A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4, Hemlingford Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1947.
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Population: 1911, 110; 1921, 105; 1931, 182.
This small parish, 1 mile from north to south and 1½ miles from east to west, is bounded on the north-east by Watling Street, on the north-west by Waste Lane running from the Street to Baddesley Common, and on the east by the Innage Brook.
The parish was formerly much larger, including some 1,500 acres lying in three detached areas in Leicestershire, but these were added by Local Government Orders in 1880 and 1885 to the Leicestershire parishes of Sheepy, Orton, and Norton-juxta-Twycross. Ouston Grange and Mill, on the River Tame, are also said by Dugdale to have been 'sometime a Grange belonging to Merevale Abbey, and for that respect still [c. 1650] reputed a member thereof', and then owned by Sir Charles Adderley, (fn. 1) who in 1660 was presented for not repairing Hance bridge 'in the parish of Merevale near Ousterne house', called in 1647 'a mill way leading from Curdworth to Shustoke'. (fn. 2) Ouston has long been absorbed into Lea Marston, but the date of the transference is not known. (fn. 3)
The Coventry Canal and the Trent Valley section of the L.M.S. Railway cut through the extreme northeastern corner of the parish, which just includes Atherstone station. The south-eastern half of the parish is occupied by Merevale Park, containing a large lake and the Hall, a fine house faced with stone and partly rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century and now the seat of Sir William Francis Stratford Dugdale, bart. In the Hall are preserved the library, diary, and other relics of Sir William Dugdale, the famous antiquary and historian of Warwickshire. To the north of the Park a road runs from the Watling Street, at an elevation of 273 ft., south-west to Baxterley Common, where a height of 500 ft. is attained. Centrally on this road lie the church and the remains of the abbey, with the Abbey Pool and Black Pool. (fn. 4)
Apart from the parish church, which was the Chapel of Our Lady at the Gate, there are few relics of the abbey.
Of the great abbey church no masonry whatever remains above ground, except possibly a little of the south wall of the south aisle, and its site is now indicated only by excrescences in a field east of a farmyard. The site was partly excavated in 1849 by Mr. William Stratford Dugdale of Merevale Hall and Mr. Henry Clutton the architect, and apparently only enough was discovered to identify the size and shape of the church. Mr. M. H. Bloxam wrote a description in 1864 and produced a 'conjectural' plan based on Mr. Clutton's discoveries. It shows a large church of cross plan with north and south aisles to the nave. Certain dimensions are specified, but the proportions of the plan as drawn, and to which no scale is attached, by no means tally with the sizes mentioned. The foundations actually traced by Clutton were those of the presbytery, specified as 40 ft. by 28 ft., parts of the transept (88 ft. by 28 ft.), the north arcade and parts of the south arcade walls of the nave (28 ft. wide), parts of the walls of the aisles (15 ft. wide; total width 60 ft., and length of the building 230 ft.), with the beginning of the east wall of the west claustral range. The walls of these parts are scored on the conjectural plan, which is of the normal Benedictine type. The west wall of the church and the walls of the claustral ranges are shown only in outline, except the Frater, the side-walls of which are still standing to some height. The monastic buildings were evidently never properly excavated or, if so, no foundations were discovered. The Frater was parallel with the cloister, instead of following the north-south tradition of the Cistercians, and marks the south side of the cloisters. The quadrangle, taking the length of the Frater as a guide, was about 112 ft. from east to west, and according to the scale-less plan it was, therefore, about 140 ft. from the north to south. It is now a rick-yard.
