A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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Binton lies on the right bank of the River Avon, which here makes a great bend northwards, forming part of the southern boundary of the parish, and, until 1931, the county boundary with Gloucestershire. (fn. 1) The ground rises from about 110 ft. near the river to 344 ft. at the hamlet of Red Hill, within the northern confines of the parish. The main village overlooks the Avon valley and is clustered round the eastward slopes of Binton Hill, which, covered with fir plantations, forms a prominent landmark for several miles round. Many of the cottages, particularly the later ones, are of the local lias stone, but there are several examples of timberframing, and a cottage on the south side of the road to Grafton, though now much restored, shows at the gable-end the remains of a pair of ancient crucks cut off by a collar-beam at the top.
Church Bank Farm, east of the church, is a long building of L-shaped plan, facing south, the wing being behind at the east end. It dates probably from the early 17th century. The walls are of local stone rubble, but framing appears in the gable-head of the west end. The east wing has a half-gable in front and the main block has semi-dormer windows to the upper story. The roofs are tiled. Above the east wing is a 17thcentury chimney-stack of three detached diagonal shafts of thin bricks, and the main block has a square chimney of similar bricks. A barn east of the house is of 17thcentury timber-framing.
The Stratford-Alcester and Stratford-Evesham main roads run respectively north and south of the village, which is connected with the former by a branch road to Red Hill (with cross-roads to Grafton and Billesley about a mile from the church) and with the latter by two parallel roads. The more westerly of these is continued southwards over the Avon by Binton bridge, or rather bridges, at a point where the river forms two small islands. (fn. 2) There has been a bridge here since the 13th century (fn. 3) and this was most probably the crossing used by Charles II on his flight from Worcester. Until about 1780 the bridges were only wide enough for horse and foot traffic and extended only to the southernmost island, the passage to the Welford side being continued through a ford. The ford became impassable and c. 1783 William Silvester, one of the tenants, pulled down the old bridge and built a series of small bridges, just wide enough for wagons, which carried the road right across the river. He also erected a toll gate at the south end. Silvester's bridge, being without parapets, was the scene of frequent accidents and in times of flood might be submerged for weeks together. In 1807, therefore, the inhabitants of Welford and the neighbourhood petitioned for the building of a county bridge. The petition failed, but a subscription was raised and the work carried out, probably by William Hunt, between 1804 and 1809. The bridge now consists of twelve arches, of which the five southernmost seem to date wholly from that time. The stonework of the remainder is substantially that of Silvester's bridge, though on the east side there is some earlier masonry and possible traces of two cutwaters, belonging no doubt to the packhorse bridge that preceded it. Silvester's four arches have been increased to seven, but the parapet of this portion consists only of posts and rails. The course of the road towards Binton was altered at the time of the rebuilding. When the Avon was navigable there was a wharf against the north-western side of the causeway, but subsequent silting has removed all traces of it. (fn. 4)
At Binton, as at Grafton (q.v.), there were formerly important stone-quarries, but these have not been worked for more than fifty years. About the middle of last century there was also a small manufacture of needles and fish-hooks here. (fn. 5) The population is now wholly agricultural. The soil is clay on lower lias limestone and the chief crops are fruit, wheat, barley, beans, mangold-wurzel, and turnips.
Between 1770 and 1778 Viscount Beauchamp, lord of the manor, bought up the four freehold estates which comprised almost the whole of the common fields. Then, as sole lay proprietor, he made an agreement with the rector for inclosure. (fn. 6) This, however, fell through and the parish, with the adjacent hamlet of Drayton in Old Stratford, was inclosed by an Act of 1779. (fn. 7) The allotments in Binton, amounting to 1192 acres, all went to the lord of the manor, except 13 acres assigned to the church and the rector, who was also to receive from Lord Beauchamp an annuity of £126 10s. in lieu of tithe.
Kenred, King of Mercia, gave BINTON among other manors to the church of Evesham in 708, (fn. 8) and it is also included in the spurious charter of Ceolred, dated 710. (fn. 9) Alfhere, ealdorman of Mercia, having expelled the monks in 976, gave it to some of his 'knights'. (fn. 10) The manor was recovered for the monastery by Egelwin, then reeve under Abbot Manny (1044–55), (fn. 11) and again lost after the Conquest to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 12)
In the Confessor's time the manor was held in four parts freely by Edric, Ernui, Lodric, and Grim. In 1086 Edric's portion, of 2 hides, was held by William of William Fitz-Corbucion; Ernui's, also of 2 hides, by Urse D'Abitot; Lodric's, which consisted of 3½ hides in Binton and Hillborough, by Hugh of Osbern Fitz-Richard; and Grim's, assessed at 5 hides, by Gerin. (fn. 13)
Of these four tenements part of Lodric's must have remained with Hillborough (q.v.) in the possession of Hugh's descendants, the Hubauds of Ipsley, who were holding land in Binton in 1313 and again in 1370. (fn. 14) How long the other three remained distinct is not clear, but there were certainly three different fees or parts of fees in Binton as late as the first half of the 13th century. In 1235 Nicholas de Binton was holding ¼ of a knight's fee and Henry 2/3 of a fee of the Earl of Warwick; (fn. 15) and 1/5 of a knight's fee in 1242 was held by Ralph de Binton of William de Cantelupe, who held it of the honor of Richard's Castle, (fn. 16) evidently as part of Osbern's Domesday holding. By the end of the century these various holdings seem to have become consolidated into the manors of Binton and Binton Grange.
