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 Fulbrook lies on the west bank of the Avon, 3 miles south of Warwick, and is divided by the Warwick-Stratford main road into two unequal portions. The boundaries of the larger are approximately those of the park inclosed by John, Duke of Bedford, about 1421. This is known to have extended from the river (fn. 1) up to the Stratford road (fn. 2) and Rous complains bitterly that the inclosing of the park converted a formerly safe highway into a notorious haunt of robbers, who lay in wait for their victims behind the newly erected palings. (fn. 3) It was disparked by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, (fn. 4) but renewed and extended early in the 17th century by Sir Thomas Lucy, who added Hampton Woods to it. (fn. 5) The Deer Barn, under Copdock Hill in Hampton Lucy parish, is an indication of its later extent. Several of the present field-names in Fulbrook occur in 17th-century deeds in what was then known as the Old Park. (fn. 6) In the later 17th century the park was being divided into farms, (fn. 7) and though it is shown in Beighton's map of 1725 it was by that time little more than a name. (fn. 8)
The boundaries of the remainder of the parish, extending from the main road down to Sherbourne Brook, correspond to those of the Northbrook property granted to Warwick College in 1461. (fn. 9) A small part of Briary Land, beyond the brook, is also in Fulbrook.
South of Marraway Farm a green track, a continuation of a lane from Norton Lindsey, crosses the Stratford road and the southern end of the parish. This is marked by Ogilby in 1675 as a road to Kineton (fn. 10) and in other maps down to the middle of the 18th century. (fn. 11) It probably crossed the Avon at Hampton Lucy, but it cannot now be traced much beyond Black Hill Farm.
The village of Fulbrook was destroyed to make the park. (fn. 12) In 1332 there were nine contributors to the Lay Subsidy here, (fn. 13) but only four householders in 1428. (fn. 14) Since the disappearance of the church in the 16th century Fulbrook and Northbrook have been in the ecclesiastical parish of Sherbourne. In 1656 a dispute arose as to whether the inhabitants of Northbrook should pay their poor rates with Norton Lindsey, Budbrooke, or—as was finally decided—Snitterfield; (fn. 15) and Northbrook and Briary Land are included in the constabulary of Snitterfield in the Hearth Tax Returns of 1670–4. In 1737 the township of 'Fulbrook-park and Norbrook' had no parish officers except an overseer of the poor. (fn. 16) There were five farms here in 1730, (fn. 17) and these, together with a group of cottages on the top of Sherbourne Hill, comprise the whole population of the parish to-day.
The medieval village was probably situated near the brook which gave it its name and which flows between Lower Fulbrook and Court Farms to join the Avon a few hundred yards east of the road to Hampton Lucy. Court Farm (fn. 18) was rebuilt during the last century, but the lower part of its west wall consists of sandstone masonry of apparently medieval date, and scattered over the garden are many stone rick-hoists, some of them with mason's marks, and stones carved with hearts and lozenges in panels. Behind the house are the remains of two moats. The larger, immediately to the south-west, is about 90 paces square and still has water on three sides, the southern being the best preserved. This is probably, from its extent, the site of the moated manor-house mentioned in 1324 (fn. 19) and 1392. (fn. 20) In the latter year it was said to consist of a hall with solar and chapel adjoining, a kitchen and byre under one roof and all within the moat, and beyond the moat a gatehouse with chamber above and stable below. It was already falling into disrepair, and some 20 years later Joan, Lady Bergavenny, built 'a litle lodge or peace of buildinge in this parke caullyd Bergeiney'; (fn. 21) she also built a 'sumptuous gatehouse', (fn. 22) the remains of which may perhaps be those embodied in the present farm and which was probably built on the site of the gatehouse mentioned in 1392. The other moat lies a little to the north, inclosing an area some 50 paces square. The ramparts are steep and about 12–15 ft. high. The moat is dry, but running westwards from its southern side are traces of a cutting, probably the original trench to carry off the water. Neither site has been excavated, but about 1841 there was discovered in the larger moat a globular steelyard weight with four escutcheons in relief, each charged with a lion rampant. It dates probably from the reign of Henry III. (fn. 23)
