A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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Great Doddington covers about 1,600 acres. The River Nene forms the south-eastern boundary between Great Doddington and Wollaston. The greatest height in the parish is 371 ft. in the west; from there the land slopes gradually down to the Swan's Pool Brook on the northern boundary and to the Nene on the south-east, where the lowest point is 144 ft. The land near the river is liable to floods and in some parts is covered with marsh.
The main road connects Earls Barton and Doddington villages with Wellingborough; from this a road branches off near the village of Doddington in a northwesterly direction to Wilby. Great Doddington village lies 1½ miles south-west of Wellingborough station. Owing to its retired situation the village is less spoiled than others in this part of the county, and retains many picturesque 17th-century stone houses with thatched or red-tiled roofs; the dates 1675, 1676, and 1679 occur on individual houses, whilst the Stag's Head Inn, a two-story thatched building with end gable, has a panel inscribed 'i.c. 1686'. A large farm-house in the principal street, with a panel dated 'mdcclxiv', has a bit of 14th-century tracery built into the end of the main wing, and at the west end of the village is a house dated 1703. The vicarage house, said to have been originally the manor-house, to the south-east of the church, is a large 17th-century building with mullioned windows under parallel gabled roofs. There are two chapels in the village, one Baptist and the other Methodist; the National School was built in 1833. The population is employed chiefly in agriculture and the manufacture of boots and shoes. The soil is red loam with an ironstone subsoil and the crops are the usual cereals.
The parish of Great Doddington was inclosed in 1766. (fn. 1)
In 1086 the Countess Judith of Huntingdon held 4 hides in GREAT DODDINGTON of the king; Bondi had held it in the time of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 2) The overlordship descended to the family of Hastings with the honor of Huntingdon as Yardley Hastings (q.v.). The overlordship is last mentioned in connexion with Green's Manor in 1391, (fn. 3) and in connexion with Barnard's Manor in 1480. (fn. 4)
By the 13th century two manors are found in Doddington held of this lordship. That afterwards called GREEN'S MANOR appears in 1285 when Juliana Tregoz, widow, held half a knight's fee. (fn. 5) Her son John Tregoz (fn. 6) in 1285 obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands there. (fn. 7) This John Tregoz granted Doddington manor to Pino Bernardin, a Florentine merchant of London, (fn. 8) at a rent of £20. (fn. 9) John died in 1299 and in 1301 his co-heirs, his grandson John la Warre and his daughter Sybil wife of William Grandison, were each assigned £10 rent in the manor. (fn. 10) In 1309 the rentcharge on the manor was reduced to £10, (fn. 11) and in 1329 may have been commuted for a lump sum, for in that year Peregrin Bernard, who had succeeded his father Pino (fn. 12) by 1324, when he held a quarter fee here, (fn. 13) acknowledged a debt of £100 to William Grandison and Sybil his wife. (fn. 14) The history of the manor for some time after this date is obscure. In 1348 William de Harwedon held the quarter of a knight's fee (fn. 15) and before 1369 it was in the possession of the Green family. In that year Sir Henry Green died seised of it and was succeeded by his son Thomas. (fn. 16) It then descended as Green's Norton (q.v.) through five successive Thomas Greens. (fn. 17) The last of these died in 1506 and left his estates to his two daughters and heiresses Anne and Maud. (fn. 18) The manor of Doddington was settled on Anne on her marriage with Sir Nicholas Vaux. Sir Nicholas died in 1525 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who at the age of 14 married Elizabeth Cheyne. (fn. 19) Thomas Vaux died about 1556 and was succeeded by his son and heir William. (fn. 20) From William, who was holding in 1559, (fn. 21) the manor apparently passed to the Spencer family, as Henry Lord Spencer was lord of the manor in 1639. (fn. 22) Between this date and 1667 the manor again changed hands; at the latter date James Earl of Northampton held it, (fn. 23) and his descendant the present Marquess is now lord of the manor.
