A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.
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Sherrington is in the Wylye valley 10 km. south-east of Warminster; the long and narrow parish is south of the river, and the village is on the south bank. (fn. 1) The boundaries of an estate defined in 968 became those of the parish, the Wylye on the north, the Grovely Grim's ditch on the south, a road along a coomb on the east, and a barrow on part of the west. (fn. 2) To the north changes to the main course of the Wylye, presumably to drive Sherrington mill and to water meadows, (fn. 3) left some Sherrington land north of it. The southernmost part of the eastern boundary, with Stockton, had been obscured by 1794 and was redefined between then and 1839. (fn. 4) A detached 8 a. of meadow north of the Wylye, from which tithes were paid to the rector of Sherrington from c. 1783 or earlier, (fn. 5) were transferred to Codford St. Peter in 1884. (fn. 6) Since then Sherrington parish has been 1,315 a. (532 ha.). Sometimes in the 15th century it was called Sherrington Mautravers, after the lords of the manor. (fn. 7)
Chalk outcrops over the whole parish. To the south on Great Ridge, the Wylye—Nadder watershed, it is covered by clay-with-flints. Flat land on the ridge near the boundary is at 213 m. The downland north of it, where Stony Hill reaches 201 m., is broken by deep dry valleys, but north of Park bottom the relief is gentler except where the Cliff, 100 m. to 140 m., forms a barrier south of the village. North and east of the Cliff the chalk is covered by a large area of gravel, which also extends along the eastern boundary in the coomb southwards as far as the foot of Stony Hill. A narrow strip of alluvium lies beside the Wylye, which leaves the parish at c. 80 m. (fn. 8) Sheep-and-corn husbandry typical of the Wylye valley was long practised in Sherrington, with meadows on the alluvium, open fields on the gravel and lower lying part of the chalk, and rough pasture and woodland beyond that. (fn. 9) At the south end of the parish Sherrington's extensive woodland, Snailcreep hanging and Sherrington wood, is part of the Great Ridge woodland.
A Roman road thought to link Winchester and Old Salisbury to the Mendips crossed the southernmost part of the parish east and west, (fn. 10) and the Grovely ridge way, leading from Wilton along the watershed, was on or near the same course. (fn. 11) The old road on Sherrington's eastern border (fn. 12) was never of much importance: it was a local route to Hindon in the 18th and 19th centuries (fn. 13) but across the ridge went out of general use in the 20th. The minor Wilton— Warminster road linking the villages on the right bank of the Wylye between Great Wishford and Bishopstrow crosses the parish: if it ever ran through the village it had been diverted away from it by 1773 when it had one course above the Cliff and one, via Boyton village, below it. (fn. 14) East of Sherrington the road was turnpiked between Little Langford and Stockton in 1761 and linked by a new or improved crossing of the Wylye to the main road on the left bank at Codford St. Mary, (fn. 15) and from then the road through Sherrington may have been of even less importance. The upper road was never tarmacadamed and in the 20th century access to Sherrington village was from the lower road. Also of decreasing importance was the downland Wilton—Warminster road which crossed Sherrington parish a little north of Park bottom: (fn. 16) it may have been little used in the 19th century (fn. 17) but has survived as a track. In 1856 the Salisbury-Warminster section of the G.W.R. was opened across the north-east corner of the parish: the nearest station was Codford, closed in 1955. (fn. 18)
A bowl barrow and a long barrow lie on Sherrington's western boundary and either may be the Maiden barrow mentioned in 968. There are two bowl barrows on the Cliff and a third on downland south of Park bottom. A Pagan-Saxon long barrow east of the village is unusual because it is on a lowland site near a river. To the south Grim's ditch may be later than the Roman road which it intersects, and on the downs between Park bottom and Stony Hill there are prehistoric field systems on the eastern and western boundaries, respectively 120 a. and 80 a. (fn. 19)
