A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Basingestoches (xi cent.); Basingestok (xiii cent.).
The parish of Basingstoke covers an area of 4,172 acres and is situated in the north-east of Hampshire, its western boundary being formed by the Roman road from Winchester to Silchester. The soil is chiefly loam and the subsoil chalk. The land is mostly arable, producing abundant crops of sainfoin, turnips, wheat, barley and oats.
The town of Basingstoke is in the east of the parish at the point where the two high roads from Winchester and Salisbury unite on their way to London. It was doubtless its position which first gave the vill importance and made it, rather than the neighbouring vill of Basing or Old Basing, the head of the hundred. A market was already established there at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 1) and Basingstoke remains to the present day what an 18th-century writer called it, 'a good market town and a great thoroughfare.' (fn. 2) Before the introduction of railways the town was an important coaching station, and several of its inns were posting houses in the reign of Henry VIII. Fifty coaches are said to have passed through in a day. At the present time Basingstoke is of still greater importance as a 'thoroughfare,' since the London and SouthWestern and Great Western Railways have their junction there. This has been the cause of the great increase in the population of the town—from 2,500 to nearly 11,000—which has taken place in the last century.
Probably the main streets of the town are very much the same in plan as they were in the 13th century. The vill would at first consist of a few houses standing on either side of the great high road. Then as the vill developed in importance the Mote Hall or Town Hall was built. The Mote Hall, St. Michael's Church, a little farther north, and the Holy Ghost Chapel are still the chief landmarks in the town. The Mote Hall stands by the market place, through which runs the road to Winchester and Salisbury, dividing as it leaves the town. It is called London Street east of the market place, Winchester Street after it has passed through. Some building existed here to serve the purpose of a town meeting place as early as 1250, when it is referred to as the 'clocherium.' (fn. 3) When rules were made for the administration of the manor in 1392, the freeholders met for the purpose 'in commune praetorio.' (fn. 4) This was the building afterwards known as the Mote Hall. No description of its appearance before the 17th century is in existence, but it seems to have been a two-storied building with outside stairs, under which was a booth. In May 1511 the jurors at the court leet ordered the bailiffs to build the walls of the Mote Hall before the following Whitsunday, and thirty-eight years later they presented that 'The common hawll called the Mote Hawll is in decay and ruinous, and the rain comes in because it is not well covered with tiles; therefore it is ordered that the bailiffs amend and sufficiently repair it before Christmas next under a penalty of 20s.' (fn. 5) Probably at that date the hall was very old. In 1570 various men of the town gave 12d. each towards repairing the Court House called the Mote Hall. (fn. 6) Nearly a hundred years later it is recorded that 'the Town House and a great part of the town of Basingstoke was destroyed by fire.' (fn. 7) Consequently it was rebuilt in 1657, and that building, engravings of which are still extant, stood till 1832, when a new hall was raised on the present site on the north side of the market place and facing south. The plan of the latter was similar to that built in the 17th century—a large room supported on pillars, under which the frequenters of the market found shelter. In 1865 the open space was inclosed, and several rooms made, (fn. 8) and in 1887 a clock-tower was added in honour of the Jubilee at the sole expense of Lieut.-Col. May. A handsome new Corn Exchange was erected in 1865. The aldermen and councillors of the town were formerly called to their meetings in the Town Hall by a bell stamped with the name of the Paulet family and probably a gift of one of its members.
From the market place two streets run down the hill towards the north and almost parallel—Wote Street and Church Street. The name Wote Street has been supposed to have some connexion with Mote, from the Mote Hall to which it leads. But this seems to be an unlikely corruption, and the earliest form of the name occurring in the records is Oat Street. Church Street lies to the west and leads to the parish church of St. Michael, which stands on the low ground between the two hills and west of the street. Near it is the rectory, in the extensive grounds of which the two streams which form the River Loddon unite and flow eastwards. This small trout river flows on to Basing, turning Basingstoke Mill just east of the town, and then continues in a north-easterly direction to join the Thames. For a few miles it runs alongside of the Basingstoke Canal, which, by joining the River Wey in Surrey, connects Basingstoke and London by water. The canal was first made by a company incorporated under an Act of 1777–8. (fn. 9) A new company reopened it towards the end of the 19th century. (fn. 10)
Church Street and Wote Street cross first the Loddon and afterwards Brook Street, which runs across them from east to west. Then under changed names they run up the hill to the north—Wote Street, from which the road to Reading branches off to the north-east at the point where it meets Brook Street, becomes Station Hill, and leads to the stations of the London and South Western and Great Western Railways, which stand here side by side, and were opened respectively in 1838, (fn. 11) and Church Street becomes Chapel Street and runs up to the ruins of the Holy Ghost Chapel, which stand a little to the north of the station, and are one of the conspicuous features of the town. The building dates from 1524 and was added by William Lord Sandys to the south side of a chapel which had stood on the site since the 13th century. From the time of Queen Mary, at least, the chaplain of the Holy Ghost Chapel has been also the teacher of the boys of Basingstoke. (fn. 12) Gilbert White, author of the Natural History of Selborne, (fn. 13) was educated here, as were the two poets, Joseph and Thomas Warton, whose father was vicar of Basingstoke from 1725 to 1745 (fn. 14) and master of the Holy Ghost School. In 1720 the building was described as 'a curious chapel upon a hill in this town, dedicated to the Holy Ghost. Upon the roof of it the history of the Apostles, Prophets and Disciples of Christ is very artificially described. Near it is a free school.' (fn. 15) At the present day a building on the Salisbury road west of the town, called the Queen's Free Grammar School, has taken the place of the Holy Ghost School and is supported by its endowments.
Surrounding the ruins of the chapel is the ancient
Liten or burial ground, closed for burials in 1855
when the Burial Board purchased the present public
cemetery. In 1856 and in following years they
also purchased land north and immediately adjoining
the old Liten for burial purposes. (fn. 16) The Liten was
for centuries the common playground of the children
of the town, and is associated with a somewhat gruesome story of premature burial told in a pamphlet
published in 1675 under the title:—
News from Basingstoak of one
a Maltster's wife who was buried alive.
Relating how she was overheard by the school boys that were
playing near her grave, and afterwards by their master and several
others, to repeat these words:
'Take me out of my grave,'
whereupon she was caused to be digged up, being found beaten and bruised in a lamentable manner, and all people then concluding her dead, they interred her again the second time, but on the morrow, which was five days after her funeral, taking her up again, they found she had torn off her winding-sheet, and beaten herself far worse than before. (fn. 17)
The names of most of the streets of Basingstoke have remained the same for many centuries. Brook Street is a very old name, and Church Street has naturally always been so called. Chapel Street was once Holy Ghost Street or Whitewaye. A short street leading out of Church Street into the Salisbury Road is called Flaxfield or Flaxpool, a name which dates from the reign of Edward I.
Surrounding the town till the 18th century were the common fields of the manor, named according to their position the Middlefield, West or Salisbury field, South or Winchester field, North or Holy Ghost field. Wildmoor and the marsh of Ywode were the names of the tract of marshy land lying north-east of the town. These were all inclosed in 1786 with the exception of a common of 107¼ acres lying to the south-east and known as Basingstoke Common. (fn. 18)
The fire which destroyed the Mote Hall in 1656 was the third from which Basingstoke had suffered. In 1392 (see infra) a 'sudden and unforeseen fire' had caused the people of the town 'serious injury and utter loss.' (fn. 19) Again in 1601, when Queen Elizabeth was paying a visit to Basing, a great fire had devastated Basingstoke,' where was consumed with fire fourteen fine houses, besides barns and stables.' The inhabitants of the town had then suffered still further damage by the action of thieves, who turned the confusion of disaster to their own profit. (fn. 20) The queen, moved to compassion, granted licence for the people of Basingstoke to appeal for assistance to London and the seven neighbouring counties. (fn. 21) This was done and contributions were made most liberally by London, but it appears that there was a great deal of difficulty in getting the money subscribed into the right hands. (fn. 22) The fact that the buildings of the town were for the most part composed of wood, which was true even in 1669, accounts perhaps for this series of disasters.
Among the many place names occurring in the records of Basingstoke are Coppyd bridge (apparently a bridge over the Loddon north-east of the town), Wiltenysshbury (Winklebury, the old camp to the north-west), (fn. 23) Benetfield, Ywode.
