Bentley liberty and parish
Bintungom (vii cent.); Beonaet, Beonetlet (x cent.);
Benedlei (xi cent.); Benetlegh (xiii cent.); Benetlye
The parish of Bentley, covering an area of 2,299
acres, lies on the borders of Surrey, south of the
parish of Crondall and north of Binsted, from which
it is separated by the River Wey. It is served by
Bentley railway station on the Alton branch of the
London & South Western Railway. The ground
slopes from the north of the parish, where it reaches
its highest point (535 ft. above the ordnance datum),
down towards the south and east. The village,
which is described by Warner in the 18th century as
'a delightful, pleasant and neat village,' with wellplanted gardens and hedges of white thorn, lies on
the main road from Farnham to Alton, which is
supposed to be an ancient Pilgrims' Way leading
from Farnham through Bentley and Alton to Winchester. The forest of Alice Holt in the neighbouring parish of Binsted no doubt furnished cover for
highwaymen and robbers, who fell upon merchant
and pilgrim on their way to Winchester, to shrine or
fair. The outlaw Sir Adam Gurdon is said to have
frequented this road with his armed band, and to
have devastated the surrounding country to the
terror of peaceful travellers until his restoration to
his estates by King Edward I.
Index Map to the Liberty of Bentley
North of the main road is Marsh House, the
residence of Mr. Gilbert Harrap, and on the east is
Northbrook, where Miss Schroder lived until her
death in 1863. The property was then bought by
Mr. Rowcliffe, and at his death by Mr. E. M. Sprot,
who sold it to Mr. Wilmot-Sitwell in 1908. Bury
Court was purchased by Mr. Lillywhite in 1907
from Miss White, whose brother bought the property
from the executors of Mr. Robert Trimmer.
The parish, assessed with the small parish of
Coldrey, (fn. 1) which covers an area of 194 acres, contains
1,138¼ acres of arable land, 1,077½ acres of permanent
grass, and 119½ acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 1a) The
soil is clay, gravel, and chalk marl, and the chief crops
are corn and hops.
The common fields of Bentley were inclosed in
1859 under the General Indosure Act. (fn. 2)
The following place-names occur in extant records
of Bentley:—Estden, Ewclive Coleford, (fn. 3) Poukelond,
Becklond, Cranlond, Le Spolt, La Merre, (fn. 4) Janckenes
Welle, Le Lutine, La Byencroft, Mershcopemed (fn. 5)
(xiv cent.), Cheakes (xvi cent.), (fn. 6) Guttonspool, Hame,
Lopwood Grove (xvii cent.). (fn. 7) La Merre, called
Merelond in the 15th century, is the modern Marcland, which was purchased from the Rev. Augustus
Legge by the uncle of the present owner, Mr. A. E.
Seawell, Janckenes Welle probably formed a part
of the estate now known as Jenkin Place, the property of Mr. Thomas Eggar and Mr. R. B. Eggar,
and Cheakes is the modern Cheeks Farm.
The manor and liberty of BENTLEY
belonged from an early date to the
Bishop of Winchester, being dependent
on his liberty of Farnham (co. Surr.), to the
hundred court of which the tithing-men of Bentley
did suit as late at least as the end of the 16th century. (fn. 8)
The date at which the bishop obtained possession is
uncertain, but it was probably at the end of the
8th century. In 688 Cedwalla, King of the Saxons,
granted 60 hides in Farnham of the land of Ceddas,
Cisus, and Criswan, of which 10 were in Bentley, to
found a monastery. (fn. 9) It is unknown to what monastery
reference is made, and none is known to have existed
at Farnham, so that the project may have been
abandoned. Sixty hides in Farnham, apparently the
above-mentioned, were granted
in 803–5 by Alhmund, Bishop
of Winchester, to Byrhtelm, (fn. 10)
apparently only for a term of
years or for life, as in 858
Swithun, Bishop of Winchester,
granted the same to Ethelbald,
King of the West Saxons, for
life, with remainder to the
bishop and church of St. Peter,
Winchester. (fn. 11) In 909 Edward
the Elder confirmed a grant
by his predecessors of 60 hides
of land at Farnham and 10 hides
at Bentley to the bishop, (fn. 12) and
this grant was further confirmed by King Edgar at
the end of the 10th century. (fn. 13) The Bishop of
Winchester was holding Bentley as 10 hides in 1086,
and of him Osborne de Ou and William were
holding 1 hide 1 virgate worth 50s. and l½ hides worth
20s. respectively. (fn. 14) From this date the manor of Bentley followed the same descent as the manor of Farnham
until 1648, (fn. 15) when on the abolition of episcopacy
it was sold to George Wither the poct and Elizabeth
his wife. (fn. 16) At the Restoration the bishop regained
possession of his confiscated land, and continued to
hold the manor of Bentley until between 1880 and
1885, (fn. 17) when it passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the present lords of the manor, as the representatives of the bishop.