The parish has never been populous. It had only 37 poll-tax payers in 1377 (fn. 20) and fewer than 10 households in 1428. (fn. 21) With 36 adult males it was more populous in 1641–2 (fn. 22) and may have had 72 inhabitants in 1676. (fn. 23) The population was 134 in 1801. It rose from 133 in 1811 to a peak of 194 in 1841, remained steady until 1871, but between then and 1911 fell from 186 to 97. It remained below 100 except in 1921, when it was 122, (fn. 24) and 1961, when it was 104. In 1991 the parish had 70 inhabitants. (fn. 25)
Typical of the Wylye valley, Sherrington village was founded on the gravel terrace near the river. It was designated a conservation area in 1973. (fn. 26) Grouped in the north part were the church, the rectory house, a Norman castle or fortified house, the demesne farm buildings, and the mill. In the south part most of the copyhold farmsteads formed a street running north-east and south-west. (fn. 27) A motte was raised, presumably in the late 11th century or the 12th by a Giffard, (fn. 28) and in 1796 the circular moat around it, connected to the Wylye, was still clearly defined. (fn. 29) Evidence of a west bailey was found c. 1972 (fn. 30) but no masonry of a keep or a house on the motte is in situ, and how long a building on it may have been used is obscure. An expanse of water much wider than the moat still lay around the motte on the east in 1992 but on the west the moat was dry. The demesne farmstead stood south-west of it in the 18th century (fn. 31) or earlier. The farmhouse has a long main south front, of ashlar and in 18th-century style, and may have been largely rebuilt in the 19th century. (fn. 32) A freehold farmstead stood east of the church: (fn. 33) its farmhouse was replaced by a house in the mid 20th century. Where the road from the village to the mill fords what is now the main course of the Wylye a footbridge on circular stone piers had been erected by 1796. (fn. 34)
A stream rising near the Boyton road may have flowed along Sherrington street, which was very wide at its north-east end. From that end a deeply cut hollow way led south-eastwards round the east end of the Cliff to Sherrington's open fields and downs. In the later 19th century the north-east end of the street and the northwest end of the hollow way were intentionally flooded for growing watercress, and the hollow way apparently went out of use. Several former copyhold farmhouses and several cottages, a total of eight buildings, survive in the street, all from before 1839. One copyhold farmstead on the south-east side and two beside the hollow way were demolished between 1884 and 1899. Most of the surviving buildings are thatched and apparently 17th- or early 18th-century, and most of the walling of the larger ones is of stone. A house with chequered walling is dated 1724, a pair of red-brick and thatch cottages 1756. In the later 19th century a red-brick cottage was built, almost surrounded by water, (fn. 35) presumably when the street was flooded, and at the southwest end of the street a house was built in the later 20th century.
Between the street and the church stand two cottages, apparently one 17th-century and one 18th-, and a later 20th-century house. In the east and south parts of the village two cottages were built before 1796, possibly in the 18th century, and one between 1796 and 1839, all perhaps on the waste and all later enlarged; a cottage was built in the mid 19th century (fn. 36) and a pair of estate cottages in 1958. (fn. 37) East of the village on the boundary with Stockton a small house and a pair of cottages were built in the mid 19th century, (fn. 38) and between them and the village a pair of villas in a style of c. 1900 was built c. 1934. (fn. 39)
There may have been a lodge in the woods at the south end of the parish in 1773, (fn. 40) perhaps near where a forester's shelter stood in 1992. Otherwise there has been no settlement in the parish south of the village.
