A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Wickham, containing 2,446 acres, of which 18 are covered by water, is situated in the south of the county west from Portsmouth. In the east the soil is light, black, and somewhat stony; in the west it is heavy, with a certain amount of clay. There are 796½ acres of arable land, 931½ of grass, and 332 of wood. (fn. 1) The chief crops are wheat and other cereals. Wickham Common, about 20 acres in extent, is a mile from the village on the Southwick Road, and there are golf links on a smaller common on the Bishop's Waltham Road. The main road from Alton, entering the parish from the northeast, runs past the village on the east, whence it takes a direct course south towards Fareham. Another road from Bishop's Waltham joins it a little to the south of the village. The land is undulating, and slopes from a height of 200 ft. above the ordnance datum at Shervill Copse in the north of the parish to Wickham Common in the south-east, which only rises to a height of 154 ft. The River Meon, after forming the north-east boundary of the parish for about a mile, flows across it in a south-easterly direction to the neighbouring parish of Titchfield, passing along the east side of the village. The land on either bank of the river is low, and liable to floods at certain times of the year. The church, schools, and rectory are on the west side of the river, and the village proper stands on rising ground to the east. The houses are built round a large market place, from the north-east corner of which a street runs down to the north mill and bridge. In this street are several old timber-built houses, and a good specimen of eighteenth-century cut and moulded brickwork. In the market place are several good eighteenth-century houses, and the general effect of the wide open space, surrounded by an irregular line of buildings, is very attractive. The rectory, which is some little distance south-east of the church, has in its garden a plane tree planted between 1798 and 1801 by Dr. Wharton, who was the rector at that time. There are two bridges over the Meon, with a water-mill attached to each, the upper one of which was built from the timbers of the Chesapeake. Just below this mill, on the opposite side of the bridge, is a brewery. There is also an old foundry; the edged tools made in Wickham having been formerly very celebrated, but their manufacture has long died out. Market gardening is the chief industry, fruit especially being cultivated—a ready market having been found for it in Portsmouth and Gosport since the opening of the Meon Valley Railway. A fair is held in the market place on 20 May. The lord of the manor owns the tolls on booths and vehicles at fair-time, but at present these dues are sublet. A court leet and court baron are still held in the manor house, and those summoned to the former are sworn in the cellar of the manor house, while before the opening of the court baron all those attending walk in procession across the northern bridge to a low wall opposite the churchyard, and look at the spot where the house of the Uvedales stood. At the court leet tithingmen are still appointed, as also a borough constable, who is sworn for the purpose of driving gipsies off the parish land. The stocks have stood in the public square within the memory of the older inhabitants. Two commons are in the manor—Wickham Common and Shedfield Common. 'Place House,' the old manor house of the Uvedales, which stood as already noted in a field nearly opposite the church, was pulled down about 1780. Some of the old garden wall remains, and in a dry season the traces of the foundations are still to be seen.
A station on the Meon Valley Railway was opened in 1903, and near it there is a small group of cottages built by squatters, who encroached on the crown lands of the Forest of Bere. Rookesbury, a large house on the Droxford road, is the seat of the Garnier family, though now occupied by Mr. Arthur H. Lee, M.P. for South Hants. Little Park, a short distance out of the village on the Botley road, belongs to Col. Radcliffe. Crocker Hill, a small hamlet, is partly in Wickham and partly in Fareham parish.
The first mention of the borough of Wickham is in 1607, when Sir William Uvedale, who then held it, settled it by fine upon Mary daughter of Sir Richard Norton for life. (fn. 2) It passed to her on her husband's death in 1616, (fn. 3) but in 1626 it was in the hands of her son Sir William Uvedale, (fn. 4) who probably held it till his death in 1652. It then follows the descent of the manor (q.v.). A court of the borough is held every year, at which a constable, town crier, tithing-man, and hayward are appointed, the constable being provided with a truncheon and handcuffs. The bounds of the borough are beaten from time to time, and all people selling goods are liable to market tolls within the borough.
