A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Newnham is a parish and pleasant village situated 1½ miles west from Hook station on the main line of the London and South Western Railway. The western boundary of the parish is formed by the River Lyde, which flows north from Andwell to join the Loddon, while part of the eastern boundary is formed by the River Whitewater, which works Hook Mill. The parish is on the whole low-lying, the highest point being occupied by the village in the south-west at a height of slightly over 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. The village is prettily situated, being grouped round a green a short distance north of the new main road from Basingstoke to London. The old coaching road ran past Newnham Green and St. Nicholas Church, which lies west of the green near the Manor Farm. The schools, built in 1843 and enlarged in 1875 and again in 1896, are south of the railway line near the Dorchester Arms, which is situated on the southern borders of the parish close to Hook Common. (fn. 1) Hook, of which a writer on Newnham of the early part of the 18th century says: 'I am informed that the family of Hooke have been possessors of Hooke in this parish for many generations,' (fn. 2) is situated mostly in this parish, although its station on the main line of the London and South Western Railway is in Odiham parish and Hook Common is comprised in Nately Scures. It mostly lies along the main road from Basingstoke to London, which is joined near one of the two White Hart Inns by the main road from Odiham to Reading. There are many modern residences, and the place is a growing one owing to the existence of its railway station. There is a large agricultural implement manufactory in the village, and bricks and tiles are also made in the parish.
The area is 1,401 acres of land and 3 acres of land covered by water. (fn. 3) The soil is a very fertile loam producing excellent crops of wheat, beans and oats. The subsoil is clay and gravel. On 8 December 1879 a detached portion of Nately Scures known as Holt was transferred to this parish. (fn. 4)
NEWNHAM formed part of Maplederwell (q.v.) until 1198, in which year Alan Basset lord of Maplederwell granted 3 hides of land in Newnham pertaining to his vill of Maplederwell to Hugh de Arundel to hold to him and his heirs of Alan and his heirs by the service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 8) In accordance with the terms of this grant successive lords of Maplederwell, the Earl Marshal, Hugh le Despenser the elder, and his grandson Hugh le Despenser, are returned as overlords of Newnham in 1275, 1316 and 1349 respectively, (fn. 9) and as late as 1464 Richard Nevill Earl of Warwick, lord of Maplederwell, claimed suit of court from the lord of Newnham. (fn. 10) Hugh de Arundel, who obtained Newnham in 1198, also held the manor of Upton Grey in the hundred of Bermondspit, being succeeded in possession of that estate by his son William de Arundel and by his grandson of the same name, (fn. 11) but how long this manor continued in possession of the Arundel family is unknown. By 1275 it had passed to Adam de St. Manefeo, who in that year was stated to be holding the fourth part of a knight's fee in Newnham of the Earl Marshal. (fn. 12) The St. Manefeos were also owners of Heckfield in the hundred of Holdshot, and from this date Newnham followed the descent of that manor (q.v.) for nearly a century and a half. In 1346 Robert de St. Manefeo was holding the fourth part of a fee in Newnham formerly belonging to John de St. Manefeo, (fn. 13) and his descendant John de St. Manefeo, son and heir of Thomas de St. Manefeo, gave up all his right in the manor to Robert Fulmere and others in 1381. (fn. 14) In 1395 this manor together with Heckfield was settled on Edward Bokeland and Amice his wife and the issue of Amice, with contingent remainder to Sir Philip la Vache and his issue, with contingent remainder to the right heir; of Amice. (fn. 15) Amice leaving no children, (fn. 16) Sir Philip la Vache succeeded to Newnham in 1405, (fn. 17) but died without issue about three years later. (fn. 18) The history of the manor for a short time after this is obscure, but by 1428 it had passed into the possession of Thomas Stukeley, who in that year was stated to be holding the fourth part of a fee in Newnham, formerly belonging to Robert de St. Manefeo. (fn. 19) Thomas was succeeded by John Stukeley, who at the view of frankpledge held at Basingstoke on 14 November 1461 was fined 12d. because he had made the ford badly which was on the common road at Newnham in Wildmore, and another 12d. because the gate at the end of the lane leading from Newnham to Wildmore was broken and badly fastened. (fn. 20) At the view of frankpledge held at Basingstoke on 17 November 1464 the tithingman of Newnham presented that John Stukeley, the lord of Newnham, made his pound in an unknown place and impounded there pigs of William Dene, to the great damage of William and contrary to the custom of the manor of Basingstoke. (fn. 21) In the same year John Stukeley complained that John atte Field, the bailiff of Richard Nevill Earl of Warwick, unjustly detained seventeen of his cattle in the pound at Maplederwell. (fn. 22) John atte Field maintained that he impounded them in lieu of a sum of 6s. 8d. which John Stukeley owed the Earl of Warwick as his superior lord for issues and amercements of his court of Maplederwell, but the case was finally decided on 22 December 1464 in the plaintiff's favour and the defendant fined 12d. (fn. 23) In 1502 the same John Stukeley or his son and namesake was fined 8d. for failing to attend two of the Basingstoke hundred courts, (fn. 24) and further details about the Stukeley family can be learned from an undated petition—probably of the reign of Elizabeth—in which John Stukeley complained that 'whereas he was seised of a parcel of ground called Shirland Crofte, in the parish of Newnham, one Richard Rythe entered by force and drove away five