A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Micheldever, lying beyond the Worthies to the north-east of Winchester, contains nearly 7,819 acres, of which the greater part is arable land. Generally speaking the land slopes down from north and south towards the centre of the parish where the village of Micheldever lies, and where the stream called the North Brook, a tributary of the Test, rises to flow westward across the parish towards Hunton.
The Roman road from Winchester to London passing through Martyr Worthy enters Micheldever near Lunway's Inn, which lies on the right-hand side where a branch road turns off north-east towards Northington. Rising steadily the main road skirts the western edge of Micheldever Wood, with its well authenticated remains of a Roman villa (fn. 1)—the wood which Cobbett in his Rural Rides mentions as containing 1,000 acres, and as being 'one of the finest oak woods in England' (fn. 2)—and passes on in a northeasterly direction to form the border line between East Stratton and Micheldever. About half a mile north of Lunway's Inn a lane branching west from the main road leads between low hedges through ploughed fields and pasture land to Micheldever village. A short steep descent marks the entrance to the village past the Half Moon and Spread Eagle Inn and a few low thatched cottages lying on either side of the road. Here a turn to the north-west leads into the main village street, on either side of which are quaint thatched half-timbered houses, with only here and there a less attractive modern cottage. To the west stands the manor farm, while about half way down the main street a low gate leads to the church of St. Mary up a gravel path between grass banks covered in the early spring with masses of celandine and shaded by well-grown lime trees. Opposite the church is the village school, south-east of which is the vicarage. Immediately north of the school is the thatched cottage which serves as a post office. North of the village the road curves slightly north-west, crossing the brook to Northbrook tithing, and thence running north past Northbrook House, and for some distance east of and parallel with the railway line, branches north-west to the station on the London and South Western Railway, near the northern boundary of the parish. The tithing of Northbrook, lying about a quarter of a mile from the east bank of the railway line, consists of a Primitive Methodist chapel (1867) and a few cottages and outbuildings on either side of the road coming from Micheldever. Northbrook Farm and Northbrook House, the residence of Mr. W. G. Wittingstall, a large white house backing on the line, stand some distance from the road behind a small park nearly half a mile to the north of the cottages of Northbrook.
A road leads west from Northbrook under the railway line to the tithing of Weston Colley, which consists of several scattered groups of picturesque thatched cottages and one or two good-sized houses, including Weston House, the residence of Miss Armstrong. Near to the railway bank is the old mill house over the Test tributary, probably standing on the site of the mill mentioned in the Domesday Survey of the manor. The mill at Weston with the suit of customary tenants there was leased to John Prikehare and his wife Orenge by the abbot of Hyde late in the thirteenth century. (fn. 3)
Norsbury House near Norsbury Ring is in the south-west of the parish, and is surrounded by a small park. The soil of the whole parish is loam with a subsoil of chalk, and ordinary green crops are grown on the 4,493½ acres of arable land. Only 1,936¾ acres are given up to permanent grass, and 1,056 to woodland. (fn. 4) The woodland is mostly comprised in Micheldever Wood, formerly part of Pamber Forest. Of the smaller woods Blackwood and Upper Blackwood lying in the north-east on the borders of Popham were granted to Hyde Abbey in 1258 by Audoenus Black (le Noir) in return for maintenance of himself and his wife Alice as long as they should live; (fn. 5) while Bazeley Copse is probably identical with 'Bablysley' Copse leased to Sir Thomas Wriothesley with the rectory in 1537. (fn. 6) A cottage called The Forge was occupied by Thomas Wickham and Peter Leffe at the time of the surrender of Hyde Abbey. (fn. 7)
There is now no market or fair held in the parish, but both were appurtenant to the manor in 1685, (fn. 8) and probably originated with the liberties granted to Henry earl of Southampton in 1607. Some field names of interest are Wlfladescroft, Alwoldeslynche in Southbrook, and Smokakre. (fn. 9) There is no inclosure award.
