A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.
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Charlton (fn. 1) covers 1,734 a. and lies 4 miles southwest of Pewsey. (fn. 2) Long and narrow in shape, it measures some 5½ miles from its northern boundary ½ mile north of the Avon to its southern limit on Salisbury Plain. At its broadest point, immediately below the scarp, the parish is only 1¼ mile wide. Four-fifths of the parish, extending from the crest of the escarpment on Cleeve Hill across the Ridge Way to Charlton Down beyond, are situated on the chalk uplands of Salisbury Plain, while the remaining fifth lies below the scarp on the southern edge of the Vale of Pewsey. There the settlement shelters beneath the downs on the south bank of the western arm of the Christchurch Avon. The village street lies on an east-west axis and is approached from the Devizes-Upavon road, cut parallel to it in the scarp below Cleeve Hill, by means of the road formerly called Church Lane. No mention of Charlton occurs until the 12th century. (fn. 3) Its name is thought to suggest that it may have been attached originally to a near-by estate as an outlying tun inhabited by the lord's ceorls. (fn. 4) If so, it would seem likely that until that date Charlton was included in the neighbouring royal manor of Rushall, which, with its appendages, was assessed at 37 hides in 1086, an estimate disproportionately large when compared with its later size. (fn. 5) From at least the 14th century the settlement was often designated 'Charlton by Upavon' to distinguish it from its many namesakes in the county. (fn. 6)
The most northerly part of the parish is situated on the Lower Chalk, which inclines gently southwards for ¼ mile. (fn. 7) The mile-wide expanse of River and Valley Gravel which succeeds it is transected by the alluvium of the Avon bed. The alluvial soils of the river banks are marshy and bear a thick cover of undergrowth and a few clumps of alders and withies. The settlement stands on the River and Valley Gravel at about 321 ft. A few hundred yards south of the settlement the gravel is succeeded by a narrow stratum of Lower Chalk which carries the Devizes-Upavon road on an embankment above the vale. On the south side of the road the Middle Chalk forms the steep north-facing escarpment of Salisbury Plain. The chalk outcrop, known as Cleeve Hill, forms a distinct topographical feature of the area. Directly south of the Charlton Cat inn, it rises almost perpendicularly to 582 ft. before continuing southwards across the Upper Chalk and Clay-with-flints to 622 ft. just north of the Ridge Way. Most of the land around the settlement and on Cleeve Hill was devoted to open arable fields until the later 18th century. Some was under pasture in 1972. From the crest the dip slope of the Plain, known as Charlton down, slopes southward across the Upper Chalk. The down, formerly the sheep pasture of the parish, has formed part of one of the Salisbury Plain firing ranges since the end of the 19th century. The Middle Chalk is again exposed on the bed of a deep coomb, known as Water Dean bottom, which was gouged out in ancient times by a stream which formerly flowed eastwards into the Avon north of Enford. Southwards the land rises sharply again across the Upper Chalk to over 550 ft. and then slopes away to below 450 ft. on the southern boundary.
Archaeological evidence suggests settlement on the uplands of the parish at an early date. An area on the downs south of Water Dean bottom, apparently first settled in the early Iron Age, also yielded finds of Roman date, including coins, a small bronze figure, and a bronze plaque bearing a relief of Minerva. (fn. 8) Of the three ancient field systems which extend into the parish on Charlton down, one, directly south of the Ridge Way, yielded Romano-British material. (fn. 9) The 'long ditch' of unknown date runs along the north side of Water Dean bottom, and part of the 'old nursery ditch', similarly of unknown date, crosses the southern tip of the parish. (fn. 10) Charlton's contribution of 36s. to the fifteenth of 1334 is one of the smaller totals for Swanborough hundred as then constituted. (fn. 11) The parish had 86 poll-tax payers in 1377, a fairly high number compared with other places in the hundred. (fn. 12) In 1801, when the population was first enumerated systematically, 168 people lived in the parish. Numbers increased steadily and in 1861 Charlton had 222 inhabitants. The population thereafter declined until 1921 when it rose temporarily to 136. After that date the decline continued, however, and in 1971 only 80 people lived there. (fn. 13)
