A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Population: 1911, 177; 1921, 198; 1931, 227.
Hunningham is a small parish and village in the Learn valley, 3½ miles north-east of Leamington Spa. The river Learn forms the boundary on the north and west, the village being near the river. Hunningham Bridge, which connects the parish with Weston-underWetherley, was out of repair in the early 17th century, the inhabitants of the two parishes being presented at Quarter Sessions in 1636 and 1638. It was found, however, 'by ancient indenture' to be chargeable to Knightlow Hundred, and was eventually repaired in 1651 for £20 at the cost of the hundred. (fn. 1) This suggests that the by-road carried by the bridge, running roughly parallel with the 'Welsh Road' from Napton-on-theHill and Long Itchington towards Stoneleigh, was formerly of some importance. The Fosse Way runs diagonally across the centre of the parish and is here a metalled road, though not one of the portions which are still a first-class main road. The Rugby and Leamington branch of the L.M.S.R. runs across the south-east of the parish, but there is no station nearer than Marton, 3 miles distant. The south-east boundary is formed by the river Itchen, a tributary of the Learn; near the two rivers the land is liable to floods and about 200 ft. above sea level, rising to 334 ft. on the southern edge where Ridgeway Lane crosses the railway. A fishery at Hunningham is mentioned in 1348. (fn. 2)
Among the vicars of Hunningham was George Leigh Cooke (? 1780–1853), Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford, who held the living (in plurality) from 1824. (fn. 3)
HUNNINGHAM in 1086 formed part of the lands of William fitz Corbucion, whose tenants were Osmund (2 hides formerly held freely by Ernewi) and Chetel (1½ hides and ½ virgate formerly held by Saulf). (fn. 4) This William held several Warwickshire manors, the chief being at Studley, and was probably sheriff of the county, a charter of William the Conqueror confirming grants to Worcester cathedral priory being addressed to him. (fn. 5) The tenancy in chief was evidently granted to the Earl of Warwick, as William's descendant Peter de Studley (fn. 6) held 10 knights' fees of the Earl of Warwick in 1166 de vetero feffamento, (fn. 7) and in 1235 the Warwick holding in Hunningham was reckoned at a quarter of a knight's fee, the tenant not being named. (fn. 8) This quarter-fee was in 1242 held by Robert de Deyvill of William de Cantilupe, who held of the heir of Geoffrey Corbucion, and he of the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 9) and is again recorded as belonging to the earl in 1316. (fn. 10) In 1401 the earl's quarter-fee was held by Edward Metteley. (fn. 11) Four years later Sir Walter Cokesey held the manor of Hunningham of the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 12) and his grandson Sir Hugh similarly in 1445. (fn. 13) In 1460 the manor was stated to be held of the king through the forfeiture of Richard, Earl of Warwick (the Kingmaker), (fn. 14) and in the following year it was among the fees in Warwickshire held by John, Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 15) The manor was, however, restored to the earldom of Warwick after the creation of the new (Clarence) earldom in 1472, and was so held in 1473 (fn. 16) and 1480. (fn. 17) After the final extinction of the Clarence earldom the overlordship was retained by the Crown, and the manor was stated to be held as of Warwick Castle or of the earldom of Warwick in 1520 (fn. 18) and as late as 1624. (fn. 19)
William fitz Corbucion was apparently succeeded by Robert, (fn. 20) but the next member of the family to figure at Hunningham is Geoffrey Corb(ucion) who granted the chapel to his clerk Richard between 1161 and 1170. (fn. 21) The Peter (Corbucion) 'of Studley' who held the fees in 1166 may have been his brother, as he is said to have been 'son of William' (fn. 22) and was probably grandson of the Domesday tenant. He had a son Peter, who was living in 1200 (fn. 23) and seems to have been succeeded here by Richard Corbicun, who in 1221 granted to his son Geoffrey 'the whole estate of Hunningham' with the chief messuage. (fn. 24) Richard died in or shortly before 1227, when his widow Beatrice had dower in Hunningham, the reversion of which Geoffrey granted to his brother Richard. (fn. 25) Geoffrey was dead by 1242, when his heir is referred to; (fn. 26) in 1311 the quarter-fee was held by William Corbicun, (fn. 27) who was himself dead by 1316, (fn. 28) when his heirs held it. As late as 1347 John son of John son of William Corbicun was holding land in the parish, (fn. 29) but no more is heard of the family's overlordship.
