A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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This small parish lies to the south and east of the River Avon, close to which on a slight rise stands the church, to the east of which lies the village, round a congeries of small roads. The houses are almost all timber-framed buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries, with tiled roofs, and have been much altered and restored. The parish, which lies for the most part at an elevation of between 250 ft. and 300 ft., is surrounded by large blocks of woodland, but the only block within its boundaries is Bubbenhall Wood, in the south. About a thousand acres of open fields were inclosed in 1726. (fn. 1)
In 1086 the 5-hide vill of BUBBENHALL was among the estates of Robert de Stafford and was held of him by Alvric, who had himself held it under Edward the Confessor. (fn. 2) The overlordship remained with the Staffords, onethird of a fee being returned among the knights' fees of Hervey de Stafford in 1212. (fn. 3) Later it figures as a whole fee of the Earls of Stafford (fn. 4) and, in 1460, of the Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 5)
In 1243 two-thirds of a fee were held of Robert de Stafford by the Earl of Warwick; (fn. 6) this was presumably John du Plessis, second husband of Margaret, Countess of Warwick, (fn. 7) for in 1279 a mesne lordship of one-third of a fee here was held by Hugh du Plessis, (fn. 8) son of John by his first wife (who was daughter and heir of John de Staundon of Hook Norton, Oxon.). (fn. 9) The only later reference to this mesne lordship seems to be in 1420, when Sir John Beauchamp was said to have held the manor of Bubbenhall of Thomas Chaucer as of the manor of Hook Norton. (fn. 10)
The tenant in fee under Hugh du Plessis in 1279 was John son of Wido (son of Robert), (fn. 11) or FitzWyth as the name became. John's son Robert was succeeded by his son Guy, who held the manor in 1316. (fn. 12) The last of the male line of this family was Robert FitzWyth, who in 1361 assigned a rent of 40s. from the manor to John son of William Catesby for life. (fn. 13) His daughter and heir Joan was born at Bubbenhall on 25 March 1352 (fn. 14) and married John Beauchamp of Holt. Her mother was Agnes Catesby, the first wife of Robert FitzWyth, whose second wife, Joan, survived him and married William de Tyrington of Apsley Guise. (fn. 15) When William and Joan sued John Beauchamp and Joan for one-third of the manor as dower, they replied that no dower was due, because Joan, on the Tuesday after Michaelmas 1362, abandoned her husband and went to live in adultery with Roger de Careswelle in the hospital of St. Thomas at Southwark. To this Joan replied that Roger came to Apsley Guise with armed force, wounded her husband mortally, so that he died three days later, beat her, and carried her off to Southwark, but that she escaped and returned within four days to find her husband dead, and that she had appealed Roger and the others and they had been outlawed; the court accepted her story and awarded her dower. (fn. 16) Sir John Beauchamp and Joan made a settlement of the manor on her issue or right heirs in 1375, (fn. 17) and in 1383 granted it to John Catesby for life. (fn. 18) Sir John Beauchamp was created a baron in October 1387 and attainted of high treason in December, (fn. 19) at which time the manor of Bubbenhall was said to be held of Sir Philip la Vache (fn. 20) (probably guardian of' the heir of Plecy, lord of Hook Norton'). (fn. 21) On the death of his son, Sir John Beauchamp, in 1420 the manor passed to his daughter Margaret, widow of John Pauncefote, (fn. 22) subject to the life interest of his widow Alice. Margaret and her second husband John Wysham in 1422 made a settlement of the reversion of the manor. (fn. 23) She left three daughters, of whom Alice married John Guise, Joan married John Croft, and Elizabeth married Thomas Croft. (fn. 24) Thomas and Elizabeth in 1472 settled their third of the manor on themselves and her heirs; (fn. 25) John Croft and Joan made a similar settlement of their third in 1499, (fn. 26) and in 1501, after Elizabeth had died without issue, of a moiety of the manor. (fn. 27) After Joan's death John Croft sold his share in 1515 to Sir Edward Grevill. (fn. 28)
The other moiety of the manor seems to have been acquired by Sir Edward Belknap by 1513 (fn. 29) and to have passed to his heirs, the Danetts, (fn. 30) Sir Anthony Cooke, (fn. 31) and the Wottons. Eventually the Wottons seem to have obtained the whole, as Thomas Wotton died in 1587 seised of the manor of Bubbenhall, (fn. 32) and his son Edward, Lord Wotton, settled it in 1608 at the marriage of his son Thomas with Mary Throckmorton. (fn. 33) This Thomas, Lord Wotton, died in 1630, having settled the manor on his wife Mary, with remainder to his third daughter Margaret, (fn. 34) who with her husband Sir John Tufton was dealing with it in 1652. (fn. 35) Margaret's eldest sister Catharine, wife of Henry, Lord Stanhope, evidently established a claim to a share, as in 1655 she and her second husband Sir John vanden Kerckhoven, or Poliander, were dealing with a quarter of the manor, (fn. 36) and in 1717 her son Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, with Thomas Wrenn and Elizabeth, Martha Smyth, widow, Thomas Hall, and Robert Mease conveyed the manor of Bubbenhall to William Bromley, (fn. 37) in whose family it has descended with Baginton (q.v.).
