Wootton St Lawrence
Wudutune, Wudetone (x cent.); Odetune (xi
cent.); Wutton, Wotton (xiii cent.); Laurence
Wotton (xvi cent.).
The parish of Wootton St. Lawrence covers a long
strip of land stretching from Tadley and Baughurst
in the north to Deane and Kempshott in the south:
it contains 4,405 acres, of which 2,91 1¾ acres are
arable land, 1,070½ acres are permanent grass and
405 acres woodland. (fn. 1) The woods in the parish were
always very valuable and extensive. They supplied
William of Wykeham with timber when he was reconstructing his cathedral nave: in 1392 no fewer
than ninety-one cartloads were sent from Manydown,
and wood was again supplied in 1398 for the works
of the cathedral. (fn. 2) In 1459 three huge oaks were
sent to Winchester for the roof of the great hall of the
priory, which now forms the main part of the deanery,
and may still be seen in the upper rooms into which
the roof was afterwards divided. (fn. 3)
The village of Wootton St. Lawrence is close to
the eastern border of the parish: almost in the centre
of it stands the church of St. Lawrence, and close to
the church is the school. The philologist Charles
Butler, author of The Feminine Monarcbie, was vicar
here for forty-eight years: he died on 29 March
1647 and is buried in the church.
Skeyers Farm, near Ewhurst Park, was held of
Magdalen College by John AylifFe at the end of the
15th century. In 1501 the college granted a lease to
Archbishop Warham, (fn. 4) but the property was afterwards
again leased to the Ayliffe family, who continued to
be the tenants at least as late as 1674. (fn. 5)
Newfound, a quarter of a mile south of Wootton
St. Lawrence village, and East Oakley, on the border
of Church Oakley, are hamlets in the parish. The
common lands of Wootton St. Lawrence were inclosed
in 1832 under a Private Act of 1829. (fn. 6) The soil is
loam, the subsoil chalk, and the chief crops are
barley, swedes, clover and sainfoin.
Ramsdell, formerly a tithing in the north of this
parish, was formed into a separate ecclesiastical district
in 1868: the church had been built in the previous
year. Charter Alley is a hamlet in this parish, but
belongs also to the civil parish of Monk Sherborne.
The following place-names occur in local records:
Est Acle, (fn. 7) Heselden, Rammesdelle (fn. 8) (xiii cent.); Sengette Boddene, Hordhulle, Haghyate, Samsoneswode (fn. 9)
(xiv cent.); Cowedowne or Sower Downe, Bottom
Meade (fn. 10) (xvii cent.).
The manor of WOOTTON, afterwards
called MANYDOWN, was held by the
monks of the bishopric of Winchester at
the time of the Domesday Survey, when the land was
assessed at 20 hides (fn. 11) : it was probably the same property as that which had been granted by King Edgar
to his thegn Æthelric in 958, (fn. 12) but the date at which
it came into the possession of St. Swithun's is uncertain.
In the reign of Henry III the prior and convent
enlarged the estate by the addition of several holdings
in East Oakley, (fn. 13) and in 1284 John of Pontoise,
Bishop of Winchester, quitclaimed to them all his right
in the manor. (fn. 14) In 1332 they received licence to
impark their wood of Wootton, (fn. 15) which was visited
by the royal huntsmen in 1361 and 1363. (fn. 16) In 1377
the park was fenced round in order that the deer
might not stray. (fn. 17) The Prior and convent of St.
