A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
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Population: 1911, 266; 1921, 252; 1931, 269.
Radway is a small parish, 2 miles in depth from north to south by about a mile in breadth, mostly of rich pasture-land. The eastern boundary is formed in its southern half by the steep wooded ridge of Edge Hill, slightly over 700 ft. in height; from its highest point, 720 ft., the boundary line drops rapidly to about 400 ft., whence it follows a small stream which flows north for ¾ mile and then turns west to form the northern boundary of the parish. On Edge Hill, near the southern extremity of the parish, is an octagonal tower, erected in 1750 on the position occupied by the centre of the army of Charles I before the Battle of Edge Hill, (fn. 1) 23 October 1642; the actual battlefield lies more than a mile to the north-west, on the borders of Radway and Kineton, around the 300-ft. contour line. At the foot of the hill, north of the tower, which commands very extensive views, is the park of the Grange, about 100 acres in extent and containing a clump of trees planted by William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. The Grange is built of local stone and was originally of square plan, with two gable-heads on each face, but it was enlarged and altered in the 19th century and has been completely modernized inside. The original windows, probably dating from Sanderson Miller's purchase of the property in 1712, when he seems to have remodelled the house, have mullions and moulded labels; and on the west side is an original one-storied gabled porch. 'In the dining-room Fielding, the novelist, read "Tom Jones" in manuscript to Earl Chatham, Sir George Lyttleton and Sanderson Miller for their approval before it was printed.' (fn. 2) East of the house is an ancient two-gabled pigeon-house built of rubble-work, with a lantern in the middle of the roof. It retains the nests from ground to roof.
In 1086 three estates were held in RADWAY. The largest, 3 hides, belonged to the Church of Coventry, of whom it was held by Ermenfrith. (fn. 3) Another 2 hides, held before the Conquest by Harding, had belonged to Earl Aubrey (de Couci) but was then in the king's hands and in the custody of Geoffrey de Wirce. (fn. 4) There was also 1 hide, held by Earl Ralph in the time of King Edward, which was farmed by Richard the Forester, or Hunter. (fn. 5)
The Coventry holding came into the hands of Roger de Clinton, Bishop of Chester (1129–48), who granted 2 hides in Radway to the newly founded Abbey of Radmore in Cannock Chase (Staffs.), to which Geoffrey de Clinton, the Chamberlain, added another hide which he held of the bishop. (fn. 6) The abbey, which was moved in 1154 to Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, (fn. 7) received a number of smaller grants in Radway, among the benefactors being Osbert, Nicholas, John, and Thomas, each styled 'the Hunter', (fn. 8) and the administration of these properties centred on the Edge Grange, on the slopes of Edge Hill. Henry II, by a charter which was confirmed by John in 1204, (fn. 9) granted to the monks that their Grange of Radway should be held in pure alms, free of all exactions. In 1279 the Abbot of Stoneleigh held 'a part' of the vill of Radway of the Honor of Leicester as a quarter of a knight's fee, (fn. 10) and in 1284 this was among the vills in which the monks were granted free warren. (fn. 11)
The Leicester overlordship presumably came through a grant of Earl Aubrey's land to one of the Earls of Leicester. In December of 1207 the Sheriff of Warwickshire was ordered to restore to Earl Roger (of Norfolk) seisin of half a fee in Radway of which he had been deprived when it was taken into the king's hand as having belonged to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. (fn. 12) In 1222 it was again seized as the king's escheat, but was restored to Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. (fn. 13) It evidently reverted to the Honor of Leicester, with which it came to Edmund of Lancaster, of whom the Abbot of Stoneleigh held 1/8 fee in 1296. (fn. 14) After the death of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, this 1/8 fee was assigned in 1361 to his daughter Maud. (fn. 15)
