A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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Chilton is a small parish covering an area of 1,447 acres, of which 1,089 acres are arable land, 302 acres permanent grass, and 3 acres woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is chiefly chalk and light gravel with a subsoil of chalk, and the chief crops are wheat, barley and roots. The general slope of the land is from south to north, the height above the ordnance datum varying between 600 ft. and 400 ft. Grimsdyke forms one of the boundaries of the parish. The nearest railway station is Upton, which is 2 miles distant. Although here, as at East Usley, there are training stables for race-horses, the principal occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture, and much of the open down known as Chilton Plain has been brought under cultivation since the Inclosure Act. (fn. 2) A prehistoric hoard was discovered on Hagbourne Hill in 1803, and near it is a supposed Roman burial ground, while on the summit of the hill is a barrow. (fn. 3)
The village of Chilton lies in the middle of the beautiful undulating down-land on the north side of the Downs. It is well wooded and is built about some by-roads on the east side of the main road from Newbury to Abingdon. The cottages are of brick or brick and half-timber construction and are generally roofed with tiles. The church stands at the northern end of the settlement. A little distance below the church on the south side of the roadway stand the remains of the house formerly called Lattons Place, which has been completely modernized and converted into a small residence. The original portion dates from the latter part of the 15th century and consists of a small L-shaped building, (fn. 4) two stories high, built of brick and half-timber and roofed with tiles. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel at some distance from the village on the Bargeway road.
Edward II visited Chilton in 1321, (fn. 5) but the chief historical event of interest in connexion with the parish occurred in 1644, a few days after the second battle of Newbury, when Chilton narrowly escaped being the scene of a battle, a strong force of Royalists in pursuit of Cromwell's troops having arrived there the day after the enemy had withdrawn. (fn. 6)
There are two manors of CHILTON mentioned in the Domesday Survey, one of which was held by Wenric under Edward the Confessor and granted by William the Conqueror to Walter Fitz Other. (fn. 7) The descendants of Fitz Other, who assumed the name of Windsor on becoming wardens of Windsor Castle, (fn. 8) retained the overlordship for nearly five centuries as parcel of the manor of Stanwell in Middlesex, which they held of the king in chief. (fn. 9) In 1542 Henry VIII compelled them to surrender Stanwell to him in exchange for certain abbey lands, (fn. 10) and the overlordship then passed to the Crown, and is mentioned as late as 1601. (fn. 11)
The Lascelles held under the Windsors, Duncan de Lascelles married Christine daughter and heiress of Walter de Windsor, (fn. 12) At the date of the Testa de Nevill Thomas de Lascelles (fn. 13) held the fee from the Windsors, with Simon de Luncok, Robert Danvers and Henry Pesey as his under-tenants. (fn. 14) The Danvers family, the successors of the Estuns (see under advowson), held the manor for several generations. In the middle of the 13th century Robert Danvers was holding a free tenement in Chilton for the service of half a knight's fee, (fn. 15) while in 1288 Thomas, probably his son, levied a fine of a 'messuage, land and rents,' to be held of Henry Simeons for the nominal rent of one clove gillyflower. (fn. 16) Edmund the son of Thomas was returned as owning the 'vill' of Chilton in 1316, (fn. 17) and in 1329 the district was referred to as Chilton Danvers. (fn. 18) Edmund was succeeded by his son Robert Danvers, (fn. 19) who died in 1362 seised of 5 virgates of land (fn. 20) in the parish. The manor is first actually mentioned in 1381, when Sir Almeric de St. Amand died seised of a third of it, (fn. 21) possibly by right of dower. In 1399 in an inquisition taken on the death of one of the overlords the tenants are entered as 'not known,' (fn. 22) but property in Chilton was held by Almeric de St. Amand, son of the above-mentioned Almeric, at his death in 1401. (fn. 23) In 1432 seisin was delivered to William son and heir of Edmund Danvers (fn. 24) 'of the manor of Chilton which formerly belonged to Eleanor St. Amand,' (fn. 25) apparently the wife of the younger Almeric, who survived her husband and died in 1426. William Danvers was holding in 1428 (fn. 26) and in 1439, (fn. 27) but he must have died before 1446–7, as at that date his widow Joan was in possession of the manor. She had a life interest in it with reversion to Isabella the wife of Thomas Hannes who was probably the heir of William Danvers and who released her claim for a consideration of 100 marks to William Yorke, a cousin of Thomas de Windsor, and his heirs. (fn. 28) Joan was still holding in 1457. (fn. 29) The manor seems to have been inherited by John the son and heir of William Yorke, and then divided between his two children, Eleanor, who married Robert Hungerford, and Joan, who married first Thomas Bodenham and secondly Stephen Apharry, (fn. 30) as the latter was holding a moiety of it in 1543. (fn. 31) In 1569 Joan's son Roger Bodenham was defendant in a suit in which he claimed a moiety of Chilton against Walter Hungerford, who, however, alleged that his father Robert had died seised of the manor in 1557, (fn. 32) and that Roger had put the deeds relating to the estate into Chancery and refused to show them. (fn. 33)
