A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.
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Wichingedene (xi cent.); Wissenden (xii–xvii cent.); Wixenden; Wicsinden; Wessinden (xiii cent.).
The parish of Whissendine is on the Leicestershire border, and the land lies between 300 ft. and 600 ft. above the Ordnance datum. The area covers 4,033 acres, nearly the whole of which is pasture land. The subsoil is Middle, Upper and Lower Lias, the surface soil being strong and heavy, upon which the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and roots. There was an award in 1763 for inclosing the open fields (fn. 1) under an Act of Parliament of 1762. (fn. 2) The population was 566 in 1921.
The village is divided into two parts by the meadow land in the valley formed by the Whissendine Brook and its tributary, which rise in the parish. The older settlement on the high land to the east is grouped around the church and the Manor House, while on the high land on the west is the larger group of houses along a series of by-roads. Here the disused windmill is a conspicuous object, below which a number of 'council houses' have been built. Most of the cottages in the village are of red brick with slate roofs.
The Manor House near the church was formerly the residence of the Sherards, but is now a farm house. In its grounds are some ancient earthworks already described. (fn. 3) Edward III was at Whissendine on 26 and 27 April 1327. (fn. 4) Sir Henry Mynn, lord of the manor of Wittlebury, and his family were recusants, and in 1592 Henry Browne, who was presented for not attending church, said that 'half the town was papist.' In 1614 Thomas White, clerk and sexton, was presented for not ringing the curfew 'as it hath been rung.' An ancient custom still exists for letting the pasture land called the Banks. At a parish meeting a candle is lighted into which a pin is stuck, and the last bidder before the pin falls is entitled to rent the Banks for the ensuing year. (fn. 5)
Whissendine Station is 1½ miles north-east of the village. The public mixed elementary (Church) school dates from 1866.
Except for intervals of forfeiture, Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland and Huntingdon, held 4 carucates of land in WHISSENDINE (fn. 6) until 1076; and two of the manors continued to be held of the Honour of Huntingdon, following the descent of the overlordship of Exton (q.v.) until the 15th and 16th centuries. (fn. 7) John le Scot, Earl of Huntingdon and Chester, died in 1237 leaving co-heiresses, the two daughters of his eldest sister Margaret, who married Alan Galloway, and his three surviving sisters, Isabel wife of Robert de Brus, Maud, who died unmarried, and Ada wife of Henry de Hastings. (fn. 8)
The tenant under Countess Judith in 1086 was Hugh de Hotot, (fn. 9) whose lands here, which became known as WAKE MANOR and later as POWIS MANOR, seem to have reverted to the overlord. Lands in Rutland, apparently at Whissendine, were granted before 1130 by David, King of Scotland and Earl of Huntingdon, to Hugh de Moreville, who became constable of Scotland and died in 1162. (fn. 10) In 1173 Richard, son of Hugh de Moreville, constable of Scotland, was seised of lands in Whissendine, but forfeited them for joining the young King Henry against his father Henry II. (fn. 11) The lands were restored to the King of Scotland, as overlord, who gave them to Earl David. Richard de Moreville died in 1189 leaving a son William, who died without issue in 1196, and a daughter Helen, who brought the constableship of Scotland to her husband, Roland son of Ughtred de Galloway. Their son, Alan de Galloway, with his mother Helen, obtained a charter for these lands in or about 1212, when Alan was holding Whissendine as a knight's fee. (fn. 12) He died in 1233, leaving by his second wife Margaret, daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, two daughters, Christiana wife of John, Earl of Albemarle, who died childless, and Divorgilla, the wife firstly of Nicholas de Stuteville and secondly of John de Balliol. (fn. 13) By her first husband, Divorgilla had two daughters, Joan, who married Hugh Wake (d. 1241),and Margaret, who died unmarried in 1235. Lady Joan de Stuteville, for so the widow of Hugh Wake continued to be known, (fn. 14) had alienated a quarter of the vill by 1286, (fn. 15) apparently retaining a quarter. In 1297 Donus de Podio was holding the manor for life by demise of John, first Baron Wake, grandson of Joan, with