The road leading from Devizes to Upavon was turnpiked in the early 1760s. (fn. 14) Most of the lanes which served the parish in the early 18th century could be seen as tracks in 1972. One ran west to Wilsford and another, probably that called Broad Way in the 18th century, led east to Rushall. The site, much overgrown, of the drove excavated through the steep chalk scarp on to Cleeve Hill and in use by the early 18th century, could still be seen south of the Charlton Cat inn. The lane which in 1972 led north-west from the Street to Charlton Manor formerly continued northwards towards North Newnton and Hilcott. Another lane branched off it and ran westwards along the northern parish boundary to Wilsford. (fn. 15) The bridge which carried the road over the river near Charlton Manor was known in 1536 as Skilling's bridge after the medieval owners of the farm on the north-west bank, and later as Mundy's bridge after those of the 17th and early 18th centuries. (fn. 16) The Avon, no more than a stream where it meanders through Charlton on a southeasterly course, was diverted into two channels, probably in the later 18th century, to water the meadows in the north-west corner of the parish. (fn. 17)
The village lies at the foot of the escarpment directly east of a U-shaped bend in the Avon. It is limited to the church and a few houses and cottages strung out along Charlton Street, so called in the 18th century. (fn. 18) Perkyn's Lane, mentioned in 1528, and White Way, named in 1541, probably lay near the river since both were subject to flooding. (fn. 19) The former manor-house, the church, and, on the north side of the Street, a 17th-century timberframed house with 19th-century brick casing, stand at its eastern end. (fn. 20) At the western end, on the south side of the road south-west of Manor Cottage, a thatched and timber-framed cottage of the 18th and early 19th centuries, stands the former Drax Farm, known in 1972 as Willowdene. (fn. 21) Originally a small 17th-century house with additions on the east and west, the building was afterwards converted into three cottages but in 1972 was in single occupation. Two thatched cottages of the 18th and early 19th centuries, partly timber-framed and partly encased in brick, stand along Friday's Lane which runs north-westwards from Charlton Street on a semicircular course towards the house known in the later 19th century as Manor Farm and in 1972 as Charlton Manor. (fn. 22) That house, the only one in the parish which lies north of the river, is approached from the Street by means of the bridge described above. Parts of an early building may be incorporated in the south front of the present brick house of c. 1700, which has a symmetrical five-bay east entrance front with mullioned and transomed windows. The house was extended north-westwards in the 18th century and on the west in the later 19th century. During the 17th century cottages were built on the manorial waste known as White Lane, which ran west of Willowdene south to the DevizesUpavon road. Six cottages were built there c. 1615, and in the 18th and earlier 19th centuries the lane was built up on either side. It was uninhabited by the end of the 19th century. (fn. 23) The Charlton Cat inn, which stands on the north side of the DevizesUpavon road at its junction with the former White Lane, may be identified as being on the site of the alehouse kept at Charlton in the 1750s by Richard Davis. (fn. 24) Known as the Red Lion in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the inn was then part of the manorial estate and remained so until 1920 when the freehold was offered for sale. (fn. 25) The inn was burnt down in March 1821 and rebuilt immediately. (fn. 26) Although afterwards officially called the Poores Arms, it was known locally as the Charlton Cat by the earlier 20th century. (fn. 27)
Stephen Duck (d. 1756), born at Charlton in 1705 and still commemorated there by a yearly dinner held at the Charlton Cat, began to write verses while employed locally as a thresher. Encouraged by neighbouring clergy and landowners, he eventually became a protégé of Queen Caroline, consort of George II, who in 1735 appointed him keeper of the queen's library at Richmond. He was ordained as a literate in 1746 and appointed rector of Byfleet (Surr.) in 1752. (fn. 28) His many published collections of verse, although judged by Jonathan Swift to be 'not worth a Straw', were popular in the 18th century and include The Shunammite (1730), Poems on Several Subjects (1730), and Poems on Several Occasions (1736). (fn. 29)
Manor and Other Estates.
In the later 12th century Reynold Pavely subinfeudated an estate, to be identified with the later manor of CHARLTON, to the Praemonstratensian abbey of L'Isle Dieu (Eure), which he founded c. 1187. (fn. 30) The Pavely family retained the right to a yearly rent of two marks from the estate, whose overlordship passed with the capital manor of Westbury, until 1368. (fn. 31) That year, following a partition of the Pavely lands, the rent of two marks was allotted to Sir Ralph Cheyney and his wife Joan, daughter of John Pavely (d. 1361) by his second marriage. (fn. 32) No further mention is made of the Pavely overlordship.
