A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Population: 1911, 296; 1921, 287; 1931, 266.
The parish is a rough triangle, of which the northern point is formed by the junction of the Fosse Way, its western, and the road from Warwick to Banbury, its eastern boundary. The ground rises from about 250 ft. in the north to rather over 400 ft. on the southern edge, a distance of 2 miles. The church lies centrally, with the village extending east of it with a small triangular green at its east end, from which radiate five small roads. Some seven or eight houses of local stone with thatched roofs, and two showing timber-framing, are of the 17th century. Church Farm, south-west of the church, is a building of the first half of the 16th century. The oldest masonry, of small coursed rubble, indicates an original L-shaped plan extending approximately south and west. An east wing, of large ashlar, added in the 17th century to make its plan T-shaped, has a good projecting chimney-stack on the north with quoins of Hornton stone and three diagonal shafts of thin bricks. The stack is mostly covered by a wing built askew to the north towards the end of the 17th century. The original south range is of one story and attic with a central chimney-stack which formerly had a wide fireplace. This range retains some original roof-timbers, including a very heavy cambered tie-beam against the stack, and curved windbraces to the purlins. The west wing has heavy ceiling beams and wide flat joists.
There are many trees along the lanes and hedgerows, and a few small copses and plantations. In 1252 Richard de Mundeville had a grant of free warren on his demesnes here, (fn. 1) and in 1279 the Earl of Warwick was said to have a park of 400 acres. (fn. 2) In 1366, however, in a complaint of poaching on the Warwick estates, Lighthorne is definitely styled a warren and not a park; (fn. 3) the same record refers to fish stews here, of which one was no doubt the pond to the west of the church.
In 1086 LIGHTHORNE was held in chief by William Buenvasleth; before the Conquest Earl Ralph (of Hereford) held it. There were 5 hides beside 'inland', and there was a grove 2 furlongs long by 20 perches broad, as well as 30 acres of meadow. (fn. 6) The manor seems to have come into the hands of (? Rannulf) the father of Niel de Mundeville, as the latter confirmed to the canons of St. Sepulchre, Warwick, his father's grant of a virgate here. (fn. 7) It then descended with Berkswell (q.v.), (fn. 8) being sold in 1277 to the Earl of Warwick and so passing with the Warwick lands to the Crown in the reign of Henry VII. Under Henry VIII Lighthorne was one of the Warwick manors of which the stewardship was granted to a succession of courtiers. (fn. 9) In 1529 the site of the manor and its demesne lands were leased to Roger Wigston for 21 years, (fn. 10) but this lease was surrendered and another similar made in 1544 to Sir Thomas Pope, Treasurer of the Court of Augmentations, (fn. 11) who in 1546 received a grant of the manor and advowson. (fn. 12) It then descended with Shotteswell [q.v.] to Thomas (Pope), 3rd Earl of Downe, younger son of Sir Thomas's nephew William. (fn. 13) He, in 1662, made a conveyance of the manor of Lighthorne to Thomas, Viscount Wenman of Tuam, (fn. 14) but probably only for a settlement or mortgage as he was presenting to the church in 1666, (fn. 15) and the manor and advowson seem to have remained continuously in the same hands. Sir John Mordaunt, bart., presented in 1707, (fn. 16) but there is nothing to show how he acquired the right. The patronage had passed, probably by purchase, to Lord Willoughby de Broke by 1715, (fn. 17) and both manor and advowson have been held since that date by his descendants. (fn. 18)
The lands in Lighthorne which belonged to the Priory of St. Sepulchre in Warwick were granted to Sir Thomas Pope in August 1546, (fn. 19) three months after he had received the grant of the manor.
The parish church of ST. LAWRENCE stands in a valley west of the village. It is built of stone in the late-13thcentury style and consists of a chancel (28 ft. by 20 ft.), north chapel (17 ft. by 10 ft.), nave (45 ft. by 21 ft.), north aisle (8½ ft. wide), south porch, and west tower (12 ft. square). An arcade of four bays divides the nave and aisle.
The west tower was rebuilt in 1771 and the remainder of the church in 1875–6.
The tower walls are of white, coarsely tooled ashlar and it is of three diminishing stages with an embattled parapet. It has no buttresses. The four-centred doorway is in the south wall and in the west is a quatrefoil window. The second stage has a similar window, now blocked, on the south side, and a west window of two pointed lights and a plain spandrel in a two-centred head. The bell-chamber has similar two-light windows. The archway to the nave is modern.
The fittings are modern except for a 17th-century plain chest in the tower, and there is some reset ancient stained glass. In the south-west window of the chancel is a 14th-century shield of Beauchamp of Warwick in a white patterned roundel surrounded by a yellow ring. A tiny rectangular pane with [HV] and the date 1413 appears to be quite modern. In the easternmost window of the north wall of the north aisle, reset from the old east window, are two achievements of the Willoughby de Broke arms. That in the west light is an early-16th-century cartouche with green-foliage edging at the top and bottom, but the charges are later (probably 17th century) and have been partly restored with modern glass. They are: quarterly 1. gules three voided crosses moline or a chief vairy ermine and ermines for Verney, 2 and 3. argent three scutcheons sable in a border gules, 4. ermine a bend sable with three scallops argent thereon. Supporters, two antelopes spotted gules. Helmet with red and white mantling and crest of a horn. That in the east light is of mid-17thcentury date and has a shield of six quarters, the first and sixth being Verney with better tinctures than in the other shield. It has two helmets, one with a crest of a horn gules spotted or and the other with an antelope. Above are two late-17th-century oval cartouches of arms: one has Verney quartering a lion azure and griffin sable face to face, impaling a charge of six quarters of which the first and sixth are argent (?) three pierced cinque-foils. The charges in the other are modern.
There are four bells; (fn. 20) the treble and second of 1890, and the third by Henry Bagley 1679. The tenor, inscribed Johannis prece dulce Sonet et Amene, has a fleur-de-lis cross and king's and queen's head-stops; it is of the 15th century by the Worcester foundry.
The only piece of early plate is the paten cover of a lost Elizabethan cup. (fn. 21)
In 1361 John de Blockleye, the rector, obtained licence to alienate in mortmain property to the value of £6 for the support of a chaplain in Lighthorne church. (fn. 24) Three years later he had leave to assign lands and tenements in Harbury as 50s. of this sum, but did nothing about it, (fn. 25) and the proposed chantry was evidently not established.