A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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The ancient parish of Church Langton, four miles north of Market Harborough, contains five villages which are known collectively as the Langtons. It is divided into four civil parishes, East Langton, West Langton, Thorpe Langton, and Tur Langton, which are together 4,409 a. in area. The mother church of the parish and the greater part of the village of Church Langton lie in the civil parish of East Langton. The church stands over 400 ft. above sea level on the crest of a ridge lying between two small streams which form the principal parish boundaries. The stream flowing eastwards from Saddington and Smeeton Westerby enters the River Welland less than 400 yds. from the stream flowing southwards from Rolleston through Stonton Wyville. The ancient parish is therefore narrow in shape, extending westwards and northwards from the river for about 4 miles, broadening out as the ground rises. The villages of West Langton and East Langton lie on the southern slopes of the ridge, close to Church Langton; Thorpe Langton is at the eastern end, nearest to the river, and Tur Langton is on the western side of the ridge, north of Church Langton. Langton Caudle, a small hill rising to over 475 ft., is outside the Langtons, although the inhabitants of Thorpe Langton may once have had commoning rights there. It is a prominent landmark in the hundred, lying over a mile east of Church Langton and on the north and east side of the stream running through Stonton Wyville. (fn. 1)
Church Langton stands on the road from Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray, which possibly follows the line of an ancient trackway. (fn. 2) About a quarter of a mile south of the village, this road crosses another which runs from Kibworth, passing through Thorpe Langton, to Welham bridge over the River Welland. Running parallel with this to the north, a road from Kibworth to Hallaton passes through Tur Langton and Cranoe. The development of the main road from Leicester to Market Harborough c. 1200 and the later turnpike made the Langtons more accessible. (fn. 3) The railway from Leicester to Market Harborough, opened in 1857, runs through the south of the parish. East Langton station, where the road from Harborough to Melton Mowbray passes under this line, was opened in 1876. (fn. 4) The railway from Market Harborough to Peterborough, opened in 1850–1, runs on the north side of the River Welland in the civil parish of Thorpe Langton, (fn. 5) which includes the Welham railway sidings.
The village of Church Langton marks the site of the original Saxon settlement in this area. Before inclosure, it had no open fields of its own. (fn. 6) They had been divided between the two daughter settlements of East Langton and West Langton, which both lie about half a mile from the mother church. Since the 12th century at least, the two other daughter settlements, Thorpe Langton and Tur Langton, which both lie more than a mile from the mother church, have had their own chapels and their own separate field systems. Since the 18th century, and probably for a considerable time before that, East Langton and Tur Langton have been the largest of the five villages. Since 1801, in spite of considerable increases between 1811 and 1821 and again between 1931 and 1951, the total population of the ancient parish has been gradually decreasing. The population was 942 in 1801 and 605 in 1951. (fn. 7) The boundaries between the several civil parishes were adjusted in 1885. (fn. 8) Detached parts of East and West Langton were conveyed to Thorpe Langton; parts of Thorpe and West Langton to East Langton; and parts of Thorpe Langton and Welham to East Langton. Part of Thorpe Langton was transferred to Welham. In 1927 detached parts of West Langton lying east of the road from Harborough to Melton Mowbray were transferred to East Langton parish, making the road the boundary between the two. (fn. 9)
The following account has been divided into three parts which correspond to the agricultural and ecclesiastical arrangements of the ancient parish during the Middle Ages: East and West Langton with Church Langton, Thorpe Langton, and Tur Langton. The history of the mother church and of parish administration, schools, and charities which affect the whole ancient parish is included in the first part.
EAST LANGTON AND WEST LANGTON WITH CHURCH LANGTON
The civil parishes of East Langton and West Langton are 1,055 and 766 a. in area respectively. The road from Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray runs through the village of Church Langton which lies mainly to the east of it, in the parish of East Langton. The park and plantations of West Langton Hall dominate the parish of West Langton. The country is otherwise mainly pasture land falling gradually from Church Langton to the streams which form the southern and eastern boundaries of the ancient parish.
There is a green in the centre of Church Langton where a road from Stonton Wyville enters the Harborough–Melton road from the north-east. Most of the houses in the village are grouped around the green. On the north side stands the large 18thcentury Rectory (fn. 10) with the church behind it. The Hanbury Schools (fn. 11) are on the east side of the road to Stonton Wyville, marking the north-east end of the village. At the junction of this road with the lane leading to East Langton is Leadclune House, a very tall late-18th-century three-storied house of red brick with a central doorway to each facade and later bay windows facing east. One of the older cottages between Leadclune House and the schools may have timber-framing concealed beneath its rough-cast exterior. Other cottages in the village were built or rebuilt in red brick in the 19th century; they include a row to the south of the green with the Langton Arms public house at its north end. A farm-house to the south-east of the Rectory, originally dating from 1659, was rebuilt by the Revd. James Ord in 1826. (fn. 12) Hollies Farm, further south, dates from the earlier 19th century and White House from the later. After the Second World War a Council housing estate was laid out on the east side of the road to East Langton which, when completed, will consist of about 50 houses.
The plan of East Langton village is the same as in 1792. (fn. 13) The road entering the village from the north divides into two, and its branches meet again at the south-west corner of the village by the grounds of East Langton Grange. A road used to run, in the 18th century, across the fields eastwards to Thorpe Langton. (fn. 14) East Langton Grange, on the west side of the village, was largely rebuilt by the present owner, Lt.-Col. J. D. Hignett, in a neo-Georgian style in 1934–5. (fn. 15) Parts remain from the previous house which belonged to J. W. Logan (d. 1925), M.P. for the Market Harborough division of Leicestershire, who built the present garden wall and large castellated water-tower fronting upon the street. In the spring of 1876 Logan, a railway contractor, came to East Langton in order to supervise the building of the L.N.W.R. lines from Newark through John o'Gaunt to Leicester and through Hallaton to Market Harborough. (fn. 16) The Grange was then a small country house which in 1854 had been the residence of Mrs. Mary Warner (fn. 17) and later, for a few years before 1860, of the Earl of Morton (d. 1884), probably as a hunting box. (fn. 18) During the sixties Arthur G. Cochrane lived there. (fn. 19) Logan made many alterations and stayed there for the rest of his life. Probably in the early nineties, he built the riding school and stables which stand in the middle of the village. At the south end of the riding school he erected, in 1894, the former 'village hall', a brick and rough-cast building with moulded brick 'Tudor' ornament. It was used first, apparently, as a private theatre for his daughters and then as a meeting-place for the village. (fn. 20) The hall remained part of the Grange estate, and during the Second World War Lt.-Col. Hignett converted it into two flats and an estate workshop. In 1898 Logan erected a cottage home for the children of men permanently injured on public works, with preference for the employees of Logan & Hemingway. (fn. 21) The cottage home is now a private house called Dean Cottage. Logan was also a patron of 'country house cricket', (fn. 22) and began the present cricket field on the north side of the village.
Most of the houses in the village appear to have been built or rebuilt in brick during the 19th and early 20th centuries but a few older buildings survive. The Bell Inn stands on the east side of the village street at the point where it branches into two. The inn is an ironstone building of three bays, the north bay of which has been rebuilt in brick; the older part dates from the late 17th century and retains a fivelight bay window with stone mullions. South of the inn a mud-walled cottage has an internal partition dated 1628. Its northern end was formerly the village smithy, now mainly used for work on agricultural machinery for the Grange estate. Further south a small garden, laid out on the site of old thatched cottages, commemorates the coronation of 1953. (fn. 23) On the opposite side of the road a re-roofed cottage with a symmetrical front and a pedimented doorcase is dated 1724 with initials JBC. In the lane running east from this point there is a late-18th-century ironstone house, subsequently altered. Several of the cottages in the village were built by Logan and carry date-stones of 1888 to 1898. Grange Farm is of the 19th century and its outbuildings are dated 1874. Two pairs of Council houses were built on the road to Church Langton between the two world wars.
West Langton consists of a few houses on the road to Kibworth Beauchamp and on a cul-de-sac on its south side which was formerly the main street of the village. West Langton was largely inclosed, probably in the 16th and 17th centuries, before the general inclosure of the Langtons in 1792, and the village has long been the smallest. Several of the present cottages and Langton Hall Farm date from 1894– 1911 when Capt. W. P. Warner owned the estate. The old farm-house, now used as outbuildings, is a two-storied brick structure of c. 1700 with a lower wing against its south gable; the latter was originally part of an earlier timber-framed house.
The park of West Langton Hall lies on the north side of the Kibworth road, with avenues of trees radiating from the south and east fronts of the house. In the south-east corner of the park a circular mound, with other mounds near it, may indicate the site of a windmill. The hall is a large three-storied building of ironstone and limestone, its plan taking the form of a shallow E. It is said to have been built by Thomas Staveley (d. 1631) (fn. 24) in the early 17th century and the general layout is consistent with this date. Subsequent alterations, however, make it difficult to determine how much of the original structure survives. The principal front, facing east, has a central porch and two projecting side-wings. In the angle between the main block and the north wing is a slender octagonal turret and in the corresponding angle to the south is a larger square tower of four stories. Externally the north wing appears to be the oldest part of the house. It retains stone-mullioned windows to all three stories, but the highest story is probably a slightly later addition. The turret carries a weathervane of 1669 and at the south-east angle of the wing there is an inverted date-stone of 1660. Neither feature may occupy its original position. The central block, much altered, contains the great hall, entered directly from the porch. The south wing is reputed to have been begun by Mrs. Mary Pheasant, Thomas Staveley's granddaughter, in the late 1660's. (fn. 25) In its present form, however, it dates from c. 1800 and has a symmetrical late Georgian front of five bays facing south. Extensive alterations to the central block and the south wing are known to have been carried out in 1802 for the Revd. James Ord (d. 1843). (fn. 26) These included new windows with 'Gothic' frames to the east front of the main block, a new ceiling in the hall, and embattled parapets to the main block and the south wing. The square angle tower and the upper part of the porch appear to have been built or rebuilt at the same time. Single-storied additions on the west side of the house, including a smoking room, were the work of Capt. W. P. Warner (d. 1911); (fn. 27) rainwater heads are dated 1902. A new kitchen was added to the north wing at about the same time. There is an 18th-century brick stable range on the north side of the house. The clock turret above the stables and many other outbuildings date from the late 19th century.
From 1768 until the late 1790's, from 1843 until the late 1860's, and again from 1876 until c. 1895, West Langton Hall was leased to various tenants, chiefly for use as a hunting box. Hugo Meynell brought the Quorn hounds here in the 1770's to hunt south-east Leicestershire. (fn. 28) Mrs. Lucy Cave (d. 1858), the widow of Sir Thomas Cave, M.P., lived here, probably from the death of her first husband in 1792 until her second marriage in 1798. Nineteenthcentury tenants included W. S. Crawford, Henry Everett, (fn. 29) Adrian Hope, (fn. 30) and John Steward. (fn. 31)
West Langton is traditionally the birth-place of Walter de Langton (d. 1321), Bishop of Lichfield, (fn. 32) but the estate which he owned in the Langtons was at Thorpe Langton. (fn. 33) It is not therefore certain that he belonged to the Langton family of West Langton. John de Langton (fl. 1400), a Carmelite friar, was probably a member of that family. (fn. 34) Thomas Staveley (d. 1684), the antiquary, was born at West Langton Hall. (fn. 35) The rectory of Church Langton was one of the wealthier livings in Leicestershire and was held by several noted incumbents. (fn. 36) John Jennings, one of the ejected ministers in 1662, was chaplain at West Langton Hall. (fn. 37)
William Hanbury, rector 1749–78, prepared in 1767 ambitious schemes to establish a charitable trust. (fn. 38) A horticulturalist, he believed that he could accumulate a large fund of money for investment from the sale of his plants and trees. He also arranged a summer concert of music which was held at Church Langton in 1759, 1760, and 1761, but was moved to Leicester in 1762 and Nottingham in 1763. These concerts and his plantations at Gumley attracted fashionable visitors. (fn. 39) The Hanbury charity has greatly benefited Church Langton and the area around. (fn. 40)
The recorded population of Church Langton in 1086 was 34. There were 50 households in 1563 and 85 in East and West Langton together in 1670. In 1676 there were 309 communicants in East and West Langton; there had been 670 in the whole ancient parish in 1603. The population of East Langton was 329 in 1801; it was never so high again and had fallen to 228 in 1951. That of West Langton was 82 in 1801, has never since reached 100, and was 70 in 1951. (fn. 41)
In 1086 there were two estates in Langton: 11 carucates held by Osbern of Hugh de Grentemesnil, (fn. 42) to which ½ carucate in Thorpe Langton was attached, (fn. 43) and 4 carucates and 6 bovates belonging to the Abbot of Peterborough, which had been held in 1066 by Ailmar. (fn. 44) The Earl of Leicester, successor to Hugh de Grentemesnil, and the Abbot of Peterborough were holding the same amounts in 1130, and a carucate held by Henry de Port, which had probably been attributed to the manor of the Archbishop of York at Tur Langton in 1086, was said to be in West Langton. The Leicestershire Survey of 1130 recognized that the three townships of Church Langton, East Langton, and West Langton originated from a single lordship which for agricultural purposes had been divided into two, Langton, later East Langton with Church Langton, and the other Langton (alia Langton), later West Langton. (fn. 45) Although there was a considerable amount of overlapping and a number of free tenants in both places, the two manors in Langton corresponded with the two daughter settlements. East Langton belonged chiefly to the honor of Leicester, and therefore passed to the Duchy of Lancaster; West Langton belonged chiefly to the abbots of Peterborough.
