A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Nursling, covering an area of 1,508 acres of land, with 22 acres of land covered by water, and 6 acres by tidal water, lies on left bank of the Test, which as it enters the parish from the north-west divides into two main branches that run circuitously south-east through the low-lying country to the south-west of the scattered village of Nursling.
The main road from Shirley to Romsey, entering the south-east of the parish, runs north along high ground, while the fields and cottages of Nursling lie away on lower ground to the west. A road from Aldermoor to Redbridge cuts across the highroad as it enters Nursling, and going downhill to the south-west forms the southern boundary line of the parish. About half a mile from the main road the Redbridge road sends off a branch which leads in a circuitous north-easterly direction back to the main road. Along this branch the greater number of the cottages and houses of the village are grouped, for the most part on the east side of the road, the Wesleyan chapel, opposite which are the Wesleyan schools and the City Arms Inn, being nearest to the main Shirley-to-Romsey road.
Another branch from higher up the main road goes off west from the bottom of Horns Hill between the two Inns, 'The Balmoral' on the left with its closelyclipped yew trees and 'The Horns' on the right, both facing on the main road. South-west of 'The Balmoral' stands the school, built in 1871 and enlarged in 1894. Continuing west, the road known as Nursling Street leads past the Four Horse-Shoes Inn and two or three cottages standing on the south, between fields and meadows past the grounds of Grove Place, which stands north, over the railway bridge, past the Manor Farm and one or two thatched cottages, on to the church and rectory. East of the church, which stands on the north side of the road, nearly opposite the high wall of the rectory garden, is the modern red-brick church-room built in memory of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The rectory, a large red-brick house, was built in the late eighteenth century by one of the rectors, Mr. Cramner. Beyond the church, as the road ceases, are two or three low cottages; facing west are the water meadows which slope down to the Test.
Grove Place, the seat of Mr. Clarence Wilson, is finely situated at the end of a long, wide avenue of lime trees, through which the fine chimneys and octagonal turrets of the house appear. The present fabric was built in the sixteenth century, and is not on the site of the older house, which stood some way to the south-west between the avenue and the modern railway line. The latter is the Andover and Redbridge branch of the London and South Western Railway which cuts through the parish from north to south, with a station at Nursling about half a mile southwest of Grove Place.
A road turns off south from Nursling Street immediately east of the Manor Farm, and running parallel with the west bank of the railway, passes Nursling Station. Past the station the road curves west, leaving the railway, and branches northwest to Nursling Farm, and Nursling Mill and south-east to Redbridge. Nursling Farm, with its square farm-house and low thatched outbuildings, stands on high ground south of the road. In the fields nearly opposite, one of which is known as 'The Walls,' is the site of the ancient Benedictine monastery, famous as the residence of St. Boniface during the early years of his life, but destroyed by the Danes in one of their raids about 878. Skirting these fields the road continues for about half a mile to Nursling Mill, running north-west of the water meadows, among which glisten the waters of the Test. The old mill facing south-west stands over the rushing water, and dates as it now stands from the eighteenth century. A stone in the wall states that the building stands on a frame of large beech timber given by Sir Richard Mill in 1728. The adjoining mill-house stands back from the road at the east end of the mill. Near by are two or three cottages and in front of the mill-house a small thatched dovecot. In the south-west of the parish near the Test as the road goes towards Redbridge is the tall chimney of the Test Valley Chemical Works, with its surrounding buildings, now disused.
The small hamlet of Upton consisting of one or two cottages and a smithy lies in the north-east of the parish west of the main Shirley-to-Romsey road as it rises over Horns Hill. On the opposite side of the road, lying back behind fine open grounds, is Upton House, the seat of Colonel Edward St. John Griffiths, J.P.