Very little is known of Basingstoke before the Norman Conquest. There is evidence in favour of Roman occupation in the existence of a Roman road passing through the parish between Basingstoke and Worting, about a mile west of the town; and some Roman tiles and pottery were unearthed within the town area in 1880. (fn. 24)
Probably in Saxon times Basingstoke was not distinguished from the neighbouring village of Basing. In the will of King Edred, which mentions his land at Basing, there is no mention of Basingstoke, (fn. 25) though it appears from the Domesday Survey that the latter had always been a royal manor. (fn. 26) Gradually, however, it developed into an independent vill, Basing becoming, by way of distinction, Old Basing. The two were quite distinct in 1086. Basingstoke was held in demesne by King William, who had there 20 villeins and 8 bordars with 12 ploughs, 6 serfs and 12 freemen. A market brought in a yearly revenue of 30s., and there were three mills, the combined value of which was also 30s. It is recorded that in Winchester four suburban tenants paid 13s. all but one penny. (fn. 27)
Down to the reign of John the kings of England held Basingstoke as a demesne manor, and the sheriff accounted for its revenues with those of the other royal lands in Hampshire. (fn. 28) The vill was in an unusual position with regard to its hundred. Instead of itself forming part of a hundred the manor had not only the hundred of Basingstoke, but also, till the 13th century, five other hundreds among its appurtenances. (fn. 29) The revenues drawn from the hundred courts would therefore be returned along with the issues of the manor.
It is clear that from an early period some organization existed among the king's freemen of Basingstoke. An official called the reeve of the town is mentioned as early as 1174, (fn. 30) and in 1207 the town of Basingstoke was surety to Roger Fitz Adam for 10 marks 'by William the reeve.' (fn. 31) It is possible that the sheriff of the county let the manor out to the tenants to farm, making some one person, either elected by them or nominated by himself, responsible for the return of the revenue. In 1210–11 the men of Basingstoke, acting as a body, petitioned to have their pasture of Hatche as they were wont to have it in ancient times. (fn. 32) In this year also they made a further step towards corporate responsibility. They appear on the Pipe Roll in 1211–12 as directly responsible to the king for £104 12s., the farm of their manor of Basingstoke, which must thus have been let to them in the preceding year. (fn. 33) For the next few years they continued to farm their own manor, paying a rent to the Crown by their bailiffs, whom they doubtless elected from among themselves to collect it. They did not, however, succeed in completing payment, (fn. 34) and in 1214 were £46 3s. 11d. in debt. In the next year the king ordered their bailiffs to let the sheriff have without delay the fee-farm rent for that year, which was in arrears. (fn. 35) It was probably for this reason that the manor was taken out of their hands and committed in 1216 to Baldwin de Aire, (fn. 36) and in the next year to Bartholomew Pecche, whom the men of Basingstoke were ordered to obey in all things as the king's bailiff. (fn. 37) In 1217 the manor was taken from Bartholomew Pecche and granted to Luke de Drumare 'for his support.' (fn. 38) It appears from a mandate to the sheriff 'to deliver to Luke de Drumare the rent of the town of Basingstoke, just as the men of that town were wont to yield at the king's Exchequer while the town was in their hands,' (fn. 39) that Basingstoke was under the old royal financial administration, with the difference that the amount which the sheriff accounted for was fixed, and was paid not to the king but to his grantee. In 1221 part of the farm had been paid into the treasury by mistake, and the sheriff was ordered to deliver it to Luke de Drumare. (fn. 40)
In the next year it appears that the men of Basingstoke were again renting their town with six hundreds for the old yearly rent of £104 12s. They were soon hopelessly in debt to the Crown once more, (fn. 41) and in 1226 the arrangement was altered, the men of Basingstoke paying £72 12s. for their town and hundred only, while the other five hundreds were accounted for by the sheriff. (fn. 42) Even this plan did not work effectually, and in 1228 the manor was committed to the custody of Sir John de Gatesden, at the same rent as the freeholders had paid. (fn. 43) He was expected apparently to levy the arrears of rent for the previous years, as well as the rent for the current year. In 1229 he was ordered to give back to the men of Basingstoke their cattle, which he had seized for the arrears of the preceding years, on the ground that they had already paid those arrears to their own bailiffs. (fn. 44) All those who had been bailiffs of the town during the years mentioned, with any others whom the men of the town should name, were to appear before the barons of the Exchequer at Westminster and account for the missing sums. (fn. 45) Sir John's connexion with the town only lasted for a year and a half, at the end of which time he was himself £36 6s. in debt to the Crown. (fn. 46) The burden was again laid upon the men of Basingstoke, and they found it no lighter to bear. In 1237 their debt was £127 1s. 4d. and the yearly rent of the manor was unpaid. (fn. 47) It appears that the officials of the town were reduced to borrowing, for in 1236 William de Haugton, Richard Cokerel, and Hythe son of William de Watford, who were probably the reeve and two bailiffs of the town, were summoned to appear before the king's justices and explain why they had borrowed £20 of a Jew in the name of the men of Basingstoke and without their consent. (fn. 48) As a result of the indebtedness of the freeholders, Walter de Burgh was appointed in 1237 as the king's bailiff. (fn. 49) Three years afterwards Walter de Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford, and holder of certain lands in Basingstoke, had a grant of the manor for five years at a yearly rent of £80. (fn. 50) He appears to have been more successful than the other custodians in levying the rent. In 1240 his £80 was paid, and the town managed to clear off £43 10s. of its outstanding debt. After Walter de Merton's lease of the manor lapsed it came again into the hands of the sheriffs, who continued to account for its revenues till 1256. (fn. 51) During this time the town probably became rather more prosperous, so that when a fresh attempt was made in 1256 to leave the management of its revenues in the hands of the freeholders, the latter were better prepared for the privilege.
The charter of Henry III, (fn. 52) granted in that year to the men of Basingstoke and their heirs, made their tenure of the manor and hundred perpetual at a fixed rent of £80, and gave the town certain liberties which, if they did not at once transform it into a 'liber burgus,' tended in that direction. (fn. 53) The men of Basingstoke were to return their own writs and summonses, and to be entirely free from the interference of the sheriff or any other royal official; they were also to be exempt from toll throughout the royal dominions, and from cheminage and hambling of dogs. By this charter Basingstoke became a selfgoverning community whose relations with its lord were almost purely financial.
The fee-farm rent of £80, which, considering that the average revenue of the town while it was in the hands of the sheriffs was not more than £85, (fn. 54) was by no means a light one, was collected by bailiffs elected by the townspeople, (fn. 55) and paid to the Exchequer. During several reigns it was assigned as part of the dowry of the Queens of England. Eleanor, wife of Henry III, held it in dower in 1236, (fn. 56) and in 1299 the town and hundred of Basingstoke were assigned to Margaret, the sister of Philip of France and wife of Edward I. (fn. 57) In 1318 it was granted to Queen Isabel for life, with all the issues accruing from the death of Queen Margaret. (fn. 58)
Edward II mads a new departure, however, in 1319, when he granted the rent to his brother, Edmund de Woodstock, created Earl of Kent on 28 July 1321, and his lawful heirs. (fn. 59) On his forfeiture in 1330 it escheated to the Crown, (fn. 60) without prejudice, however, to the rights of his son John, during whose minority it was granted to William de Bohun. (fn. 61) The latter conveyed it to Richard de la Pole, of London, (fn. 62) who held it till 1347, when it was delivered to John Earl of Kent. (fn. 63) After the death of John, in 1352, the rent was paid to his widow Elizabeth, with the consent of his sister and heir Joan and her husband, Sir Thomas Holand, (fn. 64) to whose heirs the reversion must have been secured; for on the death of Elizabeth in 1411 her heirs were the four surviving sisters of Edmund Holand, tenth Earl of Kent (fn. 65); Joan wife of Edmund Plantagenet Duke of York, Margaret widow of John Beaufort Earl of Somerset, Eleanor wife of Thomas de Montacute Earl of Salisbury, and Elizabeth wife of Sir John Nevill. His eldest sister, Eleanor Countess of March, then deceased, was represented by her son and heir, Edmund Earl of March. The rent was thus divided up into five portions. Between 1411 and 1416 payments were made to Margaret Countess of Somerset, Thomas Duke of Clarence, Lucy the widow of the Earl of Kent, Thomas de Montacute Earl of Salisbury, and John Nevill Earl of Westmorland. (fn. 66) Elizabeth Nevill died seised of one-fourth in 1423. (fn. 67) In 1484 the share of Margaret Countess of Richmond, which she had inherited from the Countess of Somerset (fn. 68) and had forfeited to the Crown, was granted to John Earl of Lincoln, but she regained possession of it on the accession of her son as Henry VII. (fn. 69) In this way the rent was divided up until the 16th century, by which time a large proportion had passed by inheritance to the Crown. (fn. 70) In the reign of Edward VI the whole, which had been reduced to 80 marks, came, partly by grant and partly by purchase, into the hands of William Paulet, Lord St. John. (fn. 71) His descendants remained in possession, and the rent is paid at the present day to Lord Bolton.
