A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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West Tisted is a small triangular-shaped parish with an area of 2,356 acres lying on high ground between 500 and 600 ft. above the sea level, and comprises 944 acres of arable land, 935 acres of permanent grass, and 167 acres of wood and plantation. (fn. 1) The parish is but thinly populated, and the village, which lies in the centre of it, seems almost deserted. It is approached by four rough narrow roads or lanes between high banks of ferns and hedge growth. The schools are situated to the east of the road from Privett village, while the smithy stands at the junction of this road with that from Privett station on the Meon Valley Branch of the London and SouthWestern Railway, which lies about a mile off to the east. A steep road leads thence, through the pinetrees with which the whole parish is studded, to the church, vicarage, and manor house, standing close together a little way back from the road. The vicarage lies to the south-east of the church, and hard by is a field where stands the oak in which, according to tradition, Sir Benjamin Tichborne hid himself after the battle of Cheriton. (fn. 2) North of the church on a moated site is the picturesque manor house of red brick and stone formerly belonging to the Tichbornes, but now a farm-house. It dates from c. 1600, and has a central hall with a large fireplace and a fine panelled room on the ground floor of the east wing with a tall chimney-piece of very good style. From the top of the hill wide views can be obtained of Privett and the neighbouring country. In the northeast of the parish is the wild expanse of West Tisted Common, north of which is the steep road lined with pine-trees leading to Ropley and Alresford.
The following place-names are found in the 13th century: 'Trendelcrofte and Rykemannesdone.' (fn. 3)
King Edmund granted. 7 hides in TISTED to his faithful thegn Ethelgeard in 941, and confirmed this grant two years later. The boundaries are given in detail, and seem to prove that the land thus granted to Ethelgeard was situated in the parish of West Tisted. (fn. 4) At the time of the Domesday Survey West Tisted belonged to the bishopric of Winchester, and was held by Ranulf of the bishop. (fn. 5) The manor was held of the bishop of Winchester until the beginning of the thirteenth century, when Richard de Ilchester, bishop of Winchester, who had two illegitimate sons, Herbert le Poor, bishop of Salisbury 1194–1217, and Richard le Poor, bishop of Salisbury 1217–28 and bishop of Durham 1228–37, granted it to Herbert, treating it as though it was his personal property. (fn. 6) On Herbert's death it passed to his brother and heir Richard, who succeeded him as bishop of Salisbury. Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, however, realized that unless measures were taken West Tisted would be irretrievably lost to the bishopric, and accordingly he took proceedings against Richard, and between 1217 and 1228 recovered seisin of it. (fn. 7) The manor was held directly of the bishopric until the beginning of the fourteenth century. (fn. 8) In 1323, however, an inquisition was held on the petition of Femmota the widow of Robert de Tisted, (fn. 9) who complained that whereas her former husband had held the manor of West Tisted of John de St. John, the guardian of the bishopric of Winchester, (fn. 10) asserting that the manor was held of the bishopric by knight's service, had taken it into the king's hands by reason of the minority of the heir. By the inquisition it was ascertained that Robert de Tisted had held the manor of John de St. John, who held it of the bishopric by knight's service, (fn. 11) and the keepers of the bishopric were consequently ordered to intermeddle no further with the manor, but to restore the issues thereof. (fn. 12) After Edmund de St. John's death, without issue, in 1347, (fn. 13) the overlordship passed to his sister Isabel, the wife of Luke Poynings, and remained in the family of Poynings until Sir Thomas Poynings' death in 1428, when it was assigned to Alice the wife of Sir Thomas Kyngeston, one of his three granddaughters and heirs. The manor was held successively of their son Thomas Kyngeston and of his kinsman and heir John Kyngeston, as of the manor of Warnford. (fn. 14) John's brother and sister both died without issue, (fn. 15) and accordingly the manor of West Tisted, for want of an heir, escheated to the bishop. In an inquisition of 1555 it was stated that the manor was held of Stephen bishop of Winchester as of his bishopric of Winchester by the service of one and a half knight's fees. (fn. 16)
With regard to the actual holders of the manor, various members of the family of Limesi held lands in West Tisted in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Towards the end of the twelfth century Richard de Limesi died seised of one hide in West Tisted, leaving a son and a heir Henry. (fn. 17) As he was in debt to the king his lands were confiscated, but they were released to Henry on his petition in 1203, to hold from year to year as the farmer of the king, until the debt was paid in full. (fn. 18) Some thirty years later Roger de Limesi, who was also in debt to the king, was slain, and in 1234 the sheriff was ordered to deliver his chattels to any lawful man of the county who would be responsible to the king for part payment of the debts. (fn. 19) Roger's heir was a certain Adam de Limesi, who seems to have taken no steps in this direction, but alienated all his property to the priories of Newark and Selborne, apparently in order to shift the responsibility of payment from his own shoulders to theirs. Thus in 1242 he granted half a carucate in West Tisted (fn. 20) to the prior of Newark in frankalmoign in return for two corrodies in food and drink during his life: a canon's corrody and a groom's corrody at Newark. (fn. 21) About the same time he granted two messuages and lands in West Tisted to the prior and canons of Selborne to hold of him and his heirs by the annual payment of a pound of cummin. (fn. 22) As Adam had foreseen, King Henry III demanded the payment of Roger de Limesi's debts from the priory of Newark, and an arrangement was made that the prior should pay a mark every year into the royal exchequer until the debt of £276 14s. 3d. was paid in full. However, the prior of Newark pleaded that the prior of Selborne also was holding property in West Tisted which had belonged to Roger de Limesi and should also help in the payment of his debts. The possessions of both the priors in West Tisted were valued in 1266, and it was ascertained that those of the prior of Newark were worth £4 a year, while those of the prior of Selborne were only worth 8s. a year. It was accordingly arranged that the latter should pay 1s. 2½d. every year to the prior of Newark towards the payment of Roger de Limesi's debts. (fn. 23) It is clear, therefore, that all the lands which belonged to the Limesis in West Tisted were divided before 1250 between the priories of Selborne and Newark. Hence there is no mention of the family of Limesi in connexion with West Tisted after that date.
