A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Medsted, covering an area of 2,484 acres of land, lies on the high country which rises north-east of Alresford and south-west of Alton, and slopes down towards the north-west to Preston Candover. Generally speaking the land of the parish rises from south to north, though the highest ground— 697 ft. above the ordnance datum— is near the village, which lies more to the west than the north. The main road from Winchester to Alton cutting through the town of New Alresford runs on through Bishop's Sutton to Ropley, and gradually climbing towards Medsted enters the south-eastern corner of the parish, forming its south-eastern boundary line for about a mile. As it enters the parish it sends off a branch road north-west towards the village, passing under a railway bridge on the Alton branch of the London and South Western Railway, which runs through the parish for about a mile and a half, north of and parallel to the main road to Alton. There is a station at Medsted on this line, near the spot locally known as Four Marks, north-east of the bridge.
Leaving the railway bridge and winding between fields and meadows the road continues north by the small iron Congregational chapel standing on the west side and between the several cottages and houses which form that part of the village known as South Town. Then curving slightly east it again turns sharply north and runs between the village green, with its scattered gorse bushes, which stretches to the east, and the trim burial ground hedged in by a thick line of wellgrowing fir trees. This burial ground was formed and consecrated in 1884 at a cost of £150, and is under the control of a Burial Board of nine members. Past the green and the cemetery the road branches east and west, the eastern branch running towards Alton, the western forming the main village street. Along this the unpicturesque low slated cottages are grouped, with the small village shops and the post office which lies on the south side of the road. Nearly opposite the post office is the old Congregational church, built in 1850, now used as an oil store. Here at the west end of the village a narrow branch curves to the north from the main road, and after sending off a branch north-east towards Bentworth circles round to meet the main road again some few yards up. On the island so formed is the church, standing comparatively near the road in the midst of several fine yew trees; the schools, which stand immediately west of the church; and two or three cottages, which stand behind the church, two facing north, two facing west. On the outer side of the circling road are two or three cottages; the Castle Inn, a plain-fronted house standing behind a narrow courtyard; and the parish hall, consisting of two rooms, erected by the late Mr. Thomas Nuller.
West of the church, on the south side of the main village street, behind a high garden wall, stands Medsted House, round the grounds of which the road curves to the south, downhill towards Bighton. On the north side of the road as it curves stands the rectory, round the east side of which a branch road curves north-west towards Wield, sending off a branch road south-west towards the small tithing of Hattingley about three-quarters of a mile from Medsted village.
Both from Medsted House and from the rectory, and from the high sloping fields which fall away to the west, a panoramic view stretches north and west. To the north over Wield and Preston Candover parishes is seen the dim outline of the high country round Nutley and Farleigh Wallop, and from this running west a fine line of undulating country rising against the horizon, Juniper Hill, Bogmoor Hill, Abbotstone Wood, and Abbotstone Down.
The lane leading to the two farm-houses and the three or four cottages composing Hattingley runs downhill between fields and meadows, beyond which as they stretch away to the north can be seen a long blue line of distant country. Passing one group of thatched cottages on the left the lane approaches the high tiled wall which surrounds the garden of Pullinger's Farm, with its square white farm-house and outbuildings lying on the north side of the road. Nearly opposite, standing back from the road, is Hattingley Farm with its substantial farm-house and outbuildings. Some yards on are the two other groups of cottages, standing north and south of the road, which compose the rest of Hattingley. Beyond these the road continues towards the few cottages composing the small hamlet of Heath Green, which lie west of it as it branches north and south near the western border line of the parish.
There are several ancient wells in the village, but owing to the great depth of all they are seldom used, many of the inhabitants being supplied with water from an underground tank. On high ground north of the village are the remains of a circular entrenchment, and there are several barrows in the parish.
The soil is chalk and clay with a subsoil of chalk, producing crops of wheat and oats on the 1,278¼ acres of arable land. The parish is sparsely wooded, the whole 36½ acres of woodland being covered by Boynes Wood in the north-east. Everywhere, however, between the arable fields is rich meadow land, and this with the down land in north and west makes up the 1,069¼ acres of permanent grass.
There is no inclosure award for Medsted. Goatacre Farm preserves one of the old place-names, among which, occurring at least in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, are 'Croftpytte,' 'Mayegate, (fn. 1) 'Tennacres,' 'Pitacre,' 'Penland,' 'Layneham Down,' (fn. 2) 'Whitewey,' and 'Greenwayes.' (fn. 3)
Although there is no separate mention of MEDSTED either before or at the time of the Domesday Survey, nevertheless, if the identification of place-names that occur in an eighth-century charter of King Ine be correct, Medsted must have been included in a grant of 40 mansae of land at Alresford made by that king to Winchester Cathedral in 701, in confirmation of an earlier grant by Kinewald. (fn. 4) It consequently formed part of Alresford Liberty (q.v.) and the manor of Old Alresford (q.v.), and is most probably included in the entry under Alresford in Domesday Book. (fn. 5) That this is so is supported by a perambulation of the manor taken in the reign of Edward VI, (fn. 6) by the fact that the tithing of Medsted sent a tithing-man to the old Alresford court-leet, (fn. 7) and also by the circumstance that Anthony Browne, an agent sent down from London to report on the whole bailiwick of Bishop's Sutton (fn. 8) previous to its purchase by Sir John Gate in the reign of Edward VI, included in his survey the parish of Medsted, reporting as follows:—'Midsted adjoyning on the sowthest side of Wild and parcell of Old Alresford manor is verie well wodded with great beches and some oks onn everie side the greate wodds thereof, which from the village roun a mile and a haulf of Alton, and onn the west side from the ferme of Alresford downe to the commen felds of Medsted and on the sowth side to London hieghwaie that leadeth from Alresford to Alton, and onn the northe side to the mannor of Wild.' (fn. 9)
The parish still forms part of the manor of Old Alresford.
