Earlier History

 The boundaries of Wormleighton were first set out in the Charter of Saxon King Edwy in the year 956. The first recorded Lord of the Manor of Wormleighton was the Count of Meulan- a Norman who also owned extensive estates in France- in the survey made for the Doomsday Book in 1086, the year before the death of King William the First, the former Duke of Normandy and England's first Norman king following his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Count of Meulan is one of the ancestors of the families that later became the Earls of Warwick and of Leicester Later records from a survey made in 1634 show that Wormleighton in the 12th century -was owned by Geoffrey De Clinton - Treasurer and Chamberlain to King Henry II and founder of Kenilworth Priory. It was Geoffrey de Clinton who had made Kenilworth Castle the great fortress structure that it became. His son sold the manor of Wormleighton to a Richard Walsh whose daughter and eventual heiress Petronella conveyed it in marriage about 1190 to Geoffrey Peche with whose descendants it remained until the time of King Henry IV when it passed to a William Montfort of Coleshill through his marriage with Margaret the heiress of the Peches family, who also became one of England's largest land-owning families. William was descended from the famous Simon de Montfort Earl of Leicester, who lived in the reign of King Henry III and who had also been based at Kenilworth, which by then was a Royal castle, but which he further extended. Kenilworth in 1265 was the scene of England's longest-ever castle siege after the battle of Evesham - a major battle in the so called Baron's Revolt. A further de Montfort descendant also called Simon Montfort was convicted of treason and executed in 1495 during the reign of King Henry VII –for "having countenanced the claims to the throne put forward by Perkin Warbeck" -and his estates were seized by the King who in the same year transferred the Manor of Wormleighton to William Cope the Cofferer of his Majesty's Household - an office known nowadays as the Keeper of the Privy Purse – at a rental of £13. 6s. 8d. per year. Montfort's rent had only been £8. The increase was made possible by the more profitable use to which Cope turned the estate by buying out the freeholders in 1498. Cope had married, as his second wife, Jane a daughter of John Spencer according to some historians at Canons Ashby in 1495. The Cope family had originally acquired Wormleighton in the reign of Henry Tudor, who came from the Welsh Borders and became Henry VII having acquired the throne after defeating Richard III, the last Plantagenet King, at Bosworth in Leicestershire. Cope had firstly married into the Harcourt family - also Normans - who came to England with Duke William of Normandy in 1066. Both Robert Harcourt and William Cope fought for Henry Tudor at Bosworth with the former being Henry VII's standard bearer. Thus, well before the arrival of the Spencers, the Manor of Wormleighton was an important property asset of people, who were major figures in early English history and the village was also a not insignificant centre of population. In 1332 there were some 26 households in the old village that were wealthy enough to fall into the taxable grade and when the village tax quotas were reassessed in 1334, Wormleighton paid 72 shillings against the local average of 59 shillings. Today, the remains of the old village can be seen only as humps in the ground. But there was a large fishpond there, with fish being of course a virtually obligatory food for Fridays in those days and fishponds valuable assets.