L'Isle Dieu's estate at Charlton was reckoned at two carucates in 1275. (fn. 33) The manor, with the rectory of Upchurch (Kent), also a L'Isle Dieu property, was in the keeping of canons of that house during the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 34) As an estate of an alien religious house, Charlton was frequently taken into royal hands. (fn. 35) In 1380 L'Isle Dieu was licensed to alienate the manor to the London hospital of St. Katharine by the Tower, but the sale apparently did not take place and Charlton continued to be administered by royal keepers. (fn. 36) In 1414 its profits were granted in dower to Queen Joan (d. 1437), widow of Henry IV. (fn. 37) A £22 rent from the manor was granted to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (d. 1447), in 1439. (fn. 38) The rent was granted in 1441 to Eton College, to whom Humphrey quitclaimed his rights in 1443. (fn. 39) In 1462 a grant of the manor itself, repeated in 1465, was made to the master and college of Fotheringhay (Northants.), who retained it until 1545, when they sold it to the Crown. (fn. 40)
In 1548 Charlton was granted to William Sharington (d. 1553), who had been granted a lease of the property two years before. (fn. 41) Thereafter the manor passed like that of Liddington in the Sharington and Talbot families to John Talbot (d. 1714). (fn. 42) He was succeeded in turn by his grandson John Ivory Talbot (d. 1772), and great-grandson John Talbot (d.s.p. 1778). (fn. 43) John Talbot devised Charlton for life to his sister Martha, wife of the Revd. William Davenport. (fn. 44) By Act of 1784 the manor was vested upon trust for sale, and that year was sold by Martha Davenport to Edward Poore (d. 1788). (fn. 45) Charlton thereafter descended with the manor of Rushall in the Poore and Normanton families until the 20th century. (fn. 46) In 1898 most of the downland attached to the estate was sold to the War Department. (fn. 47) As part of the Rushall estate of the earls of Normanton the Charlton lands, made up of Charlton (510 a.) and Coombe (77 a.) farms, were sold in 1917 to Frank Stratton, who sold in 1919 to F. J. and J. H. Maggs. (fn. 48) In 1927 the Maggses sold Coombe farm to Thomas Ernle Fowle (see below). (fn. 49) Charlton farm (625 a.) was sold in 1945 by J. H. Maggs to C. P. Wookey, whose son Mr. C. B. Wookey was owner in 1972. (fn. 50)
The former manor-house stands west of the church amid a walled garden. (fn. 51) Daniel Heine leased it separately from the manorial estate as a gentleman's residence in 1782. (fn. 52) Only the north-east wing, which retains original panelling, survives from the 18thcentury building. The house was substantially remodelled in the 19th century and again in the 20th, when it was converted into two flats.
In 1195 and 1196 account was rendered at the Exchequer for an estate at Charlton held by Miles de Frankcheyney. (fn. 53) The lands were restored to Miles in 1197. (fn. 54) His right was challenged unsuccessfully in 1228 by Gilbert Basset (d. 1241), against whom Henry de Frankcheyney, perhaps Miles's son, claimed novel disseisin in 1232. (fn. 55) It has not proved possible to identify the estate with any of those described below.
In 1325 John Skilling received a grant of 26s. 8d. rent in Charlton. (fn. 56) Michael Skilling held a carucate of land there in 1366. (fn. 57) An estate which included land at Charlton was settled on John Skilling and his wife Faith in 1381. (fn. 58) In 1412 John Skilling still held the lands. (fn. 59) Thereafter their descent apparently followed that of the manor of Shoddesden (in Kimpton, Hants). (fn. 60) From another John Skilling the estate, held of the lord of the capital manor in 1482, passed to his daughter Elizabeth, who married as her second husband Thomas Wayte (d. 1482). (fn. 61) In a way that is not clear the estate passed to John Thornborough (d. 1511), who was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1522), and grandson William (d. 1535), who held it in reversion after the death of Robert Thornborough's widow Anne who married secondly Sir Anthony Windsor. (fn. 62) The lands eventually passed to William's son John, whose widow Margaret held them in 1599 and retained them in 1616. (fn. 63)
