A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
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This small parish, which was also often called Barton in Henmarsh, (fn. 1) is dominated on the south by Barton Hill, which attains a height of over 600 ft.; from here the ground falls rapidly to 300 ft. in the valley of the Stanford Brook, north of the village.
The village is small and lies mostly north of the church: it is chiefly of small stone-built houses with slate or stone-tiled roofs. It has a small triangular green. One house of farm-house type north of the green dates probably from the 17th century. It has mullioned windows with labels in its west gable end towards the roadway.
The Manor House, north of the church, is a typical Cotswold manor-house built of the local yellow (Campden) stone and depending almost entirely on its material and proportions for its attractiveness. The story is that it was built in 1612 by Inigo Jones, the architect, for James Overbury; but the property was only acquired in 1625 by Walter Overbury, and there is no James in the pedigree. It is probable that the building is mainly of the late 16th century; perhaps Jones may have carried out some sort of remodelling, chiefly to the middle range and interior, after Walter Overbury bought it.
The plan is of the usual late Tudor type, having a main block facing east and west with wings extending to the east and projecting slightly to the west. It is of three stories—the third being in the roofs—those of the main block being taller than in the wings. In the south wall is an original arched and square-headed doorway to the stair hall and east of it outside is a recess, also with a four-centred head, that was used formerly for charitydoles. The windows in the wings are of the normal low and wide, mullioned, type: the moulded string-courses that mark the floor levels serve as the drip-stones for most of them, but where they are at other levels they have their own labels. The third story has large gabled dormers flush with the lower walls, three on each side of the main block and one on each side of each wing: all the gables have moulded copings with small ballfinials at the apices and pointed pinnacles above the kneelers. The three outer walls have projecting chimney-stacks, each with a range of three tall detached diagonal shafts. There are also later chimney-stacks at the two ends of the main block.
The entrances on the east face of the main block depart from the traditional central porch and door-way plan and may perhaps be a later change, made to give better access to the wings from the main block. There is a two-storied lobby-tower built in each angle, with archways into the main block and wings. On the inner faces of these are lower porch wings communicating with them and with their outer entrances facing each other. Above the porches are low upper stories, and the space between them is bridged to form a covered way faced with a large round arch with rusticated voussoirs and a carved foliage key-block, reaching to half the height of the main upper story. Within this recess the main wall has a modern large six-light transomed window to the hall, placed where the entrance would have been originally. The entrances have round-arches with carved spandrels and pediments, and both porches and lobby-towers have mullioned and transomed windows differing from the original windows. The lobby-towers have plain parapets (at the main second-floor level), and above their angles are ball-finials larger than those of the original gables. The roofs, which show no very distinctive form of construction, are covered with stone tiles.
The hall in the main block has a stone fire-place on its west side which begins as a normal four-centred arch but has a horizontal middle part as though the fire-place had been widened, but it is all of one kind of stone, so may have been part of the later remodelling. Above it is a pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice shelf. The openings to the hall from the lobbies are moulded and round-headed with panelled soffits and carved key-stones.
The south wing contains the 17th-century main staircase in its middle part. It has square-turned balusters, the mouldings of which slope with the rise of the stair, and panelled newels with small heads. In the north wing is an original and smaller staircase with flat, shaped balusters. The doorway at its foot has a moulded frame with moulded base-stops. The diningroom, the easternmost chamber in the north wing, has a moulded Tudor fire-place and is lined with butt panelling of c. 1600 with a fluted frieze at the top and a dentilled cornice. The ceiling also has enrichments of the same period—a large oval middle panel, formed by a moulded rib, surrounded by four diamond-shaped panels that have central triple-rose bosses; and there are other small square paterae of foliage and flowers, all differing. The 'Oak Room', at the east end of the south wing, has richer panelling, perhaps unique for Warwickshire and probably by Inigo Jones. There are six tiers of small panels from floor to frieze with mitred mouldings: the panels in the second to fifth tiers, having their angles rebated, are really cross-shaped, and at the intersections of muntins and rails are raised square 'jewel' ornaments. The topmost tier are rectangular panels but have an inner oval frame with four keyblocks, and at the ceiling is an elaborately carved frieze. At the windows are fluted pilasters. The stone Tudor fire-place has an oak overmantel of three bays with elliptical-headed arched panels with radial or shell tympana. The west room of this wing was the former kitchen and had a large fire-place, with a spit, now replaced by a modern fire-place. This room and the room above have been provided with modern threesided west bay-windows. Some of the upper rooms preserve the original Tudor fire-places and have moulded ceiling beams. There may have been a gallery originally over the hall, but it is now divided into chambers, and an east passage, entered from the lobbies.