The remains of the Frater (about 96 ft. by 32 ft.) stand in a garden east of the farm-house and consist of the eastern halves of the north and south walls, standing about 12 ft. high. They include the south stair to the pulpitum, also a scrap of the west end of the north wall containing the entrance from the cloister and west of this the entrance to the former kitchen, all dating from the middle of the 13th century. The remains of the north wall (about 51½ ft. long) are 3 ft. 2 in. thick in the lower part, of local yellow and cream sandstone ashlar. It has a moulded string-course about 6 ft. high inside, forming the edge of a ledge. Above this ledge the wall-face sets back and is divided into 11½ bays of 4 ft. 2 in. span, by attached round filleted shafts with moulded 'holdwater' bases; five of them still retain the moulded capitals. Two low buttresses have been added since the Dissolution. The exterior of the wall, towards the former cloister, has a plinth comprising a moulded course above a vertical course and two lower chamfered courses. At the east end is a 3½-ft. shallow buttress or wide pilaster. West of this the wallface is divided into 10½ bays of 4 ft. 9 in. span by semioctagonal pilasters that cut through the plinth. At the tops the chamfers are stopped to square and the pilasters finished with gable-heads. The bays do not tally with those of the internal shafts. The next 30 ft. westwards is now closed by a modern wall; beyond this is the 5 ft. 2 in. original entrance doorway, in very weather-worn condition. The inner order of the jambs has a filleted edge-roll; the other orders were two nook-shafts (now missing) alternating with rolls cut from the solid; the moulded capitals are in place. The two-centred head is of three moulded orders and has a hood-mould, and chamfered rear-arch. Immediately east of it is the west jamb of the original lavatory recess, about 18 in. deep, with unrecognizable mouldings, and the beginning of an arched head. West of the doorway is another, with square jambs and segmental-pointed head, that probably opened into the kitchen. The west wall of the Frater, between the doorways, has entirely disappeared above ground.
The south wall, of which about 58 ft. remains, has at a distance of 38 ft. from the east end the open entrance to the pulpitum-stair; it has moulded jambs and two-centred head, over which the string-course is carried as the hood-mould. Two small piercings in one stone pierce the 11-in. wall immediately east of the doorway, one a quatrefoil and the other a trefoiled circle. The straight stair of seven steps up remains, and the wall is projected 1½ ft. outside to take it. The rectangular space, 6½ ft. long, for the reader projects 2 ft. still farther, and the internal west angle with the stair is moulded with twin shafts with moulded bases, probably for an archway across the head of the stair.
The wall-face inside from the east end up to the doorway is plain, but 2½ ft. west of it are nearly three bays of wall arcading (like that of the north wall) before the wall finishes with a modern end. The bays were pierced by lancet-windows above the moulded ledge; a course or two of the chamfered and rebated east jamb of the first are left in place. Externally the ground dips a little before rising to the height on which stands Merevale Hall. The plinth is similar to the northern, but has an additional lower chamfered course. A stringcourse, of which parts remain, ran below the sills of the windows. At the east end is a narrow buttress, and 11 ft. west of the stair projection is another, but there are no pilasters like the northern.
Only a few lowest courses remain of the east wall; it appears to have had a similar buttress at the south end A 3-ft. gap near the north end may have been a former doorway. A few loose stones, and pieces of window tracery, &c., are lying on the site.
Apart from the Frater the only other remains of masonry are (1) a piece of the adjoining west wall of the cloister, containing blocked post-Dissolution doors, &c., and (2) the rubble core of a wall about 20 ft. high, forming part of farm-buildings, which may have been part of the south wall of the south aisle.
In the fields on the other (north) side of Merevale Lane are various banks, &c., indicating sites of fishstews and pools for the abbey corn mill, which faced the Watling Street.
Merevale was probably the woodland, 1½ leagues by 1 league, attached to the manor of Grendon (q.v.) which was held by Henry de Ferieres in 1086; (fn. 5) as when Earl Robert de Ferrers founded the Abbey of Merevale in 1148 he gave to it 'all my forest of Arden'. (fn. 6) This grant was confirmed by Henry II in 1155 (fn. 7) and again by Edward II on 12 March 1326, (fn. 8) two days after the king had visited the abbey. (fn. 9) After the dissolution of the abbey its site and lands, including an iron-mill or smithy, were granted in tail male to Sir Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, in December 1540. (fn. 10) In the following February the grant was renewed, with the additional mention of 'the manor called the Graunge' in Merevale, in the tenure of Richard Overton. (fn. 11) In 1550 Sir Walter, now Viscount Hereford, (fn. 12) obtained a fresh grant of the premises to himself, his heirs and assigns, (fn. 13) under which he is said to have conveyed them to his second son, Sir William Devereux (fn. 14) for life. On the death of Sir William in 1579 the property passed to Robert, Earl of Essex, son of his nephew Walter. (fn. 15)
The earl was dealing with the manor of MEREVALE in 1596, (fn. 16) but five years later he was attainted and executed for his plot against Queen Elizabeth. This manor, however, remained in the hands of his widow Frances, who married Richard Bourke, Earl of Clanricarde, (fn. 17) and they were dealing with it in 1605. (fn. 18) The lands and honours of the Earl of Essex were restored to his son Robert, the Parliamentarian general, who died in 1646 leaving two sisters as his co-heirs. (fn. 19) The manor of Merevale seems to have passed to the younger, Frances, who married William Seymour, Marquess of Hertford, and to have been sold by them, probably in 1649, (fn. 20) to Edward Stratford. (fn. 21) His descendant Penelope Bate Stratford, daughter and co-heir of Francis Stratford, married Richard Geast, who in 1749 inherited the property and took the surname of his uncle John Dugdale, and from them the estate has descended to the present Sir William Dugdale, bart.
