A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4, Hemlingford Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1947.
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This small parish, 1½ miles from north to south by 1 mile in breadth, lies between the county boundary of Staffordshire on the north and the road from Shuttington to Newton Regis on the south. The road from Tamworth to Ashby la Zouche passes through the northern part of the parish, and where this is crossed by another road running south, on a slight rise, lies the village of Seckington. North of the church are the well-preserved earthworks of a motte and bailey type of Norman castle. (fn. 1)
Seckington is the 'Secandune' at which Ethelbald, King of the Mercians, was killed in 755 or 757, probably by Beornred, who ruled for a brief while after his death. (fn. 2)
The 5-hide vill of Seckington was held in two equal parts at the time of the Domesday Survey, 2½ hides formerly belonging to Godric being held of the Count of Meulan by Ingenulf and Arnulf, (fn. 3) and the other 2½ hides, held before the Conquest by Ernui, being held of William son of Corbucion by Juhell. (fn. 4)
The overlordship of the count's portion descended (fn. 5) to Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, who died in 1264 seised of 5 virgates in Seckington, held by Thomas de Camville. (fn. 6) This passed to the earl's daughter and co-heir Ellen, wife of Alan la Zouche. Their grandson Alan la Zouche died in 1314, seised of 1/6 fee in SECKINGTON, (fn. 7) which was assigned to his younger daughter Maud and her husband, Sir Robert de Holand. (fn. 8) Their son Robert left a daughter Maud who married John, Lord Lovel of Titchmarsh, (fn. 9) in which family the overlordship continued until at least 1455. (fn. 10)
The overlordship of the Corbucion moiety had come into the hands of the Earls of Warwick by 1242, when a ½-fee in Seckington was held of the earl by the heir of William de Camville. (fn. 11) It continued to be held of the earls, as varying fractions of a fee, until 1401. (fn. 12)
About 1170 Richard Bruton, with the assent of his brother Hamon, sold the demesne of Seckington, held of the Earl of Leicester, to William de Camville. (fn. 13) William married Aubreye Marmion, from whom their son William received both this ¼ fee and another ¼ fee held of the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 14) The younger William's grandson Thomas is found holding ⅓ fee in Seckington of the Earl of Warwick in 1267 (fn. 15) and 5 virgates there of the Earl of Winchester in 1270. (fn. 16) Thomas's son Gerard de Camville died before 1316, when his daughter Elizabeth, who married Robert Burdet, held the Warwick fee. (fn. 17) In 1314, however, 1/6 fee in Seckington was held of Alan la Zouche, (fn. 18) and in 1328 of Robert de Holand (fn. 19) by Sir William Martin. He was son of Sir Nicholas Martin, first husband of Maud who married Geoffrey de Camville, second cousin of Gerard, (fn. 20) but his right to the fee does not appear.
Robert Burdet had a grant of free warren in Seckington in 1327, (fn. 21) and his son and heir Robert was born here in 1345. (fn. 22) The manor then followed the descent of Bramcote in Polesworth (q.v.) in this family, (fn. 23) until 1919, when Sir Francis Burdett, 8th Baronet, sold the estate in lots. The manorial rights, attached to Seckington Hall Farm, were bought by Mr. Harry Arnold. (fn. 24)
In 1316 the vill of Seckington was said to be held by Robert Burdet and Gerard de Sekyndon, (fn. 25) and the same two persons were the largest contributors in this vill, each paying 3s. 6d., to the subsidy of 1332. (fn. 26) Gerard was probably ancestor of John Seckington father of William (c. 1478), (fn. 27) whose elder son John died in 1518 holding certain tenements of Sir John Burdet. (fn. 28) John's son William dying without issue in 1524, (fn. 29) the lands went to his uncle Nicholas Seckington, who died in 1549. (fn. 30) The property, now described as 'the manor of Seckington', being probably the demesne lands of the manor, went to Robert Nycolles, son of Joyce sister of Nicholas, but was disputed by Thomas Seckington of Coleshill, whose relationship does not appear. (fn. 31)
The chancel is probably of late-13th-century origin, although its east and south windows date from about 1330, when it was remodelled and the nave, tower, and porch were rebuilt. The tower and spire were rebuilt in 1883 with the re-use of much of the original material, and there were other very drastic restorations in the 19th century, when the east window is said to have been widened. Most of the tracery of the other windows is modern and whether always of the original designs is not certain.
