A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Winchfield is a parish to the north-east of Odiham containing 1,582 acres of land, and 9 acres of land covered by water. The London and South Western Railway passes through the north of the parish and has a station, called Winchfield Station, at Shapley Heath. The high road from Odiham to Staines divides about a quarter of a mile south of Potbridge, and one branch leads to Winchfield station, rejoining the main road at Shapley Heath. Part of the Basingstoke Canal passes through the south of the parish.
The little village of Winchfield lies on the road from Pilcot, a hamlet in Dogmersfield, to Hartley Row; it consists of a few cottages, Hurst Farm and the 'Barley Mow,' with the Old Barley Mow Farm on the opposite side of the bridge over the Basingstoke Canal. The church, rectory, and school, and the Court House Farm (fn. 1) lie some distance to the west of the village, but the chief part of the population of the parish is collected at Shapley Heath near the station. Hartley Wintney Union Workhouse is in Winchfield parish in the south-eastern part of the village.
The parish is low in the north near the railway, the average level being about 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, but the land rises in the west and south to between 250 ft. and 300 ft. The parish is well-wooded by small copses, and there are parks at Winchfield House, (fn. 2) the seat of the Beauclerk family, lately occupied by Lady Margaret Crichton Maitland, but now vacant, and at Winchfield Lodge, the residence of Mr. Spencer Charrington. The former park covers about 80 acres of well-wooded ground and contains a small lake.
In 1905 there were in the parish 601 acres of arable, 564 acres of permanent grass, and 159 acres of woodland. (fn. 3) The soil is light with a subsoil of clay, producing crops of wheat, oats, barley, and roots.
Thomas Tanner the historian became rector of Winchfield in 1679, and died there in 1682. His chief work is The Entrance of Mazzarini. (fn. 4)
Place names which occur in connexion with Winchfield are Manewood and Great and Little Hameseye. (fn. 5)
According to a charter contained in the registers of Chertsey Abbey thirty mansae at WINCHFIELD and Elvetham formed part of the endowment of the abbey of Chertsey by Frithwald, subregulus of Surrey in 675. (fn. 6) Considerable doubts have however been cast on the authenticity of the charter containing this grant, (fn. 7) and the entry in the Domesday Book for Winchfield seems to be in direct contradiction to it, for it is there stated that in the time of King Edward the Confessor Alwin had held the manor of the king as an alod, and that it had not formerly been held by the abbey, though it was so held at the time of the Survey. (fn. 8) Probably the manor had been granted to the abbey by King William, as stated by Henry I in a charter confirming the manor to that house. (fn. 9) The manor was confirmed to the abbey in 1175 by Pope Alexander III. (fn. 10) The overlordship remained in the possession of the abbey till the 14th century, but is not mentioned after 1328. (fn. 11)
At the time of the Survey the manor was held under the abbey of Chertsey by Walter Fitz Other. (fn. 12) It passed before the beginning of the 13th century to the Bendengs, who held land at Liss, Odiham, and Elvetham at an early date. Stephen de Bendeng was a tenant of the abbey of Chertsey in 1166, (fn. 13) and in 1207 King John gave all Maurice de Bendeng's land in Winchfield and Hartley to John Fitz Hugh. (fn. 14) Restitution must have been made shortly after, as Maurice appears as one of the knights of the abbey of Chertsey in 1211–12 holding half a knight's fee, (fn. 15) and in 1213 Stephen son of Maurice de Bendeng had livery of all his father's lands in Hampshire. (fn. 16) In 1230–1 an agreement was made between Stephen and Peter de Bendeng by which Peter granted to Stephen the manor of Winchfield, with the exception of the advowson of the church, to be held by Stephen of Peter for the service of three-quarters of a knight's fee. (fn. 17) Peter de Bendeng