A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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The parish of Shaw lies on the north side of the valley of the Lambourn, not far from the junction of that stream with the Kennet. The parish consists of two townships, Shaw and Donnington, both of which lie near the stream where it is crossed by the roads from Newbury to Wallingford and Oxford. The land rises from 240 ft. above the ordnance datum where the Lambourn leaves the parish to about 450 ft. in the north. A small brook, called Shaw Spout, formerly joined the Lambourn near the village. The parish contains 1,996 acres, of which 991 are arable, 748 permanent grass and 234 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The chief crops are wheat, barley and oats. The soil is very varied, being chalky at the lower levels and clay on the higher, while there is a cap of gravel at the highest points and in the valley bottom, and alluvium by the stream. The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton railway, opened 12 April 1882, runs through the north-eastern corner of the parish, though there is no station here.
The population is partly agricultural, but the proximity to Newbury and to the brickworks in the neighbouring parish of Thatcham has caused many artisans to live here, and there is a builders' yard at Donnington. A linen manufactory started here in the 18th century by Mr. Cowslade was not successful.
Shaw is practically a suburb of Newbury. The church is situated in the grounds of Shaw House, a little to the west of the village of Shaw and between it and the village of Donnington. The old rectory stood between the church and the house, but was destroyed during the Civil War of the 17th century. The present rectory, formerly the bailiff's cottage, lies to the east of Shaw House, and some portion of the brick and half-timber work is old.
Shaw House itself, the seat of the Hon. Mrs. Farquhar, the lady of the manor, was built in 1581 by Thomas Dolman of Newbury, and is an almost perfect example of its period. In plan it is H-shaped with porches in the middle of either face of the main block. On the north or back face the porch has been absorbed in a modern open corridor running from one wing to the other. The original building was probably of only two stories above the cellars, and no doubt had a level balustraded or pierced parapet running all round the building. The third story with the gables appears to be an addition of about fifty years later. The windows are divided by mullions and transoms, and the walls are of red brick with stone dressings and string-courses marking the stages, the bricks measuring 11 in. by 2½ in. The brickwork of the gables is of a slightly darker tint than that below.
In the middle of the south front is the principal
entrance, a stone-fronted porch with a round-headed
doorway between two Ionic pilasters supporting an
entablature and pediment. On the frieze of the
entablature are carved the inscription and date:
[Greek - see printed volume] [..]lxxxi
The upper story, which sets back from the face of the porch, but still projects from the main wall, is mostly of stone and is lighted by a mullioned and transomed window of three lights; the walls terminate at the level of the upper string-course, which is continued round it and crowned by a pediment carved with a lion's face. In the frieze below the pediment is cut the inscription 'Edentulus vescentium dentibus invidet et oculos caprearu[m] talpa contemnit.' (fn. 2) In the ground story are six windows; the two next the porch on the west have high sills, the third window has a much lower sill. The three windows to the east of the entrance which light the hall have their sills brought down to the top of the plinthmould which runs round the house. The first floor is lighted by three windows on either side of the porch projection and in each of the three gables above is a three-light window. In the roof between the gables are small hipped dormer windows. The inner return walls of the wings have each a projecting chimney with diagonal and square stacks partly rebuilt flanked by semi-gables. Each of the return walls had two windows in either floor, but those near the ends are now blocked, and a new doorway has been inserted in the west wing near the main block. The parapets are plain. The gables have diagonal terminals enriched with the egg and tongue.
Near each end of the east front is a projecting bay to the ground and first floors with a flat lead roof and windows of similar character to those on the south side, In the middle is a stone doorway to the stair hall, with moulded architrave, Corinthian pilasters and pediment; the oak door is old and has moulded vertical ribs studded with nails. A large four-light window over it cuts the string between the ground and first floors and is divided by two transoms. On this side are three gables, separated by a length of plain parapet, with dormer windows between.
The north front has projecting wings like the south side, but a modern extension containing offices, &c., has been added to the west or kitchen wing. The open corridor connecting the wings has a central entrance formed by an 18th-century elliptical-headed doorway in the porch, inclosed by the corridor; on either side of it are two glazed round-headed openings. In the old outside front, now inclosed by the corridor, are four blocked windows and a projecting chimney stack flanking the porch; the main body has three gables.
The hall has a plain stone fireplace with a moulded shelf and pediment and is lined with 18th-century panelling. The main stairs in the east wing are of oak with a heavy moulded handrail and twisted balusters. Both the former and the present dining rooms have good stone and marble fireplaces of 18thcentury date. The southernmost room in the west wing is lined with late 16th or early 17th-century oak panelling with fluted pilasters and has a moulded stone fireplace. The main stair in this wing is much plainer than that described above. Opening off it is a small mezzanine chamber called the priest's room. The room in the south wing over the former dining room has a fine carved stone fireplace and is lined with old oak panelling. The bedroom at the north end of the same wing has a plainer stone fireplace, but is lined with good panelling and has a richly carved overmantel of early 17th-century workmanship. The modern first floor corridor from wing to wing is also lined with late 17th-century panelling brought from other parts of the house, chiefly the attics, and set up here. In one of the attics is an old stone fireplace with moulded jambs and fourcentred flat arch.
The grounds are picturesque and there is a wide central drive to the front entrance from the modern gateway, flanked by grass lawns. There are many trees around, including copper beeches, oaks, chestnuts, sycamores, &c.
In the village of Shaw is a modern water-mill in part half-timbered; next to it an inn and a street of small houses. Of these a few are half-timbered and the remainder of brick. All are tiled and slated and none appear to be of any great age.
The village of Donnington is a street of small cottages, of which one, of half-timber and brick, is old. The woodwork is poorly imitated in paint on the brick cottages next it. On the stream is a mill.
