A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Meonstoke parish, covering an area of 2,055 acres, lies five miles north-east of Bishop's Waltham, and about one and a half miles north of Droxford. The village is situated in the extreme west of the parish, close to the river, the church being on the left bank of the stream, while the village lies to the south and east, on the lower slopes of the east side of the valley. The houses are built along two streets which meet at right angles, the one running eastward from Corhampton, and the other following the line of the river and going southwards to Soberton. A swiftlyflowing mill-race near the bridge at the west end of the village probably marks the site of the mill which is mentioned in Domesday Book, (fn. 1) and is included in the extent of the manor of Meonstoke Waleraund taken in the reign of Edward II. (fn. 2) The smithy stands close by, to the north of the road, and by the Buck's Head Inn a little path runs off north to the church of St. Andrew. The rectory, which stands on the higher ground east of the church, was built in 1895, replacing the old rectory-house, which, with the glebe, was sold in that year. There are few old cottages, since the greater part of the village was burnt down at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and in place of the older houses were built rows of houses fronting on the street and entered by tall flights of steps. The manor house lying to the east is the residence of Dr. George William Butler. To the east of the village runs the Meon Valley branch of the South Western Railway, and beyond it rise the downs, Old Winchester Hill, in the north-east corner of the parish, reaching a height of 650 ft. The only houses in the eastern part of the parish are a few scattered farms reached by rough roads which in some cases are merely tracks across the downs. The south-eastern corner of the parish is well wooded, containing Little Sheardley Wood, Great Sheardley Wood, Stoke Wood, and Stockram Copse. There are 987 acres of arable land in the parish, 134¼ acres of permanent grass, and 31½ acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 3) Meonstoke Down was inclosed in 1863.
The soil is chalk and loam, the subsoil chalk and flint. The chief crops are wheat, oats, and barley. The following field-names are found in the fourteenth century: 'Jamesland, Crouchland, and Martinsland.' (fn. 4)
MEONSTOKE formed part of the lands of King Edward the Confessor, being then assessed at one and a half hides. At the time of the Domesday Survey it was part of the ancient demesne of the crown, and was therefore not assessed. (fn. 5) In 1180 Meonstoke was the land of Henry de Bulleis. (fn. 6) He was succeeded by Hamon de Bulleis, who died in 1187, when it passed to the crown. (fn. 7) Until the reign of Henry III Meonstoke formed part of the sources of the royal ferm. Thus in 1189 Richard de la Bere accounted for £20 farm of Meonstoke, paying thence 10 marks for her dowry to Joan widow of Hamon. (fn. 8) Again in 1202 Thomas de Hoe paid 40 marks for two years' farm of Meonstoke. In the reign of Henry III Meonstoke was divided into three portions worth respectively £10, £5, and £2 a year, (fn. 9) and from this time there were three manors of Meonstoke—each with a distinct history—until the later consolidation in the time of William of Wykeham.
