A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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SHERBORNE ST. JOHN.
Sherborne St. John is a large parish situated 2 miles north from Basingstoke station and containing 3,972 acres, of which 1,710 acres are arable land, 916 acres permanent grass and 499¾ acres woods and plantations. (fn. 1) A Roman road from Winchester to Silchester cuts through the parish, and it is also intersected from south to north by the main road from Basingstoke to Reading. The old coach road, called also the Aldermaston and Basingstoke turnpike, joined the Bath Road at Beenham (Berks.). The Bow Brook, or Little Loddon, forms its northern boundary, separating the parish from Bramley. The height above the ordnance datum varies generally between 200 and 300 ft., although a height of 453 ft. is attained in the extreme south near Park Prewett Farm. The Wey Brook, known locally as the 'Sher,' rises in the west of the parish and skirts the north of the village, flowing thence in a northerly direction to empty itself into Bow Brook at the north-eastern extremity of the parish. The Vyne lies a short distance north-east of the village. The park, which is about 100 acres in extent, abounds with fine old oak and other excellent timber, and contains a large lake formed by the widening of Wey Brook. Beaurepaire House in the north (an ancient mansion surrounded by a moat) stands in a well-timbered park of about 280 acres, which extends into Bramley Parish. The soil is part chalk and part clay and sand, and therefore there is an abundance of good water from good springs. The chief crops raised are wheat, barley and roots. The following place-names are found in documents relating to the parish: —Holemore (fn. 2) (xiii cent.); Wachedene, Cufoldesaker, Previtteschernaker, Brokaker, (fn. 3) Stokbriggeslond, (fn. 4) Pepirlond, (fn. 5) La Machelebruchet, (fn. 6) La Frateresmed, (fn. 7) Cokysplace, (fn. 8) Le Pynmour, Le Burchettes, (fn. 9) Le Eldelond, (fn. 10) La Berncrofte, Pollardescrofte, La Walsshcrofte (fn. 11) (xiv cent.); Anthmanys, Ostagyscrofte, Ostagslane, Mulwelyssh, (fn. 12) Levotelane, Le Russhelese, (fn. 13) Danyslond, Holmerslond, Cryps, (fn. 14) Joyes, Leches, Hylhend (fn. 15) (xv cent.); Cowkesgrove, Wythege Wood, Lyllyngdown Common (fn. 16) (xvi cent.).
The manor of SHERBORNE ST. JOHN, which had been held before the Conquest by Ulveva or Wulfgifu, belonged to Hugh de Port in 1086. (fn. 17) It continued in the possession of the Ports and their successors the St. Johns, following precisely the same descent as Basing (q.v.) until 1329, (fn. 18) when John de St. John lord of Basing granted it for life to Edward de St. John. (fn. 19) Edward de St. John died in 1348, and the king committed the custody of the manor to Bartholomew de Burghersh, (fn. 20) but the following year ordered him to deliver it up to the sisters and co-heirs of Edmund de St. John the grandson of John, who had died in 1347, (fn. 21) Margaret the wife of Sir John de St Philibert and Isabel the wife of Sir Luke de Poynings. (fn. 22) A final partition of the St. John lands was made between the heiresses in 1355, Sherborne St. John falling to the share of Margaret. (fn. 23) Margaret died in 1 362, leaving as her heir an infant son John, but the latter only survived his mother a month, (fn. 24) and the manor of Sherborne St. John consequently passed to Isabel de Poynings. (fn. 25) On the death of Isabel in 1393, her son Sir Thomas de Poynings succeeded to the manor. (fn. 26) He apparently settled it in his lifetime upon his son Hugh, for he was not seised of it at his death in 1428, (fn. 27) and 'Hugh de St. John son and heir of Lord Thomas Poynings Lord de St. John' presented to the church during the episcopacy of Henry Beaufort. (fn. 28) This Hugh predeceased his father, leaving a widow Eleanor and three daughters Joan, Constance and Alice. (fn. 29) On the death of Eleanor, who held the manor in dower, Sherborne St. John was apparently assigned to Alice, who married first John Orell and secondly Sir Thomas Kyngeston and died in 1439. (fn. 30) Her son Thomas Kyngeston died seised of the manor in 1506, leaving as his heir his grandson John, (fn. 31) who obtained livery of his lands on coming of age in 1511. (fn. 32) John died in 1514, leaving a widow Susan, to whpm onethird of the manor was assigned in dower. He was succeeded by his brother Nicholas, (fn. 33) who died without issue two years later. His heir was his sister Mary the wife of Thomas Lisle, (fn. 34) who died seised of two-thirds of the manor and the reversion of the other third after the death of Susan Kyngeston in 1539. (fn. 35) Her only son Francis had died before her, leaving no issue, and on the death of her husband some three years later the property, which she had inherited from her brothers and they in their turn from their grandfather, was divided among the descendants of her paternal aunts Margaret Gorfen and Katherine Malory, viz. (1) William Gorfen son and heir of Margaret Gorfen, (2) Margery wife of John Cope, daughter of Katherine Malory, (3) Katherine wife of Thomas Andrewes and Margaret wife of Thomas Boughton, daughters of Dorothy Malory, daughter of Katherine Malory. (fn. 36) Sherborne St. John was assigned to Katherine and Thomas Andrewes, (fn. 37) who sold it in 1550 to Thomas Lord Sandys of the Vyne. Its further history is identical with that of the Vyne, (fn. 38) which is traced in detail below.
Three mills worth 27s. 6d. belonged to the manor at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 39) One was apparently included in William de St. John's grant of the Beaurepaire estate to Bartholomew Pecche, and is probably represented by the modern Beaurepaire Mill. Henry de Port, the founder of the priory of Monk Sherborne, granted to that house in his foundation charter the mill of Sherborne by the fishpond. (fn. 40) This mill paid the prior and convent a mark of silver a year and ground their corn free of charge until the time of Adam de Port grandson of Henry, who recovered it from the priory, granting in exchange in free alms the tithes of all his mills in Sherborne. He also agreed that if the tithes of the mills did not produce a mark a year the deficit should be made good from the rents of the mills, and moreover made the following promise: 'Et habebunt omnem molituram domus suae quietam in praedictis molendinis, ita quod quandocunque servientes monachorum venerint ad molendinum causa molendi, molendino non molente, statim molent, et si quern molentem invenierint, statim post ipsum molent, nisi bladum domini fundi praesens affuerit quod debet praecedere.' (fn. 41) Two water-mills and a fishpond in Sherborne St. John are mentioned in the inquisition on the death of John de St. John in 1302. (fn. 42) This fishpond was not included in the lease of the manor to Edward de St. John in 1329, but continued in possession of John de St. John. It was assigned in dower to his widow Alice, and on her death reverted to Edmund de St. John, who died seised in 1347. (fn. 43) The mill by the fishpond is still in existence; the site of the other is probably marked by a mill-pool in Wey Brook, a short distance north of the village.
