A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.
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Pilton is a small parish containing 347 acres of rather more pasture than arable land. The soil is clay and sand and contains a good deal of ironstone. The northern boundary is formed by the river Chater, and the Syston and Peterborough branch of the London Midland and Scottish Railway crosses the parish near the northern boundary. The land rises from the river valley from about 200 ft. above Ordnance datum to about 315 ft. in the village, which lies on a road connecting Lyndon and Morcott. The village is small and is grouped about the church of St. Nicholas. It consists of three farm houses with the appendent cottages and barns built of stone, generally with stonetiled roofs. Opposite the church is a house rebuilt in 1823 and adjoining the church is a thatched cottage which was formerly the rectory.
PILTON is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), but it was probably then a part of Barrowden, as we find it later held of the Earls of Warwick (fn. 1) as of that manor.
Eustace de Pilton and Hugh de Pilton were witnesses to a charter to Robert Mauduit, the chamberlain, made in the full hundred court of Wrangdyke early in the 13th century. (fn. 2) Bartholomew de Pilton, who held 1½ hides in Pilton of Robert Mauduit in 1212, (fn. 3) was described as Bartholomew son of Eustace in a claim to William son of Henry as his villein tenant at Pilton in 1224, from which it may be inferred he was lord of the manor. (fn. 4) He presented his brother Walter de Pilton to the church of Pilton in 1223, but the bishop would not institute him as he was not sufficiently literate. Bartholomew also presented in 1227 and 1238. (fn. 5) Richard de Pilton was dealing with lands in Pilton in 1252 and presented to the church in 1262. (fn. 6) The Sampson family were large landowners in Pilton about this time, but it is doubtful if they held the manor. John Sampson and Ellen his wife conveyed a bovate of land in 1266 to Robert le Escriveyn (the scrivener), known also as Robert Scriptor of Sculthorpe. (fn. 7) Master Hugh Sampson in 1313 sought to recover land he had forfeited for default in a suit against Richard, son of Simon de Bernardeshill, and Robert and John his brothers, and John son of Simon, son of Simon de Bernardeshill. (fn. 8) Master Hugh Sampson, then parson of Hemingford, was dealing with lands in Pilton in 1330; (fn. 9) but the patrons of the living and the undoubted owners of the manor at a little later date were the Uffingtons or Offingtons. In 1288 William de Uffington presented Robert de Pilton to the church of Pilton, and presented again in 1309. (fn. 10) He was holding by knight's service in Wrandike Hundred in 1302. (fn. 11) Robert de Uffington was in possession of the manor from 1330 to 1342, during which time he took the rent of 10s. from a tenant who had been outlawed but pardoned at the latter date. (fn. 12) Robert de Uffington was succeeded by his son John, who with his sister Margaret presented to the church in 1349. This John de Uffington, or another of the same name, presented until 1399. (fn. 13) John was collector of the fifteenth for Rutland in 1382 (fn. 14) and was holding the manor in 1402. (fn. 15) He was succeeded by William Uffington, who presented to the church from 1414 to 1433, and was made a justice of the peace in 1434. (fn. 16) His son John succeeded him and presented from 1439 to 1459. (fn. 17) Joan, daughter of the latter John, had a daughter Anne who died about 1520 and was succeeded by John Uffington of Wakerley as kinsman and heir. The title deeds of the manor, however, seem to have got into the hands of Thomas Bassett (fn. 18) of Luffenham, who presented to the church in 1497 and 1511. (fn. 19) Shortly after this date the manor passed to Sir John Harington of North Luffenham, who presented to the church in 1530 and died seised of the manor, which he held of the manor of Barrowden, in 1553. (fn. 20) The manor has descended with North Luffenham (q.v.) and now belongs to the Earl of Ancaster. (fn. 21)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of chancel 19 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft. 9 in., nave 27 ft. 8 in. by 14 ft. 3 in., with double bell-cote on the west gable, south aisle 7 ft. 6 in. wide, and south porch 6 ft. 10 in. by 6 ft. 6 in., all these measurements being internal. The width across the nave and aisle is 23 ft. 6 in.
