A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The eastern boundary of the parish is formed by the road running along the ridge of Edge Hill, at a height of about 700 ft. From here the ground falls sharply to the west, and on the steep side of the hill near Sunrising was at one time a figure of a horse, cut in the red sandstone and known as the Red Horse. (fn. 1) A 'tradition', not apparently known to Dugdale or Thomas, asserted that this commemorated the action of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 'the Kingmaker', at the battle of Towton on Palm Sunday, 1461, when he was alleged to have slain his horse as a sign that he would not abandon the field. In fact the horse was probably of much greater antiquity. The duty of keeping it scoured was imposed on the holder of Red Horse Farm and was apparently still kept up, or perhaps revived, in the first quarter of the 19th century. (fn. 2) Near this point, between two disused quarries, the road from Banbury to Stratford-on-Avon descends the hill; it then crosses the parish, running north-west for rather over a mile and then almost due west for the same distance. At the point where it changes direction it is met by a road from Lower, or Temple, Tysoe, one of the three hamlets in which most of the population is concentrated.
Lower Tysoe contains several 17th-century houses with mullioned windows; one of these, now a store, is of deep yellow ashlar and preserves its original entrance (bricked up). This has a moulded architrave, a very heavy lintel, and a label with large diamond-volute stops carved with human faces. In the middle of the curved broken pediment is a tablet bearing the initials [I T P] and date 1671.
Middle, or Church, Tysoe, half a mile to the south, is the main village. Most of the houses are 18th-century or later, but there are several older thatched stone cottages south of the churchyard. About a quarter of a mile farther south is Upper Tysoe, with similar cottages and a larger house, also thatched, at the corner of the Compton Wyniates road, with mullioned windows of the 17th century. The Manor House, to the west of Upper Tysoe, is a stone building with wide mullioned windows and a doorway with a four-centred and square head and label in the south front, where there is also a 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, perhaps reset from elsewhere.
The road north from Lower Tysoe is continued across the Banbury-Stratford road as a field path to Hardwick, a mile to the east of which, at the foot of Edge Hill, is Westcote. A little to the west of Lower Tysoe is a windmill, possibly on the site of one which is mentioned in the 14th and 15th centuries as attached to the main manor (fn. 3) —though this may have been on Windmill Hill (600 ft.) on the boundary of Compton Wyniates and Tysoe.
A formerly extensive village green was included in the 3,000 acres inclosed in 1798 under an Act of 1796. (fn. 4)
At the beginning of the present century a strong belief in witchcraft prevailed here, cases of assault in order to draw blood from a suspected witch occurring, and aged women being reluctant to use the aid of a walking-stick, as that was one notorious sign of a witch. (fn. 5) This is perhaps not unsuitable for a village which derived its name from the heathen god Tiw. (fn. 6)
Robert de Stafford in 1086 held a group of estates which before the Conquest belonged to the thegn Waga, whose name is commemorated in Wootton Wawen. Of these the largest was TYSOE, rated at 23 hides, to which were attached three houses in Warwick. (fn. 7) The main manor remained, with Wootton Wawen (q.v.), (fn. 8) in the hands of Robert's descendants for some 450 years. Nicholas, Baron of Stafford, had a grant of free warren here in 1285, (fn. 9) and his grandson Ralph, afterwards created Earl of Stafford, was granted in 1341 a weekly market on Wednesday at Tysoe and a fair lasting four days at Lammas, as well as view of frankpledge, gallows, and other franchises within the manor. (fn. 10) Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in 1520, shortly before he was attainted, conveyed the manor to trustees (fn. 11) to the use of Sir William Compton, (fn. 12) with whose descendants it has remained, the present lord of the manor being the Marquess of Northampton.