William de St. John inclosed his park of Sherborne which was within the bounds of Pamber Forest with a dike and a hedge, and in 1245 his son Robert de St. John, in return for a payment of 100 marks, obtained licence to keep it so inclosed, as also a promise from the king that it should be quit of waste, regard, and view of foresters, verderers and regarders. (fn. 44)
Edward I granted John de St. John permission to inclose 100 acres of woodland and pasture in his manor of Sherborne St. John within the bounds of the forest of Pamber, and to make a park there without impediment from the king or his officers. (fn. 45) These grants mark the formation of the parks of Prevet and Morgaston which are mentioned as appurtenances of the manor in 1302. (fn. 46) Like Sherborne fishpond, these parks were not included in the grant of the manor to Edward de St. John, but passed to Alice de St. John in 1329 (fn. 47) and from her to Edmund de St. John. (fn. 48) Their sites are marked at the present day by Morgaston Wood, which is situated about half a mile north of the village, and by the farm of Park Prewett, in the extreme south of the parish.
The estate known up to the beginning of the 16th century as the manor of SHERBORNE or SHERBORNE COUDRAY and subsequently as THE VYNE formed part of the manor of Sherborne St. John until the reign of Henry II, when John de Port grandson of Hugh de Port granted it to William Fitz Adam (fn. 49) to hold of him and his heirs as of the manor of Sherborne St. John by the service of the fifth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 50) William Fitz Adam, who was the founder of the chantry chapel of The Vyne, was still alive in 1202, (fn. 51) but how long he subsequently held the manor is unknown. Less than forty years afterwards it was in the possession of Fulk de Coudray, who granted it, together with the manor of Padworth (co. Berks.), to Maud de Herriard and Nicholas her son for their lives in exchange for the manor of Herriard which Maud granted to Fulk and his heirs for ever. (fn. 52) Fulk died seised of the manor circa 1251, leaving as his heir his son Peter, aged fourteen. (fn. 53) In the following year the king granted Peter's wardship and marriage, in return for a payment of 300 marks, to Ralph Fitz Nicholas, (fn. 54) concerning whom the following presentment was made in 1256:—'Ralph Fitz Nicholas withdrew the suit at the hundred court of Basingstoke which he was accustomed to make for the manor of Sherborne which was formerly Fulk de Coudray's. This he did four years ago.' (fn. 55) Peter de Coudray obtained licence to inclose Cufald Wood in Sherborne within the bounds of Pamber Forest in 1268, (fn. 56) and twelve years later by the production of a charter of Richard I proved his right to free chase for cats, hares and foxes throughout the whole hundred of Basingstoke. (fn. 57) In 1281 he leased the manor for life to John de Wyntershull and Amice his wife. (fn. 58) The lessees within the short space of two years felled eighty oaks in Sherborne Coudray Park, and in 1283, to pay for the damage they had done, they were obliged to give up their life interest in 100 shillingsworth of land in Herriard and Southrope which they had of the gift of Peter, and to enter into an agreement allowing Peter and his heirs to take whatever timber from the park they might require for building, as also yearly one buck de pinguedine and one doe de fermeysina, with pasture for twelve oxen and cows free of herbage and twenty pigs free of pannage. (fn. 59) In 1292 John de Wyntershull, his wife being dead, gave up his lease of the manor to Peter de Coudray in return for an annuity of £22 and permission to take yearly from the park one buck de pinguedine and one doe de Jermeysina. (fn. 60) Peter de Coudray before 1305 had been succeeded by his son Thomas de Coudray, (fn. 61) who was afterwards knighted and continued in possession (fn. 62) until his death in 1348. (fn. 63) His kinsman and heir Fulk de Coudray leased the manor for eleven years to Robert de Burton, and in 1355 granted the reversion after the expiration of that term to William de Fifhide, (fn. 64) who died in 1361. (fn. 65) His son and heir William obtained livery of his lands in 1365 soon after coming of age, (fn. 66) and in 1371 leased the manor-house of Sherborne Coudray to William Gregory of Basingstoke for certain considerations, including the payment of one rose at the Feast of St. John the Baptist, reserving, however, 'the park and the right of presentation to the chapel,' while Gregory covenanted to keep in repair 'the hall and the adjoining chambers and the grange and the chapel at the house. (fn. 67) On his death in 1386 William was succeeded by his cousin Joan the wife of Sir John Sandys, (fn. 68) a knight of the shire for Hampshire and governor of Winchester Castle. Joan married as her second husband, Sir Thomas Skelton, (fn. 69) and was followed by her son Sir Walter Sandys, who, not foreseeing that Sherborne Coudray was about to become the principal residence of his family, 'gave it out' (says Leland) to his daughter Joan on her marriage to William Brocas of Beaurepaire about 1420. (fn. 70) This latter Joan occupied the manor-house during her widowhood and was succeeded by her son Bernard Brocas. (fn. 71) In 1474 by fine between Bernard Brocas and Philippa his wife, and Sir William Sandys the grandson of the Sir Walter who had given it out in marriage, the manor was settled upon Bernard and Philippa, and the issue of Bernard, to be held of William and his heirs for rent of a rose, with remainder in default of such issue to William and his heirs. (fn. 72) Bernard Brocas left no children, and accordingly on his death in 1488 (fn. 73) the manor passed to Sir William Sandys, who died seised in 1496. (fn. 74) His son Sir William Sandys enjoyed the favour of Henry VIII, who made him his Lord Chamberlain and created him Lord Sandys of The Vyne on 27 April 1523. (fn. 75) He built the present house and chapel of The Vyne in the early years of the 16th century, (fn. 76) and it was here that he was visited several times by Henry VIII, the first occasion being in July 1510. (fn. 77) In August 1531 the king was again at The Vyne, as appears from his household accounts for that month, which contain the following entries: 'To one who brought a screen to The Vyne from Pexhalles house 40s. To the keeper of Mr. Paulet's and Lord Sandys parks 13s. 4d. To the servant of the Lord Chamberlain for bringing a stag to the Vine which the king had stricken before in Wolmer Forest 10s.' (fn. 78) The king paid his next and last visit in October of 1535, when he was accompanied by Queen Anne Boleyn. (fn. 79) William Lord Sandys died in 1542, after a long life spent in the service of his country, and was succeeded by his son Thomas Lord Sandys. (fn. 80) On the death of Thomas in 1560 The Vyne passed to his grandson William Lord Sandys, (fn. 81) who held it no less than sixty-three years. He was involved in the insurrection of the Earl of Essex in the spring of 1601, for which he was fined £5,000. (fn. 82) But after a temporary sojourn in the Tower and a subsequent confinement near Bath he was pardoned on payment of £1,000, (fn. 83) and in September of the same year received the Duc de Biron, then sent to England as ambassador of the French king to meet Queen Elizabeth, who was then staying with the Marquess of Winchester at Basing House. (fn. 84) For four or five days the ambassador and his suite, numbering nearly four hundred persons, were sumptuously entertained at The Vyne, which was provided with hangings and plate from the Tower and Hampton Court, and with 'seven score beds and furniture which the willing and obedient people of Hampshire upon two days' warning had brought thither to lend to the Queen.' (fn. 85) Elizabeth was highly satisfied with the reception accorded her visitors, and affirmed 'that she had done that in Hampshire that none of her ancestors ever did, neither that any prince of Christendom could do, that was, she had in her Progress in her subjects' houses entertained a royal ambassador and had royally entertained him.' (fn. 86) William Lord Sandys on his death in 1623 was succeeded by his son William Lord Sandys, (fn. 87) who died without issue six years later. (fn. 88) In 1636 Colonel Henry Sandys, son of Sir Edwin Sandys of Latimer (co. Bucks.) by Elizabeth halfsister and heir of William Lord Sandys, was in possession of The Vyne. (fn. 89) He was mortally wounded at the battle of Cheriton, and on his death on 6 April 1644 the estate passed to his son William Lord Sandys, (fn. 90) who sold it in 1653 to Chaloner Chute, one of the most celebrated