remainder to Lord Wake. (fn. 16) Lord Wake died in 1300 leaving a son Thomas, aged two years, (fn. 17) who was assessed for half a fee here in 1305 (fn. 18) and in 1316 was given as one of the four lords of Whissendine. (fn. 19) This half fee was held of the Brus's purparty of the Honour of Huntingdon. (fn. 20) Thomas died seised of the manor and half a fee in 1349, when his sister Margaret, Countess of Kent, was his heir. (fn. 21) Her son John, Earl of Kent and Lord Wake, (fn. 22) died seised in 1352 leaving a sister and heir Joan, wife of Thomas de Holand, Earl of Kent, (fn. 23) and afterwards the wife of the Black Prince, who held the fee here at his death. (fn. 24) Joan died seised of the manor in 1385, when her son Thomas de Holand, Lord Wake, was her heir. (fn. 25) He had licence in 1392 to entail it on his son Thomas and his wife Joan. (fn. 26) Thomas, the father, died in 1397 and the son was beheaded on the accession of Henry IV. (fn. 27) The manor, which had been forfeited, (fn. 28) was later delivered to Alice widow of Thomas the father, (fn. 29) and then claimed by Joan widow of the younger Thomas. (fn. 30) After Joan's death in 1442 it reverted to the sisters and heirs of her husband's brother Edmund, Earl of Kent, who had died childless in 1408. Whissendine fell to the share of his eldest sister Eleanor, wife of Sir Edward Cherleton of Powis, and their eldest daughter and co-heir Joan, married to Sir John Grey. Joan died in 1425 and her son Henry in 1449–50; while Henry's son Richard sat in the Parliament of 1455 as ' Dominus de Powis' and is held thereby to have become Lord Grey of Powis. He forfeited in 1459, but was later pardoned. (fn. 31) He died seised in 1466 leaving a son John, aged 6 years, (fn. 32) who was succeeded in 1494 by his son John. (fn. 33) The latter John died in 1504 While in the king's wardship, leaving a son Edward, aged one year. (fn. 34) Edward conveyed the manor in 1544 to Richard Coney of Bassingthorpe (co. Linc.), (fn. 35) who died seised in the following year leaving a son and heir Thomas, (fn. 36) who became a merchant of the Staple of Calais ten years later, when he purchased half the manor of Moorhall. He had boundary disputes here with Maurice Berkeley, George Sherard and Henry Savile. (fn. 37) Sir Richard Coney, kt., made a settlement in 1621, (fn. 38) and died seised of Powis Manor and half Moorhall in Feb. 1626–7, leaving a son John, (fn. 39) who had livery in 1630. (fn. 40) John had a son Edward, (fn. 41) who was sheriff for the county in 1683, but no further mention has been found of this family. By 1684 the manor was in the hands of the Sherards,and from this date (fn. 42) followed the descent of Hellewell in this parish (q.v.).
The manorial dovecote is mentioned in 1349, (fn. 43) the capital messuage in 1352 (when rents had been reduced by the Black Death), (fn. 44) and a windmill in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 45) Earl Simon III in the 12th century had given the mill and a bovate of land to Burton Lazars Abbey, (fn. 46) but no further reference to the lands of that abbey here has been found. Earl David took from Richard de Morville 123 acres of land outside the park, which Richard had apparently given to the Templars. (fn. 47)
The part of a knight's fee also held by the Wakes constituted a manor known as HELLEWELL MANOR. Possibly its origin was the 15 librates of land warranted by Earl David in 1212 to Robert son of Roger. (fn. 48) In 1286 Patrick le Fleming and Isabel his wife were holding the quarter of the vill by a grant from Lady Joan de Stuteville to Isabel. (fn. 49) In 1316 Robert de Hellewell and Thomas Wake held half the vill between them, (fn. 50) and in 1324–5 Robert de Hellewell made a settlement of the manor of Whissendine on his son Robert. (fn. 51) Robert held half a fee here in 1350, and died in 1362 leaving a widow Joan and his heir, a minor. (fn. 52) John Hellewell held half a fee in 1442, (fn. 53) and John son of John Hellewell, kt., after a dispute with Margaret wife of William Wykes, kt., daughter of Nicholas Tye (fn. 54) (Teigh), released all right in the manor in 1466–7. (fn. 55) The Sherard pedigree shows that the manor remained with the Hellewells till about the reign of Henry VII and then passed by the marriage of Margaret Hellewell with Thomas Sherard of Stapleford. (fn. 56) The manor of Hellewell was in 1574 in the possession of Margaret's son George Sherard, (fn. 57) who died seised in the following year, leaving a son