A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Stockton is a parish and large village 2 miles northeast of Southam. It occupies a low hill in the gently sloping country-side of south-eastern Warwickshire, with no very prominent natural features; the courses of the numerous small streams have been much disturbed by the construction of the Warwick branch of the Oxford Canal which runs along the northern edge of the parish, and there is very little woodland. The parish is crossed by the second-class road from Southam to Rugby from south-west to north-east and at right angles to this by a road from Napton to Long Itchington, the village, a good example of the nucleated type common in the Feldon country, being situated along and off the Napton road a short distance southeast of the cross-roads The Weedon and Leamington Spa branch of the former L.M.S.R. crosses the northern edge of the parish; Napton and Stockton Station, about a mile north-east of the village, being just outside the boundary. The inclosure of the parish was being considered in 1778, (fn. 1) but the Act of Parliament, dealing with 1,320 acres, was not passed till 1791. (fn. 2)
The Blue Lias subsoil has long been known as a valuable source for the manufacture of lime and cement, and by 1850 the workings were described as 'very extensive'. (fn. 3) Stockton cement has been used in many large contracting works, including the Victoria Embankment, London. (fn. 4) The quarries extend into the parishes of Long Itchington and Southam (though the best ones are said to be those north and east of Stockton village, the earliest to be worked) and, covering nearly all the northern and western portions of Stockton parish, form the largest stretch of non-agricultural land in the rural half of Warwickshire. Stockton, in fact, has more the character of an industrial village than any in Knightlow Hundred except Bedworth and its neighbours on the coalfield; the population trebled during the 19th century, at a rate comparable with Alcester, Bedworth, or Kenilworth, and Stockton was one of the very few rural parishes where voluntary provision of school facilities was inadequate and a School Board was formed (1878). The lime and cement works formerly owned by Messrs. Charles Nelson & Co. Ltd., who provided a workmen's club at a cost of £2,000, are now controlled by the Rugby Portland Cement Co. Ltd. The predominantly industrial character of the village is shown by the adoption of the name 'Blue Lias' for one of its inns, a typical canal-bank public house in the quarry area, where the Long Itchington road crosses the canal near a series of locks. The title-deeds of this inn date back to 1809. (fn. 5)
A windmill is mentioned at various dates from 1356 onwards. (fn. 6)
STOCKTON does not figure in Domesday Book, but Dugdale (fn. 7) is no doubt right in considering it to have formed part of the large and valuable manor of Long Itchington, of which it was afterwards held. (fn. 8) Walter de Somerville held a virgate of land here in the reign of Henry II, (fn. 9) which he may have obtained through his wife Cecily de Limesi, whose family were overlords of Long Itchington and Stockton. (fn. 10) Robert de Somerville, of the fifth generation from Walter, obtained the right of free warren in his demesne lands here in 1290. (fn. 11) His son Roger died seised of the manor in 1338, when it was held of William Corbet. (fn. 12) His brother and successor Philip settled it, except for 2 messuages and 2 bovates, on himself and his male heirs, with remainders to Rees ap Griffith and Joan his wife (Philip's daughter) for the life of Joan, to Rees's sons Thomas and Rees in tail successively, or to the right heirs of Joan. (fn. 13) After his death in 1356 the pleas and perquisites of court were stated to be worth only 2s. a year because the manor was within the view of the manor of Long Itchington. (fn. 14) Rees ap Griffith the elder died the same year (1356), being survived by his wife and son Rees. (fn. 15) The manor continued to be held by this family of the Odingsels of Long Itchington for nearly two hundred years. (fn. 16) In 1543 George Griffith passed it to Sir Walter Smyth, (fn. 17) and the latter to Nicholas Purefoy of Shalstone (Bucks.) four years later. (fn. 18) Stockton seems to have descended to William Purefoy of Hollingbourne (Kent), a younger grandson of Nicholas, who on the marriage (1580) of his son Edward to Joyce, eldest daughter of George Purefoy of Drayton (Leics.) settled the manor on them, with a life interest to his sister-inlaw Anne, wife of John Purefoy of Shalstone, remainder to the heirs of Edward and Joyce and to his own right heirs. (fn. 19) Anne outlived Edward who died in 1594 when his son and heir George was 11 years old. (fn. 20) The latter dealt with the manor in 1605, (fn. 21) probably a settlement on his coming of age, made a settlement on his marriage to Mary (Knightley) in 1610, (fn. 22) and finally sold it to John Clapham, one of the Six Clerks of Chancery, and his heirs in 1613. (fn. 23) This John Clapham died without issue in 1618, (fn. 24) when the manor devolved on his cousin and namesake, of Willenhall (Coventry), (fn. 25) whose son Luke was dealing with it during the Commonwealth, (fn. 26) after which the exact descent is not clear. It is found in the Harvey family from 1705; (fn. 27) Robert Harvey, who was then lord, was a nephew of Hugh Audley (d. 1662), a legal officer of the Crown like the first John Clapham. Audley amassed a fortune of £400,000 (fn. 28) and by an indenture