A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.
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Cubbington is a parish and large village almost in the centre of the county, 2½ miles north-east of Leamington Spa, with Stoneleigh on the north and Weston-underWetherley on the east. The village is fairly compact, and central in the parish, in a shallow valley on a stream tributary to the Leam, which forms the boundary with Offchurch on the south-east. The responsibility for the repair of Offchurch Bridge was shared with that parish, and gave rise to some dispute in 1661–4, when it was in bad repair and swept away in a flood. (fn. 1) The road from Leamington to Rugby crosses the parish, and the village is mainly built along a loop from this road, a minor one also leading northwards towards Stoneleigh and Baginton. The road running north-east across the parish, by Cubbington Heath Farm, is Leicester Lane, (fn. 2) making connexion between Warwick and Leicester via Wolston and the Fosse Way. At right angles to this road, and skirting the west of the village, is the Welsh Road, which enters Cubbington by Offchurch Bridge on its way towards Birmingham and the northwest.
1,085 acres were inclosed by private Act of Parliament in 1767. (fn. 3)
Unlike most rural parishes, Cubbington has exhibited an almost continuous increase in population from 1801 to the present day, and is one of the few in Warwickshire outside the industrial districts to have more than 1,000 inhabitants. Property has always been much divided, which may be partly the cause; Cubbington is in fact a typical 'open' village.
During the Civil War the inhabitants of Cubbington petitioned that no more troops might be quartered on them owing to the scarcity of provisions. (fn. 4)
The church stands on rising ground to the north of the open space where the roads intersect, round which the old village is grouped. On the corner west of the south gate of the churchyard is the Manor House, an 18th-century building of red brick with stone quoins and stone-coped gables. On the opposite corner to the south is a large L-shaped house, of which the east limb and the east gable of the main front, facing onto the road from Offchurch, are of 16th-century timber-framing in square panels with brick nogging. The main front and an extension westwards are of ashlar with windows framed in a simple moulding but without mullions, perhaps of the end of the 17th century.
On the Offchurch road are several picturesque cottages of brick and stone, some with thatched roofs, but mostly not earlier than the 18th century. Other cottages on the road westwards, some of which are timberframed, seem to be of similar date, or only slightly earlier. The road into Leamington is lined with modern houses, constituting New Cubbington.
Two incumbents of Cubbington have attained some eminence; John Old (fl. 1545–55), a Protestant religious writer, (fn. 5) vicar 1548–54, and George Leigh Cooke (1780?–1853), Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford, (fn. 6) vicar from 1824 to his death. Joseph Russell (1760–1846), the agriculturist, was a tenant farmer here from about 1780 to 1820. He wrote several books on agriculture and invented a clover-headgathering machine. (fn. 7)
A windmill in Cubbington is mentioned in 1355, when the Prior of Kenilworth claimed that the Abbot of Stoneleigh should pay 4s. in lieu of the tithes thereupon, (fn. 12) but it does not appear to be mentioned in later records.
