A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1949.
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WESTON-UPON-AVON WITH MILCOTE
The ancient parish consists of two parts: on the east a strip of land with an average depth of ½ mile extending from the River Stour, where it runs into the Avon, along the south bank of the Avon for nearly 2 miles. This formed the hamlet or township of Milcote and was in the county of Warwick. The other portion, Weston proper, extending westwards along the Avon for rather over ½ mile, with a depth of about 1½ miles, was in Gloucestershire. Milcote was constituted a separate civil parish in 1894, with an acreage of 609 and a population of 50. By the Transfer Order of 1931 Weston, containing 917 acres with a population of 91, was transferred to Warwickshire.
The country is open, with few trees, and low lying, the highest ground, on Weston Hill at the south-west corner of the parish, being slightly above 200 ft. The village, with the church, stands on the south bank of the Avon where the Marchfont Brook runs into the river. At the extreme east of the parish is Upper Milcote, or Milcote-on-Stour, where Ludovic Grevill began to build his great house of Mount Grevill (see below), of which the ruins were still standing in 1730. (fn. 1). It is not quite clear whether it was this or the old manorhouse, ¼ mile north, which was the Earl of Middlesex's house, that was burnt by parliamentary troops under Colonel Purefoy in December 1644. (fn. 2) At Lower Milcote, or Milcote-on-Avon, is a moated site, roughly 200 ft. square; and ½ mile south of this is Milcote Station, on the Stratford and Honeybourne branch of the Great Western Railway, which runs through the whole length of Milcote.
WESTON was given to Evesham Abbey by Ethelbald, King of the Mercians, in 716 (fn. 3) and, after being for some time in the hands of the Bishops of Worcester, was recovered from Bishop Wulfstan by Abbot Æthelwig (1070–7). (fn. 4) It was again seized by Bishop Odo of Bayeux after Æthelwig's death, but was recovered by Abbot Walter (1078–85). (fn. 5) Accordingly, the Domesday Survey shows St. Mary of Evesham holding Weston, where were 3 hides 'and one free (of geld)'. (fn. 6) The abbot had view of frankpledge at Weston in 1287; (fn. 7) but by this time the convent had enfeoffed John de Cantilupe, or his predecessor, in part of the estate constituting the manor of Weston, held as 2/3 knight's fee—another 12 virgates being held of the abbot as ½ fee by an unnamed tenant. (fn. 8) This had evidently been done some time before, as in 1274 the abbot was said to have with drawn the suit formerly due to Kiftsgate Hundred from 'Weston Cantelow'; (fn. 9) and still earlier, in 1250, John de Cantilupe and Margaret his wife had conveyed the manor of Weston to William de Weston for his life. (fn. 10) As Margaret was daughter and heir of William Cumin, (fn. 11) it is possible that the original feoffment was to one of the Cumins. On the death of the younger Sir John de Cantilupe in 1333 his estates passed to his daughter Eleanor, wife of Thomas West. (fn. 12) Their son Sir Thomas died in 1386, when it was recorded that he formerly held of the Abbot of Evesham the manors of Welford (q.v.) and Weston, but 'long before his death' had granted them to John le Rous of Ragley for life at a rent of £10. (fn. 13) John Le Rous was holding £10 of land in Weston in 1375 (fn. 14) and at the time of his death in 1396. (fn. 15) At the latter date the premises were said to be held of William Gre[vill], who may have purchased the rights of the abbey, as there appears to be no further connexion of the abbey with Weston, and his son John Grevill died seised of the manor of Weston-on-Avon in 1445. (fn. 16)
A complication is introduced by the fact that when Christine, widow of John Rous, who had been jointly enfeoffed with him, died in 1416 she was returned as holding 8 messuages, land, and an island called the Yare in Weston Mawdyt, held of the king as of the Honor of Leicester and Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 17)
In 1086 an estate of 4 hides in Weston which Baldwin had formerly held had come into the hands of Hugh de Grentemaisnil and was held of him by Roger. (fn. 18) Most of Hugh's estates passed to the Earl of Leicester, (fn. 19) but Weston evidently was acquired by the Earl of Warwick. It seems probable that Weston was given by Earl Waleran (1184–1204) with his daughter Alice in marriage to William Mauduit, as at the death of Waleran's grandson Earl Thomas in 1242 WESTON MAUDUIT was held of him as half a knight's fee by William Mauduit. (fn. 20) This William's son William became Earl of Warwick in 1263, and on his death in 1268 it was stated that he had alienated lands worth £15 yearly in Weston. (fn. 21) This alienation was made in 1248 to Geoffrey de Langley, (fn. 22) who died in 1274 (fn. 23) holding the manor of William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, as a half-fee. (fn. 24) His son Walter died in 1280, when the manor was valued at £15 9s. 8½d., leaving a son John. (fn. 25) This John held the half-fee of Guy, Earl of Warwick, in 1316; (fn. 26) but in a return made c. 1325 a half-fee in Weston held by John de Langley figures among the fees of the Honor of Leicester and Duchy of Lancaster, (fn. 27) and on the partition of the fees of Henry, late Duke of Lancaster, in 1361 a half-fee in Weston (formerly) held by John de Langley was assigned to his daughter Maud. (fn. 28) The manor appears to have descended with the Langley manor of Milcote.
