A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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Hereworde (xi cent.); Horowlda, Harewude (xii cent.); Magna Horewod (xiii cent.); Horowode (xiv cent.).
Great Horwood covers 3, 270 acres. The parish has 139 acres of woods and plantations. Roddimore Covert is in the south and College Wood on the north-east boundary. There are 552 acres of arable land; the remainder of the area is devoted to permanent grass. (fn. 1) The ground slopes from north-east to south-west, having an average height of 350 ft. above the ordnance datum. In the parish there are several springs, and a small stream runs on the southern and western boundaries. There are sand and gravel pits and brickworks in the parish. The subsoil is Oxford Clay.
The village lies in the centre of the parish. The church stands at the west end, and near it are the rectory and school. The Manor Farm lies slightly north of the village, and Greenaway Farm about three quarters of a mile to the south-east. The latter possibly takes its name from the family of Greenway who held Singleborough Manor in the 16th century. There is a small common north-east of the village, but the greater part of the parish was inclosed under an Act dated 30 November 1842. (fn. 2) The Inclosure Award is in the custody of the clerk of the peace.
Both the village and the hamlet of Singleborough in the north-west of the parish contain a number of buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which are of timber framing, more or less altered or added to during later times. There are in addition many 18th-century red brick houses, built after the destruction of the entire main street by fire in May, 1781, 'the greatest part of the town being reduced to ashes.' (fn. 3) At Singleborough an inn called the 'Six Lords' refers to the subdivision of the manor which took place in 1606. In Great Horwood is a small Congregational chapel, built in 1824, and a Primitive Methodist chapel built in 1875.
The manor of GREAT HORWOOD, which had been held by Alward Cilt, a thegn of King Edward, was assessed in 1086 at 10 hides among the lands of Walter Giffard. (fn. 4) The manor, as that of Great Missenden (q.v.), was afterwards parcel of that part of the honour of Giffard (fn. 5) which descended in the earldoms of Gloucester and Stafford. (fn. 6) This overlordship is mentioned last in 1402, (fn. 7) and after the grant to New College, Oxford, in 1441 the manor was held in free alms. (fn. 8)
Great Horwood was bestowed by Walter Giffard, first Earl of Buckingham, upon Longueville Priory, Normandy, and the gift was confirmed by Henry I in 1106–9. (fn. 9) A cell to the foreign priory was afterwards established at Newton Longville (q.v.), to which Great Horwood was attached, but it was the prior of the foreign house who in 1254 claimed to hold view of frankpledge (fn. 10) twice a year (fn. 11) here, and in 1279 assize of bread and ale as well (fn. 12) by right of immemorial custom. (fn. 13) In 1316 the Prior of Newton Longville is mentioned as lord of the manor, (fn. 14) but during the French wars the temporalities of the priory were seized by the king, and Great Horwood was included with Newton Longville Manor (q.v.) in the grants to the Talbots 1377–90, and to Sir Ralph Rocheford during the first half of the 15th century. It was also bestowed with the priory in 1441 on New College, Oxford, (fn. 15) in the Warden and Fellows of which the two manors are still vested.
In 1447 the warden and scholars obtained the grant of a Wednesday market and a yearly fair on the vigil, day and morrow of St. James the Apostle. (fn. 16) The fair or feast is now held on 'old' St. James's Day, early in August.
