Parishes: Elton

A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.

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'Parishes: Elton', A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3, (London, 1936), pp. 154-166. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Parishes: Elton", in A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3, (London, 1936) 154-166. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Parishes: Elton", A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3, (London, 1936). 154-166. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

In this section


Æthelington, Æilington (x cent.); Adelintune (xi cent.); Aethelyngtone, Ailincton, Adelington (xii cent.); Aylington, Alyngton (xiii, xiv, xv cent.); Aylton (xvi cent.).

'In the district of Huntingdon, there is a certain township, to which far-distant antiquity gave the name of Athelintone; it lies in a most beautiful situation, well provided with streams of water, in a pleasant plain of meadows, abounding in grazing for cattle and rich in fertile fields.' (fn. 1) Thus, in the 12th century, the chronicler of Ramsey Abbey described Elton, and the description remains true to the present day. The parish contains 3,758 acres, and lies in the north-western corner of the county, on the borders of Northamptonshire, into which the southern portion of Elton Park extends, and the county boundary passes along the south-east wall of Elton Hall. The River Nene forms the greater part of the western boundary of the parish and the Billing Brook the eastern boundary. The land is undulating, and in places near the Nene it is less than 50 feet above the Ordnance datum. Near Stock Hill Lodge, however, it rises to 200 ft. The subsoil is mainly clay and the occupation of the inhabitants entirely agricultural. The village lies close to the River Nene at the western boundary of the parish, and is chiefly built along the High Street and a parallel road, both running east from the river to the junction of the roads from Peterborough and Stamford to Oundle. There was only a ford over the river until 1844, when a wooden bridge, called the Crown Bridge, was built. This was replaced by the present stone bridge in 1875. (fn. 2) Elton Station, on the branch line of the London Midland and Scottish Railway from Peterborough to Northampton, is a mile to the west of the village, in the parish of Fotheringhay, Northants. The common fields of Elton were inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1779, when the first Earl of Carysfort (1789) was lord of the manor. (fn. 3) The village is divided into Nether End or River End, as it appears on the Ordnance map, and Over End. These divisions can be traced back to 1331, when the cross in the 'Overtoun' is mentioned, and in 1386 the manor house stood in the Netherton, presumably on the same site as at the present day. (fn. 4) In 1675 separate searchers of balks and tellers of cattle were appointed for the two divisions, (fn. 5) which in 1791 each contained 109 houses. (fn. 6) At the present day at Nether End there are a village green and the mill. The church stands at Over End, with Cooper's Hospital a little to the south. Farther to the south are Elton Hall and Park. The fine series of court rolls, ministers' accounts and other documents relating to the manor, preserved at the Public Record Office and the British Museum, supply a very complete picture of manorial economy in the Middle Ages and also a large number of local place-names, such as Beneyeston, Saldines cros furlong, le Gyldinegore (xiii cent.), (fn. 7) Longmedehaven, Holweye, le Gores, Oldmoor, Butterfyllymede, Clakesdene, Kilnebrigge, Stock hill field (xiv cent.). (fn. 8) The SheepWalk, a name still preserved by Sheep-Walk Farm, near the Billing Brook, where there is a rectangular moat, (fn. 9) is mentioned in 1588, (fn. 10) when it was leased with the site of the manor; and it appears as an ancient inclosure belonging to the lord of the manor in 1779. (fn. 11) Besides the medieval documents already mentioned, the court rolls of the manor are preserved at Elton Hall from 1631 to 1866.

Amongst the rectors of Elton was John Cooper, appointed rector in 1629. Calamy, in the Nonconformists' Memorial, speaks of him as 'a grave, venerable person of the Puritan stamp,' and after the Restoration in 1660 he was unable to subscribe to the new terms of conformity and resigned the living in 1661. He was also patron of the living. His memory is chiefly connected in Elton with the Cooper's Almshouses, which he founded and endowed in 1663. (fn. 12) Frederick William Faber (1814–1863), the hymnwriter, was rector from 1843 to 1845, (fn. 13) and, after joining the Roman Catholic Church, became Superior of the Brompton Oratory, (fn. 14) London. Piers Calveley Claughton (1814–84) was rector from 1842 to 1843 and again from 1845 to 1859, and introduced harvest festivals in the church, a custom which has become popular and nearly universal in England. He was appointed Bishop of St. Helena in 1859 and translated to Colombo in 1862.

Under the wills of Frances Proby, dated 16 December 1711, and of her mother Jane Proby, dated 1 April 1711, who survived her daughter, the parish received the sum of £900; in consequence of a chancery suit the scheme of the charity was not finally settled till 1775, but the parish obtained part at least of the money soon after the testators' deaths. £100 was spent on building a work-house or room where women could meet and work; the interest from £100 was to provide a schoolmistress to live in the work-house and teach the children there; the interest from £600 was to provide a village schoolmaster to teach reading, writing, casting of accounts and the Church Catechism; the interest from £100 was to provide firing in the school in winter. In 1831 the work-house mistress was no longer there, but the school was still carried on under the scheme of 1775. (fn. 15) The work-house was afterwards used for the girls' school, until, after many complaints as to its unsuitability, it was sold and the proceeds used towards the cost of new school buildings, which were opened in 1876. The boys' and girls' schools were amalgamated, but the old boys' school was used as the infants' school. Besides the endowment from the Proby Charity, by consent of the Charity Commissioners, part of the endowment of Cooper's Hospital was applied to the support of the schools. (fn. 16)

Various Neolithic implements have been found in fair numbers scattered over the parish; (fn. 17) RomanoBritish pottery, some being 3rd-century Castor ware, has been found in the village, (fn. 18) while the remains of two Anglo-Saxon crosses of the Christian period, probably of a date later than 970, are standing in the churchyard. (fn. 19)

It seems probable that Sir Richard Sapcote (d. 1477) was the first builder of Elton Hall. Presumably he built the house as three sides of a quadrangle with the hall on the north-west, the private apartments south-west and the kitchens north-east. On the south-east side of the courtyard stood the gateway tower, but the rest of this side was apparently inclosed only with fence walls. To this house, at a slightly later date, a large chapel was added at the south corner by Sir John Sapcote (d. 1501) and his wife Lady Elizabeth. It is described as being adorned with beautiful painted glass windows, (fn. 20) the arms in which were recorded by the herald in 1613. (fn. 21)

This house was surrounded by a moat, now long since filled up, indications of which, 13 feet deep, were found in 1894. (fn. 22)

Robert Sapcote, who died 4 January 1600/1, was probably the last of his family to live here, and in 1617 the property was sold, finally coming into the possession of Sir Thomas Proby.

Sir Thomas seems to have found the house in a ruinous condition and pulled most of it down in 1665, (fn. 23) retaining only the chapel and the gateway tower. He built his new house in the form of a letter T, altering the chapel, adding an extension towards the south-west (perhaps in 1664–1666, when he and his family were residing at Conington, Cambs), and another long wing projecting at right angles from the centre towards the north-west and having the entrance door in the centre of its north-east side (perhaps in 1666–1667, when the family was residing at Elton). (fn. 24) He built a large semi-octagonal bay window on the south-east side of the chapel.

John Proby (d. 1710), brother and heir of Sir Thomas, seems to have built a block of rooms on the south-west side of the projecting wing.

Early in the 19th century, John Joshua, first Earl of Carysfort (1772–1828), made considerable alterations. He started by adding four buttresses with a gable between them on the side of Sir Thomas Proby's south-western extension. Then, between 1812 and 1814, he rebuilt the north-west wall of this extension, and in 1814 he lowered the floor and ceiling of the two western rooms on the principal floor and formed a story in the roof above, and raised the gable and formed a window in it. At the same time he built two circular towers at the end.

Probably about the same time, he built two rooms, one above the other, between the chapel and the gateway tower, incorporating in the upper room a bay window from the Drydens' house at Chesterton.

Reproduced by permission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office from the Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, Hunts.

He removed the entrance from the north-east side of Sir Thomas Proby's projecting wing to the southwest side of John Proby's block, and refaced the whole of the south-west front with stucco, with wooden parapets and turrets, and built a porch there of similar construction. He also added a tower over the western extension just behind the gable and four buttresses; and built an additional block at the north-west end of the projecting wing.

Granville Leveson, third Earl of Carysfort (1855– 1868), stripped off the stucco and wooden parapets and turrets from the south-west front of the projecting wing, and refaced it with stone; pulled down the additional block at the north-west end and built a larger and better block, and remodelled the northeast front of Sir Thomas Proby's projecting wing, re-forming the entrance door on this side and erecting a new porch. He also built a new dining-room with a room on each side of it, and a new main staircase, all on the north-west side of the chapel and library.

Granville Leveson, fourth Earl of Carysfort (1868– 1872), built an embattled tower over one of the lastmentioned rooms, and also a billiard-room and new kitchens on the north-east side of the ancient gateway tower.

