Images of Grandborough

Village Crier

Extracts from some news items, over the centuries.


6 April 1223 - Widow to Regain Her Rightful Property.

1326 - Grandborough Manor Dispute Settled by King

1332 - Grandborough Taxed Again!

12 October 1346 - Grandborough Manor Disputed Again

27th November 1346 - All Becomes Clear On The Manor Ownership Issue

4 February 1538 - The King Buys Property In Grandborough

26th May 1553 - New Lord Of The Manor Of Grandborough

12th June 1553 - Grandborough Manor Sold On Again

July 1627 - Grandborough Highways In Disrepair

August 1628 - Hamlet Fines - Result

November 1631 - Road Repairs Saga Continues

Easter 1646 - Mr. Clarke Elected High Constable

October 1646 - Disabled Persons Abandoned On Walcote Highway

October 1646 - Children Starving At Grandborough

January 1648 - Unfair Taxes At Caldecott

Easter 1649 - Shaw Haggles Over Poor Relief

October 1649 - Kytes Bridge To Be Repaired

October 1649 - Tax Wrangles In Wovencott

January 1650 - Progress On Kytes Bridge

13th February 1656 - Mr Clarke Selected To Be A Judge

30th June 1836 - Fracas Thwarted In Southam - Curate To Blame




Today our Sovereign King, Henry III, has sent to the Sheriff of Warwick to find and apprehend a man who has disinherited a widow of her legal rights. The perpetrator of this wicked deed was Hugh de Leyes. "He just threw me out. I have nowhere to go, no home. My husband, William, has died and there is no-one now to protect me," Mistress Alice de Farendun told our reporter yesterday.

Widow de Farendun rightfully inherited her land in Grandborough from her brother, Gilbert Croc. This is part of the 2 hides (240 acres) that were declared in the Great Domesday Book to belong to King William and let out to Richard the Forester. In turn it was sublet to one called Bondi.

Our reporter read the Book and found that this land was important enough to support four ploughs, but in 1086 only two ploughs were actually used. Thirteen households lived there. The value of the whole land in 1066 was 20 shillings, but quickly increased in value to 50 shillings twenty years later. It is therefore not surprising that Hugh de Leyes, the current overlord, should seize the opportunity to take advantage of a defenceless woman.

Mistress de Farendun travelled to London last week to put her case before the King. She told our reporter that she had to make a Statement that at least 25 years ago her brother Gilbert had lawfully paid 20 shillings to his kinsman Walter Crok as fee on this smaller piece of land. The King accepted her plea and has written to the Sheriff of Warwick "to take those who are there in force".

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The owner of one of the two Grandborough Manors, Edmund de Bereford, is in dispute with John de Bolingbroke, Escheator in Warwick. Edmund’s father died earlier this year, apparently leaving no heirs. "It's all a pack of lies," Edmund told our reporter. "I am the sole heir of the property. I even held it jointly with my father and I can prove it!"

According to documentation recently discovered, fourteen years ago in the sixth year of the reign of our beloved Sovereign, Edward II, the de Brandeston family transferred ownership of their property. This included one of the Manors of Grandborough and the Manor of Derset. It was all given jointly to William de Bereford and Edmund his son and held by them for a knight's service to the overlord, John de Harecourt.

The dispute was put before His Majesty the King. He found in favour of Edmund, once the proof was shown to him that William and Edmund both held the property on the day of William's death. A decree is therefore to go to the escheator at Warwick ordering him "not to intermeddle further with the Manors".

Edmund is over the moon. "I said that I could prove what is rightfully mine, and I have!" he said.

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1332 : Grandborough Taxed Again !

Grandborough has not escaped the great Taxation that has been levied on all barons, knights, freemen and communities across the land. Parliament at Westminster has declared that all these people must pay one fifteenth of the value of all their movable goods.

Residents of the Parish are very grateful that they do not live in one of the Cities or Boroughs of England, because otherwise they would have had to pay one tenth of the value of their possessions.

The reason for the Taxation was to raise funds for the many foreign wars that our Sovereign King Edward III is waging in many countries. As is well known, it is the wars in Ireland that are particularly causing the King’s Treasury difficulties at this time.

This Taxation follows the one five years ago in 1327 when the value of one twentieth of all movable goods was taken in Tax for the same reasons. At that time the Knightlow Hundred gave a total of around 245 and the whole County of Warwickshire gave 667. In this current year the Knightlow Tax total was increased to 286 8s 4d and the County to 785. Grandborough Parish contributed 7 0s 8d, a not inconsiderable sum for such a poor parish.

