Parishes : Foscott

Pages 170-172

A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.

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Foxescota (xi cent.); Foxcota (xii cent.); Foscote (xv cent.); Foxcott, Foscott (xvi cent.).

The parish of Foscott or Foxcott covers 718 acres, of which 501 are permanent grass, 157 arable and 47 woods or plantations. (fn. 1) The land falls from over 400 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north-west to about 260 ft. in the south and south-east. The Ouse with one of its tributaries and the Grand Junction Canal form a portion of the county boundary. In the middle of the parish stands Foscott Manor House, a large stone building with a tiled roof, the property of the trustees of the late Mrs. Lawrence Hall. There was a capital messuage here in 1333. (fn. 2) Edward Grenville is said to have built the present house about 1656, (fn. 3) and it was considerably restored by Lawrence Hall in 1868. (fn. 4) The garden front is divided into three bays by Doric pilasters. There is an original staircase, but perhaps not in its original position.

The soil is clay and gravel. Roman remains have been found in the parish. (fn. 5)


Leit, a thegn of King Edward, held and could sell the manor of FOSCOTT before the Conquest. At the date of the Survey it was assessed at 6 hides, and belonged to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 6) His tenant was Turstin, who as Turstin de Giron held of the bishop in Dunton (q.v.). The overlordship of Foscott descended with Dunton Manor, ward at Dover Castle being owed for both manors by the Giron or Gerunde and the Chalfont families. (fn. 7) It was attached to the honour of Grafton after 1542. (fn. 8) Hamo de Gerunde and Hugh his son subinfeudated their land in Foscott to Walter de la Hay in 1194–7. (fn. 9) A fine was levied in the latter year by which Walter agreed for himself and his heirs to render the service of one knight's fee for the land, and for this agreement he gave Hamo de Gerunde 5 marks of silver and a black and white horse (nigrum equum bausein). (fn. 10) In 1215 Walter de la Hay was numbered among the king's enemies, and the sheriff was ordered to give his lands to his brother Roger de la Hay. (fn. 11) They were, however, afterwards restored to Walter, who held as late as 1226–7. (fn. 12) Stephen de la Hay succeeded to Foscott not long afterwards. (fn. 13) In 1278–9, when he was still lord, his son, also called Stephen, was one of his free tenants. (fn. 14) One of the two held in 1284–6, (fn. 15) but John de la Hay was seised of the manor by 1302–3 (fn. 16) and still held in 1308. (fn. 17) In 1316 and 1323 Robert Kynne held Foscott, (fn. 18) apparently as second husband of Agnes widow of John de la Hay, (fn. 19) who died seised of the manor before June 1333, leaving her son Thomas de la Hay as heir. (fn. 20) Thomas was holding in 1348, (fn. 21) and had a son named Simon, (fn. 22) of whom, however, there is no trace after 1346, and the Thomas de la Hay who was holding in 1364 (fn. 23) was probably his father. In 1371 the manor was held by John Kynne, subject to the life interest of Agnes wife of Alan Aete or Ayote, (fn. 24) and, possibly, the widow of Thomas or Simon de la Hay. Alan Aete held as late as 1400. (fn. 25) In the early 15th century John Barton, jun., was seised of Foscott, which he granted to feoffees to the use of his wife Isabel and her heirs for conveyance to All Souls College, Oxford. (fn. 26) Possibly Isabel was the daughter and heir of John Kynne, since two of the feoffees were also feoffees of John Kynne in 1371. After the death of John Barton, Isabel brought a suit against John Dayrell and Eleanor his wife, who had entered the manor so that the feoffees were unable to perform the deceased's will. (fn. 27) The nature of the Dayrells' claim is not evident, but apparently Isabel came to terms with them, since the conveyance of the manor to All Souls was never carried out. By 1457 Foscott was held by William Purfrey or Purefoy, (fn. 28) whose wife Marian was the daughter and heir of Alan Aete, (fn. 29) although it is not apparent that he held the land in his wife's right. (fn. 30) In 1464 he conveyed the manor to Thomas Waldyve, (fn. 31) whose brother and heir Nicholas Waldyve of London, mercer, sold it in 1475 to John Denton of 'Shirford' in Warwick. (fn. 32) John Denton died seised of Foscott in 1497, leaving a son Thomas, (fn. 33) who was holding in 1525. (fn. 34) In 1542 John Denton surrendered the manor to the Crown in exchange for other lands, (fn. 35) and in 1557 it was granted in fee to Thomas Smythe, who died in the same year. (fn. 36) By his will he left the 'manor of Foscote or bargayne of Foscote' to his wife Agnes to sell or give at her pleasure for the payment of his debts and legacies. (fn. 37) She married Thomas Westwick in 1558, (fn. 38) and in the following year they conveyed two-thirds of the manor to Nicholas and Joan West, who conveyed immediately to Marmaduke and Elizabeth Claver and Matthew Claver their son. (fn. 39) In 1570 Edmund or Edward Smythe, son and heir of Thomas, came of age and received the remaining third of the manor, (fn. 40) but the Clavers appear to have held the entire property by 1587, about which date, on the marriage of Matthew, it was settled on him and his wife Jane Tyrell and their issue male. (fn. 41) Matthew died in 1605, (fn. 42) and Jane afterwards married John Phillips, (fn. 43) who held her life interest in Foscott, and who in 1620 acquired from John Claver, son and heir of Matthew Claver and Jane, (fn. 44) his reversionary interest in the manor. (fn. 45)