Robert Dover, an attorney who was remarkable for persuading his clients to compromise and avoid litigation and obtained fame by founding the 'Cotswold games', was resident in this parish for some years about the beginning of the 17th century. (fn. 6) A later resident was Olivia Wilmot, who spent much of her childhood under the care of her uncle, Dr. James Wilmot, rector of Barton, and was married here in 1791 to J. T. Serres, from whom she separated in 1804. She achieved some fame as an artist, becoming landscape-painter to the Prince of Wales, and more notoriety as claiming to be 'Princess Olive', daughter of the Duke of Cumberland, (fn. 7) a descent less substantial than that of Christopher Sly, in the Prologue to Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, as 'Old Sly's son of Burton Heath'.
In 1086 Grim held ½ hide in BARTON of Robert de Stafford, (fn. 8) and the overlordship of a fractional fee, called 1/16 in 1242 (fn. 9) and ¼ in 1398, (fn. 10) continued with the Staffords until at least 1460. (fn. 11)
In 1166 the fees of the honour of Stafford included ¾ fee held by Roger Vigil (fn. 12) in Staffordshire and Warwickshire. (fn. 13) He, as Roger le Wayte, in 1197 granted to Simon de Berton ½ virgate in Barton, namely 10 acres in the field to the north and 10 acres in that to the south (suggesting that the two-field economy ruled here), with its tenant William the miller and his brood. (fn. 14) He was living in 1199, (fn. 15) but was probably dead by the end of that year, when his daughter Cecily (fn. 16) with her husband Thomas the Chamberlain gave to Simon son of Richard de Berton ½ virgate in Barton with 'Linlandesich' to hold by the render of a pair of spurs or 2d. (fn. 17) Cecily married Richard de Bereford in 1211. (fn. 18) Alice widow of William le Wayte held land in Barton in 1240, (fn. 19) as did a later William in 1261. (fn. 20) In 1242 the Staffordshire portion of the Wayte fee, in Rickerscote, was held by Hugh le Wayte, (fn. 21) but the 1/16 fee in Barton was then held of Robert de Stafford by Richard le Frankeleyn. (fn. 22) This was probably under some temporary arrangement, as Simon le Wayte (fn. 23) in 1309 settled a messuage and a carucate of land here on himself with remainder to his son John and his wife Alice. (fn. 24) John le Wayte was one of the chief taxpayers in Barton in 1332. (fn. 25) In 1392 and 1398 the quarter fee was held of the Earl of Stafford by Edmund Wayte. (fn. 26) A William Wayte of Barton was collector of a subsidy in 1446, (fn. 27) and in 1460 the fee was said to be held by 'Wayte', (fn. 28) but after this date neither the family nor the fee can be traced.
