A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The parish of Breamore, including the tithing of Outwick, contains 35 acres of land covered by water and 2,676 acres of land, of which 1,232 acres are arable land, and 808¾ acres are permanent grass. (fn. 1) The soil is loam with a subsoil of gravel. There is a station at Breamore on the London and South Western Railway.
The village lies on the right bank of the Avon, about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum, on the high road from Salisbury to Fordingbridge. From it the land rises north and west, reaching 300 ft. in the north-west at Breamore Down, on which are several tumuli.
The rectory, built in 1804 (fn. 2) is in the north of the village, while the church is in the park of Breamore House (fn. 3) about half a mile away. Nothing remains of the buildings of the Augustinian priory founded here about 1130, and excavations made on its site (Priory Meadow) in 1898 revealed only traces of the cloister and some stone coffins.
A portion of Grim's Ditch lies on the north-west of the parish and on it is a curious maze, called Miz Maze. The place-names Chapelhaye and Oure Lady Mersshe occur in Breamore. (fn. 4)
The manor of BREAMORE or BREAMORE COURTENAY was ancient demesne of the Crown, and in 1086 was parcel of the royal manor of Rockbourne. A hide of land in the Isle of Wight held by Gherni belonged to the manor of Breamore, and from it came £9 towards the king's ferm. Half a hide in the manor held by Ulmar and 2½ hides and certain woodland had been put into the New Forest. (fn. 5) At an early date, probably by grant of Henry I, (fn. 6) Breamore passed to the Earls of Devon, lords of the Isle of Wight, who held it of the king in chief for the service of half a knight. (fn. 7) Later, like the lordship of the Isle of Wight (q.v.), it was annexed to the honour of Albemarle, but on the death of Isabel Countess of Albemarle (fn. 8) the king took possession of the manor, as part of the manor of Christchurch Twyneham, which he had purchased from the countess. (fn. 9) Hence in 1299 Edward I assigned it to his consort, Margaret of France, (fn. 10) but by commission of 1302 Breamore was found to be separate from Christchurch, (fn. 11) and was delivered in the same year to Hugh de Courtenay, the cousin and heir of Isabel, (fn. 12) compensation being made to Queen Margaret. (fn. 13) From that time it descended with the title of Earl of Devon (fn. 14) until the forfeiture of Thomas Courtenay Earl of Devon in 1461. In the same year Edward IV restored the manor to Henry Courtenay, brother and heir of Thomas, (fn. 15) and confirmed it to him in 1465. (fn. 16) He did not, however, long enjoy possession of it, for it was granted in 1467 to Walter Blount Lord Mountjoy, (fn. 17) who, dying in 1474, was succeeded by his grandson Edward. (fn. 18) The latter died under age in the following year, (fn. 19) and Breamore escheated to the king, who granted it for life in 1490 to Sir Hugh Conway and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 20) The reversion was granted in 1512 to Katherine widow of William Courtenay Earl of Devon (fn. 21) and her heirs. Her son Henry was created Marquess of Exeter in 1525, but was beheaded and attainted in 1538–9, (fn. 22) when the manor again passed to the Crown. It was granted in 1541 to the queen consort, Katherine Howard, (fn. 23) and in 1544 to Katherine Parr, (fn. 24) who, after the death of Henry VIII, married Thomas Lord Seymour of Sudeley, to whom Breamore was granted by Edward VI in 1547. (fn. 25)
On his attainder and execution in 1549 it again passed to the Crown and was granted in 1579 by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Christopher Hatton. (fn. 26) It was purchased of him by William Dodington, (fn. 27) who died in 1600 leaving a son and heir Sir William. From this date Breamore followed the descent of South Charford (q.v.) until 1741, when Francis Lord Brooke sold it to Samuel Dixon, (fn. 28) preliminary to its sale to Sir Edward Hulse, bart. (fn. 29) The manor has descended with the title, (fn. 30) and is now held by Sir Edward Hamilton Westrow Hulse, bart.
