A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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UPPER AND LOWER SHUCKBURGH
Upper and Lower Shuckburgh are small parishes on the Northamptonshire border half-way between Southam and Daventry, each being about 5 miles distant. The main road between these towns runs through Lower Shuckburgh, as does also the Oxford Canal, which has a wharf by the bridge carrying the main road. The River Leam divides Upper Shuckburgh from Staverton (Northants.) for a short distance, and the Great Central main line of the former L.N.E.R. crosses the eastern corner of this parish. The ground slopes steeply from south to north, Beacon Hill in Upper Shuckburgh reaching 678 ft. as compared with slightly under 300 ft. on the northern edge of Lower Shuckburgh. The beacon which gave the hill its name was decayed early in the 17th century, and in 1640 Richard Walter, one of the chief constables of Knightlow Hundred, was reimbursed £8 10s. by the county for providing a new one. (fn. 1)
The Shuckburghs were early inclosed parishes; at the inquisition of 1517 the Prioress of Wroxall was stated to have inclosed 30 acres of land in Upper Shuckburgh, and Thomas Catesby 1 messuage and 20 acres, and Thomas Shuckborough 1 messuage and 14 acres of land in Lower Shuckburgh; (fn. 2) the last-named also inclosed 40 acres of land, with 2 messuages, according to the inquisition of 1518, (fn. 3) and was alleged to intend to lay the whole township to pasture. (fn. 4) A general Inclosure Act for 880 acres of Shuckburgh Fields was passed in 1778. (fn. 5) The resulting depopulation has been very considerable, the present figure of 107 for the two parishes being only half the highest recorded total (213 in 1821), (fn. 6) and the number of houses stated as existing in 1730, 10 in Upper and 39 in Lower Shuckburgh, (fn. 7) implies a still larger population at that date.
Much of Upper Shuckburgh parish is taken up by the park and grounds of Shuckburgh Hall, the seat of the family of that name. The layout was considerably changed in the early 19th century, after the place had acquired notoriety through the murder of a daughter of the house by her admirer, who afterwards committed suicide. (fn. 8)
While Upper Shuckburgh was always in Knightlow Hundred, Lower Shuckburgh was in Kington Hundred, but the two are here treated together as they have always been intimately connected. There was some uncertainty about the boundary between the two parishes in 1637, when it was stated that some houses of Upper Shuckburgh village were in Lower Shuckburgh parish and vice versa. It was agreed that the existing system of each village maintaining its own poor regardless of parish boundaries should continue. (fn. 9)
Celia Fiennes passed through on her way from Warwick to Daventry in 1697. (fn. 10) 'Nether Shuzar' she found 'a sad village, we could have no entertainment', but Sir Charles Shuckburgh came to the rescue and entertained her at the Hall, which she considered 'very handsome built of brick and stone' and (a little ungrammatically) 'all things were very well as any private Gentleman has whatever'. She noted that the deer were so tame as to come up to the courtyard gate: Sir Charles asked one of his daughters to give Celia a souvenir 'a Curiosity they dig up in most part of the hill thereabout, they call them Arms its just like Mullets that they have in an Eschuteon to difference the third son from the first and second in a family' (apparently a fossilized starfish).