See of Winchester. Gules St. Peter's keys crossed with St. Paul's sword.
The manor of Bentley contained a mill worth 10s.
in 1086. (fn. 18)
The manor of PURY alias PERRYLAND (Pyri,
Perye, xiv cent.; Purye, xv cent.; Pyrry, Perry
Land alias Pury alias Prury Land, xvi cent.;
Puray alias Peary, xviii cent.) was probably represented at the time of the Domesday Survey by 1½
hides worth 20s. held by William of the Bishop of
Winchester, and 1 hide and 1 virgate worth 50s.
held by Osborne de Ou. (fn. 19) The manor continued to
be held of the Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 20) Nothing
further is known of this estate until 1312, when
John de Westcote obtained a grant of free warren in
his demesne land in Bentley. (fn. 21) He died seised of the
manor of Pury 1334, leaving as his heir his son
John, an idiot. (fn. 22) From this date the manor of Pury
apparently followed the same descent as the manor of
Badley in Crondall in the hundred of Crondall (fn. 22a) (q.v.)
until 1442, (fn. 23) when Philip de Pageham died seised of the
manor, leaving as his heir his kinsman, Geoffrey
Borrard of the Isle of Wight, son of Parnel daughter
of Laurence Pageham. (fn. 24) Pury then passed, in accordance with a settlement of 1348, (fn. 24a) to Christine wife
of Richard Holt and granddaughter of Roger de
Colrethe. (fn. 25) Richard Holt was enfeoffed by his mother
Christine in 1447, (fn. 25a) and died seised of the manor in
1458, leaving two daughters and co-heirs, Christine,
afterwards wife of Edward Berkeley, and Elizabeth. (fn. 26)
Edward Berkeley died seised of a moiety of the manor
in 1506, Christine's heir being William Blount, Lord
Mountjoy, son of her daughter Laura. (fn. 27) Elizabeth
apparently died without issue or unmarried, and in
1532 William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, conveyed the
whole manor to William Thorpe. (fn. 28) It next passed
into the possession of Michael Lyster of Kinnersley,
(co. Heref.), who married Elizabeth daughter and
heir of Sir Richard Southwell of Horsham St. Faith
(co. Norf.). (fn. 29) In 1579 Michael and Elizabeth
conveyed the manor to William Peake, (fn. 30) who continued to hold it until his death in 1597. (fn. 31) His
kinsman and heir William Walle (fn. 32) died in 1639,
leaving as his heir his son Joseph, (fn. 33) who held the
manor until his death in 1644. (fn. 34) His 3on and heir
William dealt with the manor by recovery in 1657, (fn. 35)
but from this date down to the middle of the
18th century nothing is known about its descent.
In 1757 Robert Eggar, senior, and Robert Eggar,
junior, dealt with the manor of Pury by fine, (fn. 36) and in
1784 Robert Eggar and Sarah his wife and Robert
Allen and Sarah his wife conveyed it to John
Manwaring. (fn. 37) By the middle of the 19th century
Perrylands was in the possession of Mr. F. R. Thresher,
who left it by will to his nephew Mr. Thresher
Giles. (fn. 38) Mr. Giles died in 1908, leaving Perrylands
to the present owner, Mr. Gilbert Harrap. (fn. 39)
The church of OUR LADY stands
on high ground to the north of the
village, approached by narrow lanes. An
avenue of yews leads to the south door, and along
the west side of the churchyard is an avenue of limes.
