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, measuring 2 miles from north to south by a little over a mile at its greatest breadth, is bounded on the east by the Low Brook and on the west by a branch of Hatchford Brook. The land rises from about 310 ft. in the north to 400 ft. at and to the south of the church and Hall, a late-18th-century stone building replacing a former Tudor house. (fn. 1) Half a mile to the north-east is the village, lying on the road from Coventry north-westwards to Birmingham at the point where it is crossed by Damson Lane. The Cock Inn, on the north side of the Coventry road, is mentioned in 1672 as 'the house of Francis Hobby commonly called the Sign of the Cock', (fn. 2) and is a building of half-H plan with walls of 17th-century square timber-framing. Opposite it is a farm-house of brick with four gables, possibly of 17th-century origin, with a contemporary barn.
There has been a great deal of building in the parish in recent years, Elmdon having become a suburb of Birmingham with a population of over 5,000 persons. (fn. 5)
At the time of the Domesday Survey ELMDON was held by Roger, of Turchil, as ½ hide; it had previously been held by Tochi. (fn. 6) As with Turchil's other estates, the overlordship came to the Earls of Warwick and descended with that earldom. (fn. 7)
Early in the 13th century the Whitacres were holding land there; for in 1221 Jordan de Whitacre granted land in Elmdon to Gunnora, daughter of Richard son of Turkil, (fn. 8) to hold of him and his heirs. Some time before 1224 (fn. 9) he also granted land there to Elias son of Elias de Makinton. (fn. 10) Simon de Whitacre, Jordan's son, held Elmdon as half a knight's fee from Simon de Bercheston. (fn. 11) In 1235 he is said to hold the half-fee of the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 12) but in 1242 Hugh de Arderne appears as mesne lord intermediate between them, (fn. 13) and from that time at least the manor was held of the lord of the manor of Hampton-in-Arden. (fn. 14) The principal seat of the Whitacre family was at Over Whitacre, and Elmdon followed the descent of that manor (fn. 15) (q.v.) until the middle of the 16th century.
The Hore family, who in the 15th century, by marriage with the heiress of the Whitacres, became lords of half the manor of Over Whitacre, (fn. 16) and apparently of the whole manor of Elmdon, held land in Elmdon at least from c. 1230, when Thomas, son of Henry and Sybil, granted to Henry le Hore and Margery his wife all his land in Elmdon together with services and escheats of Ingram Clement, (fn. 17) possibly Margery's father. (fn. 18) In 1314–15 Richard le Hore demised all his land in Elmdon to Sir John Pecche, lord of Hampton-in-Arden. (fn. 19) From the reign of Edward III there is a series of deeds concerning land in Elmdon in which members of the Hore family were involved. The earliest, dated 1348, is a grant by Richard son of Sir Richard de Whitacre to Thomas (fn. 20) son of John Wauters of Pilatenhal, that he should hold the land which Geoffrey Wauters of the same place formerly held in Elmdon. (fn. 21) At a later date, 1369, Thomas settled the land with some other in Elmdon (fn. 22) on himself and his wife Agnes in tail. (fn. 23) A deed (fn. 24) of 1370 witnesses to an agreement between Richard de Whitacre, lord of Elmdon, and Thomas Hore, regarding the inclosure of a common way in Elmdon from the church towards Solihull and Thomas's house (fn. 25) in Richard's field called 'Colverhousfeld' and in a plot of Thomas's land called 'Shutecroft'. (fn. 26) This Thomas was probably grandfather of the Thomas Hore who married Margaret Waldeyve, representative of the Whitacres, and had a son Alan, whose daughter Catherine married John Butler and died seised of Elmdon manor in 1517. (fn. 27)
In 1542 John Butler son and heir of Catherine Butler of Solihull sold the manor of Elmdon to Thomas Marowe, (fn. 28) who let it to farm to Richard Newport of Hunningham, (fn. 29) who in turn regranted it to Thomas Marowe, his executors, administrators, and assigns, whereby the manor came to Thomas Hanford, who apparently successfully defended his claim to the manor against Samuel Marowe the son of Thomas. (fn. 30) About 1570 Henry Maine (fn. 31) purchased Elmdon from Thomas Hanford and it descended in the Maine family (fn. 32) until the second quarter of the 18th century. In 1654 the manor of Elmdon was conveyed to John Griffith and John Wollaston, (fn. 33) presumably for a settlement, as John Maine married Dorothy daughter of John Griffith (fn. 34) and John Wollaston was probably the brother-in-law of John Maine. (fn. 35)
