A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Selborne, including the ecclesiastical parish of Blackmoor, formed in 1867, and the hamlet of Oakhanger, lies on the extreme north-east of the county almost midway between the towns of Alton and Petersfield. It covers about 7,915 acres, (fn. 1) of which 105 are land covered by water. (fn. 2) From west to east the soils are of chalk, upper greensand, gault, and lower greensand formation. The Selborne hops are grown on the upper greensand and gault, chiefly in the west and south-west of the parish, and also at Temple, on the edge of the lower greensand, where the soil is a wet, sandy loam 'remarkable for trees, but infamous for roads.' These hop-fields and hop-kilns, or 'oasthouses,' are characteristic features of the parish. Selborne Hill, west of the village, is on the 'two incongruous soils' blue clay and sand, called locally 'black malm,' which respectively mark gault and upper greensand formation. Between the chalk and the clay there is a layer of white stone very like chalk in appearance, but unlike it in properties, since it can endure intense heat, and is therefore used for hearth-stones and the lining of lime kilns. (fn. 3) The northern and eastern parts of the parish are wholly on soil of lower greensand, and beyond Temple the new formation is marked by a distinctly different vegetation—a change from hop-fields, beech trees and nut trees to furze, pine trees and heather. Thence the unfertile redsand of the lower greensand continues on to Woolmer Forest, mingling here and there with the blue shelly clay which is also characteristic of this formation. Altogether there are only 1,485¼ acres of arable land in the parish as compared with 2,088½ acres of pasture land and 2,646¼ acres of woodland. (fn. 4)
The village of Selborne is on the west of the parish on high ground of an average of 400 ft. above the sea level, although the greater height of the Hanger and Noar Hill gives the impression that the village is in a secluded dell. As the road from Alton branches towards Selborne these two thickly wooded, long, sloping hills stand up in the distance the one behind the other. Approaching nearer the hills seem to grow higher as the road makes a sharp descent. Then before any glimpse of the village can be seen the road makes a sudden bend to the left, and rising abruptly to the middle of the village becomes the main street. On the left is the 'Plestor,' dating its name and existence back to 1271, when Adam Gurdon granted it to the prior and convent for a market-place. It is a green sloping oblong, one end formed by the high road and the other by the churchyard. In the centre stands a sycamore tree encircled by an old wooden seat; up in the left-hand corner is the little wicket-gate leading into the churchyard, and lower on the same side is the vicarage gate, while along the right-hand side stands a row of deeproofed eighteenth-century cottages. At the end of this row, facing the village street, is Plestor House, lately repaired in the old style, and beyond it the quaint butcher's shop with its row of gnarled lime trees. On the other side of the street is 'The Wakes,' the once unobtrusive house, now greatly modernized and extended by the present owner, Mr. Andrew Pears, J.P., where Gilbert White wrote his Natural History of Selborne, in the little room about 5 ft. square leading out of his bedroom. The back of the house opens on an extensive lawn and well-wooded garden sloping up to the park and the Hanger, which, though teeming with animal and bird life and the drone of insects, has that peculiar peacefulness that seems to belong only to a beechwood. This same peacefulness seems to pervade the village street with its quaint thatched and timbered cottages nestling down at the foot of the Hanger. But here and there towards the upper or south end of the street, where the road rises and the Hanger becomes lower, brick or tiled cottages, and even suburban-like villas, give a touch of unrestful modernity. Then on the right-hand side stands a tiny Congregational chapel built of the local white stone. Just below this a turn to the right leads down to Well Head, where a spring rises from under Noar Hill. This spring, which has never been known to fail, was diverted by public subscription in memory of Gilbert White, in 1894, to form a water-supply for the village. The overflow discharges from a conventional lion-head fountain into an open trough, and then running underground for a few yards reappears and runs north-eastward through a narrow and extremely picturesque valley, with wooded slopes on either side, towards Oakhanger, where it becomes known as the Oakhanger stream. It then passes through the hamlet of Oakhanger, skirting the eastern side of Shortheath Common towards Kingsley. Another stream rises in the north-west of the parish and runs north-westwards, only appearing occasionally until it reaches Hartley Mauditt.
Close by the Selborne Arms a path leads through the Punfle, a triangular field let out in allotments, to the foot of the Hanger. Here a path to the left called 'the Bostal' leads up through the wood to Selborne Hill and Common. As the path mounts higher and higher glimpses of the village and church are seen through the trees, and finally, at the point where the Bostal merges into the high wood, a full view of the village is seen through a cutting in the trees in a triangular frame of foliage. Besides the Bostal there is another pathway up the hill leading straight up from the Punfle through a cutting in the trees. This is the Zigzag, its name, so familiar to the general reader through Gilbert White, suggesting its formation. At the top of the Zigzag is a big round boulder known as the 'Wishing Stone.' Here at the top of the hill the wood changes its character and becomes a stretch of wild undergrowth, untrodden brambles, and avenues of tall bracken, with here and there grassy glades and yellow patches of rock roses in the early summer, or later in the season groups of foxgloves and briar roses and trails of honeysuckle. The pathways through the wood are many and bewildering, but one well-trodden way leads in almost a straight line through the wood to Selborne Common and across the common to the parish of Newton Valence, which lies south-east of Selborne. On the other side of Selborne village a steep lane called Hucker's Lane goes to Hucker's Cottages. Opposite is a stile leading across a meadow to a sloping and wooded hill and grassy valley known as the Short Lythe, and on again to a longer hill and valley known as the Long Lythe.
Norton Farm is almost directly north of Selborne on the right-hand side of the road from Alton at a corner where the road branches to the right to Faringdon. Further north-east of Norton are Lower and Upper Wick Hill Farms and Priory Farm on the site of Selborne Priory. Remains of the monastic house have been found here, and several stone coffins which have now been removed to Selborne church.
Further north and east of the parish is the hamlet of Oakhanger, including Oakhanger Farm and Chapel Farm. The houses of Oakhanger lie scattered for the most part over the sandy and barren common, though some are grouped along the road, which serves as a kind of village street. There is a small chapel of ease attached to Blackmoor church and a Congregational chapel.
Directly east of Selborne and south of Oakhanger are Sotherington Farm, backed by Fox Crag Meadow, and Upper Temple Farm. The latter is on the site of the manor of Temple Sotherington and commands a very beautiful view over Blackmoor to Weaver's Hill and Holywater Clump, (fn. 5) while beyond in the far distance is Hindhead, and to the left Crooksbury Hill. Temple Hanger and Plainbairn Copse are in the foreground to the north and west, and farther north are Shrub Copse and Ironpaddock Copse. To the south on high ground almost parallel with Temple is Bradshott Hall, owned by Lieut.-Colonel Thurlow, on the site of the original Bradshott Farm, dating at least in name back to the thirteenth century. (fn. 6) The house is modern and without special interest, except that it commands a splendid view. Looking directly north-east, Bradshott park and woods are in the immediate foreground, with Temple Hanger on the left and Blackmoor on the right, while beyond is Kingsley, and beyond Kingsley in the blue distance Farnham and the Surrey Hills.
Beyond Blackmoor, which lies due east of Temple, and south-west of Oakhanger, the whole parish is one long stretch of forest, since the three-fifths of Woolmer Forest that are in Selborne cover a tract of land about 7 miles in length by 2½ in breadth. There are three large ponds on the edge of the forest—two in Oakhanger, Oakhanger and Rookery, and one called Bin's or Bean's Pond, which is frequented by wild duck, teal, snipe, and other water fowl. Within the forest are the three ponds of Woolmer, Hogmoor, and Cranmer. The first is very shallow and generally fordable, varying in winter and summer from a broad sheet of water covering about 66 acres to a bed of sand almost entirely dry.
