A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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This parish extends from the high road above Wittenham on the north to the Moreton Brook on the south. It reaches a height of about 260 ft. at the northern end. The area is 1,102 acres, of which the greater part is arable. (fn. 1) The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1845, the award being dated 29 March 1849. (fn. 2) The soil and subsoil are chiefly Upper Greensand, and there are some rubble-pits. The occupation is entirely agricultural. The chief crops are cereals, beans and roots, and there are several orchards.
The village lies on low ground in the south part of the parish, about half a mile off the Wantage road. The principal street of the village runs from east to west, and at its eastern end, on the south side, are the church, standing above the level of the road, and the vicarage, a red brick building, part of which, though much modernized, may be of the 16th century. It was formerly the rectory farm, and was enlarged in 1858, when an ancient doorway from Little Wittenham was inserted in the garden wall. The site of the previous vicarage is now occupied by the garden. The cottages are generally of brick or half-timber with tiled roofs, and there are some fine old tile-hung gables. Stapleton's Chantry is of 16th-century origin, or earlier, though much renovated. It had a chapel in its eastern gable, and a secret passage and chamber, or priest's hole. To the east of it was a house, lately pulled down, which contained much carved woodwork. There are almshouses erected in 1872 and a Primitive Methodist chapel built in 1874.
The village is on the line of the Roman road, now called Broadway, which enters it from the north, disappearing at the corner of the churchyard, and reappearing in a lane at the southern end of the parish. (fn. 3) The road from Brightwell to Didcot, crossing the middle of the parish, is the Portway. (fn. 4)
Former tenements were Chetwodes, Hulbeye, Hylmans, Pymmes (xv cent.), and Beakes Place, Beckinghams, Court, Pykynge, Panninge, Walys (xvi cent.). 'Wyndmyll hyll,' a paved causeway in the village, and the pound are mentioned in the 16th century. (fn. 5) An elm marking the parish boundary south of the village is 'Dunsomer tree.'
Leonel Sharp, a royal chaplain committed to the Tower on suspicion of court intrigues, was appointed to the archdeaconry and to this benefice in 1605. (fn. 6)
'Moreton' appears among the boundaries of Hagborne in a spurious charter of king Alfred contained in the 12th-century chartulary of St. Swithun's, Winchester. (fn. 7) Before the Conquest 10 hides at NORTH MORETON were held by a freeman who is not named; in 1086 they were one of the manors of William Fitz Corbucion and were held by one Ralf. There was a mill and a church, and five tenements in Wallingford belonged to this manor. (fn. 8) By the time of Henry III the overlordship had passed with William's other estates in Berkshire to Thomas of Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, who died in 1242. (fn. 9) In 1299 it belonged to Joan widow of William de Valence, (fn. 10) and her son Aylmer de Valence held one fee here at his death in 1324, (fn. 11) when it was assigned to Mary his widow in dower. (fn. 12) The next mention of the overlordship is in 1419, when the manor was held of the Abbot of Dorchester by service unknown, (fn. 13) but afterwards by service of 1 lb. of pepper annually. (fn. 14) After the dissolution of the abbey it was held of the king in chief by knight service. (fn. 15)