The extensive subinfeudation which took place in the late 12th and early 13th centuries makes it difficult to trace the descent of these two manors. In the 17th century the manorial rights of both manors were absorbed into the West Langton Hall estate. The following account therefore deals first with the manor of East Langton in the honor of Leicester, secondly with the manor of West Langton which belonged to Peterborough Abbey, and thirdly with the estate of West Langton Hall. In modern times the descent of the manor has followed the ownership of the hall.
During the 13th and 14th centuries the Astleys of Broughton Astley were the mesne lords of the manor of EAST LANGTON. (fn. 46) It is not certain when the claims of the Astley family lapsed, but it may have been between 1359 and 1369 when the Duke of Lancaster himself acquired half the manor from his demesne tenants. (fn. 47) At the beginning of the 15th century this fee was held directly from the Duchy.
The first known demesne tenant of the manor of East Langton is Wischard Ledet, (fn. 48) who in 1210–11 conveyed it to Robert de Braybrook. (fn. 49) Ledet's daughter Christine (d. 1271) married Braybrook's son Henry, who succeeded to the manor. Their grandson and heir Walter Ledet (d. 1256) had two daughters, Alice and Christine, who had married two Latimer brothers, William (d. 1304) and John (d. 1282) respectively. (fn. 50) Their inheritance was therefore divided between William, the elder brother, ancestor of the Lords Latimer of Corby (Northants.), and John, the younger brother, ancestor of the Lords Latimer of Braybrooke (Northants.). (fn. 51) Although this manor was assigned to William only in 1279, (fn. 52) John died seised of property in East Langton in 1282, (fn. 53) and John's descendants inherited a moiety of the manor. William's share was assigned by Alice, his widow, in 1313 to Nicholas Latimer (d. 1325), probably a younger son, (fn. 54) from whom it descended to Nicholas's son John (d. 1343), and to John's son Nicholas. (fn. 55) This half of the manor was acquired between 1359 and 1369 by John, Duke of Lancaster, in the right of his wife Blanche. (fn. 56) The other half, John's share, descended to his son Thomas (d. 1334), (fn. 57) and his grandson Warin (d. 1349), (fn. 58) the male line of the Lords Latimer of Braybrooke. None of Warin's four sons had children who survived, and the inheritance passed to the heirs of his daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Griffin of Weston Favell (Northants.). (fn. 59) From 1421, when Elizabeth's grandson John Griffin succeeded to the estate, the descent of this half of the manor followed the male line of the Griffins, Lords Latimer of Braybrooke. (fn. 60) In 1566, on the death of Thomas Griffin, it appears to have passed to his brother Edward Griffin (d. 1569) of Dingley (Northants.) and to Edward's son Edward (d. 1620). (fn. 61) It is not certain how the Griffin property was then conveyed. Part of it apparently was acquired by Thomas Staveley (d. 1582). (fn. 62) His son Thomas Staveley (d. 1631), who is believed to have built West Langton Hall, in 1614 received a grant from James I of the manorial rights in East Langton. (fn. 63) The manor was thenceforward part of the West Langton Hall estate.
The half of the manor of East Langton which before 1369 had passed to the Duke of Lancaster was the subject of various enfeoffments made by the Duchy in the 15th century. (fn. 64) The effect of this arrangement appears to have been that the division made by the Latimers was ignored, and that the profits of both halves of the manor, the rents of free tenants and the services of the Griffins, were placed together. By the 16th century the principal evidence of the division was the number of free tenants holding land in the Langtons as of the honor of Hampton Court. (fn. 65) Although the Crown had granted manorial rights in East Langton to Thomas Staveley (d. 1631) of West Langton Hall, the Duchy of Lancaster continued to enjoy an interest there in the 17th century. James I in 1623 granted a manor in East Langton to John Trayleman and Thomas Pearson, (fn. 66) who in the following year sold it to William Babington and Thomas Pilkington. (fn. 67)
The overlordship of the Abbot of Peterborough over the manor of WEST LANGTON cannot be traced beyond the middle of the 14th century. Because it was of such little value, the abbot's view of frankpledge was not held between 1299 and 1321, and was usurped by the bailiffs of the Earl of Lancaster. (fn. 68) The abbot recovered his view, but does not appear to have taken any profits. Stephen de Segrave held ½ knight's fee in Langton from the abbot in 1224. (fn. 69) The manor of West Langton in the early 13th century was part of a larger fee—2 knights' fees in Langton, Fillongley, and Polebrooke (Warws.)— granted by the abbots of Peterborough to the Marmion family. (fn. 70) In 1290 Philip Marmion died seised of ½ knight's fee in Langton, (fn. 71) and the rights of his heirs were still recognized in the early 14th century. (fn. 72)
By the late 13th century the manor of West Langton was held of the Marmions by members of the Langton family, but the large number of persons called de Langton and the number of free tenants on the abbot's manor make it difficult to trace the descent. (fn. 73) In 1279 Thomas, the son of Ivo de Langton, held 2 carucates in demesne and 7 carucates in villeinage, and there were 5 carucates and 1 virgate in free tenure. (fn. 74) The situation was made more complicated because the head of the Langton family, the demesne lord, enfeoffed his own relations. In 1290 John de Langton was holding the manor of Thomas, son of Ivo, who held of Philip Marmion. (fn. 75) Various parts of West Langton descended by different branches of the same family. The Langtons of Lowe (Lancs.) appear to have originated from West Langton, (fn. 76) and to have remained the overlords of any demesne tenants in the same family. In 1335 Adam de Manchester, as trustee, conveyed ⅓ manor of West Langton to Robert de Langton, (fn. 77) probably the son of Thomas, son of Ivo. Robert and Margaret his wife were the ancestors of the Langtons of Lowe. (fn. 78) Other branches of the family remained in West Langton. (fn. 79) In 1428 John de Langton was assessed for ½ knight's fee in West Langton. (fn. 80) The family continued to hold some interests in the 16th century. In 1595 Richard Langton died seised of the manor of Hindley (Lancs.) with certain lands in Langton. (fn. 81)
The West Langton estate originated from transactions made in the late 16th century. Robert Strelley (d. 1554), the Crown's bailiff for the manor of Market Harborough, bought the manor of West Langton from Arthur Langton and his wife Dorothy in 1547. (fn. 82) The manor passed to Strelley's nephew John Saville, (fn. 83) who appears to have sold West Langton to Thomas Staveley (d. 1582) whose mother was Isabel Strelley. (fn. 84) Various members of the Strelley family continued to hold land in West Langton from the Staveleys in the early 17th century. (fn. 85) Nicholas Strelley, the son of Robert, died in 1627 seised of certain tenements in West Langton. (fn. 86) By 1614 when James I granted some manorial rights in East Langton to Thomas Staveley (d. 1631), (fn. 87) the son of Thomas, a small compact estate had been created. The latter is reputed to be the builder of West Langton Hall. (fn. 88)
In the 17th century the West Langton Hall estate was considered to include both the manors of East and West Langton. Thomas Staveley (d. 1631) was succeeded by his son Arthur (d. 1655), a member of the Leicestershire Committee during the Interregnum, and by Arthur's daughter Mary (d. 1689). (fn. 89) Mary married first Francis Stanton and secondly Stephen Pheasant. She outlived her son Staveley Stanton and her two grandsons, and the property passed to her granddaughter Elizabeth Stanton, wife of Sir Gilbert Pickering, Bt. (d. 1736). (fn. 90) Their son Sir Edward Pickering died unmarried in 1749, and was succeeded by his two sisters, Dorothy Elizabeth Pickering (d. 1765) and Frances (d. 1766), widow of Thomas Bird. The latter jointly devised their estate in the Langtons to their cousin Mrs. Anne Ord for her life with remainder to her son the Revd. James Ord (1759–1843), their godson. (fn. 91) James Pickering Ord (d. 1863), the latter's eldest son, in 1845 sold his life interest in the Langton estate of 1,211 a. to W. M. and J. and T. Marriott, J. Fox, H. Youle, and W. Cartledge, (fn. 92) and in 1850 Ann Ord, his only daughter, mortaged her interest to Pares' Leicestershire Banking Co. (fn. 93) The Ords appear to have lived in Tenby (Pemb.) and the hall was leased to various tenants, but c. 1870 Jemima Elizabeth Ord (d. 1876), described as lady of the manor, was living there. (fn. 94) The whole estate, 1,198 a. and the hall, together valued at £2,894 a year, was offered for sale in July 1872, (fn. 95) and was acquired, apparently in 1873, (fn. 96) by Edward Warner (d. 1894) of Quorndon Hall. (fn. 97) The latter again leased the hall, but by 1895 his third son Capt. W. P. Warner (d. 1911) was in residence. (fn. 98) C. W. B. Warner, Capt. Warner's nephew and heir, sold the Langton estate in 1912. (fn. 99) A large part, particularly in Tur Langton, was acquired by the tenants, but the hall and land in West Langton was purchased by H. T. Mills (d. 1933), the son of J. T. Mills (d. 1924) of Highfields House, Husbands Bosworth. (fn. 100) The estate of Mr. Mills was broken up at a sale in 1934. The land was acquired by the Prudential Insurance Co. and then by various farmers; the hall was purchased by Barbara, wife of the Hon. George Spencer, who is the present owner. (fn. 101)
In 1086 there were 2 ploughs with 3 serfs on the demesne of Hugh de Grentemesnil, while 12 villeins, a priest, a knight, 5 bordars, and a socman had 7 ploughs. (fn. 102) The Abbot of Peterborough had one plough in demesne, and 9 villeins and 2 bordars had 3 ploughs, on the fee which before 1066 Ailmar had held freely. (fn. 103) Before 1081 one of the villeins in Church Langton had been granted by Hugh de Grentemesnil to act as tithe collector for the abbey of St. Evroul (Orne). (fn. 104) The lands of the two lordships were greatly intermixed. East Langton and West Langton each had separate fields, while Church Langton did not, (fn. 105) but surviving deeds do not provide a clear picture of agricultural organization in the Middle Ages. (fn. 106)
At the beginning of the 17th century farming was in the hands of a few families: Andrews and Payne in East Langton, Strelley, Clarke, Fox and Mattock in West Langton. (fn. 107) It is not clear when West Langton was inclosed, but it was probably in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Although the Strelleys were not then lords of the manor, their holdings in West Langton were failry extensive and partly inclosed. In 1645 Elias Strelley agreed with his son not to cut down the trees in three closes, the Home Close, the Orchard Penne, and the close above it. (fn. 108) The homestead and 4 yardlands of Nicholas Strelley in West Langton, worth £1,590 in 1650, included 7 closes and 15 a. to be inclosed. (fn. 109) There was other grazing land in West Langton. William Sprigg, yeoman of East Langton in 1668, who was grazing 70 sheep with a few cows, pigs, and horses, had only 10 a. of arable. (fn. 110) Thomas Andrews of Church Langton in 1702 had more than 25 a. of arable, but almost half the value of his estate came from horses, cows, sheep, and pigs. (fn. 111) In 1743 the 3 fields of West Langton— Wheat Field, Bean Field, and Fallow Field—each contained more than 5 closes which made a total of about 368 a. of inclosed land. Sir Edward Pickering (d. 1749), the lord of the manor, who had 10 yardlands in the fields of East, West, Church, and Thorpe Langton, agreed to put all this land under permanent grass for the benefit of his tenants, if they in their turn would agree to forgo their rights of common over the fields of West Langton by 1746. (fn. 112) This agreement was confirmed by Act of Parliament in 1744. (fn. 113) The open fields of the Langtons were inclosed by another Act of 1791. (fn. 114) The inclosure award of 1792 dealt with 3,718 a., leaving about 690 a. of old inclosure, chiefly in West Langton where all that area lying west of West Langton Hall was considered to be ancient inclosure. The largest allotments were made to Mrs. Anne Ord, lady of the manor, Thomas Ward, a grazier of East Langton, and Sir Justinian Isham for land in Tur Langton. (fn. 115) The Act included a provision that grass ground could not be converted to tillage until the division had been made.