It must be noted that the grantees of this fee-farm rent, though nominally they held the 'manor and town of Basingstoke,' in reality only received the rent and were in no feudal relationship with the men of Basingstoke. The town had no lord but the king, who, even after the manor was placed permanently in the hands of the freemen, seems to have reserved to himself the right to interfere with its administration. Thus in 1256–7 he sent a writ to the sheriff of the county ordering him to cause the ancient customs of common of pasture to be observed by the tenants of the manor; (fn. 72) and ten years later a similar order was issued that the men of the manor of Basingstoke were to be prohibited from cutting the corn of the manor before it was ripe. (fn. 73) It was nearly the end of the 14th century before they were sufficiently independent to draw up on their own account a set of 'Regulations and customs of the manor.' (fn. 74)
When the fee-farm rent was granted to Edmund de Woodstock he had also a grant of free warren 'in his demesne lands of Basingstoke,' (fn. 75) but it appears that the men of the town resented the idea that he was in any sense the lord of their manor. In 1330 a suit brought before the bailiffs of the town in which the plaintiff produced the king's writ of right was rejected because the writ was directed to 'the bailiff of Edmund late Earl of Kent at Basingstoke,' 'whereas,' they declared, 'Edmund had naught in the said town except the ferm.' (fn. 76) There is no evidence that any further effort was made to impose a mesne lord of the manor upon Basingstoke. The bailiffs remained the king's bailiffs till they became the 'bailiffs of the men of Basingstoke.' They now had all the official business of the town in their hands; the reeve is not mentioned after the middle of the 13th century. They were now as before elected yearly from among the men of the town, and their duties were to 'hold the king's courts, and do whatever appertains to justice.' The assize of bread and ale, the return of writs, the gallows and the pillory, which had been granted to the town by Henry III, (fn. 77) were all under the control of the bailiffs. There is a record of one man who escaped their justice. In 1261 the sheriff of the county was ordered to take bail for William le Neweman 'confined in Winchester prison, being innocent of robbing the church of Steventon, and of breaking from the prison of Basingstoke, for which he was hanged, but escaped by the breaking of a cord.' (fn. 78)
The privilege of incorporation came to Basingstoke earlier than to most towns, and it came as the result of one of its series of misfortunes by fire. When in 1392 the town was devastated the inhabitants petitioned the king for relief, andhe, 'taking into consideration the serious injury and utter loss which the good men of the town of Basingstoke have sustained . . . and from which they will necessarily suffer for a long time,' gave them relief in the form of a licence to become a perpetual community of themselves, and to have a common seal. (fn. 79)
This charter, like others of the same date, was lacking in the careful legal phraseology and the attention to details which appear in the later charters of the town. It gave the corporation no legal name, nor did it make any rules with regard to public offices, but it was effective as giving the freeholders power to deal with land as a corporate body. They took advantage of this privilege in 1399, when the bailiffs, with the consent of the entire commonalty, demised to Henry Clerke, shepherd, and his wife Joan a toft with twenty acres 'at Northbrook,' for a rent of 5s. to be rendered to the feefarm of the town. In this deed, the first in existence to which the common seal of Basingstoke was affixed, the commonalty is described as consisting of the' good men' of the town. (fn. 80) In a sense, though the term was not yet applied, every free suitor was a burgess. He took part in the election of the bailiffs, and assisted in holding the manorial courts, at first in the name of the king, later in the name of the corporation. Other officials now begin to be mentioned; the subbailiffs or constables, responsible for keeping the peace, (fn. 81) and four assessors, who sat in the courts to assess the amount of the fines to be paid by delinquents. (fn. 82) As early as 1444 there was a steward of the manor, who was concerned with the maintenance of manorial rights. (fn. 83)
There were two courts held at Basingstoke—the court of the hundred held every third Saturday throughout the year and the court leet or view of frankpledge. (fn. 84) The most important business of the hundred court was to determine by writ of right all controversies relating to right to land within the manor and hundred. It also took cognizance of everything which tended to the keeping of the peace, settlement of disputes and of personal actions of debt and trespass where the debt or damage did not amount to 40s. as well as the general administration of justice. Also at the first hundred court coming in due course on the first, second or third Saturday after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September) the bailiffs and other officials were elected. The court leet or view of frankpledge at which most of the business of the manor or hundred was transacted was held twice a year, in April and November, the two courts being called 'The Tourn of Hock' and 'The Tourn of St. Martin.' All the free suitors of the manor came and paid their suit of court, and each tithing in the hundred sent its tithingman (an elected official) to report on its condition. Basingstoke itself was also represented by its tithingman. The bailiffs presided over the court, and a jury of twelve free suitors heard the presentments of the tithingmen and made others themselves. They also nominated the tithingmen yearly at the view held in November from certain names submitted to them, and elected both a mower to look after the meadow or marsh land called The Wildmoor and an ale-taster. Another of their duties was the control of the assize of bread and ale. The matters brought before the court were many and diverse—slight breaches of the peace, irregularities in trade, the sanitary arrangements of the town, and offences against manorial custom. A very common offence was the neglect of the ditches and gutters, each man being responsible apparently for the part of a ditch near his own holding. Entries such as 'Richard at Howke has a foul gutter standing out beyond the north entrance of the hospice Le Swan, in the common street, to the common nuisance of the people of the lord king, therefore he is at mercy, fined 8d.,' occur in almost every court roll. So do records of the fining of tradesmen who have charged excessive prices for their goods, while persons of both sexes were frequently fined or subjected to more severe punishment for being 'common abusers,' or scolds, 'to the detriment of all.'
It is interesting to trace through the court rolls the gradual growth of independence on the part of the inhabitants of the town. Down to the 16th century they are always 'the good men and tenants of the king in Basingstoke.' The bailiffs are the 'bailiffs of the lord king in Basingstoke,' and any breach of manorial custom is an offence against the king. Gradually these expressions begin to change. The king's tenants become 'the good men of the manor,' the pound of the town is ' the pound of the good men of Basingstoke,' not of the king. And in 1543 the view of frankpledge is described as 'the court of the good men of the town and of their manor.' Thus before 1622, the next great landmark in the history of Basingstoke, the men of the town were to all intents and purposes lords of the manor. Meanwhile in the 16th century they placed the holder of the fee-farm rent in a definite position with regard to the town which must have been advantageous both to them and himself. In 1551 Sir William Paulet, into whose hands the rent had just come, was elected Lord High Steward of the town, and his successors continued to hold the office until the 19th century. It never carried with it any very definite duties, though the holder was always a justice of the peace of the borough. The ordinary duties of the steward were from the first discharged by a deputy.
In 1622 James I gave the town a second charter and a new administrative and judicial system. (fn. 85) 'Under whatever name or names they had previously been incorporated,' the men of the town were now to be a community or body public under the name 'the bailiffs and burgesses of Basingstoke,' and the town was to be a 'free borough.' The main body of the freeholders were deprived of the elective franchise, and a close corporation took their place, consisting of fourteen burgesses and two bailiffs, the latter to be elected annually from and by the burgesses. Vacancies in the corporation were to be filled up by the election of suitable inhabitants of the town, nominated and voted for by the burgess body. The burgesses and bailiffs for the first year of the corporation's existence were appointed by the Crown. The king did as a matter of fact nominate the two bailiffs who had been elected under the old régime, (fn. 86) otherwise the inhabitants of the town would have had no voice whatever in the choosing of their officials. The office of high steward was recognized by the Crown, and William Marquess of Winchester was appointed during thewill of the bailiffs and burgesses. An under-steward, a town clerk, and two serjeants-at-mace were also appointed. (fn. 87)
The old manorial courts under this new charter were robbed of much of their importance. The court of the hundred disappeared altogether, its functions being transferred to a new court of record, which was to be held every Tuesday. The court leet was still to be held, and the justices of the peace—the high steward, under-steward, and bailiffs for the time being—were empowered to exact fines and amercements therein; but a general session of the peace took over its functions of dealing summarily with small offences. A town gaol, granted for the 'safe housing of prisoners,' was to be under the control of the bailiffs. The tolls of the markets and fairs were to be paid to the bailiffs and burgesses towards the expenses of the town.