Ralf, who held the manor at the Survey, was probably Ralf Basset, (fn. 16) for in the time of Henry III it was held by John son and heir of Henry Basset, (fn. 17) who in 1243 obtained from Robert de Eston and his wife Margery, possibly John's mother, a quitclaim of their right in two-thirds of a fee in North Moreton. (fn. 18) He had been succeeded before 1247 by Miles Basset, who then confirmed the title of the Archdeacon of Berkshire to the advowson. (fn. 19) In the same year he granted a messuage and 6 virgates of land to his uncle Robert Basset and his wife Alice for their lives, (fn. 20) and this land was restored to Miles in 1268 by Robert's nieces, Blanche wife of Peter Uffinton and Joan, (fn. 21) and by Avice wife of William Woodcote, who also released to Miles the manor of North Moreton. (fn. 22) In 1264 Miles obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands in North Moreton (Norburton). (fn. 23) Margaret daughter of Miles Basset married Nicholas de Stapleton, a judge of the King's Bench, who was holding North Moreton in 1279 and died in 1290. Miles, their son and heir, who was attached to the king's household, became possessed of the manor, which he settled in 1310 upon his second son Gilbert. He fell in 1314 at Bannockburn. (fn. 24) Gilbert de Stapleton held the manor in 1316 (fn. 25) and dying in 1321 (fn. 26) it passed to his son Miles. (fn. 27)
Agnes the widow of Sir Gilbert married Sir Thomas Sheffeld, (fn. 28) and he presided over the manorial courts in 1333 and 1334. (fn. 29) Sir Miles held his court here in 1350, (fn. 30) and in 1354 he settled the manor on himself and his wife Joan and their heirs male with contingent remainder to his brother Brian and to his cousin Miles Stapleton of Hathelsay. (fn. 31) He died in 1364, (fn. 32) having granted it for life to his cousin Sir Miles Stapleton of Hathelsay, who died in 1372. (fn. 33) The former, distinguished as Sir Miles Stapleton of Bedale, left a son Miles, who was under age in 1377, (fn. 34) but who two years later conveyed the manor to his uncle Sir Brian Stapleton and others for their lives with reversion to himself. (fn. 35) Sir Miles died in 1419, (fn. 36) when it passed to his son Sir Brian. (fn. 37) He died in 1438, having granted it by charter to Miles his son and heir. (fn. 38) The latter Sir Miles settled it in 1456 on himself and Katherine his wife and their heirs, with remainder to the heirs of his brother Brian. He died in 1466, leaving two daughters, Elizabeth wife of Sir William Calthorpe and Joan wife of Christopher Harcourt and afterwards of Sir John Huddelston, the manor continuing with Katherine, the widow, who afterwards married Sir Richard Harcourt. (fn. 39) She was sued in 1470 and 1477 for this manor by Brian Stapleton, a descendant of Sir Brian brother of Miles Stapleton of Ingham and Bedale, under the settlement of 1354, on the plea that the issue male of Miles had failed, but the suit was not successful, for Katherine died seised of the manor in 1488. (fn. 40)
It then passed to the elder daughter Elizabeth, who after the death of Sir William Calthorpe married Sir John Fortescue. (fn. 41) She married, thirdly, Sir Edward Howard, second son of John second Duke of Norfolk, and died in 1505, having settled the manor in 1501 on her son Francis Calthorpe. (fn. 42) In 1535 Sir Francis settled a yearly charge of 20 marks from this manor upon Edmund Calthorpe, his great-nephew, son and heir of his nephew Edward, on his marriage with Elizabeth daughter of Edmund Windham, while the manor was settled on Sir Francis's nephew Edward. Sir Francis outlived Edward and died in 1542, leaving a son William by a second marriage. The manor of North Moreton passed to William, though it was claimed in 1563 by Edmund Calthorpe. (fn. 43) William Calthorpe sold it in 1567 to William Dunch. (fn. 44) The manor was again claimed in 1571 by the heirs of Edmund Calthorpe, his sister Grace wife of John Covile, and his nephews Edward Shelton and John Moyne. (fn. 45) In or about 1566 these three claimants released their right to William Dunch. (fn. 46) The manor passed with Dunch's manor of Little Wittenham until 1713. (fn. 47)