From the middle of the 19th century until about 1910 there were 2 small manufacturers of ketchup in East Langton, (fn. 116) and until the First World War several men from the Langtons worked at the bone mill on the main Market Harborough road at Gallow Hill. (fn. 117) The maintenance of horses for the hunting field provided a considerable amount of employment, particularly during the period 1895–1910, when both Capt. Warner at the hall and J. W. Logan at the Grange kept large studs.
There was a mill in Langton worth 2s. in 1086. (fn. 118) On the inclosure map of 1792 (fn. 119) a windmill is marked standing in a small field (fn. 120) on the south side of the road from Kibworth Beauchamp to Welham through Thorpe Langton, 400 yds. east of the junction with the lane from East Langton.
There were 3 churchwardens for East and West Langton in the 19th century. The rector nominated a warden, and the parish meetings of East Langton and of West Langton each elected a warden. In 1824 the churchwarden of East Langton and the churchwarden of West Langton agreed that each township should contribute half the yearly salary of the parish clerk. (fn. 121) For the poor law and the maintenance of the highways, the parishes of East Langton and West Langton were rated and administered separately. The parishes in the rate books and the parishes recognized by the Ordnance Survey did not coincide until the boundary between the two parishes was defined in 1927. (fn. 122) The parish records of East Langton are missing, but the records of West Langton show that a separate parish meeting elected its officers until 1866. For instance in 1838 West Langton elected one man to be both churchwarden and guardian of the poor, 2 overseers of the poor, 2 assessors of taxes, a surveyor of the highways, a constable, and a headborough. After 1846 2 surveyors of the highways were elected, one for the old inclosure and one for the new. (fn. 123) In the late 18th century William Warrin of West Langton had combined the offices of constable, churchwarden, overseer, and surveyor. (fn. 124) The restoration of the church in 1865–6 brought the two parishes together to form a committee, and after 1866 it appears that each parish elected its officers at the same vestry meeting. After 1869 the churchwardens for East and West Langton presented their accounts together instead of separately. (fn. 125) One assistant overseer for the two parishes was appointed in 1877, although his salary, like that of the parish clerk in 1824, was divided into two. At the vestry meeting in Easter 1885, each parish elected 2 overseers, a constable, a guardian, and a waywarden. (fn. 126)
There is no record of a workhouse in the Langtons. In 1802–3 25 adults and 34 children received outrelief in East Langton, 4 adults and 7 children in West Langton, 27 adults and 25 children in Thorpe Langton, and 52 children in Tur Langton. (fn. 127) In 1836 Langton was included in Market Harborough Union. (fn. 128)
The East Langton Parish Council was formed in 1895 with 5 members. (fn. 129)
There was a priest at Langton in 1086. (fn. 130) The mother church at Church Langton may have served all the Langton villages. There was, for example, a priest and presumably a chapel at Tur Langton in 1165, (fn. 131) and both Thorpe Langton and Tur Langton acquired chapels before 1220. Another chapel, presumably in East Langton, served on three days a week from the mother church, was reported in 1220, but nothing further is known about it. (fn. 132) None of these chapels became parish churches.
Before 1162 the church of Langton with two chapels was granted to Leicester Abbey by William Newmarch and Roger de Bordeni, perhaps with the consent of the Earl of Leicester, lord of the manor. (fn. 133) The rectory was never appropriated to the abbey, and after 1220 the advowson belonged to the demesne tenants of the manor. Robert FitzParnell, Earl of Leicester, between 1191 and 1204 confirmed a grant of tithes made by Hugh de Grentemesnil before 1081; Hugh's grant had been of the tithes from his demesne in Langton, with 2/3 of the tithe from a carucate of land in the other Langton (West Langton), to the Abbey of St. Evroul (Orne). (fn. 134) The Prior of Ware (Herts.) was still claiming tithes in Langton on behalf of St. Evroul in 1307. (fn. 135)
From the early 13th century until 1608 the advowson of the rectory followed the descent of the manor of East Langton in the honor of Leicester. About 1220 the Abbot of Leicester conveyed the advowson to Henry de Braybrook, the demesne tenant of that manor, (fn. 136) and the advowson, like the manor, was divided into two moieties. (fn. 137) The two Latimer brothers, William (d. 1304) and John (d. 1282), together presented Robert de Baunfield to the rectory in 1279. (fn. 138) By 1546 the two halves of the advowson had been reunited in the Griffin family. The Duchy alienated its right of presentation, for one turn, to Sir Nicholas Griffin (d. 1509) in 1503. (fn. 139) Henry VIII made two grants, in 1536 and 1537, of the right to make the next presentation, to Nicholas Sandford and Edward Brockett. (fn. 140) In 1546 he granted the whole of the Crown's right of presentation to Thomas Wriothesley, the Lord Chancellor, who immediately conveyed it to Edward Griffin (d. 1569), later Attorney-General. (fn. 141) The latter, who in 1566 succeeded his brother to the Griffin estates, therefore became possessed of all rights to the advowson. In 1608 his son Edward Griffin (d. 1620) sold the advowson to George Ashby of Quenby. (fn. 142) Nevertheless the latter's son and heir George Ashby (d. 1653) guaranteed his interests by securing a fresh grant of the advowson and rectory from the Crown in 1636. (fn. 143)
George Ashby had acquired the advowson as a speculation, and was in 1615 trying to sell it for £2,000. (fn. 144) But the advowson appears to have remained with the Ashby family until after 1669. (fn. 145) By 1680 it belonged to the rector, Nathaniel Alsop (d. 1710), and it has remained in the hands of successive rectors or their families until the present day. George Alsop (d. 1724), the son of Nathaniel, was instituted as rector in 1711, and George's son-inlaw Philip Bliss (d. 1775) was rector in 1734. Various trustees of the Alsop family presented to the living between 1724 and 1734; Nathaniel Alsop (d. 1737) presented between 1734 and 1736; and in 1743 the next presentation was made by the new rector, William Newton. (fn. 146) The Hanbury family provided patrons and rectors for more than a century. William Hanbury (d. 1778), the horticulturalist, who was rector from 1749 until his death, (fn. 147) was succeeded by Charles Markham (d. 1802) (fn. 148) until 1782 and then by his son, grandson, and great-grandson. His son William Hanbury (d. 1817) built the present rectory house, and his great-grandson Thomas Hanbury (d. 1899) was rector for over 50 years, from 1848 until his death. (fn. 149) The Misses Hanbury and F.L. Cursham, who had been Vicar of Horninghold from 1854 to 1869, as executors of Thomas Hanbury, presented J.P. Gardiner to the rectory in 1900. (fn. 150) Between 1906 and 1908 the advowson was acquired by the Revd. T. P. Worrall and passed to his widow, (fn. 151) but they never presented. The patronage was then acquired by Mr. A. J. Butler on behalf of A. J. Agard Butler, rector 1913–18, who like the Hanburys became his own patron. (fn. 152) The next rector, T. H. Ross (d. 1943), (fn. 153) acquired the advowson in 1920. (fn. 154) George Spencer of Auburn Place, Lutterworth, who had acquired the advowson in 1938 from Ross, on the latter's resignation in 1939, presented F. P. SimmsReeve, and in the following year conveyed the advowson to the rector's sister Mrs. V. K. L. Redlich. (fn. 155)
The rectory, which was one of the richest livings in Leicestershire, was valued at 40 marks in 1254, (fn. 156) and at 70 marks in 1291. (fn. 157) The gross annual value of the living in 1535 was £49 4s. 4¾d. (fn. 158) In 1650 it was £100. (fn. 159) The inclosure award of 1792 gave the rector a rent-charge of £600, varying with the price of corn, in lieu of all tithes. (fn. 160) In 1831 the living was valued at £989 a year, (fn. 161) but during the 19th century its value decreased. (fn. 162) The glebe land lay chiefly in Tur Langton and East Langton. In 1279 the rector held a virgate of glebe in Tur Langton, (fn. 163) and 'Doctor Osborne's close' (Thomas Osborne was rector in 1591–1631) near the chapel-yard there was reported in 1619. (fn. 164) In 1792, at the time of inclosure, the rector received allotments in compensation for one yardland in Tur Langton and three yardlands in East, West, and Thorpe Langton. (fn. 165) In 1831 the total area of glebe land was 127 a. (fn. 166)
The Rectory was built for the rector, William Hanbury the younger (d. 1817). Hanbury acted as his own contractor and work began in 1784; it was probably completed by 1786. (fn. 167) The house is of red brick with stone dressings and has a principal threestoried front of five bays. The three central bays are surmounted by a pediment which originally carried three stone vases, while the tympanum was enriched with stone swags and an urn. (fn. 168) The central Venetian window on the first floor and the two flanking windows have stone balustrades and are set in arched recesses. The doorway below has a stone surround and is surmounted by a fanlight, an enriched frieze, and a flat hood on scrolled brackets. On each side of the main block are single-storied pedimented pavilions, each with an arched window recess below a stone panel bearing a swag.
An inquisition taken in 1578 listed property which had formerly maintained 35 lights in the church. (fn. 169)
There were several celebrated rectors in the 16th century. The historian, Polydore Vergil (d. c. 1555), (fn. 170) who was presented to the living in 1503, was apparently non-resident. (fn. 171) His successor, Lawrence Saunders (d. 1555), appears to have spent some time in Church Langton, although he had another living in London. Both he and his curate at Langton, George Marsh (d. 1555), (fn. 172) were executed for heresy during Mary's reign and became well-known Protestant 'martyrs'. (fn. 173) John Bourcher, whom Edward Griffin presented to the living on the deprivation of Lawrence Saunders in 1554, was himself deprived in 1570, probably for Roman Catholic sympathies. (fn. 174) His three successors were probably all resident in the parish. (fn. 175) Dr. Clement Bretton, (fn. 176) who was presented to the living in 1639, was deprived in 1647 and replaced by Samuel Blackerby, (fn. 177) but he was restored in 1660. In the early 18th century a few rectors were non-resident. (fn. 178) William Hanbury (d. 1778) came to Church Langton in 1749 (fn. 179) and since his son built the present rectory all the incumbents have been resident. Hanbury himself had strong ideas about the form which services in the churches should take, and in his charity foundation he left instructions on the liturgy. (fn. 180) He presented an organ to the church and encouraged the use of music, and since 1864 his trustees have carried out his wishes about paying a salary to the organist. (fn. 181) The case brought against Hanbury by the churchwardens in the archdeacon's court in 1756, charging him with negligence, showed that he was popularly regarded as a High Church Jacobite. (fn. 182) William Hanbury the younger (d. 1817) had two sons. (fn. 183) The elder, William (d. 1868), the Rector of St. Ebbe's, Oxford, did not succeed him at Church Langton because from 1814 onwards he was confined to a lunatic asylum. (fn. 184) The living therefore came to the younger son, Thomas (d. 1848), who was himself suspended from his office by the bishop in 1832 and replaced by a curate, Christopher Basset. (fn. 185) T. H. Ross (d. 1943), rector 1918–39, was a composer of church music. (fn. 186)
The church of ST. PETER consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, west tower, south porch, and, on the north side of the chancel, a 19th-century vestry and organ chamber. The walls of the chancel and aisles are of limestone rubble and date largely from the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The tower and clerestory, which, with the nave arcades, are work of the 15th century, are faced with limestone ashlar. The church must have been unusually lofty, even before the 15th-century additions, and the tower, although it has no spire, is tall enough to dominate the surrounding landscape.