The manor of SELBORNE was the ancient demesne of the crown, and, according to the Domesday Survey, Queen Edith held it in the time of Edward the Confessor, and 'it never paid geld.' Then it was worth 12s. 6d., but by the time of the survey only 8s. 4d. Half a hide of the manor, with the church, had been given by the king to Radfred the priest. (fn. 7) There is no evidence to show when the lands in Selborne, which afterwards became the manor of the prior and convent of Selborne, were granted to the family of de Lucy, but a patent of 1229 confirmed these lands to Stephen de Lucy for his life for an annual rent of £4 yearly. (fn. 8) In 1233 the land which Stephen de Lucy had held was granted by royal charter to Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, for the foundation of Selborne Priory. (fn. 9) In February of 1234 the king granted freedom from tallage 'on the land in the manor of Selborne which the king gave to Peter bishop of Winchester' to the prior and monks of Selborne. (fn. 10) In April of the same year he granted them further extensive rights and privileges, freedom from view of frankpledge and from any interference of the sheriff, while their lands which lay within the king's forest were to be free from view of regard. (fn. 11) The manor of Selborne remained in the possession of the prior and convent until the end of the fifteenth century, when the financial state of the priory was proved to be hopeless. Its possessions were then annexed by Bishop Waynflete in 1484 to his new foundation of Magdalen College, Oxford, (fn. 12) and belong to the college at the present time.
Priory Farm of modern days is on a site to the south of that of the priory buildings. The last mention of these buildings is in a rent roll of 1463, when, among the expenses of the convent, come repairs of the priory house, including 4,000 tiles for the roof of the 'frayter,' the stables, and the 'dey-house.' (fn. 13) At the time of the impropriation to Magdalen the house was probably much out of repair, and disuse brought prompt decay, since the college seems to have made no use of any part of it except the chantry chapel and two rooms for the chantry priest, who was to reside at the priory and continue the masses for the benefactors of the priory, (fn. 14) not absenting himself for more than two months in a year and then finding a substitute. He was to have a stipend of £8 and the two chambers on the north side of the chapel, with a kitchen and a stable for three horses, and the orchard. (fn. 15) In 1534 this office was granted to Nicholas Langrish or Langerige to hold for forty years. (fn. 16) The said stipend was appointed for his salary not only for service at the chapel but also as superintendent of the woods and copses of Magdalen College in the parish. (fn. 17)
Meanwhile apparently the priory lands had been leased at some time in the reign of Henry VII to Henry Newlyn, (fn. 18) who built a farmhouse and two barns on the south side of the priory, almost certainly out of some of the materials from the ruined house. A later lease for twenty years at an annual value of £6, (fn. 19) made in 1526 to John Sharp, mentions this house and barns and also a stable and a dovecote, which may have been that of the prior and convent. (fn. 20) The ravages of time, weather, and man have swept away every trace of the original building except one bit of wall hardly ten feet long, probably part of an outhouse. Part of the south side of the church was uncovered some years since, and a careful excavation of the site would probably reveal much of the original arrangements of the buildings. A few pieces of thirteenth-century detail lie on the site. (fn. 21)
Grange Farm at the corner of Gracious Street stands on the original site of Selborne Grange. In 1535 the farm of 'one tenement called Selborne Grange,' which had belonged to the Priory and Convent of Selborne, together with the rents from various tenancies belonging to the same, was entered at £15 4s. (fn. 22) The old grange existed until about the end of the seventeenth century, when it was replaced by the modern farm buildings. It was the manor-house of the convent possessions in Selborne, and at the present day the court-baron and court-leet are held by Magdalen College twice yearly in the wheat barn belonging to Grange Farm. A luncheon and dinner are given at the farm, and the usual presentments made as to trespass and surrender of estates are recorded. (fn. 23)
The prior and convent had a corn-mill at the priory to which they had the right of multure. Repairs for this mill were entered in the rent-roll of 1463, (fn. 24) and in 1535 the farm of the mill was entered at £1 3s. 4d. (fn. 25) The mill was in use during the seventeenth century, and in 1640 was leased with the other mills that had belonged to the prior and convent to John Hook. (fn. 26) The ruins of the mill house were standing within Gilbert White's memory, and when he wrote, the pond, the dam, and the miller's house also remained, (fn. 27) and at the present day remains of the sluices and ponds are still to be seen.
A mill also existed at Dorton, south of the priory, before 1233, in which year James de Norton made a grant of his water-course 'going down from his mill of Durton to the wood of Wm. Mauduit,' to Peter des Roches for the house of Austin Canons that he was about to found. (fn. 28) He also granted them a croft and several meadows, 'with power to make pools, erect mills, and do as they please on condition that the "refollum" of the water should not come from four perches to the mill of Durthone.' (fn. 29)
Besides the right of multure the prior and convent had all ordinary manorial rights, and rights of 'thurset' and 'pillory' and the more exceptional right of gallows. The gallows of the prior and convent were undoubtedly on the still unploughed field called Kite's Hill on the south side of the King's Field. The hill which this field tops still goes by the name of Galley Hill, and the road over it is called Galley Hill Lane. The prior and convent had a weekly market on Tuesdays at their manor by grant of Henry III, (fn. 30) who also gave them a yearly fair for three days on the vigil, the day, and the morrow of the Assumption of the B. V. Mary (14, 15 and 16 August). (fn. 31)
Apart from the manor of the prior and convent, Adam, the grandfather of the famous Adam Gurdon, (fn. 32) held lands in Selborne in chief as early as 1206, (fn. 33) but these are generally distinguished only as 'lands in Selborne' and were probably merged in the manor of East Tisted in the fourteenth century. (fn. 34)
After the death of Adam Gurdon the elder, before 12 August, 1231, his lands, while his heir was a minor, were granted to Ralph Marshall under burden of maintaining Ameria widow of Adam and her children. Within two years they were granted in dower to Ameria. (fn. 35) During her tenure she made several gifts of privileges and lands within those she held in Selborne to the prior and convent. In 1234 she released to them right in haybote and housebote and common in their wood at Selborne and 'in the common pasture of Durtone, (fn. 36) saving to all her men of Selborne common with all their animals in the said pasture as in times past.' (fn. 37) Adam Gurdon her son, who was of age and in possession of his lands by 1253, (fn. 38) also held lands in Selborne of the prior and convent by grant of Thomas Makerel, made probably soon after 1253 to Adam and Constance his wife, for the annual rent of a pair of white gloves of the value of 1d. (fn. 39) These lands were those comprised in the manor of SELBORNE MAKEREL, afterwards known as GURDON. (fn. 40) Walter son of Thomas Makerel confirmed the same to Adam and Constance probably about 1260. (fn. 41) In April, 1262, Adam de Gurdon granted to the prior and convent right of housebote and haybote in 'the wood of Norchere, saving to the said Adam and his wife Constance and their heirs and to the men of Selborne whom they have by the gift of Thomas Makerel that their pigs shall be free from pannage in the said wood of Norchore so many as pertain to the tenement of la Forde in Selborne.' (fn. 42) In return the prior and convent granted that Adam and Constance should hold of them all the land and tenement that they had in Selborne by gift of Thomas Makerel. In the June of the same year licence was given to Adam de Gurdon to build a domestic chapel in their court of Selborne 'quae fuit quondam Thomae Makerel.' (fn. 43) The next mention of the manor of Selborne Makerel comes in an inquisition ad quod damnum of 1307, when Joan the daughter of Adam de Gurdon was licensed to transfer the manor of East Tisted with 100 acres and a rent in Selborne to James de Norton, and was said to still hold the manor of Selborne Makerel, a manor worth £10, for life, of the prior and convent of Selborne. (fn. 44)
From this time the history of the manor apparently ceases. Whether, as Gilbert White supposes, Joan granted it to the Knights Templars, or whether after her death it merged in the manor proper of Selborne, must remain uncertain. (See under Temple.)
