A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
PIDDINGTON WITH HACKLETON
The parish of Piddington lies 5¾ miles south-east by south from Northampton near the road to Newport Pagnell which passes through Hackleton village to the north-east. It has a station on the Northampton and Bedford branch of the L.M.S. railway. There are 1,693 acres in Piddington and 1,086 in Hackleton, and the soil is marl and clay on a subsoil of limestone rock. The chief crops are wheat, of a very good milling quality, and oats and beans with pasture land, while to the south are numerous copses of Salcey Forest. The average height is 300 ft., rising gradually to about 400 ft. in the forest. A stream flowing towards Preston Deanery divided the civil parishes of Piddington and Hackleton before the amalgamation of the parishes in 1935, when the new civil parish of Hackleton was formed out of the hamlet of Hackleton and the old parishes of Piddington, Horton, and Preston Deanery. (fn. 1) A stone quarry near the village of Piddington is no longer worked, but was used for lime-burning till 1924 or 1925. At the end of the 19th century there was a shoe factory at Piddington, now an engineering shop for repairing agricultural machinery, and another at Hackleton, now the village hall. Football boots are still made by two men in Piddington for Messrs. Manfield & Sons of Northampton. Until recently there were many makers of pillow lace.
In 1086, Gilbert de Blossevill held 1 hide and 3 virgates in PIDDINGTON of the Countess Judith, which before the Conquest had been held by two of Burred's freemen, and it was claimed by the Bishop of Coutances and Winemar de Hanslope. (fn. 2) In the 12th century this was described as 1½ hides 1 virgate of King David's fee, (fn. 3) and in 1235 as 1 knight's fee held of the honor of Huntingdon. (fn. 4)
The mesne lordship was attached to the manor of Harrold (Beds.) and passed from the family of de Blossevill to that of Morin and later to that of Grey of Ruthin. (fn. 5) In 1284 the Master of the Hospital of St. John of Northampton held here 1 knight's fee of Ralph Morin (fn. 6) and in 1316 was named with the Prior of St. Andrew's, Northampton, as lord of the vill of Piddington and Hackleton. (fn. 7) On the death of John de Grey of Ruthin in 1323 his tenants were found to be the master of St. John's Hospital for half a fee and Elizabeth de Pakenham for half a fee. (fn. 8) Two years later his son Roger de Grey held half a fee. (fn. 9) In 1338 Robert de Crendon, clerk, had licence to alienate to the Hospital of St. John a messuage and land which the hosiptal held of Roger de Grey, (fn. 10) and in 1349 Roger was still holding half a fee, extended at 40s. yearly. (fn. 11) The later history of Piddington is confused. Part of the fee may have been annexed to the manor of Hackleton and Piddington held in 1475–6 of Edward de Grey, Earl of Kent, (fn. 12) and part may be accounted for in the 200 acres of land, 100 acres of pasture, and 5 tofts in Piddington, Horton, and Hackleton, worth 5 marks, held to farm of the Hospital of St. John for the life of Elizabeth the widow of William de Preston, who died in 1487. (fn. 13)
William Walter died seised of a manor of Piddington in 1559, (fn. 14) described as sometime belonging to Henry Morton, who may have inherited from Joan Morton the sister and heir of William de Preston. (fn. 15) Five years later John son of William Walter and his wife Margaret conveyed the property to Francis Samwell (fn. 16) who between 1579 and 1587 brought a suit against Robert Harlowe and his wife Martha, late the wife of Jasper Hartwell, concerning leases of the tithe barn and tithes in Piddington granted by the Master of St. John's Hospital. (fn. 17) In 1639 there was a fine concerning the manor with land in Hackleton and Horton between Robert Samwell, esq., and William Lane, esq., grandson of Sir William Lane. (fn. 18)
At the time of Domesday the Countess Judith held in HACKLETON 2 hides of the soc of Yardley Hastings, and the Bishop of Coutances half a hide formerly held by Burred, but in 1086 by Winemar. (fn. 19) The holding of the countess appears in the 12th-century survey as 1 hide held by Nortgold, 1 hide by the monks of Northampton, and half a hide by Turgis de Quenton. (fn. 20) The property of St. Andrew's Priory seems to have had its foundation in the gift of demesne by Earl Simon I and his wife Maud; (fn. 21) later 2 virgates here were given to them by David de Quenton. (fn. 22) In 1284 the Hastings fee in Hackleton comprised 4 carucates, 2 held by Geoffrey de Sandiaker of the Prior of St. Andrew's and 2 by Henry de Hackleton of Edmund de Stokynges. (fn. 23)
