A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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The parish church of the HOLY TRINITY has no definite evidence of the 12th century, unless the roundheaded windows in the tower be accepted as such, but the influence of the earliest structure may explain why the nave is deflected considerably to the north of the axial line of the other parts of the church.
The earliest features are the early-13th-century transepts and the upper part of the tower. In the east and west walls of the north transept are remains of narrow arches which apparently opened into 12th- or 13th-century aisles north of the nave and former chancel. Presumably the pre-existing nave had narrow aisles, and the transepts and tower and a chancel with aisles were the first important enlargements of the plan.
The second great work of enlargement was in the early years of the 14th century. It is recorded that John de Stratford, then Bishop of Winchester, founded a chantry on 8 Oct. 1331 in the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr in the south aisle of the parish church, which he had recently rebuilt. (fn. 1) The sequence was, therefore, as follows:(1) the reconstruction of the tower, at least in the lower part, c. 1310; (2) the widening of the nave, with new arcades, and the rebuilding and widening of the north aisle, c. 1320; and finally(3) the south aisle.
The tower arches with their wavy responds, resembling those at Rowington, cannot be earlier than the 14th century and were probably widenings of the original archways. The upper stages of the tower have some early-13th-century details; the corbel-table on the east side is of the 13th century (restored); those on the other three sides are later imitations. The circular windows are of the 14th century, but above them are traces of earlier windows.
The two nave-arcades are of one date and detail, except that the southern was spaced with regard to the projecting stair-turret of the tower, which was probably built at the same time; some of its steps are made from a cut-up grave slab with remains of a black letter inscription, apparently of the 14th century. The three eastern windows in the north aisle are probably contemporary and are certainly earlier than those in the south aisle. The fourth window in the north wall was evidently re-used from one of the earlier walls and this, combined with the later style of the windows west of it, suggests that the widening of the aisle extended over a period, up to near the middle of the century at the west end. The south-aisle windows also show variations. The second window, with its segmental head—the only one of its kind—appears to be a later alteration. The next three windows, with their flowing tracery breaking through the normal lines of the pointed main heads, suggest work of c. 1340–50, rather than of 1330.
Here again, (fn. 2) on the side easily seen from the river, is an aisle stair-turret, hardly necessary merely to give access to the comparatively low aisle-roof, and lacking in the north aisle.
The next period of extensive alteration was late in the 15th century. The chancel was entirely rebuilt by Dean Thomas Balshall, who died in 1491 and was buried in a tomb made in his lifetime. (fn. 3)
The clearstory of the nave was rebuilt and heightened, probably by Ralph Collingwood, the successor of Thomas Balshall. The whole of the walling above the actual arches was replaced with panelled ashlar below the windows. The west end of the nave was provided with a wider doorway, and the wall above it entirely rebuilt with the fine great window. The north doorway had perhaps been replaced by a wider one earlier in the century, but the north porch was added probably by Collingwood, as it impinges on the fifth window of the aisle owing to the pre-existence of the doorway. There seems to have been some intention to rebuild the transepts, as Hugh Clopton (1496) and Thomas Handys (1502) bequeathed money for the rebuilding of the 'cross aisle'. If so the work was obviously never proceeded with.
There was a building, removed in 1799, north of the chancel resembling somewhat the chapels still existing at Solihull Church. It was of two or three stories (descriptions vary), the lowest being vaulted and half below ground, and it became known as the Charnel house or bone-hole from the subsequent usage of the crypt. The chamber above may well have been a vestry or sacristy (there is no proper vestry attached to the church), although it is now described as having been a 'study' for the clergy. Its age is conjectural, but the doorway into it—now blocked—is of Collingwood's time, though it seems likely that the building was only remodelled by Collingwood when he apportioned a part of it as a dormitory for four boy choristers who were to be 'daily assistants in the celebration of divine Service'.
The church suffered many vicissitudes after the Reformation, when the rood, the chantry-chapels, &c., were abolished and many of the carvings were mutilated and glass destroyed. The chancel was boarded off from the rest of the church and it was in a bad condition at the end of the 16th century. The corporation in 1593 petitioned Lord Burleigh to use his influence for its repair, but apparently without success as it was pronounced 'ruinous' in 1618 (two years after Shakespeare's burial in the chancel). Some repairs were executed in 1621–2, the walls 'mended' and painted and the windows glazed.
The chancel (about 63 ft. by 25 ft.) has an east window of seven cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and tracery in a four-centred head, with hood-moulds enriched with crockets and finials and having stops carved as monsters. It is flanked inside by niches with cinquefoiled canopied heads and side pilasters with tall gabled finials; the brackets are carved with winged monsters; they contain modern images. In each sidewall are five windows, each of four transomed cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in twocentred heads with crocketed hood-moulds; the stops inside are human heads with various kinds of headdress; outside they are winged monsters. Beside the windows inside are recesses with trefoiled ogee, crocketed heads.
Below the west jamb of the second window on the north side is the doorway to the former charnel. The jambs and four-centred head are moulded and include two small shafts or roll-moulds with moulded bases. The hood-mould is crocketed and has unusually large carved stops, much mutilated. The eastern represents the Resurrection; behind the figure of Christ rising from the tomb are two angels and in front of the tomb three Roman soldiers. The western shows the complete figure of St. Christopher bearing the Child across the stream, in which are shown the usual fishes; on the dexter bank is the hermit before his cell. No trace of this doorway remains in the external face of the wall. In the south wall, below the third window, is a priests' doorway; it has moulded jambs and four-centred head with crocketed hood-moulds; the ancient door has modern applied ribs and tracery.
The walls are of white limestone, ashlar-faced inside and out, except where the charnel existed: this is restored in dark cream Arden sandstone. The plinth, much restored, is moulded. At the east angles are diagonal buttresses, and there are five to each side-wall, of three stages: the face of the third stage changes to a double splay, in which each has the remains of two trefoiled niches with crocketed hood-moulds: the heads of the side niches are level with and worked together with the grotesque stops of the window hood-moulds. Above the buttresses are, or were, pinnacles (mostly restored) with crockets and finials. The parapets are embattled, that to the east wall following the low-pitched gable. The merlons, and a band below merlons and embrasures, are treated with trefoiled panels. The moulded string-course has weather-worn carved spouts at the angles and sides.
In the east end of the north wall is a plain locker. In the south wall is a piscina with a cinquefoiled canopy breaking forward in ogee form, enriched with crockets and finial, and surmounted by a tall crocketed pinnacle with a foliage finial. It is flanked by panelled pilasters. The recess is three-sided and has a ribbed soffit with a central rose, and small head-corbels to the ribs. The sill is carved in front with an angel holding a shield, above a semi-shaft or pilaster. The three sedilia have recesses on the same lines, but the heads have foliage cusp-points and rather heavier pinnacles. The pilasters flanking them are carried by corbels carved as angels whose wings are outspread to serve as corbels to the seats.
The low-pitched roof is divided into five bays by six hammer-beam trusses supported by stone corbels carved with heads of kings. The spandrels of the curved braces below the hammer-beams are traceried about central shields; the spaces above them and above the collarbeams also have tracery. On the ends of the hammerbeams are carved winged and crowned angels issuing from clouds, wearing tippets and holding shields painted in 1835 with the arms of local families. The wall-plates, ridge-pole, and two purlins each side are moulded and the soffit between them divided into panels by moulded ribs with foliage bosses at the intersections.
The crossing below the central tower (about 21 ft. east to west by 20 ft.) has an early-14th-century archway on each side. The responds are of three orders, the innermost semi-octagonal; the other two are curved shafts with middle fillets and are joined by shallow hollows, the whole forming a continuous double wavemould. They have moulded bases and plinths, raised on stone benches that are carried round the piers, and moulded bell-capitals following the contours of the shafts, the middle being semi-octagonal. The twocentred heads have moulded inner orders and two chamfered outer orders with hood-moulds. The space above is spanned by a modern ribbed vault.
