Parishes: Little Casterton

Pages 236-242

A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Castretone (xi cent.); Parva Castreton (xiii cent.).

The parish of Little Casterton lies on the east of the county, Lincolnshire being on its southern border, while the River Gwash and the Great North Road form the south-west boundary. The River Gwash runs through the middle of the parish from west to east, and the ground rises gradually on each side. The parish comprises 1227 acres of land, mostly arable. On the higher land to the south are numerous quarries.

The small village is on the right bank of the River Gwash, built along a by-road from Stamford. It consists mainly of two farms and a few cottages of stone with stone-tiled roofs. The Rectory stands to the west of the church and to the south-west is the old school house built in 1840, now a dwelling.

Tolethorpe Hall is about a third of a mile lower down the river, and is beautifully situated on a slope and surrounded by trees. The house, of which practically nothing is recorded, is of ancient foundation, but has undergone vicissitudes. It is attractively approached through a Gothic gatehouse, which leads into an irregular court, on the opposite side of which stands the house, of a considerably later date than the gatehouse. Indeed, of the original house not a trace is left. So much has been done in the way of enlargement and alteration that it is impossible to say with certainty what is its precise history, although a general idea may be gained. The gatehouse, for instance, is not a distinct structure, but has been lengthened in later years, and now forms the end of a range of outbuildings. It has a flat-pointed main archway, with a small pointed archway on one side, which originally was balanced by another on the other side. From the scanty detail which survives the work appears to be of the latter half of the 14th century. The place was held for many generations by the family of Burton, who sold the property to the Brownes. John Browne, who succeeded to the estate in 1604 and died in 1634, is said to have built the original part of the present house, of which an illustration is given in Wright's History of Rutland, but as he was declared to have been a lunatic in 1612, his uncle John Browne, who apparently supervised his affairs, (fn. 1) may have been responsible. It was probably built on the site of the older house, but for some reason which is not apparent it was not built parallel to the gatehouse, nor in any strict alignment with it. The house was said to be much decayed in 1629 and meanly furnished. (fn. 2) Amid the many changes which the interior has undergone, the main walls of the building illustrated by Wright can still be made out. There was a central hall with a short projecting wing at each end of the front facing the gatehouse. On the opposite front were also two wings, but of considerably greater projection, and they were roofed with the ridges parallel to the main building instead of at right angles, thus imparting a rather detached appearance to them. The house thus built was slightly modified in the 18th century, partly as to its facades and partly as to the interior. Alterations to some of the old windows are plainly visible outside, and inside there is a small room with a good 18th-century cornice, which probably once contained the staircase; the existing principal staircase, which is of similar date, may have been brought thence and adapted to its present position. The only other ancient feature of importance is the porch, which now stands against one of the two front gables. According to all precedents, it must originally have been in the centre of the front, which would have made it more directly opposite to the gatehouse; but as the court is not wide its removal may have been induced by the desire to get a more generous sweep from the gatehouse to the front door.

The house, thus slightly modified, remained until 1867, when the then owner, Mr. C. O. Eaton, added a large wing on the east in the Jacobean style, and another smaller one on the west, which may have replaced an earlier portion. At the same time the quaint disposition of the gables on the garden front, shown in Wright's view, was altered by the introduction of large square bow windows.

The modernisation of the interior, the absence of datestones (except that of 1867) and of all heraldry make it impossible to read the history of the house without much speculation. But these limitations, tantalising enough to the antiquary, still leave the place an interesting and attractive home, pleasantly situated and possessing a charming garden skilfully laid out in modern times on simple but effective lines.

There was a chapel in the parish, of which the Brownes bought the advowson with the estate, and Blore mentions a chantry, but there are no indications left of where it stood.

Among those connected with the house was Robert Browne, the founder of the Brownists, the forerunners of the Congregationalists, who was born here about 1550.

There are now only one or two cottages and a mill at Tolethorpe, the former village having disappeared.

The hamlet of Newtown, consisting of a few cottages and a Methodist chapel, lies in the extreme west of the parish.

The open fields were inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1796.


Osgot held LITTLE CASTERTON in the time of Edward the Confessor, and in 1086 it was held of the king as 3 virgates, by David, of whom we know nothing. (fn. 3)

The manor was held by the family of Lyndon of their manor of Easton (co. Northants). Roland de Lyndon held Easton in 1086, and the manor of Little Casterton followed the descent of Lyndon (q.v.) until it, with Easton and Lyndon, fell into the hands of the Crown at the end of the 13th century. In 1298 Simon de Bokeministre died seised of lands in Little Casterton which he held of the king of the manor of Easton for a sixth of a fee, as his ancestors had held of the ancestors of Simon de Lyndon. (fn. 4) From this date the overlordship followed the descent of Easton (co. Northants, q.v.). (fn. 5)

Scrope. Azure a bend or.

