications that Easton Maudit once housed a considerably larger number of inhabitants. It is said that there were once a number of weavers' shops here, (fn. 1) and Bridges wrote that in his day the parish had been considerably depopulated since it had been inclosed by Sir Christopher Yelverton in the time of Charles I. (fn. 2)
The village is about 2¾ miles south-east from Castle Ashby and Earl's Barton station on the Northampton and Peterborough branch of the L. M.S. railway. At its northern extremity is the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, with the vicarage south-west and the school south-east of it.
A group of fine trees near the church marks the spot where the handsome manorhouse which was at one time the seat of the Earls of Sussex formerly stood. Adjoining the house was a walled park, and beyond it a larger inclosure surrounded by a stone wall; of this inclosure the wood called Hornwood, mentioned in various conveyances, formed part. Bridges writes of a very large wood between Easton and Yardley, in the west of the lordship, divided between the Earls of Northampton and Sussex, and of a small coppice of wood at Barmer's Hill. (fn. 3) At the close of last century 295 acres were woodland. (fn. 4)
The manor-house, or hall, was pulled down immediately after the sale of the estate in 1801, but a drawing of the east front made in 1721 (fn. 5) shows a façade of considerable extent, two stories high, with a return south wing of three stories forming two sides of a court, which appears to have been inclosed on the north by a hedge and trees, and open to the east. (fn. 6) There was already a house in existence when Christopher Yelverton purchased the estate, but the drawing of 1721 shows a rather widespreading manor-house of the Jacobean period with central porch, subsidiary side porches, stone gables and dormers, and mullioned windows, some of which had been replaced by sashes. The general disposition was symmetrical, though the individual features were irregular. (fn. 7) Two doorways with pointed arches may have belonged to an older house, but it would appear that the house was rebuilt about 1600. The Rev. W. Cole, who accompanied Horace Walpole when he visited Easton Maudit in 1763, mentions a 'fine large drawing-room', and notes 'two or three old coats of alliances of the Yelverton family in the staircase windows', as well as a shield of the family arms in the chapel, but the only relics of the house known to have been preserved are two 18th-century carved chimney-pieces and two sets of stone gate piers. (fn. 8) At the time of its demolition the house contained seventy rooms. (fn. 9)
'The Bishop's room' was the room occupied by the venerable Bishop Morton, who had been successively Bishop of Chester, Lichfield, and Durham. After the abolition of episcopacy in 1646 he fell into extreme poverty and lived for a time with Sir Christopher Yelverton at Easton Maudit as tutor of the younger members of the family until his death there in 1659 at the age of 95, (fn. 10) when a floor-slab was placed to his memory in the church.
The vicarage, considerably remodelled since his day, was the home for twenty-nine years of Dr. Thomas Percy (fn. 11) (1729–1811), who was presented to the living in 1753 by the college of Christ Church, Oxford. It was here that his most important work, including the publication of the Reliques of Ancient Poetry, was accomplished. The church registers contain specimens of his beautifully clear handwriting. (fn. 12) Among his visitors were Shenstone and Garrick, Goldsmith, and the great Doctor and his friend Miss Williams. Of Dr. Johnson's visit in 1764 Mrs. Percy told Cradock (fn. 13) that 'her husband looked out all sorts of books to be ready for his amusement after breakfast, and that Johnson was so attentive and polite to her that when her husband mentioned the literature prepared in the study he said: "No, Sir, I shall first wait upon Mrs. Percy to feed the ducks."'
