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 of Claverdon lies 6 miles west from Warwick on the road to Henley-in-Arden, and has a station on the Hatton to Stratford-upon-Avon branch of the Great Western Railway. The parish includes the township of Langley (fn. 1) to the south, and formerly included the manors of Claverdon, Langley, Kington (to the south-west), and Songar (in the south-east). There is no central village, but there are hamlets near the church and at Yarningale, Kington, Lye Green, and Gannaway. There is also a group of houses near the school (fn. 2) and a number of modern cottages scattered throughout the parish. It lies chiefly at a height of about 400 ft. above sea-level, and the soil is Red Keuper Marl overlaid with pockets of clay, gravel, and sand. With the exception of Yarningale Common, the whole parish is now under cultivation.
Stone Building, nearly ¾ mile north-east of the church, is an isolated rectangular tower of three stories. It is said to have been the north-western of the four angle-towers of the great house begun by Thomas Spencer, who died in 1630 and whose monument stands in the church. There are no traces whatever of the remainder of any great house above ground, nor are there any indications where this tower joined up with the ranges of the house. (fn. 3) A moulded string-course at the second-floor level passes right round the tower: the adjoining buildings were probably lower than this. The remains of a lower string-course appear on the north-west and south-west sides only. The walls are mostly of local stone roughly squared and in small courses, but the lowest five or six courses in the northeast and south-east sides are of good ashlar. In the south half of the south-west side is a doorway of unusual treatment: it has chamfered jambs and fourcentred head, and is flanked by two projecting piers which carry a moulded four-centred arch and square head to form a very shallow porch. Over the arch the string-course forms a moulded dripstone, and just above this the face slopes back in a series of eleven small moulded offsets to a tall shallower projection which finishes with an ogee gable-head reaching nearly to the second-floor string-course. The face of the sinister pier has toothings for the low walls which connected it with a house of two stories, the lower stone and the upper timber, which stood to the south-west until 1860.
The entrance opens into a small square lobby, by the side of which is the main staircase, and beyond both the main room. Moulded stone arched doorways open from the lobby into both, and both the lobby and the main room are lighted by windows in the south-east wall. In the room is a moulded arched fire-place in the south-west wall. The staircase is of stone with a square central newel; it stands up above the main walls as a square turret, and is lighted by several windows in the north-west wall and two in the top turret. The moulded doorway to the first floor is blocked, and that to the second floor has a good oak door. The main room on the ground floor has a modern staircase off it leading to the first floor.
The upper rooms are on the same plan, but the main rooms have moulded square fire-places in the outer (north-western) wall, and the chimney-stack containing the flues projects externally, on moulded corbelling: above are two diagonal square shafts of 17th-century bricks.
The south-west elevation has two windows in each story, to the main room and lobby and the rooms over them. They have moulded mullions, and the upper windows, of two and four lights, have transoms. The north-east wall also has a window to the first floor near the north angle, of two lights with a transom; it has no dripstone and is probably an insertion. A similar window to the second floor has a dripstone. The roof and parapets are modern: probably the heads of the southwest and opposite walls were gabled originally.
Leyland Cottage, a little to the south of the tower, is said to occupy the site of the 16th-century tithe barn of which the plinth and some three or four courses of thin bricks still remain. The walls above these are of larger bricks of the 18th or 19th century: one or two old chamfered beams have been re-used in the ceilings.
There are about a dozen old buildings, mostly cottages, in the neighbourhood of the church all showing timber-framing in the walls and having thatched or tiled roofs. Probably the oldest is the Red Lion Inn, nearly ¼ mile west of the church. This has some closeset studding of the 16th century and a wide fire-place with a moulded lintel. The roof is tiled. The smithy west of it and some four or five other cottages on the same road—the Warwick-Henley road—are probably of the 17th century, though several have been more or less altered. Park Farm, in Church Road, passing south of the church, and three other smaller buildings to the west of it are of the same character.