Breamore House, the seat of Sir Edward Hulse, stands north-west of the church. The original house was a very fine late 16th-century building of brick and stone, but was unfortunately burnt in 1856. It has been practically rebuilt on the old lines, incorporating such of the old masonry as was left, and now from a short distance has quite the effect of an Elizabethan building. The site is very picturesque, being well timbered, with a fall eastwards to the river valley.
In 1293, when the manor of Breamore was in the king's hands, he commanded the keeper of the park of Breamore to give John de Drokensford two live bucks and six does to stock his park of Crux Easton, (fn. 31) and the profits of the park of Breamore formed part of the grant to Margaret, consort of Edward I. (fn. 32) In 1316 Hugh de Courtenay complained that certain persons broke his park at Breamore and hunted therein and took away deer. (fn. 33) In 1461, the manor of Breamore being again in the king's hands on account of the forfeiture of Thomas Earl of Devon, the custody of the park, warren and manor of Breamore was granted to William Philpotte for life. (fn. 34) In 1542 wood from the park of 'Overbremer' was assigned to William Pyrrye, farmer of 'Overbremer,' for repairing a stable and building a hayhouse. (fn. 35) The 'inclosed ground called the park of Breamore' is mentioned in a deed of 1741. (fn. 36)
Baldwin and Hugh de Redvers endowed their priory of Breamore with certain land in Breamore (fn. 37) which formed the nucleus of the manor later known as BREAMORE BULBORN. (fn. 38) Various donors added gifts of adjoining land which were merged in the manor. Thus Isabel de Fortibus Countess of Albemarle gave the canons land which John de Gauefrey once held. (fn. 39) Other donors were Nicholas de Clarebold of land in Shortelond, (fn. 40) William atte Cumbe and his wife Eva (fn. 41); Thomas (fn. 42) and William (fn. 43) Polet and John Gobet, brother of Thomas, (fn. 44) of lands in Cherlewod, Houtwyke and elsewhere in the parish of Breamore—the lands given by Thomas Polet were to maintain a light before the rood; Lucy la Lavendere, before 1326, of lands to provide a lamp to burn before the cross in the conventual church (fn. 45); Edmund Upehulle and his wife Agnes of land next the prior's land called Walewell in 1345–6 (fn. 46); and Richard Alpher of lands lying towards 'la Mulleweye' and 'la Brummel's acre' (fn. 47); John de Breamore in 1348–9 (fn. 48) of lands for which the prior undertook to receive John, his wife Gena and his son John into the brotherhood of the priory and to celebrate their anniversaries with placebo, dirige and a mass for them and for John and Agnes, John's parents, twice a year, and to distribute 3s. worth of bread to a hundred and forty-four poor people in Fordingbridge on their anniversary. (fn. 49)
The manor remained in the possession of the priory until its suppression in 1536, (fn. 50) when it was granted to Henry Marquess of Exeter and his wife Gertrude as the manor of Bulborn. (fn. 51) On Henry's attainder in 1538–9 it passed once more to the Crown and was granted in 1539 to Anne of Cleves, (fn. 52) in 1540 to Katherine Howard, (fn. 53) in 1544 to Katherine Parr, (fn. 54) and in 1551–2 to the Princess Elizabeth for life. (fn. 55) In 1553 Queen Mary granted the reversion to Edward Earl of Devon, (fn. 56) but in 1571–2 Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir Christopher Hatton. (fn. 57) It subsequently returned to the Crown, and was granted in 1582, on the petition of William Brooke Lord Cobham, to Edmund Frost and John Walker, (fn. 58) who sold it on the following day to William Dodington, (fn. 59) and its descent from that time is identical with that of Breamore Courtenay (fn. 60) (q.v.).
The grange called BARNES, forming part of the possessions of the priory of Breamore at the Dissolution, (fn. 61) followed the descent of the manor of Breamore Bulborn, (fn. 62) being last mentioned in 1581–2. (fn. 63) Barn's Farm to the north of Woodgreen possibly preserves the site of this grange.