William, fifth Earl (1872–1909), pulled down the tower built by the first Earl and formed a gable with two turrets in its place to screen the exposed end of John Proby's block.

The south-east, or principal garden front, consists of four sections: At the north-east end stands the 15th-century gateway tower, a rectangular building of stone with a bold projection in front. It consists of three stories divided by string-courses. In the lowest story is the main archway with a depressed four-centred arch and continuous moulded jambs grooved for the portcullis. In the side walls of the projection are small arches of 17th-century date. In the next stage is a two-light window under a square head, above which is a panel carved with the Sapcote arms, three dovecotes 2 and 1, and crest, a goat's head, together with a motto. (fn. 25) In the third stage is a twolight window similar to that below. The tower has clasping buttresses to the projecting part, and is heavily machicolated and finished with an embattled parapet.

The next section, faced with ashlar, was built in 1814 or soon afterwards. The lower story has a simple doorway, a two-light window, and a two-light window in the projecting bay. The upper story has a transomed bay window with a four-light in front and singlelights on the sides, which came from the Drydens' house at Chesterton, (fn. 26) pulled down in 1807.

The third section, also of ashlar, but partly plastered, is the 15th-century chapel, now the drawing-room, with its undercroft, and having a large projecting bay in the centre. The undercroft has a three-light window on one side of the bay, and two single-lights on the other side; the bay itself is obscured by a large flight of steps, but the south-western part is of 15th-century date and the north-eastern part is of the 17th century. On the first floor, the drawingroom has five large single-light windows with twocentred heads and moulded jambs, apparently of the 17th century, but the two in the main wall probably occupy the positions of the original windows. The bay is wholly of the 17th-century date and its windows are similar to the other two except that the central one is a French casement. This building has diagonal buttresses at the angles, carried up as crocketed pinnacles, and is surmounted by an embattled parapet. The battlements are continued over the canted gables at each end; and in the north-eastern gable may still be seen the label moulding of the large east window of the chapel. A smaller window, now hidden by the adjoining roof, is in the south-western gable.

The fourth section, all faced with plaster, consists of two stories built by Sir Thomas Proby, about 1664–1666, but the upper story altered by the first Earl of Carysfort early in the 19th century and again in 1814, and with a story in the roof added in the latter year. The lower story has a modern French casement window, a 17th-century window with a two-centred head, and a square-headed two-light window. The upper story has a three-light window under a four-centred head, a wooden oriel window (lowered in 1814), and a two-light window under a four-centred head, all of c. 1814. This section is divided into three by four buttresses, grouped two and two, carried up as pinnacles, and having a gable between them in which is a large modern window under a four-centred head. The whole is surmounted by an embattled parapet.

The south-west end of this extension has two round towers built of rubble, at the angles, that at the western corner inclosing a circular newel staircase of oak. The wall between them has three tiers of squareheaded three-light windows and is finished with an embattled parapet. The whole of this front dates from 1814.

The north-west side of the extension, faced with stone, has three loops in the lower story, and a square-headed two-light window between two pointed two-lights above. It was built chiefly between 1812 and 1814, and has an embattled parapet raised in the latter year.

The south-west front of the projecting wing has been refaced with ashlar, in 1855–60, and has two stories and an attic. In each story are nine sashwindows with simple classic architraves. Above is a dentilled cornice, above which are seven large dormer windows. The cornice does not extend to the extreme south end, which is carried up as an extra story instead of having dormers. The return end of this upper part has a stepped gable between two octagonal turrets, erected when the first Earl's tower was pulled down in 1882.

The modern addition (1855–60) at the north-west end of the projecting wing is faced with ashlar, and has, in all three walls, windows similar to those just described, but, instead of the dormer windows, the cornice is surmounted by a stone balustraded parapet.

The north-east front of the projecting wing is a 17th-century ashlar-faced wall built by Sir Thomas Proby, but its features all date from 1855–60, and consist of sash-windows, cornice and dormers as on the other side. The modern porch, 1855–60, has stone columns, entablature and balustraded parapet of classic design. The original doorway was farther south than at present, and the walling round the window next to the porch shows signs of the alteration.

The north-west front of the main part of the house is wholly of 1855–60, and faced with stone. It consists of three sections. The first section is a tower having two square-headed three-light windows on the ground floor, two square-headed two-light windows with tracery on the principal floor, and one three-light and one single-light on the next floor. Above this is a string-course, and the next stage has a two-light window and a single-light, and above this is a twolight window. The whole is surmounted by an embattled parapet.

The next section of this front consists of the diningroom, with three large gothic three-light windows with tracery in two-centred heads. The whole stands over an open passage with three segmentalheaded openings.

Beyond this is the third section, having a squareheaded two-light window on the principal floor.

The north side, or back, of the ancient tower has a large archway with a segmental-pointed head on the ground floor, now filled in and having a three-light window under it. In the next stage are two squareheaded two-light windows; and there is another similar window in the stage above. The whole is finished with machicolations and parapet carried round from the front. At the west corner an octagonal embattled stair-turret rises up behind the parapet; it is lit, at the various stages, by small square-headed lights.

To the north-east of the gateway tower is a block of low buildings containing a billiard-room and kitchens, faced with hammer-dressed stone, built by the fourth Earl c. 1870.

Inside, the house has been so much modernised that little of archæological interest remains. The gateway tower is vaulted on the ground floor with simple quadripartite vaulting; and the room to the northeast of it has a four-centred barrel-vault with three hollow-chamfered ribs and wall-ribs. The doorway to the turret-staircase on the second floor has a twocentred head and continuous moulded jambs.

Bridges (1791) (fn. 27) speaks of the chapel as still remaining, and says that there was 'on each side of the altar a niche for a statue of large size,' and 'the ceiling and gallery are of old oak wainscot.' Old pictures of the house up to 1850 (fn. 28) show the northwestern side of the chapel with three three-light windows with tracery under two-centred heads; these are now hidden by the dining-room built in 1855–60, but it is possible that parts of them remain bedded in the wall.

The undercroft of the chapel is divided into two by a thick cross-wall, and each half is vaulted in two bays having chamfered ribs carried down to the floor as responds. The 15th-century projectimg bay has a four-centred barrel-vault with four hollow-chamfered ribs and wall-ribs.

The undercroft of Sir Thomas Proby's projecting wing is divided into three parts by original walls. The two end parts are each of two bays, and the central part is of three bays. Each bay is divided into two and is vaulted with plain brick vaulting carried on the walls and on plain square brick piers having hollow-chamfered imposts and chamfered plinths.

The present entrance hall, which has been much modernised, is lined with Dutch panelling of c. 1600, brought here from Glenart Castle a few years ago.

The stable buildings, which stand some distance to the east from the gateway tower, consist of two quadrangles. That to the south-west is of c. 1700; and that to the north-east c. 1870, and bears the arms of the fourth Earl of Carysfort and his Countess over the entrance archway.


