A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
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Paddebyrig (fn. 1) (x cent.); Pateberie (xi cent.).
The parish of Padbury covers 2,013 acres, of which 1,537 are pasture, 9 woodland and 332 arable. (fn. 2) The soil is chiefly clay and gravel on a subsoil of Oxford Clay, which is worked for brick-making. The Lovatt River, a tributary of the Ouse, forms the parish boundary on the north and west, and its tributary, the Claydon Brook, formerly known as the 'Burn,' (fn. 3) divides Padbury from Steeple Claydon. There is a station at Padbury on the Banbury branch of the London and North Western railway.
The village stands at the meeting of the roads from Buckingham, Thornborough, Winslow and Steeple Claydon. It has the appearance of having been once of more importance than it is now. Although there seems to be no evidence that it was ever a market town, the lay-out of the east end of the main street points to the existence here at one time of an open space suggestive of a market-place or, perhaps, a village green. The buildings upon it, however, show that it must have been encroached upon by the 16th century. The village is principally formed along a single street, and contains several 17th-century halftimber houses and cottages, many of them with thatched roofs and original chimney stacks. The main street is continued as Church Lane north-eastwards beyond the Buckingham Road and terminates at the church, which stands on a hill overlooking the valley of the Lovatt. In the southern angle between the Buckingham Road and Church Lane is the Manor House, now a farm, which probably occupies the site of the capital messuage of the manor in 1248. (fn. 4) The opposite angle contains Padbury Lodge, the residence of Mr. W. F. Gore-Langton. Beyond the Lodge is the present vicarage, but the old vicarage lies further down the main street. It dates from the 16th century, and was described in 1607 as built of timber and thatch, consisting of three bays chambered over and boarded. (fn. 5) It is now divided into two tenements, and contains an old fireplace and an oak staircase. About the middle of Main Street is the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, built in 1876. The south-west part of the village is called Old End, and here in a by-road are several 17th-century houses and cottages.
Padbury Corn Mill, on the Lovatt, about a mile from the church, probably occupies the site of the mill recorded in 1086. It is an early 17th-century building with later additions. Windmill Furlong may indicate the site of another mill. (fn. 6)
The inhabitants of Padbury are chiefly engaged in agriculture, but a few of the women are still employed in lace-making.
The only episode connecting Padbury with national history relates to the Civil War, when Sir Charles Lucas, the Royalist commander, defeated here a force under Col. Middleton on 1 July 1643. (fn. 7) The church registers record the burial of eight soldiers on the following day. (fn. 8)
In 1602 the Warden and Fellows of All Souls College and the tenants of their manors in Padbury came to an agreement concerning common rights in the parish. (fn. 9) The open fields were inclosed in 1796 (fn. 10) under an Act of the preceding year. (fn. 11)
The manor of PADBURY or OVERBURY was held in 1086 by Manno the Breton, (fn. 14) lord of Wolverton (q.v.). His holding, assessed at 20 hides, evidently included not only the manor of Overbury, but also the manor subsequently known as Millbury, the second manor of 'Padbury' and the land afterwards acquired by Bradwell Priory. (fn. 15) Elsewhere in the Domesday Survey it is noted (fn. 16) that Padbury had formerly been held by Robert Doyley, probably in right of his wife, the daughter of Wigod of Wallingford, (fn. 17) and that Robert had exchanged it for Iver with Clarenbold de Maresc. The manor, subsequently styled Overbury, was held by Manno in demesne and remained with his direct male descendants, the Fitz Hamons or Wolvertons, (fn. 18) until the middle of the 14th century, after which date they exercised overlordship rights. (fn. 19) It was parcel of the barony of Wolverton (fn. 20) and owed castle ward at Northampton. (fn. 21) It was held by the service of one knight's fee, (fn. 22) a moiety of which was assessed on the manor of