The parish church of OUR LADY consists of a chancel with side aisles and a nave that has lost its aisles. Modern vestries occupy the site of the south aisle. The church is rich in medieval coloured glass. The development of the plan varies somewhat from that of the normal secular parish church, the most striking difference being in the length of the chancel (48½ ft.) as compared with that of the nave (34½ ft.). The nave with aisles dates from about 1240, and there is little doubt that the chancel, on the evidence of its east angles, was originally of the same period. It is probable, as has been suggested by Sir William Dugdale, (fn. 22) that the church was erected to serve the monks temporarily while the great abbey church was being rebuilt. This would account for the comparatively abnormal length of the chancel, the small nave being provided for the use of the lay brethren and parishioners.
The progressive growth of the plan after the 13th century is not altogether clear. The jambs and arch of the great east window and the whole of the south aisle or chapel date from c. 1340, but the two arcades and the north aisle or chapel are of c. 1500. If the 14th-century work was added to the 13th-century chancel in the usual way, there would have been a contemporary south arcade. A theory advanced by Sir W. F. S. Dugdale is that the church was remodelled after the suppression of the abbey, with the use of material from the great abbey church for the south aisle. If so, re-used material would be found in the arcades and north aisle, but this is not the case; they are good specimens of work of c. 1500 (although the mouldings in the arcade are peculiarly small) and far better than would be expected from a repatching of c. 1540 or later. It is most probable that the south chapel with an arcade was added in the 14th century, but that the arcade developed weakness and was replaced by the present arcade to match the north arcade.
The north aisle had a west archway into the 13thcentury nave-aisle, which was of the same width, but the east wall of the south nave-aisle was left solid, except for an upper window, until, in the 15th century or subsequently, a narrow archway of re-used 14thcentury material was inserted.
There is no evidence as to when the nave-aisles were demolished, but the blocking masonry of the arcades suggests the 18th century. About 1850 the vestries were added on the site of the south aisle, and in 1893 much masonry was renewed, the chancel-roof was taken down and reconstructed with the old material, and new roofs were supplied to the chapels.
The chancel has an east window of five trefoiled lights and vertical tracery of the 15th century; the moulded jambs and arch, with hood-moulds on both faces, are of the 14th century. The hoods have headstops (modern outside). Internally the jambs are of filleted rolls and hollows, externally of three wavemoulded orders, all of local white sandstone. The walling below the window is of ancient red, yellow, and grey ashlar, but the plinth and string-course are modern and patching below the south jamb suggests a former doorway. The wall is gabled and has a modern coping. At the original angles are large modern buttresses that incorporate the lower parts of original thin buttresses. These rise higher than the modern work; the northern has a 14th-century gabled head in red sandstone. The southern is tabled back in the usual manner at the top, and lower is tabled back 4 in. on its south side. Projecting 5 in. from the east wall of the aisle is the original south buttress of red sandstone. This has a 13th-century plinth with a bowtell (or roll) top member and chamfered lower, and a higher stringcourse that formerly passed round the east buttress.
The north and south arcades of c. 1500 are of four 12-ft. bays with moulded piers having three-quarterround 3-in. shafts on the north and south faces. The shafts have very small moulded capitals, 4 in., including a 2-in. abacus which passes round the rest of the pier. The bases are also moulded. The mouldings of the piers, excepting the innermost, are continued in the four-centred heads: the innermost order has an additional moulding in the arch. Above the 3-in. shafts are filleted rolls carried over as hood-moulds and also carried up vertically to meet a corbel course, level with the apices, and over it to the cornices. The spandrels over the arches are panelled.
