A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Shilton is a parish and village, on the Hinckley road 5½ miles north-east from Coventry. The boundaries are not marked by any prominent natural features, and the whole history of the parish is closely bound up with Ansty, ½ mile nearer Coventry on the main road, and Barnacle, a hamlet of Bulkington partly in this parish. The village lies centrally in the parish at about 350 ft. above sea-level and is a compact settlement, at the point where the important secondary road leaves the main road for Bulkington and Nuneaton, and minor roads diverge eastwards to Hopsford and Withybrook and westwards to Barnacle. The main line of the former L.M.S.R. from Rugby to Crewe runs diagonally across the parish and has a station at the village; the church is close to the railway and well seen from it. An Inclosure Act for 155/8 yardlands, or 547 acres, was passed in 1772. (fn. 1) Shilton was probably the birthplace of Christopher St. German (?1460–1540), legal writer, whose handbook for law students, usually known as 'Doctor and Student', remained the chief text-book till the appearance of Blackstone's Commentaries. (fn. 2)
SHILTON, a 2-hide vill in Domesday Book, was then held by the Count of Meulan with Wallef, who had been a free tenant before 1066, under him. (fn. 3) It later became part of the estates of the earldom of Warwick, but evidence of its history is not plentiful. Shilton was at times closely connected with Barnacle in Bulkington and with Ansty, being held with the former as half a knight's fee of the Earl of Warwick by John 'Aygne' in 1315, (fn. 4) and was reckoned as one with both these places (sunt una villa) in the following year under the lordship of Henry le Irreis of Ansty. (fn. 5) By 1420 a sub-tenancy had been granted to the Beauchamp family of Holt (Worcs.), Sir John Beauchamp in that year holding Shilton and Barnacle of the heirs of Henry Dyve by service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 6) His heir was his daughter Margaret, then wife of John Pauncefote, but there is no further evidence of the descent of the manor till 1513, when Ralph Swillington, Recorder of Coventry, and Elizabeth his wife made a settlement of it. (fn. 7) Elizabeth subsequently married Thomas Essex, (fn. 8) and Edward Essex was vouchee in a recovery of 1559. (fn. 9) By 1730 there were two manors or lordships, the more important in the hands of the Dean and Canons of Windsor (fn. 10) (who also held Ansty), who were still lords in 1850; (fn. 11) the other lordship was in the hands of Henry Neale of Allesley. (fn. 12) His descendants held it for more than a century. (fn. 13) The manorial rights in 1932 were recorded as divided between the Duke of Buccleuch and Mr. G. E. Jarvis. (fn. 14)
The manor of BARNACLE HALL extended into this parish and in 1388–9 was held of John Dyve as of his manor of Deddington (Oxon.). (fn. 15) For further details see the descent of this manor in Bulkington.
The church of ST. ANDREW is situated on a rise in the centre of the village, standing in a small churchyard. It dates from the late 13th century, but was rebuilt in the 14th and again in the 15th century, when the tower was built. In 1865 an outer north aisle was added under the supervision of Sir Gilbert Scott, the chancel being restored at the same time. Owing to the slope of the ground and the proximity of the main road, a south aisle was impracticable. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and outer north aisles, chapel, and a south porch.
The chancel is built of light-coloured sandstone with diagonal buttresses at the angles; it has a plinth of one splay and a tiled roof. It is lighted on the east by a pointed traceried window of three trefoil lights with a hood-mould; on the south by a square-headed window of two trefoil lights and a lancet of two splayed orders; and on the north by two similar windows. Between the windows on the north side there is a blocked pointed doorway of two splayed orders, restored, but retaining its original hood-mould with mask stops. The east wall has been entirely rebuilt, the north refaced and the south patched with red sandstone. The nave wall is divided into three bays by buttresses, the centre bay occupied by the porch. It is built of squared and coursed sandstone, extensively patched, and has a battlemented parapet with restored crocketed pinnacles at each end and one central. It is lighted by a pointed traceried window of two cinquefoil lights in each of the end bays, and by two square-headed windows of two cinquefoil lights high up in the wall, one on each side of the porch. The pointed windows have hood-moulds with head stops; the square have hoods without stops; all are partly restored. The porch is timber-framed, with its original moulded posts and head forming the entrance under a half-timbered gable. The sides are formed of open traceried panels with modern matchboarding below. It is roofed with tiles, is paved with stone, and has a stone seat on both sides. The doorway has a wave-moulded pointed arch, the mouldings prolonged to splayed stops; its hood-mould is without stops.
The east end of the north aisle is lighted by a pointed traceried window of three trefoil lights with a hoodmould, the outer aisle by a replica of it. The 19thcentury north wall is partly constructed of stones from the original wall, including some from the door, window, and buttresses. It is lighted towards the east by a square-headed window of two trefoil lights, re-using an original head, and has a wave-moulded pointed doorway towards the west, partly original re-used. The chapel, which has a rebuilt diagonal buttress, is lighted on the north by a pointed traceried window of two cinquefoil lights with a hood-mould, all much restored. Both aisles have low-pitched lead-covered roofs, and in the 19th century a battlemented parapet, to correspond with the south side, was added.
The tower, which has a moulded plinth, rises in three stages, the upper stage diminished by a weathered offset and terminating in a battlemented parapet with crocketed finials at each angle. There are diagonal buttresses at each angle; the north-east one, which contains a circular stair to the ringing chamber, is at right angles to a point half-way up the second stage, where it becomes diagonal. The west door has a fourcentred arch of one splay under a square head and sunk spandrels, and above, in a deep splay, a pointed threelight window, centre light pointed, the outer cinquefoil. It is partly restored and has a hood-mould with return ends. On the north there is a loop-light to the ringing chamber and two to the tower staircase; on the south there is a clock dial. The belfry, on each face, has pointed, transomed, traceried windows of two trefoil lights, set in deep splays with hood-moulds.