Swithun remained in possession of Manydown until the
Dissolution, (fn. 18) when the estate was granted to the
Dean and Chapter of Winchester, (fn. 19) who continued to
hold it until 1649, in which year the trustees for the
sale of church-lands sold it to William Wither, whose
family had long been resident at Manydown. (fn. 20) There
is a tradition that Robert, the first of the Hampshire
Withers, was the godson of Prior Robert Rudborne
(1384–94), who made him farmer of the demesne
lands of Manydown, (fn. 21) and the Withers certainly held
lands in Wootton under St. Swithun's as early as
1402. (fn. 22)
Thomas Wither is described as 'farmer' (firmarius) in
1487: he rendered the account of the manor in 1491,
1501 and 1506, (fn. 23) and the estate was leased after his
death to Joan his widow, who was 'farmer' in 1507,
1516 and 15 22. (fn. 24) John the son of Thomas Wither rendered the account in 1530 after his mother's death. (fn. 25)
He died in 1536, leaving by his will his 'endenture
of yeres' to his second son Richard, (fn. 26) who obtained a
renewal of the lease in 1544. (fn. 27) Richard Wither
died in 1577, and was succeeded by his eldest son
John. (fn. 28)
In 1613 John Wither made an agreement by which
he gave up to his eldest son William all his right in
Manydown on condition that certain rooms in the
manor-house were reserved for himself and his wife,
and that he was allowed £40 yearly, two servants and
'a horse, three couple of beagles and one greyhound
for his pleasure.' If at a future time he chose to live
elsewhere he was to receive 200 marks. William was
also to provide for the education of his three younger
brothers, and to pay £300 to each on his twenty-sixth
birthday. (fn. 29) It was this William who bought the
manor in 1649. (fn. 30)
In 1662, after the Restoration, the dean and
chapter re-entered upon their rights in the manor, (fn. 31)
for which William Wither's son and heir, another
William, received no compensation. In 1674 this
William Wither sent a petition to the king 'praying
a dispensation of the new statutes... which restrain
the dean and chapter from granting leases of their
lands for any term other than twenty-one years, and
stating that he and his ancestors had been ' tenants
time out of mind for the demesnes of the manor of
Manydown by lease of three lives.' (fn. 32) Charles II
recommended him to the dean and chapter for the
renewal he desired, (fn. 33) but he seems to have been unable
to obtain it, for the property was held by the Withers
on leases for the term of twenty-one years from that
date until 1863, (fn. 34) in which year the Rev. Lovelace
Bigg-Wither purchased the reversion of the manor. (fn. 35)
He sold the estate in 1871 to Sir Edward Bates, bart., (fn. 36)
whose grandson, Mr. Sydney Eggers Bates, is the
owner at the present day.
To the west of the village, and surrounded by a
park of 250 acres with 400 acres of plantations, is
Manydown, a large irregular brick house which
retains at least the original plan and traces of the
original building: there are some pillars in the cellars
which may be of the 14th century. One of the
most remarkable relics is the well, with its raising
gear carried up above the middle of the first floor, so
that the water might more easily be conveyed to the
upper rooms. The house is built round a square
court, still called Cheyney Court, on one side of
which is the old court room, where the 'courts Leet
and Custumary' were held. The south front was
rebuilt in 1790.
The estate now known as TANGIER PARK was
called FABIANS (fn. 37) until the reign of Charles II,
when Sir Thomas Hooke, bart., is said to have renamed it after the town which formed part of the
dowry of Katherine of Braganza.
John Fabian held lands in Yerdeley and Wootton
before 1282, in which year they were included
among those which were to pay tithe to the rector of
Wootton. (fn. 38) The property in 1331 covered an area
of 100 acres, and must have been valuable, for it is
said to have been worth about one-sixth as much as
the whole tithe of Wootton rectory. (fn. 39) It seems subsequently to have been enlarged, for it was described
as 'a messuage, 2 carucates of land and 20 acres of
pasture' in 1411, in which year another John
Fabian and Isabel his wife quitclaimed it to John
Gerveys and Thomas Horton, (fn. 40) who in the following
year obtained licence to grant it to the priory of St.
Swithun. (fn. 41)
In 1541 the estate was granted as part of the
manor of Manydown to the Dean and Chapter of
Winchester, (fn. 42) who continued to hold the manorial
rights until the reversion was purchased by the Rev.
Lovelace Bigg-Wither in 1863.
In 1413 the Prior and convent of St. Swithun had
leased the land lately bought from John Fabian to
Robert Dyneley, (fn. 43) and the tenancy afterwards followed the descent of the manor of Malshanger (fn. 44) (q.v.)
in Church Oakley, until it
was sold at the Restoration by
Sir Richard Kingsmill to Sir
Thomas Hooke, bart., (fn. 45) who
is said to have built the existing house in 1662. The
property again changed hands
in 1710, when it was sold by
Sir Hele Hooke son and heir
of Sir Thomas to Henry Limbrey, (fn. 46) from whose family it
subsequently passed by marriage to the Sclaters. (fn. 47) In 1833
it was bought by the Rev.
