A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
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Population: 1911, 475; 1921, 486; 1931, 445.
The eastern boundary of the parish is formed by a stream as far north as Ham Bridge, from which point the northern boundary runs along a road due west for 1½ miles and then follows hedgerows southwards to meet the stream which forms the north-western limit of the parish and joins a third stream which bounds the parish on the south. The country is open and undulating, rising steeply in the south-east, where Church Hill reaches a height of 692 ft. About 100 ft. below and to the west of the summit lies the church, and here presumably was the original village of Dassett; but now there is only a farm and the Vicarage, a stone-built house of which parts may date from 1696, the date inscribed, with the initials G.T., (fn. 1) on one of its stones. The main village is now ¾ mile farther north at North End, with a considerable hamlet 1 mile beyond this at Knightcote, where there is a mineral spring known as Stockwell.
Between the church and North End are the Burton (fn. 2) Hills, on the top of which stands the round tower called the Beacon, built of uncoursed squared rough ashlar. It was apparently a late medieval look-out tower which was partly defensive, as there is a row of corbels at the top suggesting former machicolations. On the south-west side is a blocked doorway retaining the springing stones of a depressed arch, and above it is a small arched and square-headed window with a label. Another square window is to the north-west. The roof is conical and covered with cement. It is set on a raised platform revetted by rough masonry.
North-west of it stood until 1946 a wooden post windmill complete with sails, perhaps the successor of the ruined windmill called 'le Stonmilne' which Sir John, Lord Sudeley, held in 1367. (fn. 3)
At Little Dassett, (fn. 4) 5/8 mile north-west of the church, is an ancient stone chapel, long since disused and now a store-shed. It is built of squared rough ashlar with dressed angles and has a thatched roof. The eastern part, about 27 ft. by 20 ft. outside, has a stone at its south-west angle inscribed w.(h?) 1652. In each sidewall near the west angles was a two-light squareheaded window with a label. The southern is gapped and the northern altered to a doorway. In the east gable end is an upper loft doorway. The west part, about 36 ft. long, and about 3 ft. narrower, is probably of late-13th-century origin judging from the remains of the west window, which was of two cinquefoiled pointed lights and a circular piercing in a two-centred head with a hood-mould having head-stops. The mullion and part of the tracery is missing. In its north and south walls near the west end are doorways with shouldered lintels. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses. Other doorways are modern.
A little way north of it on the east side of the road is a stone farm-house with a recessed middle block and two gabled wings on its main west front. The north wing is of three stories and has 17th-century windows with mullions and labels, the lowest of five lights, the others of four. The other parts are later or altered, and the roof has modern tiles and chimneys. Another house at the north end of the hamlet on the same side of the road is similar in style and date, but the other buildings are later and of no great interest. There is a modern chapel of ease, and a Methodist chapel.
When Sir Edward Belknap acquired the manor at the very end of the 15th century he inclosed a large part of Dassett and Burton, converting to pasturage 360 acres of arable ground which had employed 12 ploughs, allowing 12 messuages to fall to ruin, and evicting 60 persons. (fn. 7) In 1509, (fn. 8) however, and again in 1519 (fn. 9) he was excused from the fines and penalties which he had incurred by such actions. It had, in fact, been shown that so far from his actions being to the detriment of the public, agriculture was now more flourishing, the value of the benefice had risen and two priests, instead of one, now served the church, on the adornment of which the parish had spent £200, the children were better taught, and the increased population better housed. (fn. 10)
Under an Act of 1771 (fn. 11) the open fields of Knightcote and North End, containing 32¾ yardlands and 1,147 acres, were inclosed.
