Parishes: Southam

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

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'Parishes: Southam ', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, (London, 1951), pp. 219-226. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "Parishes: Southam ", in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, (London, 1951) 219-226. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "Parishes: Southam ", A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, (London, 1951). 219-226. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

In this section


Acreage: 3,118.

Population: 1911, 1,804; 1921, 1,744; 1931, 1,761.

Southam is a parish and small town some 6 miles south-east of Leamington Spa, with its western boundary formed by the River Itchen from Bascote on the north to the point where the Lodbrook runs into it on the south. The boundaries of the manor and parish are recited in a charter of a.d. 998, (fn. 1) and again in the Coventry Priory chartulary of c. 1410. (fn. 2) The position of many of the landmarks in each document can be identified, though the names are mostly lost and differ in each. It is remarkable that the 'elder-stub' of 998, at the extreme north of the parish, reappears in the later document as 'Eldernestubbe'; the gemyoðe, or stream-junction, figures as 'Myerbrygge' (now Myer Bridge), coccebyle as 'Cokebull hokes' (the sharply pointed south-eastern angle of the parish), yppescelf (the ridge of high land between Ladbroke and Southam) as 'Shilvesleys', and heahhewellan as 'Haywell' on the way to the Lodbrook and Itchen. Besides these two streams the River Stowe, of which the southern branch forms part of the eastern boundary, flows across the centre of the parish, passing just east and south of the town, where it is crossed by four road-bridges, to join the Itchen at Stoneythorpe. (fn. 3) Evidence of the watery nature of the district is given by field-names found in the 12th century (fn. 4) indicative of ponds, as Horsepol, Suteresmere, Saltemere, Fulmere, Hibrewell, Bibrewell, and Halewell (Holy Well still survives); or of small streams, as Nepemmebroc, Brodesiche, Stodfoldesiche, Kaldewellesiche, and Holesiche. Paths are also mentioned, as Lowewei, Wudewei, Waldwei, and a sinister Dedesmonnesweie.

At the time of the Domesday Survey there was woodland 1 league in length and half a league in breadth belonging to the manor but then 'in the King's hand'; (fn. 5) it was probably outside the parish bounds. Dugdale comments, 'but where those woods stood it is hard to find out, for now there is scarce a tree left'. (fn. 6) Just a century earlier Leland (fn. 7) had noted that the country was without wood, all 'champayne' and very good pasture and cornland. He also described Southam as 'a meane market towne of one streate, standinge somewhat clyminge on the syde of a smaulle balkynge grownde', (fn. 8) the ground rising, in fact, rapidly northwards from 250 ft. on the banks of the Stowe to nearly 300 ft. at the market-place, and then more gradually. The town developed round the intersection of several roads: Leland's 'one streate' was the main road from Oxford to Coventry; (fn. 9) this is crossed in the market-place by the road from Northampton to Warwick; and the 'Welsh Road', an ancient route from the Watling Street at Towcester to Birmingham and the west, runs through the town. Other roads of some importance, to Rugby and Kineton, branch from the Coventry and Warwick roads respectively a short distance out of the town.

The Prior of Coventry was granted in 1227 the right to hold a market on Wednesday and a fair on the feast of St. Leger (2 October) and seven days following; (fn. 10) in 1239 the market-day was changed to Monday and the fair to begin on St. George's day. (fn. 11) An additional fair on the eve, feast, and morrow of St. Peter and St. Paul (29 June) was granted in 1257. (fn. 12) Early in the 15th century the market with its tolls and court of Portemannesmote was producing 53s. 4d. yearly, and there are mentions of booths (selde) built 'below the cross in the market-place', and of 'a long building beside the churchyard made for the Drapery' and estimated as worth 40s. yearly. (fn. 13) The same rental mentions 'free burgesses in the hamlet (vico) called Neulonde'. (fn. 14) Though Southam never became a borough it was, in 1607, 'a wellknown and frequented market', (fn. 15) and Thomas Baskerville, who passed through the town in 1677, mentions a large cattle trade at the Monday market. (fn. 16) In 1790, also, it had 'a considerable market for cattle, though it is but an indifferent town'. (fn. 17) The market and a fair on 10 July (fn. 18) continued to be held until the early years of the 20th century; there was also, c. 1850, an occasional 'show fair' held in June, with a 'procession of Lady Godiva'. (fn. 19) The town itself seems to have improved in appearance and prosperity about this time. Its selection as a centre for a Union under the Poor Law of 1834 may have been a stimulus; but its distance from a railway station—Southam Road and Harbury (former G.W.R.) 3 miles, and Southam and Long Itchington (former L.M.S.) 1½ miles—has been a handicap to its development.

The village is a considerable one, spread along both sides of the main street. Most of the houses are built of red brick with tiled roofs, of late-18th-century and early-19th-century date, and in many cases earlier buildings re-fronted. Except for the Manor House and the public house called 'The Old Mint', the oldest part of the village is along a road parallel with and to the east of the main street, which has several small stone-built mid-17th-century houses and parts of others embodied in later buildings.

