A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.
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Ansty, (fn. 1) 559 ha. (1,382 a.), is in the Vale of Wardour 10 km. north-east of Shaftesbury (Dors.) and includes the steep northern slopes of White Sheet Hill. (fn. 2) The parish lies north-west and south-east and is 3.5 km. by 3.5 km. Its south-eastern boundary with Alvediston and Berwick St. John is on the watershed of the rivers Nadder and Ebble and follows and crosses the ridge way. Part of the north-western boundary with Donhead St. Andrew follows a track through woodland called Horwood, the name of which suggests that the boundary was fixed in Anglo-Saxon times, (fn. 3) and part of it with Tisbury follows an ancient track. (fn. 4) The north-eastern boundary with Swallowcliffe described in 940 (fn. 5) may be the modern boundary which runs down a spur of White Sheet Hill, follows the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road for a short distance, and crosses Choulden Hill. The north-western and north-eastern boundaries meet at Ansty Water, so called in 1773, (fn. 6) where streams from Ansty village and from the hamlet called Ansty Coombe meet and flow north towards the Nadder. The village lies on both sides of the Tisbury—Alvediston road: west of it Ansty Coombe, so called in the 13th century, (fn. 7) takes its name from its position in a narrow valley. In 1885 two detached parts of Ansty were transferred to other parishes: a house and 8 a. on the north bank of the Nadder at Lower Chicksgrove in Tisbury became part of East Tisbury, and 12 a. called Sangers east of the Tisbury—Alvediston road became part of Wardour. (fn. 8)
Chalk outcrops in the southernmost part of the parish where White Sheet Hill reaches 242 m. in the south corner, 221 m. in the east. (fn. 9) That part, in 1773 called Ansty Down, (fn. 10) was common pasture. Greensand outcrops over nearly all the remainder of the parish, including Choulden Hill, 165 m., and the open fields were on the broad terrace it forms north and south of the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road. It is thickly wooded west of Horwood Farm. In the north the streams have exposed clay in the deep valleys in which Ansty and Ansty Coombe lie: the valley to the east has been used for meadow land, that to the west is more wooded. The north-west and south-west boundaries meet at Horwood Pond. Ansty Pond, fed by a spring which rises on its west side, was made north of the church as a fishpond before 1769 (fn. 11) by the construction of an earthen dam and an embanked enclosure.
The ridge way running south-west and north-east across White Sheet Hill was part of the main London—Exeter road in the 17th century and earlier. (fn. 12) The present Salisbury—Shaftesbury road is on an ancient course (fn. 13) north-west of, and parallel to, the ridge way on the greensand terrace. The ridge way was turnpiked in 1762. The trust lapsed in 1788 when the lower road was turnpiked. That road has since been an important route between London and Exeter. It was disturnpiked in 1864. (fn. 14) A road running north-west and south-east across the parish from west of Ansty Coombe to Alvediston over White Sheet Hill was mentioned in the 10th century (fn. 15) and was a track in 1983. In 1773 it was joined on the ridge way by another track, (fn. 16) obliterated by 1811, (fn. 17) which ran from Choulden Barn. The tracks up the scarp face, from one of which Ansty may have taken its name signifying a narrow path, (fn. 18) were marked by 'foot holes' in the mid 19th century and used only by pedestrians. (fn. 19) In the 1880s another, possibly new, track ran directly SSE. from Ansty village to White Sheet Hill. That was made up as a road in 1896, when it was diverted to zigzag across the escarpment on a less steep course, and became the principal route from Tisbury to Alvediston. (fn. 20)
The Bronze-Age barrows on White Sheet Hill include a long barrow near the south corner of the parish, and near the east corner there is a bowl barrow, probably that called Posses Hlaewe in 940, (fn. 21) in which a Pagan-Saxon burial and 7th-century objects have been found. (fn. 22)
Ansty's assessment for the fifteenth of 1334, the highest in Dunworth hundred after Donhead and Tisbury, (fn. 23) may be accounted for by the inclusion in the value of Ansty of a voluntary payment collected by its lords, the Hospitallers, from the county. (fn. 24) In 1377 the total of 58 poll-tax payers was the second lowest in the hundred. (fn. 25) Ansty was consistently one of the least prosperous parishes in the hundred in the 16th century and earlier 17th. (fn. 26) It had 242 inhabitants in 1801. The population had risen to 348 by 1831, declined to 329 by 1841, and risen again to 367 by 1851. The decrease to 298 in 1861 may have occurred because people had moved elsewhere or emigrated. The transfer of six people to East Tisbury and nine to Wardour in 1885 was part of a steady decline in population in the later 19th century and the 20th. In 1971 115 people lived in Ansty, an estimated 123 in 1981. (fn. 27)
