A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Leamington Hastings is a parish and scattered village 4 miles north-east of Southam. The river Leam, from which the name is derived, forms the northern boundary and receives two tributaries; one flows north-west from Grandborough and, with several branches, one rising at the hamlet of Broadwell, drains the eastern part of the parish; the other flows due north from Stockton and forms the western boundary. The land is fairly flat, rising from 233 ft. where the road from Southam to Rugby crosses the Leam at Kites Hardwick or Thurlaston Bridge (fn. 1) to 339 ft. where this road receives a branch from Napton near the southwest corner of the parish. The only other road of present-day importance is that running from Hill in the centre of the parish, through Leamington Hastings village to Birdingbury and Marton; but there are numerous unmetalled roads and tracks, one of which, running from Hill across Grandborough Fields towards Flecknoe and Staverton (Northants.) seems to have once been more frequently used; the inhabitants of the parish, who had been presented at Quarter Sessions for its non-repair, had by Michaelmas 1637 done this 'well and sufficiently'. This road is described as that from Leamington Hastings to Daventry. (fn. 2) The Warwick branch of the Oxford Canal runs along the southern edge of the parish parallel to the WeedonLeamington Spa branch of the former L.M.S. Railway, whose station of Napton and Stockton is just within its borders, but the station nearest the village is Birdingbury, 1½ miles away on the Rugby-Leamington branch. There is no woodland in the parish except for a few small copses. Besides the main village there are three hamlets, Broadwell, Hill, and Kites Hardwick, each at one time a separate manor; Broadwell has a separate post office, a Church of England mission church and a Methodist chapel, and Hardwick a mission room, but the population, at less than 1 person to 10 acres, is distinctly sparse. Most of the land was in pasture but much has now been converted to arable.
Among famous men connected with Leamington Hastings are Sir Thomas Trevor (1586–1656), a 17th-century lord of the manor, Baron of the Exchequer and parliamentarian judge, (fn. 3) and Richard Congreve (1818–99), the Positivist, who was a native. (fn. 4)
Some interesting particulars are contained in an early-17th-century document endorsed 'A Note of the p'ticuler commodities of Lemmington Hastings', printed in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica (vol. i, pp. 293–4). The glebe land of Ougham and Westcroft (in Kites Hardwick) was capable of supporting 10 milch cows besides 'rearers' and two or three hundred sheep, and also contained 4 yard land (fn. 5) of corn and hay. The tithe corn of the parish had been sold to certain Coventry men for 200 marks a year, reckoning corn at 18d. the bushel, and was now considered worth at least £200 yearly; the tithes of wool had been sold for £40 yearly. The demesnes of the manor comprised over 600 acres, 'all inclosure for corne, sheepe and meadowe'; 1,000 sheep could be kept on them.
About 1665 Thomas Gill gave to Sir Thomas Wheler and other trustees lands in the common fields of Leamington for the building of a school and a hospital. Some two years later his widow Susan Gill opposed the proposal to inclose the fields, on the ground that they produced good crops and that inclosure would ruin the freeholders and cause depopulation. (fn. 6) The inclosure, however, was carried through (fn. 7), and a portion allotted as the Poor's Land was charged with providing £25 yearly for the school. (fn. 8)
A little to the south-east of the church there is a row of 17th-century almshouses. They are built of coursed squared limestone with very thin alternate courses and red sandstone dressings, except two, added later, which have white sandstone dressings. It is a long rectangular building of two stories under one roof, the upper floor lighted by dormer windows. The south front faces the road and over one of the doors towards the east there is a brass tablet with an inscription (fn. 9) recording that Humphrey Davies founded the almshouse in 1607 and bequeathed lands for its endowment, which were detained for 26 years and only recovered in 'this present year 1633' with the help of Sir Thomas Trevor, baron of the Exchequer and lord of the manor. Towards the west there is a further inscription in a carved frame on a stone tablet as follows: 'This Home for the maintenance of two poor people of this parish for ever was built and endowed 1696, pertinant to the last will of Dorothy relict of Sir Charles Wheler Bart.' Internally the accommodation has been much altered. It seems probable that the earlier building consisted of four appartments, that two in the same style were built on to the west in 1696, and later another was added, also at the west end, with a gable instead of a dormer to light the upper floor. All the fireplaces have modern chimney-pieces, except one, much mutilated, with stone jambs and a chamfered oak lintel. On the south front there are three doorways, all cut through the walls and finished with thin timber lintels, six three-light flat-headed windows, with label mouldings returned at the ends, two later square windows cut through the walls, five dormers, and a buttress marking the junction between the two periods of building. On the north are brick additions, one dated 1841, into which some original stone two-light windows have been built, but without their label mouldings. The whole has been reroofed (1949) and the chimney-stacks rebuilt in modern brickwork.