De la Hay. Argent a sun gules.

Claver. Sable a gimcl bar between three castles argent.

At the death of John Phillips, in 1630, the manor was worth only 33s. 4d., because, according to the inquisition, 'a great part of the manor was alienated by Phillips to certain persons' (fn. 46); it had been valued at £13 2s. in 1557. (fn. 47) Thomas Phillips, son and heir of John, conveyed the manor to Thomas Hunt in 1635, (fn. 48) and in 1638 it was held by the latter and by Ralph Hunt and Frances his wife, (fn. 49) she being the daughter and heir of John Phillips by a former marriage. (fn. 50) The Hunts mortgaged the manor to Edward Grenville, son of Richard Grenville of Wotton Underwood, to whom they were finally obliged to convey it. (fn. 51) A fine of the manor was levied in 1650 between Ralph and Frances Hunt and Richard Grenville and others, trustees for Edward Grenville. (fn. 52) The latter died in 1661; his sons Edward and George were both minors, their guardian being their uncle Richard Grenville. (fn. 53) Edward, the elder, died in the same year as his father. (fn. 54) George died without issue in 1693, (fn. 55) and the Foscott estate passed, according to the terms of a previous settlement, to the elder branch, the descendants of Richard Grenville, (fn. 56) in which it remained until the sale of the second Duke of Buckingham's estates in 1848, (fn. 57) after which date it passed to Lawrence Hall, who held in 1862. (fn. 58) His son Lawrence succeeded him in 1866 and died in 1891; the trustees of his widow are now lords of the manor and sole landowners.

A free fishery in the Ouse is mentioned among the appurtenances of the manor in the 16th century. (fn. 59)


The church of ST. LEONARD consists of a chancel 19 ft. by 15 ft. 6 in., nave 32 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft., and south porch, all measurements being internal.

The church was apparently built in the middle of the 12th century. About 1350 the chancel was enlarged and the chancel arch rebuilt. The south porch was added and other alterations were made in the following century, and in 1887 the church was restored. The walling is of rubble and the roofs are tiled.