In 1086 the Count of Meulan held 4 hides in (UPPER) SHUCKBURGH, and Herleuin of him; and Alwin held half a virgate of Turchil of Warwick. In the time of Edward the Confessor Lewin and Ulwin respectively had held these estates freely. (fn. 15) Like so many estates of these two chief tenants in Domesday, Shuckburgh passed to the Earl of Warwick, from whom in 1166 Robert de Alvers held 3 knights' fees in Warwickshire de vetero feffamento. (fn. 16) That these fees included Upper Shuckburgh is proved by the confirmation by Robert, about 1150, (fn. 17) of a grant by his tenant Robert 'de Succheberga' to the nunnery of Wroxall of the church, 4 virgates, 20 acres of land called Hunger Hill, and a croft in Shuckburgh. (fn. 18) This grant was confirmed by Roger, Earl of Warwick, (fn. 19) who died in 1153. In 1236 the tenants of the Earl of Warwick were Osbert, who held three parts of a knight's fee, and Oliver (onetwentieth part of a knight's fee); (fn. 20) and in 1242 William de Cantilupe held three parts of a knight's fee of Eustace de Mortun, who held of Guy son of Robert, and he of Guy de Dive, who held of the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 21) Two parts of a knight's fee were held of the Earl of Warwick in 1316 by John Eyre, (fn. 22) and in 1437 a similar portion by Joan, widow of William Beauchamp, Lord of Bergavenny, when it is described as the manor of Shuckburgh late of John Dyve and John Shuckburgh and was held of Joan by Guy de Mancetter. (fn. 23) William Beauchamp was the cousin (son of a sister of the grandmother) of John Hastings (died 1389), (fn. 24) whose family had acquired an intermediate tenancy in Shuckburgh by the marriage of Henry de Hastings with Joan de Cantilupe, the elder sister of George de Cantilupe (died 1273). (fn. 25) Of the three parts of a knight's fee held by William in 1242, one-quarter of a fee was held of his son George by William de Shuckburgh in 1273. (fn. 26) In 1313 the holding, which had come to John de Hastings the elder, was reckoned as one knight's fee, and described as that held by Simon de Shuckburgh and Ralph Chater; (fn. 27) these, however, are the names of the Prior of Coventry's tenants in 1242 (see below) and there seems to be some confusion. The yearly value of this fee was stated as £20 in the order to John Abel, the escheator, to deliver it to Isabel, John Hastings's widow, in the same year. (fn. 28) It was again reckoned as one fee in 1375, held of John Hastings, 12th Earl of Pembroke, by [the heirs of] Simon de Shuckburgh and Ralph Chater, (fn. 29) and in 1397 it was ordered to be delivered by the escheator to Philippa, widow of Richard, Earl of Arundel, (fn. 30) whose previous husband had been John, 13th Earl of Pembroke. (fn. 31) The last mention of the Bergavenny connexion is in 1561, when Thomas Shuckburgh, who died the previous year, was said to have held the manor of Over Shuckburgh of Lord Bergavenny. (fn. 32)
During the anarchy of Stephen's reign Robert de Shuckburgh's son William, who was a knight, was killed in battle. Whereupon Warin de Walcote, 'a knight errant', who had fallen in love with Robert's daughter Isabel, came with armed force and carried her off against her will. When Henry II succeeded and enforced peace, Warin, having no income except from robbery, continued his evil course until he was caught and executed. Isabel, who had had by him an illegitimate son Warin, returned home and married William [de Budebroc], (fn. 33) by whom she had a son Henry de Shuckburgh. (fn. 34) Robert, who, as already mentioned, held the fee under Robert de Alvers, left two other daughters—one being the mother of William de Leminton, the other of Robert de Shuckburgh—and his lands were divided between the sons of the three. (fn. 35) William de Leminton left two daughters, of whom Maud was in 1246 wife of Ralph Chater, (fn. 36) who shared the fee with Simon de Shuckburgh in 1242. The pedigree of the Shuckburgh family in its early generations is obscure. (fn. 37) In 1202 William de Suckeberg was granted ½ virgate of land in Shuckburgh by Osbert son of Simon. (fn. 38) William and Osbert de Shuckburgh, the latter perhaps the Osbert holding three parts of a knight's fee in 1236, (fn. 39) were witnesses to a feoffment. (fn. 40) In the early 14th century John de Shuckburgh was a coroner for the county of Warwick. (fn. 41) In 1347 John de Shuckburgh held a third part of a knight's fee of the Earl of Pembroke, (fn. 42) and in 1400 another John, described as lord of Shuckburgh, his brother Thomas, and others made a grant of land in Burycote. (fn. 43) They were collectors of taxes in Warwickshire in 1404. (fn. 44) In 1431–2 John Shuckburgh was stated to hold a manor by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 45) William Shuckburgh was appointed to collect a subsidy in Warwickshire in 1428 (fn. 46) and 1432, (fn. 47) and at his death in 1433 was a coroner for the county. (fn. 48) In the reign of Henry VII Thomas Shuckburgh was Justice of the Peace from 1502 onwards (fn. 49) and commissioner for jail delivery in 1503 (fn. 50) and 1505. (fn. 51)
Richard Shuckburgh (1606–56) was M.P. for Warwickshire; (fn. 52) he was knighted by Charles I and fought at the battle of Edge Hill, and after defending his ancestral seat against the Parliamentary troops was taken prisoner, having to compound heavily for his liberty. (fn. 53) His son John was created a baronet in 1660 by Charles II in recognition of his father's services, (fn. 54) and the family estates have descended to Sir Charles Gerald Stewkley Shuckburgh, the 12th baronet.