After the Conquest SINGLEBOROUGH (Sincleberia, xi cent.; Sinkleberg, Simpleburnwe, xiii cent.; Shinglesborough, xvi cent.) formed part of the fee of Walter Giffard, (fn. 17) and the overlordship descended with that of Great Horwood Manor (q.v.). (fn. 18) In the 17th century it was held of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 19)
Walter de Bec was the tenant here in 1086. (fn. 20) In 1235–6 Geoffrey de St. Martin held half a fee in Singleborough. (fn. 21) Towards the end of the 13th century there was considerable subinfeudation here. Geoffrey de St. Martin apparently enfeoffed John de la Rokele (fn. 22) at some date before 1278, in which year the latter subinfeudated to Richard Fitz John. (fn. 23) At the death of Richard Lord Fitz John c. 1297 the mesne lordships appear to have lapsed, for he was then declared to hold the hamlet of Singleborough directly of the honour of Gloucester. Singleborough was obtained by his co-heirs, his great-nephew Robert de Clifford, and his niece Idonia widow of Roger de Leyburn. (fn. 24) Idonia married again, her husband being John de Cromwell. (fn. 25) In 1302–3 Robert de Clifford and John de Cromwell both held Singleborough, (fn. 26) but by 1314 John de Cromwell alone is said to have owed service for it. (fn. 27) From this date until 1553 the descent of Singleborough is the same as that of the manor of Buckland. (fn. 28) In that year Edward VI leased the manor to William Cockes for twenty-one years. In 1557 the reversion was granted by Queen Mary to Thomas Argall. (fn. 29) Upon his death his lands here passed to his widow Margaret, who afterwards married Sir Giles Allington, with reversion to his sons. (fn. 30) In 1605 Thomas Argall, the grandson of the said Thomas, (fn. 31) died seised of Singleborough Manor, which then passed to his brother John. (fn. 32) In 1606 John Argall and Sara his wife conveyed the manor to John Bradbury, William Prentice, William Berge, Richard Bradbury, Thomas Snowe and Henry Foskett, (fn. 33) and from that date to this the manor has been divided into six.
It will be seen from the above conveyance that the family of Bradbury held two portions of the manor. In 1624 (fn. 34) and in 1627–8 (fn. 35) the names of John and Richard Bradbury were both included in an assessment for Singleborough. In 1641 there was still a Richard Bradbury here, (fn. 36) and in 1654 John Bradbury, junior, held a sixth of the manor. (fn. 37) This was probably the John Bradbury who in 1664–5 was assessed for Singleborough. (fn. 38) Again, in 1699 John Bradbury was living here. (fn. 39) The Bradburys kept their two portions of the manor until 1801 at least, for in that year Thomas Bradbury of Wicken and Richard Bradbury were two of the six lords of Singleborough, and were awarded manorial allotments instead of their right to the commons and waste lands of the manor. (fn. 40) In 1816 Thomas Hall Bradbury and Mary conveyed by fine his sixth of the manor of Singleborough to Anne Hanwell, widow. (fn. 41) In 1830 John Bradbury the elder and Anne his wife owned the other Bradbury sixth. (fn. 42) In 1862 William Bradbury was lord of a sixth, the other Bradbury portion having been alienated, possibly to Mr. Gabriel Ellingham. (fn. 43)
Returning to the division of 1606 we find that William Prentice, who received a sixth, (fn. 44) was here in 1624, (fn. 45) and in 1627–8. (fn. 46) In 1641 Paul Prentice was assessed for Singleborough. (fn. 47) This may have been the portion which had passed by the 18th century to Thomas Watson of Edgcott, and was held by his daughters Ann and Phillis Watson in 1746, (fn. 48) and which by 1801 was in the family of Barge. (fn. 49)
William Berge or Barge was apparently at Singleborough until about 1627–8. (fn. 50) In 1641 there was a John Barge here. (fn. 51) In 1801 the family of Barge held two portions of the manor, Thomas and William Barge being two of the six lords. (fn. 52) Possibly the two Barge lordships passed eventually to Robert Charles Thomas Pearse, who owned two-sixths in 1862, (fn. 53) and who seems to have been one of the landowners in the parish in 1869. With regard to the shares of Thomas Snowe and Henry Foskett it appears that Ralph Snowe, who was assessed here in 1641, (fn. 54) was the representative of Thomas Snowe of 1606. (fn. 55) This may be the portion that had passed by 1801 to Thomas Hearn. (fn. 56) In 1829 Thomas Hearn, Henry Chandler, John Shepard and James Leach Ridgway conveyed by fine their right in the manor of Singleborough to Shuckburgh Risley. (fn. 57) Possibly the Hearn portion eventually passed to the Rev. Charles Lownde's trustees, who held a sixth of Singleborough in 1862. (fn. 58) George and John Foskett are both found in connexion with the parish in 1624 (fn. 59) and 1627–8, (fn. 60) and in 1641 the names of Henry and John Foskett appear. (fn. 61) In 1664–5 John Fossett or Foskett was assessed in Singleborough. (fn. 62) In 1710 Henry Foskett and his wife Elizabeth quitclaimed a sixth of the manor to Benjamin Reynolds and Roger Adams. (fn. 63) The owner of this portion in 1801 may have been John Harwood, who in this year held a sixth of the manor. (fn. 64) Before 1862 it had perhaps been transferred to Benjamin Price, (fn. 65) one of the lords of Singleborough at this time.