In 1271 Adam de Gurdon granted a place in Selborne called 'La Pleystowe' (the modern Plestor) to the prior and convent to hold there their market which they had by the gift of King Henry and to build houses and shops upon it, saving reasonable way for him and his heirs to a tenement and some crofts at the upper end of the Plestor near the churchyard. (fn. 45) Further, he granted that the prior and convent should peaceably hold the houses and curtilages which they had erected on their land in Selborne in which Adam had a right of common for himself and men, and made it lawful henceforth for the prior and convent or himself to build on their respective lands in Selborne which touched on the king's highway. (fn. 46)
The Knights Templars had a preceptory at Sotherington and held the manor of Sotherington as early as 1240. (fn. 47) About 1250 Robert de Sanford, master of the order in England, granted all the tenements, lands, and meadows which the Templars had in Selborne by the gift of Almeric de Sacy (fn. 48) to the prior and convent of Selborne for £200 'to buy other lands in aid of the Holy Land.' About ten years later he granted 10s. 'from the chamber at the Templars' house of Sudington' to the prior and convent in lieu of 10s. worth of annual rent in lands and rents promised to the convent and to be settled on them as soon as possible, with power of distraint in case of failure, to be levied 'on the chattels found on the land which was Roger de Cherlecote's in Bradesate (Bradshott), which is in the hands of the Templars.' (fn. 49) About the same date also the Templars granted the prior and convent 'a sufficient way for leading cars and carts and driving cattle along the road which leads from Sotherington to Blackmoor.' (fn. 50) In 1275 the Master of the Templars was said to have withdrawn the suit owed to the hundred court of Selborne for the manor of Sotherington for the past thirty years, though by what warrant the jurors did not know. Also he had encroached on the king's land in the forest of Woolmer to the injury of the king, and again they knew not by what warrant. (fn. 51) One small farmhouse is the only building that preserves the name of Sotherington at the present day.
According to Gilbert White the lands which Adam Gurdon held in Selborne by gift of Thomas Makerel were the lands surrounding and including the modern Temple Farm, while the Templars at a contemporary date held Sotherington. Then by a supposed grant by Joan, the heiress of Adam Gurdon the younger, Temple, not then known by that name, was united with Sotherington in the hands of the Templars. The tradition that Adam Gurdon lived at Temple has become firmly rooted, though as far as documentary evidence goes there is nothing to prove that his lands in Selborne were identical with Temple, and the few years that the Templars could have held it between the traditional grant after Adam's death in 1304 or 1305 and the suppression of their order in 1312 makes it seem unlikely that their name would have clung to the manor for centuries after. Having identified Adam Gurdon's lands with Temple, however, Gilbert White goes on to assume that the oratory built by Adam Gurdon by licence of the prior and convent 'in curia sua de Selburne' was at Temple. However, a charter of 1240 granting to the Templars six acres of land lying 'between their manor of Sudinton and the king's manor of Blakemore,' and found to belong to 'Blakemere,' (fn. 52) would seem to imply that Sotherington manor included the modern Temple, since Temple lies locally between Sotherington Farm and Blackmoor. Then when the manor in the fourteenth century began to be called the manor of Temple Sotherington, the manor-house, the Templars' preceptory, was called Temple, while the manor farm kept the old name of Sotherington. But this must for the present remain conjecture.
In 1317 the manor, by this time at any rate including Temple, but still called the manor of Sotherington, was in the hands of the earl of Hereford, (fn. 53) but in the next year Pope John issued a bull ordering the holders of the goods of the Templars in England to give them over to the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, (fn. 54) and the manor evidently passed to the Hospitallers. By 1408 Thomas West was lord of the manor, which was held of him, as of his manor of Newton Valence, by the heirs of Nicholas Berenger. (fn. 55) Probably the Hospitallers, according to their general custom, had farmed out the manor to Thomas West, since it was in their possession in the sixteenth century, and was granted by the king at the dissolution to Sir Thomas Seymour of Sudeley. (fn. 56) Edward VI leased the manor to Edmund Clerk on the execution of Lord Sudeley in 1549, and in 1554 granted it in fee to Sir Henry Seymour, (fn. 57) brother of Sir Thomas, who died seised in 1578, leaving a son and heir John. (fn. 58) John Seymour conveyed the manor by fine made in 1588 to Sir Richard Norton, (fn. 59) who four years afterwards died leaving a son and heir Richard. (fn. 60) In 1599 Thomas West, as warden of Woolmer and Alice Holt Forests, brought an action against Richard Norton concerning a pound in Blackmoor which was stated to be a pound belonging to Woolmer Forest, not to the manor of Temple. (fn. 61) A special commission was issued in 1600 concerning 'the bounds, limits and circuit of the waste of soyle of the manor of Temple of which Richard Norton is seised.' In the depositions made on this occasion the bounds of the manor are said to begin at Owton's Lane, and 'on the further side of the right way leading to Farnham by a ditch and a bank directly and eastwards towards Cranmere Pond, then northward to a hill called Runneberry Hill, and from thence crosse a highway northwards to Henley corner, from thence to a stone lying by the pond side called Oakhanger pond, and towards the middle of the said pond and on the further side of the same pond, to the which the bounds of the said manor of Temple aforesaid doth extend.' (fn. 62) Like East Tisted, Rotherfield, and Noar (q.v.), the manor of Temple Sotherington passed through the Norton family and was held by the last baron, Sir John Norton, in 1672. (fn. 63) During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the manor passed through many hands. In the nineteenth century it was held by Sir A. K. Macdonald, bart., who sold it to the late Lord Selborne, father of the present earl, in 1865.
Since it belonged to the Templars the manor is and always has been tithe free, 'for by virtue of their order the lands of the Knights Templars were privileged by the pope with a discharge from tithes.' (fn. 64)
The manor house had been used as a farmhouse 'from time immemorial' when Gilbert White wrote. All that then remained of the original house was the chapel or oratory and the hall, 27 ft. long and 19 broad, formerly open to the sky. The 'massive thick walls' of the chapel and the narrow windows made it, as Gilbert White remarked, 'more like a dungeon than a room fit for the reception of people of condition.' (fn. 65) He looked in vain for any trace of the lamb and flag, the arms of the Templars, in the hall of the farmhouse, and only found a fox with a goose on its back in one corner 'so coarsely executed that it required some attention to make out the device.' (fn. 66) No trace of this hall now remains, for the house has been greatly modernized and rebuilt; only in the kitchen apartments is there any trace of ancient workmanship. There is also an old well 90 ft. deep which is supposed to date back to the time when the Templars held the manor.