The Manor House occupies a corner site on Market Hill near the centre of the town and forms a residence and a chemist's shop. The north front faces the Daventry road and the west the main street. It is a two-story building with an attic, L-shaped in plan, the lower story built of stone ashlar with timber-framing above, now roughcast over. It dates from the latter half of the 16th century and has a symmetrical elevation to the north. The upper floor is slightly projected on a moulded sole-plate which is supported by four carved scroll-brackets terminating in grotesque heads, the two at the corners fixed diagonally. At each end there are gables, with moulded barge-boards projecting from the wall face on moulded tie-beams and supported at the ends by moulded brackets. The windows are placed centrally under the gables, four-light with transoms to the ground floor, five-light with transoms, which project and are supported on four brackets, to the first floor, and two-light to the attics. The groundfloor windows are of two splayed orders, the inner splay hollow, with flat heads, and in the timberframing they are of oak with moulded frames and mullions. The roof is tiled, gabled at both ends, and has a large stone central chimney-stack with four later brick chimneys set diagonally. There is a cellar to this part of the house, lighted by small two-light windows on the north and east. The west front has two gables, their barge-boards carved with running vine scrolls, mitred in the centre and supported on carved scrollbrackets. Below the gable to the north a later bay window has been inserted on the moulded sole-plate, supported on a carved bracket in the centre. Under the bay there is an original four-light transomed window, similar to those on the north front, and original two-light windows in both gables. The rest of this front is taken up by a modern door to the residence, a shop front, and a modern three-light window to the first floor. The east side has a fourlight transomed window to the ground floor, none to the upper floors. The gable has modern plain bargeboards; it retains its original scroll-brackets but its moulded tie-beam is missing. A later house has been built against the south side. Internally the original plan has been obscured by alterations, but most of the rooms have original moulded beams and on the first floor two original stone chimney-pieces with moulded four-centred heads, the outer member forming a square head with sunk spandrels, the inner continuing down the jambs to moulded stops. The fire-place to the west room has the addition of carved rosettes, one on each of the stops.

On the east side of the main street not far from the Manor House there is a public house called 'The Old Mint' built of roughly squared and coursed limestone with sandstone dressings. It has been restored and the original features are too badly decayed to give a definite date to its erection, but the general appearance suggests the beginning of the 16th century. Two stories high, with attics and a cellar to the north wing, it is L-shaped in plan, with equal arms, and has a porch in the inner angle of the L; the roofs are of steep pitch, covered with tiles, and there is a plinth of one splay. On the street front the north wing has a gabled end and is lighted by two single windows to the cellar, three-light to the ground and first floors, and a twolight to the attic; all have flat heads and hood-moulds with return ends to the upper floors. The porch is gabled and carried up the full height of the building, but its door is covered by a modern one-story porch. Above, there is a two-light window with a moulded panel over the window head and a single light in the gable. The doorway has a four-centred arch of one splay carried down to splayed stops. At the back a later chimney-stack has been built against the gabled end of the north wing, blocking one light of a three-light window on the first floor; the three-light window below is modern but has its original hood-moulds. The south wing has a four-light window to the ground floor and a two-light above, with one blocked. The doorway is similar to the one at the front but with its arch renewed. The north side on the ground floor has two two-light windows with a modern single light between them; and above, one original small square window of two splays and two later single lights. Internally the partitions to the upper floor are timberframed, the ceiling beams moulded, and also the mullions and heads of the windows. The ground floor has been adapted to suit the business, but retains a good 17th-century staircase from the ground floor to the attic. It has moulded strings, panelled newel-post with ball finials, turned balusters, moulded handrails and pendants. There is a gable end to the south wing but it has a later building against it.

The rental of c. 1410 (fn. 20) shows that the arable lay in two fields, a virgate consisting of 40 acres, half in each field. The demesne included 493 acres of arable, of which approximately half was sown each year, and 44 acres of meadow. The pasture was mostly along the stream (now called the Stowe), in which the prior had fishing rights, as also on one bank of the Itchen. The water-mill at this time was completely wrecked, but the wind- and horse-mills were worth £6 13s. 4d. Ogilby's road map (fn. 21) in 1695 shows the town surrounded by common fields, and this condition continued for nearly a century, until in 1760 an Inclosure Act was passed affecting 2,200 acres, in 50 yardlands. (fn. 22)

When Charles I visited Southam in 1641 the church bells were not rung at either his arrival or departure, for which offence the king's 'footmen' locked up the church and had to be bribed to open it. (fn. 23) It is therefore rather surprising to find Nehemiah Wharton in August 1642 describing the place as 'a very malignant towne, both minister and people. We pillaged the minister and tooke from him a drum and severall armes.' (fn. 24) This minister was Francis Holyoake, (fn. 25) distinguished as a lexicographer, who had been rector since 1605. He retained the living until 1647, in which year he was sequestrated for urging his people to join the royal forces, but, in view of his being 80, was granted £60 pension. He died in 1653.

Two of the church bells were broken during the Civil War and were repaired for £12; (fn. 26) about the same time (1651–9) the general repair of the church was undertaken, leading to disputes as to the contributions towards this. (fn. 27) A fire in the tannery of William Mason in 1657 spread to three adjoining houses and caused over £250 damage; (fn. 28) there was another serious fire in February 1742. (fn. 29) Presbyterianism was strong in 1672, when Samuel Bryan, (fn. 30) a former rector of Allesley, had licence to preach and the houses of Robert Marsh and Jonathan Wye were licensed for worship. (fn. 31) There are now Congregational and Methodist chapels, dating from 1832 and 1853 respectively, and a Roman Catholic school (1898) and chapel (1925). The first self-supporting public dispensary in England was started at Southam in 1823 by Mr. Henry Lilley Smith, who also established an ear and eye infirmary, whose building was 'highly ornamental to the town'. (fn. 32)

Among notable persons connected with Southam are Augustine Bernher, (fn. 33) the faithful companion of Bishop Latimer and other Protestant martyrs. He was rector of Southam in 1562, when he published Latimer's sermons, (fn. 34) and at his death in 1566; (fn. 35) and Timothy Hall (? 1637–90) 'one of the meanest and most obscure of the city divines', who was ejected from the rectory under the Act of Uniformity but was later appointed by James II as Bishop of Oxford. (fn. 36)

Thomas Abbotts, Thomas Pratt, and James Baldwin, three Southam men who served in the Crimean War, are commemorated by a small memorial against the outer wall of the south aisle of the church. The firstnamed was killed at the battle of the Alma.