Harold son of Earl Ralph of Hereford held 15 hides in DASSETT under both the Confessor and the Conqueror. (fn. 12) His son John took his name from Sudeley in Gloucestershire and was succeeded by Ralph de Sudeley. (fn. 13) Ralph's eldest son Otuel (fn. 14) died in or shortly before 1198, when his estates went to his brother Ralph, (fn. 15) who died in 1221–2, his son Ralph inheriting his estates. (fn. 16) This Ralph died in 1241–2, when his widow Imenia bought the custody of his lands and heirs, with the reversion of land held in dower by Isabel widow of the elder Ralph. (fn. 17) The knight's fee held of the king by Ralph in 1235 is called Dassett (Dercett), (fn. 18) but in 1242 is distinguished as GREAT DASSETT. (fn. 19) His heir was Bartholomew de Sudeley, presumably his son, who in 1267 obtained a grant of a market on Friday and a fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. James in this manor, (fn. 20) which is therefore often called CHIPPING DASSETT. Bartholomew died seised of the manor in 1280, leaving a son Sir John, (fn. 21) who was created Baron Sudeley in 1299. (fn. 22) Sir John was involved in financial difficulties (fn. 23) and in 1293 leased the manor for 9 years to two Italian merchants; (fn. 24) in 1318 he demised it to Sir William de Bereford for 10 years, (fn. 25) and in 1323 for the term of Sir William's life, (fn. 26) two years later granting the reversion to Sir William's son Edmund for his life, with eventual remainder to his own grandson John son of Bartholomew de Sudeley. (fn. 27) Lord Sudeley died in 1336, and his grandson and successor John in 1340, (fn. 28) leaving a widow Eleanor, who was holding part of the manor at her death in 1361. (fn. 29) Their son John, an infant at his father's death, was the last Lord Sudeley of his line and died in 1367 seised of the manor of Chipping Dassett, valued at 12 marks in addition to £37 in rents. (fn. 30) His heirs were Thomas son of his sister Joan, formerly wife of Sir William Boteler, and his younger sister Margery. (fn. 31) This manor was assigned to Margery, (fn. 32) on whose death without issue in 1380, being then widow of Sir Robert Massy, (fn. 33) it passed to her nephew Thomas Boteler. He in 1385 settled the manor on himself and his second wife Alice (fn. 34) and died in 1398. (fn. 35) Alice afterwards married Sir John Dalyngregge (fn. 36) and died in 1443, when the manor passed to her third, but eldest surviving, son Sir Ralph Boteler. (fn. 37) He gave it to his son Thomas and his wife Eleanor, but as they died without issue it reverted to Sir Ralph (fn. 38) and on his death in 1473 was divided between his nephews Sir John Norbury and William Belknap. (fn. 39) William's nephew Edward Belknap in 1498 acquired Sir John Norbury's share of the manor. (fn. 40) Sir Edward died in 1521 leaving as his coheirs four sisters: Alice wife of William Shelley, Justice of Common Pleas; Anne wife of Sir Robert Wotton; Elizabeth wife of Philip Coke, or Cooke; and Mary wife of Gerard Danett. (fn. 41) Alice apparently died without issue, and about 1540 Sir Edward Wotton, son of Anne, Mary Danett, and Sir Anthony Cooke, grandson of Elizabeth, were claiming portions of the manor against Sir Edward Belknap's widow Alice and her then husband John Brugge. (fn. 42) In 1545 Mary Danett settled on herself, with remainder to her son Thomas, her portion of lands in Burton and Dassett called 'Halle Feldes' and 'Olde Lees', in the tenure of Peter Temple. (fn. 43)
Peter Temple in 1559 acquired from Leonard Danett, grandson of Mary, ⅓ of the manor, now called BURTON DASSETT, (fn. 44) and in or about 1576 also bought the ⅓ which had descended to Richard Cooke, son of Sir Anthony and great-grandson of Elizabeth Belknap. (fn. 45) Peter's grandson Sir Thomas Temple, bart., of Stow (Bucks.), in 1614 made a settlement of 2/3 of the manor (fn. 46) on the occasion of his son Peter's marriage to Anne daughter of Sir Anthony Throckmorton. Sir Peter's daughter by this marriage, Anne, Viscountess Baltinglass, in 1660 claimed lands in the manor; (fn. 47) but this share of the manor was held by her half-brother Sir Richard Temple, and on the death of his son, Viscount Cobham, in 1749 passed to the latter's sister Hester, Countess Temple, wife of Richard Grenville. (fn. 48) Earl Temple was dealing with what is called 5/9 of the manor in 1819, (fn. 49) but by 1830 Lord Willoughby de Broke was lord of the manor, (fn. 50) as also in 1850, (fn. 51) and it continued to descend in his family until the present century. The owner of the manor in 1936 was Richard Ward Thomas, (fn. 52) and is now Godfrey Owtram. (fn. 53)
The ⅓ of the manor assigned to Anne Belknap passed in 1580 on the death of her grandson Thomas Wotton to his son Edward, (fn. 54) who was created Lord Wotton in 1604. (fn. 55) He died in 1628, having previously settled this ⅓ of the manor on his son and heir Thomas in 1608 at the time of his marriage with Mary daughter of Sir Arthur Throckmorton. (fn. 56) Thomas, 2nd Lord Wotton, died in 1631 and this share of the manor was divided between his four daughters: (fn. 57) Catherine wife of Henry Stanhope, eldest son of Philip, Earl of Chesterfield; Hester, afterwards wife of Viscount Campden and mother of Edward, Earl of Gainsborough, who sold his ¼ of ⅓ to Sir Richard Temple in 1686; (fn. 58) Margaret, who married Sir John Tufton and sold her share to John Grey in 1651; (fn. 59) and Anne, who married Sir Edward Hales, whose grandson Sir John Hales, bart., held this fraction in 1698. (fn. 60) The eldest daughter Lady Catherine Stanhope subsequently married Jan van den Kerchhove of Zealand (fn. 61) and with him was dealing with ¼ of ⅓ of the manor in 1655; (fn. 62) her son Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, held it in 1686. (fn. 63)