The north transept (about 30 ft. deep by 23 ft. wide) has two 13th-century lancet windows in the east wall, of two chamfered orders outside in yellow Campden stone with modern hood-moulds. The internal splays have dressed angle-stones; at the springing line are moulded imposts with pellet ornament and leaf carving, from which spring the two-centred rear-arches, moulded with a large edge-roll and having a hood-mould with head-stops. The sills slope down to a chamfered stringcourse that is carried round the interior. In the north half of the west wall is a similar lancet, and another in the south half is indicated by a piece of hood-mould. At the south end of the two walls the masonry has been partly cut away to reveal the remains of former low archways into aisles of the earlier chancel and nave. Only the north jambs are exposed, 4 ft. 4 in. from the wall of the crossing; each has a moulded corbel-capital and three voussoirs of an arch moulded with a filleted edge-roll. In the two north angles of the transept there are also 13th-century corbel-capitals, probably to carry vaulting shafts; the eastern has foliage ornament and below both are very short lengths of round shaft terminating in carved foliage just above the stringcourse. At the north end of the west wall is a modern doorway. In the north wall is a large window of five lights and leaf tracery, probably of 14th-century inception but almost entirely restored. Below the windows outside is a round string-course of the 13th century: beneath this the walling is of roughly squared hard grey rubble, repaired in part in the east wall and underpinned with squared lias stone. Above the string-course the walling is rougher, with modern parapets. At the angles are pairs of original shallow buttresses of Campden stone ashlar, and above them are later diagonal buttresses carrying modern pinnacles. The east wall is divided into two bays by an original buttress. The north gablehead is modern; the roof is high-pitched, of modern timbers and covered with lead. Below it is a barrelvaulted ceiling.
The south transept is in most respects similar. It has two lancets in the east wall and one in the south half of the west wall. The south window is almost wholly modern. In the east wall is an ancient altar recess with chamfered jambs and segmental arch.
The nave (about 98 ft. by 24 ft.) has 14th-century north and south arcades of six bays; the pillars are hexagonal with moulded bases and capitals, all of Campden stone; the two-centred arches are of two orders, the outer chamfered, the inner of half-hexagonal section, with an obtuse V-shaped soffit, and of mediumsized voussoirs. The hood-moulds towards the aisles are original; those towards the nave are of the date of the clearstory. The clearstory is lighted on each side by tall windows, two to each bay, each of three cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a fourcentred head with external segmental-pointed conjoined hood-moulds, all of white limestone. The jambs and mullions are moulded and their lines are continued down inside to form wall-panelling in the ashlar of the haunches of the arcades. Between the bays are tripleround wall-shafts carried on corbels above the capitals of the pillars, carved as angels with outspread wings, holding shields and standing on moulded brackets. The intermediate shafts are single rounds.
The 15th-century west doorway has moulded jambs and a four-centred head with an external hood-mould; the inner splays and rear-arch have an edge-roll. The pair of doors in it have four bays of foiled panels, and tracery on the outer faces. The great west window is of nine transomed cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head with an external hood-mould with head-stops. Below the sill outside is a moulded string-course, and the wall thickens a little inside. The three middle lights below the transom are filled in with masonry, in which are three external niches for images; they have carved brackets and panelled side-pilasters; each canopy has two trefoiled faces with ogee gables, crockets, and finial, and above it a tall obelisk-like pinnacle with crockets and finial. Internally the masonry is treated with six shallow panels with trefoiled heads.
The wall is of partially squared hard grey rubble of the 13th or 14th century below the window and has no plinth; the upper part is of 15th-century ashlar and has a low-pitched gable with an embattled parapet. The flanking buttresses differ slightly. The clearstory also has embattled parapets. In the south-east angle is the quarter-octagonal stair-turret (circular inside) to the tower. The entrance has a two-centred head and a 15th-century door with foiled panels and tracery with foliage carving. Above it was a doorway to the former rood-loft, now walled up and containing a loop light. Some of the lower steps are parts of a cut-up coffin lid of the 14th century that had an ornate incised cross and a black letter inscription.
The low-pitched roof is modern; it is divided into six bays by moulded trusses that are carried on embattled corbel-capitals resting on the wall-shafts between the clearstory windows. Between the trusses the soffit is panelled and has carved bosses.
The north aisle (about 16½ ft. wide) has five windows in the north wall. The eastern three are of c. 1325, but have been much restored. Each is of three trefoiled lights and flowing tracery in a two-centred head with an internal hood-mould: the jambs are doublechamfered. The fourth is shorter, of slightly earlier type, of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and net tracery in a two-centred head with hood-moulds having head-stops. Its jambs and head are more elaborately treated than any of the other 14th-century windows, being of two moulded orders outside and also moulded on the inner splays. The fifth is a later-14th-century window of three trefoiled lights with foiled piercings over the side lights, under a two-centred head with hood-moulds. The south-east buttress of the porch covers the westernmost light outside. Below the ledges is a 14th-century scroll-moulded string-course.
The north doorway is of early-15th-century date and has continuously moulded jambs and a two-centred head. In it is a pair of original doors, each faced outside with four bays of foiled panels and vertical tracery; where the two leaves meet the eastern has a diagonal pilaster: this leaf also is cut below the springing line to form a wicket door and has on it a bronze 'sanctuaryknocker' in the form of a circular plate with an embossed human mask with a ring handle passing through its mouth.
The north wall, east of the porch, is divided by buttresses into five bays: the two eastern have a 15thcentury string-course below the windows; the other three bays have a 14th-century scroll-moulded stringcourse, like that inside. The wall leans outward owing to pressure of the roof; some corrections have been made and the buttresses, which were comparatively shallow originally, have been deepened; that between the third and fourth windows was considerably enlarged in 1902 (dated). The bay west of the porch is solid and has no internal string-course. The parapet is plain, with a moulded string-course, and has two carved gargoyles.
The west window is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights with foiled interlacing tracery in a two-centred head with hood-moulds inside and out (the latter modern); below the sill are string-courses: the mouldings are all of mid- to late-14th-century form. The wall is of grey rubble without a plinth; at the northwest angle is a pair of square buttresses.
The roof, nearly horizontal, is divided into twelve bays by modern tie-beams, but the middle longitudinal purlin is ancient and some of the rafters are probably medieval. The stone corbels in the north wall bear blank shields.
The south aisle (about 15½ ft. wide) has five south windows. The easternmost (fn. 4) is of two trefoiled pointed lights and a quatrefoil in a pointed head with an external hood-mould. The second is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a segmental head without tracery. The three-centred rear-arch is moulded with a hollow, and has a scroll hood-mould. The third and fifth are each of three cinquefoiled pointed lights, with flowing, almost flamboyant, tracery in a mainly two-centred head; the fourth is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights, and tracery approaching the Perpendicular in style. The two-centred reararches are of the same section as that of the second. The tracery in each of these three windows is peculiar, as it is not confined within the normal arcs of the pointed heads but rises above them at the apices. The south doorway has jambs and a pointed head of two orders, the outer chamfered, the inner wave-moulded, and an external hood-mould. In the south-west angle is a stair-vice entered by a square-headed doorway. Below the windows inside is a scroll-moulded stringcourse that is lifted over the doorways as hood-moulds. The west window is a larger one of four trefoiled pointed lights and leaf tracery in a two-centred head.
The walls are of grey rubble with some Campden stone, and some repairs in lias stone; the plinth has two chamfered stages and on it is a course of squared stones. Below the windows is a plain string-course. The plain parapets may be later restorations, but the string-course is ancient and has a deep hollow mould; it is pierced by a series of tapering circular stone spouts, seven or more to a bay. Square buttresses of Campden stone divide the south wall into six bays; they are of two stages and carry pinnacles. At the south-west angle the octagonal stair-vice rises about the roof and has an embattled parapet.