Donnington Castle House (close to the remains of the castle) appears to be a building of the 17th century, although it is possible some parts of it may have been earlier. The original portion has a stone plinth moulded with a bead and ogee. The narrow bricks of the 17th century appear in various portions of the house, which, however, has been enlarged and altered since then; the front had formerly two gables, but the space between them has been almost entirely filled up. The brickwork has been painted outside a dark red, presumably to keep out damp. The stairs are of oak and also of 17th-century workmanship, as also is some of the panelling in the rooms, while other panelling is of the 18th century or later. In the grounds is a fine avenue of various trees and in the garden is an apple tree which is quite hollow and must be of extreme age; it bears fruit profusely still in spite of its apparent decay.
The almshouses stand on the Oxford road; they are built about a small square court which is surrounded by a covered way formed by the continuation of the tiled roofs supported on wood pillars. The houses are of red brick with square chimney shafts set diagonally, some of which are modern restorations. The window openings are square and have wood frames and mullions. The front has two gables, one at each end, and a middle projecting porch which appears to be modern. In it is set an old stone carved with the arms of Queen Elizabeth in a garter and having a lion and dragon for supporters; these arms probably mark the approximate date of the present building.
There are several large houses at Donnington. Donnington Priory is the residence of the Hon. A. E. Gathorne-Hardy; Donnington Grove, a building in 18th-century Gothic, (fn. 3) of Mrs. M. H. Best; Donnington Holt, of Mr. W. Walton; Riverside, of Lieut.-Col. Ball; Merle Bank, of Mrs. Fellowes; Donnington Lodge, of Mrs. Jobson; and The Elms, of Col. Ricardo.
Flint implements and an urn are said to have been found in the churchyard, and the urn was apparently sent to the British Museum. (fn. 4)
The second battle of Newbury, 27 October 1644, was fought for the most part in this parish, as the object of the battle was an attack upon Donnington Castle, which was being held for the king by Sir John Boys. The fight took place between Newbury and Donnington Castle, and for a time raged around Shaw House, which was defended by Lieut.-Col. Page. Many relics of the battle have been found in the grounds, some of which are in the Newbury Museum. (fn. 7)
Aluric held SHAW (fn. 8) of King Edward the Confessor, but at the time of the Domesday Survey it was in the hands of Hugh the son of Baldric. (fn. 9) Hugh was a Saxon thane and Sheriff of Yorkshire, and after his death the manor seems to have passed to his only daughter Erneburga, who carried it to her husband Robert de Stutevill. Robert was slain at Tenchebrai in 1106, when his estates were forfeited. (fn. 10) For a time the manor remained in the hands of the king, and in 1166–7 Richard de Humez seems to have been farming it, for at that date he owed 10s. in respect of this manor, which was still owing the following year. (fn. 11)
Not long afterwards it seems to have been granted to Philip de Columbers, who died seised of it in 1215. (fn. 12) He was followed by his son Philip, (fn. 13) who in 1230 leased the manor and advowson to Ralph Isambard or Hamberd for twelve years, (fn. 14) which resulted in a law-suit the following year. (fn. 15) This Philip is mentioned several times as holding the manor during succeeding years, (fn. 16) and in 1248 he received a licence to have a park here and free warren. (fn. 17) He died in 1256–7, being succeeded by his son Philip, (fn. 18) who is mentioned as possessing free warren here in 1275–6, (fn. 19) and died childless in 1276–7 seised of the manor, which passed to his brother John, then aged twenty-three years. (fn. 20) John rebelled against the king, but his forfeited estates were afterwards restored and he died in 1305 seised of the manor, which descended to his son Philip, then aged twenty-four. (fn. 21)
Philip was summoned to Parliament as Lord Columbers in 1314. (fn. 22) He married Eleanor daughter of William Lord Martin, and between 1333 and 1335 they conveyed the manor of Shaw to Lewes of Kemmes and Roger of Weston (fn. 23) for settlement on themselves for life with remainder to Ralph Basset the younger and Alice his wife (who was Eleanor's niece). Philip died childless in 1342, when the barony became extinct. His brother Stephen was found to be his heir, (fn. 24) but the manor passed under settlement to Philip's widow Eleanor, (fn. 25) who died the following year, (fn. 26) and then to Alice widow of Ralph Basset. (fn. 27)
Alice was the daughter of Nicholas Lord Audley, who had married Joan only sister of Eleanor Columbers, and at the time of Eleanor's death had married as her second husband Hugh de Meignel, who in right of his wife inherited the manor of Shaw. (fn. 28) Hugh died in 1345 seised of this manor, (fn. 29) which seems to have remained in the hands of his widow, for it is not until 1358–9 that Sir Ralph Basset, her son by her first husband, laid claim to the estate. (fn. 30) Sir Ralph leased it for life to Sir Maurice le Brun in or before 1369–70, (fn. 31) but Sir Maurice seems to have died before 1386, when Sir Ralph conveyed the fee simple to trustees. (fn. 32) Sir Ralph died in 1390 seised of this manor, but without legitimate issue, and it passed under the settlement of 1335 to the right heirs of Philip de Columbers. (fn. 33)
Philip's brother Stephen seems to have died without issue, and their sister Joan married Sir Geoffrey Stowell, and left a son Geoffrey, who died in 1363, being followed by his son Matthew. He died before 1390, and his son Thomas, then aged twenty-one, inherited the manor after the death of Sir Ralph Basset. (fn. 34) In 1404 Thomas Stowell sold the manor to William Coventre, John Hyde, Edmund Danvers, John Voche and Richard Betfield, who granted it immediately to Winchester College. (fn. 35) The college was holding the manor in 1428, (fn. 36) and continued to do so until it was bought from them by the king in 1543. (fn. 37) It was granted in 1552, in exchange for other lands, to Edward Fynes, Lord Clinton and Henry Herdson, (fn. 38) and in 1554 Henry Herdson, citizen and currier of London, with Barbara his wife, sold it to Thomas Dolman and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 39) A number of the Court Rolls of this manor, dating from 1404 to 1547, are preserved in the Public Record Office. (fn. 40)
Thomas Dolman was a
clothier, whose factory was in
Northbrook Street, Newbury,
and seems to have been the
son of William Dolman,
manager to 'Jack of Newbury,' who bequeathed him a
legacy of £10. (fn. 41) He married
Elizabeth daughter of James Harrison of Southampton. On acquiring the manor he began to build
Shaw House, which was finished by his son in 1581, (fn. 42)
thereby giving rise to the saying:—
'Lord have mercy on us miserable sinners!
