A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Faringdon parish covers about 2,358 acres which lie north of Newton Valence and north-west of Selborne. The village, divided into Upper and Lower Street, lies in the south of the parish near Newton Valence. From Selborne the Upper Street can be reached by Hall Lane. This narrow lane as it enters the parish rises steadily until below Plash Lane, a branch to the right, it slopes downhill and branches rather suddenly to the right into the village. A house lying back on the right is Deanyers, the residence of Mr. E. B. Kennedy, and along the road on the opposite side is Hall Farm. On the right and left again are picturesque cottages, those on the left lying back behind gay cottage gardens, those on the right fronting on the village street. Just before it reaches the village school the road bends sharply to the left and sends off a branch to the right which leads circuitously to the church, behind which is Manor Farm, and round by quaint thatched cottages and farm buildings along a shady lane past the rectory, uphill to meet the main road of the village again about a quarter of a mile from where it started. At the corner where the roads meet is West Cross House, an uninteresting-looking building with a slate roof, which tradition says was the manor house of the Pophams, and from which a bridle-way is said to have led to Popham. From here the road continues for about half a mile until it intersects the highway from Alton to Gosport. At the corner is the blacksmith's shop, and scattered along the high road on the right-hand side are the houses of the Lower Street. Street House Farm, Annett's Farm, and Ivy Farm lie along the high road towards Newton Valence.
To the north-west of the village is a group of well-wooded copses which make the county round this westerly part of Faringdon more beautiful though less fertile than that in the eastern part of the parish, where cornfield after cornfield and an occasional hopfield form the main features of the scenery. Of the whole parish 990¾ acres are arable land, 823¾ are pasture, and 257 woodland and plantation. (fn. 1) The soil is clay with a subsoil of chalk and gravel. With the exception of a few small ponds in the north-east and a pond near the rectory there is no water in the whole parish.
The manor of FARINGDON or FARINGDON EPISCOPI was held of King Edward the Confessor by Godwin the priest. (fn. 2) It was then assessed at 10 hides and was worth £15. In 1086 Osbern bishop of Exeter held the manor of the king as part of the honour pertaining to the church of Bosham in Sussex, and it was then assessed at 5 hides, and was worth £21. (fn. 3)
The church of Bosham itself belonged to the bishops of Exeter, who were visitors and patrons of the college of secular canons founded there by William Warelwast, Osbern's successor in the bishopric. (fn. 4) Henry III in 1243 confirmed the manor of Faringdon with all tithes, fees, services, liberties, and free customs thereto belonging to the bishop of Exeter and his heirs. (fn. 5) Thirty-two years afterwards in a hundred-roll return the manor was said to have been of ancient demesne, and to have been alienated by Henry II (fn. 6) to the bishop of Exeter, who by virtue of the same charter withdrew his suit for Faringdon from the hundred court of Selborne, and claimed view of frankpledge and assize of bread and ale in his manor. (fn. 7) In 1291 the manor of Faringdon was returned among the lands of the bishop of Exeter, and was then valued at £10. (fn. 8) In 1546 the bishop made an exchange with the king of the manor of Faringdon for the manors of Pinhoe and Dramford in Devonshire, (fn. 9) and in the same year Henry VIII granted the same to Thomas Wriothesley. (fn. 10) The latter was created earl of Southampton in 1546, (fn. 11) and held the manor until his death in 1550, when it passed to his son Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, who died seised of the same in 1582. (fn. 12) In 1596 his widow Mary and his son and heir Henry, earl of Southampton, conveyed the manor by fine and recovery to Robert Cage, (fn. 13) who died seised of it in 1624, leaving a son and heir William, (fn. 14) who was holding as late as 1663. (fn. 15) William Cage died in 1677 and was succeeded by his grandson William who died before 1689. His son William was married in the same year, and made his will in 1735. Lewis Cage, grandson of the last William, sold the manor, without advowson, in April, 1758, to Thomas Knight of Chawton, (fn. 16) from whom it has passed by inheritance to Montagu G. Knight of Chawton, the present lord of the manor (1905).
A survey of the manor taken in 1595 gives its extent as 'the site of the manor with a pidgeon house, three barnes for corne, twoe barnes for hey and one gatehouse three stables a carthouse one orchard one back side and one garden—all which conteine iiii acres.' The demesne lands were said to contain 367 acres of land, 23 of wood and 85 'of cops and wood.' The 'farmer' of the manor had 'common for hogges' only in Faringdon Wood and the other tenants common for both 'hogges and sheepe.' Hewes Hill, a common wherein all the tenants had common 'and a few trees growing therein,' contained 30 acres. (fn. 17)
The manor farm which stands behind the church in a quiet shady garden is undoubtedly on the site of the old manor house of Faringdon. The house itself probably dates back at least to the eighteenth century; it is of two stories with a tiled roof and a cemented front. At the back of the house the foundations of a chapel which formerly belonged to the bishops of Exeter can be traced.