The history of a holding in Medsted, afterwards known as MEDSTED COURT, can be traced from the fourteenth century. As late as 1316 the bishop occurs as lord of the vill of Medsted without mention of any sub-tenants of the manor, (fn. 10) but in 1346 Richard Houtot, probably a descendant of a family which had held small parcels of land in the parish as early as 1202, (fn. 11) was holding a knight's fee here which had belonged to Andrew Houtot, (fn. 12) and seven years later Martin de Hertham and Isabel his wife, sister and heiress of Andrew Houtot, conveyed lands, rents, and half a knight's fee in Medsted to William de Overton. (fn. 13) He was followed by his son William, who held one fee in Medsted and Tadelyng in 1428 which Richard Houtot had formerly held; (fn. 14) and three years later Thomas de Overton, William's son, held the manor of Medsted, a liberty of the bishop of Winchester, by the service of the fourth part of one knight's fee. (fn. 15)
In 1501 John Wayte of Titchfield recovered seisin of the manors of Sutton and Medsted against Eleanor Courte; (fn. 16) and in 1530 this John Wayte conveyed the manor of Medsted to Richard Lyster, (fn. 17) who, however, sold all his right in it to Sir John Leigh in 1556. (fn. 18)
Sir John Leigh (fn. 19) died seised of the manor in 1575, (fn. 20) leaving an infant son and heir John, aged one year, (fn. 21) who died in 1612, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, a child of six at the time of his father's death. (fn. 22) Thomas Leigh died in 1640, leaving a son and heir Philip, aged eleven, who evidently succeeded to the estates on the death of his mother. (fn. 23) Philip Leigh still held Medsted in 1653, (fn. 24) but between that date and 1699 the manor changed hands, for in the latter year John Henley conveyed it to Joseph Mayor. (fn. 25)
In 1748 Edward Rookes was holding Medsted, though whether by purchase or by inheritance is uncertain, and sold it in that year to Sir William Jolliffe for £1,400. (fn. 26) After this date no further record of this property has been found.
In the fourteenth century we have records of another holding in Medsted, which after being leased to various tenants was conveyed to Nicholas de Hany ton in 1333. (fn. 27) Two years later Nicholas de Hanyton was granted a licence to alienate this land in mortmain to the prior and convent of St. Swithun at Winchester, (fn. 28) who retained it until the dissolution of the monasteries. (fn. 29) In 1541 it was granted to Sir William Sidney, (fn. 30) and subsequently it seems to have become amalgamated with his other lands, as there is no further separate record of it.
The church of ST. ANDREW has a chancel 22 ft. by 13 ft. 8 in., and a nave 45 ft. by 17 ft., with north transept and aisle, a north-west vestry and south porch, and wooden bell-turret. The whole building was modernized and enlarged in 1833, the nave being lengthened at the time, a west tower destroyed, and the south doorway of the nave blocked up.
Though so completely modernized the building probably preserves the dimensions of its twelfthcentury nave and chancel (the lengthening of the nave excepted), the oldest work now existing being the north arcade of the nave, c. 1160, of two bays with semicircular arches of a single order chamfered on the angles, square scalloped capitals, and round columns with moulded bases, the whole liberally whitewashed over. The chancel has a modern east window with net tracery, and fourteenth-century trefoiled lights in the north and south walls, the chancel arch being modern, as are all other features of the nave. The vestry and north transept are also modern, but the north aisle retains its original width of 5 ft. 7 in. The font, near the south door, which is to the west of the older blocked doorway, is also modern, and near it is the poor-box on a curious stone bracket, a corbel of three engaged shafts with foliage more like fourteenthcentury French work than anything English; it appears to be ancient, and was formerly an image bracket, on the north side of the east window of the chancel.
There are three bells, the treble by Samuel Knight, 1705, the second and tenor being of 1655 and 1660 respectively.
The plate consists of a communion cup of 1563, with an incised band of ornament on the bowl and another on the foot, and a flat paten, probably of local make, with the date 1680 upon it. The church also possesses a brass cross of Abyssinian workmanship from King Theodore's chapel at Magdala.
The first book of the registers begins in 1560, the baptisms continuing till 1732, the marriages till 1723, and the burials till 1702. The second book runs from 1732 to 1779, and the third from 1780 to 1812, while the fourth is the printed marriage register 1754– 1812.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were three churches at Alresford, (fn. 31) and as Medsted was probably included in Alresford, possibly one of these churches became later the parish church of Medsted. Until quite recently the church of Medsted was attached to that of Old Alresford, and the advowson has therefore followed the descent of Alresford, and was from earliest times in the hands of the bishop of Winchester.
A few years ago the churches were separated, and since then the living of Medsted has been in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.
At the present day the living is a rectory with 7 acres of glebe and residence.
In 1875 Henry Joyce Mulcock, by will proved this date, left £500 to be invested and income applied in the distribution of articles in kind among the poor, the charity to be called 'The Parish of Medsted Trust Fund.' The legacy was invested in £528 15s. consols, with the official trustees.