In 1086 CUBBINGTON was assessed at 10 hides, held in three parts: 2 hides by Coventry cathedral priory, (fn. 13) 3 by the Count of Meulan, with Boscher at sub-tenant (these had been held freely by Lewin and Chetelbern in the time of Edward the Confessor), (fn. 14) and 5 by Roger de Ivri, which Turbern had held freely before 1066. This last holding was stated (ut dicitur) to be held of the king, but it is also described as being of the fee of the Bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 15)
The Coventry portion was confirmed to the priory by Pope Honorius III in 1221, (fn. 16) and was reckoned as half a knight's fee, its tenants being the Prior of Kenilworth in 1236, (fn. 17) and in 1242–3 Henry de Cobinton. (fn. 18) In 1330 (fn. 19) and 1334 (fn. 20) William de Passenham held property in Cubbington of Coventry priory, worth 33s. 8d., which he received licence to alienate in mortmain to the priory. The total annual value of the Coventry holding in 1535 was £3 2s. (fn. 21) In 1550 it was granted to Sir Ralph Sadleir, Master of the Great Wardrobe, and Laurence Wennyngton, and to the heirs of the former. (fn. 22)
Henry II enfeoffed Boscher, presumably a descendant of the Count of Meulan's tenant, of 4½ virgates of land in Cubbington, most of which in 1251–2 was let out among various sub-tenants, (fn. 23) and in the reign of Richard I his son Henry Boscher granted to the Abbey of Stoneleigh lands amounting to a hide and threequarters of a virgate, held by him or by sub-tenants. (fn. 24) Numerous other grants of land and tenements in Cubbington were made to Stoneleigh Abbey during the Middle Ages, (fn. 25) and in 1284 the abbot and convent were granted free warren in their demesne lands in Cubbington and elsewhere. (fn. 26) The total value of the Stoneleigh holdings in Cubbington in 1535 was £11 4s. 6d.; (fn. 27) in 1546 they were granted to Edward Watson of Rockingham (Northants.) and Henry Herdson, skinner, of London, (fn. 28) who later in the same year obtained licence to alienate them to Richard Fawkenor. (fn. 29) The latter died seised of the property in 1558. (fn. 30)
Fawkenor's daughter and heiress Alice, aged 10 at her father's death, married Benedict Shuckburgh, who was in possession of CUBBINGTON GRANGE in 1564. (fn. 31) In 1572 he and his wife made a settlement of this manor, (fn. 32) which in 1587 was settled on his daughter Elizabeth, at her marriage with Thomas Greswold of Solihull. The last named died before Benedict Shuckburgh or his widow (afterwards Alice Aleworth), who died in 1617 and 1634 respectively, and his widow Elizabeth (Shuckburgh) was at her mother's death the wife of William Lisle of Evenley (Northants.), (fn. 33) who had livery of a third part of the manor in 1636. (fn. 34) Thomas Greswold's son Edward, though he also never actually possessed the manor, dying in 1633 (fn. 35) before Alice Aleworth, settled its reversion on his wife Margaret, from whom it descended to his son John, who died in 1640 aged 21. (fn. 36) Edward Greswold seems to have been an eccentric; obeying literally the injunction not to have communication with sinners he shut himself up in his house with his family and lived a hermit's life. His house being broken into on a justice's order, two of his children were found dead and the rest of the family in great misery. (fn. 37) William Thomas also states that he was not the right heir, his elder brother being set aside, but the heirs of the latter coming into possession on the death of Edward and his eight children, all without issue. In 1646 Thomas Greswold, perhaps a brother of John, conveyed the manor to Humphrey Greswold, senior (a cousin), and Thomas Newman. (fn. 38) Joseph Greswold (died 1751) and his brother Thomas (died 1752) were 'much given to drinking ardent spirits' and in 1746 were deeply in debt and sold the reversion of the manor to their principal creditor, Thomas Prew. He died in 1747 and the manor came to his widow Bridget and after her death in 1763 to their two daughters, Elizabeth who married John Wise, and Bridget Prew. Elizabeth's grandson the Rev. John Wise died in 1830 and the estate passed to his children. (fn. 39)
About the middle of the 17th century a 'manor' in Cubbington was in the hands of the Murcott family. In 1640 Abraham Murcott, senior, Elizabeth his wife, and Abraham, junior, leased a manor to Edmund Palmer and William Murcott; (fn. 40) and in 1667 the younger Abraham and his wife Elizabeth, Andrew and Bridget Murcott, and Andrew Palmer leased it to Edward Saunders and John Smith. (fn. 41) Abraham Murcott was appointed high constable of Knightlow Hundred in 1666, (fn. 42) and was generally active in local government about this time, particularly as a viewer of repaired bridges and highways, (fn. 43) and in 1668 John Murcott was appointed treasurer of the county stock. (fn. 44) This family was among the principal landowners in Cubbington in 1850. (fn. 45)
In 1679 Thomas, 2nd Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh, conveyed a manor in Cubbington to various persons, among whom was Lewis Watson, (fn. 46) heir to Edward Watson, Lord Rockingham, whose sister Eleanor Lord Leigh married at this time as his second wife. (fn. 47) Lewis's second son George was concerned in a recovery of the manor in 1710. (fn. 48) The Leigh baronage became extinct in 1786, but Thomas Leigh, James Leigh Perrot, James Hervey Leigh, and others dealt with the manor in 1806, (fn. 49) as did the first and last, with Chandos Leigh (later 1st Baron Leigh of the second creation), in 1812. (fn. 50)
The overlordship of the portion of Cubbington held by Roger de Ivri came into the hands of the Hastings family, later Earls of Pembroke, of whom half a knight's fee was held in 1313 (fn. 51) by Geoffrey Symeley, descendant of Ralph de Symeley who held half a virgate under Adam Boscher in 1251–2. (fn. 52) A similar half-fee was held of the Earl of Pembroke in 1375, (fn. 53) and in 1435 of Joan, widow of Sir William Beauchamp, to whom the Hastings lands passed. (fn. 54) Towards the end of the 15th century what may have been the Symeley holding also passed to Stoneleigh Abbey through the grant, in 1473–4, by John Hugford and Thomas Waldeyve of 5 messuages, 80 acres of land, 3 of meadow and 4 of pasture, held of Sir Edward Nevill, the then holder of the Hastings lands. (fn. 55) After this date it presumably descended with the rest of the Stoneleigh property mentioned above.