Thomas Dolman has built a new house, and has turned away all his spinners!'
Thomas died 19 November 1575 seised of this manor, when Elizabeth his widow survived him, and his heir was his son John, aged thirty-five. (fn. 43) John, however, inherited only one-third of the manor, which he and his wife Mary sold in 1576 to his brother Thomas, (fn. 44) who the next year obtained a pardon for entering without licence into this manor which his father had bequeathed to him. (fn. 45) Further grants were made to him in 1590–1 and 1600–1. (fn. 46) Thomas Dolman was Sheriff of Berks. in 1588 (fn. 47); with his second wife Anne he conveyed the manor to trustees in 1622, (fn. 48) and died in 1623, when the manor passed to his elder son Humphrey, then aged twenty-eight. (fn. 49)
Humphrey Dolman married about 1628 Anne daughter of John Quarles, (fn. 50) and was occupying the house at the time of the second battle of Newbury, when it was held for the king. It was on this occasion that the family adopted as their motto:—
King and Law
Shouts Dolman of Shaw. (fn. 51) During his later years his son Thomas, who had been knighted in 1661, appears to have been looked upon as owner of Shaw House, for when Charles II and his queen, with the Duke of York, visited it in August 1663 it is said 'that night their majesties lodged at Sir Thomas Dolman's, about a mile from Newbury. (fn. 52) Humphrey returned himself as aged seventy-two on 23 March 1664, (fn. 53) and seems to have died that year, when the manor passed to his son Sir Thomas.
In 1651 Sir Thomas had married Margery daughter of John Hobday of Thorneton, when he placed the manor in settlement. (fn. 54) He was M.P. for Reading in 1661 and clerk of the Privy Council. (fn. 55) His eldest son Humphrey, who was knighted in 1674, died in 1687, (fn. 56) and the following year he and his elder surviving son Thomas conveyed the manor to trustees. (fn. 57) Sir Thomas died in 1697, and the manor passed to his son Thomas.
This Thomas entertained Queen Anne at Shaw House, on 27 or 28 October 1703, on the queen's return from Bath, in recognition of which she knighted him at St. James's on 11 November in the same year. (fn. 58) He married Dorothy daughter of John Harrison of Scarborough, and died at the age of fifty-four on 30 April 1711. (fn. 59)
At Sir Thomas's death the manor passed under his will to his nephew Thomas Humphrey Dolman, son of Dr. Lewis Dolman, physician, of St. Martin's-inthe-Fields, London, with contingent remainder to his brother Lewis Dolman and his sister Dorothy. (fn. 60) Dorothy, who married John Talbot, was the eventual heir, and in 1721 she and her husband, who is described as 'an expensive person of no fortune,' entered into an agreement for the sale of the manor to James Duke of Chandos. (fn. 61) But various charges on the property encumbered the title, the duke was kept out of possession, and in December 1722 filed a bill for specific performance of the agreement. Dorothy Talbot died in 1724. The duke got possession of the manor in 1728, but the litigation, still in progress, was continued by her son Lewis Dolman Talbot. (fn. 62)
On the death of the first Duke of Chandos in 1744 he left the manor of Shaw to trustees to hold on behalf of his widow Lydia Catherine, and after her death in 1750 they sold the manor in 1751 to Joseph Andrews. (fn. 63) The duke left charities to Shaw and Speen, while his widow was buried in Shaw Church. (fn. 64)
Joseph Andrews married first Elizabeth daughter of Samuel Beard of Newcastle-under-Lyme, by whom he had a son Joseph, born in 1727, who on his father's death in 1753 inherited this manor, was created a baronet on 19 August 1766, and died without issue in 1800. (fn. 65) His half-brother James Pettit Andrews, who had married Anne daughter of the Rev. Thomas Penrose, rector of Newbury, had died in 1797, and the manor and title passed to their son Joseph, who died unmarried in 1822. (fn. 66)
The manor then passed to his sister Eliza, the widow of Charles Henry Hunt of Stratford-upon-Avon, under the provisions of the will (fn. 67) of her uncle, dated 8 February 1800. Mrs. Hunt died in July 1822, (fn. 68) when under the will of her brother, dated 20 November 1820, the manor passed to his cousin the Rev. Thomas Penrose for life, with remainder to another cousin Henry Eyre and his heirs. (fn. 69)
The Rev. Thomas Penrose, D.C.L., was a son of the Rev. Thomas Penrose, once a curate of Newbury and a poet of some little note. He was living at Shaw in 1839, and was rector of Hampstead Marshall and vicar of Writtle, Essex. (fn. 70) He died in 1851, when the manor passed to the heir of Henry Eyre.
Henry Eyre was the son of Henry Eyre, who had married Sarah sister of the Rev. Thomas Penrose and of Anne wife of James Pettit Andrews. He seems to have died before his cousin, and the manor descended to his son Henry Richard Eyre, who died 1 June 1876, leaving the manor to his widow for life. After her death, 27 May 1904, it passed to their son Henry John Andrews Eyre, who sold the manor, on 29 September 1905, to the Hon. Mrs. Farquhar, the present owner.
