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, 570; 1921, 580; 1931, 484.
Ettington, formerly spelt Eatington, is an extensive rural parish in the south-west of the county. The River Stour forms its south-western boundary, and until 1931 separated Warwickshire from Worcestershire at this point. The River Dene forms the boundary on the north-east, and Wagtail Brook for a short distance on the south-east. The soil is principally a stiff clay over lias beds, but there are patches of gravel and some sand. In 1797 there were public stone-pits and quarries in the parish. (fn. 1) The hamlet of Lower Ettington is almost covered by the deer park of the Shirleys, which in 1921 was stated to be 'celebrated for its large and aged hawthorns'; (fn. 2) while considerable woods exist elsewhere in the parish. The ground is undulating, its elevation varying approximately from 200 to 400 feet above Ordnance Datum. From the loftier parts, magnificent views are obtainable, embracing the line of the Edge Hills to the Cotswolds, with the valleys of the Avon and the Stour.
The principal centre of population is Upper Ettington, a pleasant village grouped about the two main roads which cross here, one from the Welles bournes to Halford, and the other from Stratford-upon-Avon to Banbury. The Fosse Road also traverses the parish, and branches from it lead to the hamlet of Fullready, in the south-east of the parish, from which by-roads lead to Whatcote and Idlicote. Bog Lane forms the northern boundary of the Park.
Ettington Station, on the Blisworth and Broom Junction Section of the London Midland and Scottish Railway, was opened on 1 July 1873. (fn. 3)
The ancient parish church, near the Hall, is now in ruins. Owing to its great distance (1¾ miles) from Upper Ettington, which had become, as it still remains, the principal centre of population, a vestry meeting held on 28 April 1794 (fn. 4) decided to erect a new church in that hamlet. An Act for that purpose (fn. 5) was obtained in the following year, and the church (St. Thomas à Becket), which had the reputation of being the ugliest in the county, was opened for worship in 1798. (fn. 6) This was in turn superseded by another new church, on a third site, erected in 1903, and was demolished in April, 1913, except for its tower, which still serves as a mortuary chapel. In the precinct of the present church stands the parochial War Memorial, a small granite cross bearing the names of 25 fallen. A chantry chapel existed at Upper Ettington in the Middle Ages; after the Dissolution it was converted into three houses for the poor, and as such it was serving in 1730; (fn. 7) it is now known as 'Rose Cottage'. (fn. 8) Most of the houses in the village are of stone or brick, and some have thatched roofs, but they are of no great antiquity.
Thornton Manor House, one mile north-north-east of Holy Trinity Church, is a stone-fronted house of about mid-16th-century date. (fn. 9) The main part is of E-shaped plan facing south. The wings are gabled and have plain copings. The small middle wing was the porch originally, but the ground-story now has a window instead of the doorway. All the windows are mullioned and square-headed with moulded labels and of two, three, or four lights. The entrance is now between the middle and west wings and has a four-centred head: a casual date 1658 is cut on it. It contains a good nailstudded door, formerly in the west wall, which is hung with ornamental strap-hinges. The roofs are covered with stone slabs. A kitchen wing behind the west wing is probably as old.
The middle hall-place has a north stone fire-place with moulded jambs and a four-centred arch in a square head. The rooms in the two wings have similar fireplaces. The western is a large one in a projecting chimney-stack and the back is pierced by a small window. The room above it has a similar fire-place, removed from another room. The kitchen has a wide fire-place with an oak bressummer. Most of the ceiling beams are moulded. The staircase in the back part of the east wing has original flat balusters of wavy contour; it is said to have been formerly in the middle porchwing. Most of the chimney-stacks have been restored above the roof; they have moulded stone caps and bases. There is a long modern extension northwards from the kitchen wing.
Some of the farm buildings, including a stone pigeonhouse, are ancient. On the roof of one of the buildings is an old small lantern with a weather-vane.
An area of approximately 72 yard-lands in the hamlets of Upper Ettington and Fullready was inclosed under the Act of 1795, (fn. 10) which also provided for the erection of the church of St. Thomas à Becket. Lands not exceeding 3 acres in Upper Ettington and 2 acres in Fullready were to be reserved for public stone-pits and quarries for the repair of the roads, and 4 acres in a field called Black Martin in Upper Ettington for furze and other fuel for the poor. The award is dated 29 July 1797, and there is a copy at the County Muniment Room, Warwick. Mention is made therein of 'Ancient Inclosures' in those two hamlets, and in Lower Ettington.
