A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Acreage: 10,016. (fn. 1)
Population: 1911, 1,396; 1921, 1,355; 1931, 1,459.
This extensive parish, which has a length of 6 miles from north to south and a maximum breadth of 4½ miles, lies largely between the two Roman roads, the Fosse Way and Watling Street, which intersect at High Cross, the Roman station of Venonae. (fn. 2) The parish consists of a large block, to the northern tip of which is attached a roughly diamond-shaped extension, the hamlet or chapelry of Great Copston (1,144 acres). The south-east and north-east sides of this diamond are formed respectively by the Fosse Way and Watling Street, meeting at High Cross, from which point a road runs west for a mile to the hamlet of Copston with its church of St. John; the south-west side is formed by Mere Lane which meets the Fosse Way at Cloudesley Bush. Here there was formerly a tumulus, which Dugdale, with less than his usual good sense, guessed to commemorate some Roman Claudius. (fn. 3) Mere Lane is continued as Coal Pit Lane, which for 2 miles forms the north-eastern boundary of Monks Kirby, till it meets the Watling Street, down which the parish, and county, boundary runs for 1¼ miles to Bransford Bridge over the River Swift, whose tortuous course it then follows to the south-west. The Fosse Way forms the western boundary for two miles south from Cloudesley Bush; for the next 2 miles the parish boundary runs somewhat to the west of the Way as far as Smite Brook. On the south it follows Cathiron Lane, (fn. 4) runs up a small stream to the high ridge (455 ft.) of Montilo's Lane, leading south from Little Walton through Pailton Fields, and down another stream on the other side of the lane into the Swift.
The country is undulating, lying for the most part between 300 ft. and 400 ft., with a number of spinneys and coppices in the north, along Coal Pit Lane, and the two extensive parks of Newnham Paddox and Newbold Revel.
The village of Monks Kirby lies at the junction of a number of small roads, with the Smite Brook, just east of it, running southwards past Street Ashton to the village and township of Stretton-under-Fosse (1,231 acres), where there is a church mission-room and a Congregational chapel, originally founded in 1662 and rebuilt in 1789. (fn. 5) Across the Brook, east of the church, lies the small hamlet of Brockhurst, on the edge of Newnham Paddox Park. From the village a road running south-west to Stretton is crossed by one eastwards to the populous township of Pailton (1,756 acres) with its church of St. Denis, built in 1884, and a Baptist chapel. A road leads south from Pailton and branches south-eastwards to the neighbouring parish of Great Harborough and south-westwards to the village and township of Easenhall (1,135 acres), lying on the south-eastern edge of the grounds of Newbold Revel, which extend for a mile north-west to Stretton-underFosse. Easenhall is cut by the Trent Valley section of the old L.M.S. Railway, Brinklow Station being within its bounds, and by the Oxford Canal. On the east side of the parish the Leicester and Rugby branch of the railway runs north and south, passing close to the moated site of Cesters Over, where 'Old Town Field' marks the site of the depopulated hamlet. (fn. 6)
The Cesters Over corn-mill on the River Swift is doubtless the successor of the mill attached to that manor in 1086 and then valued at 2s. (fn. 7) Both a watermill and a windmill belonged to the manor in 1545. (fn. 8) In 1291 the priory of Monks Kirby had a water-mill at Copston and a windmill at Kirby, (fn. 9) and there was still a windmill attached to the manor in 1721. (fn. 10) Another windmill, at Newbold Revel, is mentioned in 1538 (fn. 11) and 1593, (fn. 12) as is one at Pailton in 1587. (fn. 13) Pailton corn-mill, with its large mill-pond fed by the Smite Brook is close to Street Ashton, and the watermill at Street Ashton given by John Hubbok, chaplain, to his sister Lucy de Strutarston in 1305 (fn. 14) may be identical with the mill in Pailton which John Daysie of Street Ashton gave to Sir John Revel in 1341. (fn. 15)
Newnham Paddox, the seat of the Earls of Denbigh, was so much altered in about 1875 that architecturally it can only be called a fine modern house, remarkable for its pictures and other furnishings, and for its setting in ornamental grounds, and an extensive park. The famous wrought-iron gates, which have been described as 'perhaps the largest and most beautiful gates in the kingdom', (fn. 16) were only brought here in 1873 from Berwick House near Shrewsbury and came originally from a Spanish monastery. (fn. 17)
Newbold Revel, (fn. 18) built for Sir Fulwar Skipwith at the beginning of the 18th century, is a fine house typical of the period, very little altered since its erection. The main block is recessed between two wings, which project more deeply on the west than on the east. Above the third story is an open baluster parapet crowned with stone vases, and on the east front the central block is surmounted by a triangular pediment. The grounds are of great charm and contain some remarkable carved stone vases.