Another medieval manor in Cubbington, probably part of Roger de Ivri's Domesday holding, was held in 1273 by Walter de Ottesford, who in that year granted a life tenancy for 40s. annual rent to Henry de St. Maur or Seymour and Ermegarde his wife. (fn. 56) The reversion was to the heirs of Walter; but subsequently he quitclaimed his rights to Ermegarde by a deed which his kinsman and heir John de Waltham unsuccessfully challenged in 1332. (fn. 57) In 1276, Henry de Seymour having fled overseas, this manor was in the king's hands and was ordered to be held for the maintenance of Ermegarde his wife during the king's pleasure. (fn. 58) Soon afterwards she granted it to the Knights Templars, who in 1279 held 3 yardlands in demesne, and an inclosed grove, in Cubbington. (fn. 59) In the following year they concluded, through Robert de Turvill, Master of the Order in England, another agreement in favour of Ermegarde Seymour and her husband, for an annual rent of 4 marks silver, to be paid to them during her life, (fn. 60) and this payment was continued to her after the suppression of the Order in 1309. (fn. 61) Though documentary evidence of the grant seems to be lacking, the Templar property in Cubbington must have been transferred to the Knights Hospitallers, as they had the manor in 1332. (fn. 62) In 1561–2 John Fisher and Thomas Dabridgecourt obtained the manor of Cubbington which had been held by the Balsall preceptory of the Hospitallers. (fn. 63) This manor later passed to the Blissett family of Warwick, who in 1730 held courts leet and baron in that part of Cubbington then known as St. John's Holt. (fn. 64) Mary Blissett was lady of this manor in 1715, and Joseph Blissett of Kenilworth lord from 1763 to 1777. At the time of the inclosure (1767) the manorial rights of Cubbington were disputed between Mr. Blissett and Mr. Wise and were settled, by the tossing of a halfpenny, in favour of Mr. Blissett. (fn. 65) His widow Susannah and son Charles were in possession in 1780 and 1782 respectively, (fn. 66) and Charles sold the estates for £3,800 to Dr. Crines of Kenilworth (whose son-in-law John Stanton sold them in 1820 to the Earl of Aylesford for £14,000) and the royalty of the manor, without any land, for £300 to John Whitwick Knightley of Offchurch, whose granddaughter held it in 1834. (fn. 67) She married the Earl of Aylesford, and after her death in 1911 the manor was acquired by Lady Manton, who held it in 1936.
