Well the last day before 2010 saw me and tankman wanting to go on one last explore so we set off to see this church which is part of the remains of the old plague villiage of Wolfhamcote. Not strictly 'urbex' but still interesting to look at, the church is usually locked as it is only used once a year but after seeing a sign saying if you want to look inside go ask for the key at the old hall we went other to obtain acsess. Once inside we had a good look around and then were off *IF YOU WANT TO LOOK INSIDE ASK AT THE HALL JUST UP THE ROAD, DO NOT TRY TO GAIN ACSESS ANY OTHER WAY*. Anyway some history of the church and villiage from http://www.bigfarm.co.uk/default.htm a site with information on 'flying cows'

Early in the reign of Edward III the manor passed by marriage to the Peto family who held it for about 300 years until in 1614 Sir Edward Peto, of Chesterton, also in Warwickshire, sold the land to his tenant Robert Clarke. The manor remained with this family until in 1800 Thomas Clarke, the last male heir, died. In the church may be seen several memorials of this family, others having been lost or damaged during the years. In 1826 the estate was bought by Charles Tibbits, of Barton Seagrave in Northamptonshire. Later in the century Mary, the daughter and heir of Richard Tibbits, married the third Viscount Hood. She still owned the property at the time of her death in 1904 when it was sold and the manorial rights finally extinguished. The family later took the name Gregory-Hood which it retains. Monuments relating to several members of this family can also be seen in the church.

The hamlet now consists of a cottage, behind which stands an old stone tithe barn, the manor house, probably built in the 17th century, which survives as the present farm house and, standing slightly isolated, by the old Central Line, the last vicarage, built in 1873 and now a private house. Standing apart from all these is the church of St Peter in what was the centre of the original village.

Local legend suggests that the village was wiped out by the Black Death brought in by refugees from London, but there is no evidence to support such a theory in the surviving records which are extensive. It is much more likely that a few cottages still remained after this great plague and after struggling to maintain their land the villagers drifted off to more prosperous places leaving the Lord of the Manor to clear the land for sheep grazing as best he could. So it has remained until the present time, the land probably being too difficult to cultivate. The site is now protected from damage by arable farming under arrangements made between the Department of the Environment and the landowner in pursuance of the Ancient Monuments legislation.

In medieval times the village was often known as `Ovencote' being referred to as such in the early parish registers, while documentary evidence also exists to show that at the end of the 11th century the inhabitants were one priest, four brothers, four bondsmen, seven villeins and ten bordars (smallholders) with their families; perhaps a 100 persons in all. During the centuries which followed there are scattered references to the parish in the various surviving records, including an account of a trial held at Coventry in 1221 concerning three cases of murder in the village; one of these involved a villager called Geoffrey who killed Robert, son of Richard of Flecknoe. He afterwards fled into the church of St Peter, seeking sanctuary, and later acknowledged his crime before going into exile.

Even to this day, some of the older local villagers of Braunston and Flecknoe refer to the village as Ovencote, although both Robert Morden's and John Speed's maps of Warwickshire show Ovencot as a hamlet between Braunston and Wolfhampcote. Perhaps they are referring to Braunstonberry, directly adjacent to Wolfhampcote on the East side of the river Leam? It is hard to say as the maps of that time are not accurate enough at that scale.

After the village disappeared the church remained to serve the few people still living in the parish as well as the neighbouring hamlets of Flecknoe, Nethercote and Sawbridge. Today Flecknoe is a small village, but the other two are now not much larger than Wolfhampcote. Later references to the church are also found in the Quarter Sessions Books, in two fine copies of glebe terriers dating from 1682, and in the parish registers. The first volume of these dated 1558, was the result of the Injunction of 1597 when Queen Elizabeth approved an Act to record all baptisms, marriages and burials in a bound parchment kept in each parish church. At the same time it was decreed that parish records from the first year of the Queen's reign, which was in 1558, should be copied into the new books from their beginning, and this was done at Wolfhampcote by the incumbent, John Fisher,

Some years ago the glebe terriers and the parish registers, from 1558 to 1768, were transcribed by Dr Edward Reid-Smith, a life long friend of the church, and printed privately by him. The volume on the parish registers is now almost a rare book in its own right as only a 100 copies were printed for sale but the originals of the documents can be seen at the Diocesan Records Office at Warwick where they were placed for safe keeping when the church was closed. There is a copy at The Hall in Wolfhampcote.

Some pictures:

The outside of the church in 1999


The main enterance

A curved window

Arty shot

An aerial shot of the remains of the villiage

Inside the church, the roof which is great in itself

An original picture of the chancel arch

A similar shot today

The arcade and the pews at the bottom, they are very old

I couldn't take many internal pics as then my camera started playing up so had to use my backup which is a picture taking video camera so they arent good quality so apologies for that but I'm sure tankman can post some of his to make up for it. All original pictures and aerial shots are from: http://www.bigfarm.co.uk/