Kington Grange, 11/8 miles west-south-west of the church, appears to have been a 16th-century house of rectangular plan with a staircase wing on the north side, but has been much altered. The south front was jettied, but is rebuilt with 18th-century brickwork. At the east end the ground story has a little close-set studding exposed and a diagonal bracket to the former overhang. Square framing also shows in the gabled head at the west end and in the staircase wing. The remainder is covered with rough-cast.
The Manor Farm, to the south of the church, is an L-shaped building of timber-framing, plastered externally; a few bare patches reveal the heavy timbers, and some have been exposed inside. The longer wing, facing approximately east and west, is probably of late 16th-century date and has an open-timbered ceiling with chamfered beams and stop-chamfered joists. The central chimney-stack has wide fire-places, and a diagonal cross-shaped shaft of thin bricks. The dairy at the north end of this range, and the short wing west of it, appear to be relics of a 15th-century house; the dairy has a moulded ceiling beam and a few wide flat joists of that period, and the wing—an outbuilding now encased with brickwork—also has ancient plainer beams and joists. The upper floors are covered with cement: a heavy cambered tie-beam is partly exposed west of the chimney-stack. South of the house is a timber-framed granary. Sundry banks and cuttings in the fields south of this farmstead are said to be traces of a mill.
Two cottages near by show 17th-century timberframing, and Yew Tree Farm (formerly Whitehead Farm) is a small house which shows early-17th-century framing in the north gable-end, and open-timbered ceilings. A barn of three bays also has some old framing.
At Yarningale Common, ¾ mile north-west of the village, is a scattered collection of seven or eight old buildings. Homestead Farm is an L-shaped house showing 17th-century framing in a north gable-head, &c., and having plain chimney-stacks, partly original.
Another farm about 500 yards to the north-west is of c. 1600, with walls mostly of timber-framing: it is of rectangular plan facing south-east, but the north-east end forms a gabled cross-wing. On the north-west side is a projecting chimney-stack of stone, gathered into an 18th-century brick shaft.
The Redding Common Field (lying between the church and Kington Grange) was inclosed in 1721 by private agreement between Andrew Archer, lord of the manor, and 7 freeholders. (fn. 4) An Inclosure Act for Langley was passed in 1831; the Award, made in 1835, covers only 50 acres, mostly portions of old roads and paths. (fn. 5)
In 1086 CLAVERDON was held by the Count of Meulan as 3 hides, which had belonged to Bovi before the Conquest. (fn. 6) With other property of the Count this estate passed to the Earls of Warwick and descended as one of the demesne manors attached to the earldom and castle of Warwick (q.v.). (fn. 7) The manor seems often to have been assigned as dower; (fn. 8) the Countess Ela, widow of Earl Thomas (d. 1242), so held it and in 1254 obtained a grant of free warren in Claverdon, (fn. 9) which manor was confirmed to her and her second husband Sir Philip Basset for their lives by William Mauduit, Earl of Warwick, in 1269. (fn. 10) On the forfeiture of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, for treason Claverdon was among the manors granted, on 28 Sept. 1397, to Thomas, Earl of Kent, (fn. 11) who next day became Duke of Surrey, (fn. 12) but on the accession of Henry IV the earl recovered his estates. In 1487 the Warwick manors came to the Crown by grant of Anne Beauchamp, widow of Earl Richard Neville, 'the King-maker', (fn. 13) and in 1517 the manor of Claverdon was leased for 21 years to Thomas Sherwyn, and its demesnes to Roger Walford. (fn. 14) Sherwyn's widow Alice sold her interest to George Throckmorton; he sold it to Anthony Skinner, who in 1538 received a fresh lease of the lands, excepting the site of the manor and the demesnes, which were in the tenure of Roger Walford, (fn. 15) whose descendants continued in occupation until the death of Matthew Walford in 1729. (fn. 16)