The new officials of Basingstoke took the oaths of office in July 1622. (fn. 88) They approached their newduties with becoming seriousness. In 1625 a memorandum was made that it was ordered and decreed by Thomas Hall and Richard Spier, bailiffs, and George Baynard and others, burgesses, 'that they and the other burgesses of the town should at or before the next sessions . . . provide gowns decent and fit for their places, and from time to time wear them at the assemblies for the town affairs on pain of 100s.' (fn. 89) Five years afterwards they made an arrangement by which they were to meet in the Town Hall on the first Monday in each month to discuss the affairs of the town. The penalty for absence was 2s. 6d (fn. 90) A much more severe penalty was imposed soon afterwards on any of the burgesses who should 'hereafter rehearse or repeat any words, passages, or acts which have formerly occasioned any difference among them.' (fn. 91)
In 1633–4 the corporation made a new plan for the good government of the town. It was agreed that the bailiffs and burgesses should form themselves into committees, each committee to deal with a different part of the town area. They were to frequent the part assigned to them, and 'take notice of the carriage and behaviour of such persons as do reside and dwell within their respective limits and circuits; survey and note the number of the persons in each poor family, and how they are employed and set to work, that such course may be taken for the reformation of the illmannered and behaviour of such persons as are of lewd conversation as to justice appertaineth, and care taken for the relief of such persons as are in necessity and poverty.' (fn. 92)
The town was governed according to the charter of James I for only 19 years. In 1641 Charles I reconstructed the corporation, which was henceforth to consist of a mayor, 7 aldermen, and 7 burgesses, with a high steward, a recorder, a town-clerk and 2 serjeants-at-mace. (fn. 93) The aldermen were to be elected from among the burgesses and the mayor from among the aldermen. Otherwise the new charter made very little difference. The electing body was as before the corporation. All its members were elected for life, as before, and there was a decided tendency for it to become a body consisting entirely of friends and kinsmen. As there were so few aldermen, the same person was necessarily mayor of the town for an indefinite number of times. The office of recorder was created by this charter. The holder of it was to be judge of the court of record and a justice of the peace for the borough.
The charter of 1641 remained in force till the reorganization of the borough system in 1835. The report on Basingstoke made in that year shows a fairly satisfactory state of affairs. The only complaint made against the corporation was that it neglected to fill up vacancies in the burgess body, and frequently preferred outsiders to the inhabitants of the town. (fn. 94) The old manorial court leet had by this time fallen into disuse. It still had jurisdiction over its nineteen tithings, but its functions were 'reduced to the appointment of tithingmen and the return of residents within the respective tithings.' The court of record had only tried one action for sixteen years, its disuse being attributed to the nature of its rules and the inadequacy of its fees, and the court of pie powder had not been used in the memory of the authorities. All offences not touching life or limb were tried at the half-yearly sessions or petty sessions, held once a week. There was also sometimes held a court of ancient demesne, at which fines were levied and recoveries suffered of ancient demesne lands within the manor of Basingstoke. (fn. 95)
The Municipal Corporations Act remedied the abuse of the electoral system by giving the franchise to all the inhabitants of the town. Twelve town councillors were to be elected from among them and four aldermen. The mayor was to be elected from among the aldermen and councillors. One-half of the aldermen were to go out of office every three years and one-third of the town councillors. (fn. 96) This is the arrangement in force at the present day. In 1888 the maintenance of a separate police force for the borough was stopped. It is now under the control of the county police.
Basingstoke has had a common seal since the charter of Richard II in 1392, the grant being confirmed by the other charters of incorporation. (fn. 97) It is circular and of the size of a penny, ornamented with a figure of St. Michael, the patron saint of the town, slaying the dragon.
Another seal used by the corporation is stamped with a heraldic rose, and the inscription:—'Sigill. Vill. de Basingstoke, in com. Southton.' (fn. 98)
Two members of Parliament were returned for Basingstoke in 1295, 1302 and 1306, but the inhabitants of the town found the custom such a trouble and expense that it ceased at their petition. (fn. 99)
A market existed in Basingstoke at the time of the Domesday Survey. It was apparently held on a Sunday, but the day was changed to Monday in 1203. (fn. 100) Eleven years afterwards Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, granted, on behalf of the king, that the day should henceforth be changed to Wednesday, (fn. 101) 'in order that this market may not be injurious to other markets.' In 1829 (10 Geo. IV) an Act was passed vesting the market in the hands of certain commissioners therein named and also for enlarging the market. In 1900 the powers of the commissioners were transferred by deed to the mayor and corporation of Basingstoke. The market is still held on Wednesday and another is also held on Saturday. (fn. 102)
The first grant of a fair to the men of Basingstoke was made by Henry VI in 1449, when he confirmed all previous charters and granted an annual fair to be held about and around the chapel of the Holy Ghost from Wednesday in Whitsun week till the following Friday. (fn. 103) Another must have been granted between then and 1622, for the charter of James I mentions 'two fairs of ancient date '; 'one kept within the town on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, and the other on Wednesday in Whitsun week . . . continued . . . until the hour of twelve of the Friday then following.' (fn. 104) These were confirmed to the town by both James I and Charles I. (fn. 105) Charles II in 1671 added a grant of two new fairs to be held on Basingstoke Down, one on the Tuesday and Wednesday after Easter, the other on the 10th and 11th of September. (fn. 106) Sir Thomas Gatehouse, writing in 1778, mentions four fairs held respectively on the Wednesday in Whitsun week, Michaelmas Day, Easter Tuesday, and 23 September. (fn. 107) The last of these seems to have been discontinued before 1784, when the fairs regularly held were 'At Basingstoke, Whit Wednesday and 10 October; Basingstoke Down, Easter Tuesday,' (fn. 108) but by 1792 the latter fair was transferred to 23 September. In 1888 two fairs only were held, on 13 July and 11 October, (fn. 109) and these ceased before 1905.
The manufacture of woollen goods was practised in Basingstoke from an early date. John Finian, a merchant of Basingstoke, had licence to export wool in 1273. (fn. 110) In a list of tradesmen of the town given on a court roll of 1456 fullers of cloth and dyers of cloth are mentioned. (fn. 111) The trade had been regulated by statute before 1588, when Awsten Phillip was presented for following the art of clothing in his house contrary to the queen's statute. (fn. 112) Further complaint was made that the clothiers of the town 'put out their wool to the todmen, which was a great wrong, and a great impoverishment to the poor craftsmen of the town.' (fn. 113)
During the 17th century the trade of Basingstoke was very much depressed, (fn. 114) and the woollen industry suffered with the rest. The clothiers of the town petitioned in 1631 to the justices of the peace for Hampshire. They 'heretofore made in Basingstoke 30 broadcloths and 100 kersies, which employed the poor of 80 parishes.' In 1631 'there are not more than 7 broadcloths and 20 kersies made weekly, and their cloth lies on their hands, the merchants refusing to buy, whereby the petitioners are discouraged and the poor daily increase.' (fn. 115) It appears from an investigation made into the matter two years later that the decay of the industry was partly due to the fault of the manufacturers. The cloth of Reading, Newbury and Basingstoke was, it appears, 'more falsely made than white cloth ever was;' and partly owing to this and partly to the introduction of 'an excellent sort of cloth called Spanish cloth,' the manufacture of which was under no restriction, (fn. 116) it found no sale. It was proposed that the manufacture of Spanish cloth should be regulated, (fn. 117) but it seems to have been too late to resuscitate the old industry, which was further paralysed by the Civil War. A letter written from Basingstoke in 1642 describes the 'great charge' laid on the clothiers of the town by the demands of Royalist gentlemen who gathered there to meet the king. (fn. 118)
The trade of malting has also been carried on in the town for many centuries. In 1720 it was apparently the chief industry of Basingstoke, and one of the richest maltsters in the country was resident there. (fn. 119) References to the tanning of leather also appear on the earliest court rolls. (fn. 120)
At the present day in Basingstoke there are still manufactories of clothing, malt houses and breweries, though the manufacture of agricultural implements has superseded these in importance.
There are also large ironworks and engineering works.
The descent of the manor of BASINGSTOKE is identical with that of the borough, as the burgesses held the whole manor of the Crown.