In Saxon times MICHELDEVER was a royal vill. (fn. 10) It was included in the 100 cassati at Micheldever granted according to the will of King Alfred to the New Minster at Winchester c. 900 by his son Edward the Elder. (fn. 11) In 904 Edward added ten more mansae, with a fishery at Micheldever on the borders of Worthy, which were intended for the support of the refectory of the abbey. (fn. 12) Ethelred the Unready granted a confirmatory charter to the abbey c. 984, mentioning ten hides at Micheldever and fifty more at Walthamand Micheldever. (fn. 13) These were not all of the abbey's possessions there, for under Edward the Confessor Micheldever was assessed at 106 hides. (fn. 14)
In 1226 there appear the first signs of a contest between the abbot and the monks as to the tenure of the manor. Abbot Selid, looking upon it as parcel of the abbot's temporalities, had granted a virgate of land there to Ralph le Clauer without the consent of the convent, and in this year an assize was held as to whether Ralph's son Walter should hold the land of the abbot and his church or of the abbot in demesne; (fn. 15) it was finally decided late in the fourteenth century that Micheldever with its members pertained to the office of abbot, (fn. 16) and the manor was therefore seized into the king's hands on the voidance of the abbey. (fn. 17) The manorial lands were split up into numerous small holdings held of the abbot by free service. (fn. 18) Among the profits of the manor the underwood cut in Micheldever Wood was of some importance. In 1300 the king granted licence to Hyde Abbey to inclose 60 acres of the wood, for though it lay within the bounds of Pamber Forest wild beasts did not repair there much, (fn. 19) and in 1328 the abbey was granted free warren in its demesne lands at Micheldever. (fn. 20) A few years later Richard Edmund of Micheldever was fined £20 for having entered the abbey's warren and caught and carried away hares and rabbits to the value of 100s. (fn. 21) In 1421 the crown attempted to claim certain services from the abbey, stating that Henry I gave the monks Micheldever manor on condition that they should sing for his soul and those of his successors, and furnish a 'meete of kenettes or racches' to hunt wolves, wild cats, and other harmful animals. The abbot in reply asserted that the abbey had held the manor in frankalmoign from time immemorial. (fn. 22) Some years before the surrender of the abbey, which took place in 1538, the site of the manor with a dove-cote and a rabbit warren called Godwynesdowne was leased to John Smyth, his wife Joan and their son John for thirtyfive years on condition that they should provide the abbot's steward and clerk with meat and drink and fodder for their horses twice yearly when they held courts there, and should give the steward and bailiff breakfast when they held the hundred court. (fn. 23) In 1538 the manor was taken into the king's hands on the dissolution of Hyde Abbey, and was purchased from the crown in 1544 by Thomas Wriothesley, afterwards earl of Southampton, soon after his appointment as Lord Chancellor. (fn. 24) Wriothesley already held the site of the rectory under a lease from the abbey, and also had some land called Butlers in the parish. He held the manor jointly with his wife Jane, and died seised of it in July, 1550, when his son and heir Henry was only three years old. (fn. 25) This Henry died in 1581, leaving a young son and heir of the same name, (fn. 26) who was attainted in 1601 for his share in the insurrection of the earl of Essex, but was restored to his honours in 1603. (fn. 27) His lands, including Micheldever, which had been forfeit to the crown, were restored at the same time, and in 1607 the king granted him return of writs, waifs and strays, and goods of felons, treasure-trove, assize of bread and ale, court leet, freedom from juries and assizes, and also that his tenants on the lands which had belonged to Hyde Abbey should be quit from pleas, tallage, aids, geld and scot, and should be exempt from shires, ward, and hundred-penny. (fn. 28) In 1624 he died at Bergen-op-Zoom of the pestilence, and was succeeded by his second son Thomas, (fn. 29) who was an ardent Royalist, and was rewarded with the office of Lord High Treasurer at the Restoration. After his death in 1667 his estates were divided among his three daughters, Micheldever being assigned to the second, Rachel Vaughan, (fn. 30) who afterwards married William Lord Russell, executed in 1683 as being concerned in the Rye House Plot. Micheldever manor descended to her grandson, Wriothesley, who inherited the title of duke of Bedford. (fn. 31) He was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 32) whose widow Gertrude held courts there during the minority of the heir Francis, (fn. 33) eighth duke of Bedford, who in February, 1801, sold Micheldever to Sir Francis Baring. (fn. 34) He was succeeded by Sir Thomas Baring, in whose name courts were held at Micheldever in November, 1811. (fn. 35) His son and heir Sir Thomas Baring was created Baron Northbrook in 1866, the title being taken from the tithing of that name in this parish. His son Thomas George Baring was viceroy of India from 1872–6, at the end of which period he was created earl of Northbrook. The estate has remained with his direct descendants, the present earl of Northbrook being lord of the manor.
