A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The main road from Winchester to London passing west of the grounds of Stratton Park rises steadily as it enters Popham parish between thick hedges and wide stretching meadow and arable land, past the vicarage and schools, (fn. 1) which lie east of the road halfway up the hill, onwards to the simple grey stone church at the top of the hill. The several farms, farm buildings, and few outlying cottages which compose the main part of the village, lie just over the brow of the hill, immediately north and east of the church. Here to the west of the road is West Farm, a rambling old house with a front garden full of close clipped yew hedges of all shapes and sizes. To the east is the Manor Farm, through the yards of which runs the old Roman road (fn. 2) from Winchester to Silchester, which leaving the modern road as it curves slightly to the west near the vicarage runs directly north to meet the modern road again by the Wheatsheaf Inn at the cross roads near North Waltham.
The soil of the whole parish is clay and chalk, the subsoil chalk. Hence the ordinary crops, wheat, oats, and turnips, are grown on the 975½ acres of arable land, and the population is mostly engaged in agriculture; 223½ acres are given up to permanent grass. Of the 184 acres of woodland the chief copses are those in the north and Hellier's Copse in the east, near Dummer.
POPHAM, which was granted with Micheldever to the New Minster, (fn. 3) was held of the abbey before the Conquest by a freeman who was nevertheless unable to 'withdraw himself.' (fn. 4) It was among the lands held of the abbey by Hugh de Port in 1086. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the St. Johns, heirs of the de Ports, succeeded as tenants under Hyde, but before the fifteenth century their rights had lapsed, while the actual tenants of the manor held it directly of the abbey. One of these tenants was Thurstan, clerk to William de Pont de l'Arche, evidently the same Thurstan who was sheriff of Hampshire in 1155. He obtained confirmation from the Empress Maud of all his land of Popham which he had held at the death of Henry I, and all his holdings within and without Winchester as he had had them on the day when Maud was received into the city, i.e. in 1141, during her triumphal progress after the capture of Stephen. (fn. 5) Henry II confirmed his mother's charter to Thurstan, and in 1157 granted him the privilege of keeping hounds to hunt hares and wolves. (fn. 6) During the next century the Braiboeufs of Cranborne and Robert de Pont de l'Arche and his successor, Sir Thomas West, knt., (fn. 7) were tenants intermediate between the St. Johns and the actual holder, (fn. 8) who was Gilbert de Popham, a successor of Thurstan the clerk. (fn. 9) Gilbert de Popham did homage for the lands of his mother Agnes in 1225 and died 4 November, 1251, leaving a son and heir Robert, aged twenty-five, (fn. 10) who witnessed a charter to Hyde Abbey in 1277–8. (fn. 11) Robert was succeeded by John de Popham, probably his son, who was holding the manor in 1284, and did suit of court for one half of it to William de Braiboeuf at Cranborne. (fn. 12) He received a grant of free warren in Popham in 1305. (fn. 13) In 1309 he brought a suit against Hugh le Frankelyn for usurping common of pasture in Popham. (fn. 14) He was still living in 1316, (fn. 15) and in the previous year his holding in the parish was assessed at four hides, (fn. 16) but it seems likely that he died about this date, for in 1317 William de la Beere conveyed a messuage, four carucates of land, 200 acres of pasture, twenty acres of wood, and 100s. rent in Popham to Robert de Popham and his wife Alice, (fn. 17) and in 1346 Robert de Popham was said to hold there half a knight's fee which had belonged to John de Popham. (fn. 18) In 1360 Henry, brother and heir of Laurence de Popham, and probably son of Robert de Popham, did homage to the abbot of Hyde for four parts of a knight's fee in Popham. (fn. 19) This Henry was also sheriff of Hampshire, and in 1378, and again in 1401, obtained a royal confirmation of his predecessors' charters from the Empress Maud and from Henry II. (fn. 20) He died in December, 1417, leaving a son and heir Stephen, aged twenty-five, (fn. 21) who nevertheless did not formally enter into possession of his father's lands till January, 1422–3. (fn. 22) He had been knighted before his death in 1445, and had enfeoffed Sir John Lisle and others of his lands in trust for his four daughters. (fn. 23) The trustees conveyed Popham in 1464 to one of these daughters, Elizabeth, then wife of John Barantyne. (fn. 24) Their son John Barantyne succeeded to the manor, which was valued at ten marks at his death in 1485. (fn. 25) He left an infant son William, who was knighted before 1529, when Elizabeth wife of Robert Drury quitclaimed all her rights in the manor to him. (fn. 26) In 1552 Francis Barantyne of Haseley, in Oxfordshire, eldest son of Sir William Barantyne, (fn. 27) sold the manor to Peter Temple, Thomas Lee, and Thomas Wattys, (fn. 28) who conveyed it in the following year to Hugh Hunt of Kingsclere, (fn. 29) in whose family it remained for nearly two centuries. James Hunt, probably son or grandson of Hugh, died at Popham in 1605, and his son John inherited the manor (fn. 30) and was succeeded by a son James in 1625. (fn. 31) Another James Hunt was in possession in 1693. (fn. 32) In 1715 James, son and heir of James Hunt, conveyed the manor to John Bowen in order to bar the entail, (fn. 33) and in 1739 it was apparently purchased outright by Matthew Bowen, (fn. 34) from whom it descended in moieties to two co-heiresses, Anne Bowen and Louisa wife of Thomas Threlkeld. The latter was in possession of her moiety in 1756, (fn. 35) while the former seems to have conveyed her moiety to John fourth duke of Bedford, or his widow, Gertrude, (fn. 36) who in 1791 joined with Louisa Threlkeld, then a widow, and William Threlkeld her heir, in a settlement of the whole manor. (fn. 37) It is said to have been purchased by Alexander first Baron Ashburton, and is now in the possession of the present Lord Ashburton.
The church of ST. KATHARINE was built by Lord Ashburton in 1875–8 on a new site, and contains no relic of the old church, which stood at the back of the manor farm, except a few glazed floor tiles in the vestry. The font is modern, its predecessor having been sent to North Waltham church.
The parish of Popham was originally served by a chantry chapel attached to Micheldever and endowed with certain lands. By Bishop Woodlock's ordination of Micheldever vicarage in 1308 it was arranged that the nouse and lands assigned of old to the chantry chapel of Popham should form part of the vicar's portion. (fn. 38) The vicar failed to perform the requisite number of services, so that Henry Popham and other inhabitants of 'the hamlet of Popham within the parish of Micheldever' impleaded the vicar before the commissary as to the provision of a chaplain to hold service daily and to perform sacraments except burial, and to dwell continually in a house at Popham ordained of old for that purpose. The vicar acknowledged the obligation and promised to fulfil it. (fn. 39) It was not till 1847 that this distant chapelry was separated from the mother church and annexed to Woodmancott. (fn. 40)
In 1845 William Waldron Harding by will, proved in the P.C.C., left £500 consols to the minister and churchwardens upon trust to apply the annual dividends for the relief of the poor. The sum of stock was reduced by the payment of legacy duty, and in 1867 the stock was raised to £500 consols by the gift of Mr. Jesse Vidler. The stock is held by the official trustees; the dividends, amounting to £12 10s. a year, were in 1905 applied in the distribution of 10 tons 17 cwt. of coals to nineteen labourers.