A second manor, later called BARNARD'S MANOR, was held of the honor of Huntingdon in Great Doddington. In 1242 William de Champayne (Campania) held the sixth part of a knight's fee in Doddington. (fn. 24) This passed to Nicholas son of Robert de Champayne, (fn. 25) who opposed the king in the Barons' War and forfeited this manor but was allowed to buy it back from Eudes de la Zouche. (fn. 26) In 1285 Nicholas's son Robert de Champayne held one knight's fee in Great Doddington (fn. 27) and in 1306 John de Champayne conceded the manor, probably by way of settlement, to Robert de Champayne and his wife Ada. (fn. 28) Robert still held it in 1312, as a quarter of a knight's fee, (fn. 29) and in 1313 he conveyed it to his son Robert, (fn. 30) who held it as a sixth of a fee in 1324. (fn. 31) He was still in possession in 1329, (fn. 32) but in 1353 his widow Margaret (fn. 33) died and their son and heir William obtained the manor. (fn. 34) From him it descended through his daughter Margaret, who had married one of the Hastings, to her daughter Margaret wife of Sir John Sulney. Margaret Sulney died in 1381 and part of this manor of Great Doddington came to William Daundelyn, son of Joan a sister of William de Champayne. This part of the manor afterwards became known as Barnard's Manor. The remainder, called later Turvill's Manor (q.v.), was divided between Margaret wife of Geoffrey Bugge and Elizabeth wife of Thomas Hunt, daughters of Margaret Foucher, another sister of William de Champayne. (fn. 35) A later William Daundelyn died seised in 1480 and his heir was Mary Daundelyn daughter of his son John. (fn. 36) She married John Barnard and from them the manor passed to their son John and his wife Cecily Muscote. (fn. 37) John Barnard died in 1549 and was succeeded by his son Francis, (fn. 38) who in 1572 settled the manor on his son John when he married Dorothy Cane one of the daughters of Francis Cane of Bagrave. In 1586 an inquisition was held as to the lunacy of John Barnard; (fn. 39) at that time he had been out of his mind for six years; his brother Baldwin was his heir. In 1601 Francis, the father of John and Baldwin, died; in 1561 he had bought the other half of the manor of Doddington from Richard Turvill and had settled it in 1589 on his younger son Baldwin, (fn. 40) who thus came into possession of the whole manor. He died in 1610 and was succeeded by his son and heir John then aged 6. (fn. 41) In 1646 John Barnard sold a large part of his estate of Great Doddington to Thomas Parker. (fn. 42) Only isolated references to it occur after this. In 1682 John Hackney conveyed it by fine to Francis Guy, (fn. 43) and in 1719 it was held by Mr. Lamb. (fn. 44) In 1773 Ambrose Isted transferred it to Richard Heron; (fn. 45) this manor then included a mill which in 1781 was held by the Earl of Northampton, (fn. 46) so it is probable that the manor also passed to him.
The other moiety of the manor, afterwards known as TURVILL'S MANOR, was held by Thomas Hunt during his life, and the reversion was granted in 1394 by John Wasteneys and Margaret his wife (probably the widow of Geoffrey Bugge) to James de Kyneton, clerk, and his heirs. (fn. 47) James came into possession during the next year. (fn. 48) There is no further mention of this manor until the year 1507, when John Turvill died seised of it; his son and heir William was then 23 years old. (fn. 49) In 1552 the manor had passed to a John Turvill, who was succeeded by his son Richard. (fn. 50) In 1562 Richard sold the manor to Francis Barnard, (fn. 51) and henceforward it followed the same descent as Barnard's Manor (q.v.).
There was a mill from early times, as the miller of Doddington was said in 1329 to have been drowned while closing the sluice-gates of the mill of 'Hepdewath'. (fn. 52) A mill attached to the manor of Barnards in 1773 was subsequently held by the Earl of Northampton, as already mentioned, and was doubtless on the site of the present mill on the River Nene.
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of chancel, 36 ft. 6 in. by 17 ft. 6 in.; clerestoried nave, 54 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft. 6 in.; north and south aisles, 10 ft. wide; south porch, and west tower, 12 ft. square, all these measurements being internal. The width across nave and aisles is 46 ft. 9 in.
A church was built here during the first half of the 12th century, having an aisleless nave with north transept, chancel, and west tower. Of this church little is left but the upper part of the nave walls above the arcades and the lower part of the tower: the scalloped capital of a nook-shaft inserted in the wall near the south doorway appears to be c. 1140. The upper part of the tower is late in the same century. The chancel was rebuilt and no doubt lengthened early in the 13th century and was further increased in length by about 8 ft. c. 1290–1300. Soon after this the aisles appear to have been added, or at any rate completed in their present form, but the first pier from the east on the south side, which has 13th-century nail-head ornament, is different from the rest and may indicate that an aisle had been begun earlier on this side and left unfinished. The south doorway has good plain early-14th-century mouldings.
The 13th-century chancel had lancet windows in the side walls, but soon after the completion of the aisles they were altered into wider windows of two lights, with the exception of one on the north side. The clerestory was added c. 1400, superseding a highpitched roof the tabling of which remains on the east wall of the tower. The porch appears to be of early18th-century date. The church was restored in 1871.