The holding of the Bishop of Coutances appears in the 12th-century survey as 8 small virgates of Walter fitz Winemar and ½ hide of William de Lisurs of the fee of Olney. (fn. 24) In 1274 Sarah de Scrimplingford held 3 virgates here of Gilbert de Preston with her 4½ virgates in Horton. (fn. 25) Ten years later these fees, belonging to the Countess of Arundel as of the honor of Chester, were held respectively as 6 virgates held by Henry de Alcot and Adam de Strempling, tenants of Laurence de Preston, and 5 virgates by Thomas de Lisurs tenant of Humfrey de Bassingburne. (fn. 26) From this date the part held by the family of Preston appears to have become merged with their other lands of the Huntingdon honor. On the death of Ralph Basset of Drayton, in 1343, his tenant in Hackleton was Thomas de Lisurs. (fn. 27)
It is impossible to trace clearly the separate descents of land in Piddington and Hackleton from the 14th century. In 1313 John de Hastings died seised of a knight's fee in these two places held by Gilbert de Ekwell and Richard de Lutterington. (fn. 28) Gilbert de Ekwell surrendered to the Prior of St. Andrew's his manor of Hackleton which he held by grant from Maud, widow of Robert de Ver, for term of the life of Maud. (fn. 29) This must be the manor surrendered to the king as 'the manor of Hackleton' by the prior in 1538. (fn. 30)
In 1349 the tenants of the Hastings fee were Richard de Caysho, presumably holding for a term of years from St. Andrew's, and Hugh de Lutterington. (fn. 31) Hugh settled his property on himself, his wife Joan and their son Richard; (fn. 32) on the deaths of Joan and Richard, it was settled on Richard, brother of Hugh, (fn. 33) but he also appears to have predeceased Hugh, who died of the pestilence in 1349 leaving a daughter Katharine, aged 3. (fn. 34) In 1351 the escheator was ordered to answer for the issues of the manor of Hackleton late of Hugh de Lutterington, held of Yardley Hastings, because the Hastings heir was a minor. (fn. 35) This manor, in an inquisition of 1360, is merely described as a messuage, 1 carucate and 8 half virgates in the hands of customers, and 10s. rent, in Hackleton, Piddington, and Horton, to which the heir was Katharine daughter of Hugh de Lutterington, aged 15. (fn. 36) Possibly she married Andrew Brown of Clapthorn, for in 1375 with his wife Katharine he conveyed his right in the manors of Hackleton and Thorp Lubenham to John Parker of Olney and others. (fn. 37) At the same time John Vincent of Rothwell quitclaimed these manors to the same trustees. (fn. 38) In 1405 a dispute between a John Vincent of Rothwell and Thomas Newbottle (fn. 39) as to the lands late of Hugh de Lutterington in the county was settled; Vincent was enfeoffed for life with remainder in tail to his daughter Lavinia, subject to a rent-charge of 14 marks to Newbottle and his heirs and on condition that Newbottle be allowed to sue for voidance of the fine of 1376. (fn. 40) The estate probably included at least part of the Lisours lands, as from 1390 the Earls of Stafford, as heirs of the Bassets of Drayton, were said to hold the reversion of certain messuages and land in Horton, Hackleton, and Piddington after the death of John Vincent. (fn. 41) The manors of Hackleton and Thorp Lubenham were named among the Basset lands in a case concerning the deeds of his property. (fn. 42) Earl Humphrey, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1444 and was killed at the battle of Northampton in 1460, (fn. 43) settled the manor upon his son John, afterwards Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife Constance, daughter of Sir Henry Green of Drayton. (fn. 44) On the death of their son Edward, Earl of Wiltshire, without issue, in 1499, (fn. 45) the manor reverted to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, greatgrandson of Humphrey, but was forfeited to the Crown on his attainder and execution for high treason in 1521. (fn. 46) In the inquisition after his death (fn. 47) and the grant, a year later, to Roger Ratcliffe for life, it is styled 'the manor of Hackleton and Piddington', worth 100s. 4d. yearly. (fn. 48) The death of Roger Ratcliffe in 1537 (fn. 49) resulted in a new grant to Thomas, Lord Cromwell, Keeper of the Privy Seal, (fn. 50) whose heir retained his property in spite of his attainder and execution in 1540. (fn. 51) From his son Gregory who married Elizabeth, sister of Jane Seymour, the manor descended in 1551 to their son Henry, (fn. 52) who married Mary daughter of John, Marquess of Winchester, and from whom it passed in 1575 to Maurice Osborne and his son Anthony. (fn. 53) The latter died seised of it in 1605, having added to his estate by purchase of property late of Thomas Chipsey and Robert Hartwell. (fn. 54) He was succeeded in turn by Maurice, who died in 1630, (fn. 55) and Edward, (fn. 56) his sons by his second wife Anne daughter of Thomas Catesby, and the estate was eventually sold in 1691 (fn. 57) by a Robert Osborne to Thomas Johnson of London who conveyed it to Thomas Mercer in 1706. (fn. 58) His grandson Thomas Mercer was in possession when Bridges wrote, and had here 'a very good mansion house'. (fn. 59)