The roof is of pointed wagon-head type and has main arched moulded beams carried by short wall-posts. The ribs are also moulded and form nine square panels in each side of each bay; the four bays coincide with those of the arcades. At the intersections are carved conventional foliage bosses. It is possible that the roof is a little earlier than the arcades and that the side-walls were corbelled inwards to fit its span.
The north aisle (c. 9½ ft. wide) has no east window, but at the north end of the wall outside is a vertical straight joint, rising to within four courses of the parapet string-course and suggesting a former archway. In the north wall are four windows of c. 1500, each of three plain four-centred lights and tracery in a stilted four-centred head; two quatrefoils above the sidelights are the only piercings that are cusped. The jambs and arches are moulded. Between the windows are moulded pilasters or wall shafts rising from the floor and having bases and variously moulded semi-octagonal capitals. Similar pilasters rise above the 3-in. shafts of the piers in the opposite arcade-wall. Above the capitals are moulded string-courses.
The walls are of local cream-tinted ashlar with a moulded plinth. A diagonal north-east buttress and four square buttresses divide the north wall into four bays: they have moulded offsets. In the west wall an archway into the former nave-aisle is filled in with rubble-work; above it outside is the weather-course of the lean-to roof of the aisle. The parapet is modern. The modern roof is of four bays with trusses over the old pilasters and a flat ceiling. On the east wall is the marking of the former pointed wagon-head ceiling like that of the chancel.
The south aisle (14 ft. wide) has an east and three south windows of mid-14th-century date, each of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and leaf tracery in twocentred heads with hood-moulds inside and out: the jambs and arches are moulded like those of the chancel east window: the hood-moulds have carved stops— human heads, beasts, &c. Below the lifted sill of the western south window is a contemporary, walled-up, priests' doorway. The walling is cream ashlar sandstone, patched in the upper part of the west bay with some red stone. The lower parts are of a more rubbly material and have 14th-century plinths with a projecting top-chamfer. The south wall is divided into three bays by buttresses; it has been largely rebuilt plumb vertical with old material. At the south-east angle is a massive 18th-century diagonal buttress. The east wall is gabled and has an ancient four-gabled base of a cross at the apex. In the west wall is a 5½-ft. blocked doorway with a four-centred head, with a hood-mould on the east face having large carved stops, the north a coiled lion, and the south the half figure of a man, evidently a 15thcentury or later reconstruction with 14th-century material. Only the outline is visible on the west face in the lumber-shed. Above is a 14th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a twocentred head. The lower part of the wall is of cream ashlar (like the south wall) south of a vertical straight joint, which indicates where it was met by the former nave-aisle wall, the aisle being of the same width as the north aisle. Above, about the window, it is of red sandstone rough ashlar with wide joints, probably 13th century; on the wall is the weather-course of the leanto roof of the former aisle coming down to within 5½ ft. of the plinth. The gable-head is of old grey ashlar with an ancient coping. The roof is modern with a wagon-head ceiling.
The chancel arch is of the same date as the nave, c. 1240; the responds have broach-stopped chamfer angles and middle attached three-quarter-round shafts with moulded bases and capitals. The two-centred head is of two orders with roll-moulds between hollows, and has hood-moulds on both faces, without stops. Over it is a large circular window (unglazed) with chamfered voussoirs: the face towards the chancel has some remains of painted red decoration.
The nave has north and south arcades of two 16-ft. bays of the same date as the chancel arch. The pillars are octagonal with capitals and bases of similar sections. The two-centred heads are of two chamfered orders that die on octagonal super-pillars (tas de charge) tending to give greater sturdiness at the springing. The hood-moulds stop over the north pillar on the carved head of a monk; the southern stop is broken. The arcades are walled up with old rubble work or rough ashlar, but the blocking on the north side has been cut back to reveal the pillars, &c. In the blocking of the south-east bay is reset a semi-octagonal moulded bracket supported by a cowled head. The walls above the arcades are of roughly coursed squared rubble-work, but the top-courses are of modern ashlar replacing Elizabethan brickwork. In the west wall is a 13thcentury doorway with a pointed head of three moulded orders, filleted edge-rolls and hollows, the innermost continued from the jambs, the outer two carried on nook-shafts, of which only the moulded capitals remain. The hood-mould is only chamfered. Above is a window of three plain pointed lights under a two-centred head. The gabled wall is of old red sandstone rubble with some remains of a 13th-century plinth like that at the south-east angle of the chancel. South of the window are traces of a blocked doorway at a low first-floor level, probably a later entrance to a gallery. The buttress in line with the south arcade is modern; of that in line with the north arcade the chamfered lower course of the plinth-base remains.