The building is of rubble throughout, with lowpitched leaded roofs to nave and aisles. Internally the plaster has been stripped from the walls except in the chancel, where it remains above the string. The parapets of the aisles are battlemented and those of the nave plain: over the east gable of the nave are the remains of a sanctus-bell turret.
The chancel has a modern red-tiled roof and plain parapets, with coupled angle buttresses, and is of two bays. Externally the five-light east window is entirely restored, but its rear arch and internal shafted jambs belong to the late-13th-century extension, the length of which is clearly indicated outside by the character of the masonry. The windows are set high and there is a string-course at sill level within and without. On the south side are four square-headed windows of two trefoiled lights, two to each bay, the easternmost wholly of the 14th century, but the rest insertions within the original widely-splayed 13th-century openings, the segmental rear arches of which remain. There are two similar inserted windows in the middle of the north wall, (fn. 53) but with uncusped lights, and east of them the original lancet already referred to. In the south wall, in the usual position, is a cusped piscina with shafted jambs and fluted bowl, and west of it two trefoiled sedilia at the same level, the eastern seat containing the bowl of the earlier piscina re-used. The 13th- century priest's doorway is simply chamfered and has a segmental rear arch: at the west-end of the wall, below the string, is a contemporary lancet low-side window. At the east end of the north wall is a tall rectangular aumbry (fn. 54) with trefoiled head and hood-mould, the staples for the door of which remain. West of this is a blocked doorway to a former vestry and farther west again two widely splayed low-side windows, like that opposite, with a blocked doorway between. This arrangement of three low-side windows is unusual, but it is possible that the two in the north wall were intended to give light to a seat in the chancel belonging to the lord of the manor and that the doorway between them was for his use. All three windows are plain chamfered lancets, with hood-moulds, segmental rear arches, and internal sloping sills; that in the south wall retains its shutter hooks and hasp. (fn. 55) The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the inner on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases: a considerable portion of the hood-mould has been cut away on the nave side. The rood-loft doorway, now blocked, is on the south side. Part of the old rood-screen appears to be in use as the support to a desk on the north side of the chancel.
The nave arcades are of four bays with pointed arches of two chamfered orders on octagonal piers with moulded capitals and bases, except between the two eastern arches on the north side where part of the older wall is left standing as a masonry pier (fn. 56) with a half octagonal respond on each face. The easternmost arch on each side is narrower (fn. 57) than the others, and the two eastern piers stand on square plinths of masonry; elsewhere the plinths follow the plan of the column.
The aisles have diagonal angle buttresses and a scroll string at sill level outside: within, the scroll is repeated in the south aisle, except in the west wall, but in the north aisle the string is keel-shaped, save for a length of scroll moulding at the west. All the windows are of the 14th century, with pointed arches and of three lights. Those at the east end of the aisles and the easternmost in the north and south walls have original reticulated tracery. The rest have cinquefoiled lights and two quatrefoils in the head. In the west wall of the north aisle, built into the string, is a stone bracket carved with a head and conventional four-leaf flower, and above the string another with two grotesque heads conjoined.
The north and south doorways occupy the second bay from the west; both are of the 14th century, with continuous wave mouldings, but the south doorway is of two orders divided by a casement. The 15th-century traceried oak door retains its original hinges and handle and is nail-studded.
There are four square-headed clerestory windows of two trefoiled lights on each side, with segmental rear arches: all the roofs are modern. The organ is in the middle of the north aisle and the vestry at its west end.
West of the chancel there are clear traces of three altars and there was probably a fourth: at the east end of the south aisle is a 13th-century trefoiled piscina with mutilated fluted bowl, (fn. 58) and at either end of the chancel arch, against the formerly existing rood-screen, are the original tiled floors upon which the nave altars stood. (fn. 59) Behind that at the south end are the remains of a wallpainting of our Lord on the cross between SS. Mary and John, which formed the reredos. (fn. 60) The east ends of both aisles were formerly inclosed by screens, but no piscina or other ancient ritual arrangement remains on the north side.
The arch from the tower to the church is contemporary with the nave arcades and is of three chamfered orders on the east side, the inner order on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases. (fn. 61) Above the arch, within the line of the original nave roof, is a round-headed opening.
