A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Until 1894 the parish of East Meon included the tithings of Oxenbourn, Coomb, Riplington, Peak, Langrish, and Ramsdean, and contained 11,370 acres of land and 7 acres of land covered by water. In that year the tithings of Langrish, Ramsdean (including part of Stroud Common), and Bordean were formed into a separate parish of Langrish, and the area of East Meon was thus reduced to 8,818 acres of land and 5 acres of land covered by water. The parish falls naturally into two parts, namely, the rich pasture-land lying along the banks of the River Meon, and the lofty downs which hem the valley in on every side. The village is almost in the centre of the parish, and lies for the most part to the south of the road from Petersfield to West Meon, which here makes a sharp descent from Barrow Hill. Park Down, which rises to the north of the road and seems to dominate the whole village, has the schools, a row of cottages, the church, and vicarage standing on its lower slopes. On the south side of the road nearly opposite the church is Court Farm. Directly opposite the church Church Street runs southward to join the main village street, which follows the line of the Meon, here a small and shallow stream running westwards and spanned by several bridges. The almshouses, erected in 1863 by Mrs. Forbes of Bereleigh, in memory of her husband Mr. George Forbes, are at the corner of Church Street opposite the church, and at the other end is the George Inn. The main street, which runs on the south bank of the stream, is picturesque with its timber and plaster houses, and here and there a red brick building of more pretensions. Especially notable is a fine house on the north side, with heavy cornice and moulded brick door and window-heads, which dates from the beginning of the eighteenth century. In contrast to this comes a series of quaint thatched cottages, one of the prettiest of which, with a rose-covered porch and deep-eaved roof, serves as the butcher's shop. From the east end of the village a road runs south towards Clanfield, passing the smithy at the corner of a narrow lane which leads to Leythe House, the residence of Mr. Gerald Kingsbury. For about a mile the road passes through the low-lying fertile pasture-land bordering the stream, but after passing the source of the river it begins to ascend steadily, being confronted by the steep grassy slopes of Chidden Down, Hyden Hill, and Tegdown Hill, which separate the parish of East Meon from the parishes of Hambledon, Clanfield, and Catherington. As the road ascends the grass-grown banks, older disused tracks are seen on either side, and from the top of the ridge, where the way leads down to Clanfield through the copses which cover the southern slopes of the hills, a good view can be obtained of the village of East Meon, now more than two miles distant, with the church standing at the foot of Park Down, while the spire of Privett Church can be seen away in the distance.
Westbury House, the property of Colonel Le RoyLewis, stands in a park of 100 acres two miles west of the village on the borders of West Meon parish. A fine avenue of trees leads past the house, in front of which the River Meon is artificially widened into a lake. Bereleigh House, the seat of Mr. H. Curtis Gallup, stands in a park of 50 acres, about a mile and a half from the village to the east of a shady lane which leaves the main West Meon road near the vicarage, and joins the main road from Petersfield to Winchester. The following are tithings in the parish: Oxenbourn (fn. 1) on Oxenbourn Down about 2 miles south-east, Coomb about 2 miles south-west past Hockham and facing Teglease Down, which separates the parishes of East Meon and Meon Stoke, Riplington on the West Meon road near Westbury Park, and Peak about 3½ miles north-west. The soil varies; the sub-soil is clay and chalk. The chief crops are wheat, barley, and beans. The parish contains 3,832¼ acres of arable land, 2,646¾ acres of permanent grass, and 764 acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The common lands were inclosed in 1860. (fn. 3) The following place-names are found in East Meon in the sixteenth century: Selscombe, a grove called Estney, and Barnyparke in the tithing of Coomb, land called Maldles, a toft and land called Gentlemans, Fisherman's Mead, Bunny Bridge, Lake Bridge, Quarrey Lane, Peke Lane, Scutt's Close, an inn called the 'Angel' and the Litten in the tithing of East Meon; Uscombes Dean, Glaselane, and Frexden in the tithing of Oxenbourn; Bleyse Garden and Rookcomblane in the tithing of Ramsdean; and a toft called Peppercombe and lands called Bevermon, Fernhills, and Shillingworth or Shillingore in the tithing of Bordean. The following place-names occur in a survey of the manor taken in the middle of the seventeenth century: Hyde Lane, (fn. 4) The Berry Garden, (fn. 5) Dove Garden, a meadow called Nuttsbury, (fn. 6) Gasson (fn. 7) Mead, two corn mills under one roof commonly called Shutt Mills, and Puddle Acre; Killborow, Hackwermead, Mustardcomes, and Merrywethergate in the tithing of Ramsdean; Fish Acres in Oxenbourn; and Frogland, Abbeyland, and Cawseymead in the tithing of Meonchurch; inclosed ground called Thisly Field and Partridge Furlong, and a lake called Weary Lake.
The modern parish of Langrish, covering an area of 2,552 acres of land and 2 acres of land covered by water, falls into two main portions—the comparatively low-lying land of Stroud Common, and the downs and hangers which form its northern, southern, and western boundaries. The village with its modern church, vicarage, and schools, is 2 miles north-east of the village of East Meon at the point where the road to Droxford breaks off south from the main road from Petersfield to Winchester. Langrish House, the seat of Mr. Charles William Talbot-Ponsonby, J.P., is about half a mile south from the village. At the base of Barrow Hill is the tithing of Ramsdean, a collection of farm-buildings and cottages with a small Congregational chapel, rebuilt and enlarged in 1887 by voluntary contributions at a cost of £200. In the tithing of Bordean, which is two miles north-west of Langrish, is a picturesque early seventeenth century thatched farm-house. Bordean House is on high ground about half a mile from Bordean and just to the south of the Petersfield road, which forms the north boundary of its grounds. This is the highest point on this section of the road (507 ft.), which runs eastward by a steep winding descent through the midst of the hangers to the village of Langrish and westward to Lower Bordean.
