Parishes: Stoneleigh

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

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'Parishes: Stoneleigh', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman( London, 1951), British History Online [accessed 21 July 2024].

'Parishes: Stoneleigh', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Edited by L F Salzman( London, 1951), British History Online, accessed July 21, 2024,

"Parishes: Stoneleigh". A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Ed. L F Salzman(London, 1951), , British History Online. Web. 21 July 2024.

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Acreage: 10,031 (now 6,381).

Population: 1911, 1,400; 1921, 1,893; 1931 (modern parish, 897).

This large parish, formerly 6 miles in depth from north to south, with a breadth of 5 miles in the south and 2 miles in the north, lies to the west and south of the city of Coventry, into which much of it has been absorbed in recent years. The northern portion of the parish was constituted the ecclesiastical parish of Westwood in 1846, with the church of St. John the Baptist, built of stone in the Early English style on a site given by Lord Leigh and largely at his expense. Westwood, with its hamlets of Fletchamstead, Canley, and Tile Hill, was included within the city boundary in 1927, and other parts of the parish were added under the Coventry Extension Act of 1931. (fn. 1)

A perambulation of Stoneleigh, (fn. 2) apparently made at the end of the 14th century, gives the northern boundary as the Allesley Brook as far as the end of 'Copyleslone [Cuphill Lane] by the gallows of Allesley', down that lane, which divides it from the manor of Cheylesmore, by the little stream of 'Whiskeresyche' past 'Horewell' [Hearsall], down another stream to 'the way between Ashul and Nytynggalelane' and so to the road which divides 'Helynhull' [in Hill] from Stivichall. Then by the 'Merdenesyche' (fn. 3) into the River Sowe and down that river to the lower mill of Baginton, thence across the fields by Finbury to the Avon and down that river to Cloud Bridge; so by a lane to 'Wethele' [Waverley] Wood, past the heath of Weston-under-Wetherley to Leicester Lane and then to the brook dividing Home Grange from Cubbington, and so into the Avon and up it, past the sluice-gates of Home Grange. The landmarks are then not identifiable until 'Wolfyesbrigge' [Westley Bridge] and the Millburn Brook are reached. The boundary then runs by Crackley 'opposite the spring called Manypenywele', (fn. 4) between the Hale [Hale's Cottages] and Bockendon, past Westwood [Black Waste Wood], along the edge of Berkswell parish up to 'a stream which runs in winter' into Allesley Brook.

The Sowe runs roughly from north to south past Stoneleigh village, just below which it enters the Avon, which makes a series of deep bends through Stoneleigh Park. In 1279 the Abbot of Stoneleigh was returned as holding the two rivers, Avon for 2 leagues and Sowe for 1 league, in which all the freeholders had the right to take fish for their own tables but not for sale. (fn. 5) There were two mills attached to the manor in 1086, yielding the unusually large sum of 35s. 4d.; (fn. 6) in 1291 they were worth 20s., (fn. 7) in addition to which there was a mill at Home Grange (south of the abbey) worth 6s., and others at Stareton and Cryfield, each worth 5s. The Home Grange mill, with its pond and a 'holm', or island, in the Avon extending from the mill bays to Alfletford, was leased by the convent to Walter Whitwebbe, merchant of Coventry, in 1367; (fn. 8) and Cryfield mill, which probably gave its name to the Millburn, was also leased about the same time. (fn. 9) In 1535 the monks were receiving £15 10s. yearly from the rents of six mills. (fn. 10) Most of them had probably been converted for use in connexion with the cloth industry of Coventry, as in 1546 the property granted to Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk, included a 'walke' (or fulling) mill in Stoneleigh, in the tenure of Thomas Pye; a fulling mill and a grain mill called Stoneleigh Mills, in the tenure of Robert Andrewes; a fulling mill in Cryfield, in the tenure of William Alynson; two others close to the late monastery, in the tenure of Thomas Hethe and William Walton; and another in the tenure of James Gandye. (fn. 11) Two mills, one of them a fulling mill, passed with Stoneleigh Grange to the Underhills. (fn. 12) A water-mill is found attached to the manor of Nether Fletchamstead from 1513 to 1674. (fn. 13)

The Domesday Survey shows woodland in the manor 4 leagues long by 2 leagues broad, giving food for 2,000 swine, (fn. 14) and even at the present time there are, in addition to the well-timbered Park, many extensive blocks of woodland, particularly on the west at Crackley Wood and on the high ground north of this round Tile Hill. The site eventually chosen for the Cistercian Abbey of Stoneleigh was bounded on the north by 'the thick wood of Echills', now part of the Park, and soon after their settlement there the monks assarted part of Hurst to form what became the grange of Bockenden, (fn. 15) and reference to assarts in Stoneleigh occurs in 1176. (fn. 16) In 1279 the abbot was said to have three common woods, 'Dalle' [? near Dale House], Westwood, and 'Crattele' [Crackley], containing 1,000 acres of wood and waste. (fn. 17) Ten years later mention is made of 111½ acres of land approved from waste, mostly round Helenhull (fn. 18) but including 12 acres of the moor of Canley, which was part of the 'new moor' of which the monks made a grant in 1358, reserving the right to approve the rest of the moor. (fn. 19) This grant had been made under a licence, issued in 1326, to lease wastes which they had brought into cultivation. (fn. 20) Some still remained uncultivated at the Dissolution, Fellesley waste, Gregpole waste, and Welshman's waste being connected with Millburn grange, (fn. 21) and Dyconswaste and Cokkeswaste with Cryfield in 1538. (fn. 22) The monks' agricultural activity was not entirely beneficial, as by the beginning of the 16th century the abbot had converted much arable to pasture, putting 2 ploughs out of use and rendering 16 persons homeless. (fn. 23) Even before this there had been much depopulation, so that by the beginning of the reign of Henry VII out of 19 houses at Hurst only one was left, at Cryfield out of 12 only the Grange, at Finham 8 houses out of 12 had gone, and Millburn was completely depopulated. (fn. 24) In Fletchamstead John Smyth inclosed 100 acres to make a deer park, and his son Henry enlarged the park by taking in another 100 acres of arable, so rendering 4 ploughs idle and 26 persons homeless. (fn. 25) In 1616 Sir Thomas Leigh had licence to impark 700 acres, (fn. 26) and in 1640 his son was allowed to inclose another 80 acres. (fn. 27)

One road from Coventry enters the parish at Canley, where there has been much building in recent years, and runs south-west to Kenilworth, passing Cryfield on the west and Millburn on the east. Parallel with it a little to the east is the Leamington Branch of the former L.M.S. Railway. The Kenilworth Branch of that railway crosses the western part of the parish from north-west to south-east, and the main BirminghamRugby line runs from east to west, passing Whoberley, a hamlet of which the greater part was taken into the county of the City of Coventry in 1451, (fn. 28) Fletchamstead, and Westwood, with a station at Tile Hill, all this district being now suburbs of Coventry. A second road from Coventry runs due south to Finham Bridge, where it forks, the main branch continuing to Leamington through Stoneleigh Park, crossing the Avon by Stare Bridge, near the hamlet of Stareton. The other branch leads south-west to Leek Wotton. Between the two nearly a mile south of the fork lies the village of Stoneleigh, south of which, at the junction of the Sowe and Avon, is Motslow Hill, where the manorial courts were formerly held. A road east from the village, across the Sowe, skirts the park and, crossing the Avon at Cloud Bridge, runs south past Wetheley (now corrupted to Waverley). It was shown in 1352 that Cloud Bridge had originally been built by a hermit out of alms given to him and that therefore no one was responsible for its repair; and that, anyhow, there was another bridge quite near (fn. 29) —presumably referring to Stare Bridge. In 1635 it was decided that Cloud Bridge was to be repaired by the county and not by the inhabitants of Stoneleigh, and this was reaffirmed in 1668. (fn. 30) The present bridge, of red sandstone with three elliptical arches, was built early in the 19th century to replace an earlier bridge.

Stare Bridge over the River Avon on the main Leamington-Coventry road, a little to the west of Stareton, is built of red sandstone and dates from about the end of the 15th century. A long bridge of nine arches with a slight camber, it is 10 ft. wide between the parapets. On the east, or upstream, side there are three large cutwaters carried up to form refuges, which have been refaced. The remaining cutwaters have all been lowered to the level of the carriageway, and the parapet rebuilt straight. Five arches at the southern end are pointed, of two square orders; the next two segmental, and the remaining two pointed. The west side has no cutwaters and all the outer arches have been rebuilt with buttresses of varying sizes added on each side of them. Between the two southern arches on the west side, part of the original wall face remains with a plinth of three successive splays. The parapets are modern. The river now flows through the three southern arches only, the remainder acting as flood arches. The bridge is now disused, the road being diverted and a new bridge constructed a little to the east. The old bridge is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments Acts.