Ansty is a village whose name (fn. 28) and site, on the spring line in a sheltered valley, suggest an Anglo-Saxon origin. Settlement grew up on both sides of a street, called Ansty Street in 1838, (fn. 29) High Street in 1983. Since 1896 the street has been part of the Tisbury—Alvediston road. (fn. 30) Many of the houses in it were built of grey stone in the 18th century and have thatched roofs. The church and the Manor, which may occupy the site of the preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers founded at Ansty after 1210, (fn. 31) and the Manor's former stable block, stand in a semicircle south and west of Ansty Pond. East of the pond 20th-century houses on the sites of older ones and an early 19th-century house stand on the embanked east side of the street. North of the pond on the east side of High Street several cottages of grey stone, some of them thatched, were built in the 17th and 18th centuries, and some stone estate cottages in the 19th. Lower Farm and Ansty Water Farm west of High Street and Hillside Farmhouse north-west of Ansty Pond were built as farmhouses in the 18th century. They, and the Manor, had no farm buildings in 1983, when all the farmsteads in Ansty were south of the village. Lower Farm, built in the early 18th century, was much altered, extended by the incorporation in it of a former barn, and restored after 1971. (fn. 32) Hillside Farmhouse, built in 1744, (fn. 33) was altered in 1952 by Mrs. P. B. Frere, (fn. 34) who extended it to the north, introduced 18th century fittings, and created a landscaped garden. The village was designated a conservation area in 1975. (fn. 35) East of it Choulden Barn, standing in 1773, (fn. 36) was replaced before 1886 (fn. 37) by large farm buildings, called Waterloo Barn, further east, and two cottages. Two bungalows were built near the farmstead, which was then called Waterloo Farm, in the mid 20th century. North of the village, Blind Lane was so called in 1838 and King's Lane was then called Ring's Lane. (fn. 38)
Ansty Coombe is, like Ansty, a spring-line settlement beside a street in a narrow valley. Stone cottages, some of which have thatched roofs and were built in the 18th century and earlier 19th, stand on both sides of the street.
Besides Choulden Barn, two more barns standing in 1773 were the origins of outlying farmsteads. Near the west corner of the parish Horwood Farm incorporates a small 18th-century house which was altered and enlarged before 1822 (fn. 39) when the principal west front was rebuilt in the style of the earlier 16th century. The barn standing in 1773 (fn. 40) survived in 1983 among the farm buildings east of the house. In the earlier 19th century New Barn, south-east of the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road, was rebuilt, a pair of cottages, in 1983 one house, was erected in 16th century style west of the barn, and a thatched lodge was built in a rustic style north-west of the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road. South Farm, south of the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road, was possibly built in 1830. (fn. 41) It comprised two cottages, which were a single house in 1983, and farm buildings.
A maypole stood north of Ansty Pond at the junction of High Street and a lane leading to Ansty Coombe before 1881. (fn. 42) It was replaced in 1937, 1962, and 1982. (fn. 43) In 1903, and until 1972 when it was wound up, Ansty silver band accompanied the festivities on 1 May. (fn. 44) Such celebrations were held in 1983. The Arundell Arms, which stood north-west of the pond before 1875, (fn. 45) was renamed the Maypole in 1973. (fn. 46)
Manor and other Estates.
Alvric and Ulward both held land at Ansty in 1066. The estate which became the manor of ANSTY was held in 1086 by Waleran the huntsman. (fn. 47) In 1167 it was held by Waleran's descendant Walter Waleran, and in 1200 by the same man or by his son Walter Waleran. The overlordship of Ansty was included in that part of the younger Walter Waleran's barony allotted to his daughter and coheir Aubrey and her husband John de Ingham in 1200–1. (fn. 48) When Aubrey, then the relict of William de Botreaux, died c. 1270, she was succeeded by her grandson Oliver de Ingham (d. 1282). (fn. 49) The overlordship passed in the direct male line to Sir John de Ingham (d. c. 1310) and Sir Oliver de Ingham, Lord Ingham (d. 1344). (fn. 50) It was last mentioned in 1348 when it was allotted to the last Oliver's daughter and coheir Joan and her husband Sir Roger Lestrange, Lord Strange. (fn. 51)
Walter held Ansty in 1086. (fn. 52) Robert de Staunton held the estate, then reckoned at 1 knight's fee, in 1242–3. (fn. 53) The mesne lordship descended in the Staunton family to William de Staunton who held it c. 1310 (fn. 54) and his son Roger who held it in 1313. (fn. 55) It was not afterwards mentioned.