Kites Hardwick, 1¾ miles east of the church on the east side of the Southam-Rugby road, is a tall threestory square red brick building with stone dressings, of early-18th-century date. It is built against the remains of a 16th-century house which retains an original two-light square-headed window with moulded jambs and mullion. The north and east elevations are plain brickwork without openings or stone dressings, which suggests that the present house is part of an ambitious scheme that was never completed. The main front to the south has a stone moulded plinth, rebated quoins, and a central doorway with a moulded architrave, keystone, and segmental pediment. There are three sash windows to each of the upper floors and one on either side of the door, all with stone moulded architraves, sills, and projecting keystones. At each floor level there are moulded string-courses, which are returned round the keystones, and above a stone moulded cornice on which rests a parapet divided into panels by stone piers and finished with a moulded coping. The west elevation, with four windows to each floor, is less elaborate than the south, but the cornice, parapet, and plinth have been continued. There are no internal features of interest. In the church there is an 18th-century memorial tablet to John Smith of Kites Hardwick; and William Smith in 1711 left a rent-charge on his lands in Hardwick for the poor of this and neighbouring parishes. (fn. 10)
The chief estate of LEAMINGTON was according to Domesday Book held by Hasculf Musard of the king and was rated at 12½ hides and half a virgate; 2s. of its total value of £12 was represented by a mill, and the pre-Conquest tenant had been one Azor. (fn. 11) Hasculf also held Whitnash and Haseley in Warwickshire, besides extensive estates elsewhere, and the three villages were held by his descendant Robert Musard in 1235 as 2 knight's fees. (fn. 12) The overlordship of the Musards was still recognized in 1410 (fn. 13) and 1419. (fn. 14)
Hasculf's tenant on his other Warwickshire estates was Humfrey, the ancestor of the Hastang family, who subsequently appear at Leamington also and gave the village its distinctive name. Robert Hastang, Humfrey's great-great-grandson, according to Dugdale, (fn. 15) granted a hide in Leamington Hastings and Hill to Hugh son of Henry in 1248. (fn. 16) His grandson John had right of free warren in his demesnes in 1305, (fn. 17) and two years later lost 78 sheep, worth £20, concerning whose killers a commission of oyer and terminer was issued. (fn. 18) He was stated to be lord of Leamington cum membris in 1316. (fn. 19) In 1309 and 1315 he and his wife Eve settled the manor on themselves in tail with contingent remainder to his right heirs. (fn. 20) Fresh settlements were made in 1319 on his son Thomas (fn. 21) and in 1325 on John for life with remainder to Thomas and Elizabeth his wife and the heirs of the former. (fn. 22) Their son Sir John Hastang was the last of the male line and died before 1375, when his daughter Maud proved her age and with her husband Ralph de Stafford received the rents, services, and customs of all tenants in Leamington and Hill, valued at £56, and the site of the manor with all except 100 acres of the demesne lands. (fn. 23) These 100 acres, valued at 41s. 8d., with land in Bradwell worth £38 11s. 9d. were reserved for Maud's sister Joan, who was still a minor, and later became the manor of Bradwell (q.v.).
