Parishes: Botley

Pages 465-467

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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Botelie (xi cent.); Bottele (xiii cent.).

The parish of Botley, comprising nearly 2,037 acres, of which 23 are covered by water, is situated in the Fareham division of the county. The ground is slightly undulating, having an average altitude of 50 ft., but at one point in the west, and another in the north of the parish, at Braxell's Farm, it rises as much as 100 ft. above the ordnance datum.

The greater part of the land is under cultivation, 667 acres are permanent grass, and 245 acres are occupied by woods and plantations. (fn. 1)

The principal crops raised are wheat, barley, oats, and roots. Strawberry-growing is the principal industry of the place, which provides the markets at London and Southampton. In the extreme south are clay-pits which formerly supplied material for the Hoe Moor brickworks, now closed, and the gravel pits in the east of the parish are now no longer used.

The two small wharves which constitute Botley Harbour are now almost deserted, for the timber trade which originally made it important has vanished. Formerly timber used to be brought into the mills and either sawn up or roughly dressed and floated down the river to the waiting ships. The hoopmaking trade, which employed a number of hands, has disappeared, and the old paper-mill near Curdridge, known as Frog's Mill, where the paper for the Morning Post was formerly manufactured, is now disused.

Just above the bridge is a large mill, reputed to be the largest in Hampshire, the wheel of which is turned by a stream which rises beyond Bishop's Waltham. This is evidently the mill referred to by William Cobbett in his Rural Rides, when describing a mill turned by fresh water which falls into the salt water, as at Beaulieu.

The small market town of Botley stands on the River Hamble, which is here tidal and navigable for barges, at the junction of the high roads from Winchester and Fareham, and is for the most part built along a main street running east and west, widening out to a market-place, and continued eastward over the river. In the market-place are a few large buildings, the most important being the Market Hall, originally built by the Farmers' Club in 1848, and now vested in trustees nominated by the club or the parish. It stands on the south side, with a portico in front, and a turret with a clock above, and though in itself of no particular merit, gives an air of importance to the place, and groups with several good redbrick buildings in a very satisfactory manner.

One side of the market-place belongs to the lord of the manor, who used to collect the tolls there at the fortnightly markets, which are no longer held. These tolls are now leased to the Market Hall trustees, who have also charge of the public weigh-bridge. There is a yearly root show held by the Farmers' Club.

From the north-east corner of the market-place the road to Winchester branches off, bordered with houses for some little distance. One of these, on the east side, is a pretty seventeenth-century timber building with a projecting upper story. On this road is a Congregational chapel. In the main street are the schools erected in 1855, and now capable of accommodating 190 children.

On the south side of the road, opposite the schools, is the parish church of All Saints, erected in 1836 to replace the old church about a mile to the south of the village, of which now only the chancel remains. The Church Farm, close to the old church, is in part an old timber-framed building, and has on the first floor, at the back of the kitchen chimney, a large smoke-room for curing bacon.

In the north, situated near the river, is a brewery belonging to Messrs. Edwards Limited, supplied from a malt-house in Church Lane, on the south side of the village.

A few mud cottages on an uninclosed common, tenanted by labourers and squatters, have, since the inclosure of Botley Common in 1863, become the populous and thriving village of Hedge End, which contains the church of St. John the Evangelist, built in 1874, and endowed two years later by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, a vicarage adjoining the church also being built.

The ecclesiastical parish thus formed was constituted a civil parish in 1894, containing 1,694 acres. (fn. 2) Botley Grange, standing in a deer park, and Netley Firs are seats in Hedge End.

Botley Hill in the south is the seat of R. A. Bayford, K.C., and in its grounds is the site of the house in which Cobbett lived for many years. Steeple Court, standing on some rising ground above the parish wharf, once the residence of the Warners, lords of the manor, is occupied by the widow of the late Admiral Colomb.

Admiral Rowley lives at Holmesland, a renovated farm-house on the Swaythling road, opposite the vicarage.

The following place names occur:—Mattocksford, Boorley, Wildern.

In 1889 fragments of tiles and tessellated pavement were found at Fairthorn, south of Botley, pointing to its having been the site of a Roman villa. (fn. 3)


BOTLEY, which had been a royal manor held of King Edward by a certain Cheping, belonged to Ralf de Mortimer at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 4) and remained in the Mortimer family until the early part of the fourteenth century, when the overlordship rights apparently lapsed. (fn. 5)

In the thirteenth century the manor was held of the Mortimers by a family which took the name of Botley. In 1263 John de Botley obtained 1½ virgates of land there by a deed of gift from Thomas de la Durhirde and Alice his wife, (fn. 6) John de Langrude releasing to him his title to the same land, in exchange for land in Preston Candover. (fn. 7) Four years later John de Botley (fn. 8) obtained a royal grant of a weekly market, an annual fair, and free warren in his manor. (fn. 9) Brian de Botley, who probably succeeded John, further increased his property here in 1281 by the acquisition of land and wood from Thomas le Moyne and Margery his wife. (fn. 10)

Thomas de Botley, who held Botley manor with its appurtenances at the beginning of the next century, granted his whole estate here in 1304 to John bishop of Winchester, Robert de Harwedon, and Simon de Fareham, (fn. 11) probably under a trust for the endowment of the chapel of Saint Elizabeth without Winchester, to which, three years later, the estate was conveyed (by licence for alienation in mortmain). (fn. 12)

From this time until the dissolution of the monasteries Botley remained in the possession (fn. 13) of the college.