In addition to the church and rectory of Tysoe (see below) the Priory of Stone held a certain amount of land in the parish. Robert son of Nicholas de Stafford, with the consent of his wife Avice who held the manor in jointure, gave all the land of Curteys in Tysoe; (fn. 13) Ralph de St. Edmund gave 2 virgates, (fn. 14) and Robert de Haleford, with the consent of his wife Amice, a curtilage; (fn. 15) and in 1201 the Prior of Stone was sued by Richard son of Richard for 9 virgates here. (fn. 16) Between 1217 and 1237 Hervey de Stafford confirmed to the canons, among other gifts, a hide of land and a close in Tysoe of the gift of Robert Bagot, 'all the land which they hold in Tysoe of my fee, either in villeinage or freehold or of my demesne', the mill near the church, and the meadow of Kynesmor, with common rights and other liberties. (fn. 17) These additional lands were specifically included in the possessions of Stone Priory in 1292 when the Prior and Convent of Kenilworth released that priory from its subordinate position as a cell of Kenilworth. (fn. 18) After the Dissolution William Sheldon obtained a grant of the rectory of Tysoe in 1544, including the lands leased with it to William Willington, (fn. 19) to whom he conveyed his rights before 1547. (fn. 20) Willington apparently constituted these estates a rectorial 'manor' of Tysoe, which he granted in 1555 to William Barnes, reserving a life interest to himself and his wife and an annuity to Elizabeth Boughton, one of his seven daughters. (fn. 21) Willington died in 1555 (fn. 22) and William Barnes in 1562, when he left the manor to his son William, then aged 15. (fn. 23) The younger William Barnes in 1603 conveyed the manor, rectory, and advowson to Nicholas Clarke the elder, (fn. 24) whose son William succeeded him in 1612. (fn. 25) William left no issue (fn. 26) and the manor passed successively to his brothers Thomas (died 30 Dec. 1624) (fn. 27) and Francis, who died in 1632, when the manor passed to his son William. (fn. 28) He and his wife Helen made a settlement of the manor in 1647, (fn. 29) and Helen Clarke, widow, was dealing with it in 1667. (fn. 30) No later reference to this manor is known, and it is probable that the rectory lost its manorial status when it was acquired with the advowson (q.v.) by the Earl of Northampton.
Another ephemeral 'manor' of Tysoe makes a brief appearance in the 16th century. As early as 1376 John Lestraunge, lord of Walton D'Eyville, had lands and rents in Tysoe. (fn. 31) His descendant Thomas Lestraunge died in 1485 leaving two daughters; Anne married first Roger Lestraunge, by whom she had a son Thomas, and secondly Edward Knyvett; Margaret married John Lestraunge and had a daughter Barbara who married Robert Mordaunt. (fn. 32) In 1529 Barbara and her husband were dealing with a moiety of the 'manor' of Tysoe, (fn. 33) and in 1542 Anne Knyvett, widow, Sir Thomas Lestraunge, her son, Nicholas Lestraunge, his son, Robert Mordaunt and Barbara conveyed this manor of Tysoe to Robert Hopper. (fn. 34)
To the Knights Templars Robert de Stafford and Henry de Clinton granted lands in Tysoe, (fn. 35) where they held some 4 or 5 hides in 1185. (fn. 36) After the suppression of the Templars these lands came to the Knights Hospitallers and were attached to their Pre ceptory of Balsall. Accordingly the lists of knights' fees of the barony of Stafford record a fee, or halffee, in TEMPLE TYSOE as held by the Prior of St. John of Jerusalem. (fn. 37) After the Dissolution these lands of the preceptory were granted as a manor to Edward Aglion by in 1553, (fn. 38) and he was given leave to dispose of it to Francis Savage and Richard Wodwarde. (fn. 39) It must have been acquired by one of the Comptons, as in 1624 William Wootton died holding a messuage and land of William, Earl of Northampton, as of his manor of Temple Tysoe. (fn. 40) After this it was presumably absorbed into the main manor.
In 1242 a half-fee in WESTCOTE was said to be held of Robert de Stafford by Geoffrey de Mandevil. (fn. 41) In 1279, however, the Prior of Kenilworth was returned as lord of Westcote, which he held of the barony of Stafford as a half-fee. (fn. 42) One hide here had been given to Kenilworth and its cell the Priory of Stone by Ilbert son of Gilbert de Tena in the first half of the 12th century. (fn. 43) Apparently the manor was held by Robert fitz Otes of Loxley, whose estates were divided between his three daughters: Basile married Peter de la More, whose son Ralph conveyed his share to Kenilworth. (fn. 44) Richard Trussell, son of the second daughter, Agnes, exchanged his share to William de Bedyntone, whose granddaughter Isabel married William de Noers. They in 1270 sold 4½ virgates of land in Westcote to the Master of the Hospital of St. John Outside the East Gate of Oxford, who some twenty years before had bought all the land of William Bagod, descended from the third daughter of Robert fitz Otes. (fn. 45) The hospital had also acquired, by gift or purchase, a large number of other small properties in Westcote, (fn. 46) and from 1386 onwards the Master of St. John's Hospital is recorded as holding a half-fee of the barony of Stafford. (fn. 47) In 1444 Richard Vyse, Master of St. John's, and the brethren leased their manor of Westcote to Richard Dalby of Brookhampton for 60 years. (fn. 48) The hospital came to an end in 1457, when its site and possessions were granted to William Waynflete for the college of St. Mary Magdalen, which he was founding. (fn. 49) A quarrel between the college and Richard Dalby over their rights to the manor ended in favour of the college in 1476, and in 1484 Richard III granted to the President and scholars 3 virgates in Westcote forfeited by the Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 50)
Land in Hardwick was confirmed to the Priory of Kenilworth and its cell of Stone by Bishop Simon of Worcester between 1138 and 1147. (fn. 51) In 1242 a halffee in HARDWICK was held of Robert de Stafford by the heir of Ralph de la More; (fn. 52) and in 1279 Richard de Bleys was returned as lord of Hardwick, holding it of the barony of Stafford as two-thirds of a fee, while at the same time John de Cantilupe held part of the vill as one-third of a fee. (fn. 53) The manor of KYTE HARDWICK was held of the Duke of Buckingham by Richard Dalby when he died in 1477 leaving a son Robert. (fn. 54) It does not seem possible to link up these owners or to give any connected account of this estate.
