Parishes: Napton-on-the-Hill

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

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'Parishes: Napton-on-the-Hill', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman( London, 1951), British History Online [accessed 20 July 2024].

'Parishes: Napton-on-the-Hill', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Edited by L F Salzman( London, 1951), British History Online, accessed July 20, 2024,

"Parishes: Napton-on-the-Hill". A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Ed. L F Salzman(London, 1951), , British History Online. Web. 20 July 2024.

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Acreage: 4,027.

Population: 1911, 847; 1921, 805; 1931, 816.

Napton-on-the-Hill is an extensive parish and village 3 miles east of Southam. It derives its name (fn. 1) from a prominent hill jutting out from the upland country of western Northamptonshire which, though not much more than 500 ft. high, commands wide views, there being no such high ground for a long way west and north. The remainder of the parish is comparatively flat, lying round about 300 ft. There are no large woods or water-courses. The parish is crossed by the main road from Southam to Daventry, which is here joined by roads from Stockton and from Napton Station (2 miles away and outside the parish) on the north, and from Prior's Marston and the Welsh Road on the south. The village is a considerable one built on the south and east slopes of Napton Hill below the church. Quite a number of houses are of 17th-century date and a few are of 16th-century origin. They are built of stone, mostly sandstone ashlar, a few of rubble, and were originally thatched, but in many cases the thatch has either been covered by or replaced with corrugated iron sheeting. Generally, the village buildings were stone, since altered, repaired, or refronted with red brick. A quarter of a mile north of the village there is a small group of similar houses astride the main road, known as Butt Hill. The hill is crowned by the church, and by a windmill whose predecessors can be traced as far back as 1543. (fn. 2) Chapel Green, the southern end of the village, perhaps preserves the memory of a chapel of St. Laurence in which John Odams was licenced to hear divine service in 1392–3. (fn. 3) The parish is traversed by the Oxford Canal, which ascends from the low ground by Hodnell and Radbourn by a series of 7 locks, and winds round the foot of the hill (on the west side of which, near the canal, there are brick-works) to Napton Junction, where the branch canal to Warwick diverges. Near this junction there are large reservoirs to replenish the canal.

Though situated in the middle of one of the most sparsely populated districts of Warwickshire, the village has always been a large one, containing 'above one hundred houses', of which thirty-five kept teams, in 1730. It was then divided into Button's End and Brooks End. (fn. 4) In the 16th century there were at least four distinct manors, and a very large number of documents relating to transfers of small properties exist in the Public Record Office and elsewhere. Napton, in fact, is a typical 'open' village, standing in relation to its neighbours much as Harbury to Chesterton, and Brinklow to Combe Fields. Encroachments and cottages on the common fields were reported in 1656, (fn. 5) and about the same time the village was declared to be 'so burdened and overcharged with poor' that the 'better sort of inhabitants (are) in no way able to relieve them'. The depopulated parishes to the south-west (Ascote, the Radbourns, &c.) were ordered to pay towards the support of the poor of Napton and Southam. (fn. 6)

Napton figures in the 1517 inquiry into inclosures, Thomas Shukborugh being cited as having allowed a capital messuage to fall into ruin and inclosed 70 acres of arable, thereby displacing twelve persons; (fn. 7) 96 yardlands, or 3,000 acres, were inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1778. (fn. 8)


In 1086 an estate of 3 hides and 3 virgates in NAPTON was held by the Count of Meulan, with Robert as his tenant, which before 1066 had been in the free tenure of Leuenot and Bundi. (fn. 9) Robert also held 3 virgates of Turchil of Warwick, whose pre-Conquest tenant had been Eduin; (fn. 10) and another estate of Turchil, the ½ hide of which makes a total assessment on Napton of 5 hides, was held both before and after the Conquest by Ulchetel. (fn. 11)

The Count of Meulan's 3¾ hides became part of the Honor of Leicester, and, after the partition of the estates of the last Beaumont Earl of Leicester (1204), of the Honor of Winchester. (fn. 12) Napton and Westonunder-Wetherley were associated as two fees in this Honor in 1235–6 (fn. 13) and 1271. (fn. 14) In 1285 view of frankpledge was claimed at Napton by John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, and William Ferrers, Earl of Derby, husbands of two of the Winchester coheiresses. (fn. 15) The former was overlord of 1 knight's fee in Napton in 1292, (fn. 16) and his grandson Henry, Lord Beaumont, of I fee at his death in 1369. (fn. 17) Further references to this overlordship are found in 1396 (fn. 18) and 1413. (fn. 19)