Lovelace Bigg-Wither, (fn. 48) who
lived there until 1871, when
he sold it with Manydown to Sir Edward Bates. (fn. 49)
Mr. Sydney Eggers Bates is the owner at the present day.
Hooke, baronet. Quarterly sable and argent a cross quarterly between four scalleps countercoloured.
Tangier House, which stands to the north of
Manydown, was built in the 17th century by Sir
Thomas Hooke, bart.: the park, which covers an area
of about 143 acres, forms part of the Manydown
estate, but was leased in 1903 to Colonel William
EAST OAKLEY, on the borders of Wootton St.
Lawrence, was acquired by the Prior and convent of
St. Swithun from several small landholders in the
reign of Henry III, (fn. 50) and subsequently formed part of
the manor of Manydown (q.v.).
There were 4 hides of land at WOOTTON which
were granted in 940 by King Edmund to his thegn
Edric for three lives, (fn. 51) and in 956 by King Eadwig
to Æthelwold (fn. 52) : this land was perhaps included in
the 5 hides which belonged at the time of the Domesday Survey to Hugh de Port (fn. 53) and had previously
been held of King Edward the Confessor by Elmar
and Alviet. (fn. 54) The estate was probably incorporated
in the manor of Monk Sherborne and granted to the
priory there by Henry de Port, for no mention
occurs of it among the St. John lands, and Michael,
the Prior of Sherborne, was stated to be holding a
lay fee in Wootton St. Lawrence in the reign of
Henry III. (fn. 55)
The church of ST. LAWRENCE
consists of a chancel 26 ft. 4 in. by
14 ft. 8 in. with a vestry on the north
side, a nave 40 ft. by 17 ft. 9 in., with a north aisle
12 ft. 4 in. wide and a south aisle 12 ft. 8 in. wide.
There is also a west tower 11 ft. square and a south
porch. All the measurements are internal.
With the exception of the tower the whole of the
church was rebuilt and the south aisle added in 1863,
but the old work re-used shows that there was a
12th-century building which had a north aisle with
an arcade of three bays. In the chancel and south
aisle are some early 14th-century windows, and the
tower as it now stands is probably in part of the same
The east window of the chancel is of 15th-century
style and has three cinquefoiled lights with tracery
under a two-centred arch with a moulded label. The
outside jambs and the mullions are moulded. The
inside splays of this and all the rest of the windows
The north window of the chancel is apparently of
14th-century work and has two trefoiled lights with a
pierced quatrefoil in the spandrel. There is no label.
To the west of this window is a modern doorway to
the vestry. The rebate is on the chancel side and
the jambs and two-centred arch are chamfered.
The vestry has an old east window of three small
trefoiled lights. There is also a modern doorway in
the north wall.
The easternmost of the two south windows of the
chancel has two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over
and is without an arch. It is of early 14th-century
date. The other window in the same wall is similar
to the one in the north wall of the chancel, but the
top foils are of an ogee shape and the spandrel is not
The chancel arch is entirely modern, and has plain
hollow-chamfered jambs and a moulded two-centred
arch, the inner order of which rests on foliated corbels.
The north arcade is of four bays, the first three
having circular columns with scalloped capitals and
modern moulded bases. Both responds of the arcade
have capitals resting on broad conical corbels. The
western pier is square with stop-chamfered angles.
The western 13th-century bay is much narrower
than the rest and has a flat-chamfered respond. The
arch to this bay is pointed, with slightly chamfered
angles. The other three arches are semicircular of
one square-chamfered order with hollow-chamfered
labels on the nave side.
The modern south arcade is of three bays with
circular marble columns having moulded bases and
foliated capitals and corbels. The drop arches are
two-centred and have two chamfered orders.
All the windows of the north aisle are modern, the
first three in the north wall having each two trefoiled
lights with a pierced quatrefoil over. The fourth
window near the west end is a single trefoiled lancet.
The west window of this aisle is similar to the
two-light north windows but has a moulded label and
carved head stops.
The east window of the south aisle is modern and
has three trefoiled lights with tracery of 14th-century
design, moulded label and head stops.