Of the two tenants in 1235, Nicholas is probably the Nicholas son of William de Binton who in 1215, together with Ralph de Welneford son of Harvey, granted the mill here to the Abbot of Bordesley (fn. 17) and in 1220 sub-infeudated 2/3 of a virgate in Binton to William son of Thurstan. (fn. 18) Henry may have been the son of an earlier Henry, who occurs in 1200 (fn. 19) and was dead before 1230; (fn. 20) he seems to have acquired the rights of the other members of the family, as he is styled lord of Binton. (fn. 21) His wife Alice survived him and was living in 1276, (fn. 22) and his heir was Alice, most likely his daughter, wife of Elias son of William de Wynnecote. (fn. 23) This family, who probably took their name from the neighbouring Gloucestershire hamlet of Wincot in Quinton, held the manor until well into the 16th century. Elias occurs as lord of the manor in 1286 (fn. 24) and 1316 (fn. 25) and was succeeded before 1325 by William de Wyncote, who was coroner for the county in 1327. (fn. 26) William presented to the church in 1344, (fn. 27) and it is probably he who in 1350, being then over sixty years of age, was found, under the name of William de Binton, to be heir to Elizabeth daughter of John son of William de Wyncote of Wilmcote. (fn. 28) In 1361 Thomas son of Peter de Wyncote was granted the manor by Sir John Musard for the term of the grantor's life at a rental of £6 yearly, (fn. 29) and he made a conveyance of the manor in 1392. (fn. 30) The next stage in the descent is not altogether clear. Walter Wyncote presented to the church in 1436 and 1449 (fn. 31) and appears to have died about 1453. (fn. 32) But a William Wyncote, described as lord of Binton, was admitted to the Stratford Gild in 1436–7; (fn. 33) if this is not an error, he is probably the William Wyncote of Binton who in 1448 obtained a 20 years' lease of the fishery, islets, and meadows here from the abbot of Bordesley. (fn. 34) By 1460 the manor had passed to Richard Wyncote, (fn. 35) who is mentioned as levying a fine of his Gloucestershire manor of Wincot in 1493–4. (fn. 36) He was succeeded by his son John, who complained that deeds concerning that manor had been purloined by Thomas Trussell. (fn. 37) The last of the family to hold Binton was Thomas Wyncote, who with his wife Anne was admitted to the gild of Stratford in 1502–3 (fn. 38) and in 1531 sold the manor to Sir George Throckmorton. (fn. 39)
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, 4th son of Sir George, sold it in 1555 to William Walter. (fn. 40) From him it descended in 1587 to his son (fn. 41) and in 1606 to his grandson, (fn. 42) both named William. The latter married Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Piggott in 1599, was knighted in 1603, (fn. 43) and died in 1632. His only son James had predeceased him and his coheirs were his daughters, Elizabeth wife of Sir John Sackville and Katherine, then wife of Knighton Ferrers. (fn. 44) In 1634 Elizabeth and her husband released their claim in the manor to Katherine, (fn. 45) who made a second marriage with Sir Simon Fanshawe. Fanshawe by a series of conveyances between 1654 and 1658 sold the manor to Richard Quiney of Shottery, (fn. 46) who sold it about 1664 to John Jones of St. Martin's-inthe-Fields, (fn. 47) who sold it again to Edward Viscount Conway in 1670. (fn. 48) The manor has since descended with the title of Conway of Ragley, later Marquess of Hertford. (fn. 49)
The Manor House and site of the manor of Binton, with a fishery in the Avon, were granted by Sir George Throckmorton to Thomas Gilbert of Stratford, dyer, and Eleanor his wife in 1546. Richard their son sold it in 1562 to Thomas Alan of Warwick, dyer, who sold it again in the following year to Richard Walford of Moreton-in-the-Marsh. The Walfords retained this estate for more than two centuries (fn. 50) and almost doubled its extent by the purchase of various other holdings between 1682 and 1712. In 1778 Thomas Walford sold the whole property to Viscount Beauchamp for £5850. (fn. 51)
The holding of Bordesley Abbey in Binton was built up by a series of grants during the 13th century and became known as the manor of BINTON GRANGE. Between about 1215 and 1229 the abbot acquired the mill and island of Binton. (fn. 52) William Hay, a considerable landowner, gave most of his land in Binton to the monks, including, in 1250–1, a messuage and 3½ virgates. (fn. 53) Other donors were Henry lord of Binton, (fn. 54) Walter Thurstan (successor to the William son of Thurstan the tenant of Nicholas de Binton in 1220), (fn. 55) Walter Prodome, (fn. 56) Walter son of William son of Odo of Binton, (fn. 57) Beatrice daughter of Walter the parson of Binton, (fn. 58) and Philip de Stanes. (fn. 59)
In 1291 the abbot held in Binton a carucate of land worth 10s. and two dovecotes valued at half a mark. (fn. 60) The manor remained in possession of the monks until the Dissolution, when it seems to have formed part of their manor at Bidford (q.v.). In 1535 the farm of the demesne at Binton was worth 60s. and of the land at Binton bridge 16s. 8d. (fn. 61)