In 903, according to the Golden Charter of Edward the Elder to the abbey of Newminster near Winchester, three hides at Norton next Selborne were granted to the new foundation by the king. (fn. 67) The genuineness of this charter may well be doubted, since there is no mention of Norton in the manors of the abbey enumerated in the Liber de Hyda, (fn. 68) and since the Domesday Survey makes no reference to the fact that Hyde Abbey held any part of Norton. According to Domesday Norton was comprised of two manors both of royal demesne, both consisting of two hides. Two hides with land for one plough in demesne, and two villeins and three bordars with 7½ acres of meadow were held of the king as one manor by Earl Godwin as an alod. At the time of the survey this manor was held by Hugh de Port and held of him by Robert. (fn. 69) Although there is no mention of Hyde Abbey as overlord of Hugh de Port in 1275, his descendant John de St. John held half a knight's fee in Norton of the abbot of Hyde, who held the same in chief of the king. (fn. 70) This half knight's fee was undoubtedly the manor which Hugh de Port had held, for like the rest of the manors included in Hugh's extensive fief in Hampshire the manor of Norton remained in the hands of his heirs, and passed with the failure of his heirs male in the fourteenth century to the family of Poynings, by the marriage of Isabel, the only surviving child of Hugh de St. John, (fn. 71) to Luke de Poynings. The heirs male of the Poynings failed on the death of Hugh in 1426, and the manor of Norton passed to the Paulet family by the marriage of Constance, coheiress of Hugh de Poynings, with John Paulet. The latter died in 1437, but there is no inquisition on his lands in Hampshire. (fn. 72) Constance survived him until 1443, but evidently Norton was no part of her dower, as it is not again given in the inquisition taken at her death. (fn. 73) In 1460 John Paulet, son and heir of the former, no doubt to secure his tithe enfeoffed John Hilton, Edwin Brocas, and John Pole in the manor of Norton, then valued at 10 marks, who restored the same to John Paulet and Eleanor his wife jointly and their heirs and assigns. (fn. 74) John Paulet died in 1492 seised of the manor, leaving Eleanor his widow and John Paulet his son and heir. (fn. 75) In this inquisition the manor is said to be held of the bishop of Winchester, by what service the jurors do not know. The same overlord is given in the inquisition taken on Eleanor's death in 1507, (fn. 76) but on the death of John Paulet the younger in 1525 the manor is said to be held of Hyde Abbey. (fn. 77) However, between this year and 1540 the abbey lost all claim to the overlordship of the manor, for there is no trace of it in the list of the abbey possessions among the Ministers' Accounts for that year. (fn. 78) In 1471 William Paulet the first marquis of Winchester, son and heir of the John Paulet who died in 1525, sold the manor or farm of Norton to James Rythe and his wife Isabel. (fn. 79) In January, 1572, James Rythe settled the manor on Nicholas Tichborne and Marlion Rythe to be held by the said James and Isabel for term of life, and after their decease by George Rythe of Liss, who had married Isabel's daughter Elizabeth, and his heirs male. (fn. 80) James Rythe died in December of the same year, leaving his wife Isabel in possession of the manor of Norton. (fn. 81) In May, 1607, George Rythe, to whom the manor had reverted on the death of Isabel, died seised of the same, leaving a son and heir George. (fn. 82) In the same year Marlion Rythe and Nicholas Tichborne secured their right in the manor by fine and recovery dealing with the same. (fn. 83) Five years later George Rythe conveyed the manor by fine to Nicholas Steward, (fn. 84) who died seised of the same in 1633 leaving his grandson Nicholas his heir. (fn. 85) This Nicholas Steward, or Stuart, threw in his fortunes with the king during the Civil War, was fined £1,400 as a Royalist in 1647, (fn. 86) and was rewarded for his loyalty by being created baronet in 1660. (fn. 87) He died in 1710, and was succeeded in his estates by his grandson and heir, Sir Simeon Stuart, who held Norton until his death in 1761. (fn. 88) Thus in a perambulation of the parish of Selborne made in 1741, the bounds are said to 'take in Sir Simeon Stuart's land, rented by Edward Harrison, including the meadow called the Hose or Stocking, to pass thence on to Norton Farm, formerly rented by Farmer Matthews, lately by John Daborne, but now by Edward Wake, (fn. 89) as far as the gate that goes out of the Barrs into the stony lane.' A visit was to be paid to Norton Farm by the beaters of the bounds 'according to ancient usage.' (fn. 90) Sir Simeon was succeeded by his son and heir Sir Simeon Stuart, who died in 1779, leaving a son and heir, Sir Simeon, who died in 1816. The latter was succeeded by his son and heir, Sir Simeon Henry Stuart, who died at Haywards Heath in Sussex in 1868, leaving a son and heir, Sir Simeon Henry Stuart, who died in 1891 leaving a son and heir, the present baronet. (fn. 91)
The second manor of Norton consisting also of 2 hides was held of Edward the Confessor as one manor by Elwin. (fn. 92) At the time of the survey it was held by Ralph de Mortimer, (fn. 93) whose descendant, Roger de Mortimer, held half a knight's fee in Norton of the king in chief in 1275, while Walter de Raddene held the same of Roger. (fn. 94) In 1284 William de Brayboef died seised of half a knight's fee in Norton, which James de Norton held of him by the gift of Robert de Tisted, (fn. 95) rendering for the same 20s. for scutage and paying suit to William de Brayboef's court at Crambourne. (fn. 96) Hugh de Brayboef, son and heir of William, succeeded to his father's right in Norton, and in 1316 James de Norton was still holding the manor of him. (fn. 97) Thomas de Norton, son of James by his wife Elizabeth, (fn. 98) having in 1331 proved his right to the whole manor against a claim of dower made by his stepmother Margaret and her second husband Edmund de Kendal, (fn. 99) died seised of the same in 1346, held of Joan the widow of Hugh de Brayboef. (fn. 100) Margaret widow of Thomas had dower in the manor providing that she did not marry again without royal licence. Her dower was extended as part of the manor of Norton, namely a chamber at the east end of the hall with the adjacent kitchen, a third of the farmhouse, a third of the dovecote, one house called La S—w House, the house of the Westgate, and one third part of all the other houses, a court between the hall and Westgate with free entry and exit to a certain chapel, a small room attached to the chapel, a garden with free entry and exit at all gates, another plot of land, the third of a field called Brethfeld, and many other fields and pastures. (fn. 101) Ralph de Norton, son and heir of Thomas, was a minor on his father's death, (fn. 102) and hence the wardship of Thomas de Norton's lands was given to Peter de Brewes and the prior of Selborne. (fn. 103)
In 1368, on the marriage of Ralph de Norton with Margaret, the manor of Norton was settled on them with reversion, if they died without heirs, to Sir Bernard Brocas and his wife in fee, and if the latter should die, to the right heirs of Sir Bernard and his wife in fee. (fn. 104) In 1379 Bernard Brocas remitted the whole right in the manor to Ralph de Norton and Margaret. (fn. 105) In 1428 William Harlyngdon held the fourth part of one knight's fee in Norton which Peter de Brewes had held in custody in 1346, and the prior of Selborne held the twentieth part in fee alms, and 'they did not answer because it was divided between them.' (fn. 106) This unsatisfactory descent does not grow clearer in later centuries, but the probability seems to be that the second manor passed out of existence in the sixteenth century, when manorial rights were less clearly defined, and was merged in the other manor of Norton.
The ecclesiastical parish of Blackmoor (Blakemere, Blakemore, xiii cent. et seq.) was formed in 1865 by the late Lord Selborne, when he bought the estate from a lawyer named Blackmoor. (fn. 107) The modern village is on the northern and western part of the sandy ridges which inclose the basin of Woolmer Forest. Hogmoor, Whitehill, and Walldown rise to the north-east, and to the south-east across the forest is Hollywater or Holywater Clump. Blackmoor House, a modern house built by the late Lord Selborne, stands on the site of Blackmoor Farmhouse on the right-hand side of the road as it enters the village from Temple. A comparatively short drive from this side leads up to the house, but the grounds extend to the Petersfield Road, from which side there is another and a longer drive. The houses of the village are mostly modern, but opposite the lodge gates of Blackmoor House are two quaint half-timbered and thatched cottages certainly belonging to the seventeenth century.
BLACKMOOR was part of the ancient demesne of the crown as pertaining to the royal forest of Woolmer. Henry III, in 1240, granted six acres of land which pertained to his manor of 'Blackmore' to the Knights Templars, giving them permission to inclose the same with a dike and hedge so that the deer could not go in and out. (fn. 108) During the thirteenth century Roger de Cherlecote made a grant to the prior and convent of Selborne of land in Bradesate (Bradshott) which he had 'by the gift of Laurence de Heyes of the tenure of Blakemere.' (fn. 109) Hence it would seem that Laurence de Heyes or Heighes held Blackmoor probably in custody for the king, and that the manor included Bradshott. However, except frequent mention of Blackmoor in thirteenth and fourteenth century grants, (fn. 110) there seems to be nothing about the manor in ordinary sources of information.