The Manor House, to the north of the church, was built about the middle of the 16th century. It is a close-framed timber structure of two stories on a red sandstone splayed plinth, the main front to the south, originally L-shaped, with a west wing added at the beginning of the 17th century. Although the south front has been restored, most of the timber-framing is original, the windows, roofs, and barge-boards being modern. There are three gables, a wide one projected on coves at each end and a smaller central one of a steeper pitch without a projection. At the west end is a massive outside chimney of red sandstone ashlar, diminished by a succession of splays to a brick stack. The east front is almost entirely original, retaining its wattle and plaster panels and two original windows with splayed oak frames and mullions. Sawn off tenons below a later first-floor window indicate that the original firstfloor windows projected on brackets. There is a modern addition, with a bay window, to the west wing, and the walls, except the gable end, have been rebuilt with brickwork. At the back all the walls have been rebuilt and modern buildings joining the two wings now form an enclosed courtyard. Internally the house has been entirely replanned, but five of the original red sandstone fire-places survive, four in the east wing and one in the centre block. Those in the east wing are back to back and above each other. On the ground floor the one on the north side is low, with an almost flat fourcentred moulded arch, the moulding continued down the jambs to a splayed stop, and has a fire-back of herringbone brickwork. On the south side is a more elaborate one, 6 ft. 1 in. high, with a moulded shelf. It has a very flat four-centred moulded arch in a square frame formed by the outer member of the jamb mouldings, which finish on double splayed stops. The room is panelled from floor to ceiling with contemporary oak panelling with a narrow panelled frieze, evidently re-used, as the panels and mouldings vary in size and detail. The centre beam is stop-chamfered and the ceiling plastered in two panels with a small moulded cornice. The two fire-places above are similar to the one below on the north side. That in the centre block is similar to that in the south room but without the shelf.

A little north of the church is a row of ten almshouses dated 1594, founded by Sir Thomas and Dame Alice Leigh. The building, of red sandstone ashlar with a tiled roof, is symmetrical, with five doorways having a square window on either side and a single dormer window above. Five chimney-stacks with moulded caps are spaced out equally. This description applies to the north front, facing the street, and to the south, facing small gardens. Each doorway opens into a passage formed by timber-framed partitions with plastered panels. A door on either side gives access to a house of two rooms, one up and one down. The doorways have four-centred heads with a single chamfer continued down the jambs. The windows are square with splayed heads, jambs, and sills, the heads being of oak. These houses have been considerably restored, but on the lines of the original work.

On the north side of the main street is a rectangular timber-framed house, with a thatched roof and gables each end of cruck construction. The framing has brick fillings, some with two-inch bricks, probably part of the original filling. It is an interesting example of early-16th-century construction carrying on an earlier tradition. There is also a mutilated example a little east of the church.

Cryfield Grange, situated off the west side of the Kenilworth-Coventry road about half a mile north of Crackley, is an L-shaped house and although almost entirely rebuilt early in the 19th century, on its original foundations, still retains some features of interest. On the west side of the northern arm a length of original red sandstone ashlar splayed plinth is visible. Under the northern end of this wing is a slightly arched barrelvaulted cellar of mid-16th-century date, with two blocked openings on the west side. On the south front of the eastern arm is a mid-16th-century two-storied gabled bay of red sandstone ashlar having a blocked window of four ogee-headed lights under a flat head with splayed jambs and sills. Above is a three-light square-headed window with ovolo-moulded jambs and mullions. On the north side of this wing is a twostory projecting bay, the lower story of modern brickwork supporting an early-18th-century timber-framed upper story, the timbers forming circles and halfcircles on the west side and lozenges on the north.

Of Stoneleigh Abbey (fn. 31) and its monastic buildings, very few traces, apart from the Gatehouse, are externally visible to-day.

The Gatehouse, completed in 1346 by Adam de Hockele, sixteenth abbot (1309–49), although much restored and internally remodelled, is substantially unaltered externally. On the outward face, the entrance consists of a low-centred depressed arch, with a simple half-round moulding dying into the plain jambs. Above this is a window of two lights with tracery, a pointed quatrefoil between the ogee heads of the lights, all cusped, and both the mullions and the tracery faced with a half-round moulding. Above again, in the high-pitched gable, are the arms of England, as for Henry II as Founder of the Abbey, with helm and crest, and the shield set aslant—now hardly decipherable, but described by Dugdale. (fn. 32) The hinge sockets of the gates are in the jambs of this archway, but the present gates are set some 5 ft. back within the entrance; they are of very rough construction and set in a heavy timber frame, and probably date from the 17th century. The entrance way has a ceiling of heavy timber, which may be original, though more probably of the 16th century.

Immediately inside the doors, on the west side of the entrance way, is a piece of timber set along the wall like a bench, but with ten holes, about 6 in. in diameter and the same distance apart, pierced through it. It appears to be coeval with the Gatehouse, but no satisfactory explanation of its use has been suggested. In the left-hand wall is a small blocked doorway.

The interior face of the Gatehouse is similar to the exterior, but the archway is here centred from the springing, and is entirely without mouldings. It has plain inner jambs which die into it above the spring, and within these a concentric arch, still further recessed, dies into the face of the jambs. Above is a two-light window similar to that on the outer face, but without the half-round moulding, and with the addition of a transom.

Adjoining the gateway to the east is a small dwelling house of which the western portion is undoubtedly part of the original structure. It has on the inner face a projecting porch, of which the inner door is now blocked. The entrance arch of this porch rises from corbels in the slightly splayed jambs, and has a doubleogee moulding. In the north-west corner of the porch is an opening to a very small spiral stair, leading to the first floor, but now blocked. Above the entrance arch is a heavy string-course, and a chamber above the porchway has a two-light window with tracery similar to that already described. Above again, in the gable, is a square-headed window of two lights. Access to the first floor of this building is now by an external staircase of post-monastic date, from the head of which a narrow entry leads to a bridge consisting of a halfarch abutting on the Gatehouse itself, and leading to the room on the inner side of it. This peculiar structure seems to be medieval, and the narrow entry to it has a vaulted ceiling of two miniature bays.

The remainder of the dwelling house, to the east, appears to be wholly an addition of 17th-century date, much repaired in the 19th century. The inner face of the Gatehouse has been refaced and the embattled parapet between the gables of the Gatehouse and the porch renewed, or added, early in the 19th century.

Of the Abbey Church nothing remains to be seen; but the present house is built on the four sides of a central open space roughly coincident with the cloister garth of the abbey. The centre of the north face of the house is of late-16th-century date, and consisted originally of a ground story with four round-headed openings, the plain arches rising from square imposts with moulded caps, and apparently filled in with wooden framework, for which the slots are visible. Above this was a first floor, containing a Long Gallery connecting the east and west wings, with attic rooms in the gables above. The Long Gallery was reached by an external double stair with a stone balustrade, of 17th-century date, and also by the main internal staircase in the three-story block at the north-east angle of the house. But the whole of this central portion was reconstructed in 1836, when the external stair was destroyed, the arched openings in the ground story bricked up, the ground and first stories thrown into one, and a new porch built, thus substituting for the former entrance at the first-floor level the present entrance into a corridor at the ground level. These alterations were, however, carried out with a minimum of interference with the actual structure of the external wall, and in the upper part of this wall are three relieving arches of large span, for which it is difficult to account. They may possibly indicate the height and span of the arches of the south arcade of the nave of the church, for this portion of the house seems to have been built on the footwalls of the south aisle. The corridor opens at the eastern end into the north-east corner block, also of 16th-century date, and revealed on plan as being on the site of the south transept.

In this block, which is of three stories and attics, is the original staircase of the 16th century, with a richly carved oak balustrade, rising to the full height of the house, and with a plaster decorated ceiling at the head. This staircase originally opened at the first-floor level, into the Long Gallery, which was the only means of communication between the east and west wings of the house. The alterations of 1836 necessitated a new means of communication, which will be described later.