The tenants of the Napton fee were a family taking their name from the village and considered by Dugdale to be descended from Robert, the Domesday tenant. (fn. 20) In 1202 Adam de Napton quitclaimed 30 acres of land in Napton to Osbert; (fn. 21) and his grandson, another Adam, held 2 carucates at his death in 1292. (fn. 22) His son Robert, then aged 22, received in 1321 a grant of free warren, a Thursday market, and an annual fair on the vigil, feast, and morrow of the Assumption, at Napton. (fn. 23) The family had been employed in local government for at least two generations (fn. 24) and had risen to some eminence, Robert marrying Lucy, daughter of Guy, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 25) Their son Adam and his wife Ellen in 1348 settled their possessions in Napton, consisting of 7 tenements, 2 tofts, 2 mills, 3 carucates, and 1 bovate of land, 34 acres of meadow, and 12 of pasture, with various rents, on themselves with remainder to their son Adam and his wife Joan and their heirs. (fn. 26) In 1382 John Napton remitted all claim in certain lands which Thomas Evesham had at that date and which had been acquired by John Evesham of Robert Napton; (fn. 27) and in 1400 he and his wife Alice were dealing with the manor (fn. 28) in which he then or later enfeoffed William de Napton. (fn. 29) The latter may be the 'William son of Alice Betons' of Napton, who with his wife Agnes in 1411 passed the manor to William Shukborough (fn. 30) who was in possession of a half and a sixth of a knight's fee in Napton in 1428. (fn. 31) Since this date the manor has descended with that of Upper Shuckburgh (q.v.). In 1560 it was stated to be held of the queen as of the honor of Winchester. (fn. 32)

Napton. Argent a fesse azure with three scallops argent thereon.

The overlordship of the earls of Warwick as regards Turchil's 3 virgates can be traced in 1235 and 1242 (fn. 33) as to a half and a tenth of a fee, the tenth-fee being again returned in 1268 (fn. 34) and a fifth of a fee in 1315 (fn. 35) and 1401, the last instance being described as in NAPTON BOSCHER, (fn. 36) a form found in a list of fees of the early 14th century. (fn. 37) The sub-tenant in 1235, 1242, and 1268 was Thomas de Arderne, a descendant of Turchil; in the first case Ralph de Normanvill was associated with him. The service demanded of Thomas, as regards two virgates, was that of keeping one of the king's brachet dogs. (fn. 38) In 1315 Ralph Basset of Sapcote (Leics.) appears as the sub-tenant. A halffee formerly held by Thomas 'Darderne' occurs in 1428. (fn. 39)

Another 'manor' in Napton occurs in 1315 when John de Wileby settled it on Robert de Harewedon for life, with remainder to John's son Robert and his wife Emma, and their heirs. (fn. 40) In 1334 Robert and Emma settled 6 virgates of land in Napton on their son John and his wife Katherine. (fn. 41) This manor was referred to in 1428 as a quarter of a fee formerly held by Robert Willoughby. At the same time there was also a third of a fee which had been held by Thomas Chaumbre; (fn. 42) he, who held it in right of his wife Eleanor, said to have been the 'heir general of Willoughby', (fn. 43) conveyed the 'manor' in the same year to Richard Buklond, (fn. 44) probably in trust. How the manor came to Sir William Vaux is not certainly known, but William his grandfather is said to have married either a Chambers heiress or else Helen daughter of Thomas (son of Thomas) Drakelowe (fn. 45) who in 1369 was dealing with a manor of Napton (fn. 46) and who was apparently either husband or son of Alice Wileby. (fn. 47) Sir William Vaux was a keen Lancastrian and forfeited his manors by attainder in 1461, (fn. 48) after which the fee simple of this manor, known as VAUX'S MANOR, was granted to Ralph Hastings; (fn. 49) it then contained a messuage, 30 acres of land, and 5 of pasture. The grant was renewed by Richard III on his accession, (fn. 50) but with the reversal of fortunes after the battle of Bosworth the manor reverted to the Vaux family, Sir Nicholas, Sir William's son, settling it on his wife Anne (Greene) and dying in possession in 1523. (fn. 51) The subsequent descent is obscure. In the mid-16th century it appears to have been in the hands of the Cheney family and to have become divided amongst coheiresses, as in the next documentary reference (1595) it is called CHENEY'S alias VAUX'S MANOR; three parts were passed at this time by Lawrence and Edward Eyton to Thomas Decons, (fn. 52) who received the remaining part from Simon and Thomas Porter in 1606. (fn. 53) Decons entailed it on his son William at his marriage to Grace, daughter of Hugh Beresford of Slateley, in 1614. (fn. 54) It later came to the Loe or Low family, John Loe and Mary his wife dealing with it in 1664 and 1666, (fn. 55) and 'one John Low, a Soldier', claiming the royalty in 1730. (fn. 56) Another John Loe was lord in 1747, and Matthew Loe in 1753. (fn. 57) The latter sold it to Sir Theophilus Biddulph, bart., of Birdingbury in 1767, when it was alleged to include view of frankpledge. (fn. 58) Sir Theophilus was vouchee in recoveries of 1782 and 1790, (fn. 59) when the manor was known as NAPTON NORTH. Between 1804 and 1827 Joseph Walker was lord, (fn. 60) but manorial rights had lapsed by 1850, when the Shuckburgh lordship alone survived. (fn. 61)