In the seventeenth century the family of Heighes held the manor of Blackmoor, together with those of South Heigh and Flood in Binsted. John de Heighes, who held 1 messuage and 12 acres in Binsted in 1268, (fn. 111) was the ancestor of this family, and was apparently either father or son of Laurence de Heighes, and probably held Blackmoor, although there is nothing to prove this. A later member of the family, Simon de Heighes, died seised of 1 messuage in Heyes in 1362, leaving a son and heir, Simon. (fn. 112) In 1399 Richard Heighes, who possibly was a son of the younger Simon, was holding the same. (fn. 113) Henry Heighes died seised of the same and of the manor of Flood in 1595, while in 1600 a certain Edmund Heighes paid rent for the same. (fn. 114) Nicholas Heighes, who held these two manors as well as that of Blackmoor in 1610, was evidently a descendant of Edmund; hence it seems just possible, although definite proof is wanting, that Blackmoor remained in the custody of the Heighes family from the time of Laurence de Heighes until the seventeenth century. Sir Nicholas settled Blackmoor with his other manors on his wife Martha in 1610, but being in debt, with the consent of his wife conveyed the manor of Flood to Richard Locke and Henry Wheeler in 1610 in trust for his debts. In 1620, after the death of Sir Nicholas and of Richard Locke, Martha, widow of Sir Nicholas, brought an action against Henry Wheeler, who had not only seized the manor of Flood, but had abused his trust and seized the residue of her estates for his own use. (fn. 115)
OAKHANGER (Acangre, x and xi cent.; Hohangra, xii cent.; Ochangra, Okhangre, Achangre, Hachangre, Halkangre, xii cent.).—The first mention of the land which became the manor of Oakhanger is in a charter of the early part of the tenth century, giving the boundaries of lands granted by Edward of Wessex to Frithstan, bishop of Winchester. (fn. 116) In the reign of Edward the Confessor Oakhanger was assessed at one hide, and one virgate valued at 40s. was of royal demesne and held of the king by a certain Alwi. (fn. 117) At the time of the Domesday Survey Edwin held it by purchase of the king and Richard held it of Edwin. (fn. 118) Who this Edwin was is not clear, but during the twelfth century the manor was evidently held by a family that took the surname of Oakhanger. Thus William de Oakhanger was in possession in 1167, (fn. 119) and in the reign of Henry III, according to the Testa de Nevill, a certain Gilbert de Oakhanger, probably the son of William, held the manor of the king 'per veneriam.' (fn. 120) In 1250 James de Oakhanger, presumably the son of Gilbert, was lord of the manor, (fn. 121) and in 1279 his son William (fn. 122) was given licence to enfeoff Thomas Paynel of his manor of Oakhanger. (fn. 123) Thomas Paynel died in 1313 seised of the same, (fn. 124) and from him it passed to his son William, who died without issue in 1317, leaving his brother John (fn. 125) as his heir. John Paynel died in 1319, leaving his daughter Maud, the wife of Nicholas de Upton, heir to two parts of the manor, while Eva, the wife of Edward St. John, and late the wife of his brother William Paynel, held the third part in dower. (fn. 126) John Bernard and Ralph de Bocking, as trustees for Maud and Nicholas de Upton, received licence in 1320 to grant two parts of the manor to Aymer de Valence and John de Hastings and the heirs of the said John, and also to grant the reversion of the remaining third part then held in dower by Eva de St. John. (fn. 127) John de Hastings died in 1325 seised of the two parts of the manor, leaving his son Laurence as heir. (fn. 128) Fourteen years later Laurence de Hastings obtained licence to enfeoff Thomas West of the two parts of the manor, to hold the same in chief with knights' fees, advowson of churches, and all liberties pertaining. (fn. 129) Eva de St. John died in 1354 seised of the third part of the manor, which, instead of reverting to the heirs of John de Hastings, went to her kinsman and heir, Roger son of John de Shelvestrode. (fn. 130) Evidently Roger, if he ever entered into possession of the third part of Oakhanger, granted or sold it in 1355 to the Thomas West who already held the other two parts, since in 1355 Thomas paid 5 marks to the king for licence to acquire the third part. (fn. 131) Thomas West died in 1386 seised of the whole manor entailed by fine made in Hilary term 1381–2 on himself and his wife Alice and their heirs male. (fn. 132) In December of 1386 Alice, his widow, received pardon for having together with her husband alienated the manor for the purpose of entailment above referred to. (fn. 133) She died seised of the manor in August, 1395, leaving Thomas West her son and heir, (fn. 134) who died seised of the same in April, 1406, leaving a son and heir Thomas. (fn. 135) The latter died in September, 1416, leaving as heir his brother Reginald, who was created Lord De La Warr in 1426 as heir of his uncle Thomas. (fn. 136) In 1429 Reginald Lord De La Warr leased the site of his manor of Oakhanger for a term of twenty years at an annual rent of 100s. to the prior and convent of Selborne, (fn. 137) and in 1453 his son and heir, Richard Lord De La Warr, who succeeded his father in 1450, (fn. 138) made a similar lease for nine years at an annual rent of 113s. 4d. (fn. 139) Perhaps the most interesting point about these leases is that they give the boundaries of the whole site of the manor, viz., between the water of Tonford up to the chapel of Oakhanger, thence to 'le Courthacche,' thence by the close of the tenants of Oakhanger to the lane called 'Honnelane,' by the said lane to the west end of Wrikesgrove and the water of Tonford, thence between the close of Will Cook and 'le Broke' to 'la Redhacche,' thence by the close of the prior to the watercourse of Tonford. Besides the site of the manor the lord of Oakhanger also leased to the prior all common in the forest of Woolmer belonging to the manor, the fishery in the pool of Oakhanger, and the hares, rents, and services belonging to the manor. (fn. 140) In 1476 Richard Lord De La Warr died seised of the manor of Oakhanger, leaving a son and heir Thomas, (fn. 141) who died in 1525 leaving a son and heir, also Thomas. (fn. 142) The latter died without issue in 1554 seised of 'tenements in Oakhanger, late parcel of the manor of Oakhanger.' (fn. 143) Lady Jane Dudley, duchess of Northumberland, the daughter of his sister Eleanor, was his heir to these lands, which are described in the inquisition on her death in 1555 as 'one acre in Oakhanger held in chief for the hundredth part of a knight's fee.' (fn. 144) Similarly in a Chancery proceeding of the same date in which the will of Thomas Lord De La Warr is quoted, one acre in Oakhanger, parcel of the manor of Oakhanger, 'certainly divided and known from the rest of the said manor by evidences which is holden of the Queen's highness in chief,' is said to have descended to Lady Jane, duchess of Northumberland, to go to her children at her death. (fn. 145) This mysterious acre disappears as suddenly as it appeared. On her death, in 1554, it was settled on trustees (fn. 146) and evidently descended to Ambrose Dudley, but reverted probably to the crown with the rest of his property on his death without heirs in 1589. At any rate it evidently again became parcel of the manor and passed as part of the same to John Pescod of Newton Valence some time before 1558. In what year John Pescod acquired the rest of the manor it is difficult to say. It may have been that when Thomas Lord De La Warr was suffering under the royal displeasure in 1538 for his adherence to the old religion, and had to pay for his release from the Tower by the surrender of Halnaker (Sussex), he also surrendered the manor of Oakhanger all but the acre which was held as before described. This is borne out by a letter which he wrote to Cromwell in November, 1539, saying that if the lands in Hampshire which the king had promised him in exchange for Halnaker were worth more than the latter he would 'gladly part with other lands lying commodiously for His Grace.' (fn. 147) Possibly the grant was then made to John Pescod, who died seised of the manor in 1558, leaving his son Richard as his heir. (fn. 148) In 1564 Richard Pescod brought an action in Chancery against Richard Springham, citizen and mercer of London, who, knowing that Pescod was in debt and in great need of money, was 'greatly desirous to take lease' of the Oakhanger Ponds, promising to lend him £100 or £75 or more for a reasonable time, and a yearly rent of forty carps from the pond. The lease had therefore been made for forty years, but when one year of the time had elapsed the lessee refused to make the promised loan, or pay the yearly rent unless the plaintiff would mortgage to him the manor of Oakhanger and other premises as security for the repayment of the £100. Thereupon after Springham had promised that even if the said orator should break day with him by the space of one month or two or three he would not take any advantage of the mortgage, 'the said orator conceaved and had such trust and confidence in the said Richard' that he bargained and sold the manor on condition that if he should pay the £100 within the time agreed the bargain and sale