At the time of the Domesday Book WICKHAM, which had been held under Edward the Confessor as two manors by four brothers, was held by Hugh de Port, (fn. 5) being one of the many lordships granted to the De Port family by William I. The overlordship, following the descent of the rest of the De Port barony, passed in succession to the families of St. John, Philibert, and Paulet; William Paulet, marquis of Winchester, holding it in 1616, after which the rights of the overlord probably lapsed. (fn. 6) It was held under the De Ports by the family of Scures. In 1268 Roger de Scures received a grant of free warren, a market and fair in his manor of Wickham, (fn. 7) and in 1287 Matthew de Scures was lord of Wickham. (fn. 8) Later in the same century Eva de Scures, granddaughter and heir of Matthew, held this manor as one knight's fee, (fn. 9) and, having no children, was succeeded by Sir John de Scures, probably a cousin, warden of the castle of Winchester, who died in 1353. (fn. 10) His son John held the manor until his death in 1381, when his sister Sybil, who had married John Uvedale, became his heir, and thus brought Wickham to a family with whom it remained for 350 years. (fn. 11) John and Sybil Uvedale had two sons, William and John, each of whom succeeded to the family property in turn. From John Uvedale the estates passed, some time between 1445 and 1461, to his son Sir Thomas, a man of considerable importance in the fifteenth century, who died in 1484, leaving Wickham, then worth £44, to his son William, whose estates escheated to the crown on his attainder in 1484 for his hostility to the government of Richard III. He received a free pardon in 1485, (fn. 12) and was succeeded in 1524 by a son William, who, before his death in 1528, conveyed the estate to trustees for the use of his wife Dorothy for life, (fn. 13) and directed that a small annual allowance should be made to his son and heir Arthur, who appears to have been of weak intellect. The duty of keeping the estate in repair was entrusted to his uncle Thomas and his brother John. (fn. 14) Arthur succeeded on his mother's death in 1530, (fn. 15) and his son and heir William died in 1569, leaving a son aged nine years, afterwards Sir William Uvedale. He died in 1616, and the borough, manor, and advowson of Wickham, worth £40 per annum, passed, under a settlement made by fine in 1607, to his wife Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Norton, for life. (fn. 16) She survived him many years, and on her death, before 1634, the estates passed to her son William. (fn. 17) During his life, possibly owing to his adherence to the royal cause, his property became much reduced, some estates being sold and others vested in trustees for the payment of his debts. By his will he left the manor to his second wife, Victoria, daughter of Henry Cary Viscount Falkland, for life, whose son William, dying before 1663, left two sisters co-heirs of the estates. (fn. 18) The elder, Victoria, married Sir Richard Corbett, and on her death, before 1683, her interest in the manor passed to her son Sir Uvedale Corbett. (fn. 19) The younger sister, Elizabeth, married secondly Edward earl of Carlisle. She was the last representative of the elder branch of the family of Uvedale, and shortly after her death, in 1696, her property was divided between her son Charles earl of Carlisle and Sir Uvedale Corbett her nephew. (fn. 20) The Wickham property apparently went to the Corbetts, and in 1721 (fn. 21) Sir Richard Corbett was holding Wickham, but in 1724 it was purchased by Jonathan Rashleigh, M.P. for Fowey, Cornwall, (fn. 22) and in 1764 sold by Philip Rashleigh to George Garnier, sheriff of Hampshire in 1766, (fn. 23) from whom it passed to his son William Garnier, whose nephew Mr. John Carpenter-Garnier, of Rookesbury Park, is the present lord of the manor.
The church of ST. NICHOLAS has a chancel 22 ft. 8 in. by 16 ft., with south chapel and organ chamber, north transept 23 ft. by 18 ft., south transept 34 ft. by 18 ft. 4 in., nave 59 ft. by 20 ft., and west tower. In spite of a severe 'restoration' in 1862–3, the church retains some ancient features, the north-east angle of the nave and the north doorway of the chancel showing twelfth-century masonry, and the west doorway of the tower is also re-used twelfthcentury work.
The chancel has a three-light east window with net tracery, and two square-headed north windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights, all the stonework being modern. Between the two latter windows is a doorway which appears to be of late date on the inside, but externally, as already noted, shows twelfthcentury masonry. Over the east window is a vertical rib of stone, springing from a horizontal band at the level of the eaves of the roof, after the manner of pre-Conquest work, but in this instance its date is doubtful.
The south chapel opens to the chancel by a pointed arch of two chamfered orders, with a moulded halfround capital and half-octagonal abacus to its western respond, c. 1300, probably giving the date of the chapel, which has no other ancient features, but contains parts of two fine Uvedale monuments, moved here in 1863. The chancel arch is modern, as are all the details of the transepts and nave, both of masonry and woodwork. The south transept was built in 1803, the tomb of John Swan, 1781, and his son John, who died in the same year, being moved to make place for it, and built into its south wall as it now appears.