The roof is 14th-century and has cross-beams, some of them moulded, dividing it into twelve bays, and a moulded middle purlin. The corbels in the south wall are original; some are carved with human heads, mostly semi-grotesque; one near the west end is a moulded half-octagon. The ceiling is plastered, the three or four eastern bays having panels with moulded surrounds and foliage paterae of the 16th or 17th century.
The central tower is of three stages above the main roofs, divided by string-courses, the lower, a plain weather-course, just above the roof-ridges. The walls are of small grey rubble, the dressings of yellow Campden stone with a large admixture of grey ashlar. At the angles are clasping buttresses, of yellow stone up to nearly mid-height of the top story and of grey above up to the corbel table; the string-courses pass round them. At the south-west angle the stair-vice rises above the nave-parapet to just above the lower string-course and has a pointed stone roof, all of yellow stone.
The lowest stage is the ringing chamber and is abutted by the roofs. On the east face remains the top of the weather-course of the steep-pitched roof of the earlier chancel. The chamber had originally lancets and a pointed doorway in each wall. The skew passage from the stair-vice opens into the west and south walls, with half-pointed arches and relieving arches.
The upper two stages form the bell-chamber. The lower is lighted in each wall by a window of two orders, the inner chamfered and having two lancets with moulded imposts; the outer has a continuous edge-roll and a semicircular head: all are of yellow stone. The third stage has a large circular window, of three chamfered orders, in each wall. They are differently treated. The eastern has wheel tracery with ogeeheaded piercings; the northern and western have five main foils with trefoiled sub-cusping, and pierced spandrels; the southern has eight ogee foils. The eastern has a hood-mould to the upper half which seems to have belonged to an earlier window. The other three have complete circular hood-moulds, but above them are pointed arches filled in with shaly rubble, perhaps indicating earlier windows. A narrow string-course crosses each wall at their springing level, stopped by the buttresses. The arches are hidden inside by cement.
The parapet is embattled and has a moulded stringcourse of a late-14th- or 15th-century section, above a corbel-table. The last has a series of trefoiled arches on the east side on moulded corbels; the other sides have smaller ogee arches, probably later alterations. Over the angles are restored panelled pinnacles. There are gargoyles at the angles and on the west side.
On the tower is the tall octagonal spire of 1763, built of ashlar and having three tiers of plain pointed spire-lights; at the apex is a brass ball and weather-vane. The squinches inside the bell-chamber are cemented and below them are remains of earlier squinches. Over the north and south circular windows inside are old stone corbels for former roof or spire construction.
The north porch, with a chamber over, is a late-15thcentury addition. The walls are of limestone ashlar and have a plinth with quatrefoil circular panels. The parapets are embattled and the north front has a lowpitched gable; the buttresses carry panelled pinnacles.
The entrance has moulded jambs and four-centred head, and in the south bay of each side-wall is a trefoiled ogee-headed light with a crocketed hood-mould. Both walls inside are treated above the stone benches with five bays of tall trefoiled panels with crockets and finials and over them overhanging cornices. The ceiling is vaulted in white stone, with ribs springing from corbels in the angles carved as angels holding shields or scrolls. The moulded ribs at the apices meet the walls with carved foliage bosses, and where they intersect in the centre is a large octagonal boss with a battered representation of the Trinity. In the north angles of the porch are the remains of holy-water stoups with basins, now destroyed, that stood on quarter-octagonal shafts. The upper story has a north window of three cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head. On both sides of it externally are niches with damaged brackets—the western carved with a rose—and canopies. The stair-vice is in the south-west angle, and the doorways are four-centred. In the east wall is a 3-ft. fire-place with a four-centred arch. The roof has a chamfered cross-beam and wide flat rafters. The lower turret doorway retains its original door, divided on the front by plain ribs into three trefoiled panels with carved spandrels. The outer entrance, originally intended to be unenclosed, is fitted with a pair of 17th-century doors, each divided into four plain panels by moulded and nail-studded ribs; a wicket door is cut in the west leaf.
On the north face of the bottom of the stair-vice to the tower are some traces of medieval paintings, apparently a figure of a saint in a canopied niche. On the south wall of the south aisle between the second and third windows is a fragment of a black letter inscription and some later small roman lettering. Also between the fourth and fifth windows is another scrap of black lettering.
In the easternmost window of the north aisle are re-set some 14th and 15th-century fragments of glass from the chancel. They include parts of angels, and of tabernacle work, a piece of black letter, ORA &c.
The font is modern; its design is based on the much broken bowl of a 15th-century one now placed at the west end of the north aisle: this, which is octagonal with moulded upper and lower edges and on each side two quatrefoil panels with foliage centres, was recovered in 1860 after use as a garden vase.
The chancel screen dates from c. 1500 but has been much restored. It consists of four fixed open-traceried bays, and two doors, in the middle, each of two bays and full height. The traceried heads have trefoiled ogee arches with carved cusp-points. The moulded middle-rail has carved paterae; the closed panels below it are two to each bay, with trefoiled pointed heads and rose cusp-points. The top rail has a running vine pattern and modern brattishing. The screen across the mouth of the north transept is of the late 15th century (partly restored) and was formerly between the nave and central tower. It is of six bays, of which the middle pair are doors. Set on the transept side of it are two crude carvings, perhaps from a former roof. One may be meant for the bust of an angel holding a shield, the other a bearded man's head.
In the chancel are the original stalls and front desks. There are thirteen stalls on each side, three of which are returned at the west end to face east. The divisional standards have moulded edges and the elbows are carved with the heads of angels; the top rails are also moulded and curved, in plan, for each stall. They have hinged seats with carved misericords on the undersides and side paterae carvings joined up with tendrils from the moulded tops. The subjects are of great variety and include human heads, mostly grotesquely treated, birds, beasts, monsters, foliage, flowers, &c. The more elaborate include the following: north side: third from east, Tudor roses, the middle one with a shield. Sixth, a defaced man's head and bust, upside down, holding a basket or salver, and (sides) grotesque faces. Tenth, a nude person riding astride on a stag and holding the branch of a tree. Eleventh, a merman and mermaid. Twelfth, an eagle and a swaddled child (part destroyed); sides, a lion and a monster, half monk and half beast. Thirteenth, semi-figures in spiral shells, a woman holding a distaff and shuttle and a man holding a spade (?). South side. First (easternmost) a woman attacking, with a ladle or saucepan, a man whom she grasps by the beard; sides, the letters ihs in plaited rings. Second, a man riding astride a fourlegged monster with a woman's head and panache of three leaves: sides, dexter, a man and woman fighting; sinister, a woman-headed monster, head downwards, a man seated astride on its head and beating its hindquarters with a branch while a dog is biting its hind leg. Third, two monsters, one a woman, the other a demon, back to back, with intercoiled snaky tails; sides, dexter, a jester or fool with a snaky tail and playing a recorder; sinister, a man holding an upright sword in his right hand, fighting a snaky monster. Tenth, St. George spearing the dragon, with the maiden and a tree in the background; sides, monsters, half humans with short coats and half beasts. Eleventh, middle, bear and ragged staff; sides, chained monkeys holding urns. Twelfth, a woman and a man spearing a reclining unicorn; between the figures a shield charged with a chief with a crescent thereon and in base three crosses formy. Thirteenth, an eagle between two birds that are holding up a crown over it with their beaks; sides, winged monsters, one with a woman's, the other with a bearded man's head. The front desks, partly restored, have standards, with foliage poppy heads, at the ends and to the intermediate gangways; the east end of the south side has in addition another standard to form a single seat. The closed fronts have trefoiled panels and tracery.
The Royal Arms of Queen Anne in the north transept is dated 1714: the initials AR were altered to GR and the motto to in recto decus, and a patch in the middle of the painted arms indicates where the Hanoverian scutcheon had been applied and afterwards removed or lost. The arms are set in a frame flanked by nude figures, foliage, and fruit.
