The borough of Leamington Spa

Pages 155-161

A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1951.

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Acreage: (old parish) 1,595; (borough) 2,833.

The parish of Leamington lies on either side of the River Leam, which crosses it from east to west, in flattish country, mostly at levels between 160 ft. and 200 ft., but rising to just over 300 ft. on the Campion Hills at its north-east boundary. It was known as Leamington Priors from the fact of its manor being held by the Priory of Kenilworth, in distinction from the other Warwickshire village of Leamington Hastings. Until late in the 18th century it was a place of little importance. The Hearth Tax of 1663 names 29 householders with 49 hearths liable to the tax, and 17 households of one hearth each who were exempt, giving an estimated total population of 230. (fn. 1) In 1730 there were only 45 families, (fn. 2) and even in 1801 the census showed no more than 67 houses and a population of 315. By that time, however, Leamington had entered upon its career as a spa and it developed with increasing rapidity, the population of the parish in 1851 being 15,724, and that of the present borough well over 35,000.

Camden in 1586 and Dugdale in 1656 speak of a spring of salt water—the last-named adding that 'the inhabitants use it for seasoning meat'. Fuller in 1662 refers to two springs, one salt and one fresh, and Thomas, in his edition of Dugdale (1730), adds that strangers use it as 'a purging water' with success. The original, or old well, is situated west of the church and in 1803 a small stone building was erected over it by the 4th Earl of Aylesford, then lord of the manor. It was demolished in 1813 and the present stone building put up in its place; this was altered in 1890. (fn. 3) It was not until after the middle of the 18th century that the qualities of the water began to attract the notice of medical men, (fn. 4) from Dr. Allen (1788) and Dr. Lambe (1794) (fn. 5) down to Sir Andrew Clarke (1890), (fn. 6) but the establishment of Leamington as a fashionable spa was largely due to the enterprise of two village worthies, Benjamin Satchwell, a local shoemaker, and William Abbotts, landlord of the Dog Inn. In 1784 Satchwell discovered a second saline spring on land belonging to Abbotts. Baths were opened by Abbotts (fn. 7) in connexion with the spring in 1786, and invalids began to resort here. In the ensuing years other springs were discovered, more baths were opened, and by the end of the century it was claimed that Leamington waters possessed as many valuable properties as Cheltenham, (fn. 8) which was then in high reputation.

Seven springs at least have been found, (fn. 9) and the waters are natural saline of the muriated sulphate variety, very like those found at some of the continental spas. Their source is the saliferous marls which form part of the lower keuper beds of the red sandstone upon which Leamington is built. (fn. 10) Among medical men who contributed to the prosperity and growth of Leamington an outstanding name is that of Henry Jephson, M.D. (1798–1878), whose successful treatment of patients through the medium of the waters brought increased fame to the town.

The Pump Room was built by a syndicate and opened in 1814. (fn. 11) It was purchased therefrom by the Hon. Charles Bertie Percy of Guy's Cliffe about 1848 and in 1861 he sold the property to the Leamington Royal Pump Room Company (fn. 12) from whom the local Board of Health bought it six years later. (fn. 13) It now belongs to the Corporation. During last century, particularly its first half, Leamington was patronized by royalty and many notable people. Princess Victoria visited the town in 1830 and, when queen, she paid her second visit in 1858. As a special mark of her favour in 1838 she authorized the town to style itself Royal Leamington Spa. The small private baths gradually passed out of use and the Royal Baths and Pump Room, standing in attractively laid-out gardens, were added to from time to time and practically rebuilt in 1926.

In the Inclosure Act of 1767 the lands to be inclosed are estimated to be 990 acres, and they were situated south and west of the River Leam, extending to the Whitnash and Radford boundaries. (fn. 14) Not all of this was open common fields, common meadows, and commonable lands, and the allotments made at the Award in the following year were as follows: The Earl of Aylesford as lord of the manor 21 a. 3 r. 3 p.; John Willes and his successors the vicars of Leamington in discharge of the glebe lands and right of common belonging to the vicarage, and the small tithes 29 a. 2 r. 38 p., also the vicarage house in Church Street with some ancient messuages and gardens; Matthew Wise in lieu of great tithes 472 a. 2 r. 36 p.; Mrs. Ann Willes, widow of Edward Willes, 194 a. 1 r. 34 p.; John Lawrence 75 a. 3 r. 16 p.; Richard Lyndon 67 a. 3 r. 7 p.; Thos. Aston 1 a. 1 r. 10 p.; Trustees of Barford Charity 8 a. 1 r. 5 p. Total 871 a. 3 r. 29 p.

