A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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ST. MARY EXTRA
The ancient parish of St. Mary Extra, together with that of Sholing, was in 1903 formed into the civil parish of Itchen. (fn. 1) At the time of the last Ordnance Survey St. Mary Extra comprised 2,177 acres, and Sholing 597 acres. The parish is bounded on the west by the estuary of the Itchen and the upper reaches of Southampton Water, and runs some two miles inland, the levels sloping gently from a height of about 130 ft. on its eastern boundary to the tidal waters on the west. The coast district is practically an outlying portion of Southampton, which threatens to encroach still further in this direction. This, together with the circumstance that much of the inland county is of a barren character, makes it not surprising that the proportion of agricultural land to the whole is very small: there are only 322 acres of arable land, 433 of permanent grass, and 70 of woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The soil is sandy, and what crops there are consist of wheat, oats, and barley. The London and South Western Railway passes through the parish from north-west to south-east, and the road which leads to Southampton by way of the Itchen Ferry follows the same general direction as the railway, traversing Weston and Sholing Commons. Both these commons were included in the Inclosure Act of 1814 for South Stoneham and St. Mary Extra. (fn. 3) Weston Common is a piece of waste land surrounded by groups of red-brick houses, one of which, known as Newtown (i.e. New Netley) is close to the railway. Another little group, in a hollow of the common, is called Botany Bay. Behind Botany Bay is Sholing. Continuing westward along the Southampton road, Itchen lies on the north, and Woolston on the south. The continuation of the road is the double ferry known as the 'Floating Bridge' (opened 1836) which connects these places with Southampton, of which they are practically suburbs. In the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries, Itchen was a little fishing village, and up to the end of the eighteenth century the fishermen kept the festival of St. Peter by carrying an image of the saint in procession through the village. The inhabitants are said to have been always very peculiar, and chary in their dealings with natives of other parts of the country. They used to be notorious smugglers, but have so far changed with the times as to be now famous as yachtsmen. The modern growth of Woolston dates from the opening of the Portsmouth road in 1834, and from the establishment of a ship-building yard in 1876. The tanning trade once carried on here is now extinct. 'The Paddock,' the residence of Lady Longmore, occupies the site of the former 'Wcolston House,' which, originally a farm-house, was enlarged and beautified in the eighteenth century and pulled down in the early part of the nineteenth. The chief historical interest connected with Itchen is the building of Jesus Chapel on Ridgway Heath in the seventeenth century. The enterprise was a private one, the result of the efforts of Captain Richard Smith of Pear Tree, governor of Calshot Castle, who urged the necessity of a church nearer than that of St. Mary, Southampton, from which the inhabitants of St. Mary Extra were separated by 'the great river Itchen, where the passage is very broad and often dangerous.' Licence to build a chapel was granted on 23 February, 1617, and the chapel was consecrated 17 September, 1620, by Lancelot Andrewes, bishop of Winchester, the form of service then used being that which has formed the basis of all consecration services since used in the Church of England. (fn. 4)
The heath called Ridgway Heath at the time of the consecration included the present 'Pear Tree Green.' The pear tree which later gave its name to the Green was already planted, though at what date is unknown. It is still standing, and in 1850 Mrs. Preston Hulton of Barnfield caused a young pear to be planted by its side, that the name might be perpetuated.
Turning southward down a wooded lane which runs at right angles to the Portsmouth road, and passing Mayfield, the residence of Lord Radstock, on the right hand, the little village of Weston is reached, the spot being remarkably rural and secluded considering its vicinity. Before reaching the village the road passes under two arches, both built by Mr. William Chamberlayne early in the last century, one of them in commemoration of the battle of Waterloo. In 1810 Mr. Chamberlayne also erected an obelisk as a memorial to Charles James Fox. On Mr. Chamberlayne's death in 1829, that portion of the Weston Grove estate on which the obelisk stood was included in the land which passed to Mr. Wright, of Oak Bank, Itchen, who built Mayfield upon it in 1856. Mr. Wright's son, a captain in the 4th Dragoon Guards, buried two favourite horses near the obelisk and had their names engraved upon it. Lord Radstock, however, who purchased Mayfield in 1883, has had these removed. The present Weston Grove estate extends from Mayfield to the coast, and is the residence of Mr. T. W. Chamberlayne. The house was built in 1801. The small village of Weston itself consists of a few thatched cottages and some newer-looking houses nearer the coast. The moss-covered building, now a Sunday School, was used for divine service between 1855 and 1865, when the present church was consecrated. Both buildings were the gift of the Rev. P. Hulton. 'The Cliff' overlooking Southampton Water was built by the Rev. G. W. Minns in 1882, there being then no vicarage attached to the benefice. On the coast is a curious old hut, entirely roofed with matted seaweed and said to be of considerable antiquity. (fn. 5) Altogether Weston justifies the remark of William Cobbett: 'To them that delight in water scenes this is the prettiest place that ever I saw in my life.'