On the north side of the chancel stands the altar tomb of Dean Thomas Balshall, whose will of 1491 expressed his desire to be buried in the monument 'of my ordaining on the north part of the chancel'. It was obviously intended, from the carvings on it, to serve as an Easter Sepulchre. It is of white sandstone; the south side is divided by pinnacled buttresses into five canopied niches that contain carvings (drastically mutilated) of the Passion of our Lord. (1) The western, Christ before Pilate (?); (2) the procession to Calvary; (3) the Crucifixion; (4) the Entombment; and (5) the Resurrection. The east end has two niches, one with the figure of a long-haired woman, the other with three figures of bearded men, possibly St. Mary Magdalene and a scene following the Resurrection. The west end, with two similar niches, has the taking of Christ in the garden, and another effectively defaced figure. The carvings stand on panelled pedestals. The top moulding has a hollow in which are spaced carvings of foliage about the letters ihs (eight times) and tth (five times). The grey marble slab on top has the indents for former brasses of the Dean in Mass vestments, a Trinity, a shield, and a marginal inscription, with roundels at the angles. (fn. 5)
On the east wall, north side, is an alabaster and marble monument to John Combe, died 10 July 1614, with his recumbent effigy in a round-headed recess. (fn. 6)
On the north wall, in front of the first window, another to Judith Combe, 1649. She was the betrothed of Richard Combe of Hemstead, Hertford, who caused the monument to be made in marbles, and whose alabaster bust appears hand in hand with hers in the double-headed recess above the inscription. The monument is by Thomas Stanton.
In front of the second window is the monument of William Shakespeare, died 23 April 1616, aged 53, with his half-figure on a cushion in the round-headed recess above the inscription. (fn. 7) The monument is of alabaster and marbles with Corinthian shafts, entablature, and cresting with cherubs and an achievement of arms. The figure is painted (restored colours) and holds a quill pen.
Carefully preserved in the floor, east of the communion rails, are the grave-slabs connected with Shakespeare's family and others. (1) Northernmost, with a
brass inscription to Anne wife of William Shakespeare,
died 6 August 1623, aged 67. (2) (William Shakespeare) inscribed:
Good Frend for Iesus sake forbeare
To digg the dvst encloased heare
Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones
And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.
(3) Thomas Nashe, married Elizabeth daughter of John Halle, gent., died 4 April 1647, aged 53. A shield with his arms, impaling Hall quartering Shakespeare. (4) John Hall, married Susanna daughter of William Shakespeare and died 25 November 1635, aged 60: a shield with the arms of Hall impaling Shakespeare. (5) Susannah, wife of John Hall, died 11 July 1649, aged 66. (6) Francis Watts of Rine Clifford, 1691. (7) Anne, wife of last, 1704. There is also a slab for Judith Combe with a white marble border for the inscription.
There are sixteen mural monuments in the north transept of the late 17th and the 18th century, the most interesting being that to Thomas Harbert, carver, 1738, exhibiting in stone carving a large number of the tools of his craft.
In the south transept are some thirty monuments, the oldest being that to Richard Hill (buried 17 December, 1593) in the west wall; it is a table tomb set in a recess; the front of stone is divided into three bays by fluted shafts with moulded caps and bases, above which are countersunk blank shields: between them are low Tudor arches with engrailed edges. The top has a marble slab. The recess has a straight-sided Tudor arch, above which is a scrap of double-chamfered string-course, lifted a little as a hood-mould above its point. Starting from close under the apex in the back of the recess is the inscription in four tongues. Hebrew (a text from Job i. 21), two lines of Greek, four Latin hexameters, and sixteen lines in English. (fn. 8) In the east altar recess is set a stone tablet with the indents of former brasses—a kneeling figure of a woman of the early 16th century and an inscription.
The Lady Chapel at the east end of the north aisle became the burial place of the Clopton family and contains eight monuments to members and connexions of that family. Under the easternmost arch of the arcade is the much restored cenotaph of Hugh Clopton (1496) who was buried in London. It is an altar tomb covered by a plain slab, and having an arched canopy, the spandrels of which bear the arms of Clopton, the City of London, and the Wool Staplers' Company. Incorporated with it to the west is the arched entrance to the chapel: above all is a moulded and carved cornice with brattishing.
Against the north wall is an altar tomb with the alabaster effigies of William Clopton (1592) in armour, and Agnes his wife, daughter of Sir George Griffeth, knight. He has a short sword on his right side, his gauntlets lying at the point of it, his head rests on a helm with a bird crest, and his feet on a lion. She wears a close cap, and a black mantle over her dress. The dated part of the inscription has been destroyed. The long side has three bays with shields of arms, divided by balusters (mostly twisted) with square caps and bases. At the west end are two shields. On the north wall above the tomb is set a carved and painted frieze of the same style as the side of the tomb. It has turned balusters at the ends and, between them, the figures and names of the seven children of William and Agnes, (1) 'Elyzabeth', (2) 'Lodowicke', (3) 'Joyce', (4) 'Margaret', (5) 'Wylem', (6) 'Anne', and (7) 'Wyll'm'. 1, 2, and 5 are shown as infants, 4 as a maid, 3 and 5 as adult women, the former with a shield charged with the arms of Carew impaling Clopton, the latter another with Clopton impaling Clopton. No. 7, William, has a shield with Clopton impaling a blank and is shown as a young man. Below the figures is an inscription that Dame Joyce, Countess of Totnes, their eldest daughter, caused the monument to be repaired and beautified, 1630, and under that a tablet recording that Sir John Clopton, knight, their great-grandson, caused this again and other monuments to be repaired and beautified, 1714. Above the frieze is a panel with an achievement of the Clopton arms, flanked by similar balusters and having an early-18th-century cornice.
Against the east wall is a large monument in alabaster and coloured marbles to George Carew, Earl of Totnes and Baron Clopton, 27 March 1629, and Joyce (Clopton), Countess, 1635. (fn. 9) It has a large roundheaded recess, flanked by Corinthian shafts, and their recumbent effigies (coloured), he dressed in armour and she in a red dress with a fur-lined red mantle, both wearing coronets. On the monument are eight shields of arms and on the top an achievement with sixteen quarterings. On a bracket above is a funeral helm and decayed leather remains of gauntlets.
Other monuments are to Thomas Clopton, 1643, and Eglantine (Keyte) his wife, 1642; to Sir John Clopton, 1719, and Barbara (Walker) his wife, 1692; to Sir Edward Walker, Garter King-at-arms and father of Barbara, 1676; to Elizabeth (Milward) wife of Hugh Clopton, 1721; and to Mrs. Amy Smith, 1626, attendant to the countess. There is also a brass inscription to Sir Arthur Hodgson of Clopton House 1902, and another recording that he caused the chapel and monuments to be restored 1892. The chapel is now refitted with an altar table, communion rails, and west screen.
The south transept is fitted as a War Memorial Chapel dedicated to St. Peter and has a modern screen and a south altar-table and screen-reredos made from material from H.M.S. Britannia. In the chapel is re-hung a brass chandelier, formerly in the nave, presented in 1720 by Mrs. Sarah Wolmer.
The north transept is used for vestries. On the north wall is reset some late-17th-century panelling from former pews. A loose 13th-century corbel carved as a woman's head stands in the north-east corner.