Vaux. Checky or and gules a cheveron azure with three roses or thereon.

Napton does not figure in the foundation charter of Coventry priory, but in 1236 Simon de Cubinton and in 1242 Hugh son of Laurence held land assessed at half a knight's fee of this monastery, (fn. 62) and in 1316 this estate was reckoned important enough for the prior to share the lordship of Napton cum membris with Robert de Napton, and to be sole lord of the part of Napton which was a hamlet of Weston by Cubbington. (fn. 63) In about 1412 Thomas Hayton, in right of his wife who was daughter of John Odams, 'with his partners' held of the Prior of Coventry, as half a fee, by payment of 3s. yearly to the infirmary of the priory 12 virgates of arable in Napton called 'Lanney fee', or 'Lannesfee'. (fn. 64) The priory estate was producing 26s. 8d. in rents in 1535. (fn. 65) After the Dissolution this presumably constituted the manor of HAITONS or HEYDONS conveyed along with the Vaux manor to Thomas Decons in the 1595 fine. Thomas Andrews (died 1496) held a messuage and 6 acres of land, worth 6s. 8d., of this manor. (fn. 66) It was included with the Vaux manor in the fines of 1664 and 1666, (fn. 67) but later passed to the Shuckburgh family, members of which were vouchees in recoveries of 1707, 1785, and 1810. (fn. 68)

Another estate in Napton, comprising in 1509 4 messuages, 3 gardens, 4 tofts, 200 acres of land, 30 of meadow, 20 of pasture, and 6 of wood, with 4s. rents, was at that time known as BROWN'S MANOR. (fn. 69) It had been in possession of Henry Broun, who at his death in 1501 held considerable parcels in the Shuckburgh, Vaux, and Haiton manors as well as this estate, which was held of the king as of his lordship of Warwick by fealty only. (fn. 70) He left two daughters Joan and Margaret as co-heirs; Joan was wife of John Cranowe and mother of Christopher, who in 1509 passed his interest to Richard and Thomas Wyllys and others, subject to a life tenancy of John Cranowe his father. (fn. 71) This manor remained with the Willis family, being usually stated as held of the lordship of Southam, (fn. 72) till 1638, when George Willis sold it to Richard Schuckburgh. (fn. 73)

A branch of the Spencer family in the late 16th century held land in Napton that was described as a manor. (fn. 74)

In 1473 John Hugford and Thomas Waldyeve were licensed to alienate to Stoneleigh Abbey 3 acres of land and 2 of meadow in Napton. (fn. 75) One meadow, valued at 18d., was in possession of the abbey in 1535. (fn. 76) The life grant to Mary, Duchess of Richmond and Somerset, in 1539 of various possessions of Combe Abbey mentions Napton, (fn. 77) but there is no Napton property entered against Combe Abbey in the Valor.


The church of ST. LAWRENCE stands on the summit of Napton Hill in the middle of a small churchyard to the north of the village. The church was built in the 12th century and probably consisted of chancel, north and south transepts, nave, and west tower. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, when the aisles were added, and at a later date, probably in the 17th century, a vestry and porch were built. The tower has been completely rebuilt within recent times, re-using some of the 12thcentury materials, and a clearstory has been inserted. All the roofs are modern.

