A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 11, Downton Hundred; Elstub and Everleigh Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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Everleigh lies mostly at heights of between 150 m. and 180 m. towards the north-eastern edge of Salisbury Plain. (fn. 1) High on the plain the village occupies an isolated site about half-way between the villages of the Bourne valley to the east and those of the Avon valley to the west. (fn. 2) The parish is roughly rectangular, nearly 5 km. long and about 3 km. wide, and covers 1,330 ha. (3,286 a.). The nearest town is Pewsey some 8 km. away. The entire parish lies on the Upper Chalk of Salisbury Plain. On the south-west and east sides the heads of three dry valleys with their floorings of gravel have cut into the chalk plateau for short stretches.
The name Everleigh comes from the Old English eofor, a wild boar, and leah, a clearing, (fn. 3) a reminder that the parish lay within the old natural forest of Chute. (fn. 4) The parish came within the bounds of the royal forest of Chute when at their broadest. It was, however, outside the forest in 1300. (fn. 5) There are important Romano-British settlement sites a little to the west of the parish, and barrows, or groups of barrows, serve as marks on the parish boundary. (fn. 6) A commission was appointed in 1290 to determine the course of that boundary in the north-west where it ran between Everleigh and Pewsey. (fn. 7) In 1591 the prominent landmark of Sidbury hill was taken as marking the southernmost point of the parish, (fn. 8) but in 1975 it was south of the boundary in North Tidworth. Within Everleigh there are comparatively few prehistoric sites, another indication of original forest cover. Traces of field systems remain in the south-west corner of the parish, probably connected with the Romano-British settlement at Coombe down in Enford. (fn. 9)
In the Middle Ages there was a scarcity of wood in the parish, for timber to inclose the lord's park was habitually obtained from the neighbouring parish of Collingbourne Ducis. (fn. 10) Early in the 19th century the surrounding landscape struck Cobbett as barren. 'Here you see miles and miles square without a tree, or hedge, or bush. It is a country of greensward', he wrote. (fn. 11) Aubrey in the 17th century, however, remarked upon a large oak coppice, although he added that it grew very poorly, not liking the chalky soil. (fn. 12) In 1975 the parish was by no means treeless. There was considerable woodland in the north-east corner, some of which at Old Hat copse was replanted with firs and beeches by the Army in 1959 and 1960. (fn. 13) Belts of trees have also been planted as windbreaks and coverts, and more recently in the southern half of the parish by the Army as shelter for manoeuvres. The sycamores in a row noticed by Cobbett in 1826, to the south of the garden of the Crown inn, may have been the successors to those planted by the vicar in 1660. (fn. 14)
Several important routes have crossed the parish. The village lay on the old Salisbury—Marlborough road across the plain, which perhaps followed the course of a Roman road from Old Salisbury. (fn. 15) The stretch between Marlborough and Everleigh was turnpiked in 1762. The continuation from Everleigh to Salisbury, however, was never turnpiked and was eventually abandoned. (fn. 16) It is thought that the course through Everleigh may have formed part of the route taken by the first Saxon invaders coming up from Southampton Water. (fn. 17) The Saxon herepath leading from the Bourne valley to Old Salisbury crossed the parish, (fn. 18) and the road from Andover, via Ludgershall, to Devizes, now a main road, crossed the old Salisbury-Marlborough road in the village.