The church has a chancel 25 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft., with
north and south chapels of the same length and
15 ft. 2 in. wide, nave 3 8 ft. 5 in. by 20 ft. 9 in., with
north and south aisles 13 ft. 7 in. wide, a west tower
13 ft. 5 in. by 12 ft. 4 in., and a wooden south porch,
all the measurements being internal.
The oldest parts belong to the 12th century, and
the plan until modern times was rather an unusual one.
The aisleless nave and chancel were enlarged about
1180 by the addition of a north chapel, and a corresponding chapel was added on the south some sixty
years later. The tower was apparently a late 12th-century addition, but the nave remained aisleless till
1835, when a south aisle was built. This was rebuilt
in 1890, having become ruinous, and a north aisle of
the same size added.
The tracery of the two west windows of the chapels
was reset in the north aisle, and four 15th-century
two-light windows from the north and south walls of
the old nave were used up in making two windows
in the new south aisle, one of three lights and one of
two, the remains of 15th-century glass in them being
put into the clearstory of the chancel. (fn. 40)
The top of the tower is of 18th-century brickwork,
and the wooden south porch is modern.
The cast window of the chancel is of three trefoiled
lights, with tracery of 15th-century character a good
deal restored. It contains some good modern glass, two
small figures in 15th-century white and gold glass, and
representing the Annunciation.
The north arcade of the chancel is of two bays with
circular column and semicircular responds, hollowmoulded bases, and square scalloped capitals, showing
traces of colour decoration on that of the western
respond. The arches are of two chamfered orders,
the outer being segmental; they are 15th-century
work, and evidently replaced the original arches when
the clearstory was added.
The south arcade has circular moulded capitals
and bases, with two-centred arches of two chamfered
orders. In the western bay on each side is a low
coped wall apparently of old stonework rebuilt.
Over the arcades on each side are three clearstory
windows of 15th-century date, each of two trefoiled lights under a square head; the fragments
of 15th-century glass from the nave windows are
set in them. At the south-east of the chancel is
an arched opening through the wall; the jambs are
square on the west side, but splayed eastwards on the
other, making the opening wider towards the chapel.
It appears to have served as a large squint commanding the altar in the chapel. To the east of this is a
small recess without a drain, having a round head with
a narrow border of zigzag ornament on the edge,
apparently of no great age. The east window of the
north chapel is a lancet. There is one north window,
which is modern and has two trefoiled lights under a
square head. To the east of this is a modern doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred head.
At the south-east is a 13th-century piscina recess
with a modern basin. The two-centred arch has an
edge-roll with a row of dog-tooth ornament on the
The east window of the south chapel is a lancet
like that of the north chapel, and has been more or less
restored. The window in the south wall has two
trefoiled lights under a square head without a label,
and is of 15th-century date. To the east of this is a
13th-century piscina which has a deeply-moulded trefoiled head. The bowl has been a moulded capital,
and probably had a shaft beneath it; it is now broken
off flush with the wall face.
To the west of the south window is a recess formed
by blocking up a 13th-century doorway; the jambs
and segmental head are chamfered, but it does not
show on the outer face of the wall. The chancel arch
is modern and has semicircular responds and an arch
of two moulded orders. The western arches of both
chapels are also modern, and are of two chamfered
orders with square jambs.
The nave arcades are entirely new, of three bays
with circular columns, splayed bases and moulded
capitals, and moulded two-centred arches.
The two easternmost windows of the north aisle
have tracery of late 14th-century date, of two trefoiled
ogee-headed lights with a flowing quatrefoil over, and a
moulded label, formerly in the west ends of the two
chapels; the jambs and mullions are new. To the
west of these is a third window, which is a modern
copy of them.
The west windows of both aisles are modern, and
have three cinquefoiled lights with tracery of 15th-century style.
The south-east window of the south aisle, already
referred to, has three cinquefoiled lights with tracery
and a square head and moulded label. The other
south window is similar, but has only two lights.
