Parishes: Compton

Pages 406-408

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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Cuntone (xi cent.); Cumyngton (xvi cent.).

The Roman road from Winchester to Southampton running south-west almost parallel with the Itchen cuts through the whole length of the eastern part of Compton parish. On either side of the road are the chalk downs which rise to the south of Winchester, Compton Down on the right just outside Winchester and Shawford Down on the left beyond Compton village, which lies in the valley between the two. The whole parish consists of 2,803 acres, of which 17 are water. (fn. 1)

Compton village street crosses the Roman road as it runs south-west. The branch which runs west from the main road leads past low thatched cottages, one of which serves as the post office, to the church on the left facing the village school, while west of the church at the top of Carman's Lane is the Rectory, dating from 1780. Then the street becomes a narrow lane leading on between fields, thick hedges, and farm buildings to picturesque Dummer's Farm. From here it turns to the right and runs north over Compton Down and on to Oliver's Battery. The eastern branch of the village street leads by a group of farm buildings to the manor-house on the left-hand side of the road, and then becomes a narrow lane called Place Lane which leads down to the river and over the canal into Twyford parish. A few yards up the main road from Compton village a road leads east on to the downs to Shawford hamlet, (fn. 2) which is now the most populous part of Compton parish, although less than a hundred years ago it consisted only of a few thatched cottages. (fn. 3) It has a station on the London and South-Western and Great Western Railways on a joint line, which runs through the parish close to the western border line, and it is since the opening of the railway that Shawford has grown in importance. The modern residences of which Shawford is mostly composed are grouped on the hill on the north side of the road facing the Downs, while the village shops, the inn, and the post office are near the station. The old mill, which is generally counted locally in Shawford, is just beyond the canal, and is properly in Twyford parish, though the mill stream forms the western boundary line of Compton. Shawford House, which lies still further west, is also in Twyford parish.

Further along the main Roman road as it continues in a south-westerly direction towards Otterbourne are modern residences lately built. Oakwood House is partly in Compton, partly in Twyford. The south-westerly corner of the parish is comprised of part of the lands of the manor of Silkstead, which is a hamlet partly in Compton and partly in Hursley parish.

The soil of the parish, since it is part of the great chalk downs, is entirely chalk with a subsoil of chalk, though it seems to touch a layer of sand and gravel in the lower ground in the south-west towards Silkstead. The chief crops are wheat, barley, and turnips.


The manor of CHILCOMB as granted by King Edward to the church of Winchester in 908 included land in Compton. (fn. 4) In Domesday Book Compton, though not mentioned by name, was evidently included in the entry under Chilcomb, (fn. 5) and the modern manor of Barton and Buddlesgate representing Chilcomb still comprises part of Compton parish.

One of the earliest references to the manor of COMPTON WASSELING is in 1250, in which year Thomas son of Herbert de Boarhunt and Emma his wife quitclaimed 70 acres of land, 10 acres of wood, 2½ acres of meadow, and 8s. rent in Compton from themselves and the heirs of Emma to Nicholas Wasseling in exchange for a messuage and 40 acres of land in Ropley. (fn. 6) Nicholas was succeeded by John Wasseling, probably his son, who died towards the end of the reign of Edward I seised of a messuage, 300 acres of arable land, 8 acres of pasture, a mill, (fn. 7) and rents of free and customary tenants, (fn. 8) leaving as his heirs his two daughters, Nichola wife of Henry de Sardene, and Maud widow of John de Pairok. (fn. 9) In 1303 a moiety of the manor was settled on Henry de Sardene and Nichola in fee-tail with contingent remainder to Margaret daughter of Nichola and her heirs. (fn. 10) It is probable that they died without issue and the moiety passed to Margaret, who seems to have married Robert de Thorncombe, to whom Richard de Codinge and Maud his wife, evidently Nichola's sister, quitclaimed a messuage and 1½ carucates of land in Compton, no doubt representing the other moiety of the manor, in 1315. (fn. 11) Before 1338 Robert had died, for in that year two parts of three messuages, a mill, lands and rents in Compton, and the reversion of the third part, after the death of Margaret de Thorncombe, were settled on Thomas de Thorncombe, a merchant of Winchester, and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 12) Some time afterwards Thomas obtained licence to celebrate mass in the oratory of his manor house, (fn. 13) but soon fell so deeply into debt that in 1352 John Malweyn, citizen and merchant of London, was seised of a rent of £20 from his manor and his messuages and shops in Winchester, which were in addition burdened by an annual payment of £4 to Nicholas de Thorncombe and £2 11s. 8d. to the prior of St. Swithun. (fn. 14) The subsequent history of the manor is obscure, but it ultimately came into the Philpot family, (fn. 15) though at what date is uncertain. (fn. 16) However, John Philpot, who was sheriff of Hampshire in 1460, died seised of the manor in 1484. (fn. 17) By his will dated 24 November, 1484, he left the manor to trustees for a term of years, directing them to build a chapel to the honour of the Holy Trinity and the Virgin Mary in the east end of the parish church of Compton, where he and his wife Elizabeth should be buried in a tomb with a stone portraiture of himself and his wife and his seventeen children. (fn. 18) At the end of the term it passed to his son and heir John, sheriff of Hampshire in 1501, who died seised in 1502, leaving a son and heir Peter aged fourteen and more. (fn. 19) Peter, who was knighted some thirty years later, sheriff of Hampshire in 1524 and again in 1535, died seised of the manor in 1540, when it passed to his son and heir Thomas, (fn. 20) who remained in possession (fn. 21) until his death in 1586. (fn. 22) Sir George Philpot son of Thomas dealt with the manor by fine in 1606, (fn. 23) and died seised in 1624, his heir being his son John. (fn. 24) The latter died some ten years later, and Compton Wasseling then passed to his son and heir George, (fn. 25) who sold it in 1640 to Sir Benjamin Tichborne. (fn. 26) The manor remained in the Tichborne family for about eighty years, Sir Henry Joseph Tichborne, bart. dealing with it by fine as late as 1717. (fn. 27) It next passed to Sir Robert Worsley, bart. and Henry Worsley sons of Sir Robert Worsley, bart., of Appuldurcomb, who sold it in 1722 to William Heathcote of Hursley, (fn. 28) with whose descendants it remained until 1890, (fn. 29) in which year the trustees of the late Sir William Heathcote, bart. sold the whole of the Compton estate. The greater part of it was purchased by Mr. Edward Eames of Silkstead Priors. (fn. 30) The manor as such has long ceased to exist, the whole of the copyholds having been enfranchised many years ago.