Two fourth parts of a third of the manor came into the hands of the family of Blencowe, (fn. 64) being held by Thomas Blencowe in 1717 (fn. 65) and by his great-grandson Robert Willis Blencowe in 1815. (fn. 66)
In the Domesday Survey of Dassett it is recorded that 'there 3 knights have 12 villeins with 3 ploughs', (fn. 67) and it is probable that we have here the origin of the vill of KNIGHTCOTE, which was a member of Dassett. (fn. 68) It was held as ½ knight's fee by Ralph de Knytecote in 1242, (fn. 69) and by his successor Simon in 1279, then amounting to 2½ virgates. (fn. 70) Simon de Knyghtecote in 1302 made a conveyance of 3 messuages and about 150 acres of arable and meadow in Knightcote to Mr. Henry de Bray, (fn. 71) probably in trust, as his son John was dealing with land here in 1323 (fn. 72) and was the chief taxpayer in the vill in 1332. (fn. 73) Joan Dycon, daughter of Julian daughter of Simon de Knyghtecote, is said to have conveyed the manor in 1350 to William de Sutton and Amice, (fn. 74) who in 1356 sold it to William de Peyto. (fn. 75) He held it of Sir John de Sudeley in 1367 as ¼ knight's fee, (fn. 76) and from him it passed in 1380 to Laurence Dive and shortly afterwards to Thomas Purefey, whose descendant and namesake in 1495 conveyed it to William Hussey. (fn. 77) It was evidently purchased by John Smyth, a Coventry lawyer, (fn. 78) who before his death in 1501 settled it on his son Henry. (fn. 79) On Henry's death in 1514 (fn. 80) it passed to his wife, Joan Stafford, for life, and then, in 1515, to their son (later Sir) Walter Smyth, (fn. 81) whose grandson Sir John Smyth of Crabbet in Sussex owned it in about 1650. (fn. 82) After his death in 1662 it was probably sold with his other estates by his son John. (fn. 83) The manorial rights probably lapsed soon after this date, but the larger part of Knightcote seems to have been held between 1765 and 1788 by William Yardley. (fn. 84) James Yardley was one of the chief freeholders in the parish in 1850; (fn. 85) William Yardley occupied the Manor Farm in 1936, (fn. 86) and Richard Yardley in 1947. (fn. 87)
HARDWICK was a member of the manor of Dassett, (fn. 88) and land there was given to the Templars by Ralph de Sudeley; this was valued at 40s. in 1185, at which date it consisted of 4 virgates held by 11 tenants, (fn. 89) as it still did in 1279. (fn. 90) It passed with the other Temple lands to the Knights Hospitallers and after the suppression of that Order was granted in May 1553 to Edward Aglionby and Henry Higforde, (fn. 91) who in July conveyed it to Sir Anthony Cooke, Thomas Wotton, and Mary Danett, (fn. 92) after which it was absorbed into the main manor of Burton Dassett.
In 1242 a half-fee in Great Dassett was held by Richard de Sudeley, (fn. 93) who may have been the son of the Ralph son of Richard to whom Ralph de Sudeley granted ½ virgate in Dassett in 1226. (fn. 94) In 1230 the custody of the heir of Ralph son of Richard was claimed against Ralph de Sudeley (the lord of Dassett) by Richard de 'Harden' and Margery his wife on the ground that Ralph had held ½ virgate of them by knight service. According to their plea (fn. 95) one Otuel de Sudeley (who must have been at least a generation earlier than Otuel son of Ralph) had a son Richard, (fn. 96) who had three sons, Richard, William, and Ralph. Of these Richard left six daughters, of whom the said Margery was the eldest; (fn. 97) William died without issue c. 1200; (fn. 98) and Ralph married one Denise and had an (unnamed) heir whose custody was in dispute. It seems likely that Richard de 'Harden' was ancestor of Thomas de Arderne who held 4 virgates under John de Sudeley in 1279 (fn. 99) and was dealing with land in Temple Hardwick and Dassett in 1285–6. (fn. 100)
When Sir John de Sudeley died in 1367 a quarterfee in NORTHEND was held of him by William Mabot, (fn. 101) who seems to be otherwise unrecorded. Lands in Northend were held by Sir Thomas Rempston, who died in 1458, in right of his late wife Alice. (fn. 102) She was daughter of Thomas Bekering, (fn. 103) who was son of another Thomas by Joan daughter of Richard de Stonley, by whose grant John Eskhed held for life land in Dassett in 1394. (fn. 104) The Rempston estates descended to his three daughters, of whom the eldest, Elizabeth, had married John Cheyney. (fn. 105) In 1514 Sir Thomas Cheyney died seised of a so-called 'manor' of Northend, held of Sir Edward Belknap, with other lands in the parish, which he had settled on his daughter and heir Elizabeth, then aged 9, on her betrothal to Thomas, son and heir of Sir Nicholas Vaux, (fn. 106) whom she afterwards married. (fn. 107) No more is known of this estate.
