A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.
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The parish of Langham lies on the Leicestershire border of the county and contains 2,920 acres of land. Ranksborough Hill in the west of the parish rises to a height of 626 ft., and the land falls from it in a southeasterly and easterly direction about 200 ft. to the stream called the Dyke, a tributary of the Gwash, that runs approximately through the middle of the parish. The land rises very slightly on the south side of this stream. The soil is sand and the subsoil Upper and Middle Lias, and nearly the whole of the parish is pasture land.
The large and somewhat scattered village stands at a bend in the road from Melton Mowbray to Oakham about two miles from the latter town. Like many of the Rutland forest settlements, it is built along roads forming a rectangular figure with the church on the north-east side and the stream running through the south side of the figure. The back premises of the houses built on the north and south sides of the original enclosure extend to lanes which form an outer ring of the village, except on the west side, which is bounded by the Melton Mowbray-Oakham road. The houses and cottages are mostly of red brick, but a few thatched cottages remain. The population is mainly agricultural, but a brewery, established in 1858, gives employment to a fair number of men. Langham Institute was founded in 1890 by public subscription on land given by the Earl of Gainsborough It has a reading room and library.
Langham House was purchased in 1890 by Col Clarke-Jervoise (later Sir Henry), a great benefactor to the church and village. At his death in 1908 it passed to his cousin, Sir Harry Clarke-Jervoise, who sold it to Mr. Owen Hugh Smith. The Old Hall, the residence of Mr. Smith, is a 17thcentury two-story stone building of simple design, with low mullioned windows, stone-slated roof, and gabled stone dormers, to which recent extensive additions have been made and the interior modernised. On the old south front, which is of rubble and has a square-headed middle doorway, is the date 1665, but the principal entrance is now on the north side. The west wing dates from 1926.
Ranksborough Hill is said to have been the site of a Roman camp, but there are only very slight traces of its earthworks. (fn. 1) Near to it is Ranksborough, the property of the Marquess of Londonderry. A model farm adjoining, at which pedigree red poll cattle and Suffolk punches are bred, belongs to Mr. Owen Hugh Smith.
Simon Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury (1366–68) and Cardinal of St. Sixtus (1368), is said to have been born at Langham in 1310. Besides his public and political career, which culminated in his appointment as Chancellor, he was a great benefactor to Westminster Abbey, where he was a monk and abbot. He is also said to have rebuilt the chapel of Langham, which belonged to the abbey. (fn. 2)
LANGHAM may be identified as one of the five unnamed berewicks which were attached to Oakham in 1086. (fn. 3) It was held by the lords of Oakham Castle (q.v.). (fn. 4) In 1360 it was said to be no manor, but it had a court in 1388. (fn. 5) On the death of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, in 1372, Oakham and its members came into the king's hands, but the manor of Langham was assigned to Joan, Countess of Hereford, until her death in 1419. (fn. 6) The manor then reverted to the lords of Oakham, until the death of Eleanor, Duchess of Buckingham, in 1530. (fn. 7) Owing to the attainder and execution of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, the reversion of his estates after her death belonged to the Crown, and in 1531 Henry VIII granted Langham to Henry Norris, an esquire of the king's body, for life. (fn. 8) Norris, however, was attainted for treason in 1536, (fn. 9) and in 1538 it was granted in fee with Oakham to Thomas Cromwell, Lord Cromwell, afterwards Earl of Essex. Cromwell immediately settled the manor on his son and heir Gregory and his wife Elizabeth, with remainder to their son Henry. (fn. 10) The manor escaped forfeiture on Cromwell's fall and execution in 1540, and was held by Gregory. (fn. 11) In the same year the barony was restored to him and Langham passed to his son Henry (d. 1592) and grandson Edward. (fn. 12) Edward in 1600 granted a lease of the manor with all its appurtenances at a rent of 20s. for 200 years to Thomas Philipps and Ralph Holland. (fn. 13) Philipps and Holland were financiers and the lease was probably made as security for a loan, which was doubtless repaid when Edward sold the manor in the same year to Sir Andrew Noel. Edward, son of Sir Andrew Noel, became the second Viscount Campden by marriage with Juliana, eldest daughter and heir of Baptist Hicks, first Viscount Campden. (fn. 14) In 1630 Juliana and her sister Mary, with their respective husbands, granted a rent of £100 received from the manor to Henry Noel of North Luffenham, (fn. 15) the younger son of Juliana, who died a prisoner in the hands of Parliament, leaving no children. (fn. 16) It appears to have passed to Henry Noel, the second son of Baptist, third Viscount Campden, whose daughter and heir Juliana married Charles Boyle, Earl of Burlington. They owned the rent of £100 from the manor of Langham in 1693 (fn. 17) and their son Richard, the third Earl, in 1721. (fn. 18) The latter died in 1753 and his daughter Charlotte was his heir. (fn. 19) Langham passed to the Earl of Gainsborough (fn. 20) and the manor now belongs to the trustees of the present Earl, who is a minor.