Between 959 and 968 King Edgar granted Sherrington, 10 hides, to Wulfthryth. Wilton abbey acquired it, Edgar confirming the abbey's title in 968, (fn. 41) but did not keep it. In 1066 it comprised two 5-hide estates, one held by Algar, one by Smalo, and by 1084 Osbern Giffard had acquired both. A burgess of Wilton held his burgage of the estate in 1086. (fn. 42) SHERRINGTON manor was held in chief (fn. 43) for 1 knight's fee (fn. 44) and descended in the Giffard family. (fn. 45) It probably had a fortified house, (fn. 46) and it became the head of a small honor. (fn. 47)
From Osbern Giffard (d. by 1096) the manor descended in the direct line to Ellis (d. by 1130), Ellis (d. by 1162), Ellis (d. by 1190), (fn. 48) Sir Ellis (d. 1248), (fn. 49) Sir John, from 1295 Lord Giffard (d. 1299), (fn. 50) who in 1281 was granted free warren in the demesne, (fn. 51) and John, Lord Giffard, who was hanged as a contrariant in 1322. The manor was granted in 1322 to Hugh le Despenser, (fn. 52) earl of Winchester (executed 1326), (fn. 53) and resumed in 1327. (fn. 54) Although others put in their claims to his lands, the heir of Lord Giffard, who died without issue, was John Callaway, the great-great-grandson of Ellis Giffard (d. by 1190): (fn. 55) Sherrington manor was among lands formerly Giffard's which Edward III, to reward John Mautravers, licensed Callaway to convey to Mautravers, (fn. 56) and for £1,000 Callaway conveyed them in May 1330. (fn. 57) In November 1330 Mautravers (Lord Mautravers from 1330) forfeited his lands and went into exile. (fn. 58) In 1337 the king granted Sherrington manor to Maurice Berkeley, Mautravers's brother-in-law, who in 1339 settled it on himself for life with remainder to Mautravers's son John. (fn. 59) On Berkeley's death in 1347 the king disregarded the settlement and took the land because Berkeley's heir was a minor: the younger John Mautravers claimed it (fn. 60) but it is not clear whether he, who died in 1349, or his infant son Henry, who died in 1350, (fn. 61) recovered it. In 1351 the forfeiture of Lord Mautravers was reversed and Sherrington manor was restored to him. (fn. 62) At his death in 1364 it passed to his wife Agnes, (fn. 63) and at her death in 1375 to his granddaughter Eleanor Mautravers, suo jure Baroness Mautravers (d. 1405), wife of John FitzAlan (from 1377 John d'Arundel, Lord Arundel, d. 1379) and of Reynold Cobham, Lord Cobham (d. 1403). (fn. 64) Eleanor was succeeded by her grandson John d'Arundel, (fn. 65) Lord Mautravers, from 1415 earl of Arundel (d. 1421), whose relict Eleanor (d. 1455) married Sir Richard Poynings (d. c. 1430) and Walter Hungerford, Lord Hungerford (d. 1449). (fn. 66) From that Eleanor the manor passed to her son William FitzAlan or Mautravers, earl of Arundel (fn. 67) (d. 1487), and it descended from father to son with the Arundel title to Thomas FitzAlan (d. 1524), William FitzAlan (d. 1544), and Henry FitzAlan (d. 1580). (fn. 68)
In 1560–1 Lord Arundel sold Sherrington manor to Richard Lambert, (fn. 69) and with the neighbouring Boyton manor it descended in the Lambert family. (fn. 70) Richard (d. 1567) was succeeded by his son Edmund (fn. 71) (d. 1608), whose relict Anne held Sherrington manor until her death in 1619. (fn. 72) The manor passed to her son Thomas Lambert (d. 1638), whose relict Anne held it (fn. 73) until her death in 1649, (fn. 74) to Thomas's grandson Thomas Lambert (d. 1692), and to that Thomas's son Edmund (d. s.p. 1734). (fn. 75) Edmund was succeeded by his nephew Edmund Lambert (fn. 76) (d. 1751), he by his son Edmund (d. 1802), and he by his son Aylmer Bourke Lambert (d. s.p. 1842), (fn. 77) who in 1839 owned the whole parish except the glebe and c. 70 a. (fn. 78) From A. B. Lambert the manor passed to Lucy Benett (d. 1845), the daughter of his half-sister, and her husband the Revd. Arthur Fane (d. 1872). The Fanes were succeeded by their son E. D. V. Fane (d. 1900) and he by his son H. N. Fane. (fn. 79)
