A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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HARDWICK with WEEDON
Hardvic, Harduich (xi cent.); Herdwik (xiii cent.); Herdyngwyk (xiv cent.); Hardwycke, Hardewiche (xvi cent.).
The parish of Hardwick, which comprises the hamlet of Weedon, consists of 3,009 acres, including 472 acres of arable land and 2,260 acres of permanent grass. (fn. 1) The average elevation is 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. The subsoil consists principally of Kimmeridge Clay, but Portland Beds and gault are also found. The chief crops are wheat, beans, and hay.
Hardwick village lies off the high road to Buckingham, about 4 miles north of Aylesbury. The church stands south of the village, and the churchyard is entered through a lych-gate. On the south side is a monument erected to the memory of nearly 250 persons whose bones were found in 1818 in a field near Aylesbury. They are supposed to have perished in a skirmish between the Royalists and Roundheads in 1642, and were re-interred in the churchyard by the third Lord Nugent.
The village contains several houses of 17th-century date, all of which have been much altered and added to. Manor Farm, to the north-west of the church, is probably of this period, but has been altered by the insertion of windows, and has been plastered externally. It retains two old chimney stacks with diagonal shafts of thin bricks. The rectory is a 16th-century stone house, to which considerable additions have been made in modern times. To the east of it is a timber-framed house with an infilling of herring-bone brickwork; it dates probably from the 16th century, but has 18th-century and modern additions.
A road leads east off the village to the hamlet of Weedon, which has Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels, built in 1854 and 1892 respectively. Here is Lilies, a red brick house, built in 1870, standing in well-wooded grounds, the seat of Mr. Vernon Brittain. At East End is Weedon Lodge, the residence of Mr. Joseph Paine. Weedon Hill is towards the south of the parish. The celebrated lawyer Thomas Wood was rector of Hardwick from 1704 until his death in 1722. (fn. 2)
The Inclosure Award for Hardwick, dated 29 May 1779, under an Act of 1778, and that for Weedon, dated 14 December 1802, under an Act of 1801, are in the custody of the clerk of the peace. (fn. 3)
In the time of Edward the Confessor HARDWICK MANOR was held by Saxi, one of his thegns. (fn. 4) It was assessed at 19 hides in 1086, and had then passed to Turstin son of Rolf, who held it of the king in chief. (fn. 5) The overlordship remained vested in the Crown until about the end of the 15th century, (fn. 6) but shortly afterwards passed to the Lords Mordaunt, (fn. 7) and is last mentioned in 1611. (fn. 8)
The next owner in fee of Hardwick of whom there is record is Wynebald de Baalun, who, with Roger his son, alienated part of Hardwick to Bermondsey Priory in 1092. (fn. 9) Wynebald's daughter married Adam de Newmarch, (fn. 10) and their sons inherited Hardwick. The eldest, William, held it in 1199, (fn. 11) but his estates apparently passed to his brother Henry, who died without issue about 1204. (fn. 12) His brother James succeeded him, (fn. 13) and was living in 1236. (fn. 14) He left two daughters, Isabel the wife of Ralph Russell, and Hawise the wife, first, of John Botreaux, and then of Nicholas de Moels. (fn. 15) The manor was thus divided into moieties, each of which had a separate descent and was held by service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 16)
The part acquired by Nicholas de Moels was held by him until his death some time after 1258. (fn. 17) His son and heir Roger (fn. 18) died about 1295, and was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 19) who died about 1310, leaving a son and heir Nicholas. (fn. 20) The latter died six years later, his brother Roger succeeding him. (fn. 21) Roger died without issue about 1323, and John de Moels, said to have been his brother, was his successor. (fn. 22) John de Moels died about 1337, leaving two daughters and co-heirs. (fn. 23) Half of Hardwick was assigned in 1338 to the elder daughter Muriel, wife of Thomas de Courtenay, (fn. 24) but in 1347, when the younger daughter Isabel wife of William Botreaux proved her age, she was allotted the whole of her father's estate in Hardwick. (fn. 25) Isabel died in 1349, leaving a son and heir William, aged twelve, (fn. 26) during whose minority the custody of Hardwick was bestowed on various persons. (fn. 27) Sir William Botreaux, afterwards Lord Botreaux, settled the manor on himself and wife Elizabeth and died in 1391, leaving a son and heir Sir William, (fn. 28) who died in the following year. (fn. 29) His son and heir, another Sir William, entered into possession of Hardwick on Elizabeth Botreaux's death in 1433, (fn. 30) and died in 1462, leaving a daughter and heir Margaret, widow of Robert Lord Hungerford. (fn. 31) In 1468 she released all right in the manor to George, Archbishop of York, and others. (fn. 32) By 1494 Hardwick had come into the possession of Sir Thomas Bryan, Lord Chief Justice, (fn. 33) and passed to Margaret the widow of his son Sir Thomas, who, with her second husband David de la Zouche, sold it in 1523 to Robert Lee of Quarrendon, (fn. 34) with which manor it descended for nearly 300 years. (fn. 35) Lord Dillon is said to have sold Hardwick early in the 19th century to the Marquess of Buckingham, (fn. 36) who held it in 1819, (fn. 37) and died in 1839. (fn. 38) His son and heir was ruined within eight years of his succession, when much of his landed property was sold by his creditors. (fn. 39) By 1862 this manor seems to have passed to Sir Thomas Fremantle, bart., (fn. 40) afterwards Lord Cottesloe, who died in 1890. (fn. 41) His son and heir Thomas Francis is at present one of the principal landowners in Hardwick.
