A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
'Parishes: Stoke Charity', in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3, (London, 1908) pp. 447-451. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol3/pp447-451 [accessed 29 February 2024]
Stockes (xi cent.); Eledderstoke (xiii cent.); Ouldstoke (xv cent.); Ouldestokecherytie (xvi and xvii cents.).
Stoke Charity is a small parish of only 1,841 acres, three of which are water supplied by the Test, a tributary of which forms the northern boundary line between Stoke Charity and Hunton. The village lies in the north close to the river, and from here the parish is one long southward sweep of rolling country, rising to its highest point at Waller's Ash and continuing onwards to Kings Worthy parish.
The road from Wonston, the parish which lies due west, runs downhill into Stoke Charity village, and passing by some farm buildings on the left becomes the uphill village street. On either side are thatched and half-timbered cottages grouped most thickly at the top of the hill where the road branches to Hunton, Micheldever and Winchester. The village school, built in 1815, is at the corner formed by the branching of the roads to Micheldever and Winchester, and on the right higher up the branch to Micheldever is the rectory. This is in part a sixteenth-century timber building to which in the latter part of the seventeenth century additions were made, including a very good panelled entrance hall with a carved cornice. In a field opposite the rectory is the church of St. Michael, and in the meadow called 'Pretty Meadow' north-west of the church, the sixteenth-century manor house originally stood. To the left of the site of the manor house is a large fish-pond supplied with water from the Test tributary. Old Farm, which is probably the farm attached to the original manor house, lies in the meadows east of the church. Stoke Farm lies well away from the village on the left hand side of the road to Winchester, while across country to the west is West Stoke Farm.
The soil of the whole parish is loam with a subsoil of chalk, and the chief crops are wheat, barley, and turnips.
William Cobbett, 'the homespun politician of Surrey, visited Stoke Charity in 1829 and in his Rural Rides (1830) used 'that obscure village' as an illustration of the decay of parishes in the early nineteenth century. 'Formerly,' he says, 'it contained ten farms, but now only two which are owned by Mr. Hinton Bailey and his nephew, and therefore may probably become one. There used to be ten well-fed families in the parish, these taking five to a family made fifty well-fed people. And now all are half starved except the curate and the two families' (i.e. the farmer and his nephew). The blame for this miserable state he attributed not to the landowners but to 'the infernal funding and taxing system which of necessity drives property into large masses in order to save itself, which crushes little proprietors down into labourers and … make them paupers.'
It seems probable that the lands which afterwards became Stoke Charity parish were granted as part of the manor of Micheldever to Hyde Abbey by Edward the Elder in 904. (fn. 1) However, it would seem that the Abbey had parted with the land by the time of the Domesday Survey if the 'Stockes' held by the bishop of Winchester and entered wrongly under Meon Hundred can be STOKE CHARITY. (fn. 2) Then of the land of the manor a certain Geoffrey held four hides held of him by villeins.