Francis. (fn. 58) In 1594 Francis was succeeded by his younger son Philip, (fn. 59) who died childless in 1624, the remainder having been settled on his younger brother William, (fn. 60) created in 1627 Lord Sherard of Leitrim. (fn. 61) He died in 1640, leaving two sons,Bennet and Philip, (fn. 62) and a widow, Lady Abigail Sherard, a strong royalist and most benevolent lady. Philip had Whissendine and died in 1695, leaving a son Bennet, who settled the manor in 1699, (fn. 63) probably on his son Philip, who was concerned with the manor of Powis and half the manor of Moorhall in 1703–4 (fn. 64) and succeeded his father in 1711. By special remainder he succeeded his cousin Bennet as second Earl of Harborough in 1732. He was Lord Lieutenant of Rutland from 1733 till his death in 1750, when he was buried at Whissendine. His son Bennet (fn. 65) was succeeded by a son Robert, Canon of Salisbury, from whom the manor passed in 1799 to his son Philip, (fn. 66) who died in 1807. Philip's son Robert, 6th Earl, (fn. 67) died childless in 1859, when the earldom and barony became extinct. (fn. 68) In 1861 the manor of Whissendine, comprising 3,350 acres, was offered for sale by auction in 39 lots. The principal purchasers were the Earl of Gainsborough, who seems to have acquired the manorial rights, and Lord Aveland, afterwards Earl of Ancaster. In 1899 the Earl of Gainsborough sold his interest in the manor to Mr. John Gretton of Burton-on-Trent, whose son, Col. the Rt. Hon. John Gretton, M.P., is the present lord of the manor. (fn. 69)
In 1286 Patrick le Fleming and Isabel claimed view of frankpledge twice a year without the king's officer, as Lady Joan de Stuteville and her ancestors had had by immemorial right. (fn. 70)
The MOORHALL (leMorhalle, 1344) or BRUDENELL MANOR developed out of the Balliol fee. In 1306, at first at will, (fn. 71) and later in 1308 in fee, (fn. 72) £4 rent from the manor of Whissendine was granted by Edward I to his nephew John de Britannia with the other lands late of John Balliol (including the farm of 50 acres in Sondersoken, Rutland). John de Britannia had licence in Feb. 1331–3 (fn. 73) to grant this rent to his niece Mary de St. Pol, widow of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, for life. In March 1345–6 the king released all right in the £4 rent to the Countess, (fn. 74) and in 1349 she received licence to grant it to the warden and scholars of her New Hall in the University of Cambridge, (fn. 75) to whom she conveyed it in 1360–4. (fn. 76) Moorhall manor was held of Pembroke Hall until at least 1627. (fn. 77)
The tenants of the lands from which this rent was drawn in the 13th century seem to have been the Pantons, lords of Panton (co. Line). In 1240–1 William son of Gilbert and Elizabeth his wife quitclaimed lands here to Baldwin de Panton; (fn. 78) and in 1285 a messuage, l6½ virgates of land, 160 acres of meadow, 20 acres of pasture and 18s. 4d. rent were settled on Philip de Panton, (fn. 79) apparently the son and heir of Philip de Panton, kt., lord of Panton. He died childless, and his sister and heir Maud married Sir John Harington, kt., and had a son Richard, (fn. 80) who held a quarter of the vill of Whissendine in 1316. (fn. 81) He died in 1324–5, in his father's lifetime, seised of Moorhall manor, which he held by the rent of £4 payable at Fotheringay Castle (formerly the seat of John Balliol and afterwards of the Countess of Pembroke). He left a son and heir, John Harington, who also held 60 acres of the Wake fee by the rent of 1½ stones of wax. (fn. 82) The homage and services of John were granted to Pembroke Hall with the £4 rent in 1360–4. He died in 1376, leaving three daughters and co-heirs—Anne (or Amy) wife of John Carnell, Isabel wife of Hugh Fairfax, and Alice, an infant. (fn. 83) From this time the manor became divided. William Fairfax made a settlement in 1442 and died leaving a son William, who was succeeded in Feb. 1497–8 by a son William. (fn. 84) Like Deepyng Gate (co. Northant.), (fn. 85) this half-manor passed from an heiress, Margaret, daughter of William Fairfax, to her husband Miles Worsley, who died in 1515, (fn. 86) and then to Robert Brudenell by right of Margaret his wife, together with the ancestral manor of Panton (co. Linc.). (fn. 87) As Margaret Brudenell, widow, she conveyed the halfmanor to Hugh Grantham in 1543–4, (fn. 88) and in 1554–5 Thomas Grantham conveyed the same to Thomas Coney. (fn. 89) Henceforth it descended with the Powis manor (q.v.).
