Stretton Baskerville

Stretton Baskerville is a deserted medieval village near Hinckley just off Watling Street

Stretton Baskerville
Burton Fields Farm and environs, Stretton Baskerville, from the south-east c.1927

Stretton Baskerville is the most northerly parish in Knightlow Hundred, which is also a small, fairly level, and open tract across which the Harrow Brook, Sketchley Brook, and other small streams wind their way to the River Anker, which forms its south-west boundary. On the north-east it is divided from Hinckley in Leicestershire by the Watling Street (known as the A5).

Stretton Baskerville had a reputation for being used for shelter by those who had been made homeless or unemployed who had been roaming the country seeking work and outlaws would often use the deserted village as a hiding place such has the famous highwayman Dick Turpin.

Eadric the Wild (known in the Domesday Book as 'Edric salvage') was an Anglo-Saxon magnate of the West Midlands who led English resistance to the Norman Conquest, he had held the village freely before the Conquest of 1066.

1086 The village was called Stratone in the Domesday Book. Stratone was rated at three hides and was held by Roger of Ralph de Mortemer, being his only village in Warwickshire.

1100 The connection of the village with the family giving its distinguishing name happened during which William de Baskerville held three fees of Robert the Earl of Ferrers.

1166 The village was now in the hands of William's son Ralph Baskerville.

1208 William's grandson, Walter Baskerville who was the last of the Baskervilles to hold Stretton Baskerville gave three palfreys (breed of horse) for having a break from a fine of £10 owed to the king and £25 owed to the Jews. Six years later Walters widow Isolde paid 100 marks and 1 palfrey to have possession of her inheritance.

1220 The manor is found in possession of Ralph son of Nicholas, steward of William, Earl of Ferrers.

1229 The constable of Kenilworth was ordered to grant Ralph 200 bream for his fish-pond at Stretton Baskerville.

1230 Ralph's lands here and elsewhere were exempted from suits of shires and hundreds and also from sheriff's aid. During the latter part of his life he was the king's steward, dying in 1257.

1258 Robert (Ralph's son) did homage for his lands, he was a partisan of Simon de Montfort, but was restored to favour under the terms of the award of Kenilworth.

1275 Ralph Pipard, his nephew and successor, who was returned as Lord of the manor.

1285 Ralph Pipard claimed by mutual responsibility, Assize of Bread and Ale in his manor of Stretton Baskerville which was a 13th-century statute (assize) in late medieval English law that regulated the price, weight and quality of the bread and beer manufactured and sold in towns, villages and hamlets.

1291 The value of the church was £5 6s 8d.

1301 Ralph Pipard rented the manor to John de Twyford, reserving life tenure for himself.

1316 John de Twyford was returned as Lord of Stretton Baskerville cum membris.

1381 Sir Robert de Twyford entailed the manor on his son Robert, with contingent remainder to his other son Ralph.

1488 Thomas Twyford evicted the tenants of four dwellings and three cottages so as to enclose the 160 acres belonging to him.

1493 Thomas Twyford sold the manor to Henry Smyth, who completed the inclosure, evicting 80 persons from twelve dwellings and four cottages on 640 acres, to the value of which as arable land had been £55.

The village became deserted after the landowner Henry Smyth turned out the residents in 1488 and 1493, and then turned over the land to grazing, the church also fell into ruins.

1514 Henry Smyth died leaving a widow Joan (Stafford) whom he settled the manor, with remainder if he died without issue to his sister Elizabeth Porter, but his successor was his son Walter who was only aged 11.

1525 The transfer of the manor from the Twyfords to the Smyths was confirmed by Robert Twyford of Brooksby (Leicestershire) to Walter Smyth. Walter Smyth leased the demesnes to William Astill before 1522, when William made a settlement of 'the manor' (held of Walter Smyth) on his marriage to Elizabeth Poley.

1529 Richard Astill (Williams son) was aged 5 at his father's death, and would only have a short life himself by only living until he was 33 years old.

1535 The value of the rectory was £6 in addition to 9s 6d for procurations and synodals and 10s. pension to Nuneaton Priory.

1553 Walter Smyth leased the manor for £50 annually to Thomas and John Chetwynd.

Coat of Arms of the Lords of the Manor
Coat of Arms of the Lords of the Manor: Baskerville, Nicholas, Pipard, de Twyford, Smyth.

1577 William Astill (Richard Astills son) died. Before his death he seized the run-down and overcrowded apartment houses in Stretton Baskerville after the death of Elizabeth Poley (widow of Robert Sacheverel).

1600s The manor was stated to be held as a member of the Ferrers Honor of Tutbury.

1633 Bishop Wright of Lichfield wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury (William Laud) asking whether Stretton Baskerville, in common with the churches of other decayed villages in his district should be rebuilt or the parishes united with neighbouring ones, the church was not rebuilt.

1636 Stretton Baskerville was considered to be a part of Burton Hastings, writing about the same time, states that there is 'not now any part of the Church standing'.

1788 The manor had passed to William Brown of Hinckley (Leicestershire).

1850 Thomas Brown was the principal landowner.

1870 John Marius Wilson's 'Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales' described Stretton Baskerville like this:

Stretton Baskerville, a parish in the district of Hinckley, and county of Warwick; 1½ mile W SW of Hinckley r. station. Post town, Nuneaton. Acres, 760. Real property, £1,728. Pop., 74. Houses, 15. The living is a sinecure rectory in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £100. Patron, the Crown.

Today the land is maintained as a permanent pasture for sheep and cattle with animal burrows. There are gates and paths giving access to the site of the deserted medieval village of Stretton Baskerville.

The houses within the medieval township were on a ridge which runs parallel with the stream near the south-east corner of the parish. Stretton Baskerville is approached from the Watling Street by a road which skirts the stables of Stretton House and then turns west along a farm track. This track, which formed the village street, was apparently cobbled and led to a small plateau on the west which was the site of the church.

A line of elms divides this western part, known as 'the Little Township', from the field to the east called 'the Township', where a series of depressions, yielding fragments of pottery, marks the sites of insubstantial cottages of timber or clay.

A long field slopes down to former fish-ponds, of which the central borders the stream for about 105 yards is between 25 and 30 yards wide, and has two small ponds at each end. The banks vary in height from 5ft to 10ft and along the north bank are pieces of worked and unworked stone from the foundations of the church, and bricks of 15th-century type.

Stretton Baskerville in the Domesday Book

There were 30 places in the hundred of Bumbelowe in Domesday Book, Stretton Baskerville was one of them.

Bumbelowe was a hundred of Warwickshire.

domesday book stretton baskerville
Stretton Baskerville in the Domesday Book.