A mill worth 18s. is mentioned here in Domesday Book, (fn. 11) and again in the 12th century. (fn. 12) It was removed in 1798 when Evelyn Shirley cleared the Park, as was also the village cross, which now stands in the garden of the Hall. (fn. 13) Free fishing in the River Stour is mentioned in 1803 as pertaining to the manor of Thornton. (fn. 14)
Dr. William Croft, the famous composer of sacred music, was a native of this parish, and was baptized in the old church on 30 December 1678. He became organist of the Chapel Royal in 1707, and of Westminster Abbey in the following year. He died in 1727, and is buried in Westminster Abbey. (fn. 15) Isaac Sharp, for years an active missionary of the Society of Friends, died here on 21 March 1897, at the age of 90, and is buried in the Friends' burial-ground. (fn. 16) The Society of Friends have long been established in this parish. In 1678 George Fox, their founder, preached at Lambcote, and in 1681 Samuel Lucas of Upper Ettington gave land for a meeting-house and burial-ground. (fn. 17) The present meeting-house is a small edifice of stone with slate roof, situated in a graveyard surrounded by lofty trees. The registers of the society date from 1664. (fn. 18) The Congregational Church dated from July 1800, when services were first held at the house of a Mr. Edward Roberts. He subsequently erected a meetinghouse, which was opened on 23 July 1802, and a separate church was formed on 15 January 1804. In 1846 the building was enlarged, (fn. 19) but in recent years it has been converted into a private house. There is a Methodist Church, erected in 1836.
The overlordship of the manor of LOWER ETTINGTON was held in 1086 by Henry de Ferrers. This manor was rated at 17 hides, its annual value being £20. (fn. 20) The former owner is not recorded in Domesday Book. The Earls of Derby, descendants of Henry de Ferrers, subsequently held the overlordship, until that earldom was absorbed in the earldom of Lancaster, Ettington constituting 2/3 of a knight's fee in 1235 and a whole fee in 1242. (fn. 21) In 1279 it is said to be held of Edmund of Langley, Earl of Lancaster, (fn. 22) in 1403, (fn. 23) 1466, (fn. 24) and 1520 (fn. 25) of the Duchy of Lancaster.
At the time of the Domesday Survey 'Saswalo' held the manor of Henry de Ferrers. (fn. 26) He died about the time of the Survey, and was succeeded by his only son Fulcher, who died c. 1105. (fn. 27) Fulcher's second son, another Sewallis, succeeded to the manor of Ettington; he later moved to Shirley, Derbyshire, whence he assumed the surname of Shirley. He died c. 1129, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry, who died c. 1165, when his son, a third Sewallis, inherited the manor. In 1242 this third Sewallis held one knight's fee here of Lord Ferrers. (fn. 28) In 1247 he settled the manor of Shirley on his son James, on his marriage with Agnes de Wauton, and undertook not to sell any part of that of Ettington. (fn. 29) James had a grant of free warren in his demesnes here in 1255. (fn. 30) He seems to have got into financial difficulties in 1276, (fn. 31) and made over this manor to his son Ralph, who, instead of regranting it to him for life, as he had arranged, kept it and sold the stock and movables found there. (fn. 32) Sir James probably died in 1278, as in 1279 Ralph de Shirley was lord of Ettington, which he held of Edmund of Langley as 2 knight's fees, having there 2 ploughlands in demesne and 12 serfs. (fn. 33) In 1316 the manor was settled on Ralph for life with remainder to Ralph son of James de Shirley and Margaret daughter of Walter Waldeshef and their issue. (fn. 34) Two years later lands in Oxhill, Fullready, and Tysoe were settled on Ralph and Isabel de Etindon, with similar remainder. (fn. 35) It seems probable that Isabel was Ralph's intended second wife and that the second Ralph was his grandson, son of an otherwise unrecorded James who had most likely died before attaining his majority. The elder Sir Ralph died in 1326 (fn. 36) and the younger in 1342, (fn. 37) when he was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas, who died in 1362. (fn. 38) His son Hugh was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. (fn. 39) Hugh's son Ralph, then aged 12, married Joan Basset and had a son Ralph, (fn. 40) who held the manor until his death on 26 December 1466. (fn. 41) His son John succeeded at the age of 40, and died on 18 May 1485. (fn. 42) Ralph son of John succeeded at the age of 26, and died on 6 January 1517, leaving as heir his son Francis, aged one year. (fn. 43) Ralph had settled