In 1210 Walter de Turberville, who apparently held Ansty of the mesne tenant, granted the manor to the brethren of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England for £12 yearly. (fn. 56) The preceptory which the brethren established at Ansty, possibly before 1223, (fn. 57) has been described elsewhere. (fn. 58)
Because Walter did not acquit the Hospitallers of the scutage due from the manor, the prior of the order, who had been distrained upon, sued him in the period 1220–4 for the arrears owed to the chief lord. (fn. 59) Walter was accused in 1223 of harassing the brethren at Ansty. (fn. 60) The dispute was resolved in 1225 when Walter confirmed the manor to the prior. (fn. 61) In 1251 Henry III granted the Hospitallers free warren in their demesne lands including those at Ansty. (fn. 62) Sir John de Ingham c. 1310 demanded services from the prior, who then sought acquittance of them from the mesne lord, (fn. 63) and again in 1313. (fn. 64) The Hospitallers held the manor until the Dissolution when it passed to the Crown. (fn. 65)
In 1546 the manor was granted to John, later Sir John, Zouche (d. 1585) who was already the tenant. (fn. 66) It passed to his son Francis (d. 1600) who sold it to Sir Matthew Arundell in 1594. (fn. 67) From Sir Matthew (d. 1598) the manor descended to his son Thomas, (fn. 68) created Baron Arundell of Wardour (d. 1639), (fn. 69) to Thomas's son Thomas (d. 1643), (fn. 70) and to that Thomas's son Henry, who forfeited the estate as a royalist. In 1654 parliamentary trustees conveyed the manor to a trustee, Humphrey Weld, (fn. 71) Henry's uncle by marriage, (fn. 72) who still held it in 1660. (fn. 73) Henry, Baron Arundell, recovered the manor at the Restoration (fn. 74) and it afterwards passed like Wardour manor in Tisbury to John Arundell, Baron Arundell (d. 1944). (fn. 75) That Lord Arundell's heir was R. J. A. Talbot, a descendant of James, Baron Arundell (d. 1817), who in 1945 assumed the surname Arundell. (fn. 76)
In 1946 R. J. A. Arundell sold four farms to the tenants. Manor farm, 143 a., which included the Manor, Ansty Pond, and New Barn farmstead, was bought by F. D. Davis, (fn. 77) who sold the Manor, Ansty Pond, and 18 a. to Mrs. J. A. E. Still in 1967. (fn. 78) In 1982 Mrs. Still, then Mrs. A. Fisher-Rowe, sold them to Mr. R. Beale, the owner in 1983. (fn. 79) The executors of F. D. Davis owned the remainder of Manor farm in 1983. (fn. 80) South Barn, later South, farm, 176 a., was bought by Stewart Brain, who sold it in 1964 to Mr. A. J. Beale, the owner in 1983. (fn. 81) Waterloo farm, 214 a., and Hillside farm, 14 a., were bought by L. A. Green whose executors owned both in 1983. In 1952 Hillside Farmhouse was sold by Green to Mrs. P. B. Frere. (fn. 82) R. J. A. Arundell sold Horwood farm in 1949 to L. E. Turner, who offered it for sale in 1951. Mr. P. J. Dalton was the owner in 1983. (fn. 83) All that R. J. A. Arundell (d. 1953) (fn. 84) retained in Ansty was the woodland and that belonged to his son Mr. R. J. R. Arundell in 1983. (fn. 85)
The Manor, west of Ansty Pond, has been thought to incorporate a part of the preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers, and a stable block south of the pond to have been their hospice. (fn. 86) Although the preceptory is likely to have been near the church, architectural evidence does not support such theories. The preceptory buildings, which existed before 1223, (fn. 87) may have comprised only a manor house, as in 1338. (fn. 88) It was perhaps there that Henry III stayed on 28 July 1250. (fn. 89)
The Manor was built in the later 16th century and was then called Ansty House. (fn. 90) It may have been occupied by Sir John Zouche. (fn. 91) His son Francis lived there, (fn. 92) and Sir Matthew Arundell may have died there. (fn. 93) Richard Zouche (d. 1662), son of Francis Zouche, may have been born in the house. He was M.P. for Hythe (Kent) in 1621 and 1624, regius professor of civil law at Oxford 1620–61, and principal of St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, 1625–41. (fn. 94) In 1679 and later the Manor was used as a farmhouse. (fn. 95) It comprised a north-south range, which retained some 16th-century fireplaces and partitions in 1983, and a detached east-west range west of a yard which contained a well. The upper floor of the north end of the north-south range was removed in the late 18th century to form a high room lit by a Venetian east window. The house was extensively altered, and the ranges were joined, c. 1967. (fn. 96)