MILCOTE was among the estates alleged to have been granted to Evesham Abbey in 710 by Ceolred, King of the Mercians. (fn. 29) The two Milcotes (on Avon and on Stour) were appropriated by the Bishops of Worcester, from whom Abbot Æthelwig recovered them; (fn. 30) but on his death they were seized by Bishop Odo of Bayeux (fn. 31) and, unlike Weston, were not restored to the abbey. Odo appears to have granted Milcote to Stephen 'the Steersman', who in the Domesday Survey is returned as holding there 3 hides, which had formerly been held by Bishop Wulfstan and one Ælfstan of the king in chief. (fn. 32) When Ralph le Boteler of Oversley founded the Priory of Alcester in 1140 he gave the tithes of his demesne in Milcote, (fn. 33) but the property did not descend in his family and towards the middle of 1166 the sheriff was accounting for Milcote, with Dorsington and Brome in Bidford, as land (late) of Geoffrey Martel. (fn. 34) Three years later Milcote (and apparently Dorsington) was granted to Madiho, (fn. 35) from whom it returned in 1184 to the king, (fn. 36) who gave it in 1186 to William Bern[ard?]. (fn. 37) The next holder seems to have been one Veileis, (fn. 38) whose estates of Milcote and Dorsington King John granted in 1204 to Geoffrey de Hauvill. (fn. 39) His tenure was confirmed in 1221, (fn. 40) and ten years later the concession was made that if his wife Joan survived him she might hold Milcote for life by payment of 2 marks yearly. (fn. 41) In 1246 the reversion of this estate on her death was granted to Geoffrey de Langley, to hold by the render of a sparrow-hawk. (fn. 42) Geoffrey was perhaps out of England in September 1260, when receipt was acknowledged of a sparrowhawk rendered by Walter de Langley son and heir of Geoffrey for his holding in Milcote-onAvon, Milcote - on - Stour, and Dorsington. (fn. 43) Geoffrey died seised of the manor in 1274 and was succeeded by his son Walter, (fn. 44) who died in 1280 leaving as heir his son John. (fn. 45) This Sir John in 1324 settled the manor of Milcote and also that of Weston Mauduit on himself and his wife Ela, with remainder to Geoffrey his son and Mary his wife in tail. (fn. 46) Thomas de Langley, son of Sir John (perhaps by a previous wife), contested this settlement. (fn. 47) Sir John died between 1 April (fn. 48) and July 1326 (fn. 49) and, his eldest son Walter having predeceased him, his heir was his second son Master Thomas de Langley. (fn. 50) Geoffrey had died in 1323 (fn. 51) and his widow Mary married Sir William Careswell. (fn. 52) In 1331 Master Thomas conveyed the manors of Weston Mauduit, Milcote, and Little Dorsington, among others, to William and Mary for their lives, with remainder to Geoffrey son of Geoffrey in tail. (fn. 53) Mary died in 1333 but her husband survived her and held the manors for 27 years. (fn. 54) Meanwhile the younger Geoffrey died, leaving an only daughter Joan, who married John son of Alan de Cherleton and was aged 17 in 1359 when Sir William died and Milcote reverted to her and her husband. (fn. 55) In 1361 Sir John Cherleton complained that John Trillowe, with John Langley and others, had abducted his wife Joan from Milcote and was detaining her and her goods. (fn. 56) Some form of divorce must have followed as Joan became the wife of Sir John Trillowe, and in 1362 they conveyed the manor of Milcote to Sir John Cherleton for his life, (fn. 57) but apparently continued as tenants of it, (fn. 58) as in 1364 Cherleton granted to Thomas, Earl of Warwick, his life interest in £20 rent from 7/8 of the manor in Warwickshire which Sir John Trillowe held of him, with reversion of those 7/8 and of 1/8 of the manor in Gloucestershire which John le Rous was holding. (fn. 59) Joan Trillowe died in 1368 without issue and there was some