the manor on his wife, Joan, who subsequently married William Hastings and died 16 March 1520. (fn. 44) Francis died seised of the manor in 1571, and his son, John, had predeceased him, so that his heir was his grandson George son of John. (fn. 45) George was created a baronet on 22 May 1611, (fn. 46) and on 23 March 1619 received a grant of court leet for his manors of Lower Ettington, Upper Ettington, and Fullready. (fn. 47) He died in 1622, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Henry, who died in 1633. (fn. 48) Charles, son and heir of Henry, died unmarried in 1646, and was succeeded by his brother Robert, who died in the Tower in 1656 while imprisoned for complicity in Royalist intrigues, and was believed to have been poisoned. (fn. 49) Seymour, his son and heir, died in 1667, and was succeeded by his posthumous son Robert, who died two years later. (fn. 50) Another Robert, uncle of the first and brother of Sir Seymour, was the next owner; on 14 December 1677 he was created Lord Ferrers of Chartley in the right of his grandmother, and under Queen Anne he became Viscount Tamworth and Earl Ferrers. On his death in 1717 his Warwickshire estates passed under his will to the eldest surviving son of his second marriage, the Hon. George Shirley; (fn. 51) and they have since descended in his line. George died in 1787 and was succeeded by his son of the same name. The latter died in 1793 without issue, and his brother Evelyn succeeded, dying in 1810. His son and heir Evelyn John died in 1856, and the latter's son Evelyn Philip in 1882, being succeeded by his son Sewallis Evelyn. On the death of the last in 1904 the manor passed to its present owner, Sewallis Evelyn's only son, Colonel Evelyn Charles Shirley, D.L., J.P. (fn. 52) This is claimed to be the only manor in England still held by the same family as at the time of the Domesday Survey.
In 1509 Sir Ralph Shirley leased the manor to John Underhill, originally of Wolverhampton, Staffs., who had married, as her second husband, Agnes, daughter and heir of Thomas Porter of Upper Ettington. (fn. 53) This lease was perhaps a renewal, for when John and Agnes were admitted to the Guild of Knowle in 1493 they were living at Ettington. (fn. 54) In 1541 the lease of 1509 was renewed, for a century at an annual rent of 40 marks, to Edward son of John, who had succeeded his father in 1518. (fn. 55) Edward was succeeded by his son Thomas, and Thomas by his son, a second Edward, who was born in 1546 and still living in 1619. (fn. 56) In 1641, on the expiration of the lease, the Underhills removed to Upthrop in the adjacent parish of Alderminster (fn. 57) (then in Worcestershire), and the manor was resumed by the Shirleys.
The manor of UPPER ETTINGTON, to the north of Lower Ettington, originated in one or more of 3 hides which by 1086 were already in separate possession. One was held by Turchil of Warwick, and of him by Ermenfrid; before the Conquest it had belonged to Almar. (fn. 58) Another was held by one Robert of Hugh de Grentemaisnil; it had previously belonged to Baldwin. (fn. 59) The third, which was waste, was held by Orderic of the King. (fn. 60) By 1242 the overlordship had passed, with that of Lower Ettington, to Earl Ferrers; Sewallis de Shirley held of him, and the heir of Thomas de Ettington held 1/7 of a knight's fee of Sewallis. (fn. 61) In 1279 Mr. Henry de Brandeston held the manor of Upper Ettington, and had 19 serfs. (fn. 62) He died, as Bishop of Salisbury, in 1288 (fn. 63) and was succeeded by his brother (fn. 64) Hugh, who died in 1299, leaving as heir his son Henry, aged 16. (fn. 65) It was then stated that he held a messuage and 2 virgates in Over Ettington of William le Botiler, but there is no mention of the manor, and the mesne lordship had probably reverted to the Shirleys. Meanwhile the tenancy in fee seems to have remained with the heirs of Thomas de Ettington, as in 1346 'John, lord of Over Ettington', who was probably the John de Etyndon who paid 2s. subsidy in 1332, (fn. 66) held 1/7 of a knight's fee. (fn. 67) In 1427 John Porter of Marston is stated to be lord. (fn. 68) Robert Porter held the manor in 1444, (fn. 69) and died in 1453, when his elder son Thomas succeeded. (fn. 70) The latter left as his heir a daughter, Agnes, whose husband John Underhill held Lower Ettington of the Shirleys. Upper Ettington, however, passed in tail male to William, younger son of Robert Porter, who died in 1480, or to his son, another Robert. (fn. 71) Thomas, son of the second Robert, held the manor in 1531, (fn. 72) and, on his death on 10 