A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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Population: 1911, 907; 1921, 934; 1931, 1296.
This parish lies on the borders of Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to which latter county belonged part of the hamlet of Crabbs Cross in the south-west of the parish and the hamlet of Headless Cross in the northwest. Headless Cross formed the nucleus of a new ecclesiastical parish constituted in 1850, which in 1894 was made the civil parish of Upper Ipsley and comprised in the urban district of Redditch. (fn. 1) Eventually, under a Transfer Order of 1931, the whole of Ipsley was annexed to the administrative county of Worcester, (fn. 2) as part of the urban district of Redditch. The parish lies on each side of the River Arrow, which is joined by a smaller stream at Ipsley Mill. The soil is marl, growing wheat and beans. From a height of 250 ft. on the banks of the Arrow the land slopes up westwards to 350 ft. at Ipsley Lodge and then rises sharply to 530 ft. at Headless Cross. Here and at Crabbs Cross there is a certain amount of woodland.
The Roman Icknield Way ran through the parish, (fn. 3) near its eastern edge, and from its modern successor a branch leads west to the mill, passing the church, the Rectory, and Ipsley Court. Another road runs on the west of the Arrow from Studley north-west to Redditch, from which town a road runs south along the ridge to Crabbs Cross, forming the boundary of the parish for some distance. At its northern end this road passes over the tunnel of the Barnt Green and Evesham branch of the Midland Railway, which winds through the parish from north-west to south-east.
Ipsley Court, though in appearance an 18th-century building, is probably the remains of the 'Great House' built by Sir John Hubaud in Queen Elizabeth's time, as a main block, about 120 ft. long, facing east, with two wings about 90 ft. long and splayed outwards by about 20 ft. In 1724 the house was sold to the Rev. John Dolben, then rector, who pulled down the centre portion, except for about 10 ft. at each corner, thus leaving the detached wings, L-shaped in plan, which are all that now remain. The 18th-century restoration—including the three-sided apse at the end of the south wing—was the work of Dr. Walter Landor, father of the author of Imaginary Conversations. The south wing is used as the residence and the north as stables, &c. The walls are of Elizabethan red bricks with wide joints in English bond, but the eaves-cornices are of moulded and modillioned woodwork of the 18th century, and the tiled roofs have hipped ends. The doorways and windows to the lower stories are modern but above are some twenty blocked windows. Some of these in the south wall of the stables still have wooden frames with mullions and transoms. At the west side are some lower, modern additions. In the middle of the site of the main block are reset a pair of stone gate-posts and a Tudor doorway. West of the house is a 17th-century timberframed barn.
The Rectory, ¼ mile east of the church, is a stuccofronted building of H-shaped plan, but has a small timber-framed wing attached to the north-west angle, of the 16th or 17th century. This has a pediment or low gable in the middle of the south front and a hexagonal lantern with a domed roof, vane, and clock of the 18th century.
Field Farm, near the Rectory, is a timber-framed house of the 17th century covered with rough-cast cement; it has open-timbered ceilings and a wide fireplace on a central chimney-stack. The farm buildings are also timber-framed.
A plastered cottage opposite the Rectory, once an inn, also shows ancient framing inside.
Alder Farm, ½ mile north-east of Field Farm, retains much of its 17th-century framing exposed externally and contains an iron fire-back (or hearth?) inscribed WS 1655 WS. Two cottages near it, one of them thatched, the other heightened, also have 17th-century framing.
Ipsley Mill, ¼ mile south-west of the church, is a T-shaped house of c. 1600 with timber-framed walls and tiled roofs; some of the lower story has close-set studding: the upper panels are square. Before 1900 the building had been used as a needle factory and many of the windows were enlarged for the work-rooms. The water-mill, a separate, later building, has now reverted to its original use.
Tan House Farm, Green Lane, 1¼ miles south of the church, is an early-17th-century house: the south-east front is covered with rough-cast and has twin gables: the sides, and the gables of the back block, show old framing. The south-west room has an open-timbered ceiling and a wide fire-place, but the chimney-stack is modern above the roof.