Architectural details similar to some at old Wardour castle in Tisbury suggest that the building south of Ansty Pond may have been erected as a stable block for Sir Matthew Arundell between 1594 and 1598 by Robert Smythson. (fn. 97) It comprises a long stone range running north and south, the south end of which was built as three storeys. The north end consisted of a single room in which a fireplace was placed centrally in the west wall. North and south of the fireplace were stalls and four-light windows between which were pairs of rounded-headed niches in pilastered frames. The walls inside were replastered decoratively in the later 17th century. The building may have been used as a barn c. 1800. (fn. 98) There was an attic floor in the 19th century. The roof and interior fittings were destroyed by fire in 1922. (fn. 99)
In the 13th century small properties at Ansty were held by members of the Russell family, (fn. 100) Vincent of Ashgoe, (fn. 101) and Robert of Stoford, who confirmed 1 yardland there to the Hospitallers in 1236. (fn. 102) Robert le Corp conveyed 1 yardland in Ansty to Thomas of Hanbury and his wife Olive in 1310. (fn. 103) In 1333 Sir Thomas West was licensed to convey what was possibly the same yardland to the Hospitallers who in exchange were to provide a chaplain to say mass daily for the souls of Thomas of Hanbury and Olive of Hanbury in Swallowcliffe church. (fn. 104) That arrangement was cancelled in 1338 and West instead exchanged the Ansty land for 40 a. which the Hospitallers held in Swallowcliffe. (fn. 105)
The appropriated rectory of Ansty passed with the manor from 1210 or earlier until the 19th century (fn. 106) and comprised only tithes. (fn. 107) The £6 at which the rectory was valued in 1338, (fn. 108) and the £8 for which it was leased in 1539–40, (fn. 109) may have represented the tithes from small freeholds and from the copyhold land in Ansty, (fn. 110) because the demesne of the manor was tithe free. (fn. 111) The tithes were valued at £17 in 1841 and merged c. 1843. (fn. 112)
A pension of £3 6s. 8d. was paid from the appropriated rectory to the hospital of St. Nicholas, Salisbury, in 1245 and earlier. It was paid throughout the Middle Ages and was last mentioned in 1610. (fn. 113)
The name Choulden Hill, 'calves' down', (fn. 114) and the presence of an ancient cattleway on Ansty Down (fn. 115) suggest that early inhabitants of what was later Ansty parish were cattle farmers. The estate which became Ansty manor was assessed as 7 hides in 1066. In 1086 it supported 4 ploughteams. Two teams, with 2 servi, were on the 5 hides and 1 yardland held in demesne, and 2, with 6 villani and 4 bordars, were elsewhere. There were 16 a. of meadow, 15 a. of woodland, and pasture ½ league long and 3 furlongs broad. (fn. 116) A second estate, which may have been broken up before the 13th century, (fn. 117) was in 1086 assessed as 3 hides, supported 2 ploughteams, 1 servus, 1 villanus, and 3 bordars, and included 5 a. of woodland, 5 a. of meadow, and 2 furlongs of pasture. (fn. 118)
In 1338 what may represent the demesne of Ansty manor contained 420 a. of arable, 20 a. of meadow, and pasture worth £2 10s. There was a herd of 10 cows and a flock of 400 sheep rather than one of 900 which the land could support. Rents totalled £11 17s. and works owed by tenants were worth £2 10s. The manor and church were worth £90, of which £40 was spent on the upkeep of the preceptory. The £90 included the voluntary contribution which the Hospitallers were entitled to invite from the freeholders of the county. Because royal exactions in Wiltshire had been particularly severe, it amounted in 1338 to £30 rather than to the £40 considered usual. (fn. 119) The denial of freedom to three bondmen until the period 1514–16 suggests that management of Ansty manor was conservative. (fn. 120)
Of the demesne lands, 272 a., of which nearly half was woodland, were in hand in 1540. (fn. 121) Thereafter more land was leased. In 1594, when 131 a. including 86 a. of woodland were in hand, the 400 a. leased included farms of 208 a. and 105 a., (fn. 122) but in the later 17th century and the 18th there was one large demesne farm, c. 578 a. in 1679 and later. (fn. 123) Before 1769 the demesne farm had been reduced to 344 a. (fn. 124)
