Eatington (St. Thomas Becket)

EATINGTON (St. Thomas à Becket), a parish, in the union of Stratford-upon-Avon, Kington division of the hundred of Kington, S. division of the county of Warwick, 6 miles (N.) from Shipston-on-Stour, containing 704 inhabitants. The parish is divided into Upper and Lower Eatington, the former of which contains the greater portion of the population. Sir William Dugdale observes of Lower Eatington, that it is "the only place in the county which glories in an uninterrupted succession of its owners for so long a tract of time, Henry de Ferrers (progenitor of the earls Ferrers), having possessed it from the Conquest, and his descendants in the male line ever since." Until the reign of Henry III. it was the principal seat of the family, but they afterwards fixed it at Shirley, in Derbyshire, and assumed their surname from that place. Eatington is situated on the roads from Stratford-on-Avon to Banbury and from Warwick to Stow, and comprises, exclusively of roads, 3441 acres, whereof 1088 are pasture, 2243 arable, and 110 woodland; the soil is clay of the blue lias formation, and the surface beautifully undulated and diversified, with the rounded swell peculiar to blue lias. There are quarries of blue limestone, which, though used, is of an inferior description, whether for roads or buildings; a bed of white limestone, lying underneath, and found near the surface in some places, is much better for both purposes, and is consequently more generally wrought.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12. 0. 7½., and in the patronage of Evelyn John Shirley, Esq.; net income, about £150: impropriator, the Rev. C. Grave. 121½ acres of land were allotted in lieu of the vicarial tithes on the inclosure, in 1798; and 10 acres were more recently added, conveyed by the patron, and towards the purchase of which the Commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty contributed: on this ground a glebe house and offices were erected by the patron. The church is a plain substantial edifice, built by the late Evelyn Shirley, Esq., at Upper Eatington, about the period of the inclosure: the ancient church, at Lower Eatington, now in ruins, was erected by an ancestor of the family; a part of it has been fitted up as a private chapel. The Baptists, Wesleyans, and Society of Friends have places of worship; and a national school is supported by Mr. and Mrs. Shirley. The Roman Fosse road passes for more than a mile and a half through the parish; and near it some Roman remains have been discovered.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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