The chancel (28 ft. by 17 ft. 1 in.) has a modern tiled floor with three steps to a modern altar. The walls are plastered and decorated with 19th-century paintings of vine scrolls, texts, angels, and a figure of St. Andrew, all faded and discoloured. The organ is placed against the north wall between the two windows. In the south wall at the east end there is a piscina with an arch of two splays and a circular basin. Both lancets and the east windows have wide splayed reveals with pointed rear-arches, the others have square heads. The roof is matchboarded on the underside. With the exception of the chancel all the walls are unplastered.
The nave (40 ft. 4 in. by 16 ft.) has an open lowpitched roof of four bays with moulded members, the wall-plate moulded and battlemented. Each of the beams has a carved boss in the centre and curved brackets resting on stone corbels, probably early 16th century, restored. At the east end of the south wall there is an unusual piscina, it has an ogee head to the nave and another, its head slightly lower, in the splayed reveal of the window, which has a trefoilheaded panel, leaving a small shaft to support the angle; the basin has been mutilated. The arcade consists of three bays of pointed arches of two splayed orders with hood-moulds, on octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and splayed bases and at the east end on a mutilated corbel, at the other end on a half-octagonal respond against an octagonal pillar which forms the pillar for the chapel arch; the latter has two splayed orders on the nave side, and three on the other; it is supported on half-octagonal responds, one against the pillar, the other against the wall. The chancel arch has been destroyed and replaced by a modern roof truss. The tower arch is of two orders, the inner moulded, the outer a splay, the inner has a pointed arch, the outer on the nave side is segmental-pointed. The two windows high up have square heads to deep recesses, the two lower pointed rear-arches with hood-moulds and head-stops; the doorway is stop-chamfered segmental-pointed. Fixed in a modern barrier to the chancel there are five carved traceried panels, probably late 15th century. The pulpit, placed to the north of the chancel, is a modern one of oak with carved traceried panels, on a stone base. The font, standing in the north-west angle, is a modern one of red sandstone, octagonal, with quatrefoil panels on an octagonal stem, the lead-lined basin supported on carved female heads at each corner.
Two memorial slabs, to Sir Roger Feilding of Barnacle Hall and his nephew Basil, a J.P. in the reign of Charles II, were removed from the church in 1866 to pave the porch. They had been obliterated by 1933, when the porch was repaired with floor-slabs from the Guest House of the monastery at Coventry. (fn. 16)
The aisle (29 ft. 3 in. by 8 ft. 10 in.) has a lean-to roof with moulded beams and purlins, contemporary with the nave roof; the rafters and wall-plates have been renewed. The arch to the chapel is pointed, of two splayed orders continued as responds to splayed bases on square pedestals.
The outer aisle (28 ft. 8 in. by 12 ft.) has a king-post roof of low pitch with moulded members. The arcade of three bays is a copy of the original in the aisle, but with moulded bases instead of splayed and one pillar circular instead of octagonal. The western bay has been enclosed by an oak screen to form a vestry.
The tower (9 ft. by 9 ft.) window and doorway both have four-centred rear-arches; and in the north-east angle is a doorway to the tower staircase with a fourcentred head, fitted with its original oak door of two vertical panels. The staircase stops at the ringing chamber, the belfry being reached by a ladder.
In the upper nave window to the east there are two late-16th-century heraldic shields of coloured glass: (1) Azure a cheveron ermine between three eaglets argent (for Essex). (2) Essex impaling sable a cheveron argent between three crescents ermine (for Babthorpe). (fn. 17)
There were four bells: (1 and 2) by Edward Arnold of Leicester, 1795; (3) by Newcombe, 1603; (4) by John Greene of Worcester, 1614. (fn. 18) In 1925 all of these, except no. 2, were recast and two more added by Gillett and Johnstone.
Shilton was originally a chapelry of Bulkington, and in the possession of Leicester Abbey by the gift of Roger de Waterville, but was with Ansty transferred to Coventry Priory at an early date in return for an annual payment of £10; (fn. 19) it was among the chapels 'restored' to the priory by Earl Ranulf between 1140 and 1153. (fn. 20) About 1410 it was put on record that the chapels of Ansty and Shilton were never members of St. Michael's, Coventry, but were a rectory in themselves, Ansty being the principal chapel and Shilton dependent thereon; parishioners had to be buried at the mother church of St. Mary, Coventry. (fn. 21) In 1535 it was served by a stipendiary priest, removable at the will of the prior, who received the small tithes and minor offerings, estimated at £5 a year. (fn. 22) It remained a curacy till the late 19th century, (fn. 23) but is now combined with Ansty as a vicarage. The patronage has been with the Crown since the Reformation, and is now exercised by the Lord Chancellor.
The Waste Land, otherwise The Town Ley. By an Act for inclosing the common fields of this parish a piece of land containing 3 r. 16 p. was awarded unto and for the poor inhabitants for the purpose only of cutting furze thereon.
The above-mentioned charities are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 12 June 1906 under the title of the Eleemosynary Charity. The scheme appoints a body of trustees to administer the annual income, amounting to 17s. 8d., for the benefit of the poor of the parish.
William Rainbow by will dated 3 January 1916 bequeathed £80, the dividends thereon to be distributed in equal proportions on St. Thomas's Day among all persons resident in the parish who shall be in receipt of Old Age Pensions under any Act of Parliament for the time being in force.