should be void. Yet when he could not well pay the sum on the day fixed the defendant, in spite of his former promises not to take immediate advantage of the mortgage, 'being of covetous mind and intending subtily to get the manor and pond of Oakhanger,' tried to expel the plaintiff and seize the manor for debt. Defendant stated that he had acted according to the agreement, and when the plaintiff could not pay he offered him a further sum to make up the value of the manor, but Pescod 'obstinately and willfully refused to accept the offer.' (fn. 149) However the judgement eventually went for the plaintiff, who in 1568, evidently compelled by his debts and poverty, mortgaged the manor to a certain William Smith and others. (fn. 150) In August, 1571, Richard Pescod died leaving the manor to his son and heir Thomas, (fn. 151) who in June, 1578, granted the whole to his brother, John Pescod of Roxwell. (fn. 152) In 1587 John Pescod died seised of the manor, leaving his brother Nicholas as heir. (fn. 153) Nicholas Pescod had a son Nicholas baptized in Selborne church in 1594. (fn. 154) From the Pescods the manor passed to William Bishop of South Warnborough, who died at Swallowfield (Berks) in 1660, leaving the manor of Oakhanger with his freeholds in Swallowfield to his wife Flower (or Flora), daughter of William Backhouse, lord of Swallowfield. She married her second cousin, William Backhouse, two years later, and settled the manor on herself and her husband in that year. (fn. 155) In December, 1663, they mortgaged certain premises in Oakhanger, including a close called 'Chapple House,' to a certain George Ashton. Sir William Backhouse died in 1669, and in October, 1670, Flower was married a third time to Henry Hyde Viscount Cornbury, who became Lord Clarendon by his father's death in 1674. By 1685 the earl was in financial difficulties, and judgement was given against him to William Tallman for a debt of £800. (fn. 156) In July, 1694, Tallman, whose debt had evidently not been paid, assigned his judgement to Mr. Edward Wilcox of St. Martin's in the Fields, to whom in August, 1694, the earl and countess bargained and sold the manor subject to redemption on payment of £1,493 10s. (fn. 157) Edward Wilcox, by will dated 1724, left the manor in trust for his only daughter and heir Margaret, who in 1731, as Margaret Jeffries, bargained and sold the same to John Conduit. (fn. 158) By will of John Conduit, dated 1736, Oakhanger was settled on his only daughter and heir Catherine, who married Lord Viscount Lymington. By Act of Parliament of 1748–9 for selling the settled estates of Catherine Lady Lymington, Oakhanger was sold to Henry Bilson Legge. In 1750 Henry Bilson Legge married Mary, created Baroness Stawell in her own right in 1760. Their son, Henry Bilson Legge, Lord Stawell, married Mary daughter of Viscount Curzon, and died without heirs male in 1820. Their only daughter Mary married the Hon. John Dutton, only son and heir of James Lord Sherborne, from whom the manor of Oakhanger has passed by inheritance to Henry John Dutton, the present owner. (fn. 159)
The modern Oakhanger Farm on the right-hand side of the road leading from Selborne through Honey Lane to Oakhanger is probably on the site of the manor house of Oakhanger. On the opposite side of the road is Chapel Farm, marking, it is supposed, the site of the chapel of Oakhanger. This chapel, according to Gilbert White, was identical with the chapel of St. Mary of Waddon, or Whaddon, from which the vicar of Selborne received a moiety of all oblations. (fn. 160) Repairs to the chapel of St. Mary of Waddon, which had evidently been burnt down shortly before, were entered in the rent roll of the prior and convent in 1463. Here there is mention of a house for travellers attached to the chapel, which was evidently much repaired and reroofed in that year. There is also another entry, difficult to understand, of carriage paid for the conveyance of the image of the Blessed Mary of Waddon from Winchester to the chapel. (fn. 161) Besides this image three silver rings and one pyx belonged to the chapel. (fn. 162) There are no remains of the building existing, nor were there in Gilbert White's time. He tells, though, of a large hollow stone which, according to tradition, was the Waddon chapel baptismal font. Although Gilbert White so emphatically identifies this chapel of Waddon with that of Oakhanger, it is important to note that in the account of the endowment of the vicarage of Selborne in 1352, oblations from Waddon and oblations from Oakhanger chapel are given separately. (fn. 163)
The church of OUR LADY at SELBORNE stands to the north of the village, at the north-east angle of the Plestor, and at the head of the narrow wooded valley through which runs the Oakhanger brook, the ground falling from it on all sides. On the left-hand side of the path leading to the church porch, and sheltering the church from view, is the famous yew tree. In Gilbert White's time it measured 23 ft. in girth and has increased since then by about four inches. Under the yew is a grave without any headstone, which tradition says is that of the village trumpeter. Tradition again explains his office, how he was the man who gathered the 'Selborne mob' during what seems to have been a period of famine or strike in the village in the early nineteenth century, and how he led them to an attack on the poor-house, where they broke in the doors and made a bonfire of the furniture. Then, as they marched on to the neighbouring village of Headley, soldiers who had been summoned from Winchester surrounded them and took them prisoners to Winchester, where many were tried and transported. The trumpeter, however, had escaped and was in hiding for some time on Selborne Hill, only coming down into the village at midnight. During one of these descents he was captured and taken to Winchester, but was pardoned, and returning to Selborne died some years after and was buried under the yew tree. The original churchyard was of small extent, but has been twice enlarged on the south side. The limestone rock lies near the surface of the ground, and on two occasions, in digging a grave in the new part of the churchyard, a large passage or chamber in the rock has been broken into, but not examined.
The church has a chancel 27 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft.; north vestry, north transept, nave 53 ft. by 18 ft., with a north aisle 6 ft. 7 in. wide, and large south aisle 17 ft. 2 in. wide, of the full length of the nave; south porch, and west tower about 11 ft. square. All measurements are internal.
The arcades of the nave are the oldest part of the building, dating from 1170 to 1180, and the north aisle, though rebuilt, probably retains its twelfth-century width. The width of the chancel is irregular, 15 ft. 10 in. at the chancel arch and 16 ft. 4 in. at the altar rails, and it is probable that part of the masonry of the walls is as old as the nave arcades, though no feature earlier than the thirteenth century is now to be seen. About 1220 the south aisle of the nave was replaced by a large south aisle or chapel, with entrances on south and west, and towards the end of the century a north transept was added. It is set out without reference to the nave arcade, and its internal dimensions are approximately a square of 19 ft. 6 in. At what date the west tower was added to the church is doubtful, owing to the many alterations it has suffered. The external masonry is covered with plaster, and the tower arch appears to be not older than the fifteenth century, but it is possible that part of the walling may be some centuries earlier. The west end of the south aisle was refaced in 1730, and the tower repaired and cemented in 1781. Practically the whole of the church has been refaced at various times in the last century with rubble of local white limestone and ironstone set at all angles with a most unpleasing effect. The chancel was 'restored' about 1840, the nave and north transept in 1877, the south aisle and tower in 1883, a new east window made in the chancel in 1887, and further work done in the chancel in 1889. The chancel has three modern lancets in the east wall, and in the north wall towards the east end an original lancet of c. 1220, and further west a second lancet which has been cut down to serve as a doorway to a modern vestry. In the south wall are two windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights, the stonework of that towards the east being modern, while in the other the head of one light and half that of the other are old, and belong to the end of the fourteenth century. Between the windows is a priest's door, the outer arch being of modern stonework, but the rear arch apparently of the thirteenth century. At the east end of the wall is a trefoiled thirteenth-century piscina. Over the altar is a painting of the Adoration of the Magi, with, on the north side, St. Andrew, and on the south St. George, and portraits of the donors behind each saint. It was given to the church in 1793 by Benjamin White, and is good Flemish work of c. 1500, attributed, but wrongly, to Mabuse. The chancel arch is a modern copy of the nave arcades, but the masonry of the responds is old, and in the north respond is a small niche or recess.