Among the knight's fees of Sir John de Sudeley in 1367 was 1/8 fee in Dassett held by John Rawlynes. (fn. 108) This, or part of it, can be traced to a grant made by Sir John's grandfather John de Sudeley to Ralph called 'le Chapman' of 2 pieces of land in Southend adjoining Ralph's messuage. (fn. 109) Ralph was dead by 1321, when his widow Ida is mentioned; (fn. 110) he left a son John and daughters Alice and Margaret, (fn. 111) of whom Alice 'le Chapman alias Rawlynes' granted this land to her brother John in 1321. (fn. 112) He seems to be the John Rawlynes whose son and namesake was dealing with land in Dassett in 1342 (fn. 113) and was presumably the tenant of the 1/8 fee in 1367. This estate in Southend never became manorial.
The Priory of Arbury held by gift of members of the Sudeley family, in addition to a carucate attached to the church, (fn. 114) a carucate of land in Dassett 'in the tithing of Stonlee', valued at 14s. in 1291, when the canons also received £2 in rents there. (fn. 115)
The parish church of ALL SAINTS stands on a hillside rising considerably from west to east. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south transepts and aisles, north porch, and west tower.
This is one of the finest churches in South Warwickshire. Its history begins with the early-to mid-12th century when it had only a chancel and short aisle-less nave. The two eastern angles remain in place, but the only architectural features that are preserved are the reset north and south doorways.
In the 13th century a great scheme of enlargement was begun. Very early in the century the chancel was probably remodelled and north and south transepts added to the nave. Later in the century the chancel was lengthened, new north and south windows tallying in style with the east window being placed right at the east ends of the walls. The earlier side-windows were replaced by larger windows in the 14th century.
Late in the 13th century the north and south aisles were added. One must have followed the other immediately but it is not certain which was the earlier. The arcades differ a good deal in appearance, the northern being remarkable for its carvings while the southern has practically none. Generally the mouldings of the north capitals and the presence of dog-tooth ornament on one of them gives them an earlier appearance than the south capitals, but it is hard to believe that the profuse carving in the north capitals, if it existed first, would not have been emulated, however slightly, by the builders of the south arcade. On the south side the early-13th-century archway to the south transept was left undisturbed and the later arcade of three bays was erected west of it in the normal medieval manner, but on the north side, although the transept was retained, its archway was altered to serve as the easternmost bay of the arcade, and its western leg served also to support the cross-arch of the aisle, a method which seems to be an advance in building science as compared with the more obvious treatment of the south side. For these reasons it is probable that the south aisle was added first, about 1260–70, and the north aisle about 1280–90. The south windows of the south aisle were altered in the 15th century.
The west tower was added in the first half of the 14th century and the nave clearstory early in the 15th century. The roofs were mostly of this period but have been renewed. The north porch was built about the same time as the tower or soon afterwards.
There have been restorations to the fabric at different periods: in one of 1888–9 the roofs were much repaired. A further general restoration was undertaken in 1936 and was proceeding gradually as funds allowed until interrupted by the war in 1939.
The chancel (35 ft. by 17 ft.) has a late-13thcentury east window of four pointed lights and plain intersecting tracery in a two-centred head with an external hood-mould. The jambs and head are of two chamfered orders: the wide internal splays and chamfered rear-arch are plastered. The mullions and tracery are modern. The north wall has two two-light windows, one at each end of the wall, and the south wall has three. The easternmost on each side is of the same type as the east window, the northern much restored. The two westernmost windows are of c. 1330, each of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a twocentred head with an external hood-mould, the jambs being of one hollow-chamfered order. The southern was partly a low-side below a transom. The middle south window has the same kind of tracery but somewhat later—c. 1340—and has an ogee point to the main head; its jambs are of two chamfered orders. This window is set higher because of the priests' doorway below it, which has single-chamfered jambs and pointed head and hood-mould. Its threshold is three steps up from the chancel floor but lower than the external ground level. Below the west splay of the south-eastern window is a late-13th-century piscina with stop-chamfered jambs and pointed head and remains of a round basin. West of it is a plain wide sedile recess with chamfered jambs and segmental head.
The east wall is of yellow squared rubble work, approximately coursed, and has low diagonal buttresses at the angles: the plinth has a double-chamfered stringcourse and a lower splayed course and it passes round the buttresses. The head is a low-pitched gable with a coping of old restoration. The north wall is of later fine-jointed yellow-brown ashlar and has no plinth except for about a yard of return of the east plinth. The south wall is of somewhat similar ashlar but more weather-worn. The top member of the east plinth becomes a string-course on this wall at sill level, because of the fall in the ground, and stops against the hoodmould of the priests' doorway. The lower splayed course of the plinth returns along the wall, stepping downward twice. The upper course reappears again at the west end in the same relative position as in the east plinth. The side parapets are plain and have moulded copings of the 15th century and string-courses that do not appear in the east wall. The low-pitched roof, of three bays, with braced tie-beams, &c., is modern and is covered with lead.
The pointed chancel arch is of three orders with very small voussoirs. The middle order has an edgeroll continued without break from the responds; the other two, with small chamfers, are carried on detached shafts, partly destroyed. The two outer nook-shafts in the north respond have moulded bases and intermediate bands: the eastern capital is scalloped, the western carved with 'stiff-leaf' foliage: the middle shaft has disappeared but its foliated capital remains in place. In the south respond the lower halves of the three shafts are missing. The capitals are varieties of scallop ornament: their abaci and the hood-mould are grooved and hollow-chamfered. The last has been cut away for a space about 7 ft. wide at the apex of the west face, presumably for the Rood or perhaps for a later Royal Arms. The whole dates from c. 1200.