Kirby was one, and the most important, of the estates which had been held by Lewin (i.e. Leofwine) before the Norman Conquest and after that event had been acquired by Geoffrey de Wirce, or de la Guerche, (fn. 19) probably through his marriage with Alveva (i.e. Ælfgifu). Geoffrey rebuilt the church here and on the day of its dedication, 1 July 1077, he with the consent of his wife gave it with its furnishings and (the services of) its priest called Frano to the abbot and convent of St. Nicholas of Angers; he also granted them the reversion of everything that Osgot, another priest, held of him, on his death or cession. In Kirby he gave them 20 acres of cornland, and the vill of Copston. (fn. 20) Accordingly in 1086 'the monks of St. Nicholas' are recorded as having 2 plough-teams and 22 villeins and 6 bordars with 5 ploughs, as part of Geoffrey's manor of KIRBY, which was rated at 15 hides. (fn. 21) The '2 priests' among Geoffrey's tenants may have been Frano and Osgot. The lands of Geoffrey de Wirce on his death came into the hands of the king, who granted them to Niel d'Aubigny. Niel, his son Roger de Mowbray, and the latter's son Niel all confirmed and increased the holding of the abbey in Kirby, (fn. 22) where monks of Angers were established as a cell of the abbey, forming the alien priory (fn. 23) of MONKS KIRBY. In 1242 threequarters of a fee in Kirby was held of Roger de Mowbray by the prior, (fn. 24) and in 1291 the temporalities of the priory included 4 carucates of land, worth £4, in Kirby, a windmill, worth 10s., and fixed rents, £10 13s. 4d.; another 4 carucates in Walton; and in Copston 2 carucates, worth only 30s., a mill, worth 10s., and £2 in rents. (fn. 25) In 1266 Henry III had granted the monks a fair at Midsummer and a market at Kirby on Wednesday; (fn. 26) for some reason this proved inconvenient and in March 1305, at the request of the monks, the market was altered to Tuesday. (fn. 27) At the same time they were granted free warren in Kirby, Walton, and elsewhere; and in October of the same year they were given view of frankpledge for their tenants in Kirby, Cesters Over, Little Newnham, and Walton, and other franchises, for which they were to pay 5 marks yearly at the Exchequer. (fn. 28) This payment was still being made by the prior or farmer of Monks Kirby in 1412, when it was assigned for life to Richard Bromer, yeoman of the pantry. (fn. 29)
During the wars with France the estates of this alien priory were constantly seized into the king's hand. Sir Canon Robsart, to whom the estates were committed in 1377 by the king at a rental of £40, (fn. 30) obtained a lease of them from the monks for 25 years and on his death bequeathed the remainder of the term to his son John. (fn. 31) Shortly after this Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, patron of Monks Kirby Priory, arranged with Sir John Robsart (fn. 32) and the abbey of Angers for the transference of the priory's estates to his new foundation of Carthusians in the Isle of Axholme. (fn. 33) In 1535 the monks of Axholme were receiving £96 0s. 10½d. from their temporalities in Monks Kirby and its members. (fn. 34) These, with the other property of the priory, were made over to the king by the prior in 1538 (fn. 35) and the manor of Monks Kirby was granted in March 1539 to Thomas Mannyng, Bishop of Ipswich. (fn. 36) Mannyng was also Master of the College of Mettingham (Suffolk), and in November 1539 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, bargained with him that if the college were dissolved this manor should pass to him. (fn. 37) His daughter Frances, wife of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, died in 1559 and the manor passed to her elder daughter Katherine, (fn. 38) who married Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. Their grandson William, later Marquess of Hertford, sold the manor to Mary, Countess of Buckingham, (fn. 39) who settled it on her grandson Basil, Lord Feilding, created Earl of Denbigh in 1622, (fn. 40) in whose family it has since descended.
In 1086 a hide in NEWNHAM [PADDOX] (fn. 41) was held of Geoffrey de Wirce by Ansegis, (fn. 42) who was presumably identical with 'Anseis' who held 4 hides in the adjoining parish of Harborough. (fn. 43) From an early date it was held by a family who took their name from the place. Roger de Newnham, who held one fee under Niel de Mowbray, (fn. 44) is presumably the Roger, lord of Newnham, son of Aubrey, who granted land here to Monks Kirby Priory, which grant was confirmed by his son William. (fn. 45) Philip de Newnham held the fee here at the time of the death of Roger Mowbray in 1297, (fn. 46) and was himself dead before 1333, when his widow Julian held one-third of the manor in dower. The reversion of this third was settled in 1333 on Philip de Newnham (apparently grandson of the elder Philip) (fn. 47) and Alice his wife in tail. (fn. 48) At the same time Roger Ryvel and Joan his wife settled the other twothirds of the manor on themselves for their lives, and then to Philip and Alice in tail. (fn. 49) In each case there were contingent remainders to Philip's brother Robert de Newnham (probably a clerk) for life, and then to his brother John in tail, or to their sisters Joan and Mariot in tail, or to the right heirs of Joan wife of Roger Ryvel, who must have been daughter of the elder and mother of the younger Philip. (fn. 50) The manor was held by John Colard in right of his wife Katherine in 1362, when they conveyed it to Walter Withors and Isabel his wife. (fn. 51) From their son Ralph Whithors it passed, about 1393, to John Leventhorpe, who (after an abortive conveyance to Thomas Totty) (fn. 52) sold it on 11 November 1433 to John Fildyng, or Feilding. (fn. 53) In this family, of fabulous antiquity, (fn. 54) it has remained until the present time.