Two stones with a running lozenge pattern which have been re-used externally at the east end of the north aisle are probably survivals from the Norman church. The same may be true of the relief carving of a standing figure, now set in the wall of the vestry passage. A great rebuilding of the church appears to have started shortly before 1300. A small recess with shafted jambs on the external north wall of the chancel is of the late 13th century. This might have belonged to a former north chapel, subsequently demolished. (fn. 187) The much-restored window at the west end of the south aisle appears to have 13thcentury plate tracery, while the north windows in the opposite aisle, with bar tracery and identical moulded rear arches, are also of late-13th-century type. In each aisle there is a tomb recess with a crocketted canopy and it seems possible that these were built for the Latimer brothers (d. 1282 and 1304), joint holders of the advowson. (fn. 188) Other windows in the south aisle and in the chancel have flowing tracery of the early 14th century. The chancel windows are unusually tall for their width; the walls have been heightened from the springing level of the window-heads upwards and it almost looks as though the heads themselves may have been raised. The sedilia and piscina in the chancel have cusped ogee heads of c. 1320. The south doorway and porch also date from the early 14th century. Another feature of this period is a large bracket on the east wall of the north aisle which rests on carved corbel heads. A rood-loft stair at the south-east corner of this aisle is contained in a semi-octagonal turret which projects externally. A bracket for the rood remains on the south side of the chancel arch.
The church was much altered in the 15th century when new nave arcades were built, the clerestory was added, and Perpendicular windows were inserted at the east end of the south aisle and at both ends of the north aisle. The tall arcades are of four bays and have composite piers, similar in section to those at Market Harborough. The tower and chancel arches are apparently contemporary with the arcades. The massive west tower, built at this period, rises in four stages to an embattled parapet and has clasping buttresses at the angles. There is a large west doorway with a tall Perpendicular window above it; the belfry stage has two-light openings with transoms.
The present fittings of the church date from a restoration of 1865–6, carried out by Goddards of Leicester at a cost of c. £3,000, which was largely provided from the funds of the Hanbury charity. (fn. 189) The pulpit, (fn. 190) desk, gallery, pewing, altar rail, and table were removed, and the present furniture installed. The octagonal mausoleum, erected by the Revd. William Hanbury (d. 1778) in the south-east part of the churchyard as a burial place for his family, (fn. 191) was taken down, and its coffins were removed to a brick vault under the new vestry and organ chamber which was then being built on the north side of the chancel. (fn. 192) The nave roof was rebuilt and the whole fabric thoroughly repaired. The pews and pulpit which were then installed carry elaborate carvings by Barfield of Leicester. (fn. 193)
There was no font at the time of the bishop's visitation in 1662. (fn. 194) The present font, which retains its original wooden canopy cover, bears the inscription 'T.C.—W.C.—1662', and was mounted on its stand at the west end of the south aisle in 1865–6. The organ (1759), by William Adcock of London, was out of repair for many years before 1865. (fn. 195) It was then placed in its present position, rebuilt in 1937, and completed in 1944. (fn. 196) The reredos in the chancel, which is an alabaster representation of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, was completed in 1892. (fn. 197) The oak rood screen across the chancel arch was presented in 1895 by Capt. W. P. Warner of West Langton Hall in memory of his father, Edward Warner (d. 1894). (fn. 198) Capt. Warner, just before his own death in 1911, gave money for a clock in the tower. (fn. 199) A late-17th-century wooden offertory box retains its original iron fittings.
There are many memorial tablets. In the chancel, on the north side to the west of the organ, there is a slate tablet to Thomas Staveley (d. 1631) of West Langton Hall, (fn. 200) and, on the south side, a tablet to Samuel Hill (d. 1639), Rector of Medbourne and Church Langton and Prebendary of Chichester. A painted hatchment board to the memory of Anne Brooke (1603–32), daughter of Sir Calistene Brooke, hangs behind the choir stalls on the south side. Thomas Hanbury (d. 1899) in 1896 placed an alabaster medallion representing his great-grandfather, William Hanbury (d. 1778), above the door on the north side of the chancel leading into the vestry. (fn. 201) The stained glass in the chancel windows was inserted in memory of other members of the Hanbury family. The canopied tomb recess in the south aisle contains the recumbent effigy of Sir Richard Roberts (d. 1644), the father of Thomas Roberts of Thorpe Langton; (fn. 202) that in the north aisle is empty. On the wall of the north aisle are various plaques to members of the Ord family of West Langton Hall.
The custom of allotting the aisles of the mother church to the two daughter chapelries was maintained in the 19th century. (fn. 203) Tur Langton was responsible for the repair of the north aisle, Thorpe Langton for the south aisle. (fn. 204) They were also responsible for allotted sections of the churchyard fence.
There were 5 bells until 1763 when the Revd. William Hanbury (d. 1778) added another 3: (i) and (ii) 1762; (iii) 1763, by Joseph Eayre of St. Neots; (fn. 205) (iv) and (v) 1676, by Thomas Norris; (vi) n.d.; (vii) n.d., by Thomas Eayre of Kettering; (viii) 1741, also by Thomas Eayre. (fn. 206) The plate includes a silver cup and paten dated c. 1575, and a silver cup, paten, and flagon given in 1874 by Jemima Elizabeth Ord (d. 1876). (fn. 207) The registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials date from 1653, with a gap from 1684 to 1687; there are separate registers for East Langton from 1794, and for West Langton from 1813.
No conventicle was reported in 1669. (fn. 208) John Jennings, who was ejected from the living of Hartley Westpall (Hants) in 1662, (fn. 209) was employed by Mrs. Pheasant as the chaplain of a dissenting congregation in West Langton Hall. The hall was licensed as a meeting-place in 1672, and Jennings, who was licensed to preach, did not leave until c. 1690, after Mrs. Pheasant's death. (fn. 210) Edmund Clarke's house in Church Langton was also licensed in 1672, and William Aynsworth was licensed to preach in West Langton. (fn. 211) In the whole ancient parish of Church Langton there were 41 nonconformists in 1676, (fn. 212) and there were believed to be three or four conventicles in 1705–16. (fn. 213) Mary Porter's house in West Langton was licensed in 1724. (fn. 214)
According to Nichols the congregation of Independents in East Langton erected a chapel there about 1780. (fn. 215) In 1881 a new chapel building was built from designs by John Wills, architect, of Derby. (fn. 216) It had a small schoolroom. When the chapel ceased to be used, its property was offered for sale. Part of the site was sold in 1954. After some debate about conversion into a village hall, the chapel building was sold to Lt.-Col. Hignett of East Langton Grange in 1956, and converted into a garage for his horse-box. (fn. 217)
The house of John Smart in East Langton, licensed in 1825, and the house of Samuel Coleman in 1847, may have belonged to another denomination, not Congregationalist. (fn. 218)
Mrs. Mary Pheasant, by will proved in 1689, left an annual rent-charge of £3 for teaching the poor children of East and West Langton to read. In 1758 the charity was augmented by a further rent-charge of £3 from Dorothy Elizabeth Pickering and her sister Mrs. Frances Bird. Both charges issued from land by the hopyard in West Langton. (fn. 219) There was no school building. The income of £6 a year was usually paid to a woman, in either East Langton or West Langton, who would teach the children in her own house. In 1819 a man was instructing 12 children; (fn. 220) in 1833 a woman had 10 boys and 10 girls. (fn. 221) In 1837 15 children, selected by the trustees at the age of 6 or 7, were taught to read and to know their catechism. They usually stayed 3 years. (fn. 222) After 1854 the income may have been applied to the girls' school, which was supported by the rector, Thomas Hanbury (d. 1899). (fn. 223) After 1874 when the new Hanbury Schools were opened (see below), the charity paid a woman who ran a nursery school for children under 5 years at her home. (fn. 224) At the age of 5 the children moved to the Hanbury Schools. The nursery school was closed in 1905, and the Board of Education, on application from the East Langton Parish Council, produced a scheme in 1910 to convert this charity to the aid of apprentices. (fn. 225) The present trustees usually fund their income until they can afford to pay an apprentice £5 a quarter for 3 years. In 1957 they had £129 in hand. (fn. 226)
There were two private day schools in East Langton in 1833: one for infants begun in 1828 with 14 children and one begun in 1831 with 20 children. The church Sunday school, run by subscriptions, was attended by 53 boys and 63 girls from all the Langtons. (fn. 227)
The charity founded in 1767 by the Revd. William Hanbury (d. 1778) is primarily responsible for running the Hanbury Schools. Apart from the distribution of beef to the poor, none of Hanbury's ambitious schemes was put into operation until 1839 when new trustees were appointed. The report of the Charity Commission in 1837 had recommended Chancery proceedings. (fn. 228) In the meanwhile the trustees in 1839 started a school for boys and paid the master £60 a year. (fn. 229) About 1854 the rector, the founder's great-grandson, established a schoolroom for girls, which he leased to the trustees, and paid the mistress £35 a year. (fn. 230) Neither of these schools received parliamentary aid. After a long suit in Chancery a Scheme for the charity was approved in 1864. With other benefactions (see below) the trustees were empowered to build and endow a new school for the five Langtons, with the annual salary of £100 for the master and £80 for the mistress. Their plans were not approved before the Endowed Schools Act of 1869 and the Education Act of 1870 brought further modifications and were delayed by the rector's determination to avoid the formation of a school board by providing plentiful accommodation. (fn. 231)
The Hanbury Schools at Church Langton, opened in 1874, were erected at a cost of about £2,800 from designs by Henry Goddard of Leicester. (fn. 232) The buildings are of red brick with 'Gothic' ornament and stone dressings. There were 70 boys and 50 girls in attendance in 1875. (fn. 233) The schools did not receive parliamentary aid. The infants' department was enlarged in 1899. (fn. 234) The Charity Commissioners in 1895 prepared a Scheme to extend the benefits of the charity to parishes outside the Langtons. (fn. 235) It granted scholarships and exhibitions to places of secondary education, and children from the Langtons and neighbouring parishes (fn. 236) were awarded scholarships by competitive examination. (fn. 237) The Scheme of 1895 permitted the trustees to spend only £200 a year on the school because the Charity Commissioners encouraged a reliance on 'government grants earned by results'. (fn. 238) In 1906 the recognized accommodation of the school was 274 and the average attendance 103. (fn. 239)
The money left by Hanbury had been invested partly in stock and partly in land. (fn. 240) In 1919 392 a., nearly all the real estate, was sold for over £24,000, which was re-invested in stock. (fn. 241) The annual income rose from £650 to £1,300. A decision on the use of this money was delayed by attempts to include the maintenance of church fabric as a legitimate expenditure. An amendment to the 1895 Scheme was sealed in 1922. It extended the scope of the Hanbury scholarships to help agricultural and technical education and permitted the trustees to apply a further £300 a year to promote a library and encourage physical recreation. (fn. 242) The Hanbury Institute was therefore built, including a hall, reading room and library, and cookery and handicraft rooms. It was opened in 1925. (fn. 243)
The Hanbury Schools have played an important part in the reorganization of rural education. In September 1929 the county council provided buses to convey to Church Langton all children over 11 years at five neighbouring elementary schools. The Hanbury Schools became a Rural District Central School for seniors, with a sub-department in the same building for juniors and infants from the Langtons. The county council rented the Hanbury Institute as an assembly hall. (fn. 244) In 1936 it was decided to extend this arrangement. The Hanbury trustees built a separate school for the juniors and infants and extended the 1874 buildings to accommodate more seniors. As the new Hanbury Modern School, it was formally opened in 1937 by the President of the Board of Education, Lord Stanhope. (fn. 245) As more and more smaller village schools were considered uneconomical to run, the junior department of the Hanbury Schools became a central school to which pupils were transferred. (fn. 246)