The pavement of the church rises considerably from west to east to conform with the rise in the ground. There are four steps up to the threshold of the west doorway of the tower, a further five steps up below the tower archway. Thence the floor slopes upward to two more steps in line with the west walls of the transepts and a third step 6 ft. short of the chancel arch. Below this arch are three steps up, and eastward are six more, in three pairs, up to the altar-pace, which is practically level with the tops of the capitals of the nave-arcades. As the bases of two of the north arcade pillars are partly buried it may be assumed that the slope in the navefloor was a subsequent change from former steps.
The nave (about 68 ft. by 23½ ft.) has a mid-late13th-century north arcade of four bays of 16½ ft. span, excepting the easternmost (governed by the width of the transept), which is a foot less. The heads are twocentred and of two chamfered orders in medium to large voussoirs and with hood-moulds on both faces. The pillars are octagonal; the west respond is a halfpillar, but the east respond, which is of c. 1200 up to the capital, is of two chamfered orders. The pillars are of yellow stone in large courses and random tooled. The moulded bases are series of three or four small rolls, those to the second and third pillars being partly below the floor-level. The first pillar is placed in line with the west wall of the north transept and helps to carry the arch across the aisle. To receive this a projecting triplet of shafts is cut out of the solid on the north side of the pillar and the capital is carried over it in a half-circle forming one stone with the main circular capital.
The capitals of the two responds are moulded, the upper halves and abaci being of semicircular plan, the neck-moulds and lower halves following the forms of the responds, the earlier chamfered form of the east respond dying into the bell of the capital.
The capitals of the pillars also change from octagonal to circular in the upper halves, and abaci and the bells are treated (exceptionally for Warwickshire) with carvings of a fairly free character. That of the first pillar shows a dog chasing a hare, a squirrel eating a nut, a headless animal, probably (from its tail) a sheep, another animal—probably a fox, and a winged monster with a human head and a long tail with a demon's head at its end. The half-round capital to the triple shafts has a lion and dragon fighting. The second pillar-capital has a stag and other animals, probably a hound, a lion, a beast with a bushy tail and almost human head with a protruding tongue, and two others (on the north and north-west) which are carved upside down and possibly intended for a cat and dog: on the north-east and southwest sides are sprigs of foliage. This capital also has a moulding of dog-tooth ornament. The third pillarcapital has simply a band of wavy tendril foliage, all the leaves being trefoils except two of lanceolate form.
Above the abaci are block-stops between the orders of the arches. These are uncarved in the responds. Over the first pillar the south-eastern is carved as a Paschal Lamb, the pennon of which has disappeared; the south-western is a lion. The four above the second pillar are: a man grasping a sprig of foliage in each hand, a dog with a rat in its mouth, a stag, and a plant with trefoiled leaves. Over the third is a beast with a feline head and tufted tail, a lion, a dragon, and foliage.
The hood-moulds have carved head-stops: those on both faces at the east respond are early forms of maskstops: over the first pillar is a priest's head towards the nave, over the second a man's head, nave side, and woman's head with fillet and barbette, aisle side; over the third a similar woman's head on the nave side but the fillet and barbette are face-pleated, and a man's head towards the aisle. At the west respond the hoodmould on the nave side dies into the west wall but on the aisle side is a mask-stop where it meets the wall some way above the capital.
On the south side the original narrow pointed archway of c. 1200 remains unaltered: it is of two continuous orders with small chamfers and very small voussoirs and has a hood-mould like that of the chancel arch. The chamfers have base-stops and the middle order has a chamfered plinth above a rough mutilated footing. It is of brown, yellow, and some dark grey stones, all with diagonal tooling. Starting 6 ft. west of it is a late-13thcentury arcade of three 16 ft. bays: the heads, of two chamfered orders, are much the same as the north arcade but generally the voussoirs are smaller and there are no hood-moulds on the aisle side. The pillars are octagonal, with responds to match, and have moulded capitals, round in the upper half as on the north side. Above these are block-stops to the chamfers, but there is no carving except a mask-stop to the hood-mould at the east respond.
Above the north respond of the chancel arch is the blocked 15th-century upper doorway of the former rood-stair, with a four-centred head retaining part of the chamfered hood-mould. The two eastern angles of the nave project a little outside from the east faces of the transepts and are of rubble with medium-large quoins. They are tabled back below the eaves-levels of the transepts to the thinner walls of the clearstory.
The clearstory has five two-light windows on each side. The north-eastern is a small one with squareheaded lights, the others on the north side are each of early-15th-century trefoiled ogee-headed lights and tracery in a square head with an external label. The south-eastern is like these, with its label formed by the parapet string-course. The other four south windows have plain square-headed lights and are set lower in the wall. The walls are of rough ashlar. The parapets are plain and level with those of the chancel.