The soil of the whole parish is gravel, sand, and clay with a subsoil of clay and gravel, producing the ordinary crops of wheat, barley, and oats on the 714¼ acres of arable land. The greater portion of the parish is given over to permanent grass, of which there are 737¼ acres, while only 58 acres are woodland. (fn. 1)
The manor of NURSLING as it now exists is composed of two original manors, the one associated from its earliest history with the prior and convent of St. Swithun and called NURSLING PRIOR in the sixteenth century, the other taking the name of NURSLING BEAUFO from its fourteenth-century holders. At the Dissolution Nursling Prior passed into the hands of John Mill, who was already holding Nursling Beaufo, and hence the two practically became one. Although there is no definite history for NURSLING PRIOR in the eighth century, it is almost certain that it belonged to the bishops of Winchester, since in 877 Bishop Tunberht or Dunbert (fn. 2) granted 5 mansae at Nursling to the refectory of St. Swithun free from all charges except the trinoda necessitas. (fn. 3) It is difficult to identify the boundaries given in the charter, although if it were possible to trace them they would be very valuable as giving exactly the locality of the two manors in the parish. However, enough can be traced to show that the manor of the prior and convent extended into the western part of the parish, with the Test River as its western and southern boundary. (fn. 4)
In 908 King Edward confirmed the manor to Bishop Frithstan in a charter confirming the grants of his ancestors to the church. (fn. 5) King Ethelred made a similar confirmation in 984. (fn. 6) In both these grants the 5 hides at Nursling were included in what was then the very large district of Chilcomb, comprising 100 hides to be assessed as one manor. (fn. 7) How long the manor was so included is doubtful, but by the time of Domesday it seems to have lost all connexion with Chilcomb and to be included in the hundred of Buddlesgate. The bishop held the manor, still rated at 5 hides, and it is said to have always belonged to the monastery. (fn. 8) In 1167 the prior of St. Swithun rendered account for the manor, (fn. 9) and in 1207 the pope confirmed him in his possession. (fn. 10) Edward I granted the prior and convent free warren in their demesne lands in Nursling in 1300, (fn. 11) and in 1330 they were licensed to acquire certain lands in Nursling from Robert de Wytton and Thomas le Boys. (fn. 12)
Although Bishop Tunberht had originally granted Nursling to the refectory of the monastery, by the fifteenth century the profits of the manor were diverted to the office of warden of the works (custos operum), and appear on the two extant rolls of the office of 1409 and 1532–3. In 1409 John Hurst, warden of the works, received £30 13s. 1½d. from the manor and paid the prior £4 from meadows in Nursling. (fn. 13) Walter Frost, warden of the works in 1532, received £20 5s. 9d. from Nursling and £8 7s. 6d. for the farm of the manor with the farm of Ware in Nursling. (fn. 14) On the surrender of the monastery in 1540 (fn. 15) the manor passed in the natural course of events into the king's hands, and was entered in the Ministers' Accounts. (fn. 16) In 1541 it was granted to the newlyfounded dean and chapter, (fn. 17) being made specially chargeable, with four other manors, for the maintenance of twelve university students, six at Oxford and six at Cambridge. (fn. 18) However, in 1545 the king evidently compelled the dean and chapter to execute a deed of surrender, by which Nursling and the four other manors were given up into the king's hands. (fn. 19) In the same year the king granted away the manor to John Mill, with land and wood in Nursling called 'Londswood.' (fn. 20) John Mill outlived his eldest son Richard, and died in 1551, leaving the manor to his second son George. (fn. 21) The latter held the manor for seventeen years, but died without issue in 1568. (fn. 22) Before his death he had settled the manor upon his brother Thomas in fee-tail on the occasion of his marriage with Alice daughter of Robert Coker. Thomas and Alice had issue one son called Richard and several daughters. As Richard was 'very sickly in his youth,' George was often minded to settle the reversion of his lands after his death on his younger brother John in fee-tail, so as to continue the same in his own name, but refrained from doing so on account of the former settlement. (fn. 23) On the death of George the estate therefore passed to Richard, who some time afterwards married Mary daughter of Sir John Savage. 