A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Twyford, one of the most beautiful villages in Hampshire, often called 'the queen of Hampshire villages,' is situated on the River Itchen about three miles south of Winchester, and about a mile distant from Shawford Station, which is a junction for the London and South Western and Great Western Railways, both of which run through parts of the parish.
The parish of Twyford is five miles in length and two miles in breadth, and contains 43 acres of water and 4,229 acres of land, of which 2,074½ acres are permanent grass, 1,883 acres arable land and 185½ acres woodland. (fn. 1) Morestead and Owslebury lie on the east.
Brambridge and Colden Common are in Twyford and Owslebury civil parishes. The whole of the north of the parish consists of downlands which stretch northwards to the foot of St. Catherine's Hill and are bounded on the east and north-west by the Roman road, which runs through Chilcomb Without. Hockley Farm and Down Farm lie under the shelter of these downs. The River Itchen flows through the parish of Twyford, forming the western boundary, and is famous for its trout fishing.
The village of Twyford lies in the west of the parish; it is long and straggling but very picturesque, and contains two or three fine houses. On entering the village from the north, Twyford Lodge, the residence of Mr. Alexander P. Ralli, lies to the right in the valley of the Itchen, surrounded by beautiful grounds which slope down to the water's edge. Further south is Twyford House, a fine mansion built in the Elizabethan style, in which Dr. Franklin is said to have written his well-known autobiography while on a visit to Dr. Jonathan Shipley, then bishop of St. Asaph.
Close to Twyford House stands St. Mary's church and the vicarage; in the churchyard is a fine yew-tree, which according to local tradition is between four and five hundred years old. A little farther down the village street, surrounded by extensive play-grounds, stands Twyford School, a large preparatory school for boys under fifteen. In the centre of the village stands the institute and reading room, an iron building erected in 1892. Near to the River Itchen a short distance below Twyford Bridge is a group of houses called Seagar's Farm or Seagar's 'buildings,' in which during 1697 Pope received part of his education.
At the southern end of the village lies the old Manor House Farm, and to the east, surrounded by wooded grounds, stands Littlebourne House, the residence of Mr. Athol Maudsley. On the edge of this estate are the remains of a Roman villa.
About three-quarters of a mile to the west stands Shawford House, once the residence of the Mildmays, and now the property of Lieut.-Colonel Sir Charles Edward Frederick, surrounded by beautiful grounds and a large wooded park which slopes down to the River Itchen. The estate is almost encircled by water, the Itchen running along the eastern side, and a stream from the river to Itchen Navigation or canal, on which stands Shawford Mill, inclosing the southern and western sides.
About a mile south of Twyford is Twyford Moors, the residence of Mrs. Conway Shipley. Still further south is Brambridge House and Park, once the possession of the Welles family, and during the last century the residence of the Fairbairns. (See Owslebury.) The old house was burnt down in 1872. The modern house is a long low white building approached from the east by a double avenue of lime trees, and situated in a park of about fourteen acres; the River Itchen flows along the north side of the park, Brambridge Lock being at the junction of several of its tributaries. One of the rooms in the old Brambridge House was fitted up as a Roman Catholic chapel in the latter part of the eighteenth century by the Smythe family. Later, when the Relief Acts made it possible, they built a small chapel in the village, endowed about 1782 by Mrs. Fitzherbert. (fn. 2)
Twyford Common was inclosed on the 13 December, 1855. (fn. 3)
About a mile to the east of Brambridge Park lies the village of Colden Common, which was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1843, with 1,618 acres formerly belonging to the parishes of Twyford and Owslebury. The church of the Holy Trinity stands on the borders of the two parishes, and was only erected in 1844. There is a Bible Christian chapel in the parish built in 1866.
As early as 964 King Edgar granted land in Twyford to Winchester Cathedral. (fn. 6) At the time of the Domesday Survey the bishop himself held Twyford in demesne as he had always held it; it was assessed at the time of Edward the Confessor at twenty hides, but in 1086 at only fifteen hides: there were four mills in Twyford worth £4. (fn. 7) In 1284 the king surrendered to John, bishop of Winchester, and his successors, all his right in the manor of Twyford, (fn. 8) and it continued to belong to the see of Winchester until the middle of the sixteenth century, (fn. 9) the bishops making grants of the manor or of land in it from time to time.