A charter of King Ine of 704 was dated at Everleigh, (fn. 19) perhaps implying that the place was of importance. If so, that might be the reason why Everleigh became the head of, and gave its name to, a small liberty in the 13th century. (fn. 20) In 1334 it was taxed at 110s., 20s. more than any of the other four places then composing the liberty. (fn. 21) In 1377, when only three places were included in the liberty for taxation purposes, Everleigh had far fewer poll-tax payers than Collingbourne Ducis. (fn. 22) To the benevolence of 1545 Everleigh made the fifth smallest contribution of the thirteen places taxed in the hundred of Elstub in which it was then merged. (fn. 23) To the subsidy of 1576 its contribution was the third highest of the fifteen places taxed in the hundred. (fn. 24)
There have been two main settlements in Everleigh known as West or Lower Everleigh and East Everleigh. In the 18th century West Everleigh, standing at a point where many tracks converged upon the Andover—Devizes road, had several cottages along a road, now disused, running southeast from the present main road. (fn. 25) East Everleigh, which now forms the village of Everleigh, lay to the south of the manor-house. Until 1811 the parish church and some other village buildings stood a little to the south-east of the house. In that year Francis Dugdale Astley, finding them too close to his home, had them pulled down and forthwith built a new church roughly midway between East and West Everleigh. (fn. 26) The ground in front of the manorhouse was then inclosed as a park and the road diverted round it. (fn. 27) A cluster of cottages, possibly dating from the 17th century, stood until the 1930s, when they were pulled down, to the south-west of Lower Everleigh Farm and suggest the existence of a third settlement site. (fn. 28)
In 1801 the population was 321. (fn. 29) In 1815 there were said to be seventeen cottages in the village, three with shops in them, and four houses, two of which had shops. (fn. 30) This, however, gives a false impression of the size of the village, for the population was dwindling. In 1951 it was 264; in 1971 210. (fn. 31)
Everleigh's isolated situation at a fairly important road junction called for at least one inn. The Rose and Crown is mentioned in 1713 (fn. 32) and an inn of that name was part of the property acquired by Sir John Astley, Bt., in 1736 and intended by him to serve as a hunting lodge. (fn. 33) It is thought to have stood close to the manor-house and to have been cleared away with the church and other buildings early in the 19th century. (fn. 34) There was a White Hart in 1815 and a Swan in 1847, (fn. 35) but the best known inn is the Crown, still in business in the centre of the village. (fn. 36) It has been suggested that the Crown was built as a dower-house, (fn. 37) and in 1748 the building was the home of Alicia, wife of Charles Bennet, Lord Ossulston (later earl of Tankerville), a daughter of Sir John Astley (d. 1771). (fn. 38) In 1792 the Crown was functioning as an inn. (fn. 39) Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bt., approved of it when he stayed there while excavating in the neighbourhood in the early 1800s, (fn. 40) and Cobbett praised it highly in 1826. (fn. 41) It was the meetingplace of several sporting clubs. (fn. 42) The oldest part of the house, which is of the early 18th century, is the south wing. It was formerly symmetrical and had a brick front of seven bays with a short service wing on the north-east. The wing was extended to make a nearly symmetrical east front with recessed centre in the later 18th century and more additions were made in the early 19th century.
With Pewsey Everleigh gave its name to a petty sessional division and consequently after 1863 to a highway district. (fn. 43) Petty sessions were held once a month at the Crown until c. 1907 when the court was transferred to Ludgershall. (fn. 44)
In 1975 the older part of Everleigh (formerly East Everleigh) village lay behind the Crown along a side road which once continued as a way to West Everleigh. (fn. 45) One cottage is dated 1732 with the initials 'AMH'. Since the Army acquired most of the land c. 1937 a few houses have been built for service families. There has also been a little council and some private building. Apart from the manorhouse, the Crown, and West Everleigh Farm, the only house of any size in the parish is Lower House Farm, which stands away from the village to the east. The oldest part of the house, which is probably 17th-century, is a range running east-west and having a three-roomed plan. The parlour end was extended to form a wing with a brick front facing south in the 18th century and then was again enlarged early in the 19th century. A chimney stack bears the date 1715 and the initials 'TAK', and a rainwater head the date 1828 and the initials 'WP'. The house shows signs of having been refurbished in the 18th century and may have been occupied by Sir John Astley after he acquired it in 1736. Further improvements were probably made by William Pinkney who was tenant from c. 1805 until 1845.
The downs to the south of the village with their gentle incline southwards have been extensively used for sport, particularly hunting and falconry. (fn. 46) A great hare warren lay there in the 16th century and was still marked on a map of 1773. (fn. 47) Aubrey mentions a racecourse and the race-post formed a boundary mark in 1669. (fn. 48) Cricket was played on the downs in the 18th century. (fn. 49) Alma clump, a mound once planted with trees to commemorate the return of Sir John Astley (d. 1894) from the Crimean War, stands on the edge of the downland just south of the Crown. (fn. 50) In 1975 it was overgrown with scrub. Since the 1930s all the downland has been devoted to military training. Much of it is enclosed with wire; firs have been planted for shelter and the ground is scarred with tank tracks. The road through it from Fittleton to Everleigh was built by the Army. (fn. 51)
Manor and other Estates.