John Feilding's grandson Sir Everard (fn. 55) died in 1515 seised of the manor of 'Coldenewenham alias Padox Newenham', held of Maurice Berkeley (representative of the Mowbrays) as of his manor of Melton Mowbray. (fn. 56) His grandson Basil married Goodith, one of the daughters and coheiresses of William Willington of Barcheston (q.v.), and died in 1585, (fn. 57) leaving a son, Sir William. The latter's grandson, Sir William Feilding, married Susan Villiers, sister of the royal favourite George, Duke of Buckingham, and was created Baron Feilding of Newnham Paddox and Viscount Feilding in 1620. On 14 September 1622 he was made Earl of Denbigh, his younger son George being created Earl of Desmond two months later. The earl was killed in a skirmish near Birmingham on 3 April 1643 and was succeeded by his elder son Basil, on whose death without issue in 1675 the estate passed to his nephew William, 3rd Earl of Denbigh and 2nd Earl of Desmond. With his direct descendants Newnham Paddox has remained, being the seat of the present Earl of Denbigh. (fn. 58)
In 1086 Geoffrey de Wirce held 8 hides in FENNY NEWBOLD, (fn. 59) which probably included Strettonunder-Fosse, Easenhall, and Pailton. In 1276 it is described as a member of Wappenbury, (fn. 60) and it was presumably part of the 5 knights' fees held of Roger de Mowbray by Thomas de Wappenbury in 1166. (fn. 61) A later Thomas held 1 fee in Newbold apparently of the king in chief, in 1235. (fn. 62) At his death his estates passed to his three sisters. (fn. 63) Agnes was mother of Richard de Beyvill, to whom she conveyed her rights in 1261; (fn. 64) Joan was mother either of Hugh Revel or, more probably, of his wife Alice; the descendants of the third sister, Margaret, seem to have taken the name of Wappenbury. The main manor of Fenny Newbold came to Hugh Revel, whose son William had a grant of free warren in 1299, (fn. 65) as did his son John in 1327. (fn. 66) In 1316 William had made over to John in tail, with contingent remainder to his brother Robert, his estate here, consisting of 16 messuages, 11 virgates of land, with woodland, meadow, pasture, and a mill in Newbold, Easenhall, Stretton and Pailton. (fn. 67) This Sir John was a man of some local prominence and knight of the shire in 1351. (fn. 68) His three sons leaving no issue, his estates passed to his three daughters and the manor of NEWBOLD REVEL was assigned to Alice, who married Sir John Malory of Winwick, Northants. (fn. 69) In 1391 Sir John Malory and Alice settled the manor on themselves in tail. (fn. 70) It descended to Sir Thomas Malory, whose widow Elizabeth died in 1480 holding it of Richard, Duke of York, in right of his wife Anne, representative of the Mowbrays. (fn. 71) It then passed to Sir Thomas's grandson Nicholas, aged 13. Nicholas Malory died on 22 January 1513, having previously settled the reversion of the manor, which he held of Sir Maurice Berkeley, on his elder daughter Dorothy and her husband Edward Cave. (fn. 72) It seems, however, to have been divided between the two daughters of Nicholas, as Margery, the younger, with her second husband John Cope in 1537 sold their share to Thomas Pope. (fn. 73) He sold it in the following year to Sir William Whorwood, Solicitor-General, (fn. 74) who also bought the share of Dorothy from her and her second husband George Ashby. (fn. 75) Whorwood's daughter Margaret married Thomas Throckmorton, and they sold the manor in 1593 to Robert Stanford. (fn. 76) His son Charles sold it in 1608 to Elizabeth Alderford, widow. (fn. 77) Her son, by a previous husband Edward Morgan, is said to have sold it to Sir Simon Clarke, (fn. 78) whose widow conveyed it to Sir Fulwar Skipwith, who had married her niece. (fn. 79) His grandson, Sir Fulwar, built the existing mansion, and the manor continued in the hands of the Skipwith family until 1862. The estate was then sold by Sir Thomas George Skipwith to Charles Ramsden, who resold it to Edward Wood of Inverness. The Woods made a good many alterations to the house and grounds before 1898, when Arthur Herbert Wood sold the estate to Col. Arthur Howard Heath, on whose death in 1911 his son sold to Leopold Bernhard Bonn. From his son, Major Walter Basil Bonn, it was bought in 1931 by the British Advent Missions, Ltd. of Watford, but in 1946 the property was acquired by the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul as a training college for teachers. (fn. 80)
At the beginning of the 13th century the manor of PAILTON was in the hands of William de Turville, who assented to his son William endowing his wife Maud (de Hastings) therein. In 1217, after the death of the younger William, Maud claimed the whole manor as dower, while her father-in-law would only grant her one-third of it. (fn. 81) The younger William having died without issue, his estates were divided between his sisters, Cecily wife of Roger de Craft, and Pernel wife of Simon de Crewelton (whose descendants took the name of Turville); the third sister, Isabel, who married Walhamet le Poure, seems to have left no issue. (fn. 82) Roger de Craft's son Roger was succeeded by his sisters Isabel wife of Hugh de Herdeburgh and Beatrice, whose first husband was William de Charneles. Accordingly in 1297 in the list of knights' fees of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, we find a half-fee in Pailton and Harborough held by Nicholas de Turville, and a quarter-fee each held by Hugh de Herdebergh and George de Charneles in Pailton. (fn. 83)
William de Charneles, son of Sir Henry, of Bedworth was dealing with lands here between 1330 and 1345, (fn. 84) and in 1405 the lands late of his son John, apparently the last of his line, were in the hands of trustees; (fn. 85) after which time this quarter-fee cannot be traced.