Dr. Percy was succeeded in the living by his friend and correspondent, the philologist Robert Nares, presented in 1782 to this living, which he held until 1805. Robert Nares, who was Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, assisted in 1790 in completing Bridges's History of Northamptonshire. (fn. 14)
Winemar [the Fleming, otherwise Winemar de Hamslape], who was returned in the Survey as holding of the Countess Judith 1 virgate of land in Bozeat, was holding in chief at the same time 2 hides and 3 virgates in a place unnamed in the hundred of Higham. (fn. 15) This was presumably EASTON, since his successor Michael de Hamslape was entered in the Northampton Survey as holding 3½ hides and 1 great virgate in Easton and Strixton. (fn. 16) The 2 hides and 3 virgates recorded in 1086 had been held before the Conquest by six freemen, one of whom was called Osgot, and his part of the land had been claimed by the Countess Judith. The lands held in Easton by Michael de Hamslape evidently passed to William Mauduit, the King's Chamberlain, by his marriage with Maud daughter of Michael, as in 1242 land in Easton was held in chief of the king by William Mauduit, (fn. 17) of whom William de Nowers was holding 3 parts of a fee in Easton, while Robert Wolf, or 'Lupus', was holding of him half a fee in Esse [Ashby] and Easton. Another account gives a fee in Easton to William de Nowers, and half a fee in Ashby to Robert Wolf. (fn. 18) This fee was held of the Mauduits until at the death of William Mauduit, s.p., in 1267, it passed with the earldom to William de Beauchamp, the younger, son of William Mauduit's sister Isabel, deceased, the wife of William de Beauchamp, the elder. (fn. 19) It was held by the Beauchamps, Earls of Warwick, until early in the 15th century, as of their manor of Hanslope.
John Mauduit in 1206–7 granted land in Easton to Gilbert son of Richard de Easton and Christiane his mother; (fn. 20) and it was probably the same John Mauduit who, as lord of Easton next Bozeat, made a grant to the canons of St. James near Northampton of the wood called Stonyway in Bozeat and of lands in Easton. (fn. 21) A lawsuit in 1306 about the advowson (fn. 22) (held with the manor) gives a very complete record of the early descent of this manor of Easton, of which John Mauduit died seised after having made the presentation in the reign of King John. John Mauduit left three daughters as his heirs, named Agnes, Flandrina, and Amice. The manor and advowson of Easton were assigned to Agnes and Flandrina as their purparty, and another tenement to Amice. Agnes Mauduit had four daughters: Isabel, Sibyl, Eleanor, and Loretta; of these Isabel married William de Nowers. (fn. 23) After the death of William de Nowers, Isabel granted to William de Fauconberg 10 acres of wood and her share of the advowson. (fn. 24) This passed to Ralf son of Agnes, sister of Olive, mother of William de Fauconberg, probably the Ralf de Fauconberg (fn. 25) who granted to Henry de Preyers, or Pratellis, all his right in Easton, Grendon, Wollaston, and Bozeat. (fn. 26) Sibyl married Roger de Haukeseye and with her husband sold to the Master of the Knights Templars, Robert de Saunford, land, wood, and rent in Easton in 1236, (fn. 27) and in 1239, (fn. 28) the master afterwards enfeoffing of this share (which included part of the mill) Ralf de Karun, the second husband of Flandrina. Ralf de Karun's share went to his daughters Isabel and Amice; of whom Amice died s.p., and her share descended to her sister. (fn. 29) Isabel probably married the William le Lou of Easton who with other persons was indicted in 1237 by the king's foresters for forest offences, (fn. 30) since the Karun share is stated in the lawsuit to have descended to Robert le Lou, or Wolf, (fn. 31) son and heir of Isabel Karun. Robert enfeoffed of this share Alice Barry, who then re-enfeoffed of the same Robert le Lou and his wife Isabel, by whom the share of Sibyl was also claimed, Eleanor and Loretta, her sisters, apparently having either died s.p. or possessing no interest in this manor. It was from Robert le Lou and his wife Isabel, and from the Master of the Knights Templars that the advowson was claimed in 1306 by Henry de la Leghe, Lee, or Lye, who descended from Flandrina Mauduit, daughter of John Mauduit, by her first husband. Flandrina had married (1) Robert de Leghe or Lye, by whom she had a son Henry, the father of Robert de la Leye, whose son Henry in 1306 claimed the advowson; and (2) Ralf de Karun, through whose daughter, Isabel, Robert Wolf and his wife claimed. (fn. 32) The manor remained the property of the families of Wolf (of whom the de Preyers probably held) and Leye, Robert Wolf in 1316 being returned at the death of Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick as holding a fee of him in Easton (fn. 33) which, valued at 100s. yearly, was assigned to his widow Alice in dower, (fn. 34) and Henry de la Leye of Easton being assessed for feudal aids in Bozeat with Easton and Strixton in the same year. (fn. 35)