The manor of ELTON is said to have been given to the Abbey of Ramsey by Etheric, or Ethelric, Bishop of Dorchester (1016–34). (fn. 29) He held the abbey in special affection in gratitude for the kindness shown by the abbot (who, as the 12th-century chronicler suggests, perhaps remembered his own youth) towards him when, as a boy at school at the abbey, he and his companions rang the great bell of the abbey until they cracked it. (fn. 30) The same chronicler relates that the bishop acquired the manor in a curious way, being entertained at Elton, together with four of King Canute's secretaries, while the king was journeying through the county, by a Dane who had with the king's leave married a wealthy widow and the owner of Elton. As the evening went on, the Dane became excessively drunk and promised Etheric to give him the manor if he paid him 50 marks of gold. In the morning he repented, but the bishop held him to his promise and his appeal to the king also failed. (fn. 31) The bishop then gave Elton to the abbey for ever for the support of the monks. (fn. 32) It was never granted away to a subtenant, but its profits were paid directly to the abbey until its dissolution in 1538. Being assigned to the support of the monks, it paid its 'farm' to the cellarer, supplying grain, cheese, bacon, honey, fowls, geese, young pigs, lambs, sheep, butter, eggs, beef, and money for herrings, brewing, livery and dishes, in fixed amounts each year. (fn. 33) Probably these supplies came from the demesne lands of the manor—that is, the lands which were cultivated by the bailiff, the chief official of the abbey in the manor; other lands were held by tenants, free-men, villeins and cottars, who paid variously rents in money or kind, or did work on the demesne lands. Certain of these rents were paid not to the cellarer, but to the abbot's chamber. (fn. 34) In 1086 there were 10 hides of land assessed to the geld; there was land for 24 ploughs, together with land for 4 more ploughs on the demesne; there were 28 villeins, a church and a priest, two mills rendering 60s. and 170 acres of meadow. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was worth £14 and in 1086 £16. (fn. 35) In Henry I's reign there were 7 free-tenants, 3 of whom did suit to the county and hundred, while others paid money rent and did a little ploughing for the lord. Thirty-five virgates were held by villeins ad opus, that is, for labour services. (fn. 36) Later in the 12th century, only 28 virgates were held for labour services, while 8 were held for a money rent of 6s. a year and a varying amount of ploughing. (fn. 37) In the early 13th century there were 13 hides, of which 3 belonged to the demesne. The services due from the villeins who held by labour services are fully set out, and obviously provided far more labour than the bailiff could possibly use on the demesne lands. (fn. 38) Hence, when the series of manorial accounts begin in the early 14th century, the services were valued in money at amounts varying from 2½d. to ½d., and the bailiff took what work he needed and received the balance in money payments. (fn. 39) Besides their services, the villeins paid fixed amounts for Hewshire, Warthpenys, Brewsilver, Fisting pond (or Filsting pounde), Maltsilver, Lentonfaris, Wolles silver, Fish silver, Vineyard silver. (fn. 40) The boon-works of both free and villein tenants were performed as late as 1392–3. (fn. 41) Work was also due in the vineyard and was performed there in 1286–7, (fn. 42) but ordinarily 3s. a year was paid instead to the cellarer of the abbey. (fn. 43) The effect of the Black Death in 1349 is very clearly shown in the Elton records, and many of the inhabitants must have died of the plague. In the year 1350–51 some 22 virgates were in the hands of tenants, but 23 virgates were in the hands of the lord owing to the mortality of the preceding year and similar loss had taken place among the cottars. (fn. 44) The following year the customary tenements were said to be all let at rent and the bailiff appears to have hired labourers for the harvest, although still calling on the tenants for boonwork. (fn. 45) Later, in 1359–60, two virgates were still held by the service of work, 14 others half at rent and half for work, 10¾ virgates were let at a money rent of 20s. a year, and 16¾ were still in the lord's hands. (fn. 46) Gradually all the customary tenements were held for a money rent, and finally, instead of being managed by the bailiff, the manor was let at farm, probably in 1397, (fn. 47) but certainly from 1422. (fn. 48) The system seems to have been for the farmer to have a lease of the demesne lands and certain tenements at an annual rent, but to have accounted for all the payments still made as the 'farm' of the manor to the cellarer and for the abbot's rents, and also for the cost of repairs and of hospitality, salaries of officials, etc. (fn. 49) The Abbot of Ramsey held a view of frankpledge for the manor, which was a court rather for the inhabitants than tenants. At this, the same business was transacted as at the sheriff's tourn in the Hundred, but the Abbot of Ramsey, in right of the extensive privileges of his abbey, held it for the tenants of each of his manors. It seems to have been held once a year in the autumn, the steward of the abbey travelling from one manor to another in turn. The free-tenants claimed in the 13th century that they were not bound to serve on the jury of presentment, (fn. 50) which was usually composed of villeins, but the names of free-tenants do apparently appear. The villeins paid a customary fine of 13s. 4d. (fn. 51) a year to excuse the personal attendance of each of them, but the chief free-tenant, holding the Hall Fee (q.v.), paid 2s. separately for his men. (fn. 52) From the 14th century to the early 16th century, the tithing system continued to be of importance and men were presented for not being in a tithing and boys, on reaching the age of 12, were put into a tithing. (fn. 53) The abbot held the assizes of bread and ale and the offenders against the assize were presented at the view. The court also dealt with cases of trespass, assault and wounding, raising the hue and cry falsely and other minor offences, as well as cases of debt. The officials of the manor, the serjeant or reeve and the mace-bearer or bedel, and the ale-tasters were also appointed at this court. At a view of frankpledge held in 1446, presentments were made forbidding the playing of tennis, 'peny prikke' and other unlawful games. (fn. 54) There was also a manorial court, simply called a Curia, but the first extant separate roll of this court is dated 1350, (fn. 55) and before this the business of the two courts does not seem to have been separated on the days when the view of frankpledge was also held. There was apparently a recognised right of appeal to the abbot, (fn. 56) but ordinarily in questions of tenure, services or status, appeal was made to the Register of Customs, which was apparently kept by the abbey steward at Ramsey. (fn. 57) In 1300 in a question of the custom of the manor, in which the customary tenants were at variance with the macebearer, the steward 'was unwilling to pronounce judgment against the said mace bearer but left the judgment entirely to the lord Abbot, so that the said lord, having examined the register, may do and ordain with regard to the custom upon this demand, as he shall think ought to be done in accordance with God's will.' (fn. 58) The other important business of the manorial court was the issuing of ordinances regulating the common cultivation of the fields and the number of beasts allowed to the tenants in the commons of the manor. The Abbot of Ramsey had gallows and trebuchet in the manor. (fn. 59) The free-tenants also owed suit to the abbot's court of the Honour of Broughton. (fn. 60)

In 1541 Henry VIII granted the manor of Elton to Queen Katherine Howard as part of her jointure. (fn. 61) In 1546 it was in turn granted to Queen Katherine Parr, (fn. 62) in whose time considerable repairs were carried out at the manor house and its buildings. (fn. 63) On her death in 1548 (fn. 64) it reverted to Edward VI. The manor was held by Queen Elizabeth (fn. 65) and passed to James I. He granted it at farm on 29 June 1605 to Thomas, Lord Ellesmere, and nine other peers for a term of 500 years. (fn. 66) On 1 July following, however, he granted the manor to his son Charles, then Duke of York, to hold to him and his heirs by military service, (fn. 67) but by August of the same year it had been mortgaged to the City of London. (fn. 68) The grant of the manor to Charles was revoked in 1613, (fn. 69) and in 1620 King James sold or mortgaged it to John, Lord Digby, the sale including the assized rents of the free and customary tenants amounting to £38 16s. 2½d. per annum; all lands and tenements and hereditaments, which were parcel of the manor and the tenements of the customary tenants; the site of the manor and the lands appurtenant to it, let at an annual rent of £8 6s. 8d.; a piece of waste land, occupied by Henry Parkinson at an annual rent of 4d., 3 copyhold cottages built on the waste of the manor, held at a rent of 2s. 0½d. per annum; an annual fine of 13s. 4d. from the tenants, together with the perquisites of the court, to hold in free socage of the manor of East Greenwich, paying £47 18s. 7d. a year. (fn. 70) In 1624, the king granted the manor, with the same premises enumerated in Lord Digby's grant, to Sir James Fullerton, master of the Court of Wards of the Prince of Wales, and Francis Maxwell, who had been nominated by Jane Murray, widow, and her son Henry, to hold the lands granted to them in exchange for certain pensions. (fn. 71) She was the widow of Thomas Murray, late Secretary to Prince Charles. (fn. 72) The rent, however, was reduced to £44 11s. 11d., certain reprisals due from the manor being deducted. (fn. 73) Fullerton and Maxwell obtained seisin of the manor and were holding it in 1626. (fn. 74) Before 1631 it had passed to Thomas Trigge, (fn. 75) who with his wife Alice sold it in 1633 to Sir Thomas Cotton, bart. (fn. 76) Cotton held his first view of frankpledge and court baron for Elton manor in October of that year. (fn. 77) Before 1662 his daughter Frances married Sir Thomas Proby, who had been created a baronet in that year, and for the marriage settlement Sir Heneage Proby, knt., father of Sir Thomas, had agreed to purchase lands and leases at a cost of £2,400. (fn. 78) Presumably on Cotton's side it was agreed that the manor should be given, with his daughter, to Sir Thomas, who in 1664 obtained a quitclaim of it from Lawrence Torkington and Samuel Pont, who appear to have been trustees of the Cottons. (fn. 79) Sir Thomas Proby was the grandson of Sir Peter Proby, (fn. 80) a native of Chester, whose father had settled at Brampton, Hunts. (fn. 81) Peter came to London in the service of Sir Thomas Heneage, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to whom he owed his advancement, becoming M.P. for Hull in 1593 and Liverpool in 1597–8. He is said to have been barber to Sir Francis Walsingham and was a member of the BarberSurgeons' Company of London, being alderman of Queenhithe Ward from 1614 to 1623. He was lord mayor in 1622–23 and during his year of office was knighted and also transferred to the Grocers' Company. (fn. 82) He was alderman of Bread Street Ward from 1623 till his death in 1625. (fn. 83) He was much concerned with the settlement of Ulster and was governor of the Irish Society from 1616 to 1622. In the earlier year he went with a commission sent by the king and the City of London on matters concerning the Ulster colony and presented swords of state to the mayors of Londonderry and Coleraine. (fn. 84) In 1604, he obtained a grant from James I of the office of bailiff of the manor of Elton, (fn. 85) which he still retained at the time of its alienation in 1624. (fn. 86)

Proby. Ermine a fesse gules with a lion passant or thercon.