By the thirteenth century the manor had passed into the hands of Henry de Caritate or de la Charité and was held of him by John de Windsor while only scutage was owing to the bishop of Winchester. (fn. 3) John de Windsor before his death in 1284 enfeoffed his son Geoffrey de Windsor of the manor of Stoke Charity (fn. 4) and Geoffrey in right of this enfeoffment made fine of 16 acres of land with appurtenances to Richard de la Rude and Margaret his wife in 1287. (fn. 5) However, the heirship of the manor passed to John de Windsor's granddaughter Alice, daughter of his eldest son Hugh who had seisin of the same when she came of age in 1297. (fn. 6) Alice married first John de Alneto, who died in 1323, (fn. 7) and secondly John Everard. She seems to have had one son at least and possibly a daughter by her first husband, since in 1330 she conveyed part of the manor to Thomas de Alneto who was evidently her son, and the other part to John de Lutershall and Cecilia his wife, who may have been her daughter, with reversion to Thomas. (fn. 8) In 1333 Thomas de Alneto who was about to sell the manor recovered seisin of the same to ensure all rights against Alice and her second husband John Everard, Stephen son of John de Alneto, who may have been another son of Alice, and John de Lutershall and Cecilia his wife. (fn. 9) In proceedings for this purpose Alice and John Everard stated that on Alice's death the manor must revert to the nearest in blood to John de Windsor, that is undoubtedly to Thomas de Alneto eldest son of Alice. (fn. 10) During the next year, 1334, Thomas de Alneto sold the manor to John de Hampton who was knight of the shire of Southampton from 1336 to 1344. (fn. 11) He was holding the manor as 'half a fee in Oldstoke' in 1346, (fn. 12) but died before October, 1357, (fn. 13) leaving a son and heir Thomas de Hampton who was also knight of the shire of Southampton in 1362 and was sheriff of the county from 1361 to 1365. In 1370 this same Thomas presented to the living of Stoke Charity. (fn. 14) The manor passed on his death before 1384 to his son and heir John de Hampton, also knight of the shire in 1394. In 1384 the manor was said to be held by John son of Thomas de Hampton, of the bishopric of Winchester by the service of two knights' fees. (fn. 15) An inquisition ad quod damnum, taken in 1392, ensured the right of John de Hampton in the manor of 'Eldestoke,' held 'of the Bishop of Winchester for unknown services,' against all claims put forward by Hyde Abbey. (fn. 16) This same John seems to have died about 1433 in which year his wife Margaret was assigned dower in his lands in Stafford. (fn. 17) His son and heir John Hampton knight of the shire in 1432, (fn. 18) and esquire of the body to Henry VI in 1454, was in his turn succeeded in the manor by his son Thomas Hampton, but at what date is uncertain. Thomas Hampton died in October, 1483, and was buried in the church of Stoke Charity.
From the effigies on his tomb in the church it is evident that he and his wife Isabel, who died in 1475, had eight children, two sons and six daughters, four married and two unmarried as is shown by their headdress. But only the four married daughters survived their father and became his co-heirs. (fn. 19) Elizabeth the eldest, wife of Richard Wallop, died after her husband without issue in 1505, the second daughter Juliana wife of William Frost of Avington also died after her husband and without issue in 1526, the third, Anne wife of Morris Whitehead of Tytherley died likewise, at what date is uncertain. Thus the manor came into the possession of Joan, the youngest of the four, and wife of John Waller. He survived her and became lord of Stoke Charity, or rather Oldstoke, as it was still called, in her right. He died in 1525–6, leaving as heir his grandson Richard, the eldest son of his only son Richard. (fn. 20) In his will he desired to be buried in Oldstoke church 'before the altar of St. Thomas,' and his monument still stands in its original site against the north wall of the Hampton chapel. Richard Waller, his grandson, came of age in 1536 and held the manor of 'Old Stoke Charity' until his death, 7 September, 1551, (fn. 21) according to his inquisition, although the parish register states that he was buried 4 September, 1552, possibly following the date given on his mutilated brass in Stoke Charity church. William Waller his eldest son succeeded his father when a minor only fourteen years old. He seems to have involved himself in many pecuniary difficulties, and as a result his estates were nearly all mortgaged at the time of his death to his brother John Waller of Compton Monceaux and others. Thus in 1575 he leased the manor of 'Ouldestokecherytie otherwise Stokecherytie' to Nicholas Saunders for a term of years, and in 1617 made lease of the manor to his brother John for ninety-nine years as security for £2,000 spent by John in payment of his debts. William's co-heirs were his daughters, Charity the wife of Thomas Phelipps and Susan wife of Sir Richard Tichborne. Charity inherited the reversion in fee of the manor and on the death of her uncle John in 1618 she received the rents and profits from the manor during the remainder of the lease made by her late father. Moreover, if she should discharge and acquit his executors and estate of all bonds and encumbrances entered into between him and his late brother her uncle forgave and remitted the above-mentioned debt of £2,000. (fn. 22) Thomas Phelipps, created baronet in 1619–20, (fn. 23) held the manor by right of his wife until his death in 1626. (fn. 24) Dame Charity survived him and