In 1199 Adam son of Phareman sold to John Abbot of Waverley a virgate of land in Shaw, (fn. 71) which is subsequently referred to as the manor of SHAW or SHAW GRANGE. This estate was confirmed to them in 1206, (fn. 72) and it was restored to them in 1345, after it had been seized by the escheator in Berks. (fn. 73) In 1534 it was said to have an annual value of £5 6s. 8d., (fn. 74) and at the dissolution of the abbey in 1536 it was granted to Sir William Fitzwilliam, treasurer of the king's household. (fn. 75) Sir William seems to have transferred it during his lifetime to Anthony Browne first Viscount Montagu, who had licence to alienate it in 1567 and sold it in that year to William Forster, (fn. 76) from whom it was purchased in 1575 by Henry Blanchard and Matthew Haylock, (fn. 77)who in turn sold it in the following year to John Dancastle or Dancaster. (fn. 78)
John Dancastle died seised of three quarters of this manor on 8 October 1610, when his heir was found to be his grandson John the son and heir of his eldest son John, (fn. 79) but it would seem that John did not inherit this manor, which apparently passed to Griffin second son of the John Dancastle who first acquired the manor, for in the Heralds' visitations of 1665–6 we find him described as formerly of Grange in the parish of Shaw. Griffin married Jane daughter of— Kemble of Widhill, Wilts. In 1664 his son Francis, then aged sixty, was described as of the Grange. Francis married Bridget daughter of Giles Webb of Lydiard, Wilts., and their son Francis was aged twenty-two in 1664–5. (fn. 80)
The further history of this estate is obscure until early in the 19th century it came into the hands of Mrs. Bebb of Donnington Grove, who sold it to Charles Hopkinson, from whom it was purchased 25 March 1861 by Mr. Eyre and added to the manor of Shaw. (fn. 81)
In 1086 there was a mill, (fn. 82) and a water-mill is referred to in 1306 and 1343. (fn. 83) When Thomas Dolman purchased the manor in 1554 the mills were not included, but were sold to his son in 1557. (fn. 84) In 1623 there were two water-mills called 'corne-mills' and a tenement known as the Mill House. (fn. 85) On 7 August 1766, during the bread riots in Newbury, the mob proceeded to Shaw Mill, when they threw the flour into the river and did considerable damage. (fn. 86) There is one mill here at the present day.
In 1576, when John Dolman sold his interest in the manor to his brother Thomas, there was included a third part of two several fisheries. One of these was doubtless in the Lambourn, and the other in a small tributary known as Shaw Spout, (fn. 87) for in 1623 we find the latter fishery mentioned as belonging to the manor. (fn. 88)
The king held the manor of Deritone, which may probably be identified as the later DONNINGTON, at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 89) and seems to have attached it at a later date to the honour of Wallingford, of which it was held in the 13th century. (fn. 90) With this honour it passed to Edmund Earl of Cornwall, who died seised of rents here, with pleas of court and view of frankpledge, in 1300, (fn. 91) when it passed to the Crown. The overlordship was held by the king as parcel of his duchy of Cornwall in 1334–5. (fn. 92)
In the time of Edward the Confessor Toti held Donnington of the king, and at the time of the Domesday Survey he had been succeeded by William Lovet. (fn. 93) In 1166–7 Gervase of Salnerville was holding it, (fn. 94) and in 1215 Gilbert son of Rayner had been holding land here, but, apparently, not the manor. (fn. 95) In 1229 Philip de Sanderville, perhaps a son or grandson of Gervase, was holding the manor, (fn. 96) and was also holding manors at Enborne and South Morton, which had belonged to William Lovet at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 97) In 1229 a suit was brought against Philip de Sanderville by Richard de Coupeland and Joan his wife, (fn. 98) who received a grant of land here, probably the manor, from Philip in 1231–2. (fn. 99) A little later Richard was holding the manor, (fn. 100) and in 1287–8 Alan de Coupeland, who seems to have been his son, (fn. 101) sold it to Thomas de Eadburbury. (fn. 102) He may, perhaps, be identified with the Thomas de Abberbury who received a charter of free warren here in 1292. (fn. 103) Thomas died in 1307 seised of the manor, which passed to his brother Walter, then aged thirty. (fn. 104) Walter was living and in possession of the manor in 1308–9, (fn. 105) but by 1315–16 he was dead, and the manor had passed to Richard de Abberbury, who was probably his son. (fn. 106) Richard died in March 1333 seised of this manor, when his heir was his son John, then aged sixteen. (fn. 107) John seems to have died without issue before 1353, when Richard de Abberbury, probably his cousin, (fn. 108) was holding the manor. (fn. 109) In 1387 Richard received a grant of this manor, or some further rights here, (fn. 110) and in 1388 or 1390 he was expelled from the court by the discontented nobles on account of his loyalty. (fn. 111) In 1415 he sold the manor to Thomas Chaucer, (fn. 112) who is thought to have been the son of Geoffrey Chaucer the poet.
Thomas Chaucer had been granted the office of constable of the king's castle of Wallingford in 1399, with the stewardship of the honours of Wallingford and St. Valery, as well as that of the Chiltern Hundreds. (fn. 113) He was Sheriff of Berks. and Oxfordshire in 1400 and 1403, (fn. 114) M.P. for Oxford 1400–20, and Speaker of the House of Commons in 1407, 1410, 1411 and 1414. (fn. 115) He married Maud daughter and co-heir of Sir John Burghersh. He had an only daughter Alice, born in 1404, and she was married in 1415 to Sir John Philip, brother to William Lord Bardolph. (fn. 116) This manor and others in the neighbourhood purchased from Sir Richard Abberbury were in 1415 settled by Thomas Chaucer upon his daughter Alice and her husband, (fn. 117) but Sir John died in the same year seised of these manors, (fn. 118) which under a fresh settlement passed to his youthful widow. (fn. 119) Later on she married Thomas le Montagu Earl of Salisbury, who was holding the manor in 1428, (fn. 120) but he was killed at the siege of Orleans in that year. In 1430, while still only twenty-six years of age, she was married to her third husband William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk.
He was created Duke of Suffolk in 1448 and executed 4 May 1450, when his heir was his son John, then aged seven years. (fn. 121) The manor still remained in the hands of the trustees until the death of the duchess in 1475, and the following year the surviving trustees handed over the estate to Thomas Lee, clerk, and William Martin, clerk, who were, presumably, trustees for John Duke of Suffolk. (fn. 122) John died in 1491, but his eldest son John Earl of Lincoln had died in 1487 at the battle of Stoke, when his lands were forfeited. At the death of the Duke of Suffolk the manors probably passed with the title to Edmund de la Pole, his second son, but no record has been found showing that he held this manor. In any case, on his attainder in 1503 the manor would have passed to the Crown.