The Gild Chapel of the HOLY CROSS was probably begun when the gild was founded in 1269. The fabric of the east and south walls of the chancel may be of the 13th century, but the chancel was remodelled and the north wall rebuilt in 1450. (fn. 10) The nave was entirely rebuilt by Hugh Clopton at the end of the 15th century and the north porch and west tower either added or also rebuilt. The building, to be dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was mentioned in his will of 1496, when the work had been commenced or at least contracted for by Thomas Dowland, mason. (fn. 11)
The chapel has undergone many vicissitudes since its erection and has been the scene of more than one notable episode in the history of the town. It was here in 1537 that William Clopton persuaded some of the townsmen to sign a bill accusing the curate of Hampton Lucy of treason and heresy for having declared in a sermon that 'All those that use to say our Lady's sawter shall be damned and also that the Ember days were named after one Imber a paramour of a certain bishop of Rome'; (fn. 12) the first sign in Stratford of the approach of the Reformation. The chapel was granted to the corporation by the charter of 1553 and despite orders to the contrary seems to have been frequently used for the school. (fn. 13) In the long dispute between the corporation and the vicar, Thomas Wilson, the latter was accused of having 'prophaned the Chapple by sufferinge his children to playe at Bale and other sportes therein, And his servantes to hange clothes to drye in it, And his pigges and poultrie to lye and feed in it, And also his dogge to lye in it, And the pictures therein to be defaced And the Windowes broken.' (fn. 14) The weekly Lecture was held here in the 1630's (fn. 15) and in 1655 John Vade, the newly appointed curate, was promised the use of the chapel if his preaching should meet with any disturbance at the parish church. (fn. 16) The medieval paintings were defaced in 1563, (fn. 17) and the chancel screen was removed and the whole church again whitewashed in 1641. (fn. 18) Considerable restoration was carried out in 1804 when the fine 15th-century roof was taken down, having become unsafe, (fn. 19) and wall paintings uncovered. Five carved angels with shields, from the roof, are preserved in New Place Museum.
The chancel (about 28 ft. by 16 ft. internally) is low compared with the nave. The east window is of five cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred main arch, without tracery or hood-mould. Each side-wall has two windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights and a foiled spandrel in a four-centred head. (fn. 20) West of the south windows is a priests' doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded external label; the door has been refixed on the outer face and has an ancient pierced circular scutcheon plate. All these features are of the 15th century, as is also the masonry of the north wall, which is of ashlar in varying courses, some very large. The parapet is plain and has a moulded string-course; below it is a long narrow course suggesting a former earlier parapet. Near the west end of the wall is a vertical band of stones breaking joint and indicating, perhaps, repair after the removal of a buttress or of the earlier east wall of the nave. The east and south walls are of earlier rubblework and have chamfered plinths. There is a flat plastered ceiling below a low-pitched roof.
The chancel arch is of the nave period; the responds have each three round shafts with damaged moulded bases; the middle shaft has a moulded capital in the normal manner, but the outer two are carried up above the springing line straight into the arch moulds, perhaps for an intended later heightening of the opening: between the shafts are shallow hollows. The fourcentred head is of two hollow-chamfered orders divided by a deep casement.
The nave (about 49 ft. by 23½ ft.) has four tall windows on each side. Each is of four transomed cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head. Between and west of the windows inside are shallow recesses with trefoiled ogee heads with carved cusp-points. They have hood-moulds with crockets and finials and variously carved stops; the panels form square heads above them.
The north doorway has moulded jambs and a fourcentred and square head with traceried spandrels and external hood-mould. The rear arch also has a hoodmould with crockets and a foliage finial; the original west stop is carved as a demi-angel, in clouds, holding a shield charged with a lion quartering a cross formy fitchy (for Clopton). The east stop has been replaced by a later square volute.
The south doorway is similar, but the internal stops are return mouldings. It has the original oak door, divided into four panels on the outer face, with moulded muntins, foiled heads, and tracery; it is hung with strap hinges with zigzag line ornament.
The nave walls are of ashlar, with moulded plinths. The north wall and the low-pitched gable of the east wall have embattled parapets; the south parapet is plain. The buttresses originally carried pinnacles rising above the parapets. The paving is of diagonal squares of white and grey stone. The plastered ceiling is flat.
The west tower (12 ft. east to west by 10 ft.) has ashlar walls and is of three stages divided by plain string-courses; the plinth is moulded, the parapets embattled. The tall narrow archway towards the nave has shafted responds like those of the chancel arch, but with moulded capitals to all the shafts, and a twocentred head. The west doorway is similar externally to the others; above it is a tall window of three cinquefoiled lights and tracery in a four-centred head; the string-course is lifted over it as a stilted hood-mould. The north and south walls of the top of the second stage have original single lights with cinquefoiled and square heads with labels; the northern is blocked by a modern shield with a cross formy fitchy and, below it, the modern clock face. The four windows of the bellchamber are each of two cinquefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a four-centred head with a hood-mould. Above the leaded roof is a post and weather-vane.
The north porch has similar ashlar walls, diagonal buttresses, moulded plinth, and embattled parapets with carved gargoyles at the angles and sides. The entrance has moulded jambs and a four-centred head; the hoodmould is crocketed and is turned up in ogee form at the apex—the spandrel thus formed being traceried— and has a foliage finial which merges into the bracket of a much damaged niche. On either side of the hood-mould is a square-headed shallow niche; each contains a demiangel with two shields. The charges are all perished except the northernmost, which bears the arms of London. Externally the east and west walls have dummy windows of four cinquefoiled lights under square heads with labels. The entrance, originally an open archway, is fitted with a 17th-century door of four panels; on it is a six-pointed leaf scutcheon-plate and ring-handle. Midway inside the porch is a screen, to form an inner lobby, made up in part with an old nail-studded door, probably from the inner doorway; in it is the outline of a former wicket.
At the west end in the framing of the 19th-century gallery are some pieces of oak carving, foliage bosses, &c., probably from the original nave roof. Also refixed against the west wall and gallery staircase are the remains of an original screen from the east end. It has moulded posts on which are small shafts with moulded octagonal caps. The heads of the lights are mostly subcusped cinquefoiled arches with rosette cusp-points.
On the east wall of the nave, above the chancel arch, are considerable remains of a painting of the Doom. Immediately over the arch blank unpainted spaces indicate the position of the earlier carved Rood with the figures of St. Mary and St. John. Above this is painted the Almighty seated on a rainbow with the kneeling figures of Our Lord and the Virgin. About the outlines of the Crucifixion are nude figures rising from the grave. In the dexter half is the new Zion with St. Peter at the gate admitting the Elect, who are all shown as nude figures and bareheaded, except one with a papal tiara and another with a bishop's mitre. The infilling is of dark green with some foliage. On the sinister half are the condemned souls with demons forcing or dragging them to the flames. One group, bound together with a chain, is labelled 'Avaricia'. Another group is shown in a cauldron.
Other remains of paintings have recently been exposed below the side windows of the nave. These appear to have consisted of two 18-in. tiers of picture panels, in black, white, and red; the subjects are not now apparent but outlines of figures can be traced and, in one, a black and white pavement. Below the panels were bands—about 12 in.—of minute black lettering describing the subjects. In parts can be seen later black letter inscriptions that were superimposed probably in Elizabethan times, and again above these were painted, in red, probably late in the 17th century, large panels divided by pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The paintings extend on the north wall from the east end up to the middle of the third window, with patches farther west, and on the south wall from the east up to the doorway.
Other wall paintings were discovered in 1804 in the chancel and on the west wall of the nave. The latter included figures of St. George and the Dragon, St. Michael, and the Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, with black letter inscriptions. There were also fulllength figures of saints in the shallow niches between the windows. (fn. 21)
The great bell in the tower is dated 1633 and was cast by Hugh Watts of Leicester. (fn. 22) It bears the names of Richard Walford, Stratford, burgess, Richard Castell, Anthony Smith, and Henry Norman, and the initials of members of the corporation of that year.