Hops are grown in this district. At Bordean there are lime-works which have existed at least from the seventeenth century. (fn. 8) At Stroud there is a brick, tile, and pipe manufactory, the latter industry dating from about the 16th century. (fn. 9) The parish of Langrish contains approximately 1,687 acres of arable land, 1,434¼ acres of permanent grass, and 431 acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 10)
Since in early times no distinction was drawn between East and West Meon it is difficult to know whether the numerous pre-Conquest grants of land on and near the River Meon (fn. 11) refer at all to East Meon. (fn. 12) The first distinctive mention of East Meon comes in the middle of the eleventh century, when Alwin, bishop of Winchester, who died in 1047, (fn. 13) granted both the Meons (fn. 14) to the monks of Winchester, (fn. 15) retaining, however, the management of the lands. Thus Bishop Stigand held East Meon to the use of the monks (fn. 16) not only after he became primate but even after his deposition and to the day of his death, when it was seized by William I, who was holding it in 1086. (fn. 17) At the same time Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, was holding in East Meon 6 hides and 1 virgate with the church and a mill (fn. 18) probably the later tithing of Meonchurch. (fn. 19) The manor continued the property of the crown till some time between 1154 and 1161, (fn. 20) when Henry II granted it, together with all churches belonging to it, to the church of Winchester, (fn. 21) and this grant was confirmed by King John soon after his accession. (fn. 22) From this date the manor remained with the bishop (fn. 23) until it was sold with his other lands in 1648 and 1649 as a result of the Root and Branch Bill. (fn. 24) With the general restoration of bishops' lands in 1660 the manor once more came to the bishop, and is at present held by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners as his representatives. In the reign of Edward III there seems to have been a dispute between the bishop and the men of his manor of East Meon, for exemplifications of entries in Domesday Book relating to 'Menes' were made in 1342 and 1343 at the request of the men of the manor and of Adam Orlton, bishop of Winchester, respectively. (fn. 25) Again, in August, 1461, when Edward IV went on progress to Hampshire, the tenants of the manor of East Meon and elsewhere, 'in grete multitude and nombre,' petitioned the king for relief from certain services, customs, and dues which the bishop and his agents were attempting to exact. (fn. 26) According to one account the tenants had seized Bishop Waynflete. Edward, however, not only rescued him from the hands of those seeking his life, but arrested the ringleaders, (fn. 27) whose case was tried in the House of Lords on 14 December, 1461, when judgement was given for the bishop. (fn. 28) On 14 December, 1581, John Watson, bishop of Winchester, leased the manor to Queen Elizabeth for eighty-one years. (fn. 29)
There is an interesting survey of the manor taken on 31 July, 1647, (fn. 30) giving the name of every farm, field, tenant, and tenement, with the rent paid in each case.
'The manor-house called the Court House,' in which the courts-leet and the courts-baron of the manor were held, remains practically unchanged from that day. It was described then as 'being strongly built with stone, having a large hall, a large parlour, a dining-room, a kitchen, a buttery, a larder, a day-house, a kill, three lodging-chambers, a corn chamber, a cheese-chamber, with some other little rooms. Before the entrance of the house is a gatehouse with three rooms thereunto belonging. The roof of the house is much out of repair. The site consisting of two little gardens, and a hopyard and two little courts west before the house, lying all together, between the street of East Meon on the west, and a field called the Berry Garden on the east. Near unto the same on the north-west is the church, and on the north is the highway called Hyde Lane, and on the south is a piece of ground called Dovegarden containing together one acre. This farm hath always been let tithe free.' (fn. 31)
The gate-house and the two little courts before the house have given way to a yard with farm-buildings of no architectural interest, but the 'large hall, strongly built with stone,' still stands, with a block of contemporary buildings on the north, and traces of a ruined south wing. Now, as in 1647, 'the roof of the house is much out of repair,' but unfortunately the lack of repair is not confined to the roof, and the house probably owes its survival to its massive flint and stone walls, 4 ft. thick. All the old work seems to be of one date, and that probably the early part of the fifteenth century. The hall, which stands north and south, is lighted by two large two-light windows on the west, with cinquefoiled lights and transoms rebated for wooden shutters, and the passage through the screens is at the north, with arched doorways at either end, the framework of the screen, with a central and two side openings, being still in position. The south or upper end of the hall is partitioned off from the rest of the block, and in the west wall, south of the partition, is a blocked doorway leading to the first-floor rooms of the destroyed southern wing, the bonding of whose walls is still to be seen. The east and south sides of the hall have been more altered and pulled about than the north side, but an original twolight window remains in the southern part of the east wall, and this end of the block is divided into two stories and still used as living rooms, while the rest of the hall is gutted and serves for the storage of all manner of lumber. Its old roof has given place to rough timbers, though the original stone corbels remain, carved with heads of bishops and kings.
The northern block is of two stories, the upper being reached by a wooden stair, dilapidated but still practicable, in the south-west angle, opening to the courtyard close to the west entrance to the hall screens. The ground story is very scantily lighted by narrow single square-headed lights, and contains three rooms, two with doorways side by side opening from the screens, and a third to the north-west, reached only from the western of the other two rooms. These two occupy the normal position of pantry and buttery, and probably served as such; they are separated by a wooden partition, instead of being set, after the usual plan, on either side of a passage leading to the kitchen. The third room may have been a larder or dairy, (fn. 32) and the kitchen can have formed no part of the existing block, but probably stood to the east, where modern buildings now are, and in that case must have been approached through the eastern doorway of the hall passage. It may have been a wooden building, as in other instances, which would account for its disappearance. On the west side of the north-west room (the suggested larder or dairy) is a large block of masonry containing a shaft 10 ft. long by 3 ft. 2 in. wide, an opening into which has been broken from the north end at the ground level. It is probably the shoot of a latrine, but has been boarded over in the room above, and shows no evidence of this. The first-floor rooms of this block have been living-rooms or bedrooms, and in the south wall of that over the buttery (?) is a wide fireplace.
Nothing can be said of the arrangement of the south wing of the house, which must have contained the best living-rooms, the parlour and dining room of the Survey. The south-east angle of the central block seems to have stood clear of any buildings to the south, and has a diagonal angle buttress, which, however, is not part of the original work. The return of a plinth on the south wall 4 ft. to the west of the buttress gives the line of abutment of a wall running southwards from this point, forming the eastern limit of the south wing.
The hopyard of the Survey, with the two little gardens, seems to have been to the south-west of the house, and the 'kill' for drying the hops may have been near by, though the Survey reads as if it were part of the main buildings, and in the northern block.
Under the heading Hyden Woods there is a note to the effect that 'the "bacon" (beacons) on Butser Hill have usually been supplied out of their coppices both with timber and fuel.' Stroud Common belonged to the manor, and it is stated that 'this common is overgrown with bushes which the tenants claim a right unto for making and mend ing their fences, but the great wood belonging to the lord was of late destroyed except some very little and young oaks all at present not worth above 30s.' (fn. 33)
The boundaries of the manor are given in great detail and show well what a large area it covered (fn. 34) : 'This manor lieth part in Hampshire and part in Sussex and is bounded as follows, viz.: By a bound post standing in Basing Dean parting this manor and the manor of West Meon west … and by the parish of West Tisted upon the north-west to Hoar Thorns, and so by the manor of Colemeare and a wood called Colemearewood on the north … and from thence upon the manor of Prior's Dean upon the north-east to the rising of a little brook in Brooker's mead, and so by that little brook to the parish of Liss, and thence to Wheatham dell and the yew-tree at Wheatham Green, and by a little lake to the Prince's Bridge, and so by the river to Lord's mill and from thence by a little stream unto Kettler's brook and so by the highway to Polehill, then by a footpath to Tilmer gate … from thence to Beerland boundring upon the manor of Berriton, from thence to a great oak standing in the midst of Chescombe and so abutting upon the manor of Berriton and Mapledurham upon the south-east unto a great ash standing on the side of Butser Hill … and so to the lower gate of Hiden abutting upon the parish of Clanfield, on the south from the aforesaid gate to Broad Halfpenny abutting upon the parish of Katherington, thence to Pye Lane abutting upon the parish of Hambledon … from thence abutting upon the parish of West Meon, upon the south-west as far as Westbury, from thence towards the west upon certain lands belonging to Westbury, and so upon the land of Peak farm towards the north-west upon the parish of Privett … and so to Basing Post standing in Basing Dean aforesaid.' Certain payments were made from the manor to various officials of the bishopric—the measurer of the tithecorn and wheat of the rectory, the surveyor and steward of the lordships belonging to the bishopric, the treasurer of 'Wolvesey,' the bailiff of the bailiwick of East Meon, the clerk of the bailiwick of East Meon and Meonchurch, and two reeves and a beadle, and the net annual value of the manor was estimated at £281 5s. 1½d.
