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“The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire”, J Bridges, 1791
Bridges History of Chelveston

Chelston, in domesday book named Celvestone, a village of twenty eight houses, hath Hargrave on the east, Raunds and Stanwick on the north, the river Nyne on the west, and Newton-Bromswold on the south. West-ward of the church is a spring giving rise to a brook called Bidwell-water, and running into the Nyne. To Chelston belongs Caldecote, an hamlet of seventeen houses, and a member of Chelston manor.

At the time of the conqueror's survey, in Celvestone and Caldecote was one hide and three virgates. The arable land was three carucates, held by six socmen. There were three acres of meadow. This lordship was a member of Higham manor.

In the eighth year of Hen. III. a fine was levied between Hugh de Burg and Margarethis wife demandants, and William de Ferrars earl of Derby deforciant, of six virgates, five acres and two tofts in Chelvestone, and of forty virgates and five cottages in Caldecote, to the use of the said Hubert and Margaret and their heirs. This Hubert de Burgh, who was earl of Kent, falling under the king's displeasure, the sheriff of the County in the seventeenth of this reign, was directed, to seize and give possession of these with other lands to Robert Passelewe, that from the rents and profits of them certain Roman, Italian and other clerks, who had suffered by oppression from the said Hubert might receive a suitable satisfaction for the injuries that had been done them. In the thirty second year of the same reign William earl of Derby obtained a grant of free warren in his manor of Chelveston. By a fine levied in the fifty third of Hen. III. Walter de Nevill and Isolda his wife conveyed the manor of Cheldeston and Chaldecotes, with its appurtenances, to Hugh de St. Philibert and his heirs. In the scutage assessed about this time, Pagan de St. Philibert accounted for half a knight's fee here, of the fee of the earl of Ferrers. By inquisition taken in the twenty fourth year of Edw. I. Richard Syward was certified to hold in Chelveston a tenth part of a knight's fee, with a moiety of one knight's fee of Edmund earl of Lancaster, who held it in capite of the king. His successor was John Syward, by whom it was given up to Thomas earl of Lancaster, who reconveyed it to the said John Syward for his life-time, with reversion to Robert de Holand and his heirs for ever. He died in the fourth of Edw. III. and the year following Robert de Holand son and heir to Robert de Holand levied a fine of it. He had issue Maud his only daughter and heir, married to Sir John Lovel Kt. who by virtue of this, marriage, on the decease of Robert de Holand in the forty seventh year of Edw. III. performing his homage had livery of her inheritance.

In the first year of Edw. IV. the manor of Chelveston and Caldicot was granted to Ann duchess of Exeter the king's sister, and confirmed by a second grant in the fifth of the same reign. In the sixteenth year of this reign Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, Robert bishop of Bath and Wells, and others, upon whom this manor appears to have been settled in trust, conveyed it by licence from the crown to Thomas marquis of Dorset for the term of his life. But notwithstanding these grants it seemeth to have still continued with the family of Lovel; for upon the attainder of Francis viscount Lovel it became forfeited to the crown, and granted as part of his confiscated estate to Sir Charles Somerset Kt. in the first year of Hen. VII. In the fifth of Hen. VIII. Sir Charles Somerset levied a fine of it, and dying in the seventeenth of this reign, left it to Henry earl of Worcester his son and heir. Successor to Henry was William earl of Worcester his eldest son, who in the seventh year of Edw. VI. obtained by patent a farther confirmation of this manor to himself and his heirs for ever. In the first of queen Mary a fine was levied between Gilbert Pickering Gent, and William earl of Worcester of Chelston and Chaldecote manor. By inquisition taken in the fifth and sixth of Philip and Mary, John Ekins senior was found to die seized of it, and was succeeded by William Ekins his son and heir. He died in the third year of queen Elizabeth, leaving Isabella Ekins his only daughter an infant five months old. This manor appears however to have reverted to the male line of the family; for in the seventeenth of Charles I. Robert Ekins son of Alexander Ekins died possessed of it, and was succeeded by Alexander Ekins his eldest son a minor fifteen years of age.

The last possessor of this manor was Mr. Allen, since whose decease it hath been in dispute.

The church, standing between Chelson and Caldecote, and dedicated to St. John Baptist, consists of a body and south ile leaded, and chancel tiled. On the north side is an embateled tower, in which are five bells. Between the church and steeple, is a small tiled building, which from some steps in it was probably a chauntry chapel. The Church and chancel are eighty five foot long, the body and ile thirty foot two inches broad; the tower in length thirteen foot, in breadth eleven foot two inches. On each side the altar is a nich for an image.

The Register begins in 1573. This church is a chapel of ease to Higham-Ferrers, and always supplied by the same incumbent, who is instituted to the vicarage of Higham with the chapel of Chelvestone and Caldecote.

Monumental Inscriptions

Upon several collateral free-stones in the chancel;

Alexander Ekins Gent. Son and heire of Robert Ekins Gent. and Mary his wife, who married Jane Sawyer eldest daughter of John Sawyer Gent, dyed the 15th day of January Anno Domini MDCLV, leaving issue by her John and Alex....

Ann Sawyer wife of James Sawyer Gent. dyed October the . . . Anno Dom. 1682.

James Sawyer Junr. Gent sonne of James Sawyer Gent. and Ann his wife dyed Septem ber the 8th 1692.

Thomas Sawyer Gent, sonne of James Sawyer Gent, and Anne his wife dyed April the 3rd Anno Dom. 1694.

William Gardner departed this life the thirteenth day of September in the eighteenth year of his age in the year of our Lord God 1705.

Here lieth the body of Mary Allen the wife of Thomas Allen Gent. who departed this life the twentieth day of August in the 6 and fortieth year of her age in 1710.


A meadow rented at iv l. yearly, and a plat of green-swerd that brings in every third year about xxx s. are assigned to the use of the poor.

Mr. James Sawyer by his last will proved in 1703, founded here four almshouses for four poor widows, two of them to be of Chelston cum Caldecote, and two, of the parish of Raundes. The parishioners of Raundes are to save harmless the parishioners of Chelston, from all charge which may happen from the said two widow coming to inhabit here. For the support of this charity he gave all his lands and tenement in Chelston and Denford, with his mortgages and money due thereon, to sixteen trustees who when reduced to two are to fill up the same number by appointing others. Of the said four impotent persons, one is to be guardian for the other three, to live in the best house, to receive and distribute the rents, and for this trouble to have v s. yearly more than the others. The whole annual income amounts to ten pounds.

Over one of the doors is the following inscription;

This house was erected by James Sawyer Gentleman, and Thomas Sawyer his son; and ten pounds per annum by them given therewith, for the use of four poor widows for ever toward their maintenance, Anno Domini 1708.

They pay here ii s. vi d. in lieu of a tithe-lamb.

The wake is kept on the Sunday after Mid-summer-day.

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