The north transept has a large three-light north window with modern tracery, the head and jambs with engaged shafts dating from c. 1275. There is no window in the east wall, but four conical stone brackets, one at a higher level than the other three, point to the former position of two altars against the wall, and in the south wall is a piscina with geometrical tracery and a gabled head contemporary with the transept. The north aisle of the nave is entirely modern, but probably on the old lines.
The south aisle is nearly as wide as the nave, and a fine though much restored building. It is gabled at east and west, and has an east window of three lancets under a containing arch. In the south wall is a wide three-light window, an insertion of c. 1500 to give more light on the altar in the aisle; its stonework is mostly modern. West of it are the built-up jambs of a second wide window, with a modern lancet set in the blocking, and beyond this a second modern lancet just east of the south doorway, which has a good moulded outer arch with jamb shafts.
Near the west end of the wall is an original lancet, and in the west wall an original window with two lancet lights under a segmental head. At the north end of the wall is a doorway of the same date, but, like the window, its external stonework is modern. The south porch is probably of the seventeenth century. The west wall of the aisle is faced in the small ironstone rubble with regular ashlar quoins, and has had a buttress, now destroyed, at its south end. In the gable is the date 1730 and initials G. W. for Gilbert White, grandfather of the naturalist. On the north side of the east window of the aisle is a fine niche, c. 1320, with an ogee head and a band of four-leaved flowers on the projecting sill. Near the south-east angle is a trefoiled piscina, and a roll-string goes round the aisle below the window sills, returned downward to pass underneath the piscina, but breaking up over the heads of the south and west doorways.
The tower opens to the nave by a pointed arch of two continuous chamfered orders, which may be fifteenth-century work. The quoins of the internal western angles of the tower look more like thirteenth-century work, and the jambs of the west doorway seem ancient, but its square head and the two-light square-headed window over it date from the repairs of 1781. The tower is covered with cement externally, including its parapet, and the belfry windows are single lights trefoiled, except that on the north, which has a plain round head. Within the tower is a solid timber framework resting on a set-back above the first stage and carrying the bell frame. It is strongly braced together and looks as if it had been intended to stand alone.
The roofs of the church are modern, except that of the chancel, which has coupled collars with arched braces below; it has been plastered at one time, and the roughness of its timbers suggests that this was the original arrangement. In the south aisle the plate on the north side is old, carried on wooden corbels and strutted. There are a few old bench ends at the west of the nave, and one on each side of the south porch, with trefoiled arched panels of late fifteenth-century date. The south door of the nave is probably contemporary with the doorway, and is made of 1 in. oak planks set upright with rounded battens nailed horizontally to the back of the door. The original wrought-iron strap-hinges remain, and are beautiful specimens of their date. A few traces of wall-painting exist at the north-east of the south aisle, and the south doorway and north window of the north transept have traces of red paint.
At the east end of the south aisle are collected a number of glazed tiles with single patterns of griffins, lions, double-headed eagles, lis, &c., and several of finer work, with a quatrefoil inclosing a shield bearing a double-headed eagle between two birds. The quatrefoil is set in a lozenge and the corners of the tiles filled with palmettes. The tiles belong to the fifteenth or perhaps the end of the fourteenth century. The font stands at the west end of the south aisle and is plain, with a cup-shaped bowl on a thick round stem. Two stone coffins and several coffin lids of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are placed in the south aisle. On two specimens there are rings on the stem of the cross carved on the lid just below the head. A few pieces of twelfth-century masonry, with zigzag, earlier than any work now standing in the church, are also preserved here.
The second, formerly of 1735, was recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1904. The fourth and tenor are also of 1735, all the bells of this date being cast by Samuel Knight, and the third is by Thomas Janaway, 1783.
The earliest parish register is a book with no cover, half paper and half parchment. It begins with the baptisms from 1562 to 1600. From 1578 the register seems to be copied from smaller books by Vicar White, since the previous handwriting ends in December, 1577, and the next 'Here I begin' is in his handwriting, with the heading 'Anno Dno' instead of 'Anno Dni.' The next section gives the burials from 1556 to 1594, with the same change in the writing in 1577. The writing changes in 1594, and then there is a gap filled up by a small register, roughly bound up with the big, covering the dates 1588–1631 for baptisms, marriages, and burials. There is also another small register bound up in part of this giving baptisms from 1577 to 1587, marriages from 1572 to 1586, and deaths from 1572 to 1587. Here the paper half of the book ends and the parchment begins, giving baptisms from 1632 to 1678, and burials from 1632 to 1641. The last few pages, written the wrong way of the book, give the marriages from 1632 to 1633, burials from 1654 to 1678, and three or four entries of marriage in 1637 and 1639. This is all the record that exists until after the period of the Civil War. The second book is of paper and leather bound, and contains a list of incumbents from 1673 to 1681 made by Vicar Gilbert White, who was inducted at the latter date, and the register of baptisms from 1679 to 1718. Under the year 1695 a mention is made of 'ye act of Parliament passed for granting to His Majesty certain rates and dues upon marriages, births, and burials and upon Batchelors and Widdowers for the term of five years, commencing from 1 May, 1695.' A stray entry under the year 1688 states that a certificate was given by the vicar for Mrs. Susanna Green on 8 October and for Stephen Green on 11 November, 'to be touched for the King's evil.' The third book, of paper and leather bound, registers the burials from 1718 to 1783 and the baptisms from 1719 to 1783.
Opposite the entries for 1728 comes a memorandum that Rebecca White, widow of vicar Gilbert White, granted the granary of the vicarage, a movable possession, built by her husband, to the vicar and his successors for ever. In 1730 it was certified that she had expended the £40 left by her husband for the repair of the church in building two large buttresses towards the east wall, 'being the parts of the church most decaying and dangerous.' Opposite the entries for 1766 is a note that the gallery at the west end of the church was built in that year at a cost of £31 4s., of which £10 was given by the will of Dr. Bristow and the rest raised by public subscription.
The next register of burials begins in 1784 and ends in 1812, and that of baptisms in 1783, ending also in 1812. There is a gap in the register of marriages between 1717 and 1754, those after that date being entered in two books dating from 1754 to 1798 and from 1798 to 1812.
In 1720 an entry was made that no churchwarden was henceforth to give anything to travellers upon the parish account; if he did so he must refund it out of his own pocket. A quarrel which had evidently been brewing came to a head in 1832 over a question of church repair. The parish had refused to elect their churchwarden at Easter, and when a vestry meeting was called in November, 1832, to consider the repair of the church roof, which was in a very bad state, 'they refused to agree to any suggestion or adopt any plan until accounts were settled.' After several attempts at peace the vicar referred the question to the chancellor of the diocese, to whom the vicar's churchwarden, Henry Earle, wrote:— 'It would give me the greatest pleasure to be on friendly terms with the rest of the farmers. I have striven hard, much harder than you have any notion, to be so. But all to no purpose—the more friendly I am the worse they behave to Mr. Cobbold.' Unfortunately the result of the dispute is not given, but probably the case was referred to the ecclesiastical court and the parishioners forced to yield.