The park of East Meon belonged to the bishops, who were careful to maintain their right of free warren and free chase. (fn. 35) The following description is given of the park in the Survey of 1647: 'There is also belonging to this manor a park, situate and lying near the town of East Meon, known by the name of East Meon Park, lying between the way that leadeth from East Meon church and Petersfield called Hide Lane on the south, and another highway that leadeth from East Meon to Alton on the north-west; on the east are the grounds belonging to Magdalen College Oxford and the lands of Sir William Lewis kt. with the lands of other tenants; on the south-west is the church and churchyard of East Meon; on the north the grounds belonging to the manor of "Bearly." (fn. 36) The park has a lodge with five rooms, two little out-barns, a garden, a hopyard all paled about and contains 1½ acres. This park is paled about, but hath not any deer therein. It is now stored with conies. It containeth by estimation 500 acres, and is worth per annum by improvement £70, and is now in possession of Sir William Lewis, bart. He claimeth to hold the office of keeper and the keeping of the park aforesaid and of the deer in the same park and all the herbage, pannage and agistment of it (competent and sufficient herbage and feeding for eight score deer in the same park always excepted), and also the office of measuring the tithe-corn and wheat of the rectory of East Meon with all the profits to the said offices belonging. There is not any tithe to be paid for this park. (fn. 37) … The grant was made to Queen Elizabeth by John Watson, bishop of Winchester, amongst other things, by indenture 14 December 24 Elizabeth. By her majesty assigned over to John Stockman by indenture 28 March 24 Elizabeth, (fn. 38) which said John assigned the same to William Neale … The right of this lease descended to his son Sir Thomas Neale, (fn. 39) and from him to his son Thomas Neale, who by indenture 13 Feb. 10 Charles granted the same to Sir William Lewis, for which he is to pay per annum two hundred conies worth per annum £5, as also herbage in the park for a hundred and sixty deer worth £40. The present profits of the park which may be made of beechen timber and firewood, now worth £900, all "bots" (fn. 40) being allowed.'
An annual fair held near South Farm in a field called Fair Field or Chapel Close (fn. 41) originally belonged to the lords of the manor of East Meon. It was kept on the Lady Day in harvest, and the annual profits therefrom were assessed at £1 10s. (fn. 42) in 1647. It existed until about ten years ago, by which time it had come to be a horse-fair held in the village itself.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were six mills worth forty shillings in 'Menes,' (fn. 43) which was practically identical with the modern hundred of East Meon. The following mills are mentioned in a rentroll of the manor of East Meon for 1567 (fn. 44) : a mill called South Mill in the tithing of East Meon held by Nicholas Write by the rent of 1s. 3d., two mills in the tithing of Oakshott (which is now in the parish of Froxfield), viz. a fulling-mill held by John Pagelham by the annual rent of 10s., and a water-mill called Sheet Mill held by Edward Roche by the annual rent of 10s. 4d.; and a water-mill in Ramsdean held by John Tribe by the annual rent of 15s. In the Survey of the manor taken in 1647 the following mills are mentioned: 'Two corn-mills under one roof commonly called or known by the name of Shutt Mill, which mills lie west from East Meon,' a mill called South Mill held by Thomas Searle, a mill held by William Heycroft in the tithing of Meonchurch, a water-mill held by John Tribe in the tithing of Ramsdean, and two fulling-mills in Foxcombe (now forming part of the parish of Steep) held respectively by Elizabeth Colebrooke and Jane the relict of Joseph Feilder. (fn. 45) In the measurement and valuation of the parish of East Meon made in May, 1820, by Mr. Vinn of Drayton (fn. 46) two mills are mentioned: Drayton Mill and Frogmore Mill, and they are still in existence.
WESTBURY (Wesberie xi cent.; Westburia xii cent.; Westbyrie xiii cent.) was held by Ulnod of King Edward the Confessor. At the time of the Domesday Survey it was held by Gozelin, not directly of the king, but of Hugh de Port as part of his barony which he held of the king. (fn. 47) It was assessed at 3 hides both in Edward the Confessor's reign and at the time of the Survey. Like the rest of the Port barony Westbury passed to the St. Johns, (fn. 48) from the St. Johns to the Poynings, (fn. 49) and possibly from the Poynings to the Paulets, although there is no mention of overlordship after the fourteenth century. There is no evidence to show to whom the manor descended after the death of Gozelin the son of Azor, who held it at the time of the Domesday Survey. In the reign of Henry II or even earlier it seems to have been granted to a family who took the surname of Westbury. (fn. 50) In the reign of Henry III John de Westbury held in Westbury one knight's fee of the ancient enfeoffment of Robert de St. John, and the same Robert of the king. (fn. 51) John de Westbury seems to have been succeeded by a certain William de Campania, who demised it for a term of five years to a certain Peter de Campania and Margery his wife. (fn. 52) Some time afterwards the same William quitclaimed for himself and his heirs all the right and claim which he had in the manor to the said Peter and Margery and their heirs. (fn. 53) In 1294 this Peter was in custody in Westminster gaol for the death of Adam Houel, but his lord, John de St. John, interceded for him, and obtained his pardon. (fn. 54) After the death of Peter his widow Margery married Robert le Ewer the king's yeoman, (fn. 55) evidently before 1316, since in that year he was holding the manor in right of his wife. (fn. 56)