Sir Thomas Proby died in 1689, his only son having predeceased him, (fn. 87) and his widow was owner of the manor until her death in 1699. (fn. 88) It passed to John Proby, Sir Thomas's brother, who held it till his death in 1710. His daughter and heir Frances died unmarried in 1711 and the property passed to his cousin William, governor of Fort St. George, the son of Charles Proby, the third son of Emanuel, fourth son of Sir Peter Proby. (fn. 89) He was succeeded by his son John Proby, in whose marriage settlement the description of the Elton property was the same as in the grant of 1620 made by James I. (fn. 90) John Proby gave Elton to his son John Proby, the younger, on the occasion of his marriage in 1750 to Elizabeth, daughter of Joshua, 2nd Viscount Allen. (fn. 91) The first court of the manor under the younger John was held on 25 October 1749. (fn. 92) He was created Baron Carysfort in the peerage of Ireland in 1752 (fn. 93) and was succeeded by his son John Joshua Proby in 1772. (fn. 94) The latter was created Earl of Carysfort in 1789, and in 1801 Baron Carysfort of the Hundred of Norman Cross in the peerage of the United Kingdom. (fn. 95) The Earls of Carysfort were lords of the manor until the death of the 5th Earl in 1909, when his honours became extinct. (fn. 96) His heir was his nephew Col. Douglas James Hamilton, the son of his sister Elizabeth and her husband Lord Claud Hamilton. He took the name of Proby in 1904 and succeeded to the property in 1909; on his death in 1931 he was succeeded by his son Mr. Granville Proby, the present owner.

The site of the manor, which was known as the Burystead, was leased in 1535 by the abbot to John Sandys for a term of 70 years, for a rent of 25 quarters of corn to be paid at Elton mills. (fn. 97) In 1551 Edward VI granted the rent of 25 quarters of corn to George Raylton to hold for 21 years at a rent of £8 6s. 8d. (fn. 98) Before 1556 the lease of the site and demesnes seems to have passed to John Hixon, who left his lease to his wife Elizabeth during her widowhood, with reversion to his son Robert, provided that his brother-in-law Gregory Raylton approved of her tenancy. (fn. 99) It seems probable that George and Gregory Raylton were identical. In 1568 Queen Elizabeth granted to Ralph Rawlinson, a groom of her wardrobe, the reversion of the rent of 25 quarters of corn, for 21 years, to take effect at the end of Raylton's lease in 1572, paying the same rent of £8 6s. 8d. She also granted him the reversion of the site of the manor, for 21 years, at a rent of £8 6s. 8d., also to take effect at the end of Raylton's lease in 1572, (fn. 100) but it was afterwards noticed that there was a mistake, as Raylton had no lease of the site, and in 1589 or 1590 Elizabeth, widow of Ralph Rawlinson, obtained a new patent, correctly granting her a lease for 21 years, at the expiration of Sandys' lease in 1605. (fn. 101) In 1586 the Queen granted a lease to her servant Thomas Hickson, probably the son of John Hixon, of the rent of 25 quarters of corn for 21 years, to take effect in 1593, at the expiration of Rawlinson's lease. (fn. 102) Finally, in 1589, she granted to William Kirkham, junior, the reversion of the site of the manor and the pasture for 25 bullocks at a rent of £8 6s. 8d. for 40 years, to take effect at the end of Elizabeth Rawlinson's lease in 1626. (fn. 103) From other evidence it seems clear that amongst the different lessees John Sandys, John Hixon, and Ralph Rawlinson occupied the site and demesne lands of the manor in turn, (fn. 104) but in 1588 the actual farmer was Christopher Smythe, (fn. 105) whose name does not appear in the leases which so far have been traced. In 1605, when the abbot's lease expired, the actual farmer was Peter Proby, who paid an annual rent of £8 6s. 8d. (fn. 106) He had presumably bought William Kirkham's lease. At his death in 1625, he held a long lease which he left to his wife Elizabeth to hold for 40 years, if she lived so long, with reversion to his son Heneage Proby. (fn. 107) The latter, in 1634, became the tenant of certain copyhold lands in Elton, which had previously been held by Sir Thomas Cheeke, receiving them from the steward of Sir Thomas Cotton, then lord of the manor. (fn. 108) In 1640 he was described as Heneage Proby of Elton. (fn. 109) In his will, dated 20 November 1663, no mention is made of any property at Elton (fn. 110) and he was then living at Rans [alias Rands], in the parish of Amersham (Bucks). In any case, if he still was the lessee of the site and demesnes of Elton manor, they would fall in to his son as lord of the manor.

Sapcote. Sable three dovecotes argent.

The so-called manor of HALL FEE may be identified as originating in the hide of land held of the Abbey of Ramsey by the family of Aylington, but it is difficult to fix the date when they obtained it. In a survey of the manor of Elton recording the tenants in the time of Henry I, no free-tenant held as much as a hide of land, the largest holding being the three virgates of Reiner son of Ednoth, (fn. 111) nor does the hide appear in the survey probably made in the time of Abbot William (1160–1177). (fn. 112) A Reynold de Aylington, however, appears as a witness of a charter of Abbot Walter (1133–60), (fn. 113) and the same abbot granted two virgates of land, which Thuri, the priest, had held temp. Henry I, to Richard son of Reynold. (fn. 114) A rent of 66s. 11d. at the close of the 14th century was described as 'the ancient rent sometime of Reynald de Ayllyngtone,' (fn. 115) and it seems probable that Reynald was the first member of the family who can be identified. John, son of John de Aylington, held the hide of land in 1218–19, for which he did suit to the county and hundred and also twice a year to the Abbot of Ramsey's court of the Honour of Broughton. If, however, the king's writ was brought into the honour court, he did suit every three weeks. He and his tenants came to the view of frankpledge in Elton and he paid to the abbot as capitagium for his men 2s. a year, (fn. 116) the separate payment of which is recorded on the court rolls until 1536. (fn. 117) In 1230 John de Aylington obtained two virgates of land in Elton from Ralph son of Reynald, but this was probably a family settlement. (fn. 118) From this time the hide of land was held by a John de Aylington until 1410, but it is impossible to separate the different tenants. (fn. 119) From 1414 to 1425 the tenant was Oliver de Woderove (fn. 120) and from 1429 to 1447 William Wolston. (fn. 121) In 1451 Richard Sapcote was the tenant, (fn. 122) and at this time the holding seems to have been known as the Hall Fee or Hall Place. (fn. 123) The Wolstons bore for their arms argent, three turnstiles (or reels) sable, (fn. 124) and these were the arms of Sir Richard's wife, although the heraldry does not represent her as an heiress; (fn. 125) she was Isabel, the widow of Sir John Frauncis, of Burley, Rutland, (fn. 126) and died in 1493. (fn. 127) As Sir Richard Sapcote, he was holding in 1473, (fn. 128) and is said to have died in 1477. (fn. 129) In 1495, when his son, Sir John Sapcote, was the tenant, the Hall Fee was first described as a manor. (fn. 130) To his wife, Elizabeth, sister and co-heir of John, Lord Dinham, (fn. 131) he left his manor and other property in Elton, for her life, with remainder to his son Richard, vesting it in trustees. (fn. 132) At his death in 1501, Richard was a minor, betrothed to Alice or Anne, daughter of Sir Nicholas Vaux. (fn. 133) He afterwards married Christian, daughter of Sir John Hungerford, who survived him. (fn. 134) He died in 1542, directing in his will that he should be buried at Fotheringhay College, near to his grandfather, Sir Richard Sapcote. (fn. 135) During the minority of his son and heir Robert, he left a moiety of his lands to the use of the king, but Elton had been settled on his wife for life. (fn. 136) In 1573, Robert returned that he held the manor, 602 acres of arable land, 50 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture, for which he owed fealty and suit of court and paid an annual rent of 22s. 8d. and 2 capons. (fn. 137) He had enlarged his park since 1574, by taking in certain copyhold lands by an exchange arranged with the tenants; (fn. 138) he also obtained some of the lands formerly belonging to the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary (fn. 139) (q.v.), besides holding the rectory estate on lease. (fn. 140) He died 4 January 1600/1, (fn. 141) and in 1601 his eldest daughter Eleanor and her husband Henry Sapcote of Bracebridge, Lincs, had succeeded him at Elton. (fn. 142) By 1609 the manor had passed to their daughter and heir, Elizabeth, and her husband, Sir Thomas Beaumont, (fn. 143) of Cole Orton (Leics), although Henry Sapcote and Elizabeth were still living in 1617, when it was sold to Sir Nathaniel Riche. (fn. 144) Its history for the next fifty years has not been traced, but by 1664 it belonged to Sir Thomas Proby, bart., (fn. 145) who probably acquired it at the same time as the manor of Elton (q.v.). By 1668 he had rebuilt Elton Hall, the Sapcotes' house. (fn. 146) In 1719, in the settlement made on the marriage of John Proby, senior, it is mentioned separately from the manor of Elton, as the 'manor or reputed manor of Aylton' in the counties of Huntingdon and Northampton. (fn. 147)

In Domesday Book (1086) the Abbey of Ramsey held half a hide of land in Elton, in Northamptonshire, where there were two villeins. (fn. 148) A few years later it was held by William Fitz-Ketelber(n), (fn. 149) but it probably afterwards formed part of the Hall Fee (q.v.), of which part of the lands lay in Northamptonshire, as part of the park does to this day.