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a mill here worth 4s. (fn. 38) This seems to have been given to Kenilworth Priory, as after the dissolution of that house there is mention in 1547 of 46s. 8d. rent of a messuage in Bubbenhall with a water-mill called Milnehouse, with the 'fludyats' and dams adjoining, let to William Smythe for 41 years from 9 March 1528, paying yearly to the heirs of Robert Belknap 6s. 8d. from the mill. (fn. 39) A water-mill is mentioned in 1698, (fn. 40) and the conveyance of the manor to William Bromley in 1717 mentions three mills. (fn. 41)
The church of ST. GILES is situated in a cul-de-sac at the western end of the village on the north side of the LeamingtonWolston road. It has a small churchyard. The church consists of chancel, nave, west tower, vestry, and south porch.
The church was built late in the 13th century, when it consisted of chancel and nave. The tower was added early in the 14th century and the top stage late in the same century. The only evidence of an earlier church is the 12th-century font in the tower. A modern vestry and boiler-house have been built on the north side. The 13th-century church is built with a dark red sandstone in roughly coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; for the later work a lighter coloured stone was used. The roofs are modern, covered with tiles.
The east gable wall of the chancel has been completely rebuilt, with twin buttresses, in a light-coloured sandstone. It has a three-light tracery window with a hood-moulding. The south side has three late-13thcentury single-light windows with pointed arches of two splayed orders; a splayed string-course runs at sill level, and below the westernmost window is a blocked low-side chamfered window with a flat head, the sill 1 ft. 9 in. above ground. (fn. 42) The north side is similar but with only two windows; a third has probably been built up. It has a tiled roof finishing on a splayed eavescourse, and a plinth of one splay. The south wall of the nave has two single-light windows with pointed arches of two splayed orders, and towards the east another with two orders of wave-mouldings and a hood-mould. The string-course continues from the chancel and is carried round twin buttresses at its west end; the east buttress is modern. The 13th-century south door has a richly moulded pointed arch, the moulding continued down the jambs to a square stop of modern cement. It has a label-moulding with both stops broken off. Outside this door is a modern brick porch with a tiled roof; the roof timbers are re-used from elsewhere and have the initials IB: PA: C: W and the date 1616. On the north side the string-and eaves-courses carry on from the chancel, and the string is taken across a large buttress with a gabled head and twin buttresses at the west end There are two single-light windows corresponding in detail with the western on the south side. The early14th-century north doorway has a pointed arch with a single wave-moulding continued down the jambs and a hood-moulding with mask stops. Above, there is a modern triangular window enclosing a cusped circle. At the east end, overlapping the chancel, is a modern vestry built of sandstone ashlar. The tower rises in four stages, unmarked by string-courses, but with a splayed offset for the later top stage. There are twin buttresses in three stages at the north-east and south-west angles, which only reach to the top of the first stage. On the west side a battered brick base has been built between the buttresses, and it extends to the height of the second stage of the buttresses. There are single lights with pointed arches of two splayed orders to the second and third stages, except on the north side, which has one to the third stage only. On the south side there is a similar modern window to the lower stage. The wall is built of light-coloured sandstone ashlar, patched with red bricks, and the upper stages of the buttresses at the south-west angle are rebuilt with red brick. The top stage is built of a mixture of red and light-coloured sandstone ashlar, with a plain parapet and crocketed pinnacles at the angles. On each face is a tracery window of two trefoil lights, of two splayed orders, with four-centred arches and hood-mouldings with grotesque head stops. On the east face there is a roof line of steep pitch with a clock-face above.
The chancel (25 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft. 3 in.) has a modern hammer-beam roof resting on stone corbels, and a modern tiled floor. The window recesses have widesplayed reveals and pointed arches with stopped hollow splays, and at the sill level there is a large continuous roll-moulding which is carried on round the nave. The splayed window-recess at the west end of the south wall is carried down to the floor to embrace the blocked lowside window, the sill moulding being stopped against its moulded arris.
The nave (43 ft. by 20 ft.) has a modern roof similar to that over the chancel, and a modern tiled floor. The window recesses are splayed and have segmentalpointed arches with stop-chamfers; the arches over both the north and south doorways are similar. The large roll-moulding at sill level in the chancel is continued on both sides of the nave. The chancel arch is tall and narrow with a pointed arch of two hollow splays supported on moulded corbels decorated with carved knots, and on either side are similar arches, but lower, which appear to be modern. The centre arch has been rebuilt 2 ft. east of its original position, and the wall now overlaps the splay of the low-side window recess.
The tower (9 ft. 3 in. by 9 ft. 3 in.) has no staircase, and access is now by a ladder from a modern boiler-house to a door broken through the wall on the north side of the tower. The pointed tower arch has two orders, the inner a wave-moulding, the other a splay on the nave side, and two chamfers towards the tower. It rests on moulded corbels with grotesque masks. The modern window recess has a segmentalpointed arch.
The seating is modern varnished pitch-pine. The pulpit is a large modern one of stone and coloured marbles, and is placed on the south side of the chancel arch. Opposite is a reading-desk of similar materials.
There are three bells: (fn. 43) one (c. 1600) by Newcombe, the second by Henry Bagley, 1670, and the third by T. Mears, 1803.
The church was valued in 1291 at £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 44) Not long after this date it was appropriated to form a prebend of Lichfield Cathedral. Accordingly the parish church was not valued in 1535, the whole profits going to the prebend, of which the nominal value was 20s. (fn. 45) The curacy was in the gift of the prebendary, but under the Act of 1840 was transferred to the Bishop of Worcester, and in 1918 to the Bishop of Coventry, on the formation of that see.