November 1539, was succeeded by his son Thomas, aged 18. (fn. 73) The estate was then termed a capital messuage, not a manor. Foulk Porter, son of Thomas, succeeded his father, but died on 28 February 1570, aged 20, without issue, (fn. 74) and was succeeded by his brother Simon, a year his junior. Sir Thomas Porter, son of Simon, who succeeded in 1615, (fn. 75) was in possession of the manor in 1640. (fn. 76) Poyntz Porter of Coventry, whose relationship to Sir Thomas is not known, held it in 1688, (fn. 77) and in 1692 he and Elizabeth his wife sold it to Gilbert Gunter. (fn. 78) On the latter's death it was left by will dated 3 June 1724 to his widow Letitia, who in turn left it by will dated 31 January 1744 to the Rev. Edward Griffiths, Rector of Hampton Lucy. (fn. 79) The latter sold it to Henry Smith of Admington, who conveyed it in 1753 to Sarah Steel. Her daughter Sarah, wife of Samuel Smith, sold it in 1762 to William Potter, yeoman. In 1771 John Meacham bought it, and in 1784 he sold it to William Horniblow of Shipston-on-Stour, who at the time of the Inclosure Award held 6½ yard-lands here. He left his properties to his wife, Susanna, who on 11 April 1817 conveyed them to J. Whitehead; his daughter and heiress Margaret brought the property to her husband, Jeffrey Bevington Lowe. He died in 1833 and was succeeded by his son William Bevington Lowe. (fn. 80) The Lowe family, in the person of Jeffrey Janson Lowe, still held the estate in 1936; (fn. 81) but the manorial rights seem to have been long ago annexed by the Shirleys to those of Lower Ettington, and most of the estate was sold after the death of Jeffrey Lowe in 1939. The manor-house was partly converted into three alms tenements, but it is intended to reincorporate these in the house as they fall vacant. (fn. 82)
The manor of THORNTON, in the north of the parish, first appears in 1242, when it was held as ¾ knight's fee of Earl Ferrers by Sewal de Ettington (or Shirley), and of him by William de Bishopsdon. (fn. 83) A later William held it in 1279, having 2 carucates in demesne with 15 serfs, and 7½ virgates, assessed at half a knight's fee. (fn. 84) John, son of William, succeeded, and in 1319 obtained a grant of free warren at Bishopsdon, Bishopswood, Lapworth, and Thornton. (fn. 85) Either this John or his youngest son, of the same name, held the manor in 1332, (fn. 86) and it passed to Thomas, lord in 1384. (fn. 87) His son William de Bishopsdon held it in 1417, (fn. 88) and in 1438 entailed it on the issue of Philippa, his wife, with remainder to his right heirs. He died leaving two daughters, Philippa wife of Sir William Catesby of Ashby St. Legers (Northants.) and Lapworth, and Elizabeth wife of Thomas Palmer of Holt (Leics.). (fn. 89) The latter held the manor in 1468. (fn. 90) He left an only daughter, Catherine wife of William Nevill, (fn. 91) whose son Thomas was holding the manor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he died on 2 April 1503. (fn. 92) His eldest son William died on 13 September 1510, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, aged 9. (fn. 93) Thomas, who was subsequently knighted, conveyed the manor in 1562 to George Turpyn. (fn. 94) In 1587 it was sold by William Turpyn to John Watson of Bretforton, Worcs. (fn. 95) In 1612 this John Watson, Agnes his wife, and John Watson jun. their son, sold it to Lewis Hobday, (fn. 96) who died seised of it (then said to be held of the Crown as of the manor of East Greenwich) on 6 March 1629, leaving a son John, aged 22, as heir. (fn. 97) John Hobday's heir was his daughter Margery, wife of Sir Thomas Dolman of Shaw, Berks., who held the manor in 1652 and 1693. (fn. 98) On his death it passed to his younger son, Lewis, (fn. 99) who by 1702 had sold it to Francis Keck of Great Tew, Oxon. (fn. 100) Robert Thornhill of the Middle Temple then claimed that Sir Thomas Dolman owed him money, and forbade Francis Keck to pay him the agreed annuity of £500; but by 1730 the manor was settled in the Keck family. (fn. 101) It was held by Anthony Keck in 1749, and by Peers Anthony Keck in 1787. (fn. 102) Subsequent changes of possession are obscure. In 1796 Richard Malins sold it to Griffin Beaufoy, (fn. 103) and in 1803 John Reeve bought it for £900 from John Rayment and Mary his wife. (fn. 104) By 1834 it had been acquired by Sir John Mordaunt, bart., (fn. 105) in whose family it descended, being owned in 1938 by Lady Mordaunt of Walton Park. (fn. 106) The manorial rights, like those of Upper Ettington, seem long ago to have been absorbed in those of Lower Ettington.