It was probably this estate which passed to William Kent, who died seised of an estate held of the lord of the capital manor in 1632. (fn. 64) He was succeeded by his son and namesake (d. 1666), who devised land at Charlton to his younger son John (d.s.p. ante 1679). (fn. 65) The estate was acquired at an unknown date by Robert Mundy the elder (d. 1682 or 1683) and remained in the Mundy family until at least 1736. (fn. 66) Francis Giffard had acquired it by 1775. (fn. 67) Giffard (d. 1802) devised the farm upon trust to the use of his daughter Charlotte and her husband Francis Giffard for their lives. (fn. 68) The estate was afterwards acquired by William Fowle, upon whose death intestate c. 1838 it descended to his heir-at-law, his father William Fowle (d. c. 1840), who was succeeded in turn by his sons George Frederick Fowle (d. 1863), and Thomas Everett Fowle (d. 1877). (fn. 69) T. E. Fowle was succeeded by his eldest son William Hugh (d. 1942), who sold the farm to his younger brother Thomas Ernle Fowle in 1893. (fn. 70) Thomas Ernle Fowle (d. 1932) sold the downland attached to the estate to the War Department in 1902. (fn. 71) As described elsewhere, he augmented his Charlton estate by the purchase of Drax farm in 1919 and of Coombe farm in 1927. (fn. 72) He was succeeded at Charlton by his son Francis Ernle Fowle (d. 1969) and grandson W. F. B. Fowle, owner in 1972. (fn. 73)
In 1493–4 John Long of Lymington (Hants), a younger son of Sir Thomas Long (d. 1508), was seised in fee of 143 a. in Charlton. (fn. 74) The estate apparently remained in his family and c. 1601 another John Long settled the farm, then called a 'manor', on himself for life, with remainder first to his sister Clare Clary and secondly to his kinsman Sir Walter Long (d. 1610). (fn. 75) John Long died c. 1602 and by 1605 the lands were held by Sir Walter Long, who in that year conveyed Long's farm to Giles Tooker. (fn. 76) Tooker (d. 1623), who held in socage of the lord of the capital manor, devised the land to his younger son William. (fn. 77) William, however, seems to have sold it to his elder brother Edward (d. 1664), who was succeeded by his son Sir Giles Tooker (d.s.p. 1675). (fn. 78) Giles's coheirs were his sisters Martha, wife of Sir Walter Ernle and Philippa, wife of Sir Thomas Gore. (fn. 79) Martha Ernle succeeded her brother at Charlton and on her death in 1688 the farm passed successively to her grandsons Sir Walter Ernle (d.s.p. 1690) and Sir Edward Ernle (d. 1729). (fn. 80) Thereafter the farm descended like the manor of Etchilhampton in the Ernle and Drax families until 1919. (fn. 81) The estate was reckoned at c. 203 a. in 1841. (fn. 82) Land on Charlton Down was sold in 1900 to the War Department. (fn. 83) In 1919 the estate, known as Drax farm (87 a.), was sold by the Hon. Reginald A. R. Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax to Thomas Ernle Fowle and merged with the Fowle estate at Charlton (see above). (fn. 84)
Hugh Lavington owned 24 a. of land at Charlton in 1736 and 1746 and on his death at an unknown date was succeeded by his widow Lettice, in possession by 1754, and son Richard, owner in 1761. (fn. 85) In 1766 Richard Lavington conveyed the estate to Thomas Walter (d. 1793), who devised it to his nieces Ann and Hannah Walter. (fn. 86) In 1809 William Taylor and Simon Pile Hitchcock, the husbands of Ann and Hannah respectively, conveyed the estate to Sir John M. Poore, and it became merged in the main manor. (fn. 87)
In the Middle Ages the parish contained, besides the manor, two substantial freehold estates. (fn. 88) Little, however, is known of the smaller ones until the 20th century (see below). In 1294 the manor of Charlton was worth £26 10s. 3¼d., which included assessed rents of unspecified freeholders totalling £3 6s., and villein rents of £7 3s. 4d. Customary works, apparently commuted, were represented by payments of £1 16s. 5¼d. from virgaters, £2 from half-virgaters, and 3s. from cottagers. The demesne contained 150 a. of 'good' land worth 8d. the acre, 130 a. of 'bad' land worth 2d. the acre, and 3 a. of meadow worth 2s. the acre. Additionally there was pasture for 500 sheep worth £2 1s. 8d. (fn. 89)
The demesne was farmed at £22 yearly by Thomas Deryng in the earlier 15th century. (fn. 90) Robert Thornhill was farmer in 1546. (fn. 91) Richard Woodland was granted a lease for seven years at £12 10s. in 1588 which expressly reserved the demesne sheep pasture to the lord. (fn. 92) In 1595 Charlton down, as it was then called, was leased at 10s. yearly to Richard Lavington for 21 years. (fn. 93) Demesne arable, meadow, and downland seem generally to have been leased together, and in 1629 both were leased to Roger Lavington, the demesne arable and meadow then being reckoned at 193 a. (fn. 94) The total acreage of the demesne farm was estimated at 12 yardlands (562 a.) in the earlier 18th century and the estate let at £160 yearly. The farm was made up of 24 parcels and 163 a. of arable land in the open fields, 30 a. which included inclosures around the farm-house and land in the lammas meadows bordering the Avon's south bank, and a sheep down of 225 a. divided into a summer down of 51 a. and a winter down of 174 a. The demesne farmer was entitled to keep 12 rother beasts, 36 cows, 876 sheep, and 240 lambs. (fn. 95)