The lords of the manor of Oakham held a view of frankpledge for Langham and also had infangthief and outfangthief in the soke. (fn. 21) The villein tenants in Langham paid an aid to their lord called 'scorfe,' which in 1392 amounted to £13 6s. 8d. a year. This aid was expressly excepted from the grant of Langham manor to Joan, Countess of Hereford. (fn. 22) As late as 1846 the copyholds of the manor were subject to arbitrary fines. (fn. 23)
In 1536 certain mills at Langham were let at farm at a rent of £13 16s. 4d. One was a windmill, which needed repair while the manor was in the king's hands after the attainder of Henry Norris. At the same period a new kiln-house was built. (fn. 24) Two mills were attached to the manor when it was sold to Sir Andrew Noel. (fn. 25)
The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL was formerly cruciform, but now consists of chancel 33 ft. by 19 ft., clearstoried nave 68 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft., north and south aisles, south transept 27 ft. 6 in. by 17 ft. 6 in. with west aisle 11 ft. 6 in. wide, south porch, and west tower 10 ft. square, all these measurements being internal. The tower is surmounted by a broach spire. The north aisle of the nave is 12 ft. 6 in. wide and the south aisle 11 ft., the width across nave and aisles being 47 ft. 6 in. The north transept, which seems to have been of equal size to that on the south, is said to have been taken down in 1802, when the outer wall of the aisle was carried eastward in its present form.
The chancel and the east wall of the transept are of coursed local ironstone interspersed with bands of freestone, (fn. 26) but elsewhere the walls are faced with grey ashlar, (fn. 27) and all the roofs are of low pitch and leaded. Internally, with the exception of the tower, the walls are plastered.
The existing plan may have developed from a cruciform 12th-century building with tower at the crossing, but of this older fabric no part remains, the earliest parts of the present building being the chancel and tower, which are of 13th-century date, at which period probably the whole church was rebuilt, the central tower, if such existed, being removed either when the new tower at the west end was begun or at its completion. The south transept appears to have been added, or an existing transept remodelled c. 1280–90, and a further rebuilding of the whole fabric took place in the 14th century, to which period the present nave arcades, the chancel arch and the porch belong. The aisles also appear to have been rebuilt above sill level at this time, and the transept remodelled. (fn. 28) The difference in character between the east windows of the transept and that at the end of its west aisle, which is of fully developed 14th-century character, suggests that all this work was spread over a considerable period, or was perhaps executed at two separate times. In the 15th century the roofs of the chancel, nave and aisles were taken down and new ones erected, a clearstory being added to the nave: new windows were inserted in the chancel and aisles and at the end of the transept, and battlemented parapets with enriched cornices and curved finials on the gables, similar in style to those at Oakham Church, (fn. 29) were erected throughout.