'He used his sisters very kindly oftentimes affirming that the possibility of his lands would be a preferment for them in marriage he having no issue nor likely to have any,' and although his wife Mary often entreated him to disinherit his sisters he steadfastly refused, saying that the lands should descend to them in accordance with the wish of his uncle. However, Mary prevailed upon him to settle a part of his estate upon her for life, although he persisted in his determination of settling the greater part upon his sisters. Shortly afterwards 'he grew weak both in body and mind by reason of a dread palsey which he had,' and while in this state his wife Mary and her nephew Sir Thomas Savage, who waited upon him and 'mynistered phisicke' to him during his long illness, seemingly gained complete ascendancy over him, so much so that he finally conveyed the greater part of his estates to Mary about 1609, (fn. 24) and by his will left only £300 to his sisters, Anne the wife of Thomas Bilson, Alice the wife of Sir John Bingham, Elizabeth Collnett, and Bridget the wife of Thomas Barnes. (fn. 25) After her husband's death in 1613 (fn. 26) Mary used 'faier words' to her husband's sisters, but nevertheless previous to her marriage with Thomas Wroughton in 1616 executed a deed granting the reversion of her property to her nephew. (fn. 27) The sisters of Richard appealed to the Court of Chancery, but the case was dismissed in 1619. (fn. 28) Sir Thomas, afterwards Viscount Savage, who had succeeded to Nursling on the death of his aunt in 1623, (fn. 29) sold the manor to Sir Thomas Cornwallis, groom porter to James I, John Scrivener, and others in December, 1624, (fn. 30) and made the first conveyance by fine in the spring of 1625. (fn. 31) In July, 1630, Cornwallis and Scrivener sold the manor to the king, (fn. 32) who granted it in August of the same year to Henry Knollys, controller of the king's household. (fn. 33) Henry Knollys died in 1638, leaving his son Henry as his heir. (fn. 34) The latter was created a baronet in 1642, but died without issue in 1648, and the baronetcy became extinct. (fn. 35) The manor then passed to his brother Thomas Knollys, and remained in the Knollys family until 1751, (fn. 36) when, on the extinction of the male line with the death of Thomas Knollys, it passed to Sir Richard Mill, bart., who had married Margaret daughter of Robert Knollys. (fn. 37) Sir Richard died in 1760, and four of his sons in succession inherited the baronetcy and the estates. (fn. 38) Sir Charles Mill, the ninth baronet, died on 10 July, 1792, leaving two children, Charles and Mary, the former of whom, Sir Charles, the tenth and last baronet, died on 25 February, 1835, leaving the estate to Mr. John Barker, his sister's son, (fn. 39) who assumed the arms and name of Mill, and was afterwards made a baronet. The manor remained with Sir John BarkerMill until his death without issue in 1860, when it passed to his widow Jane, who died in 1884. (fn. 40) On her death it passed to the present owner, Mrs. Vaudrey, third cousin of Sir John Barker-Mill. (fn. 41) who has recently taken the name of Mrs. Barker-Mill. (fn. 42)
There is seemingly no trace of the existence of the manor of NURSLING BEAUFO before the twelfth century, when in 1170 Godfrey de 'Notscilling' rendered account of half a mark for land, which was possibly the nucleus of the later manor. (fn. 43)
In 1236 Edmund Fitz William gave up all his right in a virgate of land in Nursling to Walter de Bruge, receiving in return from him an acre of meadow lying between his meadow and that of Cecily de Nursling, and ten acres on the Down. (fn. 44) The Bruge family were still settled at Nursling in 1255, in which year Edmund de Bruge granted one mill, with appurtenances in Nursling, to Adam de Bruge, to hold of him and his heirs for the rent of one penny at Easter, with reversion, in default of heirs to Adam, to Edmund and his heirs. (fn. 45) There is little or nothing to connect these last entries with the next mention of the 'tenement of Nursling,' which comes in 1276. In that year Gilbert de Teya, and Maud his wife, made a final agreement concerning a right of way claimed by John de la Haleford, son of Edmund de la Haleford, as pertaining to his tenements of Nursling and Eling. (fn. 46) The tenements are said to belong to John by hereditary right, though with the scant evidence at present obtainable it can only be a hypothetical suggestion that he was connected with the Edmund Fitz William to whom the grant was made in 1236, and who may have been his father, Edmund de la Haleford. The manor remained in the hands of the Haleford family until about the beginning of the reign of Edward III, when Margery daughter of Edmund de la Haleford, nun of Wherwell, released the manor to Richard de Beaufo (de Bello Fago) and Olimpyas his wife, sister of the said Margery. (fn. 47) Richard de Beaufo, who had become Sir Richard by 1335, settled a moiety of the manor on his son John on his marriage with Ellen the daughter of Sir Gilbert de Ellisfield, (fn. 48) and a further settlement was made after the death of Sir Richard in 1344. (fn. 49)