When John Poynet was made bishop of Winchester in 1551, he surrendered the manor of Twyford to the crown in exchange for other lands (vide Marwell manor), and it was at once granted by Edward VI to his uncle, Sir Henry Seymour. (fn. 10)
From this time until 1857 the descent of the manor of Twyford is the same as that of Marwell in Owslebury parish (q.v.) In 1857 the manor with land in Owslebury was sold to Mr. Humphrey Francis St. John Mildmay, from whom it passed to Mr. Francis B. St. John Mildmay, M.P. for the Totnes division of Devon, the present lord of the manor. (fn. 11)
In the grant of the manor to Sir Henry Seymour in 1551 the bishop's warren of Long Wood, in the bailiwick of Twyford, was excepted. In 1552–3 John Williams, who appears to have been granted the remainder of the non-expired lease of the land held by the late earl of Southampton, complained that Sir Henry Seymour had entered a part of his warren, called Harley in Twyford, and carried off his 'erthes.' In 1605 Thomas, bishop of Winchester, leased the warren and lodge to William Brock for the lives of Anne and Elizabeth, his wife and daughter respectively, for a yearly rental of £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 12) In 1648 this warren was sold by the Commissioners for the Sale of Bishops' Lands to Thomas Hussey for £351 3s. 4d. (fn. 13) In the Ministers' Accounts for 1323 mention is made of another park in Twyford called Suthnolnesmed, the sale of the pasture from which produced 18s. 6d., 'as all the park was mown in that year.' 19s. 7½d. was paid in wages to the park keeper at the rate of 1½d. per day. (fn. 14)
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were four mills in Twyford parish; (fn. 15) and for some time there are entries in the Court Rolls for the farm of four mills in Twyford, called 'Cumton Mill,' Schaldeford Mill, Brambridge Mill, and North Twyford Mill.' (fn. 16)
In 1323 20s. and five eels were paid for the farm of the mill of Brambridge; 6s. 8d. for the farm of the mill of Compton that Robert de Shernecombe held by charter of the lord Henry the bishop; 13s. 4d. and two quarters of barley were received from the issues of the mill of North Twyford; the custom of this mill being 8s., and the miller's portion of the farm 8s.; 5s. was paid for twenty men for two days to repair part of the mill which was broken by the watercourse—i.e., each man 1½d. per day. From Shaldeford Mill, 6s. 8d. and two quarters; three bushels of barley were received from the issues of the mill, price per quartern 6s. 8d.; the miller's portion of the farm was 4s. Total received from all the mills, 18s. 2¾d. (fn. 17)
When Sir John Seymour died seised of Twyford manor in 1618 he also possessed a mill called 'Shalford' Mill, (fn. 18) and in 1824 among the appurtenances of Twyford manor, which then belonged to Dame Jane St. John Mildmay, was a corn-mill at Shawford. (fn. 19) At the present day there is a water corn-mill at Shawford, part of which is so old that it is believed locally to have belonged to the original mill mentioned in Domesday.
Besides this mill the Seymours and the Mildmays claimed free fishery and free warren in Twyford. (fn. 20)
The following entries in the Ministers' Accounts for the year 1323 are of interest. 18s. from men collecting toll from the river; 181 skins of lambs received for customs; received from the excutors of the late lord bishop, according to custom, two cart-horses, 10 horses, 38 oxen, 295 sheep, 4 rams, 250 ewes and 181 lambs. Items of expenditure are: iron and steel bought for five carts, and wages of smith who repaired the same, 12s.; binding same with iron, 2d.; shoeing eleven horses, 10s.; wages of carter, 18d.; wages of two keepers of horses, 4s.; mending two broken ploughs, 2d. beyond agreement; one quarter of oats for provender for horses, 4s.; one quarter of oats for forage for servants, 4s.; one cloth for dairy, 5½d; ewers and earthern pans, 3d.; two bushels of salt, 8d.; wages of one keeper of lambs, 2s. (fn. 21); perquisities of the court, £64 17s. At a court held in 1526 those tenants who had lands on the watercourse of the river of the lord were requested to clean out their parts before the next term under penalty of 4s. each. In 1540 it was presented that the bridge of Fokesbridge was in decay, whereupon the whole tithing was ordered to repair it by a fixed date under a penalty of 6s. 8d., the lord supplying the timber. At the same court the tenants of North Twyford were requested to mend their hedges around (fn. 22) fields sown with barley, while those of South Twyford were to make hedges in 'Golden Lane.'