In 1583 there were 13 copyholders and 2 tenants at will within the manor. (fn. 96) Nineteen copyholders paid rents totalling £6 8s. 9d. in 1630. (fn. 97) By 1655 all copyholds but one had been converted to leasehold estates held for lives. Of the copyhold and the 16 leasehold estates, the most substantial leasehold of 3 yardlands was held for lives by James Liddell. (fn. 98) During the later 17th century the leaseholds were gradually consolidated to form small farms. Thus the 17 leaseholds within the manor in 1672 had been reduced to 12 by the earlier 18th century. (fn. 99) James Liddell's holding had been acquired before 1698 by Thomas and Jane Fowle, who later acquired another leasehold of 3 yardlands and probably worked the estate of c. 280 a. so formed from a house directly east of the church. (fn. 100) By 1775 the tenantry land, estimated at 674 a., was apportioned among eight leasehold estates. One of 6½ yardlands was held by Thomas Fowle (d. 1783), and another of 2 yardlands by his brother Henry (d. 1803). By that date Francis Giffard (d. 1802), also a freeholder, had acquired three leaseholds totalling 2 yardlands (c. 105 a.). (fn. 101)
In 1583 60 sheep were allowed for each yardland. (fn. 102) The demesne pasture, as mentioned above, could be stocked with some 800 sheep in 1588. (fn. 103) A 'south flock' was kept by a shepherd in 1631. (fn. 104) In 1763, when the sheep-stint was 73 sheep and 20 lambs to a yardland, it was remarked that 'the down on the south . . . seemes to be covered with sheep, and hath this excellent property that they never hath the rott among them'. (fn. 105) The tenantry sheep down contained 326 a. in 1775, the demesne down 225 a., and that attached to the freehold estate later called Drax farm some 58 a. (fn. 106) In 1798 the sheep kept were mostly wethers and very few lambs were bred. They were kept only on the demesne farm and that worked by Francis Giffard. (fn. 107)
North and East fields are mentioned in 1583. (fn. 108) In 1655 open arable lay in, among other places, Heath, North, West fields, the 'Combe', on the hill, and under the cliff. Meadows included 'Nethon', Little, and Home meads, 'Tophet', and 'Holehames'. (fn. 109) The open fields, which lay around the settlement and stretched south from Cleeve Hill probably as far as the Ridge Way, totalled 551 a. in 1775. The meadows and old inclosures were reckoned at 76 a. (fn. 110) In 1780 1,601 a., including the North, South, East, and West fields, the Cleeve, Lammas meadow, the Little, Summer, Cow, Winter, and Thornham downs, and Ruslet common, were inclosed. The Revd. William Davenport, as lord in right of his wife Martha, was allotted 1,035 a., of which his tenants Thomas Fowle, Henry Fowle, and Francis Giffard received 284 a., 101 a., and 103 a. respectively for their farms. Thomas Erle Drax and Francis Giffard received 145 a. and 135 a. respectively for their freehold farms. (fn. 111)
In 1781 the Davenports, owners of the manor, bought a pair of hatches standing in Fools meadow from Francis Giffard. (fn. 112) They were perhaps acquired to water the new water-meadow of 9 a. mentioned as part of the demesne farm in 1783. (fn. 113) In 1798 the parish contained 18 a. of water-meadows, which probably lay north of the Avon in the north-west of Charlton. (fn. 114)
On Thomas Fowle's death in 1783 his brother Henry evidently succeeded him in his leaseholds. (fn. 115) From Henry Fowle (d. 1803) the farm of 301 a. so formed apparently passed to his son William (d. c. 1840), who also inherited a freehold farm at Charlton c. 1838. George Pike was William Fowle's under-tenant in the leasehold farm in 1838. By that date the remaining tenantry land had been amalgamated to form an estate of 396 a., also worked by George Pike. (fn. 116) By 1841 the two farms were merged and worked by Pike from the house formerly attached to the Fowle leasehold (see above). The demesne (610 a.) was then worked by John Simpkins. (fn. 117) Part of the demesne farm was later added to Pike's farm. Thus in 1875, besides the two small freehold farms, the parish contained the enlarged demesne farm of 924 a. and a hill farm of 350 a. representing the demesne downland and worked as a separate unit by Alfred Stratton. (fn. 118) Charlton Down ceased to have much agricultural value after its purchase by the War Department at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 119)