In 1353 Margaret, widow of Richard Hastang and heiress of the Dyve family who had been immediate sub-tenants of the Earl of Warwick in 1242, granted her manor in Shuckburgh to William Catesby and John his son. (fn. 55) At the same time John Beauchamp of Holt and his wife Joan (FitzWyth), heiress of the Guy son of Robert who was another of the mesne tenants in 1242, also released their rights. John de Catesby held manorial courts in 1398, (fn. 56) and his widow Emma, her son, and their heirs were granted free warren in their demesne lands in Shuckburgh and elsewhere in 1412. (fn. 57) The Catesbys were also lords of Wavers Marston in Bickenhill, and this estate in Shuckburgh was passed by Richard Collyng of Merston in 1540 to Thomas Shuckburgh. (fn. 58)
Besides the estate of Wroxall Nunnery mentioned above, other religious houses held portions of land in Shuckburgh. Between 1155 and 1170 Osbert de Leminton granted 1 bovate to Leicester Abbey, (fn. 59) which was fairly soon leased by that house to Thomas son of Oliver de Shuckburgh and his heirs at an annual rent of 9s., reduced in the late 15th century to 2s. (fn. 60) In 1221 William de Leminton had a life tenancy from the abbot of Leicester of ½ virgate. (fn. 61)
Coventry Cathedral Priory, which held the adjoining manor of Priors Marston, had lands in Shuckburgh from an early date; in 1236 half a knight's fee was held of the prior by Joan sister of Alice de Harecurt, (fn. 62) and in 1242 two half-fees, one by Simon de Shuckburgh and the other by Ralph Chater. (fn. 63) Simon's portion seems to have passed to Thomas Oliver, who held 7 virgates in 1279. (fn. 64) John Oliver afterwards alienated the half-fee to William Passenham, who in 1345 with the king's licence (fn. 65) gave it to the priory, including a messuage in Lower Shuckburgh, and a plot of land called Southalfethemore on either side of the Ruggewey. (fn. 66) The other half-fee, comprising 8 virgates, was held in 1279 by William Chater, (fn. 67) and about 1410 by John Chater. (fn. 68) He and his tenants had to attend the courts leet at Priors Marston; and the two yearly great leets there had also to be attended by all John Catesby's tenants in Upper and Lower Shuckburgh. (fn. 69)
The Wroxall lands were granted after the Dissolution to Sir John Williams, (fn. 70) and those of Coventry Priory, in the tenure of Richard Hill, to Williams and Anthony Stringer; (fn. 71) they were alienated in 1541 (fn. 72) and 1547 (fn. 73) respectively to Thomas Shuckburgh, whose family was already in occupation of the Leicester Abbey holding. John Shuckburgh, Thomas's grandson, and his wife Margery leased the manors of Over and Nether Shuckburgh in 1628 to Walter Hanslappe and William Masters, (fn. 74) and settled them on his son Richard on marriage. (fn. 75) Richard's son John, the 1st baronet, was vouchee in a recovery of the manors in 1656. (fn. 76) They remain in possession of the family.
At the Domesday Survey Richard the Forester held ½ hide in [LOWER] SHUCKBURGH, which in the time of King Edward had been held freely by Edric. (fn. 77) This holding is described in the Book of Fees as one of 3 virgates, worth 4 marks annually. (fn. 78) It descended from Richard the Forester, or Cheven, through William Crok to Robert de Broc, who enfeoffed Roger de Bentley of the whole, (fn. 79) and in 1300 John de Bentley held 1 hide of Richard de Loges, grandson of Robert de Broc. (fn. 80) In 1316 Lower Shuckburgh was reckoned as a hamlet of Weston in Long Compton, under the overlordship of the Prior of Coventry. (fn. 81) William de Bentley in 1363 granted his lands in Shuckburgh to John Catesby. (fn. 82) Lower Shuckburgh had already passed into the hands of the Shuckburghs by 1428, when it was assessed at one-third of a knight's fee, lately in the hands of John de Shuckburgh; (fn. 83) and in 1514 Sir Thomas Cheyney held this manor of Thomas Shuckburgh. (fn. 84) From 1560, when Thomas Shuckburgh died seised of Nether as well as Over Shuckburgh, (fn. 85) its history is as that of Upper Shuckburgh.