The waste hide held of the King by Ordric in 1086 seems to be associated with the lands of Richard the Forester, or Hunter. (fn. 107) His serjeanty of the Forest of Cannock, of which the seat was Chesterton (q.v.), was held c. 1130 by William Croc, who granted 1 hide in Ettington to Fraric de Bishopsdon to hold by the serjeanty of looking after one of his dogs. (fn. 108) Later, in the reign of Richard I, Hugh de Loges, to whom the serjeanty had descended, alienated (or confirmed) to Thomas de Bishopsdon 4 virgates, of which in 1298 Thomas de Compton held for life ½ virgate of Robert de Folrethygh. (fn. 109) In 1251 this hide was held by Bardolf de Chesterton by grant of William de Bishopsdon, whose daughter he had married. (fn. 110) In 1279 the hide seems to be regarded as in Fullready and was held by Roger de Foulry of William de Bishopsdon, who held it of Richard de Loges by serjeanty, Richard holding of the King also by serjeanty. (fn. 111) This holding very likely became attached to the Bishopsdons' manor of Thornton. The mesne lordship seems to be the 'manor of Thornton' held at his death in 1374 by John de Peyto, (fn. 112) who had married Eleanor de Warwick, representative of the de Loges family. (fn. 113) It is last mentioned in 1428 as a half-fee formerly held by John de Peyto. (fn. 114)
The history of FULLREADY, in the south-east of the parish adjoining Oxhill, is confused. In 1086 Ermenfrid held of Turchil 1 hide here and 1 hide in Ettington, which had been held by Almar. (fn. 115) He also held Radford [Semele]. (fn. 116) With most of Turchil's lands this seems to have come to the Earls of Warwick, as in 1377 Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, complained against some fifty persons, mostly craftsmen of Stratford, for breaking into his manor of Fullready with armed force, assaulting his servants and bondmen and carrying off his goods. (fn. 117) In 1403 Margaret widow of Earl Thomas received as part of her dower ½ knight's fee in Radford and Fullready, held by the Prior of Kenilworth, (fn. 118) and on her death this passed, in 1407, to her son Earl Richard. (fn. 119) Although Fullready does not seem to figure by name among the priory's lands, a grant of free warren made to the convent in 1388 for their lands in Salford, Radford, and Ettingdon (fn. 120) probably refers to this half-fee, and it is possible that it became, or was united with, the priory's manor of Lambcote (see below).
In 1242 Roger de Fulri held ½ and 1/6 knight's fee in Fullready of Sewal de Etindon (or Shirley) of the fees of Earl Ferrers. (fn. 121) This half-fee was held in 1279 by John de Weston, who is termed 'lord of Fullready', of Ralph de Shirley under Edmund son of Henry III, (fn. 122) to whom the Ferrers honours had been granted. In 1298 John de Weston and Isabel his wife were holding a messuage and a carucate of land in Fullready for their lives of Philip de Herdewyk; (fn. 123) and in 1300 Peter son of John de Weston granted a messuage and a carucate in Fullready, Ettington, and Oxhill to John Dymmock and Felice his wife and the heirs of Felice, retaining a life interest in the estate. (fn. 124) This John in 1312 settled the property on his son John and his wife Elizabeth and their issue, or the heirs of Felice. (fn. 125) The half-fee was held jointly by John Dymmock and John Bardolph in 1346, (fn. 126) and at least as late as 1360 Sir John Dymmock still had an interest here. (fn. 127) Apparently in 1346 Lord Stafford was mesne lord between the Earl of Lancaster and Dymmock and Bardolph. (fn. 128) After the death of Hugh, Earl of Stafford, 'certain lands in Fullready' were excepted from a grant in 1387 to his trustees as being already enfeoffed to persons unnamed; (fn. 129) and his descendant Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, at his death in 1460 held 2½ virgates here. (fn. 130)
In 1533, when Fullready is termed a manor, it was held by Ralph Francis, who died in that year, being succeeded by his son William, aged six, with contingent reversion to his father-in-law, Sir Henry Sacheverell. (fn. 131) In 1569 William sold lands here and at Upper Ettington to Thomas Underhill, lessee of Lower Ettington. (fn. 132) They appear to have passed with Lower Ettington to the Shirleys in 1641, and not since to have been separated.
