History of Passenham

Passenham Manor
Passenham Mill
Passenham Rectory

In 876 A.D., the Danes had fought and pillaged across great tracts of the English countryside. Much lay in their hands. Only through determined resistance, rallied by Alfred the Great, did fortunes reverse, with peace restored through the Treaty of Wedmore. Alfred’s son, Edward the Elder, was not content. He aimed to recover those English lands still settled by the Danes, the Danelagh.

A riverside village first mentioned in writing in 921 AD, of a little over 3250 acres in the extreme south of the Cleley hundred, lying association, not only through the notorious Bobby Banastre but also the distraught spirit of Nancy Lee, who drowned herself in the millpond. The village remains little changed and isolated with still apparent the church of Saxon connection, the Manor House, the mill, a now derelict rectory and two ancient tithe barns.

For many years this parish has posed two problems (a) where is Edward the Elders Camp, mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle? (b) of what date are the human remains that have been from time to time discovered beneath or around the Rectory?
An attempt was made by the Society to solve the latter problem. G. K. Tull conducted an excavation under the floorboards of the Rectory. Although at the time many theories were put forward, and some even reached the National Press, all that was actually confirmed was that the burials were part of a cemetery, almost certain Christian, which pre-dated the erection of the Rectory in the early seventeenth century. The close proximity of the church surely indicates that the Rectory was built in part of the churchyard.

Fortification of Towcester and Buckingham began and, during 921 (the earliest reference of Passenham), King Edward and his army pitched camp at Passenham. Soon the Danes made an unsuccessful attack against Towcester. Edward drove them back returning to Passenham whilst the Towcester defences began repair. For a while the local Danes were beaten. Led by Earl Thurferth the Danes of Northampton surrendered to Edward and sought him as their protector. Then the Saxon army departed, leaving their fortified base at Passenham. Long remained a square entrenchment near to the old ford, built to guard that river passage.

The existence of Edward the Elders Camp at Passenham in the year 921 A.D. is confirmed by an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It is recorded that after the Danes attacked Towcester, Edward the Elder, having driven them off, camped with his army at Passenham, whilst Towcester was fortified with a stonewall. Recent excavation at Towcester, for the Ministry of Works by J Alexander, actually located Edward the Elders wall, which was built in the debris of the collapsed Roman town wall. Almost certainly there as a camp at Passenham, but where?

The Northamptonshire historian, Bridges, writing in the early eighteenth century considered that an almost square entrenchment near the old ford was the Camp.

S. F. Markham, writing in 1951, in “The Nineteen Hundreds” considered this square entrenchment to be on the site of the present cricket field near to Shady Corner.

An investigation to try and locate the camp was prompted by Mr Charles Green and Dr. O F Brown. They found that the cricket pitch appeared to have a bank and ditch running near to it, the small cricket pavilion appearing to stand on the bank.

On closer examination the bank looked more like a headland, and part of a medieval field system, rather than a defensive earthwork.

Dr Brown drew attention to the field on the other side of the road to the Rectory, and near the old ford. Here it was found the “almost square entrenchment” mentioned by Bridges. However, this resembled a moated site rather than a military camp.

It was decided that the Society should undertake a limited excavation of the two sites during the Easter holidays. Permission was readily given by the owner of the site, Commander A.D.A. Lawson, of Passenham Manor.

The Excavation at S.P.777397

The possible bank and ditch in the cricket field was sectioned, and proved to be part of a medieval field system.

The Excavation at S.P.78253940

The small square entrenchment proved to be a homestead moat, dating from the second half of the thirteenth century. An area of the enclosure was stripped and quite substantial remains of a good quality stone building were revealed.

The Conclusions.

The site of Edward the Elders Camp is still unknown.

The moated site is that of an early Passenham Manor House. The field in which it is situated also contains platforms; these are the sites of Medieval houses. The field does not appear to have been ploughed since the houses were deserted. We now know that a complete excavation of the moated site would give us a plan of the buildings there.

Presumably the house sites would also be well preserved and equally rewarding. However, if the field is ever ploughed most of these remains would be immediately destroyed owing to their nearness to the surface. It was hoped that the Society may at some future date finish the excavation. It was noticed that after the initial impetus of enthusiasm, two members were left with the task of back filling the work of twenty.

Sir Frank Markham discovered on an air photograph a square earthwork opposite the Mill. This was some thirty to forty yards square and on excavation, by Mynard, in 1967, proved to be the remains of a 14th century Manor.