The east wall of the chancel is built of sandstone ashlar with gabled buttresses in two stages, the upper gablets having cinquefoil panels, a plinth of two splays, and a moulded coping to the gable. The window, of four modern cinquefoil pointed lights, has a fourcentred head and a modern hood-mould. The south side, also ashlar, has a plinth of one splay. There is a modern doorway in the centre with a segmental chamfered head and square label, flanked by modern twolight pointed windows with hood-moulds. Above the door there is a square, brass sundial. The north side is of random sandstone rubble with a chamfered stringcourse immediately below the window sills, which stops short of the east end at the point where the chancel has been extended. It has a plinth of one splay and is lighted by three narrow lancet windows. The east side of the south transept is built of sandstone ashlar and has a plinth of two splays. It is lighted by a plain tracery window of two trefoil lights, pointed arch of two splays, and a hood-mould with its stops missing; it is all modern except part of the arch. The south side has diagonal buttresses in two weathered stages, and a plinth of two splays. There are three tall narrow trefoiled windows with hood-moulds, the centre one taken up above the others; above the windows there is a semicircular relieving arch, part of a modern rebuilding of the gable. There are no windows on the west side, which has been patched all over with cement. The east side of the north transept is built of squared and coursed sandstone, with a plinth of one splay. It is lighted by a triple lancet, with a taller centre light and hoodmoulds carried over each arch, and by a single lancet to the south. On the north side are three tall narrow trefoil lights under a moulded semicircular arch; the two roll-moulded members form shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and the outer member forms a hoodmould. On the west side is a tall lancet window, modern, but probably a replacement.

The north aisle has a low-pitched lead roof with a plain parapet on a splayed string-course and a projection for a recess at the east end with a plain parapet, lighted by a square-headed three-light window of two chamfered orders with a hood-mould and by a canted rectangular window in the angle where it joins the nave wall. A vestry has been built in front of the north door with a pitched tiled roof and a two-light ogee trefoiled window with a square head. On the west side it butts against a later buttress, in three stages, with a moulded plinth, built against the nave wall. The clearstory, which was formed by lowering the pitch of the aisle roof, has three circular lights, one quatrefoil, one trefoil, and the other with eight cusps. The west wall is built of random rubble and has a single lancet window without a hood-mould. The south aisle has two windows of two ogee trefoil lights with square heads and hood-moulds, one on either side of the porch; except for a few stones they are modern restorations. The porch appears to have been rebuilt about the end of the 16th century, when openings were made on either side, filled in with odd pieces of tracery supported on short circular shafts with moulded bases, probably 12th-century, and later blocked up. The pointed entrance arch is moulded on both faces with a panelled soffit, moulded capitals, and external hoodmould with diamond-shaped stops. It has an open pitched roof with moulded timbers dating from the end of the 16th century. The south door dates from the late 12th century and was probably moved from the nave when the aisles were built. It has a semicircular head of two orders of roll-mouldings, and a hood-mould with head-stops; the outer order is supported on carved capitals; the detached shafts are missing but their moulded bases remain. The clearstory has three circular lights, one cinquefoil, one with six cusps, and the other with seven.

The tower has been completely rebuilt in brown sandstone ashlar with white sandstone dressings. It rises in two stages, marked by a band of white stone, with pilasters at the western angles having classic moulded capitals and bases. It has a plain parapet of red sandstone ashlar, pinnacles at each angle with ball finials and a roll-moulded string-course at its base. On the west face there is a round-headed light with white sandstone dressings; on the north two loop-lights to the staircase; and on the south a door with a roundheaded window above. The belfry windows on all four faces are of two pointed lights with transoms and a plain semicircular head flush with the wall face; on the east face the lights below the transom are blocked with brickwork.

The chancel (39 ft. 2 in. by 18 ft. 4 in.) is stonepaved, with a tiled altar space, one step to the rail, and one to the altar. It has a modern king-post roof, and the walls are plastered. On the north the lancet windows have widely splayed recesses with semicircular heads. The east window has a four-centred rear-arch with a chamfer dying out on splayed jambs. On the south the two modern window recesses have been carried down to form seats, and the door has a modern segmental-pointed rear-arch. At the southwest corner there is a rectangular squint, now fitted with a pointed trefoil head and jambs which formed part of a window. On the north wall there is an incised brass to John Shuckburgh, died 1625, inclosed in a marble frame. It has the figure of a man kneeling at a desk on which is an open book, and below are the inscription and a shield of arms.

The north transept (18 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 3 in.) has a modern trussed rafter roof, plastered walls, and a modern tiled floor. The lancet windows on the east side have segmental-pointed rear-arches over widesplayed recesses. The north window has a pointed rear-arch with a hood-mould over three pointed arches also with hood-moulds, resting on detached shafts having moulded capitals and bases, all modern. In the south-east corner there are the mutilated basins of a twin piscina in a modern recess. Below the window there are two 12th-century tomb recesses with rollmouldings, semicircular arches resting on short attached shafts with moulded capitals, one at each end, and a cluster of three in the centre; both have plain coffin lids. Under the seating against the east wall there is a stone altar-slab with consecration crosses.