Millbury after its separation from this manor. (fn. 23) The lords of Wolverton evidently kept the manor of Padbury Overbury in their own hands. In 1167 Hamon (of Wolverton) paid 1 mark in respect of Padbury. (fn. 24) In 1185 it was among the lands of Hamon his son, a minor in the king's custody, (fn. 25) and in 1190 Hamon Fitz Hamon is apparently styled 'Hamon of Padbury.' (fn. 26) William Fitz Hamon held the manor in demesne, (fn. 27) and Alan his brother died seised of it. (fn. 28) In 1276, after the death of Alan's son John, it was assigned in dower to his widow Isabel, who married Ralph de Arderne. (fn. 29) The heir, John son of John (Wolverton), was a minor, and about 1285 James Cock (Coke) was holding this manor at a rent of 20 marks of Ralph de Bray and John Foliot of Tackley, tenants under John. (fn. 30) The latter with his tenants was holding it in 1302–3. (fn. 31) It was included under the settlements made in 1313 of Chalfont St. Giles (q.v.), another of the Wolvertons' manors in this county, and was in like manner divided into four parts among the daughters of John de Wolverton after his death in 1349. The moiety which later came into Sir Hugh Wake's possession was retained by him, however, and passed at his death, in April 1360, to his son John, (fn. 32) who alienated it in 1370 to John Fitz Richard of Olney. (fn. 33) He also acquired another fourth of the manor in 1378 from Adam Basings. (fn. 34) The descent of the remaining fourth, the inheritance of Theobald Grossett, cannot be traced after 1359, (fn. 35) but it was doubtless conveyed to John Fitz Richard about the same date that the corresponding fourth of Chalfont was alienated to Sir Richard de la Vache. In 1397 Walter Fitz Richard of Olney, evidently the successor of John, (fn. 36) had licence for a settlement of 'the manor of Overbury,' so called for the first time, on himself and his wife Margaret with remainder to the heirs of Walter, (fn. 37) and Henry Wake, son of the late Sir Hugh Wake, kt., quitclaimed all right in Padbury to Walter Fitz Richard about 1409. (fn. 38) In October 1410 a new settlement was made on Walter and his wife Margery in tail-male. (fn. 39) This Walter, or another of the same name, with his wife Margery, alienated the manor to John Basings the elder and his wife Joan and John Basings the younger in 1445, reserving to themselves a rent of 10 marks. (fn. 40) John Basings the elder released his rights in favour of his son John Basings, (fn. 41) who with his wife Margaret sold to the Warden of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1458. (fn. 42) The manor is still in the possession of the college.
The manor of PADBURY or MILLBURY (fn. 43) evidently originated in the subinfeudation of a portion of the Wolvertons' holding to the family of Etchingham. It consisted of a moiety of the whole vill, (fn. 44) including after the middle of the 13th century the whole mill, from which it took its distinctive name. It was held by service of half a knight's fee of the lords of Overbury Manor (fn. 45) until 1351, when the service from this half-fee was assigned to Margery wife of John le Hunte, sister of the whole blood to Ralph Wolverton. (fn. 46)
The subinfeudation had probably taken place before 1201, when Alan de Etchingham quitclaimed to the Prior of Bradwell a moiety of the advowson of Padbury Church. (fn. 47) A moiety of the mill was held of Simon de Etchingham, afterwards Sheriff of Sussex, (fn. 48) in 1227, when it fell to the king for a year and a day on account of the conviction and execution of Hugh de Kingsbridge, son and heir of Walter the Miller, for robbery. (fn. 49) William Fitz Hamon granted to Simon de Etchingham the whole mill with its meadow and pond. (fn. 50) William son of Simon de Etchingham had free warren in Padbury in 1253. (fn. 51) He died shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by his brother Simon, (fn. 52) whose lands passed to his son (fn. 53) William de Etchingham. (fn. 54) At his death, about 1294, his holding was extended as a messuage, 200 acres of demesne land, the water-mill, rents of free tenants and pleas of court. (fn. 55) His heir was his son William, who had married Eva daughter of Ralph de Stopham. (fn. 56) He had livery of his father's lands in 1294, (fn. 57) obtained a grant of free warren in certain other