In 1594 Ansty contained, besides the demesne farm, another farm of over 100 a. There were also 6 leaseholders, of whom 1 was a cottager and 5 held under 10 a. each, and 17 copyholders, of whom 5 were cottagers, 7 held farms of under 50 a. each, 3 held farms of between 50 a. and 100 a., and 2 held farms of over 100 a. (fn. 125) There were 39 leaseholders and copyholders in 1698. Except the demesne farmer, none of the 24 leaseholders held more than a few acres. The 15 copyholds included 4 cottages: the 3 largest farms were each of 30–60 a. A fourth farm of c. 50 a. was held at will. (fn. 126)
Sheep-and-corn husbandry was practised on Ansty Down and on the wide greensand terrace north and south of the Salisbury-Shaftesbury road. (fn. 127) Two open fields, East and West, had been divided before 1594. (fn. 128) In the 18th century there were c. 770 a. of commonable arable and pasture in four fields, East, Hill, Sheaf or Share, and West, and on Ansty Down (fn. 129) which had been divided into East, c. 60 a., and West, c. 50 a., downs by 1811. (fn. 130) Part of the common meadow called Gasson or Gaston mead, which perhaps lay in the north corner of the parish, was inclosed before 1594 when the copyholders had closes in it. (fn. 131) The common meadows covered 76 a. in the later 18th century. (fn. 132) In the late 17th century and earlier 18th barley may have been a more important crop than wheat on the demesne farm, later called Ansty farm. Peas and oats were also grown, and in 1700 and later vetches, French grass, and clover. In the period 1694–1706, when the demesne farm was apparently in hand, grain from it was sent for seed, and barley for seed and for malting, to other estates of the Arundell family at Wardour, in Tisbury, and at Breamore (Hants). The Ansty ploughteam worked for 10 days at Breamore in 1702. (fn. 133) Besides the demesne farm, in 1769 Horwood farm, 283 a., was in hand and there were 6 tenant farms between 50 a. and 100 a., 16 under 50 a., and a tanyard at what became Ansty Water Farm. (fn. 134) In 1806 there were only four farms between 50 a. and 100 a. (fn. 135)
Common husbandry was ended in 1811 by private agreement. The commonable land was divided and allotted, and 428 a. of old and new inclosures were reallotted to make farms more compact. (fn. 136) The largest farm, Ansty, 369 a., had 17 a. of water meadows in 1834. (fn. 137) It was called Higher farm in 1838. The second largest was Lower farm, 364 a. in 1838, when Horwood farm had 177 a., and Choulden farm 94 a. (fn. 138) By 1849 Manor, formerly Higher, farm, worked from the Manor, Horwood farm, and Choulden farm, which had lands on the western slopes of Choulden Hill and was worked from Hillside Farmhouse, had all increased in size, perhaps at the expense of Lower farm, which in 1849 contained 270 a. A further 121 a., which included 9 a. let as allotments, were in 1849 held in parcels of a few acres each by yearly tenants, and there were nine other leaseholds, of which six were of only a few acres each. (fn. 139)
Barley, still the chief corn crop in the later 19th century, was overtaken by wheat in the earlier 20th. Flocks of 2,000 sheep, usual in the 1870s and 1880s, had declined by a half by the earlier 20th century. As flocks decreased, an increased acreage laid down to permanent pasture and grasses, such as clover, under rotation supported dairy herds which grew from a total of c. 80 cows in the 1870s and 1880s to one of c. 110 in the 1890s and later. (fn. 140)
Before 1892 Manor farm had been reduced to 144 a. west of, and worked from, the Manor: its 195 a. of down and pasture south of the Salisbury—Shaftesbury road had been brought in hand. In 1892 Horwood farm comprised 303 a. and was worked with land in Donhead St. Andrew and Tisbury. P. J. Parmiter made agricultural machinery at the farmstead from 1885 to c. 1900 when the business was moved to premises in Tisbury. Lower farm and Choulden farm had lost their identities by 1892. In their place was a 406–a. farm worked from Donhead St. Andrew, with Waterloo Barn and South Barn as farmsteads. (fn. 141) After 1892, and until 1937, land around South Barn was worked with Horwood farm. (fn. 142) Manor farm, 143 a., with farmsteads at the Manor and New Barn, South Barn farm, 176 a., and Waterloo farm, 214 a., were all devoted to corn growing and dairy farming in 1946. (fn. 143) The land of Ansty was occupied in 1983 chiefly by four mixed farms on which beef cattle were reared and corn grown. Two, Horwood farm, 400 a. in Ansty, (fn. 144) and Waterloo farm, 230 a. in Ansty, (fn. 145) were worked with land outside the parish and also maintained dairy herds. Pigs were additionally reared on the third, South farm, 163 a., (fn. 146) and the fourth, Manor farm, was worked from New Barn farmstead. (fn. 147)
