There’s often a story behind isolated churches. Fawsley church (1: Northants) stands isolated in the park of the former Hall. Not always so, it once served the villagers who lived close round it. Towards the end of the 15th century, the Knightley family (Lords of the manor of Fawsley) gradually got rid of the tenants and turned the land over to sheep. The church accumulated monuments to the Knightleys, notably Sir Richard (d.1534) and his wife Jane (2) and, more massively (3), to Sir Valentine (d. 1566), Sir Richard (d. 1615) and a later Sir Valentine (d. 1619).

A few miles south at Wormleighton (4: Warks.) a Tudor fonctionnaire named William Cope (Cofferer to Henry VII) became Lord of the Manor of Wormleighton in 1498, evicting 60 villagers, demolishing 15 homes and turning arable to grass. John Spencer bought the estate in 1506, and built himself a new manor house, continuing the process of sheep and cattle farming. The Spencers intermarried with the Knightleys and are now better known as the proprietors of Althorp in Northamptonshire. The site of the mediaeval village remains in the fields, the homes replaced by houses some way away.

Wolfhamcote church (5: Warks.) now stands in splendid isolation with only a farm for company. The village declined in the 14th and 15th centuries; enclosure in 1501 was the last straw. But the church has survived, very much against the odds, and is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust.

Further reading M. W. Beresford, History on the Ground, Lutterworth Press, 1957, pp 105-113; Lyndon F. Cave, Wolfhampcote and Its Church, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, 1980, Vol.24, pp 127-142.