The nave roof of two bays is like that of the chancel; each bay has twelve panels on each side; no carved bosses remain. Above the roof near the chancel arch is a modern bell-turret that replaced an earlier one.
There is a great deal of 14th-century and later glass in the east window and aisle windows, mostly from the abbey church, although some of it, especially the 15thcentury glass, has probably always belonged here. (fn. 23)
The five main lights of the east window are filled with the 14th-century Jesse glass that was removed during the Parliamentary wars and was found buried in the grounds of the Hall and restored here early in the 19th century; much of it has had to be renewed, especially the heads of the figures and the scrolls with names. There are fifteen figures altogether, three in each light, against blue or ruby backgrounds, surrounded or crossed by the stem, of dimidiated yellow and white (as at Mancetter) with branches and yellow and green vine-leaves. Most of the compartments formed by the stem are of vesica piscis shape. The bottom row contains five crowned kings, each holding a name-scroll and either an upright sword or a sceptre. In the second row David with his harp, Solomon with a sword, and Hezekiah with a sceptre are flanked by the bearded figure of the Prophet Malachi and Moses, with his traditional horns. In the centre of the top row is Our Lord, with cross-nimbus, in a purple robe, displaying the wounds of his hands. On either side is a king, and in the outside light a prophet. In the groundwork outside the compartments are thirteen birds, one yellow and one an owl. The lights have various borders; the border of which most is left is an undulating diapered white band with lion-headed monsters biting the band. The border of the middle light is regular, but probably not ancient; it is of lozenges containing alternately fleurs de lis and roses; the others are made up of fragments, including three eagles in profile looking upwards, a lion's head, and a golden-haired head of a woman.
The tracery lights are filled with fragments of late15th-century glass. In piercings immediately over the middle light are figures in white and yellow of the Annunciation. In the top quatrefoils are fragments including three horseshoes, part of a man's head, a smaller nimbed head of Christ, two badges of Devereux, (fn. 24) a large yellow sun, and a fragment of an inscription: 'Orate p' aiabz . . . . Margie uxis e . . . .' Other piercings have human heads (about ten), some crowned; also flowers, leaves, &c., and several shields: (1) apparently argent, a bend checky (no tints) over all a crozier; (2) vairy or and gules (Ferrers); (3) argent an upright pastoral staff (fn. 25) or between a sun and a crescent; (4) gules three roach argent (de la Roche).
In the second north window of the north aisle is late15th-century glass with much of the colouring worn away. In the heads of the three main lights is white and yellow tabernacle work and below that of the middle light a mixture of fragments including pieces of drapery and four figures of angels. In the six tracery lights next above from west to east are figures of apostles, &c. (1) a bearded figure in a white robe with a yellow border holds a book and spear. (2) St. James the Greater in a palmer's dress. (3) St. Stephen. (4) (?) head missing; holds a book. (5) St. Peter holding two keys and an open book. (6) St. John holding a chalice with a dragon. 1, 2, 5, and 6 are shown in canopied niches. 3 and 4 are smaller figures not of the same series as the others. In the middle top piercing is a red roundel (17th century and foreign) showing a king seated in a golden canopied chariot drawn by four horses, troops of pikemen one side and archers on the other and spearmen behind. Fragments about it include a smaller roundel with a man's head, brown feathers of a wing, some letters 'Raad Burg', &c.
The western north window contains tabernacle work in the main lights and a mixture of fragments. In the tracery lights among other reset pieces are (1) a figure of the risen Christ with St. Mary Magdalene, (2) a figure of the Virgin kneeling before a desk with an open book, (3) St. Margaret with a cross-spear and dragon, (4) St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read; and, in the top light, a roundel depicting the Ascension; mostly early-16th-century.
The second south window of the south aisle has in the foiled head of the middle light a shield charged quarterly 1 and 4 vairy or and gules (Ferrers), 2 and 3 argent a fesse and in chief three roundels gules; and other fragments. The heads of the side lights have some original borders of yellow leaves alternating with plain blue squares and some weather-worn brown quarries with floral patterns. The tracery has mostly reset fragments, but in the top quatrefoil is a figure in armour, wearing a mitre and blue cope; he holds a book and crozier.