Sugarswell, on the borders of the shires of Warwick, Gloucester, (fn. 55) and Oxford, is mentioned in 1318, when John Pecche complained against a large number of people for plundering and burning his houses there. (fn. 56) In 1509 Thomas Agard died seised of tenements in Sugarswell held of the Duke of Buckingham's manor of Tysoe as a quarter-fee, to the use of Thomas and his wife Mary, daughter and heir of Geoffrey Seyntgermyn. (fn. 57) When his son George Agard died in 1522 the property is called the manor of SUGARS WELL, (fn. 58) and Ambrose Agard was dealing with the manor in 1591 (fn. 59) and 1601. (fn. 60)
Between 1155 and 1159 Robert son of Nicholas de Stafford confirmed the gift to the Priory of Arbury of a ploughland of the demesne of Tysoe, namely 100 acres in one field and 100 in the other, and a yardland, 20 acres of meadow, and common of pasture; at the same time he added another ploughland of the same size and a yardland. (fn. 61) In 1236 Robert de Haleford and Amice his wife gave, in her right, 36 acres in Tysoe to Hugh, Prior of Arbury. (fn. 62) The property was administered with their estates in Dassett and Radway, the priory in 1535 paying 40s. yearly to one bailiff for the three parishes. (fn. 63)
Bordesley Abbey had a small property here, as Robert de Stafford and his son Robert in 1183 gave the monks 2 acres of meadow and pasture for their cattle. (fn. 64) This was probably near the western edge of the parish, as in 1221 the tenement of the Abbot of Bordesley in Tysoe was said to be injured by the raising of the dam of a pool in Oxhill. (fn. 65)
The Abbot of Stoneleigh had 1½ virgates in Westcote, from which he was said in 1275 to have withdrawn payments to the sheriff's aid and attendance at views of frankpledge. (fn. 66) The Northamptonshire Priory of Chalcombe also had a messuage and 5 acres of land in Westcote, of which the tenant, Andrew de Westcote, was hanged for felony in 1296. (fn. 67)
The parish church of ST. MARY (fn. 68) is a large edifice consisting of a chancel, north vestry, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower.
The building dates from the end of the 11th century or beginning of the 12th, when the nave was shorter than now and probably narrower. A narrow south aisle was added some time after the middle of the 12th century, with an arcade of three bays. Next came the lengthening of the nave and the addition of the west tower at the end of the same century. The south aisle and arcade may have been lengthened then or soon afterwards, when the original respond was moved westward and a new pillar and arch inserted. The archway from the nave to the tower was a later 13th-century insertion, probably replacing an earlier doorway.
The north aisle was added c. 1330–40 and it is fairly certain that the nave was widened a few feet to the north at the same time, the aisle and arcade being built before the original north wall was removed. There was a good deal of work done at this time: the clearstory was added to the nave and new roofs provided throughout. The nave-roof was high-pitched as indicated by the marks on the tower, but it was fitted with pierced parapets having profusely carved string-courses, obviously the work of the same craftsmen as those employed at Brailes Church. When the roof was placed over the south aisle, the east and south walls were more or less rebuilt, judging from the plinths, but kept at the same narrow width as the original aisle, so that the 12th-century doorway remains in situ. The roofs were again remodelled late in the 15th century, the nave-roof being reduced to a low pitch and the eaves-level of the south aisle being raised so as to reduce the pitch of this also.