The manor seems next to have passed to a certain Edmund Forster of Southampton, probably by purchase, although there seems to be no record of the sale, and in 1435, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter Joan with Peter Marmion of Thame (co. Oxon.), the manor was settled on him for life with remainder to Joan and Peter in tail. (fn. 50)
They died, according to some accounts, without issue, and thereupon Edmund settled the manor upon his daughter Christine and her husband, Thomas Hargrove, lord of the manor of Hargrove, in Stalbridge (co. Dorset), (fn. 51) in tail. (fn. 52) Towards the end of the reign of Henry VI, however, a certain Robert Marmion came forward alleging that he was son and heir of Peter and Joan, and therefore entitled to the manor, and it seems to have been awarded to him by a decree of the Court of Chancery. (fn. 53) He granted it to Peter Marmion, jun., and Peter John Marmion, jun., (fn. 54) who in 1481 and 1482 respectively released all right in the manor to Sir William Stoner, (fn. 55) who thereupon entered into possession. By this time Thomas and Christine Hargrove had died leaving three daughters and co-heirs, Elizabeth wife of John Wells (co. Oxon.), Joan wife of Thomas Dormer of Nursling, and Alice wife of Walter Coker of Stourpaine (co. Dorset), (fn. 56) who did not submit to the loss of their inheritance without a struggle.
In 1492 Thomas Dormer and John Wells and certain yeomen servants to Sir Robert Cheyne, accompanied by 'divers riotous persons arrayed in manner of war,' marched to the manor and 'in riotous wise put out James Marks, then being tenant and servant unto Sir William,' commanding him to 'avoid the possession of the manor within four weeks after Michaelmas next or else it should cost him his life and goods,' and asserting that 'if they might meet Sir William it should cost him his life.' (fn. 57) Again, in 1494, Sir William Stoner brought an action against Thomas Dormer for entering into his closes and house at Nursling Beaufo. (fn. 58)
On the death of Sir William in 1494 Nursling Beaufo passed to his only son and heir, John Stoner, aged ten and more at the time of his father's death. (fn. 59) John Stoner died young without issue soon afterwards, and then there was 'great dyscencyon, dyscorde, and varyaunce moved and styred between Sir Adrian Fortescue and Dame Anne, daughter and heir-general of Sir William, and Thomas Stoner brother of Sir William,' (fn. 60) the said Thomas claiming certain manors by virtue of gifts of entail made to his ancestors and their heirs male. However Nursling Beaufo was not among the disputed manors, (fn. 61) but passed quietly to Anne and her husband Sir Adrian. The latter is a picturesque figure of the period, a warm supporter of Henry VII, by whom he was knighted on Bosworth Field, and a faithful servant of Henry VIII, who rewarded him, as so many others, by execution on a charge of high treason non proven. (fn. 62)
In 1506, six years after the last attempt made by Thomas Dormer to regain it, (fn. 63) Sir Adrian Fortescue had alienated the manor to Edmund Dudley, (fn. 64) the well-known colleague of Richard Empson, a grasping minister of a still more grasping king, whose miserliness may be justified but cannot be excused. Henry VIII on his accession brought his father's unpopular ministers to trial, and they being found guilty were beheaded on Tower Hill in 1510. (fn. 65) Thus Nursling Beaufo, among the other forfeited estates of Edmund Dudley, came into the hands of the king, (fn. 66) and was granted in the next year to Francis Cheyney. (fn. 67)
However, by the earnest petition of Edward Guildford, guardian of the young John Dudley son of Edmund, the attainder was reversed in 1513, and by special Act of Parliament John Dudley was restored in name, blood, and degree to inherit his father's lands. (fn. 68) John Dudley, who in 1525 was knighted by Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, general of the English army in France, (fn. 69) was sent in 1527 in the train of Cardinal Wolsey on an embassy to France. (fn. 70) In the same year he alienated the manor of Nursling Beaufo to John Mill, (fn. 71) to whom in 1545 the king granted the manor of Nursling Prior (q.v.), and from this time the two manors have followed the same descent.
