A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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HAMPSTEAD (fn. 1) MARSHALL
The parish of Hampstead Marshall lies on the south side of the River Kennet and contains 1,852 acres, of which 270 are arable, 560 permanent grass and 300 woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The soil is mostly a heavy clay, but sand and gravel are found in a few places. The chief crops are wheat, barley and oats. The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1809–10, the award being dated 25 February 1815. (fn. 3) The village is small and lies partly around the church and partly about a mile to the south, but many of the cottages lie scattered throughout the parish. The inhabitants are mainly engaged in agriculture. In the south and at Irish Hill in the north-west the land rises to a little over 400 ft. above the ordnance datum, while in the valley of the Kennet it falls to about 270 ft. The Great Western railway line from Reading to Hungerford, opened 21 December 1847, skirts the northern boundary, but there is no station here, the nearest being at Kintbury, 2 miles to the west. The Kennet and Avon Canal, opened early in 1811, runs through the north of the parish, forming in some places the boundary.
Hampstead Lodge or Park stands in a large park to the south-east of the site of the old mansion. The present house, which has been let by the Craven family for the last fifty years, was a keeper's house or hunting lodge, enlarged at a comparatively recent date. The park is crossed by a series of small lakes. The former mansion stood in the park on high ground in the north-east corner of the parish close to the church. A walled garden several acres in extent with raised terraces and eight sets of entrance piers remains, but the greater part of the house was destroyed by fire in 1718. (fn. 4) No portion of it now exists above ground, though some of the cellars and part of the foundations are said to be below the turf. Soon after 1590 the second Thomas Parry apparently rebuilt the house already on the site, and this may have been reconstructed in about 1620. After the Restoration the Earl of Craven commenced to build a house which it was intended should be a miniature castle of Heidelberg. He is said to have engaged Sir Balthazar Gerbier as architect, but, as Gerbier died before 1663, (fn. 5) he can have done little more than supply the plans. The building seems to have been completed, perhaps with modification of the original design, by Captain Wynne. The existing entrance piers are almost certainly Wynne's work and show him to have been an accomplished artist. The brick piers have niches and large stone urns and the stone piers richly carved panels in high relief, the foliage in places being pierced and partly detached from the stone. A ninth pair of piers, which stood at the east and of the gardens, is now at Benham Park, Stockcross. (fn. 6) Kyp's engraving, the date of which is shortly before 1709, shows 'a large rectangular house of three stories and an attic ranged round three sides of a court with the stables at the back and the pleasure grounds on the south side.'
A long dike with a ditch runs obliquely across the park, and there are three tumuli in the parish—one in the park and two to the west—which have not, however, been explored. (fn. 7) Several Roman vessels were found near the park in 1856. (fn. 8)
The manor of HAMPSTEAD was held of King Edward the Confessor by Edward, and in 1086 Hugh the steersman held it of the king. (fn. 9)
In the 14th century the manor of Hampstead Marshall was claimed as their chief manor by the Marshals of England. (fn. 10) It is returned about 1241 as held de marescangia, (fn. 11) in 1270 as held by the service of the marshal's wand, (fn. 12) and in 1283–4 per serjanciam mareschallic. (fn. 13) In 1306, however, it is said to be held by knight service, (fn. 14) and Mr. Round expresses a doubt as to whether the marshalship was ever really held by serjeanty in connexion with the manor of Hampstead Marshall, (fn. 15) as this manor is not returned among the recognized Berkshire serjeanties.