In 1874 E. D. V. Fane sold the south half of the parish, 680 a., to Alfred Morrison (fn. 80) (d. 1897), who added it to his Fonthill House estate then based in Fonthill Gifford. As part of that estate the land descended in the direct line to Hugh Morrison (d. 1931) and John, Baron Margadale, whose son the Hon. James Morrison owned c. 670 a. in 1992. (fn. 81) In 1935 H. N. Fane sold the north half of the parish as part of the Boyton estate to Sidney Herbert (fn. 82) (cr. baronet 1935, d. 1939). As part of that estate Sir Sidney devised it to his cousin Sir George Herbert, Bt. (d. 1942), for life and to his second cousin the Hon. David Herbert, (fn. 83) who in 1946 sold it to the land company of Henry Pelham-Clinton-Hope, duke of Newcastle. (fn. 84) The Newcastle estate sold it to trustees of C. J. H. Wheatley in 1962, since when the beneficiaries of the trust have been Mrs. E. R. Wheatley-Hubbard and her son Mr. T. H. Wheatley-Hubbard. (fn. 85)
Of Sherington's 10 hides 9 were in demesne in 1086. There was land for 5 ploughteams: in demesne were 4 teams and 10 servi, and 4 villani had 1 team. There were 12 a. of meadow, 120 a. of pasture, and 80 a. of wood. (fn. 86)
In the mid 13th century the demesne of Sherrington manor was still apparently much more extensive than the customary lands and apparently was, or could be, cultivated largely by customary labour. (fn. 87) Compared to those of 1086 figures for the holdings of the manor in 1299, when a yardland was nominally 20 a. of arable, suggest that by then the demesne had been reduced by granting parts of it freely. The demesne then included 380 a. of arable, 6 a. of meadow, and woodland; 7 free tenants held 10½ yardlands (210 a.), possibly former demesne; 12 customary tenants held 6 yardlands (120 a.); and there were 6 cottars. Of the customary tenants 6 were ½-yardlanders, each of whom was required to work on the demesne on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from Michaelmas to 1 August and six days a week from 1 August to Michaelmas: no work was done in Christmas week or on feast days. The other 6 customary tenants also held ½ yardland each; 1 was described as a ½-yardlander, the other 5 as keepers of houses or farms; each had to weed, wash and shear sheep, and mow and carry hay, but their autumn services had been commuted. The cottars also had to weed and to wash and shear sheep. Of the free tenants' holdings one, 2½ yardlands in 1299, (fn. 88) remained a freehold but the others became copyholds of the manor. (fn. 89) The demesne apparently remained in hand until 1347 or later, (fn. 90) but by 1328 the ½-yardlanders' labour services had apparently been commuted. (fn. 91) In 1327 the demesne included 350 a. of arable, 12 a. of meadow, 100 a. of woodland, pasture worth 12d., pasture for sheep in common, a dovecot, a fishpond, and fishing in the mill pond; in 1347 it included 360 a. of arable. (fn. 92) It had been leased by the 16th century. (fn. 93)
Customary and demesne arable was almost certainly intermingled in the open fields, which covered c. 440 a. There may have been a threefield system in the 14th century, with two fields on the lower land to the north and one large field on the higher ground to the south, but in the 17th and 18th centuries there were four fields: to judge from the rector's, the strips in them averaged a little less than 1 a. Beside the Wylye there were in East mead, West mead, and Mill mead 20 a. of meadow, some, if not all, commonable: (fn. 94) meadows were watered by the later 17th century. (fn. 95) On the downs there were c. 415 a. of rough pasture. A reference to a tenantry flock in 1609 suggests that there were separate demesne and tenants' downs, and the rector's stint of 60 sheep to a yardland, presumably the same for the freeholder and copyholders, was generous. Part of the downland, 41 a., was set aside as a cow down, presumably between 1609 and 1671 when a sixth of the rector's sheep stint was replaced by the right to feed cattle in common, and cattle may also have been fed in common in the Marsh, c. 5 a. near the Wylye. A rabbit warren of 2 a. amid the open arable above the Cliff, c. 15 a. of demesne pasture, and c. 25 a. of home closes in the village were inclosed lands. The warren may have replaced an earlier one in Longdean bottom on the west boundary. In the 18th century the demesne was reckoned to be 9½ yardlands, the freehold 3, the glebe 2, and 11 other holdings c. 11, but by 1794 the farms were probably fewer and larger than those figures suggest. (fn. 96)