The undertenancy of the manor was obtained by Simon de Bokeministre, who in 1298 left a son and heir William aged 9 years, (fn. 6) whose custody was granted to John de Sandale in 1304. (fn. 7) In 1314 William de Bokeministre conveyed a messuage and carucate of land in Little Casterton to John de Neville of Stoke Dry, (fn. 8) who received a grant of free warren in his demesne lands of Casterton in 1316, (fn. 9) and with Elizabeth his wife in 1321 conveyed the manor and advowson to Henry le Scrope (fn. 10) of Bolton (co. York), one of the king's judges. Henry died in 1336 seised of the manor and advowson and left a son and heir William aged 16 years, (fn. 11) who served in the retinue of Ralph, Lord Neville, and died in 1344, leaving Richard his brother and heir aged 17 years. (fn. 12) Margaret, widow of Henry le Scrope, married Sir Hugh de Mortimer, and they presented to the church in 1349 and 1352, (fn. 13) the patronage being held as dower of Margaret. In 1346 dower was assigned to Cecily, widow of William le Scrope, who had married John de Clopton. Cecily was to have the houses on either side of the Great Gate extending towards the highway of Casterton, the south part of the great messuage, with various other houses and lands described, among the place-names being Bythefrerebalk, Wernelpole, Mydilfeld upon Weldonewong and Milneholm. (fn. 14) Richard le Scrope, created Baron Scrope, who was a party to the celebrated case of Scrope versus Grosvenor, died in 1403, leaving a son and heir Roger aged 30 years who died in the same year. (fn. 15) Roger had granted the manor of Little Casterton to Geoffrey Paynell for life, on whose death in 1440 the manor reverted to Henry, son of Richard son of Roger le Scrope. (fn. 16) Henry settled the manor in 1444 and 1448 and died seised of it in 1459, leaving a son John aged 21 years (fn. 17) who died seised in 1498 and was succeeded by his son Henry aged 30 years. (fn. 18)

In 1527 Henry le Scrope of Bolton conveyed the manor of Little Casterton to Francis Browne, Richard Cooke and William Hygdon, chaplain, on behalf of Francis Browne. (fn. 19) In 1537 Anthony Browne petitioned Sir Thomas Cromwell on behalf of his father, Francis, who was in prison, having been accused of speaking treasonable words during the late rebellion in Lincolnshire. (fn. 20) Francis, who received permission from Henry VIII to wear his hat in the king's presence, (fn. 21) settled the manors of Tolethorpe and Little Casterton in 1540 on his heirs male with remainder to the heirs male of Christopher his father. He died in 1541 seised of these manors and the advowsons of Little Casterton and the chapel of Tolethorpe and was succeeded by his son Anthony aged 26 years. (fn. 22) Anthony was succeeded in 1591 by his son Francis, (fn. 23) who was brother of Robert Browne, the founder of the Brownists. Francis died in 1603, and was succeeded by his son John aged 11 years. (fn. 24) John, known as John Browne of Tolethorpe, conveyed the manors of Little Casterton and Tolethorpe in 1618 to his uncles Thomas Mackworth and John Bourne of Bourn Park (co. Linc.) in settlement on his heirs. (fn. 25) In the following year and again in 1629 it was found that he had been mad and unable to manage his affairs since 1612, that he held the manors and advowsons above mentioned, and had sons Christopher and John (aged 8 weeks), and a wife Mary (Quarles) who were surviving. (fn. 26) He died in 1634, when Christopher his son and heir was aged 15 years. (fn. 27) The manors and advowsons were settled in 1640, probably on the marriage of Christopher with Elizabeth daughter of Sir Edward Harington of Ridlington. (fn. 28) Christopher was sheriff for the county in 1647 and 1681 and died in 1692, when he was succeeded by his son John. Lands in Tolethorpe were settled on Richard Torless, husband of Bridget, sister of John Browne, and John Torless. (fn. 29) John Browne died unmarried in 1719, when he left the manors to Francis son of his brother Edward. On the death of Francis in 1751 without issue the manors passed to his nephew Thomas, son of Thomas Trollope and Anne his wife, Francis's sister. Thomas Trollope, the son, took the additional name of Browne, and in 1758 married Harriet, daughter of Robert Needham and niece of the Earl of Chatham. Mary, daughter and heir of Thomas Trollope-Browne, who in 1793 married George Fermor, third Earl of Pomfret (d. 1830), (fn. 30) died without issue in 1839. Thomas, brother of George, succeeded to the Earldom of Pomfret. He died in 1833, and was succeeded by his son George Richard William, who died without issue in 1867, when the title became extinct. (fn. 31) The manors were in the possession of Mr. Charles Ormiston Eaton in the same year, and he died in 1907, leaving a son Stephen Ormiston Eaton (d. 1911), whose son, Mr. Charles Edward Thynne Eaton, is now lord of the manors.