kine belonging to suppliant's father. Action was brought against Rythe, and the court awarded that the complainant's father should have deliverance of his cattle and 5s. damages. Notwithstanding this, Rythe has grievously maimed and wounded complainant's brother in an ale-house, and also put complainant's father in jeopardy of his life in the churchyard.' (fn. 25) The exact date at which Newnham passed from the Stukeleys is uncertain, but William Paulet third Marquess of Winchester was seised of three-quarters of the manor at his death in 1598, (fn. 26) and his son and successor William the fourth marquess dealt with the whole manor by fine in 1609. (fn. 27) From this date Newnham continued with the Marquesses of Winchester and their descendants for over two centuries. (fn. 28) William Powlett Lord Bolton was the owner in 1816, (fn. 29) but soon afterwards parted with the manor, the purchaser, however, being unknown. In 1829 James Warne, three times Mayor of Basingstoke, (fn. 30) sold a quarter of the manor to Timothy Luff Mullens, (fn. 31) who was Mayor of Basingstoke 1808–9 and died in 1833. (fn. 32) Shortly afterwards Guy Carleton third Lord Dorchester purchased the whole manor, and it is now in the possession of his eldest daughter Henrietta Anne, who was created Baroness Dorchester in 1899. (fn. 33)
Lyde Mill, worked by the River Lyde, probably marks the site of one of the two mills comprised in Maplederwell in 1086. (fn. 34) In the 17th century there were no fewer than five mills here; Henry Deane, at his death in 1610, being in possession of two water corn-mills and three water fulling mills in Newnham called Lyde Mills, which he held of the Marquess of Winchester as of his manor of Newnham. (fn. 35)
The earliest work in the church dates from the first quarter of the 12th century, and the existing nave and chancel are upon the original foundations and contain much of the walling of that time; but an extensive restoration of the church in 1847–8 by the then Lord Dorchester has destroyed all further evidence of the history of the building. The 12th-century work is found in the chancel arch, the west doorway of the nave, and the south and east doorways of the tower. The structure, except for some roof timbers and part of a mediaeval gravestone, is modern.
The chancel has an east window of three roundheaded lights, and a single similar light in either side wall. The chancel arch has jambs of two square orders on the west face, with detached shafts in the outer order, and all its details have an early look; the bases of the shafts are of two rolls of almost equal diameter, and the capitals are simple cushions, the southern one ornamented with a pair of volutes springing from a banded stem at the angle of the capital. The arch is semicircular, of two orders, the inner square, the outer moulded with an edge roll and filleted hollow; with an outer ring of a small triangular ornament.
The nave has three modern round-headed windows a side of very poor design, but the west doorway has old shafts and capitals. The north capital is carved with three early volutes, and the other has a small human head with long ears at the angle, from which issue two knotted and twisted tails; the abaci and arch are modern.
The doorway from the nave into the tower is also old work, entirely plain with a round head, and the south doorway of the tower has old jambs of two square orders with detached angle shafts and early cushion capitals; the arch is round and moulded with an edge-Foil between two shallow hollows. The tower is modern, of very poor 12th-century style, its walls ending in gables and a pyramidal leaded roof set diagonally.
The roof of the chancel is gabled, with arched braces under the collars and purlins with carved wind-braces; the nave is similar, but has plain tiebeams; both have been covered with a dark stain, which makes it difficult to distinguish new work from old.
All the fittings, including the plain octagonal font, are modern. In the tower is a panel with the arms of George I. In the north wall of the chancel is part of an early 14th-century gravestone. It is incised with the head and shoulders of a tonsured and bearded priest, apparelled in alb and chasuble, under a trefoiled canopy; the only part of the marginal inscription remaining is + 'Hic jacet.'
The plate consists of a silver chalice, paten cover, paten and flagon of 1725 (see Maplederwell), a silvergilt chalice, paten cover, paten and flagon of 1730, and a silver alms dish of 1840 given in memory of George Wylie, for thirty-four years rector of the parish.
The registers begin in 1725, the first book containing baptisms from 1725 to 1812, and burials 1755 to 1812. The second book is a duplicate of part of the first, containing baptisms 1725 to 1798 and burials 1754 to 1788. The third book has marriages from 1754 to 1812.
An iron mission church was built at Hook in 1886 at the sole expense of the Rev. Andrew Wallace Milroy, M.A., late rector of Newnham. The church possesses a plated flagon, chalice and paten given by Dr. Harold Browne, Bishop of Winchester.
Adam de Port on the day of the dedication of Newnham Chapel granted it together with the tithes of Newnham and Maplederwell to the abbey of St. Vigor of Cerisy, of which Monk Sherborne was a cell. (fn. 36) The Prior and convent of Monk Sherborne acted as patrons of the church, (fn. 37) receiving a pension of £2 from the rector (fn. 38) until the general suppression of the alien houses. The advowson was transferred with the other possessions of Monk Sherborne to the hospital of St. Julian or God's House, Southampton, by Edward IV, (fn. 39) and from this time the rectors have been presented by the Provost and fellows of Queen's College, Oxford, as guardians of that hospital. (fn. 40)
This parish participates in the Duke of Bolton's Charity founded by will of 9 April 1694 (see Basingstoke Municipal Charities). The sum of £6 per annum is distributed in small sums amongst the poor, preference being given to poor widows.