The easternmost of the two south windows is of
14th-century date and is similar to the north
window of the chancel. The other window is a
modern copy of it. The west window of the aisle is
similar to the corresponding one in the north aisle.
The south doorway is placed near the west end of
the aisle and is of rebuilt and partly restored 12th-century work. The jambs are shafted and have
moulded bases and cushion capitals enriched with
beads. The abaci above are clumsy modern additions.
The arch is semicircular of a single order with lines
of zigzag and an outer line of hatched ornament.
The tower arch is modern and has two chamfered
orders continuous with the jambs. In the south wall
of the tower is a small old trefoiled light. The west
doorway is modern and has moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch under a square head with a moulded
label. The spandrels are carved. Above this doorway is a modern window with two cinquefoiled lights
and a quatrefoil spandrel under a two-centred head
with a moulded label.
The walls of the whole building are faced with
flint and stone and the roofs are tiled.
The quoins in the upper part of the tower and
part of a north buttress are old. The top is crowned
with a cornice moulding and is roofed with a slated
pyramidal roof. In each face except the east, near
the top, is a modern window of two cinquefoiled
lights. In the west face lower down is an old small
The roofs are of modern open timber work and all
the internal fittings, except a few pews in the north
aisle, are quite modern.
Under the tower arch is a narrow strip of old tiles
with various designs in yellow on a red ground, including a fleur de lis, a cross made of four fleurs de Us,
two lions rampant face to face, an eagle displayed
and other patterns.
In a recess in the south wall of the chancel is a
white marble monument to Sir Thomas Hooke, bart.,
who died in 1677, aged 36. His effigy of white
marble is in plate armour, resting on one arm, with
one hand on his helmet. The crest above the inscription is a scallop between two wings, and the arms
on the base of the tomb are Hooke quartered with
(Gules) a bend indented ermine, for Hele, and impaling (Or) a fesse dancetty (azure) with three
stars (argent) thereon and a quarter (azure) with the
sun (or) therein, which are the arms of Elizabeth
daughter of Sir William Thompson, his wife.
Placed on the sill of the east window is a 14th-century grave slab with a floriated cross on the top.
There are several good armorial slabs on the floor
of the chancel, including one to William infant son
of William Dyer of Newnham in the county of
Hertford, esquire, and Ann his wife, daughter of Sir
Thomas Hooke. The date is hidden under the footpace of the altar. In a shield are the arms Quarterly
1 and 4 a chief indented, 2 a cross paty, 3
a cross paty in a border engrailed, all impaling the
arms of Hooke.
On the north side is a slab to John Wither of
Manydown, esquire, 1620, and Joan his wife,
daughter of John Love of Basing 1639. On the
lower part of the same slab is an inscription to William
Wither, 1671, son and heir of the above John Wither,
and Joan his wife, daughter of Thomas Geale,
In the centre is another inscription to Alethea Bethell
daughter of the above William and Joan Wither,
On the top of the slab are the arms, Quarterly
1 and 4 a cheveron between three crescents, 2
and 3 a lion with two heads, impaling Barry and
in chief three lions' heads razed.
In the centre of the slab is a shield charged with the
same arms as in the first half of the above. In the
centre is an escutcheon Quarterly 1 and 4 two
spear heads and a boar's head in chief, 2 and 3,
two bars with three lions' heads razed in chief.
On the south wall of the south aisle is a monument
with a Latin inscription to Susan wife of William
Wither, who died 1653. There are three shields
of arms, the first having Wither, the second has
a fesse between three crescents, and the third
shield has Wither impaling the arms of the second
There are several other wall and floor monuments
to the Wither and other families of 17th and 18th-century dates, in different parts of the church.
On the westernmost pier of the north arcade is a
replica of the brass to be found in Monk Sherborne
and other neighbouring churches setting forth the
bequests of one Thomas Sympson, dated 1674.
On the south wall of the chancel is an iron bracket
on which are placed a helmet, a pair of spurs, a pair of
gauntlets and a dagger. On the bracket are the
initials of Sir Thomas Hooke and the date 1677.
