A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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Acreage (since 1931): 1043 (97 acres in the northeast of the parish were transferred to the Borough of Warwick under the Borough of Warwick Order, 1931).
Population: 1911, 162; 1921, 191; 1931, 183.
Sherbourne is a small parish situated on the right bank of the Avon, 2½ miles south of Warwick, and traversed by Sherbourne brook, a small trout stream from which it is said to derive its name. (fn. 1) It is well wooded and undulating, the altitude varying from 145 ft. to 291 ft. at the top of Sherbourne Hill, from which extensive views of the Avon Valley and the Edge Hills can be obtained. The soil is principally a gravelly marl, lying above Keuper Red Marls. Wheat, oats, and beans are grown, though the greater part of the parish is laid down to pasture.
The village lies between the main roads from Warwick to Stratford and to Wellesbourne, and there is a by-road southwards, above the Avon, to Fulbrook and Hampton Lucy.
Sherbourne House is a building of three stories, cellars, and attics. The original house, dating from about 1700, was of rectangular plan; later enlargements include a one-storied addition on the east front containing an entrance hall, drawing-room, and diningroom, of c. 1800, extensive offices to the north and west, and a parallel addition of the late 18th century partly covering the original west front. The original house rises above all these additions; it has walls of brick with moulded eaves-cornices of stone. At the angles are pairs of shallow stone pilasters, with moulded entablatures. The wall-faces of the south side, and where exposed on the east front, are cemented, and the latter front has a cemented plain parapet. The upper windows of the east front have moulded stone architraves with key-blocks, and sills projecting on brackets. In the middle of the west wall, now internal, is an original entrance with rusticated stone jambs and a flat arch with a key-block. The small south-west room on the ground floor has an over-mantel of plaster with a pediment and festoons, and an upper room on the west side has some reset oak panelling of the 17th century with a carved frieze. The main staircase in the middle of the east side is of c. 1740, but the upper part of the secondary staircase west of it is probably original. The roof has compound trusses carrying a lead flat in the middle part, and tiled sloping sides, containing dormer windows. The cellars are stonevaulted except one rebuilt with brick.
The village was largely rebuilt in a pseudo-Elizabethan style by Miss Ryland, about the middle of the last century, but still retains a few genuine timberframed houses.
A farm-house about 250 yards NNW. of the church is probably of the end of the 16th century. It is now divided into three tenements. It is of L-shaped plan, the wings extending to the south and west. Both are of square timber-framing with whitened brick infilling, and have gabled ends. The east wing has curved braces in the upper half and may be a little earlier than the other, which is of plainer framing and has high stone foundations. The east wing has open-timbered ceilings with stop-chamfered beams and joists and a wide fire-place.
Sherbourne Farm, about ½ mile NNW. of the church, is a late-18th-century house of red brick but it has an earlier 18th-century pigeon-house incorporated with the farm buildings west of the house. This is square and of brick with a pyramidal tiled roof and a good leaded central lantern with a domed roof and open sides.
The parish was inclosed by an Act of 1799. (fn. 2) The Award covered 837 acres, of which Thomas Webb Edge and the Rev. Elias Webb, who held the manor and rectory jointly, received 493 and 276 acres respectively. There were 7 open fields; meadow by the Avon, the Horse Brook, and Sherbourne Brook; and a small piece of common west of the village.