At the time of the Domesday Survey Waleran the Huntsman held a virgate and a half in 'Otoiche,' and Gozelin held it of him. Agemund had formerly held it as an alod of King Edward the Confessor and it had belonged to Welle (fn. 64) (? Wellow). This entry may refer to OUTWICK, a tithing and hamlet in Breamore, but there is a curious similarity between this entry and that for West Wellow, which consisted of a virgate and a half of Agemund's manor of East Wellow which had been seized by Waleran the Huntsman and put into Wiltshire. (fn. 65) Land at Outwick is mentioned in several deeds relating to the manor of Breamore Bulborn, but there is no indication that there was ever a manor there.
The earliest mention which has been found of a mill at Breamore occurs in 1551–2, when the mill of Bulborn was granted to Princess Elizabeth. (fn. 66) This mill was evidently annexed to the manor of Breamore Bulborn and passed with it to Sir William Dodington. (fn. 67) The customary tenants of the manor had to bring their corn to be ground at this mill and another which was built before 1582, both near the priory. (fn. 68) In a deed of 1741 three water grist-mills are mentioned. (fn. 69) There is now a mill on the Avon, south of the village.
The priory of Breamore was founded towards the end of the reign of Henry I (fn. 70) by Baldwin de Redvers and Hugh his uncle, to whose descendants the advowson belonged. (fn. 71) It was apparently visited by Richard II in 1384. (fn. 72) On its dissolution in July 1536 (fn. 73) the site was granted in November of that year with the manors of Breamore and Bulborn to Henry Marquess of Exeter and his wife Gertrude. (fn. 74) It then followed the descent (fn. 75) of Breamore Bulborn, becoming merged in that manor. The site is mentioned in a deed of 1741. (fn. 76)
The church of ST. MARY, formerly of St. Mary and St. Michael (14th century), consists of a chancel 20 ft. by 14 ft., a central tower 20 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft. 10 in., a south transept 11 ft. by 8 ft. 10 in., a nave 20 ft. 3 in. by 50 ft. 11 in., and a south porch 10 ft. 3 in. by about 8 ft.
It is a most valuable and unusually complete specimen of a pre-Conquest church, its walls built of whole flints set herring-bone fashion, and originally covered within and without with plaster, which ran unbroken over the splays of the windows, but was stopped at the angles and at intervals on the wall surfaces by heavy quoins and pilaster strips of green sandstone and ironstone, projecting about 1½ in. from the walling. The height and comparative thinness of the walls and the massive character of the wrought stonework make it a most interesting and typical example. It was originally an aisleless cruciform building, with nave and chancel separated by a square tower flanked by transepts. One of these transepts, that on the north, has disappeared, and there seems to have been a western building of equal width with the nave, which is also destroyed, but with these exceptions and certain rebuildings noted below the early work is very well preserved, and the removal of the external plaster, though in other respects a mistake, has revealed the character of the masonry, affording a very useful comparison with other remaining examples.
The proportions of the plan are noticeable, 27 ft. being a ruling measurement. The chancel from outside to outside east to west is 27 ft. long, the tower 27 ft. square over all, the width across the tower and transept was 54 ft. from outside to outside, and from the outside of the west wall of the nave to that of the west wall of the tower is 54 ft. The measurements are not quite exact, but the correspondence is too marked to be accidental.
The internal width of the tower, 20 ft., is also the internal length of the chancel. The arrangement of windows suggests that there were four on either side of the nave, equally spaced on the north, but not on the south, where a window was set on either side of the rood over the south doorway. Two of the north windows remain, but on the south side only one is now visible, to the east of the doorway and blocked by the 15th-century heightening of the south porch. The chancel probably had three windows, one in each wall.