The other moiety was conveyed in 1409–10 by Robert Gryme of Langtoft and Isabel his wife, by right of Isabel, to Sir John Berkeley, kt., (fn. 90) and this may have been the 'manor of Whissendine' that John Neubald and Margaret his wife quitclaimed in 1409 to Sir John Berkeley, kt., John Clerk of Whissendine, Roger Hore, the heirs of Roger, and others. (fn. 91) Margaret, daughter and heir of Francis Clarke of Whissendine, married Bartholomew Villiers, second son of William Villiers of Brooksby. (fn. 92) The Villiers were concerned with a 'manor of Whissendine' until 1575. (fn. 93) Arthur Warren, a delinquent in 1656, (fn. 94) also had a manor here, possibly this moiety. (fn. 95)
The capital messuage, dovecote, empty fishpond, windmill, profits of court with two views are mentioned in an extent of Moorhall manor in 1325. (fn. 96)
WITTLEBURY manor was held of the Brus purparty of the Honour of Huntingdon, (fn. 97) and so in 1460 of Lord Grey of Powis. (fn. 98) It developed before 1237, (fn. 99) by a grant of John, Earl of Chester, to Geoffrey de Appleby. (fn. 100) James de Appleby had lands here when he lost his life in the Montfort rebellion in 1265, (fn. 101) and his widow Isabel was granted the manor during pleasure, (fn. 102) but only received dower third. Geoffrey de Appleby in 1285 quitclaimed to Aubrey de Wittlebury in fee a messuage, mill, one carucate, 13½ virgates land and the rent of 1 lb. of cummin, formerly held by Aubrey and his wife Margery of Geoffrey, for life only; (fn. 103) by lease from Isabel they held one third of this property, and Geoffrey also quitclaimed this in 1288. (fn. 104) Margery de Wittlebury held 1/8 fee here in 1305 (fn. 105) and John de Wittlebury was one of the four lords in 1316. (fn. 106) John de Wittlebury, kt., as chief keeper of the peace for Rutland, made attachments in 1336 on notorious offenders, exciting the rancour of John Harington and his brothers, Richard and Walter, and John, the vicar's brother, of Whissendine, who went with an armed force to his manor of Whissendine and wounded his son Thomas. (fn. 107) In August John de Wittlebury was murdered by Richard Harington and Robert Crowe of Whissendine, who left the country. (fn. 108) Aubrey, son of John de Wittlebury, succeeded (fn. 109) and died in 1349, leaving Thomas his eldest son, (fn. 110) William about to become a monk, and John. Thomas died childless in 1353, and John succeeded to a manor decreased in value, partly through inundations, partly from the results of the Black Death. (fn. 111) He made a settlement in 1373 (fn. 112) and died in 1400, leaving two sons, Alfred (fn. 113) and Richard. Alfred died in 1407, leaving a daughter Isabel aged four. It was said that he granted a quarter of the manor of Whissendine (i.e. probably the whole of Wittlebury manor) to Sir John Berkeley, kt., and others to defraud the King of the marriage of the heir. (fn. 114) Isabel married Sir Henry Plessington, kt., of Burley, whose brother John lived at Whissendine, (fn. 115) but on her death in Jan. 1460–1 the manor remained to Robert son of John, son of her uncle Richard Wittlebury. (fn. 116) The next reference to the manor is in 1522, when Sir Maurice Berkeley, kt., of Wymondham (co. Leic.) died seised of this manor and half of Moorhall manor, leaving a grandson and heir Maurice. (fn. 117) It was probably as guardian of his kinsman (fn. 118) that John, Lord Hussey, held these manors. (fn. 119) The custody during the minority of Maurice, son of Maurice, heir male of John Berkeley, was granted to Richard Tresham in 1541. (fn. 120) Maurice, under licence, (fn. 121) alienated the manor to Sir William Cecil and others in 1561, (fn. 122) probably for a settlement. He was again dealing with the manor in 1597, (fn. 123) as were Henry and Nicholas Berkeley in 1600. (fn. 124) Maurice died seised in 1600, leaving a son and heir Henry, (fn. 125) who in 1615 conveyed it to Sir Henry Mynn, kt. (fn. 126) Sir Henry, Lady Mary his wife, Katherine their daughter, and their household were from 1614 to 1641 presented for not attending their parish church at Whissendine. (fn. 127) Possibly about 1684 (fn. 128) the manor passed to the Sherard family, when Philip Sherard acquired the manors of Powis and Moorhall, and has since descended with them.