The Abbey of Peterborough also held land in Elton in Northamptonshire. In 1086 it held a hide and a half. (fn. 150) In 1125 certain sokemen held one hide and one virgate there, and served with the knights of Peterborough. (fn. 151) In 1290 Hugh son of Ralph Crane of Elton held a messuage and 60 acres in free socage of the abbey at a rent of 11s. 8d. (fn. 152)

In 1086 there were two mills at Elton, rendering 40s. (fn. 153) In Henry I's reign a virgate of land and 6½ acres of meadow were attached to the mills, which rendered 40s. a year. (fn. 154) The water-mills and their repair are continually mentioned in the manorial accounts and they were generally let on lease. In 1551 Edward VI granted them to George Raylton on a lease of 21 years at a rent of £6 13s. 4d. a year, (fn. 155) but he seems to have assigned it to John Hixon, probably his brother-in-law. In 1556 Hixon left his lease of the mills to his son Thomas. (fn. 156) In 1568 Queen Elizabeth granted them to Ralph Rawlinson, at the same rent, to hold for 21 years, beginning on the expiration of Raylton's lease, and in 1586 she granted them to Thomas Hickson, on a lease of 21 years, starting in 1593, on the expiration of Rawlinson's lease, and lastly she granted them to William Kirkham on a lease of 40 years, starting in 1614. (fn. 157) In the meantime, however, Peter Proby appears to have obtained a lease of the mills from one of these lessees and held them in 1605 at the same rent, and continued to do so, (fn. 158) although James I granted them in 1614 to William Whitmore and Edward Sawyer, fishing grantees, to hold to them, their heirs and assigns. (fn. 159) A fulling-mill existed in 1296–7. (fn. 160) In 1350 it was said to be in such disrepair that no rent was received for it. (fn. 161)

Two common ovens belonged to the manor, one in Nether End opposite the manor house, the other in Over End. (fn. 162)

In 1279 an agreement was made between the Abbots of Peterborough and Ramsey, by which in return for certain grants the Abbot of Peterborough agreed that the Abbot of Ramsey might hold a market on Mondays or Tuesdays at Elton, without any hindrance from the abbots of Peterborough. (fn. 163) There is no evidence, however, that the market was ever established.


The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (38¾ ft. by 19 ft.), organ chamber and vestry, on north (17¾ ft. by 7 ft.), nave (55¼ ft. by 19½ ft.), north aisle (74 ft. by 11½ ft.), south aisle (75 ft. by 13 ft.), west tower (14¼ ft. by 14¼ ft.), and south porch. The walls of the tower and porch are faced with ashlar, and the rest of the church with rubble with stone dressings. The roofs are covered with lead and slates.

The church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), and some foundations of this early church were found under the north wall of the chancel in 1886. (fn. 164) Nothing, however, remains above ground earlier than the chancel arch, which dates from c. 1270. The chancel, nave and two aisles were built in the first decade of the 14th century and there are indications that a vestry was added a little later. The three western arches of the south arcade were rebuilt in the 15th century, and at the extreme end of the century the south aisle itself was rebuilt, the west tower built and both aisles extended to its west face, a south porch built, and a clearstory added to the nave. The west gallery was taken down and the tower arch opened out by the Rev. F. W. Faber (1843–45), and further improvements were made by the Rev. P. C. Claughton (1845–59). (fn. 165) The church was restored in 1885–6, when the vestry and organ chamber were rebuilt, the aisle roofs renewed and the clearstory windows opened out; and in 1905, when the east wall of the chancel was rebuilt.

Reproduced by permission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office from the Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, Hunts.

The early 14th-century chancel has a four-light contemporary east window reset in a modern east wall. The north wall has a modern arch to the organ chamber and a recess with a cinquefoiled head. At the north-west corner are the 15th-century rood-stairs with three blocked windows into the chancel. The south wall has two contemporary two-light windows, and a third of rather later date; below this last window is a blocked low-side window of about the same date, having a semicircular cinquefoiled head. Farther west is a blocked early 14th-century low-side window with slightly ogee trefoiled head; there is also a blocked early 16th-century doorway with a fourcentred head; and an original piscina and three graduated sedilia under a range of four two-centred cinquefoiled arches on circular columns and attached jamb-shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The chancel arch, c. 1270, has a two-centred arch of two moulded orders, the inner order resting on a modern group of three small shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The roof is modern.

The modern organ chamber has two two-light windows in the north wall. The western end of the north wall is part of the 14th-century vestry.

The early 14th-century nave has a north arcade of four contemporary two-centred arches of two moulded orders; the piers are composed of four circular grouped shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds are attached semi-piers. The south arcade also has four two-centred arches; the eastern bay with its column and both responds are similar to those on the north; the three western arches with their columns are of 15th-century date and the arches are chamfered instead of moulded, while the square bases of the piers are set diagonally; the western arch appears to have been reset when the tower was built. The upper doorway of the rood-stairs is at the north end of the east wall. The early 16th-century clearstory has four square-headed two-light windows on each side, but two on the north are blocked.

The 15th-century north aisle has an early 14thcentury doorway to the organ chamber. The north wall has three three-light windows, of c. 1500, with four-centred heads; a modern two-light window; and a 14th-century blocked doorway with two-centred head. The west wall has a three-light window similar to the others. The roof, of c. 1500, is of low pitch and has moulded beams, jack-legs and braces.

The south aisle, of c. 1500, has a three-light window in the east wall, a piscina with sexfoiled basin, and two semi-hexagonal brackets. The south wall has two three-light windows and one two-light, similar to those in the north aisle, and a doorway with twocentred arch and continuous moulded jambs. The west wall has a three-light window similar to the rest. The contemporary roof is similar to that of the north aisle.

The west tower, of c. 1500, stands on three twocentred arches; that to the nave is of three moulded orders, the lowest resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The side arches are similar but not so high. Above them, on all three sides, is a high wall-arch on the inner face of the tower. The west doorway has moulded jambs and a two-centred arch under a square label and with traceried spandrels. The west window is a twolight with a two-centred head; above it is a small niche. In the next stage there is a two-light window in each face. The belfry windows are transomed three-lights with two-centred heads. The tower is of three stages with clasping buttresses, and has bands of quatrefoils above the plinth, below the belfry windows and below the parapet. The stairs are in the south-west corner.

The south porch, of c. 1500, has a four-centred outer archway of two moulded orders the lower resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases, the former having the battlement ornament; above it are three niches with cinquefoiled crocketed heads. There is a two-light window in the east wall.

The early 14th-century font has an octagonal bowl with a trefoil-headed panel on each side, and a 15thcentury stem and plinth.

There are five bells, inscribed: (1) Thomas Norris cast me, 1631, (and, on a lower line) Recast by G. Mears & Co., of London, 1864. (2) Thomas Norris cast me, 1631. (3) Wm. Pix, Th. Barkar, CH. WA. 1631. Recast by G. Mears & Co., of London, 1864, (and, on the opposite side) Donor William fifth Earl of Carysfort. (4) Omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei. Tho. Robinson & Wm. Dexter, 1746. J. Eayre. (and, on a lower line) Recast by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough, (incised) 1896. (5) Jesus spede me omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei. (and, lower down) Thomas Norris cast me, 1631. There were five bells in 1708, (fn. 166) and probably all were by Norris but one recast by Eayre, in 1746. On the old fourth bell, Tho. Robinson and William Dexter were called Churchwardens. (fn. 167) They were all rehung in the old bell-frame and the 4th bell recast in 1896.

Elton: 11th-Century Cross in the Churchyard. From a drawing in the Dryden Collection (Public Library, Northampton)

There are a few early 16th-century seats in the nave, the ends with traceried panels, and some with linenfold panels.

In the churchyard, near the north-west corner of the north aisle, are portions of two 11th-century crosses, having pierced wheel heads and interlaced ornament on the sides. They were dug up shortly before 1868. (fn. 168) There is also part of a coffin and lid, of c. 1300. In the tower is a coped coffin-lid with the omega ornament, c. 1300; and in the porch is a 15th-century matrix of a brass to a civilian and wife, with children, shield and inscription plate.

In the south aisle, over the middle pier of the arcade, is a stone bearing a coat of arms—three dovecotes (Sapcote) impaling three turnstiles (or reels)—and inscribed 'Syr Richard Sapcote Knyght.'