Plan of the Medieval Remains of Stoneleigh Abbey

The whole of the east wing follows the lines and embodies much of the actual ground-story structure of the monastic buildings, though much disguised by partitions of later date and by 19th-century imitations of 12th-century detail. The position of the Chapter House is indicated by a plain cylindrical pillar in the present kitchen in line with a former doorway (now a window) leading from the cloister, which retains the much decayed original 12th-century bases of its columns. To the southward, the slype, with what may have been the warming-house, shows traces of 14th-century building, and the whole of the southern half of this wing is occupied by an undercroft, probably that of the dormitory, in excellent preservation and of early-14th-century date. It is some 70 ft. by 28 ft. with a central row of four octagonal columns supporting five pairs of bays of quadripartite vaulting, of which the boldly projecting plain chamfered ribs rest, on the walls, on corbels of inverted ogee profile. The two southernmost columns are not now visible, being imbedded in the massive brickwork of 18th-century baking ovens and kitchen ranges, and the next to these has been reinforced by an outer casing, also octagonal, but now partly broken away. At the south end of this undercroft are two original pointed windows, widely splayed. Externally they have been squared to take wooden window frames. The two windows in the east wall are both modern.

A rough rectangular pillar of masonry inserted in the first bay of the vaulting for additional support suggests that the vaulting showed signs of weakness when the post-Reformation house was built. But the division of the house into a series of units, corresponding to the division of the monastic buildings—transept, chapter house, undercroft, &c.—and resulting in an eastern façade of a succession of nine gables, seems to indicate that the older buildings were still standing and structurally sound to an appreciable height when the new building was begun.

All the fenestration of this wing, with the exceptions noted, is of the 16th century, but in almost every case restored in the 19th century. All the buildings so far described are of red sandstone (Kenilworth stone).

In conspicuous contrast to the fortuitous nature of the east wing, arising out of the incorporation of older elements, the west wing is a model of unswerving symmetry. It was designed and built by Francis Smith of Warwick, for Edward, 3rd Lord Leigh, between 1714 and 1726. An estimate by him for the building, in the former year, is preserved at the Abbey, and an entry in the parish register of Cubbington, records 'This Vicaridge House finished May 1726, as was Lord Leigh's House at Stoneleigh'.

It is a parallelogram roughly 170 ft. by 45 ft. The west front contains a range of five State Apartments—a central entrance hall, flanked on the north by two drawing-rooms, and on the south by a dining-room, and a sitting-room of which the south windows overlook the Avon. The central hall and the northernmost and southernmost rooms project slightly in the façade, and are framed by Ionic pilasters at the angles of the projection. The elevation consists of a lower ground story, a main floor approached by an external flight of thirteen steps to the central doorway, bringing this floor to the level of the old Long Gallery on the north side of the house, and two upper stories, surmounted by a heavy projecting cornice and a balustrade. Each of the two upper stories has fifteen windows, five in the central section, three in each of the recessed sections, and two in each of the flanking sections. On the main floor, the central window is replaced by the doorway at the head of the stair, the only feature of the front enriched with sculptured decoration. On the main floor the windows have curved pediments, on the first floor triangular pediments, and on the top floor no pediments. The open portion of the balustrade stands above the windows; above the wall space between the windows there are solid panels in the balustrade.

Internally, the block is divided longitudinally into exactly equal portions. The back portion contains the main staircase, of which the first flight is axially opposite the main entrance and the double doors giving access to it from the central hall, across the narrow corridor which runs the length of the building from the Library at the north end to the Chapel at the south end. Francis Smith contrived to give the Chapel the combined height of the lower ground story and the main story, without disturbance of his exterior design, by making the entrance to the Gallery of the Chapel (used by the family) on the main floor, while the household entered the body of the Chapel by a doorway on the lower ground level.

On either side of the main staircase were two small parlours, one of which, on the southern side, remains; the other was involved in the only structural alteration which Smith's original design has undergone, the substitution of the corridor entrance at ground level for the old Long Gallery. A door from this Gallery led into the State Bedchamber of Smith's building. With the alteration of the entrance level, a new means of access from the old building to the new was contrived by building, at the back of Smith's wing, a stairway at right angles to the corridor and leading into a hall, also newly built out into the central open space of the cloister-garth; this opened into a vestibule formed by taking down the back wall of the small parlour, mentioned above, which opened into the corridor of the west wing. But the staircase now blocked the only window of the ante-room to the State Bedchamber, so that the party-wall between it and the Bedchamber had to be taken down, leaving only a pillar to support the upper floor. The State Bedchamber then became the Library, which opens into the small drawing-room at the north-west angle of the west wing, and so to the whole range of the State Apartments.

All that survives of Smith's interior decoration is the oak wainscot panelling with Ionic pilasters of the two northernmost rooms, the Silk Drawing-room, and the Velvet Drawing-room. The elaborate plaster decorations of the central Hall, illustrating the Labours of Hercules, with his Apotheosis as the ceiling design, were designed by Cipriani in 1765 for the fifth and last Lord Leigh of the first creation, in whose time also, about 1770, the south side of the house was built, together with the Conservatory and the adjoining long garden wall and gates. This addition to the house, though not incongruous in design, is a story lower than the west wing upon which it abuts, and the effect is not pleasing. This building abuts at its eastern end upon the undercroft and the 16th-century upper story of the old building, thus completing the quadrangle.


STONELEIGH (fn. 33) was 'ancient demesne', having been held before the Conquest by Edward the Confessor and retained in his own hands by William the Conqueror. It was rated at 6 hides, (fn. 34) but had probably been originally a 10hide vill, as two estates belonging to it had been separated off by 1086, these being 3 virgates in Kenilworth (fn. 35) and 3 hides in 'Optone', (fn. 36) which is probably Leek Wootton (q.v.). The Domesday Survey gives the tenants as 68 villeins and 4 bordars, but it is probable that the former term was used too loosely, as by the middle of the 12th century there were a number of sokemen, each holding a virgate of 30 acres, at the king's two manors of Stoneleigh and Cryfield. (fn. 37) During the reign of Stephen, but under the influence of the Empress Maud, a group of hermits established at Radmore in Cannock Chase (Staffs.) was converted into an abbey of the Cistercian Order. The monks, however, were so much interfered with by the foresters that immediately upon the accession of Henry II in 1154 they petitioned him to transfer them to his manor of Stoneleigh. (fn. 38) This he did, settling them first at Cryfield, where they found the proximity of the road from Coventry to Warwick too distracting; he accordingly gave them a new site, surrounded on two sides by the River Avon and on the north by the Echills Wood. Here, after making agreements with the Abbey of Combe, the nearest house of their Order, and the Priory of Kenilworth, who held the church of Stoneleigh, they built their abbey, receiving as endowment the manor of Stoneleigh, which had been paying £17 15s. yearly to the king. (fn. 39) Early in the reign of John the rights of the monks seem to have been challenged, and in 1204 the abbot gave the king 200 marks and 2 palfreys to have the whole manor, with its soke and rents and the coppice of Wedele (now Waverley) and the assarts of Hurst. (fn. 40) The men of the manor were therefore exempt from paying toll and other duties throughout England, and when the king tallaged his boroughs and vills of ancient demesne the abbot had the right to tallage Stoneleigh. (fn. 41) In 1279 the abbot was returned as lord of Stoneleigh (fn. 42) and its members and was said to have 5 carucates of arable in demesne, as well as 1,000 acres of woodland and waste in the woods of Dallies, Westwood, and Crackley; he had also the two rivers, Avon for a distance of 2 leagues and Sowe for 1 league, in which all freeholders had the right to catch fish for their own table but not for sale. In 1284 the monks were granted free warren in Stoneleigh, Echills, Home Grange, Stareton, Waverley, Milburn, Cryfield, Bockendon, Horewell, Helenhull, Hurst, Finham, and Canley. (fn. 43) Next year the abbot proved his right to a long list of franchises, (fn. 44) and in 1291 the manor with its members and appurtenances was yielding about £45 yearly. (fn. 45) Numerous acquisitions of land in the parish were made from time to time, (fn. 46) and in 1325 the abbot took into his own hands the lands of no fewer than 26 tenants who had abandoned their holdings and left the manor. (fn. 47) By 1535 the yearly value of the abbey property within the parish was about £73. (fn. 48)