Philpot. Azure a bend ermine.

Tichborne. Vair a chief or.


The church of ALL SAINTS is a small twelfth-century building of chancel 21 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 6 in., and nave 40 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft., which has been enlarged in 1904–5 by the process of building a large nave and chancel against it on the south side, turning the old church into a north chapel and aisle. This has been done with all due regard to the old building, and has involved as little destruction of old work as was possible under the circumstances.

The old nave retains its two original north windows, plain round-headed lights set high in the wall, the western of its southern pair of windows, its north doorway of two orders with zigzag ornament on the arch and the abaci of the jamb shafts, which have capitals of advanced detail, c. 1160, and high in the west wall a round-headed light like those on the north. Below it is a two-light fifteenth-century window with a transom, and in the north wall, below the eastern of the two original windows and a little further to the east, is a small cinquefoiled fifteenth-century light, probably connected with the former existence of a north nave altar.

The chancel possesses no twelfth-century features, though its plan and dimensions make it probable that its walls are in part of that date. Its east window, c. 1320, is of three lights, the middle one trefoiled and the others uncusped, and in the north wall are two thirteenth-century lancets, the western at a much lower level than the other. In the south wall were formerly a sixteenth-century window of two uncusped lights, and a wide thirteenth-century lancet, the former of which is now in the south wall and the latter in the north of the new chancel. A south doorway from the old chancel is now set, blocked up, in a corresponding position, in the new.

The chancel arch, c. 1300, springs from responds with very slender triple shafts, and has an arch of two orders, the outer with a quirked hollow chamfer, and the inner with a plain chamfer.

The new nave has in its south wall a piscina with a stone shelf, a square-headed fifteenth-century window of two cinquefoiled lights, and a twelfth-century doorway with a line of zigzag on the label, all having been moved from the corresponding wall of the old nave.

On the west end of the old nave roof is a small wooden bell-turret.

The fittings of the church are for the most part modern, but some seventeenth-century balusters are worked up in the square pulpit, and a fifteenth-century bench end in the seat at the north-west of the new chancel. The north door is also old, and in the north porch is a relic of the old order of things, now happily past, in the shape of a blue china bowl which did duty at baptisms till within modern times.

In the east splay of the north-east window of the old chancel is painted the figure of a bishop holding a crosier in his right hand, wearing a cope fastened by a quatrefoiled morse. He stands under a trefoiled canopy of thirteenth-century style, and on the right is his name s' THEOPH . . NUS. In this window are a few pieces of old glass.

In the churchyard are several seventeenth-century monuments to members of the Goldfinch and Harris families.

There are three bells: the treble, of the sixteenth century, bears ACHOIA in black letter; the second is by Oliver Cor of Aldbourne, 1727; and the tenor has the cross, shield, and initials of William Hasylwood of Reading, c. 1500.

The plate consists of a silver chalice with a plain stem and flat foot, dated 1674, a silver chalice, cover paten of the same date, a plain paten with a moulded wire edge, and a tankard-shaped flagon dated 1717.

The earliest parish register gives mixed entries from 1673 to 1813. In these the Goldfinch and the Harris families figure largely, the one as tenants of Compton manor house, the other of Silkstead Priors. In 1745 is an entry of the burial of James Lowe, a ship carpenter, 'accidentally killed by overthrow of a cart. He was a stranger passing in his way from Guernsey to London as appeared by letters found about him.' At the end of the book is an account of various briefs for the redemption of English captives in Algiers and other places on the coast of Africa, for the relief of French Protestants, and for the Protestants of Lesser Poland.