About 1726 Edmund Dunch conveyed it to Robert Hucks, (fn. 48) from whom it passed in 1748 to his son Robert. (fn. 49) At his death in 1814 it came to his nieces and co-heirs, the Misses Sarah and Anne Noyes, the latter of whom afterwards acquired the whole, and in 1842 devised it by will to her cousin Henry Hucks Gibbs (afterwards Lord Aldenham). He sold the manor in 1858 to Mr. Charles Greenwood and the land to various purchasers. (fn. 50) From Mr. Greenwood the manor came into the possession of Mr. John Mitchell Marshall of Wallingford, (fn. 51) who died in 1908, and it now belongs to his widow. With the exception of some small quit-rents the manorial rights have fallen into disuse. The site of the manor-house appears in an inclosure east of the church called 'the Grounds,' with the greater part of its moat remaining. (fn. 52) A large number of Court Rolls extending from 1333 to 1743, but with some long intervals, are in possession of Lord Aldenham, (fn. 53) and one of 1549 is in the Public Record Office. (fn. 54)
A second estate here held of the principal manor appears when Geoffrey the Chamberlain before 1093 gave the tithe of his lands in North Moreton to the priory of Wallingford. (fn. 55) Early in the 13th century John de Turbervill had one fee here, (fn. 56) which was perhaps held of him by his daughter Joan, to whom with her husband Osbert Turpin, Baldwin de Cuserigg and Alice his wife for 12 marks conveyed 2 hides in North Moreton in 1203, to be held by the service of one-tenth of a knight's fee. (fn. 57) In 1233 Osbert and Joan disputed certain dues claimed by Henry Basset, (fn. 58) and about 1255 they gave half their estate here to Godstow Priory. (fn. 59) In 1279 Richard the son of Osbert withdrew a claim which he had made against Philip de Northmorton for a tenement here. (fn. 60) In 1379 lands in North Moreton were held by Sir Hugh Segrave with the manor of Aston Tirrold (fn. 61) (q.v.), with which they descended, (fn. 62) being designated a manor from 1520 to 1605. (fn. 63) In 1201 Alice the wife of Baldwin de Cuserigg held half a virgate of land in Moreton, previously held by Robert Palmer. This they together conveyed to William de Huntercombe and Christian his wife and Alice her sister in exchange for half a hide there. (fn. 64)
Land called HEMSEYS, known from 1456 as a manor, followed the descent of the principal manor of North Moreton, of which it evidently formed part, from 1419 until 1565, (fn. 65) when William Calthorpe granted it to William Lever to hold of the manor of North Moreton. Lever was succeeded in 1598 by a son William. (fn. 66) John Lever died seised of the manor of Hemseys in 1627, leaving a son William, (fn. 67) but the further descent of the estate has not been traced. It may have reverted to the overlord and become part of the principal manor.
The tithes from the land of Geoffrey the Chamberlain had been given to Wallingford Priory before 1093, (fn. 68) and were valued in 1291 at 10s. (fn. 69) The priory estates were granted in 1528 to Wolsey and in 1532 to St. George's, Windsor, and included tithe and land here. (fn. 70)
About the year 1255 Osbert and Joan Turpin, mentioned above, gave to the nunnery of Godstow a moiety of all their holding at North Moreton, including half a messuage called 'Parc,' with 6d. yearly rent from Richard Turpin and his heirs, the gift being confirmed by William the son of John (perhaps the heir) and by Henry Basset, renewed afterwards by the widow Joan, then of Blewbury, and confirmed by Miles Basset on payment of 8 marks, to be held by payment of one pair of gloves or 1d. at Michaelmas. (fn. 71) The Court Rolls mention the tenure of the abbess frequently from 1356 to 1537. After the Dissolution part of the estate was annexed to the honour of Ewelme and was held of the king by Henry Slade at his death in 1620 (fn. 72) and by John his son in 1636. (fn. 73)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 35 ft. 7 in. by 21 ft. 10 in., south chapel 36 ft. 5 in. by 17 ft. 5 in., nave 44 ft. 9 in. by 21 ft. 11 in., south aisle 45 ft. 9 in. by 10 ft. 4 in., west tower 11 ft. 9 in. by 10 ft. 5 in. and south porch. All these dimensions are internal.