The south transept (19 ft. by 16 ft. 2 in.), which is used as an organ chamber, has a modern roof and a wooden floor rising in shallow steps. The walls are plastered, with a boarded dado, and behind this dado in the south wall a 13th-century tomb recess is partly visible. It has a segmental-pointed arch of two deep moulded orders with alternate rolls and hollows, extending to the back of the recess; its hood-mould has been cut away; the lower part is not at present visible. The three lancets in the south wall have pointed reararches with splayed jambs, and on the east side the window has a stop-chamfered rear-arch with a splayed recess carried down to the floor.

The nave (49 ft. 5 in. by 18 ft. 6 in.) has a modern roof and tiled floor, boarded under the benches, except at the west end, which is stone-paved with a slight rise to the west wall. The south arcade has four bays, one opening into the transept. They have pointed arches of two splayed orders springing from octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and alternate splayed and moulded bases. At the east end the respond repeats the arch splays with moulded capitals and bases; the west respond has been cut away and its capital left as a corbel. The north arcade is very similar but the capitals vary in detail, the eastern arch dies into the wall without a respond, and all the bases are moulded. The chancel arch is pointed, of three splayed orders with narrow, moulded capitals carried round each of the splayed orders, with square bases and splayed corners, one of the splays on the south side having a carved head. They rest on a wall 3 ft. 3 in. above the chancel floor, probably part of the earlier chancel wall. There are two steps to the chancel from the nave. The pointed tower arch has three splayed orders, the two outer splays slightly hollow, which are continued to the floor without capitals; it has been bricked up. The circular clearstory windows have segmental-pointed rear-arches. The font, placed in the centre of the nave opposite the south door is modern, with an octagonal basin and shaft. The pulpit, also modern, is placed to the south of the chancel arch.

The south aisle (35 ft. 8 in. by 7 ft.) has a modern tiled floor and flat, plastered ceiling. The west window has a pointed rear-arch with wide splayed jambs; the two on the south have flat heads, and the south door a semicircular rear-arch carried up higher than the arch to the door. The arch to the transept is pointed, of two splayed orders resting on a moulded corbel on the south wall and mitring with the arcade splays on the north.

The north aisle (34 ft. 10 in. by 7 ft.) has a modern tiled floor and a flat, plastered ceiling. The arch to the transept is pointed, of two splayed orders, and rests on a moulded corbel in the aisle wall and on a shaft attached to the arcade pillar, which has a circular upper member to its moulding that is carried round the shaft to form a capital; the moulded base is also continued round the shaft as a base. The base of this pillar stands on a piece of wall 1 ft. 10 in. high, probably part of the 12th-century work. Opening off the aisle is a shallow recess lighted by two windows; what its use was is uncertain. The window at the west end has a segmental-pointed rear-arch, with a wide-splayed recess, and the north door a chamfered rear-arch. The north door now gives access to a small vestry, which has plastered walls and a modern red-tiled floor. The doorway has a richly moulded pointed arch, dying out on splayed jambs, and a hood-mould with head-stops; it is fitted with a counterboarded door hung on strap hinges, probably 17th century, and has a small wicket of later date. On the east wall there are two lists of charities painted on canvas, and below them is an oak chest on legs, with two locks, with an inscription: 'The gift of Thomas Garit and Isabel his wife 1642'.

The tower has a concrete floor and in the north-east corner, which is splayed for the tower stair, there is a doorway with a semicircular head, probably 12thcentury re-used. The bricked-up tower arch shows as three splayed orders carried down to the floor and above it are traces of an earlier semicircular tower arch.

In the north window of the north transept there are coats to the Shuckburgh family in modern coloured glass.

There are four bells by Thomas Russell, 1731, and a fifth which was recast by J. Warner & Son in 1874. (fn. 78)

The communion plate includes a silver chalice of 1752.

The registers begin in 1604.