The Limesis, however, had held but a small portion of the vill of West Tisted. The main part of it was held by the Tisteds. Early in the twelfth century Hugh de Tisted held three knights' fees, and he was succeeded by his son Richard de Tisted, who was holding one and a half knight's fees in 1166. (fn. 24) The latter's son, Hugh de Tisted, was holding land in West Tisted in 1203. (fn. 25) The Tisteds probably held their property of the bishop of Winchester, and when Herbert bishop of Salisbury became overlord of West Tisted, he seems to have dispossessed them, and granted their lands to a certain Ralph de Winesham. (fn. 26) Shortly after confirming this grant, King John, knowing that Ralph's title was defective, confiscated his lands in West Tisted, and did not release them to him until he had paid 20 marks. (fn. 27) On the death of Ralph de Winesham, West Tisted passed to a certain Roger de Winesham. When, however, Peter des Roches recovered the overlordship of West Tisted against Richard, bishop of Salisbury, Joan le Hood, who was most probably the daughter and heir of the Hugh de Tisted who was holding West Tisted in 1203, pressed her claim against Roger de Winesham. In 1235 an assize of mort d'ancestor was summoned between Roger de Winesham and Robert le Hood and Joan his wife, and Roger was forced to give up West Tisted to Robert and Joan and the heirs of Joan. (fn. 28) In 1238 Joan, who was by this time a widow, granted to the prior and canons of Selborne in frankalmoign certain lands in the vill of West Tisted called Trendelcrofte and Rykemannesdone. (fn. 29) In 1240 she conveyed West Tisted to Ralph de Camois, possibly for purposes of settlement, and in return Ralph granted it to her to hold for the term of her life of himself and his heirs by the annual payment of a pair of gilt spurs or 6d. at Easter. (fn. 30) In the following year Joan surrendered her life-interest in West Tisted to Ralph in exchange for the manor of Wotton (co. Surr.). (fn. 31) Ralph de Camois died in 1259 seised of one and a half knight's fees in West Tisted which he held of the bishop elect of Winchester. (fn. 32) His heir was his son Ralph, aged forty and more. This latter Ralph in 1261 claimed the advowson of the church of West Tisted by virtue of his lordship of the manor. (fn. 33) He was not, however, seised of the manor at his death in 1276, (fn. 34) although he must have had some interest in it, since four years later John de Camois, son and heir of Sir Ralph de Camois, granted to Richard de Crofton, in return for his service, £10 annual rent paid by Geoffrey de la Flode and Alice his wife from the manor of West Tisted. (fn. 35) Geoffrey de la Flode is called 'lord of the vill' in 1281, (fn. 36) and his wife Alice le Hood, who was probably the daughter and heir of Robert le Hood and Joan his wife, and on whom West Tisted had probably been settled by the transactions of 1240 and 1241, is described as the 'lady of West Tisted' in 1284. (fn. 37) In the same year Richard de Crofton, who was called the son and heir of Robert de Crofton, released to the prior and canons of Selborne all his right in the advowson of the church of West Tisted, (fn. 38) and at some date between 1284 and 1293 he succeeded Alice le Hood in the lordship of West Tisted. (fn. 39) This Richard was probably the son and heir of Alice by her first husband Robert de Crofton, and the manor descended to him as his right and inheritance after his mother's death. (fn. 40) Shortly after succeeding to his inheritance he seems to have assumed the surname of Tisted, as after 1293 there is no further mention of Richard de Crofton, but a certain Richard de Tisted was witness to charters in 1301, 1305, 1307, 1308, and 1312. (fn. 41) Richard died about 1313, (fn. 42) and was succeeded by Robert de Tisted, probably his son. (fn. 43) Robert died before 1323, for in that year Femmota de Tisted is described as his widow. (fn. 44) Robert's heir was a minor in 1323, and apparently died before he came of age, for the manor of West Tisted had been divided before 1337 between Alice and Agatha, (fn. 45) who were the daughters and coheirs of