A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Weston-under-Wetherley parish is on the right bank of the River Leam, 3½ miles north-east of Leamington Spa. The northern part of the parish extends over the watershed (at a level of rather over 300 ft.) into the valley of the Avon, and is partly covered by the large Waverley (formerly Wethele) Wood, which extends into Stoneleigh and gives Weston its distinguishing name. The village, in which the cottages are mostly of timber-framing with red brick infilling, straggles along the Leamington-Rugby road for over half a mile; this road makes two right-angled bends at the east end of the village to align with a cross-country road whose continuity from the Northampton-Warwick road at Napton, through Stockton, Long Itchington, Snowford, Hunningham, Weston, and Baginton towards Coventry suggests that it was at one time of considerable importance. This latter road crosses the Leam by a bridge, for whose non-repair in 1636 the inhabitants of Weston were presented at Quarter Sessions, but on their producing an 'ancient indenture' it was allowed to be a responsibility of the hundred. (fn. 1) An unspecified amount of common fields was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1777. (fn. 2)
The Warwickshire Weston Colony occupies buildings erected in 1856 as a reformatory, the land being given and the foundation stone laid by Lord Leigh; it has been an institution for mental defectives since 1929. (fn. 3)
In the 1860's there were only about 30 cottages in the village, half at least having only one bedroom. Many labourers on the farms here came from Cubbington; 'they are very restless and independent because I' (Mr. F. Wells, a farmer of 260 acres) 'have no cottages for them.' At this date there was no school here, the children going to Cubbington or Hunningham. (fn. 4)
This vill comprised three holdings in 1086; Robert, Count of Meulan, held 3 hides less 1 virgate, his tenant being one Robert, and his predecessor Ulf. (fn. 5) Robert also held 1½ virgates of Turchil of Warwick, which Ulwi had held freely, but this was waste and brought in nothing. (fn. 6) William fitz Corbucion had an estate of 2½ virgates, his tenant being Johais; Sawold had held this before the Conquest. (fn. 7)
The overlordship passed through the Count of Meulan's descendants to the earldom of Leicester, and on the division of the estates of that earldom at the beginning of the 13th century, to that of Winchester, Weston counting with Napton as two fees of the latter earldom in 1235, (fn. 8) and similarly at the death of the last Quency earl in 1264, (fn. 9) after which it formed part of the share of his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan. Their son John was in 1292 overlord of 2 carucates in Weston, for which suit of court of the honor of Winchester was done at Leicester every three weeks. (fn. 10) John Comyn and his cousin William de Ferrers in 1285 claimed view of frankpledge in Weston and other Warwickshire vills, as having been exercised when the estates of the earldom of Leicester were undivided. (fn. 11) Sir Henry de Beaumont, John Comyn's grandson, held the two fees in 1369, (fn. 12) and they continued with his family. (fn. 13)
The tenants of the manor were the de Napton family. In 1208 Roger son of William acknowledged the right of John Stertewey and Parnell de Napton and Adam her son in half a virgate of land, of which they granted him 5 acres which John held, at a rent of a knife or one penny. (fn. 14) In 1279 the Napton holding amounted to 3½ yardlands in demesne and a similar amount let out to tenants, and there were 10 freeholders with 2 cottages and 3¾ yardlands. (fn. 15) In 1316 Robert de Napton and Lucy his wife received from Adam Spigurnel 2 messuages, a toft, a mill, and 2 virgates of land in Weston, (fn. 16) and five years later he and his heirs were granted free warren. (fn. 17) He, or a namesake, granted certain lands, services, and rents in Weston and Napton to William de Cotes, and in 1348 Richard de Napton, rector of Whelton, released all his right in these to John de Cotes, William's son. (fn. 18) The Naptons were still holding Weston in 1400, when John and his wife Alice made a settlement of the manor, (fn. 19) but in 1414 there was a dispute between William and Thomas Shuckburgh, Simon Cook, and Thomas Chyldes, claiming to have been enfeoffed of the manor of Weston by William de Napton, who had been enfeoffed by John de Napton, and John Knyghtley, claiming a grant direct from John de Napton. (fn. 20) The result of the suit is not known, and the descent of the manor becomes obscure for more than a century. John Weston, serjeant-at-law, was returned as holding half a knight's fee, formerly held by Adam de Napton, in 1428, (fn. 21) and in 1449 Nicholas Marcull of Henley-in-Arden made a settlement of the manor and its appurtenances. (fn. 22) John son of Thomas Cotes, possibly a descendant of the William and John de Cotes mentioned above, and Joyce his wife granted away much property, though not described as a manor, in Weston and Hunningham in 1483 and 1491. (fn. 23)