lands in the following year, (fn. 58) and granted a life interest in Padbury to his brother Robert. (fn. 59) Early in 1316 Robert was distrained for failing to appear and prove his claim to Padbury against Gilbert de St. Owen and his wife Joan, to whom William de Etchingham had granted it by fine, (fn. 60) and later in the year a similar action was taken as regards 20 marks rent payable to Nicholas de la Beche and his wife Joan. (fn. 61) To them and their heirs William Etchingham granted his reversionary rights in this manor in the following year. (fn. 62) Robert died about 1329, (fn. 63) and in 1334 Nicholas and Joan de la Beche made good their rights against Joan widow of Robert Etchingham, who had married Roger Husee and claimed dower in the manor of Padbury. (fn. 64) Nevertheless, the manor did revert before 1346 to James Etchingham, (fn. 65) nephew and heir of Simon, who was brother and heir of Robert Etchingham. (fn. 66) Possibly the conveyance to Nicholas de la Beche was in the nature of a pledge, since Robert Etchingham, and evidently his brother William also, was indebted to him in considerable sums. (fn. 67) James Etchingham died in 1349, leaving a son and heir William (fn. 68) (afterwards knighted), who in 1377 conveyed the manor to Robert Lindsey, citizen and cutler of London, and other trustees. (fn. 69) To these Robert Etchingham and others also released their rights in the same year. (fn. 70) They were evidently agents in a sale to Sir John Hawkwood, kt., the famous leader of the 'White Company,' to whom the manor was conveyed in 1379, (fn. 71) when he was in the service of Visconti and the Anti-Papal League. (fn. 72) The dower of Lady (Elizabeth) Etchingham, widow of Sir William, (fn. 73) was evidently reserved, and she was still holding one-third of the manor in 1408, (fn. 74) when John son of Sir John Hawkwood by Donnina, illegitimate daughter of Bernabo Visconti, (fn. 75) conveyed the remaining twothirds, and the reversion of this third, to John Barton the younger. (fn. 76) Barton subsequently acquired a lease of the remaining third, (fn. 77) settled the whole manor upon himself and his wife Isabel, (fn. 78) and died in January 1433–4. (fn. 79) In 1437 Isabel alienated to Richard and John Forster and to Geoffrey Griffith of Bristol, who subsequently released his rights to Richard Forster. Forster conveyed to John Birkhede, Robert Danvers and John Bold, who agreed to pay a rent of 28 marks to Isabel Barton, (fn. 80) and subsequently, in 1442, surrendered the manor to the Crown for the endowment of All Souls College, Oxford. (fn. 81) It was thus reunited with the manor of Overbury.
'Millbery Farm,' let on lease 10 March 1493–4, (fn. 82) was probably the capital messuage of this manor.
Sir John Hawkwood added to his estate in Padbury lands called Kembell's in Padbury, (fn. 83) which evidently included a messuage and lands acquired by William 'de Kenebelle' from Henry Breton in 1320, and sold by his heirs to Roger and Lettice Skyret, from whom Hawkwood purchased them. (fn. 84)
In 1564 it was stated that there had long been two manors called Padbury, one (evidently including both Overbury and Millbury) the property of All Souls College, the other recently purchased from Ferdinand Pulton of Bourton by Thomas Harris and his wife Katherine, and held of Buckingham Castle by fealty and rent of 4d. (fn. 85) This second manor of PADBURY had been the property of the Cock family, and may therefore have had its origin in the carucate of land and certain rents and rights of pasture which William Fitz Hamon recognized to be the right of Gilbert Cock in 1247. (fn. 86) It has been seen that James Cock held half the vill during the minority of John son of John Wolverton. (fn. 87) John Cock of Padbury and Ralph his brother were charged as incendiaries in 1316. (fn. 88) John acquired additional lands here in 1319, (fn. 89) and may be identical with the John, son of Ralph Cock, who disputed the wardship of John grandson of Henry atte Townsend in 1323. (fn. 90) He was apparently succeeded after 1329 (fn. 91) by his brother Peter, who conveyed his messuage and lands with the services of certain villeins to John de Walton, and to Rose wife of Thomas de Leicester and Elizabeth her sister, the daughters of Ralph Cock. (fn. 92) The rights of Rose and Elizabeth were