Before the Conquest, Earl Algar, or Ælfgar, son of Leofric, held 3 hides in IPSLEY which in 1086 were among the estates of Osbern son of Richard and were held of him by Hugh. (fn. 4) Osbern was the son of the Confessor's Norman favourite, Richard Scrob, who built the castle on the borders of Hereford and Shropshire of which the site is still called Richard's Castle. He held lands in Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Bedfordshire, and Hugh, who was one of his chief undertenants, appears in Bedfordshire as Hugh Hubald. (fn. 5) Hugh's family held Ipsley for some 650 years; until about 1575 the name (fn. 6) was usually spelled Hubaud, or Hubawde; then a phonetic rendering Hybot, or Hybbotts, was used; (fn. 7) but about 1640 the family apparently decided to revert to the earlier form, but misread it as Huband, and in that form the name has continued to the present day.
The manor was held of the honor of Richard's Castle, by service of either a half or (usually) a whole knight's fee, possibly because Hillborough was often included with Ipsley. In 1212 Denise de Bereford held the halffee, (fn. 8) and in 1220 she, as heir of her brother, Henry de Bereford, elsewhere called Henry Hubaud of Bereford (i.e. Barford), took the homage of William son of William de Cantelupe for this half fee and agreed to discharge the service due to the overlord. (fn. 9) In 1235 Ipsley is said to be held as a whole fee of William de Stuteville of Richard's Castle. (fn. 10) The Cantelupe interest reappears in 1273 when, on the death of George de Cantelupe, Ipsley is named among his fees. (fn. 11) His sister and coheir Joan had married Henry de Hastings, in whose family the fee descended, (fn. 12) passing to the Beauchamp and Neville Lords Bergavenny, (fn. 13) in right of their manor of Aston Cantlow.
William Hubold occurs in 1130, (fn. 14) and Hugh Hubald held Ipsley about 1170. (fn. 15) In 1199 Henry Hubaud acquired land here from William son of Robert, (fn. 16) and in 1203 he bought 3 virgates from Walter de Bereford. (fn. 17) He was succeeded by Denise de Bereford (fn. 18). and she by another Henry Hubaud, who held Ipsley in 1235 and 1242, (fn. 19) was among the members of a mission sent to Rome in 1245, (fn. 20) and occurs as a knight in 1249. (fn. 21) Sir Henry was, under compulsion from his overlord Henry de Hastings, one of the garrison who held Kenilworth Castle on behalf of Simon de Montfort in 1265, (fn. 22) for which his estates were forfeited and given to Maud de Mortimer; (fn. 23) but they were evidently restored under the Dictum of Kenilworth. Sir Henry (fn. 24) died in 1287, leaving a son John, who was under age and in ward to John de Hastings, and a widow Denise. (fn. 25) She was possibly his second wife, as she was still holding a third of the manor of Ipsley, in dower, with Thomas de Morton, then her husband, in 1332. (fn. 26) John Hubaud died about 1315, leaving a son John under age and a widow Joan, who married Sir Emery Pauncefote. (fn. 27) They arranged the marriage of John with Margaret daughter of Sir William Lucy of Charlecote. (fn. 28) In 1320 John and Margaret obtained the reversion of 2/3 of the manor and the advowson of Ipsley from his mother, (fn. 29) and in 1332 they bought the other third from his grandmother. (fn. 30) On the death of Sir John, who served with distinction in the Crecy campaign, (fn. 31) Ipsley passed to his third but eldest surviving son Thomas. (fn. 32) His son Richard married an heiress, Alice Walcot, and their son John married Elizabeth Chaturley, heiress of the Musard estates in Worcestershire (Astwood, in Feckenham). (fn. 33) These estates Elizabeth left to her younger sons William, Humphrey, and Edward, in 1470, and John left Ipsley to his son Thomas. (From this date the Worcestershire branch of the Huband family has been resident in Feckenham, Inkberrow, and Rous Lench.)
