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, 278; 1921, 294; 1931, 267.
The parish of Gaydon is larger by 130 acres than its neighbouring parish of Chadshunt, which it resembles in general shape. Its western boundary is coincident with the eastern boundary of Chadshunt, crossing the Kineton to Southam road at a point about 2 miles northeast of Kineton. The northern and southern boundaries are extensions of the respective boundaries of the parish of Chadshunt (q.v.), with which it shares its main physical characteristics. The eastern boundary runs parallel to that on the west, skirting the eastern flank of a slight eminence, Thorn Hill, 449 ft. above Ordnance Datum and the highest point in the parish.
The soil is clay on limestone, and the parish is noted for its abundance of clear springs. There are several farms in the parish, which is largely agricultural, with pasture predominating.
The parish is crossed by only two roads of any importance—the Kineton-Southam road, which runs in a north-easterly direction, and the Warwick and Banbury road which crosses it at right angles. The Gaydon Inn stands close to the point of intersection of the two roads, and the main part of the village of Gaydon is disposed along a short loop south of the junction.
The church stands south of the right-angled bend of the village street. At least six of the houses are ancient with walls of white stone rubble and thatched roofs. One, north of the church, with Hornton stone dressings is dated 1719, but most of the others are earlier, including two cottages west of the church. 'Fairacre', formerly 'The Old House', north-east of the church and facing south-east, is a larger building of grey stone rag with Hornton stone dressings to the doorway and angles: the lintel of the doorway has an inscribed date 1605 and a later scratched date 1659. An extension to the east of the main part projects slightly in front and on one of its quoin stones is scratched a good sundial with Roman numerals from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the initials T.W. The windows and the interior are modernized. The roofs are tiled and the extension has a 17th-century central chimney-stack.
The Manor House, about 300 yds. north-west of the church, the home of the Askells (see Chadshunt Church) is of late-16th-century origin with 17th-century alterations. The walls are mainly of white stone with a moulded plinth and string-courses and Hornton stone angles. The plan is a modified T shape, the main block or stem of the T extending south-westward and projecting slightly in the middle of the north-east front. It contained the large hall-place, now divided into three chambers, the kitchen with the entrance hall north-east of it, and another room south-west of it. It had a great fire-place on its north-west side, now in the kitchen, and a winding staircase next to the fire-place rising two stories and entered from the entrance hall. The south reveal of the fire-place has been cut away to give access to a small pantry behind the south-west room. This room and the kitchen have heavy stop-chamfered ceilingbeams and the latter has stop-chamfered joists. The room above them has a good moulded beam. The southwest room is lit by the original five-light mullioned hallwindow, but the gabled upper story of this south-west end was rebuilt with red brick and has a panel inscribed M.A. 1673. The windows and doorway in the southeast side are modernized. The parlour in the main block, north-east of the entrance-hall, has a moulded stone fire-place and is lined with reset late-16th-century panelling with a fluted frieze at the top. In the room above is a cupboard door with cocks' head hinges. The windows have been altered. The north-west wing—part of the head of the T—was the original kitchen: its north-east wall has an original arched doorway between two stone mullioned windows. It has a wide fire-place and heavily timbered ceiling. The room above has an 18th-century moulded stone angle fire-place. The south-east wing—the other end of the head of the T—is possibly a later addition but has a 16th-century mullioned window in the north-east wall. This wing has a curiously tall room, rising two stories, lined with early18th-century bolection-moulded panelling and lighted by an abnormally tall window in the south-east wall with brick jambs and a gauged flat arch. North of the room is a small cellar which has two original battened doors and a mullioned window. The entrance hall has a 17th-century staircase with turned balusters, square newels with ball-heads, and moulded hand-rail: on the upper landing are earlier pierced flat balusters, reset. The roof shows no distinctive features; it is tiled and the chimney-stacks are plain. South-east of the house is a pair of old stone gate-posts with ball-heads. The stables west of the house are also of stone with moulded stringcourses, &c. A stone on the front is inscribed A / MS 1689. The turned oak stall-posts are original.
Common lands to the extent of 42 yardlands within the liberty of Gaydon were inclosed in pursuance of an Act of 31 Geo. III, c. 117, (fn. 1) the Award, of which a copy is with the Clerk of the Peace, being made on 24 February 1759. (fn. 2)
The Plymouth Brethren, of whom there are a number in the surrounding countryside, hold services in a room in the village hired for the purpose.