Another quarter-fee in Barton was held of the Earls of Warwick between 1235 and 1407. (fn. 29) In 1235 and 1242 a mesne lordship was held by Thomas de Arden, (fn. 30) and this can be traced back to about 1220. (fn. 31) It was probably the Arden interest that was represented by William Ranes and John de Clinton, who held the quarter-fee in, or perhaps before, 1400 and 1407 from the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 32) They were apparently husbands of the two daughters of John de Dycheford, who died in 1375. In 1487 Anne and Ursula, daughters of Thomas Ranes, and John Clinton were suing William Bury (see below) for land in Barton. (fn. 33)
The quarter-fee, or part of it, was held in the 12th century by Ranulf de Berton. He had by his first wife a son Einulf, and by his second, Maud, two daughters—Margery who married Richard and had a son Simon de Berton, and Felice who had two daughters, Avice, and Aldith who married Walter Belham. Einulf made over his rights to Simon, who in 1214 was holding 8½ virgates here. (fn. 34) Simon was murdered about 1220 (fn. 35) and left a son Richard de Berton, (fn. 36) who in 1249 conveyed the advowson of the church to Mr. Simon de Wauton. (fn. 37) Four years later, however, Robert le Mareschal and Emma his wife were holding half the advowson, and 3 virgates of land, as well as another 2 virgates leased to Henry de Wolward and Alice his wife, about which they made an agreement with Robert's son Richard. (fn. 38) This Robert le Mareschal and Richard 'le Eyr' were holding the quarter-fee under Thomas de Arden in 1242. (fn. 39) A later Robert Mareschal with Rose his wife in 1338 conveyed 3 messuages and 6 virgates in Barton to Nicholas Makerel and Gilbert de Welton, John son of (this ?) Robert Mareschal at the same time registering a claim. (fn. 40) The history of this manor, if such it was, then becomes obscure. Gilbert de Welton, who was elected Bishop of Carlisle in 1353, presented to Barton Church in 1354, as did John de Welton, in 1364, and Sir William Peyto in 1449. (fn. 41) In 1471, however, when John Peyto presented, William Marshall alias Bury challenged his right and recovered the advowson, (fn. 42) though Dugdale's assertion that he was of the same family as the earlier Mareschals (fn. 43) is not proven. Thomas Bury of Barton is mentioned in 1498, (fn. 44) and in 1518 John Bury was presented for having inclosed a messuage and 45 acres of arable in this parish. (fn. 45) He, or another John, died in 1551 and his son Edmund died in 1559 leaving a son William then a child. (fn. 46) During the minority of William the manor seems to have been in the hands of his mother's brother William Underhill, who died in 1570. (fn. 47) William Bury and his son William were dealing with the manor and advowson in 1617, (fn. 48) and in 1625 conveyed them to Walter Overbury, (fn. 49) who rebuilt the manor-house (fn. 50) and died in 1637. (fn. 51) His son Nicholas died in 1681 leaving a young son Thomas Overbury. (fn. 52) Thomas died without issue in 1739 (fn. 53) and under his will the manor was apparently sold. (fn. 54) From 1759 to 1784 it was held by Robert Bird and in 1792 by his widow Mary; Henry Bird occurs as lord of the manor in 1806 and 1813, and Robert Merttins Bird in 1822. (fn. 55) The latter was dealing with the manor in 1824, (fn. 56) and was chief landowner in the parish in 1850. (fn. 57) In 1897 it was bought from his son Major Robert Wilberforce Bird by Col. Stanley Arnold, on whose death it passed to his daughter Ethel Constance wife of Robert Grosvenor Perry, who was holding it in 1937. (fn. 58)
The chancel and nave are of early-12th-century date, but there seems to have been some attempt at enhancing the details of the chancel arch and north chancel-window later in the century. The small west tower, hardly more than a turret, was built late in the 12th century and its top stage added early in the 14th century, when the east wall of the chancel was rebuilt, and probably also the south wall, which, however, was rebuilt again in some post-Reformation restoration and all the earlier details destroyed. The south chapel was added c. 1330. The south porch is modern, and there have been modern renovations to the masonry and to all the roofs.
