FURTHO is written in domesday Forho, and in later records Furtho or Fortho. The lordship contains about 630 acres, of which about 300 acres were inclosed under the Cosgrave act of parliament in 7 Geo. 3 (1767) by the name of the "Furtho tithing," and have by mistake been included in the contents of that parish. The principal proprietors are the trustees of the Arnold Charity who have about 285 acres, and the rector, who has in right of his church nearly 100 acres. It is bounded on the north by Potterspury and Yardley Gobion; east and south by Cosgrave; and west by the Watling street or Chester road, which divides it from Passenham. The soil is principally a cold white clay. More than half the lordship is in permanent pasture.
MANORIAL HISTORY. MORETON FEES*. the three Saxon estates of which this lordship was composed, were all united under the earl of Moreton; but after the dismemberment of the Moreton fee the paramouncy was distributed amongst the honors of Berkhampsted, Leicester, and Aquila.
HONON OF BERKHAMPSTED Godeman and Godeva, two Saxon proprietors, had a freehold in "Forho" then ' rated at 10s. yearly, but trebled in value at the domesday survey, when it was held by Ralph under the earl of Moreton. It contained two hides. The arable land was six carucates ; one of which was in demesne with four servants; another in the occupation of two villeins and three bordars ; the remaining four being waste, or unaccounted for. There were eight acres of meadow. Ralph, the mesne lord, was ancestor of the Chenduits of MIDDLETON CHENDUIT; and accordingly Furtho was included in the barony of Chenduit, parcel of the honor of Berkhampsted, on the inquisition after the death of Edmund earl of Cornwall in 28 Edw. 1 (1299, but it must be confessed, this tenure does not exactly harmonise with the hydarium of Hen. 2, in which Walter is certified to hold two hidescorresponding with the domesday entry of this estateof the fee of Richard son of William ; William Gernet seven small virgates of the fee of Berkhampsted ; and the earl of Leicester three small virgates.
HONOR OF LEICESTER §. HONOR of AQUIA. Another joint freehold in " Forho" was the property of Alwin and Osulf prior to the Norman era, and was rated also at 10s. yearly, but trebled in value at the domesday survey, when it was held by William under the earl of Moreton. It contained half a hide, and four parts of half a hide, The arable land was three carucates; of which one was in demesne; two bordars had half an one; and the remaining one and a half was waste or unaccounted for. There were six acres of meadow.
The third Saxon portion of "Forho" was the freehold of Godwin, and was rated also at 10s. but raised to 60s, yearly at the domesday survey, though consisting only of nine parts of one hide. The arable land was two carucates; one of which was in the occupation of one villein and three bordars; the other waste, or unaccounted for.
This estate, like the preceding one, was held under the earl of Moreton by Williams, the ancestor of the baronial families of Keynes. On the partition between the brothers, one of these estates appears to have been assigned to Keynes of GRETWORTH, as Furtho is found associated with the five fees held by sir Thomas Leukenore the representative of this line of Keynesunder Edmund late earl of Lancaster and Leicester in 25 Edw. 1 (1297).
The other estate became annexed to the honor of Aquila; and of the three fees of that honor of the small fees of Moreton, for which sir William de Montacute tt rendered scutage about 19 Hen. 3 (1235) one fee was in Furtho.
MANOR. Walter who had two hides here in the reign of Henry as was, I presume, progenitor of the Walter de Furtho who about 25 Hen. 3 (1240) held one small fee here of the honor of Aquila. It has been already shewn that the possessions of the Spigurnells, lords of COSORAVE, extended into Furtho, and on the death of sir Henry Spigurnell in 2 Edw. 3 (1328) he was found to hold certain lands in Cosgrave and Furthonot improbably constituting what was termed prior to the inclosure of Cosgrave " the Furtho tithing"of henry de Furtho, lord of Furtho, by service of 12d. yearly and suit at his court of Furtho, and at the hundred court of Cleley every three weeks. This Henry de Furtho settled the manors of Weston and Furtho on his son William de Furtho and Margaret his wife, daughter of William de Harwedon, who in 12 Edw. 3 (1338) levied a fine of this manor. Their successors were generally named William de Fortho till the thirty-fifth year of Henry VI. at which time William the son of William Fortho dying without issue male, left all his goods and chattels in the Manor of Fortho to Alice his only daughter; but the Manor itself, being intailed, descended to Thomas Fortho, Esq. his brother. The male line terminated in Edward gave with lands there and in other places to Samuel Maunsell esq. and Nightingale his wife.