No portion of the present structure is anterior to the 13th century, but a single richly carved voussoir, of a late 12th-century semicircular arch, now preserved in the south chapel, is, with the 12th-century font, testimony to the existence of a 12th-century church on this site. The oldest parts of the existing church are the re-used west respond of the south arcade of the chancel and a capital built into the south wall of the aisle, which is used as a corbel to support the arch leading from the south chapel to the aisle. These are of the early 13th century and must have formed part of a church of much the same general plan as at present. The church was almost wholly rebuilt about 1270, and on 28 March 1299 Sir Miles de Stapleton obtained licence to alienate certain lands in mortmain for the maintenance of two priests to serve his chantry of St. Nicholas, (fn. 74) which was the south chapel rebuilt, enlarged, and extended eastward at this time. After an interval of some fifteen years or longer, the south aisle was rebuilt, not, as had been originally intended, to line with the south chapel, but on a somewhat narrower scale. A little later new windows were inserted in the north wall of the nave, and the western tower was rebuilt, but its west door, parapet, and windows are of the 15th century. The south porch is modern, by Street, who also restored the church in 1858. The walling is of flint with oolite stone dressings. The chapel and south aisle are roofed with lead, and the other roofs are tiled.
The east window of the chancel is of a beautiful design, which is repeated at Basildon, and is therefore probably the work of a local architect. It has three lights. The central light incloses a cinquefoiled pointed head, and the two side lights have similar heads, trefoiled, below large open trefoils in pointed heads. The two windows in the north wall are each of two uncusped lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head. A similar window at the east end of the south wall is now unglazed and opens into the south chapel. On its sill is a piscina of a form unusual for the date, the cinquefoiled basin being in the top of the moulded capital of a small shaft built against the wall-face, while the drain passes down the shaft. Westward of this window is an arcade of two bays with pointed arches. The central pier is circular, and the eastern respond is a half-round, and both have boldly moulded capitals and bases. The west respond is a complete column built into the south wall of the chancel; this was probably part of the early 13th-century south arcade of the chancel, and was moved into its present position during the rebuilding of 1270. It has a beautifully sculptured foliated capital and a 'water-holding' base. The walls of the chancel are covered with modern paintings. The pointed chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the inner carried on semicircular responds with moulded capitals and bases, differing on the two sides, while the jambs of the outer order are continuously chamfered.
The south chapel has an east window of five trefoiled lights surmounted by fine geometrical tracery in a high two-centred head. This window is filled with magnificent 14th-century glass, of which a detailed description is given below. On either side of the window, internally, is a semi-octagonal image bracket, of which the lowest member is in the form of a ball-flower. In the south wall are three large windows, each of three trefoiled lights with geometrical tracery above in a pointed head, and having an external hood mould with headstops. The central window differs in the tracery from the others, having intersecting mullions. In the west wall, high up, is a window of three lights of similar detail to that of the central south window. At the western end of the south wall is a small doorway with a two-centred head. In the eastern jamb of the south-east window is an angle piscina, having two richly moulded ogee-headed arches, with a pierced vesica between the heads, inclosed in a two-centred hood mould enriched with ball-flower, and supported by a circular shaft and semicircular responds, all with moulded capitals and bases. Between the window opening at the east end of the north wall and the easternmost bay of the arcade is a large clumsy bracket about 2 ft. from the ground. Its purpose is uncertain, and it may be a portion of the earlier structure of the 13th century. The arch leading to the aisle is of the same detail as those of the arcade between the chancel and chapel, and dies into the south wall of the chancel on the north side, except at the extremity of the eastern face, where it is stopped by the capital of the western respond of the arcade. On the south side it rests on a corbel, apparently a capital re-used, carved with stiff foliation similar to that of the early 13th-century western respond of the arcade. The low-pitched roof is of the 15th century, in four bays, with moulded four-centred trusses and moulded ridges. Externally the chapel has a string-course running below the windows and forming the projecting portion of their sills. The east wall has a low gable with a modern cross, and along the top of the south wall is a moulded cornice with a stone parapet above it, and in the broad hollow of the cornice are carved a dog, a cat, a grotesque, a wyvern, a rabbit, a human-headed beast, and a wolf. The roof is leaded.
In the north wall of the nave are two 14th-century windows with two-centred heads, the eastern of three trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery, and the western of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil above. Between them is a blocked doorway of the same date, with a segmental rear arch and wave-moulded external angles. Above the doorway are two grotesque masks built into the interior wall. Over the chancel arch on either side are two plain corbels, which may have served to support the timbers of a bellcote. Between the second and third bays of the south arcade of the nave is a similar corbel at a lower level. The arcade is of four bays with pointed arches of two chamfered orders. They are supported by three circular columns with moulded capitals and bases, and by carved respond corbels carrying the inner order, the outer order being continuous at the extremities of the arcade. Both these corbels are carved, the eastern as the head of a man and the western, which is defaced, as that of a woman wearing a wimple. They are surmounted by semi-octagonal moulded abaci.