Thomas Lynes was lord of the manor in 1847 (fn. 60) and Lewis Loyd, esq. in 1854. (fn. 61) From him it had passed by 1864 to his son Baron Overstone, (fn. 62) on the death of whose daughter, Lady Wantage, the estates were broken up and the manor lapsed.
Reference to a grange of Piddington, in 1632, occurs in a fine between Ralph Freeman and Basil Nicoll and Euseby and Mary Andrews and Robert Newdigate. (fn. 63) According to Bridges this passed to the family of Wake (fn. 64) and was sold to Dr. Eaton of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, whose two daughters possessed it at the time when he wrote. (fn. 65)
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (fn. 66) consists of chancel, 15 ft. 9 in. by 14 ft. 9 in.; clerestoried nave, 55 ft. by 15 ft. 3 in.; north and south aisles about 9 ft. wide, south porch, and west tower, 9 ft. 6 in. square, all these measurements being internal. The width across nave and aisles is 37 ft. The tower is surmounted by a spire.
The building belongs generally to c. 1280–90, but has been very extensively restored and in part rebuilt. The clerestory appears to have been added in the 15th century and other work was then probably done which has since been removed. In 1877–8 the north aisle was rebuilt, the nave roof renewed, and the tower repaired; (fn. 67) in 1901 the south aisle and porch were rebuilt and the chancel and spire restored; and in 1907–8 there was a general restoration of the interior, which was newly seated. The older walling in chancel, clerestory, and tower is of limestone, but the aisles and porch were rebuilt in ironstone. The roof of the nave is of low pitch and covered with slates, the aisles are leaded, and the chancel and porch tiled. There are straight parapets to the nave and aisles. Internally the walls are of bare stone.
The chancel is without buttresses or strings and retains no ancient features. The modern pointed east window is of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery, and the arch to the nave is also modern. The north and south walls are blank.
The nave arcades are of four bays, with pointed arches of two chamfered orders, on octagonal pillars and responds, with moulded capitals and bases. The arches have hood-moulds on the nave side only. There is about 5 ft. of straight wall at the east end of the south arcade, in which the upper doorway to the rood-loft (now blocked) remains. (fn. 68)
With one exception all the windows in the aisles are modern and square-headed, but a few ancient features have been retained. The plain pointed north doorway is the old one re-used, and in the usual position at the east end of the south aisle is a restored round-headed cusped piscina with circular bowl. The pointed window at the east end of the north aisle is a late-14thcentury one re-used, of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head: on its north side is an original bracket. The south doorway is modern, in the 13th-century style. The trefoiled head of a niche over the porch entrance is old.
The clerestory has five four-centred windows of two trefoiled lights on each side, with hood-moulds and double chamfered jambs. Below the present roof, on the east face of the tower, is the line of the original nave roof.
The tower is of three stages with moulded plinth and pairs of two-stage buttresses on the west side. The west doorway has an arch of three orders, the middle one with a hollow chamfer, the others moulded, on jamb-shafts with moulded capitals and bases: the hoodmould is keel-shaped. The arch is much restored and the outer shaft and capital on the north side are wanting. The two lower stages of the tower on the north and south are blank, but on the west side of the middle stage is a single tall narrow lancet window with hoodmould and chamfered jambs. The bell-chamber windows are of two tall trefoiled lancet lights under a containing hood-mould, the spandrel left solid. There is no vice. The arch to the nave is of three chamfered orders, the two outer dying out or continuous, the innermost on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals.