There have been repairs and restorations at many periods. There were galleries in the church in 1790 which may have caused damage to the masonry; the later pillar of the south arcade has a capital of modern workmanship, perhaps necessitated by something of this sort. The tower, or part of it, has been underpinned and some of its buttresses more or less rebuilt, probably in the 18th century. The vestry and organ-chamber was added in 1872. Other restorations were carried out in 1854 (by Sir Gilbert Scott), and again in 1912 (at a cost of £2,000) when most of the internal plaster was removed and bonding stones were inserted in the tower walls, which were badly cracked, and other repairs done.
The chancel (about 34 ft. by 18 ft.) has an east window of five cinquefoiled lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head. The casement-moulded jambs and mullions are of the 15th century, but the tracery has been restored. In each of the two side walls are two similar windows, each of three lights and tracery in a two-centred head; the western on the north side is now unglazed and is covered by the modern vestry: under the eastern is a modern recess containing an effigy (described below). The priest's doorway has continuously moulded jambs and four-centred head.
The walls are built of brown and dark-yellow Hornton stone ashlar with a moulded and hollow-chamfered plinth and plain parapets. At the east angles are original diagonal buttresses and an intermediate buttress divides the south wall into two bays. The interior is also ashlarfaced.
The 15th-century roof is low-pitched and of two bays and three trusses with moulded cross-beams, curved braces and carved central pendants, moulded intermediate principal rafters, wall-plates, purlins, and ridge-pole.
The two-centred chancel arch is of white stone differing from the rest and may be a later restoration or alteration. The inner order is hollow-chamfered; on the west face is a hollow and moulded outer order and on the east a hollowed outer order. The capitals are moulded.
The nave (about 73 ft. by 23 ft.) has a 14th-century north arcade of four 16-ft. bays with pointed heads of two chamfered orders of medium-large voussoirs and a plain chamfered hood towards the nave. The pillars are octagonal, with responds to match, and have variously moulded capitals with preponderantly heavy abaci of square section. The bases are of square section on subbases of square plan. The masonry in the haunches of the arches is of small coursed brown rubble up to the base of the clearstory.
The south arcade is also of four bays of about the same span. The three eastern arches, of mid-late-12thcentury date, are pointed and of two square orders with grooved and hollow-chamfered hood-moulds on both faces, and the westernmost arch, of 13th-century extension, is of two hollow-chamfered orders with broach-stops at the west respond, and a plain chamfered hood on each face. The hood-moulds meeting over the middle pillar on the aisle side have a beast's (dog's?) head stop with a long protruding tongue. The two east pillars are cylindrical, 29 in. in diameter, in small courses; and have scalloped capitals with grooved and hollow-chamfered abaci, and bases of two small rollmoulds on square sub-bases. The third pillar, also cylindrical, is only 25 in. in diameter and of smaller courses; it has a moulded round capital of 13th-century contour but apparently modern, and a base of three roll-moulds on a chamfered square sub-base. The responds are of a shallow arc, only about 7 in. projection, instead of the more usual half-round. Similar responds are seen at Butlers Marston Church. The east respond has a scalloped capital to match the pillars, but the western is carved at each angle with a primitive leaf having a voluted tip. The base mould of this respond is like the other 12th-century bases, but on the aisle side it completes the half-circle in plan, being covered by the square masonry of the respond. The respond was moved westward with the insertion of the 13th-century west bay and this base was no doubt then cut, not matching the shallow arc.
Above the two eastern pillars are the remains of two early-12th-century small windows with wide splayed rear-arches and reveals towards the nave. The splays of the eastern are plastered and retain early painted decoration, a white interlacing stalk pattern on a red ground. The masonry above these windows is of irregular rubble with roughly tooled white stone dressings in the east re-entering angle: there is also a row of herring-bone work over the eastern window and some suggestion of the same above the other. A change of texture is seen in the haunch between the third and westernmost arches to a slightly more regular masonry in longer narrow stones.
The east wall is of roughly squared rubble approximately coursed. The north-east angle is splayed for a 15th-century rood-stair vice which is entered by a fourcentred doorway of brown stone: there are also remains of the upper doorway, now blocked. Rising from about a yard above the base of the clearstory are sloping straight-joints of a former steep-pitched gable of the nave with smaller and later rubble-work rising above it.