Peter son of Peter (Corbucion) of Studley enfeoffed William de Cantilupe in much of his estate, (fn. 30) and it was no doubt through his accession to the Cantilupe estates (fn. 31) that John de Hastings, Lord Bergavenny, claimed court leet in Hunningham in 1284. (fn. 32) His son John had view of frank-pledge there in 1325. (fn. 33)
In 1295 Urian de St. Pierre died in possession of a capital messuage and land in Hunningham, held of Sir John de Hastings as one-third knight's fee. (fn. 34) This estate passed to his grandson Urian, at whose death in 1311 it was said to be held of William 'Corpison' as a quarter-fee. (fn. 35) It was conveyed by his son John to William son of Sir William Trussell in 1334, (fn. 36) and William Trussell is stated to have held a quarter-fee in Hunningham of the heirs of Hastings in 1346. (fn. 37) This was presumably a settlement in connexion with the marriage of John St. Pierre to William Trussell's daughter Isabel. (fn. 38) John's granddaughter and heir Isabel in 1353 was married to Walter son of Hugh de Cokesey (then aged 10), (fn. 39) and in 1352 the manor of Hunningham, extended at 71s. 10d. yearly, was assigned in dower to Hugh's widow Denise during the minority of Walter. (fn. 40) This Sir Walter's son Sir Hugh de Cokesey died without issue in 1445, (fn. 41) and on the death of his widow Alice in 1460 (fn. 42) the manor passed to Sir Hugh's sister Joyce Beauchamp, widow, (fn. 43) and on her death in 1473 to Sir John Grevill, her son by a previous husband; he was then 44 years of age (fn. 44) and died in 1480. His son Sir Thomas assumed the name of Cokesey, and as he left no issue the manor reverted to the descendants of Cicely, daughter of Walter son of Isabel St. Pierre, namely Robert Russell and 'Robert' (? Roger) Winter, (fn. 45) to whom licence of entry upon Sir Thomas's lands was granted in 1500. (fn. 46) Roger's grandson George Winter was said to hold the manor at his death in 1594, (fn. 47) but there is no later trace of any Winter interest, and land amounting to 7 virgates, with 4 messuages, had been sold by Roger Winter to John Underhill, (fn. 48) whose son Thomas married Roger's sister (fn. 49) and was said to have inclosed 40 acres of arable and reduced 2 messuages to cottages in 1510, ejecting 8 persons and putting one ploughteam out of action. (fn. 50) John Underhill had bought the other manor of Hunningham (see below) and on the strength of it his grandson Edward appears to have claimed manorial rights over the St. Pierre estates. These claims were disputed c. 1535 first by William Seyntpeir of Wellington and then, on his death, by his son John, who maintained that after the death of Sir Thomas Cokesey the estate should have come to them, as descended from Thomas, younger son of Sir John St. Pierre and Isabel (Trussell). (fn. 51) They do not seem to have been successful, and the whole of the Underhill property was presumably united as one manor.