By inquisition taken in the Court of Wards in the fifteenth year of Charles I. it appears that the Lordship of Fortho with the advowson of the church, were in the hands of Sir Robert Banastre of Passenham.
Edmund Arnold of Doctors Commons, London, esq. an eminent civilian, born at Nether Heyford, purchased Furtho with the fruits of his professional industry, and died without issue in 1676. By his will dated 6 May 1675 after bequeathing numerous small legacies, he adds, being determined by the assistance of God to settle for the future my manor of Furthoe with all the lands, woods, members, and appurtenances thereof, after the decease of me and my wife, to charitable uses, in which case I must be beholden to friends to be my feoffees, and having had good experience of the justness and prudence of the right worshipful sir Leolin Jenkins Kt LL.D. (judge of the admiralty and prerogative courts) in such cases, and of his particular kindness to myself, I beg of him to be one of them ;" and then proceeds to devise the said manor with all his lands there (saving the advowson of the rectory) and elsewhere in the retinues of Northampton and Bucks to the said sir Leolin, his kinsman William Dyer of Tottenham High Cross, Middlesex, esq. Matthew Johnson of the Middle Temple, London, esq. and Thomas Bedford of Doctors' Commons, gent. in fee, on trust to pay £10 yearly for and towards putting out poor children apprentices to some honest trades, out of and from the town of Nether Heyford, and towards setting them up as they come out of their times, and £5 yearly for and towards the relief of poor people of the said town ; £20 yearly for putting put apprentices from, and £5 to the poor of, Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire; £10 yearly for putting out and towards setting up apprentices from, and £5 to the poor of the parish of, St. Giles in Northampton where he began his clerkship ; £5 yearly for putting out an apprentice or apprentices from Upper Heyford and towards setting them up; £5 yearly for putting out in apprentice or apprentices from Stowe, viz. Great and Little Stowe, and towards setting them up; £5 yearly for putting out an apprentice or apprentices from Wedon Beck, where he went to school, and towards setting them up; £20 yearly for the maintenance of poor scholars in Merton college, Oxford (to which he was a tenant for ground in London) to be distributed at the discretion of the warden and fellows ; £20 yearly towards the support and maintenance of an orthodox minister who shall be licensed by, and answerable to his ordinary, in point of conformity, to read divine service at least on Sundays forenoon and afternoon, and to perform all other divine offices in one of the churches or chapels of Stony Stratford, and to be elected by twelve of the substantialest inhabitant housekeepers there, with the assistance and advice of the rectors or ministers of Furthoe, Cosgrave, Passenham, and Calverton, and none, to have voice in the said election but such as are conformable to the orders of the church, and frequenters of the same; and he wills that such poor as shall participate in his aforesaid legacies be also conformable and frequenters of their church, unless they be impotent and unable so to do ; £10 yearly to the vicar or curate of Potterspury towards the increase of his poor stipend or means, hoping that the impropriator there will take it into his consideration how far he is concerned with the cure of the souls there and augment that pitiful stipend; such curate or vicar to be orthodox and conformable and of good life and conversation.
The testator's widow died in Jan. 1691-2, and the will was contested by the heir at law Thomas Arnold. By a decree of the court of chancery 3 July 6 Will. & Mary (1694) it was declared that it appeared to be the testator's intent, by his will, to dispose of the manor and premises wholly to charitable uses, and that the words of the will were sufficient to carry the whole estate to that purpose, and it was decreed that the rents and profits thereof should from time to time be applied for charitable uses; but as to the disposal of the surplus beyond the specific bequests the consideration thereof was deferred; and it does not appear that any further proceedings were taken in the suit, or that any directions were subsequently obtained.
In the administration of the charity, it has been the practice of the trustees to pay the several specific annual sums mentioned in the will, and also to pay out of the surplus rents a proportionate advance, by way of addition, to each branch of the charity, excepting the stipends to the ministers of Stony Stratford and Potterspury, the payments to whom are continued at the same rate as mentioned in the will. By means of the addition made to the several charities which have been thus increased, they are at present four times the original amount. The commissioners for inquiring into charities observe, " it appears to us that a proportionate addition to the respective charities mentioned in the will, is such an application of the surplus rents as would, most probably, be directed or confirmed by a court of Equity; but, as some doubt may possibly be entertained, whether the ministers at Stony Stratford and Potterspury are not also entitled to the benefit of a rateable advance of their stipends, we have recommended the trustees to take the opinion of counsel upon that point for their guidance."
The boys apprenticed under the charity are chosen on the recommendation of the parish officers of the respective places to which they belong. Apprentices are put out as opportunities occur and the funds allow, and the money applicable to those purposes remains in the hands of the treasurer until demanded.