According to Lipscomb there was considerable confusion of manorial rights in Singleborough about 1847. He regards New College as the real possessor, 'excepting some portions which, under the inclosure acts, were granted to their occupiers in severalties.' (fn. 66)
Part of Walter Giffard's estate in Great Horwood, and by him excepted in the grant made to the priory of St. Faith, Longueville, was called Durand's fee. (fn. 67) The overlordship is identical with that of Great Horwood (q.v.), and is last mentioned in 1460. (fn. 68)
The under-tenant in the 13th century was Bernard de Horwood (fn. 69) and one of his successors was Geoffrey Berner or Geoffrey son of Berner, who in 1255 (fn. 70) and again in 1279 (fn. 71) is mentioned as holding land in Horwood. A later tenant was Richard de Bradwell, in possession in 1302, (fn. 72) who in 1306 conveyed lands and rents in Great Horwood to Simon de Bradwell and Hugh his son. (fn. 73) Hugh was holding here in 1314, (fn. 74) but by 1346 the estate had passed to Thomas de Bradwell. (fn. 75) Another Hugh de Bradwell was in possession in 1386 (fn. 76) and another Thomas in 1392 (fn. 77) and 1399. (fn. 78) In 1460 the heirs of Hugh de Bradwell were returned as lords of the fee. (fn. 79)
John Horwood and Margaret his wife were granted licence in 1420 to celebrate mass in their chapel at Singleborough. (fn. 80) In 1704 John Dormer of Rousham, Oxfordshire, held land in the parish, (fn. 81) which was referred to as the reputed manor or manors of Great Horwood and Singleborough, and which he alienated in this year to Francis Duncombe in trust for James Selby, serjeant-at-law. (fn. 82) Duncombe resigned the trust to Selby in the following year. (fn. 83)
The church of ST. JAMES consists of a chancel 35 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 8 in., north vestry 9 ft. 4 in. by 12 ft. 4 in., north chancel aisle (or organ chamber) 24 ft. by 12 ft. 9 in., nave 45 ft. 6 in. by 17 ft. 8 in., north aisle 12 ft. 6 in. wide, south aisle 12 ft. wide, west tower 11 ft. 9 in. by 12 ft., and north and south porches.
The walls are of limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, all much restored. The roofs of the chancel and north chancel aisle are tiled, the remainder being covered with lead.
The church was apparently rebuilt during the latter part of the 14th and the early 15th centuries. The only feature of an earlier date is the south doorway, which is probably part of the former building re-used. There was a thorough restoration in 1874, when the vestry, which apparently consisted of two stories, was replaced by the present building.
The chancel has a 14th-century east window of four cinquefoiled lights with flamboyant tracery in a two-centred head. Built into the wall to the south of the window is a stone bracket carved with a human head and shoulders. Above at the east end of the north wall is a doorway into the vestry with a straightsided pointed arch. The doorway below to the vestry is of the 14th century and has a two-centred head continuously moulded with the jambs. The western half of the wall is. occupied by an arcade of two bays, of the same period but restored. Its two-centred arches and jambs are of two continuously chamfered orders, and a label on the nave side is continued as a string course and as a label over the vestry door. In the south wall there are three windows of the same period with tracery in twocentred heads, the first and second from the east having three trefoiled lights, and the third, which is taller, having two trefoiled lights. To the east of this window is a doorway with a two-centred head, the inner and outer labels of which are continued as string courses beneath the windows. The sill of the easternmost window is lowered and forms an ascending range of three sedilia. Across the window opening, and separating the sedilia, is a much-restored 14th-century arcade of three crocketed cinquefoiled ogee arches with poppy-head finials. The piscina to the eastward, which is of the same date and character, has a cinquefoiled bowl and retains its original cinquefoiled ogee head and crocketed and finialled label with head-stops. The chancel arch is of a pointed four-centred form and of two continuously chamfered orders.