More than half the parish was inclosed in 1796 under an agreement of 1794. The lord of the manor was allotted a strip of arable and pasture adjoining Boyton on the west in respect of four copyholds which were in hand, and east of that a similar strip for the demesne, Sherrington farm. Those two strips were separate farms in 1839, respectively 195 a. and 318 a., each with buildings in the village. In 1796 the freeholder was allotted 60 a. immediately east of the village, including 4 a. of East mead. The rector and six copyholders were also allotted arable in severalty, 100 a. near the village, but three fields, Low, Conyger, and Down, a total of c. 108 a., were left open. The inclosure award laid down the rules for husbandry; in most cases the rector and each copyholder had one parcel in each field, and there were only 25 parcels in all. Those with land in the open fields also shared a downland sheep pasture, 145 a. including Stony Hill, for a common flock of 380. Also not inclosed were part of East mead, in which three copyholders shared the hay and the aftermath, and the Marsh, Cow down, and the c. 330 a. of woodland, in all of which a common herd of 46 cattle, including 25 in respect of Sherrington farm and the copyholds in the lord's hand, could feed. (fn. 97)
In 1839 the parish had 32 a. of meadow, 10 a. of lowland pasture, 450 a. of arable, 356 a. of upland pasture, and c. 330 a. of woodland. By then all rights to feed cattle in the woodland had been replaced by an allotment of 50 a. of woodland, and 25 a. of the inclosed downland had been burnbaked; 277 a. of several woodland were in the lord's hand in 1839 and leased in 1841. Common husbandry was still practised but in 1839 four of the six copyholds were occupied by the lessee of Sherrington farm and one by the owner of the freehold farm. (fn. 98) Vestiges of it continued until 1874–6 when the lord of the manor bought out a copyholder, made exchanges with the rector, and conveyed the feeding rights over the south half of the parish to the new owner of the land. (fn. 99)
From 1874 the 680 a. of woodland and downland south of Park bottom were part of the Fonthill House estate, managed directly for the owners and worked from outside the parish. (fn. 100) By 1910 the woodland had been increased to 372 a., its approximate area in 1992 when some was used for commercial forestry. The c. 300 a. of downland remained pasture in the 1930s, but were ploughed during or soon after the Second World War. In 1991 cereals were grown on most of it. (fn. 101)
In the north part of the parish in 1878 there were three farms, Sherrington, later Manor, 234 a., Mill, 163 a., and the former freehold farm, 62 a.: in addition 117 a. were worked from Boyton. (fn. 102) From the 1880s to the mid 20th century sometimes there was one farm, sometimes there were two, and more land, 186 a. in 1910, was worked from Boyton. (fn. 103) By the 1930s c. 100 a. had been converted from arable to pasture. (fn. 104) After 1946 more land was worked from Boyton parish but until the early 1970s there remained a small farm based at Sherrington. Since then 508 a. of Sherrington have been part of a large arable and dairy farm based at Corton in Boyton: a new dairy was built near Conyger in 1972, (fn. 105) and that was the only significant farm building in the parish in 1992.
In the later 19th century 3 a. of watercress beds were made by controlling the water from springs feeding the Wylye. The larger part of the beds covers what was the wide village street. In 1895 the cress was said to have great pungency. (fn. 106) It was grown at Sherrington until 1974–5. (fn. 107)
There was a mill at Sherrington in 1086, (fn. 108) and from the mid 13th century (fn. 109) to the 20th a corn mill, north of the village on the Wylye, was part of Sherrington manor. (fn. 110) In the later 15th century or early 16th new leats or weirs were made. (fn. 111) Milling continued until the early 20th century. (fn. 112) The mill and mill house, partly of stone rubble and partly of brick, were rebuilt in the early 19th century when existing walling was re-used. They became derelict and in the later 20th century were restored for residence. (fn. 113)
In the Middle Ages the lord of Sherrington manor had the right to hold an honor court at Sherrington every three weeks. (fn. 114) There is evidence of a manor court being held from the 13th century to the 19th: two courts were held in 1328–9. (fn. 115) The enrolled records of the court do not survive.
