A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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MILVERTON (fn. 1)
The old parish of Milverton lies east of Warwick and north-west of Leamington Spa. The River Avon forms its northern and western boundaries, and the Leam its southern, part of the eastern having originally been the Binsbrook, (fn. 2) now built over but commemorated by Brook Street in Leamington. Until about 1840 it seems to have been little affected by the growth of Leamington, but by 1880 the district between Rugby Road on the north and Warwick New Road and Milverton Hill on the south had been built over, (fn. 3) and since then there has been considerable development to the north of Rugby Road. In 1894 the parish was divided into the two civil parishes of Old and New Milverton; the latter, being within the borough of Leamington, was absorbed into the newly constituted civil parish of Leamington in 1902. (fn. 4)
In the south-west corner of the parish was the hamlet of Edmondscote, or Emscote, (fn. 5) which was depopulated by inclosure in the 15th century, and by the middle of the 17th century contained only the manor-house. (fn. 6) This was a stone building, apparently medieval in origin, retaining in 1835 'a pointed arch towards the court' and in the back kitchen 'remains of a gothic window'; there was an oak staircase up to a wide gallery, and one room, panelled in oak, had over the fire-place 'an Ancient Fancy Piece of Painting'. (fn. 7) It stood slightly to the south-west of the present Milverton Station, on the Leamington—Coventry branch of the L.N.W. (later L.M.S.) Railway. A short distance west of it was the old bridge over the Avon, 'an irregular narrow building of 7 or 8 arches, some round and others pointed'. (fn. 8) Emscote Bridge was in a dangerous state in 1625 (fn. 9) and, after the usual disputes as to responsibility for its repair, was largely rebuilt in 1629, (fn. 10) but by 1650 was again in need of repairs. (fn. 11) By 1830 it had been condemned as unsafe and next year the existing Portobello Bridge, some 20 yards lower down the stream, replaced it, at a cost of £9,000. (fn. 12)
North of the bridge an island, formed by canalization of part of the course of the Avon, is the site of the Rock Mills, where in 1792 a cotton-spinning factory was established by Benjamin Smart, a Leamington Quaker who had bought the manor-house and mill from the Bests. For a while it employed nearly a hundred persons, but it was not a financial success, and by 1830 it had been converted into flour mills. (fn. 13) This was probably the site of the mill of Milverton valued at 50s. in the Domesday Survey, (fn. 14) and of the mill which John de Astley held of Sir Andrew de Astley in 1279. (fn. 15) In 1560 the estate of Alvred Trussell in Milverton included a water-mill and a fulling-mill, (fn. 16) and ten years later his son was dealing with a water-mill and fishing rights in the Avon. (fn. 17) There was also a mill on the Leam, to which Thomas Hugford had leave to divert the stream in 1430. (fn. 18) This was presumably one of the two mills attached to Emscote Manor in 1621, (fn. 19) and may have been the water-mill called Averyes mill, in the tenure of William Ord, in 1630. (fn. 20) In 1705 the joint manors of Emscote and Milverton included a water corn-mill and fullingmill. (fn. 21)
In 1805 an Act (fn. 22) was passed for the inclosing of certain open fields, common meadows and pastures, and waste in Milverton, the hamlet of Emscote being expressly excluded. The map attached to the Award of 1808 shows that the land to the west of the Old Milverton Road had already been inclosed, as well as much in the south round Conery Farm, later 'called the Cunnery from formerly swarming with rabbits' (fn. 23) and now Gunnery Farm, a 17th-century timber-framed house with traces of an earlier stone building. The largest allotments were made to Elizabeth Baldwyn, formerly widow of Benjamin Palmer (227 acres), the Earl of Upper Ossory (as trustee of the Earl of Warwick) (186 acres), and Bertie Greathead of Guy's Cliffe (162 acres).
Dr. Thomas in 1730 noted under Milverton that 'Their Wake follows St. James', (fn. 24) and it continued to be held, in the form of a small fair, on the Monday after St. James's Day, 25 July, until about the end of the 19th century.