Eaton. Or a fret azure quartering Or a bend azure between two lions' beads gules.

Tolethorpe Hall

The manor of TOLETHORPE was in the possession of eight sokemen in the time of Edward the Confessor, but by 1086 it was held by William son of Ansculf (de Picquigny or Pinkeney) brother of Ghilo de Picquigny, from whom the holders of the barony of Pinkeney were descended. It was assessed at 4 carucates, of which the king had the soke. There were four mills, and it had increased in value from 40s. in 1066 to 100s. in 1086. (fn. 32) The overlordship passed to Fulk Paynel, probably by his marriage with the daughter of William son of Ansculf. From Fulk it went to his son Ralph and his grandson Gervase, (fn. 33) who was living in 1154 and 1182. (fn. 34) Gervase's son Robert died in his father's lifetime, and Gervase was succeeded by his daughter, Hawise, wife of John de Somery. (fn. 35) Ralph de Somery, son of John and Hawise, was holding in 1196. (fn. 36) Ralph died about 1215, leaving a son William de Somery, also called Percival, whose son Nicholas died in 1229 and was succeeded by Roger, his uncle. Roger died in 1272 seised of Tolethorpe, and was succeeded by his son Roger, who died without issue and was succeeded by his brotherjohn, who also died childless. The overlordship of Tolethorpe was assigned to his sister Joan, widow of Thomas Botetourt, in 1323. (fn. 37) Henceforth the manor was held of the manor of Newport Pagnell (co. Buck., q.v.). (fn. 38)

The subtenant of Tolethorpe at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) was Robert who, according to Blore, was ancestor of the Tolethorpe family. His son John had a son Robert living in 1166. (fn. 39) Robert's son Thomas de 'Tolestorp' in 1196 paid scutage due from his overlord Ralph de Somery in Rutland. (fn. 40) He married Juliana, daughter of William de Freney, and was dealing with lands in Tolethorpe in 1220. (fn. 41) Robert de 'Tollethorpe' his son married Alice, daughter of Robert L'Abbe, and in 1235 held a third part of a knight's fee in Rutland. (fn. 42) In 1263 he obtained the right to a free fishery in the Gwash (Wesse) from Tolethorpe to the old bridge at Ryhall, from Hugh le Despenser. (fn. 43) Thomas son of Robert de Tolethorpe married Maud, daughter of Brice Daneys, and held a knight's fee of Roger de Somery, in Tolethorpe in 1272, (fn. 44) which William de Tolethorpe his son held in 1291. (fn. 45)

William de Tolethorpe married Alice, daughter of Ralph de Normanville of Empingham, and was holding in 1303 and 1305. (fn. 46) He had two daughters, Maud, wife of Nicholas de Burton of Stamford, and Elizabeth, wife of Giles de Erdington, and settled the manor of Tolethorpe before 1316 on Nicholas and Maud (fn. 47) but a little later it was reconveyed to him. He was holding the Tolethorpe fee of the Somerys in 1323, (fn. 48) but died shortly afterwards. During the disturbed conditions of the country in the reign of Edward II, John Hakluyt, keeper of the Forest of Rutland, and his servants, were attacked at Liddington in 1318 by a great concourse of persons including William son of Robert de Tolethorpe, Robert son of John de Tolethorpe, 'mouner' and William his brother, the elder, and William his brother, the younger. (fn. 49) In 1321 a commission was issued for their trial, but the result does not appear. (fn. 50)

Burton. Sable a cheveron between three owls argent crowned or.

Nicholas de Burton and Maud were dealing with lands in Tolethorpe in 1323, and in 1326 Nicholas granted the manor to his son Thomas, who died childless in 1333, when the manor went to William brother of Thomas. William de Burton, who spent much of his time abroad in the service of the king, founded a chantry at Little Casterton in 1358. (fn. 51) He died in 1375, seised of the manor of Tolethorpe and advowson of the church of Little Casterton, in which church he was buried. He left a son and heir Thomas aged 30 years. (fn. 52) Thomas died in 1381 (fn. 53) and was buried with Margaret his wife in Little Casterton church, where there is a monument to him. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was also much abroad in the king's service. He was appointed keeper of Fotheringay Castle, where in 1419 he received Arthur, brother of the Duke of Burgundy, as a prisoner. Thomas died in Gascony in 1435, leaving a son Thomas aged 27 years. The last-named Thomas Burton married Cicely, daughter of Sir John Bussey, and left a son William. (fn. 54)