The early history of GROVE PLACE, (fn. 72) which was a member of the manor of Southwells, (fn. 73) is obscure. It was probably granted to the dean and canons of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, by Edward III, who in 1344, according to Froissart, endowed them with a good and liberal revenue. (fn. 74) In 1442 John Grenefeld was tenant of Grove Place. In his will dated 8 June, 1448, he styles himself of 'Southwelles in the county of Southampton, gentylman,' and especially gives to Ingram Huet, 'farmer of Southwellys,' his furred gown, and to John Huet, 'my farmer of the Grove,' his black gown. (fn. 75) In 1480 John Hammond was lessee of Grove Place. (fn. 76) Thirty-three years later the dean and canons granted a forty-five years' lease to the abbess and convent of Romsey. (fn. 77) In 1536 the latter granted the remainder of the term to John Uttoft or Huttoft and Bridget his wife, (fn. 78) who at the dissolution of the monastery took another lease of fifty years. (fn. 79) In 1561 the dean and canons granted a lease for eighty-one years to James Pagett of Poulton (co. Wilts.) and his son-in-law William Paulet. (fn. 80) The latter by indenture of 1590 made over the remainder of the term to Sir Richard Mill and Mary his wife, (fn. 81) who were already lessees from the dean and canons of another tenement in Nursling called Grove Place with a garden containing 6 acres, (fn. 82) which in a document of the early seventeenth century is described as a capital messuage called the old farm of Nursling. (fn. 83) According to the statement of the plaintiffs in the Chancery suit, of which mention has already been made, Sir Richard often declared that on his death Grove Place was to go to his sister Anne with remainder to her son Sir Thomas Bilson in tail, but like the rest of the property it passed to Sir Thomas Savage. (fn. 84) From this date the leasehold estate remained with the lords of the manor of Nursling, but on the reversion of it to Sir Richard Mill, bart., in 1752, by the death of Robert Knollys without issue, there is evidence to show that the tenancy of the mansion with 88 acres became separated from that of the farm-lands, the latter being retained in the Mill family under a succession of seven years' leases till the death of Sir Charles Mill, bart., in 1835. (fn. 85) The rate-books of the parish show well the various tenants of the mansion with 88 acres during the next century, the most interesting names up to 1813 being General Sir John Clavering from 1765 to 1773, James Harris, afterwards created earl of Malmesbury, in 1775, and James Drummond in 1811. (fn. 86) About the year 1813 Dr. Edward Middleton, M.D., was dwelling at Grove Place, having taken a twenty-one years' lease, renewable on payment of a fine, of the mansion and 88 acres from the dean and canons of Windsor. He also rented the farm-lands from Sir Charles Mill the lessee, and after his death in 1835 his widow continued to do so from Sir John Barker Mill, bart. (fn. 87) Dr. Middleton converted the house and premises into a lunatic asylum, and in adapting the mansion for the purpose permanent injury was done to the interior, especially to the great dining-room and long gallery, the latter being divided off into separate chambers by wooden partitions covered with lath and plaster. Dr. Middleton died in 1826, and the tenancy and use to which the place had been turned were continued by his widow, who died in 1847 as lessee in possession. (fn. 88) Two years later the charge of the place as a lunatic asylum was undertaken by Mr. Pothecary and Dr. Symes, and so it continued till 1854, after which time the mansion remained vacant for six years. (fn. 89) In consequence of the death of Sir John Barker Mill, bart., in 1860, who some time before had conveyed to Henry John third Viscount Palmerston all his leasehold estate in the farm-lands, the dean and canons of Windsor in that year sold the whole manor of Southwells, including Grove Place, to Lord Palmerston. (fn. 90) Lord Palmerston, who died in 1865, bequeathed the property to his step-son the Right Hon. William Francis Cowper (who assumed the surname of Temple), a younger son of Lady Palmerston, by her first husband the fifth Earl Cowper. Mr. Cowper-Temple was created in 1880 Lord MountTemple. He died in 1888 without issue, and was succeeded by his nephew the Hon. Anthony Evelyn Ashley, who sold Grove Place with 65 acres of land to Captain Bulmer de Sales La Terriere in 1895. It was bought by Mr. Clarence Wilson, the present owner, in 1906.