The manor remained for a time in the hands of the king, for in 1509 Wistan Browne, squire of the body, was appointed keeper of the manor and park, while John Dounce was made steward of the manor. (fn. 123) They were both succeeded in their offices in 1513 by Sir William Compton, (fn. 124) and the following year the manor was granted to Charles Brandon Viscount Lisle, then created Duke of Suffolk. (fn. 125)
The Duke of Suffolk in 1535 exchanged the manor with the king for others elsewhere. (fn. 126)
In 1536–7 the king appointed William Lord Sandys and Thomas Wriothesley to be constables of the castle, stewards of the manor, keepers and masters of the hunt of Donnington Park in succession, (fn. 127) but Edward Fettiplace, a former servant of the duke, seems to have been the actual steward until he gave up the office in 1540, (fn. 128) when Thomas Cawarden was appointed. (fn. 129) Henry VIII visited Donnington on his way to Windsor in 1541, (fn. 130) and in 1545 the manor, with its members, was raised to the rank of an honour. (fn. 131)
In 1550–1 King Edward VI granted (fn. 132) the manor to his sister the Lady Elizabeth, and it remained in the hands of Queen Elizabeth till the end of the century.
In 1600 Queen Elizabeth granted the manor in fee to Charles Howard Earl of Nottingham, Lord High Admiral, (fn. 133) and in 1601 Nicholas Zouch and Elizabeth his wife released to the earl and Catherine his wife all their interest in the manor. (fn. 134) The earl seems to have granted the manor to his son William Lord Howard of Effingham, who died before 1616, when his widow Anne acquired an interest in certain lands in Speen from Peter Vanlore, senior, who held a manor there. (fn. 135)
The earl died in 1624, and after the death of his widow the manor seems to have passed to her daughter Elizabeth, who had married John Mordaunt Earl of Peterborough, and they conveyed the manor to trustees in 1629. (fn. 136) In 1632 they conveyed the manor to William Lane and John Hardy, (fn. 137) who were, perhaps, trustees for John Packer, who seems to have held the manor at the time of the siege of the castle in 1644. (fn. 138)
John Packer was clerk of the Privy Seal and secretary to George Villiers Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 139) At his death in 1649 the manor passed to his son Robert of Shellingford Castle, near Faringdon, who was M.P. for Wallingford in the Long Parliament and in 1660 and 1679. (fn. 140) He made a settlement of the manor to Ralph Willett in 1651 (fn. 141) and died 25 February 1681–2. The Heralds' visitation of 1664 describes his brother William as of Donnington. (fn. 142) The property seems to have descended to Robert's grandson Robert (the son of his son John), who was M.P. for Berks. on several occasions, and was succeeded by his elder son Winchcombe Howard Packer. The latter was M.P. for Berks in 1727, 1734 and 1741, and died without issue on 21 August 1746, when he was succeeded by his brother Henry, who died childless on 21 October in the same year. Henry devised the manor with his other estates to Winchcombe Henry Hartley, the son of his sister Elizabeth, who had married Dr. David Hartley of Bath. (fn. 143)
Winchcombe Henry Hartley married in 1787 Ann eldest daughter of Samuel Blackwell of Williamstrip Park, Gloucestershire, was M.P. for Berks. in 1774, 1780, 1790 and 1794, and died in 1794, leaving the manor to his only son the Rev. Winchcombe Howard Hartley, who married in 1809 Elizabeth eldest daughter of Thomas Watts of Bath, and died in 1832, leaving two children, a son and a daughter. (fn. 144)
The son, Winchcombe Henry Howard Hartley, married, but died childless in 1881, when the manor passed to his heirs, the four daughters of his sister Elizabeth Ann, who had married Count Demetrius de Palatiano of Corfu, as their only brother had died in 1880 before his uncle. In 1907 the estates were divided among the four co-heirs, when the manor of Donnington fell to the share of the eldest, the Countess E. Ada Palatiano. (fn. 145) Court Rolls dating from 1538 to 1547 are preserved at the Public Record Office, and the contents of one of 1494 have been printed. (fn. 146)
Sir Richard Abberbury received a licence from the king in 1386 to build a castle on his land at Donnington and to crenellate the same, (fn. 147) and the castle is mentioned in all subsequent references to the manor. It was granted with the manor in 1514 to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, (fn. 148) who seems to have resided there in 1516, (fn. 149) and with the manor it came back to the king in 1535, when it appears that the duke had allowed it to fall into decay. Edward Fettiplace seems to have been keeper of the castle during this time, and to have been blamed for the condition in which it was returned to the king. (fn. 150) He was superseded in his office in 1536–7 by William Lord Sandys, but appears not to have actually vacated the place until 1540–1, when he was succeeded by Thomas Cawarden, a groom of the Privy Chamber. (fn. 151) Thomas Cromwell dated a letter from there on 16 August 1539, and a grant was dated from there the same day, from which it would appear that the king sometimes lodged there. (fn. 152) King Edward VI visited the castle on 10 September 1552 and remained there two days, and held there a meeting of the Privy Council on 11 September. (fn. 153)
In 1579 the queen had to take steps to put down poaching in the park, (fn. 154) and in 1600 the castle was granted with the manor, the descent of which it continues to follow, to the Earl of Nottingham. (fn. 155) During the time that it belonged to the Earl of Peterborough it seems to have been let to one John Chamberlain, who is described as of Donnington Castle in 1623, (fn. 156) and in 1644 it is spoken of as the habitation of Mr. Packer, who bought it of Mr. Chamberlain. (fn. 157)
In 1644 it was held for the king by Sir John Boys, who refused to surrender it until April 1646, after a siege lasting a year and a half, when he was allowed to leave with all his men. (fn. 158) The castle must have suffered severely in the siege, for in 1647 Thomas Baskerville described it as the ruins of Donnington Castle. (fn. 159)
Though the line of the foundations of the inclosing wall of the main building can still be accurately traced, only the gate-house, which projected from its eastern face, now remains in a more or less perfect condition. It is a massive structure three stories in height, measuring 17 ft. 6 in. by 11 ft. 9 in. inside. The entrance is flanked by large circular towers, which are carried up above the roof; both originally contained stairs, though those of the north tower have been removed. A high splayed plinth runs round the whole building, and the stages are divided by hollow-chamfered string-courses, the two upper containing large grotesque heads. All the walls have embattled parapets, now partially destroyed. A small outwork protected the entrance, but only parts of the side walls now remain. The entrance archway itself has moulded jambs and a four-centred head with a label. The opening is filled with modern brickwork pierced by a small doorway. The archway on the castle side is of two orders, the inner having a threecentred head and the outer a four-centred head, while between them is a groove for the portcullis. The opening has brick filling and a small doorway. The gateway itself is vaulted in two bays, each bay being divided into twelve compartments, the four central ones foiled, by moulded ribs springing from plain chamfered vaulting shafts upon the side walls, which are pierced by two small deep splayed rectangular windows, one on the north and one on the south, while in the eastern angles are small doorways to the towers. The first floor, now a bedroom, is reached by the circular stair in the south-east tower, and has a square-headed window, probably once mullioned and traceried, in the east wall. The second floor is lighted from the same side by a tall square-headed window with a label; the central mullion and part of the tracery are gone. In the west wall is a square fireplace with rebated and chamfered jambs, and to the right of it a much damaged window. The north and south walls have each a rectangular light with a four-centred rear arch. In the eastern angles are doorways to the tower, that on the north having a two-centred head, while the head of the southern doorway is four-centred. The towers and walls of the gate-house are considerably overgrown with ivy, and are built of flint with stone dressings, roughly plastered in places, and partly restored with brick.