After the dissolution of the monastery, its site, with lands, mills, &c., was leased to Richard, Lord Grey, in February 1538 for 21 years, the reversion of the property after the expiry of the lease being granted in December of that year to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, (fn. 49) who is said to have sold it to William Cavendish. (fn. 50) From him it was bought in 1561 by Sir Thomas Leigh. He was son of Roger Leigh of Wellington (Shrops.) and had served as factor to Sir Rowland Hill, a wealthy London merchant, whose niece he married. (fn. 51) Sir Thomas obtained the lordship of the manor in 1562 (fn. 52) and died in 1571, his widow living there until her death in January 1604. (fn. 53) Their second son Sir Thomas bought the manor from his nephew William son of Rowland Leigh in 1605; (fn. 54) he was created a baronet in 1611, and died in 1626 seised of the manor, which passed to his grandson Thomas, (fn. 55) who was created Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh in 1643 and died in 1672, aged 76. (fn. 56) His grandson Thomas had been married in 1669 to Elizabeth, the wealthy heiress of Richard Brown of Shingleton (Kent), when they were both under age. He took a violent dislike to her and tried to debar her of her dower by making a fraudulent conveyance of this and other manors. (fn. 57) After her death he married again and was succeeded in 1710 by his son Edward, whose grandson Edward (certified as a lunatic in 1774) died unmarried in 1786, the title becoming extinct. (fn. 58) Under his will, dated 1767, the estates passed to his sister Mary for life, with remainder to 'the first and nearest of my kindred being male and of my name and blood'. At her death in 1806, the Rev. Thomas Leigh, rector of Adlestrop (Glos.), a direct descendant in the male line from Rowland, eldest son of Sir Thomas Leigh, inherited the property, which passed at his death in 1813 to his nephew James Henry Leigh, whose son, Chandos Leigh, was created Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh in 1839, and died in 1850. (fn. 59) The manor is now owned by his great-grandson, the present Lord Leigh.

Leigh. Gules a cross engrailed and in the first quarter a lozenge argent.

Henry II at the beginning of his reign gave, or possibly confirmed, to Simon the Cook, or Hasteler (i.e. turnspit), land worth 20s. in STARETON (fn. 60) Simon held this until his death in 1175, when the king granted it to his brother William the Cook, (fn. 61) who stated in 1198 that he held it by serjeanty of the kitchen. (fn. 62) The performance of culinary services seems to have been commuted for a rent of 20s., which was later changed to the yearly render of a sparrow-hawk. (fn. 63) William had been succeeded by his son Geoffrey de Staverton, or de Arderne, before 1224, when the Abbot of Stoneleigh claimed that, as King John had granted to his house the entire manor of Stoneleigh, Geoffrey should pay the hawk to him. He denied that he held anything of the abbot and said that he would continue to give the hawk to the king unless the king with his own mouth ordered him not to; (fn. 64) he was still holding the serjeanty and giving the hawk to the king in 1232, (fn. 65) and in 1235. (fn. 66) Geoffrey's son Rhys de Arderne gave Stareton, in exchange for land in Ireland, to Walter Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, who at once assigned it to Geoffrey de Langley and Maud his (second) wife and their heirs; (fn. 67) the grant being confirmed by the king in 1245. (fn. 68) Geoffrey held by render of a pair of gloves, or 1d., to the earl and his heirs, and of a hawk, on the earl's behalf, to the king. (fn. 69) Geoffrey had a grant of free warren in Stareton in 1246 (fn. 70) and in 1247 conveyed his manor of Stareton to Stoneleigh Abbey, to be held by a rent of £20, (fn. 71) of which he later remitted half and his son Geoffrey the other half. (fn. 72) On the elder Geoffrey's death in 1274 the manor had passed to his son by Maud, Mr. Robert de Langley, (fn. 73) who presumably died soon afterwards and was succeeded by his brother the younger Geoffrey. In 1279 the Abbot of Stoneleigh was lord of the manor and had in demesne a mill and 2 carucates of land, (fn. 74) worth 20s. each in 1291, when the rents of the tenants were valued at £4. (fn. 75) By 1535 the manor was yielding £6 15s. 4d. (fn. 76) After the dissolution of the monastery the Duke of Suffolk, to whom its estates were granted, conveyed Stareton to Mathew Wrottesley, (fn. 77) who in 1549 made it over to Anthony Forster. (fn. 78) It was then acquired by Thomas Marrowe, (fn. 79) from whose grandson Samuel it was bought by Sir Thomas Leigh; (fn. 80) after which time it descended with the main manor.

Henry I gave to one Gerard, a hermit, a carucate of land in FLETCHAMSTEAD, where he built a dwelling and a chapel, which was dedicated by Bishop Walter Duredent (1149–61), subject to the payment of tithes to Kenilworth Priory as rectors of Stoneleigh. Here Gerard was buried, and King Henry II then pre sented Brian, a priest, to the hermitage. He was sent on business connected with the Templars to Ireland, where he died; during his absence his brother, Peter Lomsy, who was himself a Templar, officiated in the chapel. The Templars next persuaded Henry II to present Robert Pirou, with reversion after his death to the Order. (fn. 81) Accordingly, in 1185 the Templars were receiving 14s. rents from 12 tenants in Fletchamstead, as well as 3s. 'of the king's alms' from the mill there. (fn. 82) Richard I in 1189 confirmed to them the hermitage with its appurtenances, (fn. 83) as did King John in 1199, (fn. 84) but the Prior of Kenilworth disputed their right to it. (fn. 85) In 1279 the Master of the Temple held Fletchamstead as a hamlet of Stoneleigh, having there a mill and a carucate of land, which he held of the king by finding a chaplain to celebrate for the souls of the kings of England and of Gerard the hermit. (fn. 86) In 1293 an arrangement was made by which the Templars gave up their rights of pasturage or other easements in the manor of Stoneleigh in return for a grant by the monks of 200 acres of waste land in Westwood. (fn. 87) When the Order of the Temple was suppressed Robert de Hockele, Abbot of Stoneleigh, seized the chapel lands, but later, by the advice of his brother Thomas, made them over to the Knights Hospitallers. (fn. 88) The estate was then made a member of their Preceptory of Balsall, (fn. 89) and in 1338 was returned as including a messuage, 360 acres of land (worth £6), and pasture to the value of 50s.; the chaplain received a stipend of 5 marks and the bailiff 2 marks and a robe. (fn. 90) At the Dissolution the estates of Balsall were given to Queen Katherine (Parr), including the manor of Fletchamsted, (fn. 91) which, however, was granted in February 1545 to John Beaumont, (fn. 92) who at once assigned it to William Humberstone. (fn. 93) Four years later Humberstone made a settlement of the house, chapel, and lands (then in the tenure of Henry Porter) on himself and Dorothy Spryng, his intended wife. (fn. 94) They sold the manor and chapel in 1564 to Sir Thomas and Dame Alice Leigh, (fn. 95) whose son Sir Thomas built 'a fair house' there and made a park. (fn. 96) The property then descended with the main manor of Stoneleigh.

Sir John Catesby was seised of lands in Fletchamstead in 1487 (fn. 97) and his son Humphrey is said to have sold them to John Smith, a wealthy lawyer of Coventry. (fn. 98) He died in 1501, holding of the abbot of Stoneleigh 2 messuages and certain lands here, in which he had enfeoffed his son Henry. (fn. 99) John had inclosed 100 acres of pasture to make a new park, which he had stocked with deer, and his son Henry enlarged the park by taking in more than 100 acres of arable, whereby 4 ploughs were rendered idle and 26 persons homeless. (fn. 100) Henry died in 1513, seised of the manor, (fn. 101) usually distinguished as NETHER FLETCHAMSTEAD, which on the death of Henry's widow Joan Stafford in 1515 passed to their son Walter, then aged 14. (fn. 102) This Sir Walter was murdered in 1553, and his son Richard was said to have been tricked into making over his estates to the heirs of his intended son-in-law William Littleton. (fn. 103) The latter's elder brother Gilbert Littleton died seised of the manor in 1599. (fn. 104) His son John was attainted, but his forfeited estates were restored by James I to his widow Meriel, (fn. 105) to whom Gilbert's daughter Anne with her husband Sir Thomas Cornewall granted the manor in 1605. (fn. 106) Richard Smith's son by his second wife Dorothy, daughter of Richard Wallop, John Smith of Crabbet (Sussex), evidently recovered possession, as in 1613 he and his mother, then wife of Sir William Monson, (fn. 107) were dealing with the manor, (fn. 108) and he still held it in 1640, (fn. 109) but in 1699 his son John sold it to Lord Leigh. (fn. 110)

Smith of Crabbet. Argent crusilly fitchy three running greyhounds sable collared or.