By the addition to his own farm of Drax (87 a.) and Coombe (77 a.) farms in 1919 and 1927 Thomas Ernle Fowle built up an estate situated in the northwestern corner of the parish. It was reckoned at c. 260 a. in 1972 and known as Charlton Manor farm. (fn. 120) F. E. Fowle maintained the Westsaxon herd of pedigree T.T. Large White pigs there in 1958. (fn. 121) In 1972 the farm produced corn and supported a flock of c. 400 ewes. (fn. 122) In the early 20th century Charlton farm, the former demesne land, occupied the remainder of the parish. It was tenanted, and later owned briefly (1917–19), by Frank Stratton & Co., and given over to dairying. (fn. 123) From 1919, with farms in neighbouring parishes, it formed part of the estate owned by J. H. Maggs, a director of Wilts. United Dairies Ltd. and later chairman of United Dairies Ltd. (fn. 124) Dairying was replaced by stock rearing and the production of corn after the farm was acquired in 1945 by the Wookey family, who also leased 400 a. of War Department land on Charlton Down in 1972. (fn. 125)
Records of views of frankpledge and manorial courts for Charlton manor, held and recorded together, exist with gaps from 1527 to the earlier 19th century. The views and courts were often held twice yearly in the 16th and early 17th centuries but thereafter generally once yearly in the autumn. The views had become formalities by the early 17th century. The manorial courts, which remained active, concerned themselves exclusively with the regulation of the usual small agricultural matters, such as repair of flooded roads, the cleaning of the Avon, and repairs to stocks and pound. (fn. 126) In 1650 the overseers of highways were presented for not repairing the roads. (fn. 127) Charlton became part of Pewsey poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 128) Apart from registers no parochial records are known.
Surviving masonry indicates that there was a church at Charlton in the 12th century. (fn. 129) Medieval references to the 'chapel' of Charlton suggest that it may originally have been dependent on the church of Upavon, a possession of the abbey of St. Wandrille de Fontenelle (SeineMaritime). (fn. 130) If so, Charlton apparently achieved the status of an independent benefice at an early date. The church was probably among property appropriated to endow the newly-formed prebend of Upavon in the earlier 13th century and a vicarage was afterwards ordained, its advowson being considered parcel of that prebend. (fn. 131) The first recorded presentation of a vicar to Charlton occurs in 1306. It was made, in lieu of the prebendary, who was the abbot of the mother house, by the prior of the alien house founded at Upavon in the 12th century by St. Wandrille. (fn. 132) During the 14th and early 15th centuries the rectory and advowson of the vicarage, because attached to an alien religious house, were frequently resumed by the king, who in 1343 and throughout the 14th century presented vicars to Charlton. (fn. 133) In 1416 Queen Joan (d. 1437), consort of Henry IV, presented. (fn. 134) The prebend of Upavon and therefore Charlton rectory and the advowson of the vicarage were granted in 1423 to Ivychurch Priory, which presented to Charlton in 1456. (fn. 135) That year, however, the Crown again resumed possession and in 1459 granted the prebend to Eton College. (fn. 136) The grant to Eton was apparently not permanent and rectory and advowson were confirmed to Ivychurch in 1461. (fn. 137) The house does not seem to have recovered them finally until 1473. (fn. 138) The priors of Ivychurch thereafter presented vicars until the Dissolution, when rectory and advowson passed to the Crown, which presented in 1541. (fn. 139)
In 1546 the Crown granted rectory and advowson to Christ Church, Oxford, whose chapter presented to Charlton until the early 20th century, except in 1592 when Ambrose Thornhill presented, and in 1838 when the Lord Chancellor did so. (fn. 140) In 1920 Charlton vicarage was united with the rectory of Rushall and Christ Church became entitled to present alternately with Merton College, Oxford, patron of Rushall. (fn. 141) Charlton and Rushall were disunited in 1939 and Charlton vicarage united with that of Wilsford. Christ Church was then entitled to present alternately with the master of St. Nicholas's Hospital, Salisbury, patron of Wilsford. The rectory of North Newnton, which was held in plurality with the united benefice from 1946, was united with it in 1956, and Christ Church, as patron of Charlton, was allotted the first presentation to the united benefice of Charlton with North Newnton and Wilsford. (fn. 142)