The tithing of WEST STRATTON, consisting of some picturesque cottages and farm-buildings, lies west of the main Winchester to London road, and of the parish of East Stratton, and north-east of Micheldever village. It is approached by a narrow lane which branches west from the main road, and passing through West Stratton, goes north towards Parkhill Farm. West Stratton was granted to Hyde Abbey with Micheldever manor, (fn. 36) and was among the lands occupied by a freeman before the Conquest, and afterwards held of the abbey by Hugh de Port and his successors. (fn. 37) By the thirteenth century they had enfeoffed the Braiboeufs of Candover of this manor, (fn. 38) while the actual tenant under the Braiboeufs in 1167 was Richard de Stratton. (fn. 39) In 1199 Richard son of Robert obtained quitclaim of a virgate of land in Stratton from Lavinia Perchehaie, (fn. 40) and four years later a Richard de Stratton was pardoned six marks for scutage which he owed for a fee held of the barony of the abbot of Hyde. (fn. 41) In 1226–7 Stephen de Stratton witnessed a charter to the abbot of Hyde, (fn. 42) and later in the same century Walter de Stratton held of the abbot half a knight's fee in Stratton. (fn. 43) William de Stratton was holding a whole fee, probably the manor of West Stratton, in 1284. (fn. 44) He had a son Richard, (fn. 45) who had succeeded his father as lord of the manor before 1315. (fn. 46) He was knighted before 1325, and in that year conveyed the manor of West Stratton with a messuage and land there to Stephen de Stratton, parson of Worthy, for life, with remainder to William Wayte for life, and final remainder to the latter's son, Thomas Wayte. (fn. 47) William Wayte was in possession by 1346, (fn. 48) and his grandson John Wayte presented to West Stratton chapel in 1398, (fn. 49) and was succeeded by his son Thomas before 1403. (fn. 50) In 1428 he was said to hold one fee there. (fn. 51) Thomas Wayte was still lord of the manor in 1431. (fn. 52) His grandson William was living in 1487, (fn. 53) and in February, 1527–8, John Wayte, brother and heir of John Wayte (sic), sold all his Hampshire estates, including West Stratton, to his kinsman Arthur Plantagenet Viscount Lisle, for £2,000, on condition that he should have food and lodging within the viscount's house whenever he willed; (fn. 54) and again in 1530 John Wayte conveyed the same lands to Viscount Lisle, Sir Richard Lister, chief baron of the Exchequer, and many others, and the heirs of Sir Richard Lister; (fn. 55) hence it appears that Viscount Lisle's rights in West Stratton were transferred to Sir Richard Lister, (fn. 56) to whom a certain Robert Fawkenor and his wife Joan quitclaimed their rights in the manor eight years later. (fn. 57) Sir Richard evidently parted with West Stratton before his death, which occurred in March, 1553–4, (fn. 58) to his father-in-law, Thomas Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, who died seised of it in 1550. (fn. 59) Both West and East Stratton were among those of the earl's lands which were seized by the crown for payment of a debt; they were regranted to his widow in 1554, in consideration of £400 to be paid to the queen yearly until the debt should be satisfied. (fn. 60) The subsequent history of the manor is identical with that of Micheldever.
Among the holdings under Hyde Abbey was one known later as the manor of MOTTISFONT or Micheldever. It apparently consisted of half a hide. (fn. 61) William of Micheldever seems to have been the tenant in the thirteenth century, for a charter dated February, 1248–9, recording an exchange of land between him and the abbot makes mention of his demesne lands, while two of the crofts which he acquired of the abbey were adjacent to his 'court' in Micheldever. (fn. 62) His son Geoffrey joined with him in witnessing several grants to the abbey. (fn. 63) Geoffrey's son Philip was evidently a minor at the time of his father's death, for in 1280 John de Fraxino, called le Hyne, released all claim to the custody of Philip and his father's lands. (fn. 64) In 1304 a Robert de Micheldever was acquiring lands in the neighbouring parish of Laverstoke. (fn. 65) Simon de Micheldever witnessed a grant of land in Micheldever in 1328, (fn. 66) and in 1331 he and his wife Agnes were enfeoffed of a messuage, 10 virgates of land, 10 acres of meadow, 10 acres of wood, and £13 0s. 10d. rent in Micheldever, Southbrook, Weston, and East and West Stratton, with remainder to their son Philip. (fn. 67) The latter's son Richard had a sister and heir Thomasine, whose grandson John, son of John Mottisfont, came to Hyde on Wednesday before Easter, 1440, and in the large room of the abbot did homage for half a hide, which he held of the abbot in Micheldever, at the same time paying 14s. 8d. relief for his lands. (fn. 68) It must have been from this family of Mottisfont that the tenement gained its later name of Mottisfont. It was evidently identical with the 'manor of Micheldever' of the reversion of which William Stanesby died seised on 21 October, 1574. It was then held in dower by his mother Elizabeth, widow of Robert Stanesby. (fn. 69) William Stanesby had a brother and heir John aged twenty-two at the time of William's death; he was possibly the same John Stanesby who was in possession of a manor in Micheldever in 1622. (fn. 70) His son Robert joined with him in 1625 in a settlement of the manor of Micheldever otherwise Mottisfont, together with 16 messuages and 912 acres of land in Micheldever, Southbrook, Northbrook, Weston, and East and West Stratton. (fn. 71) Robert had succeeded to the estate before 1647, when he conveyed it by fine to William Colnett the elder. (fn. 72) This, however, was not a direct sale, for in 1684 certain lands in Northbrook, Southbrook, Ridgefield, and other places in Micheldever, lately in the tenure of Richard Stanesby the elder and Richard Stanesby the younger were settled on Katherine daughter of Robert Woolley on her marriage with Robert Bristow the younger. (fn. 73) In 1743 Katherine Bristow, then a widow, entailed her Hampshire lands on her son Robert Bristow. (fn. 74) It has not been found possible to identify these lands or to ascertain their later descent.