LAMBCOTE, to the south of the village, appears to have originated in a grant made by Henry de Shirley to Kenilworth Priory c. 1152, although the name has not been traced earlier than 1427. (fn. 133) In 1388 a grant of free warren was made to the prior and convent of Kenilworth in all their demesne lands in Salford Priors, Radford, and Ettington. (fn. 134) In 1459 Lambcote is mentioned among the manors of the prior and convent of Kenilworth for which the canons were granted privileges. (fn. 135) In 1535 the annual value of the canons' possessions in Lambcote was £4. (fn. 136) On 7 June 1542 these possessions were granted to Richard Andrews, (fn. 137) a speculator, who apparently sold to Robert Burgoyne, auditor of the Court of Augmentations, as on 1 July 1547 the custody of the manor was granted to Lord Riche, King's Councillor, it being in the King's hands by reason of the minority of Robert, son and heir of Robert Burgoyne. (fn. 138) Thomas Underhill held the manor, where he died in 1622 (fn. 139) and his son Thomas was still living here in 1636. (fn. 140) In 1714 it was held by George, Lord Willoughby de Broke, who conveyed it to trustees for his own use: it was then styled a farm of 300 acres. (fn. 141) He conveyed it to other trustees in 1724, (fn. 142) and still held it in 1730. (fn. 143) It remained the property of the Lords Willoughby de Broke until 1876, when it was sold to the Shirleys. (fn. 144) It has since been held with the principal manor. The ancient manor-house was demolished early in the 19th century, and its successor is now a farm-house. (fn. 145)
Kenilworth Abbey, in addition to the manor of Lambcote, held lands in Lower and Upper Ettington worth 19s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 146) On 26 May 1553 they were granted to Edward Aglionby and Henry Higford. (fn. 147)
The parish church of HOLY TRINITY was built in 1903 in the 14th-century style and consists of a chancel, north tower and organ chamber, south vestry, and nave. The walls are of Bourton stone. There are four bells: three from the old church, two of 1595 by Edward Newcombe, the third of 1624 by R. Purdue of Bristol; and the tenor recast in 1803. (fn. 148)
The registers begin in 1661.
To the north-west of this church on the north side of the main road is the tower of the church of ST. THOMAS A BECKET, built in 1798 and demolished, excepting the tower, in 1913. A stone in the graveyard marks the site of the Shirley transept, 1800–1913.
The remains of the ancient parish church, dedicated to the HOLY TRINITY, stand at Ettington Park, 1½ miles to the south-west. It consisted of a chancel, nave, north and south transepts, north aisle to the nave, and a west tower. The south transept, restored in 1825 by E. J. Shirley, and the west tower still stand. The remainder is more or less ruinous.
An inscription records that this Chantry of St. Nicholas founded by Henry son of Sewallis about 1206 fell down 21 September 1875 and was rebuilt by Evelyn Philip son of Evelyn John Shirley in 1875; this refers probably to the north arcade.
The chancel, nave, and tower, and probably the transepts, are all part of the church of 1206; the north aisle and perhaps the clearstory were added in the 14th century.
Of the chancel only the west part, about 40 ft. long, of the south wall remains standing. It contains three windows and a doorway. The easternmost window is of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a square main head, dating from the 14th century. The second, of the 13th century, is of two pointed lights and a plain spandrel in a two-centred head, and the westernmost is a small rectangular low-side of two lights. The doorway, between the second and third, has chamfered jambs and a four-centred head of the 15th century. The masonry is of squared rubble: on it is scratched a sundial. All that is left on the north side is the west respond of a 13th-century archway to the north transept, now covered with ivy. It is said to retain some of the springing stones of the arch with a hood-mould having a head-stop.
The nave has a north arcade of three bays of c. 1340–50 with hexagonal pillars having moulded capitals and bases; the western of the two has small human heads carved on three alternate angles of the capital. The arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders. Above are three clearstory windows of two trefoiled or cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights and tracery under a square main head. The whole is much overgrown with ivy. The wall also retains the stone corbels for the roof, one or two carved with heads. On the south side near the east end is a large square-headed window of three lights and above it is a clearstory window like the others. There is a gap between this and the south doorway, which is of the early 13th century: the jambs and pointed head are of two orders with edge-rolls and it has a plain hood-mould. Nothing visible remains of the north transept, but the south splay of the cross-arch from the north aisle contains a 14th-century piscina with a trefoiled and crocketed ogee-head and part of the round basin. At the back of the recess is cut a smaller trefoiled niche.
The north aisle also has disappeared, except the west wall with a scrap of the adjoining north wall. The former has a four-light window without tracery in a two-centred head. The north wall retains one stone of the jamb of a doorway of two moulded orders.
The south transept is modernized. It has a south traceried window, and the north archway, if any, has been walled up. A small sanctuary has been added east of the chapel. The roof has a ceiling with moulded ribs and carved bosses.