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, (fn. 86) Upper Shuckburgh, is situated in the park of Shuckburgh Hall on the south side of the Southam-Daventry road, and stands on a knoll, a little south of the Hall, surrounded by a small churchyard in which there are cedar trees of great size. The church, except the base of the tower, has been completely rebuilt within recent times and consists of a chancel, nave, north and south chapels, tower, and a north porch. It is built of roughly coursed sandstone rubble with worked dressings and the roofs are tiled. Some old materials were re-used in building the porch, which has a pointed-arch entrance with a deep moulded splay and hood-mould. The doorway has a pointed arch concealed by a wooden door frame. Built into a recess in the north wall of the north chapel there is an infant's coffin lid of the 14th century, carved with a floriated cross; and in a similar position in the south chapel a rectangular panel carved with a skull, cross bones, and hour-glass; above, in the gable there is a similar panel, probably early-18th-century. The tower rises in three stages, the lower stage 13th-century, the upper stages rebuilt in the 18th century, with a plain parapet and pinnacles at each corner. It is lighted by a tall, partly restored lancet window on the west and has a clock face on the north. The belfry windows have pointed arches with two trefoil lights and a pierced cinquefoil, the arches supported on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Built into the south-west corner at the junction of tower and nave there is a circular stair turret, probably added when the tower was rebuilt.
The chancel (23 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 6 in.) has a carved and traceried hammer-beam roof and its floor is paved with large memorial slabs surrounded by borders of coloured tiles, with the matrices of brasses filled in with cement. The brasses from these and another slab outside the porch have been let into slate slabs (fn. 87) and are now fixed on the walls. It is lighted on the east by a pointed tracery window of three lights and by a twolight on the south. The south wall has two marble wall memorials of the 17th and 18th centuries, and two 16th-century brasses in slate slabs: one a man in armour and a woman in the dress of the period with the Shuckburgh arms above, but no inscription; the other to Anthony Shuckburgh, died 1594, and Anne his wife, with two coats at the top and inscription below, another coat in the centre and a row of eight children of diminishing size at the bottom. On the north wall are two modern tablets.
The north chapel (12 ft. 6 in. by 9 ft.) has a trussed rafter roof and is paved with stone. Fixed to the north wall are two 16th-century brasses in slate slabs: one to Thomas Shuckburgh, died 1560, and Elizabeth his wife, has a man in armour and a woman in the dress of the period with coat above; the other has an inscription referring to Margaret daughter of Thomas Shuckburgh and wife of John Cotes, with coat above and the lower part of the figure of a woman, completed by incising the missing portion in the slate slab. On the west is an 18th-century marble memorial.
The south chapel (12 ft. 6 in. by 9 ft. 2 in.) is similar to the one on the north. Against the east wall is a large marble memorial to Richard Shuckburgh, died 1656. It has a classic pediment with the Shuckburgh coat in the tympanum, surmounted by three urns, and below a portrait bust flanked by angels with trumpets holding back curtains. Underneath there is a carved panel with inscription, under a pediment of scrolls with a skull on either side. It rests on a carved splay and a moulded base, with a block in the centre of the moulding on which is placed a skull, below it the name Pet. Bennier. Occupying the whole of the south wall is a large 17th-century monument to John Shuckburgh, died 1631, and Margery his wife, died 1629. It is a table tomb with effigies, the man in armour and the woman in a dress with ruffles; the front panelled, with three shields, canopy above supported on marble corinthian columns and entablature surmounted by a cartouche with an achievement of arms, pinnacles over the columns, both with shields. At the back is a semicircular recess containing an inscription with three shields, and two shields in the spandrels. The underside of the canopy and the soffit of the arch over the recess are panelled in small squares. The whole monument is decorated in gilt and colours except the two effigies. In the floor there is a recent brass tablet.
The nave (32 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft.) has a hammer-beam roof and plastered walls, and is lighted by three-light trefoil windows with flat heads, one on each side, and a similar window, but with two lights, on the south. This window has two panels of 16th-century stained glass with four coats of the Shuckburgh family, dated 1593. The south window has some modern coloured glass coats of Edward I, Ferrers, Shuckburgh, Denys, and Holt. On the walls there are fourteen mural tablets to the Shuckburgh family and another in the tower.
The tower (6 ft. 10 in. by 6 ft. 7 in.) has a deep splayed recess with a pointed rear-arch to the window. The tower arch is a modern one, pointed, of three moulded orders, and supported on short shafts with floriated capitals. The font is placed in the tower and has an hexagonal basin supported on an hexagonal stem with a moulded capital and a splayed base.
There are four bells: (fn. 88) the first, by Henry Bagley, was given by Sir Richard Shuckburgh in 1651 but recast in 1864 by J. Taylor & Co., who in that year cast the second (given by Sir Francis Shuckburgh, 8th baronet). The other two are by Henry Bagley, 1640 and 1651.