SOUTHAM was originally royal property, a charter of Ethelred 'the Unready' being preserved wherein, in 998, he granted it to Earl Leofwine, (fn. 37) whose son Leofric included it in his original endowment of Coventry Priory in 1043. (fn. 38) The Domesday assessment was 4 hides; there were two mills worth 4s. The woodland, said to be a league long by half a league broad, was in the king's hands. (fn. 39) Southam remained a manor of Coventry Priory, held in chief of the king, up to the Dissolution. (fn. 40) The prior was in 1257 granted free warren here and in other estates. (fn. 41) In 1291 the Coventry temporalities at Southam amounted to 4 carucates, worth £1 each, £20 6s. annually in rents, the two mills, now assessed at 10s., livestock of £2 value, and 13s. 4d. from perquisites of courts. (fn. 42) In 1353 the priory was in debt to Isabelle, widow of Edward II, and the sheriff delivered to her steward, John le Bruyn, 10s. worth of hay, standing corn to the value of £44 12s., half the mowinggrass and half the boon-works of the tenants, worth 20s. and 6s. 8d. respectively, which he sold to William de Catesby with a lease of a moiety of the manor as delivered to the queen by the sheriff, for her term therein, for £27 2s. 10¼d. yearly. (fn. 43)

In 1199 William de Suham granted to the priory, for a consideration of 3 marks, 19 acres of land and 2 of meadow, and a mill; (fn. 44) part of this was leased back to him or his namesake in 1227 for 3s. yearly rent. (fn. 45) In 1253 Prior William allowed rights of common of pasture as between Southam and Radbourne to William de Ardern of Radbourne, from the meadow of Henry de Lodbroc as far as a field called Cockesbyle, as the road stretches from Marston westwards, for 2s. a year. (fn. 46) A further dispute on the same matter occurred in 1262, when the prior summoned Adam de Napton and 25 others to show by what right they demanded common in his lands when he had none in theirs and they were not his tenants. He granted them, subject to various restrictions, all the pasture called la Waude. (fn. 47) Licences to alienate in mortmain to Coventry Priory in Southam were granted in 1290 to Robert de Stoke for 4 messuages, 80 acres of land and 40 of meadow, and 24s. rent; (fn. 48) in 1309 to Robert de Undele for a messuage and 6 acres of land; (fn. 49) and several other times in the 14th century. (fn. 50) The manor had become a very valuable one by 1535, the priory deriving no less than £55 4s. 4d. revenue from Southam, (fn. 51) not including £5 for the farm of the manor, paid to the steward of the monastery, (fn. 52) and rents of £1 4s. 4d. assigned to the pitancer. (fn. 53)

In 1542 the manor was granted in fee to Sir Edmund Knightley and Lady Ursula his wife. (fn. 54) He died the same year without surviving issue, his heirs being his five nieces—Joan, wife of John Knottesforth, and formerly of George Lumley; Susan, later the wife of Richard Langtree; Anne, wife of George Throckmorton, and afterwards of Thomas Porter of Ettington; Mary, wife of Bartholomew Hussey, and later of Thomas Spenser; and Frances, later the wife of James Duffield. (fn. 55) Mary and Frances were at that time minors, and their shares were put in custody of John, Lord Russell, (fn. 56) who granted the rents arising therefrom to Robert Burgoyne of Wroxall, one of the commissioners in Warwickshire for the suppression of the monasteries. (fn. 57) Frances and James Duffield, and Anne and her second husband Thomas Porter had licence in 1549 and 1550 respectively to settle their estates on themselves and their heirs. (fn. 58) After 1583, when Susan Langtree died without issue, (fn. 59) her share was re-allotted and the descent of Southam manor continued in quarters and fractions of a quarter.

John Knottesforth had no children by Joan Knightley, the eldest of the heiresses, her share devolving on John, Lord Lumley, her son by her first husband. (fn. 60) He passed it to Henry Bromley in 1586. (fn. 61) Susan Knightley's share has already been dealt with. Anne's came to Fulk Porter, her son by her second husband. (fn. 62) Fulk died in 1570, his successor being his brother Simon, then aged 19. (fn. 63) Simon, with his son Thomas, in 1605 made a 1000-year lease of his quarter of the manor for 44s. annual rent. (fn. 64) Sir Thomas had livery of it in 1619–20, (fn. 65) and made a settlement in 1634. (fn. 66) This quarter continued in the Porter family, (fn. 67) in 1689 being conveyed by Poyntz Porter to William Price, (fn. 68) presumably on lease or mortgage, as Poyntz was 'late lord' in 1721 and 'Mrs Porter, of Coventry' was stated to hold a quarter of the manorial rights as late as 1730. (fn. 69)

Though Anne Throckmorton's share devolved on the descendants of her marriage to Thomas Porter, the Haseley branch of the Throckmorton family acquired two of the other shares, Clement Throckmorton having obtained the Duffield fifth before his death in 1573, (fn. 70) and his son Job the Hussey portion in 1582. (fn. 71) Job held two-fourths of the manor of the Crown at his death in 1601, (fn. 72) his son Clement, then a minor, obtaining livery thereof the following year. (fn. 73) He and his son, another Clement, were dealing with their part of the manor in 1620 and 1626. (fn. 74)