The probable date is late in the 10th or early in the 11th century, and the only addition since that date is the south porch, of which the lower stage is of mid12th-century date and the upper stage of the 15th century. The chancel was practically rebuilt with the insertion of a new door and new windows about 1340, but the old plan was adhered to, and the lower parts of the walls are perhaps original. The early chancel had much higher walls. Early in the 15th century new arches were inserted in the east and west walls of the tower, and the north transept was destroyed at this date or later. The west wall of the nave has been rebuilt, but apparently on the old lines, and there seems to have been a building of equal width with the nave to the west of it. The chancel was repaired in 1874 and the rest of the church in 1897, and all woodwork except the roofs, a door case south-east of the nave, and the frame of the rood loft door, is modern. (fn. 77)
The east window of the chancel, c. 1340, has three trefoiled lights with net tracery in a two-centred head. The external label is modern. To north and south of it are two 15th-century image brackets with heads of angels beneath them. They are further enriched, in one case with bands of foliage, and in the other with small foliate bosses. The north wall is now without openings, but at the west externally are traces—part of the sill and one jamb—of a low side window of uncertain date. There is also a modern blocked north door apparently for an intended vestry, since it is only inserted in the inner face of the wall and has never been cut completely through. At the east, in the south wall, is a 15th-century piscina of unusual design. The lower part is a fairly deep niche with a three-centred head continuously chamfered, which was closed with a door, one hinge pin remaining. The basin projects from the wall and is moulded and semi-octagonal in form, the back of the basin, with its foliate drain, being carried back to about the line of the door. Above this are two small pointed recesses for the cruets. In the middle of the wall is a priest's door, c. 1340, with a continuously moulded internal reveal and drop rear arch, and externally of two wave-moulded orders with a pointed head and ogee label with head drips. On either side of this is a two-light window. That to the east is of two trefoiled lights contemporary with the door, the head cut out of a single slab. The other window is of 15th-century date and has two cinquefoiled lights with a square-headed external label with one drip at the east in the form of a mitred head. At the west the label butts against the east wall of the tower. The chancel arch is of 15th-century date and is of two moulded orders and fourcentred form and has no responds, the opening being the full width of the chancel. The outer order, moulded with a hollow chamfer, a fillet and a casement, is stopped on a band of well-modelled foliage. The inner order rests upon moulded three-sided capitals with short wall shafts of similar form carried on conical corbels, one with a human head, the other with foliage only, but foliage of very unusual character, founded on thistle leaves, and evidently belonging to the same school as the work at Christchurch Priory. Externally the north wall of the chancel shows a considerable irregularity of build. It is mainly of knapped flint rubble, but there are patches of the original whole flint rubble. The east wall is more regular and is almost entirely of knapped flints. The south wall is mainly of whole flints and appears to have been less rebuilt than the others. The eastern angles have heavy green sandstone quoins, probably old work re-used. The south-east corner of the tower has been rebuilt, but at the north-east is the original weather table showing that the height and pitch of the early chancel roof were about the same as those of the nave, and the original wall much higher than it is now.
The central tower originally had a first floor about
15 ft. from the ground, entered through a doorway
from the south transept. There must have been a
wooden stair, or perhaps only a ladder in the transept,
to reach the doorway. The room was lighted by
four windows, two on the south and two on the
north, with mid-wall openings widely splayed on each
side, and round heads, all being of plastered flint
rubble. Three of these remain, that at the southeast having been destroyed, but all have squareheaded stone frames set in their outer faces, the outer
splays being blocked. This may be a 15th-century
or later alteration. The door is a plain, narrow,
square-headed opening, and from it an iron ladder
leads to the bells overhead. Below the two north
windows of the tower is the weathering of the old
north transept roof in heavy blocks of stone, and at
the ground level are the blocked jambs of the
destroyed arch to the transept, of about the same
width as that to the south transept, which remains
intact. The head has been destroyed by the insertion
late in the 15 th century of a window of three cinquefoiled lights under a square head, with an external
label. The arch to the south transept is of one
square order with a semicircular head built of long
'through' stones. At the springing are deep square
abaci with heavy cable moulds on the angles, and on
the north face of the arch is incised, in wellproportioned letters, the inscription
her sputelad seo gecpydraednes de
'Here is made plain the covenant to thee.' There were similar inscriptions, as it seems, on the other arches, but only a single stone is now preserved, with lettering on a larger scale than that on the transept arch, and probably belonging to the original east arch of the tower. The inscription, when uncovered in 1897, had its letters filled with plaster and coloured red, with a red line above and below.