Before 1862 the church had a wooden bell-turret, the present three-story masonry tower then taking its place. Its re-used west doorway is a good piece of mid-twelfth-century work, with a lozenge ornament on its label, and zigzag on its arch. The jambs have nook-shafts, and on the capital of the northern shaft is carved a centaur shooting at a lion (as on the tympanum at Stoke sub Hamdon, Somerset), the southern capital having a foliate ornament.
Of the two Uvedale monuments in the south chapel, the older is part of a large monument to William Uvedale, 1569, mutilated in 1863. It had a panelled base, and a cornice carried by female figures, the scrolled panel bearing the inscription being at the back of the recess beneath the cornice. The second monument, which is better preserved but badly put together and in rather shaky condition, is that of Sir William Uvedale, 1615, and has recumbent effigies of Sir William and his wife, the lady being on a lower level, under a semicircular panelled arch flanked by obelisks and surmounted by a coatof-arms with crest and supporters, the open scrollwork on either side of the heraldry ending in clumsily treated lions' heads. On the base of the tomb are kneeling figures of four sons and five daughters, and the whole monument is very elaborately worked and worthy of study, though the detail is not quite first-rate.
In the chancel floor are two fourteenth-century coffin-lids with crosses in relief, and two blue marble slabs, dated 1692 and 1696, the latter in memory of Elizabeth countess of Carlisle, the heiress of the Uvedales. (fn. 24)
There are six bells, the second, third, and fifth by Wells of Aldbourne, 1767, and the tenor by the same founder, 1772, all having inscriptions on the soundbow; the fourth was also by Wells, 1767, but was recast by Taylor of Loughborough, 1897; and the treble, of 1890, is also by Taylor.
The registers begin in 1556, the first book being a copy made in 1606, with a fine title-page. The births, marriages, and deaths are entered together till 1609, and then separately in the following order: baptisms, 1611–29; marriages, 1612–26; burials, 1612–24; baptisms, 1635–54 (some pages are here missing); marriages, 1631–54; burials, 1629–54. The second book begins in 1695 and runs to 1783, the marriages stopping in 1761. The third and fifth books continue the marriages to 1812, and the fourth does the same for the other two headings. In the third book is a list of briefs for 1706–51, and in the second book a note of the population of the parish in 1695. There were 413 parishioners, 300 of whom were communicants, 'two papists, dissenters not one.' There were 97 families, and 50 seats in the church.
The advowson of the church at Wickham followed the descent of the manor until 1764. (fn. 25) It was a rectory, and in the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas it is valued at £12, (fn. 26) out of which a pension of 20s. was paid to the abbey and convent of Titchfield, (fn. 27) while in the valuation of Henry VIII it is returned as worth £9 11s. 5d. (fn. 28) On the sale of the manor to George Garnier in 1764 the advowson was retained by the Rashleigh family, the present patron being Mr. Jonathan Rashleigh of Menabilly, Cornwall.
Sir William Uvedale granted land in Wickham to found an obit, the yearly rent of which amounted to £3. (fn. 29)
Elizabeth countess of Carlisle, by will dated 1696, gave £100 for the use of the poor of Wickham. In 1758 George Garnier, by deed in respect of this sum which had come into his hands, charged a farm known as Pye's Farms with £10 10s. annually for the benefit of the poor. These two annuities are now paid by John Carpenter-Garnier, Esq., of Rookesbury Park, Wickham.
By the order above referred to, the clear annual income, after reserving £5 a year in respect of John Swann's charity towards the support of a school, was directed to be applied for the benefit of necessitous inhabitants with a preference to poor widowers or widows, by providing clothes, food, or other articles in kind, or by aiding the funds of any provident society. In 1905 £5 was given to five widows, £5 expended in boots to nineteen children, and thirty-three poor persons received articles in kind. By an order made in 1903 under the Board of Education Act, 1899, the sum of £419 14s. 11d. consols, comprising the several sums of stock above mentioned, was apportioned in the following way: £200 for providing the £5 a year for education, and £219s. 14s. 11d. consols for eleemosynary purposes. (fn. 30)