Thomas son of William Burton in 1503 sold the manor of Tolethorpe, the Hundred of Little Casterton and the advowson of the church of Little Casterton to Christopher Browne, Thomas Bedingfield, Edmund Bedingfield, William Elmes and Edward Browne, on behalf of Christopher Browne, merchant of the staple of Calais. (fn. 55) Christopher was sheriff of the county in 1492 and 1500 and died in 1518, leaving Francis his son and heir. (fn. 56) Francis in 1527 purchased the manor of Little Casterton from Henry le Scrope of Bolton, (fn. 57) and from this date the manor of Tolethorpe followed the descent of Little Casterton (q.v.).

Possibly the origin of the MANOR of the PRIOR OF NEWSTEAD was a grant to the prior in 1278 by Hugh son of Hugh de Welledon, and Joan his wife, of four messuages, a mill, a toft, 6½ virgates and 8½ acres of land and 8s. rent in Little Casterton, in return for which Hugh and Joan were to have daily for life 4 convent loaves and a loaf of servants' bread, 4 gallons of superior convent ale and one gallon of servants' ale, 4 dishes of food, namely, 2 of large meat or fish, according to the time of year, and 2 of such as are given to the canons; they were also to have the place built on the east of the priory court, where they were to live, and were freely to attend the services in the church; and they were also to have hay, straw and grass for a sheep and a cow and necessary fuel. (fn. 58) The prior presented to the church in 1283, but according to Blore (fn. 59) his right was disputed by John de Oketon, who presented three months later, with Alice his wife. (fn. 60) The prior is returned as holding a manor in Little Casterton in 1316, (fn. 61) and in 1509 Stephen Scharp, prior of Newstead, granted lands in Little Casterton to Christopher Browne of Tolethorpe. (fn. 62) Thomas Halam, prior, in 1534 granted lands in Little Casterton to Christopher Buckingham, and at the time of the Dissolution in 1536 held property worth £5 a year here. (fn. 63) The lands of the priory were granted by Henry VIII to Richard Manours in 1540. (fn. 64) Some ten years later John Fenton complained to the Court of Augmentations that he had received a lease of the manor of Little Casterton from the late prior for 50 years, but that Francis Browne had inclosed lands in the manor and impounded Fenton's cattle, asserting that Fenton held no manor. (fn. 65) The lands later passed to the Brownes, who probably acquired the Crown title from Richard Manours, and thus they became merged in the chief manor. (fn. 66)

The HUNDRED OF LITTLE CASTERTON seems to have been part of East Hundred (q.v.) and held with it. View of frankpledge and sheriff's aids in Little Casterton or the hide of Little Casterton were from time to time granted specifically with East Hundred. In 1414 Edward, Duke of York, enfeoffed Thomas Burton of Tolethorpe and the heirs of his body with 'the Hundred of Little Casterton within East Hundred,' together with knight's fees, homages, fealties, wards, marriages, etc., views of frankpledge and all that pertains to them, etc. (fn. 67) Thomas, descendant of the above Thomas Burton, sold the Hundred with the manor of Tolethorpe in 1503 to Christopher Browne. From this date the so-called Hundred of Little Casterton followed the descent of the manor of Tolethorpe (q.v.). The hundred comprised the tithings of Essendine, Ryhall, Belmesthorpe, Ingthorpe and Tinwell. (fn. 68)


The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel 30 ft. by 14 ft. 9 in., clearstoried nave 32 ft. 9 in. by 14 ft. 9 in., with double bell-cote over the west gable, north and south aisles 7 ft. 8 in. wide, and south porch 7 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 2 in. The width across nave and aisles is 34 ft. 6 in, and the total length of the church is 64 ft. 9 in. All these measurements are internal.

The building generally is of rubble, plastered internally, but the clearstory walls are stuccoed (fn. 69) and lined to represent masonry. The chancel, north aisle and porch are covered with stone slates, the nave and south aisle being leaded. All the roofs are eaved.