A considerable portion of the land in the north of St. Mary Extra parish lies within the manor of Bitterne, (fn. 6) but the remainder constitutes the manor of WOOLSTON (Olvestune, xi cent.; Wolveston, xiii cent.). One hide of land in Woolston, held by Tovi of Edward the Confessor, was held at the time of the Survey by Rainald the son of Croch from the king, its value having depreciated from 10s. to 5s. (fn. 7) Two centuries later Hugh de Chikenhull was seised of half a carucate of land here, which on his death in 1257 descended to his son Alan. (fn. 8) It was still held of the king in chief by the serjeanty of maintaining one footman with bow and arrow in the king's army in Wales, for forty days annually.
From Alan the Woolston estate descended to his son Hugh, (fn. 9) and on the death of the latter in 1317 passed to John de Chikenhull, (fn. 10) who settled the manor of Woolston upon a certain John Seyntcler and Henry de Wayte for life, with an ultimate remainder to Isabella de Inkpenn, sister of Henry. (fn. 11)
The manor passed into the possession of Isabella prior to 1350, when she died, leaving as heir her son John, who died in 1362. (fn. 12) Robert his son succeeded to the estate in 1375 on the death of his brother John without issue, (fn. 13) and on his marriage in 1389, settled Woolston upon his wife Margery. (fn. 14)
The settlement was made without the king's licence, and on the second marriage of Margery with John Benet, after the death of Robert Inkpenn in 1406, (fn. 15) controversy arose concerning the validity of the deed. She was eventually allowed to hold the manor till her death, (fn. 16) when it reverted to her son Richard Inkpenn, who conveyed the estate in 1424 to his daughter Alice, wife of Ralph Chamberlayne, and her issue. (fn. 17)
The history of the manor during the next two hundred years remains in obscurity. Sir George Rivers, who held Woolston in 1631, conveyed the estate to Nathaniel Mill, (fn. 18) and nine years later Joseph Debertine and his wife Alice, possibly heiress to Nathaniel Mill, sold it to Henry Pitt. (fn. 19)
In 1701 Thomas Macham and John Gilbert held the manorial rights, (fn. 20) but whether by inheritance or purchase is not clear, and quitclaimed to Nicholas Winkworth. (fn. 21) In 1766 Woolston manor, together with the adjoining manors of Netley and Hound, (fn. 22) was held by Thomas Dummer, and has descended with them from that date to the present day, (fn. 23) the present lord of the manor being Mr. Tankerville Chamberlayne, whose residence, Weston Grove, is within Woolston manor.
One of the ancient rights attached to this manor was that of the ferry over the Itchen waters, to Southampton, (fn. 24) where the old 'Floating Bridge' now stands.
A mill is mentioned in an extent of Woolston manor in 1317, but no further reference to it is found after this date. (fn. 25) It is probably identical with Weston Mill, which Mr. Taylor obtained from Thomas Lee Dummer, lord of Woolston manor, about 1762, for the establishment of his machinery for making ships' blocks. The water at the mill often proving deficient, the works were moved to Wood Mill, on the Itchen, and Weston Mill was abandoned. (fn. 26)
Pear Tree House was built in the opening years of the seventeenth century by Mr. Mylles of Bitterne manor, and remained in the hands of that family throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, passing by marriage to the family of Waring in 1792.