The result of the suit is not known, but Walter died seised of the manor in 1601. (fn. 34) He was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 35) who settled the manor in 1628–9 (fn. 36) and died in 1636. (fn. 37) Edward his son was holding in 1651. (fn. 38) George, the grandson of the latter, conveyed it in 1701 to George Knapp. (fn. 39) Catherine daughter of Richard Knapp (fn. 40) married her cousin Robert Knapp. Their daughter Catherine became the wife of Charles Peeres of Chislehampton (fn. 41) and had a son Robert, who settled the manor in 1800 (fn. 42) and sold it shortly afterwards to Sir Thomas Metcalfe. The latter conveyed it in 1803 to Mr. Benjamin Morland of Abingdon, (fn. 43) who died in 1833 and was succeeded by his son the Rev. Benjamin Morland. In 1865 he and his brother, Mr. G. B. Morland, conveyed the manor and estate to Lord Overstone of Lockinge House, who during the same year conveyed it to the trustees of the settlement of his daughter Mrs. Loyd Lindsay, wife of Colonel Loyd Lindsay, V.C., K.C.B., who was created Lord Wantage. Lady Wantage now owns the manor. No courts have been held or any quit-rents received in modern times. (fn. 44)
A second manor of CHILTON was held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Wenric under the Abbot of Abingdon, and had previously been held by Blacheman under Earl Harold. (fn. 45) It is stated in the Abingdon Chronicles that Blacheman, who was a wealthy priest, was holding it from the abbey in 1050, (fn. 46) and that upon his flight from England with the mother of Harold the land was wrongfully forfeited to William the Conqueror, who, however, after much solicitation from the abbot, restored it to the abbey. The Chronicles further relate that the estate had originally belonged to one Wulfget, from whom it had been confiscated in 1015 for engaging in plots against King Ethelred, and that it had then been granted to Brihtwold Bishop of Ramsbury, who conveyed it to the abbey. Their right to it was confirmed in 1052 by a charter of Edward the Confessor, (fn. 47) and this again was re-confirmed in the reign of Henry II by a bull of Pope Eugcnius. (fn. 48) The abbey continued to hold the overlordship of the manor of the king in chief until the Dissolution. (fn. 49)
The next under-tenant of whom mention has been found was Gueres de Palences, who by an early return held a quarter of a fee from the abbey in Sandford, Chilton and Leverton (in Chilton Foliat). (fn. 50) In the Testa de Nevill Alice de Sandford is given as holding one fee in Chilton and Pibworth from the abbot which Thomas de Sandford had previously held. (fn. 51) From the Sandfords the holding passed to the Paynels and was held in the first half of the 14th century by John Paynel. (fn. 52) The manor of Bayworth, which was also held by John Paynel, was granted by him in 1324 to his uncle Hugh Paynel, parson of Chilton, who gave it to the abbey of Abingdon. (fn. 53) In 1359 Henry de la Poyle died seised of a carucate of land in Chilton held of the Abbot of Abingdon as of his manor of Bayworth. (fn. 54) Thomas de la Poyle, son and heir of Henry, held lands and tenements in Chilton, (fn. 55) and his successor John de la Poyle was holding rents of assize and a court baron there at his death in 1423. (fn. 56) John's heir was his grandson Robert, who died without issue in 1446 when the title passed to the descendants of Margery de la Poyle, daughter of John and Mabel de la Poyle and apparently sister of the first-mentioned Henry. Margery had married John Gainsford of Crowhurst (co. Surr.). In 1478–9 the Chilton property was settled on John Gainsford, jun., gentleman, son of John Gainsford, esq., late of Crowhurst, and Catherine his wife, and Elizabeth Martyn, daughter of John and Catherine Martyn. (fn. 57) Before the middle of the 16th century the estate is found under the name of the manor of GAINSFORDS in the hands of John Latton (see below under Symeons). It then followed the descent of the manor of Symeons until 1601, and was sold in that year by William Latton to James Hyde and John Stampe. (fn. 58) At this date a lease of forty-one years formerly held by John Broker had been transferred to John North, (fn. 59) but nothing further is known of its history.