Isabel, one granddaughter of Hugh de Herdebergh, (fn. 86) married John de Hulles and had two daughters; Denise married John de Wateville, and Alice married first John de Langley and then John Peyto. As they were under age and in ward to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, at the time of his rebellion in 1322 their lands in Pailton, which were held of him as of the honor of Leicester, were seized with the king's hands, but were restored in 1324. (fn. 87) Denise left no issue, and in 1361 John de Peyto, Alice's son, held a quarter-fee in Pailton, which was assigned to Maud, one daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster. (fn. 88)
Ella, sister of Isabel de Hulles, married Walter de Hopton and their descendant Walter (fn. 89) died in 1461 seised of 4 messuages and 4 carucates of land in Pailton, which passed to his sister Elizabeth wife of Roger Corbet and so descended, being sometimes styled a manor, (fn. 90) with Great Harborough (q.v.) to the family of Oughton.
William Revel had a grant of free warren in his demesnes at Pailton in 1304, (fn. 91) as did John Revel in 1327. (fn. 92) This manor than descended with Newbold Revel (see above) until 1537, when John Cope and Margery (Malory) his wife sold their moiety to Thomas Pope. (fn. 93) The other moiety, however, was retained by Dorothy (Malory) and her husband Edward Cave and was held by her two daughters in 1545 (fn. 94) and by the younger, Margaret wife of Thomas Boughton, at her death in 1565, when the manor was said to be held of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 95) She was succeeded by her eldest son Edward Boughton. It is probably this manor of Pailton that was held by the Skipwiths from 1728 (fn. 96) until about 1850, at which date the Earl of Denbigh was said to be lord of the manor. (fn. 97)
The lands which William Revel in 1316 settled on his son John, besides Newbold and Pailton, lay in Easenhall and Stretton-under-Fosse. (fn. 98) The latter seems to have had no manorial existence apart from Newbold, but EASENHALL was partly in the hands of the Beyvilles, 100s. in rents there being held of John, son and heir of Edmund, Earl of Kent, by Lora widow of Richard de Beyville at her death in 1350. (fn. 99) Her son Robert being only 5 years old, custody of his estates was granted to William de Peck. (fn. 100) No further trace of the Beyville interest has been found, but in 1487 Nicholas Malory was said to have converted 30 acres of arable in Easenhall to pasture, causing a plough and six persons to be unemployed, (fn. 101) and in 1501 John Smith died holding 3 messuages and 3 virgates of land here, worth £6, from Nicholas Malory. (fn. 102) When his son Henry Smith died in 1513 the property is called a manor and was held of Edward Cave (husband of Nicholas's daughter Dorothy) and Margery Malory (Dorothy's sister), (fn. 103) Henry's son Sir Walter Smith was murdered by his second wife in 1553, (fn. 104) and his son Richard, who died in 1593, settled the manor on his daughter Margaret on her marriage with William Littleton, (fn. 105) by whose father Sir John Littleton he was tricked out of the reversion of his estates (fn. 106) here and at Shelford in Burton Hastings (q.v.). The Littletons sold Easenhall to Sir John Hale, but on his death in 1609, when his son Sir Warwick Hale succeeded, it is not called a manor but is described as 2 messuages and 440 acres of land. (fn. 107)
Robert, who in 1086 held of Geoffrey de Wirce 5 hides in 'Wara'—the later WAVER or CESTERS OVER (fn. 108) — may have been ancestor of the family of Waver. The history of the family, however, begins with Robert de Waver who held I knight's fee here of Niel de Mowbray c. 1225 (fn. 109) and of Richard de Curzun, who held of Roger de Mowbray, in 1242. (fn. 110) He gave land in Cesters Over to the Abbey of Combe, where he desired to be buried. (fn. 111) His son William in 1257 had a grant of a market on Tuesdays in this manor of Waver and a yearly fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. James. (fn. 112) At the beginning of the Barons' War Sir William was taken by the royal forces at Northampton; (fn. 113) his estates were seized and granted to Roger de Somery, with whom he compounded for their recovery in 1267. (fn. 114) He died in 1271, seised of the manor, which he held of Richard le Cursun of Queenborough, his son Robert being then 24. (fn. 115) In 1307 the manor was settled on William de Waver on his marriage with Alice daughter of Robert Lovett of Newton, subject to the life interest of (William's father) Robert de Waver. (fn. 116) Four members of the Waver family contributed to the subsidy in 1332 at Cesters Over, John and William each being rated at 6s.; (fn. 117) but later part, at least, of the estate came into the hands of the Lovetts. William Lovett of Lipscombe (Bucks.) in 1385 granted to William Purefey the reversion of 12 messuages and 13 virgates of land in Cesters Over and Cosford, (fn. 118) held by John Paraunt and Clemence his wife (said to have been the mother of William Lovett) (fn. 119) for her life. His grandson William Purefey and John Waver are alleged to have been joint lords of Cesters Over in 1432, (fn. 120) and in 1448 William Purefey certainly owned a manor here. (fn. 121) In 1460, however, William Broke, (fn. 122) son and heir of Ellen Broke of Astwell (Northants.) granted his rights in the manor to Henry Waver, citizen of London, for life; (fn. 123) and five years later he converted this into a definite release of a moiety of the manor, (fn. 124) William Bate of Melbourn (Derb.) at the same time making a similar release of his moiety. (fn. 125) In January 1467 Sir Henry Waver, (fn. 126) who was then sheriff of London and master of the Drapers' Company, (fn. 127) was granted view of frankpledge in this manor, with licence to erect and crenellate walls and towers there, and to impark 500 acres at either manor of Cesters Over or Waver Marston (in Bickenhill). (fn. 128) Sir Henry died in 1469, (fn. 129) and his son Henry died in 1478, (fn. 130) leaving a daughter Christine, then aged 5, seised of the manor, held of the Duchess of Norfolk as of her manor of Melton Mowbray. Christine married William Browne and subsequently Humphrey Dymmock, on whom she settled the manor; but at her death in 1545 it passed to her grandson Edward Browne (son of John Browne and Isabel), (fn. 131) who in the following year sold it to Sir Fulk Grevill, (fn. 132) in whose family it descended until about 1800, George, Earl Brooke and Warwick, being then lord; (fn. 133) but Richard Arkwright is named as lord of the manor in 1803, and Robert Arkwright in 1832. (fn. 134)
In the charter of 1077 by which Geoffrey de Wirce endowed the Abbey of St. Nicholas of Angers 'the vill called Copston' (fn. 135) constitutes the main part of his gift and seems to be the equivalent of the later manor of Monks Kirby. While these estates remained in monastic hands [GREAT] COPSTON appears to have been the manorial centre of administration, (fn. 136) but after the Dissolution it became only a member of Monks Kirby. Similarly the manor of [LITTLE] WALTON, where Sir James de Bysegh granted his estate, which was confirmed to the monks by his descendant Sir John de Clinton in 1328, (fn. 137) had no separate manorial existence after the Dissolution.