TAULKES, BASINGSTOKE MERTON, or WATERMARTENS Manor took its first name from the family of Tawke or Tauke, who held it for several generations. Its other names suggest some connexion with Walter de Merton, the nature of which is very difficult to understand, as most of the land held by Walter de Merton in Basingstoke was granted by him to St. John's Hospital.
Taulkes appears to have been one of those holdings which by gradual accumulation reach a sufficient size to be spoken of loosely as manors. There are indications, however, that in the 16th century it possessed a manorial court of its own. Several men were fined at the court leet of Basingstoke in 1541 for carrying meat, bread and ale 'out of the jurisdiction of the manor of Watermartens.' (fn. 121)
The first Tauke who held the manor inherited it from Thomas de Worting, (fn. 122) who lived in the reign of Edward II, and left a daughter and heiress Maud. (fn. 123) She married William Tauke, who held 297½ acres in Basingstoke in 1311. (fn. 124) In the 15th century Edmund Tauke represented the family; (fn. 125) his name is frequently mentioned in the court rolls in connexion with acts of violence. (fn. 126) He was bailiff of the town in 1437–8. (fn. 127)
John son of Edmund succeeded him and died in 1480. (fn. 128) His son John died without issue, (fn. 129) and the manor was inherited by Joan, one of his two sisters, and wife of John Beausarvice. (fn. 130) Her son, (fn. 131) William Beausarvice, paid rental for the manor to the fee-farm of Basingstoke in 1519. (fn. 132) His sister and heir Elizabeth married John Fisher, (fn. 133) into whose possession the manor therefore came. His claim was disputed, however, by a certain William Bekynshale, who declared that the manor had been let to him to farm by William Beausarvice for a term of years. It appears in the usual way that John Fisher, John Green and others 'came armed to the said manor in the night time, and carried away the corn and wheat, which the complainant had cut, in a most riotous manner.' (fn. 134)
John Fisher, son of this John, (fn. 135) paid rental in 1541, (fn. 136) and died seised in 1545. (fn. 137) His son John died in 1591, having settled the property on his son William. (fn. 138) Two years later William Fisher sold it to Richard Deane, (fn. 139) who paid the rental in 1601, (fn. 140) and died in the same year. (fn. 141) His brother and heir was James Deane, who died without issue in 1608. (fn. 142) Five years later his next heirs sold the manor to John Hall, (fn. 143) who died seised in 1633, (fn. 144) leaving a son and heir John. The manor was still in the hands of the family in 1714, when it was conveyed by William Hall and Frances his wife to William Russel and John Hall. (fn. 145) Nothing more is heard of it, and it is no longer a manor.
Lands in Basingstoke were inherited by Walter de Merton and granted by him in the 13th century to endow the hospital of St. John the Baptist here. The hospital was made dependent on Merton College, Oxford, in 1336, and its endowments are college property at the present day. (fn. 146)
Three mills in Basingstoke are mentioned at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 147) One remains at the present day a water-mill on the Loddon. It is difficult to trace the separate history of these mills. One called the King's Mill was taken into the hands of the Crown in 1277–8 because Hugh de Kingsmill had alienated it without licence to John de St. John. (fn. 148) In 1399 Walter, muleward of Kingsmill, was fined with two other millers for taking toll contrary to the statute. (fn. 149) In the next century it was in the hands of the Cowdray family. John Kybulwhite, heir of Peter Cowdray, paid 10s. for relief in 1464–5 on his kinsman's death. (fn. 150) Before 1541 it seems to have been sold to the St. John family, for in that year Lord St. John paid rental for 'the mill called Kynges Myl,' (fn. 151) and William Marquess of Winchester did the same in 1601. (fn. 152)
A water-mill, possibly that in existence at the present day, was granted in 1318 by the king to Robert de Ewer. It had previously been granted to the king by William de Butworth. (fn. 153)
The third mill was known as Houndsmill, (fn. 154) and gave its name to a family which held estates in Basingstoke for many generations. In the 15th and 16th centuries the warden of New College, Winchester, paid rental for Houndsmill. (fn. 155)
The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of a chancel 36 ft. 7 in. by 16 ft. 1 in., south vestry 12 ft. 3 in. by 11 ft., south chapel 24 ft. 2 in. by 12 ft. 3 in., nave 67 ft. 5 in. by 21 ft., west tower 15 ft. 4 in. by 14 ft. 10 in., north and south aisles 18 ft. 9 in. wide flanking both nave and tower, and south porch with a parvise over. These measurements are taken within the building.
The earliest parts are the chancel, south chapel and vestry. The arches opening north and west from the south chapel look like 14th-century work, and the responds of the former arch, though now showing 15th-century detail in capitals and bases, may be as early. In an account roll of Selborne Priory for 1464–5 is an entry of £22 10s. for the new building of the chancel of Basingstoke Church; the contract price for the whole work is noted as £120, and it seems clear that the chancel took its present dimensions at this time. The nave was entirely rebuilt and no doubt enlarged early in the 16th century, with its aisles and the tower. There was also an intention to rebuild the chancel and chapel, but it was never carried out; preparation was made by the insertion of a large archway in the east wall of the south aisle; it was partly closed up until the south chapel should be enlarged, and so remains. The south porch appears to have been a slightly later addition; it was apparently building in 1539 (fn. 156); beyond this nothing else has been done but the insertion of galleries and the usual restorations. A west gallery carrying the organ formerly stood in the tower; this has been removed, the organ being put in the south chapel, and again removed recently to the west end of the south gallery. The nave roof was renewed in 1841, and the church was reseated and repaved, the old floor slabs being destroyed or covered over.
The east window has five cinquefoiled lights under a traceried two-centred head; the tracery is modern, but the inner quoins, etc., belong to the original 15th-century work. The two north chancel windows are each of three cinquefoiled lights under four-centred heads; they are of 15th-century date excepting the outside of the first window and parts of the outside of the second. A doorway between them is also old, it has a four-centred arch under a square head and moulded label with shield stops on which are illegible inscriptions. In the spandrels are shields with the letters ihs and ma respectively, and another in the middle of the label has been read as a date, 1525. On the south side are two arches, the first spanning a large recess, with jambs and two-centred arch of square section; a doorway set askew in it gives admission to the vestry in its north-west corner and another arch and skew passage opens into the south chapel; the second large arch has half-round responds with moulded octagonal bases and capitals and an arch of two hollow-chamfered orders. Part of its west respond is buried in the later buttress which abuts the nave arcade; west of the archway is a blocked doorway with a fourcentred head which once gave admission to a rood-stair turret. The chancel arch is old; the jambs, which are square on the west face and cut back askew on the east, probably belong to the same date as the chancel; the arch is moulded with a wide hollow between two double ogee moulds and has more the appearance of having been put in when the nave was rebuilt; its moulded label has for stops a bishop's and a queen's head, both modern. To the north of the archway is a squint from the north of the nave; the axial line of the chancel being to the south of that of the nave, there is a larger space of wall there.
The south vestry has its east wall flush with that of the chancel; it is pierced by a window of three plain lights with four-centred heads under a square label, original with the wall but partly repaired; the doorway into it across the north-west angle is also old and has a two-centred head. Four corbels (two in the east wall and two in the west) suggest the former existence of an upper floor. In the south wall of the chapel is a piscina with a plain four-centred head; the two south windows have old inner quoins and lintels but modern tracery; each is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square head; the arch opening into the south aisle has a four-centred head of two hollow-chamfered orders dying in the side walls without responds. When the aisle was built a larger archway was provided for future extension; its south jamb is traced by a straight joint in the walling, and its two-centred segmental arch, which is moulded, can be seen outside. The walling of the chancel, vestry and chapel is of flint with stone dressings; the two eastern angles have modern diagonal buttresses of flint and stone.
The nave arcades are each of four bays; the piers have engaged three-quarter shafts between wide hollow chamfers and the bases are moulded and rise some five feet above the floor (the floor having recently been lowered the foundations of the piers are now exposed); the capitals are moulded, their members being unusually ill-proportioned; the arches are fourcentred and—like the chancel arch—have a wide hollow between two double ogee moulds, and a moulded label; above the arcades is a clearstory lighted by four windows a side, each of three cinquefoiled lights under four-centred heads; the jambs and mullions are moulded. The parapets of the nave are embattled and the roof corbels are old, though repainted in 1841, and bear the royal arms of Henry VIII, of Magdalen College, Oxford, of Sir John Paulet, and of Bishop Fox of Winchester. The other heraldry is entirely modern.