Hampstead Marshall is first found in the possession of the Marshals (fn. 16) early in the 13th century. That William Marshal held the manor of Hampstead Marshall seems probable, for in 1218, while he was acting as protector of the young king, Henry III, the latter gave five Letters Patent at Hampstead Marshall, four of which were witnessed by the earl. (fn. 17)
William Earl of Pembroke died 14 May 1219 and was succeeded by his eldest son William. (fn. 18) He married as his second wife in 1224 Eleanor daughter of King John; he entertained his brother-in-law King Henry III at Hampstead Marshall in 1228 and 1230. (fn. 19) He died without issue in 1231, when the title passed to his next brother, Richard, though this manor was granted by the king to William's widow on 11 July in that year. (fn. 20) It is doubtful whether she enjoyed possession of it, for Richard Earl of Pembroke was proclaimed a traitor in 1233 and fled to Wales, (fn. 21) and this manor was granted in October of that year to Richard Earl of Cornwall. (fn. 22) A few days later the sheriff was ordered to destroy the house and garden there. (fn. 23)
Richard Earl of Pembroke died in 1234, and the manor must have been restored to his brother Gilbert, who received a gift of deer for his park in that year, (fn. 24) and was evidently building at Hampstead Marshall between 1235 and 1238. (fn. 25) On his death without issue on 27 June 1241 his lands came for a time into the hands of the king, who presented to the living 3 July that year, (fn. 26) but his brother Walter succeeded to the title and estates and appears to have continued building operations. (fn. 27) He died childless on 24 November 1245, and the title and manor devolved upon his brother Anselm, but before he could do homage he died without issue 5 December 1245. (fn. 28)
Five sons of William Marshal had thus died childless, and the large possessions of this family were divided among their five sisters. To the eldest, Maud, was assigned the office of Marshal of England and with it the manor of Hampstead Marshall. (fn. 29) Maud had married as her first husband Hugh Bigod, third Earl of Norfolk, and after his death had taken as her second husband William de Warenne Earl, of Surrey. (fn. 30) She died in 1248, when the manor passed to her eldest son Roger. (fn. 31)
Roger Bigod, fourth Earl of Norfolk, died childless on 4 July 1270 seised of this manor, which passed to his nephew Roger (fn. 32) son of Hugh Bigod the Justiciar. Roger died in 1306, leaving no issue, (fn. 33) when the manor passed under a deed of surrender, executed in April 1302, to the king. (fn. 34) Edward II in 1312 granted the title of Earl of Norfolk and all the possessions which Roger Bigod had ceded to Edward I to his half-brother Thomas de Brotherton, (fn. 35) who was created Earl Marshal 10 February 1315. (fn. 36) On 3 November 1333 the king gave him licence to grant this manor for life to William Montagu, afterwards Earl of Salisbury, with remainder to William, Montagu's illegitimate son by the earl's daughter Alice. (fn. 37) Alice afterwards married Edward Montagu, the brother of William Earl of Salisbury, and Edward in 1339 obtained an exemplification of the king's grant of Roger Bigod's lands to Thomas de Brotherton. (fn. 38) In the previous year William Earl of Salisbury had been created Marshal of England on the death of the Earl of Norfolk, (fn. 39) and a few years later William granted his status in this manor to his brother Sir Edward, mentioned above. (fn. 40) After the death of Thomas Earl of Norfolk his widow claimed a third of the manor in dower. Sir Edward Montagu enfeoffed Hugh Meynell of his two-thirds, which Hugh was holding 20 January 1345, (fn. 41) and 1 April the same year the king granted the remaining third as dower to Mary Countess of Norfolk, and also, under certain conditions, the remaining two-thirds, (fn. 42) which had been forfeited 8 February that year, as Hugh Meynell had entered it without the king's licence. (fn. 43) On 1 September the same year the king seized the manor, except apparently the third first granted to the Countess of Norfolk, and reserved it for the use of his chamber. (fn. 44)
Later on, when the heirs of the Earl of Norfolk, John de Segrave and Margaret his wife, and Edward Montagu and Alice his wife, petitioned the king for the restoration of the manor, the reply was that the case had been examined in Chancery and no cause was shown why the king should oustier le main. (fn. 45) Mary Countess Dowager of Norfolk evidently held her third until her death in 1362. (fn. 46) The king was residing here in 1350, (fn. 47) and seems to have made visits at intervals until 1358. (fn. 48) The house was repaired in 1353. (fn. 49) A complete series of accounts for Hampstead Marshall exist between 1355 and 1361. (fn. 50)
In 1361 the king granted two-thirds of this manor with the reversion of the other third held by the Countess of Norfolk to his daughter Isabel, (fn. 51) who married Ingram, Sieur de Coucy, Earl of Bedford. After the death of Isabel in 1382 Richard II granted the manor in that year to his queen, Anne, for life. (fn. 52) The queen died in 1394, and the manor then reverted to the king, (fn. 53) and was granted in 1403 to Joan, consort of Henry IV, (fn. 54) who held it until her death in 1437. (fn. 55) It remained in the Crown (fn. 56) until 1466, when Edward IV granted it to his consort Elizabeth, who had already been receiving a rent of £10 from it under a grant of the previous year. (fn. 57) She was holding it from 1474 to 1483, (fn. 58) but it is not clear whether she continued to do so after the accession of King Henry VII in 1485, when Roger Cheney had custody of the manor. (fn. 59)
King Henry VIII in 1509 granted to his consort Catherine of Aragon lands and rents here, (fn. 60) which she seems to have held till the time of her divorce.