lawyers of the age. (fn. 91) He was unanimously chosen Speaker of the House of Commons upon the assembling of Parliament under Richard Cromwell on 29 January 1659, but the incessant fatigue of his office proved so great a strain upon his health that he was forced to retire to Sutton Court, an estate belonging to him at Chiswick, where he died on 14 April 1659. (fn. 92) By his will dated 3 June 1653 he devised The Vyne and his other lands in Hampshire to his son Chaloner, who died in 1666 and was succeeded by his son and namesake. (fn. 93) This Chaloner Chute, third of the name, died in 1685, and The Vyne then passed to his brother Edward, (fn. 94) who was high sheriff of Hampshire in 1699 and died in 1722. (fn. 95) Anthony Chute, Edward's son and heir, was elected M.P. for Yarmouth (I.W.) in 1734 and twenty years later died unmarried and intestate. His heir was his brother John, who devoted himself to literature and archaeological studies, and is well remembered as the friend of Horace Walpole and the poet Gray. (fn. 96) He died at The Vyne on 26 May 1776, and with him the male line of this family came to an end. (fn. 97) The estate then devolved in accordance with his will dated 4 November 1774 upon his cousin's son Thomas Lobb of Pickenham (co. Norf.), who thereupon took the name of Chute in addition to that of Lobb. (fn. 98) Thomas Lobb Chute married Anne Rachael only daughter of William Wiggett, mayor of Norwich, (fn. 99) and owned The Vyne until 1790, when he died and was buried at Pickenham. (fn. 100) His heir was his son William John Chute, who in 1790 entered Parliament as member for Hampshire and forthwith began to keep a pack of foxhounds which he supported at his own expense till his death in 1824. (fn. 101) He bequeathed The Vyne to his brother Thomas Vere Chute, who died unmarried in 1827, having by will dated 23 July 1826 left the estate to William Lyde Wiggett second son of James Wiggett, rector of Crudwell (co. Wilts). (fn. 102) On succeeding to The Vyne estate William Lyde Wiggett assumed the name and arms of Chute, and lived at The Vyne from the death of Elizabeth widow of William Chute in 1842 until his own death in 1879. (fn. 103) He greatly improved the estate by inclosing the common fields and making new roads, and the improvements which he effected are described in the journals of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. (fn. 104) His son Chaloner William Chute died in 1892 and was succeeded by the present owner, Mr. Charles Lennard Chute of The Vyne. (fn. 105)
The house, apart from its historical interest, is one of the most attractive in Hampshire. Begun in the early years of the 16th century by William Lord Sandys, it occupies a characteristic site, chosen for shelter and not for strength, with the ground rising gently from it on all sides, and surrounded by lawns and beautifully timbered gardens and fields. It succeeds an older house, which according to Leland was neither 'great nor sumptuous,' and nothing is left of it but its probable site with foundations of walls about 100 yds. south-east of the house. The present house stands east and west and is about 220 ft. long with two wings running southwards, and has its principal entrance in the middle of the south side, but as first built is conjectured to have had a large base court on the north, extending as far as the long sheet of water, 250 ft. away from the house, with its principal entrance from the north through the court, the water being crossed by a bridge. It is built of deep red brick with diamond patterns in black brick, very irregularly set, and stone quoins and window frames, the last originally having contained stone tracery, which was removed, with a few exceptions, in 1654 under the directions of John Webb. The general disposition of the plan is symmetrical, the south front having a central projecting gable to which a modern porch has been added, and small rectangular bays covering the junctions of the wings with the main block. The wings end with plain gables at the south, to which canted bay windows of two stories have been added in the 18th century. The north front has in like manner a central portico, an addition by Webb, but perhaps replacing a former porch, and at either end rectangular towers three stories high, the rest of the house being of two stories. Breaks in the masonry of the tower at the east end of the north front suggest that it was partly overlapped by the destroyed east range of the base court, and that its north-west angle projected into the court in the same way as the small bays in the angles of the south front. If the western tower was treated in the same way all evidence of the junction of the west range of the court with it has been removed, and it has been conjectured that the west wing of the court stood on the line of Webb's portico. An 18th-century drawing of the house from the north-west, hanging in the Strawberry Parlour, shows a corresponding rectangular tower at the south end of the south-west wing, but there is no reason to suppose that this was ever built, and the drawing probably represents a project of John Chute which was never carried out.
At the east end of the house is a wing containing the chapel, with a building attached to it on the south, and there were formerly other buildings on the north, i.e. the east range of the north court, as may be seen from the evidence of the masonry, and of a picture now at Mottisfont Abbey, said to represent Colonel Henry Sandys, ob. 1644.
The arrangement of the rooms in the time of the first builder, William Lord Sandys, is fortunately preserved to us in an inventory (fn. 106) of the contents of the house taken February 1541–2, after Lord Sandys' death. It seems clear, in spite of the comparatively early date, that there was no great hall, with screens, open timbered roof, and bay window, after the mediaeval fashion still in common use at the time, but that the principal room was the present diningroom, then the 'great dining chamber'; it was doubtless entered as now from the west through a vestibule, which probably opened to the base court by a porch on the site of the existing 17th-century portico. To the east of the dining chamber were the 'hall place,' now the chapel parlour, occupying the ground floor of the east tower, then 'my lady's oratory or closet,' now the ante-chapel, and to the east again, as now, the chapel with priest's room and vestry on the south. The pantry and buttery adjoined the dining chamber on the south, and the kitchen and offices were in the south-east wing, as now, with the audit chamber at the south end of the wing.
On the opposite side of the vestibule to the dining chamber was the 'new parlour,' now the drawingroom, opening to a small ante-room, the 'pallet chamber,' on the west, and thence to the 'chamber (fn. 107) within the new parlour,' now the west drawingroom, occupying the ground floor of the north-west tower. From this the long lower gallery opened southwards as now, and the two small rooms between it and the vestibule, then called the base chambers, completed the ground-floor arrangements. The parallel sets of rooms on either side of a thick central wall are worthy of notice as an innovation in planning, and though as usual till a much later date all were passage rooms, each opening out of the next, the whole plan is a very notable advance on the general usage of the time. On the upper floor the room over the dining chamber was the 'queen's lying chamber,' and from it to the east opened the 'tower chamber' and 'my lord's oratory or closet,' the latter being the gallery at the west end of the chapel. The rooms over the priest's chamber to the south of the chapel were the 'chambers over the gate': the gate is shown in the picture of Colonel Henry Sandys already referred to opening eastwards, but it is difficult to understand how the priest's chamber on the ground floor was arranged in that case. Over the new parlour was the great chamber, now the library, and in the west tower the queen's great chamber, now the tapestry room, with the oak gallery as now to the south. Over the base chamber were the king's chamber and the portcullis chamber, and over the kitchen and offices other chambers, those in the south-east wing being called the rose chambers. The small projecting rooms in the angles of the south front were called, like other small rooms, pallet chambers. The names given to the rooms in the base court show that they were used for the servants' quarters, &c, and doubtless as lodgings for guests. The schoolmaster's chamber, the armoury, and two yeomen's chambers, each with twelve beds, are mentioned.