The clearstory has eight mid-14th-century windows on each side, each of two trefoiled lights and tracery varying in detail in a square head with an external label, some with head-stops. The labels of the south windows are not normally treated; the parapet string-course serves as the horizontal part, with vertical side-moulds to form the labels, the lintels of the windows being one course lower. They have been much patched with white stone. The clearstory walling is of coursed squared white stone rubble inside and ashlar externally. The parapets are open-traceried, the moulding of the copings have small battlements. On the north side the tracery is in a continuous wavy form with upper and lower trefoils, like that to the south aisle at Brailes Church, while that on the south side is a series of conjoined quatrefoiled circles, all in a deep yellow stone. The length is divided into four bays by square pinnacles that are panelled and have restored caps and crocketed finials. Some of the pinnacles are badly weather-worn, as are the gargoyles in the middles of the bays. The moulded string-courses are lavishly treated with carvings like those at Brailes including many ball-flowers, human heads—many spouting foliage from their mouths—beast-heads, grotesques, and conventional foliage paterae.
The late-15th-century roof is low-pitched and divided in eight bays by moulded cambered tie-beams supported by wall-posts and curved braces with traceried spandrels. The beams carry short king-posts, and the spaces between the tie-beams and the principal rafters above them are also traceried. On the middles of the soffits of the beams, except that against the east wall, are carved bosses. From east to west the subjects are: (1) two angels supporting a shield charged with a cheveron; (2) the face of a bearded man; (3) a double rose; (4) conventional four-lobed flower; (5) Paschal Lamb; (6) a form of flowered cross; (7) a beast-head of feline appearance; and (8) against the west wall, a double rose. Of the eighteen stone corbels that carry the trusses seven are plain; the others are variously carved and evidently belonged to the former 14th-century roof, especially those on the north side that include a woman's head with a square coif and reticulated sidehair, a man's face spouting foliage from the mouth, a laughing person with hands clasped together on the breast, and another lady's head in a kind of square headdress; the most remarkable is a satirical carving showing a fox-like beast squatting upright on a chair with a monk's and a nun's heads peering over its shoulders. On the south side the human faces are less characteristic, although several portray amusement; one is a semigrotesque with pointed fox-ears and another a lion's mask.
The north aisle (about 11 ft. wide) has a modern east archway opening into the organ-chamber and vestry. The window now reset in the east wall of the vestry was probably the former east window of the aisle; it is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and net tracery of the 14th century in a two-centred head with an external hood-mould. The jambs are of two ovolomoulded orders.
In the north wall are three windows of the 14th century. The easternmost is of three pointed lights and intersecting tracery in a two-centred head. The jambs are of two chamfered orders and the splays of old squared rubble: the pointed rear-arch is of square section. The other two windows are like the vestry window described above and have ovolo-moulded jambs. The 14th-century north doorway between the second and third windows has jambs and pointed head of two moulded orders and a hood-mould. The pointed rear-arch, of square section, is set high up. In the west wall is a 12-in. round-headed light with wide splays of rubble with angle-dressings, and a pointed rear-arch of square section. Its external stonework is badly decayed, but it is probably a late-12th-century window removed from the north wall of the nave when the aisle was added.
The walls are of coursed rubble inside, in small stones like the haunches of the arcade. Externally they are of dark brown coursed rough ashlar, the plinth being of 18th-century and later restoration. The plain parapet is also an old restoration, but its string-course is original and contains six ancient much-decayed grotesque gargoyles. Almost over the doorway in the hollow of the string-course is an interesting long narrow carving representing the souls of the donors—a bearded man and a woman in a square head-dress issuing from the top of an embattled tower, one on each side, and beyond each an angel holding a scroll in two horizontal bands to which the man and woman are clinging; the whole is flanked by two ball-flowers.
Below the easternmost window is a founder's tombrecess, described below, and west of it a looker with rebated edges for a door. An original but rather mutilated piscina is cut in the south-east angle; it has a trefoiled ogee-headed niche with the remains of a finial. The basin is circular and is sunk in a projecting sill.
The lean-to roof is divided into nine bays by main beams, moulded like those of the nave, with braces and wall-posts. On the soffits of the beams, except that against the east wall, are bosses carved (from east to west) with: (1) a double rose; (2 and 4) human faces spouting leaves; (6) human face with long ears; (8) lion's mask: the others are conventional foliage. The trusses are carried on carved stone corbels. Those on the north wall are: (1) (north-east corner) probably an angel; (2) probably a priest; (3) man with a pointed beard and wearing a chain; (4) man with a forked beard and pleated front; (5) man with a forked beard, playing a lute; (6) man with a long forked beard which he is grasping with both hands; (7) woman's head with coronet and pleated front; (8) lion's face; (9) ape-like beast; and (10) bearded man with long protruding tongue. On the south side are somewhat similar carvings: (1) (south-east corner) and (2) bearded men; (3) clean-shaven man with coronet and pleated front; (4) grotesque beast probably meant for a spotted leopard; (5) missing; (6) woman's head with long side-hair; (8) fool's head (?); (9) beast; and (10) (south-west corner) lion's head; all of the 14th century.