Eighteen children from outside the Langtons were attending the school in 1911; nine in 1925. The seniors from Cranoe attended by private arrangement before the reorganization of 1929. (fn. 247) In 1928–9 before reorganization there were about 80 children, juniors and seniors, on the roll. The schools of Bringhurst, Foxton, Gumley, Hallaton, and Medbourne were the first to send their seniors, and the three senior classes contained 116 pupils in 1931. The school has provided a midday meal in the hall of the Hanbury Institute since the early 1930's. At the beginning of 1937 there were about 130 seniors, of whom 35 came from the Langtons, and about 40 juniors. After October 1937, when the schools of Fleckney, Illston, Kibworth, and Tugby sent their seniors, the attendance of seniors exceeded 200. (fn. 248) In 1959 the average attendance was 310 in the secondary modern school and 80 in the primary school. (fn. 249)
The Hanbury charity was founded in 1767 by the Revd. William Hanbury (d. 1778). It is governed by a Scheme of 1895, which was amended in 1922. (fn. 250) Since an order made by the Charity Commissioners in 1905, the charity has been divided into two parts: the Educational Foundation which finances the Hanbury Schools; and the foundation which provides three annual sums for the provision of beef, hospital services, and organists' salaries. Since the Education Act of 1902, four selected governors have acted as foundation managers for the schools. (fn. 251)
The determination order of 1905, mentioned above, was carried out in the face of opposition from the governors who considered it 'a very considerable misdirection of funds from the original foundation deeds as set forth by the founder'. (fn. 252) The determination of the scope of the charity was made after the parish of Thorpe Langton in December 1903 had asked the Hanbury governors for money towards the repair of its church roof. (fn. 253) The Charity Commission and the Board of Education were not prepared to sanction this expenditure, although a Scheme of 1864 and that of 1895 which replaced it had both sanctioned expenditure on the repair of churches in the Langtons. (fn. 254) Later attempts to secure money for church repair have also been unsuccessful. (fn. 255)
Hanbury had directed, by deed of 1767, that £100 should be invested until it yielded 5 guineas a year, for the distribution of beef to the poor of the Langtons. (fn. 256) The beef was first distributed in 1773. By the Scheme of 1864, the Hanbury trustees were permitted to spend £25 a year on beef. The same provision was made in 1895. The money is spent at Christmas. (fn. 257) Families applying for the beef receive a portion according to their size. In modern times beef vouchers have been used. (fn. 258)
The Scheme of 1864, confirmed in Chancery, permitted the trustees to spend three annual sums which were considered ways of putting the founder's wishes into practice: £25 for beef, £30 'for procuring medical relief to the poor', and £50 as a salary for the church organist. The two latter sums are the origin of the Hospital Account and the Organ and Music Account. They were increased by the Scheme of 1895 to £50 and £70 respectively, and by the amending Scheme of 1922 the governors were allowed to spend another £30 to increase the salary of the organist. (fn. 259)
From 1864 until the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, the Hospital Account was used chiefly in subscriptions to hospitals, particularly Leicester Royal Infirmary, and in the distribution of medical relief tickets which local doctors, re-imbursed by the governors, accepted as payment. By 1903 home nurses were being hired and, from 1923, the governors paid £50 a year to the Langton Nursing Association, formed in 1919. (fn. 260) By 1957 £694 had accumulated on the Hospital Account. (fn. 261)
The Organ and Music Account was intended in 1864 to permit the organist of Church Langton to teach singing to the children in the Hanbury Schools, to keep the organ in repair, and to provide music. The increase from £50 to £70, by the Scheme of 1895, extended the charity to Thorpe Langton and Tur Langton. The income was therefore chiefly used to provide 3 organists' salaries. The extra £30, added by the Scheme of 1922, was intended to help the teaching of music in the Hanbury Schools. (fn. 262) In 1952 the charity provided a new organ at Thorpe Langton.
In 1546 John Cooper gave land in East Langton and Great Bowden for the benefit of the parish of East Langton, in order to contribute towards the taxes of 15ths and 10ths, to provide the horse, harness, and equipment of a man in war, if the parish were called upon to supply them, and to repair highways and bridges. The land was known as East Langton town land or Cooper's charity. At the inclosure of Great Bowden in 1777 the trustees received 5 a., and at the inclosure of the Langtons in 1792 18½ a. In 1837 and 1846 the income from this land, £38, was spent on repairing the highways of the parish. (fn. 263) Before the dissolution of highway boards in 1894, the trustees were apparently using their income to subsidize the highway rate levied on the parish. Before 1929 the charity also provided rate relief. In 1926 £20 was paid to Market Harborough R.D.C., £40 in 1927, and £50 in 1928. (fn. 264) The charity also possessed cottage property, the history of which it is not easy to discover. In 1837 there were 4 small messuages, 2 rented for 30s. a year and 2 which were to be converted into 4 cottages, adjoining the building intended for a workhouse. (fn. 265) In 1863 there were 7 cottages. (fn. 266) The 2 houses belonging to the charity in 1958 were built at different dates. The larger was built to replace 2 cottages demolished before 1914, but its origin is not known. The smaller was built to replace the last row of old cottages which stood against the road, condemned by the R.D.C. in 1934 and demolished in 1936; (fn. 267) the house was built for £400 in 1934 with the accumulated income of the charity. (fn. 268) The income is largely used to maintain the houses, which were modernized in 1956. In 1958 the trustees received £92 13s. in rents and had over £214 in the bank. (fn. 269)
The civil parish of Thorpe Langton, which is 1,175 a. in area, includes the low-lying parts of the ancient parish towards the River Welland. The soil is mainly a heavy loam with a predominantly clay subsoil, and there are patches of gravel near the river. Less than 30 per cent. of the parish is under cultivation, chiefly for wheat, oats, and barley; the remainder is permanent pasture, good grazing ground for beef cattle. (fn. 272)
The village lies in the north-west of the parish where the road from Great Bowden and the lane around Langton Caudle from Stonton Wyville meet the road from Kibworth Beauchamp to Welham bridge. The latter forms the main street. To the west of the road from Great Bowden and parallel to it there is a short cul-de-sac leading south from the main street to the church. Before the inclosure of the open fields in 1792 these two roads were joined by one running westwards from the Great Bowden road and continuing towards Church Langton. (fn. 273) This road was obliterated in 1792 but can still be traced in the fields. The 17th-century manor-house of the Roberts family formerly stood on the south side of the church. The medieval village may therefore have been on the higher ground south of the present main street. Slight mounds and depressions in the fields may indicate its site. The present manor-house, built of ironstone and limestone ashlar, stands on the north side of the village street at its west end. It is three bays in length and of two stories and attics. The front has coved strings and inserted 18th-century frames in the window openings; original stonemullioned windows survive in the west gable-end. This house may possibly be identified with Nether Hall which had three hearths at the time of the hearth tax returns in 1664. (fn. 274) The structure, however, could well be of slightly later date. The other houses in the village are mostly small two-storied buildings of red brick with slate roofs. The earliest brickwork is of early-18th-century date and is distinguished, as elsewhere in the region, by the use of occasional vitrified headers. In the main street, running eastwards from the lane leading to Stonton Wyville, is a row of cottages belonging to the town land charity. The Baker's Arms public house at its east end is a brick building of c. 1720 which was formerly thatched. West of the lane are two other charity cottages of 1899. At the east end of the street there is a mud cottage, probably built c. 1800, which consists of two rooms, one above the other. Other houses in the village are on the road to Great Bowden and in the cul-de-sac leading to the church. The former include The Grange, Pinfold Farm, and Deene House, all dating from the 19th century. Stonefronted cottages with bay windows on this road are of the 18th century. In the cul-de-sac there are brick cottages of the 18th century and later, some of which may incorporate earlier structures. Three pairs of Council houses were built to the north-east of the church after the Second World War.
A field on Langton Caudle, (fn. 275) which belongs to the manor-house farm and is now in the parish of Welham, used to be part of Thorpe Langton parish and was allotted to J. W. Roberts, the lord of the manor, at the inclosure of 1792. (fn. 276) It was joined to Thorpe Langton by the narrow field which runs down to the ford where the lane from Stonton Wyville crosses the stream. Langton Caudle as a whole does not appear ever to have been within the ancient parish of Langton, but parishioners may have had rights of common there. (fn. 277) The boundary between Thorpe Langton and Welham was in dispute in 1545, both by the river and on the Caudle. (fn. 278)
The recorded population was 31 in 1086. There were 125 taxpayers in 1377 and 48 households in 1670. In 1676 there were 116 communicants. The population of Thorpe Langton has been steadily declining since 1821 when the parish contained 215 people. It dropped to 177 in 1831, and from 127 in 1871 to 83 in 1881. After a slight increase the population had again dropped to 83 by 1921. In 1951 there were 99 people. (fn. 279)
There were two principal estates in Thorpe Langton in 1086: Robert de Vescy held 3 carucates and 6 bovates, and Robert de Buci, 3 carucates and 2 bovates. (fn. 280) Robert de Vescy's estate passed to the honor of Huntingdon, and Robert de Buci's to the honor of the Bassets of Weldon (Northants.). The Huntingdon fee was recognized to be 'in the fee of Anvers' in 1130, (fn. 281) and to be held in the wardship of Dervorguilla de Balliol in 1279. (fn. 282) The Basset fee was granted to a succession of different intermediate lords in the 12th and early 13th centuries, particularly to the Tateshall, Burdet, and Peverel families. (fn. 283) It was therefore sometimes referred to as part of the honor of Peverel. (fn. 284) By the middle of the 14th century the intermediate lordships were no longer recognized, but the Bassets remained tenants-in-chief. (fn. 285)
The demesne tenant of the Huntingdon fee in 1086 was Moriland, who held 3 carucates and 6 bovates under Robert de Vescy. (fn. 286) Eustace was holding 3 carucates and 3 virgates in 1130, (fn. 287) and Richard de Tong, 3½ carucates and 1 virgate in 1279. (fn. 288) In the late 13th and early 14th centuries the family of de Thorpe were the principal tenants. Richard de Thorpe, Margaret his wife, and their son Walter levied a fine with Thomas de Thorpe in 1324. (fn. 289) In 1347 Margaret de Thorpe was holding ¼ knight's fee in Thorpe Langton, while Walter de Thorpe held 1/8 knight's fee in Foxton. Both held of the Countess of Pembroke in the honor of Huntingdon. (fn. 290) Various commissions and pardons issued between 1353 and 1363 suggest that Sir Walter de Thorpe was involved in a long feud with other tenants here and in the other Langtons. (fn. 291) The de Thorpe family rested their claim on a charter, granting the manor of Thorpe Langton to Sir Walter de Thorpe, which was issued by Edward, Prince of Wales in 1366. (fn. 292) By 1389 the manor had descended to Margaret, daughter of Thomas, brother of Walter de Thorpe, and her husband William Riston. (fn. 293) By 1428 the heirs of John Barnak, lords of Broughton's manor in Hallaton, had succeeded to ¼ knight's fee in Thorpe Langton, formerly held by Agnes de Thorpe. (fn. 294) The descent of this fee thereafter followed the descent of Broughton's manor in Hallaton (fn. 295) until 1572. Sir William Powlet then sold his lands in Thorpe Langton to John Saville, nephew of Robert Strelley of West Langton, (fn. 296) and the Huntingdon fee was absorbed into the West Langton Hall estate. In the late 19th century Miss Ord of West Langton Hall still claimed manorial rights in Thorpe Langton. (fn. 297)