Plan of Little Casterton Church

The original church was probably a rectangular 12th-century building covering the area of the present nave, with small square-ended chancel. To this, c. 1190, a north aisle was added, the wall being pierced by the existing arcade of two bays. Early in the 13th century a south aisle was thrown out and the fabric rebuilt more or less on its present plan, a new chancel being erected and the bell-cote added. The 13th-century remodelling also included the rebuilding and probably the widening of the old north aisle, the nave and aisle being under a single wide-spanned roof, the ridge of which was level with the bottom of the bell-cote openings. (fn. 70) In the 15th century the nave was heightened by the addition of a clearstory and the present low-pitched roof erected, with lean-to roofs over the aisles. The large supporting buttresses at the west end were also added at this time, the building then assuming more or less the appearance it has since retained. The church was restored in 1810–11, the north aisle being rebuilt and faced with ashlar and the chancel lengthened about 8 ft., (fn. 71) and in 1837 a new porch was erected. (fn. 72) There appear to have been repairs in the chancel and nave about ten years later, (fn. 73) but no further general restoration of the fabric took place till 1908, when a Norman tympanum was found built into the sill of the west window of the nave about 13 ft. above the floor. The tympanum (fn. 74) has a tree in the centre and three wheels on either side; it is now affixed to the wall of the north aisle, together with a smaller 12th-century fragment, but no other architectural features of the early church have survived.

The late 12th-century north arcade consists of two wide rounded (fn. 75) arches of two moulded orders on halfround responds and cylindrical dividing pillar. The inner order of the arch has a flat soffit with edge-roll on each side, and the outer order a similar edge-roll on the nave side only, with plain double-chamfered hood-mould; towards the aisle the outer order is chamfered and without a hood. The pillar and responds have circular moulded bases on square plinths, and carved capitals with divided and chamfered abaci. The capitals are shallow and spreading—on the pillar and west respond they have stiff conventional foliage, (fn. 76) but the carving on the east respond is of a more developed character and different in style.

The 13th-century south arcade is spaced to correspond with that opposite, but its round arches are of two chamfered orders with hood-mould towards the nave, and the cylindrical pillar and responds have moulded capitals and bases, the latter on square plinths. The 13th-century chancel arch is pointed and of two chamfered orders without hood-mould, springing from half-round tapering moulded corbels which terminate on the north side in a grotesque head and on the south in foliage.

The chancel has an east window of three graded lancet lights, which may be an old one re-used, and three single lancet windows in the north and south walls, the two westernmost on each side being original. In rebuilding the chancel in the early 19th century the old materials appear to have been used, (fn. 77) only the added eastern portion being entirely modern. The lancets have hollow chamfered jambs and hood-moulds with head-stops and there is a string, chamfered on both edges, at sill level. The north and south buttresses, east of which the work is new, are of five stages with triangular heads. In the modern extension is a rather elaborate piscina recess, apparently the old one re-used, with moulded arch under a straightsided crocketed canopy, on slender jambshafts with foliated capitals and moulded bases, but the bowl and shelf are new. In the floor below is a large quatrefoil water drain, (fn. 78) said to have belonged to the old church at Pickworth, placed here when the chancel was rebuilt. In the north wall is a rectangular aumbry. The lower part of a 15th-century chancel screen remains, with two wide panels on each side of the opening, and on the north side of the arch, its sill just above the springing, is a blocked square-headed rood-loft doorway. (fn. 79)

The aisles are lighted laterally and at the west end by single lancet windows and at the east end by pointed windows of two trefoiled lights, with pierced spandrels and hoods with head-stops. In the north aisle the windows and the doorway are the old ones re-used, but the buttresses are modern. There is a string with chamfered edges at sill level round both aisles, and at the west end of the nave a lancet window high in the wall. The north doorway, now blocked, has a round arch of a single chamfered order on moulded imposts, but the south doorway is pointed and apparently of 15th-century date, though much restored and perhaps altered when the porch was built. The ritual arrangements of the aisle altars remain, a trefoil-headed piscina with fluted bowl on the south side and a circular floor drain on the north, and there is a plain image bracket in each east wall. An old altar slab, discovered in 1908 under the flooring, (fn. 80) has been set up on the modern altar in the north aisle. A step extends across the east end of both nave and aisles about 6 ft. west of the chancel arch, and there is a second step at the entrance to the chancel. There are stone benches at the west end of the nave and aisles, above which is some good 17thcentury oak panelling from a former reading-desk and pew. (fn. 81)

The 13th-century bell-cote has two gables connected by a coped ridge and each terminating in a cross. The pointed openings are of a single chamfered order on shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases. The supporting buttresses, added after the removal of the old high-pitched nave roof and the erection of the clearstory, are of two stages, with moulded plinths. (fn. 82) The clearstory has two fourcentred windows of two trefoiled lights on the south side, and on the north two almost flat-headed windows, the lights of which are cinquefoiled. The 15thcentury oak roof, though restored, retains much original work and is of two main bays, with moulded intermediate pieces, at the base of which are shieldbearing angels and one playing a clarion; there are carved bosses at their intersection with the ridge and purlins. The three principals have wall pieces on plain corbels. (fn. 83) The oak roof of the south aisle is largely old, but the north aisle has a plaster ceiling.