MEONSTOKE WALERAUND, afterwards MEONSTOKE PERRERS. The first mention of the largest of these portions as a separate manor seems to be in 1224, when the sheriff was ordered to give seisin to Pain de Chaworth of his land in Meonstoke. (fn. 10) This land was afterwards granted to William de Percy, who, however, cannot have held it long, as in 1239 Henry III granted it to Fulk de Montgomery, with the proviso, however, that if the property were restored by the crown to the heirs of William de Percy, Fulk should receive £30 yearly from the exchequer, until he received an equivalent grant of escheated lands. (fn. 11) In 1231 Fulk sold the manor to Sir John Maunsel, chancellor of St. Paul's, (fn. 12) who in the same year obtained a grant of a weekly market on Monday at Meonstoke and of a yearly fair there on the vigil, the feast, and the morrow of St. Margaret, (fn. 13) and two years later a grant of free warren in all his lands in Hampshire. (fn. 14) Sir John stood high in favour with Henry III, who heaped preferments on him with so lavish a hand that at one period he was holding no fewer than seventy benefices of different kinds. When Simon de Montfort became supreme the king was forced, though much against his will, to deprive his favourite of his possessions, granting them by letters patent in 1263 to Simon de Montfort the younger. (fn. 15) After the battle of Evesham, Meonstoke escheated to the king, who granted it to Geoffrey de Percy, probably the heir of William de Percy, who in 1268 sold it to Robert Waleraund. (fn. 16) The latter died seised of the manor in 1272, his heir being his nephew, Robert Waleraund, son of his younger brother William. (fn. 17) Meonstoke, however, was for some time held in dower by Maud widow of Robert Waleraund, the uncle, (fn. 18) and never seems to have been delivered over to Robert Waleraund, the nephew, who died without issue about the end of the thirteenth century. His heir was his brother John, who died seised of the manor at the beginning of the reign of Edward II. (fn. 19) By an inquisition taken after his death the following were returned as his heirs: (1) His cousin, John de Eddeworth, second son of his aunt Alice, who was the eldest surviving sister of his father William; (2) his cousin Alice de Everingham, second daughter of his aunt Cecily, who was his father's second surviving sister; (3) his cousin's son Bevis de Knoville, son of Joan, who was the eldest daughter of his aunt Cecily; (4) his cousin's son Alan de Plunkenet, son of Alan de Plunkenet, who was the eldest son of his aunt Alice; (5) his cousin's daughter Maud de Croupes alias Bret, eldest daughter of Cecily, who was the third daughter of his aunt Cecily; and (6) her younger sister Cecily wife of Peter de Hulyon. The question as to the succession was finally decided in favour of Alan de Plunkenet, (fn. 20) who died before 1325, in which year the king assigned to his widow Sybil the third part of the manor of Meonstoke of the yearly value of £10 10s. (fn. 21) Joan de Bohun of Kilpeck, sister and heir of Alan, without licence, quitclaimed the manor to Nicholas de Useflete, who had obtained a lease of it some years before, (fn. 22) and the manor escheated to the king, who, however, in 1328 pardoned Nicholas, and restored the manor to him. (fn. 23) Joan de Bohun died without issue in 1327, her heir being her cousin's son Richard de la Bere, grandson of Richard de la Bere, brother and heir of her father, Alan de Plunkenet, (fn. 24) to whom Thomas de Useflete, parson of the church of Meonstoke, some four years later, quitclaimed two-thirds of the manor and the reversion of the remaining third after the death of Sybil, wife of Henry de Pembrigge. (fn. 25) Richard de la Bere, while lord of the manor, alienated parts of it at various times without licence, (fn. 26) finally granting a life-interest in the whole manor to Robert de Hoe and Lucy his wife, who in 1347 obtained licence to retain it for that term in return for the payment of 1 mark. (fn. 27) Robert and Lucy were still living in 1353, in which year they acquired other premises in Meonstoke, (fn. 28) and while still in possession obtained licence from William de Edendon, bishop of Winchester, to celebrate mass in the oratory of their dwelling-house in the parish of Meonstoke. (fn. 29) Some time afterwards the manor seems to have escheated to the king, who granted it to trustees to the use of the celebrated Alice Perrers, (fn. 30) from which circumstance it was commonly called the manor of Meonstoke Perrers. In 1376 the Good Parliament sentenced Alice to banishment and forfeiture, but in the following year the Bad Parliament reversed this sentence, (fn. 31) and she regained her possessions. However, in the first Parliament of Richard II she was brought before the lords at the request of the commons, and the sentence against her was confirmed. (fn. 32) Meonstoke accordingly escheated to the crown, and for two years was in the hands of stewards, Thomas Illeston being appointed in 1378, (fn. 33) and John Barell the following year. (fn. 34) On 14 December, 1379, the sentence against Alice was revoked, and on 15 March, 1380, the manor was granted in fee-simple to her husband, William de Windsor, (fn. 35) who in the following June obtained licence from the king to sell it to William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, (fn. 36) by whom it was granted to Winchester College in 1385. (fn. 37) The manor still forms part of the possessions of the college.