The outer walls of the main building, which had a polygonal projection on the west, small projecting bays on the north and south, and circular turrets at the four principal angles, appear to have inclosed an are having an extreme internal length of about 108 ft. with a width of 67 ft. Only short lengths of the upper portions of these walls remain on either side of the gate-house, each portion containing a window which apparently had a foiled head. The ground falls away steeply all round the castle and the outworks of defence thrown up in the 17th century may still be traced.
A PARK here is first mentioned in 1509, (fn. 160) and constant references to it have been found during the next 150 years. (fn. 161) In 1535 deer and game are mentioned, and in 1579 complaint was made of 'disordered hunting' taking place there. (fn. 162) The last reference to the park that has been found is in 1651. (fn. 163)
The Domesday Survey states that there was a mill here worth 15s. yearly, (fn. 164) which is described as a water-mill in 1335. (fn. 165) In 1536–7 two mills were granted to John Knight, (fn. 166) and in 1662 Matthew Pottinger held four mills here. (fn. 167) There is now one mill in the village.
The fishing in the mill-pond belonged to the manor in 1335, (fn. 168) and in 1616 the free fishery is again mentioned, together with the tolls of a ferry. (fn. 169) Free fishery is also referred to as belonging to the manor in 1629 (fn. 170) and to Matthew Pottinger in 1662. (fn. 171)
After the dissolution of the smaller houses the king in 1540 granted the reversion of some of the land which had belonged to the PRIORY OF DONNINGTON to Edward Fettiplace, who received licence to alienate it in 1542. (fn. 172) In 1543 the king granted other property of the priory to Thomas Cawarden for life, and two houses in Newbury to Richard Bridges of West Shefford and John Knight of Newbury, who received licence to alienate them the following year. (fn. 173)
The site of the house, certain lands and a grove called the Prior's Grove were granted in 1570–1 to Patrick Bermingham for a term of years, while the chancel, cemetery and church were granted in 1589–90 to John Nok for twenty-one years. The site was again granted in 1599–1600 to Peter Grevill and others. (fn. 174)
Thomas Fortescue died in 1611 seised of the site, &c., of the late priory of Crutched Friars in Donnington, when his heir was found to be Sir Francis Fortescue, kt., then aged thirty. (fn. 175) The site passed soon afterwards to the Cowslade family; Nicholas son of Nicholas and Katherine Cowslade was baptized at Shaw in 1659, while in 1663 Thomas son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cowslade was registered at Newbury, the parents being Quakers. Several other members of the same family lie buried at Newbury, and in 1759 Thomas Cowslade of Donnington Priory was buried at Shaw. This is probably the Thomas Cowslade, barrister-at-law, mentioned by Ashmole as possessing a handsome seat by the Oxford Road. His son Thomas, also of the priory, was buried here in 1792, and another son John, gentleman usher of the privy chamber to Queen Charlotte, seems to have been the owner of the priory at this time and died here in 1795. The house passed to his brother Frederick Cowslade, who started a linen factory in 1783 and died in 1811; his sister Ann, who succeeded him, died in 1814. By the will of John Cowslade the property passed to the wife of Francis Charles Parry, who was residing there in 1830. At a later date it was purchased by John Hughes, son of Dr. Hughes, Canon of St. Paul's and father of Thomas Hughes, the author of Tom Brown's School-days. It was sold later to Mr. Thomas Abdy Fellowes, (fn. 176) whose widow sold it a few years ago to the Hon. A. E. Gathorne-Hardy, its present possessor.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is a modern building consisting of a chancel built in the 14th-century style, north organ chamber and vestry, nave built in the 12th-century style, south porch and west tower with octagonal spire.
An old print of the former church shows a chancel with three trefoiled lancets in the east wall and two lancets in the south wall, in which were also a square doorway, a south transept, south porch, and a square wood bell-turret with a pyramidal roof. A short description of the church in 1839 (fn. 177) mentions a round west tower of 'Saxon' origin as being the part of chief interest in the building; this has entirely disappeared, gunpowder being used, it is said, to effect its removal.
The font has an ancient round bowl with tapering sides and is probably of 13th-century date. There are several mural monuments from the former building; one is to Sir Thomas Dolman, kt., 1711, and Dame Dorothy his wife, 1707. Another is to Henry Pierse, pastor for thirty years, who died in 1680. In the porch stand three gravestones removed from the centre line of the nave, where they were becoming worn; one is to Sir Thomas Dolman, 1697, and Dame Margery his wife, 1686, another to Lydia Catherine, Dowager Duchess of Chandos, 1750, and the third to Sir Joseph Andrews, 1800; these were all tenants or owners of Shaw House. The other monuments are of later date. The churchyard has a modern lychgate on the western side.