The south aisle (only 6½ ft. wide) has an unpierced east wall. In the south wall are three windows. The easternmost has 14th-century rubble splays but the remainder, of three cinquefoiled pointed lights under a square head, is probably an early-16th-century alteration. It has a chamfered cambered lintel inside, of four stones. The second is of three trefoiled lights and net tracery of c. 1330 in a two-centred head; the splays are similar to those of the first, but the rear-arch is pointed. The third is of two plain narrow pointed lights below a two-centred head with an external hood-mould, probably a 16th- or 17th-century alteration of a wider threelight window. It has very wide internal splays of rubble with ashlar dressings and a hollow-chamfered two-centred rear-arch.
The south doorway is a mid-late-12th-century survival. It has jambs of three orders, the innermost chamfered and continued in the round head except for a break with the grooved and chamfered abacus. The middle order of the head is a splay of three small rolls in section; the outer two linked to each other over the middle roll in a series of lozenge-shaped features forming a kind of chain-pattern. The outer order is moulded with a roll between two hollows. These two orders are carried on nook-shafts that have capitals carved with primitive foliage and moulded intermediate bands and bases. The grooved and chamfered hood-mould is decorated with pyramid or nail-head ornament. Above the head is reset a square tablet carved with a Paschal Lamb turned to the west and set in a circular frame with fleurs-de-lis carved in the spandrels. On each side of it are two small stones—a mask and a beak-head. The tablet is like that at Whitchurch Church, but that is turned towards the east.
The west window of the aisle is of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a pointed head of the 14th century, but much weather-worn. The splays are of squared rubble and the two-centred reararch is of square section. The east and south walls are of coursed yellow ashlar outside, with a moulded and chamfered plinth, probably of the late 14th century, and plain parapets which are old restorations in whitish stone: the masonry in the west part of the south wall has rather larger courses than the east part, especially just above the moulded plinth. The west wall is of less evenly coursed yellow rubble and has a chamfered plinth only. At the south-east angle is an old diagonal buttress. The inside faces are of roughly coursed and squared rubble of whitish stone. In both east and west walls are sloping straight joints formed by the lines of an earlier and more steeply pitched roof.
The roof is like that of the north aisle but has no carved bosses. The trusses divide it into eight bays. In the south wall are stone corbels carved as heads but without any special individualism. On the north side the roof corbels are all plain, but above the west half of the second bay of the arcade is reset a large 12thcentury stone carving of a Norman knight astride a horse and having a pointed shield with a round top like those depicted in the Bayeux tapestry. The upper half of the knight is missing.
The early-15th-century south porch has an entrance with jambs and two-centred head of two chamfered orders of yellow and brown stone with a hood-mould and moulded imposts of white stone, all weather-worn. The walls are of yellow ashlar, more or less coursed. The south wall has a low-pitched gable with a white stone parapet and an 18th-century sundial in place of the finial. At the angles are diagonal buttresses.
The west tower (about 13 ft. square) is of four stages divided by plain weather-courses and has an original plinth with a scroll-moulded top course and two splayed courses below. The walls of the lowest three stages are of irregular uncoursed yellow rubble with a number of long bonding stones inserted in modern times. The later top stage is of more evenly squared Hornton stone and has panelled pilasters at the angles. The parapets are embattled, with returned copings, and above the angles are restored crocketed pinnacles. There are intermediate and corner diagonal gargoyles in the string-course. The top of the third stage retains the original corbel-table of c. 1200, carved with masks and heads.
At the angles are pairs of original square buttresses; the north-west pair is of five stages reaching to halfheight of the third stage but those at the south-west angle stop at their third stage (half-way up the second main stage) where they change to a single diagonal buttress of the 15th century. The south-east angle has a similar diagonal buttress above the nave. The north, west, and south faces also have intermediate buttresses to the lowest stage only, mostly rebuilt in subsequent repairs. The west buttress, of two stages, has a 15thcentury string-course at the middle offset. The original plinths went round these buttresses but only the south middle buttress now retains all the original plinth, and the depth of this buttress has been slightly enlarged to overhang the plinth. There is also a buttress in the south-west angle of the nave against the tower wall, reaching in one stage to the base of the clearstory, whence it rises as a shallow pilaster up to the nave roof. The tower walls inside are of rough uneven rubble, and this buttress is of the same, with ashlar quoins. About 1–1½ yards north of the archway to the nave is a broken vertical seam (now bonded with long stones), north of which the masonry is smaller and more regular, like that of the north wall of the nave.
