A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Upper Radbourn, 647.
Lower Radbourn, 526.
Upper Radbourn: 1911, 19; 1921, 15; 1931, 11.
Lower Radbourn: 1911, 10; 1921, 12; 1931, 3.
The old parish of Radbourn was depopulated during the 15th century and its church allowed to fall into ruin. (fn. 1) It was divided into Upper and Lower Radbourn, which were regarded as separate extraparochial districts, lying, respectively, to the north and south of a small stream, close to the right bank of which is the site of the old church. It lies to the east of Ladbroke, with which it was historically closely connected. A charter of King Ethelred, (fn. 2) given in 998, rehearses the boundaries of Ladbroke and Radbourn, but it does not seem possible to relate them to the map; 'Wylman ford', at which point they start and end, was on the borders of Radbourn and Wormleighton; 'Cocgebyll', which also occurs in the same charter as one of the bounds of Southam, is found in 1253 as 'Cockesbyle', on the road running west from Priors Marston; (fn. 3) and the 'waetergefael' is presumably that which gave its name to Watergall, south-west of Lower Radbourn; but connecting those scattered links is more than difficult.
A barn called 'Radborne barn', near Napton, but probably on the borders of this parish, in 1625 was a place of resort for rogues and vagabonds, who plotted felonies and shared their spoils there. Orders were given for the constables of neighbouring parishes to send men secretly at night to arrest any rogues found there, and for the barn to be utterly destroyed. (fn. 4)
In 998 King Ethelred gave to the ealdorman Leofwine 4½ mansae in Ladbroke and Radbourn. (fn. 5) Leofwine was father of Leofric of Mercia, but the estate does not seem to have descended to him. (fn. 6) In 1086 the estates of Turchil included 1½ hides in Ladbroke and Radbourn, held of him by Almar. (fn. 7) The overlordship descended with the Earls of Warwick, RADBOURN being held of them as one-tenth knight's fee in 1235, 1242, (fn. 8) 1316, (fn. 9) and 1400. (fn. 10) It was held in fee by Turchil's descendants, the Ardernes, of whom William gave the church and a virgate of land to the nuns of Henwood Priory (fn. 11) before the end of the 12th century. (fn. 12) His son William gave, by permission of Thomas de Arderne, land and extensive pasturage to Combe Abbey (fn. 13) and was holding the one-tenth fee in 1235, (fn. 14) as was Thomas de Arderne in 1242, (fn. 15) and William (probably his brother) (fn. 16) in 1267; (fn. 17) in 1316 it was said to be held by William de Rodbourn. (fn. 18) This was an alias for William, son of William de Arderne, (fn. 19) whose descendant and namesake in 1369 conveyed the manor to John de Catesby, (fn. 20) to whom Hugh de Prestwode and Agnes his wife (probably heiress of this line of Ardernes) at the same time released their rights. (fn. 21) In 1412 Radbourn was one of the places in which free warren was granted to Emma, widow of John Catesby, and John, her son. (fn. 22) When William Catesby was attainted in 1485 for his support of Richard III his lands were forfeited, and in March 1488 Radbourn manor, with some 500 acres in that parish and in Priors Hardwick, was granted to Sir John Risley in tail male. (fn. 23) As he died early in 1512 without male issue (fn. 24) the manor reverted to the Crown and was restored to William Catesby's grandson William, who died in 1517, and was succeeded by his brother Richard, than aged 11. (fn. 25) In 1553 Richard's widow Dame Elizabeth had part of her jointure here. (fn. 26) William Catesby was dealing with the manor between 1573 and 1577, (fn. 27) as was Robert Catesby in 1600. (fn. 28) On Robert's attainder for his share in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 his lands were forfeited, and Sir Roger Wilbraham seems to have acquired one moiety of the manor and advowson, of which he died seised in 1616. (fn. 29) In the previous year he had settled this, as the manor of LOWER RADBOURN, to the use of his second daughter Elizabeth, who was already married to her first cousin Thomas Wilbraham although she was only 12 at the time of her father's death. (fn. 30) Thomas and Elizabeth Wilbraham sold the moiety to William, Lord Spencer, in 1631. (fn. 31) With the Spencers it remained for some sixty years. In 1691 Robert (Spencer), Earl of Sunderland, conveyed a quarter of the manor and advowson to Robert North; (fn. 32) and in 1704 Charles, Earl of Sunderland, sold (the other) 'moiety of a moiety' of the manor to Ralph Palmer, (fn. 33) who appears as lord in 1712, 1739, and 1748, (fn. 34) after which date it would seem to have been joined to the Palmer estate of Chapel Ascote in Hodnell (q.v.). The quarter acquired by Robert North was presumably the manor of which Francis (North), Earl of Guilford, was lord in 1784 (fn. 35) and Col. North in 1850. (fn. 36)
The other moiety of the manor seems to have been LITTLE RADBOURN, which represented the lands held by Coventry Priory, leased in 1533 to Richard Catesby at 46s. 8d., (fn. 37) and granted in 1564 to Clement Throckmorton, (fn. 38) who sold to William Catesby in 1573. (fn. 39) In 1601 the Catesby trustees sold to Sir Ranulph Crewe, (fn. 40) whose grandson John in 1650 sold to John Dryden the moiety of the manor of Radbourn. (fn. 41) Sir John Dryden and Lady Spencer owned the 'decayed towns of Over and Nether Radbourn' in 1651. (fn. 42) From the Drydens it passed early in the 18th century to Ralph Sneyd. (fn. 43) By 1733 Robert Pigott, senior and junior, were dealing with the manor, (fn. 44) and one of that name was 'one lord' of the manor in 1756 (fn. 45) and 1770 (fn. 46) and in 1772 conveyed a quarter of the manor and rectory to Samuel and Henry Cleaver, (fn. 47) who passed it to John Warren in 1775. (fn. 48) As already mentioned, the Abbey of Combe had a considerable estate in Radbourne, for which they had a grant of free warren in 1290. (fn. 49) In 1291 it was rated as 2 carucates, worth 20s., as well as 6s. 3d. in rents, (fn. 50) and additional small gifts were received from time to time. (fn. 51) In 1481 the monks leased RADBOURN GRANGE to William Catesby, (fn. 52) and it was still in the tenure of that family at the Dissolution and in 1556, when the 'manor, farm, and grange' of Radbourn was granted to Thomas Wilkes. (fn. 53) It then descended with the manor of Hodnell (q.v.), being divided after the death of Robert Wilkes in 1577 between his three sisters and their heirs.
The church of Radbourn was given, as already mentioned, to Henwood Priory, but by 1417 the advowson had been acquired by the Catesbys and attached to the manor. In 1622 and 1625 Sir Ranulph Crewe and Thomas Wilbraham presented jointly, (fn. 54) and in 1645 Sir Ranulph alone, (fn. 55) as did John Dryden in 1676 and Lord North in 1693. (fn. 56) Presentations were made by Ralph Sneyd in 1713, Randolph Palmer in 1724, Robert Pigott in 1754, and Robert Ladbroke in 1800. (fn. 57) The rectory is now united with the benefice of Ladbroke and is in the gift of trustees.
There is no mention of the church in the Taxatio of 1291, but in 1341 the 'chapel' of Radbourn was said to be assessed at 25 marks. (fn. 58) In 1535 it is styled a 'parish church', of which the rector received a yearly payment of £5 6s. 8d. from Richard Catesby, (fn. 59) but the church had by then probably fallen into decay. In 1616 it is definitely called 'the ruined church of Upper Radbourn', (fn. 60) and for the last three hundred years or more such few inhabitants as the parish has had have attended Ladbroke Church.