A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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St. Helens parish includes the north-eastern sea-board of the Island from Brading Haven to Ryde. The parish contains 1,941 acres, of which 35 acres are inland water, 236 acres arable land, 990¼ acres permanent grass and 67½ acres woodland. (fn. 1) The village, now consisting of a few houses and cottages round the 'Green,' must, as early as the 14th century, have been of some importance as a port to Brading at the entrance of the haven. (fn. 2) The English fleets were accustomed to lie off here in the 16th, (fn. 3) 17th (fn. 4) and 18th centuries, and it possessed a spring of water famous for its keeping qualities and greatly in request for outgoing ships. (fn. 5) Sir John Oglander, comparing St. Helens with Cowes, says that many ships resorted to St. Helens to victual, that a harbour had been formed by throwing up the beach, that St. Helens and Barnsley had a fleet of fifty sail and was the home of '20 good shipmasters that would undertake to carry you to any part you desired.' (fn. 6) With the rise of Cowes in the 18th century, St. Helens began to lose its importance as a shipping centre.
St. Helens includes the ecclesiastical parish of St. John's, Oakfield, a suburb of Ryde, which was formed in 1844 from St. Helens, (fn. 7) and the pretty village of Seaview, now rapidly becoming a town, Springvale, a hamlet on the coast adjoining Ryde, and Nettlestone, a small village about half a mile north-west from St. Helens Church. The parish was extended in 1899 to include part of Brading, and in 1894 the part of the parish in the borough of Ryde was transferred to Ryde. (fn. 8)
There is a suspension pier 1,050 ft. long, erected in 1880, at Seaview, where steamers from Portsmouth call. The principal residences in the parish are Appley Towers (Capt. G. W. Hutt), The Priory (H. Grose-Smith), Sea Grove (W. A. Glynn), St. Clare (A. Vernon Harcourt), Woodlands Vale (Lieutenant-General Lord Calthorpe) and Fairy Hill. (fn. 9)
In 1905 a community of Benedictine nuns, originally seated at Northwood House, bought the Isle of Wight College property and established a convent there under the title of St. Cecilia's Abbey.
The site of the PRIORY OF ST. HELENS remained in the possession of Eton College (fn. 10) until it was sold in 1799 to Sir Nash Grose. The site had been previously leased to him and he had purchased some adjoining land from the Oglander family and others, thus forming a considerable estate. This descended in 1814 to his son Edward, who fell at the battle of Quatre Bras, leaving his sister as his heir. On her death in 1832 without issue it passed to her cousin Edward Grose-Smith, whose son Henley Grose-Smith inherited the property and still holds it.
Whether the priory buildings were on Mr. Grose-Smith's property, or whether they existed adjacent to the church, is a moot question which cannot be satisfactorily answered without an examination of the ground lying round the ruined church tower. It seems unlikely they would have been erected so near the shore as the site of the old church and in so exposed a position, and there are certainly portions of an older building incorporated in the present Priory House, though these apparently are no earlier than the 16th or 17th century.
EDINGTON (Edyneton, xiii cent.), which was held of the honour of Carisbrooke, belonged in 1263 to William de Edington, (fn. 11) who had been succeeded before the end of the 13th century by Robert Morin. (fn. 12) It apparently included the site of the priory. (fn. 13) Robert Morin died seised of land at 'Hydithetone,' by which Edington is perhaps meant, in 1305, and was succeeded by a son William. (fn. 14) In 1346 Edington was held by John Morin. (fn. 15) Hugh de Godshill, the owner of the estate in the 15th century, (fn. 16) was succeeded by Henry de Godshill, who held in common with William Howles in 1480. (fn. 17) William Howles survived Henry de Godshill, and conveyed his interest in the manor to Giles Hollys or Howles, who was in possession in 1560. The manor then seems to have remained in the Howles family until the death of William, nephew of Giles; when Henry Howles entered into possession and seems to have conveyed the manor to Edward Richards of Yaverland, who reconveyed a moiety to him, and so the manor was held between them (fn. 18) and sold in 1583 to Sir William Oglander. (fn. 19) It has remained with the family ever since, (fn. 20) being now owned by Mr. J. H. Oglander of Nunwell, who has the Court Rolls from the time of Edward III to 1620.