Two virgates of land in Cubbington were granted in frank almoin by Bertram de Makestoc to the priory of Chalcombe (Northants.) in 1226. (fn. 68) This may have been the property in Warwickshire for which Stoneleigh Abbey paid 23s. 8d. yearly to Chalcombe. (fn. 69)
The earliest part of the existing fabric is the south arcade of the nave, dating from the early 12th century. About the end of that century the tower, which is of exceptionally massive construction, was added at the west. The aisles may have been rebuilt during the 13th century, to which period the south doorway belongs, but the windows, so far as they are, or reproduce, original work, belong to the 14th century, when the chancel appears to have been rebuilt and probably lengthened. The chancel was repaired by Lord Leigh in 1780, and about 1830 considerable repairs were done to the south aisle, the flat roof shown in the drawing of c. 1820 in the Aylesford Collection being replaced by an extension of the nave roof, veiling the windows of the clearstory, and a pointed window being inserted in the south wall in place of a rectangular opening. (fn. 70) A very extensive restoration was carried out in 1885, when the north arcade was completely rebuilt, both aisles extended eastwards to form vestries, the porch rebuilt, and a gallery at the west end and the flat ceiling in the chancel, which in 1834 cut off the tracery of the east window, (fn. 71) removed. The nave and chancel roofs were renewed in 1899, and some repairs done to the exterior in 1932. (fn. 72) The external masonry of the medieval portions is of red sandstone ashlar, the extensions of the aisles are of a grey stone, as are the pinnacles, battlements, and three or four top courses of the tower; the wall of the south aisle has also been raised at some time, bringing the lean-to roof to a flatter pitch, with the use of grey stone.
In the chancel the modern east window is of three lights with reticulated tracery; the external hoodmould, with crude head-stops, may be 14th-century. The stonework of the windows on the north and south is entirely modern; they are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head and may reproduce the original windows. The external hood-mould of the eastern of those in the south wall has an ancient headstop. The priest's door is of modern stonework except for the lower half of the eastern jamb, the mouldings on which are copied and run continuously into the twocentred head; its western reveal is splayed but that on the east is not. It now opens into the extension of the south aisle by three steps, the floor of the chancel having been raised. West of the door is a low-side window of a single trefoiled light. On the north the modern archway into the vestry is occupied by the organ.
At the east end of the south wall is a rectangular aumbry, and a piscina with trefoil cusping under a chamfered ogee head. Farther west are three sedilia with chamfered jambs and ogee heads, uncusped. Opposite, in the north wall, is a tomb recess, or Easter sepulchre.
In the nave the clearstory windows, of which there are two on each side, are of late-15th-century type, being of two slightly ogee-headed lights with blind tooling in the spandrels under almost flat heads. Those on the south may be original.
The south arcade, of the early 12th century, is of three semicircular arches of two plain orders, carried on circular shafts of 30 in. diameter and responds, of which the eastern is a half-column and the western about three-quarters of a column. The cushion capitals are irregularly carved with scalloping, and the square abacus is hollow-chamfered. The north arcade had probably been rebuilt in the 15th century, as in 1834 it was said to be of 'Gothic arches, not near so ancient' as the south; (fn. 73) it was completely rebuilt in 1885 and is now of three two-centred arches carried on two octagonal columns and responds to match.
The north aisle was partly rebuilt at the same time as the arcade, and the windows in the north wall, which are of two trefoiled lights under a flat head, are of modern stonework. The west window of this aisle has three lights and unusual tracery, mainly 14th century in style but combined with the 'perpendicular' lines of the 15th; it is exceptionally wide for its height and has a very heavy external hood-mould. The east window of the vestry is similar and was probably removed from the east end of the aisle when it was extended. The north door has plain chamfered jambs and twocentred head. In the north wall of the aisle, near the modern arch into the vestry, is a square aumbry recess. In the south aisle the windows are modern, but the door has elaborate mouldings of casements and fillets, typical of the 13th century, unbroken by capitals, under a plain hood-mould with head-stops. Near the original east end of the aisle is a recess, with a moulded twocentred head, divided by a mullion into two ogee lights with tracery above them, the eastern portion containing a piscina.
The south porch is modern. Built into its west wall is a small piece of stone carved with a design of two trefoiled heads and a quatrefoil, very similar to the design of the chancel windows; it may have been part of the base of a tomb-chest.