A manor of Hampstead, which may perhaps be this, was granted to Cardinal Wolsey 20 January 1526, (fn. 61) and the manor was granted to Jane Seymour on her marriage, 20 May 1536. After her death in 1537 it was reserved for the king's own use, (fn. 62) but must have subsequently been granted to Catherine Parr, for Henry Seymour was appointed bailiff of the manor by Queen Jane 5 July 1536 and by Catherine Parr 9 May 1541, and these appointments were confirmed 11 May 1544 by the king. (fn. 63)
In 1550 King Edward VI granted Hampstead Marshall to his sister Elizabeth and confirmed the grant in the following year. (fn. 64) In 1560 Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir Thomas Parry, his wife and heirs male. (fn. 65) Sir Thomas was succeeded in 1560 by his son Thomas, (fn. 66) who was ambassador to France from 1601 to 1605. He was knighted in 1601, served as Sheriff of Berkshire in 1576 and 1588, and was appointed a deputy lieutenant in 1596. (fn. 67) He settled the manor in 1590 on his sisters' heirs, having obtained licence to do so on 3 September that year, (fn. 68) but as it was entailed upon his father's heirs male, and he had a brother living, he obtained a fresh grant from the queen to him and his heirs and assigns. (fn. 69) He was holding the manor in 1615 (fn. 70) and died intestate, being buried in Westminster Abbey 1 June 1616. As he left no children this manor passed under the settlement of 1590 to the heirs of his two sisters, namely, Thomas Knyvett, grandson of his sister Muriel, and John Abrahall, son of Frances, another sister. (fn. 71) Thomas Knyvett and his grandfather Sir Thomas sold their share in 1617 to Sir Francis Jhones, (fn. 72) and in the following year John Abrahall and Dorothy his wife conveyed their moiety to the same purchaser. (fn. 73) Sir Francis Jhones with his wife and son Abraham sold this manor in 1620 to Elizabeth Craven, widow, and three others. (fn. 74)
Elizabeth Craven was widow of William Craven, Lord Mayor of London in 1610–11. (fn. 75) Whether she acquired the manor for herself or her son seems uncertain. In 1625 her trustees, Martin Bond and William Gibson, conveyed it to Sir Charles Montagu and Sir Edmund Sawyer, (fn. 76) apparently in trust for her eldest son William.
William Craven was knighted at Newmarket in 1627 in recognition of his services in the Netherlands and was created Lord Craven of Hampstead Marshall 12 March the same year, with remainder, failing male issue, to his brothers in succession and their heirs male. He served under Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, in 1631, and in Holland in 1637. (fn. 77) In 1642 he accompanied the queen into Holland. (fn. 78) In 1673 he was created Viscount Craven of Uffington and Earl Craven of Craven, while, as both his brothers were then dead, leaving no children, the patent of the barony was extended to include his cousins. (fn. 79) He is well known for his romantic attachment to the Queen of Bohemia, daughter of King James I, the 'Queen of Hearts.' (fn. 80) The earl died unmarried in 1697, when the earldom and viscountcy became extinct. (fn. 81)
The Earl of Craven had outlived all his contemporaries and near relations, and the barony and estates, including this manor, passed to a distant cousin William Craven, a descendant of Henry, the eldest son of John Craven of Appletreewick. (fn. 82)
This William married Elizabeth daughter of Humberston Skipwith, (fn. 83) upon whom he settled this manor in 1697. (fn. 84) He died on 9 October 1711, leaving two sons William and Fulwar. William third Lord Craven died on 10 August 1739, leaving no surviving issue, and the title and estates passed to his brother Fulwar, who became fourth Lord Craven and died unmarried on 10 November 1764. (fn. 85) He was succeeded by his cousin William, the son of John Craven of Whitley (co. Warw.). This William died without issue on 17 March 1769, when the manor passed to his nephew William. (fn. 86)
William sixth Lord Craven was the only son of the Rev. John Craven, B.C.L., vicar of Staunton Lacy. (fn. 87) He seems to have had some interest in Hampstead Marshall in 1767, (fn. 88) during his uncle's lifetime, and died 27 September 1791, when the manor and title passed to his son William. His widow Elizabeth, who had separated from him during his lifetime, was well known in musical and dramatic circles, and after his death married H.S.H. Christian Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburgh-Anspach and Bayreuth. (fn. 89) William seventh Lord Craven married Louisa daughter of John Brunton of Norwich, a celebrated actress. (fn. 90) He was created Viscount Uffington and Earl of Craven on 18 June 1801, and was holding this manor in 1795 and in 1821, (fn. 91) in which year he entertained H.R.H. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, afterwards King of the Belgians, (fn. 92) at his house here. He died 30 July 1825, when the title and estates passed to his eldest son William. (fn. 93)
William second Earl of Craven died 25 August 1866, when the manor and titles passed to his second but eldest surviving son George Grimston Craven, third earl. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire in 1881 and died 7 December 1883, when he was succeeded by his son William George Robert Craven, fourth Earl of Craven, (fn. 94) the present owner of the manor.
