A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The parish of Itchen Stoke lies partly in and along the valley of the River Itchen, which at Kingsworthy turns nearly at right angles and runs south after a westerly course of some 5 miles or more. The parish also runs in a northerly direction up to Itchen Common, the ground rising rather sharply. The whole parish both low and high is well wooded, and along the river banks is very picturesque. The village, a small one, lies near the river, which here widens considerably and is crossed by a ford. It contains a number of pretty brick and half-timber cottages, many of which are thatched. None, however, present any special features of interest or are apparently of an earlier date than the 17th century. The present church stands on the north side of the road, and the churchyard is fringed with trees and contains one or two Scotch firs. The site of the old church is some 200 yds. south of the present church on the banks of the river, the old churchyard remaining.
The hamlet of Abbotstone, which was formerly an important parish, lies about 1½ miles north-east of Itchen Stoke, and at a considerably higher level, the ground rising in some places to a height of 468 ft. above the ordnance datum. The greater part of Abbotstone is thickly wooded, and there are several old gravel-pits.
Pavey, writing in 1719, describes (fn. 1) the then existing house at Abbotstone as 'a large noble brick house edged with stone built by the Duke of Bolton for a convenient hawking seat of which spot he was a great admirer, in allusion whereof he caused two vast large hawkes to be fix'd on the top of two banquetting houses just before the entrance into the house.' He further states that it was 'built after the Italian manner opening a vista from one end of the house to the other. The wings are rather of the largest, darkening the body too much . . . there are above 100 rooms in the house in one of which adorned with curious fretwork the Duke of Bolton had the honour to entertain Queen Anne; in the ceilings are figured several keys in memory of his being Lord Chamberlain (July 1715–April 1717) when he built it.' (fn. 2) This house, however, was left unfinished, and was finally supplanted by Hackwood as the chief seat of the family.
A knoll on the south-east of the site of the old house is shown as the place where the church of Abbotstone formerly stood. The date at which the church and house were destroyed seems to be unknown. (fn. 3)
At Ibsden, near a farm-house now just outside the parish, Oliver Cromwell is said on very questionable authority to have encamped, and certainly a place in Abbotstone is now called Oliver's Battery, but this is no rare thing in Hampshire. (fn. 4)
In Abbotstone there exists at the present time an oval-shaped earthwork, with the outlines complete, but the ditches much filled up and the banks levelled. (fn. 5) It stands on the Downs at a height of 445 ft. above the ordnance datum. Some tumuli also exist.
Itchen Stoke, including Abbotstone, covers an area of 2,717 acres, of which about 1,144 acres are arable land, 475 acres permanent grass and 280 woods and plantations. (fn. 6) Under Itchen Stoke the place-names Ryplinges and Southcotes occur in the 16th century. (fn. 7)
Mention of ITCHEN STOKE occurs in 960, when King Edgar granted to his kinsman Brihtelm, Bishop of Winchester, land in 'Ytinstoce' on the River Itchen. (fn. 8) This land was to be held by Brihtelm for life, and after his death was to revert to the Old Minster of St. Peter, (fn. 9) Winchester, afterwards called the Priory of St. Swithun.
In the Domesday Survey mention of the manor occurs under the name of 'Stoche,' and it is stated that ' Stoche' was then held and always had been by the abbey of Romsey. (fn. 10) It may be inferred from this that the manor had come into the hands of the latter abbey before the time of Edward the Confessor. It was then assessed at 8 hides, and in the time of William I at 6 hides. (fn. 11) There is ample evidence that the manor continued in the hands of the abbey of Romsey until 1539. (fn. 12)
In a report as to the state of the abbey sent to Sir Thomas Seymour in 1538 the annual value of the manor of Itchen Stoke is given as £28 9s. 0¾d. (fn. 13) In 1539 the manor was granted to Sir William Paulet Lord St. John, who was created Marquess of Winchester in 1551. (fn. 14) The manor remained in the hands of successive Marquesses of Winchester until the Commonwealth. (fn. 15)
In 1650 a large part of the property of the fifth Marquess of Winchester fell into the hands of the Parliamentarians, and it is recorded that in that year the manor of Itchen Stoke was bought for Walter Strickland, afterwards a member of Cromwell's House of Lords, and four others. (fn. 16)
The fifth marquess lived, however, to receive back his property at the Restoration, and was succeeded by his son who was created Duke of Bolton in 1689. (fn. 17) The manor remained a part of the property of the Dukes of Bolton and their successors (fn. 18) until about 1818, when it was sold to Alexander Baring, who was created Lord Ashburton in 1835.