There are overseers' accounts for 1678–1796. The earliest payments recorded were of the income from Gregory's charity, but from 1688 parish rates were also levied to relieve the poor. In 1694 a total of £9 7s. was spent. In 1697–8 £22 was spent, more on rent, fuel, clothing, shoes, and coffins than on doles. In the 18th century the overseers also paid for the heads of polecats, hedgehogs, moles, jackdaws, and sparrows, for apprenticing, and for repairs to roads and bridges. The parish apparently appointed no surveyor of highways. Most of what the overseers spent, however, was on poor relief, increasingly as regular doles. Of £12 spent in 1722–3 monthly doles cost £3 15s., rents £3 18s. Expenditure increased from the 1760s. It was £16 in 1762–3, £48 in 1772–3 when £36 was given in doles and payments were made for rent, clothing, and medical services, £76 in 1782–3, and £163 in 1795–6 when £91 was spent on weekly pay, £49 on extraordinary items, and £14 on doctoring. (fn. 116) In 1802–3 more than a third of the inhabitants received relief. (fn. 117) From £314 in 1812–13, when 19 adults were relieved regularly and 6 occasionally, (fn. 118) expenditure declined to averages of £140 a year 1816–20, £108 a year 1825–9, and £147 a year 1830–4. (fn. 119) The parish joined Warminster poor-law union in 1835, (fn. 120) and became part of West Wiltshire district in 1974. (fn. 121)
A priest of Sherrington mentioned 1130 x 1135 (fn. 122) may have served a church there, and there was a chaplain at Sherrington in 1249; (fn. 123) the church was first referred to directly in 1252 when it was served by a rector. (fn. 124) The rectory was united with Boyton rectory in 1909. (fn. 125) With the benefices of Codford St. Peter with St. Mary and of Upton Lovell the united benefice became part of Ashton Gifford benefice in 1979. (fn. 126)
The advowson of Sherrington descended with the manor, and from 1874 with the north half of the parish. (fn. 127) The king presented in 1252 when John Giffard was a minor, (fn. 128) in 1300 when John's son John was a minor, (fn. 129) and in 1329 after the resumption of 1327. (fn. 130) From 1909 the lord of the manor was entitled to present alternately, (fn. 131) and in 1950 the advowson of the united benefice was transferred to the Salisbury diocesan patronage board. (fn. 132)
The church, valued at £6 13s. 4d. in 1291, (fn. 133) £11 in 1535, (fn. 134) £100 in 1650, (fn. 135) and £238 c. 1830, (fn. 136) was well endowed. The rector was entitled to all tithes from the whole parish. (fn. 137) In 1839 they were valued at £259 and commuted. (fn. 138) The glebe consisted of the rectory house, another house, ½ a. of pasture, 27½ a. of arable in the open fields, and feeding for 120 sheep. The second house was later two cottages, feeding for cattle replaced some of that for sheep, (fn. 139) and in 1796 the arable was replaced by allotments totalling 20 a. (fn. 140) In 1874 the rector exchanged his right to feed cattle and sheep on the downland for 7 a. of lowland arable. (fn. 141) The two cottages were demolished between 1884 and 1899, (fn. 142) the rectory house was sold in 1931, (fn. 143) 29 a. of glebe were sold in 1947, (fn. 144) and the remaining glebe, ½ a., was sold in 1971. (fn. 145) The rectory house was built of ashlar with a principal south-west front of six bays in the early 17th century, probably for Henry Gregory. (fn. 146) Each end room of the main range, which had a symmetrical ground-floor plan, has ceilings divided into nine compartments by beams with plain chamfers. In 1827 the service rooms to the rear of the southeast part of the house were replaced by a red-brick range containing a principal room on each floor and an entrance hall and staircase. (fn. 147) In 1935 a single-storeyed service building in the angle between the 17th- and the 19th-century ranges was replaced by a two-storeyed kitchen wing. (fn. 148)
In the Middle Ages 1½ a. in Sherrington was given for a lamp in the church. (fn. 149) Hugh de la Penne, rector from 1252, was a clerk of the queen's chapel; (fn. 150) Geoffrey de Beuseval, an acolyte when presented in 1311 and a priest from 1312, was French. (fn. 151) Lionel Hollyman, rector until 1609, was rector of Boyton 1600–9. His successor at Sherrington, and husband of his relict, was Henry Gregory, his curate in 1608. (fn. 152) Gregory's successor Robert Dyer, rector from 1634, (fn. 153) signed the Concurrent Testimony in 1648: (fn. 154) in 1650 he preached twice every Sunday. (fn. 155) His successor William Hobbes, rector 1657–70, was also rector of Boyton, (fn. 156) and Edmund Sly, 1670–7, was also rector of Upton Lovell and employed a curate to serve Sherrington. (fn. 157) Thomas Lambert, rector 1677–94, was also rector of Boyton and archdeacon of Salisbury and formerly a domestic chaplain of Charles II; Thomas Lambert, 1695–1717, and Robert Sawyer, 1717–26, were also rectors of Boyton. (fn. 158) Curates