The two windows in the south wall of the aisle are each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil above in a pointed head. Between them is the south doorway, which has a two-centred head and a two-centred low rear arch. At the east end of the south wall is a small trefoil-headed piscina with a cinquefoiled basin. The small west window of the aisle is of two trefoiled lights, and is set high in the wall. The walls are built of alternate bands of flint and dressed stone, and have a plain parapet with a moulded string below.
The tower, which is of two stages, with a delicate parapet of open quatrefoils, stands on a moulded plinth. The pointed tower arch is of two hollow-chamfered orders the inner supported by corbel shafts standing on carved heads and having semi-octagonal capitals of bold projection with sides alternately flat and concave. The west door is of the late 15th century, and has a four-centred arch in a square head, both moulded with a hollow chamfer. The spandrels are filled by cusped circles. Over the square head is a moulded label. The rear arch is of a low two-centred form. Above the doorway is a west window of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a pointed head. The inner jambs are wave moulded. In all four walls of the bell-chamber are square-headed windows of two cinquefoiled lights. Below the parapet is a moulded string with heads at the angles.
The early 14th-century glass of the east window of the south chapel is of the highest interest and beauty. It is contemporary with the completion of the chapel, and is in remarkably fine preservation. Apart from the filling of the tracery, which consists of three shields (two now blank, and the middle one containing the upper half only of the sable lion of Stapleton turned to the sinister) and of the Stapleton badge, an eight-pointed golden star on a black roundel, many times repeated, the design consists of fifteen panels, three in each light, separated by elaborate architectural canopy designs in gold on a ruby ground. The design of the uppermost canopy in each light includes the representation of a window of four lights, with tracery in white on black. These 'windows' are intact in the three northern lights, but in the two southern they have been lost and are replaced by plain glass. The fifteen panels contain scenes in connexion with St. Nicholas, St. Peter, our Lord, St. Paul and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Very few of the figures are injured, but many of the faces have been knocked out, and are restored with plain flesh-pink glass. The backgrounds have been restored to some extent, and the figures in two of the panels of the fourth light are considerably damaged. The surviving faces are singularly well drawn, and both design and colour are very fine. The lowest compartment in the northernmost light contains the Conversion of St. Paul, perhaps transferred to this place from the fourth light, its proper position. St. Paul, whose face is gone, falls from his horse, which is on its knees, in the foreground. Behind him is a companion, with his hands clasped, in an attitude of adoration; the face of this figure is intact. In the upper left corner is the figure of our Lord in clouds, much defaced. St. Paul and his companion are clad in banded mail with reinforced steel caps. The figure of St. Paul has a sword, and grasps an uncertain object, perhaps a writing tablet, in his right hand. On the headstall of St. Paul's horse hangs a little trapping shield with a cross on it. The next compartment above contains St. Nicholas (to whom this light probably belongs as the invocatory saint of the chapel) raising the murdered children from the pickle-tub. Three hams hang from a beam above him. His hand is raised in benediction, and he wears a mitre and a green cope. In the top compartment St. Nicholas in a yellow cloak dispenses alms through a wall to the two poor women by night. The faces of St. Nicholas and that of one of the women are intact.
The second light is devoted to St. Peter. The lowest compartment represents the miraculous draught. St. Peter in a blue tunic kneels on the left, with a net in his hand and fish about him in the foreground, while behind him is a boat. On the right our Lord, in a brown robe and red cloak and holding a book in His left hand, gives benediction with His right hand. Above, St. Peter on the left, in a red tunic and white cloak, receives the keys from our Lord, who has a cruciform nimbus and holds a book in His left hand. The top compartment shows the martyrdom of St. Peter. An executioner on either side nails his feet to a green Latin cross. One wears a red loincloth and the other a green cloak and yellow hose.