John le Hood of West Tisted. (fn. 46) It is possible that this John le Hood was the younger brother of Robert de Tisted, for it seems to have been the rule for the heir to assume the surname of Tisted on succeeding to his property. Alice and Agatha, the daughters of John le Hood, and probably the nieces of Robert de Tisted, married respectively Richard de Tichborne and his brother Walter de Tichborne, the sons of Sir John Tichborne, (fn. 47) who in 1337 were seised of the manor in right of their wives. (fn. 48) In 1342 it was settled between them that if Walter and Agatha died without issue, the moiety of the manor which they held should revert on their deaths to the right heirs of Agatha. (fn. 49) Walter de Tichborne in 1345 acknowledged that he owed £100 to his elder brother Roger de Tichborne of Tichborne. As he had not paid the debt in 1346, Roger chose to hold half of Walter's land as a free tenement until he had recovered his £100. Walter's property at West Tisted was accordingly valued, and half of it was delivered over to Roger. (fn. 50) Walter de Tichborne and Agatha died without issue, evidently before 1364, for in that year Alice, as Agatha's right heir, was holding both moieties of the manor, and was described as the 'lady of West Tisted.' (fn. 51) On her death the manor descended to her son Richard Tisted, (fn. 52) by whose son Richard it was held in 1428. (fn. 53) On his death the manor descended to his son and heir William Tisted. (fn. 54) William's son William Tisted died in 1511 seised of the manor of West Tisted, leaving a brother and heir, Thomas Tisted, aged forty and more. (fn. 55) Thomas died without issue, and on his death the manor was divided among his four sisters and heirs, Amy, Christian, Thomazin, and Iseult. (fn. 56) Before the end of the reign of Henry VIII, Nicholas Tichborne (fn. 57) had bought up the different parts into which the manor had been divided from these sisters and their descendants. (fn. 58) On Nicholas's death the manor passed to his son and heir Nicholas Tichborne, who died seised of it in 1555. (fn. 59) From that date the manor has remained in the family of Tichborne, (fn. 60) the present lord of the manor being Sir Henry Alfred Joseph Doughty-Tichborne, bart.
MERRYFIELD (Mirefeld xiii cent.; Merifeld xvi cent.) was, as has been shown above, in origin half a carucate of land in West Tisted granted by Adam de Limesi in 1242 to the prior of Newark in frankalmoign. Shortly after this grant the prior and convent of Merton granted licence to the prior and convent of Newark to build a chapel in their territory of Merryfield, which was within the parish of Sutton and Ropley, and to hold service there as long as it was not to the prejudice of the mother church. (fn. 61) Merryfield continued the property of the prior and convent until the dissolution, the following entry being made in the Ministers' Accounts for 1545, under the heading of 'the lands and possessions of Newark':—Manor of 'Merifeld' with all lands and tenements in West Tisted and Ropley, and £9 from the rents both of free and customary tenants there. (fn. 62) Henry VIII granted the manor by letters patent in 1532 to John Wingfield, (fn. 63) who held it but for a short time, the king three years later granting it to Henry Tichborne, lord of the manor of West Tisted. (fn. 64) From this time it has remained in the family of Tichborne, (fn. 65) Merryfield Farm, situated in the north of the parish on the borders of Ropley, being still the property of Sir Henry Alfred Joseph Doughty-Tichborne, bart.
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE, WEST TISTED, is a small building with modern chancel and north vestry, and an aisleless nave with south porch and west bell-turret. The interior measurements of the original nave were 41 ft. by 15 ft., but it has been lengthened 10 ft. eastwards at the building of the chancel, and there is no structural division between the two. It probably dates from the early years of the twelfth century, the blocked north doorway and part of a small window west of the south doorway being of this time, the window being only 5 in. wide.