The church of ST. ANDREW, one of the finest in the county, consists of a chancel 40 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft. with north and south transeptal chapels respectively 24 ft. by 16 ft. and 30 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft., clearstoried nave of five bays 67 ft. 9 in. by 19 ft. 3 in., north aisle 13 ft. wide, south aisle 19 ft. 3 in. wide, south porch, and west tower 13 ft. square, all these measurements being internal. The width across nave and aisles is 56 ft. 6 in. There is a small vestry on the north side of the chancel.
The south side of the chancel, the aisles, clearstory and tower are faced with ashlar, but elsewhere the walling is of rubble, or coursed dressed stones; the roofs are all of low pitch and leaded, except that of the porch, which is covered with stone slates. There are plain parapets to the chancel, but those of the aisles and clearstory are battlemented; the lead of the transept roofs overhangs. Internally, except in the chancel, the plaster has been stripped from the walls.
No part of the present building is older than the 13th century. A church is known to have existed in the 12th century, and though evidence of its plan is wanting, it is not unlikely that it was an aisleless building with a tower between the nave and chancel and a transeptal chapel on the north side of the tower in the position of the present north transept. It is, however, possible that, instead of its developing normally from an earlier plan, the 13th-century building was set out afresh with aisled nave of four bays, chancel, and north transeptal chapel as at present. The existing four eastern bays of the nave, with three piers on each side, are of this period, together with the south doorway and the arches which separate the north transept from the chancel and from the north aisle of the nave. In the 14th century, after its appropriation in 1311, a general reconstruction and enlargement of the church took place, when a transeptal chapel was added on the south side, or a former one enlarged, the chancel remodelled, the south aisle widened and a porch built, the nave extended westward by a bay, and the tower added. The north transept also was either reconstructed or remodelled at its north end, and the outer wall of the north aisle apparently rebuilt on the old foundations. In widening the south aisle the old doorway was re-used, but no other external feature of 13th-century date has survived. During the 15th century new windows were inserted in the aisles and the clearstory erected. Repairs of a minor nature are recorded in the 17th century, (fn. 131) but no extensive scheme of restoration appears to have been carried out until 1865–70, (fn. 132) when the chancel, being in a ruinous state, had most of its details renewed; the chancel arch and the wall over the south transept were also rebuilt. The north transept, then separated from the church and used as a Sunday-school room, (fn. 133) was opened out, a west gallery and the old high pews removed, (fn. 134) and the fabric generally put into a state of repair. The tower and porch were restored and the whole of the church repointed in 1920.
The chancel is covered for about half its length by the transepts, and also on the north side by a small modern vestry, which is said to occupy the site of a former sacristy. The five-light east window dates from the restoration, but its tracery was altered in 1912 (fn. 135) and is now Perpendicular in character. The three-light lateral windows, one on each side, are also modern, in the style of the 14th century, and the lower part of the walls is panelled. The fittings are all modern. (fn. 136) No ancient ritual arrangements survive, but the original altar slab, found in the floor at the restoration, has been set up. (fn. 137) The 13th-century arch between the chancel and north transept is of two chamfered orders on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases and hood-mould with headstops on the side towards the chancel. The capitals are enriched with nail-head (east) and dog-tooth (west). The wider 14th-century arch to the south transept is of two orders, each with two hollow chamfers, on half-round responds with fillets, and moulded capitals and bases. The arch between the chancel and the nave is of the same character, but modern, the inner order on clustered responds and the outer continued to the ground. There is a modern low stone screen, or dwarf wall.