Ralph Stafford also received small grants of land and rents from William de Halughton and Maud his wife (1370) (fn. 24) and Thomas Chircheyard and Joan his wife (1398). (fn. 25) At his death in 1410 his son Humphrey was 26; (fn. 26) the latter made a settlement of the manor on trustees and died 8 years later, when his son John succeeded. (fn. 27) John's brother, another Humphrey, was killed at Sevenoaks in Jack Cade's rebellion in 1450, (fn. 28) and Humphrey's sons Humphrey and Thomas were implicated in Lord Lovell's rising of 1485, the former being attainted and executed. (fn. 29) After a short interval in crown hands the manor was granted to Sir Edward Poynings, (fn. 30) who died in possession in 1521. (fn. 31) He left no legitimate issue, his heir being his cousin Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, (fn. 32) but Sir Humphrey Stafford's son Humphrey, having been restored to favour in 1514, (fn. 33) regained the manor, which he held at his death in 1545. (fn. 34) His grandson Humphrey was dealing with it in 1554 (fn. 35) and made a settlement in 1563, (fn. 36) and Humphrey the grandson of this latter Humphrey was vouchee in a recovery of 1602. (fn. 37) He seems to have died very soon after, for his brother Sir William Stafford was in possession in 1606 when he settled the manor on his heirs male with reversion to his brothers Walter and Anthony and daughters Bridget, Elizabeth, and Mary; he died the same year. (fn. 38) The Staffords finally relinquished the manor when William and John, Sir William's sons, and Elizabeth the wife of the former, sold it in 1630 to Sir Thomas Trevor, Baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 39) Sir Thomas's son, another Thomas, was created a baronet in 1641 but died (1676) without issue, bequeathing Leamington Hastings to Sir Charles Wheler, whose maternal grandmother was the sister of the elder Sir Thomas Trevor. (fn. 40) Sir William Wheler, Sir Charles's grandson, was dealing with the manor in 1724. (fn. 41) The Whelers were still lords in 1796, (fn. 42) but 2 years later, on the death of Sir William (son of the preceding), the estates were divided, part remaining with the baronetcy but the manor-house and some 2,000 acres (of 2,700 acres in all) going to Lucy his only surviving child. (fn. 43) Her husband Edward Sacheverell Wilmot Sitwell was lord 1801–19, (fn. 44) and the manor still remains with this family. (fn. 45)
Joan Hastang, to whom BRADWELL or BROADWELL was allotted in 1375, (fn. 46) married Sir John Salisbury (executed 1388). (fn. 47) She was lady of the manor in 1398, when her husband was Rustin de Villeneuve. (fn. 48) Later she married Roger Swynnerton; (fn. 49) her heir was her daughter Joan, wife of Henry Delves, aged 28 at her mother's death in 1420. (fn. 50) There seem to have been no children of this marriage, and in 1514 when the Stafford family were restored to their estates, it was passed to Humphrey Stafford by Edward Littelton, (fn. 51) whose wife Helen was the daughter of Humphrey Swinnerton. (fn. 52) The last mention of Bradwell as a separate manor is in the inquisition post mortem on Humphrey Stafford (1545). (fn. 53)
A manor of HARDWICK, known in the 16th century as HARDWICK GRIMBALD, (fn. 54) is to be identified with the hamlet of Kites Hardwick in the north-east corner of the parish. The first mention is in 1236, when Robert Hastang made Richard de Wulurinton his attorney in a suit against William de Herdewic regarding the customs and services owed by the latter. (fn. 55) The Herdewick family were of Lindley (Leics.), but some of them at least seem to have resided at this manor of theirs, John Herdwyk being a collector of a subsidy in Warwickshire in 1349, 1350, and 1352, (fn. 56) and a justice when Coventry was given a separate commission of the peace in 1377. (fn. 57) The male line died out with another John in 1510, (fn. 58) and in the partition of his estates Hardwick was assigned to William Dyngley and Alice his wife, John's eldest daughter. His son John and grandson Henry were dealing with the manor in 1538 (fn. 59) and 1575, (fn. 60) and Francis, son of the latter, sold it in 1589 to Richard Clever, (fn. 61) whose grandson was lord in 1640. (fn. 62) It was again sold, to the Trevors of Leamington Hastings, before 1676, since when it has descended with that manor (q.v.).