The west tower stands to full height. It is of three stages and has a 13th-century corbel-table and a modern embattled parapet with angle pinnacles. At the southwest angle is a stair-vice projecting on both faces and reaching to the parapet. It is entered by a modernized doorway in the internal splay and lighted by a small round-headed loop above the doorway. The door is made up of pieces, probably from a screen. The twocentred archway to the nave is of the early 13th century: the responds are of three orders with small chamfers continued in the head, but with a plain abacus at the springing level of the inner order carried on a small pendant corbel. The lower story has a long narrow west window with a round head, and another in the south wall pierces an original narrow buttress. The inner arches are splayed as well as the reveals. The ceiling is made up of early-17th-century pews. The bell-chamber is lighted by pairs of original pointed lancets with shafts cut from the solid in the mullions and jambs having moulded capitals; they are set in a two-centred outer order, the spandrels over the lights being unpierced.
The refitted south transept contains monuments to the Shirley family. The oldest has the recumbent effigies of Sir Ralph de Shirley 1327 and Margaret (de Waldeshief) his wife. He is dressed in chain mail and a surcoat but the figure is much damaged, the right arm and the legs below the knees being missing. The lady has a long robe and mantle, her head resting on a cushion supported by angels (now headless). Her hands, in prayer, are missing, and both effigies have defaced features. The base is modern.
On the north side is a large monument to Dame Frances wife of Sir Ferdinand Freckleton, died 13 September 1633. It has her recumbent effigy and an achievement of arms—Freckleton impaling Porter.
Against the west wall is a large monument to Robert, Earl Ferrers, died 25 December 1717, (fn. 149) erected by his son the Honourable George Shirley (died 1787), whose reclining effigy in white marble is the principal figure. On either side are the standing figures of the Earl and Countess holding their coronets.
The two windows of the chapel are filled with late14th-century stained glass said to have been brought in 1823 from the east window of Winchester College Chapel. Most of that in the east window is part of a Jesse window with remains of the vine-stem and six figures, three of which are crowned. Several are named—'Zacharias, Michaeus, Ochozi, Absolon'. In the south window are figures of King Joshaphat, Nathan, St. Peter, St. John the Baptist, and two figures of the Virgin and Child, one very large, the other small. In the tracery are fragments, including many heads. The glass is deeply tinted, the ruby being almost opaque.
In the tower is a 17th-century oak chair and a 13thcentury coffin-lid with an incised cross. On the south wall is a wood tablet to Anthony son of Sir Thomas Underhill, died 16 July 1587, with a shield of arms in brass below it. On the west wall is a brass plate (fn. 150) to Sir Thomas Underhill, died 6 October 1603, and Elizabeth his wife, 24 June 1603, with their arms painted on wood. Another brass has a coat of arms—a cross flory within an engrailed border.
On the south wall are the brass effigies of a man and his wife in late-16th-century costume, and four daughters. Above them is a painted shield on wood of the Underhill arms. These belonged to a monument to William Underhill and his wife Ursula (d. 14 May 1561). (fn. 151)
There are also two small carved stone shields above these brasses, one with six roundels and the other with the Freckleton arms—a cheveron between three covered cups.
On the west wall are two others with the Shirley Ferrers arms. All the shields are held by curious little imps.
In the grounds is a stone coffin with a plain lid.
There was a priest at Ettington in 1086, (fn. 152) and it would seem that the church was built, or at least endowed, by Saswalo, the Domesday tenant of the manor. (fn. 153) His son Henry gave the church to Kenilworth Priory, his gift being confirmed by the overlord Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, c. 1150. (fn. 154) Papal confirmation of the priory's right to the church was obtained in 1229. (fn. 155) It was formally appropriated to the priory, with the reservation of a competent vicarage, by Bishop Silvester (1216–18), (fn. 156) but had apparently been served by a vicar earlier, as Hugh de Wells (who became Bishop of Lincoln in 1209) was admitted to the vicarage in 1204. (fn. 157) In 1291 the rectory was worth £14 and the vicar's portion £4 6s. 8d.; (fn. 158) by 1535, however, the vicar was receiving £10 3s. 11d. (fn. 159) and the rectory was farmed at £10. (fn. 160) It seems to have been customary for the Shirleys to nominate the vicar to the Prior and Convent of Kenilworth, who presented him to the bishop. (fn. 161) At the Dissolution the advowson passed to the Shirleys and, although it was unsuccessfully claimed by Thomas Underhill in 1616, (fn. 162) has continued in that family. (fn. 163) Since 1903, however, the patronage has been shared by the Bishop and Major (now Colonel) Shirley. (fn. 164) The living has in recent years been held with that of Loxley.
