A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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Hargrave lies north of the road from Higham Ferrers to Kimbolton, at a height of about 200 ft.; and is bounded by Huntingdonshire on the east and Bedfordshire on the south. It has an area of 1,429 acres, of which the greater part is now grass. The soil is Oxford Clay: subsoil chiefly chalky clay. Its population, which in 1801 was 158, and 378 in 1871, was 239 in 1931, mainly employed in agriculture, and some shoemaking.
The village, which is scattered and straggling, lies along a road branching north from the eastern end of the Higham Ferrers road. At its southern end is Top Farm, with the Grove to the west of it, and to the north the school, erected in 1857, and the smithy. A little farther north still lies the church, pleasantly situated among trees, with the rectory to the west of it. The rectory house is a late-16th-century building of coursed freestone rubble, with middle projecting porch carried up the full height of its two stories and breaking the eaved roof with a coped gable. The house has been much restored and altered, and only one of the original stone mullioned windows (fn. 1) remains at the back, now covered by a modern addition between two end wings which run westward from the main block. The porch doorway has a plain chamfered four-centred head, (fn. 2) and in one of the lower rooms is a good stone fire-place, with four-centred moulded arch. The principal, or east front is about 60 ft. in length, with red tiled roof, modern wooden dormer windows, and good chimneys with wind-breaks. The end of the northwest wing is of timber and plaster, and there is a modern addition on the north side.
Churchwardens' accounts depict the changes which have taken place in the aspect of this little village. In 1710 sixpence was paid for lopping the willows at the Green, long since vanished; and in 1777 6s. for fencing the Church Spinney, the gates and posts from which were taken to the allotment in Rowley Field in 1802, the year of the inclosure. The Church Spinney, otherwise called Crow Spinney, was on the north side of the 'great moat'. In 1868 the rector added a slip to the churchyard, and the public path down the spinney was by consent diverted to the village street. (fn. 3)
Before the Conquest HARGRAVE was held freely by Ailric. In the Domesday Survey Hargrave was returned in Rothwell Hundred among the lands of William Peverel, of whom Eustace was then holding ½ hide there, worth 68d. The soc pertained to Higham Ferrers. (fn. 4) In the Northamptonshire Survey ½ hide was held by Harold, and two other holdings were then recorded: 3 small virgates held by Ralf de Foleville, and 3 small virgates held by Richard and Roger de Costentyn, (fn. 5) these having probably been included, in the Domesday Survey, in Raunds, of which manor a manor of Hargrave was a member in the 13th century. (fn. 6)
The fees of William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, held in 1212 by him in chief of the king as of the honor of Peverel included an eighth part of a fee in Hargrave held by the Prior of Chicksand, (fn. 7) which with the other Peverel fees was subsequently held as part of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 8)
The chief manor, to which the church was attached, seems to have been that held in the 12th century by the Costantyns. The advowson was recovered in 1228 by Richard de Deseburg against the Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, who claimed as guardian of John Bauzan. Richard proved that the advowson had descended from Roger Costantyn to his son and heir William, who had granted his lands in Hargrave to one Frumbold to hold under him. William's son Roger had died s.p., his heir being his sister Amice, late the wife of Richard Deseburg, who held in her right. (fn. 9) The Deseburgs or Desboroughs, according to an inscription on the family tomb in Desborough Church were lords of Desborough (q.v.), Cransley, Kelmersh, Broughton, and Hargrave, and it is from the presentations to the church that the Desborough owners of this manor can be traced.
According to the Desborough inscription previously quoted, Jane daughter and heir of Richard de Desborough (fn. 10) married John Pulton, and so carried this Hargrave property into the Pulton family (fn. 11) about the end of the 14th century, John Pulton, lord of Desborough, presenting to the church in 1404. (fn. 12) At his death, on 2 February 1481, Thomas Pulton was holding the advowson of the Prior of Chicksand, (fn. 13) and his son William who then succeeded him died seised of lands in Hargrave and the advowson held of that priory in 1498, his heir being his son Giles (fn. 14) who presented in 1502.