The lordship of Claverdon was granted in Dec. 1547 to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and afterwards Duke of Northumberland, and Joan his wife. (fn. 17) After the execution of the duke the manor was assigned, in June 1554, to his widow Joan for life. (fn. 18) Ambrose Dudley, fourth son of the Duke of Northumberland, was created Earl of Warwick in 1561 and received the Warwick estates, including the manor of Claverdon, which he sold in 1568 to Sir John Spencer. (fn. 19) Sir John died 8 Nov. 1586, having settled the manor on his second son Thomas, (fn. 20) who died in 1630, when Claverdon passed, under settlement, to his greatnephew Sir William Spencer of Yarnton (Oxon.), bart. (fn. 21) Sir William in 1635 married Constance daughter of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, and dying in 1647 was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Spencer, bart., M.P., who married Jane daughter of Sir John Garrard of Lamer (Herts.), bart. Sir Thomas died on 6 Mar. 1685 at the age of 46 years without surviving male issue. His widow Jane survived till 20 Apr. 1712 as lady of the manor, but after her death the manor was sold about the year 1716 (fn. 22) by the four surviving daughters of Sir Thomas Spencer to Andrew Archer of Tanworth. (fn. 23) Upon the death of Andrew Archer in 1741 the larger portion of his estate including the manor of Claverdon and the chief farms therein known as Park, Lodge, Breach, Gannaway, and the Reddings descended to his eldest son Thomas, created first Baron Archer of Umberslade in 1747. One farm in Claverdon, which at various times has been called Claverdon House Farm, Bloxidges, and afterwards Malt House Farm, together with the manor of Langley was left by Andrew Archer to Henry his second son; but the latter dying without issue in 1768, the property and the manor passed to Andrew, 2nd Baron Archer of Umberslade, who succeeded his father Thomas in the same year. This Andrew died in 1788 without male issue, and his estates passed to his four daughters as co-heiresses. It appears that before this date the farm and the manor of Langley, which had been devised to Henry second son of Andrew Archer, esq., were sold to the Rt. Hon. Richard Rigby. The remainder of the Claverdon portion of the Archer estates was allotted to the Hon. Anne Elizabeth Archer, who married Christopher Musgrave, by whom she had one son also named Christopher. He succeeded to the property upon the death of his mother in 1847—his father having died in 1833—and between 1860 and 1875 he sold his Claverdon farms to Robert Philips of Manchester, afterwards of Welcombe near Stratfordupon-Avon. The manor of Claverdon was purchased about the same time by Darwin Galton, the eldest son of Samuel Tertius Galton, who in 1824 had purchased from William Wilcox the farm and manor of Langley sold to Richard Rigby. Rigby had died in 1788 without issue, leaving the property to his two sisters and a nephew in equal shares; they sold it to John Iddins of Birmingham, timber merchant, who sold it in 1799 to John Wilcox, upon whose death it passed to the said William Wilcox. Upon the death of Darwin Galton in 1903 the manors passed to his widow Penelope and after her death in 1912 to his nephew Edward Wheler, who took the name of Galton in the same year in accordance with his uncle's will. Mr. Wheler-Galton died in July 1935, and the manors of Claverdon and Langley now belong to his widow.
The Domesday entry shows that there was appurtenant to Claverdon woodland one league in extent, worth 10s. when productive. (fn. 24) Much of this, no doubt, was subsequently enclosed to form the PARK of Claverdon, which is mentioned occasionally as the scene of poaching exploits from 1297 onwards. (fn. 25) In 1446 Henry, Duke of Warwick, appointed John Basset parker, with a fee of 2d. a day, and the office was confirmed to him in 1460. (fn. 26) Later, in 1478, the office was given to Edmund Verney, (fn. 27) and in 1513 to George Throckmorton. (fn. 28) 'Masters of the Hunt' in Claverdon Park were also appointed in 1511 and 1532; (fn. 29) but in the grant of 1561 to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, it is called the disparked park of Claverdon. (fn. 30) All that now remains of it is the name Park Farm, near the church, and the wide bank or 'freeboard' that bounded it on the west, where it ran from the brook to a site near the church surrounded by a deep moat. On the east the freeboard is still visible in places, and the park was probably bounded on the north-east by the road from the church past the smithy to a point near Leyland Cottage, and on the south-west by the brook.