The outlines of the Manor House not discernible from ground level were detected by a recent Ariel survey and established to be in the field across from the church and mill. This also contained evidence of early house sites.

Consider the position which confronted Edward. He had with him part of the fyrd, the National Saxon Army which was called out for spell of service each year. To have some force available throughout the year Edward uses the practice of calling out part at a time and replacing it when its term of service expired with another part. Thus the force which Edward had with him was probably of the order of 1500 men. Why did Edward choose Passenham as a camping site? Obviously Towcester was considered to be in danger of Danish attack. Behind Edward was the important fortification of Buckingham. The importance of these Burghs has to be realised. The Danes had no war equipment to deal with them apart from direct attack and these were likely to be both expensive and unsuccessful. So it was that the English re-conquest of the Danish parts of the country was based on the building of such fortifications, normally a rampart and a stockade protected by a ditch. However, as some of the Roman wall at Towcester remained, the obvious action to take would be for Edward to repair them. Eventually the Danish host in Northamptonshire submitted to Edward but the fortification shows that this was not a foregone conclusion. It may be considered highly unlikely therefore that Edward would set up an encampment for the time needed for the repair, probably about a month, without protecting his own base. The existence of such a fortified camp cannot be reasonably doubted.

There still remains the questions, why did Edward camp at Passenham to protect the fortification at Towcester? He did not lie across the Danish line of approach should they decide to attack. Hydes explanation is the defence of the Roman Causeway at Stratford and the ford at Calverton. We, however, have road surveys of Charles Green to help us. There was also a major Roman road which ran past Water Stratford to Towcester and this route was but a mile further from the Burgh at Buckingham than the site chosen at Passenham which is over seven miles from Towcester.

Surely there was another reason for his choice of position. A glance at Green’s map gives an obvious answer, the river. The Danes were masters of waterborne attacks. From the foregoing discussion we know that the Ouse was navigable in Roman times and the distribution of Anglian settlements shows that their invasion also followed the River. It seems reasonable to assume that the river was still a major artery and the camp at Passenham was therefore in a position to command both the line of the Watling Street and the River Ouse. The fact that the river valley was less likely to flood at this time would also answer the old query of why Edward chose to camp at so damp and inhospitable a spot as Passenham in autumn. If the river argument is extended to include the possibility of the River Tove also being open to navigation Edward would also be in a position to take action if the Danes launched a waterborne attack on Towcester from the confluence of the Ouse and Tove at Cosgrove.

There is still no direct evidence as to the actual site of the camp. It may well have been on ground which is now covered by the complex of buildings around the church for this site would have the advantage of being alongside the river. However, this site would have the disadvantage of being open to surprise attack over the ridge to the north; the direction in which the enemy lay. The Danes were not likely to sail past the camp even if it were distant from the road, since one Danish Fleet had already been captured after doing this when a line of stakes had been used to block the River Lea by King Alfred in 896. From a military point of view, therefore, a more likely position would seem to be on top of this ridge with a clear view of the river valley to the south and also along the Watling Street to the north. This would also place the camp at Old Stratford, a possibility if there was no settlement there at the time since the nearest settlement would still be at Passenham, which name the Chronicler would be forced to use to describe the site. There are indeed signs of an earthwork in the first field to the north of the present houses at Old Stratford on the west of the road. However, there is no evidence to hand on the date of these.

For such a military camp the evidence is predictably gruesome. Many times since 1873 the broken limbs of young men have been unearthed. Six skeletons lay beneath the Rectory floor until 1874 restorations. Near to the demolished cottage, (1875), of the side bar, that gate controlling the entrance to the Buckingham turnpike road, were found two skeletons entwined within the roots of a tree torn from the ground during a great gale of 1916. Three further human frames came to be uncovered in 1847 through drainage work undertaken before the Rectory. Burials have also been found in the old Tithe barn, a tithe barn was used in England in the Middle Ages for storing the tithes – a tenth of the farms produce which had to be given to the church.