The sums of money to be distributed among the poor are paid to the parish officers of the respective places, or to some other persons to whom the trustees confide the distribution, and an account is rendered to the trustees of the manner in which the money is disposed of.
The present trustees are, Thomas Reeve Thornton, esq. of Brockhall, the rev. John Lloyd Crawley the elder, rector of Nether Heyford, the rev. George Butler, rector of Gayton, D.D., the rev. Philip Thornton, rector of Brockhall, the rev. James Harwood Harrison, rector of Bugbrook, the rev. William Henry Clarke, rector of Cold Higham, the rev. Waiter John Renick, rector of Paulerspury, the rev. William Thornton, of Brockhall, the rev. John Lloyd . Crawley the younger, of Nether Heyford, and Henry Crawley, esq. of Baliol college, Oxford.
A court leet and court baron are occasionally held for this manor,
THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM had a rent charge of 31s. 6d. yearly out of a messuage and four virgates of land in Fortho. In 3 Edw. 3 (1329) the prior, in plea to a writ of quo warranto; substantiated his claim to view of frank pledge twice a year in Fortho of his tenants there and in Covesgrave, Shitelhanger, and Stoke Bruer; but in 8 Hen. 4, Fortho was a member of the court held at Stony Stratford.
GRESTEIN ABBEY in Normandy had of the gift of Theodoric de Forhow or Fortho a virgate of land in Covesgrave, and a moiety of his tithes of Forhou [Forhou] by permission of his lord William, quit of all service; which donation in the confirmation charter of Edward II. is described as two virgates with pertinencies in Fortho, and a moiety of the tithes of Fortho.
FURTHO as a member of the honor of Berkhampsted does suit to the court at Blakesle ; and as a member of the honor of Grafton, to the court at Potterspury.
There is no VILLAOE, the manor house, now occupied with the farm, being the only house in the parish, except two in Old Stratford. The village is supposed to have been depopulated partly through the inclosure by Edward Furtho, esq. in the time of James I., and partly by the adoption of a new line for the road from Northampton to London, which previously passed through it. By the census of 1801, Furtho contained 2 houses and 9 inhabitants; by that of 1811, 3 houses and IG inhabitants; by that of 1821, 2 houses and 12 inhabitants; and by that of 1831, 3 houses and 16 inhabitants. There are no returns of the land tax and property tax for Furtho, and they are probably included under Cosgrove. The poor rates for the year ending Easter 1832 raised £14. 8s. 3½d. at 6d. in the £.
THE ADVOWSON accompanied the manor down to Edmund Arnold, esq. who by will in 1675 devised it to the principal, fellows, and scholars of Jesus college in Oxford. On the presentation of the rev. N. P. Dobree in 1789 it was consolidated with the rectory of Wigginton in Oxfordshire.
THE RECTORY is in the deanry of Preston. It is in the taxation of 1254 (38 Hen. 3); but in that of 1291 (20 Edw. I) is rated at 2 marks (1. 6s 8d.) per ann; and in the ecclesiastical survey of 1535 (26 Hen. 3); at £7. 3s. 0d. per ann. deducting 3s. for synodals and procurations to the archdeacon of Northampton. The parliamentary commissioners in 1655certified it to be a parsonage presentative worth £40 per ann. in the patronage of William lord Maynard; and that Nicholas Ryall the incumbent received the profits and the cure. The rectory now consists of 96a. 0r. 29p. of land allotted by the commissioners for including Cosgrave, in lieu of the glebe lands and of all the tithes of Furtho tithing; and a modus or composition of £20. 7s. 6d. yearly for the Arnold estate.
THE REGISTERS commence in 1696
THE CHURCH, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, was built by Edward Furtho, esq. in 1620, and consists of a low broad tower containing only one small bell, nave, and chancel. The tower is 15ft. long by 17ft. 10in. wide; the nave 25ft. by 18ft.; and the chancel 24tf. 2in. by 14ft. 5in. The interior is paved with stone and pewed. A plain octagonal font faces the south entrance. The tower, nave and chancel are of one pace; the nave communicates with each through an open arch.
CHANCEL. On the north side under a low circular arch is a marble slab on which were the brass figures about 2ft. long, of a man between his two wives, and a shield at each corner; probably intended for Anthony Furtho, esq. and removed from the old church.
On a marble slab on the south side:
EDMUNDUS ARNOLD Arminger
quondam Dominus (sub Deo)
Hujus Manerii, qui obit
27 Martii 1676.