The church probably occupies the site of the Saxon monastery already mentioned, and a priest at Stratford is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 23) Until 1336 the living was a rectory in the gift of the Bishops of Worcester. In that year John de Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury, purchased the advowson from Bishop Simon de Montacute (fn. 24) and conferred it on the chantry or college of priests which he had lately established here. From 1340 until the Dissolution the warden of the college was also rector of the church. (fn. 25) After the college was dissolved in 1547 a vicarage was endowed, the presentation to which was in the hands of the Crown and was granted with the manor to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and later to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and to Sir Edward Greville. (fn. 26) Since the vicar's salary was charged upon their revenues, the corporation were naturally anxious to obtain the patronage for themselves; and such a request figures in most of the petitions for a renewal of privileges between 1597 and 1610. (fn. 27) Their object was not attained, but neither does the advowson appear to have been explicitly included in the various conveyances of the manor after it had been surrendered to the Crown by Sir Edward Greville. (fn. 28) A grant of the advowson was made to John Cook and others in 1613. (fn. 29) But on the next vacancy which occurred, through the presentation of the vicar, John Rogers, to a second benefice in 1618, Thomas Wilson was presented as the result of a petition from the corporation to the Lord Chancellor. (fn. 30) After Wilson's death in October 1638 the corporation endeavoured to buy the advowson, or at least the right of next presentation. (fn. 31) The Earl of Middlesex, as lord of the manor, seems to have had some claim, since it was to him that the corporation addressed their entreaties that Richard Harris of Hanwell, a leading Puritan divine, should be their next vicar. (fn. 32) But Wilson's successor, Henry Twitchet, was eventually appointed by the Crown. (fn. 33) From the Restoration onwards the patronage of the lord of the manor remained unchallenged, although in practice the nominee of the corporation was usually appointed. (fn. 34) The living is now in the gift of Lord Sackville.
The right of nominating the assistant minister, to whom the corporation were obliged to pay a stipend fixed originally at £10 a year, is nowhere provided for in the charters. (fn. 35) Until nearly the middle of the 18th century the appointment was always made by the corporation and was terminable at their pleasure. When, as from 1662 to 1667 and from 1687 to 1700, the office was left vacant, the vicar drew the curate's salary as well as his own. Some of the early curates also acted as ushers in the Grammar School, a practice which was forbidden in 1622, (fn. 36) though it once more became usual in the later 18th century. The curate was also in practice the 'Reading Minister' officiating in the Gild Chapel, which was and is under corporation control. (fn. 37) In 1777 the Rev. James Davenport (vicar, 1787–1841) was appointed chaplain priest to the vicar at £10 and chaplain of the gild at £20 a year. (fn. 38) In 1835, owing to the lack of sufficient accommodation in the parish church, the Gild Chapel was endowed and fitted up, with the bishop's consent, for the performance of divine service twice every Sunday. It was to be served by a minister at a salary of £100 a year, assisted by a clerk of his own appointment. Dr. Davenport was to be minister during his life, and the right of nominating his successors was reserved to the corporation. (fn. 39) Since 1902 the chapel has been used for daily prayers by the grammar school. (fn. 40) The vicar of Stratford is now appointed to the chaplaincy on his induction and himself appoints his curate.
The chapelries of Luddington and Bishopton were annexed to the parish church in medieval times. The vicar of Luddington, by an agreement of 1425, received from the warden of the college an annual stipend of £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 41) John Petworth was presented by the warden in 1420 (fn. 42) and the names of four other vicars occur in the Register of the Stratford Gild. (fn. 43) After the Reformation the advowson of the chapel belonged to the vicar of Stratford, the minister being most probably maintained out of the privy tithes of the hamlet. These tithes, as already stated, were bought in 1625 by Lord Conway; and John Trapp, master of the grammar school, 1624–69, and vicar of Weston-on-Avon from 1636, who also held the position of 'preacher' or minister at Luddington, was paid and perhaps appointed by him. (fn. 44) The last recorded incumbent is Thomas Francis, who signed the 'Warwickshire Ministers' Testimony' as 'Preacher at Luddington' in 1648 and was appointed Vicar of Dodderhill, Worcs., by 1654. (fn. 45)
The chapel at Luddington was probably demolished
in the later 18th century. (fn. 46) It was a plain rectangular
structure, measuring 45 feet by 12 feet, with a western
bell-turret and a bell inscribed
'god save king iames 1609.'
The frequent discovery of 'bones, nails, and pieces of old coffins' on the site during the early part of last century seems to show that it had at some time possessed the right of burial. After it was pulled down certain pews in the south aisle of the parish church were appropriated to the use of the inhabitants of Luddington, though by Saunders's time they usually attended the church of Weston-on-Avon, on the opposite bank of the river, a boat being provided to ferry them over. The present church was erected on a different site in 1872.
The chapel of St. Peter at Bishopton was endowed by Sir William de Bishopsdon in the reign of King John with 28 acres of his demesne, 4 acres of servile land, and pasture for 8 oxen. At the same time Sir William agreed with the rector of Stratford that he and his tenants would build and maintain the chapel, paying the great tithes to the mother church and reserving the lesser tithes as a provision for the priest, whom the rector was to appoint. (fn. 47) The advowson of Bishopton afterwards came to the vicar, together with the small tithes of Bishopton, for which he received an allotment under the inclosure award of 1775. There are references to curates of Bishopton in Shakespeare's time, (fn. 48) but the place was not regularly filled and in 1665 it was ordered that the vicar or his assistant should preach there once a fortnight. (fn. 49) In 1681, during a vacancy of the vicarage, the corporation appointed the master of the grammar school, John Johnson, to the curacy of Bishopton on the same terms as those on which the late vicar had held it. (fn. 50) But their appointment of Joseph Greene in 1762 led to a dispute with the vicar in which they were compelled to withdraw their claim. (fn. 51) In 1791 Dr. Davenport, then vicar, provided a separate endowment for Bishopton by purchasing 35 acres of land with moneys allotted from Queen Anne's Bounty. He appointed his brother to the cure and Bishopton has since been a perpetual curacy in the gift of the vicars of Stratford. (fn. 52) The old chapel was pulled down and rebuilt from designs by Joseph Lattimore in 1836.
The church with its dependent chapels was valued at £23 6s. 8d. in 1291 (fn. 53) and in 1341 in £16 13s 4d., besides £6 13s. 4d. for the chantry, the chapels, and the glebe. (fn. 54) The college as the appropriator enjoyed the tithes of the whole parish, which were valued in 1535 at £83 16s. 4d. (fn. 55) After the Dissolution the tithes were split up and the great tithes of Old Stratford, Welcombe, and Bishopton together with the privy tithes of the whole parish, worth in all £34 a year, were granted to the corporation by the charter of 1553. (fn. 56)
Anthony Barker, the last warden of the college, granted a lease of all the college property in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, including the whole of the tithe, for 92 years from Michaelmas 1543 to his kinsman William Barker of Sonning, Berks. (fn. 57) He conveyed his interest to John Barker of Hurst, who in 1580 assigned it to Sir John Hubaud of Ipsley, subject to a reserved rent of £27 13s. 4d. The corporation leased their share of the tithes to Hubaud at £34 a year for 21 years in 1576. (fn. 58) Nevertheless the continuance of the original lease still prevented them from improving their rents, which were barely sufficient to meet their various liabilities in connexion with the church. (fn. 59) Sir John Hubaud, who died in 1583, bequeathed the residue of his term in the corporation tithes to his brother Ralph and Sir George Digby of Coleshill. Ralph Hubaud sublet his moiety to Shakespeare in 1605. The other moiety passed on Sir George's death in 1587 to his widow Abigail, and was eventually acquired in 1609 by Thomas Greene, the town clerk. In 1617, when Greene decided to leave Stratford, the corporation bought his house for £240 and the freehold of his tithes for £360, (fn. 60) and immediately afterwards let the tithes for 7 years at £90 a year. (fn. 61) Shakespeare's moiety was acquired for £400 from Dr. John Hall in 1624, (fn. 62) and let at the same rent. (fn. 63) Having thus bought out the original lease, the corporation in 1626 proceeded to let the tithes in parcels, of which the three most considerable, the great tithes of Old Stratford and Welcombe, the great tithes of Bishopton, and the privy tithes of all three townships, were leased at £105, £40, and £30 respectively. (fn. 64) The rents of the two latter remained unchanged until the inclosure of 1775. The rent of the 'Great Tithes', as they came to be called, reached its maximum figure of £140 a year in 1770. The total income of the corporation from the college tithes amounted in 1633 to £204 13s. 4d.; (fn. 65) and it was alleged that they would have yielded £400 a year if let at their real value. (fn. 66) The inclosure of the common fields enhanced the value of the estate, the corporation allotments being granted out on 21-year leases, of which the rents from those recorded in the minute books totalled £316 5s. 10d. (fn. 67)
The corporation denied that they were bound to apply the increased profits of the tithes to the raising of the stipends charged upon them until the term in the original lease of 1543 had expired. (fn. 68) Nevertheless the £20 payable to the vicar was doubled in 1623 (fn. 69) and trebled in 1628; (fn. 70) the curate's salary being increased to £12 and then to £15 during the same period. (fn. 71) In 1638 the vicar was allowed £70 a year, and from then onwards further increases, and occasional reductions, were made from time to time at the discretion of the corporation. (fn. 72) A part of the vicar's salary is still paid by the corporation out of the income of the college estate.