The parish church of ST. EDITH stands on the summit of a small mound, on the south side of a large churchyard planted with avenues of yew trees. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles and chapels, south porch with a parvise, vestry, and a tower built into the south-west corner of the church. It was rebuilt in the latter part of the 14th century and again towards the end of the 15th century, when the present arcades were built, the upper part of the tower rebuilt, and most of the windows replaced. The priory buildings were on the north side of the chancel; part of them were embodied in the church during the 15th-century reconstruction to form the chapel. Apart from the blocked openings, a door jamb, offsets for an upper floor against the chapel, and the line of a steep roof on the north wall of the chancel, nothing remains of the priory buildings. About the end of the 16th century the church was re-roofed; it was re-leaded in 1709, according to a cast lead inscription removed from the roof in the 19th century, now fixed to the east wall of the parvise. The general arrangement of the church is somewhat unusual, the nave, until recent times, extended into the chancel without a chancel arch or other line of demarcation except, no doubt, a screen. Although the church is lofty there is no clearstory, but the windows are placed at an unusual height above the floor. The tower is tall and exceptionally large. When the upper part was rebuilt in the 15th century it included a tall octagonal spire; this was blown down on Christmas night 1722. (fn. 138)
Most of the east wall of the chancel has been refaced with ashlar and the gable and south buttress rebuilt. It has a modern pointed traceried window of three trefoiled lights. The lower part of the north wall is of ashlar, in which there is an aumbry with a four-centred head, and an opening, also with a four-centred head, both blocked with masonry. The upper part, of alternate courses of ashlar and rubble, has the line of a steep-pitched roof and a blocked splayed opening with a four-centred head above the opening below. On the south a low modern vestry replaces a small earlier structure. It has a pointed doorway, a two-light squareheaded window on the east and another on the south, a diagonal buttress at the angle, and a low buttress against the aisle wall, terminating in a crocketed finial. The roof is a low-pitched lean-to one with a plain parapet. Above the vestry the wall has been largely refaced and has an early-16th-century traceried window inserted in a shallow square-headed recess; it is of three cinquefoil lights with a transom under a four-centred head. The east wall of the south aisle above the vestry is lighted by a traceried window of three cinquefoil lights under a four-centred head with a hood-mould. The south wall, which has a moulded plinth, is divided into four bays by buttresses, each in two stages terminating in pinnacles with crocketed finials above a plain parapet. At sill level there is a weathered offset, the lower weathering being carried round the buttresses and porch as a string-course. The east bay has a pointed traceried window of two cinquefoil lights, and the remaining three have wide windows of three trefoiled lights, the centre ogee and the others pointed; the tracery in all these windows is of late insertion.
The porch is two-storied, built of red sandstone ashlar. The gable, which formerly contained a sundial, was rebuilt on a classic moulding in the 19th century, omitting the sundial. The south entrance is by a richly moulded pointed archway, with the string-course carried over as a hood-mould. Above this arch the parvise is lighted by a small pointed window of two trefoiled lights, with its tracery restored, and on the east side by a narrow ogee-headed window. The ground floor has a stone vaulted ceiling with moulded ribs and carved central boss, supported in the angles on attached shafts with moulded bases, the rib mouldings dying out on the shafts. The doorway has an elaborately moulded pointed arch of three orders, the inner supported on a moulded capital, the two outer are without capitals, but all three have moulded bases.
The wall of the north aisle, except half the west bay, was rebuilt with light-coloured ashlar in the 19th century, including the windows, probably copies of their predecessors, and the two central buttresses, which rise in four weathered stages. It is lighted by four traceried windows of three trefoiled lights in deep hollow splays under four-centred heads; the one at the west end and the east jamb of the eastern one are original. At the west end there is a small added buttress, close to the original one, which has a moulded string-course and gabled head. The chapel at the eastern end is divided into two bays by a rebuilt buttress. Both bays have a traceried window of three trefoiled lights under a four-centred head in deep splays, and immediately below their sills there is a splayed offset for a floor of the destroyed priory buildings. The east wall, built of a mixture of red and light-coloured sandstone ashlar, continues at the north end as a buttress and contains the south jamb of a doorway. It has a restored three-light window under a segmental pointed head. The west wall is built of squared and coursed masonry in alternate wide and narrow courses and has an angle buttress, as on the north. It has a traceried window of three cusped trefoil lights under a fourcentred head. A large modern buttress divides this wall from the west end of the nave, which has a large pointed widow of four lights in a deep hollow splay, the head and tracery being modern.