Another large property, probably the main manor since it was held with other property in Napton, was recovered by Edward Metley in the right of his wife Margaret in 1402–3. (fn. 24) This seems to have descended through another Margaret, perhaps Edward's granddaughter, to John Hugford (died 1485), and was afterwards acquired by Edward Belknap, of whom John Smyth in 1501 held 6 messuages and 10 virgates in Weston. (fn. 25) Belknap bequeathed Weston to his wife Alice, and, he being without issue, the manor descended to his nephew John Shelley (died 1550–1). (fn. 26) Very soon afterwards it was in possession of Sir Thomas Newnham, who in 1554 with his wife Mary conveyed it to the Crown; (fn. 27) three years later it was regranted in moieties to Sir Edward Saunders and Francis Morgan. (fn. 28) Sir Anthony Cooke, Thomas Wootton, and Leonard Dannett, the descendants of the co-heirs of Sir Edward Belknap, released their interest in Weston to Saunders in 1560. (fn. 29) By the marriage of Sir Edward's daughter and heiress to Thomas Morgan, Francis's son, (fn. 30) the manor was reunited and was held by the same family as Wappenbury (q.v.), with which it has since descended. (fn. 31)
The 2½ virgates of William fitz Corbucion were in 1279 held by Sylvester de Honygham of Henry de Bereford, who held of John de Hastings. This holding was divided in equal quantities between 3 servile and 2 free tenants. (fn. 32) Turchil's 1½ virgates were at the same date occupied by 2 freeholders, tenants of John de Wilewby, between whom and the Earl of Warwick as overlord were Robert de Compton and Simon Bassett. (fn. 33) By 1315 these estates seem to have become united, John de Hastings then holding half a fee of the Earl of Warwick in Barcheston and Weston. (fn. 34) In 1401 there was again a half-fee of the Earl of Warwick in these two places, (fn. 35) but this fief is not subsequently recorded. It may be identical with a 'manor' which Richard Knightley recovered against John Wode in 1454–5, (fn. 36) and from which his grandson Thomas granted a sum of 96s. 2d. yearly for four years from 1489 to Sir Edmund Cornewaill, who then held this manor of the prior of Maxstoke. (fn. 37)
The church of ST. MICHAEL lies on the north side of the Leamington-Rugby road, 3½ miles north-east of Leamington. It stands on a bank above the road and has a small inclosed churchyard. The church consists of chancel, north chapel, nave, north aisle, west tower, vestry, and south porch. There is evidence of a 12th-century church in the north and south walls of the chancel, consisting of the eastern halves of two semicircularheaded blocked windows. Early in the 13th century the church was almost entirely rebuilt; the tower was built early in the 14th century, except the top stage, added late in the 14th century; a north chapel was built in the 16th century, and in modern times a vestry and south porch.
The church is built of red sandstone ashlar and the roofs covered with tiles finishing on a coved eavescourse. There is a roof-line on the tower, 3 ft. above the present modern roof, which has a slightly lower pitch; it was re-roofed in 1867. The east gable wall of the chancel has been entirely refaced with a lightcoloured sandstone, the upper part rebuilt and angle buttresses added. The window, dating from the 13th century, is of three pointed lights with plain tracery and pointed arch without a label. On the south side is a 13th-century window of two pointed lights, having a pointed arch and hood-moulding stopped on grotesque heads; and to the west a two-light square-headed window, probably inserted in the 17th century. Between them is a narrow pointed doorway with a hollowsplayed edge. This wall has been refaced and two brick buttresses added. A 16th-century chapel has been built against the north wall in a light-coloured sandstone with a low-pitched gable to the east wall, which has been rebuilt with modern brickwork. The east window has three cinquefoil lights with a four-centred arch, and on the north side are two two-light cinquefoil windows with square heads, all contemporary with the chapel. At the north-east corner is an angle buttress; there is a small central one, and a modern brick one at each end.