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Grandborough Manor has changed feudal ownership in past years, most recently in 1329 when the previous owner, Edmund de Bereford, donated it to the Priory of Chalcombe in Northants. It was valued at the time at 10 marks annually.

Today in Westminster Edmund de Bereford, the King’s clerk, has been given Grandborough Manor to care for on behalf of our beloved King Edward III. There are some issues that need to be addressed and Edmund will run the Manor until matters are resolved.

The Escheator of Warwickshire is John de Wyndesore and his job is to take any property in the absence of legal heirs and revert it to the feudal lord. The order has therefore gone to him to hand over the Grandborough Manor to His Majesty and Edmund acting as agent. However, there is also the order to the Subescheator, William de Fililode, to attend in London to ask why he seized the property in the first place. At that meeting the Prior of Chalcombe will prove how he came by ownership.

The true feudal lord will be named, or if there is none, His Majesty will own it. If there are other issues regarding this property, your reporter is not yet aware of them.

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At the meeting at the Tower, London, today Warwickshire Subeascheator, William de Fililode, declared to His Majesty that he had taken away ownership of the Grandborough Manor from the Prior of Chalcombe on the basis of information from a most reliable source.

It seems that His Majesty has been deceived as to the value of the Manor. It is actually worth 14 and 7shillings more than the understood value of 10 marks per annum.

However, His Majesty thought this an insufficient reason for such drastic action and ordered the Warwickshire Escheator to hand the property to the Prior immediately.

Mr de Fililode was not available for comment.

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4 February 1538


Today our blessed Sovereign Henry VIII hands over 2,000 to Francis, Prior of the House and Church of St Andrew in Northampton.

It is in these days that His Majesty is organising the Dissolution of the Monasteries to seize the lands and power from those who have abused it in the past.

The sum of 2,000 is for a great deal of property in several Counties, but the Grandborough portion is as follows: 4 cottages, 4 enclosed pieces of ground, 8 gardens, 160 acres of land comprising meadow, pasture and other land, and 20 shillings rent. After the payment, Prior Francis can no longer have any claim upon the property.

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The Lordship of one of Grandborough’s manors, along with various lands and houses, were all sold today at Greenwich by our Sovereign Lord, King Edward VI, through his agent Edmund Peckham, knight. The new owners are Edward Aglionby esquire, of Balsall in Warwickshire and Henry Higford, gentleman, of Solihull, also in Warwickshire.

A great deal of other property across England was sold to Mr Aglionby and Mr Higford at the same time for the princely sum of 1,678 14s d in ready money.

Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife, the Lady Godiva, originally gave this Grandborough Manor in 1042 to Coventry Priory. It then stayed under the care of the monks until the great King Henry VIII took it for himself at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the thirtieth year of his reign, 1538.

The Manor is not rich, but it does provide a regular annual income from its land and tenants as listed. Unless stated otherwise the property is in Grandborough:

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Today the Manor and all the other land and property there at Grandborough were sold again. It had only been newly purchased two weeks ago, and a licence for this sale was granted only two days after its first sale, on 29th May.

Mr Aglionby and Mr Higford passed it on to Valentine Knightley, esquire, of the Knightley family at Fawsley Hall, Northamptonshire. The sum involved was 50 shillings and 5 pence.

Mr Knightley already owns a great deal of property in the parish as well as elsewhere. He bought the Grandborough property in 1532 from the Catesby family of Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire, who had held it for around one hundred years. Thus the one Manor is again united under one owner with much of the property in the parish.

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Some of the roads in Grandborough parish are in a disgusting state. A survey has revealed that the road between Grandborough and Woolscott up to the church is in great decay. There are also several other roadways in Woolscott that are almost impassable, even for foot passengers.

Richard Radborne and Robert Radborne had already been presented to the Warwick Courts for not keeping in repair a certain highway in Woolscott which leads to Rugby. In that case they were found not guilty, but Richard has again been presented at the last Quarter Sessions for the same offence. And not only that one, but also another road in disrepair too.

The inhabitants of the parish that use the roads concerned are very angry. They know that the Radbornes should be responsible and are likely to threaten them with violence. The Minister of Grandborough, George Beale, also attended Court and later told our reporter that he had said to the Justices, “I desire to set peace and unity among my parishioners.”

Surveyors have been appointed to look at the roads and decide who should take over repairs and maintenance. If no agreement can be reached, they are to report back to the next Quarter Session. The gentlemen appointed are John Shuckborough, esquire, John Temple, esquire, and Robert Clarke, gentleman. We await impatiently the results of their work.