The lower half of the tower, which has a moulded plinth, is built of red sandstone ashlar and the rebuilt upper half of light-coloured ashlar. It rises in three stages, with buttresses in five weathered stages at the angles of the south and west walls, and terminates in a 19th-century parapet with open trefoil-headed panels, central pediments and crocketed pinnacles with weather vanes at each angle. On the west side the ground floor is lighted by a tall pointed three-light traceried window, of three splayed orders, in a deep splay, and on the south by a similar window, but of two trefoiled lights with restored tracery. The second stage has traceried windows of two trefoiled lights with transoms under four-centred heads and hood-moulds on the east, south, and west. The belfry windows on each face are similar, but with a string-course at sill level. On the east side above the ringing-chamber window there is a clock dial. Against the buttress at the south-east angle the wall is splayed out for the tower staircase, which is lighted by six loop-lights, three ogeeheaded in the lower stage and three round-headed in the rebuilt portion.
The chancel (45 ft. by 23 ft.) has a tiled floor with three steps to the altar placed against a carved stone reredos with a central cross of alabaster. The walls of the eastern end are of roughly coursed rubble up to their junction with the nave arcades of red sandstone ashlar; two bays of the south arcade and one of the north are included in the chancel by a modern dwarf wall of light-coloured ashlar and oak screens. The dwarf wall extends right across the church to embrace both the chapels. At the eastern end in the south wall there is a trefoil-headed piscina under a pointed arch on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and triple sedilia with pointed moulded arches, the inner order trefoiled, supported on circular shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Between them is a narrow blocked doorway with a four-centred arch under a square head with sunk spandrels. All this portion of the wall has been rebuilt in light-coloured sandstone ashlar and the sedilia and piscina are restorations; the doorway, however, is original. In the north wall opposite are two aumbries with four-centred heads. High up in the wall above them there is a narrow rectangular opening and on the same level a narrow trefoil-headed opening into the chapel. Below this opening there is a modern unglazed four-light window, and west of it the east bay of the arcade, closed by a dwarf wall and oak screen. Hung on the north wall there is a framed painted Royal Arms of Charles II, dated 1660. The south side takes two bays of the arcade, the east one being partly blocked by a modern wall in the form of a buttress to the respond. Both bays are closed by walls and oak screens, with an opening in the east bay to the chapel.
The south chapel (28 ft. 4 in. by 12 ft. 6 in.), known as the Skipwith chapel, has a hatchment on the south wall bearing the Skipwith coat. Part of the east wall, including the sill of the window, was rebuilt in ashlar with an ogee-headed doorway and hood-mould when adding the modern vestry. At the southern end of this wall there is a moulded ogee trefoil-headed piscina with its projecting basin cut away, and above it a moulded and carved bracket. Built into the wall on the north side of the east window there is a small square panel with a carved shield of arms. The east window has a hollow-moulded four-centred rear-arch; the south window has splayed jambs with a pointed reararch.
The north chapel (31 ft. by 12 ft. 8 in.) is stonepaved for a distance of 20 feet, six steps above the level of the nave, the remainder being occupied by the organ. In the angles of the east wall there are niches with mutilated canopies of ogee trefoils, pilasters with crocketed finials, and battlemented bracket pedestals. To the west of the narrow light to the chancel there are traces of a destroyed dividing wall. There are two large alabaster table tombs of similar design, one (fn. 139) in the north-east corner to Sir William Feilding, died 1547, and Elizabeth his wife, died 1539, with their life-sized effigies; the man is in armour with a book clasped in his conjoined hands, clean shaven, wearing three rings on each hand and is without a ruffle. The woman is also clasping a book, wearing a ruffle, and with three rings on each of her hands. The pedestal is divided in front into five panels, three with shields, and the end into two, both with shields. The other tomb, (fn. 140) towards the opposite corner, is to Basil Feilding, son and heir of Sir William Feilding, date of death left blank, and Gooddeth his wife, died 1580. The two effigies are very similar to the others but the man has a beard and is wearing a ruffle, his feet rest on a lion and his gauntlets are laid beside his right leg. Each is clasping a book, each wearing two rings on both hands, and on the hem of the woman's dress there are two small sleeping dogs, one on either side. At the east end of the pedestal are two shields, at the other a shield supported by undraped figures. On the south side there are three shields, each held by a woman, and three infants in winding-sheets; and on the opposite side three shields, one supported by a man and woman and two held by men, one dressed in armour, the other a civilian, and a woman with her hands clasped in prayer with two infants in winding-sheets.