The general plan of the house, apart from the destruction of the base court, does not seem to have been materially altered. The portico on the north front, as already mentioned, was added in 1654, and besides this the only additions are the tomb-chamber at the south-east of the chapel, 1765, the bays at the ends of the south wings, the offices and bedrooms on the east of the south-east wing, and the porches on the south front and the west side of the stone gallery. The middle part of the main block was altered in 1765 when the existing staircase was set up by John Chute, and many minor alterations to fireplaces, &c., have naturally taken place, but a great deal of 16th-century work is happily preserved. As regards the windows, those lighting the cellars on the south front have preserved their tracery of two four-centred lights, but nearly all the rest are now plain rectangular openings fitted with sashes. The loss of their tracery is recorded in the accounts preserved of John Webb's alterations in 1654, thus:—
The sections of the stone frames, though differing in various parts of the building, are still all of Gothic character, and are in part original work and in part probably 17th-century copies. The sashes, or rather their predecessors, are usually attributed to the date of Webb's alterations, but so early a date is unlikely; it is more probable that wooden frames with casements were the immediate successors of the stone mullions.
The chapel contains the best and most important of the original fittings, having beautiful canopied seats on north and south, returned on the west. The fronts are panelled, with tracery in the heads and standards with elaborate poppy-heads, while the traceried panelling at the back of the seats is in two tiers, and has moulded and buttressed styles. The middle rail has a band of quatrefoils, and at the springing of the canopy is a line of cresting. On the cornice of the canopy is a band of openwork foliage into which the initials of William Sandys, his badge of a rose and sun, his arms, and the Tudor rose and portcullis, &c., are worked. The rose and pomegranate are repeated in the foliage, and at intervals are pairs of boys, giving a touch of Italian feeling to what is otherwise entirely Gothic. The details of the poppy heads and the admirable lock plate with the initials w. s. on the vestry door show the same influence. It seems probable that the canopy was originally returned against the wall at the east ends of the stalls on both sides, and that its present square ends are due to 18th-century alterations, the panelling east of the stalls being of that date. The ceiling of the chapel is of four-centred form, with a geometrical pattern of wooden ribs and a plastered background, and the chapel is lighted by three threelight windows with cinquefoiled heads and transoms set in three faces of the eastern apse. These windows contain their original glass, and have in the lower lights kneeling figures of Henry VIII and his patron St. Henry of Bavaria (east window), the Princess Margaret and her patroness St. Margaret (south window), and Katherine of Aragon with her patroness St. Katherine (north window). In the upper lights of the south window is our Lord bearing His cross and meeting St. Veronica, in those of the east window the Crucifixion, and in those of the north window the Resurrection; while in the heads of the lights are the arms of Henry VII and his queen and the Tudor rose. The glass, which can be dated by the coat of arms above Princess Margaret, certainly designed before her marriage in 1503, suggests a date in the first decade of the 16th century for the building of the chapel. In the floor of the chapel are a large number of glazed tiles, with ornament or figures in blue, white, yellow, &c., after the fashion of Italian work of the 15th and 16th centuries. The many mistakes in the lettering of the inscriptions which occur on them point to the fact that they are Flemish copies of Italian originals, though some may be Italian, and are probably of mid-16th-century date. Externally the chapel has been a good deal repaired and two blank traceried windows inserted in its north wall, on which a range of buildings formerly abutted; but the embattled parapet is in the main old and has on it an interesting set of carvings with the royal arms and the arms and badges of Lord Sandys, Bray, &c. The roof is covered with red tiles, but the gable stops short of the apse and has a pretty carved bargeboard and a tall leaded finial. The south side of the chapel is entirely masked by buildings, that at the north-east being the tomb chapel of Chaloner Chute, added in 1765, with a room over, and containing a raised tomb with a recumbent effigy in white marble, by Banks; the coloured glass in the windows was made in 1770 by John Rowell of Wycombe.
Any detailed account of the other rooms and their contents would be out of place, and reference must be made to Mr. Chaloner Chute's Histoty of The Vyne, published in 1888. In the ante-chapel are part of a well-carved stone figure of early 16th-century date and a number of pieces of painted glass from the Holy Ghost Chapel at Basingstoke, together with some heraldic glass with the arms of St. John, Paulet, Brocas, Sandys, Bray, &c. Its ceiling is 16th-century work with geometrical patterns in wood, painted blue and gold.
The chapel parlour adjoining has linen-pattern panelling and a 16th-century fireplace with Purbeck marble head and jambs, and over it a carved oak mantelpiece dated 1691. The dining-room, opening from the parlour, is also panelled in oak, with gilt bosses on the panels, from which it took its former name of the Starred parlour.
The drawing-room and west drawing-room are hung with crimson and white damask, brought from Italy about 1760, and from the latter opens southward the stone gallery, 82 ft. long, which now contains some portrait busts bought in Italy in 1753, a number of Roman tomb inscriptions, and a plaster medallion of the Emperor Probus, after the fashion of the terra-cotta medallions at Hampton Court. The stone flooring was formerly the floor of the entrance hall or vestibule. Two small rooms on the south front are known, one as the print room, its walls having been covered with prints about 1815, and the other as the Strawberry parlour, Horace Walpole's favourite room. From it an original doorway with a four-centred head once opened to the entrance lobby in the angle of the south court. The outer doorway of this lobby and of that in the corresponding angle of the court are perhaps part of John Webb's work, c. 1654, though the Wiggett crest in the pediment of the western lobby must be of much later date. The main staircase, which was built by John Chute about 1765, apparently from his own designs, (fn. 108) goes far to justify Horace Walpole's statement that he was an 'exquisite architect of the purest taste.' Its scale is rather too small, but the design is exceedingly happy, the screen of Corinthian columns at the stairhead giving a most dignified effect, while the coffered ceilings contrast pleasantly with the simple panelled walls. As on the ground floor, the principal first-floor rooms are those facing north and west. Sixteenth-century geometrical ceilings remain in the tapestry room at the north-west, the library and the bedrooms—formerly a single room—over the dining-room. The library has a fine chimney-piece with the Chute arms, doubtless part of Webb's work, and in the tapestry room is a chimney-piece of early 17th-century date, formerly in the chapel parlour. It bears a shield with the arms of Chute and eight other coats, which must be of rather later date than the rest of the work. The tapestry in the room is worked with imaginary Oriental scenes and is excellent work of early 18th-century date. The long gallery is only second in interest to the chapel, and is panelled throughout with linen-pattern panels in four tiers, a large proportion being original work. They are ornamented with a most interesting series of arms, badges, &c., which would seem to fix the date of their making between 1522 and 1529. Beside the royal arms and badges of Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon, there are those of Sandys, Bray, Brocas de Vere, Essex, Foster, Hungerford, Paulet, Power, and Manners, and also of Cardinal Wolsey, Fox Bishop of Winchester, Tunstall Bishop of London, and Warham Archbishop of Canterbury. Tunstall became Bishop of London in 1522, and was translated to Durham in 1530, and Wolsey's arms are not likely to have been set up after his disgrace in 1529. Over the fireplace is a carving of St. George and the Dragon, doubtless in reference to the Order of the Garter, of which Lord Sandys was a knight, and over the doorway at the south-east of the gallery the quartered shield of France and England supported by winged boys, in which the Italian influence is clearly shown.
The picturesque stables to the east of the house are of considerable interest, but the most notable of the outbuildings is the round brick garden-house with its domed tiled roof and four projecting porches, built by Webb and now used as a pigeon-house. Close to it is a very fine oak, still in vigorous growth, measuring 23 ft. round the trunk. It is said that Mr. William John Chute refused £100 for this tree from the Admiralty buyers in the days of wooden ships. (fn. 109)
Early in the reign of Henry III, William de St. John granted to Bartholomew Pecche the lordship of CROCKEREL HULLE, which up to this time had formed part of his manor of Sherborne St. John, (fn. 110) and some years later Robert de St. John, son and successor of William, granted Bartholomew an additional 11 acres of land with appurtenances in Sherborne St. John. (fn. 111) This manor, which was subsequently known as CLOTELY (fn. 112) and afterwards as BEAUREPAIRE (Beaureper, xiii cent.; Beurepeir, Berupery, xiv cent.; Baureper, Baroper, Burraper, xvi cent.; Bewrepper, Bewroper, xvii cent.), continued to be held of the St. Johns and their successors as of their manor of Sherborne St. John until the 16th century, when the overlordship fell into abeyance. (fn. 113) Bartholomew Pecche, who was alive in 1249, (fn. 114) had been succeeded before 1264 by Herbert Pecche, (fn. 115) who died seised of a hide of land called Beaurepaire in Sherborne St. John in 1272, leaving as his heir his son Bartholomew. (fn. 116) Bartholomew claimed to have free warren throughout the whole hundred of Basingstoke in 1275, (fn. 117) and died about seven years later, leaving as his heir his infant son and namesake. (fn. 118) The latter, before 1318, (fn. 119) had been succeeded by his son Sir John Pecche, who is constantly before us as 'lord of Beaurepaire,' (fn. 120) and amongst other ways as obtaining an estate in Peperlond which afterwards became part of the Brocas property. (fn. 121) It was this Sir John who heavily mortgaged Beaurepaire, (fn. 122) and died in 1350, leaving as his heir his son John, (fn. 123) who sold the estate to Bernard Brocas for 100 silver marks in 1353. (fn. 124) Two years later Bernard settled the manor upon his nephew Sir Bernard Brocas, master of the royal buckhounds, (fn. 125) whose descendants continued to hold it for over five centuries. Sir Bernard received a grant of free warren in the demesne lands of his manor of Beaurepaire in 1363, (fn. 126) and four years later obtained a final quitclaim of the manor from Agnes the wife of Edward Popham, (fn. 127) who was probably the representative of the Pecche family. In 1369 Edward III gave him permission to inclose Beaurepaire Park (fn. 128)—a privilege which was followed by a charter of 1388 granting him licence to enlarge it by adding 100 acres of land and wood in Bramley. Sherborne St. John and Monk Sherborne, notwithstanding that 64 acres were within the metes of Pamber Forest. (fn. 129) Sir Bernard died in 1395 and was followed by his son Sir Bernard, who was attainted for treason in 1400. (fn. 130) By means of settlements in trust much of his property, including Beaurepaire, escaped forfeiture and passed to his son William Brocas, who in 1428 was stated to be holding of Lord de St. John as of his manor of Sherborne St. John half a knight's fee in Beaurepaire and Sherborne, formerly belonging to John Pecche. (fn. 131) William died in 1456 and was succeeded by his son William, (fn. 132) who died in 1484, his heir being his son John. (fn. 133) William Brocas the son of John died seised of Beaurepaire in 1506, leaving two daughters Anne and Edith, (fn. 134) the latter of whom became sole heir to the Brocas estates on the death of her sister Anne without issue in 1514. (fn. 135) Edith died in 1517 (fn. 136) and Beaurepaire then passed to her husband Ralph Pexall, who died some twenty years later. (fn. 137) Sir Richard Pexall, son of Edith and Ralph, succeeded to the property and married (1) Lady Eleanor Paulet (fn. 138) and (2) Eleanor Cotgrave (fn. 139)—the cause of those family dissensions and complications which lasted for half a century. By his first wife he had four daughters—Anne, who married Bernard Brocas of Horton (co. Bucks.) and had a son Pexall Brocas; Margery, who married (1) Oliver Beckett and (2) Francis Cotton; Elizabeth, who became the wife of John Jobson; and Barbara, who became the wife of Anthony Brydges; his second wife brought him no children. (fn. 140) Sir Richard died in 1571, having by will signed only a day before his death left all his estates to his wife Dame Eleanor for thirteen years—until his grandson Pexall Brocas came of age, and all his estates in Wiltshire and the majority of his estates in Hampshire to her for life should she remain unmarried. To his three younger daughters he bequeathed legacies of £500 apiece, while to Pexall Brocas he granted the reversion of Eleanor's estate in tail-male. (fn. 141) Tenants in chivalry, however, were not allowed to aliene more than two-thirds of their lands from their legal heirs, and consequently Sir Richard's will became void for a third part which descended among his four daughters and co-heirs (fn. 142) John and Elizabeth Jobson soon afterwards sold their twelfth to Dame Eleanor and her second husband Sir John Savage, (fn. 143) who had settled at Beaurepaire and destined it for his second son Edward. (fn. 144) Bernard and Anne Brocas retaliated by purchasing the Brydges twelfth, thus placing at their command one-sixth of the estate. (fn. 145) On the coming of age of Pexall Brocas in 1584, Dame Eleanor, though then only legally entitled to the twelfth of the Brocas estates which she and her husband had purchased from the Jobsons, did not move from Beaurepaire, (fn. 146) and there seems to have been some arrangement whereby she gave up all right to Steventon (q.v.) in return for a life-interest in Beaurepaire. Thus in 1602, when Pexall sued Dame Eleanor in the Court of Requests to recompense him for wastes in the park of Beaurepaire committed not only by her, but also by Sir John Savage, Edward Savage and her third husband Sir Robert Remington, it seems to have been acknowledged by all the parties concerned that her life-interest in Beaurepaire was a good estate by the common law. (fn. 147) After the death of Sir Robert Remington in 1610, Dame Eleanor married as her fourth husband Sir George Douglasse. (fn. 148) It was not until her death in 1617–18 that the Savages finally quitted Beaurepaire, and Thomas Brocas the only son of Sir Pexall (fn. 149) moved thither from Steventon. (fn. 150) Sir Pexall died seised of ten-twelfths of Beaurepaire in 1630, (fn. 151) and three years later Thomas Brocas bought up the outstanding portions of the estate—the Jobson twelfth which Edward Savage had sold between 1608 and 1618 and the Beckett twelfth. (fn. 152)
In 1638 Thomas settled Beaurepaire upon his eldest son Robert Brocas on his marriage with Jane Bodley daughter of Sir John Bodley of Streatham (co. Surr.), (fn. 153) and it remained in Robert's possession until his death in 1643. (fn. 154) His widow Jane, by whom he had three children, Bernard, Robert and Jane, subsequently married John Thorner, and lived with him for many years at Beaurepaire on her jointure. (fn. 155) Bernard the eldest son of the new generation died suddenly of smallpox on 18 December 1660, shortly after coming of age, and his brother Robert having died when an infant, his sister Jane now became the sole heir-in-law to her brother, father and grandfather, as well as heir-general under the will of Sir Pexall Brocas her great-grandfather. She married soon afterwards Sir William Gardiner. (fn. 156) On the death of Thomas Brocas the grandfather in 1663 a claimant to the Beaurepaire estate appeared in the person of Jane's cousin Thomas Brocas son of her father's younger brother Thomas. (fn. 157) He was supported by his trustee Edmund Brockett, who inter preted his trust to mean that the Brocas estates should come to the young Thomas as male heir of the junior branch, and this when the