The chancel has a 15th-century east window of three cinquefoiled lights in a pointed traceried head and two two-light windows on the south side, both probably of the 14th century, but much altered and restored. Only the opening of the eastern window, which is pointed and of two plain lights, is original, while the western window, the rear arch of which is at the same level, has two square-headed lights placed low down. The former contains some fragments of 16th-century coloured glass showing the head of a woman and what appear to be bones. The 14th-century priest's doorway between the windows has a pointed head and a label on the outside with carved stops representing the heads of a man and a woman with head-dresses of the period. In the same wall is a 15th-century cinquefoiled piscina. The chancel arch is of three orders with plain jambs, the innermost order springing from corbels ornamented with the ball flower.

The eastern of the two south windows of the nave is probably of the 14th century, though much altered; the western window is of the 15th century and is of two trefoiled lights. The south doorway is of the 12th century and has a round moulded head and moulded label. At the east end of the north wall is a much-altered window, which appears to have been originally similar to that opposite to it. On the same wall are remains of texts, possibly of the time of Edward VI. The north doorway is now blocked, but the arch is apparently of the 15th century and the jambs and imposts of the 12th century. The staircase to the rood-loft, which projects slightly externally and is lighted by a small loop, remains with its upper and lower doorways at the south-east angle of the nave. The porch has a 15th-century outer entrance, and there is a stoup with a four-centred head, probably of the same date, on the east side of the south doorway. The communion table bears an inscription recording its presentation in 1633 by Samuel Wastel. The rails are probably of a slightly later date. The pulpit is made from 17th-century panelling.

There is a brass to Edward Grenville (d. 1661) with a shield of arms, a cross with five roundels thereon, and there is also a monument to Richard Major (d. 1705) and Anne his wife (d. 1708).

A bell, probably of the early 14th century, (fn. 60) now hangs in an upper window at the west end of the nave. There was formerly a small wooden bell-turret at the west end.

The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1632.

The registers begin in 1664.


Presentation to the church at Foscott was made in 1220 by Walter de la Hay, lord of Foscott. (fn. 61) The advowson has always remained appurtenant to the manor, (fn. 62) the living, a rectory, being now in the gift of the trustees of the late Mrs. L. Hall. In 1535 the annual value was £10. (fn. 63) In 1639 the terrier of the parsonage showed that the dwelling-house had three rooms—parlour, kitchen and dairy—with three chambers over them, while outside there were the usual farm-buildings with 20 acres of arable land and pasture and 8 acres of orchard and close. (fn. 64)