The north aisle windows are all alike in size and detail; there are five in the north wall and one in the east, each of four cinquefoiled lights under traceried four-centred heads; below the westernmost is a doorway with a four-centred arch in a square head; the jambs and arch have two moulded orders separated by a hollow; the spandrels have had their carvings of deeply undercut late Gothic foliage broken away. The wall outside is divided into five bays by buttresses, the two at the corners being set diagonally; all three walls of the aisle have been faced externally with modern chequer work of flint and stone. The parapet string is moulded and has at intervals peculiarly coarse and ugly grotesque heads; the coping is of brick.
The south aisle has four side-windows resembling those opposite; between the third and fourth is the south doorway, which has moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch under a square head with a moulded label; the spandrels are carved with foliage of Renaissance detail and shields bearing the crossed spears and three nails of the Passion. The walling of the aisle is faced with large blocks of ashlar and has a plain moulded parapet with grotesques like those on the north side.
The tower, which is of three stages, has arches opening into the nave and both aisles; their jambs are moulded with a wide hollow between two double ogees, and on the inner faces they have attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals; some of the basemoulds and the greater part of the shafts of the eastern arch are of modern stone. The arches are fourcentred and of three orders of double ogees, the outer two continuous from the jambs. The west doorway is wholly modern, and it is doubtful if one existed originally; it has moulded jambs and fourcentred arch; the window over it is of four cinquefoiled lights under a traceried four-centred head; it has been partly repaired in modern times. The second stage has a west window of two cinquefoiled lights under a two-centred traceried head; the third stage or bell-chamber has similar lights in each wall, those to the north and south being now partly hidden by clock faces. At the north-west corner is an octagonal stair turret; its entrance is now outside on its north face, but was formerly by a four-centred doorway—now blocked—on its south-west face; the turret is in five stages and is finished by an eight-sided pyramidal stone roof which stands up above its embattled and pinnacled parapet; the other three corners of the tower are strengthened by smaller octagonal turrets, which are solid; these also have embattled cornices and plain tall pinnacles. The pinnacles were added in 1879. The parapet of the tower itself is embattled and has grotesques projecting from its moulded string course. The walling of the tower is faced with ashlar.
The south porch is ashlar faced of smaller stones than those of the aisle; it has an outer doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch, and is lighted by a window of two plain four-centred lights to the east. East of the doorway in the aisle wall is a hollow recess, probably the remains of a holy water stock. A modern wood stairway gives access to the parvise above now used as a vestry; it is lighted south and east by square windows of three lights with plain four-centred heads; their mullions are modern. The former entrance was through a doorway in the west wall, which has moulded jambs and four-centred heads; it is now filled in. Over the outer doorway and below the window is a recess in which are the remains of a Crucifixion; the central figure has been entirely destroyed, and the two side figures have had their heads demolished. A moulded string course divides the two stones; the parapet is embattled and has grotesque heads projecting from its string course.
The roof of the chancel is of high pitch; most of its timbers are old, the cornice and tie-beams are moulded, above which are four-centred arched trusses and the chamfered purlins are strengthened by arched wind-braces. The nave has a flat roof, divided into four bays by moulded tie-beams resting on stone corbels, carved with angels carrying shields of arms; the angels in the corners are set diagonally; each bay is divided into twelve squares by moulded ridge purlins and intermediates.
The aisles have flat roofs with moulded timbers, and in the south aisle narrow bands of sunk tracery ornament the principals and ridge piece.
Both aisles have galleries running their whole length with modern fronts; they are approached by stairs at the west end.
Little traces of old arrangements remain; on the north jamb of the chancel arch is a small bracket for an image or a light for the north nave altar, and at the west end of the nave a framed drawing shows the decoration over the chancel arch discovered in 1850, and destroyed. It was of late 16th-century date or early 17th; the Commandments filled the upper portion of the wall, and below were two large medallions, one having a Tudor rose with the words 'Deum time,' and the other the Prince of Wales's feathers and ich dine (sic).
All the furniture of the church is of modern date; the font, which stands under the tower, is elaborately carved and has a tall traceried oak canopy over it. An altar (with a large triptych) was fitted up in the south chapel in 1907. The east window of the north aisle is fitted with old glass, mostly of early 16th-century date with Renaissance detail and of very beautiful colour and design. It is, unfortunately, very fragmentary, having come from the Holy Ghost Chapel in 1869. Parts of several subjects, such as the Agony in the Garden, the Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, and the Annunciation, are recognizable. The arms of Sandys, Argent a ragged cross sable, and the quarterly coat of Bray are glazed in with the rest. Over the tower arch are the royal arms of Elizabeth, dated 1596, and at the west end of the south aisle those of James I.
The poor-box standing under the tower has a modern top, but stands on a carved baluster leg of Elizabethan character.
There were, before 1890, painted shields in the spandrels of the nave arcades with the arms of Sandys impaling Bray, Paulet, Magdalen College, Oxford, Deane, Lancaster, and Blunden.
The altars in the church mentioned in rolls were, besides the high altar of St. Michael, those of our Lady, St. Stephen, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and the Jesus altar. St. Katherine's light is also mentioned.
There are eight bells: the treble is by Warner, 1878, a recasting of one by Lester & Pack, 1766; the second is by Edward Read, Aldbourne, 1751; the third by Warner, 1878, recast from one of 1812; the fourth by Thomas Mears, 1841; the fifth by Henry Knight, 1670; the sixth is of pre-Reformation date and is inscribed 'Sancta Margrita ora pro nobis'; the seventh bears in two lines 'God be our gyd, Richard Colle, John Arme, John Blundene, 1602, William Cowdry, RW [symbol] H.S.'; and the tenor is by Henry Knight, 1670.
The plate consists of three silver and one silvergilt chalice of 1726, 1865, 1863 and 1895 respectively, that of 1865 having been given by J. E. Millard, vicar; three silver and one silver-gilt patens of 1811, 1865, 1879 and 1895 respectively, that of 1865 having been given by J. B. W. Woolnough, curate; a silver flagon of 1819, given by James Blatch, vicar, and a silver bowl of 1730.
There are nine books of registers; the first contains baptisms, burials and marriages from 1638 to 1687; the second and fourth baptisms and marriages from 1687 to 1738 and 1738 to 1797 (marriages only to 1754.) respectively; the third, fifth and seventh burials from 1692 to 1739, 1739 to 1797 and 1797 to 1813 respectively; the eighth baptisms from 1798 to 1813; the sixth and ninth marriages from 1754. to 1807 and 1807 to 1813 respectively.
All that now remains of the chapel of the HOLY GHOST is a portion of the apsidal east end, the south wall with a south-west hexagonal turret, and a small portion of the return west wall. The length inside from east to west is 53 ft. 6 in., and the original width was about 24 ft.
This building, which now passes by the name of the Holy Ghost Chapel, is really the chapel of the Holy Trinity, built by Lord Sandys on the south side of the chancel of the Holy Ghost Chapel, which has now entirely disappeared. It had a half-hexagonal east end like the Trinity Chapel, and perhaps added at the same time, and opened at the west to a nave, the plan of which is given in Baigent & Millard's History of Basingstoke. (fn. 157) At the west end of the nave was a tower, the lower parts of the walls of which still stand.
The appearance of the chapel in 1669 has been preserved in a view taken for Cosmo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and published in an account of his travels in 1821.
Enough remains to show that the Trinity Chapel was a beautiful building in the style transitional between late Gothic and early Renaissance, with red brick walls faced with wrought stone. It had a halfhexagonal east end with a window in each of its three sides, a body of four bays with windows in the first three, and a door in the fourth, and a west end in which was a gallery, reached by a stair in a southwest turret. All the windows were apparently the same and had deeply-moulded inside and outside jambs, and three cinquefoiled lights under four-centred heads. Near the west end of the south wall is a large breach showing the site of a doorway, and over it the remains of a square-headed three-light window. Between each two windows on the outside was a canopied niche resting on octagonal attached pillars, with panelled faces and moulded bases. The pedestals of the niches are richly carved with foliage between shields, the only recognizable device being a demigriffin on a torse. The canopies were richly carved with finials, pinnacles and crockets of late Gothic design, but show no distinctly classic detail.
The south-west turret contained a stair, now destroyed. It was entered from the north-west and also through the chapel from the north, having an upper doorway, still fairly perfect, which led to a gallery across the west of the chapel. In its spandrels are shields, on one of which a cross raguly is still visible. Externally it is of three stages divided by moulded strings.