The centre light contains the Scourging, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection of our Lord. In the lowest compartment our Lord, with a cruciform nimbus, is bound to the column, with a scourger on either side. In the middle light the Blessed Virgin Mary, in white and green, stands on the right, and St. John in a red cloak on the left of the cross. The scroll on the cross is defaced. In the uppermost light our Lord, in red, giving benediction and holding a cross and banner in the left hand, rises from the tomb, with a kneeling figure on either side.
The next light contains the consecration of St. Nicholas (?), a doubtful subject, possibly Salome receiving the head of St. John Baptist, and the decollation of St. Paul or of St. John Baptist. It appears probable that the lowest compartment does not belong to this series at all, but has been brought here from one of the other windows, as it is shorter than all the rest, the space below it being filled with fragments of 14th-century glass. Possibly the same may apply to the compartment representing the conversion of St. Paul in the northernmost light, in which case the two upper compartments in this light need not be referred to St. Paul, but may represent St. John Baptist.
The lowest compartment contains a man on a blue throne or stool, with a figure on either side, the figure on the left holding a crozier, while the other holds his right hand in benediction. The face of the figure on the right is intact, but the whole panel is so damaged as to be obscure. The compartment above is also much damaged and has been restored. A figure of a man on the left holds a large sword, and one on the right, in a long yellow robe (probably restored) and wearing a golden crown, holds out his (or her) hands. It has been suggested that this represents St. Paul before Agrippa, but without probability. In the top compartment an executioner strikes with a large sword at a kneeling figure in a yellow robe.
The southernmost light contains the death, the burial, and the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the bottom compartment the Virgin lies on a bed in the foreground; the face is intact. In the background on the right is our Lord, with a cruciform nimbus, and wearing a blue robe and red cloak. Behind Him is St. James, and before Him on the left St. Peter with a key, and St. John with a book. In the middle compartment the miraculous cure of the cripple at the burial of the Virgin is represented. Two figures, one in green and one in white, walk from left to right carrying the bier, while the diminutive figure of the cripple, in white, kneels below the bier and reaches up his hands to touch it. In the top compartment is the Blessed Virgin Mary in a vesica, supported by angels, and having another kneeling figure below.
In the north-east window of the nave is some 14th-century glass. The quatrefoil in the head has a figure, probably of St. John Baptist, holding a cross with a crimson banner attached. The flesh is very dark in tint, and the figure wears a white waist-cloth. Marks on the feet faintly resembling wounds have led to the description of the figure as that of the Risen Lord; but these marks are extremely faint, if indeed they exist. In the heads of the two lights below are some fragments of foliated black and white glass in a red border. In the quatrefoil of the easternmost window of the south aisle is a figure of our Lord on the cross, with a scroll inscribed 'Iesus Nazarenus'; the figure is sunk on the cross. In the westernmost window of the aisle are some made-up fragments of glass of the same date, with a dark blue Latin cross, made up of pieces of border-glass with the Stapleton star at the intersection, on a background of black and white foliated fragments in the quatrefoil, and in the heads of the lights diapered glass with a red border.
In the floor of the chancel are several mediaeval tiles collected from various parts of the church. On the large bracket in the chapel is a 12th-century voussoir with bird's-beak ornament. On the floor of the chapel are three 13th-century tomb slabs. Two have foliated crosses, but the third is completely worn down.
Two brasses formerly kept in the church chest are now preserved at the vicarage; one is that of Thomas Mayne of North Moreton, yeoman, who died in 1479, with a plate of his four sons, one of whom was a priest, while the other is that of James Leaver, 1629.
Lying outside the west wall of the aisle are considerable fragments of a fine ogee-headed canopy of a late 14th-century tomb recess. These are said to have come from South Moreton, where before the restoration of the church a tomb recess in the south wall of the aisle was used as a fireplace.