The eighth part of a fee in Hargrave held in 1242 by the Priory of Chicksand (Beds.) (fn. 15) was presumably the virgate which in 1275 was said to have been given to the priory by John Attemede of Hargrave. (fn. 16) When the priory was surrendered on 22 October 1538 the farm of the manor of Hargrave was returned as £4. 3s. 4d. (fn. 17) On 20 April 1553 the manor belonging to the late monastery, together with the Prior's Grange of Hargrave, held of the king as 1/40 fee, was granted to Anthony Browne, esq., and Richard Weston, (fn. 18) by whom these lands were on 12 May following conveyed to Thomas Catlyn (fn. 19) and his son and heir Robert to hold of the Crown. (fn. 20) Robert died seised of the manor at Raunds, where he was holding Furnells Manor, on 20 March 1599, (fn. 21) and was succeeded by his son William, who with his wife Ellen was dealing with the manor by fine in 1616, (fn. 22) and with her and Robert his son and heir apparent made certain leases of lands in Hargrave which were the subject of Chancery proceedings in 1623 and 1624. (fn. 23) This manor probably ceased to be held as a unit about this time.
In 1660 a sixth part of the manor was conveyed by fine by George Miles and Rebecca his wife and Ephraim King and Dorothy his wife to Josiah King, (fn. 24) who in the following year with his wife Ann conveyed the same property to Lawrence Joyce. (fn. 25)
Bridges wrote that the king was then (c. 1720) lord of the waste, but that Lord Bolingbroke and Sir John Langham had certain quit-rents in Hargrave, (fn. 26) and held the advowson. By the Inclosure Act of 1802 it was directed that an allotment equal to 1/20 of the waste lands was to be made to the lord or lords of manors within which they lay, (fn. 27) but no lord was returned (though Sir William Langham, bart., John Howson, and other principal proprietors were referred to). The owner of the rectory, apparently the lord, was not so described. In 1864 the Rev. Wm. Lake Baker, M.A., appears as patron and incumbent and lord of the manor, but the Rev. Robert Sibley Baker was stated in 1885 to have held the manor and living (which was in the gift of the trustees of the Rev. W. Lake Baker) since 1865. He was lord, patron, and incumbent in 1894 (fn. 28) and died in 1897. Lady Murchison is now lady of the manor, and owner of the advowson.
Katherine de Sawston held an eighth of a fee in Hargrave in 1284 of Edmund of Lancaster (fn. 29) and in 1297 of his widow. (fn. 30) This was probably the eighth of a fee which had been held at some time by Walter de Wasynglegh, subsequently divided equally between Richard Rydel and Isabel de Mollesworth, and was (apparently about 1330) in the hands of Henry de Wivyle, (fn. 31) but no more is known of it.
In 1189 Richard I confirmed to the abbey of Peterborough a knight's fee in Pytchley, Thorpe, and Hargrave, then held by Richard Engaine, (fn. 32) and this probably descended with the Engaine fee of Pytchley (q.v.).
In 1291 the priory of Huntingdon had a rent of 3s. in Hargrave 'in the parish of Raunds', and the abbey of Thorney one of £4 'in the same'. (fn. 33)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel, 27 ft. 3 in. by 17 ft. 6 in.; clerestoried nave of four bays 40 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 9 in.; north and south aisles, 6 ft. 6 in. wide; north transept, south porch, and west tower, 8 ft. 9 in. square, with broach spire, all these measurements being internal. The transept projects 4 ft. in front of the north aisle, the eastern bay of which it absorbed when added late in the 15 th century, and in the angle it forms with the chancel there is a modern vestry. The width across nave and aisles is 34 ft.
With the exception of the transept the structure, where not rebuilt, belongs to the first half of the 13th century, but new windows were inserted in the aisles and chancel during the 14th and 15th centuries. The clerestory is part of the original fabric.
In 1868–9 an extensive restoration was carried out, which involved the taking down and rebuilding of the tower and spire (fn. 34) and the western bay of the nave; the east wall and part of the north wall of the chancel were also rebuilt, several of the windows renewed, and the old porch replaced by one of different design. (fn. 35)
The building is faced throughout with rubble, and internally the walls are plastered. The chancel, nave, and porch have modern tiled eaved roofs, but the aisle roofs are covered with lead; (fn. 36) there are no parapets except to the transept.