The spire is of a somewhat uncommon design and has certain affinities, with that of Denford. (fn. 69) It belongs to the so-called 'timber type of spire worked in masonry' and rises from behind a parapet ornamented with trefoiled circles carried on a corbel table, with tall octagonal angle pinnacles. Between the lower sloping sides and the stone collars or bands is a short octagonal stage, and the lower gabled windows, which are on the cardinal sides, are of two lights with forked mullion. The small upper lights are placed in the intermediate faces of the spire, the angles of which are plain.
In the chancel is a wall monument to Joseph Swayn, of Northampton, apothecary (d. 1720), and in the south aisle and nave memorials to several members of the Mason family (1733 to 1809) and to John Glass, deputy ranger of Salcey Forest (d. 1775). The 'long grey square stone' with Norman-French inscription, noted by Bridges, is now covered by the modern tiled floor. (fn. 70)
There are six bells in the tower, a new treble by Taylor of Loughborough having been added in 1935 to the ring of five cast by the same founders in 1845–6. (fn. 71)
The silver plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1570, and a bread-holder of 1789. There is also a plated flagon given in 1869. (fn. 72)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and marriages 1574–1617, burials 1573–1617; (ii) all entries 1654–1721; (iii) baptisms and burials 1722–81, marriages 1744–55; (iv) baptisms 1782– 1812, burials 1783–1812; (v) marriages 1754–1812. A volume containing entries between 1617 and 1654 appears to be missing. There is a gap in marriages 1721–44.
The advowson of Piddington was given to the Hospital of St. John in Northampton by Philip son of William de Piddington in 1204, (fn. 73) and was retained until some time in the late 15 th or early 16th century. The right of presentation was presumably granted for one turn to William Stretton in 1402 and to William Rushden of Northampton in 1455. (fn. 74) On the latter occasion the presentee was William Rote, the master of the hospital, who received a papal dispensation to hold the benefice with his mastership. In the 13 th century the rectory was valued at 18 marks. Before 1535 it had been appropriated to the use of the hospital, charged with the payment of a pension of 6s. 8d. to the Bishop of Lincoln, and the vicarage had become united to the church of Horton (q.v.) under the same incumbent. (fn. 75)
Judith Willoughby by will dated 26 October 1704 gave an annuity of £15 payable out of land in Horton and Piddington for apprenticing poor boys, sons of the inhabitants of Piddington. The charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 6 March 1885 and administered by the rector of Wootton, the vicars of Horton and Hardingstone, the churchwardens of Piddington, and 4 trustees appointed by the parish councils of Hackleton and Piddington. The annuity is regularly received and applied in apprenticing in accordance with the provisions contained in the Scheme.
Thomas Lynes by indenture dated 9 March 1858 conveyed several cottages with gardens and outbuildings, the rents to be applied towards the upkeep of the parish church. The cottages are now let and the rents after payment of repairs, &c, are applied by the churchwardens towards church expenses.
Poor's Allotments. On the Inclosure of Salcey Forest dated about 1828 an allotment of 4 acres was set out and awarded to the minister, churchwardens, and overseers for the use of the poor of this parish in lieu of their right to take sear and broken wood from the common. The land is let at a yearly rent of £6 10s. which is applied by the vicar and 4 trustees appointed by the parish councils of Piddington and Hackleton in doles to the poor and widows.
On the Inclosure of Piddington under an Act 22 Geo. III an allotment of 13 a. 1 r. 28 p. was awarded to trustees to cut the furze and thorns growing thereon and distribute the same among the poor inhabitants. The charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 24 August 1923 which provides for a body of 5 trustees to administer the charity and to apply the rent of the land, amounting to £17 (approximately) yearly, in the purchase of fuel for distribution to the poor.
Victoria Memorial Fund. This fund was raised in 1897 as a memorial of the sixtieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria for the benefit of the aged poor of Piddington, Hackleton, Horton, and Preston Deanery. The charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners under the provisions of which the income amounting to about £1 2s. annually is applied by 4 trustees to the poor of the said parishes in kind.