The chancel (21 ft. by 15 ft.) has an early-14thcentury east window of three cinquefoiled lights and geometrical tracery in a two-centred head, with an external hood-mould that is decorated with ball-flowers and has head-stops. The sunk-chamfered outer order of the head is similarly enriched and the rear-arch is moulded. The masonry has been largely renewed. In the north wall is an 8-in. light of the 12th century with wide internal splays. The head was semicircular, but later in the 12th century was cut to a point and enriched outside with carving. The semicircular reararch has moulded cheveron ornament. At the west end of the wall is a 14th-century low-side window with a trefoiled pointed head and a chamfered segmentalpointed rear-arch. The lower half has been walled up. The only south window, near the west end, is a modern one of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a pointed head. Farther east is a modern sedile recess.
The east wall is of early-14th-century coursed and squared yellow ashlar, less regular in the gable-head than below, and has a projecting splayed plinth: the restored coping has some ball-flower ornament. The north wall is of 12th-century small rubble-work and has no plinth except a short return of the 14th-century plinth at the east end. The south wall has obviously been rebuilt, perhaps in the 17th century, with very yellow and regularly coursed rough ashlar: a broken vertical seam marks the south end of the 14th-century east wall and the plinth is the same as the east plinth.
The gabled roof of two bays is modern and is covered with stone tiles. The chancel arch, only 11 ft. wide, is of early-12th-century date but was probably partly rebuilt about the end of the same century. The semicircular head is of two square orders, the outer continued from the responds and having a hood-mould on the nave side of half-round section, stopping on the plain chamfered abaci. Its voussoirs are mostly small, but near the springing level on the east face of the south side is one about twice the average size and of a different stone, carved in low relief with a pig and a fragment of interlacing scroll ornament: it is obviously brought from elsewhere and may have been part of the tympanum of a doorway. The inner order is of larger voussoirs and is carried on half-round shafts with scalloped square capitals: between the scallops is square pellet or nail-head ornament. The bases are moulded on square chamfered sub-bases.
The nave averages 32 ft. by 18 ft. inside, but the walls are rather out of square. The only remaining 12th-century details are the two doorways. The south doorway is of mid-12th-century date and is of one order with a large edge-roll interrupted at the springing level by moulded and hollow-chamfered abaci. The hood-mould of the round head is also hollow-chamfered. On one of the west jamb-stones is a scratched mass-dial. The north doorway, which is blocked and not visible inside, is plainer than the other, being only chamfered, and having a plain hood-mould to the round head. Over it is a relieving arch.
In the east half of the north wall is a large 15thcentury window of three cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and tracery in a square head. The jambs and head are moulded with wide casement hollows inside and out and it has an external moulded label with beast-like stops. Under its east jamb inside is reset an early-14th-century piscina with a trefoiled head and remains of a round basin. This was probably in the south wall formerly, where a modern archway leads into the south chapel. The larger pointed archway to the chapel, immediately west of this, is of two chamfered orders with hood-moulds differing in section on the two faces. The inner order has a 14th-century moulded capital to the west respond. The whole of the east respond was modernized with the insertion of the narrower archway.
West of the south doorway is a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in the two-centred head, with an external hood-mould. The jambs are of one chamfered order, the splays are wide and as the window is set close to the west wall the west splay is not complete. The chamfered rear-arch is semicircular. Just east of the south doorway is a stoup in a 15th-century four-centred head. In the west wall is a plain round-headed doorway into the tower and presumably contemporary with it. Above it is a 12th-century round-headed light put out of use by the tower: it has plastered wide splays. The masonry of the nave walls is like the north wall of the chancel. The coping and gable-cross of the east wall are modern. The roof is modern, of trussed rafter type and covered with stone tiles.
The chapel south of the nave (about 17½ ft. by 12 ft.) has a window of c. 1330 in each of its three walls. The east and south windows are each of the usual two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a twocentred head, with an external hood-mould. The jambs are of one chamfered order and the wide splays have dressed angles: the rear-arch is moulded. The narrower window in the west wall is blocked because of the porch. It was of two pointed lights in a two-centred head: the jambs are of two chamfered orders. It is set very low in the wall and is not visible inside, but a moulded string-course across the west end was interrupted for it. Presumably the floor of the chapel was lower than now.