Everleigh is not named in Domesday Book but it may have been among the lands granted to Robert de Beaumont (d. 1118), said to have been created earl of Leicester, who accompanied the Conqueror to England. (fn. 52) It was held by his grandson Robert (d. 1190) to whom the earldom of Leicester descended. (fn. 53) Robert's son Robert, earl of Leicester, died childless in 1204 and his lands were partitioned between his sisters Amice, wife of William des Barres and relict of Simon de Montfort (d. c. 1188), and Margaret, wife of Saier de Quency (created earl of Winchester in 1207). (fn. 54)
The partition was complicated by the assignment of dower to Robert's widow Loretta (d. 1266) and the claims of his mother Parnel, heir to the Norman honor of Grandmesnil (d. 1212). (fn. 55) Everleigh was granted in 1212 to the earl of Winchester, Margaret's husband, for the performance of Parnel's will. (fn. 56) In 1244, however, it was in the hands of Simon de Montfort, the grandson of Amice by her first husband, (fn. 57) who succeeded to his father's English lands and the earldom of Leicester in 1239. (fn. 58)
Shortly before de Montfort's death at Evesham in 1265 Everleigh seems to have been exchanged with the king for other lands. (fn. 59) After de Montfort's death it passed with the rest of the honor of Leicester to Edmund (d. 1296), fourth son of Henry III, created earl of Lancaster in 1267. (fn. 60) It then passed with the Lancaster title until the death of Henry, duke of Lancaster, in 1361. (fn. 61)
On the partition of the duke's lands between his two daughters Everleigh, with most of the lands of the honor of Leicester, went to the elder daughter Maud, wife of William, duke of Bavaria. (fn. 62) Maud died in 1362 and was succeeded by her sister Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt (d. 1399), earl (later duke) of Lancaster. (fn. 63) When Henry, son of John and Blanche, became King Henry IV the lands of the duchy of Lancaster, which included Everleigh, were attached to the Crown. (fn. 64)
Except for a short time in the 16th century Everleigh remained part of the duchy until the mid 17th century. With other lands it was granted as dower to Alice, countess of Lincoln, widow of Thomas, earl of Lancaster (executed in 1322). (fn. 65) It was among the lands conveyed to trustees for the performance of the wills of Henry V and Henry VI. (fn. 66)
In 1547 Everleigh was granted to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, but on the duke's attainder and execution in 1552 it reverted to the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 67) Several officers of the duchy were among the lessees of the manor. Sir Edward Hungerford (d. 1522), lessee in 1496, was steward of the duchy lands in Wiltshire. (fn. 68) Richard Baker, lessee between 1535 and 1552, may also have been an officer. (fn. 69) In 1581 the lessee was Henry Sadler, another steward of the duchy lands and third son of Sir Ralph Sadler, chancellor of the duchy from 1568 to 1587. It is believed that Ralph was himself lessee at some time. (fn. 70) Both Sadlers were renowned as falconers and Everleigh afforded outstanding opportunities for sport. (fn. 71) Henry was succeeded by Francis Sadler, who had a daughter baptized at Everleigh in 1620, and Francis by George Sadler who had daughters baptized there in 1630 and 1631. (fn. 72)
In 1625 Everleigh was among the duchy estates conveyed to trustees for the City of London in payment of a loan to the Crown. (fn. 73) By 1636 it had passed to George Evelyn, one of the six clerks in Chancery, who died at Everleigh in that year. (fn. 74) He was followed by his son Sir John Evelyn, who styled himself 'of Everleigh' in 1640, (fn. 75) and was still there in 1648. (fn. 76) That year, however, a series of conveyances resulted in the sale in 1649 of the manor by Henry Andrews and his wife Mary to William Barker, alderman of London. (fn. 77) From William it went to a grandson Robert Barker (d. 1722), and from Robert, after a contested will, to his nephew Robert Barker. (fn. 78) That Robert, in financial difficulties, sold Everleigh in 1765 to Sir John Astley, Bt., of Patshull (Staffs.). (fn. 79)
Sir John had already acquired a small estate in Everleigh in 1736 from which he hunted. (fn. 80) He died in 1771 and Everleigh passed to his cousin Francis Dugdale Astley. (fn. 81) F. D. Astley was succeeded in 1818 by his son John, created a baronet in 1821. John was followed in 1842 by his son Francis. Sir Francis died in 1873 but in 1856 the family had left Everleigh and after some years returned to their seat at Elsham (Lines.). (fn. 82) Sir Francis was succeeded by his son John (d. 1894) whose son and heir F. E. G. Astley assumed the name Astley-Corbett in 1889 and died in 1939. Between 1917 and 1919, however, the manor-house and Everleigh estate were sold. (fn. 83) The manor-house and 1,100 a. were sold in 1917 to a timber merchant. In 1919 they were bought by the National Deposit Friendly Society which in 1954 sold them to the War Department. (fn. 84) Lower House farm and West Everleigh farm were bought c. 1918 by J. G. Hossack who sold them forthwith to Joseph Nicholls and William Francis Hazell. (fn. 85) In 1937 the War Department bought the whole of West Everleigh farm, 1,361 a., and 957 a. of Lower House farm. (fn. 86)