The two parts of the manor held respectively by the representatives of Agnes and Flandrina Mauduit were distinguished as Upper and Lower, or Over bury Leysplace and Netherbury Wolvesplace in Easton Maudit, both shares being ultimately acquired by the Wolf family. Sir Henry de la Leye in 1330 settled the reversion of the manor of Easton Maudit on his grandson Robert, on his marriage with Alice daughter of Sir Walter Pateshall. (fn. 36) In 1361 Sir John de la Leye and Joan his wife, and Sir Robert de Geddyng and Elizabeth his wife, conveyed the manor to William Wolf. (fn. 37) William Wolf in 1369 conveyed the two shares of the manor, or the two manors of Easton called Netherbury Wolvesplace and Overbury Leysplace, to Sir William Latimer, (fn. 38) at that date lord of Bozeat and of Danby in Yorkshire and other manors. Sir William Latimer on 29 August 1377 granted the manor to Edward Earl of March, and others, (fn. 39) and Elizabeth, his widow, at her death in 1389 was holding with the manor of Bozeat (q.v.) a third of the manor of Easton by Bozeat held of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, as of his manor of Hanslope by service of 2s. or one sparrowhawk. (fn. 40) The transfer of the manor to the Trussell family seems then to have followed, as Easton Maudit was in the hands of the heir of Laurence Trussell in 1402. (fn. 41)
Lady Margaret Trussell was in 1428 holding three parts of a fee in Easton and Strixton which had formerly belonged to John Wolf and Henry de Preyers, (fn. 42) and a fourth part of a fee in Easton and Ashby formerly the property of John Wolf, (fn. 43) both being of the fee of Mauduit. On 23 January 1481 Sir William Trussell died seised of the manor of Easton Maudit, one part of which, called the West Side of the Over Bury, was held of the queen as of her manor of Higham Ferrers, and the rest of Richard Duke of Gloucester, as of his castle of Thorpe, Bucks. (fn. 44) Sir William's son Edward, aged 2 at his father's death, died while still a minor, leaving a year-old son John, on 16 June 1499. (fn. 45) This baby died on 20 December following, (fn. 46) and the manor passed to Edward Trussell's daughter Elizabeth, aged 4, and later to John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, by her marriage with that earl. (fn. 47)
The manor was held by the Earls of Oxford until 1578 when it was sold by Edward Earl of Oxford to Christopher Yelverton, esq., (fn. 48) of Yelverton in Rougham, co. Norfolk. Sir Christopher Yelverton died, seised of the manor, in London, on 31 October 1612, (fn. 49) and was buried in Easton Maudit Church, with an inscription that he was Sergeant-at-Law 1589, Sergeant to the Queen 1598, Judge of the King's Bench 1601–2 until his death, and Speaker of the House of Commons 1597. (fn. 50) He represented the county in Parliament. His son Henry who succeeded him at the age of 47, and who started the collection of the famous library at the Easton Maudit manor-house, which contained many state papers of his father-in-law, the diplomatist and antiquary, Robert Beale, is said to have incurred the royal displeasure while AttorneyGeneral for the position he took up at the trial of Carr Earl of Somerset, by whose influence he had been made Solicitor-General, and was tried before the Star Chamber and House of Lords, and imprisoned. But in 1625 he was made Judge of Common Pleas. After his death, on 24 January 1630, in London, he was buried at Easton Maudit, where he was succeeded in the manor by his son Sir Christopher Yelverton. (fn. 51) In 1639 Sir Christopher, whose home at Easton Maudit had been visited by King Charles in 1636, (fn. 52) received a grant disafforesting the manor of Easton Maudit and certain lands (about 170 acres) in Bozeat, with free warren and licence to impark 500 acres. (fn. 53) In this grant the manor lands and woods of Easton Maudit were estimated at 1,830 acres, and were described as within the bounds of the forest of Salcey (Salceto). Thewood called Hornwood, previously included in grants of lands in