After the middle of the 17th century it becomes difficult to trace the succession of the various fractions of the manor. The Throckmorton half had by 1721 come to the Earls Craven, (fn. 75) who are mentioned as lords at various times up to the end of the 18th century. (fn. 76) The Hanslap family, some of whom are described as of Southam in the 1619 Visitation, (fn. 77) had interests there from 1597. (fn. 78) Nicholas Hanslap, who died in 1624, held a messuage and property in Oldford Leyes, Berry Parke, Shelves, and other localities of Clement Throckmorton and others as of their manor of Southam; (fn. 79) some of this he bequeathed to his second son Robert, (fn. 80) the remainder going to his eldest son Richard, who had received one-sixteenth of the manorial rights from Thomas Hopton and others in 1631 (fn. 81) and on whose death in 1636 his son, another Richard, had livery of his father's various estates, described as an eighth part of the manor. (fn. 82) A quarter of this, i.e. a thirty-second part of the manor, was passed by the younger Richard Hanslap and Dorothy his wife to Robert Hanslap in 1656. (fn. 83)

In 1730 the distribution of manorial rights in Southam was stated to be: the Earl of Craven 16 parts (out of 32), Mrs. Porter of Coventry 8, Mr. Rogers of Southam 3, Mr. Atkins of Southam 2, and Messrs. Jackson and Brafeild of Southam and Heath of Warwick 1 each. (fn. 84) Soon after this an unspecified part was in the hands of the Brockhurst and Packwood families, (fn. 85) Thomas Brockhurst holding manorial rights in 1750, and Mary Packwood in 1762. (fn. 86) By 1850 the manor was divided between Henry Thomas Chamberlayne of Stoney Thorpe, Mr. A. N. Nourse, and the Rev. Thomas Lea. (fn. 87) Mr. W. T. Chamberlayne, the eldest son of the first-named, succeeded to part of the manorial rights, but by 1900 these had become obsolescent, no courts having been held for many years. (fn. 88) Such rights as survived were shared in 1924 between Mrs. E. M. Chamberlayne and Mrs. T. French. (fn. 89)


The church of ST. JAMES, to the west of the town, stands on a mound towards the east of a large churchyard. It is entered by a modern timber lych-gate, with an avenue of lime-trees to the north porch, and also by a gate on the south. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north aisle to chancel, west tower, north and south porches and a vestry. The present church dates from the 14th century; in the 15th century a spire was added to the tower, the aisles nearly doubled in width, the chancel rebuilt, and early in the 16th century the aisle roofs were lowered to enable a clearstory to be added. Within recent times an aisle was added on the north side of the chancel, together with a vestry, which is entered from it, the south porch and the north wall of the north aisle were rebuilt. A great deal of restoration has been carried out including the spire, the upper part of which appears to have been rebuilt with a light-coloured sandstone.

The chancel has a modern tiled roof, with rebuilt gables and modern copings and finials. The east wall has been largely refaced, the buttresses rebuilt, and the moulded plinth renewed; it is lighted by a pointed window of four trefoil lights and moulded tracery with a hood-mould having head-stops. The south side has three windows of two splays with an outer rollmoulding and three pointed lights, the centre lights trefoil and the others ogee-headed. The sill of the centre window has been raised to allow for a doorway below, which has an ogee head of one splay; the window to the west is a modern replica of the other two. The north side has a modern vestry (fn. 90) built against it with a window of three narrow trefoil lights on the east, and a door with pointed trefoiled head and a hoodmould with floriated stops; in the gable is a single trefoil light. At the junction of the chancel with the east wall of the south aisle there is a projection, weathered at the top, for the staircase to the rood-loft, lit by a small trefoil loop-light.

The south aisle has a modern three-light east window with a segmental-pointed arch and hood-mould with floriated stops; the south wall has a plinth of one splay, coved eaves course with paterae in the hollow, and a low-pitched lead-covered roof. There are buttresses at each angle and another between the two windows to the east; the most easterly window is a modern one of three pointed lights, with a segmental pointed arch of two splays with hood-mould having head-stops. The two remaining windows, one on each side of the porch, are traceried, with pointed arches of two splayed orders and two pointed trefoil lights. The porch, stone-paved with seats each side, is modern, with a pointed entrance arch on attached shafts with floriated capitals and moulded bases, twin trefoil lights under square heads on either side, a tiled roof, buttresses at the angles, and a moulded plinth. The doorway has a pointed moulded arch with a large roll in a hollow splay, no doubt taken from the earlier aisle wall and re-used. A later hood-mould has been added. The west wall shows the line of the earlier steep-pitched roof of the narrower aisle and has a modern three-light tracery window with a pointed arch, and hood-mould with floriated stops, and a plinth of one splay. The clearstory, dating from the early 16th century, consists on both sides of a series of eight two-light windows in deep hollow splays, with four-centred heads, pointed cinquefoil lights with four trefoil lights in the tracery, and a continuous hood-moulding. Below the sills of each of the lights there are panels having flat cinquefoil heads with floriated terminals to the cusps, except the end panels on the north side, which have cinquefoil ogee heads and tracery, and on the south side a similar tracery panel below the fifth window from the west. Above the windows there is a plain parapet resting on a coved string-course to the low-pitched lead-covered roof of the nave. The north aisle has a low-pitched lead-covered roof with eaves, and a plinth of one splay. Its north wall has been almost entirely rebuilt, including the buttresses at the ends and another between the two windows to the east; these two windows are of three trefoil ogee lights under flat heads with hood-moulds and head-stops. The porch, also modern, has a tiled roof, angle buttresses, and single trefoil lights, one on either side. The entrance has a pointed arch, the mouldings carried down the jambs to splayed stops, and a hood-mould. The doorway has a pointed arch of two orders, the outer a wave, the inner a roll which has small moulded capitals; it was no doubt taken from the earlier aisle wall and re-used. The west wall has built into it the remains of several decayed and defaced monuments; it has a moulded plinth, stopping at the point where the rebuilding of the north wall commences, and a modern pointed tracery window of two cinquefoil ogee lights with a hood-mould. The chancel aisle has buttresses at the angles, and tracery windows of two trefoil lights and hood-moulds.