of 1656 settled his estates, which included manors in Warwickshire and other counties, on his nephew. (fn. 29) Robert Harvey divided his inherited property, that in Warwickshire going to his third son, another Robert, who was associated with his father in his manorial dealings. (fn. 30) His grandson John was lord between 1728 and 1745, (fn. 31) taking the additional surname of Thursby on succeeding to the estates of that family (1736). (fn. 32) After his death in 1764 the manor came to the Biddulph family of Birdingbury, Sir Theophilus, 4th baronet, being vouchee in recoveries of 1782 and 1790. (fn. 33) It changed hands several times in the 19th century, the Rev. Charles Crane being lord from 1806 to 1821, the Rev. Samuel Parkins, rector of Stockton, in 1826, William Henry Seymour in 1831, (fn. 34) and William Hodgson in 1850, there being at the last date no less than eight 'principal landowners'. (fn. 35) By 1900 all manorial rights had disappeared. (fn. 36)
Property in Stockton which had belonged to Hertford Priory was in 1538 granted to Anthony Denny and Joan (Champernowne) his wife. (fn. 37) Forty years later this property, apart from the advowson, amounted to 30s. in rents. (fn. 38)
The church of ST. MICHAEL stands in a small churchyard on the south side of the village. It consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, vestry, and north porch. Except for the 15th-century tower and the 14th-century south wall of the chancel the church is modern. The nave and north aisle were built in 1863, the south aisle in 1873, and the chancel was partly rebuilt in 1809.
The east end of the chancel is built of squared and coursed brown sandstone with red sandstone dressings, the upper part being rebuilt and the east window renewed in 1809; there is a shield bearing this date above the window. The tracery window has a pointed arch of two splays with three trefoil lights and a hoodmould. The north side is partly covered by a modern vestry and has a modern plain tracery window of two trefoil lights. On the south side to the east there is a two-light window similar to the one on the north, and in the centre there is a narrow doorway of 14thcentury date with a pointed arch of one splay, with a 15th-century square-headed window of two trefoil lights to the west. The south aisle, which has a lowpitched lead-covered roof, is built of squared and coursed limestone with bands of sandstone at the levels of the sills and springers of the window-heads. In the east wall is a two-light window, and on the south side four windows, similar to those to the chancel; and on the west wall is a single pointed trefoil light with a hood-mould. In the clearstory, which has a band of sandstone level with the centres of the windows, there are three circular lights. The nave roof is tiled. The north aisle and clearstory have bands of sandstone as on the south. There are three windows, all alike with two ogee trefoil lights with pointed arches and hoodmoulds, two east of the porch and the other west. The west end has a single pointed trefoil light, and the clearstory three lights, as on the south. The porch has a pointed stone vaulted roof, stone benches, and small rectangular unglazed windows, one on either side. The entrance has a pointed arch with its mouldings continued down to splayed stops, and a hood-mould with return ends. The south doorway is similar but has a segmental-pointed head.
The vestry is a continuation of the aisle but with a steep-pitched tiled roof. On the north it has an early15th-century window similar to the one in the south side of the chancel, but with a low-side window under its sill, the sill forming its head, evidently removed from the north wall of the chancel; the low-side window appears to have been reduced in height to suit its new position. On the east there is a window similar to those in the south aisle.
The tower, which has a plinth of one splay, is in three stages and built of brown sandstone ashlar to half-way up the first stage, and above of red sandstone ashlar in large blocks, each stage being diminished slightly by weathered offsets. There are buttresses rising in four stages at each corner, those on the west being diagonal, and the tower is finished with an embattled parapet resting on a hollow moulding with gargoyles in the centre, flanked by human heads in the hollow of the moulding, and with similar heads at each of the angles. In each merlon there is a shield, and at the angles pinnacles with trefoil panels and crocketed finials. On the west in the lower stage there is a tracery window in a deep splay, of two trefoil lights with a pointed arch; the tracery and mullions are modern, the arch original. On the south are two loop-lights one each in the first and second stages and a small rectangular window in the second stage. The belfry windows on all four faces are two-light, of two splayed orders, with transoms and four-centred arches, the upper lights trefoiled and the lower cinquefoil, except on the east which has all trefoil lights. On the north there is a clock in the second stage.
The chancel (27 ft. 4 in. by 16 ft.) has a modern tiled floor with two steps to the altar, a modern hammerbeam roof, and plastered walls. The modern windows have pointed rear-arches and the south door a segmental. The door to the vestry has a pointed arch and adjoining it on the west there is an arch resting on moulded corbels, under which the organ is placed. On the south wall there is a white marble monument to Ellen Pilkington, died 1689.