The demesne tenants of the Basset fee included the principal yeoman families in Thorpe Langton during the Middle Ages. In 1086 Roger was holding 3 carucates and 2 bovates under Robert de Buci, (fn. 298) and in 1130 Richard Basset was holding 3 carucates and 1 bovate. (fn. 299) By the later 13th century the Peverel family were tenants in demesne. Ralph Peverel in 1279 held 3½ virgates in demesne and 2 virgates in villeinage, all of which he held of Thomas de Langton, who held of Richard Burdet, who held of Robert de Tateshall, who held of Ralph Basset. Six free tenants together held 7½ virgates. (fn. 300)
Walter de Langton (d. 1321), Bishop of Lichfield, succeeded Ralph Peverel as the principal tenant of the Basset fee, by grant from Richard de Pydyngton, mesne lord. (fn. 301) In 1300 the bishop received a grant of free warren over his demesne lands in Langton and Thorpe Langton. (fn. 302) The extent of his property is not certain. In 1307 the bishop's lands were declared forfeit, (fn. 303) but in 1309 when Thomas de Cailli, heir of Robert de Tateshall, was given seisin, the bishop was declared to be holding ¼ knight's fee in Thorpe Langton. (fn. 304) On his death the bishop was holding only 3 a. there. His heir was Edmund Peverel, (fn. 305) but the bishop's connexion with the Peverel family has not been established. (fn. 306)
Ralph Basset (d. 1341) of Weldon (Northants.) within three years of the bishop's death was granting away land in Thorpe Langton. (fn. 307) Ralph Basset, the founder of Launde Priory, in 1339 received a life interest in this fee, (fn. 308) but on his death he was holding only a toft and 3 virgates in Thorpe Langton. (fn. 309) His grandson Richard Basset (d. 1400) died while he was still a minor, (fn. 310) and the Crown in 1402 and 1403 committed the manor to John Wyche, (fn. 311) and in 1406 and 1408 to John Semere. (fn. 312) While it was in the hands of the Crown it was valued at £5 or £6 a year. (fn. 313) The Basset inheritance passed to two cousins, Sir John Aylesbury and Sir John Knyvet. (fn. 314) The latter died seised of the manor of Thorpe Langton in 1418. (fn. 315) Before 1428 the feoffees of the Basset lands had enfeoffed William Phelip (d. 1441) with the manor. (fn. 316) Phelip had married Joan, daughter of Thomas, Lord Bardolf (d. 1408), lord of Bardolf's manor in Hallaton, and the descent of the Basset fee in Thorpe Langton followed that of Bardolf's manor. (fn. 317) Elizabeth, daughter of William Phelip, married John, Viscount Beaumont (d. 1460), and the lands of their son William, Viscount Beaumont (d. 1507), were in 1461 declared forfeit by Edward IV. (fn. 318)
The lordship of the Basset fee therefore passed to the Duchy of Lancaster. The manor belonging to the Roberts family, which was the principal manor in Thorpe Langton during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, was derived from a rearrangement of former Duchy property. Edward IV granted Beaumont's lands in the Langtons in 1462 to Robert Palmer for life. (fn. 319) In 1530 a survey of 'Beaumont's lands' in Hallaton, Thorpe Langton, Church Langton, West Langton, and Arnesby valued them at £44 a year. (fn. 320) A list of Queen Elizabeth's revenues from the Langtons and Hallaton in 1587 included the names of the tenants of 'Lord Beaumont's land'. (fn. 321) John, Thomas, and Nicholas Smith were holding the site of the manor at Thorpe Langton. (fn. 322) Various members of the Smith family were yeomen farmers from the beginning of the 16th century. Nichols quoted a terrier of the lands of William Smith in 1529, (fn. 323) and he was one of the leading inhabitants of Thorpe Langton in their boundary dispute with the parish of Welham in 1545. (fn. 324) A messuage in Thorpe Langton, bought by Thomas Smith and held in 1585 by William and John Smith, was then settled upon Thomas, the son and heir of William Smith of Sutton Bassett (Northants.). (fn. 325) Another leading yeoman family, called Jervis, who were tenants of this fee, had a pedigree starting in 1363. (fn. 326) The Roberts family apparently built up their estate from part of the Jervis holding. Thomas Roberts (d. 1633), the son of Sir Richard Roberts (d. 1644) whose tomb is in Church Langton church, bought the manor of Thorpe Langton, 'formerly Beaumont's', from George Jervis and William, his son, c. 1623. (fn. 327) In 1691 an Act of Parliament was secured to vest certain lands in Thorpe Langton and elsewhere in trustees for the payment of the debts of Richard Roberts, son of Thomas, and to raise portions for his daughters. (fn. 328) The Roberts family did not reside at Thorpe Langton for long during the 18th century. Charles Roberts died in 1791 at Belton (Rut.), (fn. 329) and in 1790 the Roberts family mansion at Thorpe Langton, on the south side of the church, was described as 'now nearly erased'. (fn. 330) The widow of Revd. Charles Roberts (1788–1859) was still recognized as lady of the manor in 1877. (fn. 331)
The present manor-house may have been the home farm of the Roberts family. The greater part of its land was certainly that allotted to J. W. Roberts by the inclosure award of 1792. (fn. 332) The Kendall family, who are the present owners, have been yeoman farmers here since the beginning of the 18th century and may have succeeded the Smith family mentioned above. Thomas Kendall, the grandson of John Kendall (d. 1717), Vicar of Thornton, married Elizabeth Smith of Thorpe Langton. (fn. 333) His son John Kendall (d. 1804) received 68 a. in 1792, (fn. 334) and the Kendall family holding did not increase greatly until after the death of his grandson Thomas Kendall (d. 1876). In 1927 the manor-house and 241 a. were bought by Stanley Kendall (d. 1938) from Capt. G. J. H. Pearson of Stoke Albany (Northants.), owner of the former lands of the Roberts family. The present owner is Mr. Clement J. Kendall.
The Domesday Survey recorded 31 persons living in Thorpe Langton. (fn. 335) The largest holding was that of Moriland on the fee of Robert de Vescy. He had 2 ploughs in demesne with 6 serfs, and 9 villeins and 3 bordars had 1½ plough. (fn. 336) Roger, who held of Robert de Buci on the fee which descended to the Basset family, had only one plough in demesne with one serf, and 2 villeins and 8 bordars had 2 ploughs. (fn. 337)
By the early 14th century the fee of Robert de Vescy (the Huntingdon fee), which had descended to the de Thorpe family, was still the chief holding with a resident manorial lord. Sir Walter de Thorpe was clearly resident in Thorpe Langton during the 1350's. (fn. 338) After the death of Bishop Walter de Langton in 1321, the Basset fee was largely held by free tenants. This situation is reflected in the poll tax returns of 1381. Of 24 householders listed, 12 were tenants at will, 8 were free tenants, and 4 were servants. (fn. 339) John Payne, ancestor of a leading yeoman family, was then a tenant at will. (fn. 340) Henry Ram and Alice his wife, free tenants, probably held the 'manor' of 'Ramesplace'. (fn. 341) The holding of the Smith family after the Basset fee came into the hands of the Duchy in 1461 has already been mentioned. (fn. 342) The surviving 16th-century wills of this family show that it was related to the Paynes. (fn. 343) The Jervis family were also important free tenants of the Basset fee. (fn. 344) John Jervis and Thomas Smith both received the highest assessment of goods, £40, in the lay subsidy of 1524. (fn. 345) Richard Payne, Robert Jervis, John Jervis, and Robert Smith were the principal taxpayers in the village in 1572. (fn. 346) The same families were predominant in the 1628 tax list: William Payne, the elder, and Martin Payne, William Smith, the elder, and William Smith, Thomas Jervis, and Richard Mattock. (fn. 347)
The manor belonging to the Roberts family was primarily a country residence and not an agricultural estate. Thomas Roberts died in 1633 seised of a messuage, 5 cottages, and 5½ virgates of land. (fn. 348) The manor-house, on the south side of the church, was of considerable size. Mrs. Susanna Roberts (d. 1678) was assessed for 11 hearths in the hearth tax returns of 1664. (fn. 349) The house was probably built in the early 17th century. It had been abandoned by the 1780's for in 1787 the Rector of Church Langton was buying 'stones from Thorpe Langton Hall'. (fn. 350)
Since the inclosure of the open fields in 1792, the agriculture of the parish has largely depended upon grazing land. In the 18th century the Ward family, who were yeomen landowners, appear to have been graziers. (fn. 351) As in East and West Langton, (fn. 352) there may have been an arrangement which kept much of the land under grass, and in the 19th century most farmers were graziers. (fn. 353) The most important development of modern times has been the concentration of land ownership in fewer hands. In 1959 there were only 4 important farms: the Manor House (C. J. Kendall), Grange Farm (J. R. Kendall), Meadow Farm (P. Haynes), and Cawdell Farm (J. E. Broome). The Kendalls were holding about 750 a., or over 65 per cent. of the parish. (fn. 354)
There was a watermill in Thorpe Langton in 1278. (fn. 355) It may have been situated on the stream which divides Thorpe Langton from Langton Caudle.
The chapel at Thorpe Langton was granted to Leicester Abbey, with the mother church at Church Langton, at some date during the 12th century, probably before 1162. (fn. 356) From 1220 onwards it was served by the mother church. (fn. 357) No evidence of a resident chaplain has survived for any period before the 16th century. (fn. 358) There were no chaplains in the early 18th century, (fn. 359) but by the 19th century it appears to have been customary for the rector's curate, living at Church Langton, to serve Thorpe Langton. (fn. 360)
There was no burial ground until the middle of the 19th century, as the rights of burial remained with the mother church. As at Tur Langton, the inhabitants in 1832 petitioned the archdeacon that the yard in which the chapel stood should be consecrated. (fn. 361) The existing memorial tablets dating from before 1832 must have been moved from Church Langton. During the 19th century the dedication of the chapel was said to be to St. Nicholas, (fn. 362) but this was presumably a mistake for St. Leonard and was corrected later. (fn. 363) When it was visited by a Leicestershire Archaeological Society excursion in 1863, the chapel was described as dedicated to St. Leonard. (fn. 364)
The chapel of ST. LEONARD stands on rising ground in the south-west of the village, and is approached by a cul-de-sac. Before the late 18th century the old manor-house and perhaps the village were close to the chapel, and the road which now runs into a field on the east side of the churchyard was one of the village streets. (fn. 365) The building, which is of ironstone with limestone dressings, consists of clerestoried chancel and nave, north and south aisles, north porch, and west tower and spire. There is a modern vestry against the south wall of the tower.
The rubble walling of a 13th-century building is visible in the spandrels of the south arcade, at the western ends of both arcades against the tower, and possibly in the bases of the arcade piers. Four reset corbels in the south aisle are of c. 1200. The tower, of three stages surmounted by a small broach spire, was built later in the 13th century. The spire has pinnacles on each broach, four two-light openings near the base, and smaller openings towards the apex. Two-light openings under single arches but with unpierced spandrels light the belfry stage. There are angle buttresses, and a single lancet window in the lowest stage; the west door has been modernized.
The chancel, aisles, and arcades were rebuilt in the early 14th century. A moulded plinth and string course of Decorated character is common to chancel and south aisle. The windows have varied tracery, including forking, reticulated, intersecting, and geometrical: all these features are Decorated in character. The piscina and mutilated sedilia in the chancel are of the same date. The three-bay arcades have quatrefoil piers, pointed double-chamfered arches, and hoodmoulds with head stops. Two capitals at the east end of the south arcade are ornamented with ballflowers. At the east end of the south aisle is the entrance to the former rood loft.
The clerestory was added in the late 15th century to both nave and chancel, and with it a low-pitched roof. The pitch of the earlier nave roof is visible on the tower. The junction of earlier masonry with that of the clerestory in the chancel and the disproportionate height of the east window in the south aisle both suggest that the side walls may have been lowered before the clerestory was added.
The building was restored in 1867, at a cost of about £1,000 provided by the Hanbury charity, by Joseph Goddard of Leicester. Mrs. Elizabeth Roberts of Guilsborough (Northants.) gave £300 for the restoration of the east end and the installation of the present east window. (fn. 366) The north aisle was rebuilt and a north porch was added while much of the early tracery and mouldings were replaced. The roof was repaired in 1914. (fn. 367) The stained glass in the east window of the south aisle is a memorial to George E. Kendall (d. 1926).