The 20 a. of woodland in Ansty in 1086 (fn. 148) were probably Horwood, so called and the haunt of robbers in 1303. (fn. 149) The woods were committed to a keeper in 1495, (fn. 150) and from 1540 or earlier until 1946 or later were kept in hand by the lords of Ansty. (fn. 151) They amounted to 120 a. planted with 'great trees' in 1540 (fn. 152) and in 1594 were chiefly coppices in Horwood and elsewhere in the west part of Ansty. The acreage may have decreased in the late 16th century (fn. 153) and in the 17th, (fn. 154) but had increased to 130 a. by the earlier 18th. (fn. 155) In the earlier 19th century the largest coppice in the 150 a. of woodland was Horwood Copse, (fn. 156) and in the later 19th century and earlier 20th the largest woods were Horwood Bottom and Flatbury Hanging. (fn. 157) Since 1957 both, a total of 89 a., have been leased to the Forestry Commission. The woods were replanted mainly with conifers and larches in the 1950s and 1960s. (fn. 158) There was a small sawmill south of Ansty Water and west of the Tisbury-Alvediston road in 1983.
A mill was in 1086 within the estate which became Ansty manor. (fn. 159) A water mill was part of the manor from 1338 (fn. 160) until the 18th century or later. It was last expressly mentioned in 1761. (fn. 161) Its possible site was west of the Tisbury-Alvediston road 250 m. south of Ansty Water, where the valley bottom is crossed by an earthen dam from which a leat runs northwards downstream. Another mill in Ansty was mentioned in 1594 when Jonah Nubye and his wife Elizabeth conveyed it to John Robart. (fn. 162)
The suit owed by Ansty tithing at the Dunworth hundred courts was withdrawn before 1268, (fn. 163) probably in accordance with a general freedom from Crown pleas granted to the Hospitallers in 1199. (fn. 164) Courts were being held at Ansty in 1338. (fn. 165) In 1526 the Hospitallers' steward held courts leet and the preceptor of Ansty inspected the records each year. (fn. 166) View of frankpledge was granted by the Crown to John Zouche in 1546, and passed with the manor. (fn. 167)
Records of manorial courts and of views of frankpledge survive from 1656. Manorial courts and views were held biannually on the same days, and their business was recorded separately, in the 1650s. In the 1660s courts called views of frankpledge and courts of the manor, or views of frankpledge and courts baron, were held biannually, and manorial and leet business were recorded together. From the 1670s the courts were held yearly in autumn. At the manorial courts copyhold tenants were presented for failing to grind their corn at the manorial mill and keep property in repair. Other copyhold business was transacted, the use of the common pastures regulated, minor breaches of manorial custom were dealt with, and nuisances were presented, such as the obstruction of rights of way, the fouling of watercourses, and the illegal felling of trees. A tithingman and a hayward were appointed, usually at the autumn views. The tithingman appointed in 1663 forfeited £3 because he failed to present himself to a justice of the peace within the week allowed for the purpose. Other business dealt with at views included the maintenance of roads, repair of the stocks, and the illegal keeping of 'beagles and other light dogs' for hunting. In 1757 a jury convened from the older inhabitants of Ansty testified that Henry Herbert, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, lord of Swallowcliffe manor, had encroached on the north-eastern parish boundary. (fn. 168)
In the late 17th century and early 18th 4 bu. of wheat from the demesne farm at Ansty were provided yearly for parish paupers. (fn. 169) In the later 18th century and early 19th Ansty spent on its poor one of the lowest sums among the 11 parishes of Dunworth hundred. (fn. 170) Its expenditure increased in the period 1813–24. (fn. 171) In 1825 the parish spent on its poor £328 and in 1829 £294, the fourth and fifth highest totals respectively among the parishes of the hundred. (fn. 172) Expenditure in Ansty in the early 1830s remained high for a parish of its size. (fn. 173) An average of £225 was spent in the years 1833–5. Ansty was included in Tisbury poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 174) Because of their poverty, 34 cottagers were exonerated from paying rates in the later 1830s and in the 1840s. (fn. 175) Ansty became part of Salisbury district in 1974. (fn. 176)