The descent of the manor of Ipsley continued from John to Thomas, Richard (d. 1513), John (d. 1546), Nicolas (d. 1553), and Sir John Hubaud. (fn. 34) Sir John Hubaud (alias Hibbots), was appointed Constable of Kenilworth and High Steward to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He married twice: first Ann (Englefield) widow of Sir Humphry Coningsby of Hampton Court, Hereford. She and Edward Coningsby lived at Ipsley and Edward died and was buried there. Sir John, shortly after his wife's death, about 1564, married Mary, youngest daughter of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton, and dying on 23 December 1583, without issue, was succeeded by his brother Ralph. (fn. 35) Sir John presented his uncle William to Ipsley; his uncle Thomas was presented by the Throckmortons to Spernall, while Sir John presented his kinsman, Thomas, to Inkberrow (fn. 36) —all adjoining parishes. His brother Ralph, on succession, sold part of the tithes of Stratfordon-Avon to William Shakespeare (fn. 37) in 1604. Ralph's son John had succeeded to the manor by 1614; (fn. 38) he died in 1650, (fn. 39) and his elder son Ralph Huband (husband of Ann Tevery) died in the following year, (fn. 40) leaving an infant son John, who was created a baronet at the age of 12 in 1661, (fn. 41) married Jane Paulet, and became one of the first directors of the Bank of England. (fn. 42) For making a marriage distasteful to him he disinherited his son John and left Ipsley to his daughter's son on condition of his taking the name Huband. (fn. 43) After his death his son, the 2nd baronet, managed to set aside his will in 1712 and entered on the Ipsley estates and set about selling the property, being deeply in debt. But as he died in 1717 before he could accomplish his sale the estates passed to his son John, 3rd baronet, who died, aged 17, at Eton in November 1730.
The baronetcy thus became extinct and the property passed to the second baronet's wife, Rhoda daughter of Sir Thomas Broughton, and her three daughters, Rhoda, Lady Delves, who subsequently married William Mabbot, Mary wife of James Wright, and Jane wife of the Earl of Northington. James Wright gradually purchased his wife's sisters' Hampshire estates, (fn. 44) after they had sold Ipsley manor in 1740 to Samuel Savage, (fn. 45) who left the estate to his nephew Walter Savage Landor, (fn. 46) whose descendants (fn. 47) put it up to auction in 1918 and 1922.
Land in Ipsley, described in 1685 (fn. 48) as a manor, formed part of the estate of the Middlemores of Studley (q.v.). Mary daughter of Robert Middlemore, the last of the line, brought it to her husband Sir John Gage. In 1700 the property was divided between their two daughters and co-heiresses, Mary wife of Sir John Shelley, and Bridget wife of Thomas, Lord Fauconberg, that in Ipsley being included in Mary's portion. (fn. 49) In 1717 it was bought as the manor of Ipsley by Harry Gough, (fn. 50) whose widow Elizabeth sold it to William Witherby of London, stationer, in 1774. (fn. 51)
The parish church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel, nave, formerly with aisles, and a west tower. The church was very thoroughly restored in 1867, when the aisles were destroyed and the arcades walled up, but evidence remains that the south aisle was of the 13th century and the north aisle, and probably the chancel, of the 14th century. The west tower was added in the 15th century.
The chancel (about 28 ft. by 17½ ft.) has an east window of three lights and net tracery, modern except the jambs and outer order and hood-mould of red sandstone, which are probably of the 14th century. The side walls have each two entirely restored windows of 14th-century character, the eastern of one light, the other of two lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The pointed chancel arch of two chamfered orders with moulded capitals and bases is modern. The walls of red sandstone ashlar are in part ancient and have moulded plinths. At the east angles are partly restored diagonal buttresses. The side buttresses and the gabled and tiled roof of four bays are modern.
The nave (about 45 ft. by 21 ft.) had a north arcade of four bays with octagonal pillars and responds of red sandstone, hidden externally but partly visible inside. Most of the capitals have been cut away, but the westernmost has a simple moulding and chamfered abacus, probably of the late 14th century. The arches are twocentred and of two hollow-chamfered orders, with medium and large voussoirs. In the first and third bays are modern three-light windows. The south arcade, also of four bays, appears to be of mid- to late-13thcentury date. The pillars are even more concealed or mutilated than the others, but the eastern of the three was cylindrical, the second was octagonal, the third possibly also round. A small portion of the moulded capital of this pillar is visible, somewhat similar to the north capitals. Part of the capital of the semi-octagonal respond is also uncovered; it is carved with a human head wearing a pleated band or cap and flanked by tendrils and foliage. The arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders, with small voussoirs; all is of red sandstone. The walling above the arcades is of ancient rubble. The roof, of king-post construction, is modern.