JESUS CHAPEL as first built was a little building '20½ ft. broad by 50½ ft. long, fitted with a wooden chancel screen, a Holy Table, a font, a pulpit, seats on the floor and gallery, and a bell.' In Captain Smith's will of 1630 it is called 'Jesus Chappell at Ridway.' It has been enlarged and repaired again and again, till nothing but part of the west end of its original building remains. In 1821 it was repaired, the south transept, west porch and gallery being built; in 1847 a north aisle and vestry were added; in 1866 additions were made on the east side of the south transept, and in 1882 a new chancel with a south aisle was built. Of its old fittings only the altar table remains, and the old pulpit has been used up as wainscoting in the vestry. The old bell, which is said to have come from Netley Abbey, but is of much later date, is blank, and not now hung, and in the western bell-cot is its successor, hung in 1870.
The church stands in a crowded little churchyard, its west end facing on to the open green where grew the pear tree from which the district is named, and is of more historical than architectural interest; it was doubtless a very plain little building at the first, and the successive enlargements, made as occasion served, have not tended to produce unity of design.
The church plate consists of chalice, paten, and two flagons, all dating from the seventeenth century. The chalice and paten have no inscription, and the former no hall-mark, but it seems probable that they date from some time between the years 1620 and 1630. The offertory, amounting to £4 12s. 2d., which was collected on the day of the consecration of the chapel (17 September, 1620), was ordered by the bishop to be converted into a chalice, and this, with its cover (i.e. paten) would almost certainly be the 'church plate' to which Captain Richard Smith refers in his will of 1630. The two flagons bear the inscription 'The gift of Mrs. Katherine Palmer to Jesus Chapel,' and her coat of arms. Mrs. Palmer died before 1674, and the hall-mark on the flagons is 1665–6. It should be added that in an old list of benefactors, drawn up early in the eighteenth century, it is said that flagons, chalice, and paten were all bequeathed by Mrs. Palmer to Jesus Chapel, but this was probably an error made by the vicar who drew up the list.
Its earliest registers are transcripts from South Shoreham, having one entry of 1671, and then a series from 1681 to 1699. The first complete book runs from 1699 to 1708, and the second is a copy of it continued to 1712, with scattered entries afterwards—one of 1713, three of 1717, several from 1723 to 1729, and four marriage entries between 1733 and 1741. The third book has entries 1733– 43, and the fourth 1743–1812, no marriages being registered after the passing of the Act of 1753.
Jesus chapel, later known as Pear Tree Church, from its site on Pear Tree Green, has never been formally separated from the mother church of St. Mary's, Southampton. The living was a curacy in the gift of the founder, Captain Richard Smith of Pear Tree, governor of Calshot Castle. In 1685 the patronage was sold to Mrs. Mylles of Pear Tree House, from whom it descended by marriage to the family of Davies. In 1881 Mrs. Davies transferred the patronage to the rector of St. Mary's Southampton, in return for an annual endowment of the living out of the tithes of that church. In 1896 a scheme was sanctioned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the further endowment of Jesus Chapel out of the revenues of St. Mary's, the result of the arrangement being the transference of the patronage to the bishop of Winchester, the diocesan, in whose hands it still remains. The living is now a vicarage. (fn. 27)
Until 1855 Pear Tree Church was the only one in that part of the parish of St. Mary's Southampton which lies on the left bank of the River Itchen. In that year, as before mentioned, the Rev. P. Hulton erected a building now used as a Sunday school at Weston, to act as a chapel of ease to Pear Tree Church. He supplemented this a few years later by building a church, consecrated in 1865 as the church of Holy Trinity, Weston. His son, who succeeded him as vicar in 1870, accepted a grant for the augmentation of the living from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and this involved the transference of the patronage of the benefice to the bishop of the diocese. (fn. 28) The ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1866. (fn. 29)
The following payments are made out of the dividends of a sum of £1,525 £2 10s. per cent. annuities, held by the official trustees in trust for this charity, namely, £1 14s. 4d. to the minister of Jesus Chapel, 17s. 4d. for repair of same chapel, £1 14s. 4d. for the poor of this parish, and 13s. 8d. for a coat or gown to a poor person.