As already noted, Robert de Deyvill was tenant under William de Cantilupe in 1242; (fn. 52) and in 1252 his son Walter had a grant of free warren in his demesnes, including Hunningham. (fn. 53) His successor Roger had to sell most of his lands, (fn. 54) and there is reason to think that his estate here was acquired by Silvester de Honingham, (fn. 55) who had land here in 1236 (fn. 56) and in 1288 made over 4 messuages and 1½ virgates to Roger de Honingham. (fn. 57) According to Dugdale, this Roger was son of Silvester and took the name de Cotes. (fn. 58) To the transaction of 1288 William Corbison and Robert de Noers (fn. 59) put in their claims, and in 1304 Robert de Noers and Beatrice his wife conveyed to William son of Roger (de Cotes) 3 virgates and 20s. rents in Hunningham, (fn. 60) which Beatrice confirmed in 1316 after Robert's death. (fn. 61) In 1327 William de Cotes and his son John obtained the reversion of land held in Hunningham by Beatrice, (fn. 62) and when William died in 1330 he held a messuage and 48 acres from Beatrice de Noers and another messuage and 16 acres from Lora de Beyvill. (fn. 63) John de Cotes, whose name heads the list of tax-payers in this vill in 1332, (fn. 64) left a son William, whose widow Margaret married Edward Metteley, (fn. 65) who was tenant of the Earl of Warwick's quarter-fee in 1401. (fn. 66) In 1431 the quarter-fee is said to have been held jointly by Margaret Metley, John de Cotes, Sir Hugh de Cokesey, and William Warmyngton, (fn. 67) whose claim is obscure. In 1500 John Underhill bought from Sir Thomas Pulteney, who may have been a mortgagee or trustee, the manor of Hunningham, 'which late belonged to Thomas Cotes the elder', and settled it on his wife Agnes. (fn. 68) He died in 1518 and his son Thomas two years later, the manor passing to the latter's infant son Edward, who in 1545 sold it to Richard Newport, reserving a rent of £26 13s. 4d. (fn. 69) Richard died in 1565 and his son John the following year, leaving a son William then aged 6. (fn. 70) This (Sir) William inherited the property of his mother's brother Sir Christopher Hatton and took the name of Hatton; (fn. 71) he died in 1596, and in 1611 his daughter and heir Frances and her husband Sir Robert Rich (afterwards Earl of Warwick) sold the manor to Thomas Gibbes. (fn. 72) John Woodward in 1614 conveyed the manor to Timothy Wagstaff, (fn. 73) who with Edward Murcott enfeoffed Hannibal Horsey (fn. 74) thereof on 29 November of the same year (fn. 75) in tail, with contingent remainder to James Enyon, Hannibal's fatherin-law. Horsey was succeeded by his son James in 1622, who left an infant daughter Dorothy at his death in 1630. (fn. 76) She later married George Fane, a Colonel of Horse and younger son of the 1st Earl of Westmorland, (fn. 77) and they dealt with the manor in 1653. (fn. 78) Their son Sir Henry Fane, with Elizabeth (Southcott) his wife, conveyed it in 1690 to Robert Waring and John Cropper, (fn. 79) and in 1695 sold the manor to Thomas, 2nd Baron Leigh, (fn. 80) whose son Edward was lord in 1730. (fn. 81) It remained with the family after the extinction of the barony in 1786, Thomas Leigh, James Henry Leigh, (fn. 82) and James Leigh Perrot dealing with the manor in 1806 (fn. 83) and 1812. (fn. 84) Chandos Leigh, 1st baron of the second creation, was lord in 1850. (fn. 85) His son William Henry was lord of the manor in 1900, (fn. 86) and any surviving manorial rights belong to the present Lord Leigh.
In 1548 Edward Underhill and Joan his wife granted the rent of £26 13s. 4d. annually arising out of the manor of Hunningham to Thomas Spencer. (fn. 87) This was dealt with by the Spencers in 1577 (fn. 88) and 1599, (fn. 89) and conveyed by Sir Thomas Spencer and Jane his wife to Sturch Walford in 1666. (fn. 90) The latter, who lived at Wolverton and was concerned in the non-repair of a highway there about this time, (fn. 91) with his wife Anne and John Walford conveyed the rents to George Abell in 1696, (fn. 92) and Abel and Susanna Walford to Joseph Thompson in 1769. (fn. 93)
A small part of Hunningham became in some way attached to the Duchy of Lancaster and descended with Brinklow (q.v.) as a member of that manor. (fn. 94) In the middle of the 17th century the vill of Hunningham paid a yearly fine of 6d. to the Duchy. (fn. 95)
In 1226 Geoffrey Corbucion granted a messuage and 8 acres of meadow to the Hospital of St. John at Warwick. (fn. 96)
The Church of ST. MARGARET is situated on the east bank of the river Itchen, north of the village. It is a small church consisting of chancel, nave, north aisle, vestry, south porch, and a timber bell-cote on the west gable. It dates from the latter part of the 13th century, when it consisted of a nave and chancel, and appears to have been repaired at the end of the 14th century, and re-roofed at the end of the 16th century; in modern times a north aisle, vestry, and south porch were added and the whole church drastically restored. All the roofs are covered with tiles.