grandfather died was no doubt his desire. (fn. 158) In 1664 this Thomas appears in the neighbourhood of Beaurepaire, and there is an amusing letter extant from Sir William Gardiner to John Thorner complaining of his father-in-law and guardian Richard Johnson, 'who is already receiving rents at Beaurepaire, and who on the strength of his guardianship sets up a handsome carriage with two fine black horses.' (fn. 159) Finally in 1678 a compromise was effected. (fn. 160) Thomas Brocas consented to give £1,550 for the relinquishment of the Gardiner claims on the freehold estates of Beaurepaire, Cranes, Bramley, Stratfieldsaye, Stratfield Mortimer, Pamber, Basingstoke, Monk Sherborne, Sherborne Coudray, Sherborne St. John and Basing, while he himself relinquished his claim on the Roche Court estates. The copyhold estates settled originally on Jane Thorner on her first marriage with Robert Brocas in Sherborne St. John, Pamber and Bramley remained with the Gardiners. In order to effect this arrangement Sir William lent Thomas Brocas £1,000 on a mortgage of Beaurepaire. (fn. 161) On the death of Thomas in 1715 he was succeeded by his son Thomas, who died in 1750, leaving as his heir his son Bernard. (fn. 162) On the death of Bernard in 1777 Beaurepaire passed to his natural son Bernard Austin, who assumed by signmanual the name of Brocas in 1794 and died in 1809. (fn. 163) He was followed by his son Bernard, who died in 1839 and was succeeded by his son of the same name. (fn. 164) On the death of the latter in 1861 (fn. 165) it passed to his widow Jane, who in 1873 sold the reversion after her death to Mr. Julius Alington. From the latter Beaurepaire passed by purchase in 1883 to Messrs. Henry S. Welch-Thornton and Alfred Bidwell Welch-Thornton respectively father and uncle of the present owner, Mr. Henry WelchThornton, J.P. (fn. 166)
Beaurepaire was twice at least visited by royalty. Thus in August of 1531 there is the following entry in the Privy Purse Expenses: 'Item the v. daye paid to the keeper of Baroper Park in rewarde 6s. 8d. Item the vi. day paid to a servant of Pexall in rewarde at Baroper Park 20s.' (fn. 167) Again, in the Bramley parish register is an entry recording payment made to the bell-ringers for ringing the church bells on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's visit to 'Burraper.' She was then on her way from The Vyne (q.v.), where she had been magnificently entertained. (fn. 168)
Although one of the chief mansions of the Brocas family, Beaurepaire House as it existed in the early 17th century was little more than an ordinary manorhouse and for the next two generations was used as a dower-house. It suffered much damage during the Civil War, was often deserted during the 18th century, and was finally destroyed and rebuilt about 1777. (fn. 169) This modern house is built within the ancient moat and stands in a park of 280 acres. It presents no features of special architectural interest.
Between Christmas 1357 and Michaelmas 1358 Sir Bernard Brocas spent the following sums on repairing Beaurepaire Mill—2s. 6d. for making a new mill-wheel from the lord's timber, and 1s. 1d. for mending the 'juke' of the mill. (fn. 170) This mill probably occupied the site of the mill which in a plan of the Beaurepaire estate of 1613 is marked in the same place as it is now—on the eastern boundary of the park a little to the west of Bramley Church. (fn. 171)
The messuage called CRANES PLACE and the lands belonging to it in Sherborne St. John were owned in the middle of the 14th century by Elizabeth Everard of Sherborne St. John and descended from her to her daughter Margaret wife of Thomas Munde, citizen and gold merchant of London, who in 1397 quitclaimed them by the description of a messuage, 80 acres of land and 2 acres of meadow in Sherborne St. John to Oliver Brocas half-brother (fn. 172) of the first Sir Bernard Brocas of Beaurepaire. (fn. 173) Sir Bernard Brocas the second granted a grove called 'Le Pynmour' to his uncle in 1398, (fn. 174) and his gift was confirmed by his son and successor William in 1404. (fn. 175) Oliver remained at Cranes Place to the end of his life, acquiring additional property in the neighbourhood, and died circa 1437, leaving as his heir his daughter Joan wife of Lawrence Stonard, (fn. 176) to whom William Brocas in 1444 quitclaimed a rent of 13s. 4d. from a messuage in Sherborne St. John held of him by William Hanyton. (fn. 177) In 1471 Lawrence and Joan Stonard gave up their right to Cranes Place to John Brocas son of William Brocas the younger in return for £100 in cash and an annuity of £6, (fn. 178) and he was seised of it in 1476, in which year he granted the lease of the messuage called 'Cranys' with its appurtenances to Robert Denys at a rent of £3 13s. 4d. (fn. 179) John Brocas succeeded to Beaurepaire in 1484, and from that date Cranes Place, or, as it was afterwards called, the manor of Cranes, formed part of the Beaurepaire estate until as late at least as the end of the 17th century. (fn. 180) Cranes Farm, which is at present owned by Mr. Charles Lennard Chute of The Vyne, (fn. 181) is situated to the west of St. Andrew's Church, a little to the south of Weybrook. Some way to the north on the east of the road to Reading is Cranes Copse, and near it is Pollards End Copse mentioned as 'Pollardyscroft' in a 15th-century deed. (fn. 182)
The church of ST. ANDREW has a chancel 30 ft. 6 in. by 23 ft. 5 in., nave of equal width by 49 ft. 6 in., north chapel 14 ft. I in. by 10 ft. 10 in., north aisle 14 ft. 4 in. wide, south porch and a west tower 10 ft. 10 in. square, all internal measurements.
A church seems to have been built here about the year 1150, and probably had a nave of the present size with a small chancel; the south doorway is the only detail which remains of this date. The chancel was rebuilt in the middle of the 14th century, the east wall of the nave being taken down and the chancel made equal in width with the nave; where the present three-light south window is inserted there is said to be the threshold of a doorway, proving the window to be a later insertion. The Brocas chapel was built to the north of the chancel in the 16th century, and the south porch of the nave in 1533. The tower was added in the 14th century, but was almost wholly rebuilt in 1837 at the expense of Mrs. Chute, wife of W. J. Chute, and the spire added. The north aisle is an addition of 1854; the chancel roof was restored in 1866, and in 1884 a thorough restoration was undertaken: new seats were put in the chancel, floor levels altered, the plaster stripped from the nave ceiling and other work done, including the insertion of the arch between the north aisle and Brocas chapel.
The chancel has an east window of three cinquefoiled lights under a traceried head of 15th-century character, the jambs and arch, which are of two hollow chamfers and have a moulded label, are old; the mullions and tracery are modern. The northeast window is one of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights with half-quatrefoils over in a square head, which has a moulded label; it is of mid-14th-century date. The south-east window is similar, and the second window on the south has three trefoiled ogeeheaded lights with quatrefoiled net tracery in a twocentred head with a moulded label; it dates from about 1340; about 20 in. of the window above the sill have been filled in with masonry.
The north or Brocas chapel has an east window of three feathered trefoiled lights with roll cusp-points under a four-centred arch with moulded label; the stops to the labels are shields on which are the letters R and P respectively, the initials of Ralph Pexall, whose tomb lies under the archway between the nave and chancel. This arch has moulded jambs and a flat pointed head with cinquefoiled panels on the soffit and jambs. The arch is set under a square moulded cornice with ornamental cresting. In the spandrels are shields with the initials r p and r e respectively for Ralph and Edith Pexall. The tomb is described lower down.
