A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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Wolverton (alias Wolverdington until the middle of the 19th century) is a small parish lying between Claverdon and Budbrooke on the north and Snitterfield on the south, with Langley on the west and Norton Lindsey on the east. The ground rises from 230 ft. in the south-east angle of the parish to 390 ft. by the church, near the western boundary. A road running northwards from Snitterfield to Claverdon makes a double right-angled bend within which lie the church, the Rectory, which retains in its south front some of the timbering of the 17th-century cottage from which it was enlarged, Church Farm, and Glebe Farm; in the immediate vicinity are Court Farm and Meadow Farm. Almost the only woodland in the parish is the coppice beside Blacon Farm near the east boundary. In 1544 it was stated that there were no woods or waste ground belonging to the manor, which was then worth £9 2s. 8d. yearly. At this time there were 9 customary tenants, who had to attend the leet of the hundred as well as the manorial court. The yardland was of the exceptional size of 76 acres. (fn. 1) The parish was inclosed by an Act of 1826. (fn. 2)
In 1611 bricks were being made by one Smyth in this parish. (fn. 3)
Domesday shows WOLVERTON divided into two estates; one of these, assessed at 1 hide 1⅓ virgates, was in 1086 among the lands of Robert de Stafford, of whom it was held by Urfer; it had belonged to Simund the Dane. (fn. 4) The other portion, 2½ hides 2/3 virgate, had been held by Ernuin and in 1086 was held by William son of Corbucion; to it belonged woodland 1 furlong by ½ furlong in extent, and a house in Warwick. (fn. 5) The overlordship of the first portion remained with the descendants of Robert de Stafford until at least 1460. (fn. 6) In 1242 Vivian de Standon held of Robert de Stafford ⅓ knight's fee in Wolverton. (fn. 7) His rights may have been acquired by William de Cantilupe, who probably received the lordship of the other portion from Peter de Studley, grandson of William son of Corbucion. (fn. 8) The estates of William's eldest son William de Cantilupe descended to John de Hastings, (fn. 9) and it was by 'the heirs of John de Hastings' that the Stafford portion (called\17 fee in 1402) was held down to 1460. (fn. 10) The younger son John de Cantilupe settled at Snitterfield, and the lordship of the Corbucion fee went to his descendants, and his son Sir John was lord of Wolverton in 1316. (fn. 11) The latter's daughter and eventual heir Eleanor married Sir Thomas West, (fn. 12) of whom the manor was held in 1351. (fn. 13) In 1428 an aid was assessed on 2/3 knight's fee here 'late of Eleanor West' and on 1 knight's fee in Wolverton, Langley, and Norton Lindsey 'late of John Hastings'. (fn. 14)
Peter Corbucion, son of William son of Corbucion, granted Wolverton to William son of Remfred to hold as ⅓ knight's fee, (fn. 15) and William held the advowson of the church in the time of Bishop Henry (1193–5), his grandson Peter son of Robert recovering the rights of presentation in 1221 against the Bishop of Worcester, who had claimed that Wolverton was a chapelry of Claverdon. (fn. 16) Peter de Wolwardinton, apparently grandson of the last Peter, (fn. 17) seems to have been patron in 1283, (fn. 18) and in 1307 John, lord of Wolverton, presented, Sir John de Cantilupe having renounced the right which he had claimed. (fn. 19) John seems to have been succeeded by his brother Peter de Wolwardinton, both being dead by 1335, (fn. 20) when John's widow Eleanor was wife of William Musard, who was lord of Wolverton in 1344. (fn. 21) Peter left a widow Ellen and a daughter Elizabeth, who married first John de Brome and secondly Eustace de Folville. (fn. 22) In 1335 Wolverton was held in dower by the two widows with ultimate reversion to Elizabeth's son William de Brome, (fn. 23) who was still in ward to Sir Thomas West in 1351 (fn. 24) but was lord of the manor in 1357. (fn. 25) By 1361 'William son of Guy Bretoun' was dealing with the manor, (fn. 26) and he is presumably the Sir William 'Bruton' who was lord of Wolverton in 1371. (fn. 27) He was probably succeeded by the John 'Broughton' whose daughter Joan (fn. 28) wife of John Boteler of Eaton (Beds.) held the manor with her husband in 1401. (fn. 29) Their son John is said to have sold the manor to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, (fn. 30) on the death of whose successor, Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, in 1445 the king granted the offices of steward and receiver of the manor, and keeper of the park, to his serjeant Richard de Lafeld to hold as the offices were held in the time of the late duke. (fn. 31) With the rest of the Warwick inheritance Wolverton descended to Anne, only sister of the whole blood to Henry Beauchamp, deceased, whose husband Sir Richard Nevill subsequently succeeded in her right. In 1468 Earl Richard and Anne his wife demised their manors of Baginton and Wolverton with all the lands, services, and rents in these two places to the Dean and Chapter of St. Mary's, Warwick, (fn. 32) in whose possession they remained until the Dissolution.