Between 1856 and 1917 the Astleys leased the manor-house to various tenants. Henry Fitzroy, a member of Palmerston's government in 1856–7, was the first and Francis Alexander (d. 1914) the last. It was bought by the National Deposit Friendly Society as a convalescent home. It was requisitioned in 1939 as a military hospital and after 1945 became an army research laboratory, named after 1951 the David Bruce Laboratory. (fn. 87)
According to tradition the house was built by Sir Ralph Sadler and in the mid 19th century some of the interior was thought to date from his time. The drawing-room was then wainscotted in oak and there was an elaborate carved and gilded ceiling. (fn. 88) In it hung a portrait of Sir Ralph, perhaps by Mare Gerhardt (1580–1635), dressed as a falconer with a hawk on his arm. The picture was removed to the Astleys' home at Elsham in 1890 and in 1917 was sold at Christies. (fn. 89)
Some sections of the brickwork of the north front of the house may survive from a 17th-century house with a central range and projecting wings. That house appears to have been converted to a double pile plan with main fronts of nine bays in the 18th century. Before 1773, and perhaps soon after Sir John Astley (d. 1771) acquired the manor in 1765, the house was greatly enlarged by the addition of balancing wings, each of seven bays and with a central pediment. That on the west, which may have incorporated an earlier range, contained service rooms, that on the east an orangery. Beyond and at right angles to the latter there are stables of similar date with a pedimented loggia to the garden on the otherwise blind west wall.
In 1882 a fire seriously damaged the central block of the house which was virtually reconstructed in 1882–3, probably from designs by John Birch. Additions on the west during the 19th century obscured the symmetry of the original layout and to a lesser extent there have been additions and alterations during the conversion of the house for laboratory use. There is an ice-house to the east of the stable block.
After selling the manor in 1649 Sir John Evelyn retained a property in Everleigh called Taylorshold which in 1658 he conveyed to Thomas Clark. (fn. 90) From Clark it passed to Richard Watson, D.D., who some time after 1672 conveyed it to Queens' College, Cambridge. (fn. 91) In 1734 Sir John Astley (d. 1771), wishing to acquire a base in Everleigh from which to hunt, bought a small estate at Kingston (Cambs.) in order to exchange it with the college for their land in Everleigh. (fn. 92) The exchange was effected by private Act. (fn. 93) By it Sir John gained land and outbuildings then called Lake's, but almost certainly to be identified as Lower House farm, (fn. 94) and an inn called the Rose and Crown which he proposed to renovate to provide the accommodation and stabling he desired. (fn. 95)
A farm of some 200 a. in Everleigh descended with the manor of Collingbourne Ducis. (fn. 96) In 1765, when it was called Everleigh or Noyes farm, it was bought by Sir John Astley and merged with Everleigh manor. (fn. 97)
In 1212 Everleigh was valued at £23 10s. and, with the addition of its stock, at £32. (fn. 98) By the late 13th century, besides a capital messuage with its curtilage and dovecot there were on the manor 524 a. of arable valued at £8 14s. 8d. and 80 a. of poor land worth 13s. 4d. There were 8 a. of meadow worth 24s., and pasture in several and in common worth 65s. 4d. Rents of free tenants were valued at 77s. a year, of customers and cottars at £4 1s., and labour services and customary payments were valued at £10 6s. 7d. (fn. 99) A fuller extent of 1361 gives 360 a. of arable, half of which could be sown every year, while the other half lay fallow and could be exploited in common by the tenants. The meadow was also pastured in common after haymaking. There was pasture for 3 draught beasts, 12 oxen, and 500 sheep. (fn. 100)
In 1552–3 East and West Everleigh each had a common arable field called respectively East and West field. A third arable field was called Middle field. There were at that date three free tenants on the manor. Two held pieces of arable in all three fields as well as a few closes of pasture; the third, besides a few closes of pasture, had arable in two of the three fields. There were sixteen copyholders with holdings mostly of 1 or 2 virgates, and three tenants at will. Amongst the lands of some of the copyholders was a holding called a workland which seems then to have measured 2½ a. (fn. 101) The freeholdings, which were quite small, may have been merged to form the first estate which Sir John Astley, Bt. (d. 1771), bought in Everleigh in 1736, later known as Lower House farm.