The modern north arcade of the nave is of three bays in the style of the 14th century. A doorway in the north wall of the chapel has an old stone four-centred head on moulded wood jambs. In the south wall of the nave are two windows, both probably late 14th or 15th-century insertions; each is of two trefoiled round-arched lights under a square head with a moulded label, the mullion, sill and a few stones in the jambs being modern. The south doorway (in the middle of the wall) is of 12th-century date, it has jambs and round arch of two orders, the outer one chamfered; the label, which is much mutilated, is also chamfered. On the centre stone of the arch is cut a large sundial. Two stones are set in the south wall, one east of the door being part of a holy water stone, the other having a pointed arch on a curved face and looking like part of a font.
The north aisle has a modern pointed arch opening eastward into the Brocas chapel, and its three north windows were in the former nave wall, the first and third being like those on the south wall, and the middle one is of late 15th-century date; it has two cinquefoiled lights under a square head with a label; the jambs and mullions are moulded; the inner jambs and four-centred rear arch are also moulded with a double ogee; the west window of the aisle is a modern one of two lights and tracery.
A small pointed arch now rebated for a door frame opens into the tower from the nave; it has two orders on both faces, a hollow and a wave mould. The tower has a modern plastered west doorway, over it is the date of the 'restoration,' 1834. The west window is also modern (probably brick plastered) of two lights under a four-centred head. No horizontal string divides the tower into stages externally. The lower part of the tower is of the original flint and stone with diagonal buttresses; the upper two stories are modern, the angle diagonal buttresses being of brick plastered. The bell-chamber windows are all modern of two lights under four-centred heads; the parapet is a thin pierced one; at the corners are plain pinnacles, and the octagonal wooden spire is covered with copper.
The south porch, of red brick and stone, is lighted by a single square-headed window in either side wall; the entrance doorway has moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch under a square head with a label; in the spandrels are shields with the initial I with Renaissance detail. Over the doorway is a stone panel with the inscription 'of your cherete pray for the Sowles of Jamys Spyre and Jane his wyf which caused this porche to be mad at ther cost the yere of our Lo[r]d 1533.' Inside over the inner doorway is another inscription as follows:—' Of your cherete pray for the soul of Jamys Spier departed in the yere of our Lord a mdxxxiiii on hos soul Jesu have marsi.' Over it is a small niche which formerly contained an image; below are the two kneeling headless figures of the donors. The details are of classic style.
The south wall has evidently been raised some 3 ft, the upper part being a little thinner; the evidence for this continues to the east of the three-light south window of the chancel, and beyond this point the walling is of a different character with freestone blocks in it.
The roof of the chancel is of modern panelling, but that of the nave is old, with arched braces to the rafters: the eastern half bay is panelled and ceiled in wood, with an embattled wall plate, and is an example of a ceiling over the rood.
The font at the south-west of the nave is a 12th-century one of Purbeck marble; the bowl is square with sloping sides, which are panelled with shallow round-headed flutes; the stem is round and is flanked by four angle shafts with very rough capitals and bases. Its cover is pyramidal and in part probably of early 16th-century date, with a modern finial. The pulpit is inscribed 'mad by henri sly 1634 w.m.. l.b.'; it is hexagonal in plan, with round-headed lower panels and rectangular upper panels, one of which contains the inscription and the others carved foliage designs. It has a contemporary back and tester, but is much repaired, and the base is a modern one of stone. The altar table and rails are of 17th-century date, and in the north aisle stands a three-sided wooden lectern to which are chained three volumes of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which were presented to the church by William Jackman, vicar between 1653 and 1689.
The monument or altar tomb between the chancel and Brocas chapel occupies about one half of the archway; on it are the recumbent effigies of Ralph and Edith Pexall, evidently by the same hand as those in Thruxton Church, with the same use of Renaissance detail in the armour. Both effigies hold hearts in their upraised hands, and the man's head rests on a shield of the Pexall arms; at his feet are his gauntlets. The lady wears a kennel head dress and hair net; a pleated chemise over which is a double chain; her bodice is cut low; her undersleeves are pleated and over them are loose oversleeves; from her sash hangs a purse, and she has a long underskirt covering the feet and a short kirtle over, round her right wrist is wound a pair of beads. The altar tomb has a moulded cornice and base; on the north side are three panels, the first containing a shield bearing Pexall; the middle had an inscription now obliterated; the third has a lozenge bearing Brocas quartering Roche, the details being of Renaissance type. At the west end are two panels, in the first of which are the arms of Pexall impaling Brocas quartering Roche. The inscription on both sides of the tomb reads:—'Conditur hoc tumulo Radulphus noie Pexsal armiger et simul hic co[n]jugis ossa jacent Edithe heredis nuper ac pulcherrima proles Guillelmi armigeri Brocas Beaurepaire.' A shield in the arch of the canopy has the Pexall arms. Below the cornice are two shields, one with Brocas quartering Roche and the other Pexall impaling the last shield.
On the floor and walls of the chapel are several slabs with brasses. The oldest is set in the south wall and has the half figures of a man and his wife c. 1350; he wears a tight coat or tunic buttoned down the front and at the wrists; she has a tightfitting dress also buttoned down the front and with tight buttoned sleeves; she has long hair. The inscription reads:—'Raulin Brocas et Margarete sa soure gisount ici. Deu pour sa grace de lour almes eyt m[er]ci Ame[n].'
On a floor slab is a figure of a man kneeling at a desk; he is in full plate armour and a shirt of mail and has a sword. Over him is the emblem of the Trinity and at the corners four shields, each bearing Brocas quartering Roche; the latter have been all obliterated, evidently purposely. The inscription runs:—'Orate p[ro] a[nim]a Joh[an]is Brocas Armig'i qu[on]d[am] filii et heredis Willi Brocas armig'i qui q'd[a]m Willms decessit London xxii die Aprilis Anno Regni Reg' Rici tercii p'mo et sepult' est in Eccl[es]ia hospitalis Sci Barthi in Smythfeld in Capella b[ea]te Marie et p[re]dict' Joh[an]s obiit Scd° die Maii a° D'ni. m°cccc° lxxxxii° a° Regni Regis Henrici VII septimo quorum a[nim]abus ppicietur De' Amen.'
A slab has a mutilated brass of a man between two wives; he is in armour and his head rests on his helmet, of which the crest has been lost, his feet rest on a lion; below one wife are the figures of three sons and two daughters and under the other five sons and a daughter. On the north wall is a small brass kneeling figure of a man in armour; he is bareheaded and kneels before a desk on which is a book, his helmet and gauntlets lie in front of him. From his mouth issues a scroll with the inscription 'O Blessyd Trinite.' Over him are two shields, one with Brocas quartering Roche, the other blank; below is the following inscription:—'Pray for ye soule of Will[el]m Brocas of Beaurepaire, Esquyer buryed in this chapell which decessed the vii day of July ye xxi yere of ye reigne of Kyng Henry the VII havyng as his heires two doughters Anne & Edith which Anne was maryed and dyed wt. out yssue & ye said Edith toke to husbond Rauff Pexsall Esquyer whiche Rauff and Edith had yssue two sonnes John Pexsall decessed and Richard Pexsall yete levyng soole heire to ye seid Edith whiche Rauff caused ys remembraunce to be made at his coste whose soulle Jhu prdo.'