The rectorial tithes passed with the manor of Lambcote (see above) and were sold by Thomas Underhill in 1630 (fn. 165) to William Loggins, who sold to William Gibson in 1639. (fn. 166) Gibson still held the rectory in 1657, (fn. 167) but by the beginning of the 18th century it had been divided between various persons. (fn. 168)
Henry son of Sewallis erected an altar of St. Nicholas in the church, during the reign of King John, and gave lands for a chantry, a priest to pray for his soul, and those of his two wives and children, every day except Thursday and the feast of St. Nicholas, when he was to celebrate that saint. He gave the tithe of the mill, and 5s. annually, of which 4s. was to be for the priest's own use, and 1s. for the lamp in the church. (fn. 169) This foundation is not mentioned at any later date.
Another chantry was founded at Upper Ettington early in the 14th century. By licence dated 20 June 1311, (fn. 170) William de Itchington was permitted to alienate in mortmain a messuage, toft, 1½ virgates of land, 2 ac. meadow, and 8 marks of rent in Upper Ettington and Newbold-on-Stour to a chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the chapel of St. Mary, Upper Ettington. In 1535 this chantry was worth £7 5s. 10d. annually. (fn. 171) On 2 September 1548 its possessions in Thornton were granted to William Chester of Chipping Barnet, Herts., yeoman, and Christopher Needham of Westminster, brewer. (fn. 172) The remainder of its possessions, including the chapel and the capital mansion, were granted on 18 September 1549 to John Nethermille of Coventry, draper, and John Milward of Ansley, yeoman. (fn. 173)
Allotment for Fuel. By the Inclosure Act, 1795 it was directed that 4 acres of furze or heath ground in the common field in Upper Ettington called Black Martin should be allotted to the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor to appropriate the same to the raising furze or other fuel for the use of necessitous, industrious, and honest poor inhabitants of the hamlet. The land was sold in 1874 and the proceeds invested, producing a yearly income of £6 14s. 4d. which is distributed to the poor of the parish.
Margaret Gibbins by her will proved 4 Jan. 1897 gave £2,000, the income to be applied in the purchase of beef or mutton for distribution among twenty old inhabitants of the parish of sixty years of age and upwards at the rate of 2 lb. per head per week and among ten of the most needy or most numerous families at the rate of 1 lb. per head a week. The endowment of the charity, now producing £44 4s. 8d. annually, is distributed to the poor of the parish. Trustees of the charity were last appointed by an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 18 July 1939.
William Bevington Gibbins by will proved 18 Apr. 1936 gave £1,000 to the Royal Midland Counties Home for Incurables at Leamington for the endowment of a free bed, for which any application from Ettington should have preference over other applicants. The testator also gave £200 to the trustees of the Parish Room (known as 'The Hut') to augment the income of the Parish Room and for the good of the parish in accordance with the provisions of the trust deed.
Sarah Roberts by will proved in 1810 bequeathed £100 upon trust for the benefit of the poor of the parish. The charity is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 23 July 1935 which appoints trustees to administer the charity and directs the income, amounting to £2 10s., to be applied under various heads for the benefit of the poor.
The same testatrix also bequeathed £450, the income to be applied towards the maintenance of the minister of the church and congregation of Protestant Dissenters meeting for divine worship in the meeting-house erected by her husband at Ettington. The charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 23 July 1935. The scheme appoints trustees and directs that so long as there is a chapel at Ettington used for religious worship by both the Congregational Denomination and the Baptist Denomination the income, now amounting to £14 5s. 4d., shall be paid to the minister of that chapel for his own use or benefit. Provision is made in the scheme for the distribution of the income if and so long as there is no such chapel in the parish.
Ettington Chapel Charity. This charity consists of the proceeds of sale (in 1927) of the Protestant Dissenting Chapel and Trust Property comprised in an indenture dated 18 Feb. 1804. The charity is regulated by the above-mentioned scheme of 23 July 1935 which appoints trustees and directs that the income shall be applied for the benefit of poor persons who are members of one or other of such Protestant Dissenting Chapels in the town of Warwick and the parishes of Stratford-uponAvon, Ettington, and Shipston as were in existence in 1928.
Jeffery Bevington Lowe by will proved 5 Aug. 1868 gave £1,000, four-fifths of the income, now amounting to £26 18s. 4d., to be applied in the purchase of beef for deserving poor to be distributed the day before Christmas and the remaining one-fifth in giving an annual treat to deserving poor children on May Day.
By a Declaration of Trust dated 30 Oct. 1874 it was declared that the income from £180, representing the legacy bequeathed by Susanna Lowe by will proved 23 Feb. 1874, should be applied in augmentation of the income of the above charity of J. B. Lowe or otherwise for providing fuel and clothing for the poor of Ettington. The legacy, invested in £193 0s. 7d. 2½ per cent. Consols, produces £4 16s. 4d. annually in dividends. Trustees of the charities are appointed under a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 18 Nov. 1919.