At the compilation of the Domesday Survey, in 1086 Passenham was a royal manor with a mill, meadow, six ploughs and a recorded population at the time of writing of 16, at this time Passenham was arguably a key administrative and religious centre of Northamptonshire, close to the border with the Danelaw. The population of Passenham was approximately 100, in the Poll Tax of 1377, 122 people were assessed which gave as estimated population of 183, historians have estimated that pre Black Death (1349) the population of the county was approximately 50% higher so on this basis the population would have been 270. In the Lay Subsidy of 1524 it was somewhere in the region of 400. The Compton Census of 1676 which listed all over the age of sixteen under religious denominations an estimated figure of 750 souls were noted (500 Conformists, 3 non conformists, no Roman Catholics). In 1700 the figure stood at around 624 a drop of 76 from the previous figure twenty five years earlier, by 1801 the figure was 685.
In 1086, the King held one hide in Passenham in demesne, and another half a hide was held of him by Rainald, his almsman. Passenham was soon to be granted to the de Ferrers family. By conjecture they subinfeudated to a female branch who then assumed the surname de Passenham. After his defeat at the Battle of Chesterfield in 1266 Robert de Ferrers lands were taken into the Kings hands and granted to Edmund, the Kings son. Edmund was succeeded at his death in 1296 by his son Thomas, who, in 1299, on the death of an undertenant, took Passenham into his hands as lord of Tutbury. He heads the vills assessment to the subsidy in 1301. After his defeat and capture at Boroughbridge in 1322 Thomas was attainted and executed, and his lands forfeited. In 1326 lands of Thomas were committed to his brother Henry during the Kings pleasure. Early the following year his brother was rehabilitated by Parliament and Henrys right to succeed to the earldom of Lancaster recognised. In April 1327, the King having taken his homage, Henry had livery of his brothers lands, including Passenham, which in 1322 was found to be parcel of the honor of Tutbury. Incorporated into the honor of Tutbury (Staffs), possibly on the foundation of Cirencester Abbey in 1131, to which the Advowson of Passenham was given.

In 1242 an undertenant named Henry Mauvesin held half a knight’s fee in Passenham of the Earl of Derby. He appears to have been succeeded by William son of William de Passenham, who was in dispute with his mother, perhaps concerning dower, in 1252. In 1261 he was convicted of unjustly disseising John Baligan of common pasture in Passenham which belonged to his free tenament there. William died in 1278 leaving a son and heir of the same name who was judged to be of unsound mind and the manor was taken into the kings hands. In 1279 Hugh son of Otto was granted the ward ship of William de Passenham and his lands, and granted the lands themselves the following year. Hugh afterwards granted Passenham and the ward ship to Thomas de Suddington, rector of Passenham. William died in 1298 and his youngest brother Henry attempted to enter and take seisin of the manor. He was ejected by Thomas and Henry's ensuing action against him remained unsettled at Thomas’ death in 1299, when Thomas Earl of Lancaster took the manor into his own hands. Thomas later granted the Manor to Robert de Holland, who was Lord of Passenham in 1316. Two years later Robert and his wife Maud exchanged Passenham for the manors of Tintwistle and Mottram, the advowson of Mottram, and lands in Longendale (Cheshire)

After Thomas’ lands were forfeited in 1322, Passenham was granted in 1325 to John de Shoreditch, Kings clerk, with reversion to the king, subject to the king granting Johns lands and rent worth ?40 a year should he resume the manor. Claims to the manor by the heirs of William and Henry de Passenham (John de Woodville and Robert Kersebrook, the sons of their sisters Alice and Margaret respectively) and by Laurence Tresham, who claimed to be the heir of Thomas de Suddington, both failed. In 1329 John de Woodville and Roberts son Henry Kersebrook renewed their suit against the lessee of the manor, Walter Blount, which also failed, whereupon John, Henry and Alice the widow of Henry de Passenham finally renounced all their claims in Passenham, Puxley, Deanshanger and Stony Stratford.

Henry died in 1345 and was succeeded by his son of the same name, created duke of Lancaster in 1351. At his death in 1361 Henry left two daughters and coheirs, Maude and Blanche, of whom the latter, the wife of John of Gaunt, received the honor of Derby, including Passenham. John created Duke of Lancaster in 1362, later granted the manor of Passenham to his son Henry, who succeeded his father as duke in February 1399 and Richard II as king in September that year, when all his honors merged in the Crown. As late as 1664 the residents of Passenham sought and obtained a constat confirming their freedom, as tenants of a Duchy manor, from market and other tolls throughout the kingdom.

In c.1350 Henry Duke of Lancaster granted Passenham to Edmund de Ufford for his life and in 1366 Duke John and his wife Blanche settled the reversion of the manor, still held by Edmund, on feoffees, In 1415 Henry V settled much of the Lancastrian inheritance, including Passenham, on feoffees prior to his expedition to France.