Before 1210 Walter de Turberville, lord of Ansty manor, nominated a priest to serve the church. (fn. 177) The advowson, although not expressly mentioned, passed with the manor to the Hospitallers in 1210. (fn. 178) Despite the bishop of Salisbury's claim in 1243 that Herbert Poore, bishop of Salisbury, had been patron before 1210, (fn. 179) until the Dissolution the prior of St. John of Jerusalem in England, in accordance with papal privileges conferred on the Hospitallers in the 12th century, (fn. 180) was appropriate rector and patron and exercised within the parish jurisdiction reserved elsewhere to the ordinary. The priors appointed to serve the church chaplains who, as in 1497, may have held the cure for life. (fn. 181) The prior's rights passed in 1546 to John Zouche and descended with Ansty manor. (fn. 182) The lords, from 1598 or earlier Roman Catholics, (fn. 183) continued to exercise peculiar jurisdiction and appointed salaried chaplains from the later 16th century to the earlier 19th. (fn. 184) In the earlier 19th century they delegated appointments to the rural dean of Chalke. (fn. 185) On the death in 1877 of the last chaplain so appointed, (fn. 186) John, Baron Arundell, declined to appoint or pay a chaplain. (fn. 187) The vicar of Tisbury, at the request of the bishop of Salisbury, served the cure without payment from 1878 until 1898. By an Act of 1898 Lord Arundell's peculiar jurisdiction was abolished and the living became a presentative vicarage within the jurisdiction of the ordinary, and in the same year the university of Oxford, in place of the patron, Lord Arundell, presented as vicar the incumbent of Swallowcliffe, (fn. 188) to whom in 1909 and earlier various diocesan societies and Queen Anne's Bounty made small grants for taking duty there. (fn. 189) The vicarages were held in plurality until united in 1924 as the benefice of Swallowcliffe with Ansty in the gift of the bishop of Salisbury, patron of Swallowcliffe. (fn. 190) In 1975 Tisbury vicarage was added and the benefice of Tisbury and Swallowcliffe with Ansty was formed. The three ecclesiastical parishes were then united. (fn. 191) Chilmark rectory was added in 1976 and the new benefice of Tisbury was created. The incumbent of Tisbury and Swallowcliffe with Ansty became the first team rector in the team ministry established for it. (fn. 192)
Chaplains were mentioned in the later 13th century. (fn. 193) In 1338 the stipend was £1 6s. 8d. yearly, (fn. 194) and in 1497 the chaplain received £2 13s. 4d., a room and his keep in the preceptory, and clothing. (fn. 195) A stipend of £6 was reserved for a chaplain from the farm of the rectory in 1540–1. (fn. 196) The patrons paid the chaplains a stipend which varied from £10 in 1622, to £11 in 1694–5 and in 1736, and to £20 in 1772. (fn. 197) After the Reformation the stipend was sometimes linked to the value of the tithes paid at Ansty, (fn. 198) but only c. 1594 and from c. 1829 until the stipend was withdrawn in 1877 is the chaplain known to have received the full rent paid by the lessees of the tithes. (fn. 199)
Chaplains may have lived in the preceptory until the Dissolution. In 1594 the lord of the manor as patron provided a house, (fn. 200) but not thereafter. John Archer, appointed in 1624, (fn. 201) was accused of never preaching and of hindering others from doing so. He was ejected c. 1646 (fn. 202) and replaced by a chaplain who signed the Concurrent Testimony in 1648. (fn. 203) The church was notorious for clandestine marriages in the later 17th century, (fn. 204) presumably because it was inadequately served and within the jurisdiction of a Roman Catholic layman. William Anderson, chaplain of Ansty from 1706 or earlier until 1714, lived in the parish. (fn. 205) The chaplain who served the cure c. 1758 and in 1783 was also assistant curate of Baverstock and Compton Chamberlayne. In 1783 he held Sunday services at Ansty alternately in the morning and afternoon and, for the 20 communicants in the parish, celebrated communion at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, and Michaelmas. (fn. 206) The