often served Sherrington in the period 1677–1726, but later rectors were apparently resident and only occasionally assisted by a curate. (fn. 159) An exception was Richard Scrope, rector 1772–8, who was also rector of Aston Tirrold (Berks., later Oxon.). (fn. 160) In 1783 the rector held two services every Sunday and some weekday services, administered the sacrament at the great festivals to some seven communicants, and catechized in Lent: some parishioners explained that they did not attend services because they had children and insufficient clothes. (fn. 161) On Census Sunday in 1851 morning service was attended by 68, afternoon or evening service by 109. (fn. 162) In 1864 the rector still held two services on Sundays, then with congregations which he said averaged 100 in the morning and 150 in the evening; he held services on saints' days, on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, and on Monday and Tuesday after Lent, all with congregations of 30–40; and he celebrated communion eight times with c. 35 communicants. (fn. 163) From 1909 the rector of Boyton with Sherrington lived at Boyton. (fn. 164)
The church of ST. COSMAS AND ST. DAMIAN, saints invoked in it long before 1341, (fn. 165) was so called in 1352. (fn. 166) From the 18th century to the 20th it was sometimes called St. Michael's. (fn. 167) It is built of ashlar, has a chancel and a nave with south porch and west bellcot, and was rebuilt, apparently completely, in 1624. (fn. 168) Until then the church, which had three bells in 1553, (fn. 169) may have had a tower, but the plan of the new church may match that of part of the old one, and the early 14th-century style of the tracery of many of the windows in the new church may reflect the appearance of the old. The present bellcot is of the later 19th century. The church has a, 13th-century font, and fragments of 14th-century stained glass reset in the chancel windows. Most fittings, including the pulpit, the communion table and rail, and the benches are contemporary with the rebuilding. Painted wall texts dated 1630 were restored in 1939. (fn. 170)
In 1553 the church kept a chalice of 9 oz., and 2 oz. of plate were taken for the king. The chalice may be that, fitted with a new bowl in 1844, belonging to the church in 1992, when the church also had a paten of the later 17th century, a flagon given in 1694, an almsdish given in 1873, a chalice and a paten given in 1928, and other items of 20th-century plate. (fn. 171) From 1624 the church has had a single bell. That in the bellcot in 1992 is probably 14th-century and was presumably one of the three in 1553. (fn. 172) It was repaired in 1793. (fn. 173) Registers of baptisms begin in 1677, of burials in 1678, and of marriages in 1705. Those of burials are lacking for 1703–7, of marriages 1713–34. (fn. 174)
In 1836 a cottage near the church was certified for meetings, (fn. 175) but there is no other evidence of dissent in the parish.
A Sunday school was started at the rectory house in 1832, (fn. 176) and in 1833 was united to the National society. (fn. 177) Later the rector converted a barn near the rectory house for a day school, at which 7 boys and 11 girls were taught in 1846–7 and 20–30 children in 1858. (fn. 178) In 1864 boys left at 8, girls at 11. (fn. 179) The school was a National school, (fn. 180) had an average attendance of 17 in 1882, and was closed in 1883. (fn. 181)
Charities for the poor.
Henry Gregory, rector 1609–34, gave the interest from £30 to the poor: in the 1680s and 1690s small sums of money were given biennially, in 1686 £3 5s. among 13. In the later 17th century Thomas Lambert (rector 1677–94) gave a further £20 and in the early 18th Edmund Lambert (presumably he who d. 1734 or he who d. 1751) and Anne Lambert each a further £10; (fn. 182) in 1760 the parish had an endowment of £67 for the poor. In the earlier 19th century and earlier 20th the income from the charity, called the Poor's money, was used to buy bread which was given away at Christmas: 35 families shared 117 loaves, tea, and money in 1901. (fn. 183) In the 1930s bread, sugar, and tea were given each year to c. 25 recipients; in 1946 loaves were delivered to all the cottages in Sherrington. (fn. 184) In 1992 the assets of the charity were transferred to Edmund Lambert's charity. (fn. 185)
By will proved 1878 Edmund Lambert gave £100 for food and fuel for the poor, aged, and sick at Christmas. In the 20th century coal was given, in 1901–2 to the value of £5. In 1946 a free delivery of 1 cwt. was made to all the cottages in Sherrington. (fn. 186) The income was being allowed to accumulate in the 1990s. (fn. 187)
Sir Sidney Herbert, Bt. (d. 1939), gave by will £500 for the poor of Boyton and Sherrington. (fn. 188) From the income, each year two old people in Sherrington were each given £1 in the 1940s. (fn. 189) No inhabitant of Sherrington received a gift in the early 1990s. (fn. 190)