A fine incised alabaster slab to Robert Sapcott, 1600/1, now fitted up in the south aisle, was found during the restoration of 1885–6, turned face downwards and used as a hearthstone.

There are the following monuments: in the chancel, to Jane, daughter of the Rev. John Forster and Jane his wife, d. 1764; the Rev. John Forster, D.D., Rector, d. 1787; John Joshua, Lord Proby, eldest son of the 3rd Earl of Carysfort, d. 1858, and Hugh Proby, d. 1852; and the Right Rev. Piers Calveley Claughton, formerly Rector, d. 1884, and Fanny Sarah (Clarke) his wife, d. 1917; floor slabs to the Rev. Tho. Ball, D.D., Rector, d. 1722; the Rev. Samuel Ball, LL.D., Rector, d. 1738, Anne his wife, d. 1735, and Anne Ball, d. 1776; Martha, wife of the Rev. Tho. Ball, d. 1766, and the Rev. Tho. Ball, D.D., d. 1789; and Jane, widow of the Rev. John Forster, D.D., Rector, d. 1792; glass windows to Granville Leveson, 4th Earl of Carysfort, d. 1872; Augusta Maria, widow of the 4th Earl of Carysfort, d. 1881; Archdeacon Kempthorne, Rector, d. 1888; and Edward Peach, d. 1891, and Marianne Peach, his sister, d. 1875. In the north aisle, to Samuel Rowlatt, d. 1814; and Sarah Hopkinson, d. 1899; glass windows to John Laurance, d. 1886, and Elizabeth his wife, d. 1899; and Mary, wife of John Laurance, d. 1914. In the south aisle, to Ellen, d. 1670, Heneage, d. 1671, Elizabeth, d. 1679, and Frances, d. 1680, children of Sir Thomas Proby, Bart., and Frances his wife; Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Proby, Bart., and Frances his wife, d. 1684; Sir Thomas Proby, Bart., d. 1689; John, second son of Sir Heneage Proby, d. 1710, and Frances his daughter, d. 1711; John Joshua, 1st Earl of Carysfort, d. 1828; and William, 5th Earl of Carysfort, d. 1909; floor slabs to E. P., 1670; H. P., 1671; E. P. 1679; F. P. 1680; T. P. 1684; and T. P. 1689; glass windows to Isabella, wife of the 3rd Earl of Carysfort, d. 1836; Granville Leveson, 3rd Earl of Carysfort, d. 1868; and Maria Newman, d. 1904, and Dennis Newman, d. 1901. In the tower, glass window to Edward Newman, d. 1893. Loose at the west end of the church, to Tho. Lea, d. 1687/8.

The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials 1 January 1559/60 to 28 February 1655; (ii) the same 22 October 1653 to 23 March 1689/90; (iii) the same 4 April 1688 to 3 April 1751; (iv) the same 16 April 1751 to 28 Dec. 1812, marriages end 29 Sep. 1754; (v) the official marriage book 23 Oct. 1754 to 16 Nov. 1812; the usual modern books.

The church plate consists of a silver cup with a band of Elizabethan ornament, and hall-marked for 1571–2; a somewhat similar cup, hall-marked for the same year; a cover paten for the last, inscribed '1571,' and with the same hall-mark; two silver standing patens, engraved with a shield of arms—A lion passant within a bordure charged with eight estoils (Ball), impaling On a bend engrailed between two lions rampant, three annulets (Cooper), and with a crest, out of a mural crown a demi-lion rampant, with a collar charged with three estoils, and holding in his jambe an olive branch—inscribed 'Ex dono Thomae Ball Rectoris de Aylton 1760,' hall-marked for 1669–70; a silver flagon, engraved and inscribed as the standing patens, and with the same hall-mark.


The church of Elton was in existence in the time of the Domesday Survey (fn. 169) and possibly when the manor was granted to Ramsey Abbey. The advowson belonged to the abbey until its dissolution. (fn. 170) On two occasions the abbey seems to have granted away the right of presentation for one turn; it was granted to Sir Piers Ardern, chief baron of the Exchequer, and two others, but no vacancy had occurred before his death in 1467, (fn. 171) and again in 1528 William Brereton was presented by Henry Hubbard by reason of a licence of the Abbot of Ramsey to Richard Bromehall and John Lawrence. (fn. 172) The church had been endowed with land in early times. (fn. 173) In 1278 one virgate formed the chief part of the fee of the parson, who also held 10 acres of land, for which he paid ½ mark rent a year to the abbey, as an ordinary free-tenant. (fn. 174) In 1178 Pope Alexander III confirmed the possession of Elton with its church to the abbey. (fn. 175) About 1180 the abbey claimed a pension of 10 marks from the church, but this was disputed by the rector. The Bishop of Lincoln ordered an inquiry and arbitration, when it was agreed that the rector was to pay a pension of 5 marks from the rectory. (fn. 176) This was confirmed (1189–95) by St. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, (fn. 177) and it was paid to the abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 178) Besides the advowson, this pension, which in 1343 was paid to the sacrist of the abbey, and a portion of tithes from the demesne lands (fn. 179) seem to have been all that was received by the abbey, the rector holding the land belonging to the church and receiving the remaining tithes. After the Dissolution the pension was paid to the Crown, certainly as late as 1624. (fn. 180) The church was valued at £23 6s. 8d. in 1291 (fn. 181) and 1428, (fn. 182) and at £27 9s. 0d. in 1535. (fn. 183) Between 1209 and 1218, Bishop Hugh de Welles instituted John de Hocton perpetual vicar of the church on the presentation of Robert de Dunholme the rector. The vicar was to live at Elton and serve the church in person, receiving all the altar dues, oblations and small tithes; but no further mention of a vicar occurs. (fn. 184)

The advowson does not appear to have been alienated by the Crown, (fn. 185) but was probably sold under the Commonwealth to John Cooper, who had been rector since 1629 and was the patron in 1661. (fn. 186) On his retirement in that year, Nicholas Hunt and Peter Woodcock, as patrons for one turn and sons-in-law of Cooper, presented Thomas Ball, another son-inlaw, the husband of Cooper's youngest daughter, Elizabeth. (fn. 187) On the death of Thomas Ball in 1673, his widow presented his brother Samuel, who held the living till 1708. Her son Thomas Ball, D.D., then became rector and was probably also patron. On his death in 1722, Samuel Ball, presumably as his executor, presented in 1723, and in 1731 Ann Ball, his widow, presented her son Samuel. He vacated the living, but was again instituted in 1735, on the presentation of William Fuller, his father-in-law, to whom he had assigned the advowson as security for a loan. He died in 1738, when, as the loan was unpaid, Fuller took possession of the advowson. Although John Ball was immediately presented by Samuel's mother, Ann Ball, and instituted by the bishop, within a year John Forster was presented by Fuller and held the living for 48 years. In 1760, as a result of litigation, the advowson was sold by representatives of the Balls and Fullers to University College, Oxford. In 1884 the College sold it to Mrs. Whistler, the wife of the Rev. R. F. Whistler, who became rector in 1889 and afterwards was the historian of Elton. (fn. 188) By 1895 the advowson had been acquired by the Earl of Carysfort and now belongs to Mr. Granville Proby.

A chapel is mentioned as attached to the abbot's hall at Elton in 1351 and 1352, (fn. 189) when the incoming reeve took over a vestment, chalice, missal, bell and cruet, and in 1460 John Alom, the farmer of the manor, still had to account for the vestment, missal and chalice, (fn. 190) although the chapel itself is not mentioned.

In 1501 Sir John Sapcote, in his will, wished his wife Elizabeth, the sister and co-heir of John, Lord Dinham, to carry on after his death the work begun at his chapel at his 'manor place' at Elton and furnish it according to her discretion. (fn. 191) He died in the same year (fn. 192) and a chantry was also founded for the repose of his soul, (fn. 193) but whether it was in the parish church or in the chapel at the Hall does not appear. In 1535 it was endowed with a yearly pension or rent of £6 13s. 4d., (fn. 194) paid by the master of Fotheringhay College, and it existed until the dissolution of the Chantries, (fn. 195) but no further record of its endowment has been found.