doubt about her heir; one inquest named Elizabeth wife of John de Barndesley, daughter of Roger son of Joan daughter of Edmund brother of Joan's great-grandfather John de Langley; (fn. 60) another named Sir John Worthe, great-grandson of John's sister Christine. (fn. 61) Moreover, Sir John de Peyto claimed to be heir as son of Margaret daughter of John's brother Robert. (fn. 62) Sir Peter son of the above-mentioned Sir William Careswell also put in a claim. (fn. 63) Sir John de Peyto managed to get hold of the manor and at once granted it in 1369 to Ralph, Earl of Stafford, Sir Hugh and Sir Richard, his sons, and Alice Perrers (the notorious favourite of Edward III) for their lives, without-obtaining licence. (fn. 64) In 1379 Sir John Worthe sued Sir John Peyto for the manor, which was then said to include 8 virgates in Weston, 7 in Little Dorsington, and 1 acre in Gloucestershire. (fn. 65) Sir John Worthe was evidently successful, as when he died in 1391 he was holding the manor by petty serjeanty of a sparrow-hawk. His heir at law was a kinsman, John Langley, but under the entail (fn. 66) as Sir John left no issue the manor passed to Sir William Beauchamp. (fn. 67) He seems to have mortgaged the manor in 1399 as security for a rent of £40 from Allesley, with guarantees against claims for dower by his own wife or by Blanche widow of Sir John Worthe. (fn. 68) One of the mortgagees was William Grevill of Chipping Campden, who had acquired the manor of Milcote by the beginning of 1401, when he settled it on himself and his wife Joan in tail, (fn. 69) with successive remainders to his sons (by a previous wife) John, Lewis, and William in tail male. (fn. 70) Joan survived both her husband and his eldest son John, and on her death in 1449 the manor passed to John's son John. (fn. 71) This Sir John died in 1480 and his son Thomas, having inherited the estates of his grandmother Joyce Cokesey, took the name Cokesey (fn. 72) and died in 1497 holding the manor of the king by render of a red rose. (fn. 73) As he left no issue it passed to his nephew John Grevill, who settled the manors of Milcote-on-Avon and Milcote-on-Stour on himself and his wife Joan in tail male in 1499. (fn. 74) The two manors, and that of Weston Mauduit, descended to his great-greatgrandson Ludovic Grevill. (fn. 75) He, desiring to make a show, in 1567 obtained the royal licence to build and embattle a new house at Milcote and to call it Mountgrevell. (fn. 76) This he began but never completed, and it was possibly to obtain funds for this purpose that he caused two of his servants to murder one Richard Webb, a wealthy tenant of his Oxfordshire manor of Drayton, and forged his will leaving his lands to himself. One of the murderers, Thomas Brocke, babbling in his cups, was removed, but Grevill was arrested for this second murder in 1589 and Webb's widow, who had already claimed the lands in Drayton, now charged Ludovic with the murder of her husband. When he was brought to trial he refused to plead; he was therefore 'pressed' to death, on 14 November 1589, but by thus 'standing mute' saved his estates from forfeiture, (fn. 77) and Milcote passed to his son Edward, on whom it had been settled on his marriage with Joan daughter of Sir Thomas Bromley, the Lord Chancellor. (fn. 78) Sir Edward left five daughters and many debts, (fn. 79) and in 1622 Sir Arthur Ingram and his wife Mary, the third daughter, conveyed Milcote to Lionel, Lord Cranfield and afterwards Earl of Middlesex. (fn. 80) His daughter, and eventual heiress, married Richard, Earl of Dorset. The manors of Milcote, Weston-on-Avon, and Weston Mauduit (or Mawdyke) remained with the Earls and Dukes of Dorset (fn. 81) until the extinction of the title in 1843, and then passed to the Lords Sackville.