The first mention of the park that has been found is in 1229, when twenty does from the forest of Clarendon were granted by the king to William Marshal to stock his park at Hampstead Marshall. (fn. 95) In 1233 the Sheriff of Berkshire was ordered to sell the park owing to the defection of Earl Richard. (fn. 96) In the following year, however, as the earl had died in the meantime, the king ordered the constable of Devizes to send twenty does and five bucks from the forest of Chippenham to enable Gilbert, Richard's brother and heir, to restock the park. (fn. 97) It was reported in 1275–6 that after the death of Roger Bigod Master Hugh de Thornham, the subescheator in Berkshire, had laid waste the park. (fn. 98) William Earl of Salisbury during his tenure of the manor seems to have added considerably to its extent. (fn. 99)
In 1444 the king granted to the abbey of Abingdon two bucks from Hampstead Marshall Park, as well as eighteen deer from elsewhere, in lieu of the tenth of the deer killed in Windsor Forest, which had been granted to them by King Henry I. (fn. 100) Various grants of the keepership of the park occur on the Patent Rolls of the 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries. (fn. 101) The park followed the same descent as the manor and is still in existence, being one of the most picturesque spots in this part of the county. It appears to be part of the primeval forest untouched by the plough. It is still a deer park, and a stated head of red and fallow deer have been maintained here for many years. In the middle of the 14th century there appears to have been a stud in the park. (fn. 102)
A mill is mentioned in the Domesday Survey, (fn. 103) and a water-mill is mentioned in 1270, as well as two fulling-mills. (fn. 104) The water-mill is mentioned again in 1306. (fn. 105) There is now one mill on the Kennet, not far from the church, possibly on the site of that mentioned in 1086. The fulling-mills were probably situated on the streams running through the park.
In 1230 the constable of Marlborough was ordered to send ten breeding bream and others of an ordinary kind to William, the Earl Marshal, for his stew-ponds here, (fn. 106) and a fishery is mentioned in 1270 (fn. 107); it was stated in 1275–6 that Hugh de Thornham had destroyed the stew-ponds. (fn. 108) The fishery descended with the manor until the 15th century. (fn. 109) In 1617 a fishery in the Kennet at a place called Crocker's Pound was held by John Crocker. (fn. 110)
In 1275–6 the Earl Marshal had gallows and the assize of bread and ale at Hampstead Marshall, (fn. 111) and the manor appears to have been the centre of a considerable lordship, many manors in different counties doing suit at its courts. (fn. 112)
The church of ST. MARY consists of chancel 18 ft. 9 in. by 14 ft., nave 46 ft. by 17 ft. 4 in., north aisle 38 ft. by 10 ft., south porch 9 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 6 in., and west tower 12 ft. 6 in. by 11 ft. 6 in., all these measurements being internal.
The oldest part of the building is the south doorway, which is of 12th-century date, but no other part is of the same age, the north aisle, which is less altered than the rest, belonging to the 15th century. In the reign of James I, probably c. 1622, the church was very much altered and the present tower built, perhaps replacing an older one, the interior then assuming much the same appearance as it has since retained, though a restoration in 1893 has modified it in some slight degree. It is difficult in the present state of the fabric to determine, even approximately, the date of the chancel and nave or to follow the development of the plan subsequent to the 12th century. The body of the church doubtless represents a building older than the 15th century to which the aisle was then added. The statement often made that the church was 'rebuilt in brick' in the time of James I is manifestly incorrect. (fn. 113)
The walling is of flint and stone rubble with an intermingling of brick and tile, and the roofs are eaved and covered with modern red tiles. The aisle is under a separate gabled roof and the porch was largely rebuilt in 1893 and bears that date. The tower is built entirely of 2-in. bricks, but the west doorway has been reconstructed.