The octagonal Perpendicular font is of the late 15th century. The bowl and shaft are enriched with foliage and traceried panels. A 15th-century pulpit and Jacobean benches were removed during the restoration of 1867, (fn. 368) but the present pulpit incorporates wooden panels of c. 1500, perhaps taken from the earlier structure. In 1619 large pews were rented by some of the more substantial free tenants, while the seats in the north aisle were very mean and unboarded, 'like little seats for school boys'. (fn. 369) The organ was provided by the Hanbury charity in 1952. (fn. 370)
There are three bells: (i) n.d.; (ii) 1630; (iii) 17th century. All were recast in 1884. (fn. 371) There is a silver chalice dated c. 1731. (fn. 372) The registers begin in 1605 but are continuous only after c. 1652.
In 1719 the house of Daniel Knight at Thorpe Langton was licensed as a meetingplace for dissenters. (fn. 373)
In 1832 the archdeacon reported that there was no day school in Thorpe Langton and that the children attended Sunday school in Church Langton. (fn. 374) In 1833 two day schools, educating about 10 children at their parents' expense, were reported. (fn. 375)
The origin of the Thorpe Langton town land charity is unknown, but is believed to be connected with Cooper's charity, the East Langton town land. (fn. 376) In 1792, by the inclosure award, the trustees of Thorpe Langton town land received 2 allotments, 13 a. in all, in compensation for their property. (fn. 377) During the 19th century the income from the land was used for the repair of roads. In 1826 the land was let to Joseph Walker, who paid a rent of £28 a year to the surveyors of the highways. (fn. 378) The charity also owned cottage property. In 1854 there were 13 cottages, chiefly with gardens: 3 were let rent free to the very poor and 10 at various rents from £4 6s. to 15s. (fn. 379) The annual income of the charity in 1854 and 1864 was over £55. (fn. 380) In 1899 the trustees were granted permission to borrow £200 in order to build 2 new houses on the site of 4 mud and thatch cottages which had become uninhabitable. (fn. 381) These 2 houses still stand, on the north side of the main street at the western corner of the lane to Stonton Wyville. The remaining charity cottages are the 5 which extend from the eastern corner of this lane to the Bakers Arms public house. During the 20th century the income of the charity has been devoted to keeping these 7 houses in repair. In 1934–5 £65 12s. was received in rents and £96 1s. 11d. spent in maintenance; with the money brought forward, there was £96 12s. 6d. in hand. (fn. 382)
The civil parish of Tur Langton, which is 1,413 a. in area, consists of the northern part of the ancient parish, and stretches over two miles from Kibworth Harcourt on the west to Stonton Wyville on the east. The soil is chiefly a heavy loam and largely devoted to permanent pasture. King Charles's Well, a chalybeate spring in the eastern half of the parish, is traditionally supposed to have been a place where Charles I watered his horse during his flight from the field of Naseby. (fn. 383)
Although this parish, like the neighbouring parish of Shangton, was included in the small hundred of Langton at the time of the Leicestershire Survey in 1130, (fn. 384) and from 1220 at least has been recognized as part of the ecclesiastical parish of Church Langton, (fn. 385) its present name does not appear to have originated before the late 16th century. (fn. 386) In 1086 the village was 'Terlintone', (fn. 387) and various spellings, particularly 'Terlington' or 'Tyrlyngton', were used throughout the Middle Ages. (fn. 388)
The village lies in the centre of the civil parish and extends westwards from the junction of the road from Kibworth Harcourt with the road from Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray which runs through Church Langton. Just south of the junction a road runs eastwards to Cranoe and Hallaton; there are five pairs of Council houses on this road, some built before and some after the Second World War. On the east side of the Harborough–Melton road, facing west down the village street, is the Bull's Head public house, an early-18th-century brick building. (fn. 389) Adjoining the inn a red-brick house is dated 1793; the rear wall is of ironstone and the front has earlier footings. South of this is the Congregational chapel with its adjacent manse. Other buildings in this road date from the 19th century.
The long main street has the 19th-century church of St. Andrew on its south side, while the post office, a modern building, and the Crown Inn are on the north. At its west end the street swings northwards by the gate to the manor-house. Before the inclosure of 1792 it continued westwards between the manorhouse and the old chapel, a route now blocked by farm outbuildings. It continued as a bridle road to 'Purgate', an entrance into West Langton, and thence to join the road from West Langton to Kibworth Beauchamp.
Most of the houses in the main street are of red brick or of brick and ironstone. There was much rebuilding from c. 1700 onwards but several of the houses contain inscribed ceiling beams which indicate their 17th-century origin. On the north side of the street Crock's Farm is a brick house, rebuilt in the 18th century, with a ceiling beam of 1673. Fargate Farm, further west, dates from earlier in the 17th century and is the only surviving timberframed house in the village. It has a later mudwalled bay and an adjoining outhouse containing a re-used beam inscribed 'A.H. 1693'. The 'Crown' is probably an early-19th-century house, much modernized. Beyond the inn is Langton House, also dating from the early 19th century. It has a three-storied stucco front with four pilasters rising to a heavy eaves cornice; the front was altered in the late 19th century. (fn. 390) The village hall, near the west end of the street, is a wooden army hut brought from Cannock Chase, erected by public subscription after the First World War.
On the south side of the street Warren Farm stands immediately west of the churchyard. It has the typical three-bay plan of the early 17th century but the house was partly reconstructed in stone in 1669, a date which appears above the doorway with the initials R. A. C. These may stand for Robert and Alice Coleman (d. 1672 and 1677 respectively). (fn. 391) The stone front is of two stories and has two threesided bay windows with stone mullions. The front was later given a third story of brickwork and the service end of the house, including the cross-passage, was rebuilt in brick in the 18th century. Internally a beam initialled A.H.C. and a moulded beam in the living room may be survivals from the original 17thcentury timber-framed building. A cottage to the west of Warren Farm has a main beam dated 1655 with initials H. A. B.; its east end was formerly a smithy. At the west end of the street, near the manor-house gateway, is a row of four cottages, two of which were rebuilt in brick in the early 18th century. The most westerly has a ceiling beam in the parlour belonging to an earlier structure, inscribed 'W.A. 1654'. The other cottage has a keystone of 1728 above the central doorway. Internally there are central fire-places and a beam dated 1603 with initials T.A. and E.A. The rear wing, the old kitchen, has rough stone footings and one post surviving from the original timber frame. The east end of the row has an arched yard entrance and dates from the early 19th century; one of the houses was formerly the Chequers Inn.
The former manor-house of Tur Langton, now a farm, stands at the west end of the village and is approached by a short avenue. It was originally a large stone house of two stories and attics, built on an H-shaped plan and dating from the early 17th century. (fn. 392) All that survives is the central block, formerly containing the great hall, and part of the north cross-wing. On the east front of the central range, near its north end, is the original main doorway which has a moulded dripstone and moulded jambs. Next to it a tall four-light window with ovolo-moulded mullions presumably lit the great hall. The south cross-wing was probably demolished in the late 18th or early 19th century when the gableend of the central range, on which it abutted, was built up in brickwork. On the west front of the range there are ironstone footings below 18th-century brickwork. The east end of the north cross-wing is of the original date. A very large fire-place inside it probably served the 17th-century kitchen. The west end of the wing, although largely of ironstone, has wood lintels to the windows and was probably built or rebuilt with old material in the 18th century. Internally the house has been much altered and all the fittings are modern. The site is apparently that of the medieval manor-house; it is slightly raised and there are traces of a moat on its west side. (fn. 393) The remains of the medieval chapel stand to the northwest.
The recorded population in 1086 was 39. (fn. 394) There were 49 households in 1670, and 138 communicants in 1676. It was the largest village among the Langtons during the 19th century. The total population was 345 in 1801 and 350 in 1841. It then declined to 237 in 1911 and 188 in 1921. By 1951 there were 208 persons in the parish, (fn. 395) and a parish council, with 5 councillors, was formed in 1952. (fn. 396)
In 1086 there were 13 carucates in Tur Langton held by Walchelin under the Archbishop of York. Herbert, a free tenant, held 3 carucates under Walchelin. (fn. 397) In 1130 Henry de Port was holding 13 carucates from the archbishop, 12 in TUR LANGTON and one in West Langton. (fn. 398) Until the 17th century successive archbishops of York were recognized to be the overlords of the manor, which was attached to their manor of Southwell (Notts.). (fn. 399)
Before 1166 the Archbishop of York had enfeoffed Robert Maunsell with the manor, which remained in the hands of his descendants in the male line until 1352, (fn. 400) except for the years 1216–20. King John in 1216 granted the manor, which was forfeited to the Crown through the rebellion of Robert Maunsell, to Hugh de Luterington, who had already disputed Maunsell's claim in 1206. (fn. 401) Maunsell recovered seisin by fine from Henry III in 1220. (fn. 402) The Maunsell family probably resided on the site of the present manor-house and were responsible for building the ancient chapel of ease, (fn. 403) the ruins of which stand nearby. In 1267 John Maunsell (d. 1284) received a grant of free warren over his demesne lands here. (fn. 404)
On the death of Robert Maunsell in 1352 the manor was divided between his daughters, Mary, the wife of John Boyville, and Joan, the wife of William Chetwynd. (fn. 405) Joan Chetwynd's share was apparently represented by the property which eventually descended to the Isham family of Lamport (Northants.) who owned the adjoining manor of Shangton; (fn. 406) and Mary Boyville's share apparently included the site of the capital messuage which descended to the Faunt and Halford families and was eventually absorbed into the West Langton Hall estate. (fn. 407)
Joan Chetwynd (d. 1425) was succeeded by her grandson John Chetwynd, a minor, who apparently did not get full seisin until 1449–50, although he came of age c. 1430. (fn. 408) John's mother had married twice, first Robert Chetwynd, his father, and secondly William Calcote, who enjoyed the profits of John's lands during his minority. (fn. 409) It appears that Joan Chetwynd's share of the Maunsell inheritance passed to the Calcote family. John Calcote died in 1536 seised of 10 messuages, 4 cottages, and 10 bovates. (fn. 410) William Calcote in 1559 apparently conveyed half Tur Langton manor to John Bale of Carlton Curlieu and William Faunt (d. 1559) of Foston. (fn. 411) The latter's son Anthony Faunt (d. 1588) in 1583 sold some property in Tur Langton to Thomas Moore alias Smith (d. 1639). (fn. 412) The latter was the father of Thomas Smith alias Moore (d. 1643) who outlived his son Thomas (d. 1640), (fn. 413) and devised his property to his grandson Thomas Smith alias Moore, the son of Thomas. (fn. 414) The grandson was succeeded by his sister Alice, the wife of Edward Asborne, who conveyed the manor in 1670 to Sir Justinian Isham, Bt. (d. 1675). (fn. 415) This property, which amounted to about 200 a., remained in the male line of the Isham family of Lamport (Northants.) until the 1870's. Sir Charles Edmund Isham (d. 1903) broke the entail on part of his estates in order to provide for his two daughters. His land in Tur Langton was given to his elder daughter Louisa Mary (d. 1947) who in 1871 married Edward Corbett (d. 1918) of Longnor (Salop). (fn. 416)
Mary Boyville's share of the Maunsell inheritance passed to her son Thomas Boyville, who in 1413 disputed the way in which the manor of Tur Langton had been divided. (fn. 417) His nephew and heir Richard Boyville (d. c. 1466) also left two daughters, and the Boyville share was again divided when Richard's widow Mary Boyville died in 1480. (fn. 418) Elizabeth, their elder daughter, was the wife of John Bawdes whose family appears to have acquired the larger share. Robert Bawdes died seised of a manor in Tur Langton in 1511. (fn. 419) In 1555 it appears that Charles Bawdes conveyed half the manor to John Ward of Carlton Curlieu, who already had property there, which, during his minority, was in the custody of Leonard Stubbs, by grant from Henry VIII. (fn. 420) Stubbs apparently conveyed this moiety in 1560 to Thomas Dexter of Theddingworth. (fn. 421) The latter's daughter Elizabeth married William Brocas, who was selling property in Tur Langton during the 1580's. (fn. 422) In 1590 William Brocas sold the manor to Andrew Halford (d. 1608) of Welham, who died childless and was succeeded by his cousin Richard Halford of Edith Weston (Rut.). (fn. 423) Both Andrew and Richard belonged to junior branches of the family of Halford of Wistow. (fn. 424)
The manor-house at Tur Langton is believed to have been built on the site of a larger house during the earlier 17th century. The existence in the house of 'Faunt's room' in the late 18th century led to the belief that it was built by a Faunt. (fn. 425) It must certainly be associated with the families of Halford of Wistow and Faunt of Foston, who intermarried, but the exact ownership has not been discovered. Richard, Andrew, and George Halford made a settlement of property belonging to the manor in 1639. (fn. 426) Henry Faunt (d. 1665), however, was described in his will in 1664 as 'of Tur Langton' and not as 'of Foston', the Faunt family home, which passed to his sons, Walter (d. 1695) and George (d. 1697). (fn. 427) His daughter Elizabeth married the second son of Sir Richard Halford (d. 1658) of Wistow, George Halford (d. 1659), also described as 'of Tur Langton'. (fn. 428) Their son Richard Halford (d. 1681) was assessed for a house at Tur Langton with 15 hearths in the hearth tax returns of 1666. (fn. 429) The Royalist activities of both the Halford and Faunt families may account for some of this obscurity about the descent of the manor.