The tower is set slightly to the south of the axis of the body of the church; an irregularity which has been exaggerated by the fact that the north wall of the nave was rebuilt 12 in. thinner than the original. It is entered from the nave by a two-centred arch of three chamfered orders, of which the inner is carried down to the ground. The tower is of exceptionally massive construction, the walls being 4 ft. 8 in. thick, with shallow clasping buttresses at the western angles, which rise, with one offset, to the level of the sills of the belfry windows, just above a string-course which divides the tower into two stages. It probably had no entrance from outside originally, the doorway in the south face which has a flat lintel with a trefoil imposed, being of modern stonework. A similar, but 14th-century doorway inside, across the splayed south-west angle, gives access to the stairway, which is lit by two rectangular slit-windows. An interesting feature of the stair is a projecting 1¾-inch bead ascending spirally on the newel by way of a handrail. The west window is a narrow lancet, deeply splayed, the sill being formed into three steps. The belfry windows have two lights with fourcentred heads. On the south face, below the clock-face, is a narrow slit-window with a round head cut from a single stone. The upper portion of the tower with embattled parapet and crocketed pinnacles was probably added in the 15th century but has been restored.
On the east wall of the nave, north of the chancel arch, is an oval carved wooden monument to Capt. Abraham Murcott, who was drowned off the Scilly Isles in the great storm of 1703; (fn. 74) it bears a shield of his arms rising out of a boat and supported by a sailor and Neptune.
There are four bells (fn. 75) by Hugh Watts with the dates 1626, 1640, and 1646 (perhaps in error for 1640).
Cubbington was at first a chapelry of Leek Wootton, and so granted to Kenilworth priory at its foundation in 1122 by Geoffrey de Clinton, (fn. 76) this being confirmed in 1314 (fn. 77) and 1477. (fn. 78) It was appropriated by the monastery in 1331, having by this time become a separate parish. (fn. 79) A vicarage was ordained in 1345. (fn. 80) After the Dissolution the advowson was at first retained by the Crown, (fn. 81) but was granted, with the rectory, in December 1550 to Sir Ralph Sadleir. (fn. 82) He presumably conveyed it to John Hanby, or Hamby, from whom in 1555 it was purchased by Thomas Shuckburgh. (fn. 83) He granted a turn to his eldest son Anthony and John Dasset, (fn. 84) and must have bequeathed it to his third son Benedict, who made the next presentation in 1561. (fn. 85) He, his wife Alice (Fawkenor), and son-in-law Thomas Greswold made a conveyance of it in 1587 to Constance Foster, (fn. 86) but from this time to the early 18th century it descended with the manor of Cubbington Grange, held by the Greswold family during most of this period. In 1652 Thomas Greswold leased it to Matthew Holbech and William Ley. (fn. 87) In 1729 and 1732 Jacob or James Wright was patron, Mary Wright, widow, in 1764 and Edward, Lord Leigh in 1768. (fn. 88) The advowson, like the manor, remained connected with the Leigh family after the extinction of the barony in 1786, the Hon. Mary Leigh being patron in 1792, (fn. 89) and other members being concerned in leases and recoveries in 1806 and 1812; (fn. 90) James Henry Leigh was patron in 1822 (fn. 91) and his son Chandos (later Lord Leigh) in 1831. (fn. 92) After this the advowson finally parted company with the manor, being held in 1850 by Edward Woodcock, (fn. 93) in 1859 by the Rev. M. Anstis (also incumbent), 1880 to 1915 by Mrs. Bean, (fn. 94) and since 1926 by the Bishop of Coventry. (fn. 95)
Church Land. The land formerly constituting the endowment of this charity was sold in 1859 and the proceeds of sale invested. The annual income, amounting to £3 17s. 8d. is applied towards the repair of the church.
Thomas Sotherne by will dated 23 September 1630 gave lands in Cubbington, the income to be applied as to 30s. to the poor of Stoneleigh, and towards the repair of Hudson's bridges; 20s. to the poor of Stareton and to the repair of Stareton footbridge; and 30s. to the poor of Cubbington. The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 24 January 1908 which appoints a body of estate trustees to manage the property, and local bodies of trustees for each of the three places named above. The scheme provides that the income of the charity shall be divided into eight equal parts, three of such parts to be applied by the Stoneleigh trustees in accordance with the directions contained in the will, three parts by the Cubbington trustees in like manner, and the remaining two parts by the Stareton trustees in like manner. The land formerly belonging to the charity was sold in 1920 and the proceeds of sale invested. The share of the income applicable for this parish amounts to £26 8s.