The chancel was restored in 1876–8, (fn. 30) under the direction of Mr. Ewan Christian, and the nave in 1880 by Bodley and Garner. In 1890 the floors were renewed, and in 1899 the north aisle roof. There were other repairs of the roofs in 1903. (fn. 31)
The chancel is without buttresses, and retains a widely splayed lancet window (fn. 32) at the east end of the north wall, and at the west end of the south wall a wider single-light pointed window with soffit cusping, the sill of which is dropped, and the lower portion divided by a transom and mullion to form two small low-side openings. (fn. 33) The round-headed piscina recess is also of the 13th century, (fn. 34) and there is a rectangular aumbry in the north wall. The four-centred east window is a 15th-century insertion, and is of five lights with battlemented transom, and two other windows, one at the east end of the south wall of three lights, and the other at the west end of the north wall of two lights, are of the same period. The square-headed middle window on the south side is of the 14th century, but the priest's doorway, which has plain chamfered imposts, may be rather earlier. A doorway (fn. 35) in the north wall, now blocked, appears to have served a former vestry.
The arch to the nave, which is contemporary with the nave arcades, is the full width of the chancel, its two moulded orders dying into the wall on either side. The stairway to the rood-loft remains at the north end, entered by a 15th-century doorway, now blocked, from the former north transept. (fn. 36) The roof and all the chancel fittings are modern. (fn. 37) The altar and reredos date from 1895.
The 14th-century nave arcades are of five bays, with pointed arches of two orders, springing from octagonal piers with moulded capitals and bases, and from responds of similar character. The outer hollow chamfer of the arches is divided from the inner moulded order by a deep hollow; and the hoodmoulds have good head-stops, alternately male and female. The eastern arch on each side is wider and higher than the others, its size being determined by the width of the transept, but the arcade is all of one build and design.
The south transept is of two bays marked externally by a buttress, and has pairs of buttresses at the angles. Each bay is lighted from the east by a large pointed window of three lights with uncusped intersecting tracery, and hood-moulds with notch-stops. These windows date from c. 1290, and may indicate the period when the transept was first built on its existing plan, its dividing arcade, which is also mainly of late 13th-century date, indicating that its west aisle belongs to the original design. There is a keelshaped string at sill level inside along the east and south walls, and between the two east windows a wide 13th-century wall recess with moulded arch on attached jamb-shafts with fillet on face. The piscina in the south wall is also of the 13th century, with moulded trefoil arch, shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases and fluted bowl. (fn. 38) The dividing arcade is of two bays with arches of two hollow-chamfered orders springing from an octagonal pier and south respond with moulded capitals and bases; the arches are apparently later than the pier and respond, and are probably contemporary with the nave arcade, from the adjoining pier of which the north arch springs on that side. (fn. 39) There is also a transverse arch from the transept pier westward across the aisle. The great south window of the transept occupies nearly the whole of the wall and is a good example of 15th-century work, of five cinquefoiled lights with transom and Perpendicular tracery, though the hollow-chamfered jambs (fn. 40) point to its being an insertion in an earlier opening. The aisle is 4 ft. less in length than the transept proper and has a lean-to roof; it is lighted at the end by a beautiful 14th-century pointed window of three trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery, its inner moulded order being enriched with a profusion of ball-flower, and smaller ball-flowers occur in the hood-mould. The fine late 14th-century oak roof of the transept, though much restored, retains some good carved bosses, and is supported by boldly carved head corbels.
At the west end of the north aisle is a good 14thcentury window of three lights, with reticulated tracery and shafted jambs with moulded capitals, and the east window is of two lights with modern Decorated tracery. (fn. 41) Elsewhere in the aisles, however, the windows are 15th-century insertions of three cinquefoiled lights and Perpendicular tracery, except two (fn. 42) in the rebuilt eastern portion of the north aisle, where all the work is modern. The line of the former north transept roof is on the wall of the nave below the clearstory windows. The north and south doorways are of 14th-century date, that on the north being apparently the earlier, of two moulded orders, the outer on nook-shafts with moulded capitals. The south doorway is of two hollow-chamfered orders with moulded imposts, and is covered by the porch, originally of two stories, but now open to the roof. Access to the porch chamber was by a stair from the transept aisle, (fn. 43) where the wall is thickened. The chamber was lighted by a square-headed window of two lights, the hood-mould of which is enriched with ball-flower. (fn. 44) The pointed outer doorway is of three hollow-chamfered orders, with moulded imposts, the inner order on responds with moulded capitals, which in the 18th century were mutilated to allow for the introduction of wooden gates. (fn. 45) In the northeast angle of the porch is a plain pointed niche. (fn. 46)
The clearstory has five pointed windows on each side, of two trefoiled lights, with alternate quatrefoils and sexfoils in the head. There are also two similar windows in the east wall above the chancel arch. All the parapets follow the rakes of the gables, and the lower hollow moulding is everywhere enriched with a profusion of late type of ball-flower, heads, fourleaved flowers, and other ornaments, (fn. 47) animals occurring only on the transept. The buttresses of the south aisle and porch are carried up as pinnacles, and there are also pinnacles at the angles of the transepts.