The east window has been built (fn. 114) up in flint with courses of tile, and the gable has a modern bargeboard against the wall. The chancel is lighted by two square-headed windows of two lights on the south side, both with brick and stone patching and probably of 17th-century date, but the north wall is blank except for a built-up four-centred doorway, the filling of which is of 2-in. bricks. Internally the walls are plastered, the floor is of brick, and the semicircular plaster chancel arch is the full width of the building. Three large wooden panels occupy the east wall, containing the Lord's Prayer, Creed and Commandments, and the altar rails, communion table and boarded ceiling, together with two chairs, are of 17thcentury date. At the east end of the north wall is a recess with foliated head, which has the appearance of mutilated ancient work, but is now covered with plaster and whitewash.
The nave is lighted on the south side by three squareheaded windows, one at either end of the wall, of two lights, and the other a single-light opening in the middle to the east of the porch, but only the easternmost window is old and apparently of the same date as those in the chancel. The others date from 1893. The 12th-century south doorway has a plain semicircular arch of a single chamfered order. The aisle is separated from the nave by an arcade of two wide four-centred arches springing from a middle pier, hexagonal in plan, but the arches are apparently of lath and plaster, and probably replaced in the 17th century an older arcade of three pointed arches of the same date as the aisle, the responds of which, consisting of five slender shafts with hollows between, still remain. The upper part of the west gable of the aisle has been rebuilt in brick, together with part of the north-west and south-east angles of the wall. The aisle is lighted on the north side by two original square-headed windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights, and at the east and west ends by pointed traceried windows of three cinquefoiled lights. All these windows have labels terminating in carved heads. The open-timbered roof of the nave is of four bays, and the floors of both nave and aisle are paved with brick and filled with high square pews which extend some distance into the chancel. There is a west gallery supported by four stone pillars, containing the organ, but this and the pews are of 18thcentury date. The font has an octagonal whitewashed bowl and appears to be of cement, probably of 17th-century date, and has a good Jacobean cover. The pulpit and desk stand against the south wall, the former hexagonal in plan with a canopy bearing the initials of Dorothy widow of Sir Thomas Parry and the date 1622.
The tower is of three stages divided by brick string-courses and has short diagonal buttresses on the west side. The two lower stages are blank on the north and south sides and the belfry windows are of two plain round-headed louvred lights. There is a similar window on the west side in the middle stage, and the west doorway is a modern restoration. On the south side immediately below the belfry window is a sundial. The tower terminates in an embattled brick parapet without pinnacles and access to the belfry is by a ladder. The tower arch is semicircular.
Sir Balthazar Gerbier was buried, according to Ashmole, (fn. 115) under the south window of the chancel, but the existing inscribed slab, which was not laid down till many years after his death, is near the east end of the nave in the middle alley. There is no monument. A gravestone to Richard Smith (d. 1637) recorded by Ashmole (fn. 116) at the entrance to the chancel on the south side has disappeared.
The tower contains two bells, the second cast by Henry Knight of Reading in 1592 and the first by Lester & Pack in 1756. (fn. 117)
In 1179 the king, in granting the abbey of Amesbury to the nuns of Fontevrault, granted also the tithes of Hampstead Marshall with all parochial rights which belonged to the mother church of Kintbury. This grant was confirmed by King John in 1199 and by King Henry III in 1270. (fn. 118) In 1241 the king presented Master Hugh de St. Theodoric to the living, which was in the king's gift owing to the recent death of Gilbert Earl of Pembroke. (fn. 119) Roger Bigod the elder died seised of the advowson in 1270, (fn. 120) and it has since followed the descent of the manor. (fn. 121)
In 1291 the church was valued at £10, (fn. 122) and in 1340 the jurors declared that the ninths were worth 5 marks and no more, because William Montagu Earl of Salisbury had imparked 300 acres and more, which used to be ploughed and cultivated, and that the remainder of the parish was stony land and not fertile, so that the tithes and glebe were only worth 6 marks yearly. (fn. 123)
Richard Smith, as recorded on a tablet in the church, gave 6s. 8d. for a sermon, and 8s. yearly for poor widows, payable out of land lying in Ray Mead in the parish of Hampstead Marshall. The sum of 8s. is duly received and applied, but the sum of 6s. 8d. for a sermon has not been paid for many years.
It was also recorded on the same tablet that Lady Parry, relict of Sir Thomas Parry, formerly lord of the manor, in 1622 gave the pulpit and communion cup for the use of the church and £11 in the care of the churchwardens for ever, the interest to be distributed yearly among poor families. No trace of the principal sum can now be found.
Poor's Allotment.—By the inclosure award of 1815 an allotment in Holt Common, containing 3a. 2r. 26p., was awarded for the poor. This property has for many years been in the poscession of the Earls of Craven.