NETTLESTONE (Hotelestone, xi cent.; Hutleston, Nutteleston, Notteleston, xiii cent.) was held at the time of Domesday in two portions under the king. A third of a hide was held by Alric and his nephew, who had also held the manor in the time of the Confessor. Humphrey held a third of a hide which had belonged before the Conquest to Godesa. (fn. 21) The estate afterwards passed to the family of Cheyny (Kaisneto) and in 1200–1 Richard son of Richard gave up to Richard son of Roger all his right in a rent of 20s. at Nettlestone in exchange for a quitclaim by the latter to all land at 'Keisnetum' in Normandy which his uncle Richard de Cheyny had held. (fn. 22) Forty years later Thomas de Cheyny granted a rent of 17s. at Nettlestone to Ralph de Mora. (fn. 23) In 1269–70 an agreement was made between Maud de Estur and Walter de Lisle, who was probably her son, by which Maud was to hold for life a messuage and a carucate of land in Nettlestone and Westbrook with reversion to Walter, who was to hold the estate of the heirs of Maud. (fn. 24) Walter was in possession in 1293, when he held an eighth of a fee at Nettlestone of William de Estur. (fn. 25)
In 1329 Cecily widow of Henry de Carvyle released to William de Lisle and Isabel his wife all claim to dower in Nettlestone. (fn. 26) The manor was apparently still held in two parts at the end of the 13th century, when Walter Nevill and his wife Muriel held a half fee in Park and 'Rutteleston' of William Russell of Yaverland. (fn. 27)
The estate held by the Lisles appears to have been the more important and passed from William de Lisle to John Lisle of Wootton, who in 1398–9 granted it as the manor of Nettlestone to Thomas Brading and Joan his wife for their lives. (fn. 28) In 1431 Henry Lisle of Southampton held half a knight's fee in Park and Nettlestone. (fn. 29) By the middle of the 16th century the manor had passed like Kimpton in Andover Hundred (q.v.) to Sir Edward Rogers of Cannington, co. Somerset, (fn. 30) whose grandson Edward Rogers sold it in 1592 to William Oglander of East Nunwell. (fn. 31) John Oglander his son and successor conveyed the manor of Nettlestone in 1609–10 to his brother George, (fn. 32) whose daughter Charity carried it to the Holgate family by marriage. In the 18th century a moiety of the manor was left by will to Rev. Henry Oglander, who was dealing with it in 1787 (fn. 33) and died in 1814, having devised it to his sister Susannah the wife of John Glynn for life, with remainder to her second son, the Rev. Anthony W. Glynn. (fn. 34) Mr. William Anthony Glynn, who succeeded his father in 1819, (fn. 35) barred the entail on his moiety (fn. 36) and devised it to the present owner, his son John Henry, who assumed the name Oglander by royal licence in 1895. (fn. 37) Copies of Court Rolls of Nettlestone and Park from the time of Edward VI are in the possession of Mr. John H. Oglander of Nunwell.