The tower has a lofty octagonal spire which was added in the 15th century, starting from a hollowmoulded string-course, with a series of carved heads in its hollow, that formed the base of the original parapet. The west side has massive diagonal buttresses rising in five weathered stages, rebuilt above the lower stages in red sandstone, probably when the spire was built. The buttresses on the east side are overlapped by the nave and aisle walls. The west door is a later insertion with a moulded flat shouldered head which also forms the sill of a window having two pointed trefoil lights under a moulded ogee head, with a hoodmould having a floriated finial and stops; only the jambs are original. On the south side there is a looplight to the ringing-chamber. The belfry windows are of two trefoil lights under a sharply pointed arch of two orders, a splay and outer wave-moulding. The spire, which terminates in a vane representing a cock, is divided into three by two string-courses and rises from the original string-course and from steeply splayed angles, the splays terminating in tall square panelled piers having attached shafts at each angle with moulded capitals, trefoil-headed panels, crocketed gabled heads and pinnacles, both with floriated finials. Immediately above the first string, on the cardinal faces, there are two-light trefoil openings with pierced quatrefoils, under gabled heads, and above the second string, on the half-cardinal sides, small gabled spire lights with foliated finials.

Internally the floors are paved with stone slabs throughout, many of them memorial slabs; the walls, except in the tower, are plastered, and all the seating is modern.

The chancel (41 ft. by 19 ft. 9 in.) has a modern open trussed rafter roof, and a modern altar-table, with two steps to the rail and two to the altar. The east window has a pointed rear-arch and below there is a modern stone panelled reredos. On the south the three windows repeat their outside mouldings and arches; the door under the centre window has a segmental rear-arch. Close to the east wall is an ogee-headed piscina with a mutilated basin, and at the west a narrow 14th-century doorway, high up, with a moulded three-centred head, giving access to a modern rood-loft. The north side has a modern arcade of two bays of moulded pointed arches resting on a pier of four clustered shafts with moulded capitals and bases with responds of half the centre pier; a hood-moulding is continued over both arches to head-stops at the ends.

The nave (52 ft. 6 in. by 22 ft. 4 in.) has two steps to the chancel and, placed on the north side of the chancel arch, is an early-17th-century octagonal pulpit, with tracery-headed panels, on a panelled octagonal base. Both arcades are of four bays of pointed arches of two splayed orders supported on octagonal pillars with moulded capitals, splayed bases and a continuous hood-moulding with modern head-stops inserted in the mitres above the capitals. The responds represent half-pillars. The mouldings on the capitals vary between two types, and the arch splays to the two east bays of the south arcade are hollow, in the next the outer splay only is hollow, and the remainder all have plain splays. On the west face of the pillar at the eastern end of the south arcade there is a carved stone bracket. The hood-moulds and capitals to the western bay have been partly cut away for a gallery, which has since been removed. The chancel arch is pointed, of two splayed orders continued to the ground on the nave side, and on the chancel side the outer splay dies out on the walls. The tower arch is pointed, with two splayed orders to the nave, and three to the tower, all of them dying out on the tower walls. On either side of the tower arch there are traces of painted decoration and fragments of texts. The clearstories are a repeat of the exterior, except for the omission of the tracery from the one traceried panel on the south side. The roof is contemporary with the clearstory and consists of three main trusses, with two wall and four intermediate trusses. The main trusses have moulded tiebeams with curved brackets, their spandrels filled in with open tracery, five posts supporting the ridge and four moulded purlins, with curved brackets from the centre post to the ridge and, between the posts, open traceried panels. The wall trusses are similar but the tie-beams are embattled and decorated with a band of sunk quatrefoils. The intermediate trusses are formed by trussed rafters of heavier scantling than the common rafters. At all the junctions of the purlins and ridge there are carved bosses, Tudor roses to the end bays, angels to the ridge, and the remainder foliated. All of the brackets to the main trusses are supported on carved stone corbels in pairs; to the west truss angels holding plain shields, the centre truss holding crowns, the east truss holding scrolls, and to both the wall trusses grotesque human faces. The rafters rest on moulded and embattled wall-plates, concealed in places by plaster panels between the timbers.