Two hides in HILL were in 1086 held by Abingdon abbey, having been bought (emit) by the abbot of the fee of Turchil; Warin was the sub-tenant. (fn. 63) The early history of this estate is conflicting, for the abbey's chronicle states in one place that the lands in question were granted (concessit) by Turchil and confirmed by William the Conqueror, and in another that the abbot bought (emit) them of the king himself. (fn. 64) In 1201 Ralph son of Wigan stated that his ancestor Wigan had been enfeoffed of one hide in Hill, which the abbot was claiming from him, by Henry I as a result of the felony of Roger de Causton, the previous holder. Judgement was given in favour of the abbot. (fn. 65) It was probably this hide which was 2 years later granted by Hugh, Abbot of Abingdon, to Henry son of Pagan as one-sixth of a knight's fee; (fn. 66) Hugh, surnamed of Abingdon, Henry's son, was holding this portion of the abbey in 1242–3, and William de Curly a similar fraction of a fee, thus accounting for the original 2 hides. (fn. 67) Hugh had sold all his holding here to Robert Hastang by 1251–2; the service was then stated to be castle-ward at Windsor. (fn. 68) By his marriage to Joan, coheiress of William de Curly, (fn. 69) Robert Hastang also obtained possession of the other Abingdon Abbey holding, which henceforth descended with Leamington Hastings, being allotted to Maud and her husband Ralph Stafford on the partition of the Hastang estates in 1375. (fn. 70)
The church of ALL SAINTS is situated on the south of the village, and stands to the west of the churchyard. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles and porches, and west tower. Built about the middle of the 13th century it then consisted of a chancel, nave, and south aisle, and soon afterwards a north chapel was added. At the beginning of the 14th century the nave and south aisle were extended by the addition of two bays, and a small south porch was erected. About the end of that century the north chapel was extended to form the north aisle, and the tower and north porch were built. In 1677 the chancel was entirely rebuilt, a clearstory added to the nave, the windows in the south aisle replaced and the aisles re-roofed. In 1703 much of the south side of the church was rebuilt and the south porch was extended. In 1875 extensive repairs were carried out, the chancel re-roofed, reusing some of the old timbers, the stonework of the three large windows in the north aisle replaced, and the open timber roof of the nave concealed by a flat matchboarded ceiling.
The chancel is built of roughly squared rubble, with a plinth of one splay and a low-pitched roof covered with slates. The east end has angle buttresses with crocketed finials, the finials being renewed as part of a modern rebuilding of the upper part of the gable in red sandstone ashlar. (fn. 71) The window is of three cinquefoil lights, a flat head and a hood-moulding with mask stops, and above a tablet with the date 1677. The north side has two similar square-headed windows, but of two lights, and between them a narrow doorway, slightly projected, with a gable, in the form of a porch. The doorway has a pointed arch, its mouldings continued down the jambs without capitals, and is probably the north door from the destroyed 13th-century chancel. The south side has been considerably rebuilt and has no plinth; a note in the church registers for 1704 states: 'The south side of the church was rebuilt including the arches from the foundations.' It has two two-light windows similar to those on the north.
The north aisle, divided into four bays by three buttresses with gabled crocketed heads, is built of red sandstone ashlar, except the west bay, which is of small limestone rubble. The parapet to the low-pitched roof is plain, but supported on a hollow corbel-course with human heads in its hollow. On the east it is lighted by a pointed window of three trefoil lights and tracery, all modern with the exception of the jambs and hood-moulding. It has an angle buttress similar to the others, and in the angle against the chancel there is a grotesque gargoyle. In the east bay on the north side is a single narrow trefoil light of one splay with an ogee head, which has probably been lowered, as its rear-arch is considerably higher. The next bay has a three-light window similar to that in the east wall, and the next contains the north doorway, a fine example of late-14th-century work. It projects 3 ft. 6 in. from the wall face to form a small porch with a gable, roofed with slates. Its ogee arch is richly moulded and in the wide hollow of the moulding a vine stalk, issuing from the mouths of the head-stops and a head in the apex, fills the hollow with its leaves and fruit; the ogee label is finished by a head terminal, and the round mouldings of the jambs are provided with capitals, now badly defaced. The three-light tracery window in the west wall is modern. The use of rubble for this bay is obviously contemporary with the rest of the aisle, it also applies to the west wall and the west bay of the north arcade. The clearstory on this side has no parapet, but an eaves-gutter, to the low-pitched nave roof, and it is lighted by four two-light square-headed windows. The south aisle has a low parapet with a string-course at its base, which is raised over the aisle windows to form hood-mouldings. It is built of sandstone ashlar, with a moulded plinth and buttresses with gabled heads. There are three windows of two trefoil lights, with flat heads, in the south wall and one in each of the east and west walls, all dating from 1677 except that in the east wall, which is a modern replica. The clearstory has a low plain parapet with a string-course at its base raised as a hood-moulding to the four flat-headed windows, each of two round-headed lights. The south door has a pointed arch; the porch is divided by a rough, pointed arch, and beyond this is the 18th-century addition with a pointed arch entrance of two chamfers, perhaps re-used. It is flanked by buttresses and has a tiled roof. In the apex of the gable there is a tablet with the date 1703 and the names of two churchwardens.