A plan of 1783 (fn. 15) shows that the whole of the village with its church and the original well nearby, a mill, two inns, the stocks and pound, (fn. 16) stood on the south bank of the Leam. By 1818 (fn. 17) it had grown considerably, the main streets being the present Bath Street, Clemens Street, and High Street. The WarwickNapton Canal had been made, and Ranelagh Gardens on its south bank was a prominent feature. North of the river the 'new town' was being developed on a farm of 65 acres which was sold for building purposes at an average of 5,000 guineas an acre. (fn. 18) Upon this the west side of the Parade (then Union Parade) and the Regent Hotel on the east side had been erected. Houses had been built in the Upper Parade (then Upper Union Parade) on both sides to about as far up as the present Post Office, and some in Regent Street (then Cross Street), where 1833 saw the erection of the Royal Assembly Rooms. (fn. 19) A plan of 1822 (fn. 20) shows the new town laid out for building up to Warwick Street, and by 1834 (fn. 21) the avenues between that street and the present Lillington Avenue–namely: Clarendon Avenue, Beauchamp Avenue, and Binswood Avenue–had been laid out and houses had been built or were in course of erection. (fn. 22) Regent Grove, Hamilton Terrace, and Holly Walk (fn. 23) had been laid out, and mainly built upon, Newbold Terrace was partly completed. Other roads east of Newbold Road (now Willes Road) were laid out but not yet built upon. South of the river, Priory Terrace, Leam Terrace, Russell Terrace, Radford Road, and some adjacent streets had mainly been built upon. In 1840 the Victoria Bridge, connecting the old and new towns, replaced an old, narrow, and inconvenient bridge. Further development continued to take place and Leamington Spa is now a well-planned and attractive town, with wide roads planted with trees, and many pleasant houses of the Regency and early Victorian periods, a notable feature of the earlier houses being their fine cast iron balconies of local make. In recent years, in addition to a spa and health resort it has become increasingly a place of residence for those employed in Coventry, and to a lesser extent in Birmingham.

The War Memorial in Euston Place, erected in 1922, is a bronze figure of a British soldier in khaki on a pedestal of Cornish granite, bearing the names of the men of Leamington who fell in the Great War, 1914–18.

Newbold Comyn is situated on the east side of Leamington and north of the river Leam. Mr. Edward Willes inherited the family estates on the death of his father, the Rev. Edward Willes, in 1820, when Leamington was rapidly being developed, and not long afterwards he began to lay out his property in Leamington and Newbold Comyn to the best advantage of the town. He gave much land for beautifying it including, in 1836, the Newbold Gardens. (fn. 24) In 1845–6, as a testimonial to Dr. Henry Jephson, a fund was raised for altering and much improving these gardens and putting up a statue (fn. 25) there to the doctor. This was accordingly carried out, and at the same time the name was changed to the 'Jephson Gardens'. There is an obelisk here, erected in 1875, recording Mr. Willes's generous gift. The Mill Gardens were purchased in 1898. On the western edge of the borough Victoria Park, adjoining the new River Walk, forms a large open space for sport and recreation.

The oldest hotel is the Bath Hotel, built by William Abbotts in, or soon after, 1786. (fn. 26) This was followed by the 'Crown', which in 1812 was used as the vicarage and occupied by the Rev. J. Wise, M.A., but became an inn in 1814. (fn. 27) The 'Regent' was built in 1818–19 and opened in the latter year. It was called Williams's Hotel, after the name of the first proprietor, but changed to the Regent Hotel, a little after it was opened, in honour of the Prince Regent. (fn. 28) The Manor House Hotel includes the old manor-house, (fn. 29) a mid-18th-century building. It was first used as an hotel in 1847 and afterwards became a school, but was again converted into an hotel after being rebuilt. (fn. 30) The Clarendon Hotel was built in 1830.

The old theatre opposite the Bath Hotel was built in 1813 by John Simms, (fn. 31) but was closed in 1833. Many well-known actors appeared here, including Edmund Kean and William Macready. In 1849 the Congregational Chapel in Clemens Street was turned into a theatre, and so continued until 1866, when it, too, was closed. (fn. 32) There was then no theatre until the Theatre Royal was built in Holly Walk in 1882 at a cost of about £10,000. This, after a chequered experience, was converted into a cinema in 1935. There now only remains the Loft Theatre of Amateurs.

Robert William Elliston, the famous actor, had a short lease of the theatre, and his second son Henry Twiselton Elliston spent most of his life in Leamington. He was organist at the parish church, founded a choral society, and converted the Assembly Rooms in Bath Street into the Royal Music Hall. In 1863, the year before his death, he was appointed librarian of the Public Library, established in 1857. (fn. 33) Behind the Bath Street Assembly Rooms was the Picture Gallery and Library of James Bisset, himself artist, publisher, and writer of verse, an important, if eccentric, figure in the early days of the rise of Leamington, to which he gave useful publicity, and where he died in 1832. (fn. 34)

The stage coaches which connected Leamington with London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Bath, Cheltenham, Coventry, Leicester, and neighbouring towns (fn. 35) ceased to run about 1839, and the first railway line to Leamington came from Coventry. It was built by a private company and completed in 1844, the Leamington terminus later becoming Milverton Station. The undertaking was purchased by the L. & N.W. Railway, who extended the line to Rugby, which was completed in 1851. The G.W. Railway linking Leamington direct with Birmingham and Oxford was opened in 1852. (fn. 36)