Licence was granted to Adam de Gurdon and Constance his wife in 1262 to 'build an oratory in their court of Selborne which had formerly belonged to Thomas Makerel.' They were to attend the mother church on all solemn feast days, and the prior and convent of Selborne reserved to themselves right to suspend service in the oratory if is interfered with any of their privileges. They also stipulated that no heir of the said Adam should lay legal claim of this licence. And if in time to come a dispute should arise between the prior and convent and the vicar of Selborne concerning the licence, Adam and Constance were bound to defend the prior and convent. (fn. 164)
A chapel existed at BLACKMOOR as early as 1254, when the vicarage of Selborne was endowed with all small tithes and obventions belonging to the mother church and to the chapels of Oakhanger and Blackmoor. (fn. 165) The 'ecclesia de Seleburne cum capella' of the taxation return of 1291 evidently included the chapel of Blackmoor, (fn. 166) while in the agreement made between the prior and convent and the vicar of Selborne concerning the vicarial portion in 1352, the prior and convent are stated to be 'the impropriators of the parish church of Seleborne with the chapels of Oakhanger and Blakemere.' (fn. 167) Thus an estimate of the revenues and debts of the prior and convent made in 1462 includes repairs to the chancel of Blackmoor church in the expenditure of the priory. (fn. 168) Synodals from the chapel of Blackmoor were acknowledged by the dean of Alton in 1489 at 7½ pence, (fn. 169) and were grouped with those of Oakhanger, Selborne, and East Worldham in the Valor of 1535. (fn. 170) The modern church is at the north end of the village street just where the road bends to the left towards Oakhanger. A lych gate opens the way to the churchyard and to the church, with its square white stone tower roofed with red tiles built and dedicated in honour of St. Matthew by the late Lord Selborne and consecrated in Whitsun week, 18 May, 1869. On the north side of the church on the first pillar of the chancel is a white marble monument to Lord Selborne and his wife erected by the people of Blackmoor 'in gratitude for all the good that under God has come to this parish through their devotion to their Saviour and their love to their fellow men.'
A church existed at Selborne at the time of Domesday, and it was held by Radfred the priest, to whom the king had given one yardland of the manor as endowment. (fn. 171) The advowson belonged to the abbey of Mont St. Michel at least as early as 1156, when it was confirmed to them by Pope Adrian IV. Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester, confirmed the church to the monks of St. Michel in 1194, as they had held it in the times of his predecessors in consideration of their labours and perils of the sea. (fn. 172) In 1197 Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester, granted the church, 'with the assent and at the wish of Abbot Jordan and the convent,' to Philip de Lucy, saving the annual pension of three marks to the abbey. (fn. 173) In 1233 the abbot and convent of Mont St. Michel granted the advowson of Selborne with whatever benefit they had received from the same to Peter des Roches, (fn. 174) who in the next year granted the same to the prior and convent of Selborne. (fn. 175) In 1291, in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas, the church of Selborne 'cum capella' is mentioned. (fn. 176) Probably this is an error for 'cum capellis,' since both the chapels of Oakhanger and Blackmoor were in existence in 1254, when the small tithes from the same were appropriated to the vicar of Selborne. (fn. 177) In 1353 the prior and convent, as the proprietors of the parish church of Selborne with the chapels of Oakhanger and Blackmoor, made a compact with Adam Sinclair (Seynclar), the perpetual vicar of the church, for the increase of his insufficient stipend. On account of 'the present pestilence and the scarcity of the times' he was to receive various rents and tithes in money and kind, and of wool and of all mills in Selborne except those of the convent, and of all hay except the hay of the court (De Cur) of Gordon, Norton, and Oakhanger, and of the demesne lands of the convent 'originally assigned for the foundation of the conventual church.' (fn. 178) Later in the same year a further agreement was made. The vicar was to have in addition to other tithes one cartload of hay from the tithe hay of Norton and 'one cartload of straw at the courtyard of Gordon,' all tithes within Oakhanger and Blackmoor excepting corn and hay, the moiety of all oblations hereafter or newly arising in the parish beyond those at the church or the chapels of Oakhanger and Blackmoor, and a portion of the accustomed small tithes from the churches or chapels of Hartley and Empshott. From this time the vicar was bound to find a chaplain to celebrate in the chapels of Oakhanger and Blackmoor. (fn. 179)
In the fifteenth century the advowson of Selborne church passed in 1484, among the other possessions of Selborne priory, to Magdalen College, Oxford. (fn. 180) Thus the rectory is entered as appropriated to the college in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535. (fn. 181) The chapel of Selborne is also mentioned as appropriated to Magdalen, but is bracketed with the vicarage of East Worldham. (fn. 182) Magdalen has held the church to the present day and endowed it in the eighteenth century with the great tithes of both Selborne and Oakhanger. (fn. 183)
(i) Richard Byfield, vicar of Selborne, by will, 1679, bequeathed £80 for the purchase of an annuity towards apprenticing poor children to good trades. The trust fund (with accumulations) is represented by £138 6s. 8d. consols held by the official trustees of charitable funds. By scheme, 1882, it is provided that in the absence of poor children eligible to be selected for apprenticeship the trustees may apply income in grants of clothing to children on going out to service, or in payments not exceeding £1 to deserving poor children to encourage the continuance of their attendance at school. (fn. 184)
(ii) Rev. Gilbert White, vicar, by will, 1719, gave £100 to be laid out in land, rent to be employed in teaching poor children to read and write, and say their prayers and catechism, and to sew and knit. In 1735 two closes called Collyer's in Hawkley were purchased and settled upon the trusts of the will. This property was exchanged in 1870 for 16a. 3r. 22p. in Selborne, producing £18 a year. (fn. 185)
(iii) The first earl of Selborne by will, 1895, bequeathed £56 7s. 3d. Bank of Ireland Stock (held by the official trustees) dividends for keeping the church of St. Matthew, Blackmoor, in proper repair and maintaining divine service therein. (fn. 186)
(iv) A site and buildings was by deed, 1885, settled in trust for a reading room at Oakhanger, and vested in the official trustee of charity lands. (fn. 187)
The history of the wardenship of Woolmer Forest is identical with that of Alice Holt in Binsted, following the descent of the manor of East Worldham (q.v.). (fn. 188)
Various notices throughout the Close and Patent Rolls show how carefully the kings guarded their rights in the forest, as in 1278 when Edward I ordered Adam Gurdon to take all indicted of trespass in the forest and cause them to be kept safely until otherwise ordered. (fn. 189) In 1286 Edward ordered Adam Gurdon to cause the prior and convent of Selborne to have from Woolmer Forest six good oaks fit for timber with all their strippings 'in recompense for the under-wood and heather which the king caused to be taken from the priory for the expenses of his household when he was last there.' (fn. 190) A sharp winter probably brought the command of December, 1285, that the keepers of certain of the king's dogs in Woolmer Forest should have six oak stumps from the forest for fuel for the dogs aforesaid. (fn. 191) A similar command was given in 1315 for six leafless oaks to be delivered to the keeper of the king's horses at Odiham for fire for the king's horses. (fn. 192) In April, 1378, John Blake was appointed clerk of the works at the 'manor of Wolmer' with power to punish refractory workmen, and with 18d. daily wages. (fn. 193) William de Hannay, king's clerk, was in the same month appointed controller of the purveyances, purchases, and expenditure for the wages of workmen and carriage upon the works to be executed by the said John Blake on the manor of Woolmer. (fn. 194) The earliest mention of a lodge in the forest, probably the Waldron Lodge described by Gilbert White, is in 1386, when oaks to the value of 10 marks were to be felled, and the proceeds delivered 'for the repair of a lodge of the king within the said forest.' (fn. 195)
Until the eighteenth century, when deer-stealing had brought in its train such crime and atrocities that the 'Black Act' of 1722 had to be passed, Woolmer Forest was well stocked with the red deer whose disappearance Gilbert White so honestly bewailed. (fn. 196)
The forest was inclosed by the award of 10 July, 1857. (fn. 197)