In 1086 MILVERTON, which had formerly been held by Lewin and was rated at 1¾ hides, was in the hands of the Count of Meulan. It included a mill worth 50s. and 30 acres of meadow. (fn. 25) The overlordship was afterwards divided between the earls of Warwick and Leicester. Part of the Warwick share was held with Astley and Morton as 1½ knight's fees by Thomas de Estley, or Astley, in 1235 and 1242, (fn. 26) and by Nicholas de Astley in 1316. (fn. 27) Thomas de Astley conveyed his land here, with other property, in 1337 to the chantry (fn. 28) which in 1343 he converted into the college of Astley, (fn. 29) and it formed the endowment of the prebend of Milverton in the college.
When the elder Geoffrey de Clinton was on his death-bed he told his son Geoffrey to restore to his man Ermenfrid de Ponte 2 virgates of land in Milverton, which Geoffrey accordingly did. (fn. 30) This may perhaps have been the estate in Milverton which was said in 1221 to have been pledged to Jews and had then been for the past seven years in the hands of William de Cantilupe, being valued at £7. (fn. 31) It may also be identical with 'an escheat at Milverton' of which Richard Trussell had the homage and Margery his mother's sister had the rent in dower at the time of Richard's death at Evesham in 1265. (fn. 32) Richard's brother William Trussell was one of the three lords of Milverton in 1279 and held of Andrew de Astley as 1/9 knight's fee, Andrew holding of the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 33) William was returned as lord of the vill in 1316, (fn. 34) and in 1382 Sir Alvred Trussell settled the manor on himself in tail male. (fn. 35) His descendant Thomas Trussell died in 1516 seised of property described as 10 messuages and 20 virgates of land, leaving a grandson Alvred (fn. 36) at whose death in 1560 the estate is called 'tenements', (fn. 37) but in 1573 Alvred's son John Trussell conveyed 'the manor' of Milverton to Adam Palmer, (fn. 38) who had married his sister Dorothy. (fn. 39) Their (? great-grandson) Henry Palmer married Anne Greswolde, (fn. 40) and after the deaths of Benjamin Palmer (1734) and his widow, who married Baldwin of Aqualet (Staffs.), the manor passed to Henry Greswold Lewis and Mrs. Wilson, and in 1835 was sold by Mr. Wilson for £36,000 to the Hon. Charles Bertie Percy of Guy's Cliffe, (fn. 41) in which estate it was merged, the manorial rights, if any existed, lapsing.
Roger, Earl of Warwick, when he founded his collegiate church of St. Mary at Warwick in 1123 included in its endowments ½ hide of land in Milverton and the tithes of all his fee there. (fn. 42) In 1279 Ralph de Hengham, who was returned as one of the three lords of Milverton, was apparently mesne lord between the Earl of Warwick and the college, of which the 2 virgates that he held formed a prebend. (fn. 43) This arrangement was probably purely temporary and personal to Ralph. When the college was suppressed in 1547 it was receiving 12s. rents, of which 8s. were paid by the Beaufoes of Emscote. (fn. 44)
The portion of the Count of Meulan's estate which descended to the Earls of Leicester lay mostly in EMSCOTE. After the death of Robert 'fitzPernel', the last Earl of Leicester of this line, the overlordship passed to his sister Margaret, wife of Sayer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, (fn. 45) and a half fee in Emscote and Milverton was held by their son Earl Roger at his death in 1264. (fn. 46) He left three daughters and coheirs, the younger of whom, Elena, married Alan la Zouche and was in possession of the half fee in 1279, (fn. 47) as was Alan la Zouche in 1313, (fn. 48) and Robert de Holand, in right of his wife Maud, daughter and coheir of Alan, (fn. 49) in 1328. (fn. 50) Their granddaughter Maud, widow of John, Lord Lovel of Titchmarsh, died seised of the half fee in 1423, (fn. 51) as did her son Sir William in 1455. (fn. 52) The last Lord Lovel was attainted and forfeited his estates in 1495, but the manor was still held of the honor of Winchester in 1504. (fn. 53)