The earliest churchwardens' accounts start in 1724.


The advowson of Compton church has belonged from its earliest existence to the bishops of Winchester. (fn. 31) The living is at the present time a rectory, net yearly value £234 with two acres of glebe and residence.

During the episcopacy of Adam Orlton (bishop of Winchester, 1333–45) sentence was pronounced against certain of the parishioners of Compton for withholding tithes of lambs. (fn. 32)


An annual sum of £3 is paid from the funds of St. John's Hospital and Allied Charities in respect of the charity of George Pemerton founded by deed, 1637 (see city of Winchester), and an annuity of £3 is paid by the governing body of Winchester College in respect of the charity of Rev. Chas. Scott, founded by will, 1760.

By order of Charity Commissioners of 22 June, 1900, representative trustees were appointed and the charities made applicable in the supply of clothes or other articles in kind, or in loans to the poor.

In 1897 a house and site was conveyed by Mrs. Jane Mary Smith-Dampier to trustees, and settled upon trust as a residence for a nurse for the parishes of Compton and Twyford.


  • 1. Pop. Ret. 1901. The Ordnance Survey gives the area at 2,109 acres.
  • 2. In 1527 John Smythe of Shawford was amerced at the manor court of Barton for trespass on lands in Compton which belonged to the prior and convent of St. Swithun (Ct. R. in Winchester Cathedral Lib.).
  • 3. There was a group of about six seventeenth-century cottages near the station until about five years ago, when they were burnt by a spark from a train settling on the thatch.
  • 4. Kemble, Codex Dipl. ii, 153.
  • 5. V.C.H. Hants, i, 463b.
  • 6. Feet of F. Hants, Trin. 34 Hen. III.
  • 7. It was worth £3 a year, £2 18s. of which was paid to the bishop of Winchester.
  • 8. There is no mention of the parish in which the tenements are situated.
  • 9. Inq. p.m. 30 Edw. I, No. 16. The tenements were stated to be held of the prior and convent of St. Swithun by rent of £1 13s. 8d.
  • 10. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Mich. 31 Edw. I.
  • 11. Ibid. Hants, Mich. 9 Edw. I. During the life of Richard and Maud he was to pay a rent of 11 marks for it.
  • 12. Ibid. Hants, Mich. 12 Edw. III.
  • 13. Egerton MS. 2032, fol. 49.
  • 14. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. 2 (1st Nos.), No. 5.
  • 15. The Philpots were descendants of Sir John Philpot, a Kentish man who was Lord Mayor of London in 1378. It is possible that Sir John purchased his interest in the manor from John son and heir of John Malweyn.
  • 16. The only evidence seems to be an early Chancery proceeding wherein John Philpot complains to the bishop of Lincoln chancellor of England that John Kent of Winchester had refused to make estate in the manor of Compton to him (Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 53, No. 78). The date of this document, however, might be either 1403 (while Henry Beaufort was chancellor), 1475 (during the chancellorship of Thomas Rotherham), or 1483 (during the chancellorship of John Russell).
  • 17. Inq. p.m. 2 Ric. III, No. 26.
  • 18. P.C.C. Will. 17 Logge.
  • 19. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xvi, No. 100; xvii, No. 102.
  • 20. Ibid. lxiv, No. 152.
  • 21. In 1563 he had a dispute with Francis Kempe of Compton Wasseling, the latter asserting that Mary wife of Thomas had 'procured him by sundrie synister meanes and wayes to marie and take to wiffe her daughter Eleanor, and besides sundry fair offers and faithful promises had promised to procure him a lease of the manor.' Thomas denied this statement, and declared that on their marriage he had settled lands of the yearly value of £20 upon Francis and Eleanor (Chan. Proc. [Ser. 2], bdle. 137, No. 2).
  • 22. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxiii, No. 84.
  • 23. Feet of F. Div. Cos. Hil. 4 Jas. I.
  • 24. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccii, No. 129.
  • 25. Ibid. ccccxcvi, No. 129.
  • 26. Feet of F. Hants, Mich. 16 Chas. I.
  • 27. Ibid. Hil. 3 Geo. I. In that year he conveyed it to Thomas Pengelly.
  • 28. Ibid. Trin. 8 Geo. 1; Close, 9 Geo. I, pt. ii, No. 17.
  • 29. Recov. R. Hil. 16 Geo. II, rot. 243; Mich. 31 Geo. III, rot. 334; Trin. 6 Geo. IV, rot. 141.
  • 30. Information supplied by Mr. Edward Eames.
  • 31. Pat. 8 Edw. I, m. 20; Chart. R. 12 Edw. I, m. 5; Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), i, 45; Winton Epis. Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), 265; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 32. Egerton MS. 2032, fol. 97.