The chapel walls are of coursed roughly squared rubble. At the angles are ashlar dressings and very low diagonal buttresses: the plinth is chamfered. On two stones are scratched sundials. The east and west walls are gabled and have old coping stones and weatherworn crosses.
The west tower (only about 5½ ft. square) is of three stages divided by plain string-courses. The walls of the two lower stages are of courses of small squared yellow stones with mostly larger dressings at the angles. The lowest 10 ft. of the south side is of a lighter tinted stone than the others, and the north side has had some repair. The top stage is generally of larger courses and has east and west coped gables to the saddle-back roof, which is covered with stone tiles. In the west wall of the lowest stage is a narrow rectangular light with a semicircular rear-arch, and the south wall of the second stage has another rectangular light. The third stage (bell-chamber) has a 14th-century trefoiled light in each wall. At the apices of the gables are the ancient bases of crosses, but the east cross is modern and on the western is a weather-vane.
The font, of the 15th century, is octagonal: the sides of the bowl have quatrefoiled panels with square central paterae and on the concave underside are foliage bosses. The stem has plain panels and the base is moulded.
In the north windows of the chancel are reset fragments of glass from the east window. In the eastern is some tabernacle work, some black and white foliage and floral borders, pieces of plain ruby and green and one small piece with the gridiron symbol of St. Lawrence. In the western are some 13th-century quarries—clear with thin line foliage patterns, also some 14thcentury running foliage borders, &c. In the six tracery lights of the 15th-century north window of the nave are white and yellow line figures of falcons with spreading wings, all contemporary except one which is modern.
In the chancel is a brass effigy of a man in Elizabethan costume and an inscription to Edmund (altered from Edward) Bury, died 22 January 1558(–9). His widow Elizabeth (Underhill) of Nether Ettington married secondly Thomas Tawyer of Raunds, Northants., and caused this stone to be prepared in 1608. There are also two shields of arms and a rect angular indent. There are other later floor slabs, including one to Thomas Overbury 1739 with a shield of arms. A mural monument on the south side of the chancel is to Anthony Weoley, November 1643 and Clement (Fox) his wife June 1653: above it is an achievement of arms.
There are two bells, a small one bearing the name of John Kerry, 1672, and a large one by Henry Bagley 1740. (fn. 59)
The communion plate includes a large cup, paten, and flagon, all of 1638, provided by the bequest of Walter Overbury and the gift of his widow Magdalen. There is also a second cup, given by Nicholas Overbury in 1670. (fn. 60)
The advowson appears to have been attached to the Warwick quarter-fee (see above). Robert le Mareschal in 1317 conveyed it to Nicholas Makerel of Carlton in Lindsey, (fn. 61) who in 1323 presented Gilbert de Welton to the rectory of Barton. (fn. 62) When the latter resigned he is called Gilbert Makerel; (fn. 63) as Gilbert de Welton, Bishop of Carlisle, he presented Mr. John de Welton to Barton in 1354, and the said John, who had resigned in 1355, presented in 1364. (fn. 64) As already stated, Sir William Peyto was patron in 1449, but William Marshall alias Bury recovered the advowson in 1471. John Peyto, however, died seised thereof on 15 August 1487; his eldest son Edward died a month later, (fn. 65) and Edward's widow Godith claimed ⅓ of the advowson in dower, it having passed to their son John, aged 9, then in ward to Robert Throckmorton. (fn. 66) The advowson afterwards came into the hands of the Burys, and it then followed the descent of the manor until 1704, when Thomas Overbury gave it to the President and Fellows of the College of Holy Trinity, Oxford, (fn. 67) in whose gift the rectory remains.
William Adams by will proved 9 November 1891 gave £600, the income to be applied by the churchwardens in the purchase of coals for the needy poor for distribution annually at Christmas. The dividends, amounting to £15 9s., are annually distributed to the poor of the parish.
Catherine Sophia Bird by will proved 22 January 1921 gave the income from the sum of £250 in 2½ per cent. Consols to the rector for the time being of the parish. The charity is administered by the churchwarden.