The tower is of three stages, and has a moulded plinth and pairs of wide but very shallow angle buttresses. The west window is a single widely splayed lancet and there is a similar window in the middle stage on the south side, but otherwise the two lower stages are blank. The vice is in the southwest angle. The deeply recessed bell-chamber windows are of two lancet lights, with arches of four orders and shafted jambs enriched with dog-tooth; (fn. 48) the spandrels are pierced on three sides by a pointed quatrefoil and on the north by an octofoil opening. The contemporary spire rises from a cornice of heads and flowers and has short broaches and plain angles. There are three tiers of gabled spire lights on the cardinal faces, each of two openings, the middle group enriched with dog-tooth. The larger lower lights were altered in the 14th century, when curvilinear tracery was introduced. Internally the tower opens to the nave by a pointed arch of three chamfered orders, the innermost on half-octagonal responds with moulded bases and capitals enriched with nailhead ornament. There is a square-headed opening above the arch.
In the floor of the transept is an alabaster slab with incised effigies of a man and wife, the inscription on which reads 'Of your charity pray for [the sol]ls of John Clarke, Jane and Anys his wyves the which John decessyd the iii day of February in [the yere of] owre lord God MCCCCCXXXII  on whose solls Jhū have mercy Amē.' The slab is broken, and the middle part (fn. 49) is missing: below the effigies are the smaller figures of eight children.
None of the heraldic glass mentioned by Wright in 1684 now remains. (fn. 50)
There are six bells in the tower, the two trebles by Taylor of Loughborough, 1900; the third by Thomas Norris of Stamford, 1636; the fourth a late mediæval bell inscribed 'Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum'; the fifth by Thomas Hedderley of Nottingham, 1771; and the tenor by Thomas Norris, 1660. (fn. 51)
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1679–80, and a flagon of 1724–5 given by Hannah Willes, widow. (fn. 52)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1559–1633; (ii) 1633–54; (iii) 1658–87; (iv) baptisms and burials 1687–1769, marriages 1687– 1754; (v) marriages 1754–93; (vi) baptisms 1770–98, burials 1770–99; (vii) marriages 1794–1812; (viii) baptisms and burials 1799–1812.
The churchyard was levelled and inclosed by a new wall in 1897–98 by the generosity of Sir Henry ClarkeJervoise, and the churchyard enlarged on the southwest side in 1921. The work was mostly carried out free of cost by the inhabitants of Langham. A memorial cross to the men of the parish killed in the war, 1914–19, was erected in the churchyard.
Some idea of the condition of the church in the 17th century can be obtained from the archdeacon's visitations. (fn. 53) In 1605 the chancel was unpaved and stones lay in the corner 'very unseemly'; the communion table was in decay and the carpet for it 'is naught'; the seats were broken and needed repair and the font wanted a cover. In 1619 the chancel required whitening all over, 'being very foul and filthy,' and the roof defective; there was no paten, and a basin was sometimes used for christening; a school was kept in the church by Mr. Royd. In 1681 it was ordered that the chancel should be paved and the seats, floor and rood-loft be repaired, the windows glazed, and the Ten Commandments, Creed and Lord's Prayer and King's Arms be painted and the sanctus bell repaired and hung.
The chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul (fn. 54) was severed from the church of Oakham before 1913. It was probably in existence in 1229, when certain immunities were granted to the tenants of Oakham Church and its chapels, (fn. 55) and it is mentioned as a chapelry of Oakham in 1534 and 1584. (fn. 56) The rectory of Langham was separated from that of Oakham, possibly with the original object of providing a stipend for a chaplain. When the abbey of Westminster, to whom the church of Oakham was granted, first by Edward the Confessor and then later by one of the Norman kings, (fn. 57) instituted the vicarage and appropriated the great tithes, the rectories of Oakham and Langham still seem to have remained separate. In 1509 Langham rectory was let at farm for £18 to Thomas Wyllewys, John Ball and Henry Hychcook at a rent of £18 a year. (fn. 58) The tithes of Langham were granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster (fn. 59) and the custom of leasing the rectory was continued. In 1646 it was ordered by the Committee for Plundered Ministers that £50 from the tithes of Langham, sequestered from Lord Campden, delinquent, be given to the minister of Oakham, (fn. 60) and in 1650 it was reported that the parsonage of Langham was worth £120 a year, whereof the vicar of Oakham had £50 and the curate of Langham had the rest. The church, it was said, was fit to be a parish church. (fn. 61) The vicar of Oakham appointed the curate to whom in 1658 the impropriate tithes were leased for £17, when the living was worth about £50 a year, the vicarial tithes being worth £40 a year. (fn. 62) The tithes belonging to Langham rectory were exempted from the provisions of the Inclosure Act for Oakham. (fn. 63) In the reign of Henry II Walchelin de Ferrers granted the tithes of the mills of Langham to the Priory of Brooke. (fn. 64) In 1536 8s. a year was paid to the prior for tithes from the mills. (fn. 65) The Bishop of Peterborough is now patron.
Bishop Dalderby of Lincoln (1300–1328) granted an indulgence for the construction of the Chapel of the Hermitage of Langham, (fn. 66) the hermitage itself being probably already in existence. In 1320, and again in 1323, John de Norton, the hermit of Langham, was granted a royal protection for himself and his men seeking alms through the country. (fn. 67) In 1326 and 1327 John de Warrewyk appears as the hermit, and he and his men were still seeking alms, presumably for building the chapel, (fn. 68) but no later reference to the hermitage has been found.
The gild of Our Lady is mentioned in the will of John Bery of Langham, dated 1541, but it may possibly have been one of the Oakham gilds. (fn. 69)
The Bainton Poor's Land.—By indentures of lease and release, 1 May 1682, certain lands were given upon trust, the rents to be applied towards the relief of the poor and repair of the church at Langham. The endowment of the charity consists of a farm-house and land at Bainton and land at Glinton (co. Northants), containing about 14 acres and 1 acre 1 rood respectively, producing about £29 per annum. The charity is administered by the vicar and churchwardens together with Hubbard's Charity (see below), and the net income is applied in doles and bread for the poor and gifts of money to poor widows.
The Bilsdon Poor's Land.—By indentures of lease and release, dated 14 and 15 April 1685, a piece of land was conveyed in trust for the use of poor decayed inhabitants of Langham. The endowment now consists of a close of land at Billesdon (Leicester) containing about 6 acres and let at about £10 per annum. The net income, together with Clarke's Charity (see below), is distributed by the vicar and churchwardens in cash to about 20 or 30 poor people.
Henry Hubbard, by his will dated 15 November 1714, gave £40, £10 of which was to be applied towards the repair of the parish church and the income from the remainder to be given to the ten poorest widows in the parish. The endowment of the charity now consists of a rent-charge of £1 5s. per annum arising out of land at Sewstern. The charity is now administered by the vicar and churchwardens together with the Bainton Poor's Land.
Thomas Watkins ('In memoriam Thomas and Mary Watkins'), by his will proved at Birmingham 7 March 1905, bequeathed £10 to the trustees of the parish church at Langham, the income to be applied for the benefit of the poor at Christmas. The endowment of the charity consists of £9 16s. 11d. 2½ per cent. Consolidated Stock with the Official Trustees, producing 4s. 8d. per annum, which is given to two poor persons.
Thomas Busby of Meyford, co. Staffs, by his will dated 13 Dec. 1577 (P.C.C. 34 Watson), bequeathed to Dr. Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster, and to Mr. Edward Chambers and their heirs one messuage or cottage in Langham, desiring them to bestow in deeds of charity to the poor sick and impotent people of Langham and Barleythorpe the yearly rent thereof. There is now no trace of this charity.