The nave (76 ft. by 23 ft. 10 in. and at the west end 76 ft. by 14 ft.) has red sandstone ashlar walls and a floor of modern tiles. The north arcade consists of six and the south of five bays of moulded pointed arches which die out on plain tall lozenge-shaped pillars with moulded bases. Two bays of the south arcade and one of the north extend into the chancel, this arrangement being accounted for by the presence of the tower within the church. At the west end the wall has been increased in thickness up to the level of the window sill with modern light-coloured ashlar; the window has a hollow-moulded pointed rear-arch. The tower arch is pointed and richly moulded, the mouldings dying out on plain half-hexagonal responds. These plain responds, similar to those of the arcade, suggest that it was inserted at the same time as the arcades were built. On the east wall of the tower, where it projects into the nave, the roof line of the earlier aisle is visible. Hung on the west wall there is a coloured plan of the seating, with the names of the occupiers, dated 1752. The pulpit, a modern octagonal one of stone, is placed on the north side of the chancel. Hung on the tower wall there are a helmet, a pair of gauntlets, a sword, and a pair of spurs, all of small size.
The north aisle (76 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in.) has three blocked doorways with four-centred heads at the east end, two close together on the ground floor and above them, one to a first floor. Built into the north wall at the west end there is a badly mutilated head and shoulders of a large stone effigy. Against the north wall there are two white marble monuments of very similar design, one to the 7th Earl of Denbigh, died 1865, and his wife, died 1847; the other is to Lady Augusta Feilding, died 1848; and between them three small tablets to other members of the family. The west wall is thickened in the same manner as the nave.
The south aisle (55 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in.) has a modern tiled and partly boarded floor. The tower arch is pointed and richly moulded, the mouldings continuing down to a moulded base. It has been partly blocked on the north side to take the respond of the later arcade. The windows have pointed rear-arches of two splayed orders continuing down to the sills, and the door a pointed rear-arch of two plain orders. Above the door there is a small ogee-headed light to the parvise.
The tower (17 ft. 6 in. by 17 ft. 6 in.) has a modern tiled floor with a modern octagonal stone font in the centre. It has a stone vaulted ceiling with moulded ribs and a central octagonal boss. The moulded ribs die out on plain chamfered responds in the angles, without capitals but with moulded bases. In the southeast angle there is an ogee-headed doorway to a circular staircase leading to the tower and parvise; above the door there is a painted list of charities, dated 1714. Both windows have pointed rear-arches to deeply splayed reveals. Round the walls there is a dado of oak panelling cut from the old bell-frame in 1921 when it was replaced by a steel one. The traceried screens enclosing the chancel and chapels were also made from these timbers.
The roofs of the nave and aisles, which extend the whole length of the church, all date from the end of the 16th century and were probably carried out by the Duke of Suffolk. The nave roof has a low pitch and is divided into twelve bays by trusses supported on curved brackets with traceried spandrels and moulded wall-posts. The tie-beams, ridges, purlins, and wallplates are moulded and in some cases the tie-beams are battlemented. At the west end the truss, which is shortened by the tower, has a solid instead of a traceried bracket. Both aisle roofs are of the lean-to type and of similar design. That over the south aisle is divided into six bays by moulded beams resting on a moulded wallplate supported on stone corbels on the arcade wall. Each bay is divided by an intermediate beam and by two purlins, both moulded. Three bays at the east end have carved bosses at the junction of the purlins with the intermediate beams. The north aisle has a roof of nine similar bays but without the carved bosses. Some of the timbers of the western bays have been renewed, probably in the 18th century, and much of the roof has been re-boarded.
Of the six bells (fn. 141) the earliest probably dates from the late 14th century; three are by Henry Bagley, 1618, 1623, 1640; one by Joseph Smith, 1711; and one by Thomas Eayre of Kettering, 1741.
The plate consists of a silver gilt flagon, chalice, ciborium, and paten, all the gift of the Duchess of Dudley, 1638. Also a silver chalice and cover of 1585; a silver paten inscribed I.H.S. and bearing a crucifix which has been defaced.
The registers commence in 1653.
The church of ST. JOHN in Copston Magna, a chapel of ease to Monks Kirby, stands on a mound to the west of the village in a large churchyard. It consists of a chancel, nave, south porch, and a vestry on the south side of the chancel. It was built in the Gothic style of the 14th century in 1849, probably on the site of the old church; no parts of the old church have been incorporated in the new. (fn. 142) It is of red sandstone rubble with dressings of a lighter colour, the roofs are tiled and on the west gable there is a bell-cote for a single bell. The chancel has an east window of three trefoiled lights, two single trefoiled lights on the north, and one on the south. The porch entrance is pointed, the mouldings resting on attached shafts, the doorway has its mouldings carried down to carved stops at the base. The nave is lighted on the north by three windows of two trefoiled lights and a single light, on the south by two similar windows and one single light, and on the west by two two-lights with a six-foiled light in the gable. The chancel measures 16 ft. 3 in. by 15 ft. 2 in. and the nave 43 ft. by 20 ft. 10 in. The chancel arch is pointed and supported on half-octagonal responds with moulded capital and square bases.
The church of ST. DENIS in Pailton, also a chapel of ease, in the middle of the village, stands in a small plot of ground in which there are no burials. It was built in 1884, and consists of an apsidal chancel measuring 25 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 6 in., a nave 40 ft. 9 in. by 18 ft. 8 in., and a small apsidal vestry on the north side. It is built of red brick with stone dressings in the style of the 12th century. The roofs are tiled and there is a bell-cote for a single bell. The interior is also of red brick and stone dressings in alternate light and dark courses.