The chancel, except parts of the north and south walls adjoining the nave, has been entirely rebuilt with a light-coloured sandstone ashlar, the old portions being red sandstone coursed rubble. The east end has angle buttresses and is lighted by a plain tracery window of two pointed lights with a pointed arch. On the south side at the west end is a rectangular low-side window of two splayed orders, and a modern central buttress dividing the old walling from the modern. On the north side a modern vestry has been built, which incloses a blocked low-side window corresponding with the one on the south. The south wall of the nave has three windows of two trefoil lights with tracery under square heads, all modern but perhaps copies of the previously existing 14th-century windows. Between the last two is a four-centred doorway, with a single splay, covered by a modern timber porch. The west gable of the nave is the most interesting and unaltered part of the building and is built of red sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings. In the centre there is a buttresslike projection which reaches to the apex of the gable, where it is weathered off. It contains a long chamfered lancet window with a simple label moulding. On the top of the gable is a small square weather-boarded bell-cote for two bells, with a pyramid roof terminating in a weather vane representing a cock. Between this and the angle buttress at the south-west angle there is a massive buttress in four weathered stages built of lightcoloured sandstone with a moulded plinth, probably part of the 14th-century repairs. In the west gable of the modern north aisle are two lancet windows of one splay with a hood-moulding continued over both, and on the north side, which has three shallow buttresses, are three windows with trefoil heads, one a single light, one of two, and the other of three lights. Built into this wall is a round-headed 13th-century doorway, now blocked with masonry, taken from the north wall of the nave when it was destroyed. At the eastern end is the modern vestry, with a single-light window on the north and a doorway in the east with a chamfered pointed arch. The aisle and vestry are built of hammerdressed ashlar.
The chancel (18 ft. 8 in. by 12 ft.) has a modern tiled floor, plastered walls, two steps up from the nave and one to the modern altar. The roof, which is of the queen-post type, is modern, but constructed with old timbers, probably members of the earlier roof, re-used. In the south wall the low-side window has a splayed recess with a flat head; the corresponding one on the north is plastered over and is only visible inside the vestry. On this wall there is a marble monument to James Enyon, died 1623, and Constance his wife, died 1610; also on an oak board is a small brass representing seven figures, with an inscription, 'This brass, circa 1485, was found in the churchyard in 1906 and fixed in the church in 1946'. The figures appear to be gazing upwards and may have formed part of an Assumption group.
The nave (33 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 10 in.) has a modern tiled floor and plastered walls. On the south side the window recesses are square with flat heads, and that in the west has deeply splayed jambs. The chancel arch has been destroyed and its jambs cut away and a plain modern segmental arch inserted, which carries the modern gable above and stops abruptly on the walls at both ends. The late-16th-century roof is a form of queen-post truss, with carved central bosses on the undersides of the stop-chamfered tie-beams, and plastered between the rafters. The modern north arcade is in three bays with pointed arches of two splayed orders which continue uninterrupted down to moulded stops forming square bases.
Opposite the south door is a late-14th-century font of white sandstone, which has a circular basin with eight round shafts projecting from its face, dividing it into as many panels, which are decorated with foliated designs of different patterns, the rim moulding being carried round the shafts to form capitals. The underside of the basin is moulded, the stem circular on a base of three graduated splays. It stands on an octagonal step with a square one on the west side. The pulpit placed on the south side of the chancel arch is modern; also the seating.