In the reign of Henry I Turstin, clerk to William de Pont de l'Arche, the king's chamberlain, (fn. 18) held the third part of a knight's fee in Faringdon 'of the bishop of Exeter, and of the honour of the church of Bosham . . . as William bishop of Exeter (1107–37) had granted in his charter.' (fn. 19) Matilda confirmed his lands in Faringdon to Turstin, who was sheriff of Hampshire by 1155, but in her charter they are said to have been held 'in fee of Henry the King.' (fn. 20) Henry II confirmed the same lands to Richard son of Turstin, sheriff of Hampshire, (fn. 21) and about the same time Arnulf, bishop of Lisieux, (fn. 22) addressed letters patent to all clerks and laymen pertaining to the church of Bosham, granting 'to Richard his clerk the land which Turstin the father of the latter held in Faringdon by the service of the third part of a knight.' (fn. 23) William son of Turstin succeeded his brother Richard as sheriff of Hampshire and heir to his estates before 1189, (fn. 24) and it is just possible that Agnes de Popham, who was holding at the time of the Testa de Nevill the lands that William had held, was his daughter and heir. (fn. 25) Gilbert de Popham, son of Agnes, on his death in 1251 held the same lands, (fn. 26) and they passed to his son Robert. (fn. 27) By 1346 they had passed to John (more probably Robert) Popham, (fn. 28) who was evidently the grandson of the above Robert. (fn. 29) In 1378 and again in 1401 the lands were confirmed to Henry de Popham, (fn. 30) who in the latter year granted them as 'the manor of Faringdon' to John parson of Eastrop and others, that they might regrant it to himself and his heirs. (fn. 31) Stephen Popham, his son, held the manor in 1428, (fn. 32) but before his death in 1446 he alienated it to Sir John Lisle, evidently in trust for his daughters, (fn. 33) to the youngest of whom the manor passed before the death of Sir John Lisle in 1471, (fn. 34) probably on her marriage with Humphrey Forster. In 1476 Alice Forster died seised of the manor (fn. 35) which her husband held by courtesy until his death in 1500. (fn. 36) Their son and heir, George Forster, who inherited, conveyed the manor for purposes of trusteeship to Richard, bishop of Winchester, and others in 1513. (fn. 37) In 1574 William Forster, grandson of George, died seised of the manor, leaving Humphrey Forster his son and heir. (fn. 38) An extant court roll for 1585 and another for 1599 show Humphrey Forster as lord of the manor, and that at some time between the two dates he had been knighted. (fn. 39) He died in 1601, leaving a son and heir William, (fn. 40) who in 1608 conveyed or leased the manor by fine to Nicholas Steward. (fn. 41) By 1619 it had passed into the hands of Edward Knight, (fn. 42) who was still holding as lord of the manor in 1633. (fn. 43) William Knight as guardian of Richard Knight was holding in 1663. (fn. 44) From this date until 1770 there seems to be little possibility of tracing the history of the manor. In 1770 it belonged as to two-thirds to Richard Trimmer of Bramshott, yeoman, and as to one-third to Mr. Eames of Faringdon, yeoman. The two-thirds became vested in William Wilshere of Hitchin in 1821 by purchase from John Kersley and Olive his wife, was left by his will to his nephew William Wilshere, and was sold by the latter and his trustees in 1866. (fn. 45) All trace of the manor as such is now lost.
West Cross House in the Upper Street, Faringdon, is traditionally known as the manor house of Faringdon Popham. The manor itself must have been quite small, some fifty or so acres scattered about the parish. The most important part of it was about 40 acres of land called Pye's Plot.
The church is dedicated in honour of ALL SAINTS, and stands at the north end of the village on a site with a fall from north to south, the soil having collected against the north wall of the north aisle to within a few feet of the eaves. The building consists of chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, nave with north aisle and south porch, and west tower with a short wooden spire. The chancel, which with the vestry and organ chamber is of modern date, is of fourteenth century style with an east window of three lights, and in the south wall two windows of a single light and two lights respectively. The chancel arch of two orders has continuous mouldings of fourteenth-century style, and is of the same date as the chancel.
The nave has a north arcade of three bays with semicircular arches of a single square order. The west bay is wider than the others, and the crown of its arch consequently higher. It dates from c. 1150 and is older than the rest of the arcade, its eastern column being formed by the addition of a half column to the east side of the east respond of the arch, and it is clear that at first the arch stood alone and did not form part of a continuous arcade. It has scalloped capitals with half-round shafts and moulded bases. The two eastern bays belong to the end of the twelfth century, and have plain bell capitals with round shafts and moulded bases. In the capitals of both parts of the arcade the upper member of the abacus is of square section, but in plan the earlier abaci are rectangular and the latter circular. The arches in the eastern bays, being of square section, do not fit the rounded abaci, and their angles at the springing are cut away, as they would otherwise project beyond the line of the abaci. This feature generally implies that the wall over the arcades is older than the arcades, and such must be the case here. The nave must have had a north-west chapel, probably contemporary with a westward lengthening of the original nave, and a north aisle was afterwards added to the east of the chapel. A similar chapel, but of later date, occurs at Newton Valence.