The south aisle (54 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 1 in.) has a roof, probably dating from the 17th century, consisting of heavy chamfered beams with brackets supported on plain corbels on the south wall and arcade except the beam to the east, which has early-16th-century carvedhead corbels at both ends. In widening the aisle a good deal of the earlier material was re-used, including a piscina at the east end of the south wall with a moulded trefoil head, fluted basin and a small carved-head bracket at the back of the recess; also two tomb recesses with moulded pointed arches, the one to the east having a roll-moulding carried down as a short shaft with a moulded base but no capital; the adjoining one is similar but with floriated capitals to the shafts. There is a continuous hood-moulding to the arcade arches with a head-stop at the east end, but the corresponding one at the west end is missing. In the east wall close to the arcade respond there is a narrow 14thcentury doorway to the rood-loft stairs, now used for a modern rood; it has a moulded three-centred head, continued down the jambs to splayed stops. The east bay is now in use as a chapel, with a modern altar-table and rail with one step. There is a segmental-pointed rear-arch to the east window, segmental to the window at the east end of the south wall, and pointed to the remainder, all with splayed recesses. The re-used doorway has a stop-chamfered segmental rear-arch and on either side of it there are oak chests, one with iron straps and three original locks is dated 160–; the other, also 17th-century, has scalloped edges and is bound with iron straps, fitted with four locks and hasps, one of the locks an 18th-century replacement, the hasp original. It stands on moulded feet, and is fitted with iron lifting-rings at each end. The font, placed just west of the door, is a modern one of stone with an octagonal basin, carved on each face, standing on an octagonal stem moulded at the base.

The north aisle (52 ft. 3 in. by 18 ft. 3 in.) has a modern roof, and an arch opening into the chancel aisle, of two moulded orders, the inner supported on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Over the arcade arches there is a continuous hood-moulding with stops at each end. Both the square-headed windows have chamfered segmental rear-arches, the remaining window pointed and the door a segmental one.

The chancel aisle (26 ft. 5 in. by 15 ft. 10 in.) has, on the east wall, six mural tablets of the 18th and 19th centuries to members of the Chamberlayne family of Stoneythorpe, removed from the south wall of the chancel in 1854; on the other walls there are three hatchments. The organ is placed in the west bay of the arcade. The vestry has a small angle fireplace and an open trussed rafter roof.

The tower (9 ft. 10 in. by 8 ft. 6 in.) is unplastered and the window has a deep splayed recess which has been carried down to include the inserted doorway.

The plate consists of a silver flagon 1819, a silver chalice of the 16th century with the cover missing, a silver paten, a small silver paten and a silver chalice of 1633 inscribed: 'This cup is the gift of certayne godly persons whose names are these Nicholas Hanslap, gent. payed 40 shillings for the gift of his father Mr. Robert Han: and his grandmother Mrs. E. L. Han: Richard Hanslap junior, gent. 20 shillings for the gift of his father Ro: Edm: and his brother Tho: Edm: Job Hill 20 shillings for the gift of his mother E: H:'

There are six bells: (fn. 91) (1) originally of 1596, recast by G. Mears & Co in 1863, when (2) was added; (3) by Hugh Watts, 1613, also recast in 1863; (4) Hugh Watts, 1615; (5) John Martin of Worcester, 1650; (6) Henry Bagley, 1676.

The registers begin in 1539.


Southam being a Coventry Priory manor, the patronage of the church was in the hands of the prior up to the Reformation. In 1248 the priory assigned to the dean and chapter of Lichfield £20 in pensions out of the church of Southam instead of from that of St. Michael, Coventry. (fn. 92) In 1291 the church was worth £6 13s. 4d. in addition to this pension. (fn. 93) About a hundred years later (1387) it was alleged that the chapter had purchased this £20 as an annual rent from the priory, who held the church directly of the king, without royal licence, and it was taken into the king's hands. (fn. 94)

The church was not appropriated to the priory till 1452, when a vicarage was endowed with £8 a year, and additional pensions of 2s. and 20d. were reserved to the bishop and archdeacon respectively; (fn. 95) but this appropriation, if ever effected, must soon have been given up, as in 1535, when the rectory was worth £22 17s. 4d. clear, there is no mention of a vicarage. By this time the pension payable to Lichfield, which was still £20 in 1463, (fn. 96) had been reduced to £10. (fn. 97)

The first presentation (1549) after the Dissolution was made by the Crown; (fn. 98) in theory, portions of the advowson were transferred with and followed the descent of the various portions of the manor, but up to the beginning of the 17th century the patronage was exercised by the Throckmortons of Haseley, who had accumulated half the manorial rights, or their nominees. The presentation of 1662, the first one recorded since 1604, was made by Richard Porter of Ettington, Nicholas Hanslap, and John Brayfeild of Southam, (fn. 99) all members of families that held other fractions of the manorial rights. From 1682 the advowson has been held by the Crown.


William Dunn by will dated 30 September 1858 bequeathed to the rector and churchwardens of Southam £10, the interest to be laid out in bread to be distributed in Easter week amongst the poor widows inhabiting the parish.

The Returns to Parliament under Gilbert's Act, 26 Geo. III state that—

Henry Edmunds gave by deed in 1650, and by will in 1652, land for clothing 10 poor men.

Alice Goode, by will in 1727, gave £5 for bread to poor widows.

Alice Southam, by will dated 18 January 1828, gave £5 for bread to poor widows.

Martha Spraggett, by will dated 30 December 1847, bequeathed £50 to the minister and churchwardens of Southam to apply the interest on New Year's day in buying coals, clothing, or bread to be distributed amongst ten poor persons residing in the parish.

William Simpson by will dated 13 November 1854 bequeathed £200, the interest to be annually applied in the purchase of coals to be distributed on the anniversary of his death amongst the poor of the parish, a preference being given to the aged widows and married poor having large families to maintain. The testator's estate was insufficient for the payment of all the legacies in full and this charitable legacy was abated to the sum of £111 2s. 1d. pursuant to an Order of the Master of the Rolls dated 16 January 1870.