The tower, built of red sandstone ashlar and dating from the end of the 14th century, is in three stages with angle buttresses at each corner rising in six weathered stages to the string-course at the base of the embattled parapet, which has shields in the merlons, crocketed finials at the angles, and gargoyles in the centre of each face. The west door has a segmental-pointed arch with a moulded splay continuous down the jambs, flanked by small pilasters with crocketed finials and surmounted by an ogee crocketed label with a foliated finial; above this there is a three-light plain tracery window in a deep splay with a four-centred arch and hood-mouldings with grotesque head-stops; the tracery is modern but the head and jambs are original. Over this window there is an empty niche with the remains of a canopy. The north side is plain, but the south has three loop lights to the tower staircase, and a large sundial painted on the wall of the second stage; the east side has a clock dial in the second stage with a small square window below. On all faces of the belfry there are two windows close together, each of two trefoil lights with four-centred heads set in deep splays, the lower part of each light is panelled in stone with louvres above.
The chancel (51 ft. by 17 ft.), entirely rebuilt in 1677, is probably much longer than its 13th-century predecessor, of which no trace remains. The walls are plastered and the floor paved with red and yellow brick, the choir portion with modern tiles surrounding memorial slabs of the 17th and 18th centuries; there are two steps to the choir and two to the altar, which is of modern oak with a carved panel representing the Lord's Supper. The roof, which is of the king-post type, is modern, but some of the 17th-century timbers have been re-used. Opposite the north door there is a pointed arch recess which may have been intended for a south door and not completed. On the south wall there is a large mural monument of black and white marble with the busts of a knight and his wife on a shelf on which there are also two skulls; this is to Sir Thomas Trevor, bart., died 1676, and Mary his wife, died 1695; by the side hang a helmet and gauntlet. On the north side there is another large marble mural monument, with the bust of a knight, to Sir Thomas Trevor, 'One of the Barons of ye King's Exchequer and Lord of this Mannour', died St. Thomas's Day, 1654; by the side are hung a helmet, sword, and gauntlet. In the recess on the south side there is a white marble monument to John Allington, the vicar who was responsible for the complete restoration of the church, died 1682. On each side of the chancel are marble tablets to members of the Wheler family who died during the 17th century.
The nave (56 ft. by 24 ft.) has a modern red tiled floor, with wood blocks under the seating, the walls unplastered, and its old timber roof concealed by a modern matchboarded ceiling. The west bay of the north arcade is screened off with a 17th-century oak screen with carved panels. The south arcade, of five bays, has pointed arches of two splayed orders supported on octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases, the latter resting on low square plinths with chamfered corners; the moulded capital to the east respond, which has a row of nail-heads in a hollow moulding, has been restored. The first three bays are contemporary with the nave, the two other bays were added early in the 14th century. The north arcade has four bays of similar detail to those on the south side, the east bay opened into a chapel built late in the 13th century and embodied in the arcade when the north aisle was erected late in the 14th century. The chancel arch and its responds have been replaced by a modern segmental arch, concealed by a modern oak panelled and traceried screen resting on carved stone corbels. The tower arch is pointed, with two splayed orders to the nave and three to the tower, the inner order supported on responds with moulded caps and the outer continued down to splayed bases and on the tower side the third splay dies out on the walls.
The north aisle (57 ft. 5 in. by 11 ft. 5 in.) is paved with modern tiles and has a low-pitched roof dating from the 17th century, the beams supported by carved brackets resting on stone corbels. Against the east respond of the arcade there is a narrow doorway, with a four-centred head, to a blocked staircase which gave access to the rood loft; it still retains its iron hinge-pins. In the east bay there is an altar table, with turned legs, dating from the 18th century. The pointed rear-arch of the north door and its label with head-stops are formed with plaster.