In 1341 £2 13s. 4d., a sum which perhaps repre sented the value of a ninth of the rectorial tithes of Charlton, was included in a valuation of a ninth of those of Upavon. (fn. 143) The appropriators took all the great tithes of Charlton except those, described below, to which the vicar was entitled, (fn. 144) and leased them out from the earlier 16th to the later 19th centuries for £11 yearly. (fn. 145) From the mid 17th to the early 19th centuries the tithes were leased successively by William Pinckney (d. 1698), his son Robert (d. 1747), grandson William (d. 1779), and great-grandson William (d. 1811). (fn. 146) Although valued at £115 10s. in 1777, the then lessee claimed that the rectorial tithes of Charlton were worth only £96. (fn. 147) In 1812 their value was £219, and in 1841 Christ Church, as appropriators, received a rent-charge of £246 in lieu. (fn. 148)
The vicarage was worth £6 14s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 149) From 1731 the vicars received a yearly sum of £10 from a trust for augmenting poor benefices in the college's gift which Dr. Robert South (d. 1716), a canon of Christ Church, established by will proved 1716. Payments were made until 1813 but ceased thereafter since the vicar was presumed dead (see below). Payments were resumed on the institution of a new incumbent in 1838. (fn. 150) The incumbent of Charlton was still entitled to claim payment in 1972. (fn. 151) The living had an average net income of £100 yearly from 1829 to 1831. (fn. 152) In 1873 a grant of £50 yearly was made from South's trust and in 1893 and again in 1894 £200 allotted to the benefice by Christ Church were met each year with £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty and by £100 from the Salisbury Diocesan Poor Benefice Fund. (fn. 153)
The vicar was entitled to the great as well as the small tithes from eleven yardlands in Charlton, which included the Drax farm and that acquired in the earlier 19th century by the Fowles. He took all the small tithes from the remainder of the parish. (fn. 154) In 1841 he was allotted a rent-charge of £114 to replace his great tithes and another of £18 to replace the small tithes. (fn. 155)
There was no glebe land attached to the living except the garden of c. ¾ a in which the Vicarage stood. By the early 19th century the house, mentioned since the 17th century, was ruinous and in 1840 the vicar lived in a neighbouring parish. (fn. 156) A grant of £200 from South's trust was made towards the building of a new Vicarage on the site of the old house in 1841. (fn. 157)
By will proved 1523 William Chaucey bequeathed £20 for the construction, on the north side of the church, of a chantry chapel where he and his wife Marion were to be buried (see below). The chapel was to contain an altar, two lights, and statues of the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist. Chaucey also directed that a priest, to be paid £6 yearly for ten years, should pray for him and his family. (fn. 158)
In 1556 the vicar was accused of selling an altar, perhaps that in the north chapel, and of keeping the proceeds. (fn. 159) Assistant curates served the church in 1624, 1625, and 1627. (fn. 160) In 1674 the vicar was presented for living outside the parish and for neglecting his duties. (fn. 161) John Lewis, soon after his institution in 1779. entered into a protracted and costly tithe suit against certain parishioners, and the debts he incurred led to the sequestration of the benefice in 1789. (fn. 162) Despite awards in Lewis's favour, he was unable to claim his tithes. (fn. 163) He disappeared in 1798 and thereafter assistant curates served the benefice until a new incumbent was instituted in 1838. (fn. 164) The parish seems to have continued to suffer from the non-residence of its ministers in the mid 19th century. (fn. 165) On Census Sunday 1851, however, a congregation of 58 attended morning service and one of 64 that held in the afternoon. (fn. 166) In 1864 two services, each with a sermon, were attended by an average of 80 to 90 people each Sunday. Other services were held at Christmas, and on Good Friday and Ascension day. Holy Communion, which was celebrated twelve times a year, including Christmas, Easter, and Trinity, was attended by an average of 12 communicants. (fn. 167)
The church of ST. PETER, so dedicated by 1308, stands on a slight knoll at the eastern end of the village street, and is made up of an undivided chancel and nave of rubble with north chapel and tower of freestone. (fn. 168) The undivided nave and chancel date mostly from 1858 but the dimensions of the nave and stonework surviving in the plinth of its south wall suggest that there was a church on the site in the 12th century. In 1807, when the church was entirely of freestone, the nave appeared to be of 15th-century construction and had a lower chancel. (fn. 169) An embattled north chapel (see above) and tower, added c. 1523, are lavishly embellished with various armorial bearings, including those of the Chauceys, builders of the chapel and probably, at a slightly later