By 1662 two more arable fields are mentioned called Drove field and Cowpashe. By then East field had been subdivided into north, south, and middle divisions. (fn. 102) Consolidation of holdings was probably a slow process, achieved in the course of the 18th century by agreement. When in 1765 Sir John Astley bought Noyes farm, 218 a., he pointed out that the transaction would enable him to effect some consolidation and so introduce certain improvements. He remarked, however, that he had no intention of inclosing with hedges or fences, for such action was impracticable on the barren country of the downs. (fn. 103) An Act for inclosure was passed in 1816, but so far as is known no award followed, and it presumably ratified an existing state of affairs achieved over the years by agreement. (fn. 104) One such agreement, dated 1779, covering land in the south of the parish survives. (fn. 105)
In the mid 16th century the demesne farm had 9 yardlands of arable and three sheep downs, allowing the flock to be moved according to the season. Besides a down of 100 a. there were Lent down, c. 50 a., and Summer down, c. 60 a. The tenantry downs were Cowpas, 40 a., and Gore, 16 a. Holders of yardlands in East Everleigh were allowed to pasture 60 sheep, 4 working cattle, and 2 horses for every yardland held, while in West Everleigh the numbers permitted were 80 sheep, 4 working cattle, and 2 horses. Holders of worklands throughout the manor were allowed to pasture 10 sheep and 2 working cattle. (fn. 106) Besides the workland there was a holding on the manor called the Mondayland. Originally it was the holding of the Mondaymen, whose once-weekly labour services, chiefly for the demesne flock, are specified throughout the 15th century. (fn. 107) A green existed in the mid 16th century for which all the tenants using it were charged 2d. a year. (fn. 108) There was a windmill at East Everleigh which still stood in the early 19th century. (fn. 109)
In such a region large flocks of sheep were maintained throughout the Middle Ages. In 1212 a demesne flock of 533 sheep is mentioned. (fn. 110) In the 15th century, when Everleigh was part of the duchy of Lancaster's Wiltshire estate, the duchy's stock-keeper leased the demesne farm for some years. (fn. 111) Flocks of around 1,000 sheep then existed and it was usual for wool from Everleigh to be sent to Aldbourne, another duchy manor, for collection. (fn. 112) In 1598 there was a tenant flock of 120 sheep. (fn. 113) In 1803 the tenant farmer of Lower House farm kept a flock of 1,500 pure-bred Southdowns. (fn. 114) Cobbett, visiting Everleigh in 1826, witnessed flocks of several hundreds leaving the downs in the evenings for the folds. (fn. 115) There was still a flock of about 800 sheep in 1936 when the wool was sent to the Marlborough wool fair. (fn. 116)
In 1815 the largest farms in the parish were Lower House and West or Lower Everleigh farms. There was also a home farm, and 129 a. were attached to the Crown inn. William Pinkney was the tenant at Lower House where he remained for about 40 years. (fn. 117) After 1871 and until the sale of the Astley estate c. 1918 Lower House was farmed by Benjamin and Arthur Nuth and West Everleigh farm by a Mr. Strong. (fn. 118) After the sale they were farmed in partnership by Joseph Nicholls and W. F. Hazell. (fn. 119) In 1934 the two farms were separated and W. E. Cave farmed Lower House, while Hazell and his sons carried on at West Everleigh. (fn. 120) In 1975 Mr. W. E. Cave farmed Lower House and Mr. Richard Carter West Everleigh. (fn. 121)
As occurred in the rest of the region, there was much ploughing of the downland in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 122) In 1783 the tenant of Lower farm was permitted to convert some downland to arable, for a limited period and on condition that he surrendered another piece of down to the lord of the manor. (fn. 123) In 1841 there were 1,678 a. of arable, 139 a. of meadow or pasture, and 1,166 a. of down. (fn. 124) In 1936 barley was the chief crop, as it had long been, and smaller acreages of oats and wheat were grown. (fn. 125) The acquisitions of land by the War Department in 1937 and 1954 put certain restrictions upon the land-use but the area of arable has remained roughly the same. (fn. 126)
Although well suited for sheep and corn farming, Everleigh's special renown until the 20th century was as sporting, particularly hunting, country. It was presumably no mere chance that Sir Ralph and Henry Sadler, both expert falconers, had connexions with the manor in the 16th century. (fn. 127) The exploitation of a great sporting estate, as it apparently was from very early times, presumably created a certain amount of employment. The leasing of the hare warren, (fn. 128) and later of the sporting rights over the whole estate were, moreover, important sources of income to the lords of the manor.