Grove Place is a pretty specimen of an Elizabethan house of red brick with stone dressings, fronting to the south, with a main block standing east and west, and wings projecting southward at either end, with tall octagonal staircase turrets set in the angles formed by the wings and the main block. The entrance doorway is central, and opens to the screens of the hall, the kitchen and offices lying to the west. The house is of three stories, with a red-tiled roof, and many of the windows retain their original stone mullions and transoms, though some have been replaced by eighteenth-century sashes. The hall is on the ground floor, and some of the original oak panelling remains in position at its east or upper end, the screens being made up of woodwork removed from the passage on the first-floor of the east wing. It has a large fireplace in its north wall with a fourcentred head, the spandrels of which have modern carving and the dates 1565 and 1895, the latter recording a late repair, and on the hearth is a castiron fireback of 1687 with the royal arms. The ceiling is of plain plaster panels with moulded ribs and bosses at the intersections. At the south-west angle is the octagonal stair, more carefully treated than its fellow at the other side of the courtyard, and having evidently served as the chief stair of the house. To the east of the hall is a room with a fine plaster ceiling with the royal arms and initials of Elizabeth in a garter, and roses and fleurs-de-lis; its original panelling has been replaced by good eighteenth-century work. Adjoining it and taking up the south end of the east wing is a large room with panelling and ceiling of eighteenth-century date, but the corresponding room in the west wing retains a plastered ceiling of geometrical design with the arms of Pagett of Poulton in Wiltshire, who bore Argent a cheveron erminees between three talbots passant sable; Farringdon, whose arms were Sable three running unicorns argent; Sherington of Lacock in Wiltshire, whose shield was Gules two crosses formy or voided sable between two flaunches checky argent and azure; Mill of Hampton, to whom arms—Six pieces sable and argent with a fox's head proper between two bears argent with muzzles and chains or in the chief and a like bear between two like foxes' heads in the foot—were granted in 1533.
There is a fine arabesque frieze, and below it a plain band with the arms of Sherington, Talbot, and others. The walls have contemporary oak panelling below the frieze. The fireplace on the east side has a flatpointed arch with carved spandrels and a plasterwork chimney-piece with the arms of James I beneath a projecting cornice enriched with a vine pattern and carried by pairs of Ionic columns. Below the panel with the royal arms are the arms of Talbot, flanked by leopards and fleurs-de-lis.
The first floor rooms over this part of the house are bedrooms, and on the plastering in one of them are some roughly sketched designs in red with the date 1576. The western room on this floor in the main block has a fine plasterwork ceiling and frieze with the following shields:—Pagett; Farringdon; Sherington; Wilford, whose arms were Gules a cheveron ermine between three leopards' heads or; Cooke of Giddea Hall in Essex, who bore arms Quarterly of 6: 1, Or a cheveron checky gules and azure between three cinquefoils azure impaled with Malpas, Sable a fesse between three pheons argent, (2) Or an eagle azure with two heads, for Montgomery, (3) Azure three eagles set bendwise between two bends argent, for Belknap, (4) Gules a fesse checky argent and sable between six crosses formy fitchy or, for Boteler, (5) Or two bends gules, for Sudeley, (6) Bendy of ten pieces or and azure, for Mountfort; Bacon of Redgrave, whose arms were Gules a chief argent with two pierced molets sable therein, quartered with Barry or and azure a bend gules, for Knaplod, with the difference of a crescent. The adjoining room takes up the rest of the first floor of the main block, and has a fine early eighteenth-century moulded ceiling; a passage has been partitioned off from it on the south side, cutting into the ceiling, and connects with that down the west side of the east wing, from which the panelling has been removed. The north room in this wing, adjoining the large room just described, is quite plain, but that next to it on the south has an Elizabethan plaster ceiling like that below it on the ground floor, and eighteenth-century oak panelling. To the south is a room without any ornament, opening to that at the south end of the wing, which has an Elizabethan ceiling with two-headed eagles, leopards and fleurs-de-lis; the crests of Bacon —a boar passant, and of Paulet—a falcon rising from a branch, are also introduced. The third story is an attic, divided into small rooms, but originally formed a long gallery over the main block and west wing, with a coved plaster ceiling adorned with all the arms which occur elsewhere in the house. It remains in a fair state over the main block, but very little is left in the west wing. The stair turrets are carried above the roofs and finished with embattled parapets, their upper stages being lighted by squareheaded two-light windows, and the chimney stacks which project from the outer faces of the walls have lost their original brick shafts, all the existing shafts being modern. On the west side of the house is a walled garden, with the stables to the south-west, and a fine avenue of limes leads from the road to the south front of the house.