In 1322 Robert obtained the king's permission to fortify his house at Westbury, (fn. 57) and about the same time the king granted to him and his heirs for ever free warren in all their demesne lands of Westbury. (fn. 58) Many details concerning the life of this Robert le Ewer can be gathered from a careful examination of the close and patent rolls of the reign of Edward II. The earliest mention of him is in 1306, in which year the king granted safe conduct to him and to certain others of his clerks and serjeants-at-arms while taking money to Scotland for the maintenance of the king's subjects on his service there. (fn. 59) For some time he rose steadily into favour with King Edward II. In 1308 he was farmer of the gaol of Somerton, and of the hundreds of Cattesashe and Stone. (fn. 60) In 1309 the reversion of the manor of Warblington was granted to him for his life, (fn. 61) and in 1311 Odiham Castle was committed to him to hold during the king's pleasure. (fn. 62) However, in 1320 he fell into disfavour with the king, and John de Felton and the king's serjeants-at-arms were commissioned to arrest him for certain trespasses, contempts, and disobediences. (fn. 63) He was arrested by them, but broke the attachment by armed force, publicly defied the serjeants, and in addition threatened some of the king's subjects with loss of life and limb, asserting that he would slay them and cut them up limb by limb, wherever he should find them, either in the presence or absence of the king, in contempt of the king's order and in rebellion. (fn. 64) By some means, however, he succeeded in making his peace with the king, and in 1321 the custody of Odiham Castle was re tored to him. (fn. 65) In 1322 the king summoned him to join the English army in Scotland. (fn. 66) Robert disregarded the summons, however, and was accordingly deprived of the custody of Odiham Castle, John de St. John being appointed keeper in his stead. (fn. 67) Thereupon Robert rebelled. He placed himself at the head of an armed force, attempted to seize the castle, and entered the royal manor of Itchel and carried away the king's goods. (fn. 68) Edmund de Kendale, keeper of the peace in Hampshire, arrested him, and as a reward received a horse, a 'haketon,' and a dagger which were found with Robert when he was taken. (fn. 69) Robert, when charged with divers felonies before the king, refused to submit to the law of the realm, and being put to peine forte et dure, died in prison. (fn. 70) When her husband was taken, Margery fled, taking with her two coffers with jewels and other goods and chattels to the value of £200. She took sanctuary in the abbey of St. Mary's, Winchester, where two of her sisters were nuns, (fn. 71) but she was soon dragged from her hiding place and thrown into prison. In the summer of 1324, however, she was released and delivered to Ralph Camois, (fn. 72) who in 1325 was appointed with others to inquire the names of those who had taken and concealed goods and chattels belonging to Robert. (fn. 73) In 1327 it was ascertained that Ralph Camois and Elizabeth his wife and Hugh their son had disseised Margery of the manor of Westbury long before the making of the charter whereby Edward II had granted it to them. (fn. 74) The king accordingly laid the matter before Ralph de Bereford, John de Scures, and John de Tichborne, when it was decided that Robert le Ewer having only held the manor in right of his wife Margery, it should be restored to her, and in addition she should be awarded £160 damages. (fn. 75) It seems probable that shortly after this Margery married, as her third husband, a certain Nicholas de Overton, for in 1328 Nicholas de Overton and Margery his wife, and John de Thyngdene, chaplain, were parties to a fine whereby the manor of Westbury was settled upon Nicholas and Margery and the heirs of Margery. (fn. 76) Margery died before 1342, leaving as her heir a certain Margaret, described as 'Margaret who was the wife of James de Molyns,' who in 1342, in conjunction with Sir Aumary de Wykfort, granted the reversion of the manor after the death of Nicholas de Overton to Nicholas le Devenish of Winchester and his heirs male. (fn. 77) The latter died seised of the manor in 1350, leaving a son and heir Thomas, aged 17, (fn. 78) on whose death in 1373 it passed to his son and heir John, aged 10, (fn. 79) who died soon afterwards, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas. In 1382 Thomas died while still under age, and the manor passed to his sister and heir Nichola. (fn. 80) It is probable that Nichola married first Sir John Englefield of Warwickshire, and secondly John Golafre of Blakesley (Northants). (fn. 81) Certainly Sir John, who lived about the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV, married a certain Nichola, (fn. 82) and John Golafre married as his second wife a Lady Englefield. (fn. 83) Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Devenish, held the manor in dower and married a certain William Marshal before 1386, at which date the manor was dealt with by a fine, to which John Englefield and Nichola his wife were parties. (fn. 84) Nichola died before 1428, for in that year her second husband John Golafre was holding in Westbury half a fee which Nicholas Devenish formerly held. (fn. 85) Westbury passed with Greatham to the recusant family of Fawconer, (fn. 86) who held it for about two centuries, (fn. 87) Katherine Fawconer at length conveying it to John Holt and Katherine his wife, of Portsmouth. (fn. 88) In 1694 Richard Holt of Nursted (Hants), son and heir of John and Katherine, sold the manor for £4,000 to Richard Markes of Petersfield. (fn. 89) After the latter's death his widow Mary and his son and heir Richard became involved in financial difficulties, and in 1722 were forced to sell the manor to their tenant Philip Cavendish, obtaining a sum of £7,400 for it. (fn. 90) Philip dealt with the manor by fine in 1737, (fn. 91) no doubt on the occasion of his marriage with Anna Isabella Carteret, the daughter of Edward Carteret and Bridget his wife. (fn. 92)
Within the next ten years Westbury had been purchased by Admiral Sir Peter Warren, K.B., (fn. 93) an Irishman by birth. He obtained his commission as a lieutenant in 1722, and from that time his promotion was rapid. He aided the New England colonies in the war with France, and in 1745, with General Pepperell, captured Louisbourg, as a reward for which he was made rear-admiral of the Blue. After the capitulation of Louisbourg Warren captured three French ships valued at £1,000,000, and from his share of the spoils of war realized a large fortune. In 1747 he won a great naval victory off Cape Finisterre, and for his gallantry on this occasion was made Knight of the Bath. On his retirement from active service in 1748 he received many civic honours, being elected M.P. for Westminster in 1750. He died of a violent fever in 1752 while at Dublin, whither he had gone to purchase estates. In 1735 he had married Susanna daughter of Stephen de Lancey, a wealthy citizen of New York, and by her he left three daughters and co-heirs—Anne, who married Lieut.-General Hon. Charles Fitzroy, first Lord Southampton, in 1758; Susanna, who married in 1767 Lieut.-General William Skinner; and Charlotte, who married Willoughby Bertie, fourth earl of Abingdon, in 1768. (fn. 94) The manor was at first divided among the three sisters, but in 1772 Charles Fitzroy and Anne and Willoughby, Earl of Abingdon, and Charlotte gave up their moieties to Lieut.-General Skinner and Susanna, (fn. 95) whose daughter and heir Susanna Maria married her first cousin Major-General Henry, third Viscount Gage, in 1789. Their son Henry, fourth Viscount Gage (1808–77), sold the manor to Mr. John Delawar Lewis, from whom it has descended to Colonel Le Roy-Lewis, the present owner.