A forest of Everleigh is quite often mentioned in the Middle Ages, and within it Simon de Montfort had a park in 1234. (fn. 129) Gifts of deer to stock it were made by the king in 1244 and 1245. (fn. 130) There was a keeper for it in 1249, (fn. 131) no doubt then a working employee, but later the keepership became an office to be bestowed as a piece of patronage. In 1441 it was granted to William Collingbourne for life. (fn. 132) In 1460 Edward, earl of March (later Edward IV), was granted, among other offices, the keepership of the parks of Mere and Everleigh. (fn. 133) Sir Walter Hungerford was keeper in 1485. (fn. 134) In 1545 Sir William Herbert (created earl of Pembroke in 1551), steward of the duchy of Lancaster's lands in Wiltshire, was lieutenant of the forest and chase of Aldbourne and Everleigh. (fn. 135) The keepership was included in the grant of the manor to the duke of Somerset in 1547 and with the manor reverted to the duchy in 1552. (fn. 136) In 1559 Sir James Stumpe was keeper of the park. (fn. 137)
The park lay in the north-eastern part of the manor. (fn. 138) In the mid 16th century it covered 200 a. and was inclosed by 1½ mile of paling. The paling had come from Collingbourne Ducis, but since that manor had passed to the earl of Hertford wood was not available for repairs. There were 40 a. of parkland given over to rabbits. There was a coppice of 3 a. and many oaks 200 years old. A working keeper received 30s. 4d. a year, together with 2s. 8d. for his dog. There was a lodge for his dwelling. (fn. 139)
A rabbit warren was valued at 60s. in 1297. (fn. 140) The profits from it were leased with the demesne in 1496. (fn. 141) By the 15th century a hare warren had become a feature of the estate and was frequently leased separately from it. (fn. 142) In 1565–6 Sir Edward Rogers, comptroller of the queen's household, was the lessee. (fn. 143) The warren lay in the south-western part of the manor, as shown on a map of 1773. (fn. 144) In 1581 it extended 3 miles in all directions. (fn. 145) Besides frequent raids by poachers, the warren was often threatened by the creation of unauthorized rabbit warrens which were detrimental to the well-being and safety of the hares. (fn. 146) It was still a noteworthy feature in Aubrey's day, (fn. 147) but in 1695 the lord of the manor agreed to destroy his warren in return for small payments from tenants who grazed their animals on it. (fn. 148) The suitability of the terrain for breeding and hunting hares was emphasized in the 19th century by Cobbett's verdict that Everleigh was the most famous place in all England for coursing. (fn. 149)
Its high altitude has made Everleigh a good place for training racehorses. Horses were trained from stables attached to the Crown inn in the 19th century and from them came the winner of the Grand National in 1897. Other stables were built close to the village c. 1903. (fn. 150)
In 1249 Everleigh stood at the head of a small liberty belonging to the earls of Leicester who had some sort of prison there. (fn. 151) Collingbourne Ducis was the other main constituent of the liberty, although at times in the 14th century Compton, in Enford, and Haxton, in Fittleton, both like Everleigh and Collingbourne Ducis manors of the earls of Leicester, were said to belong to it. (fn. 152) The privilege of return of writs belonged to the liberty, but that was a franchise belonging to all the fees of the honor of Leicester. (fn. 153) It is not known whether the honor's other two Wiltshire fees, Chitterne and Ablington in Figheldean, ever formed part of the liberty of Everleigh. (fn. 154) By the 16th century the liberty had been merged in the hundred of Elstub. (fn. 155) The last mention found of it occurs in 1539. (fn. 156)
In 1766 a court leet and view of frankpledge for Everleigh, and a court baron were held. Meetings were held at the White Hart and the court made arrangements for perambulating the parish boundaries. After 1771 only the court baron was held. It ceased in 1841. (fn. 157) After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 Everleigh became part of the Pewsey poor-law union. (fn. 158)
By 1228 the church of Everleigh had been granted to Wherwell Abbey (Hants). (fn. 159) A vicarage seems to have been ordained by 1291. (fn. 160) It is mentioned again in 1428. (fn. 161) No further reference to it has been found and at least since the 14th century, when records of presentations begin, the living has always been a rectory. (fn. 162) It was held in plurality with the united benefice of Manningford Abbots and Manningford Bruce from 1967. (fn. 163) In 1975 it was united with the benefice of the Collingbournes to form the benefice of the Collingbournes and Everleigh. (fn. 164) The ecclesiastical parish was united with that of Collingbourne Ducis in 1977 to create a new parish called Collingbourne Ducis and Everleigh. (fn. 165)