From early times a water-mill was appurtenant to the manor of Nursling Beaufo, being mentioned as early as 1255. (fn. 91) It is probable also that there was another mill in the parish appurtenant to the manor of Nursling Prior, for one is included in the extent of 'Notesselinge' (representing Nursling Prior) in Domesday Book. (fn. 92) In the Chancery decree of 1619 two water corn-mills and three 'fullingstocke' thereunto adjoining called Nursling Mills are mentioned as having been leased to Andrew Mundy by Sir Richard Mill. (fn. 93) One of them seems to have fallen into disuse by the beginning of the eighteenth century, (fn. 94) and there is now only one water-mill in the parish.
A several fishery in the River Test was appurtenant to the manor of Nursling Prior. The prior sometimes had some difficulty in maintaining his rights. Thus in 1387 he brought an action against John Goldsmith of Southampton, William Fisher, Robert Goudyer, and Richard Lobbe for fishing in his fishery at Nursling and carrying off 200 lampreys, 300 salmon, 200 trout, 4,000 eels, and other fish to the value of £40. John Goldsmith, who was at this time holding the manor of Testwood on a nine years' lease from Sir Thomas West, asserted that the fishery in the Test between 'Asshedych' on the north and 'Dodepole' on the south was common to the lords of the manors of Nursling Prior and Testwood, and that therefore he and his servants were justified in fishing therein. The case was therefore adjourned for further evidence, but with what result does not appear. (fn. 95)
The church of ST. BONIFACE
has a chancel 22 ft. 3 in. by 12 ft.,
with a large south chapel 16 ft. 9 in.
wide by 14 ft. 4 in. long, a nave 43 ft. 10 in. by
25 ft. 4 in., and a south porch carried up as a tower.
In the thirteenth century the nave had a south aisle,
which seems to have been destroyed in mediaeval times.
The building in its present form appears to date from
the first quarter of the fourteenth century, but includes part of the thirteenth-century church. In
1881 the church was repaired by Street, and a thir
teenth-century window-head, found during the pulling
down of the north wall of the chancel at that time, is
preserved in the porch. The chancel probably retains its thirteenth-century plan, and has on the
south side a plain pointed arch with a string of thirteenth-century section in its west respond, that in the
east respond being cut away. The east window, of
two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head, has
tracery of early fourteenth-century style: in the north
wall is a window of two trefoiled lights with a trefoil
over, the head of which is fourteenth-century work
reset, and in the south wall, to the east of the arch
already mentioned, is a single trefoiled fourteenth-century light. Under this window is a wide segmental
arch serving as the sedilia, the panelling at the back
of it being of Street's design, and in the north wall is
a credence of the same date (1881). The chancel
arch is sharply pointed, of two chamfered orders, the
inner springing from moulded half-octagonal corbels of
early fourteenth-century section; on either side of the
arch on its west face, some 4 ft. above the springing, are
hooked corbels for the rood beam. The south chapel
is lighted on the south by a square-headed fifteenth-century window of three cinquefoiled lights, and
opens to the nave by an arch formerly at the east
end of the south aisle, but now divided by the south
wall of the nave, its southern half being blocked in
the masonry. The plan and probably part of the
walling of the chapel may be of thirteenth-century
date, like the chancel. The nave is of unusual proportions, being more than twice as wide as the chancel, and appears to be entirely of the fourteenth century.