The field now known as Castle Hill is on the south side of the brook, just above Lower Fulbrook Farm. This is the site of the 'praty castle made of stone and brike' (fn. 24) built by John, Duke of Bedford, and probably the residence of the park-keeper in the 15th century. There are no remains above ground, but excavations some years ago are said to have revealed brick-lined foundations (fn. 25) and recent ploughing has turned up large quantities of bricks of early type and occasional fragments of glazed tiles and pottery. The whole site appears to have occupied less than an acre. These buildings were all said to be ruinous by 1478, (fn. 26) though the lodge was apparently still standing in Leland's time. (fn. 27) The castle, which according to Leland aroused the jealousy of the Earls of Warwick, was finally demolished by Sir William Compton, then park-keeper, who received permission from Henry VIII to use some of the materials in his new house at Compton Wynyates. (fn. 28)
At Northbrook, south-west of the modern house, are the shallow remains of the south-west angle of another moat. Here stood the manor-house of the Grants, a centre of Catholic disaffection in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Edward Grant of Northbrook was described in 1564 as 'an adversary of true religion'. (fn. 29) He married Anne Somerville of Edstone (fn. 30) and the house was searched in November 1583 after the discovery of his nephew John Somerville's plot against the Queen. (fn. 31) His grandson John Grant was drawn into the Gunpowder Plot through his marriage with Mary Wyntour, sister of Robert, Thomas, and John Wyntour of Huddington. Northbrook was the scene of frequent meetings of the conspirators during 1605. (fn. 32) On the evening of 6 Nov. Grant, Catesby, and others rested here on their escape westwards and furnished themselves with the arms that had been accumulated during the preceding months. (fn. 33) Grant was among those taken at Holbeach and afterwards executed. When Northbrook was searched by the sheriff Mass books and ornaments, a chalice, and a cope were found in a pool near by and arms and 'a payre of manackles for a mans necke' in the moat. (fn. 34) The house was probably dismantled soon afterwards. There is some panelling which bears the arms of Grant, and may therefore have come from Northbrook, in the Marble House, Warwick. (fn. 35) The house is assessed at 4 hearths in the Returns of 1665–74 (fn. 36) and was afterwards occupied by William Bolding, who disclaimed at the Visitation of 1682. (fn. 37) A sketch of it before the final demolition shows an L-shaped building with two apparently plastered gables at one end and a long timber-framed hall block with three doors, showing that by then it had been divided up. (fn. 38)
In 1086 the Count of Meulan held FULBROOK as 2½ hides; a certain Alfled had held it in the Confessor's time (fn. 39). From the Count of Meulan the manor passed to Henry de Newburgh, and the overlordship descended with the earldom of Warwick.
The manor of Fulbrook was in the hands of the Crown, apparently by forfeiture, in 1175, when Robert le Franceis answered for the farm and issues thereof. (fn. 40) It subsequently came by marriage to William de Turville, who mortgaged it to Aaron the Jew some time before the death of that great financier in 1186. (fn. 41) His son predeceased him and in 1217 Maud de Hastings, widow of William de Turville the younger, sued William the elder for the manor as her dower, but he said that it was the inheritance of his wife Isabel. (fn. 42) After his death his widow Isabel, in 1220, claimed the manor against Maud de Hastings (fn. 43) and obtained it in 1222. (fn. 44) The younger William left no issue and his coheirs were his sisters Cecily, wife of Roger de Craft, Pernel, wife of Simon de Creulton (or Cuenton), (fn. 45) who took the name of Turville, and Isabel, wife of Walhamet le Poure. (fn. 46) Isabel died without issue, (fn. 47) and in 1235 Simon de Turville and Roger de Craft answered for ½ knight's fee in Fulbrook and Woodcote. (fn. 48) This ½ fee in 1292 was held of the Earl of Warwick by Roger de Craft and John Mace, who had also succeeded Simon at Bedworth and Chelmescote (fn. 49) (perhaps as tenant during a minority). The Turvilles seem to have relinquished their share to Roger de Craft or to his son Roger, who died c. 1250 without issue, leaving three coheirs. One sister, Isabel, had married Hugh de