The Gas Company was established here in 1819. (fn. 37) With the rapid development of the town, the Warwick & Leamington Bank was founded in 1834, and the Leamington Priors & Warwickshire Bank in 1835. The former was taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1866, and the latter by the Midland Bank in 1889. Greenways, a Warwick bank, opened a branch here in 1863, but the bank failed in 1887, causing much distress locally. What remained of the business was afterwards purchased by the Metropolitan Bank, now the Midland Bank. (fn. 38)

The town has important industries. Flavel's, manufacturers of stoves, ranges, &c., was for long the only large factory, but in recent years Lockheed's Hydraulic Brake Co., and the Imperial Foundry Co. (Ford Motor Co.), makers of agricultural machines and implements, have both been manufacturing on a large scale and employing many workers. Henry Griffith & Sons have a factory for the manufacture of jewellery. All these are carried on at the lower end of the town, away from the residential part. There are also many small firms engaged in general engineering of various kinds. (fn. 39) The stock market formerly held here was transferred to Warwick on 6 January 1937.

In 1828 the town acquired its own newspaper by the publication of The Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard, and this was soon followed by The Leamington Chronicle. (fn. 40)

The first schools, for infants, were established in 1834 and 1835. (fn. 41) Others followed rapidly, so that by 1850 (fn. 42) there were at least ten, of various types and denominations, including Leamington College, which was founded in 1844 as a proprietary college in the former Eastnor Terrace, and transferred to the present Tudor-style buildings in Binswood Avenue in 1848, then recently erected. A few years later it was changed from a proprietary into a public school. (fn. 43) It did good work, but was handicapped from the start by lack of funds, and being unable to carry on was closed in 1902. (fn. 44) From 1903 until the First World War it was occupied by the Society of the Sacred Heart, and in 1922 the secondary school for boys, adjoining the Free Library, was removed here (fn. 45) and is prospering as Leamington College. Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jetpropulsion engine, was educated here.

Borough of Leamington. Party fessewise argent and or a lion with forked tail vert over all a cheveron vaire and in chief three molets gules all within a border azure charged with eight fleurs de lys or.

Leamington in its earlier days was governed by the Parish Committee, which was the outcome of the Vestry, but by an Act of 1825 Paving, Lighting, and Improvement Commissioners were authorized to deal with the town's affairs. (fn. 46) This system was superseded by the local Board of Health in 1852 (fn. 47) which in turn was followed by the Incorporation of the town in 1875. In 1890 the borough was extended to include the urban portions of Lillington and Milverton, and in 1902 a great part of the civil parish of Lillington, including the village, and the parish of New Milverton were combined with Leamington in one civil parish of Leamington Spa. The Corporation now consists of a mayor, 8 aldermen, and 24 councillors, representing the four wards into which the borough is divided.

The old Town Hall in High Street (now the Police Station) was built in 1831 (fn. 48) and the new Town Hall on the Parade in 1884.


In 1086 Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, held in demesne LEAMINGTON, rated at 2 hides and including 2 mills worth 24s. and 26 acres of meadow. It had been held of Edward the Confessor by 'Olwin' (fn. 49) —evidently identical with the 'Ulwin', or Wulfwine, who had held Newbold Comyn (see below). Earl Roger's estates after his death escheated to the Crown through the rebellion of his son Robert of Bellesme; the overlordship of Leamington was apparently given to the Bishop of Chester and the fee to Geoffrey de Clinton, chamberlain to Henry I and founder of Kenilworth Priory. Geoffrey gave to Gilbert 'nutricius' [? Norreys] of Warwick the manor of Leamington to hold by service of half a knight's fee; which manor Ralph de Baleri, who married the daughter of Nicholas the reeve (prepositi), (fn. 50) and Azor of Warwick and his nephews Osbert and Richer had been holding of Geoffrey; Azor and his nephews should in future hold of Gilbert, who should have in demesne the share of Ralph de Baleri, to whom Geoffrey would give equivalent land in exchange. If the Bishop of Chester, of whose fee Geoffrey held the manor, levied aid or scutage, Gilbert should pay half and Geoffrey the other half. (fn. 51) The proposed exchange may not have been made, as Ralph de Valeri (sic), at the request of Gilbert 'nutricius', gave land in Leamington to Kenilworth Priory. (fn. 52) Gilbert also gave to the priory, with the consent of the younger Geoffrey de Clinton, his land here with the church and mills, except the part of the manor held of him by Azor and his nephews. (fn. 53) The overlordship passed in some way from the bishop to the Prior of Coventry, who held the half-fee in 1236 (fn. 54) and 1242, (fn. 55) his tenant at the latter date being the Prior of Kenilworth, (fn. 56) while in 1236 William de Leminton and Simon de Bercheston are recorded as tenants. William de Leminton died in or before 1247, leaving a widow Lucy and three daughters, Felice wife of William de Wyleby, Maud wife of Ralph Chatere, and Margery wife of John Perdriz, who conveyed their shares of their father's property, including a moiety of a mill, to the Prior of Kenilworth. (fn. 57) In 1291 the canons of Kenilworth had 2 yardlands, worth 12s., in demesne, the rents of the remainder of their land (about 18 yardlands in 1279) (fn. 58) producing £4 6s. 8d., pleas of court 6s., fishing rights 4s., and 1½ mills £1 10s., (fn. 59) the other half of the second mill being held by freeholders. (fn. 60) At the time of the Dissolution the Kenilworth estates yielded about £10 yearly, in addition to rents of 24s. for the water-mill and 13s. 4d. for fishery in the Leam. (fn. 61)

The manor was granted in 1564 to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, in tail male, (fn. 62) but on his death without issue in 1590 reverted to the Crown.