The manor of Wolverton was granted in fee by the Crown in 1545 to Clement Throckmorton and Alexander Avenon, ironmonger, of London. (fn. 33) Clement died seised thereof in 1573, leaving John his son and heir, aged 28. (fn. 34) It soon passed to one Thomas Staunton or Stanton, (fn. 35) who died seised thereof in 1626. (fn. 36) Ten years before his death, however, he had settled this property on his son Thomas on the latter's marriage with Katherine daughter of Walter Washington of Radway. (fn. 37) This second Thomas died in 1633, being succeeded by another Thomas, (fn. 38) who was lord of the manor in 1640, (fn. 39) and it remained in that family for another hundred years. (fn. 40) By 1766 it was in the hands of William Hunt of Stratford (d. 1783); his son and executor Thomas Hunt held it in 1785, and Charles Henry Hunt, an elder son, by 1791. (fn. 41) By 1820 it had been acquired by Robert Philips of Snitterfield, whose son Mark was lord of the manor in 1850. His heir was his brother Robert Needham Philips, whose daughter and co-heir Caroline married Sir George Otto Trevelyan, bart. (fn. 42) Lady Trevelyan was lady of the manor in 1900 and it is now held by her trustees.
The parish church of ST. MARY is of rectangular plan, 16½ ft. wide internally and about 70½ ft. long, of which 28 ft. forms the chancel, divided from the nave by a modern screen, and with broken joints in the masonry where the two adjoin. Probably the nave was built in the second half of the 13th century and the chancel added or lengthened early in the 14th century. Some remodelling took place at the west end, probably late in the 14th century, to support the bell-turret or an earlier bellcote. (fn. 43) The south porch was added c. 1500. A small vestry north of the chancel is modern. The church is rich in ancient glass, now mostly fragmentary.
The east wall is entirely modern, with a window of three lights and tracery of early-14th-century character. In the north wall of the chancel are two early-14thcentury single lights of Arden sandstone with trefoiled ogee-heads. Between them is the modern small vestry, the 7-ft. archway to which has been partly made up from the chamfered jambs and well-moulded arch of an early-14th-century tomb-recess: the hood-mould has carved human head-stops.
Of the two south windows the western is like the others; the eastern is of c. 1330 and is of trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head: the head is of one complete stone. The window is recessed inside below the sill and has three stepped sedilia, the lowest only 7 in. above floor-level. East of it is a piscina with chamfered jambs and ogee head and a round basin. Between the windows is a 15th-century priests' doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head.
The nave has two north windows, the eastern a late-14th-century insertion of two trefoiled lights with advanced cusps and a plain spandrel in a high segmental-pointed head. The second, near the west end, consists of three very narrow lancets under a two-centred head with an external hood-mould and with a segmental-pointed rear-arch chamfered on both edges; the jambs and head are of two chamfered orders. The window is of different stones, the jambs and mullions being of Arden sandstone, the heads of the lights of lias limestone, and the outer order of the head of yellow Cotswold stone, with the hood-mould cut out of the solid. It is presumably of the 13th century with repairs of later periods. Between them is the north doorway, of two chamfered orders with a high segmental-pointed head and chamfered rear-arch, probably of the 13th century. In the south wall are two windows, the eastern of three trefoiled lights, the side lights pointed and the middle ogee-headed with a trefoil above it, all below a semicircular head: of early-14th-century date. The western is like the eastern of the two opposite and the south doorway between the windows also resembles the north doorway. In the west wall are two 13th-century lancetwindows, the southern largely restored; they have pointed rear-arches of square section.
The side-walls of the chancel are of thin lias rag and have chamfered plinths; the tops of the walls are of later repair. The side-walls of the nave are of lias rag of larger stones than those of the chancel. The north wall is about 5 in. thicker than the chancel wall, and where they meet it has no dressings. The two walls on the south side are flush and meet with a straight joint that has angle-dressings on the nave side. The tops of both walls, which rise about 5 ft. above the chancel walls, may be of later repair and have ancient hollowmoulded eaves-courses: the northern has a lion's head boss at its east end, a broken intermediate boss, and a defaced head at the west end. The southern has a foliage boss at the east end, another intermediate, and a plain one at the west. The north wall has three deep buttresses of the 16th or 17th century against it, and at the north-west angle is a pair of original square buttresses of ashlar with chamfered plinths. The south wall west of the porch is of good coursed ashlar, probably reconstruction of the late 14th century, and at the angle is a diagonal buttress of the same period. The west wall is mostly of the later ashlar and has a wide buttress between the windows: the gable head of rubble is pierced by a cinquefoiled opening.
