Wolverton (Wolverdington until the middle of the 19th century) was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086 as Ulwarditone, having two estates (or manors). One was among the lands of Robert de Stafford, of whom it was held by Urfer, employing two ploughs, and comprising of arable and meadow land. The other was held by William, son of Corbucion, employing 5 ploughs, arable, meadow and woodland. The overlordship of the first estate remained with the descendants of Robert de Stafford until at least 1460. The Corbucion estate went to the descendants of John de Cantilupe, and his son Sir John was lord of Wolverton in 1316. The manor was sold to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick; passed on to Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick and then to the Duke’s brother-in-law Sir Richard Neville in 1460. In 1468 Earl Richard and his wife Anne demised the manor of Wolverton with all its land, services and rents to the Dean and Chapter of Saint Mary’s church, Warwick, in whose possession it remained until the Dissolution.
In 1545 the manor was granted by the Crown to Clement Throckmorton and Alexander Avenon (an ironmonger of London who was also Mayor of London for a time). Clement died in 1573 and it passed to his son John. In 1575 it was sold to William Ballis and Thomas Staunton (or Stanton) and remained in the family, until 1766 when it was in the hands of the Hunt family of Stratford. By 1820 it had been acquired by Robert Phillips of Snitterfield, passed to his son Mark (MP for Manchester and founder of the campaign for city parks), then to Mark’s brother Robert Needham Phillips (MP for Bury). Robert’s daughter Caroline inherited the manor after his death in 1900. Caroline was married to Sir George Otto Trevelyan MP for Hawick. By 1965 the manor was still in the hands of Caroline’s trustees.
Before the Doomsday Book little is known about the village, but Roman artefacts have been found in the north east of the parish and on the east side of the houses. Saxon artefacts have also been found and the name Ulwarditone also indicates human activity during the Saxon period.
The church was built in 1208 and superseded or rebuilt during the reign of Edward II, which together with the high altar was dedicated by the Bishop of Worcester, Walter de Mandslon, in the early 1280’s. It was enlarged again and consecrated on 11th July 1325. One of the two bells now in the belfry is believed to be ‘very ancient’ and to have been present at the consecration. The patron at the time was John Dominus Wolverdington, with the rector being Walter son of Alexsandrius. A comprehensive list of rectors of the parish hangs behind the font. Window glass in the west and north west of the church dates back to the 13th century, whilst the “Doom” window glass in the top of the east window is from the 14th century. The coat of arms of Anne Neville, daughter of Henry Beauchamp sits in the north window of the choir stalls.
The village houses include what was a row of cottages, now one house, which date back to 1469, which were originally of wattle and daub construction. Wolverton Court has a Tudor wing dating back to 1547, a Georgian section built in about 1800 by the Wilcox family, and a section connecting the other two. This was designed by Clough Williams-Ellis and built in 1913 in the Queen Ann style. The Court has had several name changes over time, being known as Court Farm, Palmers Farm and Wolverton Court. During World War I part of the Court was used as a military hospital, and in World War II it was requisitioned for the Women’s Land Army.
Wolverton Manor House is believed to have stood on what is now the rectory front lawn. A pen drawing from the early 1800’s of the Manor House has been found in the British Library. It is thought to have been built about 1590 by Captain Thomas Staunton and the family lived there until 1738 when the last male heir, Thomas Stanton, died and left it to John Staunton of Longbridge. It was sold to the Rev. James Roberts about 1830 by Robert Philips.
The Old Rectory dates back to the 17th century and was once the residence of the village cider grinder. It was purchased from Sarah Brooks in the 1830’s by Rev. James Roberts to serve as the rectory house when he dismantled the old decaying Manor House. His successor Rev. Benjamin Winthrop built the tall extension at the west end in 1846, and the new large parlour became a parish meeting room in Rev. Stephen Campbell’s time, 1889 – 1908. Rev. Benjamin Winthrop also built a coach house and stables on the site of the old cider mill, now the Coach House.
Wayside is built on the site of an old thatched farmhouse owned by William Wilcox in 1831. The Old Post Office was opened in 1903 by Mary Ann Verney who was postmistress for 30 years. She was succeeded by Thomas Wakelin who ran it till 1938 when he moved into one of the first council houses. By 1910 it had been divided into two dwellings occupied by the Verney’s and the Moggs. The post office then moved to Grange Cottages when Mrs Carter was postmistress until 1950.
Jasmine Cottage was the home of the village blacksmith for many years in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Trinity Cottage in 1912 was the home of John Busby, the roadman or lengthman
The rest of the village street is mixture of styles and dates ranging from 1900 to 1992, with the other farm houses being mainly Victorian.
Wolverton Hill to Wolverton Fields has a variety of ages and styles of houses, from old thatched cottages, greatly extended, to modern buildings from the 20th century. The school stands halfway along the stretch to Norton Lindsey, and has served the two villages since 1876. The main school house and classroom still remain with added extensions to accommodate the changing numbers and styles of education over the years.
The Wilkes family of clockmakers lived in the village from 1711 to 1792. John Wilkes of Sutton-under-Brailes bought a farmhouse, buildings and land in 1711 and worked until his death in 1758. His son, William, made clocks from the late 1740’s till 1792 and took a number of apprentices. He made the turret clock for Claverdon Church in 1777, and one for Berkswell church. He had a workshop sited beside the lane known as Shop or Clock Lane, which meets the village street beside the Coach House. Longcase clocks made by the family can still be found around the country today.
Rev. Arthur Campion, rector from 1909 till 1921 lived in the Old Rectory and continued, with the help of his gardener, Richard Clarke, the work in the gardens laid out by his predecessor Stephen Campbell. By the 1950’s the beautiful formal garden had become a large lawn on which church fetes were held. In 1910 it was possible to see the church from the road, but the Rev. Campion planted many trees in the churchyard as well as the orchard behind what is now the Rectory. He also built the steps which lead from the church path into the property call Bonnyton. He intended to build a house on the land for his retirement, but did not live long enough.
In July 1914 a biplane piloted by Mr Alcock (of Alcock and Brown fame) landed on the hill at Manor Farm and, due to gusty weather conditions, was tethered to the railings. By evening the weather had improved and Mr Alcock gave some exhibition flights for the benefit of the residents. He also took up in turn Mrs Pearson, Captain Hadden, Mrs Margetts and Miss Flowerdew-Lowson. A chestnut tree was planted in front of the farmhouse to commemorate the occasion.