In the top stage is a single light with a four-centred head under a square label in each of the outside faces. Above these is a moulded cornice with a shield in the middle of each face, and gargoyles at the angles, and the elevation was finished with embattled parapets, now nearly all destroyed. On the shields are the following devices and arms:—North-west face, W / M / S for William and Margery Sandys; west face, a winged demi-goat (the Sandys crest); south-west, a ragged cross (Sandys of the Vyne); south-east, the quarterly coat of Bray, and east a brake, the Bray badge.
The four external angles of the turret have attached polygonal shafts enriched with lozengediaper which stops at a moulded string course with acanthus leaves growing round the shaft immediately above the string. These shafts support canopied niches as in the south wall, but all their details are of Renaissance character. On the heads of the lights below the niches are various Sandys badges, &c, as on the cornice of the tower, including M S for Margery Sandys, the motto Good Hope, the Sandys coat, &c. The details, which have only lately been freed from masses of ivy, are of admirable design. The roof of the chapel, which in 1720 was mentioned as having on it the 'history of the Apostles, Prophets and Disciples of Christ very artificially described,' has entirely perished, and the size of the buttresses makes it unlikely that it was a stone vault. To the north-west of this chapel is the ruined base of the west tower of the Holy Ghost Chapel, which is of 13th-century date; the walls are of rubble, and appear to be built in two thicknesses with a hollow between, and at the angles there are brick buttresses.
The west wall contains a 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head, above which is a window of the same date with three trefoiled lights and a transom; the mullions are gone. This building was used as a school from 1670 to 1844, but is now entirely ruined and covered with ivy.
The piece of north wall contains a small trefoiled light, with a wood frame in an outer rebate, looking like late 13th-century work. A new chapel and school seem to have been in building in 1636, from the Holy Ghost Chapel accounts, but no part of the ruins can date from this time.
Two recumbent effigies lie among the tombs near the ruins; one is that of a knight, dating from the latter part of the 13th century, and is now headless and in a very dilapidated condition, the surface being worn away and the right arm and the legs below the knees broken off; the figure wears mail and over it a long surcoat; on the left side is a shield now defaced, and the left hand appears to be grasping the hilt of a sword; the legs were crossed, and an angel supported the head on either side. The effigy was discovered in 1817, apparently in position in a recess of the north wall of the chancel.
The other figure is that of a man in a long gown of Elizabethan date; the effigy is of very poor style, and has nothing by which it might be identified.
Several pieces belonging to the tomb of William Lord Sandys, 1542, lie among the ruins of the chapel, the most notable being one of its sides, bearing the Sandys arms between two circular sinkings inclosing his badge of a rose halved with a sun. The material is a dark marble, called in the original contract, now at Antwerp, of 1 March 1536, 'pierre d'Antoing.' The tomb was made by 'Arnoult Termassone, natif d'Austerdamme en Hollande, a present demeurant a Aire en Artois,' and it was to have on it a cross of copper engraved with the names of Lord Sandys and Margery his wife. (fn. 158) There was to be a second tomb set under an arch in the wall between the chapel and the chancel, but nothing is said of its inscription: the pieces which remain perhaps belong to it, as they do not tally with the contract for Lord Sandys' tomb, which was to have three shields of arms on each long side.
Part or a slab to one of the Cufaud family, of early 17th-century date, also remains. There was a famous image of the Holy Ghost here, to which several contemporary references are extant: it was destroyed about 1536.
ALL SAINTS' temporary iron church in Southern Road is attached to the parish church, as are also two mission rooms, one, the St. Thomas' Home Chapel in Reading Road, and the other in May Street.
All Saints' possesses a silver chalice and paten of 1902. The St. Thomas' Home Chapel has a silver chalice and paten of 1864 and a silver-gilt chalice and paten of 1866. Two of the vessels belonging to St. Michael's, the silver chalice and paten of 1863 and 1879, are used at the May Street Mission.
It is not clear at what date there was first a church at Basingstoke, though it seems certain that at the time of the Domesday Survey there was only one church for Basing and Basingstoke, and that was the church of Basing. (fn. 159) When one was built at Basingstoke it was at first a chapel dependent upon Basing Church, and like it in the possession of the Abbot and convent of Mont St. Michel in Normandy, who held it of the gift of the king. (fn. 160)
In 1233 the 'churches of Basinge and Basingestok' were transferred by the abbot to the patronage of Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, (fn. 161) and the grant was confirmed by Henry III in 1233. (fn. 162) Early in the next year the bishop granted them to the priory of Selborne, which had just been founded. (fn. 163) The pope confirmed the appropriation of the churches to the priory two months later. (fn. 164) A vicarage was endowed in 1244, (fn. 165) and arrangements were made for the celebration of divine service in both churches. (fn. 166) The vicar was to reside at Basingstoke, and two chaplains were to serve the church at Basingstoke and live in the house of the vicar there. (fn. 167) This began the gradual reversal of the position of the two churches, (fn. 168) which ended in the description of Basing as a chapelry of Basingstoke. (fn. 169)
The Prior and convent of Selborne continued to present vicars till the suppression of the priory. (fn. 170) The rectory and advowson of the vicarage then passed with the rest of the possessions of the priory (fn. 171) to the Master and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, who present (fn. 172) at the present day. Basing was made a separate parish in 1864. (fn. 173)
The chapel of the Holy Ghost was in existence early in the 13th century, probably to celebrate masses for the souls of those buried in its Liten or buryingplace. (fn. 174) A chaplain was maintained here by a voluntary association of certain people of the town in a gild called the Fraternity of the Holy Ghost. It appears that his salary was £6 13s. 4d., and he held his appointment at the will of the wardens of the gild. The latter was legalized by Henry VIII but suppressed by Edward VI. In 1556 it was revived and its endowments restored, with special provision for the maintenance of a chaplain, who was also to be responsible for the education of boys in the town. He was to be appointed by the aldermen and wardens of the gild, who from the reign of James I were elected from the members of the town corporation. (fn. 175) As a result of constant disputes between the corporation and the chaplains the matter was dealt with by the Court of Chancery. The management of the school was put into the hands of trustees and the appointment of a chaplain is now in the hands of the Crown and the town council. (fn. 176)
A chaplain for the hospital of St. John was maintained out of the endowment of Walter de Merton. (fn. 177) The warden of Merton College was responsible for appointing him, but appears to have frequently neglected the duty. (fn. 178) The chantry was thus surveyed in the 16th century: 'A stipendiary priest, founded of devotion to have continuance for ever in chapel in the said town called St. John's Chapel, standing near the parish church of Basingstoke, who has yearly for his stipend in ready money, paid out of the farm ot St. John lying in the said town, which farm belongs to Merton College in Oxford, 20s.' (fn. 179) In 1697 a surveyor sent down to Basingstoke by Merton College reported as follows: 'There is a sort of chapel near in which formerly there was preaching once a month, and the tenant paying the curate and was on that account exempted from all tithes. It would be a mighty improvement to our estate and the tenant would be glad to pay a curate could the custom be revived, but I am afraid it has been disused too long.' (fn. 180)
The new Roman Catholic church, dedicated to the Holy Ghost and situated in Sherborne Road, was built in 1902.
The Congregational church in London Street was erected in place of a chapel formerly in Cross Street in 1800 and enlarged in 1860. There is also a Congregational chapel at Worting Town End.
The Countess of Huntingdon's chapel in Wote Street was built in 1802, and the new Primitive Methodist chapel on Sarum Hill in 1902.
There are barracks for the Salvation Army in Reading Road, and there are also Wesleyan and Particular Baptist chapels and places of worship for the Brethren and the Society of Friends.
The National School in Church Street was built in 1901 for 130 boys and girls and 230 infants. The Board School near the Southern Road was opened on 16 February 1888 for 1,300 children. A new Council school has quite recently been opened in Lower Brook Street.
The municipal charities are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, dated 11 July 1902. They comprise the charities of—
1. Duke of Bolton's gift founded by will 1694, consisting of an annual payment of £42, being part of a rent-charge issuing out of lands in the counties of Dorset, York and Southampton. The annuity—less land tax—is distributed to the poor annually.
2. The almshouses, founded by will of Sir James Deane, 1607, endowed with a sum of £1,837 18s. 7d. consols, being the proceeds of redemption of rentcharge of £55; £200 10s. consols, belonging to the charity of Robert Cottle and £695 1s. 5d. consols derived under the will of Francis Russell, 1798. The almshouses accommodate six poor widows of Basingstoke and two of Deane.