The roof is low-pitched and of six bays with seven trusses: that against the east wall and the westernmost but one have ovolo-moulded beams of the 15th century with curved braces and wall-posts: the others are plain and probably later restorations. They carry the principals with several posts and struts, and on these are purlins and a ridge-pole supported by curved longitudinal braces. The common rafters are modern and the roof is covered with lead. Some of the stone corbels to the trusses are crudely carved with human heads and lions' masks.
On the east wall of the tower is the weather-course of an earlier and taller high-pitched roof.
The 13th-century north transept (about 18½ ft. deep by 17½ ft.) has an east window of two pointed lights, unpierced above, with plain hood-moulds. The head is modern but the jambs, of two chamfered orders divided by a small hollow, are probably of the 14th century and also the plastered wide splays and chamfered two-centred rear-arch. The window in the north wall is of four pointed lights and a plain circular piercing in a two-centred head with an external hoodmould having mask-stops: the jambs are of two hollowchamfered orders. The window is of the late 13th century but, from the flanking ashlar in the walling, may have displaced earlier lancet windows. A two centred archway opens into the north aisle; it is of two chamfered orders with hood-moulds: the inner order is carried on the south side by the triple shafts already mentioned attached to the nave-pillar and on the north side by an engaged single shaft with a moulded 13thcentury capital. Higher in the west wall is a clearstory window of two trefoiled lights under a square head like those to the nave.
East of the respond to the nave-arcade is the former lower entrance to the rood-stair; its threshold, about 8 ft. above the floor, was evidently approached by a wooden stair. The recess below the east window has an ancient stone altar-slab, 5¼ ft. long, with the customary five crosses and a chamfered lower edge, supported on modern masonry. To the south of it, in the east wall, is a 13th-century piscina with jambs of a small roll between two chamfers and a trefoiled ogeehead. The sill has the remains of a round basin. It was probably in the south wall originally and moved here when the rood-stair was made. The east wall also has a stone bench on either side of the altar.
At the east end of the north wall is a pointed locker with rebated jambs and fitted with an old unhinged wood shutter. Under the north window is a late-13thcentury recess for a former tomb. It has a segmentalpointed arch of two chamfered orders (the outer hollow) and with a hood-mould, carried by a pair of attached shafts in each jamb with moulded capitals and bases. It now has a plain tapering slab at the floor level.
The east and west walls are of yellow-brown coursed ashlar, the west having a fragment of a chamfered plinth. They have parapets like that of the chancel. The lower part of the north wall is of rubble with angle-dressings, except for ashlar (about a yard) flanking the window. All above the level of the springing-line of the window is of ashlar and has a low-pitched gable with carved spouts on either side in the parapet string-course.
The low-pitched roof may be of the 17th century: it is of two bays with a plain chamfered middle tiebeam on small brackets.
The south transept (about 19 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a 15th-century east window of three cinquefoiled ogeeheaded lights and vertical tracery in a square head with an external label. The jambs are moulded and have outer and inner splays. The south window is of three lights and tracery in a segmental-pointed head with an external hood-mould. The head is modern but the jambs, moulded with a roll between two chamfers, may be late-13th-century, re-used. The pointed archway to the aisle, in the west wall, is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous, the inner carried on engaged round shafts with moulded capitals and bases, probably of the date of the south arcade.
The walls are of yellow rubble work with angledressings but with a good deal of later patching in ashlar. Similar ashlar, which does not reach the ground, below the south window suggests an earlier and lower window originally. The east wall has no plinth or parapet but only a hollow-chamfered eaves-course. The south wall has a low-pitched gable with a 15th- or 16th-century plain coping and a fragment of a gablecross. The west wall has a parapet with a moulded coping and string-course, an old restoration or addition.
The low-pitched roof of two bays is of the 18th or 19th century and has a plain middle beam and plain ridge-pole and purlins.
The north aisle (13½ ft. wide) has two north windows: the eastern is of three lancet lights, the middle taller than the others, and each with its own external hood-mould. The western is of two similar lights; the jambs are of one hollow chamfer and are rebated for the glass; the wide internal splays and chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arches are plastered.
The reset 12th-century doorway between the windows has a semicircular head of two orders, the inner of square section continued from the jambs; the outer, with an edge-roll, was carried on nook-shafts which have disappeared with the east capital: the west capital is scalloped. The abaci have been cut back. The hood-mould is chamfered on both edges, the inner decorated by a series of large pellets. In it is an ancient oak door with modern internal boarding and outer fillets, hung with plain strap-hinges. In the reveals are sockets for a draw-bar. The west window is similar to the north-west window.
The walls are of yellow ashlar in small courses and the north wall meets the transept wall with a straight joint. It has a very low chamfered plinth and a plain parapet. At the north-west angle is a pair of original buttresses of one stage.
The lean-to roof is of the 15th century and is divided into three bays with four trusses with tie-beams that have traceried spandrels to the braces: all the timbers are moulded except those against the east wall. The purlins, also moulded, are supported by posts from the beams. The common rafters are modern. The trusses are supported on stone corbels, mostly crudely carved with human heads.