The Count of Meulan in 1086 held SHERBOURNE for 2½ hides; Edric and Leuegot had previously held it. (fn. 3) It descended to Henry de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, (fn. 4) and his son Earl Roger (1123–53) gave half a hide and two-thirds of the tithe of the inclosure to the College of St. Mary, Warwick. (fn. 5) The rest of the land he gave to the Templars, (fn. 6) and in 1185 this was valued at £3 8s. 10d. (fn. 7) In addition, the tenants owed four days' boon-work in the year, and were to make and carry the lord's hay. Every virgate owed yearly 2d., or 4 hens, at choice. (fn. 8) In 1248 the Templars were granted free warren here. (fn. 9)
The overlordship remained with the earls of Warwick and when the Templars were suppressed (1308) Guy de Beauchamp seised the manor as an escheat (fn. 10) and was holding it at his death in 1315, of the king, as a hamlet of the manor of Warwick. (fn. 11) The manor was restored to the Hospitallers, however, with the rest of the Templars' lands pertaining to the commandery of Balsall. (fn. 12) In 1540, when the Hospitallers were suppressed, Richard Wilmore was farming their manor of Sherbourne, which included also the adjacent parish of Norton (q.v.), at an annual rental of £12: and there were in addition two pensions payable by the tenant out of the profits of the manor; one of 6s. 8d. yearly to the College of St. Mary, Warwick, and one of 5s. to the Wardens of the Trinity Guild there. (fn. 13)
After the suppression of the Hospitallers, the manor remained with the Crown until it was given in 1553 by Edward VI to Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, in return for lands in Bedfordshire. (fn. 14) It descended in the family with Charlecote (q.v.) at least until 1685, when it was in the possession of Elizabeth sister of Thomas Lucy and wife of Clement Throckmorton of Haseley. (fn. 15) The estate seems soon afterwards to have been divided between Elizabeth's aunt Constance, sister of Thomas Lucy and wife of Sir John Burgoyne of Wroxhall, (fn. 16) and her cousin Davenport Lucy, heir of the direct line of the Lucys of Charlecote, whose son George is described as lord of the manor in 1715. (fn. 17) When George died in 1721 it was probably united again in the Burgoyne family, for John Burgoyne at some time after 1742 sold half the manor to Thomas Webb, (fn. 18) who died in 1755, leaving his portion to his eldest surviving son John, in trust for his grandson and heir Thomas Webb and his heirs in tail male, with remainder to John and his heirs. (fn. 19) By the time of Thomas's death in 1789 the whole manor had come into the hands of the family and was held jointly by his son Elias, afterwards the Rev. Elias Webb, then a minor, and Thomas Webb Edge (fn. 20) son of John above mentioned, by Margaret daughter of Ralph Edge of Strelley, Notts., (fn. 21) who took his mother's family name and migrated to Strelley. In 1831 the Rev. Elias Webb was holding the whole manor, with a free fishery and view of frankpledge, (fn. 22) and subsequently he sold it to Mr. Samuel Ryland, at whose death the manor passed to his daughter and heir Miss Louisa Ryland. By her will she bequeathed the manor to Charles I. P. Smith on condition that he took the additional surname of Ryland. (fn. 23) The trustees of the late C. I. P. Smith-Ryland are at present holding the manor.
A mill in Sherbourne held by the Templars of the Earl of Warwick was worth 7s. in 1185. (fn. 24)
The medieval church of ALL SAINTS, consisting of a chancel with south chapel, nave, and, probably, a western tower, survived until 1747, when the nave and tower were rebuilt by Thomas Webb. The remainder, apparently of 14th-century date, was pulled down and rebuilt in 1802 by the Rev. Elias Webb and Thomas Webb Edge, joint lords of the manor. (fn. 25) In 1864 the whole building was superseded by the present church erected by Miss Ryland at a cost of £20,000 from designs by Sir Gilbert Scott. It consists of a chancel, north and south chapels, a nave of five bays, with north and south aisles, and a north-west tower with a spire, and is lavishly adorned with carving and shafts of red and green marble. A brass of 1624 to the Rev. John Smith, with a long and curious rhymed epitaph, and a series of monuments to the Webb family (beginning with Elias Webb, d. 1728) survive from the earlier church.
There are six bells, one by Hugh Watts of Leicester dated 1632, and the others by Mears, 1863.
The plate consists of a silver chalice and paten of 1871.
The registers begin in 1587.
In the churchyard, north of the chancel, is the octagonal base of a 14th- or 15th-century cross retaining the remains of the moulded shaft, now 4 ft. 10 in high.
There was a priest in Sherbourne in 1086. (fn. 26) The church of Sherbourne was granted to the Templars and in 1185 was valued at one mark. (fn. 27) After the downfall of the Templars the church continued to be appropriated to the Hospitallers, their successors, until the Dissolution. (fn. 28) The vicarage was valued at £5 in 1291 (fn. 29) and also in 1340–1. (fn. 30) In 1428 it was united to the rectory of Fulbrook (q.v.), the church of which was demolished by 1531. (fn. 31)
In 1691 the advowson of the vicarage of Sherbourne was in the hands of George, Duke of Northumberland, and Katherine his wife, (fn. 32) widow of the Thomas Lucy of Charlecote who had held the manor of Sherbourne. (fn. 33) In 1831 it was owned by the Rev. Elias Webb (incumbent since 1810) and his wife Christian, (fn. 34) and it has since descended with the manor, the present patrons being the trustees of the Ryland estate. (fn. 35)
The extent of 1540 already quoted mentions a donative of the average annual value of £4 paid by the farmer of the manor towards the curate's stipend. (fn. 38) At the beginning of the 18th century this donative, then paid by Sir John Burgoyne, was worth £11 6s. 8d. (fn. 39)