The archway is small and low, only 6½ ft. wide, with responds and two-centred head of three chamfered orders; the innermost having a 13th-century impost. The north respond has a moulded two-roll base, the southern is chamfered. The tower floor is two steps up from the nave.
In the south half of the west wall is a small roundheaded window, all restored outside, but with original splays. In the south wall was a round-headed doorway (of doubtful date) through the wall, now blocked to form a recess outside and with the straight joints showing inside. The second stage has no windows. In the third stage, now the clock-chamber but originally the bell-chamber, are patchings in the masonry where the former windows existed, now covered by clockfaces but with a loop in the south blocking. Under the east clock-face is a segmental-headed doorway of the 17th or 18th century. The 15th-century bell-chamber has windows of two trefoiled pointed lights and plain spandrels in two-centred heads with hood-moulds. The jambs and heads are casement-moulded.
The font is a good example of 14th-century work. It is octagonal, the vertical-sided bowl and stem being in one, having mouldings at top and bottom and standing on a moulded base. In each side is a shallow niche with a projecting trefoiled gable-head enriched with crockets and a finial. At the angles are panelled pilasters with embattled moulded capitals and crocketed pinnacles. The foliage finials of both pinnacles and gables are carved in the hollow of the top moulding. Each niche contains an image. The southern is our Lord seated on a throne, between St. Peter (south-west) and St. Paul (south-east). The northern contains the Blessed Virgin and Child between St. Michael holding a pair of scales (north-east) and St. John the Baptist (north-west). The eastern has St. Mary Magdalene with her pot of nard, and the western St. Catherine with her wheel. It has a tall modern carved oak cover.
There are four early-16th-century oak benches at the west end of the nave. Three have a small shaped standard at each end with moulded edges; the front bench retains only one old standard. In the north aisle are eighteen early-17th-century benches with squareheaded standards that are carved with round-arched panels and enriched pilasters of the usual type; there are also two in the nave.
There are three brasses. On the wall near the west end of the north aisle is a 14½-in. effigy of a priest in Mass vestments and a Latin inscription to Thomas Mastrupe, chaplain, died 29 November 1463. The slab with the indent is in the floor nearby. Another, fixed on the wall near the east end, is a half-effigy of a woman and an inscription to Jane, daughter of Robert Gibbs of Honington and wife of Nicholas Browne, died 11 August 1598. The third, on the east respond, is an inscription to Tomizane, second wife of Nicholas Browne, died 5 May 1611; with a shield of arms charged with a cheveron between three horses' heads razed.
In the modern recess in the chancel is a tomb with a stone recumbent effigy of William Clarke, a patron of the church, died 17 September 1618. He is represented in a close-fitting tunic and full trunk hose: the hands (now missing) were in prayer.
In the north wall of the north aisle is another recess, of mid-late-14th-century date, with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled arch having a crocketed hood-mould and foliage finial. In it is a coffin lid carved with a long cross in relief. The arms of the cross, with fleurde-lis ends, enclose an oblong within which is seen the head of a man in a pointed close cap. The base of the cross is a semicircle, also represented open to show his pointed shoes.
In Dugdale's time there were still traces of the tomb of Margaret, wife of Edmund, Baron of Stafford. (fn. 69)
On the plinth of the east wall of the south aisle outside is a tablet inscribed to Jone, wife of Richerd Cockes, died last day of October 1669, and on the south wall of the porch is another, much weather-worn, to John Patnei or Ratnei, died 1621.
There are six bells: (fn. 70) four, including the tenor, dated 1719, by Richard Sanders; the fourth dated 1750, by A. Rudhall; and the fifth 1782 by Matthew Bagley; also a sanctus bell of 1715, recast in 1886.
The communion plate includes a large cup with paten cover, of 1669 but only given to the church in the 19th century. (fn. 71)
In the churchyard south of the south aisle is a 15thcentury preaching-cross rather more complete than usual. It has a 4 ft. 3 in. square shaft with small edgerolls and moulded capital. On it is the damaged lower half of a Crucifixion. The base is octagonal, changing to square in the lower half, and it is set on two steps of octagonal plan.