The south aisle (13¾ ft. wide) has two south windows of the 15th or early-16th century, each of three cinquefoiled lights and vertical tracery in a four-centred head with an external hood-mould: the jambs are of one chamfered order. A straight joint in the masonry west of the eastern probably indicates an earlier window.
Between them is the reset 12th-century south doorway, like the north but better preserved. The hoodmould is of one chamfer enriched with diaper ornament. The nook-shafts carrying the roll-moulded outer order have scalloped capitals: the bases are now almost formless. The abaci, badly damaged, have a bead-mould and chamfer.
The west window is of two 13th-century lancet lights with wide internal splays.
Below the east splay of the south-east window is a 13th-century piscina: the jambs and pointed head are moulded with two small rolls and the head is trefoiled with soffit cusps: the sill has the remains of a round basin.
The walls are of coursed rough ashlar with a chamfered plinth and a plain parapet with a moulded coping and hollow-chamfered string-course. At the south-west angle is an old diagonal buttress of two stages with the plinth carved round it, and the west wall meets the south-west angle of the nave with a broken vertical seam.
The lean-to roof is of the 16th or 17th century; it is divided into four bays with five trusses. The tie-beams are moulded and have small ogee brackets and posts below their south ends on plain stone corbels. On the north side some of the beams rest on stone corbels, one with a roughly-carved face.
The north porch, of the 14th century, has an entrance with jambs of two orders, the outer chamfered and decorated with ball-flower carvings, the inner moulded. The head is ogee-arched and has a hood-mould with head-stops well above the springing line. In the side walls are small two-light windows, the east with plain three-centred heads and the west with cinquefoiled pointed heads, both with blank tracery on square heads. The walls are of coursed yellow ashlar and the buttresses are original. The north wall is gabled and has a modern cross on an old gabled base. The porch has a plastered ceiling.
The west tower (11½ ft. square) is of three stages divided by plain string-courses and has a restored chamfered plinth and plain parapet. In the moulded stringcourse are gargoyles, except in the east face, which has no parapet-string-course. The west wall, thicker than the others, has additional string-courses about 5 ft. below the others. The walls are of yellow ashlar. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses reaching to the third stage and at the north-east angle is a projecting square stair-turret, treated at the top as a heavy buttress against the nave-wall. In its west face about a yard above the plinth is set a quatrefoil niche, 21 in. by 21 in.; it does not appear to have been a window but what purpose it served is not clear. At the south-east is another and smaller buttress of two stages against the nave-wall, but at its base are footings, projecting farther both ways, approximately matching in size the projection of the north-east stair-turret. It may indicate that the original angle of the nave was farther west before the tower was built. Higher up at both these angles are square buttresses flush with the east wall of the tower and reaching to the same height as the west buttresses.
The archway from the nave is pointed and of two chamfered orders towards the east dying on the responds, which are flush with the tower walls. On the west face are five orders, all chamfered, except the outermost which is square, and dying on the tower walls. On the nave side is a hood-mould with crude head-stops. The unscreened bell-ringers' floor is visible below the head of the archway. North of it is a pointed doorway, in the west wall of the nave, to the stair-vice, which is lighted by north loops.
The west doorway of the tower has a two-centred head. It is very badly weatherworn: the jambs are of two orders, and it had a hood-mould with head-stops. It is of dark grey stone, quite different from the other masonry, and was probably a 15th-century insertion. Inside it has a series of four stepped-up chamfered reararches dying on the reveals, suggesting that the steps rising from the west were either under or very close to the doorway instead of being under the archway to the nave. The window above it is of the same material as the walls; it is of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head of the 14th century.
The bell-chamber has a window in each wall of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a square head with a label; all were restored in 1936.
The communion table in the chancel 5 ft. 3 in. long has turned legs and a fluted top-rail inscribed is 1618. The top board on the table is a modern lengthening. In the chancel are two 16th-century benches with low shaped standards having moulded edges.
The font has a round bowl of hard grey stone with a moulded lower edge, probably of the 15th century: the top edge has been treated later with embattling, but a lead plug indicates where existed a staple for locking the medieval lid. The yellow stone cylindrical stem and base are modern.
In the south transept is a 4 ft. chest inscribed wl 1719 th with incised ornament on the front, and three staples and hasps for padlocks.
In the west half of the nave and north aisle, also in the altar pace of the north transept, are re-laid a large number of 4½ in. encaustic tiles. Most of them are badly worn but foliage patterns in sets of four can be traced on some and several have a shield charged with a lion. Some are slip-tiles of the 14th century, others are later.
A low table tomb in the north transept has a grey marble slab with indents of former brasses of a man and woman, three shields, a rectangular plate, and a marginal inscription. It is of late-16th-century date and is said to have been to Peter Temple, 1577, and his wife, 1582. (fn. 116)
Another table tomb in the south transept is that of John Swain, 1658, and his wife Anne, 1677. The plain top slab of grey marble has moulded edges and the sides of the base that are decorated with scroll work, &c., contain the inscriptions.