The tower contains five bells, the treble being by
Warner, 1864. The second is inscribed, 'This bell
was made 1625'; the third, 'Our hope is in the
Lord, 1625'; the fourth, 'Praise ye the Lord, 1625';
and the tenor, ' Let your hope be in the Lord, 1625.'
All the last four are evidently by the same man, but
there is no name or maker's mark.
The plate consists of a silver-gilt chalice and paten
cover of 1624 inscribed, 'The guift of John Wither
gent, to the parish church of Laurence Wootton,
1625,' and bearing the arms of Wither of Manydown;
a silver paten of 1735, the gift of Elizabeth Wither
of Manydown; a silver flagon of 1688; a silver
alms dish inscribed as the paten and a baptismal bowl
The first book of the registers contains all entries
from 1560, the baptisms and burials running to 1785
and the marriages to 1753. The book is very complete and is beautifully written. The second book
contains burials from 1563, marriages from 1564,
baptisms from 1657, all running to 1706. On the
first page is a note as follows: ' Memorandum that ye
Births, Marriages and Burials entered here were done
to signify ye taxes quarterly paid to King William for
every one born, married and buried. This distinguisheth ye Burials Marriages and Burials (sic) written
in ye other register where there is not account of ye
quarterly entry of births, etc' The third book
contains marriages between 1754 and 1811, the
fourth contains baptisms and burials from 1770 to
1812, and a fifth book brings the marriages up to
The first book of churchwardens' accounts contains
entries between 1558 and 1675, and there are books
containing subsequent entries.
CHRIST CHURCH, RAMSDELL, built in 1867,
is of flint with stone dressings in 13th-century style,
and consists of chancel, nave and tower with spire.
The registers date from 1868.
There was a church at Wootton
St. Lawrence as early as 940, (fn. 56) if
the 4 hides of land at Wootton
granted by King Edmund to Edric in that year were
in this parish. There is no mention, however, of any
church here in Domesday Book.
The advowson belonged to the Bishops of Winchester until the end of the 13th century, for though
in 1243 Pope Innocent IV included the church in his
confirmation of the liberties of St. Swithun, (fn. 57) Aylmer
bishop-elect of Winchester was acknowledged as the
true patron about 1256, (fn. 58) and it was not until 1299
that the bishop, John of Pontoise, gave up to the
prior and convent the patronage of the church of
Wootton and all other rights thereto belonging (fn. 59)
The priory of St. Swithun continued in possession
until the Dissolution, (fn. 60) when the rectory and advowson of the vicarage were granted with the manor of
Manydown to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, (fn. 61)
who are the patrons at the present day. (fn. 62)
The living of Wootton St. Lawrence was said to be
a vicarage in 1238, (fn. 63) when the king presented to it by
reason of the voidance of the bishopric of Winchester,
but this seems to have been a mistake, for it was certainly a rectory during the second half of the 13 th
century, (fn. 64) and a vicarage was not ordained until 1299.
At this time a dispute arose between the rector, Ralf
de Stanford, and the Sherborne monks who laid claim
to the tithes from certain lands in Wootton St.
Lawrence (fn. 65) in respect of the gift of Henry de Port. (fn. 66)
As the bishopric was then vacant the case went before
the archbishop's court, and after due hearing it was
decided, probably about 1282, that the rector should
receive in peace the tithes from certain of the lands in
question, while the remainder should be paid to
Sherborne Priory. (fn. 67) The rector, however, was evidently not allowed to receive his share in peace, for in
1283 John of Pontoise, then Bishop of Winchester,
learned upon trustworthy report that' certain satellites
and followers of the Ancient Enemy having no fear of
God before their eyes had molested disquieted and
disturbed the rector,' so that he could not take his
tithes. (fn. 68) It was perhaps on this account that the
bishop decided in 1299 that these tithes should for
the future be paid to the priory of St. Swithun. (fn. 69)
The living of Ramsdell is a vicarage, net yearly
value £275, in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester.
Newfound has a small Wesleyan chapel, and there
is a small Primitive Methodist chapel at East Oakley.
At Ramsdell there is a Congregational chapel.
In 1674 Thomas Sympson by will
gave to the poor of six parishes, including this parish, the sum of £15 yearly—see under Monk Sherborne. The sum of £2 10s.
is annually distributed in money.