The church of OUR LADY, TWYFORD was rebuilt in 1876–7, some features of the former building being re-used in the new work. The present church consists of a chancel with north-east vestry and north and south chapels, nave with aisles, and a tower with a spire at the north-west. The site falls from east to west, and the chancel is raised considerably above the nave level, and is fitted with good oak stalls and screen, and an elaborate reredos. The nave has arcades of five bays, with painted arches of two orders, the round columns which carry them, with their octagonal capitals and moulded bases, being for the most part of late twelfth-century date; the capitals are of several different designs, with scallops, flutes, and foliage. The clearstory above likewise preserves some old stonework in its square-headed windows of two trefoiled lights. The east window of the south chapel is of the fifteenth century with three cinquefoiled lights and tracery over; it was formerly the east window of the old chancel.
The monuments from the old church have been relegated to the north chapel, behind the organ, and are of no particular note, the most interesting being that of Dulcibella Welles, 1616, of alabaster with a bowed front, and black marble panel for the inscription.
In the church is hung a plan of the seating made in 1698, showing the front seats on either side of the nave assigned as the vicar's pew and the churching pew; the side seats in the back blocks on the north side are apportioned to 'poor housekeepers,' and those corresponding to them on the south to their wives.
The plate, with one exception, is modern, consisting of two chalices and patens, and a flagon; there is also an old pewter flagon and almsdish. The old piece is a paten of 1692, given by Mr. Anthony Leger; it was sold, together with an old communion cup, some time since, but has fortunately been recovered, though the cup has not.
The first book of the registers runs from 1627 to 1712, and the second from 1713 to 1812, the marriages ceasing in 1754. The third book contains the burials in woollen 1714–1812, and the fourth is the printed marriage register, 1754–1812.
The church of HOLY TRINITY, COLDEN COMMON, built in 1844, is a small building of flint with stone dressings in Transition style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch, and open bell-turret with one bell. The register dates from 1843.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a church in Twyford worth 5s., which was in the possession of the bishop, (fn. 23) and in 1284 the king surrendered to John, bishop of Winchester, and his successors all his right in the advowson of this church. (fn. 24) In 1291 Twyford vicarage was assessed at £10, (fn. 25) and in 1535 it was assessed at £14. (fn. 26)
The advowson of the vicarage was in the hands of the bishop until 1551, (fn. 27) when John Poynet, bishop of Winchester, gave up all the episcopal manors to the crown in exchange for a fixed income of 2,000 marks; (fn. 28) and the manor and advowson of Twyford were at once granted to Sir Henry Seymour the king's uncle. (fn. 29)
From 1829 until the present day Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has nominated to Twyford vicarage, (fn. 30) but the St. John Mildmays have presented to the living. (fn. 31) The rectorial tithes of Twyford were appropriated to the hospital of St. Cross founded by Bishop Henry of Blois, founded about 1136, (fn. 32) and after the dissolution of the monasteries passed into the possession of the lords of the manor. (fn. 33)
In 1780 Richard Wool directed his executors to lay out £500 in the public funds, the dividends to be paid to a schoolmaster for teaching all the poor children of Twyford. The legacy was invested in the purchase of £877 3s. 10d. consols.
In 1839 Archdeacon Clark (who died in 1841) by his will bequeathed (subject to the life interest of his widow, who died in 1871) £1,000 consols, dividends to be applied towards the support of the school, in augmentation of the provisions made by Richard Wool. The legacy, less duty and expenses, was invested in £896 5s. 3d. consols. The two sums of stock are held by the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds. (fn. 34)
In 1855, by an award made on the inclosure of Twyford Down, 4 acres were allotted as a recreation ground, afterwards sold to the Didcot Railway for £150, which sum was laid out in 1891 in the purchase of 4 acres in Hazeley Down, about a mile from the village.
In 1855, by an award, 2 acres were allotted for garden allotments (subject to a rent-charge of £3 a year) for the poor of Colden Common. The allotments produce about £8 11s. 6d. a year, which is applied in maintaining and improving the same. The rent-charge has been redeemed out of surplus rents.