Town Lands. By indentures of feoffment dated 26 March 38 Eliz. four messuages and half one yardland of arable, meadow, and pasture ground lying in the town fields of Southam, and also five other messuages and one yardland of arable, meadow, and pasture ground there, were conveyed to trustees for the relief of the poor of the town of Southam and towards repairing the bridges and highways in the said town. By a subsequent decree under a Commission of Charitable Uses filed in Chancery 20 and 21 Charles II it was ordered that these nine messuages and land, called Town Lands, shall be employed for the relief of the poor of the said parish and for the maintenance of the highways and bridges.

The above-mentioned charities are now regulated by schemes of the Charity Commissioners dated 4 October 1910 and 31 August 1923 under the title of the United Charities. The schemes appoint a body of trustees to administer the charities and contain provisions for the application of the income of the charities which amount to £133 approximately.

William Simpson by will dated 13 November 1854 bequeathed to the rector and churchwardens £100, the interest to be applied annually in support of a church choir. The testator's estate was insufficient for the payment of all the legacies in full and this charitable legacy was abated to £55 11s. 1d. pursuant to an Order of the Master of the Rolls dated 16 January 1870. The annual income of the charity amounts to £1 9s. 8d.

Margaret Keenan by codicil dated 21 October 1898 to her will dated 22 March 1897 directed her trustee to invest £275 and pay the interest for the maintenance and support of an orphan in the Southam Roman Catholic Orphanage. By an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 27 March 1908 the Mother Superior and the Treasurer of the Orphanage were appointed to be trustees for the administration of the charity, of which the income amounts to £8 8s. 8d.

Rebecca Toomer by will dated 29 April 1884 gave the residue of her estate unto the five churches therein mentioned including Southam. The share of the charity for this parish is regulated by a scheme of the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) dated 9 January 1889 which provides that the trustees should be the rector and churchwardens and that the income, which amounts to £26 7s. 4d., shall be applied in the maintenance of the fabric of the church and of the services of the church, and of the furniture thereof.

The Rev. William Lilley Smith by will dated 2 March 1893 bequeathed to the trustees of the Smith Memorial Charity (otherwise known as 'Southam Eye and Ear Infirmary') at Southam £3,000 towards establishing in the buildings of the said Charity a Sanatorium and Nursing Home, or for other purposes as mentioned therein; upon condition that they place or allow to be placed on the stone pedestal erected by the testator in the grounds of the Institution to mark the site of the first Provident Dispensary in the United Kingdom the inscription which he thereinafter directed should be so placed. A scheme established by the Charity Commissioners on 28 June 1898 provided that the charity and the endowment thereof, consisting of the sum of £3,000, shall be administered by the trustees thereof (being the body of trustees constituted by a scheme of the said Commissioners of 22 November 1878 of the charity known as the Southam Infirmary for Diseases of the Eye and Ear established in memory of Henry Lilley Smith, late of Southam, surgeon). The income can now be applied to the support of any eye and ear hospital in England or Wales. The scheme further provides that a yearly sum of not less than £25 and not more than £35 out of the net income of the charity shall be applied towards the maintenance of a nurse at Southam for the benefit of the poor of the parish and neighbourhood. The testator also gave to the said trustees £200, the income to be applied in keeping in good repair the memorial stone upon the Infirmary Buildings, and the pedestal (mentioned above) lately erected by himself, and in planting and keeping up the ornamental grounds in front of the Infirmary Buildings. By a scheme of the said Commissioners dated 13 March 1908 it was provided that the trustees shall appropriate a small piece of land as a site for the said memorial pedestal stone and vase.

Recreation Ground. By an Indenture dated 29 November 1923 Arthur Turner conveyed to the parish council of Southam the piece of land called Bury Orchard upon trust to hold the same for such purposes as the council may resolve upon for the benefit of the inhabitants of the parish of Southam or any part thereof.

Sarah Chamberlayne. A scheme for the application of the Residuary Charitable Gift contained in the will of Sarah Chamberlayne dated 13 January 1858 was approved by the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice on 22 December 1894. By the scheme a body of trustees was appointed to administer the income, and it was provided that subject to certain payments and events the income be applied (a) in the payment to ten poor widows or unmarried women not under the age of 50 years, or poor aged men, or crippled, or blind, or deaf and dumb males or females belonging to this parish, of the monthly sum of not exceeding £1 each; (b) in the payment to two of the said ten poor women or other persons or person, as the case may require, resident in the parish, the monthly sum of 15s. each, in order that each of them may board and maintain, take care of and keep one poor child who shall have lost both its parents, or who shall be blind, or crippled, or infirm, whether in body or mind, to be named by the trustees. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 3 November 1916 it was provided that the maximum sum payable to the ten poor widows as mentioned in (a) above be increased from £1 to £1 1s. 8d., and by another scheme of the said Commissioners dated 12 April 1927 it was provided that if and so far as the trustees are unable to apply the sum of £18 as provided in (b) above they may apply it in such manner as they consider most advantageous for the benefit of any poor child or children possessing the required qualifications.