It was granted, as the manor grange and farm of Binton with the fishery at Binton bridge and the islands (lez neytes), in 1544 to William and Francis Sheldon, (fn. 62) who sold it in the same year to Sir George Throckmorton. (fn. 63) Sir Nicholas Throckmorton sold it with Binton Manor to William Walter, who died seised of it in 1606. (fn. 64) His son Sir William then sold it to Richard Kempson, who in 1628 settled it on himself and his wife Margaret, with remainder to their son Richard and grandson Richard in tail. (fn. 65) He died in 1631, his son in 1664, (fn. 66) and his grandson in 1684. (fn. 67) The estate, considerably augmented, was sold by John Kempson to Lord Beauchamp in 1778, (fn. 68) though the Kempson family continued in Binton until 1862. (fn. 69)
Domesday mentions two mills at Binton, one in Gerin's manor worth 4s. and another worth 2s. belonging to Urse. (fn. 70) William, the tenant of the Corbucion fee, received from one or other of them 4 loads of flour and 8 sticks of eels. (fn. 71) Only one mill appears after this time, and its position can be approximately fixed from 13th-century grants which mention the island in the river, where Binton bridge now is, as between the mills of Binton and Welford. Three different persons—Ralph de Welneford son of Harvey, Nicholas son of William de Binton, and Henry de Binton, then enjoyed rights in the mill, which Ralph and Nicholas, about 1215, and Henry's widow Millicent in 1229 granted to Bordesley Abbey. (fn. 72) In 1535 Binton mill was included in the abbot's manor of Bidford Grange (fn. 73) (q.v.) and it is probably one of the three mills mentioned in various deeds of that manor down to 1610. (fn. 74) It has now disappeared.
The parish church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel with north and south transepts, nave, and south porch. It was entirely rebuilt in 1875 and apparently contains no ancient structural remains. A sketch of the former building, which seems to have had a chancel, nave, south porch, and west tower, suggests that the windows, &c. were of the 17th century, but possibly the tower was ancient.
Of the old fittings, the font and cover, a chest, and some coffin-lids survive. The font has been scraped but is probably of the 15th century. It is octagonal and has a moulded bowl, plain stem, and moulded base. The flat cover, of about 1640, bears eight radiating ogee-shaped brackets meeting with a central turned post at the top: the sides of the arms have square jewel or nail-head ornament: the board is pierced with two holes to fit over the former staples on the font.
In a recess in the north wall is a tapering coffin-lid, 5 ft. 10 in. long, carved with a foiled and floriated circular cross-head and slender stem: probably c. 1300. The name William Hobbins is a much later cutting on the surface. In a south recess another coffin-lid, 5 ft. 6 in. long, is of about the same age: it has a cross-head with fleur-de-lis arms and a slender stem ending at the foot in a diamond shape with concave sides. A third coffin-lid in a west recess is of c. 1320–30. It has a cross of crocket-like leaves and, lower, a staff with a pennon and foliage branches. Above the cross is a gable with crockets and pinnacles. The hollow-chamfered edges are enriched with ball-flowers and tendrils. The lower part of the slab, now 4 ft. 7 in. long, is broken away.
In the north-east window of the nave is a 15th- or early-16th-century shield of arms of Greville of Milcote with a pierced gold molet for difference. (fn. 75) There is a remarkable window at the west end in memory of Captain R. F. Scott with picture scenes of the Antarctic Expedition of 1911–12.
In the churchyard is the base of a cross, of octagonal plan with square stops and the short stump of the shaft. Also the apex stone of a gable and a piece of the gable cross. The village stocks formerly stood on the bank outside the north wall of the churchyard. (fn. 76) In the churchyard east of the chancel are several 18th-century tombs to members of the Kempson family, two of them reproductions of the second coffin-lid described above.
The communion plate includes an Elizabethan cup with the maker's mark IF but no date letter, and a cover-paten to match: both have stippled bands of engraved ornament. Also a silver-gilt flagon of 1683–4, the gift of Sarah wife of Mr. Thomas Walford, with a wooden and papier-mâché case covered with stamped leather, and a stand paten of 1788 given by Mary Kempson, widow.
The church of Binton is mentioned in 1199. (fn. 77) The advowson has descended with the manor to the present day. (fn. 78) The living was united to Grafton by Order in Council 18 December 1931. (fn. 79)
Church Land. The Table of Benefactions in the church at Binton, dated 1724, records that an unknown donor gave land (5 ridges in that quarter called Upper Field and a parcel of land in Welford Meadow) to the repairing and adorning of the church. The land is now let and the rents are applied towards church expenses.
Sarah Walford in 1683 bequeathed £20, the interest to be paid to the poor of the parish and to be laid out in bread. The endowment is now represented by a charge of 20s. paid by the Trustees of the Ragley Estate.