Of the various hamlets and granges attached to Stoneleigh manor the HOME GRANGE was the most important in 1291, when it contained 5 carucates of arable, valued at 20s. each, a mill, and stock worth £2. (fn. 111) It was close to the abbey, but later the centre of the home farm seems to have been farther north, at the STONELEIGH GRANGE, granted in 1545 to John Hales of Coventry (fn. 112) and conveyed by him in 1554 to Ralph Underhill, (fn. 113) on whose death in 1556 it passed to his brother Edward, (fn. 114) who sold it in 1558 to Robert Carter. (fn. 115) CRYFIELD was said to have been the site of a royal residence called the Burystede, which was (presumably during the Anarchy) occupied by a foreign lord who was a highway robber. (fn. 116) Later it was, as already mentioned, the first site given for the new abbey; after the monks had abandoned it the whole vill was made responsible for finding a stone of wax yearly for the lights in the abbey church of St. Mary. (fn. 117) There were 4 carucates here in 1291, and a mill, and stock yielding £3. (fn. 118) After the dissolution of the abbey Cryfield Grange was granted in 1538 to Robert Bocher and Elizabeth his wife in tail male; (fn. 119) a subsequent grant to them in fee simple was made in 1545, (fn. 120) so that when Robert died in 1556 the reversion after the death of Elizabeth passed to his kinsman Robert Bocher, then aged 12. (fn. 121) The latter seems to have sold it to George Ognell. (fn. 122) By 1615 it was in the hands of Sir James Altham, a baron of the Exchequer, who in December of that year settled it on himself and his wife Helen, with remainder to his son Sir James. (fn. 123) The latter married Elizabeth Sutton and died on 15 February 1622; his posthumous son and heir, Sutton Altham, was born on 27 August of that year (fn. 124) and died in 1630, when his two sisters, Elizabeth (aged 10) and Frances (aged 9) inherited the grange. (fn. 125) Elizabeth married the 1st Earl of Anglesey; Frances married Richard Vaughan, Earl of Carberry, (fn. 126) and they were dealing with a moiety of 'the manor' of Cryfield in 1638. (fn. 127)

In 1291 the abbey had 1 carucate, worth 10s., at MILLBURN, (fn. 128) and in 1364 Abbot Thomas was pardoned for having made a grant, for his own life, to certain persons of the so-called 'manor' of Millburn. (fn. 129) Elsewhere it is more correctly termed a grange, and as such it was leased for twenty-one years to Humphrey Reynolds in 1537. (fn. 130) In the following year the fee farm rent and the reversion of the estate were granted to James Cruse, (fn. 131) who died in 1547 leaving a son James, (fn. 132) who in 1556 sold the grange, with pasturage for 360 sheep on 'le Heth' to Anthony Throckmorton, mercer of London, (fn. 133) from whom it was bought by Sir Thomas Leigh in 1565. (fn. 134)

Another grange was that of HELENHILL, later treated as identical with the hamlet of KINGSHILL in which it lay. Here, 'at Helum', the abbey had 1 carucate, worth 15s., in 1291 (fn. 135) and land leased for 78s. in 1535. (fn. 136) The grange was one of many properties sold in June 1542 to Richard Andrewes and Leonard Chamberlayne of Woodstock, (fn. 137) who in July sold it to Thomas Gregory. (fn. 138) He died in 1574, seised of 'the manor or hamlet of Kingshull alias Helynhull', leaving a son Arthur. (fn. 139) In this family the manor descended with Stivichall (q.v.) into the 19th century. (fn. 140)

FINHAM was one of the divisions of Stoneleigh in which rights of free warren were granted to the monks in 1284; (fn. 141) and a messuage, 1 carucate of land, and 10s. rent here were improperly alienated by Abbot Thomas de Pipe to his concubine Isabel de Beneshale and their eldest son John, for which he had pardon in 1364. (fn. 142) The rents received by the monks from this hamlet in 1535 amounted to £6 11s. 8d., (fn. 143) and by 1550 it was in the hands of Thomas Kevett, (fn. 144) whose son (Sir) George apparently conveyed it to Simon Chambers. (fn. 145) His daughter Elizabeth was dealing with the estate in 1631 (fn. 146) and married Abraham Boun of Coventry, whose son John Boun of Finham had an only daughter Mary. (fn. 147) She married George Lucy of Charlecote, whose heirs sold the 'manor' (fn. 148) to William Bromley of Baginton, (fn. 149) with whose descendants it remained until at least the middle of the 19th century. (fn. 150)

At FINBURY Henry I is said to have given to William his falconer a messuage and 2 virgates of land, to hold by service of keeping a falcon. One of William's descendants charged the land with a rent of 5s. to Kenilworth Priory. (fn. 151) The holding came to Alexander de Fynborgh, whose sister and heir Joan wife of Stephen Stretton gave it to William de Hulle, a priest, who conveyed it to John Bacon, by whom it was sold, in the time of Richard II, to Sir William Bagot of Baginton, (fn. 152) to which manor it remained attached.


The parish church of ST. MARY is situated on the west bank of the River Sowe at the southern end of the village, surrounded by an extensive churchyard. Built of red sandstone ashlar, it consists of chancel, north chapel, vestry, nave, south aisle, and west tower, and dates from the latter part of the 12th century, when it consisted of chancel, nave, and west tower. It was drastically rebuilt and the south aisle added about the middle of the 14th century.

The bases of the chancel walls for a height of some 10 ft. are of 12th-century date, with wide shallow buttresses or pilasters at the angles. Above, the wall was rebuilt in the 14th century, reduced in thickness by splayed offsets, and the shallow buttresses have been stepped over to meet the new wall-face. In the east gable wall is a window of three trefoil lights and tracery, with a pointed arch and label with human heads as stops. In the apex is a small blocked quatrefoil light enclosed in a circle. The gables have plain copings terminating in plain crosses on gabled trefoil bases. It has a tiled roof of rather steep pitch, corresponding to the lines of the earlier nave roof visible on the tower, and was probably retained by building a gable end over the chancel arch when the portion over the nave was demolished. In the south wall is a twolight window of two splayed orders with a flat head, all a restoration except the sill course. At the west end is a buttress partly overlapped by the east wall of the vestry.

The vestry was built in 1665 by Lord Leigh as a burial vault for his family and a vestry for the use of parishioners. It has a splayed plinth, moulded stringcourse, and a very high parapet wall with pinnacles at each angle and intermediately, giving the appearance of having an upper floor. In the east wall is a combined door and tracery window with a four-centred arch and hood-mould, probably a later insertion. On the south side is a traceried window of three trefoil lights with a pointed arch and hood-mould, and stops representing angels' heads.

The north chapel was built early in the 19th century as a mausoleum for the Leigh family, but is now in general use as a chapel. It harmonizes with the chancel, repeating the shallow buttresses and the plain parapet of the nave. It is lighted on the north by a three-light tracery window, and on the east and west by a single tracery window of three ogee lights.

The north wall of the nave was almost entirely rebuilt in the 14th century. It has two clearstory windows, each of two trefoil lights with two splayed orders and square heads; a third has been blocked with masonry to accommodate the arch of a later window. Below are three tracery windows equally spaced, the one on the east is of original 14th-century work but the other two are rather poor late copies of it. They each have three trefoil lights with moulded jambs and mullions, pointed arches and hood-moulds with return ends. Between the two later windows is a blocked 12th-century doorway projecting 8 in. in front of the general wall-face. On the west side part of the projecting wall has been cut away and the impost moulding shortened for the insertion of the late window. It is of two orders supported on detached shafts with fluted capitals and moulded bases. The inner order is ornamented with double cones and the outer with double cones and pellets. The tympanum is crudely carved in low relief with two dragons intertwined below a coiled serpent. The impost moulding, decorated with a single zigzag, returns round the projection to the general wall-face.

Plan of Stoneleigh Church

The south aisle wall was entirely rebuilt early in the 19th century in a lighter coloured sandstone than the rest of the church; at the same time a south porch was destroyed and its position was perpetuated by a dummy doorway into which an inscribed tablet from the porch was built. This was a compromise with the parishioners who strongly objected to the removal of the porch. The inscription is to the memory of Humphrey How, porter to Lord Leigh, who died 6 February 1688–9, aged 63:
'Here Lyes A Faithful Friend unto the Poore
Who dealt Large Almes out of his Lord's store
Weep Not Poore People Tho' ye Servant's Dead
The Lord him Self Will Give You Dayly Brede
If Markets Rise Rail Not Against Theire Rates
The Price Is Stil the same at Stone Leigh Gates.'