acquired by John and Elizabeth de Walton, and subsequently by Richard and Alice Durrant. (fn. 93) Alice outlived her husband and conveyed her rights in 'the manor of Padbury' to William Walton in 1375. (fn. 94) It evidently reverted to the heirs of Richard Durrant, and was acquired by Thomas More and Alice his wife, to whom William Savage, heir of Thomas Durrant, made assurance in March 1437–8. (fn. 95) Apparently it descended from Thomas and Alice More to Thomas More of Bourton in Buckingham, who suffered recovery of the 'manor of Padbury' in 1536. (fn. 96) He was also lord of a manor in Little Woolstone (q.v.), with which Padbury descended, and with which it was conveyed in 1562 to Ferdinand Pulton. (fn. 97) In 1564 he sold the manor of Padbury to Thomas Harris and his wife Katherine for £150, (fn. 98) and Thomas Harris sold it in 1591 to All Souls College, Oxford. (fn. 99) This Thomas Harris was probably the son of another Thomas, who had been bailiff of All Souls College at Padbury. Joan widow of Thomas the elder, with her son Thomas, had a lease of the estate of the college in Padbury 14 June 1560, (fn. 100) and the family can be traced in Padbury during the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 101)
The church of the NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN consists of a chancel measuring internally 25 ft. by 14 ft., nave 48 ft. by 20 ft., north aisle 8 ft. 10 in. wide, north-west vestry, south aisle 8 ft. 9 in. wide, south porch, and west tower 12 ft. 2 in. by 11 ft. 4 in. It is built of rubble with stone dressings; the chancel and porch roofs are covered with tiles and the other roofs with lead.
The chancel and nave date from about 1210, and the south aisle and the tower were added about the middle of the 13th century. About 1340 the north aisle was built, a clearstory added to the nave, and the south arcade rebuilt above the capitals of the pillars, while the south doorway was renewed and windows were inserted at the east end of the chancel. Some windows were inserted during the 15th and 16th centuries, and in the 17th century the tower was rebuilt from about 1 ft. 6 in. above the ground level. The whole fabric was restored in 1830 and the chancel was again restored and refitted in 1882. The south porch was built in 1882 and the vestry in 1908, but the former evidently replaced a mediaeval structure, some moulded roof timbers of which remain in the present structure.
In the east wall of the chancel is a three-light traceried window of the 15th century inserted in a 14thcentury opening. At the west end of each side wall is a narrow low-side window; that on the south, which has a round rear arch, is of the original date of the chancel, though its trefoiled head, the cusps of which have been cut away, was inserted later, while that on the north, which is rebated for a shutter, was probably inserted in the late 13th century. The northeast window, dating from this latter period, is of two lights with plain tracery in a pointed head, and the window opposite, which was inserted about 1340, is of three trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery in a pointed head. Near this last window, and contemporary with it, is a cinquefoiled piscina with a credence shelf at the back and an octofoil bowl, the projecting part of which has been renewed, and to the east of the piscina are two plain lockers. Between the windows on the south is a narrow doorway with a pointed head, probably of the late 13th century. Circles have been scratched on the stones at the south-east corner of the chancel. The chancel arch is original, dating from about 1210; it is pointed and of two plain orders, now considerably distorted through the deflection of the large segmental responds, which it has thrust out of the perpendicular. The arch springs from heavy plain imposts, and the label on the nave side has been cut flush with the wall. The imposts, originally returned on both sides of the wall, have been cut and repaired. The chancel has an open-timber king-post roof of about 1500 with moulded beams and curved braces; an inscription, 'T.M. AN. DOM. T. C.' below a carved figure on the western beam, probably refers to a 17thcentury restoration, and the roof has been again restored at a modern period. There is a carved head below the central beam.