The south aisle (57 ft. by 11 ft. 6 in.) has a floor and roof similar to the north. The east bay forms the organ chamber and the west bay is screened off as an additional vestry. The south door has a plaster rear-arch similar to the north, but above it, a little to the west, is a blocked semicircular arch, probably the rear-arch of the 13th-century doorway.
The tower (12 ft. by 11 ft. 9 in.) is paved with modern tiles and the walls are unplastered. The southwest corner is splayed for the doorway to the tower stair, which has a four-centred head of one splay. In the belfry there are corbels for an octagonal spire which either was never built or has been destroyed. In the west window there are a number of coats of arms of Trevor and Wheler and their alliances.
The hexagonal sandstone font stands at the west end of the nave and beneath the rim moulding, on each face, there is an angel with outstretched wings holding a plain shield; the stem is also hexagonal, each face having two trefoiled panels; the base and step are modern. The pulpit on the north side of the chancel arch is octagonal with alternate long and short sides. It is of oak with carved trefoils, quatrefoils and similar work of varying detail, with linenfold panels in later framing. The carving dates from the end of the 16th century. The seating throughout is modern.
The church plate includes: a large silver chalice and two patens engraved with the Trevor crest and an inscription recording their gift by Sir Thomas Trevor, bart., in 1633; a large silver flagon, and another of pewter, both given in 1699 by William Binckes, vicar.
Of the five bells, nos. 1 and 2 are by G. &. G. Mears, 1821; the other three by Hugh Watts, 1620, 1631, and 1615 respectively. (fn. 72)
There was a priest here in 1086, (fn. 73) and the church was given to Nostell priory (Yorks.) by Aytrop Hastang in the reign of Henry I, (fn. 74) confirmed in 1222 by Robert Hastang. (fn. 75) The appropriation took place in 1232, in the episcopate of Bishop Stavensby, when the vicarage was charged with annual pensions of 15 marks to the canons of Nostell and a similar sum to the chapter of Lichfield. (fn. 76) The value in 1291 was £6 13s. 4d. in addition to these pensions, (fn. 77) and in 1535 £20, plus £20 paid in pensions to Nostell and 9s. 4d. for procurations and synodals. (fn. 78)
The first post-Reformation presentation (1558) was made by William Hygden, who had been granted it by the Prior of Nostell before the Dissolution. (fn. 79) The advowson was granted in 1599–1600 to Richard Locksmith, (fn. 80) and Jane Locksmith widow presented in 1619. (fn. 81) From 1646, when it was in the hands of the Trevors, the advowson has descended with the manor, except in 1683 when a presentation was made by Samuel Fortrey, the second Sir Thomas Trevor's father-in-law, and others. (fn. 82)
Gilbert Walden, the intruded Cromwellian minister, was in trouble both with his predecessor John Lee, sequestered in 1649 for 'drunkenness, swearing and malignancy', who had brought a suit against him and detained his income, (fn. 83) and with his successor Tristram Sugge, appointed by Sir Thomas Trevor at the Restoration, who prayed the House of Lords for Walden's removal, supported by a petition of the inhabitants. (fn. 84)
A sum of £50 from the rectory was assigned in 1655 for the augmentation of the vicarage of Winchcombe (Glos.). (fn. 85)
Humphrey Davis's Almshouse, Dame Dorothy Wheler's Almshouse, and The Poor's Land (exclusive of the Poor's Land Educational Foundation), formerly administered together under the title of the United Charities pursuant to a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 5 December 1893 as varied by a scheme of the said Commissioners dated 20 January 1905, are now regulated by schemes of the said Commissioners dated 26 August 1910 and 3 April 1925 under the title of the Consolidated Charities. The schemes appoint a body of trustees to administer the charities, of which the annual income amounts to £443 approximately.
William Goode by will proved on 29 December 1841 bequeathed to the clergyman, churchwardens, and overseers of Leamington Hastings £100, the interest to be expended in bread to be distributed on the first Sunday in April amongst the poor inhabitants of the parish. The annual income of the charity amounts to £2 13s. 4d.
William Smith. This parish participates in the charity of William Smith and receives 4s. per annum which, in accordance with the terms of the bequest is required to be distributed in bread to the poorest people of the parish. For particulars of the charity see under parish of Birdingbury.