Walter Spigurnel of Emscote gave to the monks of Combe Abbey common of pasture of his fee of Milverton near Blackdown (fn. 54) in Lillington (q.v.). He had evidently acquired this estate by marriage, as in 1210 he and his wife Celestria claimed against Robert de Milverton 2 virgates in Milverton, as having belonged to her father Henry; (fn. 55) and in 1224 they granted meadow in Emscote to Walter de Edlegh, to be held of the heirs of Celestria. (fn. 56) Moreover, in 1231, when they claimed the advowson of the church of Milverton against the prior of Kenilworth, to whom Walter remitted his claim in the following year, (fn. 57) it was on the ground that Celestria's father Henry had presented his brother Godfrey to the living in the time of Henry II. (fn. 58) This Henry may possibly have been the Henry de Edelmescote who was dealing with land in Emscote in 1202. (fn. 59) Walter was presumably succeeded by James, as in 1247 Richard le Espigurnel as guardian of John, son of James le Espigurnel who held of the Earl of Winchester in Emscote, was claiming sole fishing rights in part of the River Leam. The jury found that the Earl and Countess of Warwick had the right to fish there in person and that their men might take fish for their use on one or two days before their arrival at Warwick. (fn. 60) This John Spigurnel was one of the three lords of Milverton in 1279, and also lord of Emscote, holding in each case from Elena la Zouche, and also had the fishing rights in the Leam between the Avon and Binsbrook. (fn. 61) A later John Spigurnel in 1325 settled an estate in Emscote and Milverton, defined as 6 messuages, 4 carucates of land, and 100s. rents, on himself and his wife Maud, (fn. 62) and probably died not long afterwards, as Maud Spigurnel is said to have held 1/6 knight's fee here in 1336. (fn. 63) The family seems to have died out soon after this, possibly ending in an heiress married to John de Charleton of Middlesex, as he and his son Thomas in 1374 confirmed to John, son of William Rivel of Buckby (Northants.), lands in Emscote and Milverton, with the reversion of others held in dower by Joan, widow of James Spigurnel. (fn. 64) William Rivel left a daughter Joan who married Geoffrey de Edmundescote, (fn. 65) also called Reynolds, and their son Richard took his mother's name of Rivel and in 1408 conveyed the manor to Robert Hugford and Joyce his wife, (fn. 66) whose daughter Margery Richard married. (fn. 67) Later in the year Robert Hugford, who was controller of the household of the Earl of Warwick, (fn. 68) received a grant of free warren in Emscote and Milverton. (fn. 69) His son Thomas in 1430 gave land near Warwick to the earl in exchange for the right to divert the water of the Leam to his mill. (fn. 70) In 1438 Thomas was called lord of Emscote when he and his wife Margaret had an indult to possess a portable altar. (fn. 71) His son John died in 1485, leaving as coheirs three daughters: Joan who married Henry Beaufoe, Alice, wife of Richard Cotes, and Anne who married Gerard Danett and had a daughter Elizabeth who died childless. (fn. 72) Richard Cotes died in 1504, leaving a son John, who in 1512 conveyed his share to John Beaufoe (son of Joan Hugford). (fn. 73) Gerard Danett, having had issue by Anne, held 'by the courtesy of England' tenements in Emscote which reverted on his death in 1520 to John, son of John Beaufoe, a minor in ward to Sir Edward Ferrers. (fn. 74) John Beaufoe was, therefore, seised of the manor when he died in January 1530, leaving a widow Ursula and four sons, of whom John, the eldest, was 7 years old. (fn. 75) The estate, known from 1583 onwards as the manors of Emscote and Milverton, descended in the family until the death of Sir Henry Beaufoy in 1678. (fn. 76) His eventual heir was his sister Martha who married Sir Samuel Garth, M.D., physician to Queen Anne. Their daughter Mary Beaufoy Garth married William Boyle, a grandson of the first Earl of Orrery, and had a daughter Harriet Anne, wife of the Rev. William Dee Best, (fn. 77) who in 1776 made a conveyance of the manors and church to George, Earl Brooke and Warwick. (fn. 78)
Dr. Thomas in 1730 states that the Earl of Stamford 'claims a royalty (i.e. a manorial lordship) but has little or no estate' in Milverton. (fn. 79) The Earls of Stamford (who from 1796 to 1883 were also Earls of Warrington) (fn. 80) appear as lords of the manor of Milverton between 1729 and 1832, (fn. 81) and the only manorial lord mentioned in the Inclosure Award of 1808 was George Harry, Earl of Stamford and Warrington, whose allotment was the insignificant amount of 1 acre, 39 perches. As the earls were descended from Henry, Lord Grey of Groby, who was nephew of Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorset and later Duke of Suffolk (attainted in 1555), to whom Astley College with its estate in Milverton was granted in 1545 (fn. 82) it might be supposed that this lordship derived from the prebend of Milverton; but it is definitely stated in the Award that this manor was 'parcel of his Honour of Winchester'. So, apparently, the claim was to the overlordship, by descent from Margaret, eldest daughter and coheir of Roger de Quincy. It does not seem to have been advanced before the 18th century and apparently faded out in the 19th, leaving as its chief memorial the 'Stamford and Warrington Arms', now Milverton Coffee House, in Rugby Road.