In 1629 John Camden was lord of the manor, (fn. 63) and in 1631 he and Alice his wife and Isabel Camden, widow, conveyed it to Sir William Browne. (fn. 64) He died in 1637 seised of the manor, with view of frank-pledge, and a water-mill, which had been settled in the previous year (fn. 65) on the marriage of his eldest son George Browne with Margaret, one daughter of Sir Edward Littleton. (fn. 66) Sir George died in 1660, when the manor passed with Radford Semele (q.v.) to his relative Elizabeth wife of Sir William Throckmorton, (fn. 67) and they were dealing with the property in 1665. (fn. 68) They, however, probably released their claims to Margaret widow of Sir George, who married Francis Fisher, (fn. 69) as the latter's nephew Sir Clement Fisher, bart., who already held Newbold Comyn (see below), dealt with a manor of Leamington in 1706, (fn. 70) and the two manors descended together through the Fishers to the Earls of Aylesford. (fn. 71)

Finch, Earl of Aylesford. Argent a cheveron between three griffons passant sable.

At some date between 1066 and 1086 'Ulwin', or Wulfwine, who held NEWBOLD under Edward the Confessor, became a monk at Malmesbury Abbey and gave his estate to the monastery. (fn. 72) The vill was accordingly entered in Domesday Book as the land of the Abbey of Malmesbury, being assessed at 3 hides and valued at 50s., including a mill worth 8s. (fn. 73) The subsequent history of the manor down to 1285 was set out in the course of a lawsuit over rights of wardship. (fn. 74) The abbey granted the land to Ralph the sheriff (presumably of Wiltshire) to hold by homage, fealty, suit of court, and a rent of 40s. to the chamberlain of the monastery. Ralph's son Wybert had a son Antelin, (fn. 75) who died while his daughter and heir Joan was a child. She was for 14 years a ward of the abbot, who then granted her wardship to Elias Comyn, who married her. They had two sons, Nicholas and John Comyn, and when John son of Nicholas died young, the manor of NEWBOLD COMYN passed to his uncle, the elder John. He had a son John, who died in 1278, (fn. 76) leaving a young son John, whose mother Mabel disputed his wardship with the Abbot of Malmesbury. The decision, given in 1285, was in favour of the abbot, who in 1288 sold to Mabel the right of bestowing her son in marriage. (fn. 77) The John Comyn who was removed from the office of collector in 1340 as unable to work (fn. 78) and died before 1341 (fn. 79) was probably son of the John whose wardship was disputed. His son John (fn. 80) died in 1370 leaving a widow Annabel and three daughters, Milicent, Joan, and Ellen. (fn. 81) Milicent married William de Aghton, and conveyed her share to her son Hugh in 1410. (fn. 82) Ellen and her husband James Dyngeley in 1408 conveyed their quarter of the manor to Rowland Dyngeley, or Dyneley, (fn. 83) and he probably acquired the Aghton share, as in 1420 Robert Dyneley and Joan his wife conveyed a moiety of the manor to Thomas Gower of Woodhall (Worcs.). (fn. 84) Richard and John Gower were dealing with a water-mill and fishing rights in the Leam in 1574, (fn. 85) and in 1611 John Gower and his son William sold their share of the manor to Sir Clement Fisher of Packington, (fn. 86) with which manor (fn. 87) it descended, passing in 1729 to Mary, Countess of Aylesford, daughter of the third Sir Clement. Since that date the estate has been held by the Earls of Aylesford, but any manorial rights have lapsed. (fn. 88)

Joan, the second daughter of John Comyn, married John Faryngton, and in 1402 they settled a quarter of the manor of Newbold Comyn on themselves, with remainder to their son Christopher. (fn. 89) The latter, with his wife Alice, sold it in 1436 to Thomas Hugford. (fn. 90) On the death of John Hugford in December 1484 he was found seised of lands in Newbold Comyn, stated in round figures as 100 acres of arable, 40 of pasture, and 24 of meadow, which were said to be held of the Honor of Winchester as 1/6 knight's fee. (fn. 91) These passed to John Beaufo, then aged 2, son of his eldest daughter Joan, and descended in the Beaufo family with the manor of Emscote (q.v.).

Willes. Argent a cheveron sable between three molets gules.