The parish church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel, nave, south porch, and west tower.
The church dates from the late 15th century but the chancel is not of one build with the nave and may be a little later. There was a contemporary south chapel or aisle of two bays. When it was destroyed is uncertain, but it was probably in the 17th century, judging from the windows set in the original arcade.
The south porch was an early-18th-century addition.
The church was restored in 1899.
The chancel (about 19 ft. by 15½ ft.) has a late-15thcentury east window of three cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and vertical tracery in a two-centred head with an external hood-mould having volute stops with rose centres. The jambs, of two orders, include two hollows; the splays are plastered; the two-centred reararch is also splayed. The window in the middle of the north wall is of three trefoiled lights under a square head with a label. It is of yellow stone with jambs of two chamfered orders. The south wall has a similar but shorter window near the east end. It retains the original yellow stone framing and label but the jambs, mullions, and heads of the lights are of grey stone, probably a 17th-century restoration.
West of it is a priest's doorway with an elliptical arch in a square head. The lintel outside has sunk facial carving of a lattice pattern and there are shaped panels flanking the arch which are more like late-16th or 17th-century work than 15th. The oak door is not very old but has three ornate iron straps—two hinges and a stiffener—with fleur-de-lis ends, which are ancient. There are three steps down into the chancel. At the west end of the wall is the mouth of the squint described below. The walls are covered externally with roughcast. At the east angles are modern diagonal buttresses. There are no visible plinths but inside are low footings to the side walls, 6 in. wide on the north and 2 in. on the south.
The chancel arch has responds of one order with a wide hollow in each splay continued in the threecentred head.
The nave (48 ft. long by 18 ft. wide) has its north wall divided by buttresses into four bays, each containing a large window of full width and height with six trefoiled two-centred lights under a square head, the lintel being immediately under the parapet stringcourse and therefore without a label. The jambs and head are of three chamfered orders; the mullions are hollow-chamfered, the middle master-mullion is of two orders. Below the third window is the blocked north doorway, with hollow-chamfered jambs and late fourcentred head. The oak door, retained in front of the blocking, is like the south door.
The wall below the windows is of coursed, yellow, squared, rough ashlar and has a moulded plinth. The buttresses are small (only 11 in. wide) and of two stages that have moulded offsets. The east and west buttresses are set diagonally, and there is a modern larger buttress west of the eastern. The parapet is embattled, with returned copings to the merlons. At the string-course are gargoyles to the middle and two diagonal buttresses, and above are traces of former pinnacles.
The east half of the south wall has two bays of an arcade that opened into a former aisle; the pier and responds are of the same section as the chancel arch, continued in the four-centred heads. They are now filled in with four-light windows with 17th-century or early-18th-century wooden frames and mullions with lattice glazing. Below them the spaces have been filled with a moulded plinth, doubtless from the destroyed aisle. It is continued for about 2½ ft. along the wall of the chancel. The stone sill-level is about a foot above the plinth but it is cut down at the east end to expose two tiny trefoiled piercings in the shell of the respond which open into the wood-lintelled squint towards the high altar. Below these piercings are two other small quatrefoil peepholes, hidden outside by the sill. A straight joint in the masonry west of the arcade marks the outside west face of the former aisle. The east end is covered by a modern buttress. The walling above the arcade is of squared rubble.
The westernmost bay of the south wall with its window and buttresses is like those on the north side. The third bay contains the south doorway, which has hollow-moulded jambs with base-stops and a fourcentred arch in a square head with trefoiled spandrels but no label. The wall above it is of ashlar and shows no trace of a window. The parapet over these bays resembles the northern, but over the arcade, where it has been repaired, it is not embattled and shows the broken surfaces where the aisle parapet originally met it.
The oak door is an ancient one of feather battens fastened to the internal rails with rows of nails.
The low-pitched east gable of the nave is also embattled. The west wall north and south of the tower is of the same masonry as the tower walls.