In 1086 the Count of Meulan had also an estate of 1½ hides at KINGTON, which had formerly been held by Britmod. The land was then waste, and there was woodland worth 10s. (fn. 31) The overlordship passed with that of Claverdon to the Earl of Warwick, of whom in 1235 Kington was held by Henry le Notte, forming with Preston Bagot one fee. (fn. 32) By 1316 this fee had come into the hands of the Knights Hospitallers, being held of Guy, Earl of Warwick, by the Master of Grafton. (fn. 33) In 1500 William Harewell died seised of the manor, held of the Hospitallers for 4s. rent, (fn. 34) leaving a son John, whose son Thomas left three sisters and co-heirs. One of these was Agnes wife of Sir John Smith of London, on whom this estate was settled in 1538. She died, a widow, in 1561 holding the manor of Kington of Clement Throckmorton as of his manor of Preston Bagot, (fn. 35) in which he had succeeded the Hospitallers. This manor then descended with the Harewells manor in Wootton Wawen (q.v.) until the middle of the 18th century, (fn. 36) after which it came into the hands of Sir Henry Calthorpe, bart. (1788) and was held in 1863 by Lord Calthorpe. (fn. 37)
The Abbey of Bordesley also had property in KINGTON, being said in 1275 to have held 2 carucates of land there for the last 30 years. (fn. 38) This was probably the land given by Henry le Notte 'from the stream which comes from Preston by the brook of Chelewellesiche going up to Chirrich wei . . . and so going down to the stream from Preston'. (fn. 39) After the Dissolution this 'manor and farm' was granted to Clement Throckmorton; (fn. 40) but John Parker in 1534 had obtained from the abbey a lease of the 'manor or grange' for 40 years. (fn. 41) He died, leaving to his son William his interest in the farm, with all lands which he held of Clement Throckmorton, in 1557. (fn. 42) William Parker obtained from Queen Elizabeth a grant in fee of the manor and farm and died in 1602 leaving a widow Frizwith and four sons, all minors. William seems to have made a settlement of the manor for the benefit of a younger son, Edmund, who in 1616 obtained livery of it on behalf of his elder brother Thomas, William's heir. (fn. 43) No more is heard of Thomas, but Edmund is described as of Kington Grange on his death in 1652. (fn. 44) He was followed by Samuel Parker (d. 1681) and he by his son William (d. before 1712), whose son John (1681–1732) was holding the manor in 1730. (fn. 45) The latter's son, also John (1719–62), sold it to Sir Henry Gough, in whose family it descended until 1868, when it was again sold, under the will of Frederick, Lord Calthorpe, and purchased by W. H. Avery. (fn. 46) The Grange afterwards came into the possession of Frederick Griffiths of Edstone and was sold with the Edstone estate in 1920. (fn. 47)
LANGLEY, which was held by Ernui before the Conquest, was among the estates of Robert de Stafford in 1086 and was held of him by Ludichel. It was rated at 1½ hides and had woodland 1 league long by ½ league broad. (fn. 48) The overlordship remained in the Stafford family, Langley and Norton together constituting two knights' fees of the Honor of Hervey de Stafford in 1212. (fn. 49) There is record of 'Escorphan, lord of Langley', and Edith his wife being buried in Wootton Wawen Church in the time of Stephen, (fn. 50) and he is presumably the 'Scorfan' to whom 13s. danegeld was remitted in Warwickshire in 1130. (fn. 51) In 1239 William Curli confirmed to the monks of Bordesley lands in his fee of Langley, (fn. 52) and in 1243 he held of Robert de Stafford one fee in Langley and Norton. (fn. 53) This apparently passed to his nieces (fn. 54) Joan wife of Robert Hastang and Alice wife of Peter de Nevill, as they in 1260 confirmed the rights of Bordesley to lands and rents in Langley. (fn. 55) By 1315, however, the manor was in the hands of Sir Henry de Lodbroc, (fn. 56) and he was apparently still lord in 1324; (fn. 57) but William Vaughan is said to have been lord in 1326. (fn. 58) In 1365 the manor seemed to have belonged to Joan (daughter and heir of Geoffrey de Langley) wife of Sir John Trillow, and they conveyed it to Sir Baldwin Freville. (fn. 59) In 1383 Roger Borgulon was lord of the manor, but by 1430 Robert Arden held it, (fn. 60) and he died in 1450 holding it of the Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 61) It subsequently passed with Curdworth (q.v.) and came to Edward Arden, who seems to have sold in it 1563 (fn. 62) to William Baylies, who was lord in 1571–2, but Thomas Staunton of Wolverton had obtained the lordship by 1591 (fn. 63) and died seised thereof in 1626. (fn. 64) His son Thomas mortgaged the manor to Hugh Walford in 1630. (fn. 65) A later Hugh Walford was lord in 1697 (fn. 66) and 1720, (fn. 67) but by 1730 the manor had come to the Archers, (fn. 68) and then (as shown above) to Richard Rigby, whose heirs sold it in 1790. (fn. 69) When the estate was bought in 1824 by Darwin Galton the manorial rights seem to have been acquired by Richard Horsman Solly, who was lord of the manor in 1831, (fn. 70) and 1850, (fn. 71) and presumably till his death in 1858. (fn. 72) Any existing manorial rights are now apparently in the hands of Mrs. Wheler-Galton.
Land in SONGAR was given to Bordesley Abbey during the first half of the 12th century by various donors, the main estate being given by William Giffard, who had received it from Roger, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 73) In 1352 the monks charged their manor of Songar with the support of a monk to celebrate daily in the abbey church for the souls of Sir Peter de Montfort and his relations. (fn. 74) In 1534 Thomas Rogers obtained a lease of the 'manor or grange' for 64 years, at £58s. 4d.; (fn. 75) but after the Dissolution the manor was granted with Kington (see above) to Clement Throckmorton, (fn. 76) whose family continued to hold it until at least 1657. (fn. 77) It was conveyed by Edward Owyn and Frances his wife to Thomas Pritchard and John Lloyd in 1680; (fn. 78) by 1719 it was in the hands of William Norcliffe, (fn. 79) and Jane Norcliffe, widow, owned it in 1742. (fn. 80) Jane Holden, widow, held it between 1745 and 1754; Thomas Samuel Jolliffe, in 1788; Samuel Solly in 1793; and Richard Horsman Solly from 1814 till the middle of the 19th century; (fn. 81) after which it is probable that the manorial rights lapsed.
The west tower dates from the 15th century: it was restored in 1930. The south aisle was added in 1830, and in 1877–8 the north aisle was added, the nave being rebuilt at the same time, the chancel restored and the north organ-chamber and south chapel added. Several old windows, mentioned below, were retained or re-set in the new walls. The walls are of stone, the roofs covered with slates.
The chancel has a modern east window of three lights and tracery. The north and south walls have each a late-16th-century window of three square-headed lights with a transom; both are partly restored. The arches to the organ-chamber and south chapel and the chancel arch are modern, of 14th-century style. The nave has north and south arcades of two bays in the same style, and a clearstory of four windows each side. The north aisle has a west and two north windows of two lights and tracery, all modern. The south aisle has a wide south window of three lights and tracery in a square head, all modern; in its west wall is a 14thcentury re-set window of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and tracery in a two-centred head.
The 15th-century west tower is built of large ashlar masonry externally and of squared rubble or rough ashlar inside: it has a moulded plinth and at the first floor level a moulded string-course. The parapet is embattled, and in the face of each merlon is carved a blank shield. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses and at the south-east angle a partly projecting stair-turret. The archway from the nave is of two chamfered orders continued from the jambs in the two-centred head. South of it towards the nave is a doorway to the stairturret. The west doorway has jambs of two hollow chamfers and a four-centred head. The window above it is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a hood-mould. The first floor has in the south wall a four-centred and squareheaded light. Its sill is level with the main stringcourse, which is carried up each side and over it as a hood-mould. Higher are modern north and south clock faces. The bell chamber has in each wall a window of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a hood-mould. Above the tower is a pyramidal roof with an arrow weather-vane.