The Abbey of Stoneleigh had lands in the parish, of which at the time of the Dissolution part was leased to the monastery of Kenilworth for 33s. 4d. and the remainder, which was in Newbold Comyn, was farmed for £4. (fn. 92) A grant of two closes of pasture in Leamington, late of Stoneleigh Abbey, was made in 1538 to James Cruce, (fn. 93) who seems also to have acquired the Newbold estate and to have sold the whole in the following year to William Murcott and (his son-in-law) Richard Willes. (fn. 94) Murcott died in 1552, seised of a capital messuage and tenements in Leamington, (fn. 95) and Willes at his death in 1564 was seised of some 100 acres of pasture in Newbold Comyn. (fn. 96) This estate, which was sometimes referred to as a manor, has remained in the family of Willes for 400 years, the present owner, William Willes, being tenth in direct descent from Richard. (fn. 97)

Thomas Prew, who married a daughter of Edward Willes, for some years before his death in 1747 was buying up property in Leamington, (fn. 98) and this passed to his elder daughter, and eventual sole heiress, Bridget, who married John Wise of the Priory, Warwick, and their descendants, who played a large part in the development of the new town.


The old parish church of ALL SAINTS was a small building, consisting of chancel and nave, apparently of the 13th century, with a west tower added in the 14th century, to which period also belonged a large three-light window in the centre of the south wall of the nave; there was also a south porch of 17th- or 18th-century date. (fn. 99) This was enlarged in 1816, 1824, 1829, 1832, and 1834. (fn. 100) The entire rebuilding of the church began in 1843 (fn. 101) and was completed during the early years of the 20th century by the lengthening of the nave and the erection of a west tower. The present fabric consists of an apsidal chancel, north and south transepts with eastern aisles, clearstoried nave with aisles, south porch, and a baptistery and tower at the west end. It is ashlar-faced, and is built in a somewhat florid form of gothic. The tower is in four stages, surmounted by a panelled parapet with a lofty crocketed pinnacle at each corner. There are some 18th-century mural tablets, preserved from the earlier church.

The five old bells were recast in 1826 by T. Mears, and three new ones added in 1901.

The communion plate includes a remarkable silvergilt chalice, made at Dijon and dating about 1650–60, embossed with figure subjects; it is said to have belonged to the English chapel at Calais. (fn. 102)

The registers begin in 1702.

The church of ST. ALBAN, a chapel of ease to All Saints, stands at the corner of Warwick Street and Portland Street. It is of red brick with stone dressings, built in the Early English style in 1881, and has a lofty tower and copper-covered spire.

CHRIST CHURCH, in Clarendon Avenue, is a rectangular building of brick faced with cement, with aisles and a tower. It was designed by P. F. Robinson in a style alleged to be 'pure Saxon' and to 'produce a very imposing and solemn effect', (fn. 103) but less appreciatively called 'a pastry-cook imitation of the Norman style'. (fn. 104) It was built in 1825 as a proprietary 'Episcopal Chapel', with the remarkable feature of a charge for admission to services. (fn. 105) It is now attached to Holy Trinity.

ST. MARY'S Church, built in 1839 to serve a parish constituted in 1840, lies in the south-east of the town just off Radford Road. It is of brick, cemented, in the Decorated style and consists of chancel, aisled nave, and an embattled west tower which has on either side a porch containing stairs to the galleries.

HOLY TRINITY, in Beauchamp Square, was built in 1847, though the parish which it now serves was not formed until 1899. It has been enlarged, particularly about 1920, and is now a stone building with chancel, transepts, nave, and a small bell-tower at the south-west.

ST. PAUL'S, in Leicester Street, serving a parish formed from that of St. Mary in 1878, was built by subscription in 1873–4. It is of brick with stone dressings, in the Geometrical style, and consists of a chancel with aisles, transepts, aisled nave, and a tower at the north-west with a lofty octagonal spire.

The parish of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST was formed in 1875 and the church built in 1880–4. It lies in the south of the town, near the Tachbrook Road, and is of red brick, in the Early English style, consisting of apsidal chancel with north and south chapels, clearstoried nave with aisles, north-west porch, and a tower surmounted by a tall octagonal spire at the north-east end of the nave.

The Roman Catholics worshipped at first in a large room in Clemens Street, but in 1828 they built their own church in George Street, and in 1864 moved to the present St. Peter's Church in Dormer Place, completed in that year. This church was burnt down in 1883, except for the tower which had been put up in 1878, but was rebuilt in red brick with stone dressings in 1884. (fn. 106)

From at least as early as 1690 the Leamington Friends (or Quakers as they were called) attended the meeting at Warwick. (fn. 107)

In 1813 the Independents began worship in a room in Clemens Street, and three years later they built a chapel in this street, (fn. 108) but by 1836, further accommodation being necessary, some freehold land was secured in Spencer Street and a new chapel built upon it. (fn. 109) It is now known as the Congregational Chapel. In 1847 some of the members of this church felt that another chapel was needed for the growing upper part of the town and accordingly, in 1850, one was erected in Holly Walk. (fn. 110) This building became St. Luke's Episcopal Chapel in 1895, but it is now closed.