The south wall of the nave has a plinth of two splays, a coved eaves-course, and four buttresses in two weathered stages, that at the west end having a gabled top. There are three windows; the one to the west is of early-14th-century date, the other two, of somewhat similar design, are modern. The original has two trefoil lights with moulded tracery, pointed arch, and hoodmoulding with mask stops. The two modern windows have plain tracery of two splayed orders. The doorway has a pointed arch with a wave-moulding continued down the jambs, its hood-moulding has been hacked away and the arch restored. In front of the door is a modern porch of red sandstone, with two stone seats, which has a tiled roof. The north aisle wall has three buttresses, with angle buttresses at the west end, finished with 13th-century gabled heads, and a plinth of two splays which continues round the buttresses. A modern vestry has been built at the western end embracing the original north door. It has a low-pitched gable on the north side and is lighted by two windows of two cinquefoil lights with square heads on the north and west. The aisle is lighted by three small lancet windows, two in the north wall and one in the west, and above these the wall was raised in the latter part of the 14th century in a lighter-coloured sandstone, a low-pitched leadcovered roof substituted for the original, which had a steep pitch, and two windows of two trefoil lights with plain tracery and four-centred heads provided. In the west wall there is a straight joint showing the pitch of the original aisle roof.
The tower is in three stages undivided by stringcourses, but the upper two are diminished from the lower by splayed offsets. It is finished by an embattled parapet with crocketed pinnacles at each corner. The buttresses rise to the coved string-course at the base of the parapet; those on the west side are of massive character, two at each corner, those to the south enclosing the tower staircase. The buttress to the north is diminished in width by three splayed offsets; the one to the south is wider and diminished at the lower stage only; the internal angles are splayed, finishing at the top as an octagonal turret. These splays have recessed foliated stops at their bases to allow the tower plinth to continue. The tower has single lancet windows in each of the west and south walls of the lowest stage, and in the second stage a cross-shaped loop light. On the east side of the belfry is a window of three trefoil lights with plain tracery under a four-centred arch; and there is a similar one of two lights in each of the other faces. On the south side in the second stage is a small trefoiled light, and a loop-light with a pointed head in the lowest stage of the buttress.
The chancel (31 ft. by 14 ft.) has a modern collarbeam roof, plastered between the rafters. Most of the north wall has been demolished and the roof is now carried on a modern traceried timber screen of three arched bays with stout square posts. The south wall and the remains of the north wall are built of roughly coursed red sandstone rubble, and each has half a blocked 12th-century window with semicircular head directly opposite each other. The south wall has been much repaired with both rubble and ashlar masonry. On the south side the tracery window recess has splayed reveals with a stop-chamfered pointed arch; the narrow door has square jambs with a flat oak lintel; and the later window splayed reveals with a flat oak lintel. Between this and the doorway is a late-14th-century piscina with a four-centred head, having chamfered edges finished on splayed stops, and a quatrefoil basin, while farther east is another piscina in a very mutilated condition, which appears to have been enriched by flanking pillars. The east window recess has a chamfered pointed arch and stop-chamfered reveals, and from its springing level the gable wall is reduced in thickness 12 in. There are two steps to the altar space paved with black and white marble, the rest of the chancel being paved with stone. The altar table and rails are modern.
The north chapel (23 ft. by 11 ft.) has a roof similar to that of the chancel and has a floor of stone paving. All the window recesses have flat moulded heads and jambs stopping on splayed sills. On the east wall is a marble monument, (fn. 38) dated 1573, to Sir Edward Saunders and Agnes (Hussey), his (second) wife; it is in three diminishing tiers, the lower one containing a Latin inscription, flanked with the figures of a man and woman, each kneeling at a prie-dieu; above this is a group of figures representing the Resurrection, and the upper tier has a representation of the Ascension. There are six shields of Saunders and alliances, all named. Also on this wall is a stone slab set in a moulded frame with a brass inscription in the centre and matrices for small figures at each corner, to Margery (first) wife of Sir Edward Saunders, died 1563; above the inscription are four coats: (1) Saunders, (2) Englefield, (3) Throckmorton, (4) Danvers. On the north wall is a well-designed decorated mural tablet of alabaster to Margaret and Mary Morgan, died 1584; above are two identical coats placed side by side. The western end of the chapel is occupied by the organ.
The nave (40 ft. by 18 ft. 6 in.) has a modern collarbeam roof with curved brackets and is plastered between the rafters. The south door recess has a pointed segmental stop-chamfered arch, the recess being higher than the external pointed arch, and the windows have splayed recesses with stop-chamfered pointed arches. The chancel arch, which dates from the 13th century, is pointed, of two splayed orders resting on responds of similar section with very short moulded capitals and square bases. The splay of the outer order is wider than that of the responds, the change being made with a splayed stop at springing level. The arcade has three bays with pointed arches of two splayed orders supported upon octagonal pillars and responds with moulded capitals and bases. The capitals of the responds repeat the upper moulding of the capitals only, and the springers are 6 in. lower than on the pillars. This arcade dates from the early 13th century; the mouldings are typical of the period and differ slightly in detail. The tower arch is a segmental pointed arch of two orders with wave-mouldings on the nave side and splays on the other, the outer order terminating on plain splays and the inner resting on half-octagon responds without capitals, but with moulded bases on a square plinth. The nave and north aisle are paved with modern red tiles.