The manor of LANGRISH (Langerisse xiii cent.; Langryshe, Langrissh, and Langeryssh xiv cent.; Langrishe xvii cent.) was a sub-manor dependent upon the manor of East Meon. (fn. 96) John Langrish, son of John, who had probably held the manor before him, was holding the manor in the early fifteenth century, and held his first court in 1419. At a court held in May, 1424, John granted certain premises in Langrish to his brother Thomas to hold for the term of his life. The first court of Thomas Langrish was held on 21 December, 1466, and in 1473 Robert the son of Thomas, probably on his marriage, received a messuage and other premises in Langrish to hold to him and his wife and their male issue. In 1489 Nicholas Langrish, aged sixteen, described as kinsman and heir of John Langrish priest, held his first court. He had five sons, the eldest of whom, Edward by name, died without issue. (fn. 97) The manor accordingly passed to his brother William, (fn. 98) whose son and heir Nicholas was described as lord of Langrish in the visitation of 1634. (fn. 99) William son and heir of Nicholas sold the manor to Nathaniel Long and Mary his wife, upon whom it was settled in 1663 with remainder to Hugh Webb and Abigail Long, elder daughter of Nathaniel and Mary, and their issue. (fn. 100) In 1664 Nathaniel Long had a dispute with Edmund Bruning, lord of the neighbouring manor of Rothercombe, about his right of way through certain lands, parcel of the manor of Rothercombe, to certain woods called Beechenleith or Beechencliffe Woods, as also his right to timber in the woods. The matter was referred to the Court of Chancery, which gave its judgement in favour of Nathaniel, awarding him in addition £250 damages. (fn. 101) On the death of Nathaniel the manor descended to Hugh and Abigail Webb, in accordance with the settlement of 1663, and on their deaths to their son and heir Nathaniel, whose widow Lucy and son and heir Nathaniel sold it in 1719 to Thomas Ridge of Portsmouth for £2,850. (fn. 102) Thomas was succeeded by his son and heir Humphrey, who died without issue about 1730, when the manor passed to his brother Thomas, described as a brewer, distiller, and wine merchant of Portsmouth. Thomas, who was afterwards knighted, soon became involved in financial difficulties, and owed his mother Elizabeth £8,215 at the time of her death in 1750. He borrowed further sums from his younger brothers George and Richard after her death, and in 1764 was declared a bankrupt, John Ridge and Thomas Hampton being chosen assignees of his estate and effects. (fn. 103) The estate was put up for auction (fn. 104) and was sold in 1771 for £4,400 to William Jolliffe of Petersfield. It continued in the Jolliffe family till a few years ago, when it was sold by Lord Hylton to Mr. William Nicholson, D.L., J.P., of Basing Park, the present owner.
In the Langrish court-rolls from 1419 to 1523 there occur the following place-names: a wood called Musilcombe; crofts called Topelayns, Benepierks, and Yaldepierks; a common field called the Hampme, lanes called Bawfyshlane and Mustardcombeslane, (fn. 105) and crofts called Pycedcrofte and Thevelerscroft. From the court-rolls it is seen that most of the tenants held lands of the lord of Langrish by the service of finding men for the fishery in the River Meon. There is an interesting entry in the court-roll for 1479. (fn. 106) A certain John Baker received from the lord of Langrish a messuage and lands in Langrish to hold for the term of his life by the services of paying an annual rent of 13s., of finding two men for the great fishery of East Meon, and of paying 6d. per annum tithing-silver. John Baker and his successors were also to find two bushels of corn every Easter at their own expense. They were to make bread therefrom, and deliver over the loaves every year to Thomas Langrish and his heirs in the parish church of East Meon for distribution among the poor of the parish. In return for these bushels of corn Thomas reduced the rent of the premises from 16s. to 13s. a year.
In the East Meon court-rolls ROTHERCOMBE (Redecumbe xii cent.) is frequently mentioned as one of the tithings of East Meon, and now exists as a farm in the parish of Langrish. In the twelfth century Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester, granted in free alms to John, prior of Aldebiri in Sandes, afterwards known as the Priory of Newark, all the land of Rothercombe which appertained to his manor of East Meon, and which was worth 100s. a year. (fn. 107) On the dissolution of Newark Priory the king granted the manor of Rothercombe and woods called Cherry Copse, Beching Cliff, and Brokewode, situated in Rothercombe, to Thomas Knight, (fn. 108) who shortly afterwards sold the manor together with lands and rents in East Meon and Rothercombe to Thomas Uvedale for £126. (fn. 109) Anthony Uvedale, son and heir of Thomas, married Ursula Norton, and had an only daughter and heir, Ellen, by whose marriage to Richard Bruning the manor passed into the Bruning family. (fn. 110) In 1608 an inquiry was ordered to be held into the goods, chattels, lands, and tenements of Richard Bruning and Ursula Uvedale, since various sums of money were due to the crown on account of their recusancy. It was ascertained that Richard was seised of the manor of Rothercombe and of 30 acres of arable land and 20 acres of meadow and pasture in the parish of East Meon of the yearly value of £6 10s. (fn. 111) The manor, however, was evidently not sequestered, as Richard died seised of it in 1612, leaving a son and heir, Anthony, aged twenty-three. (fn. 112) The manor remained in the Bruning family until 1715, (fn. 113) in which year Richard Bruning sold it together with a messuage and lands in Steep and East Meon to John Clement of Steep for £1,730. (fn. 114)
On the death of John Clement the manor passed to his son William, whose only son and heir sold the manor or reputed manor of Rothercombe, the messuage or dwelling-house called Rothercombe Farm, and 169 acres of land for £2,000 to George Clark, described sometimes as a carrier and sometimes as an inn-keeper of Petersfield, in 1763. (fn. 115) Whatever his profession he was a prosperous man, and during the fifteen years preceding his death bought up much landed property in the neighbourhood of Petersfield. Thus in 1755 he purchased Tilmore Farm from Richard Baker, (fn. 116) in 1763 he bought Bell Farm from John Rogers and Mary his wife, (fn. 117) while in 1764 Henry Smith conveyed to him the messuage or tenement and farm-house on a moor called Buckmoor. (fn. 118) On his death in 1768 it was found that by a will dated two years earlier he had left all his property to be divided equally among his three young grandsons, William, Richard, and George Clark Rout, the sons of Mary and James Rout, and had completely passed over the claims of his wife Elizabeth, his sons Richard, Thomas, and George, and his daughters Anne, Rose, and Elizabeth. (fn. 119) They appealed against it, but all to no purpose, for by a decree in the Court of Chancery it was ordered that the will should be established, and the trusts performed and carried into execution. The three grandchildren described as William Rout of Romsey, maltster, Richard Rout of East Wellow, yeoman, and George Clark Rout of Romsey, brewer, came of age in 1774, 1776, and 1777 respectively. Even while minors they had borrowed largely, and in 1778 were very deeply in debt. All the property which they had inherited from their grandfather—the manor of Rothercombe, the farms called Tankerdells, Tilmore and Buckmoor, Causeway Meads and Bell Farm—was put up for sale by public auction and was sold in 1778 to the highest bidder, William Jolliffe of Petersfield, (fn. 120) since which time it has followed the descent of the manor of Langrish (q.v.).