Wherwell Abbey retained the advowson until the Dissolution and presentations to the rectory were made by the abbesses, except in 1361 when the king presented by voidance. (fn. 166) In 1544 the advowson was granted to Nicholas Bacon and Thomas Skipworth, (fn. 167) who probably sold it immediately, for in 1546 Sir Thomas Wriothesley, later earl of Southampton (d. 1550), presented. (fn. 168) The patronage did not pass to the earl's successor and between 1556 and 1660 the Crown presented. (fn. 169) In 1662, however, it was granted in fee to Wriothesley's descendant, namely Thomas Wriothesley, earl of Southampton (d. 1667). (fn. 170) Lord Southampton died without surviving male heirs and his honours became extinct. (fn. 171) The advowson of Everleigh passed to a relation, Wriothesley Baptist Noel, earl of Gainsborough (d. 1690), and from him to his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Henry Bentinck, earl of Portland (d. 1726). (fn. 172) Lord and Lady Portland presented in 1716 and conveyed the patronage for one turn to Henry Somerset, duke of Beaufort (d. 1745), who presented when the rectory fell vacant again in the same year. (fn. 173) Thereafter the dukes of Portland presented until 1805. (fn. 174) By 1812 the advowson had been purchased by Francis Dugdale Astley (d. 1818). (fn. 175) The lords of the manor continued as patrons until 1917. In 1931 presentation was by the Martyrs Memorial Trust. (fn. 176) In 1975 the patron was allotted the second of five turns. (fn. 177)
The church was valued at £8 and the vicarage at £5 6s. 8d. in 1291. (fn. 178) In 1535 the church was reckoned to be worth £19 a year. (fn. 179) In 1650 the annual value was given as £180. (fn. 180) In 1831 the average net income over the last three years had been £675. (fn. 181)
There were c. 18 a. of glebe belonging to the living. The arable lay in parcels throughout the fields of the parish and there was a small farmstead and some pasture adjoining the rectory-house. (fn. 182) When the church was rebuilt an exchange of land for glebe was agreed between the rector and Francis Dugdale Astley. (fn. 183) All tithes were payable to the rector and were commuted for a rent-charge of £700 in 1841. (fn. 184) A pension of £2 was due to the abbess of Wherwell annually from the church in 1291 and was still payable in 1535. (fn. 185) It was possibly transferred to the chapter of Salisbury after the Dissolution, for a pension of that amount due to it is mentioned twice in the mid 17th century. (fn. 186) There is a single reference to a pension of 4s. 6d. for the vicar of Collingbourne Kingston in 1535. (fn. 187)
In 1316 the rector of Everleigh was given charge of the rectory of Fittleton because of the nonresidence of the incumbent there. (fn. 188) Many rectors held other preferments and may have been nonresident. John Jeffreys, presented in 1564, was also prebendary of Hurstbourne, and complained that for 5 years Richard of Inkpen illegally took the profits of Everleigh rectory. (fn. 189) John Barnstone, rector in 1598, was prebendary of Bishopstone in 1600 and a residentiary canon at Salisbury from 1634 until his death in 1645. He founded a Hebrew Lecture at Brasenose College, Oxford. (fn. 190) Christopher Tesdall, rector in 1646, was a canon of Chichester and of Wells, rector of Rollestone, and a member of the Assembly of Divines. (fn. 191) John Wallis instituted in 1716 was Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford from 1703 until 1738. His successor Abraham le Moine, the theological controversialist, (fn. 192) had been domestic chaplain to his patron, William, duke of Portland. (fn. 193) In 1783 the rector, Basil Cane, appears to have been serving the church of Cholderton as curate, while Dr. Samuel Starkey, who had a living in Cumberland, served Everleigh as curate and, it was thought, took its profits. Starkey succeeded Cane as rector in 1791. (fn. 194) In 1812 the rector, Daniel David Bergner, was non-resident. (fn. 195) Between 1830 and 1856 Everleigh and Manningford Abbots were held in plurality by Francis Bickley Astley, who lived at Manningford Abbots and employed a resident curate at Everleigh. (fn. 196) His successors served only Everleigh and lived in the rectory-house there until 1966. In that year the rector, Charles Frederick Smith, was appointed to the benefices of Manningford Abbots and Manningford Bruce and left the rectory-house in Everleigh, which had been rebuilt in 1960, to live in Manningford. (fn. 197)