The north aisle (40 ft. by 6 ft. 6 in.) has a lowpitched roof with beaded-edge beams and purlins, probably 16th-century, but the other members of the roof are modern. At the east end there is the pointed arch and jambs of a late-13th-century tracery window of two moulded orders, with pieces of tracery attached, which was converted into an entrance to the north chapel, the wall below the sill being removed and replaced with a moulded oak screen rebated for a halfdoor with a four-centred arch and carved spandrels, all contemporary with the chapel. The three lancet windows have wide splayed recesses with pointed stopchamfered arches and the later windows, above, slightly splayed recesses with four-centred arches. Below the two lancet windows is an empty tomb recess with a wide segmental pointed arch richly moulded, and has a label moulding with returned ends. The outer moulding continues down the jambs and the inner order is supported on short engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The north doorway now leads into a modern vestry; it has a pointed arch with a hollow splay and splayed hood-moulding outside, but the internal arch has been reduced in width by building up the west splay to allow for a window when the north wall was raised; it no longer coincides with the external arch. In the vestry (14 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft.) there is an early-17th-century oak chest on legs formed by trefoil cusps at the ends.
The tower (10 ft. 8 in. by 10 ft. 3 in.) windows have deep splayed recesses with segmental pointed arches with stopped hollow splays, and the doorway to the tower staircase has a shouldered head and hollowsplayed jambs. The cross-shaped loop-light in the second stage has a very wide splayed recess and the doorway to the ringing-chamber a shouldered arch. The belfry floor rests on an offset and the window heads are as on the outside. The roof is a low-pitched pyramid covered with tiles.
The church is fitted with varnished benches re-using a number of late-16th-century traceried panels in the bench ends; other panels have been used in the chancel screen. The font, standing at the west end of the nave, is of unusual form and has eight sides, those towards the cardinal points being concave and the others plain. At the bottom of the latter there are head corbels on three sides; the fourth is missing. The stem has the same shape as the basin and its sides die out on a deep splay to a low square pedestal. Internally the basin, which is lined with lead, follows the shape of the outside and is curved at the bottom. It probably dates from the early 14th century, one of the head corbels being of a knight with the coiffe de mailles. It has a modern oak cover and step. The pulpit placed on the south side of the chancel arch is modern.
On the south wall of the chancel are set two brass inscriptions: (i) Joyce Tomer, died 1566; (ii) Anne, wife of Gerard Danet and daughter and co-heir of John Hugford, died 1497. (fn. 39)
There are four bells: (fn. 40) the 1st and 4th are by Hugh Watts, dated respectively 1624 and 1592; the 2nd and 3rd by Geoffrey Giles, 1583, 1585, the latter bearing the coats of arms of Saunders and Morgan.
The registers begin for baptisms in 1660, for burials 1695, and for marriages 1700. (fn. 41)
The church was an early endowment of Arbury Priory, and was confirmed to that foundation by Thomas (Arundel), Archbishop of Canterbury in 1401. (fn. 42) Its value in 1291, when it was stated to be appropriated to Arbury, was £5, (fn. 43) and in 1535 the vicarage was worth £5 9s., of which almost half (53s. 4d.) was a pension from Arbury towards the vicar's stipend; (fn. 44) at which time the rectory was farmed at £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 45) After the Dissolution the advowson and rectory were granted, among the priory estates, to Charles, Duke of Suffolk, who in December 1542 sold them to Sir Edward Wootton, Mary widow of Edward Danett, and Anthony Cooke; (fn. 46) they subsequently descended with the manor; (fn. 47) the living is now united with that of Wappenbury.
Richard Hancox and Daniel Simson. The Returns to Parliament under Gilbert's Act record a gift of £30 in money by Richard Hancox, but at what date or by what instrument was unknown. The same Returns record a further gift of £10 by Daniel Simson by will in 1770. It is stated in the printed Parliamentary Reports of the former Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities, dated in 1827, that the interest is given in bread to the poor of the parish, allowing to each parent of a family a shilling loaf and to each child a sixpenny loaf. The annual income amounts to £1 16s. 8d. The charities are administered by the churchwardens and two persons appointed by the local authority.
Church Land: upon the inclosure of the common fields of this parish in 1777 an allotment was awarded in lieu of other land, the rents of which had been immemorially applied towards the repair of the church.