The font has a plain octagonal bowl, rounded on the underside, and is probably not older than 1811; it stands on an octagonal stem and has a modern crocketed oak cover. The wooden pulpit and the seats (fn. 84) are modern.

In the south wall of the south aisle, between the windows, is a late 13th-century tomb recess, with richly moulded arch of two orders, on short filleted jambshafts with moulded capitals and bases. Below the arch is a mutilated 13th-century coffin slab with floriated cross, (fn. 85) and underneath it, the floor being sunk, a second and more perfect slab, probably of the early 14th century, with a very beautiful cross. (fn. 86) At the east end of the same aisle is a floor slab with illegible Norman-French inscription.

At the west end of the chancel floor is a large blue stone with brasses of Sir Thomas Burton of Tolethorpe (d. 1381) and Margaret his wife (d. 1410), with Latin inscription about the verge, (fn. 87) and in the sanctuary inscribed slabs to Christopher Browne (1618) and Humfrey Hyde, rector (1754). In the north aisle is a memorial to four men of the parish who fell in the war of 1914–19.

There is some 14th-century grisaille glass in the heads of the two original lancets on the south side of the chancel. (fn. 88) There are traces of wall decoration on the south side of the south arcade.

The smaller of the two bells is blank; the other is dated 1608. (fn. 89)

The plate consists of a cup and paten of 1805–6 and an almsdish of 1809–10. (fn. 90)

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1557–1726; (ii) baptisms and burials 1722–1812, marriages 1722–54; (iii) marriages 1754–1819. (fn. 91)


The advowson was held by Walter de Came, possibly sub-tenant of the manor, who presented in 1263. (fn. 92) In 1283 the prior and canons of Newstead, near Stamford, presented, (fn. 93) but their title seems to have been disputed, and Sir John de Oketon and Alice his wife presented William de Empingham within three months, and Empingham retained the living until his death in 1331. (fn. 94) In 1312 Alice de Seymour (St. Mauro) and Edmund de Seymour and Joan his wife conveyed the advowson to Walter Berdewell, (fn. 95) who was probably acting on behalf of John Neville of Stoke Dry, lord of the manor of Little Casterton. In 1321 Henry le Scrope purchased the advowson with the manor from Neville, (fn. 96) and in the same year obtained licence to alienate the advowson to the prior of Newstead in exchange for all the lands that the prior held in Little Casterton. (fn. 97) The exchange, however, was not made, as Scrope presented in 1331 (fn. 98) and died seised of the advowson in 1336, (fn. 99) and his widow, who married Hugh de Mortimer, presented in 1349 and 1352. (fn. 100) The advowson had passed to William de Burton of Tolethorpe manor by 1365, possibly when he founded a chantry in 1358, and his widow, Eleanor, presented in 1376. (fn. 101) Their son Thomas presented in 1427, but apparently during his absence abroad the presentations were made by John Basing. (fn. 102) The advowson was sold with the manor of Tolethorpe to Christopher Browne in 1503, and from this time it followed the descent of the manor (q.v.) until the death in 1839 of Mary, daughter of Thomas Trollope Browne and wife of George Fermor, Earl of Pomfret. (fn. 103) Shortly after this date it was conveyed to Charles Compton Cavendish, created Baron Chesham, who presented in 1844, and it has since passed with the Chesham title, Lord Chesham being the present patron.

In 1358 William de Burton obtained licence to alienate lands in mortmain to endow two chaplains to celebrate divine service daily in the church of Little Casterton and the chapel of Tolethorpe, to pray for the souls of King Edward III and his mother Queen Isabel. (fn. 104) In 1360 Burton had licence to assign a rent from the manor of Conington (co. Hunt.) for the chaplains of a chantry he proposed to found in the chapel of Tolethorpe for the souls of King Edward III and himself. (fn. 105) This probably gives us the date of the foundation of the chapel of Tolethorpe under the name of the chantry.

There are no charities for this parish.