Of the remainder of the college tithes, which were not granted to the corporation but were farmed on short leases from the Crown, the most important were the great tithes of Shottery. By 1648 the Shottery tithes had come into the possession of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth Nash, whose second husband, John (afterwards Sir John) Barnard is given as the occupier in 1650. They were valued in these two years at £100 and £120 respectively. (fn. 73) On Lady Barnard's death in 1670 the tithes probably passed to her cousin by her first marriage, Edward Nash, lord of the manor of Loxley (q.v.), who was holding them in 1677. They descended with the Manor Farm at Loxley until 1775, when Edward Miller Mundy sold them to Thomas Gill for £5,500. In the following year Gill sold them for £6,800 to Viscount Beauchamp, (fn. 74) who received under the inclosure award of 1787 an allotment of 319 acres in compensation. The great tithes of Drayton were granted by James I to Lord Carew of Clopton in 1606 at a fee-farm rent of £3 6s. 8d. Carew immediately afterwards conveyed them to Sir Edward Greville, who sold them to William Combe for £105 in 1611. (fn. 75) They were in the possession of Combe's younger brother Thomas by 1648, when they were valued at £24 a year. (fn. 76) When the hamlet of Drayton was inclosed in 1779 an allotment of 85 acres was awarded to Francis Brownsword Bullock as owner of the great tithes. The great tithes of Ruin Clifford were held in 1611 by William Combe, his mother, Mary, and John Combe his uncle; (fn. 77) and by the same William in 1648 and 1650 when they were valued at £10 yearly. (fn. 78) Those of Bridgetown were held by Lord Carew in 1611 on a lease with reversion to Richard Lane (fn. 79) and were valued together with those of Clopton at £70 in 1648, when they were divided among various owners. (fn. 80) The Luddington great tithes, worth £70–£80 a year, belonged to the Conways of Ragley. (fn. 81) In 1625 the corporation in order to raise money for the purchase of the freehold of their tithes from Dr. Hall, sold the privy tithes of Luddington together with half a yardland there belonging to the Gild estate to Edward Viscount Conway for £210, subject to a reserved rent of £2 13s. 4d. (fn. 82) which was still being paid by Lord Hertford in 1771.
The churchyard was the property of the corporation and throughout the 17th century was leased by the year for pasturing cattle. In 1603 and 1605 it was granted at a nominal rent of 4d, (fn. 83) which by 1698 had been increased to £2 10s. (fn. 84) The usual lessee in the first half of the century was the bailiff for the time being (fn. 85) and when the churchyard was granted to the vicar in 1642 the bailiff was awarded compensation. (fn. 86) The right to fell timber was excepted from the leases and when in 1623 the churchwardens, alleging a precedent of Henry VIII's reign, cut down and sold some of the trees, they were fined for trespass. (fn. 87)
The peculiar jurisdiction within the parish formerly exercised by the warden of the college was granted to the vicar in the charter of 1553. From 1619 onwards this privilege was the source of various disputes with the Consistory Court of Worcester and proved the more difficult to defend as the records of the Warden's Court appear to have been retained either by the lords of the manor or the impropriators; and it was not until 1625 that the corporation secured possession of them. (fn. 88) The court continued to function, however, for the proving of wills, until 1858.
The ecclesiastical history of Stratford during the century following the Reformation is typical of many small country towns. 'That blind end of the diocese', (fn. 89) as Bishop Latimer called it, became in Elizabethan times a centre of Puritanism: a change to which the influence of the Earl of Warwick and his brother Leicester no doubt contributed. Thomas Cartwright preached here in 1586, the year after his appointment to the mastership of Leicester's Hospital, Warwick, and was entertained by the corporation in company with Job Throgmorton of Haseley, one of the suspected authors of the Marprelate Tracts. (fn. 90) The vicar at that time, Richard Barton, was one of the few Warwickshire clergymen who earned the unqualified approval of the Puritan visitors; 'A happie age yf or church were fraight (with) manie such'. (fn. 91) The defacing of the images in the Gild Chapel, carried out when Shakespeare's father was chamberlain in 1563; (fn. 92) the prohibition of stage plays in 1602, (fn. 93) and the tone of the correspondence and wills of many of the leading townsmen all indicate the Puritan atmosphere of Elizabethan Stratford. Payments to special preachers, usually, it seems, of a Puritan complexion, occur frequently in the early-17thcentury accounts; (fn. 94) and in 1623 Alderman Francis Smith left £5 a year in his will to provide for a weekly lecture so long as Thomas Wilson should continue as vicar. (fn. 95) Wilson's career in Stratford was a stormy one. His appointment in 1618 was one of the issues in a dispute between the corporation and a 'confederacy' formed against them both on religious and personal grounds. (fn. 96) The town was disturbed by riots and by lampoons, such as 'A Satire to the Chief Rulers in the Synagogue of Stratford', which were circulated against the corporation. On his first appearance in the church he had to take refuge in the chancel against an infuriated mob who hurled stones through the windows. In 1625 he was cited before the diocesan court and the High Commission 'because he laboured to shake the jurisdiction of the bishop his ordinary and govern the people of Stratford according to his own will, as if he had been another Calvin or Beza in Geneva'; (fn. 97) and also for refusing to wear a surplice, to administer the sacrament kneeling, and to use the sign of the cross in baptism or the ring in marriage; charges against which the corporation granted him a certificate of conformity. (fn. 98) From 1627, however, he had many disputes with the corporation over the profits of the churchyard, (fn. 99) the payment of the clerical subsidies, (fn. 100) and finally the increase of the vicar's stipend following the recent improvement in the income from the tithes. On this last claim Wilson, supported by Dr. Hall and a party in the corporation, filed a petition in chancery in 1633; and litigation was still proceeding when he died. (fn. 101) The corporation replied by citing their vicar before the High Commission on a variety of charges; of refusing to administer the sacrament to the sick, of walking about the church during service, of holding conventicles, of particularizing some of his parishioners in his sermons and lectures, and of desecrating the Gild Chapel. (fn. 102) Finally, it was alleged, he had sat on the pulpit steps to prevent his curate from going up to preach the funeral sermon of an alderman's wife. (fn. 103) As a result of the inquiry, and despite the bishop's testimony to his conformity in recent years, Wilson was suspended for three months. (fn. 104) Meanwhile the lectureship, which Wilson had refused to continue, was filled by two of the most eminent Puritan divines in the neighbourhood: from 1629 to 1631 by Robert Harris of Hanwell, (fn. 105) whom the corporation endeavoured to secure as vicar after Wilson's death, (fn. 106) and afterwards by William Whateley of Banbury. (fn. 107) In 1637 Bishop Thornborough reported to Laud 'that he is less troubled with non-conformists since Mr. Whateley of Banbury gave over his lecture at Stratford'. (fn. 108) Alexander Bean, who became during the interregnum 'one of the most celebrated preachers in the County', was admitted as vicar in 1647. (fn. 109) Both he and the schoolmaster, John Trapp, signed the Warwickshire Minister's Testimony in 1648 and were assistants to the Commission of Triers for the county in 1654. Bean was ejected under the Act of Uniformity, but the corporation allowed him a gratuity of £6 13s. 4d. in addition to the arrears of his salary. (fn. 110) He is said to have founded the first Nonconformist congregation in the town, now represented by the Congregational Chapel in the Rother Market. 'But,' says Calamy, 'soon after preaching privately, was disturb'd; and endeavouring to secure himself by flight, took a Surfeit, and quickly dy'd'. (fn. 111) The Restoration, on its ecclesiastical side, seems to have been effected at Stratford with comparative smoothness. Both John Trapp and John Dowley, vicar of Alveston, who had also signed the petition of 1648, conformed in 1662. The new vicar, John Ward, was, to judge from references in his 'Diary', an orthodox Royalist and High Churchman.