before 26 May, 1627, she had married Sir William Ogle, the guardian of her eldest son Thomas. The latter never held the manor of Stoke Charity, as he was slain while fighting for the Royalist cause in March, 1644–5, just seven months before his mother's death. Her royalist husband Sir William Ogle held Winchester Castle against the Parliament from 1643 until Cromwell besieged the city and castle and forced him to surrender in October, 1645. Cromwell gave Dame Charity special permission to leave the castle and seek safety, but worn out by her long and troubled life she died when only a few miles away from Winchester. Her body was taken to Stoke Charity, where a tablet in the south wall at the west end of the north aisle of the church commemorates her death on 5 October, 1645. Her only surviving son and heir Sir James Phelipps, third baronet, succeeded to his mother's estates before the December of that year. In his petition to the Parliamentary Commissioners, dated 20 December, 1645, begging that he may compound for delinquency, he states that 'by compulsion he joined, as Captain, Sir William Ogle, who married his mother and held a garrison for the king,' but he himself surrendered to Sir William Waller before the castle was besieged. He also notes that 'his mother's estate has now come to him.' His fine, set at £700 in 1646, was finally reduced to £646 in May 1649. (fn. 25) In the October of 1652 he died, (fn. 26) and was buried in Stoke Charity church under the altar tomb at the west end of the north aisle. His wife Elizabeth, who survived him until 1693, was his first cousin, since she was third daughter of his aunt Susan, Lady Tichborne, and Sir Richard. (fn. 27) Their only surviving son and heir James, fourth baronet, baptized in 1650, married in 1674 to Marina Michell, (fn. 28) held the manor until his death in Ireland in 1690. His only son James had died in infancy and was buried at Stoke Charity in 1675, so that his nearest relative was his sister Elizabeth Phelipps of Winchester, to whom he left his real estate by will dated 1688. (fn. 29) She married George Colney of Testwood (co. Hants), with whom it remained until 1726, in which year he sold it to Dame Lydia Mews, the widow of Sir Peter Mews. (fn. 30) The latter sold the manor two years later to William Heathcote of Hursley, (fn. 31) and from this time it remained with the Heathcotes until 1890, in which year it was sold to the present owner, Mr. Henry John Elwes, J.P., of Colesborne Park, Gloucestershire.
Within the manor Martin de Roches held two virgates of John de Windsor on his death in 1276–7. (fn. 32) His son and heir, John de Roches, died in 1311 (fn. 33) leaving a son and heir, John. Joan the widow of John held the lands until her death in September, 1362, when they passed to her daughter Mary, widow of John de Boarhunt. Mary married as her second husband Bernard Brocas, who survived her and held her lands in Stoke Charity, extended at one messuage and 72 acres held of John de Hampton for unknown service. (fn. 34) On 24 June, 1383, Bernard Brocas obtained licence to use this said messuage and 72 acres together with 6 marks of rent from the manor of Hannington to form a chantry in the church of 'Clyware' (Clewer, co. Berks.) for the sake of his own soul and that of his present wife Catherine, and for that of his late wife Mary. (fn. 35)
The church of ST. MICHAEL is a building of more than common interest, not only on account of its fine series of monuments, but also for its architectural details and the difficulties they offer to anyone studying the history of the church.
The plan, though irregular in setting out, is comparatively simple, consisting of a chancel with a large north chapel, a nave with north aisle and south porch, and a wooden bell-turret at the west end. The chancel arch and the two bays of the north arcade of the nave date from c. 1160. the walls in which they are set being 3 ft. 2 in. thick. The arcade, with its heavy octagonal central pillar and half-octagonal responds, and its round arches of a single square order on scalloped capitals, gives the impression of having been cut through an older wall, and it may well be that the north and east walls of the nave contain masonry older than the middle of the twelfth century, belonging to an aisleless nave which measured about 30 ft. by 15 ft. within the walls, and had a small chancel, now entirely destroyed. The present chancel appears to have been set out, with a slight lean to the south, in the first half of the thirteenth century, and the nave seems to have been lengthened westward and its south wall rebuilt about 100 years later. The north chapel is a fifteenth-century addition, opening by an arch of that date to the chancel, but in its west wall is a plain round arch, edge-chamfered, with a chamfered string at the springing, which suggests a date not later than the twelfth century for some building formerly on the site of the chapel. This is very difficult to bring into line with the rest of the history of the church, and it has even been suggested that the arch belongs to a pre-Conquest building, having opened to its chancel. But the details, such as they are, do not give the slightest ground for the idea, nor indeed has the masonry any of the character of normal twelfth-century work. The north aisle, to which it opens, seems to be a late mediaeval re-building of a former aisle, and the twelfth-century doorway at its north-east angle is clearly not in its original position, so that it may well be that the western arch of the chapel is of a much later date than at first sight it would seem to be.