The moiety acquired in 1236 by Isabel wife of Ralph Russell (fn. 42) was in course of time styled the manor of HARDWICK or RUSSELLS, indifferently. (fn. 43) Ralph, who was living in 1260, (fn. 44) was succeeded by his son James. (fn. 45) The latter was in possession in 1284–6, (fn. 46) but was dead in 1291, when his son Ralph was a minor. (fn. 47) Ralph died before 1295, his heir being his uncle Robert Russell, (fn. 48) who died without issue about 1297. (fn. 49) His brother and heir William had livery of his lands in 1298, (fn. 50) and held Hardwick (fn. 51) till his death in 1310, when his son Theobald, a minor, succeeded. (fn. 52) Soon after the death of William, his widow Katherine married Simon de Harecurt, and received Hardwick in dower. (fn. 53) Theobald was still under age in 1316, (fn. 54) and died before June 1349, when he was succeeded by his son Ralph, (fn. 55) who died in 1375, leaving a son and heir Maurice. (fn. 56) In 1385 Maurice conveyed the manor to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, (fn. 57) who thereupon granted it in frankalmoign to the Warden and scholars of 'St. Mary's College of Winchester, Oxford,' now New College, Oxford, (fn. 58) which has remained in possession of the manor to the present day. (fn. 59)
Another manor, known from the 14th century as WEDON or WEDON IN THE VALE MANOR, and in the 16th and 17th centuries as KEMPTONS FEE, was held in the time of King Edward by Saward, a man of Earl Harold. (fn. 62) By 1086 it had passed to the Count of Mortain, (fn. 63) and was thus afterwards held of the honour of Berkhampstead. (fn. 64) In the 16th and 17th centuries the overlordship rights were vested in the Lords Mordaunt. (fn. 65)
The under-tenant in 1086 was Almaer, (fn. 66) but nothing further has been found relating to Wedon until 1302, when Ralph de Wedon was seised of it. (fn. 67) He also held Marsworth Manor (q.v.), with which Wedon descended for the next seventy years. (fn. 68) In 1375 the manor of Weedon in the Vale was conveyed by Thomas de Hynton, son of William de 'Hynton by Brakkele' and cousin and heir of Ralph de Wedon, to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, evidently for the endowment of New College, Oxford. (fn. 69) In 1385 William of Wykeham received licence to alienate the manor to 'St. Mary's College of Winchester, Oxford.' (fn. 70) The alienation apparently did not take effect, as Wedon came into the possession of Simon de Wedon before 1436. (fn. 71) By 1456 it had passed to John Daunt in right of Anne his wife, and they settled it on themselves and their issue in this year. (fn. 72) Two years later the Daunts made another settlement on the issue of John Clivedon, husband of Anne, widow of John Daunt's son. (fn. 73) The manor apparently passed to the family of Hillersdon by the marriage of an heiress of the Clevedons, for in 1515 Andrew son of Robert Hillersdon, together with Joan his wife, sold the manor to Robert Lee, quitclaiming it from the heirs of Joan, (fn. 74) and from 1523 to the present day it descended with the manor of Hardwick (q.v.). (fn. 75)
In the time of Edward the Confessor Osulf held and could sell 1 hide of land in Hardwick. This land passed at the Conquest to Miles Crispin, (fn. 76) whose land afterwards was held by the Earl of Cornwall as of the honour of Wallingford. (fn. 77) In 1086 a certain William held this land of Miles. (fn. 78)
Possibly this land was held in the 12th century by one of the Pypard family, from whom it passed to the Chansis, (fn. 79) and from them before 1235 to Nicholas de Wedon. (fn. 80) In 1284–6 Edmund de Wedon was in possession, (fn. 81) but appears to have conveyed his interest in 1302 to his son Ralph, (fn. 82) who was probably identical with the Ralph de Wedon then holding Wedon Manor. Ralph was still holding in 1314, (fn. 83) but by 1346 it had come to William de Kirkby, (fn. 84) who in the next year was said to hold jointly with Edmund de Wedon a messuage, dovecot, windmills and lands in Wedon. (fn. 85) Nothing further has been found relating to this estate, unless it can be identified with the so-called manor of Hardwick and Wedon which was settled in 1355–7 on William de Broughton of Ludgershall. (fn. 86)
In 944–6 Aethelgifu made a will and bequeathed certain land at Weedon to Leofsius. (fn. 87) In 1066 Siward gave a hide of land in Weedon to the monastery of Westminster, and Edward the Confessor confirmed the grant. (fn. 88) The abbots of Westminster appear to have retained rights in Weedon and Hardwick, (fn. 89) and as late as 1523 the lords of Hardwick Manor were careful to disavow any claim Westminster might have in the manor. (fn. 90)
The church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel 35 ft. by 18 ft., north vestry and organ chamber, nave 64 ft. 3 in. by 23 ft., south aisle 9 ft. 3 in. wide, west tower 11 ft. 6 in. by 11 ft. 3 in., and a south porch.