The whole of the detail of the north vestry is modern with the exception of a small piscina in the east wall with a trefoiled ogee head. At some height in the east wall of the north chancel aisle there is a much-restored 14th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The north wall contains two modern windows of similar character, each of two lights. In the south wall east of the arcade is a small 15th-century piscina with a trefoiled two-centred head. In the west wall is a tall opening with square jambs surmounted by a twocentred arch of a single chamfered order having broached stops: the arch is built of a dark brown stone, and to the south of it, high up, is a blocked opening to the former rood-loft, the two-centred arch and north jamb of which are built of similar stone.
The nave arcades are of four bays and date from the 15th century. The arches are pointed and spring from tall octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases.
In the east wall of the north aisle, to the north of the arch to the chancel aisle, is an ogee-headed niche which has traces of original colouring; in it stands the lower part of a carved oak image. Above the niche is a moulded and embattled string-course. The north wall is pierced by three 15th-century windows, each of three cinquefoiled lights, with transomed tracery in a four-centred head. They are all restored. Between the two western windows is a much restored doorway, probably also of 15th-century date, with a two-centred drop arch and jambs of two continuously hollow-chamfered orders. The old studded door of wide battens has its original strap hinges. The window in the west wall is of late 14th- or early 15th-century date probably re-set, and is of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a pointed head. It is much restored.
The south aisle has an east window, also restored, of four cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a square head. The heads of the lights and the tracery contain some original glass. North of it is a niche with a cinquefoiled ogee head and jambs continuously-moulded, flanked by pinnacles which, like the head, have carved crockets and finials. Beneath are three shields; that in the middle is larger than the others and is carved with the symbols of the Passion, the dexter shield being charged quarterly and the sinister paly a border with roundels quartered with a cross. To the south of the window a 15th-century moulded and embattled capital or bracket is built into the wall. In the south wall are three windows similar to those of the north aisle, and beneath the easternmost is a 15th-century piscina with a cinquefoiled head. Between the two western windows is a doorway, probably of late 13th-century date, but much restored, with an elaborately moulded arch. The jambs have attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The west window is of late 14th- or early 15th-century date, but much restored, and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head.
The west tower, which is built to the north of the axis of the nave, is of 15th-century date and of three stages with diagonal western buttresses, a stair in the south-west angle, carried above the level of the roof, and a modern embattled parapet. The tower arch is two-centred and of three orders dying into the responds. The west doorway, which is much restored, has a two-centred head and jambs continuously-moulded. Above it is a window, almost entirely modern externally, of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The second stage has a loop in the west face and a single ogee-headed light with sunk spandrels in a square head. The topmost stage has in each face a restored opening of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The stair is lighted by loops in the south face of the tower. The string-course below the parapet is partly original and contains two grotesque gargoyles on the north side and two on the south.
The only original feature in the north porch is the entrance arch, which has a two-centred drop head. The south porch is also modern, with the exception of a few stones of the entrance arch and part of the string-course above.
The roof of the chancel is modern, but that of the nave, which is of flat pitch, is of the 15th century and of four bays with moulded and cambered tiebeams, beneath which are curved struts, with traceried spandrels, resting on stone head-corbels, most of which have apparently been recut. At the centre of each tie-beam is a shield carved with the symbols of the Passion, and the spaces between the tie-beams and principal rafters are traceried. The roofs of the north and south aisles are of the same period, with cambered tie-beams having curved struts springing from stone head-corbels.