In 1829, not long after the Independents had discontinued the liturgical service of the Church of England at Clemens Street, a new chapel was built in Mill Street for those of the congregation who continued to adhere to that form of worship. It was subsequently leased to the Countess of Huntingdon's connexion and is now no longer used as a chapel. (fn. 111) In 1817 the Wesleyan Methodists established a place of worship in a loft in Barnacle's Yard, Satchwell Street, but shortly afterwards they removed to a small building in Brunswick Street, now no. 4. (fn. 112) They built their first chapel in Portland Street in 1825, which was closed in 1870 when the present Dale Street Church was opened. (fn. 113) The Methodists also have churches in Warwick Street and Radford Road. Leamington was originally in the Coventry Circuit of Ministers but its own Circuit was established in 1837. (fn. 114)

The Baptists, who at first worshipped with the other nonconformists in Clemens Street, began services of their own in a room in Grove Place about 1829, then moved to larger premises in Brunswick Street, and in 1830 built a new chapel in Guy Street. Two years later the ordinance of baptism was administered for the first time in Leamington, and it soon began to be felt that a more fitting place of worship was desirable. Accordingly the present Baptist Chapel in Warwick Street was erected. (fn. 115)

The Plymouth Brethren have a meeting place in Guy Street.


The parish church of Leamington was originally a chapel of Leek Wootton, with which church it was given to Kenilworth Priory by the younger Geoffrey de Clinton. (fn. 116) It figures in 1291 as a rectory appropriated to the priory and valued at £4, with an additional 20s. pension to Malmesbury Abbey, (fn. 117) presumably for the tithes of Newbold Comyn. In 1535 the endowment of the vicarage was £6 10s., (fn. 118) including a payment of £1 13s 4d. from Kenilworth, (fn. 119) and the rectory was farmed at £4. (fn. 120)

After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson came to the Crown, and subsequently followed the descent of the manor of Lillington (q.v.) in the families of Puckering and Wise until the death of H. E. Wise in 1923, when they passed to his niece Louisa Elizabeth wife of Robert Skirving, of Shrubland Hall, Leamington. (fn. 121) By her the advowson was conveyed to the Bishop of Coventry on 30 April 1942.

The vicarage of St. John the Baptist, serving an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1875, is in the patronage of the Bishop of Coventry. Those of St. Mary (1840), and St. Paul (1878) are in the gift of the Church Patronage Society.

Nomination to the perpetual curacy of Christ Church is in the hands of trustees.


The Warneford Leamington and South Warwickshire General Hospital and Bathing Institution was founded in 1832, largely by the munificence of the Rev. Dr. Warneford and his sister, (fn. 122) and has been added to at various times. A scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 7 September 1928 constitutes a body of governors and a committee for the management of the affairs of the charity, which affords medical and surgical aid and mineral water and bathing treatment to patients not otherwise able to obtain the same.

Dr. Samuel Wilson Warneford's Charity in connexion with the above-named hospital was founded by an indenture dated 20 May 1853, by which a sum of £10,000 stock was settled on trusts, the income to be applied to enable more persons to partake of the benefits of the hospital. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 15 July 1927, which appoints a body of trustees to administer it. The annual income of the charity amounts to £450.

Edith Hook, by will dated 23 October 1928, gave to the vicar and churchwardens of Leamington £500, the income to increase the endowment of the living.

Elizabeth Mary Smith, by will dated 6 December 1922, bequeathed to the Parochial Church Council of All Saints, Leamington Priors, her shares in the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company, the income to be applied in keeping the clock in the small clock tower of All Saints Church in working order, and also in keeping the iron palisades surrounding the church and churchyard painted and in good repair.

Jane Bowie Good, by will dated 17 September 1937, bequeathed to the vicar and churchwardens of All Saints Church the sum of £500, the income to be applied for the benefit of the parish. The annual income of the charity amounts to £15.

Charity for Ecclesiastical Purposes. By a conveyance dated 14 August 1916 a mission hall and two cottages fronting to Satchwell Street were assured to trustees, to be used by the vicar of All Saints, Leamington Priors, for a number of Church of England purposes set out in the deed. The property was sold in 1939 and the proceeds of sale invested. The charity is now regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 8 May 1940 which appoints the vicar and churchwardens to be managing trustees and directs the income of the charity to be applied towards the maintenance of Urquhart Hall in the parish.

Georgiana Augusta Hook, by will dated 26 May 1888, gave £50 to the endowment fund of the Charitable Repository (fn. 123) at Leamington Priors.

Sarah Hitcham, by will dated 6 December 1888, gave £2,000, the income to be applied towards improving or increasing the endowment of the living of St. John's Church, Leamington.

Elizabeth Grew, by will dated 24 July 1862, gave to the churchwardens of St. Mary, Leamington Priors, £1,000, the income to be applied towards providing a curate for the church or in such other manner as the churchwardens should think fit for the benefit of the church. The charity is now regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 7 June 1889. The annual income of the charity amounts to £41 approximately.