In 1660 the rector, William Eastman, known as the 'tinker', allegedly his former calling, was ejected from the living. (fn. 198) In 1676 214 conformists were recorded in Everleigh. (fn. 199) In 1783 two services were held on Sundays and there were about twenty communicants in the parish. The rector complained, however, that some too frequently absented themselves from church. (fn. 200) In 1864 there were between 30 and 40 communicants and a congregation of around 130 was usual. (fn. 201)
By 1973 attendances had declined so severely and the church was so dilapidated that it was decided to ask the Redundant Churches Fund to accept responsibility. In the belief that it would be more convenient, communion services were held in a house in the village. (fn. 202) In 1974 the church was declared redundant, and in 1975 its care vested in the Redundant Churches Fund. (fn. 203)
The medieval church dedicated to St. Peter stood south-east of the manor-house. It had a squat tower and aisled nave with south porch, both built of chalk and flint. The small chancel was of worked flint and stone, finished with an elaborately carved parapet said to be ornamented with the arms of the see of Winchester. (fn. 204)
In 1674 the roof was very defective and repairs were proposed. (fn. 205) In 1711 the church was whitewashed and adorned with verses by John Gambol, a mason of Devizes. (fn. 206) In 1811 it was described as a miserable heap of rubbish held together inside by iron clamps and outside by brick buttresses and was considered by the Astleys to be inconveniently close to their home. (fn. 207)
At the cost of Francis Dugdale Astley a new church of ST. PETER was built c. 800 m. northwest of the old, roughly half-way between East and West Everleigh. The old church was then pulled down. The architect for the new church, opened in 1814, was John Morlidge. (fn. 208) The church is of Bath stone and has nave with south porch, chancel with south chapel, and west tower. It is in a mixture of late Gothic styles.
There are many memorials within it to the Astley family, the most striking being the large monument to Francis Dugdale Astley, the builder of the new church, buried there in 1818. A marble tablet commemorates Anthony Aylmer Astley, rector 1877–1917, the last member of the family to live in the village. (fn. 209) The glass in the east windows was given in 1873 by Sir John Dugdale Astley, Bt., to commemorate his parents. There are four hatchments of arms in the nave. Several memorials, mostly to former rectors, were brought from the old church. The church was restored in 1903 when the box-pews were converted into the existing ones. The 12th-century font from the old church was installed in 1911. (fn. 210)
There are six bells presented by Francis Dugdale Astley and cast by James Wells of Aldbourne. They were rehung in 1933. (fn. 211) In 1553 18 oz. silver were left for the parish and 4 oz. taken for the king. (fn. 212) There is also a flagon presented by William Sweatman in 1754 and a chalice given by Anne Astley in 1813. (fn. 213) The registers begin in 1598 and are complete. (fn. 214)
There is little evidence of nonconformity in Everleigh, but in 1824 the house of James Watson was registered for religious worship by a group of dissenters. (fn. 215) The house of A. Jee was similarly registered in 1825, but there was no dissenter in the parish in 1851, (fn. 216) and no chapel has been built.
In 1819 there was a school kept by a woman in the village for 22 children. The poor, it was said, wished for better means of educating their children. (fn. 217) There were two schools in 1833 educating between them 31 boys and girls. Both were financed partly by subscription and partly by the parents. (fn. 218) In 1844 Sir Francis Dugdale Astley, Bt., gave a site for a school to be conducted in conjunction with the National Society. (fn. 219) In 1906 it had accommodation for 100 children but average attendance was 44. (fn. 220) It acquired controlled status in 1947. In 1975 there were some eighteen children in the school. (fn. 221) The single-storeyed gabled schoolroom had a teacher's house added to it later in the 19th century.
Charities for the Poor.