Between these windows is the south doorway,
which is modern and has moulded jambs and two-centred head. The tower arch is of two pointed orders,
stop-chamfered, with square-edged hollow-chamfered
abaci; it has a similar section to the jambs and is
The west doorway of the tower is modern, but has
old stones in the internal jambs.
The tower is of three stages, with large anglebuttresses, a modern two-light west window, and an
old loop-light in the south face.
The belfry stage is of red brick with an embattled
parapet, and in each face is a modern two-light window.
The chancel, chapels, and nave have old trussed
rafter roofs, and the weathering of a steep pitched roof
shows on the east wall of the tower. The altar rails
are heavy 17th-century balusters, but all the wooden
fittings are modern.
The square Purbeck marble bowl of the font is of
late 12th-century date with shallow round-headed
panels on each face. The stem and base, with four
small flanking shafts, are modern.
On the south wall of the south chapel is a black
marble slab to Margaret wife of George Windsor, who
died 1631. Above the inscription are the kneeling
figures of a man and a woman very well cut in outline
on the marble. Above them is a shield of Windsor:
Gules a saltire argent between twelve crosslcts or,
impaling Party gules and argent a saltire counterchanged. The inscription begins with the couplet:—
Hic Maria Deo, sanctis mulcedine Persis,
Hanna viro, miseris Candida Phaebe jacet.
The tower contains six bells, the treble bearing the
inscription, 'John Eyer gave twenty pound to meck
mee a losty sound 1703.' This bell, with the second,
fifth and tenor, is by Samuel Knight, and the third and
fourth are by Richard Phelps, 1725.
The plate consists of a silver cup of 1790, two
pewter plates now electro-plated and used as patens,
and a silver flagon of 1789.
There are three books of registers:—(i) baptisms
and burials, 1538 to 1716; marriages, 1538 to 1715;
(ii) Duplicate register of burials, 1700 to 1729;
(iii) baptisms, marriages and burials, 1716 to 1813.
Bentley was from time immemorial
a chapelry dependent on the church
of Farnham (co. Surr.), (fn. 41) and was
worth £10 in tithes to the rectory of Farnham in the
16th century. (fn. 42) A perpetual curate was first appointed
at the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 43)
The great and little tithes of Bentley and of the
other dependent chapelries of Farnham, with right of
nomination of a curate, were habitually leased out by
the Archdeacon of Surrey for terms of three lives. (fn. 44) In
1840 Bishop Sumner introduced a Bill in the House
of Lords to anticipate the falling-in of the leases and
to restore the tithes to the several parishes, Farnham,
Frensham, Seale, Elstead and Bentley, but the Bill was
opposed and withdrawn. (fn. 45) As the leases gradually fell
in they were not renewed, and the tithes remained in
the hands of the archdeacon. (fn. 46) After some controversy
an arrangement was made in 1864 and confirmed by
an Order in Council dated 29 November 1865,
whereby Bentley took its own share of tithes undivided. (fn. 47) The rectory is in the gift of the Archdeacon
of Surrey, and is now worth £628 yearly, with 30 acres
of glebe and residence.
There is a Bible Christian chapel in Bentley.
In 1631 George Windsor gave for
the use of the poor about 6 acres. In
1905 a detached portion known as
Swaynes was sold and the proceeds invested in
£515 1s. 10d. consols, with the official trustees,
who also hold £103 12s. 3d. like stock, arising
from the sale of timber.
In 1841 Edmund Hambrough left a legacy for the
poor, represented by £89 6s. 7d. consols. The
income of these charities, amounting to about £24 a
year, is applied together in doles to widows and aged
people at Christmas and in grants of money.
The property known as the Church House
was sold in 1890, and the net proceeds invested
in £187 11s. 2d. consols, producing yearly
£4 13s. 8d., which is applied towards the expenses
of the church.
Isabella Schroder by will, proved at London
24 October 1863, bequeathed £5,641 15s. 9d. consols,
the dividends, amounting to £141, to be applied for
the benefit of the most deserving and necessitous
inhabitants. The charity is regulated by a scheme of
15 August 1873, and in 1906 £120 was expended
in the distribution of coal, £5 in clothing, and grants
were made of money to the poor.
The several sums of stock are held by the official