There are five bells: the treble by Warners, 1902, and the second by the same founders, 1878; the third is of pre-Reformation date and bears the inscription 'Sancta Anna (fn. 178) ora pro nobis' in black letter without any capitals (the founder's mark is a small shield charged with a saltire within a circle from which branch four fleurs de lis); the fourth is inscribed 'Feare God, 1631'; the tenor was recast by Warners, 1878. There is also a small bell inscribed 'J. Burrough in Devizes bell founder, 1751.'
The old communion plate was all stolen by burglars some few years ago, and it has since then been replaced by a modern set. There is a base metal almsdish given by George Monkland of Donnington, 1819.
The first book of the registers before 1812 is of parchment and contains baptisms from 1646 to 1795, marriages 1646 to 1753, and burials 1647 to 1802; the second has marriages from 1754 to 1812; the third has baptisms from 1796 to 1812, and the fourth burials from 1803 to 1812.
In 1080 the king confirmed a grant of the tithes of Shaw by Hugh son of Baldric to the abbey of Préaux. (fn. 179) The value of the church property was in 1291 returned as £4 6s. 8d., while the Priors of Sherborne and Wallingford are returned as holding pensions here. (fn. 180) The ninths due on this property, with that of the abbey of Waverley, were said in 1340–1 to be 100s. (fn. 181) How long the rectorial tithes belonged to the abbey of Préaux seems uncertain, nor is their subsequent history clear.
Some time in the reign of Henry II Maud de Moleto, mother of Philip de Columbers, with the consent of her son, granted the advowson of Shaw to the convent of St. Mary and St. Fromond in Normandy, and a few years later the convent granted all its interest in the church here to the alien priory of Monk Sherborne, Hants. (fn. 182) That interest appears, however, to have been the pension which the Prior of Sherborne held in 1291. In 1207 the Bishop of Salisbury confirmed an annual pension of 40s. from the church of Shaw to the Prior and convent of St. Fromond. (fn. 183) There seems, however, to have been some doubt as to whether the advowson had really been granted, for in 1230 Philip de Columbers granted to Ralph Isembard and his heirs and assigns, provided they were neither religious men nor Jews, the advowson of the church of Shaw for twelve years. (fn. 184) The following year, when the living became vacant by the death of Gervase, the parson, the Prior of St. Fromond claimed the power to present, or more correctly asserted that he was the parson and that Gervase had been merely his vicar. Ralph, on the other hand, contended that Gervase had been presented by Philip and was truly parson of the church. The jury supported Ralph's claim, and declared that a pension of 40s. was all that rightly belonged to the prior. (fn. 185)
When Philip de Columbers and Eleanor his wife settled the manor in 1334 the advowson was excepted, and the right to it descended on Philip's death to his right heirs, but before his death Philip had granted the advowson to Baldwin Aylmer, chaplain, and he granted it in 1344 to John de Stonford. (fn. 186) John seems to have been in some way connected with Queen's Hall, Oxford, for in 1349, at the request of Queen Philippa, licence was granted to him to grant this advowson to the Prior and canons of St. Frideswide's, Oxford, in exchange for some places contiguous to the dwelling-place of the provost and scholars of Queen's Hall, Oxford, to enable them to build a chapel. (fn. 187) The right to dispose of the advowson seems to have been challenged by Philip's nephew and heir, Geoffrey de Stowell, but John de Stonford recovered the presentation in 1350–1. (fn. 188) The exchange with St. Frideswide's does not appear to have taken place, for on 1 April 1362 William Fitzwaryn of Bryghtlegh, kinsman and heir of Sir John de Stonford, granted the advowson to John de Estbury the elder. (fn. 189) Later he or his heirs seem to have sold the advowson to William Coventre and others, who purchased the manor in 1404, for in that year they granted the advowson with the manor to the warden and scholars of St. Mary's College, Winchester. (fn. 190) The advowson remained with the college until 1543, when they granted it to the king with the manor in exchange for other estates. (fn. 191)
For a few years the history of the advowson is obscure. In 1555 Henry Brabande of Stoke, in the diocese of Winchester, presented as patron for this turn. (fn. 192) Probably he had acquired from Thomas Dolman the right to present for that one turn. Thomas Dolman had in 1554 purchased the manor, and, though the advowson is not specifically mentioned in the fine, it is stated in the inquisition after his death in 1576 that he had possessed the manor and advowson, bought of Henry Herdson on 3 May 1554. (fn. 193) The Dolman family retained the advowson with the manor. (fn. 194) After the death of the last Sir Thomas Dolman in 1711 his heirs appear to have sold the presentation, for in 1720 John Warner presented Thomas Matthews, and in 1775 Ann Cuthbert presented George Cuthbert. The advowson seems, however, to have remained attached to the manor, for the Rev. Thomas Penrose presented in 1826, 1827 and 1838, and Mr. H. R. Eyre in 1847 and 1872. (fn. 195) When the latter's son, Mr. H. J. A. Eyre, sold the manor he retained the advowson, which he sold subsequently to his brother, Mr. Douglas Eyre, the present patron.