MEONSTOKE FERRAND was in origin the land worth 100s. granted by Henry III from his manor of Meonstoke to his Gascon cross-bowman Ferrand. (fn. 38) He was seised of it as late as 1233, when he obtained licence to lease it for six years. (fn. 39) His successor is unknown, but in 1280 Sir Peter Ferrand, most probably his grandson, was holding 100s. worth of land in Meonstoke. (fn. 40) He continued seised of it until 1305, in which year he sold it to John de Drokensford, bishop of Bath and Wells (1309–29), (fn. 41) who died in 1329 seised of 100s. rents coming from certain free tenants in the vill of Meonstoke, his heir being his brother Philip, aged forty and more. (fn. 42) The date of the death of the latter is uncertain, (fn. 43) but his son and heir Philip (fn. 44) died in 1355, leaving a son and heir John, (fn. 45) who seems to have died without issue before 1357, in which year Maurice le Bruyn and Margaret his wife sold twenty-two messuages, one mill, lands, rents, and the third part of a mill in Meonstoke and Droxford to William de Edendon, bishop of Winchester. (fn. 46) William of Wykeham purchased Meonstoke Ferrand from the executors of his predecessor, (fn. 47) and granted it to Winchester College, (fn. 48) since which time it has become merged in Meonstoke Perrers.
MEONSTOKE TOUR was in origin the 40s. worth of land granted by Henry III from his manor of Meonstoke to Geoffrey Peverel. (fn. 49) In 1240, however, it was again in the hands of the king, who in that year granted it to his serjeant Henry de la Tour. (fn. 50) On the death of Henry it passed to his brother and heir Hugh, (fn. 51) who died seised of a free tenement in Meonstoke in 1283, leaving a son and heir Thomas aged twenty-six. (fn. 52) The latter died ten years later leaving a son and heir Thomas, aged five, (fn. 53) who died without issue, his heir being a minor, Hugh de la Tour, son of William de la Tour. (fn. 54) It is doubtful, however, whether Hugh succeeded to his inheritance, for in 1316 a certain Thomas de la Tour was holding lands in Meonstoke. (fn. 55) He was succeeded by William de la Tour, who died in 1350 seised of six messuages and six virgates of land in Meonstoke, leaving as his heir a daughter Alice, wife of John de Roches, aged forty and more. (fn. 56) From them Meonstoke Tour passed by sale to William de Edendon, bishop of Winchester, who was seised of it in 1353. (fn. 57) Its subsequent history is identical with that of Meonstoke Ferrand (q.v.).
Other lands in the parish known as COSTARDS (fn. 58) and WESTONS (fn. 59) were bought up by the agents of William of Wykeham in 1388, (fn. 60) and granted by them to Winchester College three years later. (fn. 61)
In an assize roll of 1280 it is stated that Walter de Cumbe, parson of Meonstoke, had the fines of the assize of bread and beer from his tenements in the vill of Meonstoke and did not permit his men to be on the king's assize. (fn. 62) This points to the existence of a MANOR OF THE RECTORY which still survives.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was one mill in Meonstoke worth 10s. (fn. 63) In later times there were two, one appurtenant to the manor of Meonstoke Waleraund (fn. 64) and the other to Meonstoke Ferrand. (fn. 65) The last mention of the latter is in 1357, and it seems to have fallen into decay before 1385, for there is no mention of it in the grant of Meonstoke Ferrand to Winchester College in that year. (fn. 66) The mill-race west of the village still marks the site of the other mill, which gradually fell into disuse, no doubt, owing to the close proximity of Corhampton Mill.
The church of ST. ANDREW, MEONSTOKE, has a chancel 31ft. 10 in. by 16 ft. (16 ft. 3 in. at the west end), nave 52 ft. 9 in. by 18 ft. 7 in. with north aisle 8 ft. 2 in. wide and south aisle 8 ft. 4 in., north and south porches, and west tower 11 ft. 2 in. square, all measurements being internal.
The main fabric of the church dates from the thirteenth century, with no trace of earlier work, but the tower is a later addition. The details of the clearstory windows in the nave point to c. 1260, and the chancel may be some thirty years older than this. It has an early fifteenth-century east window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery, flanked by tall niches for images, with cinquefoiled crocketed canopies and embattled cornices over; below the southern niche is a trefoiled recess fitted with a modern drain. The chancel was originally lighted on the north and south by three lancets, but the middle window on either side has been built up. Between the second and third windows on both sides is a fourteenth-century tombrecess under a segmental arch, in each of which a marble coffin lid, also of fourteenth-century date, has been placed. A thirteenth-century string runs at the level of the window sills within the chancel. The wooden fittings are modern, and there is a coved plaster ceiling with a moulded eighteenth-century cornice.