The small window over the north doorway suggests that the walls of the nave may be of pre-conquest date. The south aisle was probably added about 1350, the walls of the nave being then slightly raised and a clearstory inserted. The arcade of this date remains though the capitals of the two eastern piers seem to have been re-cut. The tower was apparently built earlier in the 14th century, but the upper part seems to have been rebuilt and the west window inserted during the next century. The chancel was also rebuilt early in the 15th century, and about the middle of this century windows were inserted in the north wall of the nave. The church was thoroughly restored in 1872, the chancel being rebuilt and the north vestry and organ chamber and south porch added.
The walls are of squared and coursed rubble with ashlar dressings, those of the nave having plain moulded parapets. The roofs of the nave, south aisle and tower are covered with lead and the chancel with tiles.
The chancel (fn. 91) has entirely modern detail with the exception of a 15th-century window with two cinquefoiled lights in the north wall and another in the south, which were re-inserted and much restored when the chancel was rebuilt.
The small window above referred to in the north wall of the nave has a semicircular head and jambs deeply splayed externally and internally. Beneath it is a 15th-century doorway with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head. On either side is a large mid-15th-century window of three lights with tracery in a pointed head, but in the eastern window the lights have trefoiled heads, and in the western they are cinquefoiled. These windows and the doorway are all much restored. In the south wall, east of the arcade, the upper and lower doors of the stair to the former rood-loft still remain, the lower one being blocked. The south arcade is of five narrow bays and is built of clunch. The three western arches are higher than the two easternmost. All are two-centred and of two chamfered orders, and the piers from which they spring are square on plan and have large double-ogee mouldings at the angles with broached stops at the base. The responds are similarly moulded. The capitals of the first and second piers have been re-cut. Those of the other piers and of the responds are of similar shape, and appear to be of original 14th-century date but coarser in detail. The arches sit badly on all the capitals, especially on those of the first and second piers. Above the second arch there is an original clearstory window consisting of a quatrefoiled circle. The remaining clearstory windows, three in number, are of late 15th-century date and are each of three cinquefoiled lights in a square head. All the clearstory windows are much restored.
The south aisle has a small circular traceried east window of 14th-century date. The south wall contains three windows, the two eastern which are of mid-14th-century date, are each of two cinquefoiled ogee lights with curvilinear tracery, varying in the two windows, in a two-centred head with a moulded rear arch. The third window dates probably from the early part of the 15th century and is of two cinquefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a four-centred rear arch. The easternmost window contains a fragment of apparently original glass, representing part of a human face. Between the second and third windows there is a doorway, apparently of the 14th-century date, with continuously-moulded jambs and two-centred head, the inner member being enriched with four large four-leaved flowers. The external label, which is of clunch with head stops, is of 14th-century section and possibly belonged to a former doorway. The door is probably original. Near the east end of the wall is a piscina, probably of 15th-century date, with a cinquefoiled flat-sided pointed head and sunk spandrels, the bowl of which has been cut away flush with the wall.
The tower is of two stages with an embattled parapet. The western angles have pairs of square buttresses. There is a stair-turret in the south-west angle carried above the roof of the tower, with an embattled parapet. The tower arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders dying into the arch walls. The west window, which dates probably from the late 14th century, is much restored; it has two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a pointed head, and contains some fragments of original glass, including some canopy work. High up in the lower stage there is in the south face a small 15th-century single light with sunk spandrels in a square head, and in the north and west faces are the dials of a modern clock. The upper stage has in each face a window, deeply recessed externally, of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The stair-turret is lighted in the west face by three rectangular loop lights. There is a slight thickening of the wall at the west end of the south face, to allow for the stair turret, beneath the corbelling of which is a much-defaced carved head. The line of the former steep-pitched roof of the nave can be seen on the east face. The doorway at the bottom of the stair has a flat shouldered head and contains an old door with original strap hinges and other ironwork.
The roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of seven bays with slightly cambered tie-beams, braced with curved struts resting on modern corbels. All the timbers are moulded and the spandrels are pierced. The other roofs are modern.
The south aisle contains a wall monument flanked by pilasters and consisting of the figures of a man in armour and a woman in a loose gown and a ruff, kneeling at a prayer desk, with the figures of eight sons and six daughters, and an inscription to Sir Robert Lee, of 'Huccott in ye County of Buck,' 1616, and Lucy, daughter of Thomas Pigott, his wife. There are also achievements of arms. The aisle also contains wall tablets to Richard Harris, a former rector, 1613, and Alice, his wife, 1593; to William Barker, another rector, 1669, with arms; and to John Dummer, also a rector, 1694. There are 18th-century monuments to members of the Wood, Fussell and Bridge families.
In the vestry is a 17th-century chest and the photograph of a jug or cruet, found in a secret chamber in the east wall at the restoration of the church. The original, which is in the county museum at Aylesbury, is of 14th-century date; it is of green glass and circular in shape with a handle.
In the south aisle there is an old stone bowl, said to be that of a former font.
The former ring of five bells has recently been re-hung and a sixth bell added. Of the five, the first is by J. Briant, Hertford, 1811; the second by Anthony Chandler, 1675; the third dated 1622 and the fourth 1625, both by James Keene; and the fifth by Robert Newcombe, 1590. There is also a sanctus by S. Seymour, of Aylesbury, dated 1850.
The communion plate includes a stand paten of 1718, a chalice, also a larger paten and a flagon.
The registers before 1812 are as follows:—(i) all entries, mixed, 1558 to 1637; (ii) all entries 1653 to 1669, with some accounts of 1661–1705; (iii) baptisms 1669 to 1739, marriages 1673 to 1739, burials 1672 to 1740; (iv) burials 1678 to 1735; (v) baptisms and burials 1741 to 1807; (vi) marriages 1754 to 1798; (vii) marriages 1798 to 1812; (viii) births, baptisms and burials 1807 to 1812.
Hardwick Church was given to Bermondsey Priory in 1092 by Wynebald de Baalun and Roger his son. (fn. 92) In 1206, however, Wynebald's descendant James de Newmarch successfully claimed the advowson against the prior, (fn. 93) and from this date the right of presentation descended with the manor, after the division of which the patronage was exercised by the lord of either moiety alternately. (fn. 94) About 1642 the Lees' moiety passed to Sir Edmund Verney and others, who quitclaimed it to Edward Dalby in that year. (fn. 95) The latter must shortly afterwards have conveyed this moiety to New College, Oxford, thus consolidating the patronage, for from 1660 until the present day New College has continued to present to the church. (fn. 96)
Lands and rents to the annual value of 3s. 1d. were once given for the maintenance of a certain light in Hardwick Church. (fn. 97)
In 1669, as appears from the Parliamentary Returns of 1786, Dr. William Barker by his will left £20 for the poor. A sum of £1 is paid annually by the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, out of a field called Wheat Furrows, in Whitchurch, and is distributed in bread.
A sum of £2 a year is also paid by the same college in respect of a gift by the Rev. John Dummer, a former rector of Hardwick, and distributed equally among four poor persons.
The charities of the Rev. John Bridle, D.D., a former rector:—
(a) The Educational Foundation Endowment:— School house and 38 acres at Weedon held under a lease from New College, producing a net income of about £50 a year and £1,549 4s. 11d. consols producing £38 14s. 4d. a year.
By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, of 16 March 1897, four-ninths of the net income is applicable towards the support of the school, and one-ninth in clothing necessitous children, or in outfits for children leaving school.
(b) For Parish Clerk and Poor Endowment:— £640 consols. By the same scheme one-half of the income of £16 is payable to the parish clerk and the other half for the general benefit of the poor.
In 1882 Thomas Claridge Howland gave £100 consols for the poor, the income of which by a deed of trust dated 25 April 1895, under the hands of the Rev. William Bigg-Wither, was made applicable in the distribution of bread on 28 February yearly. The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees.
The hamlet of Weedon:— The poor or town lands consist of two cottages and 6 acres arising, as appears from the Parliamentary Returns of 1786, from the gift of an unknown donor in 1571–2. The rents, amounting to £13 a year, are distributed in coal.
In 1723, as appears from the same returns, Edward Playstead by his will devised two cottages, the rents to be applied in clothing two poor widows. The cottages were sold in 1879, and the proceeds invested in £132 16s. 5d. consols, with the official trustees; the annual dividends, amounting to £3 6s. 4d., are distributed among poor widows of Weedon.