In 1689 the houses of Joseph Smith, ironmonger, and William Hunt, senior, woollendraper, were licensed for dissenting worship under the Toleration Act: (fn. 112) which suggests that Alexander Bean's congregation of 1662 had considerably expanded. The present Public Hall in Rother Street was built and licensed as a Presbyterian meeting house in 1714, (fn. 113) and was used until 1878 when the present Congregational Chapel was built. (fn. 114) In 1689 also Richard Bromley's house was licensed for Quaker meetings. (fn. 115) No regular meeting house was ever erected, but the meeting continued to maintain a somewhat precarious existence for about half a century. It had been discontinued by 1752. (fn. 116)
Apart from the Sunday Schools, which were established by 1798, (fn. 117) the various religious movements of the 18th and early 19th centuries left little mark on the town. The Baptist chapel was built in 1832, and there are now Methodist chapels, and a Roman Catholic church in the Warwick Road built by A. W. Pugin in 1866.
The Almshouses: Richard Lord and Emmota his wife by deed dated 4 April 1555 granted to trustees a close of land in Stratford, the rents and profits to be to the use of the 24 almspeople. The land was sold in 1897 and the endowment is now represented by stock producing about £90 annually.
Thomas Lucas by will dated 30 April 1625 gave his house in Church Street upon trust that the profits should be paid yearly to the almspeople. The property now representing the legacy is let for £27 12s. per annum.
Sir Hugh Clopton by an indenture dated 12 December 1732 granted a rent-charge of £16 out of Ingon Farm, Hampton Lucy, to provide every second year blue coats for the 12 almsmen and blue gowns for the 12 almswomen. The deed also directs that the vicar should be paid annually £1 1s. to preach a sermon, the parish clerk 5s., and the almspeople 1s. each; the residue to be expended in straw hats and aprons for the almswomen. The endowment now consists of £600 Consols producing £15 per annum; the almsmen receive cardigan jackets and the almswomen clothes.
John Combe by will proved 10 November 1615 gave all his meadow ground at Shottery, the issues to be applied in paying a learned preacher 20s. a year to preach two sermons, and in providing 10 poor people yearly with 10 black gowns, each to the value of 13s. 4d. The legacy is now secured by a rent-charge of £7 13s. 4d. paid out of land in Shottery.
Thomas Combe by will dated 10 June 1656 devised land called Parson's Piece in Drayton meadow, to provide the aged poor and impotent men and women with 10 black gowns, each to the value of 13s. 4d. The donor also gave 20s. a year for two sermons, and 50s. a year to provide a dinner for the bailiff and burgesses of the borough. The yearly payments are now represented by a rent-charge of £10 3s. 4d. issuing out of land in Drayton, and after paying 20s. for sermons are expended on dresses for poor women.
William Tyler by will dated 6 July 1665 gave to trustees £250 to be invested in freehold land, and directed that they should pay yearly out of the rents and profits £12 amongst 12 poor inhabitants. He also willed 15s. a year to the minister to preach a sermon, 2s. 6d. to the clerk and sexton, and £2 yearly to provide a dinner for the mayor and chief alderman. The endowment is now represented by various properties in Stratford-on-Avon producing approximately £140 per annum, which is distributed to poor inhabitants, after payments to the minister, parish clerk, and sexton, but in larger amounts owing to increased rents.
Richard Smith by indenture dated 14 June 1695 conveyed to trustees two messuages in Henley Street, for the provision of 18 penny loaves weekly to 18 poor inhabitants; and also to pay to the minister a yearly sum of 10s. to preach a sermon in the chapel; and likewise to the clerk or sexton the sum of 1s. The endowment now consists of a yearly sum of £30 paid by the Governors of King Edward VI Grammar School, which is expended in bread for the almspeople.
Sir Arthur Hodgson by will proved 2 March 1903 gave £500 to the Trustees of the Municipal Charities. The legacy was invested and the income, amounting to £14 3s. 8d., is applied toward the expenses of the almshouses.
By a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners of June 1910, by which the charities are now regulated under the title of the Municipal Charities, a body of 13 trustees was appointed to administer the charities.
Emily Ann Macnamara by will proved 15 December 1926 gave to the Trustees of the Almshouses the sum of £250. The interest, amounting to £11 5s. 4d., is applied by the Trustees of the Municipal Charities for the benefit of the almspeople.
Thomas Durant by will proved 9 September 1918 bequeathed all his estate (subject to certain legacies) for the benefit of the poor of Stratford-upon-Avon. The endowment is now represented by £3,128 17s. 10d. Consols and the interest amounts to £78 4s. 4d. By a Scheme of the said Commissioners of 31 October 1924 the Trustees of the Municipal Charities were appointed to administer the charity.
Thomas Tasker by indenture dated 30 March 1843 gave a rent-charge of £10 to be distributed equally among 20 deserving widows. The charge is now paid out of pasture land in Stratford and distributed to 20 poor women. The charity is administered by the vicar and churchwardens.
The Rev. Robert Sealy Genge by will proved 1 July 1920 gave to the vicar and churchwardens one-tenth of the proceeds of sale of the residue of his estate, to be applied for the advantage of choir boys at the Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon. The endowment now produces £24 11s. 2d. per annum, applied for the personal benefit of the choir boys.
Mary Newland by deed dated 13 October 1857 conveyed to trustees 4 cottages in Old Stratford, to be occupied as almshouses by poor widows or spinsters inhabitants of Stratford, with £227 11s. 11d. Consols, the dividends to be applied in payment of all taxes and repairs. The founder by her will proved 13 March 1866 bequeathed £2,200, the dividends, now amounting to £61, to be shared equally amongst the four inmates of the almshouses. The charity is administered by the vicar and churchwardens.
Mary Newland by the second codicil to her will proved 13 March 1866 gave to the vicar and churchwardens £2,000 and directed that out of the interest thereof £20 should be paid to 10 poor men and 10 poor women and the residue expended in coal to be distributed amongst the poor of the borough. The interest amounts to £54 15s. 8d.
St. Joseph's Homestead. By an indenture dated 7 December 1911 Agnes Margaret Carr-Smith and Rose Edith Carr-Smith conveyed to trustees four cottages in Stratford-on-Avon for use as almshouses for four poor gentlewomen, and transferred certain stocks to form an endowment fund for the almshouses. Rose Edith CarrSmith by will proved 11 September 1926 bequeathed £3,000 to the Homestead for the general purposes of the trust. The total income, amounting to about £270, is applied in the upkeep of the almshouses and in annuities to the almspeople.
John Roberts Almshouses. John Roberts by will proved 19 April 1934 bequeathed the residue of his estate and directed his trustees to erect and endow as many almshouses as possible for the use of the aged or infirm members of the Stratford-on-Avon Congregational Church, the almspeople to receive an annuity of not more than 10s. per week. Six almshouses were duly erected on land fronting Shottery Road. The charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the said Commissioners dated 12 March 1937 which appoints the deacons of the church to be the trustees and provides for the administration of the almshouses.
Elizabeth Ann Smallwood by will proved 14 August 1936 gave £200 to the minister and deacons of the Baptist Church, Payton Street, Stratford-onAvon, to be invested and the income, now £6, expended in providing gifts in kind to deserving widows.