The Chantry and Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Our Lady Guild was probably founded in 1352, when John de Goushill, parson of Elton, and John Knyvet obtained the royal licence to endow it with 6 messuages, 24 acres of land and 10 acres of meadow, which were held of the Abbot of Ramsey of the manor of Elton at a rent of 30s. a year. The profits which would accrue to the chaplain of the chantry were valued at 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 196) From 1386 to 1423 the fraternity of the guild paid assized rents from holdings in Elton, (fn. 197) and from 1442 to 1460 rents of 21s. 4d. a year together with payments for tallage and for carrying service due from a customary tenement. (fn. 198) From 1386 to 1393 William Heynes, the chantry priest, paid 3s. 4d. a year 'for the rent of the ploughing'; (fn. 199) in 1422–3 Henry Herward, the chaplain, paid it, (fn. 200) but from 1442 to 1460 it was paid by the fraternity 'for the ploughing' of the same chantry. (fn. 201) At the time of the dissolution of the Chantries the lands held by the guild were concealed. (fn. 202) Later they became known as the Town Lands and apparently consisted of a messuage, 69 acres of arable land, 5 acres of meadow and a croft. (fn. 203) In Henry VIII's reign they were said to have been held by John Bythorne, who in 1541 granted them to various feoffees who claimed to hold them for the benefit of the poor of the parish and for the repair of the parish church and of roads and bridges. (fn. 204) They were let at farm in 1557 to Robert Vinar for 21 years and he later transferred his lease to William Palmer. (fn. 205) In 1567 the lands were found by a commission of the Exchequer to have been given for the maintenance of Our Lady Guild (fn. 206) and the Queen seized them and granted them in 1570 to Hugh Councell and Robert Pistor, (fn. 207) who immediately sold them to Thomas Boughton and Thomas Bywater. (fn. 208) On Bywater's death Boughton sold them to John Emeley. (fn. 209) In the meantime the feoffees had complained and in 1571 another inquiry was held, which apparently admitted the claim of the feoffees, (fn. 210) who, however, granted their right to Robert Sapcote in 1577. (fn. 211) Suits were brought by John Emeley and by certain of the feoffees against Sapcote. (fn. 212) In the following year William Palmer held the messuage, 69 acres of land and some of the meadow of the Town land, while Sapcote held other parcels. (fn. 213) In 1605 Thomas Viner, probably the successor of Robert Viner or Vinar, one of the feoffees of 1577, held the Town land at an annual rent of £1 2s. 6d., (fn. 214) and at the present day the Town land consists of a close of 3 acres, of which the yearly yield is devoted to the repair of the church and to public uses.

One acre of land in Elton was given in perpetuity to provide a light in the church, for which a yearly payment of 3½d. was received at the time of the dissolution of the Chantries. (fn. 215) In 1549 it was in the tenure of the churchwardens, but was then granted by Edward VI to John Dodyngton and William Warde. (fn. 216)


John Cooper's Hospital and Pension Charity.—This charity was founded by deed dated 13 June 1663, and is now regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 17 December 1880 as varied by schemes of the said Commissioners dated respectively 4 June 1886 and 13 July 1923. The endowment originally consisted of the Hospital or Almshouses comprising four cottages and Blyton Farm containing 89 acres approx. situate in the city of Lincoln. Part of the farm was sold in 1921 and the proceeds invested in the purchase of £8,175 1s. 1d. 4 per cent. Funding Stock in the name of the Official Trustees, which, together with the Almshouses, the remainder of the farm and £206 16s. 4d. Consols, forms the present endowment of the charity. The income, after payment of a yearly sum of £65 due to the Proby Charity and the expenses in connection with the Almshouses, is expended in stipends or pensions to the almswomen in accordance with the provisions of the abovementioned schemes.

Eleanor Ellis, by will proved 7 August 1925, bequeathed £50 to the rector of Elton, the interest to be paid to poor widows. This sum was invested in the purchase of £64 13s. 6d. 3½ per cent. Conversion Stock with the Official Trustees, and the dividends are distributed to poor widows at Christmas.

Thomas Selby, by will, in 1702 gave a rentcharge of £1 per annum for the poor of the parish. This charge is now paid by the Elton Estates Co. in respect of a house and premises in Elton and distributed to ten poor persons.

Town Land.—The origin of this charity is not generally known. (fn. 217) The endowment consists of about 3 acres of land let for £3 3s. 0d. on a yearly tenancy. Two-thirds of the income is paid to the churchwardens' account and the residue to the overseers' account.