On either side of the south transept arch are inserted windows, that to the east being of two trefoiled lights of 14th-century date, and that to the west a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with a square head and label. This has on its west dripstone a shield with a bezant between two harts' heads cabossed in a chief, quartering a cheveron between roundels, which is perhaps a Popham coat quartered with Zouche. In the west wall of the tower is the arch to the nave, which is of similar date and detail to the chancel arch, and the upper rood-loft doorway, with its old wooden frame, remains at the north-west.
The transept has on the south a small pointed window of 13th-century date inserted in an original double-splayed window, and on the east a 12th-century doorway cut straight through the wall, with a round head of one square order and plain chamfered abaci. Above this is a complete original window with a double splay all formed in flint rubble and rendered with plaster. The south-east and west angles have the heavy long and short quoins set out to stop the plastering, and at the base of the gable to the south, crowning the quoins, are two projecting stones originally intended to carry the barge-boards of rather widely projecting eaves. At the foot of the quoins are square projecting base stones. On a 17th-century stone let into the west wall is the brief inscription, 'avoyd fornication.'
The nave has on the north two original doublesplayed windows of the same detail as that in the tower but larger. One of these is about a third of the length of the wall from the east, the other is the last window to the west, and both are placed high in the wall. Between them is a window, probably of 16th-century date, of two coarse trefoiled lights with a pierced middle spandrel and a four-centred head, and to the east of the first window are two 15th-century windows, both of two cinquefoiled lights with external square-headed openings. One of these is placed comparatively low, and the other at about the same level as the early windows. At the south-east of the nave is a modern doorway with a good 18th-century head and architrave of oak, and above this, but a little further westward, is a window of two cinquefoiled lights of 16th-century date. Beyond it is another window of two clumsy trefoiled lights, probably of 16th-century date, and partly hidden by the east wall of the porch is an original window, now blocked. The south doorway is of mid-12th-century date, with a semicircular head of two moulded orders, the outer carried upon circular shafts with scalloped capitals, of which that to the east is modern. West of the porch is a window of late 15th-century date of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over. In the west wall is a modern window of three trefoiled lights, below which may be seen the lower stones of the jambs of an original west doorway, opening to the destroyed western chamber, the start of whose walls yet remains. The upper part of the west wall has been rebuilt and contains a large modern window of two lights, between which has been set a shield-shaped drip, on which are carved the initials 'W D' and the date 1603, doubtless for Sir William Dodington, then lord of the manor. At the western angles are diagonal buttresses overlying the start of the early walls, and of the same date as the rebuilt part of the west wall.
The south porch is of two stages. The lower is of 12th-century date and has a much-restored roundheaded entrance arch of two moulded orders with shafted jambs similar in style to the south doorway. The upper stage is of 15th-century date and has on the south a low pointed opening of two chamfered orders, which may have been filled with a wooden frame originally, and at the south-east is a pointed piscina recess with a moulded head. The gable is modern and of half-timber construction. The floor of this upper chamber is now removed, like that of the very similar room built in front of the great rood on the west wall of Headbourne Worthy Church. There is a close analogy between the two, both having contained an altar and both having been decorated with wall paintings, but the paintings at Breamore have been much more elaborate than those at Headbourne Worthy. The rood itself, between the figures of our Lady and St. John, is not such a fine example as the other, but still must have been a striking figure. Each of the three figures has a large nimbus and above the rood is a hand projecting downwards from a cloud. Painted on the wall as a background to the figures is a landscape of rolling hills with trees and copses and in the middle distance a small church with a spire. There are traces of drawings of other buildings. The colours used are a reddish brown for uncovered ground, a darker brown for the buildings, a light peacock green for the hills and lampblack for foliage. The painting is continued on the west wall, where a figure of Judas hanging is to be seen, and on the east and west walls are the Maria and IHS monograms in reddish brown, with a diaper of drops. Below the rood is a 12th-century Agnus Dei carved in a circular medallion in low relief. In the porch are two oak benches, one dated 1617, which seem to have been made for their position.