On a floor slab is the brass figure of a man in armour wearing a surcoat which is charged with the quartered arms of Brocas and Roche quartering Sandys. He kneels before a large cross of which the indent only remains. In front of him is a shield with the above arms and surmounted by a mantled helmet crested with a Moor's head.
At the upper corners are two shields, the first
quarterly as on the surcoat, the other the same coat
impaling quarterly one and four a cheveron between
three cinquefoils, two and three obliterated. Below is
a skeleton in its shroud. The inscription around the
'Pondere marm[oreo tenebroso subtus in] antro
Bernard' Brokas jacet armig' arma reliques
Human multu fuerat reddut decoratu
Mores dapsilitas illu amplecteda q[uis] honestas
[Occubuit Maii terna . . . . denaque luce
Anno] sed D'ni centenis multiplicatis
Bis septenario septenarius duodeno
Quatuor hiis addo numeru tibi p[ro]ficie[n]do.' (fn. 183)
This slab was replaced in 1886 at the restoration of the church; only half of the stone could be found and the rest was finished with cement; a portion was also found in which is the indent of a figure to match the skeleton at the other end of the stone.
Other slabs are to Mary Wingfield, daughter of Thomas Brocas, died 1705; Thomas Brocas and his wife Mary, died 1715 and 1708 respectively; Ann daughter of Thomas Brocas, died 1711; Mary daughter of Philip Catelyn, formerly wife of Thomas Brocas, died 1693.
On the east wall is a fine alabaster monument with the bust of a man in a wreath of Renaissance design; the inscription is to Richard Attkins of Tuffely in the county of Gloucester, died 1635. On the south wall of the nave is a large classic monument to George Beverley son of Sir George Beverley of the house and family of the Beverleys in Cheshire, died 1643; also of Margaret his wife, died 1660. Also slabs to John Fielding, died 1607, Ezekiel Lyon, a former vicar, died 1730. Isabella daughter of Francis and Anne Martelli, died 1762.
On the north wall of the Brocas chapel are some pretty fragments of 16th-century ornaments of stone, chiefly running rose patterns. In its east window are some remains of the 16th and 17th-century glass; the central subject is the derision of our Lord by the Roman soldiers, that to the north is Ezekiel and the Angel and the third Dagon before the Ark; the other fragments are jumbled together. There are bits of a black letter inscription, a figure of St. Laurence dated 1638, the word 'Beth,' the Pexall arms, &c.
There are five bells: the treble was by Joseph Carter, 1602; the second by the same founder, 1587; the third has the inscription 'Ave Maria' in crowned Lombardic capitals; the fourth by Joseph Carter, 1587, and the tenor by Henry Knight, 1618.
The plate consists of a silver chalice and paten cover of 1669, a silver paten of 1806 given by W. L. Wiggett Chute in 1846, a silver flagon of 1708 given in that year by Mrs. Mary Brocas, and a brass alms dish given by G. H. Wiggett in 1886.
The registers date from 1652, the first book containing baptisms from 1663 to 1741, marriages 1653 to 1738, and burials 1652 to 1741 (the burials between 1706 and 1736 are lost). The second book has baptisms 1741 to 1807, marriages 1741 to 1752, and burials 1741 to 1807; the third contains marriages from 1754 to 1807, the fourth continues them to 1812, and the fifth has baptisms and burials 1807 to 1812. A curious feature is the large number of marriages made by the then minister between 1735 and 1750 of persons having no connexion whatever with the parish.
At the time of the Domesday Survey a church with half a hide belonged to the manor. (fn. 184) The lords of the manor presented the rectors, (fn. 185) who at an early date were called decani or 'deans of Sherborne.' (fn. 186) Hence the alternative name of the parish—Sherborne Decani. (fn. 187) Vicars to serve the cure were appointed by the rectors, (fn. 188) and in 1535 the rectory was assessed at £9 7s. 11½d. and the vicarage at £7. (fn. 189) In the 17th century an agreement was made between Mr. Ravenscroft, vicar of Sherborne St. John, and William Lord Sandys, the rector, whereby £40 was to be paid quarterly in lieu of small tithes to the vicar, and the rector was to receive all tithes except those from the vicarage-house and churchyard. (fn. 190) The living continued to be a sinecure rectory in the gift of the lords of the manor until 7 June 1844, (fn. 191) when the vicarage was consolidated with it into a rectory. (fn. 192) It is now of the annual value of £325 and is in the gift of Mr. C. L. Chute.
Towards the end of the 12th century Robert the dean or parson of the church of St. Andrew, Sherborne, in return for a grant of 40 acres to the parish church, granted licence to William Fitz Adam, lord of Sherborne Coudray, to build a chapel on his demesne to serve for the use of himself, his wife and his household. The chaplain was to eat at William's table, but was to be appointed and paid by the dean, and William and his wife moreover agreed to worship and receive the communion at the parish church on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, Whit Sunday and St. Andrew's Day, and to pay all tithes, oblations and yearly offerings as before to the dean. (fn. 193) This deed was confirmed in 1202 by Godfrey de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester, and by Herbert who had succeeded Robert as dean or parson. (fn. 194) Sir Thomas de Coudray re-endowed the Chantry Chapel by a deed of 2 February 1337–8, granting to the chaplain and his successors 24 square perches and a rent of 13s. 4d. from land held of him by Richard atte Ostre in Sherborne St. John and a rent of 6 marks issuing from lands in Herriard and Ellisfield held by the Prioress of Hartley Wintney, (fn. 195) to have and to hold as long as they should perform divine service in the chapel 'on behalf of his good estate while he should live and of his soul when he should depart this life, and on behalf of Adam Orlton, Bishop of Winchester, and his father Sir Peter de Coudray and his mother the Lady Agnes and his wife Juliana and William Attehurst.' (fn. 196) Sir Thomas gave to the chapel a missal, a gradual, a responsebook, a lesson-book, an antiphonal, a Psalter, two cruets, a pair of vestments, a napkin or towel and two brass candlesticks, and at the same time it was provided that the duty of replacing the ornaments and finding bread and wine and lights should devolve on the chaplain, but that Sir Thomas and his heirs should repair the nave, chancel and altar when necessary. It was furthermore agreed that the patronage should belong first to Sir Thomas and his heirs as lords of the manor, secondly to the Prior of St. Swithun's, Winchester, and thirdly to the Bishop of Winchester, that Sir Thomas Coudray and his heirs would attend the parish church at the greater festivals, and that the rector of Sherborne St. John should continue his annual payment of a mark to the chaplain. (fn. 197) The chapel was licensed by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, in 1449 for the marriage of any of the children of William Brocas after the banns had been duly proclaimed in the proper places. (fn. 198) The lords of the manor continued to present the chaplains until the reign of Edward VI, (fn. 199) when the chapel was disendowed by the sale of its lands, which were then of the annual value of £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 200)
In 1774 John Chute by his will gave a sum of £300—now represented by £366 13s. 4d. consols with 'The Official Trustees of Charitable Funds,' the income (£9 3s. 4d.) to be bestowed for the benefit of the poor.
There are certain lands in the parish called donation lands, consisting of about 10 acres; two-thirds of the income derived from them, being £5 per annum, is paid to the churchwardens for distribution amongst the poor.