The north and south arcades of the nave have each four pointed arches, supported by octagonal pillars, with moulded capitals and bases, and respond-corbels. The pillars and corbels on the south date from about 1250, and have mouldings similar to those found elsewhere in the neighbourhood of this period, though they are more roughly executed. The bases have been considerably repaired, but some of the original moulding remains. On the east and west the arches spring from head corbels upon the responds, now somewhat defaced, which originally formed the capitals of filleted wall-shafts, but the shafts are now cut flush with the faces of the responds, though a part immediately below the head remains on the east corbel. The arches above were rebuilt about 1340 and are of two chamfered orders, with labels on both sides of the wall having head-stops at their junctions. The north arcade is of this latter period and the arches are precisely similar to those on the south; the pillars, which are repaired in places, have richly moulded capitals and bases and the respond-corbels are moulded, that on the west being carved with a finely-formed head. Above the north arcade, and contemporary with it, are three circular clearstory windows, that in the centre being quatrefoiled and the others sexfoiled; the original lights on the south have been replaced by four 16th-century square-headed windows, which have been considerably restored and the western one entirely renewed at a recent date. The pointed tower arch on the west dates from about 1250; its outer orders die into the responds and the inner springs from head corbels, that on the north having been renewed, probably when the tower was rebuilt.
There are two 14th-century windows in the north wall of the north aisle, the eastern of three trefoiled lights with tracery under a segmental head, and the other of two lights with tracery under a pointed head; in the east wall are a 15th-century square-headed window of three trefoiled lights and a 14th-century trefoiled piscina, and in the west wall is a modern doorway to the vestry. The pointed north doorway is original; it is moulded and has a label with large head-stops, now slightly defaced, and retains an old studded oak door. At the east end of the north wall is a 14th-century tomb recess with a low pointed arch, and above it are some interesting contemporary wall paintings, which were uncovered in 1883 and are now indistinct. These include two scenes from the life of St. Catherine, the upper depicting the saint bound between the wheels which were the instruments of her martyrdom, and the lower the saint with arms extended towards three indistinct figures. Both these scenes are inclosed in a scroll border, and to the west of them is a large circle depicting the expurgation of the seven deadly sins, represented above monsters' heads which terminate in scrolls issuing from various parts of the body of a crowned female figure in the centre of the circle. There are also traces of colouring further west on this wall.
The south aisle has in the west wall an original mid-13th-century window of two pointed lights, which has become somewhat distorted externally through the sinking of the wall at the south, perhaps occasioned by the thrust of the tower; the south doorway retains its original label with nail-head ornament, but the jambs and pointed head, which are continuously moulded, are of the 14th century. There is an early 15th-century window of three trefoiled lights in the east wall, and in the south wall are two windows, both with modern tracery, but old internal jambs, the eastern probably dating from the 15th and the other from the 14th century. Close together at the south-east are a piscina, roughly trefoiled and enriched on the edge with dog-tooth ornament, and a trefoiled locker with rebated edge; these date from the early 13th century, and were probably removed here from the chancel. Both aisles have lean-to roofs of about 1500, that on the south having been extensively repaired, probably in 1764, the date on the easternmost tie-beam.
The tower is of three receding stages, and is surmounted by a plain parapet with corner merlons. A stone seat running round the north, west, and south walls internally probably marks the level from which the tower was rebuilt in the 17th century on all sides except that adjoining the nave. Both the west doorway and the wide single-light window above are plain and have round heads; the second stage has small triangular-headed lights, and the bell-chamber is lighted by larger windows of a similar character.
The present font is modern; it replaced some years since a small round bowl, of doubtful date and origin, which was set on a long shaft, probably that of a churchyard cross; both now lie in the tower. In the chancel are a mural monument with arms to Harris Smith (d. 1690) and Francisca his wife (d. 1705); a mural monument to Anne wife of Thomas Thied, and Mrs. Penelope Smith (d. 1762); and a floor slab to Richard Smith, son of Harris Smith (d. 1742). The communion table, which is elaborately carved, was given in 1634 by nine persons, whose names are inscribed on the top rail; the panels of a 17th-century pulpit with incised foliated ornament are now incorporated in a large chest, which was constructed in 1908 and stands in the south aisle.