The chancel has a fifteenth-century east window of three lights with tracery and a transom, and in the south wall two widely-splayed lancets, the eastern of which dates from c. 1220, while the second has been widened, the outer stonework of both being comparatively modern, though the jambs and rear arches are old. The sills of both are carried down, the one to serve as a sedile, and the other for a low side window. On the north side of the chancel is a pointed arch of two hollow-chamfered orders, on splayed and recessed jambs with moulded capitals, of fifteenth-century date; it opens to the north or Hampton chapel, which has a square-headed north window of three cinquefoiled lights, and an east window of two lights with tracery and a moulded rear arch, on the label of which is a shield with the arms of Hampton.
The chancel arch is a very pretty piece of twelfth-century work, round-headed and of two orders, the inner plain and the outer with a roll and a band of horizontal zigzag, and having a moulded label. The capitals are foliate, and there are nook-shafts to the outer order with spreading moulded bases. To the north of the arch is a wide squint opening both to the north chapel and the chancel.
The north arcade of the nave has been already noted, and at the south-east of the nave is a twolight window of c. 1320, with a four-centred tombrecess partly below its sill and partly to the west of it. The south door is plain fourteenth-century work of two chamfered orders, under a modern porch, and from it four steps lead down to the floor of the nave. The west window of the nave is like that on the south, the tracery in both having been repaired. The north aisle has a square-headed west window of two quatrefoiled lights, which looks like fourteenth-century work renewed, and a modern north window of two lights. The doorway already mentioned at the north-east angle is round-headed, with a line of zigzag in the head.
The nave roof is in two bays, with moulded wallplates and arched principals, to which are fixed turned pendants of seventeenth-century style; this probably shows the date of the roof. The west bay of the nave is taken up with the beams of the bell-turret, which do not come down to the floor, though they may have done so in the first instance. The roof of the north aisle is plain, but preserves some old timbers, while that of the north chapel is a good piece of fifteenth-century work, of low pitch with arched principals and a deep embattled cornice on the north side, with two rows of carved bosses; the corresponding cornice on the south side has been cut away. In the east wall of this chapel is a plain image bracket to the north of the site of the altar, which was that of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and in the north-east angle a fine piece of fifteenth-century carving representing the mass of St. Gregory. The saint stands at the north end of an altar, with his server in a cope at the south end, and over the altar is a large figure of Christ under a canopy, typifying the Real Presence, which the story was intended to vindicate.
On the sill of the north window of the chapel is a square twelfth-century foliate capital with angle volutes, and a vine-trail pattern below. It is made to fit a round shaft 6½ in. in diameter, and has on the top a sinking 7 in. square by 3½ in. deep. There being no drain, it has not been part of a pillar piscina, but may be an early example of a holy-water stone. At the south-west of the chapel is part of a fifteenth-century canopied niche and pedestal, not in position, and part of a second pedestal, and in the east window of the chapel is a little old glass, with our Lady and Child, and a border with the letters T and H, for one of the two Thomas Hamptons who were lords of the manor here in the second half of the fifteenth century.
The font at the west end of the north aisle has a plain round bowl and stem, the top of the bowl being cut to an octagon; it is old but of uncertain date, the bowl looking as if it had been cut down.
There are six incised sundials on the south window of the nave, and two on the south-east angle, and at the south-west angle of the chancel, just beneath the eaves, a stone carved with a small bearded head is inserted in the wall.