There was a priest at Napton in 1086, (fn. 79) and in 1291 the value of the church was £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 80) The history of the advowson in the 14th century is complicated, and gave rise to a lawsuit in 1447 between Thomas Shuckburgh, lord of the manor, who claimed it by descent from his grandmother Joan, one of the de Napton coheiresses, and John Thurstone, Warden of the college of Corpus Christi in St. Laurence Pountney church in the city of London, (fn. 81) who claimed by letters patent of 1385 authorizing Richard, Earl of Arundel, to grant to the college the advowson of Napton in exchange for an inn called Pulteneysyn, held of the king in burgage. (fn. 82) Judgement was given in favour of the college in the following year. (fn. 83) Licence to alienate in favour of this chantry or college had been given to Sir John de Pulteneye, whose mother was Maud daughter of John de Napton, (fn. 84) as early as 1337, when the Pope, at the request of King Edward, directed the Archbishop of Canterbury to appropriate Napton church thereto. (fn. 85) Owing to a technical error this was not done until 1344, when the next Pope made the appropriation, (fn. 86) the king giving permission in 1345. (fn. 87) Richard de Napton, rector of Whilton (Northants.), relinquished all claims in certain lands, rents, and reversions in Napton to Sir John de Pulteneye in 1348. (fn. 88) This grant still did not take effect, for in 1348 John (Stratford), Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained the advowson from John de Pulteneye in exchange for that of Eastling (Kent) and was licensed to assign it to his recently founded college of chantry priests in Stratford-on-Avon parish church. (fn. 89) Archbishop Stratford died before this could be carried out, and his brother and heir, Bishop Robert Stratford of Chichester, granted the advowson to William de Shareshull, Thomas de Ludelowe and William Banastre, who in 1361 obtained licence to alienate it, with a messuage and an acre of land, to Combe Abbey. (fn. 90) This, again, seems not to have been done, for by 1367 it was in the hands of Richard, Earl of Arundel, (fn. 91) who in 1385 made the exchange mentioned above. This was apparently not to take effect till after his death, for on his attainder in 1397 it was assigned to his widow Philippa in dower. (fn. 92)

The value of the vicarage in 1535 was £9 14s., with 8s. for procurations and synodals. (fn. 93) A payment of 40s. yearly was due from the college to Coventry Priory (fn. 94) for the great tithes of 12 virgates of which the priory was 'rector' (see above). The rectory in 1535 was farmed at £20. (fn. 95) It was granted in 1575 to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, (fn. 96) and by him in 1582 to Sir John Hubaud. (fn. 97) The patronage remained with the Crown, and is now exercised by the Lord Chancellor.


Sarah Tolley, by will dated 14 January 1932, gave to the vicar and churchwardens of Napton £100, to apply the income at Christmas for the benefit, in such manner as they think proper, of ten widows, each of whom shall be aged 60 years or over and shall be a poor person residing in the parish. The annual income of the charity amounts to £3 3s. 8d.

Clara Cole by will dated 10 August 1938 bequeathed to her trustee the field known as The Hollow at Napton and the sum of £100 and directed him to carry out her wishes that the field might be used as a playing-field for the children of the village of Napton and the sum of £100 be applied for its improvement. By a Trust Deed dated 2 August 1947 the trustees named therein were appointed to be trustees of the charity called Granton Playing Field for Children of Napton.

Thomas Meddoms, by will dated 9 March 1761, gave £50 to be laid out in the purchase of land to be conveyed to the vicar and churchwardens of Napton upon trust to pay the net yearly rents and produce to such poor people of the parish as they should think proper by two equal half-yearly payments on Christmas eve and Easter eve. The endowment of the charity now consists of a sum of stock representing the investment of the proceeds of the sale of the land purchased.

It is recorded on tablets in the vestry of Napton parish church that Henry Bates left £50, the interest to be divided equally between 20 poor widows on St. Thomas's Day.

Joseph Adams in 1816 gave to the poor £10.

Unknown donors gave £12 10s.

The annual income of these charities and the charity of Thomas Meddoms amounts to £3 18s. The charities are administered by a body of trustees consisting of the vicar ex officio and four trustees appointed by the parish council.

The Rev. Coleston Carr. The Returns to Parliament under the Act of 1786 mention a rent-charge of 4s. 8d. for bread for the poor. This gift is also recorded on the benefaction table as a charge upon an estate to be distributed on St. Thomas's Day and Good Friday. The charity is administered by a like body of trustees.

Town Lands. By deed dated 15 October 1629 one half-yardland was assured upon trust to apply the rents and profits in defraying the needful and common and town charges of the town of Napton as had been theretofore accustomed. The Act for inclosing the open fields of Napton-upon-the-Hill, dated 1778, directed that the rents of land to be allotted in lieu of the half-yardland should be applied to such purposes as should be agreed upon by the major part of the inhabitants of the said parish assembled at a vestry. By an Award dated 26 July 1779 a plot of land containing 9 a. 0 r. 2 p. was awarded to trustees for the uses mentioned in the Act. The endowment of the charity now consists of 11 a. 0 r. 11 p. of land, the income thereof being laid out in the purchase of coal. This charity is also administered by a like body of trustees.