It is to be noted that in neither respond of this arcade do the joints of the wall-quoins range with those of the half-round shafts, but this does not necessarily imply a difference in date. The north aisle is narrow, and had about midway in its wall a small blocked doorway with a square inner head and flattened outer arch, which may have been semicircular at first. Its date is doubtful. There are no windows in this wall, which is buried to two-thirds of its height by the accumulation of soil on the north, but in the east wall is a window of two lights with modern wooden tracery, while the masonry of its inner jambs is of the twelfth century, though possibly not in situ.
In the south wall of the nave is a doorway between two three-light windows, which have cinquefoiled lights and an early form of rectilinear tracery, c. 1370, a quatrefoil between two trefoiled lights. The south porch is of plastered brickwork and stone rubble, much overgrown with ivy, and over its outer arch is a tablet with the date of its building, 1634.
The west tower is for the most part of the first half of the thirteenth century, having in the ground stage narrow and widely splayed lancets on the north, south, and west. There is no tower arch, but a doorway with a plain pointed head opens from the church, the door being towards the tower. The upper stage of the tower has been rebuilt or repaired, and has small quatrefoil openings, not earlier than the fourteenth century and probably later. It is covered with plaster externally and finished at the top with a short wooden spire, in the base of which the bells are hung.
All the wooden fittings of the church are modern, including stalls in the chancel and a screen across the chancel arch. The chancel roof is also modern, but at the east end of the nave on either side is a length of moulded wall-plate and above it an arched brace, which seem to be of the fifteenth century, and are perhaps the remains of a ceiling over the rood. The rest of the nave has a flat plaster ceiling at the plate level, the rough beams which carry the ceiling joists showing below the plaster. The font has a large cylindrical tapering bowl, standing on a low pedestal in the form of four hollow-fluted capitals of late twelfth-century date; the base is square.
The parish registers begin in 1558. The first book contains mixed entries from that date to 1653; the second from 1653 to 1710; the third from 1710 to 1773; the fourth from 1773 to 1802, and the fifth from 1802 to 1812. The third book is the most interesting, since Gilbert White the naturalist was curate of Faringdon from 1760 to 1785, and his writing first occurs among the baptisms for 1760 and his last signature among those for 1785.
From its earliest existence at some date between the Domesday Survey and the taxation return of 1291 (fn. 46) the church of Faringdon was held by the bishop of Exeter, (fn. 47) and followed the descent of Faringdon manor (q.v.) until 1797. (fn. 48) At the present day it is held by the rector of Faringdon, Thomas Hackett Massey.
In 1385 the bishop of Winchester directed a commission to the chancellor of Exeter bidding him absolve William Burgeys from the penalty of the greater excommunication incurred by administering the Sacrament to a parishioner of Faringdon without leave of the rector. (fn. 49)
In 1397 licence for non-residence was given to the rector of Faringdon in order that he might be in attendance on the bishop of Exeter. (fn. 50) Frequently the bishop held ordinations in Faringdon church. Thus in 1316 Walter de Stapledon bishop of Exeter ordained several subdeacons in Faringdon parish church, and among them a monk of Hyde, (fn. 51) and again in 1318 ordained Peter de Noreis de Edyndone, who on the same day had letters dimissory for the diaconate and priesthood. (fn. 52)
(i) Alice Fylder, by deed 37 Elizabeth, charged a certain tenement in Stedhams and lands in Iping, Sussex, with a yearly rent-charge of 40s., to be applied in moieties for benefit of this parish and Binsted. The several properties were sold without notice of the charge, and the payments have ceased since 1801. (fn. 53)
(ii) Poor's Lands. In 1640 a parcel of arable containing an acre, and a parcel of wood ground adjoining called 'Post' containing an acre abutting on the highway and the common wood, were vested in the rector, churchwardens, and overseers, by whom the premises were demised to one John Applegarth for 1,000 years at the rent of 16s.
The annual sum of 16s. was received and applied in bread up to Michaelmas 1800, when Thomas Fielder, in whom the interest in the term of years was then vested, refused to continue the payment. (fn. 54)
(iii) Poor's Money. A sum of £10 given for the poor by an unknown donor was in or about the year 1819 in the hands of a Mr. William Eames on the security of a promissory note given to the overseers and churchwardens. No payment is now made in respect of this charity. (fn. 55)