Before its building, which involved the destruction of
the south aisle, there must have been a south arcade
on the same line as the south wall of the chancel,
dating from the thirteenth century or possibly earlier.
It probably stood on the line of the south wall of an
earlier aisleless nave of small size, the chancel of which
had been built round and destroyed when its thirteenth-century successor was set out. If, as must be assumed,
the nave was on the same axis as the present chancel,
its width could hardly have been greater than
12 ft. 6 in., and its widening would very naturally
suggest itself to later builders. To avoid throwing it
out of centre with the chancel, it would be necessary
to pull down the south arcade, and to encroach on the
area of the south aisle, and this is what actually happened, the width thus obtained being sufficient without
the addition of aisles. The south wall of the thirteenth-century aisle was therefore pulled down, and
the southern half of its eastern arch blocked up as it
now appears. Traces of the bonding of the destroyed
wall are to be seen not only in the west wall of the
south chapel, but in the east wall of the south porch,
and in the latter case can only be explained by supposing that the wall in question incorporates the west
wall of the destroyed aisle, probably giving thereby
the line of that of the early nave, whose dimensions
would be about 30 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in.—a very usual size.
The nave has two north windows, each of two trefoiled
lights and fourteenth-century date, but the eastern of
the two has geometrical tracery of an earlier kind than
the flowing tracery of the other window. In the
south wall are two windows identical with those in
the north, except that the geometrical window is the
western of the two. In the west wall is a fourteenth-century window with three lights and net tracery, having below it a contemporary doorway of two chamfered
orders. Of the tower only the lower part is in stone,
the upper stage being of wood, with a shingled wooden
spire; its inner and outer doors are of plain fourteenth-century style, and the whole is doubtless of this date,
except so much of the east wall as may have belonged
to the thirteenth-century aisle. The walls are plastered externally, and the roofs red tiled; the timbers
of the nave roof are probably mediaeval, and a beam with
the date 1675 over the south doorway may refer to repairs done at that time. To the east of the south
doorway is a holy-water niche, and the font, which is
modern, stands near by, having an octagonal bowl on
marble shafts. There are a few old floor tiles in the
church of common type, and on the east gable of the
nave is an old gable cross. In the south chapel, at
the south-west corner, is the large monument of
Richard Mill, 1613, with effigies of himself and his
wife, the latter on a lower level, beneath a tall canopy
with heraldry and pierced strap-work, the scrolls on
either side of the central cresting ending in lions'
heads, as on the contemporary Uvedale tomb at
Wickham. There is also a curious mural monument
to Andrew Mundy, 1632, a brass plate engraved with
allegorical devices, a sun and sphere, a skull, a book,
stars and clouds, and on a lozenge a chronogram:—
LeX aeternI LVX MVnDI = 1632.
The brass plate is set in a stone frame inscribed with a second chronogram:—
Vt CererI fVnVs aC phoenICI CInIs
Vesper apoLLInI sIC MIhI fInIs = 1632.
There are three bells of 1769 by Wells of Aldbourne.
The plate consists of a silver cup, paten, and flagon of 1727, repaired in 1879.
The first book of the registers begins in 1617 and runs to 1735, and the second from 1736 to 1797. The third is the marriage register 1754–1812, and the fourth the baptisms and burials 1797–1812.
There was a church in Nursling at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 96) The living has always been in the hands of the bishop of Winchester, (fn. 97) and is at the present time a rectory, net yearly value £325 with 10 acres of glebe and residence.
In 1880 Mrs. Jane Collett Langley by her will left £100, the income to be applied for the benefit of such nine poor widows, or other persons, as the incumbent should select. The legacy was invested in the purchase of £104 3s. 3d. consols, and the income is applied in accordance with the trusts.