The aisle is lighted on the south by two three-light and one two-light plain tracery windows with trefoil lights of two splayed orders. A steep-pitched tiled roof, with dormer windows, was replaced when the south wall was rebuilt by one of low pitch covered with lead, blinded by a plain parapet. The west wall has an original 14th-century three-light trefoil window of two splayed orders.

The tower, which is not quite square, rises in four stages, the upper being added in the 14th century when the tower was partly rebuilt. Except for the west wall, which was entirely rebuilt, most of the two lower stages and part of the third belong to the 12thcentury structure. The original tower was square but the west wall was set back some 3 ft. in the rebuilding. In the south wall there are traces of a 12th-century window in the second stage, corresponding with the one on the north side. The first and second stages are marked by a narrow splayed string-course continued across the shallow flat 12th-century buttress, which extends to the third stage. There are two loop-lights to the circular tower staircase in the south-west angle. A forced door opening to the staircase has been blocked with masonry. The top stage, set back by a splayed offset, has in each face a two-light trefoil tracery window of two splayed orders with a four-centred arch, the lights being fitted with louvres. The tower is finished with a plain parapet on a splayed stringcourse, crocketed pinnacles at each angle, and a small pent roof covered with tiles. The west side is divided into three stages by an offset with a moulded weathering half-way up the second stage. Large angle buttresses are carried up in three weathered stages to the top of the third stage. A double-splayed plinth is taken round the buttresses, the lower splay meeting the singlesplayed plinth on the north and south sides. On the south-west angle buttress there is a sundial painted on a stone slab; part of the buttress has been cut away to get the correct orientation for the slab. The west door is an early-19th-century insertion, probably in lieu of the south door which was abolished when the aisle wall was rebuilt. It has a four-centred head with a deep hollow splay continued down the jambs. Above is a four-centred two-light trefoil tracery window of two splayed orders, the outer splay finishing on a splayed stop. On the north side in the second stage is a blocked round-headed 12th-century window. The 12th-century buttress has been weathered off at the string-course between the second and third stages and continued as a small angle buttress, part of the 14thcentury rebuilding. In the third stage is a lozengeshaped clock-face dated 1888, but the clock dates from about 1800.

The chancel (31 ft. by 20 ft.) has late-12th-century wall arcading on the east and south walls, five bays on the east and four on the south, consisting of pointed arches decorated with zigzag ornament, supported on twin attached shafts with fluted capitals and moulded bases, except at the angles, where there are single detached shafts. The wall-face above has been set back, leaving the arches projecting 3 in., which greatly mars their appearance. This arcading is almost entirely a restoration. The east wall above the arcade was rebuilt in the 14th century. In the centre of the north and south walls are semicircular responds with moulded bases and fluted capitals retaining the springers of an arch, all that remains of the 12th-century vault. In the south wall an elaborate recess in late-14th-century Gothic style was constructed in 1850 for an ornate alabaster table tomb to Chandos, Baron Leigh; and at the same time a new doorway was made into the vestry, with a pointed arch and zigzag ornament copied from the wall arcade. On the north side is a 19th-century round-headed doorway to the north chapel. The east window has plain splayed reveals with a pointed arch, the south window splayed reveals with a flat head. The ceiling is a segmental plaster vault, lined out with stone joists, concealing an open roof. The floor is paved with stone and there is no step between the chancel and the nave. The oak altar-table and rails are modern. In the north-west corner is a 14th-century effigy of an unknown priest in Eucharistic vestments, his hands joined in prayer. In the north-east corner is a very large and elaborate memorial in black and white marble to Alice, Duchess Dudley, and her daughter, erected in 1668. It has two recumbent female figures under a canopy supported on eight Ionic columns and on either side an angel with a trumpet holding back curtains. (fn. 153) There is also a mural tablet to Alice, Lady Leigh, who built and endowed ten almshouses in Stoneleigh; it was erected in her memory in 1670. There are 6 hatchments of the Leigh family, 3 on the west wall, 2 on the south, and 1 on the north.

The 19th-century north chapel (23 ft. by 19 ft.) has walls of ashlar and a floor paved with stone. It has a plaster vaulted ceiling with moulded ribs springing from moulded corbels in each angle and a central octagonal boss with a plain shield surrounded by cusps. There are a number of mural tablets to members of the Leigh family.

The vestry (14 ft. by 14 ft.) was built in 1665 in the Gothic style; the walls are plastered and lined out in imitation of ashlar, the floor stone-paved, and the ceiling a plaster vault with splayed ribs springing from attached angle shafts with moulded capitals and bases. On the south and west side there are stone benches. There is an enclosure on the north side for the 1850 tomb recess.

The nave (53 ft. 6 in. by 25 ft.) has a flat 17thcentury roof of plain oak cambered beams supported on small curved brackets with wall-posts resting on stone corbels, and plastered between the beams. The arch to the chancel is of the late 12th century, semicircular, of three orders, the inner a half-round roll, the intermediate decorated with zigzag, the outer with double cones and zigzag, and a hood-mould of alternate billets. The inner order is supported on half-round responds with fluted capitals, the zigzag ornament carried down to a moulded base decorated with trellis pattern. The outer order has attached shafts with fluted capitals and moulded bases, the shafts being connected to the wall-face by bands decorated with pellets. Carved on the north respond is a dove and on the opposite respond, a serpent. The tower arch is much obscured by an early-19th-century gallery, the arch being filled in, a door fitted, and the gallery carried across it. Partly hidden below the gallery on either side of the modern door are half-round responds and detached shafts with fluted capitals, contemporary with the arch to the chancel; above can be seen the top of a pointed arch of two splayed orders, probably part of the 14th-century rebuilding of the tower. The gallery, supported on iron columns, has an oak panelled front with a list of charities painted on each panel. In the centre is a carved royal coat of arms, the shield charged with Hanover. The south arcade has three bays with pointed arches of two splayed orders on octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases of the 14th century. There are no responds, the arches dying out into piers formed by retaining the ends of the 12th-century nave wall. All the windows have splayed reveals finished with a plaster bead, all the walls being plastered and lined out in imitation of ashlar. The oak panelled box-pews and pulpit are early-19th century. The font, placed on the south side of the door at the west end, is of the 12th century and is said to have been brought from Maxstoke Abbey. It is circular, with twelve arcaded niches containing figures of the Apostles, and stands on a modern circular base of two steps. It has a deep lead-lined basin. On the west wall above the gallery there are three hatchments of the Leigh family.

The south aisle has a low-pitched early-19th-century roof with beams and small wall-brackets on stone corbels, plastered between the beams. The gallery extends across the aisle. The windows have splayed reveals with plaster beads similar to those in the nave. The organ is placed at the east end.

The tower (15 ft. 2 in. by 12 ft. 1 in.) forms a west porch. In the south-west angle is a narrow ogeeheaded doorway to the circular tower staircase, now disused, and a 19th-century doorway formed at galleryfloor level, reached by a wooden stair on the north side. On the south side is a very weather-worn recumbent effigy of a female, on a slightly tapered slab, probably 14th-century. Apart from the inserted floor forming a landing for the gallery, and another to house the clock, there are no other floors except to the belfry at the top, and above a small open pent-roof, probably of the 18th century.

Of the four bells, one of c. 1400 came from Winchcombe Abbey, two are by Hugh Watts, 1632, one by T. Eayre, 1752, and the other recast by J. Briant in 1792. (fn. 154)

The plate consists of silver gilt chalice, paten, and flagon, the gift of parishioners, with hall-mark of 1719; also a 17th-century silver gilt chalice, chased with instruments of the Passion, given by Lord Leigh in 1949.

The registers commence 1633.