The west tower (10 ft. by 8½ ft.) is of two stages, the lower embracing two stories, and has a moulded plinth and embattled parapet: the walls are of brown stone ashlar. The two-centred archway to the nave is tall and narrow and of two chamfered orders, the inner with moulded capitals and plain bases. The west window, of red sandstone, has deep casement-moulded jambs and two-centred head and is of three trefoiled lights and vertical tracery: the hood-mould has square volute-stops. In the south wall outside is an imageniche with a trefoiled and square head. The second story has, just below the string-course, a small light in each wall with an ogee and square head. The bell chamber is lighted by windows of two trefoiled lights and foiled spandrels in two-centred heads with hoodmoulds. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses of four stages, and at the other angles are square buttresses flush with the east wall. In the south-west angle is a stair-vice with a four-centred doorway and plain loop light.
The font has an early-14th-century octagonal bowl with a battlemented projecting top-mould, a hollowed under-edge, and two ball-flowers in relief on each angle. The pulpit is a good example of early-17th-century work. The tub has three sides of a hexagon. The middle side has an enriched round-headed panel enclosing a shield charged with a saltire and surrounded by scrolled strap and riband ornament. The others are similar, without the shield. Below them are carved frieze-panels. In the chancel is a chair with a carved back bearing the inscription tc ac 1618; the sides are closed below the shaped elbows and the legs are plain. Two interesting floor slabs in the chancel are of alabaster with incised figures once inlaid with bitumen. (fn. 52) That on the north side has the effigy of Nicholas Hubaud (d. 1553) in full plate armour of that period, his head resting on a helm and his feet on a greyhound; and that of his wife Dorothy (d. 1558) in pedimental headdress, corsage with diapered tight sleeves, full skirt, and a mantle with long pendant sleeves bearing cheveron lines. Between their heads is a shield of arms—Hubaud quartering Pury, Danvers, and Bruley. Below them are the figures of eight sons and seven daughters. The inscription is imperfect.
The south slab has figures of the same period and costume but no inscription. Both slabs have small modern square patches of alabaster.
A marble monument in the nave is to Anne widow of Ralph Huband, 1672. A canopied monument to Ralph Huband (d. 1604) and Anne his wife, figured in Dugdale's Antiquities, was destroyed in 1867.
The bells include one of c. 1400–20 by a Worcester founder inscribed dvm tonat hoc signum prece pelle roberte malignum, with king and queen head-stops, and two of 1664 by John Martin of Worcester. (fn. 53)
The communion plate includes a small porringer with two handles, the lower part embossed with flowers, the hallmark being of 1682. (fn. 54)
The registers begin in 1615.
The advowson of the church descended with the manor. Queen Elizabeth presented, by lapse, in August, 1588, but the presentation was perhaps revoked, as in the following March Ralph Hubaud, lord of the manor, presented. (fn. 55) After the sale of the manorhouse to John Dolben, rector from 1720 to 1781, the advowson remained in his family (fn. 56) until after the death of Charles Dolben in 1893, when his widow sold it to the then rector, the Rev. H. J. Newton. After his death in 1932 it was sold to the Martyrs Memorial Trust, in whose hands it now remains.
By an Order in Council of 7 February 1933, (fn. 57) to take effect on the retirement of the then incumbent, the ecclesiastical parish was divided between the parishes of St. George and St. Stephen, Redditch.
Charities of Slipper and Landor. Joseph Slipper in 1711 gave to the parish £30, the interest to clothe two poor widows or three fatherless children. The legacy, together with a sum of £70 given by Elizabeth Landor, was invested in real estate. The property was sold in 1907 under the authority of an Order of the Charity Commissioners and the proceeds invested in Stock producing £3 6s. 6d. annually in dividends. The income is expended in clothing for aged and infirm persons.