held the manor in 1279–80, and claimed there view of frankpledge, the assize of bread and ale, tumbril, and pillory. (fn. 18) He granted two-thirds of the manor in 1288–9 to Ralph de Sandwich, with the reversion of a messuage and a mill and six virgates of land in the manor which John de Cheverdon and Alda his wife held for the life of Alda, who was the widow of Stephen de Bendeng. (fn. 19) In 1316 the manor belonged to Sir Fulk Payfrere, (fn. 20) who seems to have been a tenant only for a term of years, or possibly as the second husband of Julia widow of Sir Ralph de Sandwich. (fn. 21) Julia de Leyburn, daughter and heir of Sir Ralph de Sandwich, died seised of the manor in 1327–8, (fn. 22) and her heir was her granddaughter Julia, daughter of Thomas de Leyburn. (fn. 23) This lady was married three times, first to Sir John de Hastings, secondly to Thomas le Blount, who was her husband at the time of her grandmother's death, (fn. 24) and thirdly to William de Clinton, upon whom the manor was settled in 1328–9. (fn. 25) In 1331–2 William and Julia granted the manor to Henry de Leyburn for life with reversion to them and the heirs of Julia. (fn. 26) William was created Earl of Huntingdon in 1336–7, (fn. 27) and was holding the manor at the time of his death in 1354. (fn. 28) Julia survived him, (fn. 29) and in 1362–3 the manor was settled on her for life with remainder to the king. (fn. 30) She died in 1367, and the reversion of the manor after the death of Robert de Kimberley, (fn. 31) a tenant for life, was granted by Edward III to trustees, who in 1382 granted it to the dean and canons of the chapel or college of St. Stephen, Westminster. (fn. 32)
The manor was granted in 1550 to Thomas, Earl of Southampton, (fn. 35) who sold it in 1550–1 to Edward, Duke of Somerset, (fn. 36) on whose forfeiture in 1552 it again passed to the Crown. It was leased for twentyone years to John Belmayne in 1552, (fn. 37) and in the same year it was granted in fee to Sir John Mason. (fn. 38) It descended in the Mason family till 1591, when it was sold by John Mason to James Rudyerd. (fn. 39) He died in 1611 and was succeeded by his son Lawrence, (fn. 40) on whose death in 1621 the manor passed to his son Lawrence. (fn. 41) From Lawrence it passed in 1634 to his brother James, (fn. 42) and he was succeeded in 1638 by his brother Benjamin, (fn. 43) who died in 1675. James Rudyerd, son of this Benjamin, died in 1687 and was succeeded by his brother Benjamin, who dying in 1734 devised the manor to his three grandsons, Benjamin, James, and Lawrence, the sons of John Rudyerd, for their lives, and in default of their issue to his daughters Mary, wife of James Tichborne of Aldershot, and Frances, as tenants in common. (fn. 44) The three grandsons and Frances died without issue, and the estate was sold by the trustees of the will of Benjamin Rudyerd in 1767 to Lord George Beauclerk. (fn. 45) A conveyance to Anthony Pye of a moiety of the manor in 1768 by Nicholas Mayhew and his wife Frances and Mary Lodge, widow, (fn. 46) was probably made for the purpose of vesting their interest as heirs at law of Benjamin Rudyerd their grandfather, of Lawrence Rudyerd their brother, and of their aunt Frances, in Lord George Beauclerk or in his widow Margaret, for Lord George died in that year leaving no issue. (fn. 47) Sir Henry Tichborne, bart., son of James and Mary Tichborne, released all his right in a moiety of the manor in 1789 to Lady Margaret Beauclerk, (fn. 48) who resided at Winchfield till her death in 1792. (fn. 49) By her will she left the manor to her two nephews William and George Bainbridge for their lives with remainder to Lord Amelius Beauclerk, son of Aubrey fifth Duke of St. Albans and great-nephew of Lord George Beauclerk. (fn. 50) Lord Amelius died without issue in 1846 and was succeeded by his brother the Rev. Lord Frederick Beauclerk, on whose death in 1850 the manor passed to his son Charles William Beauclerk. Mr. Frederick Edward Beauclerk son of the latter sold the property in 1908 to Mr. S. Charrington, (fn. 51) who bought it in trust for his son.