The north aisle (33 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 3 in.) has a modern tiled floor, ashlar walls, and an open roof of king-post type with curved brackets and plastered between the rafters. The window recesses are splayed, with pointed arches. Standing against the west wall there is the deep basin of a plain font with part of its rim broken away.
Of the two bells, (fn. 97) one is medieval, of c. 1350, the other was probably cast by Thomas Bullisdon of London, c. 1510.
The registers begin in 1718.
As already mentioned, Geoffrey Corbicun between 1161 and 1170 granted his chapel of Hunningham to one Richard, his clerk. (fn. 98) This was presumably little more than a private manorial chapel, as it was apparently a later Sir Geoffrey Corbicun, 'in King John's time', who gave to Edmund, rector of Wappenbury (within which parish the vill of Hunningham lay), a messuage and land and all the tithes of his fee here for the maintenance of a priest to celebrate in the chapel three days in the week and on special festivals; the reason being the dangerous nature of the approach to Wappenbury church when the Leam was in flood. Sir Geoffrey at the same time made over his rights in the chapel to Sir Richard de Wappenbury, patron of the mother church, and his heirs. (fn. 99) It remained attached to Wappenbury and with that church was appropriated to the Priory of Monks Kirby early in the 13th century. (fn. 100) That alien priory was made over to the Carthusians of Axholme in 1396, (fn. 101) and they had licence to convey the church of Wappenbury to the Northamptonshire abbey of Sulby in 1399. (fn. 102) Accordingly, in 1535 Hunningham was returned as appropriated to Sulby. It is then styled a parish church, of which the glebe and emoluments were worth £5, in addition to £2 which the abbey paid to the stipendiary priest who served the church. (fn. 103) The 'rectory or tithes' of Hunningham, valued at £6 10s. 6d., were granted in 1560 to Sir George Howard, (fn. 104) but the benefice presumably remained a donative in the gift of the lord of the manor, as no presentation is known until 1734, when Edward, Lord Leigh, presented to the curacy. (fn. 105) It descended with the manor, as a perpetual curacy, until the middle of the 19th century, since when the Lord Chancellor has been patron of the benefice, which is now a vicarage. (fn. 106)
George Murcott by will dated 27 January 1885 bequeathed £70 to the minister and churchwardens of Hunningham, the interest to be applied to the use of the poor and distressed widows of the parish.
Mary Garlick. In an overseers' book it is recorded under date 1803 that Mary Garlick by will gave £10, the interest to be applied similarly to the use of poor widows.
Hannah Garlick by will dated 29 July 1865 gave to the officiating clergyman and churchwardens of Hunningham £19 19s., the interest to be applied to the use of poor widows. The annual income of the abovementioned charities amounts to £2 15s. approximately.
Thomas Bayes by will dated 1729 left a rent-charge of 20s. per annum issuing out of a meadow ground called Gilberts Close, Easinghall, Monks Kirby, unto the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Hunningham to distribute forty sixpenny loaves of bread among the poor inhabitants. The rentcharge was redeemed in 1915 in consideration of the sum of £40 Consols, producing an annual income of 20s.
Richard Cox. It is recorded upon a tablet in the parish church that Richard Cox by his will dated 3 March 1700 gave to the poor of the parish the sum of 10s. to be annually paid them on 24 February, for ever, out of his cottage there.
Church Land. It is stated in the printed Parliamentary Reports of the Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities dated 1827 that there is a parcel of arable land in the parish containing 3½ acres the rent of which has from time immemorial been received by the churchwardens and applied towards the repair of the church, but it is not known how the property was acquired. It is also stated that the churchwardens receive the following rents which are applied towards the repair of the church:
2s. 6d. a year in respect of a 'Hooke' or small slip of land in a meadow called Caudle Meadow, in this parish.
5s. a year in respect of a 'Hooke' in Crow Meadow, in this parish.
The origin of these payments is unknown.
The annual income of the Charity amounts to £9.
Philip Edward Shepheard by will dated 13 July 1933 bequeathed £200 Consols to the Parochial Church Council of Hunningham, to apply the dividends for the upkeep of the new churchyard.