Passenham formed part of the jointure estate of Elizabeth Woodville at her marriage in 1464 to Edward IV. The following year Elizabeth granted the manor to her brother Anthony, Earl Rivers, who was executed in 1483. Two years later Passenham was among the estates specifically mentioned in the Act of Resumption, under which Duchy lands granted since 1455, were recovered by the Crown. With no resident Lord of the Manor to accommodate the Manor House, declined and fell into ruins, the stone finding clandestine use in local building works.
Elizabeth Woodville

In the 13th century the parish of Passenham contained four principal areas of settlement – the village of Passenham (Passas hamm in Medieval times), where the Parish Church and Manor House are situated; (in 1301 50 households were listed, in 1520 about the same amount listed and in 1674 19 households were assessed for the Hearth Tax), the village of Deanshanger (Dynnes hangra in medieval times), the main centre of population in the parish from at least the end of the Middle Ages; a settlement at Puxley (Puccas {or Goblins} leah in medieval times), an area of active assarting in the 13th century and probably before, which became depopulated and was enclosed in the 15th and 16th centuries; and the village of Old Stratford, which developed on either side of the Watling Street, lying partly in Passenham and partly in Cosgrove parish. The names hangra meaning - sloping wood and leah meaning - woodland clearing.

The parish of Passenham was heavily wooded in its north western and north eastern parts and lay within the bounds of the royal forest of Whittlewood.

The village remained in sovereign possession until the restless Sir Robert Banastre first appears on the scene in the early seventeenth century. Descended from the Banastre of Altham, Robert was the younger son of Lawrence Banastre, a lawyer. Lawrence had served the Roman Catholic fourth Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, who, for his part in the Ridolfi plot, (a Roman Catholic plot of 1570 led by Roberto di Ridolfi to assassinate Queen Elizabeth of England and replace her with Mary I of Scotland, Ridolfi posed as an International banker and travelled Europe without suspicion and discussed his plans with the Duke of Alva in the Netherlands. The plan was to forment a rebellion in the northern English nobility, many of whom he believed to be Catholic, and marry Mary to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, the leading Catholic nobleman. Philip II of Spain was involved but disliked the idea of assassination. The activities of Sir John Hawkins and the detention of Spanish ships carrying large sums of money destined for their armies in the Netherlands caused worsening relations between England and Spain, and the Spanish, encouraged by petitions from English Catholics for deliverance, went ahead. Charles Baillie a Scot favourable to Mary and her party, was arrested at Dover carrying compromising letters and revealed the existence of a plot under torture. The Duke of Norfolk was discovered to have been funding Mary’s party in Scotland and was arrested on September 7th 1571. He was put on trial for treason early in 1572, and executed in June. The Puritan’s decided that Mary be executed in order to safeguard the English Church and State, Elizabeth had Mary thrown into prison and later executed at Fotheringhay on the 8th February 1587). Banastre also suffered arrest and torture, although he revealed little except admittance to a past Roman Catholic tendency. Lawrence soon found release and went on to serve the son of his former employer, Philip Howard, at Wem in Shropshire, the inheritance of Philips wife Anne Dacre. Philip became a Roman Catholic. Predictably he also finished his days in the Tower.
Lawrence continued to live at Wem and there was born Robert Banastre in 1569. After early education Robert became Clerk Controller to the Royal Household of James I. Knighted by James in 1605, Sir Robert, by 1611 had acquired the lease of Passenham Manor, for it remained in Crown Possession until 1623. Sir Robert made purchase of the interest in 1626, almost a year after acquiring Furtho Manor for £4210. The date 1626, is evident above the doorway of the wing that he added to the limestone built Passenham Tithe Barn, first constructed in Henry VIII time and which still retains an elaborate tie beam roof. In 1626 he also rebuilt the Rectory, “a good structure, consisting chiefly of stone”, that old accounts mention as being the Ancient seat of the Banastres.

There are no houses on the north side of the street through Passenham, although the house platforms remain clearly visible and are depicted on the Map of c.1608. It may be that this contraction of the village began with the movement of the medieval manor house. It is likely that the Manor house was originally situated at the east end of the village, on the north side of the street, in the field named Robins Leys on the tithe map of 1844.