Richard Halford (d. 1681), his wife Frances, daughter of William Halford of Welham, and his mother Elizabeth conveyed the manor of Tur Langton to Mrs. Mary Pheasant of West Langton Hall, probably in 1678. (fn. 430) Tur Langton manor remained part of the Langton estate until 1911–12. W. T. Hayr (d. 1939), who was then the tenant of the manor-house, bought the house and about 500 a. of land. (fn. 431) In 1933 he sold his property to Merton College, Oxford, the owners in 1959. (fn. 432)
In 1086 Walchelin, holding 13 carucates, had 3 ploughs in demesne with 4 serfs and 2 bondwomen, while 20 villeins and a bordar had 6 ploughs. Herbert held 3 carucates from Walchelin, and had one plough in demesne. His 5 villeins and 2 socmen with 2 bordars had 3 ploughs. (fn. 433) At the time of the Domesday Survey Tur Langton was therefore the largest and most populous of the Langtons. (fn. 434) It had 13 ploughs at work, the largest noted area of meadow (12 a.), and the only wood in the Langtons, 3 furlongs by 2 furlongs. (fn. 435) Tur Langton and East Langton have always been the largest villages of the five Langtons, and the latter has been the most populous only since the end of the 19th century. (fn. 436)
Tur Langton also appears to have been the only village of the Langtons during the Middle Ages which had a resident manorial lord. No court rolls have survived except a record of a view of frankpledge held in 1745 when the lord, Sir Edward Pickering, was still taking fines for breaches of the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 437) Nineteenth-century references to the manorial court of Earl Somers at Tur Langton in fact relate to the court of the hundred of Gartree which after 1750 was held in the 'Bull's Head' at Tur Langton. (fn. 438) The topographical evidence of the large mound, of which the present manor-house occupies only the north-east corner, opposite the site of the 12th-century chapel, suggests that the Maunsell family who were enfeoffed with the manor in the early 12th century maintained a large manorial establishment.
In the late 14th century most tenants were holding their land in villeinage. Of the 27 households listed in the poll tax returns of 1381, 13 were described as holders of land at will, and only 5 as holders of land. (fn. 439) But any manorial organization which there might have been did not survive the complicated manorial descent of the 15th century. (fn. 440) There appear to have been about a dozen farmers in Tur Langton in 1524, of whom Thomas Smith and Richard Hakett were the most wealthy. (fn. 441) Thomas Smith was probably the ancestor of the Thomas Moore alias Smith who acquired part of the manor in 1583. (fn. 442) Henry Coleman, also mentioned in 1524, was probably related to the Coleman family who by the late 16th century were well-established yeoman farmers in the village. (fn. 443) Thomas Smith and Leonard Coleman were among the leading farmers assessed for tax in 1628. (fn. 444) The Halford family at the manor-house in the 17th century were not apparently large landowners. The leading families were closely related by marriage. Thomas Smith alias Moore (d. 1643) had three daughters: Elizabeth, the wife of Nicholas Strelley (see West Langton), Anne, the wife of Richard Halford, and Jane, the wife of Henry Coleman. (fn. 445)
There were some framework-knitters in the village during the early 18th century, (fn. 446) but it continued to be primarily agricultural. By the middle of the 17th century a little inclosure had taken place. Thomas Moore alias Smith (d. 1639) died seised of 4 closes of pasture called Great Close, Yate Close, Meadow Close, and Alder Close. (fn. 447) At the time of the statutory inclosure of the open fields in 1792, apart from the old inclosures around the houses of the village there was one large ancient inclosure, Wood Close, south of the manor-house. (fn. 448) Most of the land was converted to permanent pasture. The only isolated farm-house, Tur Langton Lodge, was built to farm the land in the east of the parish, by the stream from Stonton Wyville, belonging to the Isham family of Lamport (Northants.). (fn. 449)
W. T. Hayr, who farmed the manor-house farm from about 1893 until his death in 1939, was a successful grazier and a well-known breeder of Shire horses. (fn. 450) In 1915, when he won the Royal Agricultural Society's prize for the best grazing or dairy farm in the North Midlands, he had over 600 a. in permanent pasture, usually carrying a bullock and a sheep to the acre. His workmen were earning an average wage of over 21s. a week and lived in their cottages rent and rate free. (fn. 451) By 1921 he had broken up 100 a. for arable cultivation. (fn. 452) The area of arable was greatly increased during the Second World War, but the land has since been chiefly used for fattening bullocks. The first dairying for supplying milk to Leicester was introduced on a small scale about 1912. (fn. 453)
There were two windmills in Tur Langton in the 17th century, one belonging to the Smith alias Moore family and one to the Halford family. (fn. 454) A windmill was marked on the inclosure award map in 1792 (fn. 455) in a small field on the east side of the road from Tur Langton to Church Langton. (fn. 456) It appears to have fallen into disuse in the early 19th century. After 1850 Langton farmers ground their corn in the mill at Kibworth Harcourt. (fn. 457)
There was a priest at Tur Langton in 1165 and 1166. (fn. 458) The chapel appears to have been built before 1162 by the Maunsell family, lords of the manor. In 1210 Robert Maunsell was apparently claiming the advowson. (fn. 459) From 1220 onwards, however, the chapel at Tur Langton was served by the mother church in the same manner as the chapel at Thorpe Langton. (fn. 460)
During the 16th and early 17th centuries there was a resident chaplain at Tur Langton. (fn. 461) Robert Frier, curate in 1614, received a stipend of 20 nobles. (fn. 462) By the early 18th century the practice of having a resident priest appears to have lapsed. (fn. 463) During the early 19th century it was customary for the Rector of Church Langton to employ a curate to take the services at Tur Langton, while he and another curate shared Church Langton and Thorpe Langton. In 1842, for instance, J. B. Hildebrand, headmaster of Kibworth Grammar School, was the curate in Tur Langton on Sundays. (fn. 464) This custom may have originated when the rector, Thomas Hanbury (d. 1848), was suspended in 1832. (fn. 465) After the building of a new chapel in 1866, the custom of having a resident curate was adopted, but it does not appear to have been continued after 1890. (fn. 466)
The remains of the old chapel stand to the northwest of the manor-house. All that survives is a fragment of the north wall of the nave and the north doorway. The latter has a pointed arch and a moulded capital, badly weathered, dating from the late 13th century. A view of the building as it existed in 1791 shows it to have consisted of nave, chancel, south porch, and a west bell-cote with space for two bells. (fn. 469) The appearance of the nave would be consistent with a late-13th-century rebuilding, while the only visible chancel window might have been of the 14th century or later. (fn. 470) The chancel roof was steeplypitched but the nave roof appears to have been flattened. A string course at sill level was stepped down on the west wall of the nave as if to accommodate a large west window at some period. The south porch was a later addition. In the 17th century there was a bell-cote with one bell at the west end. In 1619 the archdeacon reported that the man 'who is hired by the year to keep the windows' had stopped them up with sticks in some places and had mended the east window of the chancel with sticks instead of bars of iron. (fn. 471) There was no churchyard, as the rights of burial remained with the mother church at Church Langton. In 1832 an attempt was made to have the field in which the chapel stood consecrated as a burial ground, but the parishioners were unwilling to lose the rent which the field brought to parish funds. (fn. 472) There was no burial ground until 1866 when a new chapel was built in a field given by Sir Charles Isham. Archdeacon Bonney in 1832 noted of the old chapel that 'the whole fabric is built of bad materials, and is a wretched structure, but the parish appears to have done its best to support it'. (fn. 473) In 1842 he thought it was still in very good order. (fn. 474) It was largely dismantled in 1866 when the new chapel was opened. (fn. 475)
The chapel of ST. ANDREW stands in a small churchyard on the south side of the main street in Tur Langton. It consists of an apsidal chancel, a nave, and a north aisle with a tower and spire in the northwest corner. It was designed in 'the Early English character' by Joseph Goddard of Leicester and built in red brick with blue-brick dressings. The foundation stone was laid in 1865. (fn. 476) The cost was met by subscription. The Revd. J. H. Hill began writing his History of Gartree: the History of Langton in order to raise funds to meet a deficiency of £500, which was finally met by a grant from the Hanbury charity. He hoped that his book would be 'a lasting record of one of the greatest church restorations ever made within the memory of man, of any one parish of the Archdeaconry of Leicester, or Diocese of Peterborough'. (fn. 477) The nave, which is built in four bays, has a highpitched roof and a low clerestory with quatrefoil windows above the north arcade. The organ chamber on the north side of the chancel is built in the form of a small transept. There is a small vestry against the south wall of the chancel. The tower above the entrance porch, which is at the west end of the north aisle, has corner buttresses and is surmounted by a broach spire. The font, which was the gift of Jemima Elizabeth Ord (d. 1876), and the other fittings date from 1865.
There is one bell, 1794 by Edward Arnold of Leicester and St. Neots, which was transferred from the old chapel to the new. (fn. 478) The plate includes a chalice of 1634, and two chalices and patens and a flagon, all of 1865. (fn. 479) The registers begin in 1693, with a gap (for baptisms and burials) from 1793 to 1813.
Although no conventicle was reported in 1669, (fn. 480) the houses of Henry Coleman and Richard Coleman were licensed as meetingplaces for dissenters in 1672. (fn. 481) Henry Coleman was licensed to preach. Until 1846 various other houses were licensed as meeting-places: the house of Mary Pilkington in 1717–18, of Thomas Watts in 1726, and of John Halliday in 1730 and 1732. (fn. 482) The house of John Guttridge was licensed in 1780, that of Elizabeth Harrald in 1817, and that of Ann Woodcock in 1824. (fn. 483) The Congregational chapel at the east end of the village was erected in 1846. (fn. 484) It is a small red-brick building, re-fronted and extended later in the 19th century. In 1881 Richard Hackney, a former deacon, gave the land and cottage property adjoining the chapel on the south 'for the benefit of the ministers preaching there from time to time'. Soon afterwards the cottages were replaced by a house which was leased by Mrs. Ingram for £10 a year. The chapel and Hackney's gift were vested in the Leicestershire and Rutland Congregational Union in 1930. (fn. 485)
A private day school in Tur Langton was begun in 1825. In 1833 it contained 6 boys and 6 girls. (fn. 486) Mary Guttridge kept a small dame school until the 1880's in a cottage on the site of the house which stands on the south side of the Congregational chapel. On Sundays she would walk with her pupils to the Congregational Sunday school at Kibworth Harcourt. (fn. 487)
George Gibson Johnson (d. 1914), of Langton House, Tur Langton, by will proved in 1915, left £100 for the distribution of tea, on or about 24 December each year. (fn. 488) In 1953 14 persons in Tur Langton each received 2 lb. of tea, and in 1954 the charity had £10 in hand. (fn. 489)