Small gifts, or sales, of land in Radway continued to be made to the abbey, (fn. 16) two of these, in 1392 (fn. 17) and 1398 (fn. 18) respectively, being for the upkeep of tapers in the abbey church. As late as 1497 Sir Thomas Cokesey and others made a substantial grant of messuages and lands which they had acquired from Benet Medley, who had obtained them from John, son of William Malyns and Sibyl his wife. (fn. 19) In 1535 the Stoneleigh property in Radway produced £18 4s. 4d. yearly. (fn. 20) The Radway estate does not seem ever to have been a manor, and as it was built up mainly of small parcels so after the Dissolution it was disposed of piecemeal. (fn. 21) A rental (fn. 22) of the abbey estates made about the time of its dissolution enters £3 from the farm of 'Thegge graunge' and £7 4s. from that of 'Radway graunge'. Edge Grange was sold in June 1542 to Richard Andrewes and Leonard Chamberleyn, (fn. 23) who in July sold it to John Leke and Edward his son. (fn. 24) Edward sold it in 1549 to John Warner and his second son George; (fn. 25) from the latter, who inherited it on his father's death in 1552, (fn. 26) it passed in 1589 to his son Walter Warner. (fn. 27) On this occasion it is styled 'Edge Graunge alias Radway Grange alias Ratley Graunge'; it is therefore possible that the Edge Grange corresponds to the present Ratley Grange on the east side of Edge Hill and that the present estate known as The Grange, on the west of Edge Hill, represents Radway Grange, which is practically always distinguished as 'in the parish of Bishop's Itchington'. This parish is separated from Radway by the full width (4 miles) of Burton Dassett and is in the Hundred of Knightlow; but the Precentor of Lichfield, who was rector of Bishop's Itchington, held 8 virgates in Radway, concerning which an agreement was made with the monks of Stoneleigh in 1275, (fn. 28) and apparently the land remained attached for certain ecclesiastical purposes to Bishop's Itchington.
Radway Grange, with the tithes belonging to it, was granted in 1545 to Francis Goodyere. (fn. 29) He died in December 1546, leaving a son Henry, then aged 13, (fn. 30) who on coming of age seems to have conveyed it to James Longworth of Wolford, as the latter in 1554 had licence to grant the property to Walter Lyght. (fn. 31) Walter's daughter and heir Elizabeth married Robert Washington of Sulgrave (Northants) in 1564, (fn. 32) and their third son Walter, 'of Radway in the parish of Bishop's Itchington', died in 1597, (fn. 33) leaving a son John. (fn. 34) He, with John Danvers, his brother-inlaw, (fn. 35) sold Radway Grange to William Goodwyn, whose son Thomas settled it on his son Thomas at his marriage with Elizabeth Wainwright in 1685 and subsequently went bankrupt, so that in 1691 the younger Thomas Goodwyn had to obtain a Private Act enabling him to sell the estate to pay his debts. (fn. 36) It was bought in 1712 by Sanderson Miller, (fn. 37) whose son Fiennes Sanderson Miller was styled 'lord of the manor' of Radway between 1784 and 1818, (fn. 38) as was his son Lt.-Col. F. S. Miller in 1850; (fn. 39) but the title was probably incorrect, and there were 'no manorial rights' in 1932. (fn. 40)
The hide held in 1086 by Richard the Forester descended as part of his serjeanty of Chesterton (q.v.) and was held in 1198 by Hugh de Loges. (fn. 41) His son Hugh alienated ½ virgate to the Abbot of Stoneleigh, and 7½ virgates to Thomas son of Richard Paveye, who enfeoffed Alan de Morcote. (fn. 42) When Alan died in 1253 he was said to hold 8 virgates in Radway of Thomas son of Richard 'of Warwick'; he left a son John, then aged 3. (fn. 43) John may have granted some of his land to the Abbey of Stoneleigh in 1286, (fn. 44) but at an inquiry held in 1298 it was stated that Hugh de Loges had alienated to Alan de Morcote 4 messuages and 4 virgates in Radway, of which Richard Payn was then holding 3 messuages and 3 virgates and John le Faukener the remainder; as these were parts of a serjeanty they were seized into the king's hand. (fn. 45) It is possible that the 7½ virgates in Radway which Robert Walden gave to Stoneleigh for the maintenance of a taper in the abbey church in 1398 (fn. 46) may represent this Morcote estate, of which the later history is otherwise unknown.
