A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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In this section
Niwetone (xi cent.); Neweton (xii cent.); Nywetona (xiii cent.); Newenton beside Heghham Fereres (xiv cent.); Newnton (xvi cent.); Newton Bromswold alias Newton next Higham Parke (xvii cent.).
The parish of Newton Bromswold lies on the borders of Bedfordshire with Chelveston cum Caldecott on the north and Higham Park on the west and south. It covers an area of 828 acres. The altitude of the parish is about 300 ft., the upper soil clay, the subsoil Oxford Clay with streaks of Cornbrash on the east and west.
The common and waste lands of Newton Bromswold were inclosed in 1800. (fn. 1) In 1931 the population consisted of 71 persons. The village, which is small and contains few buildings besides the church, rectory, and school, is situated in the east of the parish, 4½ miles south-east of Higham Ferrers station.
The name Bromswold seems to refer to the 'Bruneswald', a large area of woodland on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire, in which Hereward and his men took refuge at the beginning of his rising against the Normans. (fn. 2)
Two hides less half a virgate which Azor had formerly held in NEWTON, were in 1086 held of the bishop of Coutances by William, his steward. (fn. 3) This estate descended with the manor of Cotes Bidun (q.v.) (fn. 4) to John de Gatesden, who with Richard Croxton was holding of the heirs of Baldwin Wake half a fee in Newton in 1284. (fn. 5) Gatesden's representative, Richard Chamberlain, in 1428 held half a fee in Cotes and Newton 'of the fee of John Bidon'. (fn. 6)
As early as 1166 Richard de Neuton and 'another Richard of the same vill' were holding a fee in Newton of John de Bidun, (fn. 7) and other members of the family occur in connexion with the advowson (q.v.) until the end of the 13th century, but in 1346 John Druell was in possession. (fn. 8) On the death of a later John Druell (fn. 9) in 1496 the manor descended to his younger brother Richard. (fn. 10) Richard died in 1525 leaving Newton to his wife Grace, after whose death it was to be sold and the proceeds devoted to the maintenance of a chantry in the Fraternity of the Gild of Jesus in Baldock. (fn. 11) This was possibly done when lands in Newton Bromswold were sold by his elder daughter and, ultimately, sole heir Anne (fn. 12) and her husband Robert Warner to Thomas Brooke, who held them at his death in 1558. (fn. 13) Half the manor was in the hands of Francis Negus in 1639, (fn. 14) and (? the other) half was confirmed to him in 1644 by William Negus and his wife Jane, whose inheritance it evidently was. (fn. 15) Francis Negus and his wife Susan sold the manor of Drewell's in 1644 to Needham Langhorne, (fn. 16) who settled it on William Langhorne in 1661. (fn. 17) Fourteen years later a moiety of the manor was owned by Thomas Wileman and his wife Anne. (fn. 18) Edward Disborough, and Edward Cromwell Disborough made a settlement of a third of the manor in 1811. (fn. 19) Later in the 19th century Newton Bromswold came into the possession of Frederick Urban Sartoris of Rushden Hall in whose family it still remains.
The church of ST. PETER consists of chancel, 2 5 ft. 9 in. by 16 ft.; clerestoried nave of two bays, 31 ft. by 15 ft. 2 in.; north aisle, 10 ft. wide; south porch, and west tower 7 ft. 3 in. by 7 ft. 9 in. surmounted by a spire, all these measurements being internal. There is also a vestry at the west end against the north side of the tower.