The registers of marriages begin in 1757, and of baptisms and burials in 1781. (fn. 89)
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, Lower Shuckburgh, on the north side of the SouthamDaventry road, stands in the centre of a small churchyard, the paths planted with avenues of yew trees. Before 1860, when it was completely rebuilt, the church consisted of chancel and nave, apparently of the late 13th century, a low west tower, perhaps contemporary, crowned with a pyramidal cap, and a south porch. (fn. 90) The small modern church is built in what can best be described as a Moorish gothic style. The church consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, vestry, tower, and west porch. Externally it is built of a mixture of light and dark sandstone with limestone bands and outlines to all the arches. Inside it is of red and blue bricks with stone dressings. The only evidence of an earlier church is a 13th-century font, a stone tablet in a moulded frame with the initials G.H.O. 1620 in the vestry, and an altar table of the late 17th Century. There are gables to the east ends of the chancel, north and south aisles, further gables to the aisles, two to each, and at the west end a gabled double porch. The windows throughout are a nondescript form of tracery. At the south-west angle there is a small hexagonal tower in two stages surmounted by a short hexagonal spire pierced on each face with quatrefoils and trefoils. All six sides have gables filled in with blue stone chippings. It is lighted by three single-light pointed windows and has a door on the south side.
The chancel (25 ft. 8 in. by 14 ft. 6 in.) has a tiled floor and is lighted by a three-light window on the east and single lights north and south. The roof is vaulted in two bays with chamfered arches resting on responds of red and blue brick with stone capitals, the vault decorated with a red and yellow diaper. The walls have a dado composed of bands of red and blue bricks.
The nave (42 ft. by 15 ft. 3 in.) is paved with stone and has a roof of hammer-beam type. The arcades consist of three bays of pointed arches with an inner splayed order of stone and outer orders of dog-toothed red brick, and an outer band of blue bricks. They rest on square pillars set diagonally, built of red brick with bands of blue brick and stone. It is lighted by a rose window in the west gable with a row of five cinquefoil lights below.
The north aisle (42 ft. by 14 ft.) has a vestry at the east end and is lighted by tracery windows, one threelight and two two-light, with a single light at the west end. The south aisle (42 ft. by 13 ft.) has an organ chamber at the east end and the tower at the west. It is lighted by two pointed three-light windows and a single light at the west end.
The tower (7 ft. 6 in. square) forms a lobby to the south entrance and is vaulted with dog-toothed red brick ribs filled in between with red and yellow diaper. It is lighted by three single pointed lights. The arches to the vestry and organ chamber and the rear-arches to the windows are all of dog-toothed red brick, blue brick, and stone.
The font, placed at the west end of the north aisle, dates from the 13th century and has a slightly tapered circular basin with eight sunk panels with pointed heads, a deep lead-lined basin, and a square stem of modern bricks.
There are three bells, (fn. 91) two by Hugh Watts, 1601 and 1628, and the other by Thomas Newcombe.
The church of Upper Shuckburgh was granted by Robert de Succheberga, and confirmed about 1150 by Robert de Alvers, to the nunnery of Wroxall. (fn. 92) After the Dissolution the advowson was granted, in 1541, to Sir John Williams, (fn. 93) who in the same year obtained licence to alienate it to Thomas Shuckburgh, (fn. 94) since when it has followed the descent of the manor. The living is now a donative, and held with Lower Shuckburgh.
This church is not mentioned in the Taxatio of 1291; its value in 1535 was £8 6s. 8d., (fn. 95) and there is no mention of any payment to the officiating priest.
Lower Shuckburgh was a chapelry of Priors Hardwick, (fn. 96) which church was appropriated to Coventry Priory by Bishop Molend in 1260. (fn. 97) After the Dissolution the advowson was in the hands of the Over family of Coventry. (fn. 98) By 1604 it had come into the possession of Robert Spencer, 1st Baron Spencer of Wormleighton, (fn. 99) whose descendants later became Earls of Sunderland, and in the 18th century to the Earls Spencer. In the latter part of the 19th century Lower Shuckburgh was separated from Priors Hardwick, and it is now held with Upper Shuckburgh, being in the gift of Sir C. G. Shuckburgh, bart. (2 turns) and J. S. Thompson, esq. (1 turn). (fn. 100)
William Smith's Charity founded by will dated 23 August, 10 Queen Anne. The share of this charity applicable for the parish of Lower Shuckborough consists of a yearly payment of 4s. which is applied by the churchwardens for the benefit of the poor of the parish.