John Hurley. By an order made by the High Court of Justice Chancery Division on 28 June 1901 it was directed that the balance of the sum representing one fourth share of the testator's personal estate given to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Paul's Church, Leamington, should be invested in the name of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and the income applied towards the expenses of such charitable objects or work in connexion with the Church of St. Paul, Leamington (including a Bible reader or mission nurse), as the vicar and churchwardens may determine. The annual income of the charity amounts to £7 10s. (approximately).

Parochial Buildings in Leicester. Street. By an indenture dated 18 September 1886 certain land was conveyed to the vicar of St. Paul's, Leamington, for erecting thereon a mission house and parochial rooms. The buildings erected comprised a dwelling-house, parochial hall, and smaller rooms. The charity is now regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 22 November 1921 which appoints trustees to administer the income of the charity for the maintenance and repair of the buildings and, subject thereto, in aid of the work of the parish carried on in the buildings.

Charity for Ecclesiastical Purposes in St. Paul's, Leamington Priors. The land formerly constituting the endowment of the charity was sold in 1943 and the proceeds of sale invested. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 24 February 1942, which appoints the vicar and churchwardens to be administering trustees and directs that the income of the charity shall be applied in aid of religious or other charitable work of the Church of England in the parish.

Constance Harriet Lea. By an indenture dated 11 August 1914 the sum of £1,000 was given to the Worcester Diocesan Trust, the income thereof to be paid to the vicar for the time being of Holy Trinity, Leamington, as an addition to his stipend.

George Hyde, by will proved on 25 July 1888, gave his Leamington Gas Shares to the trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Dale Street, Leamington, the income, after the payment of certain specified sums, to be paid to the Quarterly Board for the benefit of the Leamington Wesleyan Society.

Edward Tracy Turnerelli, by will dated 15 January 1896, gave £1,100 to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham and the vicar general of the said Diocese, the income to be paid to the senior priest of the Church of the Roman Catholic Mission of St. Peter, Leamington, for the benefit of the mission. The annual income amounts to £28 (approximately).