In the western south window are a few ancient pieces. In the middle light is an almost opaque brown shield charged apparently with a cheveron between seven martlets, four and three. In the head of the east light is a jumble of dark brown fragments including a head in profile, and in the west light a roundel containing a man playing an organ, with a blue background.
A large part of the sanctuary is paved with medieval tiles—4½ in. plain and 5 in. figured with foliage patterns, &c. Some have the Royal arms, a fleur de lis, a hart, &c.; one is charged argent two bars, another with six voided lozenges, probably for Ferrers of Groby.
The communion rails are partly made up of late17th-century balusters and have middle gates.
At the west end of the nave is refixed, facing east, a rood screen and loft, thought to have come from the abbey church. It was formerly across the chancel arch of this church with a stone screen behind it. The last has not been preserved. The screen has two rows of moulded posts, east and west, a yard apart, forming three bays of spans of 6 ft. 6 in., 4 ft. 2 in., and 6 ft. 2 in. The middle bay has a front balcony or pulpitum projecting a yard. Each end post has a pair of front buttress-pilasters. The middle bay has a two-centred arch with open foiled spandrels, and similar half-arches form projecting brackets for the pulpitum. The wider side-bays have half-arches of equal radius connected by moulded stiffeners below the moulded top-rail, or sill of the gallery. The gallery front is panelled in double bays, divided by styles with buttress pilasters. Each half-bay has a cinquefoiled pointed head and closed tracery. The angle buttresses to the pulpitum have crocketed heads.
The font is modern.
In the chancel is a slab with a well-preserved pair of brass effigies, one of a knight of c. 1400 in full armour with gauntleted hands in prayer; the head wears a bascinet and rests on a crest of peacock feathers. On the left hand is a sword and on the right a dagger. The other, a lady, wears coiled and braided side hair in nets, a close cote-hardie, tight buttoned sleeves reaching to the knuckles: over all a mantle; at the foot is a pet dog. (fn. 26)
On the north side of the nave is the mutilated stone effigy of a mid-13th-century knight in chain armour and wearing a long surcoat: the head and feet are missing; the legs are crossed, the lower half of the left being also missing. On the left side is a long shield. (fn. 27)
On the south side an alabaster altar-tomb has 15thcentury effigies of a knight and lady. The knight wears full plate-armour, a close helmet with a crest-wreath, the head resting on a tilting helm with a feather panache; the hands wear gauntlets and the feet rest on a lion. The lady wears a veiled horned head-dress covered with rich netting, a gold chain collar, lownecked sideless coat over her tightly fitting gown, and a mantle tied in front by cords from brooches. Two winged angels support her pillow, and at the feet are two small spaniels, one biting her gown. The effigies are carved separately; probably the lady was the earlier. The north side of the tomb has four bays, and the west end two, divided by buttresses and each containing the standing figure of an angel holding a blank shield. The inner middle pair, of a single piece, are narrower than the outer two in the long side, suggesting a different arrangement originally. (fn. 28) In the moulded cornice is a square foliage patera above each angel. At the east end is a stone slab from elsewhere containing a quatrefoil panel about a blank shield.
The present parish church was originally the chapel of St. Mary outside the gate of the Abbey of Merevale. It was mentioned by that name in 1345, when licence to establish a chantry therein for the souls of William de Henore and his ancestors, and to endow it by granting lands in Atherstone, Bentley, and Baxterley to the abbey was given to William de Shulton, rector of Colton (Staffs.), and William de Cruddeworth, chaplain. (fn. 29) In 1357 John de Lisle, Lord of Bentley, is said to have given lands for the support of 15 tapers in the chapel. (fn. 30) It was apparently used by pilgrims, coming presumably to the abbey, as in 1361 and 1371 one of the monks was appointed penitentiary for such pilgrims at the chapel by the gate. (fn. 31) At the time of the Dissolution there is no trace of its use as a parish church or of any payment to any chaplain there; presumably it was served by one of the monks. Anyhow it survived that event and continued as a chapelry, worth £26, (fn. 32) in the gift of the lord of the manor. (fn. 33) Since monastic days Merevale has been extra-parochial, and it is given as a donative in 1889. (fn. 34) It is in the gift of Sir William Dugdale.