The north doorway has a plain round outer arch with a hollow-chamfered string at the springing, and the walls are 3 ft. thick, of flint rubble with sandstone ashlar dressings. The western angles have been rebuilt, and the south wall leans outward; its original masonry being much patched, and a large buttress added at the south-east angle. The main entrance to the church is by the south door, which has a plain pointed arch of one order with a continuous chamfer, and is covered by a mean brick porch built by Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1750. In the north wall is a single window, a trefoiled fourteenth-century light close to the line of the former east wall of the nave, and opposite to it in the south wall is a trefoiled piscina of about the same date, with a stone shelf, marking the site of the south nave altar. Close to the piscina is a square-headed fifteenth-century window of three cinquefoiled lights, and the western part of the nave is lighted only by an early fourteenth-century window in the west wall, of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over. The bell-turret is carried on four wooden posts, rising from the floor of the church at the west end of the nave, set close to the walls; they formerly carried a west gallery which is now taken down, the only access to the turret being by a trap door in the ceiling. The chancel is a poor specimen of modern fifteenth-century Gothic with a three-light east window and two two-light windows in the south wall. At its north-west angle is a door leading to a small modern vestry.
The timbers of the nave roof and bell-turret are old, but all other fittings are modern except the seventeenth-century altar table with its baluster legs, and the font, which stands in front of the blocked north door, and is perfectly plain with a round bowl on a roughly worked stem of uncertain date though ancient. In the face of the east jamb of the south doorway is a recess for holy water, the position being somewhat unusual.
There are a few mural monuments of the Tichborne family on the north wall of the nave, to Sir Benjamin Tichborne, 1665, Margaret his wife, 1671, and Margaret Tichborne, 1672, and a tablet to Richard Lacy, 1690. The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1568, with incised ornament round the top and base of the bowl, the paten being plain, and a second paten with a foot bearing the date-letter for 1723. There are two small bells in the bell-turret, said to be uninscribed.
The first book of the registers contains the baptisms from 1560 to 1747, the marriages from 1538 to 1740, and the burials from 1538 to 1755, and the second the remaining entries to 1812, but there are no entries of marriages between 1740 and 1754.
There was a church in West Tisted at the time of the Domesday Survey, but it is not stated whether the bishop held the advowson as well as the manor. (fn. 66) In all probability he did, for Peter des Roches in 1237 confirmed the grant of the advowson (fn. 67) made by Joan le Hood a year before to the prior and canons of Selborne. (fn. 68) Ralph de Camois claimed the advowson in virtue of his lordship of the manor of West Tisted, and presented Master John de Brideport, clerk, to the living. His claim was disputed by the prior and canons of Selborne, and Constantine de Mildehale, the official of Boniface archbishop of Canterbury in the diocese of Winchester, during the vacancy of the see, arbitrated between the disputants in 1261. (fn. 69) His decree assigned the patronage absolutely to the prior and canons as having been given to them by Peter des Roches; but inasmuch as Selborne was endowed with goods issuing from the manor, and in order that Ralph might be duly honoured by the prior and canons, he ordained that Ralph and his heirs should always have the right of presenting one fit clerk to be admitted as a canon into the convent, who should there celebrate for the souls of Ralph, his ancestors and successors. Constantine also decreed that the prior and convent should pay 100s. annually to Master John de Brideport until they procured his promotion to some better ecclesiastical benefice. In 1261 Ralph released all right in the advowson and patronage of the church of West Tisted. (fn. 70) Four years later the prior and convent of St. Swithun's, Winchester, confirmed Peter des Roches' charter confirming Joan le Hood's grant of the advowson to Selborne together with some lands, 'saving an honest and sufficient maintenance to the vicar.' (fn. 71) In 1282 John archbishop of Canterbury confirmed the appropriation of the church to the prior and canons in consequence of their request made to him when at their house in the course of his metropolitical visitation during the vacancy of the see of Winchester. (fn. 72) In 1284 Geoffrey de la Flode and Alice his wife and Richard de Crofton released all claim to the advowson, (fn. 73) which remained in the possession of Selborne Priory till 1484. In that year the priory was dissolved, and the advowson of West Tisted was among the possessions which were annexed to Magdalen College, Oxford, (fn. 74) the president and fellows of which still hold the advowson. Magdalen College often let out the rectory and tithes of West Tisted at farm. It was the rule to give the preference to a fellow of the college, and owing to this custom a dispute arose in the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. 75) Early in 1528 when the parsonage was unlet and in the hands of Master Thomas Knollys, the president of the college, Nicholas Tichborne, lord of the manor of West Tisted, asked him for a ten years' lease of the rectory and tithes. Thomas agreed to let them to him for that time, and it was arranged that on Lammas Day, 1528, either Nicholas or his messenger should go to Oxford to get the lease under the common seal of the president and scholars. Nicholas sent his brother Roger Tichborne, but when he arrived he found they were already let to Richard Cressweller, a fellow of the college. Nicholas was naturally annoyed when he heard the news, but nevertheless he suffered Richard to occupy the rectory for two years. On Michaelmas Day, 1531, however, they met at West Tisted and had a violent quarrel, and this quarrel culminated on 3 April, 1533, in a fight between the two parties at West Tisted parsonage, with what result, however, is unknown.