The later history of Itchen Stoke is given under Northington, (fn. 19) the present owner being Francis Denzil Edward Baring fifth Lord Ashburton. At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a mill within the manor worth 22s. 6d. and a mill still exists.
At the time of the Domesday Survey Hugh de Port held ABBOTSTONE (fn. 20) (Abedestune, xi cent.; Abbotson, Abbodeston, xiii cent.; Abbodestone, xiv cent.; Alberston, Abbotston, xvi cent.). It was then assessed at 9 hides. It is remarkable that for over 700 years, dating from the Domesday Survey, Abbotstone remained in the hands of a descendant of the same Hugh de Port, not passing from that family until about 1818, in which year it was sold by William second Lord Bolton. (fn. 21)
In 1240 it was held by Robert St. John, (fn. 22) and passed from him to his son John, who in 1285 granted it, probably in settlement on mortgage, to Thomas Paynel and his issue at a rent of a sparrow hawk. (fn. 23) This grant was confirmed to Thomas in 1311. (fn. 24) John de St. John is returned in 1316 as the owner of Abbotstone. (fn. 25) In 1317 John obtained licence to lease the manor for twelve years to John Beauchamp of Somerset, (fn. 26) but six years later John granted it to William de St. John and Eleanor his wife in fee-tail, with contingent remainder to himself and his heirs. (fn. 27) William and Eleanor apparently died without issue, or the grant may have been for the purpose of a mortgage, for the manor was among the possessions of which Edmund de St. John, grandson of John, died seised in 1347. (fn. 28)
In 1361, on the death of Edmund's widow Elizabeth, to whom the manor had been assigned in dower, Abbotstone fell to Isabel wife of Sir Luke de Poynings, sole surviving sister of Edmund de St. John. (fn. 29) On her death in 1393 (fn. 30) the manor passed to her son Sir Thomas de Poynings, who died seised of it in 1429, when it was divided among his three granddaughters, Joan, Alice and Constance, the last named of whom married Sir John Paulet. (fn. 31) John Paulet the son and heir of Sir John Paulet and Constance bought the other two-thirds of the manor from the descendants of Joan and Alice, (fn. 32) and died seised of the whole in 1492, (fn. 33) leaving a son John.