Thomas Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, at this time obtained by royal grant many of the lands formerly held by the religious houses of Hampshire; among others, Botley manor and church. (fn. 14) He died in 1550, leaving a son and heir Henry, then a minor. (fn. 15) The latter died in 1582, (fn. 16) when the estate passed to his son Henry, third earl of Southampton, who died whilst abroad on the king's service in 1624. (fn. 17)

Thomas his son and heir became Lord High Treasurer in 1660, and held the manor until his death without heirs male in 1667. Elizabeth, wife of Edward Noel, first earl of Gainsborough, the elder of his two daughters and co-heirs, inherited most of his property in Hampshire, including the manor of Botley. On the death of their only son without issue, Botley descended to their granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of William Bentinck, first duke of Portland. (fn. 18) It remained in her possession until the year 1775, when it was sold to the Rev. Richard Eyre, whose son succeeded him in 1823. Ten years later the manor once more changed hands, when it was purchased by James Warner, the famous agriculturist, and friend of William Cobbett. (fn. 19) These two were the original founders of the Botley and South Hants Farmers' Club, and a statue to the memory of the former stands in the Market Hall of Botley. (fn. 20) On the death of James Warner the manor passed through the Warner family to Mr. J. C. Warner, solicitor, of Winchester, who now holds it. (fn. 21) The market, fair, and right of free warren, granted to John de Botley in the thirteenth century, were confirmed to St. Elizabeth's College later in 1447, by Henry VI, and at the Dissolution were granted with Botley manor to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, (fn. 22) and the market held until recently on every alternate Monday was a survival of the ancient grant of Henry III. Record is found of certain holders of small portions of land in Botley in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, (fn. 23) but none attained to any importance, and it is impossible to identify these small holdings at the present day. A messuage called 'The Sign of the Swan,' with land in Botley, formed the subject of a Chancery suit in the middle of the sixteenth century, but no trace of it now exists. (fn. 24)

At the dissolution of the monasteries, Wherwell Abbey held among other lands MATTOCKESFORD in Botley, (fn. 25) which was granted with them to Lord De La Warr. In 1579 Mattockesford was in the possession of the marquis of Winchester, (fn. 26) and remained in his family until 1629, (fn. 27) when it was sold by George Paulet to John Forde. (fn. 28) No further record is to be found of the place, but Maddoxford Farm, in the north-east of the parish of Botley, is probably a relic of this so-called manor of Mattockesford.


Of the old church of ALL SAINTS only the chancel is now left standing. It measures 31 ft. by 16 ft. 6 in., and is of thirteenth-century date, built of freestone rubble with a red-tiled roof. It has a fifteenth-century east window of three cinquefoiled lights under a square head, and in the north and south walls are three windows, a square-headed two-light window with modern tracery between two small lancets. Between the second and third windows on the south was a small doorway, now blocked, the entrance to the chancel being now from the west, by a doorway made up of twelfth-century fragments, set in a rough blocking wall which takes the place of the chancel arch. The roof retains its old trussed rafters, and on its west end is a small wooden bell-cote containing a single bell.

The church now in use, in the main street of the village, was built in 1836, and has a shallow chancel added in 1859, with a south vestry, and a wide nave, to which a north aisle was added in 1892, and in 1895 a west porch of the full width of the nave. The tower at the south-west, of yellow brick, is part of the 1836 work.

The building is an uninteresting specimen of its time, which has been to some extent gothicized by the later alterations; the only ancient features which it contains are the font, a monument in the south wall, and the bells.

The font, which is said to have been dug up on the river bank, is a roughly-shaped round bowl, its base cut back to a hexagonal shape at some later time. Its ornament is equally rough, and though doubtless of twelfth-century date, is probably not quite so early as it looks. A band of cable moulding runs round the top of the bowl, and a band of lozenge ornament lower down, the space between being divided into panels by vertical lines of lozenge or cable moulding, in which are round arched arcades—in one case of three interlacing arches, and in the others of two arches side by side. The tomb recess in the south wall, c. 1330, has a cinquefoiled arch with a crocketed label, and contains the contemporary effigy of an unknown civilian. He is clean-shaven, with long curled hair, and wears a close-fitting tunic over which is a full-sleeved gown reaching half-way down the leg. His feet rest on a lion. The effigy has been supposed to represent John de Botley, but must be some fifty years later than his time.