Herdebergh; another, Beatrice, married first William de Charneles and, secondly, Henry Hubaud; the third, Cecily de Quattermars, died without issue about 1268. In the Easter term of 1269 Hugh de Herdebergh (son of Isabel) sued Henry Hubaud and Beatrice for his share in the estate of Cecily, his own aunt and sister of Beatrice, in virtue of which he claimed to hold half the manor and advowson of Fulbrook. (fn. 50) In 1265 Henry Hubaud, who had been in the garrison of Kenilworth Castle, held villeinage lands here worth £6 10s., (fn. 51) and in 1268 the fees of William Mauduit, late Earl of Warwick, included ½ fee in Fulbrook held by Henry Hubaud and (? another) ½ fee in Fulbrook and Woodcote, for which no tenant is named. (fn. 52) Hugh de Herdebergh seems to have acquired the whole manor and to have given it to William Gernun and Isabel his wife (fn. 53) (possibly Hugh's daughter). (fn. 54) In 1283 William Gernun and Isabel conveyed the manor of Fulbrook, except 2 messuages, a mill, and rent, to William de Hynkeley and Alice his wife, to hold of them and of the heirs of Isabel as one knight's fee. (fn. 55) Alice, in her widowhood, alienated the manor to Nicholas de Warwick and Joan his wife, (fn. 56) and in 1293 William Gernun and Isabel conveyed their mesne lordship to William de Sutton. (fn. 57) In the same year Alice further conveyed a messuage, 3 virgates, and 10 acres of meadow in Fulbrook to Nicholas de Warwick, (fn. 58) who by 1297 had obtained the holdings of three other minor tenants—Thomas de Mollington and Christian his wife, (fn. 59) Thomas de Kynton of Warwick and Alice his wife, (fn. 60) and Walter de Paunton and Alice his wife. (fn. 61) In 1305 Nicholas obtained licence to hold view of frankpledge and to have other privileges in his manor. (fn. 62) Guy, Earl of Warwick, died in 1315 seised of ⅓ knight's fee here held by William son of Nicholas de Warwick, (fn. 63) who was returned as being lord of the vill of Fulbrook in the following year. (fn. 64) But by 1324 it had passed to John de Hastings, Lord Bergavenny, who died in that year holding it of the Earl of Warwick, by the service of a knight's fee. (fn. 65) His son Laurence became Earl of Pembroke in 1339 and lived until 1348. (fn. 66) In 1354 William de Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon, died seised of the manor, held in the right of Julian his wife, who had received it as dower of her late husband, the above-mentioned John de Hastings; (fn. 67) and she held the manor until her death in 1367. (fn. 68) John de Hastings died without issue in 1389, the earldom of Pembroke thus becoming extinct, (fn. 69) and the manor of Fulbrook passed to his kinsman Reynold de Grey, who conveyed it with other lands in 1400 to eight trustees. (fn. 70) In 1428 John, Duke of Bedford, held it as ¼ knight's fee, (fn. 71) and died seised thereof in 1435, leaving as heir his nephew, King Henry VI. (fn. 72) The appurtenances at this time consisted of the chapel, a dovecote, the park, and a mill held by Pinley Priory.
The custody of the King's manor and park of Fulbrook was granted to various royal servants during the next twenty years. (fn. 73) In 1462 Edward IV granted this manor to his kinsman, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, (fn. 74) after whose death the park of Fulbrook was granted to George, Duke of Clarence, first for life in 1472, (fn. 75) and then in tail in 1474. (fn. 76) Upon his attainder in 1478 it was certified that he died seised of the manor of Fulbrook, (fn. 77) which again remained in the hands of the Crown for some 65 years. (fn. 78) In 1545 lands in Fulbrook called 'Beryfurlong' were granted to George Tresham of Newton Parva, Northants., and Edmund Twynyho. (fn. 79)
In 1547 John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, obtained the inheritance of Fulbrook, and on his attainder in 1553 it was granted by Queen Mary to Sir Francis Englefield, (fn. 80) for his life. The latter in his turn was also attainted and in 1607 the park was leased to Nicholas Faunt for 41 years in reversion after Margery Englefield, widow. Faunt assigned the lease to Sir Thomas Lucy at some time before 1615. In that year Sir Thomas purchased the fee simple of the park from William Willoughby, who with William Brock, then deceased, had received a grant of it by Letters Patent in 1610. (fn. 81) By 1658 Richard Lucy was in possession of the manor; (fn. 82) and since that time it has remained in the Lucy family. (fn. 83) Sir Henry Fairfax-Lucy is the present lord of the manor.