The tenement called CHIVERTON, now represented by Chiverton's Farm, in the west of Winchfield, near the Odiham and Staines high road, takes its name from its owners in the 13th century. John de Cheverdon and Alda his wife acquired land in Winchfield in 1255–6 from William de Stratton, (fn. 52) and in 1279 Peter de Bendeng granted to John de Cheverdon a messuage and two parts of a mill and some land at Winchfield to be held by John for life with reversion to Peter, (fn. 53) and this estate was still held by John in 1288–9. (fn. 54) John obtained a further grant of land at Winchfield in the following year from William Bidon, (fn. 55) and in 1304–5 the estate was settled on John de Cheverdon and his wife Joan. (fn. 56) The estate seems afterwards to have become annexed to the manor of Winchfield, for it was granted with it in 1550 to Thomas, Earl of Southampton, as a late possession of the college of St. Stephen, Westminster, (fn. 57) and was sold by the earl in 1550–1 to the Duke of Somerset. (fn. 58)
A mill at Winchfield is mentioned in 1279, (fn. 59) but no further records have been found of any mills, and none exist in the parish at the present day.
The church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, west tower, and south porch, and a small north vestry and heating chamber. The nave and chancel are of mid-12th-century date, while the tower was added a little later, probably shortly after their completion. The porch was added in the latter part of the 15 th century, but except for this the church remained in its original state up to modern times. In the middle of the last century the upper stage of the tower was rebuilt and the north aisle and vestry, &c, were added. New windows were also inserted in the nave and chancel.
The east window of the chancel is modern and of 12th-century design, with somewhat anachronistic banded shafts at the inner angles, and external shafts, but otherwise of similar design to the windows described below. There are four symmetrically placed windows in the north and south walls of the chancel, all of 12th-century date. The openings are very narrow, on an average about 9 in., and have small external glazing rebates and round heads. The internal splays are very wide, and on their jambs and continued on the rear arches is a band of zigzag ornament. The first window on the south has been cut down in modern times to form a sedile. In the east jamb is a small recess formed by reversing the double zigzag and carrying it inwards. A part of this is modern and contains the capital of a modern pillar piscina, but the upper half is original and was probably intended for a similar purpose to its present one. On the east wall to the south is a trefoiled recess with moulded jambs and head. Between the two windows on the north is a small modern roundheaded door to the vestry. The chancel arch is of most unusual detail and is of mid-12th-century date. It is semicircular and on the west is of two highly ornamented moulded orders with a label enriched with zigzag and acanthus leaf. The outer order has a broad band of zigzag, the inner has a curious wavy ornament to which the outline is cut, forming a multifoiled head to the arch, the cusps having long rolls extending through the whole width of the order. This inner order rests upon double keeled shafts half engaged in the square respond of the inner order of the jamb. The shafts have well-moulded Attic bases and varied capitals enriched with foliage, and just above the necking a band of flat vertical leaves strongly reminiscent of the 'water-leaf of the Corinthian capital. The outer order of the jamb has two-way vertical zigzag on the angle and circular shafts with Attic bases, and on the north a capital ornamented with foliage, and on the south a capital with curious concave scallops. The abaci of all six capitals are the same and common to each set, enriched with a cable mould with small nail heads in the twist. On the east the arch is quite plain. North and south of the chancel arch are plain square squints now wholly restored. South again of the south squint is an arched recess in the west face of the wall which joins a similar continuation in the south wall of the nave.
The whole of the north side of the nave is filled with a modern arcade of 14th-century design with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders and octagonal columns with moulded capitals enriched with ball-flower. On the south are two windows of two trefoiled lights with modern tracery of 13th-century detail. Between them is the south door of the same date and similar design to the chancel arch. It is of two moulded orders, but the label is plain and the inner order uncusped, and both orders are shafted. The capitals are foliate in various patterns and one has slim angular scallops. At the angle of the outer order is a vertical course of zigzag set at an angle of 45 degrees to the wall face.
The tower arch is of slightly later detail than the chancel arch and south door. It is round-headed and with a keeled roll and a chamfer, and a moulded label. Both orders are shafted, the inner having semiengaged shafts. The capitals are of varied design, and with those of the chancel arch and the south door furnish examples of nearly every type of 12th-century foliate and scalloped capital. The inner capital on the north is a curious example of the concave scalloped type, the circular heads of the scallops being interlaced. The tower itself is of three stages and is unusually large considering the size of the rest of the church. The top stage is modern with belfry openings of 12th-century design and two round-headed lights with a shaft in between. There are no lights in the second stage.