There do not appear to be any endowed charities subsisting in this parish.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 20.
  • 3. Willis, Hist. and Antiq. of Buckingham, 188.
  • 4. Sheahan, Hist. and Topog. of Bucks. 275. In Sheahan's time it was occupied by a farmer.
  • 5. V.C.H. Bucks. ii, 7; Sheahan, loc. cit.
  • 6. V.C.H. Bucks. i, 238. The bishop also held Ospringe Manor in Kent (Hasted, Hist. of Kent, ii, 790), to which the overlordship of Dunton and Foscott belonged in the 14th century (see also Dunton).
  • 7. See also Dunton; Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 343; Feud. Aids, i, 79, 108, 127.
  • 8. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 195, no. 27; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxi, 3.
  • 9. Pipe R. 6 Ric. I, m. 14 d.; 7–9 Ric. I; Rot. Cur. Reg. (Rec. Com.), i, 55.
  • 10. Feet of F. Bucks. 9 Ric. I, no. 32.
  • 11. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 242.
  • 12. Ibid. ii, 162.
  • 13. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 343; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 32.
  • 14. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 339.
  • 15. Feud. Aids, i, 79.
  • 16. Ibid. 100. This entry states that John de la Hay held the 'manor of Foxcot with Dunton for one fee.' At the same time Hugh de Gerunde held 'Dunton with Foxcot one fee' (ibid. 101). Possibly the de la Hays were for a period tenants under the Gerundes in Dunton also.
  • 17. Cal. Inq. p.m. (Edw. II), v, 45.
  • 18. Feud. Aids, i, 108.
  • 19. Willis, op. cit. 189.
  • 20. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 20; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 76.
  • 21. Feud. Aids, i, 126; Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 591.
  • 22. Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 165.
  • 23. Cal. Pat. 1361–4, p. 487.
  • 24. Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 44 Edw. III, no. 65.
  • 25. Chan. Inq. p.m. 48 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 18; Willis, op. cit. 190.
  • 26. Early Chan. Proc. bdles. 11, no. 522; 38, no. 225.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Willis, loc. cit.
  • 29. Visit. of Leics. (Harl. Soc.), 12.
  • 30. Feet of F. Bucks. Mich. 4 Edw. IV, no. 1.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 56, no. 241.
  • 33. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xii, 42.
  • 34. Ibid. lxxx, 125.
  • 35. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, 1012 (53).
  • 36. Orig. R. (Exch. L.T.R.), 4 & 5 Phil. and Mary, pt. xiv, m. 1; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxi, 3.
  • 37. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxi, 3.
  • 38. Memo. R. (Exch. L.T.R.), Hil. 9 Eliz. m. 85.
  • 39. Feet of F. Bucks. Hil. and East. 1 Eliz.; East. 1 Eliz.; Pat. 1 Eliz. pt. x, m. 16.
  • 40. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxi, 3; Fine R. 12 Eliz. no. 6.
  • 41. Pat. 32 Eliz. pt. xiv; Feet of F. Bucks. East. 32 Eliz.; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclxxxviii, 132.
  • 42. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclxxxviii, 132.
  • 43. Ibid. dlxxiii, 65.
  • 44. Ibid. cclxxxviii, 132.
  • 45. Com. Pleas Recov. R. Trin. 18 Jas. I, m. 16; Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 18 Jas. I; East. 19 Jas. I. John Claver had become bankrupt shortly before his death in 1622, and the commissioners made a sale of the manor in 1623 to John Anthony and others. It was found, how ever, that as the commission had not been sued out until three months after Claver's death, the sale was not good, and the indenture of 1620 was quoted and adhered to (Chan. Proc. [Ser. 2], bdle. 408, no. 16). Some settlement of the manor was arrived at between Claver and Phillips as early as 1613 (Feet of F. Bucks. Mich. 11 Jas. I).
  • 46. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dlxxiii, 65.
  • 47. Ibid. cxi, 3.
  • 48. Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 11 Chas. I. Edward brother of John Claver was a party to this conveyance.
  • 49. Ibid. Mich. 14 Chas. I.
  • 50. Willis, op. cit. 188.
  • 51. Chan. Proc. (Bridges Div.), bdle. 1, no. 64. The first conveyance seems to have taken place in 1640, when there was trouble with Arthur Claver, uncle of John Claver, to whom he had lent £1,500. He had been paid back from the proceeds of the sale to John Phillips in 1620, but, as he had retained the title-deeds, he refused to acknowledge the validity of Phillips' title, and was supported by Edward and other younger brothers and sisters of John Claver, then dead (ibid. no. 61).
  • 52. Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 1650; P.C.C. 91 May.
  • 53. Rec. of Bucks. (Bucks. Arch. and Archit. Soc.), ii, 294; P.C.C. 91 May.
  • 54. Willis, loc. cit.
  • 55. P.C.C. 185 Coker.
  • 56. P.C.C. 91 May; Willis, loc. cit.
  • 57. Recov. R. Hil. 10 Geo. II, m. 32; Edmondson, Baronagium Gen. iii, 277; G.E.C. Peerage, ii, 61 n.; Recov. R. East. 59 Geo. III, m. 269.
  • 58. Sheahan, op. cit. 274.
  • 59. Feet of F. Bucks. East. 32 Eliz.
  • 60. A. H. Cocks, Church Bells of Bucks. 387.
  • 61. Willis, op. cit. 189.
  • 62. Ibid.; see under manor; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 63. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 239.
  • 64. Willis, loc. cit.