Beneath the arch opening to the Hampton chapel, and against its eastern respond, is set the altar tomb of Thomas Hampton, 1483, and Elizabeth (Dodington) his wife, 1475, having on a Purbeck slab their brass effigies with those of their two sons and six daughters. The lower half only of Elizabeth's figure is preserved. On scrolls from the mouths of the principal figures are 'pat['] de celis miserere nobis' and 'scā tñitas u['] d['] miserere nobis,' and above them a fine representation of the Trinity. Below the figures is an inscription giving the record of their deaths on St. Simeon and St. Jude's Day and St. Andrew's Day in the years noted above, and at the four corners of the slab are shields with the arms of Hampton and Dodington.
The sides of the tomb are panelled, with shields in the panels, bearing on the north side (1) a cheveron between three owls (Frost); (2) Wallop quartering paly wavy a chief with a saltire; (3) Hampton impaling Dodington; (4) Hampton. On the west are (1) on a bend cotised three walnut leaves (Waller); (2) a fesse between three fleurs-de-lis (Whitehead); and on the south are two blank shields and two panels without shields. The arms other than those of Hampton and Dodington refer to the marriages of Thomas Hampton's daughters. On the wall east of the tomb is a projecting iron, probably to carry a helm.
In the east arch of the north arcade of the nave is a second altar tomb, all of Purbeck marble, with panelled sides of late fifteenth or early sixteenth-century character, inclosing quatrefoils. On the south side the two eastern panels are blank, probably because this part of the tomb adjoined the north nave altar. There is nothing to show to whom it belongs. Against it on the north a second tomb has been built at a lower level, with a Purbeck marble slab, and sides made of chalk blocks; it also has no arms or inscription.
Against the north wall of the Hampton chapel is the tomb of John Waller, 1525, with a recessed canopy on which are the arms of Waller and Hampton, and a base with paintings of St. Thomas of Canterbury and our Lady and Child. In front of this tomb on the floor is the gravestone of his grandson Richard Waller, 1552, and at the north-west of the chapel is the raised tomb of Sir Thomas Phelipps, 1626. At the west end of the north aisle is the monument of Sir James Phelipps, 1652, and of his mother Charity, wife first of Sir Thomas Phelipps and then of Sir William Ogle, 1645.
In a recess at the south-east of the nave is an altar tomb with a slab having indents for four shields, only one of which is preserved. It bears the arms of Waite, argent a cheveron gules and three bugle horns sable impaling Skilling, argent two cheverons gules and in chief gules three bezants.
In the churchyard is the tomb of the Rev. Joshua Reynolds, 1734, uncle and godfather of the painter.
There are three bells, the tenor of 1606, by a founder R. B. and inscribed 'God be our Gvyd'; the second a fifteenth-century Wokingham bell, with the marks of the cross, lion's face, and groat, and the inscription 'Sancta Trini Tas (sic) ora pro nobis'; and the treble, also mediaeval, probably by John Sanders, bears the arms of St. Swithun's Priory, Winchester, and 'Sancta Catarina ora pro nobis.'
The church plate consists of a silver chalice dated 1568 with a cover used as a paten and two almsdishes, one of pewter, the other of brass.
The early parish register is the original paper book of mixed entries, dating from 1540. (fn. 36) This, at least, is the first distinct entry, though there is a fragment of a first page preserved which if intact would probably take the register back to 1538. In 1595 there is an entry that Thomas Gillson of Olde Stoke Charity did 'reade the articles of religion at morninge prayer after sermon made at morninge prayer the 20th day of July in the church of Old Sook before the congregation.' Another entry states that John Clarke 'having before wandered here and there in povertye and extremitye was founde dead in Stoke fielde the 20th day of March, 1596, in which day beinge before viewed by the inhabitants of the same parish he was in the churchyarde buried.' The entries continue until 1812.
The early churchwardens' accounts, now in the possession of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, are complete from 1549 to 1728, with entries for 1541–3; the oldest poor book dates from 1753 to 1837.
At the time of the Domesday Survey a certain Mauger held the church of the manor. (fn. 37) However, by the fourteenth century, and probably before, the advowson was attached to the lordship of the manor and was held by Alice de Windsor in 1330. (fn. 38) From this time it followed the descent of the manor (fn. 39) (q.v.) until the end of the seventeenth century. It is now a rectory in the gift of the dean and chapter of Winchester.