On the north side of the chancel there is a small brass with the figure of a priest and an almost indecipherable inscription to a former rector of the church. There is a marble wall tablet in the chancel with an achievement of arms to Robert Barker, 1636, and Marie his wife, daughter of William Smith, 1653; and in the north chancel aisle is another, with a shield of arms, to Hugo Barker, 1687, to Hugo his son, 1704, and to Maria and Joanna, wives of the former, and Elizabeth and Esther, wives of the latter.
The octagonal font is of 15th-century date, seven of the sides having sunk panels of various designs. The stem and base are modern.
The chancel screen is of the same century, but restored, and has a modern canopy. It has a central opening with two parclose bays on each side, the upper panels of which, and the central opening, have fourcentred traceried heads. The main mullions are moulded and buttressed, and the lower panels and the whole of the east side are plain.
The north aisle has a modern seat in which is incorporated part of a 15th- or 16th-century bench end, while the general seating of the church incorporates a few linen panels, probably of the 16th century. The vestry contains a 17th-century chest, and the tower a chest of the same date, and a bier probably dating from the early part of the next century.
There are six bells and a sanctus, of which the treble and tenor are by C. & G. Mears, 1847; the second by Anthony Chandler, 1652; the third by Bartholomew and Robert Atton, 1605; the fourth by Edward Hall of Drayton Parslow, 1737; the fifth by Robert Atton, 1623, and the sanctus, 1696.
The communion plate includes two patens of 1697 bearing an inscription to the effect that they were presented by 'Charles Holloway of London, goldsmith,' and a flagon of 1755, given by George Varney 'of London.' There is also a modern chalice.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries from 1600 to 1636; (ii) all entries from 1637 to 1740; (iii) burials in woollen from 1678 to 1769; (iv) baptisms and burials from 1740 to 1807, marriages from 1740 to 1754; (v) marriages from 1754 to 1802; (vi) baptisms and burials from 1807 to 1812; (vii) marriages from 1802 to 1812.
The church of Great Horwood was granted with the manor to Longueville Priory by Walter Giffard, (fn. 84) and the advowson has always followed the descent of the manor (q.v.). (fn. 85) The church was assessed at £10 in 1291. (fn. 86)
Ralph Snowe, who died in 1682, gave £100, the income to be distributed in clothes and money. In 1736 Edward Hugh Barker by will bequeathed £100 for similar purposes. These gifts are now represented by £288 12s. consols with the official trustees, producing £7 4s. 4d. a year.
The official trustees also hold a sum of £58 consols, producing £1 9s. a year, as endowment of 'John Jones' Charity for Poor,' and a sum of £42 consols, producing £1 1s. a year, in trust for 'John Jones' Charity for Church Sunday School,' representing a legacy of £100 consols by will of John Jones, proved in the P.C.C. 25 July 1831.
In 1909 the sum of £1 1s. was paid to the Church Sunday school, seventeen widows received 1s. 6d. each and forty-five men 1s. each. Seven overcoats and eight petticoats were likewise distributed in respect of these charities and the charities of Dr. Swaddon and John Jeffs, mentioned under the hamlet of Singleborough.
The poor's allotments, derived under the Inclosure Act 1842, consist of 27 a. 1 r. 3 p. in the Castle Field, let to 100 allottees, producing £12 12s. a year. The net income is distributed to the aged poor in sums of 2s. 6d. and 5s.
The hamlet of Singleborough.
In 1623 William Swaddon, D.D., Archdeacon of Worcester, by his will and codicil, proved in the P.C.C. 22 November, directed his wife Elizabeth (in case they had no children) to settle his estate in Singleborough to some good charitable uses for the benefit of certain towns and parishes. This was effected by a deed bearing date 8 October 1624, whereby an annuity of £20 was charged upon the said estate, of which 8s. was the share of this hamlet.
In 1700 John Jeffs by will charged his farm in Singleborough (now the property of Lord Addington) with £1 a year for providing a greatcoat for a man in the hamlet.
These charities are administered with the other charities in Great Horwood.