There are a number of inscribed floor slabs in the church, one in the chancel to John Smith 'a patron of this place', 1713, and another to Elizabeth his wife, 1712. A stone in the nave is to Benjamin Wagstaffe, Gent, January 1685(6), and others to William Ledbrook, 1707, Martha his wife 1686(7), their son William, 1706, his second wife Catherine, 1706, and their daughter Martha, 1706. In the south transept are four slabs to members of the Wilkes family from 1681 to 1704. A wall tablet is to Edward Knott, junior, whose widow bequeathed money for the restoration of this part of the church in 1935.
In the north transept is a mural monument on the east wall to John Temple of Stowe, 1603. It has an inscription in white marble surrounded by twelve shields and medallions of arms, (fn. 117) and flanked by Ionic shafts and above is an enriched frieze and canopied cornice on which stand three shields of arms.
There are six bells of 1686 by Henry and Matthew Bagley.
The registers begin in 1564.
Near the church is a 'holy well' with a well-house built in 1840.
There was a priest, implying a church, at Dassett in 1086, (fn. 118) and the church was given to the priory of Arbury by Ralph de Sudeley when he founded that house early in the reign of Henry II. (fn. 119) It was appropriated to the priory by Geoffrey, Bishop of Coventry (1198–1208), and in 1232 a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 120) The church was endowed with a carucate of land, (fn. 121) and in 1291 it was valued at £16. (fn. 122) By a new ordinance of Bishop Arundell in 1501 the vicar was to receive £12 in money yearly from the canons and to have the glebe, which was worth 40s., (fn. 123) and this arrangement held good in 1535. (fn. 124)
By the ordinance of 1232, while the prior as rector presented to the vicarage, the presentee was to be nominated by the founder's representatives. The advowson therefore passed with the manor. Accordingly Sir Anthony Cooke is found presenting in 1564, and Edward, Lord Wotton in 1607; (fn. 125) but in 1613 the presentation was made by grant of Mary Mynne, widow, of Hayes, Middlesex, (fn. 126) and in 1615 she and John Millett were associated with Lord Wotton and Sir Thomas Temple in a transaction concerning the advowson. (fn. 127) Three years later John Millett, Richard Millett and Grace his wife, and Ranulph Millett conveyed ⅓ of the advowson to Sir Thomas Temple, (fn. 128) who presented in the following year. (fn. 129) Presentation was next made by Lord Wotton, (fn. 130) but in 1634 William Petre presented, (fn. 131) and in 1689 John Petre and Mary conveyed the advowson to John Neale and Richard Helme. (fn. 132) A few months later, however, presentation was made by Thomas Underwood (fn. 133) or Woodward; (fn. 134) John Smith presented in 1695 and at his death in 1713 was described as 'one of the patrons', (fn. 135) and in 1751 Thomas Mann was patron. (fn. 136) In 1763 the patrons were said to be Lord Cobham (i.e. Richard Temple), Mr. Blencowe, and Mr. Smith by turns. (fn. 137) The Temple interest descended to the Duke of Buckingham, who had the patronage in 1831; (fn. 138) but by 1850 Lord Willoughby de Broke and R. W. Blencowe were patrons, (fn. 139) as were Lord Willoughby and J. G. Blencowe in 1900, (fn. 140) and the Bishop of Coventry and R. Blencowe in 1915. By 1926 the patronage was entirely in the hands of the Bishop. (fn. 141)
Elizabeth Jeffkins Wood by will proved 25 Sept. 1933 gave £100 to the vicar of Burton Dassett, the income, now amounting to £3 10s. 7d. to be applied to the relief of the sick and aged poor of the parish.
John Ledbrooke by will proved 23 Sept. 1862 gave £100 to the vicar and churchwardens, the income to be distributed at Christmas in food to the poor of the parish. The income, now £2 13s. 4d., is applied for the benefit of the poor.
Charity of William Ledbrooke for School and Choir. By a deed dated 16 Sept. 1864 certain property was conveyed upon trust that the income should be applied in support of the salary of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress of the parochial school and towards the maintenance of a choir in the parish church of Burton Dassett and the episcopal chapel at North End. The endowment consists of 6 acres of land with the buildings thereon at Knightcote, let at a yearly rent of £12. The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 19 Sept. 1916 which appoints a body of trustees to administer the charity.
Kimbell's Charity. By a deed dated 20 Oct. 14 Edward IV John Kimbell settled certain property at Mollington upon trust that the rents and profits should be employed as follows: 7s. towards the repair of the parish church of Burton Dassett, and 2d. a house yearly to be given in bread to every householder in Knightcote and North End, and the residue of the rents and profits to be employed as the feoffees, inhabitants, and freeholders of Knightcote and North End should direct. The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 4 Aug. 1893 which appoints a body of trustees to administer the charity and contains provisions for the application of the income. The endowment consists of a farm containing 47 acres at Mollington and £101 18s. in 2½ per cent. Consols.