3. Sir James Deane for the provision of a preacher, trust fund £334 3s. 4d., representing the redemption of an annuity of £10, formerly payable out of the manor of Ashe.
4. Sir James Deane for the repair of the highway, trust fund £33 8s. 5d. consols, representing the redemption of an annuity of £1 issuing out of the manor of Ashe.
5. Sir James Deane for bread, consisting of a rentcharge of £10 8s. issuing out of the manor of Deane.
6. Richard Deane's gift for poor, by will 1601, consisting of a rent-charge of £4 19s. a year issuing out of an estate known as Sclaters.
7. John Hall, will 1632, consisting of an annual sum of £5 4s., charged upon 'Round Mead,' otherwise 'Rowe Meadow,' for distribution in bread amongst twenty-four poor people, twelve of whom must be poor widows.
8. Sir James Lancaster's Charities.—In 1618 by his will Sir James Lancaster gave the sums of £45 and £40 annually for the benefit of the poor and for a preacher respectively, charged upon the manor of Maydenwell and other tenements in the county of Lincoln, and in the parish and forest of Pamber in the county of Southampton.
The Webb Fund, founded in 1877 by will of Charles Webb, is also administered by the trustees of the Municipal Charities Trust Fund, £189 4s. consols, the dividends of which amounting to £4 14s. 4d. are applicable, one-half equally amongst twelve poor persons and the other half equally amongst six poor.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees. The net income of the charities is by the scheme directed to be applied in accordance with the subsisting trusts.
Other charities formerly under the corporation are as follows:—
In 1619 Matthew Stocker by will bequeathed a sum of £ 10 for the poor.
In 1622 Robert Payne by will gave a sum of £100 to the corporation.
In 1634 George Pemerton gave a sum of £100 to the bailiffs and burgesses, the interest of £6 13s. 4d. to be distributed amongst the poor.
The income of the three preceding charities is distributed as follows:—£1 annually amongst twenty poor by the churchwardens in respect of Payne's gift, £8 10s. annually amongst thirty-four poor, being 10s. in respect of Stocker's gift, £3 in respect of Payne's gift, and £5 in respect of Pemerton's gift. The remaining £1 13s. 4d. belonging to Pemerton's gift is distributed on St. Thomas Day to the inhabitants of the Little Almshouses in New Street.
In 1638 John Smith by will gave a rent-charge of £4 per annum, issuing out of his lands and tenements in Basingstoke, to provide woollen and linen cloth for eight poor persons of the age of sixty and upwards. The corporation also pay a sum of £2 annually, representing the interest on £40 accumulations of income placed in their hands. The number of recipients has been increased to twelve.
In addition to the almshouses founded by Sir James Deane (see under the municipal charities), there were formerly almshouses in Chapel Street unproductive of income, which were sold by order of the Local Government Board.
The almshouses founded by James Acton in 1690 for four old people were restored in 1890.
The Little Almshouses in New Street consist of almshouses and site, and the annual sum of £1 13s. 4d. paid by the corporation to the inmates in respect of the charity of George Pemerton.
Page's Almshouses.—(See infra.)
In 1784 an allotment of 1 acre was made in respect of an old institution known as the 'Pest House.' The building and part of site were sold and a hospital was erected on the land remaining. The official trustees hold a sum of £103 1s. 4d. consols as a repair fund, arising from sale in 1866 to the London & South Western Railway Company. The charity is regulated by scheme of 31 May 1878.
Basingstoke Cottage Hospital in Hackwood Road, founded in 1879, was endowed by will of Edmund Portsmouth with £896 17s. 3d consols, producing yearly £22 8s. 4d. for the benefit of this institution. The buildings have been much enlarged by Col. John May, of Basingstoke, and Mrs. Wallis, of Coombhurst, Basingstoke. The endowment has been increased by various legacies, and is now invested thus:—£900 London & South Western Railway (3 per cent, consolidated), legacies of the late Mr. John Bizo and Mrs. Ransome, 1884; £2,000 London & South Western Railway (3½ per cent, preference), legacy of the late Mr. George Wm. Hillyer, 1891; £392 Caledonian Railway (4 per cent, preference 1884), Queen's Jubilee Fund and legacies of the late Miss Jane Hutton and Col. Bridges, 1897; £529 London & South Western Railway (3½ per cent, preference), legacies of the late Mr. F. Budd, Major Barrett, Mr. E. A. Williams and Miss Campbell, 1900; £240, twenty-four £10 shares in Axminster and Lyme Regis Light Railway Co., legacies of the late Mr. A. Wallis and Mrs. Anne Hampton, 1900; £100 London & South Western Railway (3 per cent, debenture stock), legacy of the late Mrs. Roberts, 1903; £1,000 London & North Western Railway debenture stock, legacy of the late Mr. G. Macdonald, 1905; £1,000 Midland Railway stock, legacy of the late Sir Wyndham Spencer Portal, bart., 1906; £100 legacy of the late Mr. J. S. Swinford, 1908; £50 legacy of the late Mr. J. Barton, 1909. (fn. 181)
Blunden's Gift.—William Blunden, who died in 1732, by his will devised £10 a year charged upon his lands and tenement in Warbsdown, Surrey, to be distributed on Christmas Day amongst the poor.
The Provident Clothing Society.—In 1884 John Bristow by will left a legacy represented by £53 10s. 11d. 2½ per cent, annuities with the official trustees for the benefit of this society.
Queen Mary's School. (fn. 182)
The Aldworth Exhibition Foundation. — This foundation, which was created by the will of Richard Aldworth dated 21 December 1646, is regulated by schemes of the Charity Commissioners dated 26 February 1880 and 11 December 1894, and is endowed with a sum of £8,082 13s. 1d, consols with the official trustees.
By an order of the Charity Commissioners made under the Board of Education Act, 1899, the portion of the trust fund applicable for educational purposes was determined to be £7,207 19s. 9d. consols, and the balance of the fund, amounting to £874 13s. 4d. consols, was directed to be placed to a separate account for providing £10 for a lecturer, £6 13s. 4d. for gowns and £5 4s. 8d. for bread.
The Basingstoke Church of England Sunday Schools are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, dated 19 December 1890:—
1. Comprising the charities of Sir James Lancaster, consisting of an annuity of £13 6s. 8d. received from the trustees of the Municipal Charities (see above).
2. Dr. Sheppard, by deed 1816, trust funds, £636 13s. 4d. consols for the support of the National School for Boys, and £333 6s. 8d. stock for the National School for Girls.
3. Mrs. Sophia Sheppard, widow of Dr. Sheppard, by deed 1818 conveyed 5 a. 2 r. 20 p. in Wildmoor, now let at £9 a year, for the use of the National School for Girls.
4. Charity of Thomas Hooker, trust fund and £100 consols.
5. Mrs. Waldo, trust fund and £100 consols.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees. By scheme £30 per annum of the income is authorized to be expended in support of the Sunday schools, and the remainder in prizes for the scholars.
The Evening School Charity.—The official trustees hold a sum of£655 5s. 6d. consols, representing proceeds of sales in 1890 of the British Schools.
The trust is regulated by a scheme of 11 February 1890.
Nonconformist Charities.—The Congregational chapel in London Street is endowed with the sums of stock mentioned below, held by the official trustees, namely, £830 5s. 4d. consols, arising under the will of Thomas Allder, 1796, and of other donors; £311 12s. consols, arising from gifts of Mrs. Hannah Cooper and others; £162 10s. consols, from gifts of Richard Hearne, and of Elizabeth Caston, by deed 1827; and £199 15s. arising under the will of John Bristow, proved in 1884. The dividends thereon amounting to £37 11s. 4d. are received by the minister.
Page's Almshouses in Hackwood Road, founded by Joseph Page, who by deed dated 15 June 1802 gave to Dissenters in Basingstoke several pieces of land with tenements thereon, the rents to accumulate until there was sufficient to purchase a piece of land and erect two cottages, to be used as almshouses for poor persons belonging to the congregation of the Independent persuasion of Calvinistical principles, the rents to be expended in the upkeep of the almshouses and the support of the inmates.
The trust property consists of six almshouses, real estate bringing in £136 per annum, and £99 17s.6d. consols, with the official trustees, bequeathed by will of John Bristow, proved in 1884.