There are three bells, all with marks of Wokingham bell-founders, and probably dating from c. 1420. The treble bears the marks of a groat, a lion's face, and a cross; the second has the two latter marks, and an inscription, 'Sancte Petre õr,' while the tenor, with the same marks, has 'Sancta Anna ora pro nobis.' There is also a small clock bell dated 1784.

The plate comprises a communion cup, paten, flagon, and almsdish of 1772, and modern copies of the cup and paten made in 1871.

The first book of registers goes from 1679 to 1778, the marriages stopping at 1754; the second has marriages 1754–1812, and the third baptisms and burials 1779–1812.


The church of Botley, with the manor, belonged to Ralf de Mortimer at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 29)

Thomas de Botley, holding the manor at the beginning of the fourteenth century, also held with it the advowson, both of which were alienated to the chapel of St. Elizabeth, near Winchester. Until the eighteenth century the advowson shares the same history as the manor, but it was not sold with the manor of Botley by the first duke of Portland, but remained as a possession of successive dukes until 1855, (fn. 30) when it was purchased by Mr. H. Lee. He presented the living in 1856 to the late Rev. J. Morley Lee, canon of Winchester, who also inherited the patronage a little later. (fn. 31) It is a rectory now in the gift of, and since 1903 has been held by, the Rev. E. C. Osborne, M.A.


In 1842 Elizabeth Penford by will bequeathed £500 consols, one moiety for certain poor of the parish and one moiety for Curdridge (see Bishop's Waltham combined charities). The sum of £250 consols belonging to this parish is held by the official trustees. The dividends, amounting to £6 5s., were in 1905 applied in gifts of £1 0s. 10d. to each of six recipients.

In 1890 Mrs. Sophia Kidgell Warner by will left £60 £2 10s. per cent. annuities for keeping in order the churchyard of the old parish church.

In 1904 Mrs. Elizabeth Warner by her will left £100 consols, the dividends to be added to the church repair fund. The two sums of stock are held by the official trustees.

The Market Hall and yard were acquired by deeds of 29 September, 1858, and 25 August, 1884. In 1905 the income derived from rent of the hall, hire of tables, &c., amounted to £40, of which £20 was expended in insurance, repairs, &c., and superintendent's salary, and the yearly balance had accumulated to £161.

In 1887, by deed dated 31 December of that year, and made between Henry Jenkins of the one part and James Clark and Alfred Pern of the other part, 4 acres of land were conveyed for the purposes of a recreation ground. By an order of the Charity Commissioners dated 27 September, 1898, the parish council of Botley were appointed trustees, and a scheme established for its administration.

For Sir Henry Jenkins's memorial scholarship, see Curdridge in Bishop's Waltham.

Parish of Hedge End.

The poor's allotment consists of 2 acres, producing £3 10s. a year, which—subject to a rent-charge of £2—is applied in the repair of the fences, &c. There are also 3 acres used as a recreation ground.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Information supplied by Rev. R. E. Payne, vicar of Hedge End.
  • 3. V.C.H. Hants, i, 310.
  • 4. Ibid. i, 490a.
  • 5. Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. III (1st Nos.), 49; ibid. 21 Edw. III, No. 57; ibid. 22 Ric. II, No. 34.
  • 6. Feet of F. Hants, 47 Hen. III, No. 533.
  • 7. Ibid. No. 546.
  • 8. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 233b.
  • 9. Chart. R. 51 Hen. III, No. 7.
  • 10. Feet of F. Hants, 9 Edw. I, No. 62.
  • 11. Ibid. East. 32 Edw. I.
  • 12. Cal. of Pat. 1307–13, p. 20.
  • 13. Feud. Aids, ii, pp. 318, 351.
  • 14. Pat. 35 Hen. VIII, pt. 9, m. 6, 7.
  • 15. Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Edw. VI, pt. 1 (Ser. 2), No. 103.
  • 16. Ibid. 24 Eliz. pt. 1 (Ser. 2), No. 46.
  • 17. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 18. Ibid. See also Titchfield Manor.
  • 19. Information supplied by Mr. J. C. Warner.
  • 20. Certain manorial rights have now been virtually given over to the trustees of the Market Hall.
  • 21. Information received from Mr. J. C. Warner.
  • 22. Pat. 35 Hen. VIII, pt. 9, m. 6 and 7.
  • 23. Feet of F. Hants, Trin. 3 Edw. II; ibid. Trin. 5 Hen. VI; ibid. Mich. 11 Hen. VI.
  • 24. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 57, No. 96.
  • 25. V.C.H. Hants, i, 137a.
  • 26. Pat. 21 Eliz. pt. 7.
  • 27. Chan. Inq. p.m. 42 Eliz. (Ser. 2), vol. 262, No. 125; Feet of F. Hants, East. 43 Eliz.; W. and L. Inq. p.m. 20 Jas. I (Ser. 2), bdle. 35, No. 90.
  • 28. Feet of F. Hants, Hil. 4 Chas. I.
  • 29. V.C.H. Hants, i, 490a.
  • 30. Inst. Bks. P.R.O.
  • 31. Information supplied by Rev. J. Morley Lee.