The so-called manor of SYMEONS (Simeons, Symons) is first mentioned in 1468–9, when it was held by Edward Cheyne and his wife Beatrice. (fn. 60) The estate probably derived its name from the family of Simeon of Abingdon. (fn. 61) Henry Simeon and Gunnora his wife were dealing with a 'messuage, land, and rents in Chilton' in 1288–9. (fn. 62) In 1488 Edward Cheyne conveyed the manor to Thomas Latton, (fn. 63) who on his death in 1503 is described as holding the manor of Chilton, meaning this manor. (fn. 64) John Latton his son, who died in 1548, also owned a capital messuage called Sewardes and the reputed manor of Gainsfords. (fn. 65) He was succeeded by his son William, who died seised of these properties in 1551, (fn. 66) leaving a son John, who died in 1596. (fn. 67) William, the son and successor of the latter, sold the manor in 1604 to Henry Knapp and Adam Cox, (fn. 68) but his mother, who had married Sir David Williams (fn. 69) as her second husband, still retained certain lands in Chilton for which he was acting as trustee in 1623, she having lost her reason. (fn. 70) Alice daughter of Adam Cox married John son of Henry Knapp, (fn. 71) bringing him part of Symeons Manor as her share of her father's property. In 1647 a quarter of the remaining moiety of the manor was conveyed to Alice by Francis Hyde and Agnes his wife, (fn. 72) and in 1650 a quarter of the manor was conveyed by Robert Terrell and Mary his wife and Zachariah Keane and Elizabeth his wife to Nicholas Knapp. (fn. 73) Apparently the whole manor came into the hands of the Knapps. John Knapp, the son of John and Alice, alienated part of the manor to his brother (fn. 74) George, who conveyed it to Richard Knapp, (fn. 75) but apparently one quarter was retained to the use of his widow Mary and his son Jerome, who were dealing with this share in 1709. (fn. 76) Anne Chancellor held another share in 1704, (fn. 77) which was probably the quarter purchased by Nicholas Knapp in 1650. Richard Knapp had a daughter and heir Catherine, who married her cousin Robert Knapp, grandson of John and Alice Cox, and the manor seems to have devolved upon their daughter Catherine, who with her husband Charles Peeres was holding it in 1739. (fn. 78) Their son Robert settled the manor in 1800, (fn. 79) and shortly afterwards sold it to Sir Thomas Metcalfe, who in 1803 conveyed it to Benjamin Morland. (fn. 80) It descended with the main manor of Chilton held by this family, and was in 1865 conveyed to Lord Overstone, whose daughter Lady Wantage now holds it.
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel about 24 ft. 9 in. by 12 ft. 3 in., a nave 31 ft. 9 in. by 15 ft. 8 in., a south aisle 21 ft. by 11 ft. 7 in., and a modern west tower and south porch. These measurements are all internal.
The oldest part of the present building is the late 12th-century nave, originally that of a small aisleless church. Early in the 13th century the south aisle was added and in the 14th century the chancel was rebuilt. The tower was not built until 1847. In 1876 the chancel was restored under the supervision of the late G. E. Street, R.A.
The east window of the chancel, which is of 14thcentury date, is of three cinquefoiled lights with geometric tracery under a pointed head. In the north wall are two single trefoiled ogee lights with external chamfers, and splayed inner jambs carried up to the underside of the wall-plate, while in the south wall are two late 14th-century square-headed windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights with sunk spandrels. As with the window in the opposite wall the inner jambs are carried up to the underside of the wall-plate. Between them is a pointed doorway having a label with head stops and a carved head just above its apex. The chancel arch is contemporary with the nave. It is pointed and of one square order springing from moulded and chamfered abaci. The walls of the chancel are plastered inside and covered with roughcast without. At the eastern angles are diagonal buttresses, and there is also one against the north wall, all of two offsets and much restored.
In the east end of the north wall of the nave is a square-headed late 14th-century window similar in detail to those lighting the chancel, but of three cinquefoiled lights. In the east jamb immediately below the soffit is a small carved head. To the west of this is a small trefoil-headed recess, under which is a modern open grate. The arcade between the nave and the south aisle is of two bays with pointed arches of a single chamfered order, carried by a central column having a moulded capital and base. The responds are chamfered, and at the springing are moulded abaci. To the west of the arcade is a squareheaded window of two cinquefoiled lights. The south aisle is lighted from the south by a 15th-century window of two squareheaded lights, to the west of which is a modern pointed doorway, while in the west wall is a 14th-century square-headed window of two trefoiled ogee lights. The walls of both nave and aisle are plastered internally and are covered externally with rough-cast.
The tower is of stone and is undivided externally; it has an embattled parapet and diagonal buttresses at its western angles, stopping about half-way up the tower. The lower part is now used as a vestry.