Fuel Allotment. By an Award dated 26 July 1779 land containing 12 a. 0 r. 26 p. was awarded to the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers in lieu of the right of the parishioners of cutting furze and fuel, to be let and set by such trustees, the rents and profits to be received by them and on 21 December yearly be laid out in the purchase of fuel, meat, corn, apparel, or other necessaries to be distributed amongst the industrious and honest poor of the parish not receiving collection or relief of the said parish. This charity is also administered by a like body of trustees.

Church Allotment. By the above-mentioned Award a plot of land containing 23 a. 0 r. 3 p. was awarded to the churchwardens of the parish of Napton in exchange for other lands the rents of which had always been applied to the repairs and other expenses of the church.

Charles Cox and James Whitehead (for the Poor's Charity) by an Indenture dated 28 April 1882 voluntarily granted to the then vicar, churchwardens, and the two elder overseers of the poor of the parish of Napton land containing 16 a. 3 r. 6 p. at Butt Hill, in the parish, upon trust to apply the rents for the benefit of old and deserving poor natives or inhabitants of the parish in such manner as a majority of the trustees should think fit. Four trustees of the charity are now appointed by the parish council in place of the churchwardens and the overseers.

Charles Cox and James Whitehead (for Napton Friendly Society, &c.) by Indenture dated 28 April 1882 conveyed to the then vicar, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor of the parish land called the Dairy Close or Nineteen Leys containing 11 a. in Napton upon trust to pay the net income to the treasurer or trustees of the Napton Friendly Society so long as such Society should exist for the purposes thereof, but if the Society should cease to exist as a Friendly Society then to apply the income for the benefit of old or deserving poor natives or inhabitants of the parish in such manner as a majority of the trustees should direct. The annual income of the charity is applied for the benefit of the poor of the parish and the charity is administered by the trustees of the charity of Cox and Whitehead (Poor's Charity).