The north transept is now used as an organ-chamber. It has diagonal buttresses of two stages with cusped triangular heads, and a good three-light pointed window with curvilinear tracery in the north wall, the hollow moulding of which is enriched with ballflower; the east window is modern. The 13thcentury arch between the transept and nave aisle is of two chamfered orders, the outer dying into the wall, the inner on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases; the capital on the north side is enriched with nail-head. (fn. 138)
The south transept, or chapel, is of two bays, with pairs of three-stage angle buttresses and two muchrestored windows of three lights in the east wall, with plain intersecting tracery and hood-moulds with notch-stops. In the south wall is a large transomed window of five lights with shafted jambs, the top of which was cut away when the transept roof was lowered in the 17th century. (fn. 139) The sill and jambs of the window apparently belong to the 14th-century opening, but otherwise the window is of 15th-century date, with moulded mullions and elaborate transom with strawberry-leaf enrichment. The upper lights have sevenfoil cusping, but below the transom the openings are quatrefoiled. A 13thcentury piscina at the east end of the south wall suggests that the 14th-century transept replaced an older chapel, though the piscina may have belonged to some other part of the church; it has a moulded trefoiled head on shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases, groove for wooden shelf and fluted bowl. At the north end of the east wall is an image bracket supported by a head. The transept stands in front of the aisle about 10 ft. and has a pointed doorway in the west wall, of three double hollow chamfered orders with moulded imposts. The 14th-century arch between the transept and the aisle is of two double hollow chamfered orders on clustered and filleted responds with moulded capitals and bases.
There are modern Gothic screens of the time of the restoration between the chancel and transepts, and one of later date (1925) (fn. 140) between the north transept and aisle. The screen between the south transept and aisle was originally the screen between the chapel and ante-chapel of St. John's College, Cambridge, and was acquired for Whissendine church in 1869, when the old college chapel was pulled down. (fn. 141) It is of early 16th-century date, with three openings on each side of the doorway, traceried upper openings and coved top with carved rail. The doors are of Renaissance design, with strapwork panels, Ionic pilaster covering the meeting stiles and dentilled cornice. (fn. 142)
Of the 13th-century nave arcades that on the north is somewhat the earlier; the four arches are of two moulded orders with hood-mould on the side towards the nave, the outer order and soffit of the two middle arches being enriched with nail-head. The hoods have small head-stops over the first and second piers and a larger head over the third. In the piers there is great variety of treatment. The east respond is very slightly keeled and has a capital of stiff foliage through which shows a face, and a much restored moulded base. The first pier from the east consists of a cylinder with four attached columns slightly keeled, with moulded bases and capitals carved with stiff leaf foliage and a face on the south side; the bases stand on a diagonal plinth. The second pier is square on plan with attached filleted columns, the capitals and bases as before, but the third pier is a plain cylinder with moulded base and stiff leaf capital in which are two faces. All the bases are waterholding. These three piers, owing to the settlement of the foundations, have a considerable list to the north, necessitating the erection at a later period (fn. 143) of strongly buttressed transverse arches across the aisle, the two westernmost being further strengthened by large supporting buttresses on the outside.
In the south arcade the arches are of two moulded orders with hood-moulds on both sides stopped with large heads, on piers more or less corresponding with those opposite, but differing in detail. The east respond is a half-round with plain bell capital and restored moulded base, and the first pier is a cylinder with four attached keel-shaped columns with moulded (fn. 144) capitals and bases on a square plinth. The second pier is like that opposite, but the capitals of the columns are moulded, and the third is a cylinder with moulded capital ornamented with a trail of six-leaved flowers, and moulded base on a long square plinth. In the south arcade the base mouldings are only slightly hollowed.
The 14th-century westernmost pier of each arcade is square on plan, with hollowed angles and four attached filleted columns with moulded capitals and bases, on a diagonally placed plinth, and the responds are similar in character; the arches are moulded. Cut in the face of the south-east respond is a 14th-century trefoil-headed niche, (fn. 145) flanked by small brackets, and in the north wall of the north aisle, immediately west of the easternmost window, a plain pointed niche with chamfered hood-mould, but no ancient ritual arrangements in connection with either of the aisle altars remain. (fn. 146)
The south doorway is in the middle bay, with two windows on each side, and the north doorway is directly opposite. The 13th-century south doorway has a pointed arch of two orders, the inner order consisting of a wide hollow enriched with large dog-tooth ornament, now cut away, on moulded (fn. 147) jambs and imposts; the outer moulded order rests on disengaged banded shafts with moulded bases and capitals enriched with nail-head. The hood-mould has headstops. The arch of the 14th-century north doorway is of a single chamfered order on moulded imposts.