The chancel has a chamfered plinth, diagonal angle buttresses, and a keel-shaped string at sill level, which is taken over the priest's doorway as a label. The east window is a modern one of three cinquefoiled lights and Decorated tracery, (fn. 37) but the two windows in the south wall are 15th-century insertions, of two lights with Perpendicular tracery; a single window of the same type in the north wall is modern. The sill of the south-eastern window is lowered to form a seat, but no other ancient ritual arrangements remain. The 13thcentury priest's doorway has an unmoulded outer order on nook-shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and a chamfered inner order continued to the ground: the eastern shaft is gone. Below the western window is a rectangular low-side opening, the head of which, though below the 13th-century string, is a transom, perhaps belonging to a former taller window. Both the priest's doorway and low-side window are now blocked and not seen within. The doorway to the modern vestry in the north wall formerly opened to a priest's room or sacristy, and is of early-14th-century date, of two continuous orders, the outer with a sunk chamfer, the inner wave-moulded. There is also in the north wall a plain tomb recess with two-centred chamfered arch, and in the north-west angle a squint from the transept. The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, without hood-mould, springing from half-round responds with moulded capitals, with an outer shaft on the west side grouping with the half-round responds of the nave arcades.
The arches of the arcades are of two chamfered orders springing from piers with moulded bell-shaped capitals, the westernmost pier on each side being circular and the others octagonal: at the west end the responds are half-octagons. The details of the capitals vary.
The east window of the south aisle is a single lancet, and that in the south wall west of the porch a pointed opening of two lights with forked mullion. The west wall is blank. East of the porch are a late-15th-century four-centred window of three cinquefoiled lights, and a much restored square-headed opening of three trefoiled lights with modern tracery. (fn. 38) The south doorway is very good early-13th-century work, with pointed arch of three orders, the inner with continuous chamfer, the two outer on nook-shafts with moulded capitals and bases, with a shorter third shaft set in the angle behind. The middle order has a double row of dogtooth ornament, and the outer is a late form of chevron moulding; the label has mQulded corbel-like terminations.
The contemporary north doorway is of two chamfered orders, the inner continuous and the outer on shafts with moulded capitals and bases. West of the doorway is a four-centred window of three cinquefoiled lights, and east of it a square-headed two-light window, but the west wall is blank. A 15th-century arch of two chamfered orders divides the aisle from the transept which, occupying the eastern bay, is internally 11 ft. wide by 10 ft. 4 in. deep. It has a low-pitched gabled roof, and restored four-centred north window of three trefoiled lights with Perpendicular tracery. (fn. 39) In the east wall is a wide, flat arched recess. The 13thcentury trefoil-headed piscina recess of the aisle altar remains in the south-east angle of the transept, but the bowl has gone. The transept was formerly inclosed by parclose screens. (fn. 40)
The clerestory has four quatrefoil windows on each side, the easternmost within a circular label and with roundels at the terminations of the foils, (fn. 41) the others plain and set directly in the rubble walling.
The tower, as rebuilt, preserves its original architectural features, though containing much new masonry and restored detail. It is of three stages marked by strings, with double angle buttresses and a tall lancet on the west in the lofty lower stage. The upper story is slightly set back and the bell-chamber windows are of two lancet lights with circular dividing shafts on the north and south, and rectangular chamfered mullions east and west, the arches springing at the sides from moulded corbels; the space within the enclosing arch is pierced. In the middle stage, on the west side only, is a small trefoil opening, (fn. 42) but the two lower stages north and south are blank. In the south-east angle is a circular projecting staircase with conical roof of coursed stone above a band of nail-head ornament. The lofty tower arch is of two chamfered orders, the inner on moulded corbels, the outer continuous. The spire is of only slightly later date than the tower and is of equal height; (fn. 43) it has three sets of spire lights, the two lower dn the cardinal faces, and the upper alternating.
The early-13th-century font consists of a plain octagonal bowl slightly chamfered at the top, with carved heads on two of its faces. It stands on a plain square stone pillar, (fn. 44) chamfered at the angles, and with chamfered plinth, which is apparently no part of the original font. A plain octagonal stone font bowl recently found is in the rectory garden.
There is a much-restored 15th-century chancel screen, with four openings on each side of the doorway and two large panels below. The altar is a restored Jacobean communion table with eight turned legs.