The chancel (about 28 ft. by 16 ft.) has an east window of five lights and foiled tracery based on that in the neighbouring church at Newton Regis; the jambs and arch are splayed and are probably 14th century. In the north wall is a late-13th-century window of three narrow pointed lights and plain intersecting tracery in a two-centred head with a segmental-pointed rear-arch. There was a similar two-light window east of it, but it has lost its mullion and tracery and was blocked for the Burdett monument of 1603. Below it is a plain segmental-pointed recess with the grave-slab described below. West of the window is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and ogee head and segmental-pointed rear-arch.
Two windows in the south wall are of the 14th century, each of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and modern tracery; the jambs (like those of the east window) are splayed on both faces and continued in the head. West of them is a 14th-century low-side window with rebated jambs and ogee head and internal lintel; it has a hook for the former shutter. The walls are faced with sandstone ashlar, inside pink and grey, and outside cream-tinted; the plinth is chamfered. At the angles are deep narrow buttresses with many offsets at the top. In the south wall is a 14th-century piscina with two round basins in projecting moulded sills on corbels that were once carved. The niche has a trefoiled ogee-head, and a hood-mould with head-stops. Over the apex is set a small human-head corbel.
The nave (about 44 ft. by 21 ft.) has two windows in each wall, each like its opposite. The eastern is of three cinquefoiled pointed lights and uncusped intersecting tracery; the western is of two wider lights and tracery like the south chancel windows; all are modern except the jambs. The north and south doorways have 14th-century jambs and ogee-pointed heads; the northern is blocked. In the south wall is a trefoiled ogee-headed piscina with a round basin.
There are scars in the east wall and re-entrant angles made for the former rood-screen and loft. North of the chancel arch are arched chases for 2½ bays of the screen and in the side walls are filled-in sockets for the beams of the loft-floor and gallery front. In the south-east angle are grooves for the former stair.
The south porch is coeval with the nave, but may have been rebuilt with the original material. It has a pointed entrance of two chamfered orders with broach-stops at the springing-level above square jambs. The gable-head has an old coping. There are stone benches, now only 6 in. above the floor. East of the entrance is a scratched sun-dial and inside are scratched 17th-century dates from 1628 to 1699.
The west tower (about 12 ft. square) is of three stages with walls of grey ashlar (much of it modern) and lined with modern brickwork inside. At the angles are diagonal buttresses with V-shaped faces, reaching to the parapet. The parapet has ranges of trefoiled arched panels and there were once angle pinnacles. The two-centred archway to the nave is of two continuous orders, the outer splayed and the inner wave-moulded. The west window is of two trefoiled ogee lights and a quatrefoil in an ogee main head with a hood-mould. The second stage has a tall narrow lancet light in the west wall with deeply splayed jambs and head. The bell-chamber has windows of two pointed lights and plain spandrels in a two-centred head with hood-moulds having defaced carved stops.
In the tracery of the eastern windows of the nave are some reset pieces of 14th-century glass, mostly yellow and brown, including lions' masks, birds, and foliage. There are also fragments in the second north window. The font is modern. A plain framed chest in the tower is of the late 17th century and had three locks. In the chancel arch are the remains of the lower part of a 15th-century screen with moulded muntins and closed panels, two in each half, with cinquefoiled heads, having rosette cusp-points, and tracery. In the north recess in the chancel is a 14th-century gravestone of a priest, carved in relief with a long cross with a foiled head and a cinquefoiled ogee-arched open base. Flanking the stem are a chalice and a book.
Above is a mural monument of veined marble to Robert Burdett of Bramcote, died 27 March 1603. His widow Mary daughter of Thomas Wilson, Secretary to Queen Elizabeth, set up the monument. It has twin round-headed recesses flanked by Corinthian shafts carrying an entablature on which are obelisk pinnacles with trophies of arms. Before the recesses are the kneeling effigies of Robert, in armour, facing east and behind him two sons, and facing him his wife and four daughters. The tympana of the arches have carved shields of arms.
In the tower is a damaged 14th-century effigy of a lady with a wimple, veiled head-dress, and plain dress with remains of colouring. A gravestone in the churchyard is to the Reverend Richard Johnson, died 2 May 1670, aged 70.
Of the four bells (fn. 32) the treble is inscribed IESUS, undated, and the third is of 1640 by Hugh Watts of Leicester. The other two are of 1886 by Taylor & Co.
In 1205 William de Camville and Aubrey his wife brought an assize of last presentation against Simon de Berkeston for this church, (fn. 33) and probably established their claim, as, except when the manor was in the hands of the overlords owing to the minority of the heir, the advowson of the church rested with the lord of the manor. In 1929 the benefice was joined to Newton Regis, and from that time it has been under the rector of that place. The right of presentation is now exercised alternately by Miss H. Inge and the Birmingham Diocesan Trustees.