A parcel of land called Northbrook was granted by Edward IV to St. Mary's College, Warwick, in 1461 in recompense for certain rents and portions in Fulbrook which they had lost by the inclosure of the park forty years earlier. (fn. 84) The College held this property until the Dissolution, it being valued in 1490 (fn. 85) and 1508 (fn. 86) at £4 15s. 10d., and at £5 6s. 8d. c. 1540–4. (fn. 87) In 1545, having reverted to the Crown, it was given to Edward Grant, son of Richard Grant of Snitterfield. (fn. 88) Edward died in 1592, leaving Northbrook to his widow Anne with remainder to his eldest son Thomas, to whom he bequeathed in succession the rest of his property, consisting of Briary Lands and tenements in Snitterfield and Droitwich. (fn. 89) Anne died in 1596. (fn. 90) Thomas married Alice Ruding (fn. 91) and was the father of John Grant the conspirator. In 1603 John granted a 21 years' lease of Northbrook to his cousin Sir William Somerville and his brother-in-law John Wyntour. (fn. 92) After his execution in 1606 the property was forfeited to the Crown, though his widow was still in occupation in 1608. (fn. 93) In 1611 it was leased for 21 years to Ellis Rothwell. (fn. 94) Wyntour Grant son of John Grant recovered his father's estates in 1623 and sold them to Sir Thomas Puckering of the Priory, Warwick. (fn. 95)
Kenilworth Abbey held property in Fulbrook valued in 1535 at 10s. yearly. (fn. 96)
A mill worth 12s. is recorded in Domesday. (fn. 97) In 1198 William de Bereford granted two mills in Fulbrook to William de Turville and Isabel his wife. (fn. 98) A mill worth 100s. belonging to the manor was held in 1220 by the Prior of Thelsford, (fn. 99) probably on lease as there is no other trace of the priory owning it. In 1254 John Mace and Denise his wife granted a virgate, 2 cottages, and half a mill to Simon de Wauton. (fn. 100) The mill which was excluded from William Gernun's grant of the manor in 1283 may then have belonged to the Prioress of Pinley, who two years later granted an acre of land, half an acre of meadow, and the moiety of a mill in Fulbrook to Richard de Henley and others. (fn. 101) The mill was still held by the priory in 1435. (fn. 102) The site of a mill is clearly evident on the brook at Lower Fulbrook Farm, and lower down, on the further side of the Hampton Lucy road, are the remains of a dam of what may have been another mill and of a road leading down to it.
During the 14th and 15th centuries the advowson belonged to the lords of the manor, (fn. 103) but when the last incumbent was presented to the rectory in 1543 the patronage was in the hands of the Bishop. (fn. 104)
The church in 1535 was described as a free chapel and included in the park, but tithes to the value of 14s. from Northbrook and Berrymedowe were being received by Dr. Bell, (fn. 105) probably the Warden of Stratford College. (fn. 106)
The church was said, both by Rous (fn. 107) and in the Inquisition of 1478, (fn. 108) to have been already demolished, though an incumbent was presented as late as 1543. (fn. 109) It is generally believed to have stood in the field known as Chapel Close opposite Court Farm. (fn. 110) Skeletons have been dug up here (fn. 111) and about a century ago a medieval gravestone was found, (fn. 112) about 2½ ft. high and 5½ in. thick, with rounded head and carved with a maltese cross in low relief. This is now at Grove Field Farm, Hampton Lucy.