The Priory of Arbury held lands in the parish. In 1203 Maud de Willenhale released to Adam, Prior of Arbury, her claims to 1 virgate in Radway as dower from her late husband Ralph. (fn. 47) Towards the end of the same century an exchange of lands in the parish was made between the priory and Stoneleigh Abbey, (fn. 48) and in 1279 the prior had 2 virgates here, held by five bond tenants. (fn. 49) The land seems to have been treated as part of the prior's manor, Burton Dassett, (fn. 50) and was included in the grant of the dissolved priory and its lands made to Sir Edward Wotton, Sir John Dannet, and Anthony Coke in December 1538. (fn. 51)
The parish church of ST. PETER, rebuilt on a new site in 1866, consists of a chancel (29 ft. by 15 ft.) with a north vestry and organ-chamber, nave (39½ ft. by 16 ft.), north and south aisles (9½ ft. wide), south porch and a west tower (11½ ft. square) with a spire. The walls are of local Edge Hill stone: some of it may be re-used material but the only ancient carved or moulded stones are two gargoyles reset in the west face of the tower.
In the chancel against the north wall are the remains of a stone recumbent effigy of a priest in mass vestments, probably of the 15th century. The head is missing. The feet rested on a dog.
Set in a south recess in the tower is the effigy of Henry, second son of Sir Henry Kingsmill of Sydmonton, Hants, who was killed at the battle of Edgehill in 1642. The effigy, in military dress of the period, in full trunks and wearing a sash over his right shoulder, reclines on a rush pallet with a cushion. It is much mutilated, (fn. 52) the legs from below the knees and the left hand being broken off, and the top of the head is missing; the last was evidently a separate piece of stone originally. The inscription is on an adjacent slate slab, adding that the monument was erected by his mother Lady Bridgett in 1670. On the slab is an incised shield of the arms of Kingsmill, surmounted by a helmet and a crest of a hand grasping a mill-rind.
High up in the south wall is a plain tablet to Richard son of Thomas and Laetitia Goodwyn, who died from a fall in 1668 aged 8. Another is an oval tablet with scrolled ornament to Charles Hughes, 25 March 1734.
Reset in the north window of the chancel are four late-17th-century panels of painted glass depicting biblical scenes and said to have been brought from a Dorsetshire farm-house. Two with round arched heads of guilloche pattern illustrate the parable of the merciless servant (Matthew, chapter 18), the one showing him attacking his debtor and the other showing the king ordering him to prison. The third, a rectangular panel, depicts an enthroned king with his retainers and before him a bound, half-naked prisoner with a man tying or untying him. The legend has no relation to the scene and reads in black letter 'Adam and Eva ware begiled off the serpent'. The fourth is a round panel depicting two archers, one shooting, the other receiving a cake from a serving man at the door of a kitchen in the background. Below are the words beati pacifi and the legend in black letter: 'The Samaritā set him on his hors and brought him to an inn'. In the head of the south-west window is the bearded head of a man.
The five bells are of 1868 by Mears and Stainbank.
The registers begin in 1600.
The church of Radway was appropriated to the Abbey of Stoneleigh before 1291, when it was valued at only £1 6s. 8d. (fn. 53) From the last quarter of the 14th century it was usually served by one of the monks of Stoneleigh, (fn. 54) but in 1535 the vicar appears to have been a secular priest, and the vicarage was rated at £5 12s. (fn. 55) After the Dissolution the patronage was retained by the Crown until the second half of the 19th century, when it was acquired by the vicar, George Miller, great-great-grandson of Sanderson Miller. After his death the advowson was bought by Andrew Richard Motion, who died in 1934, (fn. 56) after which it was in the hands of his trustees until 1947, when they transferred the united advowsons of Radway and Ratley to the Bishop of Coventry. (fn. 57)
The Church Institute. The endowment of this charity consists of a piece of land in Radway with the building thereon known as the Radway Church Institute and a sum of £268 6s. 5d. 2½ per cent. Consols (John Chamber's Endowment) producing an annual income of £6 14s. The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 21 December 1906 which appoints trustees and directs that the Institute shall be appropriated and used as a parish room or reading-room in connexion with the Church of England.