The church appears to be a 14th-century rebuilding of a 13th-century fabric, little or nothing of which remains architecturally, but the south wall of the nave was reconstructed, the porch and clerestory added, and new windows inserted in the aisle in the 15th century. The lower part of the tower may belong to the early structure but has been much restored, and the tower generally is contemporary with the 14th-century chancel. The four-centred arches of the nave arcade may have been built at the same time as the south wall, but the piers and responds have capitals of distinctly 14thcentury character, and the north doorway is of the same period. The vestry appears to be a 17th-century addition, (fn. 20) but has been modernized. The church was restored in 1879, (fn. 21) and the tower and spire in 1883. (fn. 22)
The church is built throughout of rubble, plastered internally, and the chancel has a modern tiled eaved roof. The nave and aisle have low-pitched leaded roofs behind battlemented parapets, the nave parapets being very big and clumsy. (fn. 23)
The chancel is of two bays with chamfered plinth and diagonal angle buttresses of two stages. The pointed east window is of three trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery and internal and external hood-moulds terminating in notch-heads, and at the east end of the south wall and west end of the north wall are pointed windows of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head and similar hood-moulds. The priest's doorway has a continuous moulding, but is quite plain internally, and west of it is a square-headed window of two trefoiled lights with pointed rear-arch. The sills of the two south windows form seats. There are imagebrackets in the east wall north and south of the altar, the former quite plain, the latter mutilated but with a sculptured face on the underside. Along the south wall is an arcade of six pointed arches of a single chamfered order without hood-moulds, springing, except at the east end, from attached half-shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and continued down the jamb at the west. The easternmost arch forms the piscina recess and is carried on a detached octagonal shaft and halfoctagonal respond with moulded capitals and bases: the bowl of the piscina is fluted. The remainder of the arcade stands on a stone bench table with projecting ledge 13 in. above the present floor-level and extending as far as the priest's doorway. The eastern bay of the north wall is blank but for a pointed recess of a single hollow-chamfered order, on part-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals. (fn. 24) The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer stopped or cut away, and the inner continued to the ground. On the north side is a plain pointed squint from the nave and on the south a small bracket. The floors of chancel and nave are level.
The nave arcade appears to have been cut through an earlier wall, there being about 6 ft. of masonry at the east end and 3 ft. at the west. The responds follow the section of the pier, which is composed of four attached shafts with fillets and hollows between, and with moulded capital and base. The bells of the respond capitals are plain, but that of the pier is carved with oak leaves and over one of the shafts is a four-leaf flower. (fn. 25) The arches are of two chamfered orders.
There are three square-headed clerestory windows of two trefoiled lights on each side, and the hollow string below the parapet is ornamented on the south side with four-leaf flowers, faces, and shields, and with heads at the angles. (fn. 26)
The north doorway is of a single continuous wavemoulded order with label, and the aisle has two fourcentred windows of two and three cinquefoiled lights respectively in the north wall and a square-headed window of three trefoiled lights with Perpendicular tracery at the east end. The mutilated piscina of the aisle altar remains in the usual position and south of the east window is a plain chamfered image-bracket.
The four-centred south doorway is of a single continuous moulded order with hood-mould, and the nave has a single window of three cinquefoiled lights with depressed head. The pointed outer doorway of the porch is of two chamfered orders, and in the gable above is a modern panel with St. Peter's keys: the porch has stone benches and traceried side windows.
The tower is of three stages, with battlemented parapet and angle gargoyles. The north and south walls are blank in the lower stages, but on the west is a modern trefoiled lancet window between two heavy two-stage buttresses set well back from the angles. There are buttresses also on the south and east sides, but no vice. The bell-chamber windows are of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head. The tower arch is the full width of the interior, its three chamfered orders dying out on either side. (fn. 27) The spire has plain angles and two sets of gabled openings on the cardinal faces, the lower being of two trefoiled lights: its low broaches are hidden by the parapet.
The lean-to roof of the aisle is old, perhaps 17th century, with moulded principals and purlins, and wallpieces resting on the stone corbels of an earlier roof, carved with heads and grotesques.
The 14th-century font has a plain octagonal bowl moulded on the underside, stem with incised tracery on six of its eight sides, and moulded plinth: there is a later pyramidal oak cover with battlemented edge and crocketed angles.