PEAK or PEAK TYGALL
PEAK or PEAK TYGALL (Peek xiv cent.; Peke, Peake Tygoll, and Peeke Tigoll xvi cent.; Peake Tigall and Peake Farme xvii cent.). Three and a half miles north-west of the village of East Meon lies the tithing of Peak, and a little to the south of the tithing lies Tigwell Farm. The tithing and farm probably represent the site of the manor of Peak or Peak Tygall. It was in the possession of the family of Tygehall or Tygall for generations, (fn. 121) and was hence called the manor of Peak Tygall. In 1505 William Tygall and Joan his wife sold the manor and 3 messuages, 10 tofts, 400 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 120 acres of pasture, 60 acres of wood, and 20s. rent and the rent of a pound of pepper in Peak, East Meon, and Meonstoke to Sir William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, for £200, (fn. 122) on whose death in 1532 the manor passed to his nephew William, being settled on him and his wife Elizabeth in tailmale in 1552. (fn. 123) In 1560 the manor was settled on William to hold for the term of his life, with remainder to Francis Morres and Anne his wife and their issue, with contingent remainder to the right heirs of William. (fn. 124) William had died before 1588, for in that year William Wright was seised of the reversion of the manor of Peak Tygall, immediately expectant and depending upon the estate for life of Dame Elizabeth Warham, widow, late the wife of Sir William Warham, knt. deceased, and sold it to William Neale of Warnford for £630. (fn. 125) For about a century the manor remained in the family of Neale, (fn. 126) passing from them in 1676, when it was purchased by Thomas Bonham, William Morgan, and Lawrence Cooke. (fn. 127) Three years afterwards it was settled upon Lawrence and his heirs. It descended to his grandson and heir Lawrence Cooke of Steep, yeoman, on whose bankruptcy in 1735 it was sold to John Bouverie the lord of the manor of Warnford. (fn. 128) Peak followed the descent of Warnford (fn. 129) until about the middle of the eighteenth century, when it seems to have again fallen into yeomen's hands. (fn. 130) It has changed hands at various times since then, (fn. 131) and is now owned by Colonel Le Roy-Lewis, forming part of the Westbury estate.
BERELEIGH (Burley xiv cent.; Bereley xvi and xvii cent). The manor of Bereleigh was a sub-manor dependent upon the manor of East Meon, and in early times was held by a family called 'de Burlee.' In 1369 John de Burlee and Agatha his wife quitclaimed to William de Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, his heirs and assigns, the following tenements which they held of him as of his bishopric: 1 messuage, 1 mill, 205 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 60 acres of pasture, 50 acres of wood, and 40s. 6d. rent in East Meon and Drayton and the rents and services of Richard Tygenore, Richard Hethere, Reginald Tygall, John Southonore, and John Knollere for the tenements which they held of them. (fn. 133) The right of the bishop to these tenements was confirmed in 1382 when Clarice wife of William Fisher and sister of Agatha gave up all her claims to them. (fn. 133) There seems to be no record of the history of this estate until 1569, in which year the manor of 'Burley' with appurtenances in East Meon and Burley was settled by fine upon Sir Thomas Sackville Lord Buckhurst and Cecilia his wife in fee-tail. (fn. 134) In 1582 Sir Thomas sold the manor for £200 to John Baker, (fn. 135) who died seised of it in 1606, leaving a son and heir, Sir Richard Baker, aged thirty and more. (fn. 136) Fourteen years later Sir Richard obtained a grant of free warren in his manor or lordship of Burley alias Beerley, as also licence to stock it with stags, does, hares, rabbits, pheasants, and partridges. (fn. 137) The manor passed by sale in 1631 from Sir Richard Baker and Margaret his wife to William Coldham of Stedham (co. Sussex). (fn. 138) It seems impossible to discover how long the manor remained in the Coldham family, but it was probably sold about the middle of the seventeenth century to Bartholomew Smith of Winchester, who left two sons James and Bartholomew. The former in 1685 joined a religious order, and all the property passed to Bartholomew, who left three sons and four daughters. (fn. 139) The three sons died unmarried in the same year of small-pox, and one of the daughters became a nun. Consequently the manor was divided among the other three daughters, Elizabeth, Anastasia who married William Sheldon (fn. 140) of Winchester in 1728, and Frances who married Alexander Wells of Brambridge in 1733. (fn. 141) Elizabeth and Frances both died without issue, and consequently the whole manor became vested in Edward Sheldon (fn. 142) grandson of William and Anastasia, who mortgaged it in 1775 to Nicholas Baconneau. (fn. 143) The further history of the manor is uncertain, but it seems probable that Mr. R. Eyles of East Meon, who built the modern Bereleigh House at the beginning of the nineteenth century, bought up the whole estate, including the old manor-house, which by this time had probably fallen into decay. (fn. 144) The estate has been gradually added to during the last century, and has changed hands several times, the present owner being Mr. H. Curtis Gallup, who has recently purchased it from Col. Hudson.
The church of ALL SAINTS, EAST MEON, consists of chancel with south chapel, central tower, north and south transepts, and nave with south aisle and south porch. The south chapel and aisle are thirteenth-century additions, and the north and east walls of the chancel have been rebuilt, but with these exceptions the church has preserved its twelfth-century plan and much contemporary detail. It seems to have been begun about 1130–40, and shows no evidence of any earlier work on the site, unless the excess of width of the nave over the chancel and transepts, unusual in a cruciform building, points to the former existence of a nave and chancel church, which was enlarged at the date above given by building a tower on the site of the chancel and adding transepts and a chancel on the north, south, and east. Even if this be so, the plan only of the former nave can be said to survive, as there seems no difference between the masonry here and in the other twelfth-century parts of the building.
The details are exceptionally good, both in design and workmanship; the walls are of a uniform thickness of 4 ft., built in flint rubble with ashlar dressings, while the central tower is ashlar-faced. The stone is of admirable quality, and has preserved its original surface to a remarkable degree, the upper stage of the tower showing hardly a trace of decay. The work was probably carried on slowly, after the usual fashion, and the details of the west doorway of the nave are more advanced than those of the tower, suggesting a date of 1150–60. The south chapel seems to have been added at much the same time as the south aisle, and their details point to the beginning of the thirteenth century, though the windows of the south aisle are of somewhat later date. There are noticeable irregularities in the setting out of the east walls of the chancel and south chapel, and the north wall of the chancel seems to have been rebuilt at a different angle, the base of an older wall with a more northerly inclination showing on the outside, and ending 3 ft. 6 in. from the north-east angle of the present chancel. Modern alterations have made it difficult to assign a date to this work, but the arms of Prior Hinton and the monastery of St. Swithun of Winchester, on the east wall of the chancel, point to the fact of a repair or rebuilding of this part of the church between 1470 and 1498. The chancel has a modern east window of five lights with geometrical tracery, and there are no openings in the north wall. In the remains of the former north wall may be seen the lower stones of what are probably the jambs of a doorway. On the south side of the chancel is an arcade of two bays, with circular central column and half-round responds, and circular moulded bases and capitals. The arches are pointed, of two moulded orders with labels, all the detail being very good. The south or Lady chapel has an east window of late fifteenth-century style, of four lights, and a south window of three lights of similar character but rather better design, and to the west of the latter a south doorway with modern stonework. These windows are probably part of the work done by Prior Hinton, and at the south-east is a modern piscina with a shelf. Part of a thirteenth-century piscina, with a projecting moulded bowl, has lately been found, and may have belonged to this chapel.