In 1365 Sir Richard de Abberbury desired to rebuild a chapel at Donnington and to endow it with certain lands and rents in Donnington, Newbury and East Hendred to support two chaplains to celebrate divine service there, and licence was granted to him to do so on 3 July of that year. (fn. 196) Later on he desired to hand over the appointment of the chaplains to the brethren of the Holy Cross, Donnington (q.v.), and they received licence on 11 February 1394 to acquire the endowments in frankalmoign. (fn. 197) It would appear from a later document that Sir Richard had granted the lands on 24 March 1376 to the prior of the house of the Friars of St. Cross by the Tower of London, that they might find the two chaplains to celebrate divine service in the chapel at Donnington, on the understanding that if they failed to do so for half a year the endowment should return to him or his heirs. In 1448 the prior had failed to fulfil the necessary conditions, and the endowment reverted to Richard Abberbury, nephew of Sir Richard, and he by a grant dated 20 June 1448 handed over the endowments to William Duke of Suffolk, who then held the manor. (fn. 198)
William died in 1450 seised of the advowson of the chapel of Donnington, (fn. 199) but the endowments seem to have returned within the next half-century to the friars, probably at the instance of the duke himself, (fn. 200) for Robert Harre, by his will dated 1500, directs his body 'to be buried in the new chapel of Jesu on the south side of the churche of the freres of the order of the Holy Crosse in Donyngton, his two great standards of laten to stande before the high altar of Jesu in the said chapel of Donnington, and four candlesticks of laten to stand before the said Awter.' (fn. 201) This chantry chapel was suppressed with other chantries at the beginning of the reign of Edward VI. (fn. 202)
We have seen that in 1291 the Prior of Wallingford held a pension arising out of church property in this parish, and it seems that this arose from the tithes of Donnington, for at the dissolution of Wallingford Priory in 1529 it was found that it held rents for portions of tithes in Donnington (fn. 203) arising out of lands held by Donnington Priory. (fn. 204) These rents, which were of the annual value of 14s., were in July 1528 granted to Cardinal Wolsey, (fn. 205) and part of them, a rent of 6s. 8d., was granted by the king in 1532 to the use of the Dean and Canons of St. George's Chapel at Windsor, when it was stated that it had come to the king by Wolsey's attainder. (fn. 206)
Sir Richard Abberbury had licence on 26 April 1393 to found Donnington Hospital for thirteen poor persons, and to endow it with 2 acres here and the manor of Iffley. There was to be at their head a man called God's minister of the poor-house of Donnington, and the almsmen were to pray daily for the good estate of the king and Sir Richard and for the souls of their progenitors and heirs. (fn. 207) The laws and statutes of Sir Richard are still in existence and have been published. (fn. 208) In 1394 Sir Richard received a further licence to grant an additional endowment to the hospital in the form of 26 quarters of good wheat or 13 marks instead, at his heir's discretion, payable out of his manor here and his adjoining estates. (fn. 209)
In 1548 the endowment was valued at £28 16s. 8d. (fn. 210) and the custody of the hospital was granted with that of the castle, manor and park of Donnington to William Lord Sandys and Thomas Wriothesley in 1536–7, (fn. 211) though there is evidence that the hospital still continued to exist. (fn. 212) It was restored in 1602 upon the petition of Charles Earl of Nottingham, when the hospital was rebuilt by him and was called the hospital of Queen Elizabeth. Fresh statutes were then drawn up, a copy of which is in the Bodleian Library and has been printed. (fn. 213) In the 18th century the hospital was allowed to go to ruin and was at one time used as the Donnington Poor house, but it was restored and reopened on 5 November 1822 by the Rev. Winchcombe Henry Howard Hartley, lord of the manor and patron of the hospital. (fn. 214)
The trust is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners (fn. 215) of 28 August 1896, as varied by a scheme of 11 April 1905.
The trust estates consist of the hospital and land at Donnington; houses, shops, cottages and 460 a. of land at Iffley, Littlemore and Cowley, and St. Clements, Oxford, rental about £2,600 a year; corn rents and fixed payments of £6 13s. 4d. a year; £2,751 13s. 2d. consols, producing yearly £68 15s. 8d., with the official trustees, who also held in 1906 a sum of £3,585 3s. 10d. like stock, dividends accumulating.
By the scheme the number of almspeople is to be not less than twelve and not more than twenty-four, to be taken as to one-half by preference in equal numbers from Shaw-cum-Donnington and Bucklebury parishes, and as to the remainder four persons residing in any part of England and Wales, being poor unmarried men or women of good character of at least sixty years of age, who should receive a stipend of not less than 10s. a week; provision is also made of 5s. to 8s. a week, recipients to be selected as therein mentioned.
In 1905 the almsmen received £529, pensioners £300, £176 was paid to the minister, £5 5s. to the steward of the manor, £116 to the clerk, £10 10s. to the auditor, £885 in repairs and improvements, £150 in street-making, and there was a balance at the bank of £848 10s.
The charity of Sir Thomas Dolman, kt., was formerly endowed with 3 a. in Speen, purchased in 1754 with a legacy, by will dated in 1710, and with £40 belonging to Shipton's Charity money. In 1890 the land and buildings thereon were sold, and the proceeds invested in £904 7s. 10d. consols with the official trustees. The annual income, amounting to £22 12s., is—subject to the payment of 10s. to the rector for preaching a sermon on 17 October yearly (being the testator's birthday) and of 13s. 4d. for sermons on St. Stephen's Day and Whit Sunday—applied in the distribution of tickets for clothing of the value of 8s. or 10s.
Church Estate.—An allotment made under the Thatcham inclosure award of 1817 for the repairs of the church was sold in 1905, and the proceeds invested in £139 9s. 5d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £3 9s. 8d. yearly.
In 1735 James Duke of Chandos, by deed, charged certain lands in the common fields, which, under the Speen inclosure award of 1780, are represented by 43 a. in Horsepool Field, with a rent-charge of £6 5s., £2 10s., part thereof, to be applied on St. George's Day for the relief of five poor families of Shaw, £1 for the rector for a sermon and 5s. for the clerk, the remaining £2 10s. for the relief of five poor families in Speen.
In 1824 Colonel Francis Sacheverell Stead bequeathed £100, the interest to be laid out in clothing for the poor of Shaw. This legacy, with a further sum of £50 arising from the donation of Mrs. Anthony Bacon and others, is now represented by £155 8s. 10d. consols.
In 1851 the Rev. Thomas Penrose, D.C.L., by his will proved in the P.C.C. 19 March, left £200 to be invested in consols and the income applied for the benefit of the poor. This legacy, together with a legacy of £100 by will of the Rev. Matthew Armstrong, a former rector of Shaw, who died in 1837, and a legacy of £100 by will of Janet Laurence Bebb, proved in the P.C.C. 30 April 1850, are represented by £415 19s. 11d. consols.