The pulpit retains a little 15th-century woodwork, but is for the most part a restoration: some 17th-century panels are worked into it at the back.
The wooden chancel screen is in memory of the men of the village who fell in the war of 1914–18.
On blue stone slabs in the chancel floor are two wellpreserved 15th-century brasses of priests in mass vestments, the earlier representing William Hewet, rector (d. 1426), and the later Roger Hewet, chaplain (d. 1487). (fn. 28)
Some fragments of 15th-century glass remain in two of the aisle windows, including a mitred head said to represent Archbishop Chichele, and in the north window of the chancel two heads of saints, formerly in the clerestory.
Two 15th-century oak seats, with moulded rails and buttressed ends, remain in the nave, and one as a return stall in the chancel. In the vestry is a late-17thor early-18th-century chest.
There is a mural tablet in the nave to Harry Lamb, gent. (d. 1727).
To the south-east of the porch is the base of a churchyard cross. (fn. 29)
There are four bells, the first dated 1746, the second by Taylor & Co., 1887, the third a medieval bell inscribed 'Sancte Petre ora pro nobis', and the tenor an alphabet bell dated 1639. (fn. 30)
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover paten of 1570, an alms plate of 1656 given by Barbara Langhome, a paten of 1885, and a plated flagon. (fn. 31)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1563–1748, marriages 1566–1748, burials 1560–1748; (ii) baptisms and burials 1749–1812; (iii) marriages 1756–1812.
During the greater part of the 13 th century the advowson descended with the manor (q.v.) and in 1205 William son of Amfrid of Newton recognized that it was the right of Richard of Newton. (fn. 32) Sir Richard son of Henry of Newton recovered the advowson against John de Gatesden and was succeeded by his son Richard, patron in 1272, (fn. 33) who in 1281 sold the advowson to Walter de Trailly, lord of Yelden in Bedfordshire, (fn. 34) and it followed the descent of the manor of Yelden until 1374, (fn. 35) with this exception that Isabel widow of the elder Richard recovered the presentation of 1291 from Eleanor, Walter's widow; (fn. 36) but the latter presented in 1305. (fn. 37)
Between 1374 and 1380 the advowson had passed into the possession of John Curteys, (fn. 37) lord of Wymington in Bedfordshire, and it followed the descent of that manor (fn. 38) until 1598, when both were sold to William Bletsoe. (fn. 39) In 1606 William Bletsoe sold the advowson and rectory of Newton Bromswold to Robert Hewet of that parish, yeoman, who in 1615, before the marriage of his son Michael with Elizabeth, widowed daughter of Edward Aspin, settled them on his other sons Edmund and Edward Aspin that they might present Michael to the living and hold in trust for Elizabeth and her sons by Michael. (fn. 40) Edmund presented his brother in 1634. (fn. 41) In 1663 James Seaton presented Edward Troll, (fn. 41) to whom in 1669 Robert Hewett, clerk, transferred the advowson. (fn. 42) From 1710 until 1778 with two exceptions and again in 1817, the patron was a member of the Bletsoe family; (fn. 43) Edward Tanqueray, patron from 1783 to 1788, (fn. 43) presented also in 1822 and 1829. Major Penrice, patron from 1836 to 1841, was succeeded in or before 1843 by All Souls College with whom the advowson still remained in 1883. In 1885 the patron was the Rev. W. Ager, then rector, and he was succeeded by Mr. O. E. Ager. From him it passed to Mr. S. G. Stopford Sackville, who in October 1920 transferred it to the Bishop of Peterborough. Since 1927 the living has been amalgamated with that of Chelveston. (fn. 44)
The church estate consists of about 6 acres of land situate in the parish. The origin is unknown, but the rents have been applied for a great number of years to the expenses of the church. The charity is administered by the rector and a co-opted trustee in accordance with the provisions of a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 12 August 1890. The land is let to several tenants and produces £5 15s. yearly.