The Domesday Survey of 1086 mentions two priests at Stoneleigh, (fn. 155) and when Kenilworth Priory was founded, in 1122, Henry I gave 'the church of Stoneleigh of my demesne with the lands, tithes, and churchscots (cherchez) and all things pertaining to it' to the priory, his gift being afterwards confirmed by Henry II. (fn. 156) The grant was made at the request of Thurstan, Archbishop of York, who then held the church and himself executed a charter giving it to the priory. (fn. 157) Attached to it was originally the chapel of Baginton, from which at the end of the 12th century a pension of 20s. was payable. (fn. 158) The church was appropriated to the priory by Bishop Geoffrey Muschamp (1198–1215), subject to the payment of a stipend of 5 marks to the vicar, and this was confirmed by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. (fn. 159) It was valued at £16 in 1291, (fn. 160) and in 1535 the rectory was farmed at £16 3s. 4d., in addition to which 30s. was received from the parish church and £5 3s. 8d. from the monks of Stoneleigh Abbey; (fn. 161) the vicarage was rated at £6 15s. 4d. (fn. 162) After the Dissolution the advowson was retained in the hands of the Crown until c. 1840, when it was acquired by Lord Leigh, with whose representatives it has remained. (fn. 163)

The history of the chapel of Fletchamstead has already been related. There was another hermitage chapel at Cloud, near the bridge of that name. William Hasteler, brother of Simon the Cook, (fn. 164) gave land to Edmund the hermit who served this chapel and was later buried in it. It was apparently left unserved and is said to have been burnt by thieves; whereupon the Prior of Kenilworth, as rector of the parish, entered upon the lands. (fn. 165)


George Garlick by will dated 17 February 1861 gave £20 to the churchwardens of Stoneleigh, the interest to be applied in keeping in repair the vault and tomb belonging to the testator's family in Stoneleigh churchyard and the residue in the purchase of bread to be distributed amongst the poor of the parish. By a codicil dated 6 November 1862 he gave £10 to the vicar and churchwardens, the interest to be given to poor widows on Christmas Day. The annual income of the charities amounts to 14s. 8d.

Weston's Charity. By a Declaration of Trust dated 5 January 1892 a sum of £97 13s. 5d. 2¾ per cent. Consolidated Stock was settled upon trust, the income, £2 8s. 8d., to be paid to the vicar and churchwardens for the benefit of the deserving poor of the parish.

Miss Emma Weston's Charity. By a Declaration of Trust dated 2 February 1901 a sum of £100 was settled upon trust, the income, £2 10s., to be paid to the vicar and churchwardens for the benefit of the deserving poor of the parish.

Mary Turner's Charity. 6s. 8d. is received each year for the benefit of the poor of this parish. For particulars of the charity see parish of Baginton.

Alice, Duchess Dudley. For particulars of this charity see parish of Ashow. The share of the charity applicable for this parish consists of four-seventeenth parts of the income of the charity. Under the provisions of the Commissioners' scheme dated 6 January 1885 such share shall be applied in augmentation of the stipends or otherwise for the benefit of the almspeople inhabiting the Almshouses of Sir Thomas and Lady Alice Leigh and for the benefit of the poor of this parish, but so that the portion for the benefit of the almspeople shall not be less than £92 per annum. The share of the annual income applicable for the parish amounts to £99 6s. 8d.

Thomas Southerne. For particulars of this charity see under Cubbington. The share of the income of the charity applicable for the parish of Stoneleigh amounts to £26 8s. The share applicable for Stareton amounts to £17 12s.

The Almshouse of Thomas Leigh, knight, and of Alice his wife, in Stoneleigh. By Deed Poll dated 1 March 21 Elizabeth under the hand and seal of Dame Alice Leigh, after reciting that she, according to the interest and will of Sir Thomas and of her the said Dame Alice, had built an almshouse in Stoneleigh for the dwelling of five poor men and five poor women, and further reciting that the queen by letters patent dated 28 June, in the nineteenth year of her reign, had granted that the house so built should for ever remain an Almshouse, and that there should be two wardens and five poor men and five poor women of the same, for ever, who should be named and placed therein in manner as in the letters patent mentioned, and that Her Majesty further granted that the said wardens, poor men and poor women and their successors should be a body corporate and politic, by the name of the Wardens and Poor of the Almshouse of Thomas Leigh, knight, and Alice, his wife, in Stoneleigh. The almspeople, consisting of five poor men and five poor women, are appointed from among the oldest and infirm of this parish.

Charity of Thomas, Lord Leigh. By an indenture dated 17 January 1681 certain property at Cubbington was charged with the annual payment of £6 13s. 4d. for providing ten gowns to be delivered to the churchwardens at the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle for the almsmen and almswomen in the Almshouse of Stoneleigh.

Joseph Symcox. By an indenture dated 2 June 1705, certain property in Coventry was charged with the annual payment of the sum of 40s. for the benefit of the poor of Stoneleigh, having special regard to the poor of Canley and Fletcham. The rent-charge was redeemed in 1925 in consideration of the sum of £80 2½ per cent. Consols.

Ryton, Griffin, and Lord Leigh's Charity. It is recorded upon a benefaction table in the church that Mr. Ryton and Mr. Griffin gave certain sums of money to the poor of this parish, with which, and a large addition made by the Right Hon. Thomas, the first Lord Leigh, Baron of Stoneleigh, was purchased a piece of ground called Quarry Close, Coventry, for the use of the poor. The income of the charity is applied by the churchwardens for the purposes mentioned.

Augusta Sophia Jones by will dated 24 November 1891 bequeathed £100 to the vicar and churchwardens of Stoneleigh, the interest, amounting to £2 4s., to be expended for the repair of the grave and monument to her father in the graveyard and church of Stoneleigh and any sum not so required to be expended in such manner as the vicar shall determine.

According to a table in the Church:

Thomas Dunton gave £4, the interest to be laid out in bread to be distributed to the poor of this parish yearly on Good Friday.

Francis Cashmore gave £10, the interest to be distributed in bread to the poor of this parish, the first Sunday after Epiphany.

Fletcher Bates gave £80, the interest to be given to the poor.

Mrs. Davis by will (date unknown) gave to the minister and churchwardens of Stoneleigh £20, the interest to be expended in keeping in repair the tombstones over the graves of her husband and son-inlaw in the churchyard of Stoneleigh and the surplus amongst the most necessitous and deserving poor of the hamlet of Stareton. The annual income of these four charities amounting to £5 11s. is applied by the churchwardens.