In 1739 (fn. 36) Anna Maria and Jane Brearly received the manor of Elmdon from Anne Baine, widow, (fn. 37) and Paul Baine with the advowson of the church. This evidently was not a real transfer of rights, as Paul Baine was lord of the manor in 1752 (fn. 38) and presented to the benefice of Elmdon in 1756. (fn. 39) Some time between 1756 and 1789 the manor came into the hands of Isaac Spooner. (fn. 40) His son Abraham married Elizabeth Lillingston and took her name. He was killed in 1834 by the fall of a tree, and the manor was sold to W. C. Alston, who was succeeded in 1862 by his son William Alston (fn. 41). The manorial rights were held in 1932 by Mrs. E. L. Alston-Roberts-West. (fn. 42)
There are several memorials to the Spooner and Lillingston families in Elmdon Church; one member of the family was Archdeacon of Coventry, and Archbishop Tait married Catherine the youngest daughter of Archdeacon Spooner at Elmdon in 1843. (fn. 43)
Elmdon is referred to as a manor from at least 1256, (fn. 44) but in the 17th century a dispute arose as to whether it had any right to such a description. Depositions were taken of various inhabitants. (fn. 45) Most of the deponents stated that Elmdon was a separate parish and township, and one alleged his belief that John Maine's ancestors held courts there. Other deponents affirmed that the tenants of Elmdon appeared at the court of Hampton-in-Arden, but that the third-borough of Elmdon was usually chosen from the tenants of certain lands in Elmdon. Several stated that John Maine the defendant's father had heriot at the death of their respective fathers, and one went so far as to say that he had felons' goods, waifs and strays. The Court Rolls of Hampton-in-Arden of the 14th century show Elmdon as represented there by a tythingman and paying a fixed sum of money to the lord of Hampton-inArden. (fn. 46) When George II leased the manor of Hampton-in-Arden to Harry Gough a special reference was made in the grant (fn. 47) to the common fine of 5s. payable by the tenants of the manor, of which the tenants of Elmdon were responsible for 1s. The only definite reference to a court at Elmdon is in 1718. (fn. 48)
The old church of ST. NICHOLAS was pulled down; it now consists of a chancel—a five-sided apse—nave, and west tower. A monument to Abraham Spooner, lord of the manor, died 1788, records that he rebuilt the church in 1781, which was, in fact, the year in which the work was completed. (fn. 49)
In the south-east window of the nave are four 18thcentury medallions of enamelled glass 'from the ancient church', placed here in memory of the Rev. Canon G. Hayter, Rector 1892–1934, and his wife Alice Margaretta, d. 1937. One (circular) represents the Last Supper and the other three (oval) have allegorical figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
The advowson of the church at Elmdon followed, in the main, the descent of the manor. The only exception appears to have been in the latter part of the 17th century, when presentations were made by the Crown. (fn. 50) The reason given (fn. 51) for this is that John Maine, the lord of the manor, after the death of the incumbent in 1665 from plague, fled, and the new incumbent obtained a presentation under the Great Seal. On his resignation in 1691, the lord of the manor at that time being James Maine, a lunatic, his curate who followed him did likewise. William Mayne, however, had recovered his rights by 1719. (fn. 52) In 1900 the patronage was in the hands of F.G. Innes-Lillingston; (fn. 53) but in 1901 it was acquired by the Church Trust Fund. (fn. 54)
Elmdon cannot claim connexions with many famous people, but it is not without interesting associations. On 30 May 1797 William Wilberforce married Barbara Ann, eldest daughter of Isaac Spooner of Elmdon Hall, (fn. 55) and his sons Robert Isaac (1802–57) and Samuel (1805–73) were both born there. (fn. 56) Henry Crewe Boutflower, (fn. 57) Hulsean essayist, was curate at Elmdon in 1821 and rector there from 1857 until his death in 1863. He was buried at Elmdon.
Charities of Mayne and Paul Baine and the Alston Charity. Mr. Mayne by will bequeathed £20 and Paul Baine £10, the interest to be distributed to the poor of the parish in bread. The endowment of £30 was in 1781 loaned to the churchwardens towards the expenses of rebuilding the parish church. In 1874 W. C. Alston gave £150, to replace the original endowment of £30, for the benefit of the poor. The interest, £4 2s. 8d. per annum, is distributed to the poor in coal. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of the 16 June 1874 the rector and churchwardens for the time being were appointed trustees of the charities.