The Domesday Survey mentions a priest at Tysoe, (fn. 72) indicating that there was a church here in 1086. It seems to have been rebuilt and endowed about a generation later, as between 1138 and 1147 Simon, Bishop of Worcester, confirmed to the Priory of Kenilworth or its cell of Stone the church of Tysoe, with a mill and land adjoining, as Judichal the chaplain of Nicholas de Stafford held it; also the land which the parishioners of the vill gave in alms and 'laid upon the altar', namely 50 acres of arable and 10 acres of meadow, and 5 marks in money, of which Ralph, Prior of Stone, acquitted them against William de Chesney; Maud de Stafford also gave to the church of Tysoe 2 virgates, one for the soul of her husband Nicholas, and the other, with 8 acres of her demesne, when Robert, Bishop of Hereford, acting as 'vicar' of the church of Worcester, made a cemetery in the court of the vill. (fn. 73) With the mother church was also given the chapel of Hardwick with its endowment, namely '50 acres on one side and as much on the other' and 6 acres in a croft with meadow adjoining. (fn. 74) The grant was confirmed to Kenilworth by Henry II (fn. 75) and to Stone, early in the reign of Henry III, by Hervey de Stafford, (fn. 76) and when Stone was made independent of Kenilworth, Tysoe church was made over to it. (fn. 77) In 1291 it was valued at £20. (fn. 78) The rectory was appropriated to Stone Priory in 1294, (fn. 79) and in 1535 was valued at £24—the glebe accounting for £8, tithes of corn £10, tithes of wool £6; (fn. 80) and the vicarage was then worth £10. (fn. 81)
After the Dissolution the advowson passed with the rectorial manor (see above) to Willington, Barnes, the family of Clarke during most of the 17th century, and by 1691 (fn. 82) to the Earl of Northampton. Since 1895 the rectory of Compton Wyniates has been annexed to the vicarage of Tysoe, the patron of the two benefices being the Marquess of Northampton.
In about 1230 John de Tyso gave to Master Simon de Walton 2 messuages in Tysoe and rents in neighbouring parishes, so that the said Master Simon should maintain a lamp burning before the altar of St. Nicholas in Tysoe Church. (fn. 83)
Ann Walton by will proved 1 March 1858 bequeathed to her trustees £400, the income to be distributed among poor inhabitants of the parish of Tysoe and the hamlet of Winderton. The bequest now produces an annual income of £10 3s. 8d. Trustees of the charity are appointed by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 27 Nov. 1928.
William Willington by will dated 27 March 1555 gave a rent-charge of £2 per annum to be distributed to the poor people of Tysoe. The charge issues out of lands at Compton Wyniates belonging to the Marquess of Northampton.
Fuel Land. By the Inclosure Award, dated 17 Jan. 1798, two allotments containing 12 acres and 6 acres in Church Tysoe and Temple Tysoe were allotted to the Earl of Northampton in trust for poor people residing in the parish in lieu of a right to cut furze or gorse upon the waste land in the parish. The land is now let at an annual rent of £21 which is applied for the benefit of the poor of the parish.
Middleton's Gift. A sum of £19 19s. was left by Thomas Middleton to the care of the minister and churchwardens, the interest to be applied for the benefit of the poor. The endowment now consists of a sum of £20 deposited in the Post Office Savings Bank, the interest being distributed to the aged or sick poor.
Town Lands or Utility Estate. Certain real property commonly known as the Utility Estate, the origin of which is unknown, has from time immemorial been held upon trust for the common utility, benefit, and profit of the inhabitants of Tysoe. By an Award dated 17 Jan. 1798 under the Inclosure Act lands called Vicar's Leys, Blackheath Bites, Longlands, Dew Furlong, and lands adjacent containing 34 a. o r. 37 p. were allotted to the feoffees of the poor in lieu of 2¼ yardlands in the open fields of Church Tysoe. The endowment now consists of a farm containing 35 acres or thereabouts, 2 small pieces of land, 7 cottages, 2 dwelling-houses, &c., and £206 19s. 2d. 2½ per cent. Consolidated Stock, the whole producing a yearly income of £200 (approx.). The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 20 May 1862 which appoints a body of ten trustees to administer the charity and contains provisions for the net income to be applied as follows: one-third in gifts of food, fuel, clothing, or other comforts and necessaries, or in money payments, &c.; one-third in or towards the accomplishment of works of advantage to the parishioners; and the remaining third to educational purposes.