In the chancel is a 17th-century oak chest with three locks. The royal arms, dated 1776, are over the north doorway. (fn. 45)
Traces of wall paintings remain over the north arcade, apparently the figures of patriarchs. (fn. 46)
A slab of Weldon stone, on which is roughly scratched a 'Nine Mens Morris' diagram, was found in the west wall of the north aisle in 1868; it is now in the Northampton Museum. (fn. 47)
There are four bells, the treble dated 1603, the second 1748, the third by Tobie Norris of Stamford 1675, and the tenor a 16th-century bell inscribed 'S. Antonie', cast at Leicester by Thomas Newcombe (1560–80). (fn. 48)
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover paten of 1618, a pewter flagon, and a pewter bread-holder by Thomas King 1675. (fn. 49)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms, marriages, and burials 1572–1682; (ii) baptisms and burials 1683–1756, marriages 1683–1754; (iii) baptisms and burials 1756–1813; (iv) marriages 1755–1812. (fn. 50)
According to Bridges, John son of Richard de Desborough presented in 1327 and again in 1328, as John called 'le Lord' of Desborough. The presentation was made in 1349 by Margaret widow of John Lord of Desborough. (fn. 53) On 26 January 1384 Richard le Lord of Desborough, son and heir of Margaret, made a grant to Richard Mayhew (fn. 54) of the first presentation to the church of Hargrave, but when John Mayhew, clerk, (fn. 55) was presented by Richard Mayhew of Desborough and John, Bishop of Lincoln, their right to present was disputed in 1390 by John Fossebrook and Margaret his wife, who claimed that Richard Lord, son and heir of Margaret, had on 6 January 1384 granted to them all his lands, &c., in Hargrave, with the advowson of the church, for the rent of a red rose. The bishop and Richard Mayhew maintained that the right to make the grant in 1384 had not been in Richard Lord's hands as his mother was then still living. (fn. 56) The advowson was held by the Pultons with the manor (q.v.). It was in 1605 conveyed by William Bird and his wife Agnes to William Catlyn, (fn. 57) in whose hands it was in 1623. (fn. 58) William Catlyn was the owner when, on 23 June 1660, a petition was presented for securing tithes in Hargrave as a sequestered living. (fn. 59) It was held in 1674 by Elizabeth Barker; in 1684 by John Sprigg; in 1726 by Edward Cuthbert; in 1745 by William Bunbury and Mary Bunbury, spinster; and in 1797 by William Fonnereau, clerk, (fn. 60) who at the Inclosure Act of 1802 was still holding it, the Rev. Charles Fonnereau being rector. It was directed by this Act that an allotment should be made in lieu of tithes. (fn. 61) John Fox was holding the advowson in 1805. In 1864 and subsequently it was held by the incumbent, who was also lord of the manor. At the death of the Rev. R. S. Baker in 1897 it was still so held. It then came into the possession of Miss Elizabeth F. Baker, who was holding in 1910, and now Lady Murchison is patron and lady of the manor.
The church was taxed in 1291 at £8 13s. 4d. (fn. 62) In 1535 the Valor Eccksiasticus returned the value of the rectory as £14 3s. 11d., of which 6s. 8d. was deducted for pension to the prior of Huntingdon, and 10s. 7d. for proxies and synodals. (fn. 63)
Lands and rents given by divers persons for the maintenance of obits, &c., in Hargrave, worth 10s. were recorded at the suppression of the chantries. (fn. 64)
By an Award of the Inclosure Commissioners dated 22 May 1804 land was allotted for the benefit of the herdsman of Hargrave. Land was also allotted to the churchwardens in lieu of certain other lands the rents of which had been applied from time immemorial to the repair and services of the parish church. There has been no herdsman since the inclosure, when his duties came to an end, and the rent from the allotments was applied for many years for churchwarden purposes. An Order dated 31 January 1902 made by the Charity Commissioners directed that 11 a. 1 r. 29 p. of the land allotted should form the endowment of the Ecclesiastical Charity under the administration of the churchwardens, and the remaining land of 6 a. 0 r. 27 p. together with the herdsman's cottage should form the endowment of the Non-ecclesiastical Charity, to be administered by two trustees appointed by the parish council. The land belonging to the Ecclesiastical Charity is let for £7 7s. 6d. yearly, which is applied towards church expenses. The land and cottage belonging to the Non-ecclesiastical Charity produces £9 yearly.