On the north side of the chancel is an alabaster tomb and monument to Thomas Spencer, second son of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, Northants, who died in 1630. He married Mary daughter of Henry Cheeke and had one daughter who married Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote. The base has a grey marble slab: its front is divided into six bays by half-round pilasters: in each bay is carved a shield surrounded by scroll ornament in low relief, all in a round-headed panel with rosette spandrels. It is set in a large recess which, above it, is flanked by detached black imitation marble shafts with gilded bases, intermediate bands, and foliage capitals of a rococo Ionic design: they stand on pedestals and carry projecting arms of the main entablature. Behind them are panelled pilasters carved with foliage ornament in relief. The recess proper has similarly panelled reveals, moulded imposts, and a round arch with an archivolt enriched with foliage and a coffered soffit with floral pendants: the spandrels are carved in low relief with cherubs and tendril foliage: the eastern cherub blows a trumpet. The cornice of the entablature is brought forward over the shafts and has floral pendants in the soffit. Above is an achievement of arms with a shield of seven quarters, and the crest a griffin's head. The quarterings, excepting the first, are repeated in the six individual shields on the base, one in each shield. (fn. 82)
The plate includes a silver-gilt cup and paten cover of 1583, the cup being of unusual design. There is also a modern copy of this cup; a silver-gilt paten of 1683, given by William Parker of Kington in 1685; and a flagon of 1683, given by Sarah wife of Thomas Walford and daughter of Samuel Parker of Kington. (fn. 83)
The registers date from 1629, and the volumes down to 1812 are deposited in the Shire Hall, Warwick. The first volume contains some comments and obituary notices in Latin, apparently by Thomas Pilkington, vicar 1629–85.
The early history of the church of Claverdon is confused. About 1150 Hugh son of Richard, of Hatton, and Margaret his wife, with consent of his sons William and Richard, gave to the Abbey of St. Florent, Saumur, and its cell the Priory of Monmouth the church of St. Michael of Claverdon, to which the chapels of Langley, Norton, and Wolverton were appurtenant. At the same time he endowed the church with a full ploughland of his demesne, and gave the fish-pond of Claverdon with its mill. (fn. 84) On the other hand, Richard I confirmed to Bordesley Abbey the advowson and presentation of the church of Claverdon, of the gift of William, Earl of Warwick (1153–84). (fn. 85) By the middle of the 13th century, however, the advowson had come into the hands of the Archdeacon of Worcester, (fn. 86) with whom it has remained.
In about 1208 the Abbey of Conches disputed with the rector of Claverdon over the chapelries of Langley and Norton Lindsey, which the monks produced evidence to show had in times past belonged to their church of Wootton Wawen. At last in 1257 the chapels and their tithes were transferred to Claverdon, subject to the yearly payment of 5 marks 8 shillings by the rector to the Prior of Wootton. In 1506 the Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, who had acquired the estates of Wootton Priory, reduced the payment to 40s. (fn. 87)
William Parker by will gave 20s. to be equally divided among four poor widows of the parish and 10s. to be given to the poor in bread. The endowment now consists of a rent-charge of 30s. charged on Kington Grange Farm.
The above-mentioned charities are now regulated by Schemes of the Charity Commissioners dated 2 Dec. 1913 and 25 Feb. 1916 under the title of the United Charities. Four trustees administer the charities, at least £1 of the income of William Parker's Charity being applied for the benefit of poor widows.
Church Charity. John Matthews by will dated 11 May 1525 devised to trustees certain lands to the use and performance of an obit dirge with Masses and other observances for the donor's soul and all Christian souls in the parish church; the rest of the rents to be employed upon other necessaries of the said church. The endowment now consists of about 50 acres of land at Claverdon let at an annual rent of £74 4s., together with stock producing £13 1s. 2d. annually in dividends. The charity is administered by trustees appointed by orders of the Charity Commissioners and the income is applied towards church expenses.