  • 1. Napton 'on the Hill' is tautological, Napton itself meaning 'the settlement on the hill': Place-Names of Warws. (Engl. P.-N. Soc.), 140.
  • 2. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 35 Hen. VIII; Mich. 44–45 Eliz. and frequent later references.
  • 3. Dugd. 337. John Odams was tenant of the Prior of Coventry, who was 'rector' (i.e. owner of the tithes) of an estate in Napton: Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks. 21, fol. 230–1.
  • 4. Dugd. 338. This information was given to William Thomas by Thomas Hall, a free tenant in Button's End.
  • 5. Warw. Co. Records, iii, 304.
  • 6. Ibid. ii, 17, 38; iii, 50, 71, 194; iv, 138–9. Two hundred years later the supply of labour was again 'more than sufficient', the parish being chiefly under grass: Reports from Commissioners 1868–9, XXII, Appx. pt. ii, p. 231.
  • 7. Leadam, Domesday of Incl. 436, 650, 653.
  • 8. Slater, Engl. Peasantry and Encl. 303.
  • 9. V.C.H. Warw. i, 314.
  • 10. Ibid. 321.
  • 11. Ibid. 322. He had held it freely before 1066.
  • 12. See Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), p. 227.
  • 13. Book of Fees, 509, 514.
  • 14. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, 776 (p. 256).
  • 15. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 784; G. E. C. Compl. Peerage, 1st ed. viii, 170.
  • 16. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, 45 (p. 36).
  • 17. Ibid. xii, 321 (p. 295).
  • 18. Chan. Inq. p.m. 20 Ric. II, 14.
  • 19. Ibid. 1 Hen. V, 45.
  • 20. Dugd. 335.
  • 21. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 137.
  • 22. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, 45 (p. 36).
  • 23. Cal. Chart. R. iii, 437. The fair was held as late as 1830: West, Directory Warws. 750.
  • 24. e.g. Cal. Close, 1231–4, p. 158; ibid. 1251–3, p. 150; Cal. Pat. 1247–58, p. 648.
  • 25. Dugd. 335, quoting J. Rous.
  • 26. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2003.
  • 27. Cal. Close, 1381–5, p. 111.
  • 28. Coram Rege R. East. 2 Hen. V, m. 27.
  • 29. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2385.
  • 30. Ibid. 2457. In a suit of 1447 (De Banco R. Mich. 25 Hen. VI, m. 626 (Wm. Salt Soc., n.s. iii, 176–7)) Thomas Shukburgh, son of William, claimed to be lord and patron of the church by direct descent through Joan de Napton, William's mother, who married John de Shukburgh and was a great-granddaughter of Adam de Napton (temp. Edw. III), presumably the son of Robert, who made the settlement of the manor in 1348 (see note 26).
  • 31. Feudal Aids, v, 193.
  • 32. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxxxi, 197.
  • 33. Book of Fees, 507, 957.
  • 34. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, 679 (p. 213).
  • 35. Ibid. vi, p. 404.
  • 36. Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. iv, 58.
  • 37. Add. MS. 28024, fol. 192 v. Presumably it had been part of the Boscher fee in Ladbrook (q.v.).
  • 38. Book of Fees, 1356. Boscher's serjeanty in the 12th century was the keeping of a brachet: ibid. 1278.
  • 39. Feudal Aids, v, 194.
  • 40. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xv), 1431.
  • 41. Ibid. 1771.
  • 42. Feudal Aids, v, 193.
  • 43. Nichols, Leics. ii, 790.
  • 44. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2546.
  • 45. Nichols, Leics. iii, 1129.
  • 46. Cal. Close, 1369–74, p. 79.
  • 47. Nichols, Leics. ii, 790.
  • 48. Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Edw. IV, 45.
  • 49. Cal. Pat. 1461–7, pp. 195, 369.
  • 50. Ibid. 1476–85, p. 460.
  • 51. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xl, 100.
  • 52. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 37–8 Eliz.
  • 53. Ibid. Mich. 4 Jas. I.
  • 54. Dugd. 337, quoting MSS. penes Sir Simon Archer.
  • 55. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 16 Chas. II; Mich. 18 Chas. II.
  • 56. Dugd. 337. No reference given.
  • 57. Gamekeepers' Deputations, Shire Hall, Warwick.
  • 58. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 7 Geo. III.
  • 59. Recov. R. Mich. 23 Geo. III, ro. 359; Hil. 30 Geo. III, ro. 307.
  • 60. Gamekeepers' Deputations.
  • 61. White, Directory Warws. 694.
  • 62. Book of Fees, 583, 955.
  • 63. Feudal Aids, v, 174, 177; Dep. Keeper's Reps. xlv, Appx. 2, p. 255.
  • 64. Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks. 21, fol. 230–1.
  • 65. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 49.
  • 66. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, 293.
  • 67. See note 55 above.
  • 68. Recov. R. Mich. 6 Anne, ro. 145; East. 25 Geo. III, ro. 225; East. 50 Geo. III, ro. 8.
  • 69. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2818. John Brown of Napton, 'draper', was concerned in a discovery of treasure trove in 1416 (Cal. Pat. 1410–22, p. 50). He, or a namesake, sold some land in Napton in 1392: Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xviii), 2336.
  • 70. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, 625.
  • 71. See note 59 above.
  • 72. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxxiii, 98; ccl, 10; cclix, 26.
  • 73. Feet of F. Warw. East. 14 Chas. I.
  • 74. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 16 Eliz.; Hil. 19 Eliz.; Recov. R. Mich. 21–22 Eliz. ro. 337.
  • 75. Cal. Pat. 1467–77. pp. 64, 411.
  • 76. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.) iii. 68.
  • 77. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), p. 595.
  • 78. Tilley and Walters, Church Bells of Warws. 193.
  • 79. V.C.H. Warw. i, 314.
  • 80. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 242.
  • 81. Wm. Salt Soc. N.S. iii, 176–7.
  • 82. Cal. Pat. 1381–5, p. 527.
  • 83. De Banco R. Mich. 25 Hen. VI, m. 626.
  • 84. Nichols, Leics. iv, 319.
  • 85. Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 542.
  • 86. Ibid. iii, 139; Cal. Papal Pet. i, 37.
  • 87. Cal. Pat. 1343–5, p. 489.
  • 88. Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 523. John de Pulteney died seised of these, held of Adam de Napton, in 1349; Cal. Inq. p.m. ix, 183.
  • 89. Cal. Pat. 1348–50, p. 130.
  • 90. Ibid. 1361–4, p. 122.
  • 91. Epis. Reg. Rob. de Stratton (Wm. Salt Soc.), 127.
  • 92. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Ric. II, 137, m. 69.
  • 93. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 63.
  • 94. Ibid. 50, 61.
  • 95. Ibid. i, 387.
  • 96. Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. 5.
  • 97. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Hil. 24 Eliz.