A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Quarley is bounded by Cholderton, Amport, Grately and the Wiltshire border. The soil is light and friable, of the secondary chalk formation, and the subsoil is chalk. (fn. 1) The total area of the parish is 1,692 acres, over two-thirds of which are arable land, rather under a third permanent grass, and the small remainder woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The principal crops are barley, oats and turnips, with sainfoin and grasses. Little more than 300 ft. above sea-level at the north and south extremities, Quarley Hill in the centre rises to a height of 561 ft. On the summit is a large camp. Formerly there were entrenchments extending along Cholderton Hill and three others in different directions, which have, however, been levelled.
The village is situated in the north on either side of a road running due north and south through the parish. The rectory is on the west of the road, and opposite it is St. Michael's Church standing in Quarley Park.
There was an inclosure award here in 1794. (fn. 3)
Earl Harold had held QUARLEY, and in Domesday Book it was assigned to the Conqueror, (fn. 4) although Maud of Flanders, his wife, who died in 1083, had given it to the abbey of Bec Hellouin. (fn. 5) Like its neighbour, Monxton, the manor was in the charge of the Prior of Ogbourne (co. Wilts.), the principal cell of Bec in England, and is probably that 'Cornby' over which the abbot claimed royal liberties and customs in 1281. (fn. 6) Be that as it may, according to the Assize Roll of 1280, the prior had the rights of gallows, view of frankpledge, infangentheof, chattels of felons and fugitives and assize of bread and ale, in all his lands in Hampshire. (fn. 7) In 1404 Henry IV granted all the possessions of Ogbourne to his son John of Lancaster (vide Monxton), afterwards Duke of Bedford and guardian of England, who held them until his death in 1435, when they came to Henry VI as his heir. (fn. 8) In 1438 £20 yearly from Quarley Manor was assigned to Humphrey Duke of Gloucester as part of a pension of 2,000 marks. (fn. 9) In April 1441 the manor was granted in free alms to the master, brethren and sisters of the hospital of Saint Katharine by the Tower of London, (fn. 10) and a fuller regrant was made in the following August 'with all rights, appurtenances, profits, commodities, emoluments, courts and views of frankpledge thereto belonging, and with all rights and claims which the king had therein as freely as the Priors of Ogbourne held the same.' (fn. 11) Edward IV gave a fresh charter in 1462. (fn. 12) In 1563 the hospital leased the manor in reversion to Godfrey Wilson for ninety-nine years from Michaelmas 1594. (fn. 13) This lease, which descended to Hugh Pitman, who died seised c. 1616, (fn. 14) was subject to a reservation of a half-share of casualties, of profits of courts, and of fines and heriots, together with all the great wood and timber standing and growing on the premises. In 1892 the hospital sold the manor to Augustus John Henry Beaumont (Paulet) fifteenth Marquess of Winchester, (fn. 15) whose brother, the present marquess, is now lord of the manor.
The nave is not later than the beginning of the 12th century and has the remains of three windows and a north doorway, belonging to the early work. The walls are 2 ft. 8 in. thick, built of flint set in herring-bone fashion, and the windows are high in the walls. The western angles have fair-sized quoins of wrought stone, but the eastern angles, so far as they can be seen, are of flint without any wrought dressings. The whole church is so overgrown with ivy that much of the wall surface, especially in the chancel, is entirely hidden.
There was no doubt a chancel smaller than the present one, which appears to be an enlargement of the 15th century, and has now an east window of 18th-century classic design. The porch was added in 1881 and the vestry in 1882.
The east window of the chancel is of three lights, the middle one round-headed and the others flat, divided by detached square shafts inside and out, with Ionic capitals; the side lights have now been filled in with masonry. The only other chancel window is one in the south wall, dating from the 15th century and being of two cinquefoiled lights with semiquatrefoils above, under a square head and with a moulded label outside. A priest's doorway to the east of it is probably contemporary with it; it has a pointed head of two continuous hollow-chamfered orders. In the north wall, to the east, is a low tomb recess some 7 ft. long and diminishing in depth from head to foot; it has a sunk quarter-round order running round the jambs and pointed segmental arch and stopping on moulded bases. No stone or slab bearing any inscription or ornament now lies in the recess, which appears to date from the middle of the 14th century. Next to it is a modern doorway into the vestry, and west of this is a modern arch in which stands the organ. The vestry is lighted by three lancets and has a blocked doorway in its west wall. The chancel arch is a modern one of simple design.