date, of the tower. (fn. 170) The ground floor of the tower also serves as the porch of the north nave door. A two-light squint in its east wall, in alignment with another in the east jamb of the chapel arch, allowed views of both chapel and high altars from the porch. The chancel and nave, with the possible exception of the lower part of the nave's extreme west and north-west walls, and the plinth of its south wall, were rebuilt to the design of J. L. Pearson in 1858. (fn. 171) There are wall tablets to the Pinckney family on the north wall of the chancel. Those on the north nave wall chiefly commemorate the Fowle family and include one to Thomas Fowle (d. 1783) and others by Richard Westmacott the younger. (fn. 172) The north chapel contains a memorial brass to the founder William Chaucey (d. 1523) and his wife. (fn. 173)
In 1553 the parish retained a chalice, perhaps that which, with a small paten, was sold and the proceeds put towards the purchase of a new chalice, flagon, and paten in 1858. (fn. 174) The flagon was missing in 1972. There were three bells in 1553. Of those, only the first, of medieval date and from the Salisbury foundry, survived in 1972. The second and third were replaced by bells cast by Robert Wells of Aldbourne in 1766. (fn. 175) Extant registrations of baptisms and burials begin in 1695, those of marriages in 1696, and are almost complete. (fn. 176)
In 1662 seven, and in 1674 six people were presented for not attending church or receiving the Sacrament for many years past. Some had neglected to have their children baptized. (fn. 177) There were five nonconformists, similarly of unknown denomination, in 1676. (fn. 178) In 1864 the incumbent estimated that 10 per cent of the adult population were 'anabaptists', but added that there was no meeting-house in the parish. (fn. 179) An iron mission hall for Wesleyan Methodists was built in 1893 on the north side of the village street near Friday's Lane. (fn. 180) It had closed by 1925 and modern housing stood on the site in 1972. (fn. 181)
About 20 children paid 4d. weekly to attend a school at Charlton in 1818. (fn. 182) The school, however, did not flourish and in 1841 many children were apparently taught by dissenters in a neighbouring parish. In that year the earl of Normanton, lord of the manor, gave £100 and ¾ a. as a site for a school, and promised £10 yearly for its support. (fn. 183) A schoolroom was built in 1844 and maintained by subscription. (fn. 184) In 1859 some 30 to 40 children were taught there by a mistress. (fn. 185) The school was supported by subscriptions amounting to £9, payments from the children worth £4, and £3 5s. from the incumbent in 1868. Thirteen boys and 17 girls were then taught there by an uncertificated mistress who received £8 yearly and the payments made by the pupils. (fn. 186) Only 6 boys and 5 girls attended on a certain day in 1871, and the school closed soon afterwards. (fn. 187) By 1875 the children attended Rushall school, to which the appropriate rectors of Charlton, Christ Church, contributed £5 yearly in 1888. (fn. 188)
Charities for the Poor.
By deed of 1734 Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston (d. 1757), gave land worth a guinea to provide a dinner in honour of Stephen Duck (see above) for the threshers of Charlton each year on 30 June. (fn. 189) The feast is described by Duck in 'A Description of a Journey to Marlborough, Bath, Portsmouth, etc.': 'None can your gen'rous Treat with Want reproach; All eat enough and many drank too much: Full twenty Threshers quaff around the Board; All name their Toast, and ev'ry one, my lord.' (fn. 190)
The land, known as Duck's Acre, apparently lay in Rushall field and in 1834 yielded £2 9s. 9d. yearly for the dinner, which was then held on 1 June. It was later agreed that Duck's Acre should be represented by land in a certain corner of Rushall field. In 1901 Duck's feast, still held on 1 June, was then paid for with a £2 rent supplemented by voluntary contributions and was attended by all the agricultural labourers of Charlton except carters and shepherds. (fn. 191) In 1972 the income of c. £5 from the land at Rushall, then owned by Mr. C. B. Wookey, was augmented by small payments made by those who attended. The feast at the Charlton Cat inn on 1 June 1972 was attended by some 22 men, a total which represented both agricultural workers and their guests. (fn. 192)
Francis Giffard by will proved 1802 bequeathed £100 stock, the interest to be given yearly in bread to the poor on 18 January. (fn. 193) From 1867 to 1869 the interest of £3 was spent on bread, and in 1901 and still in 1972 loaves bought with the income of £2 15s. were distributed in accordance with Giffard's bequest. (fn. 194)