The Court sat at the Warwick Quarter Sessions in January, led by the Justice of Assizes, Sir Francis Harvey and other Justices of the Peace, including Sir Stephen Harvey, Knight of the Bath. Uncertainty continues on the matter of the Grandborough roads. What is certain is their dreadful state. However, decisions as to who should be responsible for the repairs have made no progress.

The Surveyors, who recently looked at the roads in disrepair at Woolscott, Walcote and Grandborough, have reported back to the Warwick Justices of the Peace. Mr. John Temple and Mr. Robert Clarke firstly looked at Mill Ham, the Churchwaye which leads from Chayne Bridge by the water mill to Fines Bridge, the bridge nearer to the church. Both these bridges cross over River Leam.

The Justices decided that Lawrence Bolton, esquire of Grandborough, the Lord of the Manor, is now to be responsible for this piece of road. Since they do not have to repair it, the inhabitants of Woolscott have given up their right to graze or cut for hay the verges of this road and the small adjoining common land known as Mill Ham. There is also repair needed from Fines Bridge towards the church up to the churchyard gate. The inhabitants of Woolscott are to repair this and the inhabitants of Grandborough to maintain it thereafter.

The Surveyors then looked at the road which is called The High Meadow Gutter and which runs from Sawbridge to the market town of Rugby. Richard Radborne was responsible for its upkeep, but it is now in a shocking ruinous state. The Woolscott inhabitants are to take it on. They are not too pleased at all the work to be done, but at least the ways will become passable again.

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The inhabitants of Woolscott and Walcote have been presented in the July Quarter Sessions for non-payment of a fine which has been levied for the road repairs in Woolscott. The Court understood that the two communities were separate hamlets. Woolscott paid the fine, as levied, but no monies were forthcoming from Walcote. The Sheriff therefore called in the debt from Walcote. The Court decision is that, since they are considered to be the same hamlet, and that Woolscott has paid the fine, Walcote will have to pay nothing. The inhabitants are much relieved and pleased with the result.

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The inhabitants of Woolscott have presented their case at the Warwick Quarter Sessions this month. They state that Lady Katherine Dormer, who holds a huge amount of land in Woolscott, refuses to pay her share of the cost of the road repairs that they say she is obliged to.

The Court is to hear her side of the story at the next Sessions. If she fails to appear, she shall be held responsible for the payments, whether or not it is right that she should do so.

At the Quarter Sessions held at Warwick there has been an on-going fiasco involving the inhabitants of Grandborough, Woolscott and Walcote against the large landowners.

Back in 1626 landowners Richard and Robert Radbourne were taken to Court by the local inhabitants who were complaining about the condition of the roads.

The Court had to establish ownership of the duty of care and then decree who should repair and who should maintain the sections of road between Chayne and Fines Bridges over River Leam to the churchyard gate. Another road was also involved, from Sawbridge towards Rugby. In summary, the work was divided between the inhabitants and Mr Laurence Bolton, esquire. Messrs Radbourne did not have to make repairs at all in the end.

In the April 1628 Quarter Sessions the inhabitants of Woolscott took Lady Katherine Dormer to Court. She is a large landowner in Woolscott, but had not paid her share of the repair works. Since she did not appear to answer the case, it was found against her and The Court decided that Lady Katherine Dormer must pay her share of the costs of road repairs to the inhabitants of Woolscott. The Court decision was given to her son, Mr Umpton Crooke, who acts as her shepherd in that hamlet.

In July 1628 Lady Dormer had still not given her answer to the Court, and therefore became liable to contribute her fair share of all taxes and levies on the land she owns in Woolscott. This is especially applies to the costs incurred in the current repairs of the Woolscott road.

In November 1628 Woolscott and Walcote inhabitants had to attend Court at the Quarter Sessions to answer why they had not repaired the part of the Sawbridge to Rugby road to fulfil their obligation from the Hearing in July 1627. Lady Dormer was also called to answer for the non-payment of her share of the work.

The Court is now waiting for a definite answer as to the ownership of the roadway. The true owner is to be held responsible for the road maintenance. Furthermore, the Court declared that if the Woolscott inhabitants want to sue Lady Dormer, they would get a fair hearing.

However, Lady Dormer still did not contribute at all to the repairs, despite the Court Order. In 1629 she was sued by the Woolscott inhabitants and the Court found in their favour.

This month Lady Dormer has been brought before the Courts again for non-repair of the main Coventry-Daventry Highway in Woolscott.