perpetual curate, from 1868 styled vicar, of Swallowcliffe, who served Ansty from 1846 to 1877, (fn. 207) held an afternoon service attended by a congregation of 160 on Census Sunday, 1851. (fn. 208) In 1864 he held services, at which he preached, at the same times as in 1783. That only some 80 people attended them he attributed to the fact that half the inhabitants of Ansty were Roman Catholic. He held additional services during Lent and Holy Week and celebrated communion every six or seven weeks and at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun and on Trinity Sunday. (fn. 209) Most of those living in Ansty were still Roman Catholics in the earlier 20th century and congregations were consequently small. (fn. 210)
The church of ST. JAMES, so dedicated in 1763, (fn. 211) is built of ashlar and has a chancel and a nave with north and south transepts. The south wall of the nave may be that of the church built before 1210. The chancel may have been rebuilt to its present length in the 14th century. A two-storeyed porch was built on the north side of the nave in the 15th century, and in the 16th windows were renewed. (fn. 212) The church was partly rebuilt in 1842, (fn. 213) when the porch was demolished and the north transept, with a north door, was built at the east end of the nave. A western bell turret was added and in it a bell cast by Robert Wells (fl. 1760–80) was hung. (fn. 214) In 1878 the south transept was built. (fn. 215) It may have been then that most of the windows were replaced by others in a 13th-century style, and that the arches leading into the chancel and the transepts were made uniform. Other restorations were undertaken in 1917 and in 1965 when the roofs of the nave and the south transept were renewed. (fn. 216)
In 1553 the king's commissioners took away plate weighing 2 oz. and left a chalice. A pewter cup, flagon, and plate were lost c. 1840. (fn. 217) Registrations, made very irregularly, survive from 1654 for births and after the Restoration for baptisms, and from 1655 for marriages and burials. (fn. 218)
From c. 1598, and perhaps earlier, the lords of the manor encouraged and supported recusancy in Ansty, and provided a mass centre at Wardour. (fn. 219) There were 11 recusants at Ansty in 1641–2. (fn. 220) In the later 18th century the community numbered over 60, and included 2 or more farmers, 1 apothecary, 1 tailor, and 2 weavers. (fn. 221) Numbers had declined to 47 by 1783. (fn. 222) In the 19th century about half the inhabitants of Ansty, (fn. 223) and in 1864 all the farmers, (fn. 224) were Roman Catholics. Some may have attended the church opened at Tisbury in 1898. A chapel of ease, served from Tisbury, was opened c. 1905 at Ansty (fn. 225) for the still numerous Roman Catholic community. (fn. 226) It was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. (fn. 227) In the 1950s, and until its closure c. 1962, mass was said there once a month. (fn. 228) It stood on the east side of the north end of High Street and was a house in 1983.
A house at Ansty was certified for worship in 1816 (fn. 229) by Independents. (fn. 230) Meetings there, at which William Hopkins, an Independent minister from Tisbury, preached, were frequently interrupted by a large crowd who created a disturbance with cow horns, bells, and other instruments. Of the instigators of the disturbances, who included William Easton, chaplain of Ansty, all but one were in 1817 at Salisbury assizes found guilty of riot. (fn. 231) Particular Baptists certified a building at Ansty in 1826. (fn. 232) Neither meeting flourished and there was no protestant dissent in Ansty in 1864. (fn. 233)
A woman taught Roman Catholic children in Ansty in 1783. (fn. 234) That school, or a successor, was in 1848 supported by Henry, Baron Arundell. (fn. 235) From 1858 or earlier the Roman Catholic children living in Ansty attended the school at Wardour. (fn. 236)
A school attended in 1818 by 25 children, presum ably mostly Anglicans, (fn. 237) was closed before 1833. (fn. 238) Ansty children went to Swallowcliffe school before 1858 (fn. 239) and until it closed in 1973. They afterwards attended school at Tisbury. (fn. 240)
Charities for the Poor.
Poor people in Ansty were entitled to share in the eleemosynary charity established by will of John, Baron Arundell, proved 1945. (fn. 241) From 1970 they were eligible for the Swallowcliffe Almshouse and Relief in Need charity. (fn. 242)