The chancel arch is, in spite of considerable repairs, a very pretty piece of thirteenth-century detail, of two moulded orders, with a label and three shafts in each respond with moulded capitals and bases. The arch is semicircular with a good deal of modern stonework at the crown, and the capitals and upper parts of the shafts are new. The outer order of the arch towards the chancel is of plainer detail than that towards the nave, and has a rather unusual section.
The nave is of four bays, the arcades having pointed arches of two chamfered orders, with columns alternately round and octagonal, the responds in each case being half-octagonal, and moulded capitals and bases. Over the arches are circular clearstory windows inclosing quatrefoils, with an outer rebate for the glazing; they are now unglazed, as the roof runs in one span over nave and aisles. Marks of a former steep-pitched nave roof are to be seen on the east wall of the tower, and below the roof-line is part of a circular window in the former west gable of the nave as it was before the addition of the tower. Its lower half has been destroyed by the head of a small arched opening to the second stage of the tower, now glazed, but originally open to the nave.
The north aisle has a fifteenth-century east window of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over, and three similar windows in the north wall, between the second and third of which is a thirteenthcentury north doorway, now opening into a vestry, and having a single moulded order and a label. The west window is a lancet, but has been inserted within the lines of a wider window of uncertain date. At the north-east of the aisle is a plain square locker, and parts of two fourteenth-century coffin lids are placed in the aisle. The windows in the south aisle are like those in the north except that there is no west window. The aisle has been refaced (fn. 67) except the east wall, and all the window tracery of the south windows is modern. The south doorway has a pointed arch of two continuous hollow-chamfered orders, and is probably late thirteenth-century work while the south porch is modern.
The tower is finished with a wooden stage open on all sides, and covered with a low red-tiled roof. This is a recent addition, the rest of the tower being of flint rubble with angle buttresses, probably of fifteenthcentury date. The west window is a tall lancet, which seems to be of the thirteenth century, and may have been moved here from the west wall of the nave. The tower arch is modern.
The tower was repaired and the present red-tiled roof put on the nave in 1900. The corbels of the former aisle roofs are still to be seen. The pulpit belongs to the latter part of the seventeenth century, and is hexagonal, with modern carved panels but old twisted columns standing free at the angles and carrying an arcade under a projecting moulded cornice. In the north aisle are the arms of one of the Georges, and a wood-carving of Jacob wrestling with the angel, German work of the seventeenth century, and inscribed 'Du solt nicht mer Jacob sondern Iserael heisen.'
The font at the west end of the south aisle is of a late twelfth-century type, with a square bowl on a central shaft, formerly flanked by four shafts at the angles. Its material is probably Purbeck marble, but it is covered by a coat of dark grey paint mottled with white spots in imitation of such a marble, and its real surface cannot be seen. The bowl has arcades on the east and north faces, and zigzag patterns and what seem to be trefoiled leaves on the west.
The plate consists of a cup of 1682, with a cover paten by the same maker and doubtless of the same date, though without the date letter; a modern box for bread, two small flagons (1899), and a brass alms dish.
The first book of the registers begins in 1599, the entries down to 1678 being copied from an older book not now in existence, and ends in 1812; the second book contains the marriages from 1754 to 1812.
There is no reference to a church in Meonstoke at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 68) and the earliest mention of one seems to be in 1284, when Edward I quitclaimed to John bishop of Winchester the advowson of the church of Meonstoke with a chapel annexed, (fn. 69) whereof he had recently impleaded the bishop. (fn. 70) The advowson has remained in the hands of the bishop up to the present day. (fn. 71)
William of Wykeham, on 7 March, 1401–2, deputed Thomas bishop of Chrysopolis to dedicate two portable altars for Thomas Lavington, rector of Meonstoke. (fn. 75)