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Mr. John Clarke, a gentleman of Grandborough, has been elected to take on the post of High Constable of Knightlow Hundred, it was revealed at the Easter Warwick Quarter Sessions. The vacancy came through the death of Mr. Richard Walter, the late High Constable.

At the Quarter Sessions the Justices of the Peace declared Mr. Clarke "a very fit and able man to undertake and execute this office". He is to take his oath at the next monthly meeting of the Justices at Warwick and will be added to the list of Warwickshire JP’s on July 4th.

"I am very pleased and privileged to do this," he said. "I shall do everything in my power to be worthy of the Justices'

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The inhabitants of Walcote are not doing their bit for the disabled any more. As is the nationwide custom, they used to carry any disabled person on the King's Highway along their portion of the road as far as Dunchurch, in the westerly direction, or Willoughby in the easterly direction.

The custom has fallen into disuse since the recent enclosures of the fields along the roadside. No longer are teams of horses kept there. "Sometimes we have to wait for days," said one of those involved who passes regularly. "You wouldn't believe the state we get in on the cold, wet winter days. Who do the Walcote people think they are?"

At the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions, the Warwick Justices of the Peace made a ruling that the inhabitants of Walcote and Woolscott must take their share of the work in proportion to the amount of land that they hold there. "They can take the cripples by horseback or on a cart. It is not too onerous when everybody takes their turn," said Mr. Clarke, the recently elected High Constable of Knightlow Hundred who lives locally.

If the inhabitants do not comply with the ruling, they have to forfeit to the local Constable of Woolscott certain sums of money that would be used to offset the expenses of whoever takes on the job. For carriage on a cart along the two miles of the road within the parish between Willoughby and Dunchurch the cost would be two shillings and for horseback one shilling. For carriage to Willoughby, one mile away, one shilling on a cart and 6 pence on horseback. This is a huge sum to charge the inhabitants.

"It's outrageous!" say the angry Walcote and Woolscott inhabitants. "We can't pay that sort of money and nor can we keep horses on the roadside just in case a cripple happens along."

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The Overseers of the Poor at Grandborough have not taxed the parish inhabitants for some months so that some of the poor are going hungry. Widow Heycock and Widow Tucker are especially in need. Widow Tucker's four small children are nearly dying of hunger.

The Justices of the Peace have ordered the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor to make a levy as soon as they possibly can. Widow Heycock is to receive eight pence and Widow Tucker two shillings until they have no more need.

The Editor thinks that this is the most disgraceful act of neglect that he has heard of in recent times. It is incredible that no one had taken action earlier. This must never happen again. Widows usually have no other means of support and must be looked after properly by their fellow inhabitants.

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Tenants and occupants of the land in Calcutt hamlet informed the local Courts that they were paying more taxes than the other inhabitants of the same parish, those in Grandborough, Woolscott and Walcote.

"The levies on Grandborough, Woolscott and Walcote are significantly less than what I pay," grumbled an angry Calcutt farmer, who wished to remain anonymous. "It's grossly unfair!"

The taxes had been already assessed and should have been paid according to the order made on the 8th September 1646 by the Committee of the Council.

The Justices at the Quarter Sessions have decreed that all taxes are now to be made "according to the true value of every man's land there." Perhaps justice will now be seen to have been done fairly.

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Poor Relief is supporting the four children of Thomas Longe of Woolscott since he absconded recently. The inhabitants of Woolscott and Walcote keep their own poor and do not allow them to suffer. The main village of the parish, Grandborough, pays nothing towards their upkeep.

Edward Shaw of Woolscott is complaining that he has to pay too much in taxes. After all he has only two small houses and half a yardland. "The whole acreage of Woolscott and Walcote amounts to a 120 yardlands. Now, if everyone had to pay at the rate that I do, it would come to a total of 350 a year! That's far too much, of course! We have to pay nearly 14 shillings for these children a month. Why should I pay far more than everyone else?"

The Woolscott inhabitants told our reporter anonymously that it is rumoured that the cottage of the absconder, Thomas Longe, was illegally built.

Edward Shaw took this up with Thomas Longe in the past. "He argued with me," said Shaw. "Longe managed to produce some ancient documents proving that a house had been on that site for generations. His parents had lived there and had had all their children there. He himself had lived there for eight years and no-one had queried it before. I couldn't disprove it, so we had to let the matter stand."

The Court declared that Shaw’s portion of the tax is indeed too high. The Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor will arrange a new levy to ensure the maintenance of Longe’s family and Mr Shaw will pay his fare share.

Now that the matter is sorted out all is quiet again in the sleepy hamlet. The only questions remaining are: Where is Longe and why did he leave?

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The bridge at Kytes Harwick over River Leam was demolished, our readers may recall, in the dark days of the recent Civil Wars. At the time it was thought that the safety of the County would be compromised if used by marching soldiers and their heavy artillery.

Now, however, in quieter, if unsettled and heavily taxed times, it is appropriate to set the bridge up again. The landowners responsible for the maintenance of the bridge are Mr Richard Over and Mr Henry Byddle who, in July of 1648, were required to attend Court to answer why the bridge was still not replaced.

The bridge at Kytes Hardwick is still conspicuous by its absence. Richard Over and Henry Byddle of the hamlet have admitted that they are responsible for its repair. They were aware of the obligation when they took on ownership of their land and property, but they still have done nothing about it.

The Committee of Safety for Warwickshire had already condemned the ancient bridge and it was demolished as unsafe for use.

"Chaos has ensued as traffic is held up and we seem to spend all our time trying to sort it out. Someone should do something about it," complained one of the inhabitants of Kytes Hardwick. "We're not paying for it."

The Court ruled that the repair should be at the expense of the whole County, much to the relief of the local inhabitants.

Mr. John Hill, gentleman of Grandborough, and Mr. William Bassett, one of the High Constables of Knightlow Hundred have been asked by the Justices of the Peace to assess the costs of repair.

They are to take with them skilled masons and workmen and then to report back for the next Quarter Sessions. This newspaper will follow the story and report as it unfolds.

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Yet another parish is arguing over its taxes. The hamlets of Nethercott, Sawbridge and Flecknoe disagree with the inhabitants of the deserted Medieval village of Wovencott (Wolfhamcote) over the portion of tax that each of them should pay.

The Justices of the Peace at Warwick have asked Edward Humfries and the local High Constable of Knightlow Hundred, Mr. John Clarke, who both reside in Grandborough, to hear the dispute and settle it. If they cannot do so, they are to refer the matter to the Justices at the next Sessions.

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Mr. Hill and Mr. Bassett have reported back to the Justices after their survey of the site of the decrepit bridge at Kytes Hardwick. The estimated costs of replacing the bridge will be about 16. This will shortly be levied from the whole County and given to the Surveyors. Should any money be left over after the works, the Surveyors are to dispose of it as they see fit and then to report to the Justices.

The inhabitants are delighted with the news. "And about time too!" commented one. “And we don’t have to pay for it!”

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Congratulations are in order because yesterday Mr John Clarke has been appointed a Judge in Warwickshire.

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Yesterday at the polling at Southam for a Representative for South Warwickshire, several persons had intended to intimidate the voters in a most violent manner, it was revealed today. However, the affray was prevented in the nick of time. The ringleader was Revd. Jeremiah Walker, Curate of Long Itchington for some four years, aged 35.

The two candidates were Sir Grey Skipnette and Mr Shirley. They each had a parson pushing their cause. Walker supported Mr Shirley. Sir Grey was supported by the Rev Knott, vicar of Wormleighton.

Walker gave his side of the story to the High Sheriff, Mr. J.H.Chamberlayne, who happens to live in the same parish. "Some weeks ago at a Meeting of my Parishioners they were carrying Staves and walking in Procession to the Parish Church. I proposed that the Electors of Long Itchington all carry these Staves on the Polling Day at Southam, with a Ribbon affixed indicating their Party Colours.

"Someone at the time remarked that the Staves were generally the Property of the Labouring men, and that if there should be a Riot and the Staves should be broken, the loss would fall upon them. I replied that I would direct my Parish Clerk, a Carpenter, to make some Staves (like the Wand of the Under Sheriff in the Court at Warwick). After he had made a few, I desired him to desist. At this point I intended to relinquish my proposal to the Electors, having changed my mind about the proceeding of the affair.

"A few days before the Polling commenced the Under Sheriff called upon me, and also upon the Parish Clerk and seized the Staves, and other wood at first intended for Staves, and carried them away. I solemnly declare that I had no intention to give offence, or do a Bodily Injury to anyone."

This is a most serious matter, especially when men of the Cloth are involved. A local Magistrate, Revd Thomas Ross Bromfield, Vicar of Napton and Grandborough, is looking into the matter on behalf of Bishop Butler. The Bishop may wish to pursue the matter further himself during his Visitation to Coventry on 29th August.

Mr Bromfield has stated to our reporter that Walker is a respectable, peaceful and benevolent man and that Knott is similarly respected in his parish.

Neither Walker nor Knott were not available for comment.

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