  • 1. Kelly, Directory of Warws. (1936).
  • 2. Stowe MS. 795, fol. 122v.–5. This is derived from the Leger Book of Stoneleigh (fol. 176–7). For the loan of advance proofs of the Leger Book, which is being printed from Lord Leigh's MS. by the Dugdale Society, I am indebted to Mr. Levi Fox, F.S.A.
  • 3. 'Merdonsiche' is mentioned in the bounds of Stivichall in 1410: Coventry Leet Book (E.E.T.S.), 12.
  • 4. Marked on 6 in. O.S. map as 'The Spring' opposite Crackley Farm.
  • 5. Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 17 v.
  • 6. V.C.H. Warw. i, 301.
  • 7. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1367–70, p. 1.
  • 9. Ibid. 1361–4, p. 460.
  • 10. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 67.
  • 11. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (1), 504 (20).
  • 12. Early Chan. Proc. 1371, nos. 64–8; Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 5 and 6 Ph. and M.
  • 13. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxviii, 139; Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 2 Edw. VI; Mich. 6–7 Eliz.; Recov. R. Mich. 26 Chas. II, ro. 280.
  • 14. V.C.H. Warw. i, 401.
  • 15. Dugd. 264.
  • 16. Pipe R. Soc. xxv, 179. Cf. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), D. 3387.
  • 17. Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 17 v.
  • 18. Stowe MS. 795, fol. 129 v.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1354–8, p. 647.
  • 20. Ibid. 1324–7, p. 255.
  • 21. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 887 (12).
  • 22. Ibid. xiii (2), 734 (9).
  • 23. Leadam, Domesday of Inclosures, 450.
  • 24. Dugd. 263–6; Rous, Hist. Regum Angliae (1744), 123.
  • 25. Leadam, op. cit. 440–1.
  • 26. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1611–18, p. 352.
  • 27. Pat. 16 Chas. I, pt. 2.
  • 28. Cal. Chart. R. vi, 116.
  • 29. Public Works (Selden Soc. xl), ii, 218–19.
  • 30. Warw. Co. Recs. vi, 23. Ibid. v, 2.
  • 31. We are indebted to Mr. S. C. Kaines Smith, F.S.A., for this description of the Abbey.
  • 32. Dugd. 257.
  • 33. The important collection of Stoneleigh documents deposited at Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, numbers more than 600 pieces, of which 50 date between 1373 and 1536. They include rentals, compotus rolls, accounts, and court rolls. The court rolls and books are continuous from 1538 to 1769. Ex inf. Mr. Levi Fox, F.S.A.
  • 34. V.C.H. Warw. i, 301.
  • 35. Ibid. 302.
  • 36. Ibid. 301; cf. 294–5.
  • 37. Dugd. 254.
  • 38. A lavish grant of estates which Henry had made in 1153, before his accession, to Ranulph, Earl of Chester, had included Stoneleigh with its soke (Cott. Chart. xvii, 2), but it did not take effect, as the earl died, probably by poison, in that year.
  • 39. Red Bk. of Exch. 671; Pipe R. 4 Hen. II (Rec. Com.), 184.
  • 40. Pipe R. Soc. n.s. xviii, 229 (cf. 222); Cal. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 15; Cal. Chart. R. i, 13.
  • 41. Dugd. 257; Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 374; Cal. Chart. R. iv, 285.
  • 42. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 13–17 v.
  • 43. Cal. Chart. R. ii, 273.
  • 44. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 778.
  • 45. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1281–92, p. 230; 1343–5, p. 10; 1345–8, p. 124; 1391–6, p. 64; 1446–52, p. 410; 1452–61, p. 151.
  • 47. Cal. Close, 1323–7, p. 265.
  • 48. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 67.
  • 49. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 1182 (180).
  • 50. Dugd. 258. Cavendish, however, was one of the eventual co-heirs of the duke, descended from his numerous aunts (Dugdale, Baronage, ii, 300); another was Sir Philip Sidney, who at his death at Arnhem in 1586 was seised of one-fifth of the site and demesnes of the monastery of Stoneleigh: Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxix, 53.
  • 51. Dugd. 258.
  • 52. Cal. Pat. 1560–3, p. 321.
  • 53. Dugd. 258.
  • 54. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 3 Jas. I.
  • 55. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclxvi, 91.
  • 56. G. E. C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), vii, 567. His house had been used by King Charles as headquarters for three days in August 1642; and, although he protested in 1646 that this was against his wish and that he had not himself taken up arms, he was heavily fined: Cal. S. P. Dom. 1645–7, p. 394.
  • 57. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, 88–9.
  • 58. G. E. C. op. cit. 569. An attempt was made in 1848 by a 'pretender' to seize the Abbey by force and obtain the estates by wild and scurrilous allegations: ibid.
  • 59. Ibid. 570–1, and information from Mr. S. C. Kaines Smith.
  • 60. Red Bk. of Exch. 671; Leger Book, fol. 5 v.
  • 61. Pipe R. Soc. xxii, 89; xxv, 179.
  • 62. Bk. of Fees, 8.
  • 63. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 277.
  • 64. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 608; Bracton's Note Book, 1063.
  • 65. Bk. of Fees, 375, 1357.
  • 66. Cal. Close, 1234–7, p. 137.
  • 67. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 619.
  • 68. Cal. Chart. R. i, 281.
  • 69. Ibid. Cf. Exc. e Rot. Fin. ii, 337; Cal. Close, 1242–7, p. 530.
  • 70. Cal. Chart. R. i, 291.
  • 71. Feet of F. (Dugd. Soc. xi), 666.
  • 72. Cal. Pat. 1321–4, p. 359.
  • 73. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, 48.
  • 74. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 17 v.
  • 75. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 76. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 67.
  • 77. Dugd. 262.
  • 78. Cal. Pat. 1548–9, p. 239.
  • 79. Ibid. 1555–7, p. 541.
  • 80. Dugd. 262.
  • 81. Dugd. 263; Leger Book, fol. 127 v.–130.
  • 82. B. Lees, Templars in England, 27, 33.
  • 83. Ibid. 141.
  • 84. Cal. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 3.
  • 85. Rot. Cur. Reg. ii, 228; Curia Regis R. i, 405; Pipe R. Soc. n.s. i, 43; viii, 170.
  • 86. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 18.
  • 87. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, p. 17.
  • 88. Dugd. 264.
  • 89. It was leased to John Beaufitz of Balsall, who at his death in 1488 left the lease to his wife Ellen, and 'to my lord of Seint Jonys . . . my litell gilt cupp to drinke swete wine in': P. C. C. 20 Milles.
  • 90. Larking, Hospitallers in England (Camd. Soc.), 179–81.
  • 91. L. and P Hen. VIII, xix (1), p. 645.
  • 92. Ibid. xx (1), 282 (45).
  • 93. Ibid. 282 (52); Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 2 Edw. VI.
  • 94. Cal. Pat. 1548–9, p. 239.
  • 95. Feet of F. Warw. Mich. 6–7 Eliz.
  • 96. Dugd. 264.
  • 97. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, 375.
  • 98. Dugd. 264.
  • 99. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, 520.
  • 100. Leadam, Domesday of Inclosures, 440–1.
  • 101. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxviii, 139.
  • 102. Ibid. xxx, 123.
  • 103. See above, p. 58; Dugd. 56. Cf. Notes of Fines Div. Cos. East. 6 Eliz.
  • 104. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclvii, 71.
  • 105. Dugd. 56.
  • 106. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 3 Jas. I. Cf. Chan. Proc. Ser. I, C. 20, no. 15.
  • 107. G. E. C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), ix, 67.
  • 108. Feet of F. Div. Cos. East. 11 Jas. I.
  • 109. Dugd. 264.
  • 110. Feet of F. Warw. Hil. 10 Wm. III.
  • 111. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 112. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), 1335 (39).
  • 113. Cal. Pat. 1553–4, 369.
  • 114. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxiv, 69.
  • 115. Cal. Pat. 1557–8, p. 442.
  • 116. Leger Book, fol. 156 v.
  • 117. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. 15, fol. 17 v.
  • 118. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 119. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 734 (9).
  • 120. Ibid. xx (1), 620 (35).
  • 121. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cx, 165.
  • 122. Pat. 20 Eliz. pt. 3; Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A. 12903.
  • 123. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccii, 134.
  • 124. Ibid.
  • 125. Ibid. cccclx, 51.
  • 126. Burke, Landed Gentry (1906).
  • 127. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Trin. 14 Chas. I.
  • 128. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 129. Cal. Pat. 1361–4, p. 460.
  • 130. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), p. 581.
  • 131. Ibid. 887 (12).
  • 132. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxxv, 86.
  • 133. Cal. Pat. 1555–7, p. 63.
  • 134. Dugd. 266.
  • 135. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 136. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 67.
  • 137. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, 443 (39).
  • 138. Ibid. 556 (12).
  • 139. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxv, 105.
  • 140. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), 225, no. 11; Feet of F. Warw. Trin. 1654; East. 26 Chas. II; Dugd. 265; Gamekeepers' Deputations.
  • 141. Cal. Chart. R. ii, 273.
  • 142. Coram Rege R. 413, m. 14; Cal. Pat. 1361–4, p. 460. Pipe's Mill in Finham may be connected with this transaction. Although now mainly of 17th-century construction, it contains features of apparently medieval date: ex inf. the vicar of Stoneleigh.
  • 143. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 67.
  • 144. Dugd. 263; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxxiii, 92.
  • 145. Dugd. 263.
  • 146. Recov. R. Mich. 7 Chas. I, ro. 14.
  • 147. Visitn. of Warws. 1682 (Harl. Soc.), 41.
  • 148. It is first so called when Thomas and Richard Kevett claimed it against John Boun and others, 1668–75: Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), 510, nos. 38–40.
  • 149. Dugd. 263.
  • 150. Gamekeepers' Deputations (1784–1854).
  • 151. Dugd. 263; Leger Book, fol. 6.
  • 152. Ibid.
  • 153. Described and figured in Birm. Arch. Soc. Trans. lvii, 150–2.
  • 154. Tilley and Walters, Church Bells of Warws. 223–4.
  • 155. V.C.H. Warw. i, 301.
  • 156. Cal. Chart. R. iii, 275, 277; Harl. MS. 3650, fol. 72 v.
  • 157. Ibid. fol. 52 v.
  • 158. Ibid. fol. 34, 38.
  • 159. Ibid. fol. 34; Dugd. 259.
  • 160. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 241.
  • 161. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 64.
  • 162. Ibid. 69.
  • 163. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Clergy Lists.
  • 164. See above, p. 234.
  • 165. Dugd. 262; Leger Book, fol. 172.