The first mention of BROME Manor (Brome, xv cent.; Brome Court, Brome Place, xvii cent.) occurs in 1457, when it is included among the possessions of Richard Holt, who died in that year. (fn. 36) It was then said to be held of the Prior of Southwick, for services not known, but this seems to be an error, for in 1495 (fn. 37) the overlord is given as the Prior of St. Swithun, Winchester. (fn. 38)
Richard Holt left the manor to his wife Joan for life, and after her death to his daughters Christine and Elizabeth. (fn. 39) Christine died before her mother, leaving a daughter Lora, and on the death of Joan in 1495 the manor was divided between Elizabeth the wife of John Pound and Lora who had married the seventh Earl of Ormonde. (fn. 40) In 1547 William Unwyn died seised of the manor of Brome, and a house and two water-mills in the parish of Itchen Stoke, the reversion of which had been settled on him after the death of his maternal uncle William Frost and Juliana his wife. (fn. 41)
William Unwyn was succeeded by his nephew John, who died in 1619, (fn. 42) leaving Brome Manor to his son and heir Simon Unwyn, (fn. 43) who died in 1625. In 1640 John Unwyn dealt by recovery with a messuage called Bromehouse and a mill called Brome Place Mill in Itchen Stoke, (fn. 44) but some time afterwards, being a Royalist, his lands were forfeited to the Commonwealth, (fn. 45) and in 1654 were sold to Edward Keats of Horton (co. Wilts.) (fn. 46) by the description of 'a Close of pasture ground called Broomes, containing 30 acres; a Close called Broomefield, and a water corn mill in the parish of Itchenstoke.' (fn. 47) The later descent of the manor cannot at present be traced.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of an apsidal chancel with a small north vestry, a moderatesized nave and a west porch extending across the whole width of the church. The whole structure was built in 1864 and is of mid-13th-century French design. The apse is semi-octagonal in form and lit by five two-light lancets with circular tracery. The roof is vaulted in stone with moulded ribs and wall columns. Over the chancel arch externally is a bellgable containing two modern bells. The nave is divided into four bays by wall columns with foliated capitals which carry the trussed rafters of the elaborately painted open timber roof. In each bay are three tall lancets on each side with moulded jambs and rear arches. Below these the wall is ornamented with a diaper in plaster. The west wall contains the only entrance, and on each side of it is wall arcading in two stages. Above this is a large traceried rose window. The west porch is a lean-to structure with a vaulted roof and extends completely across the west end of the church. The entrance to it and the west door are shafted.
The seating, fittings, pulpit, font, &c, are all quite modern. Though the materials used are not in all cases of the best, the general effect is extremely good, and an appearance of richness has been obtained with considerable skill. Though of course somewhat out of place in an English country parish the church is very well designed, especially when the date of its erection is considered.
The old church was situated a short distance to the south of the present one on the banks of the River Itchen, but was completely destroyed when the new church was built. The only thing remaining is a brass, now on the west wall of the new church, with the figure of a woman in a long simple robe with moderately full sleeves, tight at the wrist, and with turned-back linen or lawn cuffs. The dress is cut square at the throat and is caught in by a girdle with a long hanging end. A rather ample head veil is worn. Beneath is an inscription running: 'Of yo' charite pray for the soule of Johan | Batmanson late wife of master John | Batmanson Docto' of Sevell which Johan /|| decessed the xiij day of may the yer' of o' Lord || m'vcxviij on whose soule Ihu have mercy. ||'
The first book of the registers contains baptisms from 1719 to 1737, marriages from 1721 to 1732, and burials from 1721 to 1731. The second baptisms from 1736 to 1747, marriages from 1743 to 1758, and burials from 1736 to 1752. The third contains baptisms and burials from 1750 to 1780 and marriages from 1788 to 1805, all entered with a good deal of irregularity, and possibly not quite complete. A fourth book contains duplicate entries of marriages from 1764 to 1780. The fifth contains baptisms and burials from 1783 to 1792 and 1793 respectively. The sixth contains baptisms from 1806, marriages from 1807 and burials from 1808, all running to 1812.
There is no mention of a church in Itchen Stoke earlier than the end of the 13 th century, at which time the advowson was stated to be in the hands of the Abbess and convent of Romsey. (fn. 48) In 1291 (fn. 49) the church was assessed at 15 marks and in 1318 (fn. 50) at the same amount. In 1317 the Abbess and nuns of Romsey obtained licence to appropriate the rectory of Itchen Stoke, (fn. 51) and from that date until the Dissolution the advowson was held by the abbey, as a vicarage. (fn. 52)
The advowson was granted with the manor after the Dissolution to Sir William Paulet Lord St. John, (fn. 53) and has followed the descent of the manor up to the present time, (fn. 54) the patron being now Lord Ashburton. The living is still a vicarage, forming a benefice with the rectory of Abbotstone annexed.
The church at Abbotstone was dedicated to tne honour of St. Peter. It is stated at the end of the 15th century that it was valued at 10 marks. (fn. 55) The advowson followed the descent of the manor (fn. 56) (q.v.).