The north aisle is completely modern except for the north door. It is lit on the north by a modern window of two trefoiled lights and two modern single trefoil lights with a similar window at the west, while to the east is a modern window of 14th-century design and three trefoil lights. The north door is of late 12th-century date, removed from the old north wall of the nave and reset in a gable in the third bay of the modern north wall. It has a two-centred head of a chamfered and a moulded order, the latter continuous, the former carried on restored circular shafts with capitals enriched with transitional foliage. There is a plain external label.
The south porch is of late 15th or early 16th-century date. The entrance has a four-centred head with a narrow double chamfer. The vestry is quite modern and is ingeniously planned so as to avoid interference with the windows of the chancel.
The roofs and seating are all quite modern except for two plain bench ends incorporated with the modern work which are of uncertain date, but may be of considerable age. In the vestry is a small table of mid-17th-century date. The font has an old octagonal bowl of Purbeck marble with plain sunk round-headed arcading. It is of late 12th-century date, but has been patched and scraped. The stem is modern. The pulpit is a rather elaborate example of the first half of the 17th century with panels in two ranges, the lower worked into strapped frames containing small grotesques, the upper in small round arches with palms in pots, floral designs, &c. The chancel rails are of early 18th-century date with carved and turned balusters.
Externally the church has walls of flint rubble, in whole flints in the original parts of the nave, tower, and chancel. The angles are quoined in freestone all much scraped and restored, as is most of the dressad stonework throughout. The roofs are steep pitched and tiled, with overhanging eaves.
In the nave is a brass inscription plate, partly hidden by the pews, to Elizabeth Tylney, daughter of Anthony Niccols of Paddington and widow of Richard Tylmey of 'Rotherweek'; she was first married to Lawrence Rudyerd of Winchfield, by whom she had three sons and three daughters. She died in 1652. The arms are Rudyerd impaling a a fesse between three lions' heads razed for Niccols. The Rudyerd arms also appear in brass on a slab in the north aisle, of which the inscription is lost. In the north aisle is another brass with an inscription to Frances (Camvil), 1652, the wife of Benjamin Rudyerd, by whom she had six children. Three shields are given, the first bearing three molets; the second a wheatsheaf; and the third Rudyerd impaling three molets. In the same part of the church is a gravestone to Bridget (Godson), the wife of Benjamin Rudyerd, 1733, with the arms of Rudyerd impaling a cheveron between three lions passant. There are also stones to Lawrence Rudyerd, son and heir to James Rudyerd, 1621, who married the above Elizabeth (Niccols); to James, eldest son of Benjamin Rudyerd, 1687, with the arms of Rudyerd quartering a cross formy fitchy, on an escutcheon in pretence three molets; crest a leopard's head; to James Rudyerd, 1611, who married Mary (Kidwelly), by whom he had five sons and two daughters; to Benjamin Rudyerd 1675 and his wife Frances (Jay), widow of Sir Thomas Jervoise, 1679; and to their daughter Bridget, 1690.
The tower contains three bells. The treble is inscribed, 'Henri Knight Made Me 1617.' The second, 'Sancta Margrita ora pro nobis' in black letter smalls with the mark of a Winchester founder, as at Stoke Charity, probably John Sanders; and the third, 'Sancte Peter or . . .' in black letter smalls with crowned Gothic capitals, with the marb of the 15th-century Wokingham and Reading foundry, of which Roger Landon is the best known master.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms between 1660 and 1804, marriages between 1660 and 1807, and burials between 1659 and 1804. The continuations of the baptisms and burials up to 1812 appear to have been lost, but there is a printed book containing marriages between 1754 and 1812.
The advowson of the church of Winchfield followed the same descent as the manor (fn. 60) until the death of Lawrence Rudyerd in 1757. (fn. 61) Instead of passing with the manor to his aunts, Frances and Mary Tichborne, it passed to his sisters Mary Lodge and Frances, wife of Nicholas Mayhew, by whom it was sold in 1767 to the Rev. Ellis St. John. It was sold by his son Henry in 1848 to Lady St. John-Mildmay, (fn. 62) from whom it has passed to Sir Henry P. St. John-Mildmay, bart., the present patron.