The chancel roof is modern, of open timber construction, and is tiled. The tower roof internally has curved timber framing of 15th-century date, forming a cove on all four sides. Externally it is tiled and of pyramidal form and surmounted by a small square modern shingled bell-turret with two trefoil-headed sound holes to each face. The nave roof contains some old material incorporated in a modern roof of the original pitch. The porch roof is tiled. The west gallery is modern. The font has a plain octagonal bowl on a square stem and is ancient but of uncertain date. On the north wall of the chancel is a small wall monument to Rev. John Crabbe, 1748, once sub-librarian of the Bodleian and also rector of this parish. The arms are Azure a cheveron between two fleurs de lis and a crab or. On the north of the tower is a small wall tablet to William, 1685, and Robert, 1682, the sons of William Holloway; also Elizabeth his wife, 1690, and Mercy (Holloway) (no date), the relict of Joseph Durnforth. In the tower are also a number of painted hatchments of the Hulse family. On the north of the nave is a very pretty white marble wall monument to George Johnson, his wife Anne, their son Henry and daughters Frances, Elizabeth and Mary. The only date given is that of the son's death, 1703, who left the sum of £100 for apprenticing the poor children of ' Bremmor' and Wood Green. The arms given are Or a water bouget sable.
The registers are contained in five books. The first has all entries 1675 to 1731, the second baptisms and burials 1731 to 1780, the third marriages only 1755 to 1797, the fourth baptisms and burials 1781 to 1813, and the fifth marriages 1797 to 1813. There are also overseers'accounts from 1649.
The rectory and advowson of Breamore with the chapels of Charford and Hale belonged at the Dissolution to the priory of Breamore, (fn. 78) probably by gift of Baldwin and Hugh de Redvers. The rectory and church were granted in 1536 to Henry Marquess of Exeter, (fn. 79) but, returning to the Crown on his forfeiture, passed by exchange in 1552 to John Poynet, Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 80) Queen Mary deprived him and took possession of the rectory and advowson, the reversion of which, after the termination of a lease to William Pury, she granted in the first year of her reign to Edward Earl of Devon. (fn. 81) Both, however, were granted in 1558 to John White, Poynet's successor, (fn. 82) but again returned to the Crown and were sold by Queen Elizabeth in 1578 to Sir Edward Horsey. (fn. 83) The latter sold them in 1581 to John Stockman, (fn. 84) of whom they were purchased in 1586 by William Dodington, (fn. 85) and from this time the advowson followed the descent of the manor of Breamore until the death of Lady Anne Brooke in 1690–1, (fn. 86) when it passed to her daughter Dodington wife of Charles Montagu, created Duke of Manchester in 1719. (fn. 87) The advowson and rectory then descended with the title of Duke of Manchester (fn. 88) until sold by George Duke of Manchester to Henry Longden in 1776–7. (fn. 89) Subsequently both advowson and rectory became vested in James Palmer, who presented to the church in 1838, (fn. 90) and in 1870 they passed from Rev. James Nelson Palmer to Rev. Edward Parker Dew, (fn. 91) in whose trustees the advowson is now vested.
John Dodington by deed dated 16 February 1638 charged certain grounds in Fordingbridge called Sandy Balls with an annuity of £5 for the apprenticing of poor children of this parish, Fordingbridge, Harbridge and Ringwood (alternis vicibus) for ever. The annuity is received every fourth year from Sir Edward Hulse, bart., and applied as required together with Johnson's Charity next mentioned.
In 1703 Henry Johnson by his will directed £100 to be laid out in lands and hereditaments, so as to secure that £5 a year be applied in apprenticing. The sum of £5 10s. a year is received from Lord Normanton, the lord of the manor of North Ashley, being one moiety of a fee-farm rent thereout, less land tax.