The hospital of St. John at Winchester held 2 acres of land in Weston Colley by purchase from Hugh le Bere of Weston, made in June, 1270, (fn. 75) one in 'Brocfurlong' and the other east of 'la Stapele' and abutting on 'Mitcheiles Farm.' (fn. 76) They also had lands and a grange at Southbrook, of which the modern Southbrook House, the residence of Mr. A. Stewart, probably marks the site. This grange was purchased early in the fourteenth century and was transferred to Micheldever from Worthy in 1314–15. (fn. 77)
The church of OUR LADY has a chancel, an octagonal nave with a western bay flanked on north and south by vestries, and a west tower. The nave and chancel are of brick, built in 1806 after a fire, and the only ancient parts of the building are the west bay of the nave, which has some late thirteenth-century work, and the tower, which belongs to the first half of the sixteenth century.
The east window of the chancel is of fourteenth-century style, replacing an early nineteenth-century window. On the chancel walls are several monuments of the Baring family; a large white marble monument on the north wall, with kneeling figures of angels, commemorates the first earl of Northbrook, 1904, Lady Northbrook, 1884, and Thomas Baring, 1873. The flag of H.M.S. Captain, lost at sea in 1870, is hung up here.
The octagonal nave, though poor in design, is effective and well lighted; its western arch, the jambs of which have been heightened to range with the octagon, is of late thirteenth-century character, with half-octagonal moulded capitals, and the arches on either side of the west bay of the nave (17 ft. 2 in. wide), between the octagon and the tower, are of the same detail.
The tower, which measures 14 ft. 3 in. by 14 ft. 9 in. within the walls, is a fine massive building, plain in treatment, but giving a very good effect. It may be compared with the contemporary, though rather more elaborate, tower of Soberton church. It has a stair in the south-west angle, and a west doorway, the four-centred head of which is modern. Over it is a square-headed window of three uncusped lights with a transom, and the belfry windows are of the same character, but with four lights filled with pierced stonework, and having in the heads panels with various devices in incised circles. On the west side there are IHS . IS . IOP . and w over a tun (a rebus); on the south side are no letters, but a grotesque face, a threeleaved flower, &c. The north and east sides have blank circles.
The east arch of the tower is of a single chamfered order on half-octagonal responds, into which the arch dies without a capital. The thirteenth-century arches in the west bay of the nave die into the wall on either side of the tower arch above their springing, their width being about two-thirds of their full span. The font, which stands on the north side in the west bay, is modern, with panelling of fifteenth-century style on the bowl. Two fragments of Purbeck marble from an older rectangular font with arcaded sides are also preserved under the tower.
The first four books of the registers, which overlap one another considerably, contain all entries between 1538 and 1576, 1538–1683, 1540–1721, and 1684– 1765. Another book contains the baptisms and burials, 1766–1812, and the marriages, 1754–1812, take up two more volumes.