The tower contains a ring of six bells, all by John Briant of Hertford, 1806.
The communion plate consists of a small cup and cover paten of 1574, a paten on stand of 1711, and a large plated flagon.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1538 to 1671; (ii) all entries 1671 to 1754 (one leaf has been extracted from this book); (iii) baptisms and burials 1764 to 1812; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1810.
The Priors of Bradwell, a house founded by Meinfelin, son of Manno the Breton, about 1155, (fn. 102) were patrons of the church in the 13th century, (fn. 103) and probably earlier. Alan de Etchingham released all claim in a moiety of the church to the priory in 1201. (fn. 104) In 1524 the endowment of the priory, including the advowson of Padbury, was granted to Wolsey for Cardinal College, Oxford. (fn. 105) When the college was deprived of its endowment, the advowson of Padbury was granted to the Carthusian Priory at Sheen. (fn. 106) This house surrendered in 1539, (fn. 107) and the living has thenceforward been in the gift of the Crown, (fn. 108) with the exception of a short period from 1558–9, when under a grant of Queen Mary it was vested in the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 109)
It is noteworthy that vicars were generally recommended in the late 18th century by the corporation of Buckingham through the Marquess of Buckingham and his family. (fn. 110)
A vicarage was ordained shortly before 1274, (fn. 111) but in 1455 it was temporarily reunited with the parish church owing to constant disputes between the vicars and the Priors of Bradwell. (fn. 112) The rectorial tithes descended with the advowson until February 1577–8, when they were exchanged by the Crown with Edward Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 113) Before 1610 they had reverted to the Crown, and were purchased in that year by Sir Anthony Aucher and Sir Thomas Hardres, kts. (fn. 114) They subsequently passed to the Temple family, (fn. 115) and the rectory-house, together with certain of the tithes, was purchased by the tenant, William Chaplin, from Sir Thomas Temple of Stowe. (fn. 116) In 1700 Thomas Gibboard and his wife Elizabeth, William Wheeler and his wife Mary, and Thomas Henshawe and his wife Hannah, conveyed the 'rectory' to Thomas Browne and Robert Robbins. (fn. 117) William Baldwin the elder, William Baldwin the younger, John Stanley and his wife Elizabeth, and William Core and his wife Rebecca, made conveyance to William Giles and John Chawke in 1713. (fn. 118) The rectory passed by pur chase into the Eyre family in 1768. (fn. 119) Other portions of tithes changed hands very frequently during the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 120) They evidently included the tithe from some 50 acres of land which had been in the possession of Missenden Abbey (fn. 121) and were in the occupation of — Andesloe in 1586, when they were the subject of a grant to John Watson and John Cresset, who appear to have been 'fishing grantees.' (fn. 122)
The parsonage of Padbury was wrongfully let on a ninety-nine years' lease rent free by John Wells, (fn. 123) Prior of Bradwell 1492–1503. (fn. 124) The lessee, Thomas Darell, is said to have promised Wells to make him Prior of St. Andrew's, Northampton. (fn. 125) Prior Boston obtained from the Crown a reversal of his predecessor's act, which deprived the monastery of the chief part of its livelihood. Darell refused to be ousted, and forcible entry appears to have been made into the parsonage both by his men and by the servants of the prior, who came in person to the church to bring the king's command to Darell. (fn. 126)
Church Land.—There are about 2 a. 3 r. of land, so called, let at £6 15s. a year, which is carried to the churchwardens' account.
The National school is endowed with a sum of £109 17s. 9d. consols by the will of Mrs. Penelope Hunt, proved in the P.C.C. 9 June 1849, also with a sum of £100 consols by a deed of gift by the Rev. William Thomas Eyre, dated 16 June 1862.
The sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing £5 4s. 8d. yearly.