The nave (53 ft. by 16 ft. 1 in.) has a tiled floor and an open collar-beam roof. The clearstory windows have wide splayed recesses with stop-chamfered pointed rear-arches. The north and south arcades are each of four bays with pointed arches of two splayed orders, the outer one hollow, resting on octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases and half-octagon responds at the ends. The font is placed near the west pillar of the north arcade and is modern, on a 14th-century base and probably a copy of the original basin. It is octagonal with moulded trefoil panels on each face and floriated crosses on each of the angles, resting on floriated stops and carried down by a fluted splay to a circular stem having a moulded capital and base. The oak pulpit, placed to the north of the chancel arch, is modern. The chancel arch is pointed, of two splayed orders, with moulded capitals but no visible bases; the responds repeat the arch orders. The tower arch has two splays on the nave side and three on the tower side, the inner resting on moulded capitals, the outer continued down to the floor and on the tower side they die out on the walls of the tower.
The north aisle (47 ft. by 11 ft.) is paved with stone and has a lean-to roof with wall brackets on stone corbels. At the east end there is a pointed arched opening to the vestry, of two splayed orders, resting on short shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The windows have pointed rear-arches, stop-chamfered, and the south door a segmental one.
The south aisle (47 ft. 10 in. by 11 ft.) is similar to the south but has a mutilated 14th-century piscina built very low into the south wall near the east wall. It has a moulded ogee head with a trefoil traceried panel at the back of the recess; the projecting basin has been broken off.
The tower is stone-paved and in the south-west corner the angle is splayed for the tower stair, the doorway of which has a moulded four-centred head with the moulding carried down to stop on a splayed threshold. Below the west window, which has a pointed rear-arch, there is a blocked door opening with a chamfered segmental head which is not visible externally.
There are three bells: one by Newcombe of Leicester, 1608, the other two by Hugh Watts, 1620 and 1622. (fn. 39)
The church was given to Hertford Priory, probably by Walter de Somerville, whose wife Cecily (de Limesi) was a descendant of the founder, in the reign of Henry II. (fn. 40) In 1249 a lawsuit occurred, John de Somerville claiming the advowson through his grandmother Maud who held the manor in dower of her husband's gift, having made a presentation, against the Prior of Hertford, who claimed that the right had been confirmed as his after a previous suit, and by Otto the papal legate. Judgement was for the prior, (fn. 41) and three years later John de Somerville quitclaimed all his rights in the advowson to the priory. (fn. 42) The church was worth £6 in 1291 (fn. 43) and in 1535 £10 7s. in addition to 30s. pensions to the priory and 3s. to the archdeacon. (fn. 44) After the Dissolution the first presentation (1545) was made by Anthony Denny, to whom Hertford Priory and its estates had been granted, (fn. 45) and Edward Denny, his second son, conveyed it to William Carewe in 1580; (fn. 46) the latter passed it to Humphrey Davies in 1603. (fn. 47) Thomas Davies presented in 1628, (fn. 48) since when the advowson has passed through a large number of hands. Robert Martin obtained it in 1664 from Henry Ganderton and Mary his wife and presented in 1673; (fn. 49) Martin Mugge was patron in 1713, and Jane Mugg, widow, in 1729. (fn. 50) John Holland and Elizabeth his wife conveyed it to John Unwin in 1754, (fn. 51) and the latter was patron in 1763. (fn. 52) By 1830 (fn. 53) the advowson was in the hands of New College, Oxford, who still hold it.
Though the church was not impropriate, the tithes had become separated from the rectory in the early 17th century. They were passed in 1615 by Francis Browne and Jane his wife to James Enyon senior and junior. (fn. 54) James Enyon senior settled them two years later on his son-in-law Hannibal Horsey and his son James, with remainder to James Enyon junior, but the agreed yearly rent being unpaid the settlement was void. (fn. 55)
William Smith. This parish participates in this charity to the amount of 4s. each year, which in accordance with the terms of the bequest is required to be distributed in bread to the poorest people of the parish. For particulars of the charity see under Birdingbury.
Church Allotment. Upon the inclosure of the common fields of Stockton in 1792 there was awarded to the churchwardens of the parish, in lieu of several green slades commonly called Church Meers, or Slades, a plot of land lying in Long Highlands containing 13 a. 2 r. 4 p. It is stated in the printed Parliamentary Reports of the former Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities, dated in 1827, that it is unknown from what source the lands were derived in respect of which this allotment was made, but the rents appear to have been always applied to the repairs of the church. The Report also states that some time after the awarding of this allotment it was discovered that it contained a rock of limestone, which was thereupon sold, and that of the £937 10s. received all but £440 was expended in effecting substantial repairs and improvements to the parish church. The quarry was exhausted and the works ceased about 1820. Part of the allotment, containing 4 a. 2 r. 24 p., was conveyed to the Warwick and Napton Canal Navigation Co. in 1798 in consideration of an annual rent of £9 6s.