The low-pitched roof of four bays may be in part original; it has ovolo-moulded ridge-pole and purlins.
The low south porch is of ashlar with a squareheaded doorway and a hipped tiled roof.
The tower (about 10 ft. square) is a low one unbroken by string-courses; it is of squared lias rubble in alternating broad and narrow courses with ashlar diagonal buttresses to the west angles and square to the east. The plinth is the same as that of the nave. At the north-east angle is a splayed projecting stair-vice, entered by a doorway in the west wall of the nave with a flat four-centred head and an old oak door; it is lighted by trefoiled loops and stops at the foot of the bell-chamber.
The archway to the nave is a replica of the chancel arch. The west window is a large one of four trefoiled lights with a middle master-mullion, and vertical tracery in a four-centred head without a hood-mould.
The bell-chamber windows are of two trefoiled lights in square heads. The parapet is like that of the nave and has also lost its pinnacles. The angle gargoyles are winged monsters, except the south-eastern, which is an amusing human playing a recorder and dressed in a large head-dress and very loose sleeves.
The communion table is modern, but north of it is the 17th-century table with turned legs and plain rails. The east half of the chancel has a high dado of 17thcentury panelling. Re-used similar panelling also closes the tower archway. The font is modern.
The floor at the south-east corner of the nave by the pulpit is paved with a number of 5 in. encaustic tiles of the Stoneleigh Abbey patterns, some heraldic, three covered cups, cheveron between three birds, three crosslets (out of the original six), &c. Others are in sets of four or sixteen with conventional patterns.
In the tower is a chest, probably of the end of the 17th century, with iron straps at the angles with trefoil ends and two on the lid; the wood has been grained and varnished.
In the nave is a rather derelict 17th-century bier with plain legs.
In the chancel floor north of the altar is a brass effigy of Sir John Grevill of Milcote, 1546, showing him in full armour with an armorial tabard and shoulder lappets, the arms being Grevill, quartering, (2) Arden, and (3) party palewise and fessewise indented counterchanged, a crescent for difference (? Fitz-Warin). The inscription is in Latin. South of the altar is an exactly similar figure of Sir Edward Grevill, 1559; at the angles of the slab are indents of four shields.
On the base of the south face of the nave between the arches is a mural monument to Mary wife of H. Medes, senior, buried 26 May 1708, and others.
In the churchyard is the octagonal base of a churchyard cross on which is a 12-in. square socket for the shaft, set on moulded square base and chamfered subbase.
There is one bell.
The registers date from 1685.
The early history of the church of Weston-upon-Avon does not appear to be recorded; but by 1290 it was in the gift of the Bishop of Worcester, who in that year tried to make it a prebend of the Collegiate Church of Westbury. (fn. 82) The Prior and Chapter of Worcester objected, and Pope Nicholas IV ordered an inquiry. (fn. 83) The objection must have been upheld, as in 1296 the bishop collated to the parish church of Weston. (fn. 84) A vicarage had been established by 1291, when it was valued at £4. 6s. 8d., the rectory being then rated at £5 13s. 4d. including pensions payable to the monasteries of Evesham and Alcester. (fn. 85) The latter no doubt represented the tithes of Milcote given by Ralph le Boteler in 1140; (fn. 86) the rector was still paying 5s. yearly to Evesham Abbey in 1535, (fn. 87) at which date the clear value of the vicarage was £7 14s. 5d. (fn. 88) In view of the poverty of the benefice the bishop in 1320 had united the vicarage to the rectory. (fn. 89) This arrangement, however, was evidently annulled in 1407 when Bishop Richard granted the church to the Cistercian nuns of Whistones (Worcs.) with leave to appropriate it, (fn. 90) as in 1434 a perpetual vicar was instituted on the presentation of the nuns, (fn. 91) and in 1535 they had leased the rectory to Thomas Grevill at 66s. 8d. (fn. 92) No grant of the advowson after the Dissolution is known, but by 1604 it was in the hands of Sir Edward Grevill (fn. 93) and it has since continued attached to the manor, the present patron being Lord Sackville.
There was a chapel at Weston Mauduit before 1269, when the chaplain there resigned. (fn. 94) In 1283 another priest was instituted to the chapel on the presentation of John de Langley. (fn. 95) No later reference to it has been found.