There is a ring of five bells: the treble is inscribed, 'Love God 1641'; the second is by Thomas Mears, 1817; the third is inscribed, 'Richard Slade Francis Leaver C.W. 1684'; the fourth, 'Sancta Maria' in Gothic capitals; and the tenor, 'Blessed be the name of the lorde, Joseph Carter 1591.' There is also a sanctus bell dated 1757, but without any maker's name or mark.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1558 to 1735, marriages 1562 to 1730, burials 1558 to 1729; (ii) baptisms 1736 to 1812, marriages 1731 to 1754, burials 1735 to 1812; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812. In the first volume is a contemporary entry recording the death of Queen Elizabeth. There is also a volume of churchwardens' accounts from 1713 to 1730. There is an overseers' book for 1717. The Inclosure Award of 1849 and tithe maps of 1842 and 1850 are at the vicarage.
In the middle of the 13th century the advowson was held by the Abbot of Bec as prebendary of Ogbourne (Okeborne) in the church of Salisbury, his proctor being the Prior of Ogbourne, whose jurisdiction, disputed by Giles Archdeacon of Berkshire, was adjudged by Bishop Richard le Poore to himself, but restored by Pope Gregory IX (1227–41) to the abbot, who in recompense gave to the Archdeacon of Berkshire this advowson with a messuage and 3 acres of land here. (fn. 75) Miles Basset confirmed the archdeacon's right in 1248 and Miles Stapleton in 1283. (fn. 76) In 1291 it pertained to the archdeaconry, the revenues of which, including this benefice, were valued at £54, (fn. 77) and this was among the benefices whose fruits were granted to Pope Urban VI in 1381 (fn. 78); but in 1456 the advowson was settled with the manor on Sir Miles Stapleton, (fn. 79) whose widow died seised of it in 1488. (fn. 80) In 1535 the rectory, appropriated to the archdeaconry, was valued at £16 13s. 4d. and the vicarage at £7 17s. 8d. (fn. 81) The benefice was held with the archdeaconry in the time of Charles I, (fn. 82) since which time the archdeacon has presented a vicar. (fn. 83)
A lease of the rectory, granted several years before, was in dispute in 1562. (fn. 84) In 1632 it was leased to Richard Bagnall, and in 1650 the Parliamentary trustees sold it to Richard Allen. (fn. 85) In 1780 the rectory was held by Walter James James with the manor of Fulscot (fn. 86) in South Moreton (q.v.). In 1855 it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, subject to a lease which expired in 1899, and in 1862 an annual grant of £86 6s. 10d. was assigned from it to the vicarage. (fn. 87)
In 1299 Miles Stapleton endowed a chantry of two chaplains in the chapel of St. Nicholas. (fn. 88) The second Miles Stapleton added to the endowment in 1349. (fn. 89) In the reign of Henry VIII the chantry was worth 66s. 8d., and Richard Nicolson, or Nyelson, the priest, received 60s., though no service was done. (fn. 90) Part of the lands were leased in 1575 for twenty-one years to William Gregory and part to Thomas Stampe; and in 1600 all of these, with the messuage called Stapleton's Chantry, were granted to Peter Grevell and Peter Roswell. (fn. 91) They passed with the chief manor (q.v.) in 1717. (fn. 92)
The church land consists of 17 p. and 34 p. of land, numbered 135 and 137 respectively on an amended Tithe Award, 1850, and 1 a. 0 r. 39 p. awarded on the inclosure in 1849 in lieu of land in the common fields, anciently belonging to the church. The rents, amounting to £3 a year, are received by the parish clerk as part of his emoluments.
By the Inclosure Award, 1849, 3 acres were allotted as a recreation ground; the herbage is let by the parish council for £4 10s. a year, which is applied in renting a neighbouring meadow for cricket, &c.
By the same award three plots, containing together 8 acres or thereabouts, were allotted for the use of the labouring poor. These plots are let by the parish council in allotments at 2½d. a perch, the net income being applied in the maintenance of the fences and paths.
The church almshouses consist of four cottages under one roof, erected in 1872 with money raised by subscriptions. The land and buildings were conveyed to trustees by deed, 12 June 1879, to be used as almshouses for poor people, members of the Church of England. A small rent is paid by the occupants.