The old church of ST. JAMES, on the crest of a hill which slopes west and north to the Avon, was a small building, apparently mainly of the 13th century, with chancel, nave with north aisle, and west tower. (fn. 83) By the end of the 18th century the greater part of the tower had been removed and replaced by a timber-framed tower with a pyramidal cap, and it is probable that the whole edifice was in poor condition. It was pulled down and completely rebuilt on the same site in 1879–80 from designs by John Gibson (fn. 84) at the cost of Lord Charles and Lady Ann Bertie Percy. The present building consists of chancel, north organ-chamber and vestry, north aisle, south porch, and west tower. The walls are of coursed rubble outside and ashlar inside, with windows and doorways in late-13th-century style. The north arcade is of three pointed arches. The upper story of the tower has an arcade of four pointed arches on each face.
There are three bells, (fn. 85) two of 1863, and the third inscribed sancta katerina ora pro nobis, with shields bearing the marks of Henry Jordan.
The church of ST. MARK, in Rugby Road, New Milverton, was built and endowed in 1879 by the Rev. E. Carus-Wilson and E. Carus-Wilson, esq. in memory of their sister Lady (Trevor) Wheler. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in red brick with stone dressings, in 14th-century style. It consists of chancel with north chapel, transepts, clearstoried nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and a large west tower with battlements and pinnacles.
Milverton Episcopal Chapel, (fn. 86) built in 1835 on part of the Earl of Warwick's Emscote estate, and pulled down in 1882, was a remarkable building 'of Grecian architecture' designed by Mr. Jackson of Leamington and had some unusual features, such as the placing of the pulpit behind the altar.
Although, as mentioned above, in 1231 Walter Spigurnel claimed the advowson of Milverton Church from the Prior of Kenilworth, to whom he remitted it in 1232, it was in fact a chapel of Leek Wootton, with which it had been given to the priory. It had been appropriated to the priory before 1279, (fn. 87) at which time there were 15 acres of glebe, but no vicarage was ordained. In 1371 and 1384 the chapel was served by the vicar of Leck Wootton. (fn. 88) Just before the Dissolution, in March 1538, a lease of the rectory for 60 years was made to Richard Newport at a rent of £8 6s. 8d. on condition of his paying the chaplain's stipend of £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 89) His son John Newport married Dorothy, sister of Sir Christopher Hatton, on whose death their son William took the name of Hatton. (fn. 90) This Sir William Hatton had the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage of Milverton in 1590 (fn. 91) and conveyed them in 1593 to Thomas Beaufoe. (fn. 92) They then descended with the manor of Emscote (see above), being conveyed to Earl Brooke and Warwick in 1776. (fn. 93) From the Earl of Warwick the advowson was bought in 1878 by Lady Ann Caroline Bertie Percy; and is now in the hands of Mrs. Heber-Percy. (fn. 94)
Thomas Thompson. It is recorded on a tablet in the Church that he gave £100, two-thirds of the interest to be distributed among the poor of Tachbrook and one third among the poor of this parish. The income applicable for the poor of this parish amounts to 17s. 8d.
Lampet's Charity. By a declaration of trust dated 15 March 1894 a sum of £72 4s. 5d. was invested, the income to be paid to the vicar and churchwardens of Milverton for the benefit of the deserving poor of the parish. The annual income amounts to £1 16s. 4d.