During 1967/68 an excavation by Wolverton and District Archaeological Society and/or the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works was undertaken at Passenham. This uncovered house walls, together with pottery dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, it is not certain that the house became derelict at this time, perhaps it happened as early as the 14th century, during which period Passenham may not have had a resident lord. there was, however, a manor house (location unknown) in 1402 when the king granted to John Cok of Passenham and John his son The houses of the site of our said manor … with the gardens of the said site together with the demesnes. This may have included the great chamber at the south end of the hall, of which the roof was repaired with slates in 1383-4. Certainly by 1566, though, documentary evidence proves that the manor house lay to the west of the church, on the south side of the street, even if the earliest portion of the surviving building dates only from the first decades of the 17th century. The new manor house is assumed to be the work of Sir Robert Banastre, who purchased the manor of Passenham in 1624, if this is the case, it seems likely that he rebuilt an existing structure.

The abandonment of the original manor house may be associated with the disappearance of the de Passenham family, the resident face of lordship in the village for more than half a century prior to 1299. William de Passenham held the manor first, of the Ferrers, Earls of Derby, and then, after 1267, of the Earls of Lancaster. William was succeeded by his son, also called William, who was judged to be of unsound mind, as a result of which the manor was taken into the Kings hands. It was said to consist of 2 messuages, 243 acres of arable, 57 acres of meadow, 32 acres of pasture, 2 acres of wood, a fishery in the Ouse , and a total of £9:7:11.5d in rents, aids and labour services. When William died in 1299 his overlord, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, took the manor into his own hands. Passenham remained in the possession of the earldom, and later the duchy of Lancaster, and in 1399, on accession of Henry of Lancaster as King Henry IV, became the property of the crown. The construction of the manor house to the west of the church, recorded in 1566, may have been the work of one of the succession of undertenants to whom the manor was granted over the course of the 14th/15th and 16th centuries.

The old Manor House of the de Passenhams had long since crumbled and so, when Sir Robert came to the Manor, theparsonage was probably the only suitable building fit for his residence. It would seem that Banastre built a new manor house and conveyed the old one to the rector and his successors.
Today’s Manor House just north of the church most probably first stood as this parsonage house, for adjoining are the
Sir Robert
two tithe barns wherein the rector would store the tithes or one tenth of the cattle and produce due for his upkeep from the villagers. No doubt the reverend gentleman kept a sharp eye on these accumulated goodies and would, therefore, have built the tithe barns in close proximity to his house.
Sir Robert Banastre possibly built a new Manor House south of the church as his official residence. Indeed within the rear garden of the present derelict rectory there remains a large stone dovecote once able to accommodate three hundred nesting holes. Windows feature in the upper storey. Such a structure would certainly have been a fitting privilege for a resident Lord of the Manor.

Around 1589 the Passenham Parsonage had become leased to Francis Flower from the Crown, but he appeareth not. Francis began enclosure of lands known as the Parsonage Fields and, for compensation to the villagers as these lands were originally part of the plough lands, he gave up to them the Midsummer and Lammas Leas and possibly land in Windmill Field. Also he yielded the rights of common attached to the Rectory land. Flowers thus began the precedent for Passenham enclosure and is noted by contemporary accounts as The ruine of the towne and the cause of the succeeding Inclosures - for had he kept his Commons it would have hindered the Inclosure. Flowers had one simple aim - to consolidate his holdings into one compact acreage, more beneficial for animal grazing.

During Sir Roberts reign he decided that priests who should have charge over the Parish church and his nomination had to be content with a lesser dwelling in the village. With restoration complete the parsonage adjoining the tithe barns probably became let out by Sir Robert as a farmhouse, much more profitable! As they were non resident Sir Roberts descendants were most likely content to lease their unused Manor House to the Rector for his residence, an undoubted improvement upon whatever previous accommodation had been made available.

By the 1930s the Parsonage turned farmhouse of which only a portion then remained, was by now in a dilapidated state. Supposedly this was later rebuilt by Sir Edwin Lutyens and remains today as The Manor. Although conjecture only, this hypothesis may well explain why the Rectory stands where the Manor House should be and the Manor House stands where the Rectory should be.

Sir Robert Banastre had three wives, the name of one being unknown. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Peyton of Knolton, Kent. They had a son Laurence, born around 1608. By Sir Roberts obscure second wife he may well have had an equally obscure son, Henry, and by his third wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Arthur Hopton of Witham Priory, Somerset, was born a daughter, Dorothy in 1622.

Sir Robert is often cast as the Oppressive Tyrant responsible for enclosing the Passenham lands, evicting the tenants and causing the village to decline. In truth he probably merely finished the work previously began by one Francis Flower, the cause of the Ruine of the Towne.