The west window of the south aisle is of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical and curvilinear tracery, double hollow chamfered jambs, and hood-mould continued along the wall as a string; the tracery is earlier in character than that of the other aisle windows, which are all 15th-century insertions, and this window is perhaps contemporary with the rebuilding of the aisle. The corresponding window in the north aisle is also of four cinquefoiled lights divided into two groups by a master mullion, with plain double chamfered jambs, and elaborate tracery with three battlemented transoms. The lateral windows of the aisles fall into two groups, the two windows east and west of the doorways being similar in design on north and south. All the windows are of three cinquefoiled lights with hoods continued as a string along the walls, but stopping at the buttresses, and differ only as regards the character of the tracery. In the easternmost pair of windows on each side this includes a transom and large sexfoil opening in the head, whilst in the other pair there is no transom and the head of the middle light has a quatrefoiled circle. In both aisles the hollow string below the parapet is enriched with heads and four-leaved flowers, and there is an animal at the north-west angle above the buttress.
The porch is 13 ft. square internally, with stone bench tables and a pointed doorway of three continuous double hollow chamfered orders, with moulded imposts, and hood with head-stops; the highpitched gable has a plain coping.
The clearstory has six pointed, transomed windows on each side, of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery, the openings below the transoms being trefoiled. The hoods are continued as a string along the walls. The nave roof is of seven bays (fn. 148) and is mainly 15th-century work, but some earlier material is said to have been re-used. (fn. 149) The tie-beams, struts, ridge and purlins are moulded and the wall-pieces are carved with a series of full-length figures, some playing musical instruments, supported on corbels in the form of crouching figures. There are also carved foliated bosses. The line of the 14th-century roof remains on the east face of the tower at the level of the clearstory windows. The lean-to roof of the north aisle is also in the main original, with moulded middle purlin and two good moulded principals at the west end, with curved struts resting on carved corbels. The roof of the south aisle is modern.
The magnificent west tower, 100 ft. high, has much in common with that of Oakham, (fn. 150) especially in the treatment of the west window and doorway and of the angle turrets and parapet; it is of three stages, the upper stage being very lofty, but is without a spire. (fn. 151) The tower is built of Barnack stone and has a boldly moulded plinth, pairs of buttresses its full height but diminishing at each stage, massive octagonal pinnacles or angle turrets and parapet with three round-headed openings on each side. The vice is in the south-west angle. (fn. 152) The west doorway and window are contained within a lofty pointed arch of three moulded orders, on jambs composed of three engaged and thrice banded shafts, with moulded capitals. (fn. 153) The window is of three lights (fn. 154) with reticulated tracery, and the doorway has a pointed arch of two moulded orders on moulded imposts. Above, in the middle stage, as at Oakham, are three slightly ogee niches, formerly containing statues, but now empty. On the north and south the two lower stages are blank. In the bell-chamber are pairs of tall and deeply recessed windows of two trefoiled lights on the north and east sides, with quatrefoils in the heads, divided horizontally by trefoiled ogee transoms; the arches are of three moulded orders on twice banded shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and the wall space on either side is filled with blind tracery of the same character in single narrow arches. On the south and west sides, where the position of the openings is affected by the vice, one of the windows is omitted and the remaining wall space is filled with blind tracery. Below the parapet is a cornice of ball- flower and heads and a fine series of grotesque gargoyles, two on each side. Internally the tower is lined with ashlar and opens into the nave by a lofty arch of three richly moulded orders, (fn. 155) on jambs composed of three engaged columns or shafts with moulded capitals and bases. (fn. 156)
The 14th-century font has a small octagonal bowl, four sides of which have sunk quatrefoil panels, the designs on the other sides being merely set out. The stem, base and cover are modern. The Ketton stone pulpit was erected in 1888.
In the north aisle are two broken 13th-century coffin lids, (fn. 157) the crosses on which have stems with 'omega' ornament, and in the south transept is a small Jacobean altar table with baluster legs.
The alabaster tomb of Bartholomew Villers and his wife, recorded by Wright, (fn. 158) has disappeared. The south transept contains mural monuments to Bennet Sherard (fn. 159) (d. 1711) and his wife Dorothy (d. 1744), daughter of Lord Fairfax, and of Lieut.-General the Hon. Philip Sherard (d. 1790). In the north aisle is a memorial to nineteen men of the parish who fell in the war of 1914–19.