PRESTON (Prestetone, xi cent.; Prosteton, xiii cent.; Prestyngton, xiv cent.) was held before the Conquest by Tovi and had an 'aula' at the time of Domesday, when it was held by William son of Stur. (fn. 38) The estate does not seem to have belonged to William's descendants, for it was subsequently held of the manor of East Standen, (fn. 39) being held at the end of the 13th century of Thomas de Evercy by Roger Vavasour for the service of a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 40) Roger was succeeded in his tenancy by John, who in his turn was succeeded by Thomas, the holder in 1346. (fn. 41) It is evident the manor was divided early in the 14th century, as by then Thomas Ivel and others were holding half a knight's fee in Preston and Nunwell of Ralph Gorges. (fn. 42) This estate had passed by 1346 to Robert Ivel and his coparceners. (fn. 43) By the 15th century both tenures had been split up, that of the Jewels or Ivels among John Bailey, Theobald Gorges, Alice Olyves and others, (fn. 44) while the quarter fee originally held by Roger Vavasour, and afterwards known as PRESTON VAVASOUR, was divided between John Mowne, Stephen Smith and Thomas Middlemarch. (fn. 45)
In 1396–7 Joan Boorden, sister and heir of Richard Turberville and daughter of John Turberville, dealt with lands in Preston, (fn. 46) evidently Preston Vavasour, which is afterwards alternatively called Troublefield. In 1529 Richard Perman of Cosham, Hants, and his wife Juliana, daughter and co-heiress of John Stephens, sold 'a tenement called Preston in St. Helens' to Sir James Worsley, kt. (fn. 47) Two years later Oliver Leder and Frances his wife, who held it in right of Frances, sold 'the manor of Preston and Vavasour alias Trovylfeldys' to the same purchaser. (fn. 48) In 1580 John Worsley died seised of the manor of 'Troublefield,' (fn. 49) leaving a son Thomas, who held it at his death in 1604. (fn. 50) In 1543 Sir Thomas Trenchard was in possession of a manor called Preston Vavasour, which he then granted to his son Richard, (fn. 51) who was holding in 1551. (fn. 52) In 1557 Thomas Trenchard of Wolveton, Dorset, conveyed to George Oglander in fee 'all his tenement or mansion at Preston Vavesor or Preston Trubville.' (fn. 53)
According to Sir John Oglander, however, the Trenchards, who had bought the manor of the Turbervilles, sold it to Mr. Baskett. Edward Baskett died in 1602 seised of a quarter of the manor which had been settled on him by his father John on his marriage in 1593 with Jane Meux. He left a son Thomas, then eight years of age. (fn. 54)
According to Sir John Oglander, Baskett sold the manor to Thomas Oglander, whose daughter and heir married a Fitchett and succeeded her father in 1642. (fn. 55) In 1603 an Alice Elcock died, leaving two daughters, Mary and Bridget, the latter of whom, who married Richard Deacon, had as her share 'the capital messuage or tenement called Preston Vavisor.' In 1771 George Lord Mount Edgcumbe held the farms of 'Troublefield' (fn. 56) (64 acres) and Old House (53 acres), the former of which had belonged in 1755 to George Ross of Conduit Street in right of his wife Elizabeth. This apparently confusing descent is the outcome of the 15th-century division of the two parts of the original holding, which eventually came in name, if not in substance, to the Oglander family, and is still owned by Mr. J. H. Oglander, who has the Court Rolls in his possession.
Old House now belongs to Captain G. W. Hutt and Troublefield Farm to Mrs. Carr Tate.
APPLEY, originally a farm of some 200 acres at the north-east extremity of the parish, bordering the sea, probably represents the land in Appley which, with Westbrook and Westhey, was granted in 1272 by Ralph de Colevile to Walter son of Maud de Estur. (fn. 57) It was owned in the latter half of the 18th century by Dr. Roberts, who built a house where the present Benedictine nunnery stands, and left his property to the Hutt family, who sold it about 1830 to Mr. George Young. In the 'sixties Appley was bought back by Rt. Hon. Sir William Hutt, and is now owned by Capt. G. W. Hutt.
PUCKPOOL (Cokepole, xiii, xiv, xv cent.) was held at the end of the 13th century of William de Aumarle by John de Cokepole. (fn. 58) In 1431 John Waite (or Way) of Ryde was seised of a tenth of a fee in Puckpool, (fn. 59) and in 1480 William Howles died seised of 'certain lands called Cockpole' (fn. 60) held of the Crown. The modern residence was built in the first half of the 19th century nearly on the site of the old farmhouse. The holding comprised the properties of St. Clare and Woodlands Vale. There is a battery at Puckpool in connexion with the Spithead defence.
WESTBROOK appears by name in the 13th century, and was held at the time of the Testa de Nevill by the lord of Whitefield under Maud de Estur of Gatcombe, and was granted to the latter by Walter de Lisle in 1270. (fn. 61) Two years later Ralph de Colevile granted to Walter a messuage and land in Westbrook, Appley and Westhay. (fn. 62) In 1293 Hugh Thomas held an eighth of a fee at Westbrook of William de Estur. (fn. 63) It probably came later to the Howles family, as it was sold in 1583 by Henry Howles to Sir William Oglander, and early in the 19th century Sir William Oglander (fn. 64) sold it off to various owners, retaining some of the land, which he added to his Park farm.