Bozeat (q.v.), was also now included in it. Sir Christopher was made a baronet on 30 June 1641, in consideration of his having maintained 30 foot soldiers in Ireland for three years, (fn. 54) and lived until 1654. His son and heir Henry, who then succeeded him, had married Susan, daughter and heir to Charles Longueville, Lord Grey de Ruthyn (Baroness Grey of Ruthyn after her father fell fighting for the king at Oxford in 1643), by whom he had three sons, Charles, Henry, and Christopher, (fn. 55) and died in 1670, when he was succeeded by his son Charles. At the death s.p. of Charles, who had succeeded to the peerage as Lord Grey of Ruthyn, his brother Henry Yelverton succeeded to the title. (fn. 56) In 1688 Henry Lord Grey of Ruthyn, whose ownership of the manor is notable for his completion of the library of the manor-house, suffered a recovery of the manor of Easton Maudit, including 2 mills and 70 messuages. (fn. 57) He was made Viscount Longueville in 1690, and died in 1703. His eldest son Talbot, Viscount Longueville, was created Earl of Sussex in 1717. Lord of the Bedchamber 1722–7, and the holder of many public appointments and honours, he carried the golden spurs in 1727 at the coronation of George II. (fn. 58) He died at his seat, Eaton Maudit, on 27 October 1731, and was succeeded by his son George Augustus, Lord of the Bedchamber to Frederick Prince of Wales in 1749, and to George Prince of Wales in 1751, who died unmarried on 8 January 1758, when he was buried at Easton Maudit. He was succeeded in the earldom and manor by his brother Henry, bearer of the golden spurs at the coronation of George III in 1761, whose first wife, Hester daughter of John Hull of Mansfield Woodhouse, with her daughter, Lady Barbara Yelverton, was painted by Gainsborough, and whose only son Talbot died while still an infant in 1757. He himself died s.p.m. in London on 22 April 1799, when the earldom of Sussex and the viscounty became extinct.
In the Domesday Survey a virgate of land in Easton was entered among the lands of the Countess Judith as held of her by Dodin. (fn. 59) This was probably the land returned in the Northampton Survey as one great virgate in Easton and Strixton held by Payn. (fn. 60) The virgate in Bozeat previously mentioned as held by Winemar may possibly have become united with the above great virgate as part of the honor of Huntingdon, since a quarter of a fee in Easton and Bozeat was subsequently held of that honor. After the death of John de Hastings, Lord of Bergavenny, in 1325, a quarter of a fee in Easton and Bozeat was returned as held of him by Roger de Grey, (fn. 61) who was the husband of the earl's sister Elizabeth and in 1329 was called upon to show by what warrant he claimed view of frankpledge and assize of bread and ale there. (fn. 62) He replied that he claimed these rights from his tenants in Bozeat, clearly the property in question, as belonging to his manor of Harrold in co. Bedford, (fn. 63) that his Bozeat tenants attended at the view there, and that that manor had been purchased of one Ralph Morin by John de Grey, who had enfeoffed himself, Roger, of the same. After the death of Lawrence de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, this quarter-fee in Easton and Bozeat was assigned to his widow Agnes in dower on 12 January 1349, and was still held by Roger de Grey, being then extended at 10s. yearly. (fn. 64) Roger de Grey died in 1353, holding in his demesne as of fee 15d. rent from 80 acres of land in Bozeat by knight service as parcel of the manor of Harrold, (fn. 65) and the escheator was ordered to deliver the same to Reynold his heir. (fn. 66) By the succession of Reynold's son, Reynold de Grey, Lord of Ruthyn, to the Hastings estates, after the death s.p. in 1389 of John de Hastings Earl of Pembroke, the interest of tenant was merged in that of overlord.
One and a half virgates in Easton, which were waste, were returned in the Domesday Survey as belonging to the manor of Higham, held of the king by William Peverel. (fn. 67) View of frankpledge was claimed by Henry Earl of Lancaster in Easton as part of his manor of Higham Ferrers (which had descended to him from William Peverel) in 1329, the king's sheriff only making entry at the sheriff's tourn held twice yearly in the hundred. (fn. 68) The wood called Hornwood, situated in Easton, was held of the manor of Higham Ferrers in 1544, when it was granted to Edmund Peckham, cofferer of the household, by Henry VIII. (fn. 69) It was subsequently held with the manor (q.v.).
View of frankpledge in Strixton from his tenants at Easton and elsewhere was also claimed in 1329 by the Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. (fn. 70) A court roll of 1550–1 for Easton Maudit, late of Dingley Preceptory, is in the Public Record Office. (fn. 71)
The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of chancel, 29 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 6 in., with north chapel; clerestoried nave of four bays, 47 ft. 9 in. by 14 ft. 6 in.; north and south aisles, 12 ft. 3 in. wide; south porch, and west tower, 12 ft. 6 in. square, surmounted by a spire: the width across nave and aisles is 43 ft. 2 in., and the length of the chapel, which is a continuation of the north aisle, is 18 ft. 6 in. All these measurements are internal.
The church was rebuilt in its present form in the 14th century, and though much restored retains most of its original features. The chancel, the nave arcades, and the lower part of the tower are c. 1320, but the aisles do not appear to have been completed till rather later (c. 1340–50), though no doubt set out when the arcades were rebuilt. The extension of the north aisle into a chapel took place about the same time, or perhaps a little later, after the completion of the chancel, a north window of which it blocked, and the clerestory cannot be much later than c. 1350. The tower was not completed until after the addition of the clerestory into which it is bonded at the third stage; the bell-chamber, or upper story, appears to be as late as c. 1380–1400. The spire was added in the 15th century, and a west doorway inserted in the tower. In 1832 the spire was partly rebuilt, and there was an extensive restoration of the fabric in 1859–60.
The building throughout is faced with rubble, and, with the exception of the tower, all the walls are plastered internally. The chancel has a modern highpitched stone-slated roof without parapets, and the porch is also covered with stone slates. Elsewhere the roofs are leaded (fn. 72) and of low pitch behind plain parapets.
The chancel has diagonal buttresses of two stages and an east window of three trefoiled lights with moulded jambs and modern reticulated tracery. In the south wall, at the east end, is a pointed window of two cinquefoiled lights and quatrefoil in the head, and at the west end a tall square-headed window, the sill of which is about 3 ft. above the chamfered plinth and forms a seat inside: the head is modern. The piscina and triple sedilia, which form a single composition of four trefoiled arches, are wholly restored, as is also the priest's doorway. The blocked window in the north wall is a single-light pointed opening with inner trefoiled ogee head, and east of it is a rectangular double aumbry. The chancel is open to the chapel at its west end by a pointed arch of two orders, the outer with a recessed chamfer carried down the jambs, the inner wavemoulded order dying out. The early-14th-century chancel arch is of two sunk chamfered orders, with hood-mould towards the nave, the inner order springing from half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases.
The responds of the nave arcades agree with those of the chancel arch, and the piers consist of four clustered shafts, quatrefoil in plan, with moulded capitals and bases. The arches are of two orders, the inner wave-moulded, the outer with a sunk quarter-round. There are three square-headed clerestory windows of two trefoiled lights on each side. The aisle windows also are all square-headed and of two lights, except at the east end where they are of three, but are very much restored; the tracery is c. 1340. In the usual position at the east end of the south aisle is a cinquefoiled piscina with fluted bowl. The north aisle has a good moulded 17th-century lean-to roof: that of the south aisle, which is apparently contemporary, but plainer, has been restored. The roofs of the chancel and nave are modern.
Externally the aisles have diagonal angle buttresses and a string at sill level all round, but within there is a string only in the south aisle. The 14th-century south doorway retains its ancient oak door, with excellent ironwork: the north doorway is of two continuous recessed chamfered orders and hood-mould. The porch, which is of equal date with the aisle, has a plain-coped gable and square-headed windows of two lights, but is without buttresses; the aisle string is continued round it. Its outer doorway is of two chamfered orders, the inner resting on rough corbels, and in the gable is a much-weathered later tablet, which may have been a sundial.
The chapel has a square-headed east window of three lights and one of two lights on the north side, similar to the others in the aisles, together with a narrow doorway of two continuous hollow-chamfered orders. In order to resist the thrust of the chancel arch after the removal of the original end wall of the aisle, a reversed strainer arch, of a type similar to those at Finedon and Rushden, was inserted at the west end of the chapel, probably early in the 15th century, with a buttress against the outer wall. The arch is of a single moulded order with traceried spandrels.
The tower is of four stages divided by strings and has a chamfered plinth and diagonal buttresses the height of the two lower stories. The vice is in the south-west corner. On the north and south sides the two lower stages are blank, but in the third stage is a cusped circular opening. The inserted west doorway has a fourcentred arch in a rectangular frame, with trefoiled spandrels, but the detail is coarse. Above, in the second stage, is a pointed window of two trefoiled lights and quatrefoil in the head. The tower arch is of three chamfered orders, the innermost on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases, and hood-mould terminating in notch-heads. The bell-chamber windows are of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head, and the tower terminates in a moulded string and pierced parapet, with tall angle pinnacles from which flying buttresses are thrown to the spire. The spire has plain angles and three sets of gabled openings on its cardinal faces, the lowest of three trefoiled lights with quatrefoil tracery and transom.
The wooden pulpit is modern. The sculptured reredos and marble altar-rail date from the restoration of 1860. A good 17th-century communion table with bulbous legs is now at the east end of the south aisle. A few plain oak benches of the same period remain at the west end of the nave. Below the tower is an oak chest with three locks. The painted arms of George III are over the chancel arch.
The north chapel was the burial-place (fn. 73) of the Yelverton family from the beginning of the 17th to the end of the 18th century, and contains monuments to Sir Christopher Yelverton (1612) and his wife Mary Catesby (fn. 74) (1611), and to his son Henry (Jan. 1629–30) and his wife Margaret Beale (1625). The former is a large canopied tomb of alabaster standing in the middle of the chapel, with effigies of Sir Christopher and his wife, and on the base the figures of eight daughters and four sons in panels upon the sides, and shields of arms at the ends. The posts support a canopy of two semicircular arches with coffered soffits, urn ornaments at the angles, and shields of arms. The inscription is at the west end. The monument to Henry and his lady stands against the north wall and is an elaborate canopied structure of alabaster, the effigies one above the other, with the figures of four sons and five daughters below. The canopy is supported by bedesmen in black gowns, and is surmounted by figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity. The effigies on both tombs have already been described. (fn. 75)
In the floor are commemorated Sir Christopher Yelverton, 1st baronet (1654), and his wife Ann Twysden; Sir Henry Yelverton, 2nd baronet (1670), and his wife Susanna, Baroness Grey de Ruthin; Charles Lord Grey de Ruthin (1679); and Henry Viscount Longueville (1704) and his wife Barbara Talbot.
A blue floor-slab at the west end of the chapel marks the burial-place of Thomas Morton, successively Bishop of Chester, Lichfield, and Durham, who died at Easton Maudit 'on the morrow of St. Matthew and was buried on the feast of St. Michael 1659', aged 95. The stone bears a long Latin inscription, in which the bishop is designated 'senex et coelebs'. On the south wall adjoining, below the strainer arch, are Morton's arms as Bishop of Durham, and separate shields of arms of the sees of Chester and Lichfield, all modern.
At the east end of the north aisle hangs a funeral achievement probably erected for Talbot Yelverton, 1st Earl of Sussex, in 1731, consisting of helmet, gauntlets, shield and sword, sustained by an angle iron and cross-bar. The shield is elliptical and appears to have borne the Yelverton arms. Over the achievement is a large square banner, now in a very dilapidated condition, but apparently Yelverton impaling Talbot, and farther west four smaller oblong banners, two of which have the Yelverton arms per pale, and the others the same singly. (fn. 76) There are also four Yelverton hatchments.
The floor of the church was elaborately tiled in 1860. Into the tiles in front of the chancel is worked a modern memorial to three (fn. 77) of the six children of Bishop Percy, preserving the record of a former slab, and two others commemorating William Elwyn, gent. (1619), and Catharine wife of Thomas Remington (1720).
There are five bells, the first, second, and tenor by John Hodson of London 1663, the third dated 1619, and the fourth a recasting by Taylor & Co. in 1893 of a medieval bell inscribed 'Dulcis sisto melis campana vocor Gabrielis'. (fn. 78)
The plate now in use consists of a silver cup and paten of 1868. Five pieces of silver-gilt plate, consisting of a cup and paten of 1630, an alms dish of 1661, a flagon of 1672, and an alms dish of 1676, have been on permanent loan at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, since July 1927. The cup and paten were the gift of Bishop Morton and bear his initials. (fn. 79)
The registers begin in 1539 for baptisms and marriages and in 1561 for burials. The first four volumes, extending to 1812 for baptisms and burials and to 1757 for marriages, are now bound up in one. From 1653 to 1700 the register was very carelessly kept, and there are many gaps. Several perambulations of boundaries are set out. There is a volume of marriages from 1757 to 1812.
The church of Easton in the deanery of Higham was valued in 1291 at £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 80) In 1535 the rectory was returned as appropriated to the abbey of Launds, and the vicarage was valued at £6 10s. 7d. (fn. 81)
The advowson was with the manor (q.v.) in the hands of John Mauduit in the reign of King John, when John Mauduit made the presentation. (fn. 82) The manor being next held in shares by the daughters of John Mauduit and their descendants, the presentation seems to have been made at first by these co-parceners presenting together, and later on by them in turn. The presentation was made in 1219 by Sir Robert Morin and Sir Robert de Legh, and by Thomas Sauvage, each being patron of one-third of the church. (fn. 83) Sir Robert de Legh was first husband of Flandrina daughter of John Mauduit (see above, p. 13); presumably Morin and Sauvage were husbands of her sisters Agnes and Amice. After this the presentation seems to have been made alternately by the different owners. Agnes the elder sister presented in the reign of Henry III. Ralf de Karun, second husband of Flandrina, next presented John de Karun, after whose death William de Holecote, clerk, was presented by Ralf, cousin and heir of William de Fauconberg, to whom Isabel de Nowers, daughter of Agnes, had sold her part of the advowson. Henry de la Leghe, son of Flandrina by her first husband, made the next presentation, (fn. 84) and the advowson appears to have remained in the hands of the Legh and Wolf representatives of Flandrina, sharing apparently with representatives of the descendants of Agnes, or possibly of the de Preyers to whom Ralf de Fauconberg granted messuages, &c., in Easton Maudit. A grant of an acre of land and of the advowson which John Marreis and his wife Elizabeth made by fine of 24 June 1360 to Sir John de la Lee and his wife Joan (fn. 85) may have related to the latter owners, through a female heir, since it conveyed a warranty against the heirs of Elizabeth. On the same day William Wolf made a similar grant to Sir John de la Lee and Joan his wife, (fn. 86) who with Sir Robert de Geddings and his wife Elizabeth (possibly another descendant of Agnes Mauduit) granted to Master William de la Lee and Richard de Ravenser, provost of the church of St. John of Beverley, (fn. 87) an acre of land and the advowson of the church in Michaelmas term of the same year. On 16 November 1363 the advowson and acre of land were conveyed by Richard de Ravenser, provost of Beverley, to trustees, (fn. 88) by whom they were in 1367 granted in frank almoign to the abbey of Launds, Robert Wolf of Easton being a witness to the grant. (fn. 89) Until the Dissolution the advowson and rectory were held by the abbey of Launds. They next appear as the property of the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, by whom the presentation was made in 1562, and until last century were in their hands. The advowson is now held with the manor by the Marquess of Northampton.
It appears from the parish register that six cow commons were given by the family or the ancestors of the Earl of Sussex, formerly the proprietors of the estate now belonging to the Marquess of Northampton, for the benefit of six poor widows, and that on an inclosure of the parish the grass of the Green Lanes was assigned in lieu of the cow commons. A sum of £2 10s. is paid annually by the Marquess of Northampton in respect of this charity and is distributed equally among five poor widows.
Distributions of bread to poor women were formerly made from the issues of £1 given by James Preston and a similar sum given in 1736 by Francis Toleson, vicar of Easton Maudit; but these distributions had already ceased by 1830. (fn. 90)