  • 1. T. B. Dudley, A Complete History of Leamington Spa (1901), 47.
  • 2. Dugd. 368.
  • 3. Ribton-Turner, Shakespeare's Land, 2. It was purchased and restored by Ald. W. Davis and his wife, 1923.
  • 4. It may be doubted if they would have supported the popular belief that the waters were a cure for hydrophobia: ibid.
  • 5. Merridew's Guide (1837), 13.
  • 6. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 4.
  • 7. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 8. Warwickshire, pub. by Turner, Coventry, c. 1825, p. 55.
  • 9. West, Directory of Warws. (1830), 708–9.
  • 10. Health Resorts of the British Islands (1912), 74.
  • 11. H. G. Clarke, Royal Leamington Spa (1947), 19 (citing Warwick Advertiser, 2 July 1814).
  • 12. Ibid. 21 (citing Leamington Courier, 13 July 1860 and later).
  • 13. Ibid. 117.
  • 14. Extracts from these documents, now at Shire Hall, made by Dudley, op. cit. pp. 50–5.
  • 15. Plan, Leam. Pub. Lib.
  • 16. The stocks and pound stood near the present Police Station in High Street. In 1825 the inhabitants were indicted for not setting up a pair of stocks, which had evidently become decayed. They were discharged in the following year: Quarter Sessions Records, Mids. 1825; Epiph. 1826.
  • 17. Plan, Leam. Pub. Lib.
  • 18. Clarke, op. cit., citing Leamington Courier, 1810.
  • 19. White, Directory of Warws. (1850), 617.
  • 20. Plan in possession of Major E. G. Tibbits.
  • 21. Plan, Leam. Pub. Lib. All the plans mentioned here are illustrated in Clarke, op. cit.
  • 22. An undated plan shows that the layout of this northern part of the town was prepared by P. F. Robinson, architect, of London (Leam. Pub. Lib.).
  • 23. Formerly the drive to Newbold Comyn. Dickens, in Dombey and Son, lays the scene of the first meeting between Mr. Carker and Edith Granger in Holly Walk.
  • 24. Willes MS.; Plans of 1822, 1834. (See n. 20, 21.)
  • 25. By Peter Hollins of Birmingham.
  • 26. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 9.
  • 27. Clarke, op. cit. 31.
  • 28. Dudley, op. cit. 135–6.
  • 29. Matthew Wise (1768–1825), who owned a considerable area of land in Leamington, lived here, but after building Shrubland Hall, south-west of the town, he removed there.
  • 30. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 9. A plaque in the hotel grounds reads: 'On this lawn the first lawn tennis club in the world was founded in 1872.'
  • 31. In 1815 Simms, described as 'the manager of a company of comedians and the proprietor of the theatre', was granted a licence to perform here from 10 July for 4 months, but not exceeding 60 days in the whole: Quarter Sessions Recs. Mids. 1815.
  • 32. Dudley, op. cit. 126–7, 450.
  • 33. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. Cary, New Itinerary of the Great Roads (9th ed.), 1821; Merridew's Guide (1837), 112–14.
  • 36. Ward Lock's Guide (1880), 9; Dudley, op. cit. 339–40.
  • 37. Clarke, op. cit., citing Warwick Advertiser, 12 June 1819.
  • 38. Information about these banks from the Manager, Lloyds Bank, and the Manager, Midland Bank, 126 Parade.
  • 39. Information about the industries from the Borough Engineer.
  • 40. Merridew's Guide (1837), 58.
  • 41. Ibid. 44.
  • 42. White, Directory of Warws. (1857), 616–17.
  • 43. Dudley, op. cit. 326–7.
  • 44. Ibid. 328.
  • 45. Clarke, op. cit. 101.
  • 46. West, Directory of Warws. (1830), ix.
  • 47. Kelly's Directory (1872).
  • 48. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 10.
  • 49. V.C.H. Warw. i, 307.
  • 50. This may have been the Nicholas who was farming the lands of Countess Godiva in 1086: ibid. 310.
  • 51. Harl. MS. 3650, fol. 69.
  • 52. Ibid. 43.
  • 53. Ibid. 3 v.
  • 54. Bk. of Fees, 583.
  • 55. Ibid. 954.
  • 56. The Kenilworth tenure of the estates was confirmed by William, Prior of Coventry, in 1258: Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 831.
  • 57. Ibid. 649, 670.
  • 58. Dugd. 367.
  • 59. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 254.
  • 60. Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 30v.
  • 61. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 64–5; Mon. Angl. vi, 225; Mon. Bailiffs' Accts. (Dugd. Soc.), 43.
  • 62. Pat. 6 Eliz. pt. 4.
  • 63. Warw. Co. Recs. i, 79.
  • 64. Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 6 Chas. I.
  • 65. Ibid. Trin. 12 Chas. I.
  • 66. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclxxxv, 198.
  • 67. Dugd. 363.
  • 68. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 17 Chas. II.
  • 69. Visitn. of Warws. 1682–3 (Harl. Soc.), 33.
  • 70. Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 4 Anne.
  • 71. Gamekeepers' Deputations.
  • 72. Reg. Malmes. (Rolls Ser.), i, 250.
  • 73. V.C.H. Warw. i, 306. Another 2 hides at 'Niwebold', held of the Count of Meulan, has been identified with Newbold Comyn (ibid. 317), but the history of the estate makes this unlikely, especially as the Malmesbury estate is several times called 'the whole vill of Newbold' (Reg. Malmes. i, 254; ii, 4).
  • 74. Reg. Malmes. i, 252–9.
  • 75. This, or Ancelin (ibid. ii, 4, 5), seems to be correct rather than 'Antelm'.
  • 76. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, 331.
  • 77. Reg. Malmes. i, 260.
  • 78. Cal. Fine R. v, 158.
  • 79. V.C.H. Worcs. iii, 423.
  • 80. Cal. Close, 1341–3, p. 103.
  • 81. Cal. Pat. 1373–4, p. 83.
  • 82. Dugd. 369.
  • 83. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2441.
  • 84. Ibid. 2519.
  • 85. Feet of F. Warw. East. 16 Eliz.
  • 86. Dugd. 369.
  • 87. V.C.H. Warw. iv, 182.
  • 88. Ex inf. the present Earl of Aylesford.
  • 89. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2409.
  • 90. Ibid. 2590.
  • 91. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, 27, 136.
  • 92. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 68; Mon. Angl. v, 450; Mon. Bailiffs' Accts. (Dugd. Soc), 7.
  • 93. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 887 (12).
  • 94. Dugd. 369.
  • 95. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xcvii, 126.
  • 96. Dugd. 369.
  • 97. For pedigree see Burke, Landed Gentry (1937).
  • 98. Add. MS. 29264, fol. 152.
  • 99. View in Aylesford Collection.
  • 100. Merridew's Guide (1837), 32–3.
  • 101. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 1.
  • 102. Ibid. 2.
  • 103. Merridew's Guide, 36.
  • 104. Ribton-Turner, op. cit. 7. This is hardly fair to the building, which with its tower standing at the top of the Parade is an effective ornament to the town.
  • 105. Merridew's Guide, 36.
  • 106. Kelly, Directory of Warws. (1938).
  • 107. W. White, Friends in Warws. (1894), 112.
  • 108. Independency in Warwickshire by J. Sibree and M. Caston (1855), 295–7. Clemens Street Chapel became a theatre in 1849; revived for service 1866; closed 1900.
  • 109. Ibid. 301.
  • 110. Ibid. 306.
  • 111. Ibid. 308–9.
  • 112. Dudley, op. cit. 128.
  • 113. Ibid. 131, 255–6.
  • 114. Ibid. 254.
  • 115. Dudley, op. cit. 243–4.
  • 116. Harl. MS. 3650, fol. 3 v. 38.
  • 117. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 241.
  • 118. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 70.
  • 119. Ibid. 66.
  • 120. Ibid. 64.
  • 121. Clergy Lists; Burke, Landed Gentry (1939).
  • 122. Merridew's Guide, 65–6.
  • 123. The Charitable Repository was founded, before 1837, as a place for the sale of articles made by ladies in reduced circumstances: Merridew's Guide, 67.