There are six bells, two trebles having been added to a former ring of four. The first is by Taylor of Loughborough 1906, the second by Warner of London 1897, the third by Edward Arnold of Leicester 1785, the fifth a recasting by Taylor 1872, and the fourth and tenor by Henry Oldfield of Nottingham 1609. (fn. 160) The bells were rehung in 1919.
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1627–8, two patens of 1721–2, made by Edward York, and a flagon of 1705–6. (fn. 161)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1577–1640; (fn. 162) (ii) 1637–48, 1655–70; (iii) 1670–1718; (iv) 1718–39; (v) baptisms and burials 1740–86, marriages 1740–54; (vi) baptisms and burials 1787–1812; (vii) marriages 1754–October 1787; (viii) marriages 1787–1812.
The iron entrance gates to the churchyard, on the south side, were erected in 1927 in memory of Seymour Pleydell Bouverie.
The church of Whissendine was given by Earl Simon de St. Liz III to St. Andrew's, Northampton, between 1174 and 1184. It must, however, have reverted to the donor, as Earl David, between 1195 and 1198, granted it in free alms to the abbey he had founded in 1178 at Lindores, Fife. (fn. 163) Helen de Moreville and Alan her son claimed the advowson in 1213, (fn. 164) and Alan's granddaughter Divorgilla de Balliol in 1289; (fn. 165) but Lindores Abbey remained in possession. (fn. 166) To Master Roland, the Pope's chaplain, who became rector in 1245, they gave a pension of 10 marks out of the church. (fn. 167) From 1275 the pension and tithes were collected by Sempringham Priory; (fn. 168) and in 1309 Lindores Abbey had licence to alienate the advowson to Sempringham, (fn. 169) which in February 1310–11 received leave to appropriate the church, (fn. 170) and in 1319 and 1327 the Archbishop of Canterbury received papal mandates for the purpose. (fn. 171) Edward III ratified the appropriation in 1343, (fn. 172) a vicarage having been ordained in 1321. (fn. 173) In 1356 the prior complained that Sir John Harington, kt., and others would not let his servants carry goods to his manse here. (fn. 174) The priory remained in the possession of Sempringham until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, (fn. 175) and in 1552–3 the rectory, church and advowson of the vicarage were granted by Edward VI to John Whiteing of Garthorpe (co. Leic.) and Thomas Freman, (fn. 176) who conveyed them to Edward Watson in the same year. (fn. 177) In 1571–2 Edward Watson, senior, and his son and heir Edward alienated them to George Sherard, (fn. 178) who, however, seems to have presented to the church in 1561 and 1566. (fn. 179) The advowson remained in the Sherard family, lords of the manor, until the death of Philip Sherard, the sixth and last Earl of Harborough. It was sold with the manor in 1861, when it was purchased by the Earl of Gainsborough. He sold it in 1864 to the father of the then vicar, who left it to his son, Rev. E. L. Horne. The Rev. E. L. Horne sold it in 1901 to Mr. John Gretton of Burton-onTrent, (fn. 180) whose son, Col. the Rt. Hon. John Gretton, M.P., is patron.
Rev. Thomas Potter Hurst, by his will dated 1 August 1799, bequeathed the sum of £50 3 per cent. consolidated bank annuities to the vicar of Whissendine, the income to be distributed among the poor on Christmas Day. The endowment now consists of a sum of £50 2½ per cent. Consols held by the Official Trustees and producing in dividends £1 5s. per annum, which sum is distributed by the vicar and churchwardens among many recipients.
Poor's Land (or Clawson's Gift).—There are no deeds or writings in the parish relating to this charity. (fn. 181) The endowment consists of 16 acres 2 roods of land situated at Long Clawson, known as the 'Whissendine Poor's Land.' The land is let at £40 per annum and the income is distributed by the parish council among 85 families by way of vouchers redeemable for groceries, bread, meat, coal, etc.
Henry Jackson's Charity, founded by will proved 3 May 1910, consists of a sum of £241 11s. 7d. India 3 per cent. stock held by the Official Trustees and producing in dividends £7 4s. 8d. per annum. The income is distributed by the vicar and churchwardens annually at Christmas in coals, meat or money to about 24 recipients.