Micheldever church was included in Edward the Elder's grant of the vill to the New Minster, (fn. 78) but no mention is made of it in the Domesday Survey. In the Taxatio of 1291 the church was assessed at £66 13s. 4d., and the vicarage at £10 13s. 4d., while attached to the church there was a pension of £3 6s. 8d. besides 6 lb. of wax yearly. (fn. 79) Again in 1297 protection was granted to the vicar of Micheldever, (fn. 80) but it was not till 1302 that the abbey had formal licence from the crown to appropriate the great tithes of the church, (fn. 81) and in April, 1309, the abbot and convent obtained from the pope confirmation of the appropriation of Micheldever church made by John of Pontoise in 1293 for the use of guests and of poor and infirm people coming to the monastery. (fn. 82) The vicar's portion was regulated by Bishop Woodlock, c. 1308, the conditions being that the vicar should cause the church with its chapels of East and West Stratton, Northington, and Popham to be served by chaplains and provide the necessary books, ornaments, and vestments besides seven boys' surplices. (fn. 83) A dispute having arisen later in the century as to whether the fruits of the chapels appendant to Micheldever belonged to the office of abbot or to the convent generally, Bishop Wykeham wrote to the abbot in February, 1386–7, advising a compromise. (fn. 84) Under Hyde Abbey, Chancellor Wriothesley held a lease of the parsonage, (fn. 85) which he sublet to Edmund Clerk of Micheldever on condition that the lessee should give 20d. weekly in alms to ten of the poorest householders there, and should keep any of Wriothesley's children at the parsonage for 12d. a week if he wished to send them. (fn. 86) After the surrender of Hyde Abbey the advowson of the vicarage was purchased by Wriothesley with the manor. (fn. 87) Among the property exchanged by Edward VI with the bishop of Winchester for the manor of Twyford and other lands were the rectory and parsonage of Micheldever. (fn. 88) They were already leased to Jane countess of Southampton, and widow of Wriothesley, and in 1585 a fresh lease was made out in favour of Henry, earl of Southampton, Wriothesley's grandson. (fn. 89) His father's executors bought the reversion of the lease in 1599, (fn. 90) since which date both the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage have remained the property of the successive lords of Micheldever manor.
There was formerly a chantry chapel at West Stratton, founded in honour of St. John the Baptist. (fn. 91) In the bishop's ordination of Micheldever vicarage in 1308, it was arranged that the vicar should cause West Stratton chapel to be served by a chaplain, (fn. 92) but in 1325 the advowson of the chapel belonged to Richard de Stratton, who conveyed it to Stephen de Stratton with the manor of West Stratton. (fn. 93) Some years later, during the rule of Bishop Stratford (1323–33), William Wayte, then lord of the manor, presented to the chantry chapel of West Stratton, (fn. 94) and it was still in his gift between 1333 and 1345. (fn. 95) A few years later the bishop collated, (fn. 96) and in 1367 a commission was issued for an inquiry concerning the vacancy of the perpetual chantry of West Stratton in Micheldever parish, and the right of patronage to it. (fn. 97) Thomas Wayte presented to the chapel or chantry in 1402, and again in 1403. (fn. 98) There is now no trace of a chapel at West Stratton.
In 1642 John Pink by will directed his executors to provide for the payment of £4 a year for the poor. The trust fund is now represented by £97 0s. 4d. consols, with the official trustees, the dividends upon which, amounting to £2 5s. 4d., are, together with 15s. a year received from the next-mentioned charity, applied in the distribution of coal. In 1905, 2 tons 12 cwt. were given to twenty-eight recipients.
The donors of the following charities are unknown:—An annuity of 15s. formerly paid by the owner of a small farm, called Garrett's Bargain. In 1894 the rent-charge was redeemed by the transfer to the official trustees of £30, £2 10s. per cent. annuities. An annual payment of [?] formerly received in respect of a charge on land in Upton Grey does not appear to have been recently claimed.
In 1823 Dame Susannah Boothby, by a codicil to her will, proved in the P.C.C., bequeathed certain moneys for the poor of this parish, and of Ashbourne, Derbyshire. In the result of proceedings in Chancery the sum of £464 4s. 9d. consols was assigned to this parish. By a scheme made in 1871 under the Endowed Schools Acts, a sum of £268 1s. 11d. consols was sold out to provide £250, which was expended in the erection of school buildings. The dividends upon the balance of the stock, which, with accumulations, now amounts to £365 1s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, are applicable under the scheme in procuring further education for some deserving boy or girl in the schools by payment of tuition fees, exhibitions, prizes or rewards.
Southbrook House for aged and infirm persons. The Charles Pain Memorial Fund. Miss Mary Elizabeth Pain, by deed dated 29 September, 1906, gave £300 India 3 per-cent. stock (with the official trustees), dividends to be applied in sums of 2s. 6d. cash, and 2s. 6d in coals on 1 January yearly to each of the twelve inmates of this almshouse; failing the number of twelve almspersons, poor aged persons of the parish to be selected.