  • 1. Napier and Stevenson, Crawford Charters, viii. Cf. Place-Names of Warws. 144, n. 2.
  • 2. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 21, fol. 266.
  • 3. An Inquiry in 1397 showed that the bridge at Stoneythorpe had been made by private effort, 'out of devotion', for footpassengers and pack-horses, but not carts, and that therefore the Prior of Coventry had no responsibility for its upkeep: Public Works (Selden Soc.), ii, 225.
  • 4. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 81, 156, 158, 159.
  • 5. V.C.H. Warw. i, 305.
  • 6. Dugd. 338.
  • 7. Itin. (ed. Toulmin Smith), ii, 109.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. See Ogilby's Britannia (1675), pl. 82.
  • 10. Cal. Chart. R. i, 6.
  • 11. Ibid. 242.
  • 12. Ibid. 472.
  • 13. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 21, fol. 262.
  • 14. Ibid. 260 v.
  • 15. Camden, Britannica (1806), ii. 443.
  • 16. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii (2), 290.
  • 17. England's Gazeteer.
  • 18. i.e. 29 June, old style.
  • 19. White, Direct. of Warws.
  • 20. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 21, fol. 258–62.
  • 21. Britannia, pl. 82.
  • 22. Slater, Engl. Peasantry and Encl. 302.
  • 23. Tilley and Walters, Church Bells of Warws. 221.
  • 24. Archaeologia, xxxv, 316.
  • 25. Dict. Nat. Biog.; Matthews, Walker Revised, 363.
  • 26. Warw. Co. Records, iii, 105.
  • 27. Ibid. iii, 61; iv, 74, 145, 159. In 1674 the overseers were ordered to remove Susanna Russell, a pauper who had taken up residence in the church: ibid. vii, 21.
  • 28. Ibid. iv, 21.
  • 29. Gent. Mag. 1825 (1), 226.
  • 30. See, Matthews, Calamy Revised, 84.
  • 31. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, pp. 575, 578.
  • 32. White, Directory of Warws.
  • 33. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 34. Sermons of Bp. Latimer (Parker Soc.), 325.
  • 35. Dugd. 339.
  • 36. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 37. Crawford Chart. (ed. Napier and Stephenson), viii.
  • 38. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iii, 191.
  • 39. V.C.H. Warw. i, 305.
  • 40. e.g. Feudal Aids, v, 177; Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Ric. II, 63.
  • 41. Cal. Chart. R. i, 472.
  • 42. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 254.
  • 43. Cat. Anct. Deeds, v, A. 10715.
  • 44. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 28.
  • 45. Ibid. 413.
  • 46. Ibid. 730. For 'Cockesbyle' see above.
  • 47. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 790.
  • 48. Cal. Pat. 1281–92, p. 384.
  • 49. Ibid. 1307–13, p. 162.
  • 50. Ibid. 1317–21, pp. 140, 532; 1330–4, p. 169; 1354–8, p. 174.
  • 51. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 49.
  • 52. Ibid. 50.
  • 53. Ibid.
  • 54. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, 285 (6).
  • 55. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxx, 23. Cf. V.C.H. Northants. Families, 182.
  • 56. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (2), 496 (67).
  • 57. Ibid. xxi (2), 1.
  • 58. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, pp. 49, 357; Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 3 and East. 4 Edw. VI.
  • 59. Baker, Northants. i, 382.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Pat. 27 Eliz. pt. 8; Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 28 Eliz. It was probably this share, or part thereof, that passed to the Hanslap family in the 17th century.
  • 62. Dugd. 338.
  • 63. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clix, 82.
  • 64. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 3 Jas. I.
  • 65. Fine R. 17 Jas. I, pt. 3, no. 16.
  • 66. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 10 Chas. I.
  • 67. Ibid. Trin. 16 Chas. I; Trin. 23 Chas. II.
  • 68. Ibid. East. 4 Jas. II.
  • 69. Dugd. 338.
  • 70. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxii, 143; Pat. 21 Eliz. pt. 5.
  • 71. Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 24 Eliz.
  • 72. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclxiii, 9.
  • 73. Fine R. 44 Eliz. pt. 1, no. 25.
  • 74. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 18 Jas. I and Mich. 2 Chas. I.
  • 75. Ibid. Div. Cos. East. 7 Geo. I.
  • 76. Dugd. 338; Gamekeepers' Deputations (1749, 1773), Shire Hall, Warwick; Recov. R. Mich. 10 Geo. III, ro. 299, and Trin. 35 Geo. III, ro. 131.
  • 77. Harl. Soc. xii, 257.
  • 78. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 39–40 Eliz.
  • 79. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccciv, 115.
  • 80. Ibid. ccccxlviii, 90.
  • 81. Feet of F. Warw. East. 6 Chas. I.
  • 82. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dliv, 55; Fine R. 13 Chas. I, pt. 1, no. 40.
  • 83. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 1656; Recov. R. Mich. 1656, ro. 166.
  • 84. Dugd. 338. John Brafeild was a churchwarden in 1652: Warw. Co. Records, iii. 105.
  • 85. Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 6–7 Geo. II; Mich. 12 Geo. II; Mich. 14 Geo. II.
  • 86. Gamekeepers' Deputations.
  • 87. White, Directory Warws. 698.
  • 88. Kelly, Directory Warws.
  • 89. Manorial List (P.R.O.).
  • 90. The drawing of the church c. 1820 in the Aylesford Collection shows a building on the north of the chancel and at right angles to it, apparently of two stories, with windows of a domestic type and a chimney by the apex of the north gable. It looks as if it may have been a schoolhouse.
  • 91. Tilley and Walters, Church Bells of Warws. 220–1.
  • 92. Dugd. 338–9, quoting MSS. of Lichfield Dean and Chapter.
  • 93. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 241.
  • 94. Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Ric. II, 63.
  • 95. Dugd. 339; Cal. Pat. 1446–52, p. 564.
  • 96. Dugd. 339.
  • 97. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 62, 133.
  • 98. Dugd. 340.
  • 99. 'Mr Brafeild' held one-thirtysecond of the manor in 1730: ibid. 338.