The roofs have barrel-vaulted ceilings with ribs: that over the chancel has old chamfered cross-ribs (semicircular) in three bays and five longitudinal ribs or purlins, probably of the 16th century, the boarding and cornices being modern. The nave roof appears to be modern and has three tie beams. Above the west end is a square bell-turret of timber, apparently modern but incorporating in each side three square pierced early-16th-century oak panels with cinquefoiled wheeltracery of eight spokes. It has a pyramidal tiled roof, above which is an octagonal spirelet with a weathercock. The main roofs are also tiled.
The south porch is of c 1500, partly restored. The south front has large side-posts and a segmental-arched board, with sunk spandrels, forming the head of the entrance. Above it is an ancient tie-beam, but the gable-head is of modern timbers. The side walls, mostly modern, have foiled and traceried lights and stand on modern low stone walls with stone benches inside. The roof has original purlins and straight wind-braces and old rafters. The south door is not old but has some early-16th-century ironwork, including two straphinges treated with engrailed facial ornament, a retangular lock-plate with floriated lugs, and a ring-handle with a circular plate with ten trefoiled radial piercings.
The font is of the 15th century: the bowl is octagonal, hollowed on the upper edge and moulded below, and panelled in each face with a quatrefoiled circle in a square; the stem has a moulded capping and the chamfered square base has broach stops to its sides.
The tracery head of the east window has a patchwork of reset glass of the 14th century, originally parts of a 'Doom'; it includes a nimbed archangel with green wings and blowing a trumpet, and parts of two nude figures rising from the dead.
The north-east window has a border of ruby with square yellow flowers at intervals and two green roundels with octofoil flowers. The north-west window has the remains of a quartered shield—apparently that of Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick, figured by Dugdale. (fn. 44) The window has a border of ruby with a yellow running vine pattern; the rest is of white with line foliage, of which two or three pieces are ancient. The south-west is filled with a grisaille pattern of white with oak-leaf line ornament, and three roundels, a small ruby cinquefoil flower, and two larger circles filled in with a geometrical pattern of red, blue, yellow, and black; the border has running yellow foliage with white quatrefoil flowers; the ruby infilling of the border is modern.
The eastern north window of the nave has a brokenup collection of 15th-century pieces: it includes parts of the figures of the donors—a kneeling man with his hands held up before his breast, wearing a red tunic and with short yellow hair, and a woman in a flat draped head-dress with hands held up as the other; the heads (seen externally) appear to have been restored. A scrap of black-lettering indicates the man's name: Johis Walford. There is a rather confused figure of St. Anthony with a nimbed and bearded head (face modern), the body a mixture of colours, but one piece has a bell and drapery; also a boar's head with a bell, the face and hands of a human figure, a winged angel with a nimbus crossed by a sword, yellow feathers, drapery, rays of light, much yellow tabernacle work, &c. The lancets of the north-west window are filled with white quarries with small quatrefoil flowers in brown line, and borders of running oak-leaf pattern; some of this may be ancient. The eastern south window has 14thcentury glass in the tracery lights, the middle with a red and blue roundel with triple radiating spokes with floral ends projecting beyond the roundel, the sides with yellow and blue quatrefoil flowers: also white and line quarries and coloured borders. The second window also has a yellow cinquefoil flower in the tracery, and white and line quarries.
The two bells are inaccessible; one, apparently very ancient, has no inscription, the other is by T. Rudhall, 1771. (fn. 45)
There is an Elizabethan communion cup with cover paten, without hall-mark; also a paten with a Dublin hall-mark, 1738, and a remarkable flagon, probably also Irish, both presented by Thomas Stanton in 1738. (fn. 46)
The advowson of the church of Wolverton descended with the manor throughout the Middle Ages. (fn. 47) The Dean and Chapter of St. Mary's, Warwick, held it at the Dissolution, (fn. 48) after which it passed with the manor through the various stages to the Staunton family, the last patron of which name, John Staunton, presented to the church in 1754. (fn. 49) Sarah Roberts, spinster, presented in 1772 and James Roberts, clerk, in 1775 and 1785. (fn. 50) A Rev. James Roberts was patron in 1831, (fn. 51) and the Rev. Benjamin Winthrop in 1850, (fn. 52) his executors holding the patronage as late as 1915. (fn. 53) It is now a rectory, with that of Norton Lindsey and Langley annexed, and is in the gift of the Bishop of Coventry.
Church Land. The origin of this charity is unknown. The land, consisting of ¾ acre in Wolverton, was sold in 1936 under an Order of the Charity Commissioners and the proceeds amounting to £70 were invested, yielding £2 3s. per annum, which is applied towards church expenses.