  • 1. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), ccclxxv, 33.
  • 2. Ct. of Wards, Feodaries Surv. bdle. 34.
  • 3. V.C.H. Rutl. i, 142.
  • 4. Chan. Inq. p.m. 26 Edw. I, no. 28.
  • 5. V.C.H. Northants, ii, 565–6.
  • 6. Chan. Inq. p.m. loc. cit.
  • 7. Ibid. 32 Edw. I, no. 202; Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, p. 555.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. R. 1313–17, p. 170.
  • 9. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, 315.
  • 10. Feet of F. Rutl. file 5, no. 34.
  • 11. Chan. Inq. p.m. 10 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47.
  • 12. Ibid. 19 Edw. III, no. 61 (41).
  • 13. Irons' Notes, Linc. Episc. Reg. (Instit.).
  • 14. Cal. Close R. 1346–9, pp. 168–9; Cal. Inq. viii, p. 453.
  • 15. Dugdale, Baronage, i, p. 655.
  • 16. Chan. Inq. p.m. 18 Hen. VI, no. 23.
  • 17. Ibid. 37 Hen. VI, no. 31.
  • 18. Ibid. (Ser. ii), xiii, 114.
  • 19. Feet of F. Rutl. Mich. 19 Hen. VIII.
  • 20. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (ii), 196.
  • 21. Blore, Hist, of Rutl. 93.
  • 22. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), lxvi, 65.
  • 23. Ibid. ccix, 126.
  • 24. Ibid. cclxxii, 37
  • 25. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 16 Jas. I.
  • 26. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), ccclxxv, 33; Ct. of Wards, Feodaries Surv. Rutl. bdle. 34.
  • 27. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), cccclxxiii, 43; cccclxxxvi, 20.
  • 28. Recov. R. East. 16 Chas. I, ro. 40.
  • 29. Ibid. Mich. 6 Will. & M. m. 1; East. 7 Will. III, m. 11, ro. 82.
  • 30. Blore, op. cit. 95, 96; G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vi, 266.
  • 31. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vi, 266.
  • 32. V.C.H. Rutl. i, 141; Northants, i, 291, 339.
  • 33. Round, Cal. Doc. France, 444.
  • 34. Ibid. 441, 444.
  • 35. Dugdale, Baronage, i, 432. On p. 612, under Somerie, Hawise is given as sister of Gervase.
  • 36. Pipe R. Soc. (N.S.), vii, p. 229.
  • 37. Cal. Close R. 1318–23, p. 631.
  • 38. V.C.H. Bucks, iv, 414–16.
  • 39. Blore, op. cit. pp. 217–222, gives the descent of the manor from deeds (printed in full) and a 15th-century MS. history in the possession of the Countess of Pomfret from which much of this descent is taken.
  • 40. Pipe R. Soc. loc. cit.
  • 41. Feet of F. Rutl. Mich. 4 Hen. III, no. 5.
  • 42. Bk. of Fees (P.R.O.), p. 506.
  • 43. Feet of F. Rutl. file 3, no. 62.
  • 44. Cal. Inq. ii, p. 15.
  • 45. Ibid. p. 497.
  • 46. Feud. Aids, iv, 205, 206.
  • 47. Ibid. 208.
  • 48. Cal. Close R. 1318–23, p. 631.
  • 49. Cal. Pat. R. 1317–21, p. 608.
  • 50. Ibid. 1321–4, p. 54.
  • 51. Ibid. 1358–61, p. 129.
  • 52. Chan. Inq. p.m. 49 Edw. III, pt. 1, no. 18.
  • 53. Ibid. 6Ric. II, no. 19; M.I.
  • 54. Ibid. 18 Hen. VI, no. 40; Blore, op. cit. 217.
  • 55. Feet of F. Mich. 15 Hen. VII, no. 6; 17 Hen. VII, no. 7; East. 19 Hen. VII, no. 9.
  • 56. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. ii), xxxiv, 87.
  • 57. Feet of F. Rutl. Mich. 19 Hen. VIII.
  • 58. Ibid. Trin. 6 Edw. I, no. 4.
  • 59. Blore, op. cit. p. 2.
  • 60. Irons' Notes, Linc. Episc. Reg. (Instit.).
  • 61. Feud. Aids, iv, 208.
  • 62. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), B 11217.
  • 63. Ibid. B. 11218; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, pt. 1, p. 564.
  • 64. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xv, p. 293.
  • 65. Aug. Off. Proc. bdle. 33, no. 10.
  • 66. Blore, loc. cit.
  • 67. Ibid. p. 193, quoting charter penes Mary Countess of Pomfret; Cal. Pat. R. 1413–16, p. 193.
  • 68. Blore, op. cit. 194, quoting Roll of the Hundred 9 Hen. VII, penes Countess of Pomfret.
  • 69. On the north side the plaster has been more roughly applied and is in part gone.
  • 70. The mark of the roof remains on the east side of the bell-cote above the present roof. Probably the rebuilding was not completed until 1314 when licence was granted for the dedication of the church (Linc. Epis. Reg. Dalderby, Memo. 284d.).
  • 71. The chancel is said to have been repaired at two different times by the Rev. Richard Twopeny, rector 1781–1843, who 'first only built it the same length he found it, but having afterwards ascertained that the original length was much more, he then lengthened it as it appears at present': Stamford Mercury, May 2, 1862. This implies a shortening of the 13th-century chancel at some period unknown, and a rebuilding of the whole by Mr. Twopeny. The drawing of the church in Blore's Hist. of Rutland (1811), p. 12, shows an extended lancet or lowside window in the south-west corner of the chancel of which there is now no trace, having apparently been omitted in the rebuilding of 1811. In the east gable of the chancel is a circular panel with a Greek inscription.