The tower is of three receding stages and finished originally with a tiled saddle-back roof, but in 1737 this was taken down and the present flat leaded roof and plain parapets with angle pinnacles substituted. (fn. 62) The diagonal buttresses are additions of the 14th century, and the west doorway seems to have been inserted c. 1190–1200: it is of three square orders, the two outer on shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Above the doorway in the lower stage is an original roundheaded window of two chamfered orders with hoodmould, and on the south side in the upper part of the middle stage a window of two rounded lights, which may be a comparatively late insertion. The lower stage is blank on the north and south and the middle stage on the north and west. The bell-chamber windows are of two round-headed chamfered lights recessed within a semicircular moulded arch without hood-mould. On the south side of the tower are two tablets, one inscribed 'This steeple was pointed in 1685', the other obliterated. (fn. 63)
The 17th-century oak pulpit is part of a former 'twodecker'; in plan it is hexagonal, with three tiers of panels, the two lower arched, and stands on a modern stone base. Behind it, attached by a bracket to the pier, is an iron hour-glass stand and glass. The lectern and altar rails are also of the 17 th century, the latter with twisted balusters of c. 1620–40.
Four choir stalls, two on each side, with carved misericords, remain in the chancel: on the north side are represented a carver with his tools at work on the rose supporters, and vine leaves and fruit issuing from a mouth; on the south a rose, and leaves. The counters also are carved. Some 17th-century seats remain at the west end of the south aisle.
In the middle of the nave is a 14th-century floor slab with indents of a cross and two shields: the brass inscription remains—'Ici gist Mons. William de Pateshull qu. morust le xvij jour de Septembr.mccclix'. (fn. 64) In the floor of the north aisle is a large slab (fn. 65) with two leaf-stemmed calvary crosses the heads of which are obliterated, as is the inscription in Lombardic lettering along two of the verges.
Bridges mentions four shields of arms in two of the windows of the north aisle, but of these only one survives—azure a bend or between six covered cups (Butler). There is also a stained roundel with the sacred monogram crowned and in a border of roses in one of the windows of the south aisle, and fragments in the side lights.
Three chained books are preserved in a glass case: (i) Erasmus' Paraphrase 1551; (ii) a Bible of 1613; and (iii) the Book of Homilies 1676. (fn. 66)
There are five bells, cast by John Taylor of Oxford and Loughborough in 1841. (fn. 67) In 1552 there were three bells and a little bell, and in 1700 four bells.
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover paten of 1569, an alms dish of 1683 given by Mrs. Frances Say in 1721, and a flagon of 1721 given in that year by the Rev. Humphrey Say, vicar. (fn. 68)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1560–1648, marriages and burials 1560–1647; (ii) burials 1678–1792; (iii) marriages 1690–1754; (iv) baptisms 1690–1773; (v) baptisms 1773–1812; (vi) marriages 1754–1812; (vii) burials 1793–1812.
The advowson of the church of Great Doddington was granted by Simon de St. Liz the younger to the nunnery of Delapré in the 12th century. (fn. 69) In 1291 the living was valued at £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 70) In 1328 Edward III confirmed to the Abbess of Delapré all the gifts of Earl Simon including the church of Doddington. (fn. 71) At the Dissolution the value, including a pension received by the Archdeacon of Northampton, was £12 2s. 8d. (fn. 72) The vicarage was rated at £8 13s. 4d. Since the reign of Henry VIII the patronage of Great Doddington has been held by the Crown. (fn. 73)
The rectory until the Dissolution belonged to Delapré; after the year 1531 it was granted by Henry VIII to Lord Harrowden, who died in 1595 and left the rectory to his wife Mary for her life, with remainder to his son George and his heirs or, failing such, to his brother Ambrose Vaux, who in the same year transferred his right to Anthony Naylhart. (fn. 74) Evidently the rectory was sold, for in 1607 Thomas Sherley conceded it to Roger Rogers and others. (fn. 75) Again within a few years the rectory changed hands; in 1611 Augustin Say died seised of it and was succeeded by his son Francis. (fn. 76) In 1628 Francis alienated the rectory to Alexander Ekins, (fn. 77) in whose family it remained until 1719, when Harvey Ekins conveyed it to John Hanbury. (fn. 78) In 1766 when the parish was inclosed Ambrose Isted held the rectory and all the tithes, (fn. 79) but in 1773 he transferred it with Doddington Manor to Richard Heron. (fn. 80)
The Poor's Land. A plot of ground of nearly 2½ acres was conveyed to the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers by deed of 16 February 1767 with the approbation of the Inclosure Commissioners in exchange for a close which had been purchased in 1692 with certain sums given for the use of the poor. In 1870 a portion of the land was sold to the L. & N.W. railway and the proceeds invested in £83 14s. 11d. Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £2 1s. 8d. yearly in dividends. The remainder of the land, consisting of 1 a. 3 r. 1 p., is let for £4 yearly. The income of the charity is distributed by the vicar and three trustees appointed by the Parish Council.