Preserved in the tower are two carved head stops, one the head of a beast, the other a grotesque human head. They were found in the walling during a restoration and are apparently of 12th-century date.
There is a peal of six bells: the treble and second are both by Mears & Stainbank of London, 1892; the third is inscribed 'Peter Lawson and William Payne C.W. 1770'; the fourth, 'Let youar hope be in the Lord E.K. 1623'; the fifth, 'Feare God Honour the King 1665'; while the tenor was recast in 1892 by Mears & Stainbank.
The plate consists of a silver chalice with no stamps of any description, the upper part of which appears to be of late 17th-century workmanship, while the foot is of much earlier date, a late 17th-century paten, the date letter of which is quite illegible, a small silver pyx of 1898 and a pewter foot paten inscribed with the date 1720; there are also two small glass cruets with silver stoppers.
The advowson of Chilton Church (fn. 81) belonged to the abbey of Abingdon, and in the 14th century was attached to the abbey's manor of Bayworth. (fn. 82) The first rector of whom there is record is Philip Bassett, who was summoned in 1275 for building a wall which encroached on the king's highway. (fn. 83) The advowson remained in the gift of the abbey until 1538, when the abbot conveyed it to Henry VIII. (fn. 84) It was granted by the king to John Wrothe in 1544. (fn. 85) Before 1591 it had come into the possession of Sir William Button, who died seised of it in 1591 (fn. 86) and was succeeded by his son William, who was presenting in 1596. (fn. 87) He died in 1599, leaving it to his son William, (fn. 88) who was created a baronet by James I. (fn. 89) The grandson of the latter, Sir John Button, with whom the baronetcy became extinct, was the patron in 1692 (fn. 90) and was succeeded in 1714 by Mary Read, widow. (fn. 91) From 1736 the advowson was held by the family of Walker, John Walker presenting until 1766, followed by Arabella Walker Heneage until 1808. (fn. 92) In 1817 J. W. Heneage held the gift of the living and was succeeded by H. Heneage until 1862, (fn. 93) when it came into the possession of Mr. G. B. Morland, whose widow presented after his death until 1877. From that date until the present day it has been in the hands of his trustees.
In 1641 Chilton made the protestation ordered by the House of Commons to 'maintain and defend the Reformed Protestant religion.' (fn. 94) During the Commonwealth Thomas Lawrence was ejected from the living as non compos mentis and Holyday Barten inducted. (fn. 95) This divine had been chaplain to Charles I and Archdeacon of Oxford since 1626. He was a translator and a dramatist, and among other things wrote a play which was performed before James I, who, however, found it so dull that he was with difficulty induced to remain till the end. (fn. 96) At the Restoration Lawrence was reinstated in his living. (fn. 97)
The tithes of the Danvers manor of Chilton were confirmed to the abbey of Abingdon by papal bull in 1401. (fn. 98) These had been granted in the 12th century by members of the family of Estun (Aston Tirrold), who evidently preceded the Danvers family as tenants of the manor (cf. Aston Tirrold). Nicholas son of Tirrold de Estun granted the tithes of his demesne to the abbey in the reign of Henry II, and the payment of these by Miles son of Tirrold is noted in an abbey custumal. (fn. 99) The papal bull confirmed the ground tithes in 2 carucates recently held by Robert Danvers and from 4 half acres of his demesne.
After the Dissolution some of these tithes were held under grant from the Crown by Sir John Mason, (fn. 100) who conveyed them in 1562 to Nicholas Cox, (fn. 101) from whom they descended, like the manor of Symeons (q.v.), to the Knapps and their successors. (fn. 102) In 1771 John Walker, who was at that date patron of the living, was in receipt of all the tithes. (fn. 103) These were held by the Morland family, and the tithe rentcharge in lieu of great tithes issuing out of land in Court Tithing and other lands was conveyed to Lord Overstone and is now owned by Lady Wantage.
In 1807 Lydia Thomas, as appeared from the same table, by her will bequeathed £333 6s. 8d. consols, now held by the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £8 6s. 8d., are distributed in bread on New Year's Day.
It appears from the Parliamentary Returns of 1786 that sums amounting to £20 were given for the poor by John and George Knapp; also that a sum of £10 was left to the poor by will of Mary Allen. No interest is now received in respect of these sums, which had been advanced on loan.
By an award made under the Inclosure Act, (fn. 104) 4 a. or. 20 p. on the Hagbourne Way, an acre in Bury Croft and 3 r. 8 p., with Chilton Pond, were allotted to the surveyor of the highways. These allotments are not now productive of income.