The north wall is now unpierced, but contains the stones of the west jamb of an original window set high up in the wall in about the middle of its length, and further west is a blocked roundheaded doorway of the same period, of plain design. Of the two windows in the south wall the one east of the doorway dates probably from early in the 15th century; it has three trefoiled lights with halfquatrefoils above under a square head. The mullions are modern. The other window is of two lights of similar design but of modern date. The south doorway is a pointed one of a single chamfered order; it is probably contemporary with the window east of it. Over the doorway and partly destroyed by it is another blocked round-headed window, and high in the west wall (above the later west window) is a third, fairly perfect. All have Jarge roughly-worked stones in the jambs, but the heads are of thin small stones set radially like tiles. Only the west window can be seen from the outside; it has a round head in a single stone, and wrought stones, set long and short fashion in its north jamb; in the south jamb this is, however, not the case. The splay runs straight to the outer face without a chamfer.
The lower west window has modern tracery but old inner jambs, perhaps 15th-century work. The wall beneath it is of later date than the general surface, and there may have been in the first instance a west doorway. The blocked north door, very near to the north-west angle of the nave, has a plain round head in fairly large stones, and the jambs are of the same character. The radius of the arch is wider than the jambs, and it seems that the head was originally filled with a tympanum. The upper edges of the springing stones are horizontal and not radial, having a triangular space between them and the next arch-stone, which is filled in with mortar on one side and with a small stone in a very rude mortar joint on the other. The stones show a rough diagonal tooling, which stops at a well-marked line, beyond which the stone was meant to be plastered. The surface is higher beyond the line, instead of lower, as might have been expected, in order to make a stop for the plaster. The same thing occurs on the quoins of the north-west angle, and cannot be entirely due to weathering of the exposed part.
The font has been partly retooled and is probably of 13th-century workmanship; it has a round cup-shaped bowl on a short round stem. The late 17th-century altar rails, with very pretty twisted and carved balusters, are now set across the chancel arch, and more of the same kind are worked into the modern pulpit. The other furniture is of modern date.
The two bells now hang on a low frame in the churchyard to the north of the church. One is inscribed ' Sancta Maria ora pro nobis' and has the maker's mark, a small black letter s, on the shoulder; the other is by I.D. 1636, and has the words 'Love God.' A third bell was cracked and since recast; it is not now in the church.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms 1559 to 1712, marriages 1560 to 1708, and burials 1559 to 1711; the second has baptisms 1712 to 1786 (exclusive of the year 1720, contained in the first book), marriages 1708 to 1752, and burials 1711 to 1808; the third book has baptisms 1787 to 1812, and burials in 1812 only; the fourth marriages 1755 to 1811.
The church, which is mentioned in Domesday Book, was held with the manor. The Prior of Ogbourne presented as procurator-general for the abbey of Bec in England, except, that is, when the priory was in the king's hands, as was the case in nine presentations out of ten during Wykeham's episcopacy. (fn. 16) In the deeds whereby Henry VI granted Quarley Manor to St. Katharine's Hospital in 1441 (fn. 17) no mention was made of the advowson. Apparently this left room for uncertainty; for in Bishop Waynflete's first register two presentations by the hospital are recorded, followed by four by Eton College, (fn. 18) which had a conceivable claim under the terms of its charter of endowment. (fn. 19) This was evidently the reason for the charter of 1462, (fn. 20) in which the advowson is specifically referred to and the matter settled. The church is still in the gift of St. Katharine's Hospital, which was removed from its old site to its present one near Regent's Park in 1825 to make way for the St. Katharine Dock. During their tenancy of the manor (q.v.) in the 17th century the Pitmans presented to the living. (fn. 21)
In 1399 relaxation of five years and five quadragene (fn. 22) of enjoined penance was granted to penitents who on the principal feasts of the year and those of the dedication and St. Michael, the octaves of certain of them and the six days of Whitsun week should visit and give alms for the conservation of the church of St. Michael the Archangel, Quarley. Those who did this on the said octaves and days only were released a hundred days. (fn. 23)
Mrs. Sophia Sheppard, by deed of 25 July 1844, gave an annuity of £20 for the benefit of the poor of the parish (see under Amport). In 1906 the sum of £20 received from Magdalen College, Oxford, was applied in the distribution of coals among 32 persons.
The official trustees hold a sum of £200 consols in respect of the charity of the Rev. Thomas Sheppard, D.D., and Richard Cox, the dividends of which, amounting to £5 a year, arc carried to the school account.