  • 72. The porch was designed by William Twopeny and built at the charge of Mary, Countess Dowager of Pomfret, in place of an old one of uncertain date. On the south-west buttress is ' a.d. 1837.' William Twopeny also designed the east end of the chancel.
  • 73. Sir Henry Dryden in May 1850 noted that the chancel and nave had been 'done up a few years ago,' apparently since his former visit in April 1846: MS. in Northampton Public Library.
  • 74. The tympanum is 36 in. in diameter, 18 in. high and 4 in. thick. The tree has fourteen branches and the wheels seven or eight spokes: see Keyser, List of Norman Tympana, 2nd ed. (1927), p. 11, fig. 42a; Brit. Archœol. Assoc. Four, xiv, n.s. p. 257, fig. 5; Reliquary and Illust. Archæol. July 1909.
  • 75. They are not complete semicircles, the centres being slightly below the springing.
  • 76. The middle leaf on the west respond is enriched.
  • 77. The omission of a lowside window has been noted.
  • 78. It is 27 in. square and consists of a quatreloil flower, each lobe of which is hollowed, and has a boss in the centre, round which are grouped eight drain holes. It was seen in a farmyard at Pickworth by the rector of Little Casterton, who in order to save it obtained leave to have it removed to his church (Stamford Mercury 2 May 1862).
  • 79. There are no traces of the lower doorway.
  • 80. Trans. Rutl. Arch. Soc. (1916), 45.
  • 81. The panelling was placed in its present position in 1908.
  • 82. The buttresses are only 5 ft. apart and project 4 ft. 6 in. In 1619 the buttress on the north side of the church was in decay, and endangered that side of the church (Irons' Notes, Archd. Visit.).
  • 83. One corbel on the south side is carved.
  • 84. The old box pews of deal were removed in 1908.
  • 85. The head is distinct from the stem: the slab is figured in Boutell's Christian Monuments, 22. The mutilation probably dates from 1811, when pews were erected covering the recess.
  • 86. There is a floriated cross at each end of the flowered stem. Before the removal of the pews in 1908 the lower slab had been hidden by the flooring. There are indications that the cross is carved upon an older coffin lid.
  • 87. The knight wears a jupon over a short mail hauberk, and a collar of SS. There was a shield at each corner, only one of which, with the arms of Burton, remains. Parts of the inscription are gone; it read: 'Hic jacet Dominus Thomas Burton miles quondam dominus de Tolthorp ac ecclesie istius Patronus qui obiit kalendas Augusti ano. dni. mccclxxxi et d'na Margerta uxor sua in ejus sinistris, quor. afab3. ppicietur Deus Amen': Wright, Hist. of Rutl. 37; Trans. Rutl. Arch. Soc. (1917), 69. On another stone in the chancel floor is a brass shield—per bend indented impaling an eagle displayed.
  • 88. It is white glass with a conventional design painted in black pigment, red border, and in the centre a red and gold rosette; it is said to have been originally in the east window. Blore in 1811 mentions 'a horseshoe and a device of a merchant of the staple' amongst the glass then remaining: Hist, of Rutl. 12. The present east window contains good modern glass (1910) with figures of our Lord, St. Hubert and St. Francis of Assisi.
  • 89. North, Ch. Bells of Rutl. 126. The larger bell is by Tobie Norris I of Stamford: it is inscribed' Cum voco venite.'
  • 90. Hope, Ch. Plate in Rutl. 12. All three pieces are believed to have been presented by the Rev. Richard Twopeny, rector; each bears a Greek inscription and the name 'Casterton Parva.'
  • 91. The first entry in the third volume is in 1756.
  • 92. Irons' Notes, Linc. Episc. Reg. (Instit.).
  • 93. Ibid.
  • 94. Ibid.
  • 95. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 5 Edw. II, no. 68.
  • 96. Feet of F. Div. Cos. East. 14 Edw. II, no. 34.
  • 97. Cal. Pat. R. 1321–24, pp. 3, 9.
  • 98. Irons' Notes, loc. cit.
  • 99. Chan. Inq. p.m. 10 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47.
  • 100. Irons' Notes, loc. cit.
  • 101. Ibid.
  • 102. Ibid.
  • 103. Feet of F. Rutl. Hil. 40 Geo. III.
  • 104. Cal. Pat. R. 1358–61, p. 129.
  • 105. Ibid. 451.