The transepts were originally lighted by single round-headed windows, one in the east wall and one in the west, and probably a third of the same kind in the gable walls. The east and west windows in the south transept survive, having escaped alteration because they are covered by the roofs of the south chapel and aisle, but the south window in the south transept and all three windows in the north transept have given place to later two-light insertions. The north window of the north transept is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head, and dates from the second quarter of the fourteenth century, as does the rear arch of the east window. The tracery of this window is modern, as is all the stonework of the west window, below which a doorway has just been inserted (1906). In the course of this work a carefully-plastered cavity was found in the wall containing a human bone, apparently placed there at the time of the building of the transept, and probably a relic. There was nothing to show that its position had been marked on the wall-face.
The south window of the south transept, c. 1320, has two trefoiled lights with tracery under a triangular head, with a moulded rear arch and label. Above it, in the gable, are three modern lancet windows. In the east wall of this transept, adjoining the south-east pier of the tower, is an early thirteenth-century pointed arch of two chamfered orders, with squareedged chamfered strings at the springing, opening to the south chapel, and contemporary with it, while further to the south is a fourteenth-century opening cut straight through the wall, 6 ft. 8 in. wide, with an arched head, the wall being solid from the springing of the arch downwards. It marks the site of the altar in the transept.
The central tower is of three stages, the ground stage open on all four sides, with slightly stilted round-headed arches, each of three slightly recessed square orders, with a deep string at the springing. The jambs of the north and south arches are simply recessed, the member which takes the inner order of the arches being corbelled off a little below the springing, while the east and west arches are emphasized by half-round shafts to the inner order and nook-shafts to the outer, with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. The walls are ashlar-faced below the string and plastered above, with wrought quoins to the internal angles, up to the under side of the roofs.
The second stage of the tower has plain roundheaded openings on all four faces, and is reached by a wooden stair from the north-west angle of the south chapel, which leads to an opening in the east wall of the south transept, and thence by a landing to a narrow fifteenth-century doorway in the south-east of the tower.
Above the roofs the tower is faced with ashlar of excellent quality, and has bowtels at the angles. The third stage has a group of three windows in each face with round-headed arches of two orders, the outer plain and the inner with zigzag ornament. All have labels with billet ornament and jamb-shafts with scalloped capitals, and at their base a string with billet ornament runs round the tower. Above them is a second string with zigzag, and over that three circular openings on each face, with borders of zigzag, close to the eaves of the spire, which is a leaded octagonal broach of moderate height.
The nave had at first two north and two south windows, and probably one in the west wall, with west and south doorways, the steep rise of the ground to the north accounting for the absence of a north doorway. The west doorway remains in position, and the south doorway still exists, though reset in the wall of the south aisle, while the north-west window remains perfect, and traces of those on the north-east and south-east survive. The present north-east window is of the same type and date as that in the south wall of the south transept, while the west window is of three lights with modern tracery of fifteenth-century style, but early fourteenth-century window and rear arches of good detail. The original north-west window is a plain round-headed light, like those in the south transept.
The west doorway is of four orders, with a roundheaded arch, and nook-shafts to the second and third orders. The outer order is shallow and of square section, while the second order has an edge-roll between square fillets, the third a double line of horizontal zigzag, and the inner order is plain, as is also the rear arch. Of the nook-shafts, those to the second order have leaf-capitals, and those to the third order scallops. The abacus, which has a square upper edge and a hollow chamfer below, does not project beyond the outer wall face. The south doorway is of similar character, but has only one pair of shafts, and being set in a wall thinner than that in which it originally stood, its rear arch projects from the inner face. Even so it must have lost some of its masonry, as it is now only 3 ft. 4 in. deep, and must have been 4 ft. deep at the first.
The south arcade is of three bays, with octagonal columns, moulded capitals and bases, and pointed arches of three orders, the inner and outer orders chamfered, while the second order has an edge-roll. The western respond of the arcade has a semioctagonal shaft, and the eastern respond is plain and square. At the east end of the south aisle is a halfarch of the same detail and date as the south arcade, and close to its south respond a plastered recess with a low arched head of sixteenth-century date. In the south wall, east of the south porch, are two windows, each of two lancet lights, the eastern of the two having a quatrefoil above the lights and a flatter rear arch than the other. The masonry of the rear arch is also in larger stones, and it is possible that the quatrefoil is an addition, the arch being rebuilt when it was made. The west window of the aisle is of modern stonework, with a quatrefoil over a pair of lancets. The external south-west corner of the aisle is ashlar-faced, and has a bowtel on the angle.
The woodwork of the church is not ancient, and a great deal of new work has just been set up (1906), including new quire seats, and screens in the arcade between the chancel and south chapel. The altar has been brought forward from its former position against the east wall of the chancel, and a second altar fitted up in the south chapel.
A painting of the Doom over the west arch of the tower, discovered at a former repair of the church, has now entirely disappeared, and the only traces of ancient wall-decoration now existing, beyond remains of red colour in several places, are on the faces of the east responds of the north and south tower arches. They seem to be of thirteenth-century date, that on the north being a Crucifixion, while the other, which is very faint, shows nothing clearly except a crowned head.
The font, at the west end of the south aisle, is
one of the best examples of a class of black marble
fonts, almost certainly of foreign origin, which occur
in three other Hampshire churches, Winchester
Cathedral, St. Michael's Southampton, and St. Mary,
Bourne. It is fully described in V.C.H. Hants, ii,
244. There are no monuments of importance
in the church, but two wall tablets of rather
unusual character are to be seen in the south wall of
the chancel and the west wall of the south transept.
Both are framed in a moulding of late Gothic section,
and have inscriptions in somewhat heavy Roman
lettering—the former in Latin to the wife of Richard
Downes, 1659, and the latter in English:—
Here lyeth the body of Richard Smyther,
Who departed this life in hope of a better.
March 16, 1633.