  • 1. Chron. Abb. Rames. (Rolls Ser.), 135 (afterwards referred to as Chron. Rames.).
  • 2. Proby MS. (Notes by the Rev. R. F. Whistler, added to his History of Elton, fol. 1).
  • 3. Priv. Act of Parl. 17 Geo. III, c. 34.
  • 4. Add. R. (B.M.) 34321; P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, no. 15. All references to the Ministers' Accounts till 1460 and Court Rolls at the Public Record Office and British Museum have been taken from translations in possession of Mr. G. Proby at Elton Hall.
  • 5. Court Bk. at Elton Hall, fol. 24.
  • 6. Bridges, Hist. Northants, ii, 483.
  • 7. Cat. Anct. D. A. 7107.
  • 8. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, no. 14.
  • 9. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 297.
  • 10. Exch. Dep. by Com. Hil. 31 Eliz. no. 19.
  • 11. Priv. Act of Parl. 17 Geo. III, c. 34.
  • 12. R. F. Whistler, Hist. of Elton, pp. 38, 59.
  • 13. Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 201.
  • 14. Dict. Nat. Biog.; R. F. Whistler, Hist. of Elton, 49–55.
  • 15. V.C.H. Hunts, ii, 116.
  • 16. R. F. Whistler, Hist. of Elton. 62–3.
  • 17. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 216.
  • 18. Ibid. 264.
  • 19. Ibid. 279.
  • 20. Camden, Britannia.
  • 21. Visit. Hunts (Camden Soc.), 14.
  • 22. MS. Notes by Lady Carysfort, penes Mr. Granville Proby.
  • 23. Sir Thomas Proby's Account Book, penes Mr. Granville Proby.
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. The interpretation of this motto is discussed in Notes and Queries, i, 366, 476, 477; ii, 30; and in Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. iv, 301.
  • 26. MS. Notes by Lady Carysfort.
  • 27. Hist. Nortbants, ii, 483.
  • 28. Buck, c. 1730; Carter, 1791; Clarke, 1850.
  • 29. Chron. Rames. 135–140; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 656.
  • 30. Chron. Rames. 112–114.
  • 31. Ibid. 135–9.
  • 32. Ibid. 140.
  • 33. Cartul. Mon. de Rames. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 160–162 (afterwards referred to as Cartul. Rames.); P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, passim.
  • 34. Cartul. Rames. iii, 257.
  • 35. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 344a.
  • 36. Cartul. Rames. iii, 258–9.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Cartul. Rames. iii, 487–490.
  • 39. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), 874, nos. 4, 7, 11,14.
  • 40. Ibid. no. 10.
  • 41. Ibid. no. 17.
  • 42. Ibid. no. 1.
  • 43. Ibid. nos. 4, 5, etc., 27.
  • 44. Ibid. no. 9.
  • 45. Ibid. no. 10.
  • 46. Ibid. no. 12.
  • 47. Ibid. no. 18.
  • 48. Ibid. no. 19.
  • 49. Ibid. nos. 19–27.
  • 50. P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 179, no. 4.
  • 51. Ct. R. and Mins. Accts. passim.
  • 52. Ibid.
  • 53. P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 179, nos. 30, 34, 86; Add. R. (B.M.) 34323; 39656, m. 3 d.
  • 54. P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 179, no. 65.
  • 55. Ibid. no. 34.
  • 56. Ibid. no. 10.
  • 57. Add. R. (B.M.) 34338 (2); P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 179, no. 10.
  • 58. P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 179, no. 10.
  • 59. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i, 196.
  • 60. Ibid. ii, 656.
  • 61. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 716.
  • 62. Ibid. xix, pt. i, p. 644; P.R.O. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), ptf. 178, no. 86.
  • 63. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi, pt. i, p. 361.
  • 64. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 65. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), cclxxviii, 62.
  • 66. Pat. R. 3 Jas. I, pt. vii.
  • 67. Ibid. pt. xii.
  • 68. Add. MSS. (B.M.) 12493, fol. 103.
  • 69. Pat. R. 11 Jas. I, pt. xvi.
  • 70. Pat. R. 18 Jas. I, pt. v.
  • 71. Proby MS. 155 (2) (copy of writ to the Treasurer of the Exchequer and others, 22 Jan. 21 Jas. I); Pat. R. 22 Jas. I, pts. x, xii.
  • 72. Ibid.
  • 73. Ibid.
  • 74. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), ccccl, 71.
  • 75. Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 20 Sept.7 Chas. I.
  • 76. Feet of F. Hunts, Trin. 9 Chas. I.
  • 77. Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 16 Oct. 9 Chas. I.
  • 78. G.E.C. Baronetage, iii, 246; P.C.C. 38 Juxon (Will of Sir H. Proby).
  • 79. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 16 Chas. II.
  • 80. G.E.C. Baronetage, iii, 246.
  • 81. P.C.C. 28 Clarke (Will of Sir P. Proby).
  • 82. A. S. Beaven, The Aldermen of the City of London, i, 74; ii, 53, 177.
  • 83. Ibid. ii, 53; Sidney Young, Annals of the Barber-Surgeons, 533.
  • 84. Ibid.; P.C.C. 28 Clarke.
  • 85. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. Jas. I, no. 425.
  • 86. Ibid. Chas. I, no. 442.
  • 87. G.E.C. Baronetage, iii, 246.
  • 88. Ct. Rolls at Elton Hall, 9 Oct. 1689 to 11 Oct. 1699.
  • 89. Sidney Young, Annals of the BarberSurgeons, pedigree between pp. 532, 533; Ct. Rolls at Elton Hall, 15 Oct. 1712 to 14 Oct. 1719.
  • 90. Proby MS. 963; Pat. R. 11 Jas. I, pt. xvi.
  • 91. Collins, Peerage of England (1812), ix, 139; Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 25 Oct. 1749; Proby MS. 95.
  • 92. Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 25 Oct. 1749.
  • 93. G.E.C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), iii, 70.
  • 94. Ibid.; Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 12 Nov. 1772.
  • 95. G.E.C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), iii, 71.
  • 96. Ibid.
  • 97. Pat. R. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 98. Ibid.
  • 99. P.C.C. 21 Wrastley.
  • 100. Pat. R. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 101. Ibid. 32 Eliz. pt. v.
  • 102. Ibid. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 103. Ibid.
  • 104. Exch. Dep. by Com. Hil. 31 Eliz. no. 19.
  • 105. Ibid.
  • 106. Proby MS. 115 (2) (Memorandum of particulars of manor, 1605).
  • 107. P.C.C. 28 Clarke.
  • 108. Ct. R. at Elton Hall, 6 June 10 Chas.I.
  • 109. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1661–62, p. 268.
  • 110. P.C.C. 38 Juxon.
  • 111. Cartul. Rames. iii, 257.
  • 112. Ibid. 259.
  • 113. Ibid. i, 151.
  • 114. Ibid. iii, 259.
  • 115. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, no. 18.
  • 116. Cartul. Rames. i, 491.
  • 117. P.R.O. Ct. Rolls, ptf. 179, no. 89.
  • 118. Feet of F. Hunts, case 172, file 23, no. 240.
  • 119. P.R.O. Ct. Rolls, ptf. 179, nos. 4, 10–12, 15–16, 21, 30, 34, 36, 38, 50, 53; Add. R. (B.M.) 34338 (2), 39597; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 656.
  • 120. P.R.O. Ct. Rolls, ptf. 179, nos. 54, 56, 57.
  • 121. Ibid. nos. 59–62, 64, 65.
  • 122. Ibid. no. 66.
  • 123. Ibid.
  • 124. Burke, General Armory.
  • 125. Visit. Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 14, 15; Stone in church.
  • 126. W. D. Sweeting, Parish Churches in and around Peterborough, 163, 164.
  • 127. Ibid.
  • 128. Add. R. (B.M.) 39656, m. 3 d.
  • 129. John Leland, Itinerary (ed. 1745), i, 7; the pedigree of the Sapcote family in the Visit. of Hunts (Camden Soc.), 12, and an account of the family in the Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. iv, 300–1, are both inaccurate.
  • 130. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Hil. 10 Hen. VII; Sir John's relationship to Sir Richard only appears, apparently, from the will of his son, another Sir Richard Sapcote (P.C.C. 23 Spert).
  • 131. Visit. Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 12.
  • 132. Cal. Inq. Hen. VII, ii, no. 406; P.C.C. 21 Moone.
  • 133. Ibid.
  • 134. P.C.C. 23 Spert; Visit. of Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 12.
  • 135. P.C.C. 23 Spert.
  • 136. Ibid.
  • 137. L.T.R. Memoranda R. no. 379, Hil. Rec. 12 Eliz. ro. 99.
  • 138. Proby MS. 115 (1).
  • 139. Ct. of Req. 2, bdle. 74, no. 41.
  • 140. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 171, no. 24.
  • 141. Memorial slab in church.
  • 142. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 43 Eliz.; Visit. Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 12.
  • 143. Feet of F. Div. Cos. East. 7 Jas. I; Visit. of Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 12.
  • 144. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 15 Jas. I.
  • 145. Lansd. MS. (B.M.) 921, fol. 20 d.
  • 146. Ibid.; Bridges, Hist. Northants, ii, 483; Sir Thomas Proby's Account Book, penes Mr. Granville Proby.
  • 147. Proby MS. 963.
  • 148. V.C.H. Northants, i, 318b.
  • 149. Ibid. 387a.
  • 150. Ibid. 313b.
  • 151. Cbron. Petrob. (Camden Soc.), 173.
  • 152. Ibid. 147.
  • 153. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 344.
  • 154. Cartul. Rames. iii, 258.
  • 155. Pat. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 156. P.C.C. 21 Wrastley.
  • 157. Pat. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 158. Proby MS. 115 (2) (Mem. as to Elton manor, 1605); P.C.C. 28 Clarke.
  • 159. Pat. R. 11 Jas. I, pt. xxv.
  • 160. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, no. 2.
  • 161. Ibid. no. 9, m. 5.
  • 162. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. bdle. 874, passim.
  • 163. Cbron. Petrob. (Camden Soc.), 32–3.
  • 164. R. F. Whistler, Hist. of Elton, p. 16.
  • 165. MS. Notes by Lady Carysfort, penes Mr. Granville Proby.
  • 166. Rec. Archd. Hunt. no. 229, Terriers.
  • 167. T. M. N. Owen, Church Bells of Hunts, p. 80.
  • 168. W. D. Sweeting, Parish Churches in and around Peterborough, p. 165.
  • 169. V.C.H. Hunts, i, 344a.
  • 170. Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 200, 201; Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 58, no. 114; Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 272.
  • 171. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 58, no. 114.
  • 172. Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 201.
  • 173. Cartul. Rames. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 257.
  • 174. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 658.
  • 175. Cartul. Rames. ii, 136.
  • 176. Cbron. Rames. 316.
  • 177. Cartul. Rames. ii, 179–180.
  • 178. Ibid. ii, 202, 207; Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 36; Feud. Aids, ii, 480; Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 269.
  • 179. Add. Ch. (B.M.) 33665.
  • 180. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. Jas. I, no. 444.
  • 181. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 36.
  • 182. Feud. Aids, ii, 480.
  • 183. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 269.
  • 184. Rot. Hug. de Welles (Cant. and York Soc.), i, 63.
  • 185. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. Jas. I, nos. 435, 440; Pat. R. 31 Eliz. pt. iv.
  • 186. Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 201; Calamy, Nonconformists' Memorial, cit. R. F. Whistler, op. cit. 38.
  • 187. Will of John Cooper (P.C.C. 38 Hyde); A. G. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 113; Instit. Bks. (P.R.O.): Nicholas Hunt is given here as Richard Hunt.
  • 188. For the history of the advowson see Instit. Bks. (P.R.O.); Cambs and Hunts Arch. Soc. Trans. ii, 200–1; Private Act of Parl. 17 Geo. III, 34; Mandates for Induction, Rec. Archd. Hunt. nos. 236– 240; R. F. Whistler, op. cit. 38–9; floor slabs in Elton church.
  • 189. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, nos. 10, 11.
  • 190. Ibid. no. 27.
  • 191. P.C.C. 21 Moone; Visit. of Hunts, 1613 (Camden Soc.), 13.
  • 192. Cal. Inq. Hen. VII, ii, no. 406.
  • 193. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 289.
  • 194. Ibid. 269, 289.
  • 195. Add. R. (B.M.) 34357.
  • 196. Inq. a.q.d. file 308, no. 5.
  • 197. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, nos. 15–17, 19.
  • 198. Ibid. nos. 20, 22–27.
  • 199. P.R.O. Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 874, nos. 15–17.
  • 200. Ibid. no. 19.
  • 201. Ibid. nos. 20, 22–27.
  • 202. Add. R. (B.M.) 34357.
  • 203. Ct. of Req. 2, bdle. 74, no. 41.
  • 204. Ibid.; Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 167, no. 71.
  • 205. Ct. of Req. 2, bdle, 74, no. 41.
  • 206. Ibid.
  • 207. Pat. R. 12 Eliz. pt. iii.
  • 208. Ct. of Req. 2, bdle. 74, no. 41.
  • 209. Ibid.
  • 210. Exch. Dep. by Com. Hil. 13 Eliz. no. 4.
  • 211. Ct. of Req. 2, bdle. 74, no. 41.
  • 212. Ibid.; Chan. Proc. (Ser. ii), bdle. 167. no. 71; bdle. 185, no. 22.
  • 213. Proby MS. 115 (2).
  • 214. Memorandum in handwriting of Sir Thomas Proby, bart., at Elton Hall.
  • 215. Add. R. (B.M.) 34357.
  • 216. Cal. Pat. R. 1548–9, p. 411.
  • 217. See above, Guild of B.V.M.