In July 1886 (fn. 3) Mr. Bolton King of Gaydon presented the village with a handsome reading room which stands on the opposite side of the village street facing the church.
GAYDON probably formed part of Chadshunt (q.v.). In 1248 the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, lord of Chadshunt, had tenants at Gaydon, (fn. 4) as also in 1279, when he had 23 bond tenants there, (fn. 5) and in 1295 he was allowed the same rights in Gaydon as in his manor of Chadshunt. (fn. 6) In 1316 it is described as being a hamlet of Chadshunt, (fn. 7) and of the 53 courts held for the bishop's manors or reputed manors of Chadshunt, Itchington, Tachbrooke, and Gaydon between the years 1350 and 1367 only two were held at Gaydon. (fn. 8) Gaydon followed the descent of Chadshunt (q.v.), but did not pass with the latter to Thomas Newsham in 1552, remaining in the hands of the Fishers until 1585, in which year Edward Fisher sold 19 of the 24 yardlands he possessed in Gaydon to John Askell. (fn. 9) Whether the lordship of the manor passed in the transaction cannot be determined, but the Askells were by far the largest landowners in the parish, continuing to live there throughout the 17th century. Michael Askell, the last of the male line, died in 1712. (fn. 10) The manor is said to have passed by the marriage of his heiress to the Bucknalls of Oxhey (Herts.), (fn. 11) but in 1730 the manor was in the hands of the Hon. Dodington Greville, (fn. 12) who died in 1738, (fn. 13) and in 1749 his nephew, (fn. 14) Fulke Greville, was lord of the manor. (fn. 15) By 1755 the manor had come into the possession of John Taylor, (fn. 16) the Birmingham snuff-box manufacturer, who died in 1775 worth over £200,000. (fn. 17) He was succeeded by his son of the same name who was lord in 1809. (fn. 18) John Taylor the second died in 1814. (fn. 19) Edward Bolton King of Chadshunt, who was lord of the manor in 1876, (fn. 20) probably purchased the manor after the death of James Taylor, son of John Taylor the second, which occurred in 1852. (fn. 21) Edward Bolton King died on 23 March 1878, (fn. 22) and was succeeded by his son Capt. Edward Raleigh King, who was lord of the manor in 1880. (fn. 23) By 1884, however, Richard Checkley of Castle Farm, Gaydon, was lord of the manor, (fn. 24) a dignity which he still held in 1900, (fn. 25) but the manor appears now to be extinct.
The parish church of ST. GILES, erected in 1852, is a small building of ashlar in the 14th-century style consisting of chancel, nave, and a north aisle with a tower at its west end. It contains no ancient features except the bell, which 'is undoubtedly ancient and hung in a turret in the old church'. (fn. 26)
The chapel at Gaydon was probably from the time of its foundation a chapelry of Chadshunt, which was part of the prebend of the Precentor of Lichfield. In 1284 the men of Gaydon agreed to pay 2 marks annually to the Precentor towards the support of a priest for their chantry in the chapel of Gaydon, and in the agreement the rights of the mother church of Chadshunt were carefully safeguarded. (fn. 27) The mother church of Chadshunt became subordinated to the vicarage of Bishop's Itchington (q.v.) at the end of the 13th century, and the two chapelries from that time until the year 1879 were served from the vicarage. By Order in Council of 22 February 1879 (fn. 28) the chapelries of Chadshunt and Gaydon were detached from Bishop's Itchington and the new vicarage of Gaydon with Chadshunt was formed. The advowson of Bishop's Itchington being then in the hands of the Bishop of Worcester, the patronage of the newly formed parish was vested in him and his successors, who continued to enjoy it until shortly after the formation of the Bishopric of Coventry by Order in Council of 4 September 1918, (fn. 29) when the Archdeaconry of Coventry was transferred to the new diocese. A further Order of 29 October 1919 (fn. 30) transferred to the Bishop of Coventry all the advowsons in the Archdeaconry belonging to the Bishop of Worcester by virtue of his see, and from that time until the present day the advowson has remained in the possession of the Ordinary.