Poor Sir Robert is, remembered as one of grasping nature, which seems hardly conductive with his £600 gift for distribution to the poor and his numerous rewards to servantry. Perhaps his image arises more from an unfortunate habit of foreclosing on mortgages, then a legally but not sociably accepted practice. An estate owner would offer his interest for sale at a given sum intending to buy it back when funds permitted. Sir Robert chose his moment with care and, when certain the owner could not repay at that instant, he foreclosed on the deal and seized the land, which he had purposely acquired for the advantageous price!

A duty that befell Sir Robert in official capacity involved collection of Ship Money, those taxes decreed by Charles I to allegedly finance the Navy. Mr. Cartwright of Anyho refused to pay and so in went Sir Robert and the Bailiffs To distrain in Cartwrights cattle. The servant in charge of the beasts refused to hand them over whereupon Sir Robert is said to have incited the Bailiffs to kill the man. They would have gladly complied had not the Curate restrained them.

Not surprisingly Cartwright complained and, in defence, Sir Roberts party maintained the servant had refused an order to stop the cart he was driving and had tried to run Banastre down. Either way the servant found himself trussed up and thrown into Northampton jail, to be released only after Cartwrights intervention.

During the Civil War Sir Robert had not been an ardent supporter of the King, although he did allow garrison for a time of Royalist soldiers at his house.
As fortunes changed Cromwells troops are said to have been stationed in the great Tithe Barn.

Sir Robert died in 1649 but, as related, he did not let a little matter like death bar him from the Manor. The Mill beneath whose wheel his soul so nearly found imprisonment had existed from Domesday. Replacement occurred in the fifteenth century with a wind powered mill, although by Sir Roberts time the watermill again finds mention. A descendent continued to operate until around 1920, then finding conversion into the present day cottages.
The rumours that abound to this day of the notorious Bobby Banastre hardly indicate a character of sweetness and light, yet Sir Robert did much to adorn Passenham church where his restored involvement may still be seen.

Lady Brooke attempted to sell the Passenham Manor Estate (840 a.) in 1911 in eleven lots. Only the portion in Old Stratford was sold and there was a second sale in 1918 in six lots which included the Manor House, mill and three farms (700 a. in all). The Manor House, Manor Farm buildings and the mill came back on the market in 1922, together with parts of the adjoining Haversham Manor Estate (Bucks). In the 1930s and 40s Passenham Manor and the lordship were owned by George Ansley. In 1950 the estate was acquired by Commander and the Hon. Mrs. Lawson (the sister of the 2nd Lord Hesketh) who purchased additional land, including the former Crown farm at Shrobb, and invested considerable sums in the development of the property. After their deaths the estate (773 a.) was offered for sale in 1985 by formal tender as a whole or in four lots.

Alongside the house are two large barns, of stone with plain tile roofs, standing at right angles to each other. The smaller one is dated 1626 (and was thus built by Banastre); the larger one is said to be Medieval. To the south of the house is a dovecote, also 17th century but with 19th century alterations, and again built of coursed square limestone with a plain tile roof. Nearby is Manor Farm, an 18th century building, altered in the 19th century, of brick and stone with a plain tile roof. It was perhaps built when the Manor House itself ceased to be a working farm.

Manor House
Tythe barn

The oldest portion of the Manor House is the front range of two storeys with gables in either side of a slightly recessed centre. The south eastern side of five bays is 18th century and the house was altered again in the 19th century and in 1935, when an attic nursery was inserted and the house re-roofed, to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens and George Ansley. The house is of coursed squared limestone with plain roof tiles.

In the late 15th and early 16th century Passenham manor court sat twice a year, when routine leet business was conducted, together with a small number of copyhold admissions. At the beginning of that period Passenham, Deanshanger, Old Stratford and Puxley each sent their own Constable to the court, but from 1507 no-one from Puxley attended. Constable continued to be appointed from the other three places and the two rural townships each had a Hayward.

Passenham acquired a parish council of eleven members under the 1894 Local Government Act, which was chaired from its inception until his death by Henry Roberts.

This ancient parish was abolished in 1948 and renamed Deanshanger and in 1951, the south eastern portion of the parish was transferred to the newly formed civil parish of Old Stratford.

The southern end of the parish, in the Ouse valley, lies about 220 feet above sea level. From there the ground rises steadily to reach about 400 feet in the north.

Views of Passenham