In the pavement of the south transept is set a small piece of stone, inscribed in eighteenth-century lettering 'Amens Plenty,' to explain which a local legend has arisen that it commemorates some soldiers killed in the Civil Wars, and buried here hurriedly, with no more funeral rites than the repetition of many Amens. There is a ring of eight bells, the treble, second, seventh, and tenor, by Taylor of Loughborough, 1890, the third by Chapman & Mears, 1782, the fourth and fifth by Thomas Mears, 1834 and 1819, and the sixth by William Tosier, 1722.
The plate consists of a silver-gilt communion cup of 1747, with a paten of the same date, both given by Ambrose Dickins; a silver paten of 1751, and a plated flagon and spoon, the latter having a bowl embossed and gilt.
THE CHAPEL OF ST. NICHOLAS, WESTBURY
THE CHAPEL OF ST. NICHOLAS, WESTBURY, was annexed to the parish church of East Meon. In an account of the parish written in 1703 there is the following description of the chapel:— 'There is also another chapel at Westbury, but there is no service in it. Upon a loose gravestone in this chapel, narrower at the feet than at the head, is an ancient portraiture of a priest or a woman deeply carved but much defaced, which if taken up shows it to have anciently been a place of sepulture.' (fn. 145) The ruined chapel still stands in the grounds of Westbury House, and can be seen from the road leading to West Meon.
It is in plan a simple rectangle, (fn. 146) 35 ft. by 16 ft. within, and appears to belong to the end of the thirteenth century. A curious variation in the thickness of the walls is noticeable, the north wall being thicker than the rest, and the east wall markedly thinner. The entrance is by a doorway in the south wall of which the outer arch is destroyed, but the semicircular rear-arch remains. East and west of it are two-light windows, uncusped, with an uncusped opening in the head, that to the east being well preserved, (fn. 147) while the other is blocked. In the east wall are the jambs of a wider window, said to have been formerly of three trefoiled lights, and in the north wall the lower part of a two-light window corresponding to the eastern of the two windows in the south wall. Near the west end of this wall is a squareheaded opening low in the wall, with a wooden lintel, and evidently not in its original condition. The chapel is roofless and encumbered with destructive ivy, and preserves nothing of its ancient contents except a plain circular font at the west end, and near it part of a coffin slab, on which is the upper half of a figure in low relief under a gabled and crocketed canopy flanked by pinnacles, of early fourteenthcentury date. This would seem to have been complete at the time of writing of the Stowe MS. above quoted.
THE CHAPEL OF ST. MARY'S-IN-THE-FIELDS
THE CHAPEL OF ST. MARY'S-IN-THE-FIELDS in the tithing of East Meon was annexed to the parish church of East Meon. It was described in 1703 as 'quite down.' (fn. 148) The field called Fair Field or Chapel Close still marks its site.
In the various documents relating to Bereleigh there is usually mention of the advowson of the church of Bereleigh (fn. 149) which went with the manor. There is no church there now, nor was there one in early times. Possibly there was at one time a chapel here. During the seventeenth century and later, Bereleigh was the centre of a Jesuit community.
The modern church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, LANGRISH, a building of flint with stone dressings, in the Early English style, was erected in 1871, and a parish was assigned to it, as already mentioned, in 1894. The registers date from 1871.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a church in East Meon which was held by the bishop of Winchester together with six hides and one virgate. (fn. 150) All churches which appertained to the manor of East Meon were included in the grant of the manor made by Henry II to the church of Winchester, (fn. 151) and this grant was confirmed by King John in 1200. (fn. 152) In 1331, on the petition of John Stratford, bishop of Winchester, it was decreed that, on any future voidance of the see, the custody of the parish church of East Meon should be held by the prior and convent of the church of St. Swithun, Winchester, as belonging to the spiritualities of the see, and that the keepers of the temporalities should not intermeddle with the same as Robert de Welle and his fellows had done during the voidance of the see in the reign of Edward II. (fn. 153) The bishop of Winchester was patron of the living until 1852, (fn. 154) in which year it was decreed by Order in Council that on the next voidance of the see of Winchester the patronage of East Meon vicarage, with the chapelry of Froxfield and Steep, should be transferred to the bishop of Lichfield. (fn. 155) The bishop of Lichfield, however, finding it better to have patronage in his own diocese, exchanged East Meon with the Lord Chancellor, who gave up certain advowsons in Lichfield. The living is still in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.
In the thirteenth century the vicarage of East Meon was endowed with:—Tithes great and small from the four tenements of the hamlet of Froxfield, tithes great and small from the chapelry of Westbury annexed to the church of East Meon, all offerings belonging to the church of East Meon with the chapels annexed to it, viz. Froxfield, Steep, and St. Mary's-in-the-Field, five eggs payable at Easter from every man holding land in the parish of the motherchurch of East Meon and the hamlet and chapelry of Froxfield, all profits and fees arising from the punishment of offenders in the peculiar and exempt jurisdiction within the parish of East Meon and the chapelries adjacent to it, five quarters of corn from the granges of the bishop of Winchester, and ten acres of arable land. Henry de Woodlock, bishop of Winchester, had intended to augment the vicarage, but was prevented by death from doing so. Finally, in 1318, on the petition of Richard de Wardyngtone, perpetual vicar of the church of East Meon, it was augmented by John de Sendale, bishop of Winchester, who granted to the vicar and his successors for the bettering of the vicarage all small tithes of the parish of East Meon and chapelries annexed, viz. lambs, milk, cheese, calves, chickens, piglets, geese, eggs, mills, honey, hay, apples, pigeons, flax, and hemp. All other tithes he reserved to himself and his successors except tithes of wool from the chapelry of Westbury. (fn. 156)
In 1851 a piece of land containing 6 acres on Oxenbourn Down was awarded under 2 and 3 Vic. cap. 1 (Private Act) as to 5 acres for the growth of furze and fuel to be cut and used by the occupiers of small cottages not exceeding the annual value of £4 in the tithing of Oxenbourn, and as to 1 acre for a recreation ground. These allotments being at a distance from the village were in 1894 under an order of the Charity Commissioners exchanged for 3 acres 3 roods 37 poles in East Meon, known as Pill Meadow, of the annual value of £7, to be used as a recreation ground. Under the scheme the managers let the grazing, and apply the annual sum of £5 in the distribution of fuel among the poor of the tithing, and the surplus in maintaining the recreation ground.
Under the same award 5 acres for the right of cutting furze was allotted to the poor of the tithing of Ramsdean and 1 acre for a recreation ground. The tithing of Ramsdean now forms part of the parish of Langrish. (fn. 157)
In 1863 Mrs. Joanna Agnes Forbes by deed conveyed to trustees a piece of land containing 19 perches with almshouse buildings thereon upon trust to be occupied by poor persons of good character of upwards of sixty-five years of age. In 1904 an additional site having a frontage to Church Street was purchased, upon which it is proposed to erect new almshouses. The endowment funds consist of certain securities held by the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds producing £197 a year, who also hold £1,979 18s. 7d. consols, which is being accumulated. (fn. 158)