The building is of rubble, plastered internally, and the roofs are covered with overhanging stone slates. The aisle is under a separate lean-to roof, above which the short portion of the nave wall is unpierced. The chancel was rebuilt in 1852, (fn. 22) and in 1878 the church was restored and the porch rebuilt. There are buttresses only on the north side of the nave, dividing it externally into two bays. (fn. 23)
The whole building may have been erected originally at the beginning of the 13th century, but it is not unlikely that the nave represents an aisleless 12th-century church to which, about 1200–10, an aisle was added, the south wall being pierced by the existing arcade of two bays. The arches are pointed and of two chamfered orders, with hood-mould on the side towards the nave, and spring from a cylindrical pillar with moulded capital and water-holding base and from responds composed of small attached shafts with octagonal moulded capitals and circular bases. (fn. 24) If the aisle were an addition to an older building this appears to have been remodelled at the same time or shortly after, a single lancet at the west end of the nave (fn. 25) and the bell-cote being of the 13th century, though the latter is wholly and the window very considerably restored. In the north wall is a plain round-headed doorway, now blocked, and the aisle retains its early 13th-century pointed doorway of two chamfered orders on moulded imposts. The old chancel also appears to have been of 13th-century date, the present lancets being 'examples of the original windows.' (fn. 26) Against the west wall of the aisle is a stone bench, which is continued northward along the nave wall for about 5 ft. and on which the west respond of the arcade stands, but it appears to have received some modification at the time of the restoration. (fn. 27)
In the 14th century new windows were inserted in the aisle, the porch erected, and the chancel arch rebuilt in its present form. The arch is of two chamfered orders without hood-mould, the inner order on small half-octagonal responds, with moulded capitals and bases, and the outer continuous: the capitals are wholly restored. The pointed east window of the aisle is of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head, and the 14th-century piscina of the aisle altar has an ogee arch and plain circular projecting bowl; there is a plain image bracket south of the window. The window in the south wall is square headed and of three trefoiled lights, and in the west wall is a small modern window of trefoil shape. (fn. 28) The outer doorway of the porch appears to be the old one re-used, and the ballflower cornice on the side walls is also partly old.
In the 15th century a square-headed three-light window of rather unusual design was inserted in the eastern bay of the north wall, each of its trefoiled ogee lights terminating with a foliated finial within the limit of the window head, which has no hood-mould.
The bell-cote rises directly from the west wall and has two small gables connected by a short ridge, and each surmounted by a cross. The openings have segmental arches of two chamfered orders. The detail is very simple, but some of its original character may have been lost when the bell-cote was rebuilt. (fn. 29) A panel above the lancet window in the west wall of the nave, inscribed '1562, iw, ge,' probably refers to some repairs then carried out.
The chancel is in the style of the 13th century, with an east window of three lancet lights and two single lancets in the south wall. It has a plain coped gable, and the walls are without plinth, stringcourse, or buttress. No ancient features have been retained. (fn. 30)
The font is probably contemporary with the nave arcade, and consists of a plain octagonal bowl on a large cylindrical stem and eight surrounding shafts with moulded capitals and bases, all very much restored.
The pulpit and fittings date from 1878. (fn. 31) There is no chancel screen. On the north wall of the nave is a War Memorial tablet (1914–19).
The two bells are without date or inscription. (fn. 32)
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1570–71, and a large paten without marks, but probably of about 1660. There are also 2 pewter plates. (fn. 33)
The registers before 1812 are contained in two volumes: (i) baptisms 1585–1812, marriages 1548– 1754, burials 1548–1812; (ii) marriages 1754–1812. (fn. 34)
The advowson of Pilton followed the same descent as the manor, (fn. 35) and now belongs to the Earl of Ancaster. The living is attached ecclesiastically to Wing.