Kirkby, the original form of the name of the parish, implies the early existence of a church here. At the Norman Conquest Geoffrey de Wirce found the church in ruin and, as already mentioned, rebuilt it and gave it to the Abbey of St. Nicholas, Angers. It was appropriated to the Priory of Monks Kirby and in 1291 was valued at £21 6s. 8d. (fn. 143) With the priory it passed to the Carthusians of Axholme, who in 1535 were paying a yearly stipend of £20 to the vicar, and £5 6s. 8d. to the priest of a chantry, (fn. 144) of which the foundation and history are unknown. At the Dissolution it came into the king's hands and in December 1546 the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage were granted by Henry VIII to his foundation of Trinity College, Cambridge, (fn. 145) in whose possession they have continued.
One of the members of this large parish provided with a chapel was Cesters Over. (fn. 146) Here a chapel had been established by the ancestors of Sir William de Waver, who in 1220 complained to Pope Honorius III that the Priory of Monks Kirby were taking the rents of the endowment and not providing a priest. Next year the prior and convent undertook to institute a chaplain to celebrate in the chapel of 'Wavere' for the household of Sir William and his heirs and the men of the vill, subject to the rights of the mother church of Kirby. In return Sir William gave them 2 virgates in 'Wavere', and a manse next to the chapel for the chaplain to dwell in. (fn. 147) The arrangement was confirmed in 1251. (fn. 148) No later reference to the chapel is known. There was also a chapel at Great Copston (see above) which was probably the oratory of the Prior of Monks Kirby referred to in 1373. (fn. 149) It was apparently functioning, as a donative in the gift of the Earl of Denbigh, in 1730 (fn. 150) and, although described in 1769 as a 'destroyed church' (fn. 151) its fabric seems to have stood until the new church was built in 1849.
It was probably for the provision of assistance for the incumbent that the augmentation of the living by £20 was approved in 1658. (fn. 152) It is not clear whether this took effect at that time, but Alice, Duchess Dudley, who died in 1669, gave sufficient endowment to augment the living by the same sum of £20. (fn. 153)
Joseph Bosworth, by will dated 20 December 1805 gave £63, to pay the interest on £42 to the officiating minister of Monks Kirby for preaching a sermon in the parish church in the afternoon of Mid-Lent Sunday and another in the afternoon of the Sunday next after old St. Swithin, and the interest on £21 towards the support of the Sunday Schools for poor children of the township of Monks Kirby and hamlet of Pailton equally; but if the Sunday School should be discontinued in either place, then to pay one-half of the interest on the £21 to the said minister for preaching a sermon in the afternoon of the first Sunday after 29 September; if discontinued in both places, then to pay the other half to the minister for preaching a sermon in the afternoon of the second Sunday after 29 September. The testator by a codicil dated 7 March 1806 devised a close of land in Pailton called Shuckborough Close to the vicar of Monks Kirby upon the trusts contained in his will.
The annual income of the charity amounts to £10 (approximately).
Thomas Cook. A tablet placed in the church in 1714 states that he gave by his will arable land for the maintenance of the church, £1 5s. 4d.: the rent received in respect of the land is applied by the churchwardens for church purposes.
John King, who died in 1642, by his will charged certain land in Street Aston lordship called Fat Furlong with the annual payment of the sum of 10s., viz. 3s. 4d. at Christmas, the same at Easter, and the same at Whitsuntide, to the poor of Monks Kirby town.
William Miller by his will gave Gill's Close near Pailton, ordering the rent to be distributed yearly among the poor of the Constable Ward of Monks Kirby. The rent, amounting to £8, together with the 10s. comprising John King's charity is distributed among widows and old people residing in the parish.
Lady Mary Frances Catherine Feilding by her will dated August 1895 bequeathed £3,000, the interest to be applied for all or any of the following purposes, (a) towards providing the salary of the minister of the Church of England who shall conduct divine service in the chapel of ease known as St. Denis at Pailton; (b) towards the maintenance of any branch of the work of the Church of England in the said parish; (c) towards the maintenance of the Lady Mary's Home in the parish so long as the purposes and uses of the home are continued in accordance with the principles of the Church of England.
By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated December 1918 a body of trustees was appointed to administer the charity, the annual income of which amounts to £60 (approximately).
Lady Mary's Home. By an Indenture dated 18 March 1880 Lady Mary Frances Catherine Feilding granted to trustees the property then known as Pailton Hall, upon trust for the benefit solely of the respectable inhabitants of the parish of Monks Kirby, the instruction of the young and the care of the sick and aged being always among the principal objects to be kept in view, subject to such regulations as the Archdeacon of Coventry, the vicar of Monks Kirby, and any trustee or trustees or the major part of them should with the approval of the Bishop of the Diocese appoint.
The following scheme for the management of the Home was approved by the Bishop of Worcester in or about the commencement of the year 1913:
'The net proceeds, after paying all legal charges and providing for the maintenance of the property, may be applied
by the Trustees at their discretion to any of the following
A.—The Poor (1) Gifts in time of sickness or any special necessity. (2) Obtaining admission to Hospitals, Convalescent Homes or suchlike institutions, or providing special medical or surgical appliances.
B.—Church Schools Contribution to the expenses which fall upon Managers of Elementary Schools.
C. Contribution for providing an additional Clergyman in the Parish, in consideration of his efficient care of the poor, the sick, and the aged, the amount not to exceed one quarter of the net revenue in any year.'
The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 20 December 1918, which appoints trustees to administer the charity and directs that the yearly income shall be applied for the purposes approved by the Bishop in 1913, or for such other charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants as may be selected by the trustees and approved by the Bishop. The yearly income of the charity amounts to £50 (approximately).