The original church of ST. HELENS was in a bad state as far back as the 16th century, according to the presentment of George Oglander, the centoner of St. Helens. (fn. 65) By the 18th century it had become so ruinous that a new church was built in 1717 (fn. 66) about a mile inland, and the old church allowed to go to ruin, the tower, a 13th-century structure, only being left standing. The tower about the same time was supported by brickwork and formed into a seamark. (fn. 67)
In 1831 the church was rebuilt, and in 1862 a new chancel was erected. The present church is a stone structure with brick dressings, and consists of an aisleless nave, with transepts, a chancel, and west tower with one bell. There is a mural tablet to Sir Nash Grose, who died in 1814, and his son Edward.
There is one bell inscribed W.BIH.T.R.W 0191. (fn. 68)
The plate consists of chalice, paten and flagon, all inscribed 'The gift of Jonathan Winchester (fn. 69) to St. Helens in the Isle of Wight.'
The registers up to 1812 are contained in three volumes and begin in 1653.
The church of ST. PETER at Seaview was built in 1859 as a chapel of ease, and has a nave of four bays, north aisle, and south porch. The ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1907, (fn. 70) and the living is now a vicarage in the gift of Mr. W.A. Glynn of Seagrove.
The advowson followed the history of the priory, (fn. 71) and came in the reign of Henry VI into the hands of Eton College, who still hold it.
The denominational places of worship are: Wesleyan and Free Wesleyan chapels at Seaview; United Methodist at St. Helens; and Congregational at Elmfield.
There are schools at St. Helens (National and Council), Seaview (Council), Oakfield St. John's (National), and Nettlestone (Council).
This parish was in possession of 1 a. 2 r. adjoining the churchyard, known as Bell Croft, which was let at £4 a year, carried to the churchwardens' account.
In 1617 Richard Gard by his will (among other charitable gifts) devised two annual sums of 10s. each for the poor, one of which only is now paid out of an estate at Westbrook.
Lady Katherine Julia Vernon Harcourt by her will, proved at London in January 1878, left £100 for the National schools. The legacy was invested in £102 0s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, who also hold a further sum of £255 2s. consols in trust for the same schools, arising from a legacy under the will of Colonel Francis Vernon Harcourt, who died in 1880. The annual dividends, amounting together to £8 18s. 4d., are duly applied. (fn. 72)
The same testator bequeathed £200 for the poor, which was invested in £204 1s. 7d. consols, producing £5 2s. a year.
In 1908 Miss Mary Conder by her will, proved at London 9 April, left £500, the interest to be applied in the distribution of bread, coals, flannel, blankets, or clothing during the winter months. The legacy was invested in £499 6s. 6d. India 3½ per cent. stock, producing £17 9s. 8d.
The two sums of stock last mentioned are also held by the official trustees.
St. John's, Oakfield.
Lady Katherine Julia Vernon Harcourt by her will 1878 left £100 for the National schools and £100 for the infants' school. The legacies were invested in two sums of £102 0s. 9d. consols, producing £2 11s. for each object.
Colonel Francis Vernon Harcourt, who died in 1880, likewise bequeathed £500 for the National schools, £200 for the infants' schools at Oakland, and £200 for the poor.
The several legacies were invested in £510 4s. 1d. consols, £204 1s. 7d. consols, and £204 1s. 7d. consols, producing £12 15s., £5 2s. and £5 2s. for the respective objects. (fn. 73)
In 1897 James Tyrell Carter Ross by his will, proved at London, left £50 towards the general church expenses of St. John's (such as lighting, warming, and cleaning). The legacy, less duty, was invested in £39 16s. consols, producing 19s. 8d. a year.
In 1904 Mrs. Grace Catherine Pakenham Mahon by deed gave a sum of £300, two-thirds of the annual income to be applied for the benefit of the poor of the congregation of St. John's and one-third in the maintenance of the windows, &c., in the church. The gift was invested in £339 18s. 1d. consols, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £8 10s., are duly applied.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees.