A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Uferantun (x cent.); Ovretune (xi cent.).
Overton is a large parish containing 6,762 acres and extending in length from the Port Way—the road from Salisbury to Silchester—on the north to the main road from Stockbridge to Basingstoke in the south. Through the centre of the parish and almost parallel with one another run the Basingstoke and Salisbury branch of the London and South Western railway, the River Test and the main road from Basingstoke to Andover. The principal part of the village is on and near the main road on the left bank of the river, but St. Mary's Church, the rectory, Court House and Court Farm lie together on the right bank. Overton station is about half a mile north of the village. To the south of the station is Quidhampton, where the River Test forms a large pond. The old farm-house here was originally the manor-house of Quidhampton. Further east by the river is Polhampton, originally 'Pool-hampton' Farm, (fn. 1) marking the site of the manor of Polhampton. Berry own Court near the eastern boundary of the parish the residence of Mr. Edward Ernest Cooper. The amlet of Southington with Southington House, the residence of Lieut.-Col. Bertram Percy Portal, D.S.O., is situated about a quarter of a mile west of the illage on the main road, while the hamlet of Northington lies the other side of the river on the Vestern borders of the parish. The ground is low-lying on the banks of the river, but quickly rises both awards the north and south, heights of 576 ft. and .84 ft. above the ordnance datum being registered n the north and south respectively. The subsoil is halk. About two-thirds of the parish is arable land, bout a sixth pasture and a sixth woodland. (fn. 2) The chief rops are wheat, barley, oats and turnips. Among place-names mentioned in 15th-century records are Portewey, Goselane, (fn. 3) Mosedene, Raven hill, Sappley Mede, Collesham, Cotelestrete, Foxdowne (fn. 4) and Kyrkebyesmede, (fn. 5) while among those given in 1649 are Southley Wood, West Harrow Field, East Harrow Field, Ramehill Field, Sheephouse Field, Winchester Field and Whitehill Close. (fn. 6)
The mesne borough of OVERTON first appears in the early years of Henry III, and the royal grant (fn. 7) to the Bishop of Winchester of a market in his manor of Overton (May 1218) may have been obtained at the ime when burgage-tenure was introduced. At Michaelmas 1219 Richard the bishop's serjeant and Alured the reeve accounting for the manor acknowedged £3 0s. 2d. received as the borough issues, and hese are set out in detail on the roll (fn. 8) by the same erjeant and Edmund the borough reeve. In the irst list of burgage rents 19 burgesses are named, but wo of these held more than one burgage, Edmund Gel, who had three, and a certain Joseph, who had two. Among significant names of the remaining holders are those of Walter the merchant, Gilbert Parmenter, Herbert the Miller and a woman, Maud the daughter of Alured. The original rents were fixed at 2s. a year. Among other receipts in 1219 Richard of Waltham was charged 6s. 8d. 'pro fine vilenagii et pro burgagio habendo,' and other burgage fines of varying amount were paid both by the original burgesses and by newcomers.
In the next year (fn. 9) some of the original burgesses were adding to their holdings, but the smith paid 18d. pro burgagio dimittendo.' Amercements for bad ale swelled the total receipt to £3 6s., which was this year handed over to Denis, clerk of the bishop's reasury at Wolvesey. In 1221 (fn. 10) the assized rent was £2 14s., but the increment added nearly 17s. more, and besides the payments for burgages and half-burgages we hear that Herbert the Miller gave 9d. for a small place in the marsh,' and Hugh de St. Philibert 3s. 4½d. 'for 4½ places in the same marsh.' The total receipt of £3 16s. 4½d. was this year paid to Andrew the manorial reeve, and a similar disposition of the issues seems to have prevailed during the remainder of the pontificate of Peter des Roches. By 1236 the Gable of Assizes (fn. 11) had risen to £3 19s. 8½d. and the net receipts to £4 8s. 2½d.
On 8 February 1246 the king not only confirmed (fn. 12) the weekly market with a change of day from Tuesday to Monday, but also granted a fair on the eve, feast and morrow of the Translation of St. Thomas of Canterbury (7 July). The effect of this grant is shown by the increased issues. By 1249 the net assized rent (fn. 13) and increment had risen to £7 15s. 7d. and we hear of a seld let for 16s. The 10s. farm derived from Freefolk was now included in the Over ton budget, and this with the increased perquisites of court brought the total receipts to £10 12s. 7d., which were all collected and paid to Sir Roger de Alynton at Wolvesey as well as 17s. 5d. arrears.
It is possible that Overton suffered directly or indirectly during the Barons' War, for an account (fn. 14) of uncertain date belonging to the episcopate of Bishop Gervais is burdened with arrears of over £9. The townsmen fell behind again in the time of his successor, as in the eleventh year (fn. 15) of Bishop Nicholas of Ely (? 1279), although the sum total of receipts should have reached £12 12s. 1½d. only £2 10s. was paid to Sir William de Cumbe at Wolvesey and the rest remained as debt, owing to the necessity of first satisfying the existing arrears. In the previous year (fn. 16) it had been found that a seld was ruinous and its repair had cost 4s. 4d. In spite of temporary difficulties from war, pestilence or disease Overton was sufficiently important in 1295 to send Baker (Pistor) and William Horn as members to Parliament. (fn. 17) About fifteen years later (fn. 18) we know that the assized rent of the town was estimated at £8 1s. 9½d. net, allowance being made for the reeve's remitted burgage, rent of 2s. and a trifling default. Sixteen selds and 38 stalls were let at 10s. 8d. and 17s. respectively, while the perquisites of the Martinmas and Hockday tourns and four other courts amounted to £2 13s. The sum total of the receipts, £12 0s. 9½d., was paid in full to Sir Simon the treasurer at Wolvesey. From the Black Death the town suffered considerably. The account (fn. 19) made up at Michaelmas 1349 shows that four burgages at 'Langepoule' had come into the bishop's hands, as well as one burgage in the borough proper and half a burgage, apparently 2 acres of land in 'la Coumb juxta Garnor.' The seldage and stallage had also fallen off owing to the pestilence; but eight selds more let at 8d. a seld, and twenty 'stallagia' at 2d. a piece. Still more significant was the drop in the perquisites of the courts. The Martinmas tourn was not held at all, a court before the Hockday tourn produced nothing, the Hockday court itself 10s. 7d., and a court held between that and Michaelmas only one penny. Nevertheless the treasury at Wolvesey received £6 16s. 8d., but £2 12s. 4½d. was left in arrear. The second pestilence of 1361 does not appear to have been so destructive in Overton borough as in some other districts of Hampshire, but the effects of the repeated plagues of the 14th century were lasting.
In the reign of Henry VI very many lands and tenements were still in the hands of the bishop through default of an heir. (fn. 20) However, under the Tudors the town recovered its prosperity to some extent, and the reeve was able to pay the bishop large arrears of rent. (fn. 21) A new fulling mill (fn. 22) was built, the art of fulling was revived and the place received a large increase in population, (fn. 23) while in 1519 Thomas Wolsey, Bishop of Winchester, obtained licence to hold an additional fair at Overton on the eve, the feast and the morrow of the Feast of St. George the Martyr (fn. 24) (22–4 April). With the increase in prosperity came a desire for greater power, the freeholders began to choose their own officers—port—reeve, constable, bailiffs, beer-tasters and leather-sealers—at the court leet of the borough, (fn. 25) and in the reign of Elizabeth made a determined stand for liberty of action, asserting that from time immemorial there had been a corporation in Overton consisting of a portreeve or prepositus, two bailiffs and all the freeholders, and that the port-reeve chosen by this corporation, as chief officer of the borough, was empowered to direct the two annual fairs and the weekly market, to supervise the setting up of the coops and stalls, to collect the market dues, and to manage Port-reeve's Meadow and 1 carucate of land and a meadow in Freefolk, paying £8 a year in return to the Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 26) They chose Edward Boroughe to be their port-reeve, who in his turn farmed out the office to John Dowse and Thomas Sweetapple. (fn. 27) William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, on the other hand, in 1585 leased for twenty-one years at a rent of £12 2s. 0½d. the office of port-reeve and collector of the market dues, rents of assize, and rents from Portreeve's Meadow and the lands in Freefolk (excepting and reserved to the bishop and his successors the fines and perquisites of court of the borough) to Richard Fisher, Robert Francis, Francis Palmes, William Jefferye, John Hall, William Hunt and Hugh Denbye. (fn. 28) The crisis came on the eve of St. George's Day, 1587, when a broil between the lessees under the Bishop of Winchester and Edward Boroughe's deputies was only averted by the prompt action of Sir William Kingsmill, Richard Fiennes and John Fisher, justices of peace for the county. The case was brought into the Court of Chancery, which, after a careful examination into the ancient books of accounts and records of the bishopric, decided that there was no corporation in Overton and that the port-reeve and freeholders of the borough had no right to the profits of the fairs and markets, and therefore gave its judgement in favour of the lessees under the bishop. (fn. 29) From this date the bishop received every year from the reeve, who for the time being held the borough on lease, certain sums for reliefs and perquisites of court and a fixed sum of £12 2s. 0½d. rents of assize, from which was deducted every year £2 for the poor of Overton in accordance with an indenture of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 30) The lessee of the fair now pays £4. annually.
Overton is at the present day a prosperous place especially noted for its sheep and lamb fair held on 18 July, the average number of sheep penned being 30,000. During the 18th century two other fairs were held—on 4 May and 22 October respectively, (fn. 31) but these have since been discontinued. Overton had a local trade in silk manufacture in the 18th century, (fn. 32) a silk factory being marked in Faden's map of Hampshire (1791). This has now disappeared, but its site is still marked by a group of cottages called Silk Mill Cottages.
The manor of OVERTON belonged to the bishopric of Winchester from an early date, and was confirmed to Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, by King Edward the Elder in 909. (fn. 33) The Domesday Survey states that 'the bishop himself holds Overton in demesne; it always belonged to the bishopric,' assessing it at 41 hides with a rateable value of £50. (fn. 34) The Bishops of Winchester continued to hold the manor among the other possessions of the see (fn. 35) until 1649, when, under the ordinances of 1646 for the sale of the bishops' property, it was sold to Thomas Andrew, a London merchant. (fn. 36) At the Restoration it was given back to the bishopric, (fn. 37) and from this time successive Bishops of Winchester retained their hold upon it until the Bishops' Resignation Act of 1869 vested all the lands, tithes, hereditaments and endowments there belonging to the bishopric of Winchester in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 38) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are still lords of the manor, although the whole of the parish, with the exception of a small quantity of land, belongs to Sir William Wyndham Portal, bart., the owner of the adjoining estates of Freefolk and Laverstoke.
Among valuable appurtenances of the manor were a warren called Willesley Warren, a fishery in the Test, and various mills worked by that river. The warren together with 'The Logge' in the 15th century was let for £9 a year, (fn. 39) but in the next century the rent was raised to £10 and the annual payment of thirty-six couple of rabbits. (fn. 40) In 1585 the Bishop of Winchester leased the warren for forty years from Michaelmas 1602 to Queen Elizabeth, who transferred the lease six years later to Robert Mason. (fn. 41) In 1648, under the ordinance for the sale of the bishop's lands, the commissioners sold the 'warren and game of coneys called Willesley Warren near Overton and a little house called The Lodge formerly standing in the said warren but now demolished' to Thomas Hussey of Laverstoke, (fn. 42) but it was returned to the bishopric at the Restoration. In the course of the 18 th century the payment in kind was commuted to an additional payment of 2s. 8d. (fn. 43) Willesley ceased to be a warren on 10 December 1751. (fn. 44)
Four mills of the annual value of £3 2s. 6d. belonged to the manor of Overton at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 45) In 1446 the mills of the vill and La Lynch with a fishery were let to Walter Milleward and William Egerton for a rent of £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 46) There was also an empty plot called New Mill, but the mill itself had not yet been built. (fn. 47) This had been done at the beginning of the 16th century, the fulling mill called New Mill with a fishery being let at 8s. a year. (fn. 48) By the reign of Henry VIII £10 a year was paid for the farm of three mills, of which two were under one roof called Lynch Mills, £1 for the New Mill, while the fishery was let separately for 6s. 8d. a year and the payment of a dish of fishes, value 8d., to the bishop's officer at every tourn held at Overton. (fn. 49) In the deed of sale to Thomas Andrew in 1648 the mills appurtenant to the manor are thus described—'a mill called The Burrough Mill or Towne Mill consisting of two water corn-mills, a mill commonly called Linch Mill, and a corn-mill formerly a fulling-mill.' (fn. 50) From the Bishop of Winchester's leasehold book for 1761 it appears that there were three mills belonging to the manor (fn. 51) —Overton or Town Mill, Linch Mill and New Mill, let respectively to George Small, Henry Portal and Joseph Portal. At the present day there are three mills in the parish, Town Mill, Southington Mill or Lynch Mill and Quidhampton Mill or New Mill. The first-named, owned by Sir William Portal, bart, is connected with the Laverstoke paper mills, while the two latter are flour-mills.
Half a knight's fee in SOUTHINGTON (Suthamton, Southampton, xiv cent.) was held of the Bishop of Winchester by Edward Jardyns, and from him passed to John Jardyns, who was holding in 1346. (fn. 52) It was next held by William Sparks, (fn. 53) from whom for lack of an heir owing to the plague it escheated to the bishop as overlord. (fn. 54) From this date the bishop leased it out together with the rest of the demesne lands of the manor.
The manor of POLHAMPTON (Polhaematun, x cent.; Polemetune, xi cent.; Polhanton, xiii cent.; Pollampton, xvi cent.; Pollington, xvii cent.) as part of the ancient demesne of the Crown was granted by King Edmund to the religious woman Ætheldryth in 940, (fn. 55) and by King Edwy to his thegn Byrnric in 956. (fn. 56) It was held by Tosti in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and by William Bertram at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 57) The manor continued in the Bertram family until the beginning of the 13 th century, when, on the loss of Normandy, Robert Bertram, (fn. 58) forfeited his English lands, and Polhampton among them fell to the Crown. In 1205 King John granted 100 shillingsworth of land in Polhampton, which had belonged to Robert Bertram, to Baldwin de Betun Earl of Albemarle. (fn. 59) He seems subsequently to have granted the residue of Robert Bertram's property in Polhampton to William de Fay, who held it until 1225, in which year Henry III granted it to William de Fortibus Earl of Albemarle, (fn. 60) step-son of Baldwin. On the death of William in 1241 the manor passed to his son William de Fortibus Earl of Albemarle, (fn. 61) who died in 1256, leaving a son Thomas, aged four. (fn. 62) Thomas died unmarried before 1269, and Polhampton consequently went to his only surviving sister and sole heir Avelina, who married Edmund Plantagenet Earl of Lancaster on 6 April 1269, but died without issue five years later, (fn. 63) when the manor reverted to the Crown. (fn. 64) In 1280 Edward I granted it in dower together with other estates of the annual value of £1,065 16s. 7d. to his mother Queen Eleanor, (fn. 65) by whom it was granted for life to her sergeant Adam de Richemund. This grant was confirmed by Edward I in 1291, (fn. 66) but Adam must have died soon afterwards, for in 1296 John de Drokensford was holding it at farm of the king for a rent of £10 18s. 4d., out of which sum he was ordered to pay £7 10s. a year to Joan the widow of John de Wanton in recompense for dower which she claimed from the free tenement that had belonged to her husband in the manor of Frant (co. Suss.). (fn. 67) In 1310 Edward II granted the manor for life to William de Horwode and Christine his wife at a rent of £10, but shortly afterwards, discovering that it was usually let at £10 18s. 4d., granted them the manor and the pasture called 'Kyngeslese' in the parish of Kingsclere to hold by the rent of £12 18s. 4d.—£10 18s. 4d. for the manor and £2 for the pasture, at the same time excusing them the payment of the 18s. 4d. (fn. 68) In 1312 William de Horwode received six oaks fit for timber from the forest of Pamber and six beams of the timber felled in that forest in the time of Edward I to repair the houses of the manor, (fn. 69) and five years later, in consideration of his good service to the king and Queen Isabel, he was freed from all payment for the manor and pasture during his life, although it was settled that his wife should pay the rent for the premises should she survive him. (fn. 70) Yet, in spite of this grant, Edward III immediately after his accession granted the manor to Queen Isabel for life ' in consideration of her services in the matter of the treaty with France and in suppressing the rebellion of the Despensers,' (fn. 71) but nine months later, having in the meantime had the claims of the Horwodes brought to his notice, he settled the manor on William and Christine and their issue. (fn. 72) In 1328 William de Horwode obtained a grant of free warren in his demesnes of Polhampton, (fn. 73) and in 1341 the body of a fugitive serf Edmund son of Richard de Polhampton, who was born on the manor, was restored to him with all his goods. (fn. 74) William died seised of the manor in 1349, leaving as his heir his grandson William, son of his son Thomas. (fn. 75) On the death of William in 1422 the manor passed to his son and heir William, (fn. 76) who died twenty-five years later, leaving a son and heir John, (fn. 77) who made proof of his age in 1448. (fn. 78) John, the son and heir of the last named, died in 1479, leaving an infant daughter Eleanor as his heir, but six months later his widow Elizabeth gave birth to a posthumous son John, who consequently succeeded to the manor. (fn. 79) He died without issue in 1496, and the manor then passed to his uncle Hugh the brother of his father John, (fn. 80) who died seised in 1501, leaving as his heirs his four sisters:—(1) Joan wife of Richard Savage; (2) Katherine wife of John or Henry Frith; (3) Alice wife of Thomas Lende and (4) Christine wife of Ingelram Prior. (fn. 81) Alice Lende (3) died seised of two messuages, 6 virgates of land and 20s. rent in Polhampton in 1524, leaving as her heir her grandson William Somer, son of Hugh Somer her son by her first husband Stephen Somer, (fn. 82) and two years later Katherine Peeter (2) the remarried widow of John Frith died seised of two messuages, 6 virgates of land and 20s. rent in the same place, her heir being her son Henry, aged forty. (fn. 83) In 1528 John Prior son and heir of Christine (4) and Ingelram Prior sold his fourth part of the manor to the President and scholars of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. (fn. 84) Again, in 1553 William Somer died seised of a portion of the manor, leaving as-his heirs Alice wife of Anthony More and daughter of Thomas Hill, son of Robert Hill and Christine his wife, the daughter of Richard Savage and Joan (1), Elizabeth wife of Henry Smith and sister of the last-named Alice, Robert Frith (fn. 85) son of Katherine Frith (2), and John Prior son of Christine Prior (4). (fn. 86) The manorial rights and the greater part of the manor however, to which was subsequently given the name of the manor of Polhampton, seem to have passed to Christine the daughter and heir of Richard Savage and Joan who married (1) Robert Hill and (2) Richard Vaus (fn. 87) She left issue by her first husband, (fn. 88) but she evidently settled the manor upon her second husband on her marriage with him, (fn. 89) and it consequently passed on his death to Nicholas Vaus, probably his son, who acquired the whole of Robert Frith's property in Polhampton and Overton in 1556. (fn. 90) Nicholas Vaus died seised of the manor of Polhampton in 1560, leaving a son and heir Robert (fn. 91) to whom Henry Smith and Elizabeth his wife quitclaimed their portion of the manor in 1564. (fn. 92) Robert died in 1609, leaving a son and heir Richard, to whom some eighteen years before he had granted a ninety-nine years' lease of the manor in return for an annual payment of forty couple of rabbits between the months of September and March. (fn. 93) Richard Vaus dealt with the manor by fine in 1616, (fn. 94) and again in 1618, (fn. 95) but whether he was seised of it at his death is uncertain. If he was his three daughters and co-heirs (fn. 96) subsequently parted with the manor, as a John Palmer dealt with it by recovery in 1683. (fn. 97) It is now the property of Sir William Wyndham Portal, bart.
Corpus Christi College for some time continued in possession of various lands and tenements in Overton representing the fourth part of the manor of Polhampton purchased from John Prior in 1528, (fn. 98) but it no longer owns any property in the parish, having disposed of the last of its possessions in Overton in May 1882. (fn. 99)
The manor of QUIDHAMPTON (Quedhamton, xiii cent.; Quydhampton, xiv cent.), which until the middle of the 13th century was known by the name of the manor of POLHAMPTON, formed part of the manor of Overton from an early date, and in the reign of Edward the Confessor was one of the estates which had been allotted by the bishop for the support of the monks of St. Swithun. (fn. 100) At the time of the Domesday Survey it was held of the bishop by Ralf son of Seifrid, (fn. 101) and from this date the interest of the Prior and convent of St. Swithun in the manor was reduced merely to a right to the tithes coming from it, which were appropriated to the office of almoner of the convent (q.v. infra). It seems probable that Seifrid was the founder of the Syfrewast family, the later lords of Quidhampton, for at the time of the Domesday Survey Freefolk or Freefolk Syfrewast was likewise held by Ralf son of Seifrid. (fn. 102) As early as the beginning of the 12th century Richard de Syfrewast was holding the manor, and while lord thereof granted half a hide of land at Polhampton to the Abbot of Waverley (fn. 103) —a gift which was confirmed by Pope Eugenius III in 1147. (fn. 104) He was possibly succeeded by Robert de Syfrewast, whose son William de Syfrewast held two knights' fees, probably Freefolk and Quidhampton, in Hampshire of the Bishop of Winchester in 1166. (fn. 105) In 1203 Ralph son of Ralph de Syfrewast gave up all his right to half a knight's fee and 2 virgates of land in Polhampton to Richard de Syfrewast, receiving 1 virgate of land in Clewer (co. Berks.) which his father Ralph had held. (fn. 106) Forty years later Richard de Syfrewast granted the manor of Polhampton to Roger de Syfrewast, probably his son, (fn. 107) who in 1245 was returned as holding a knight's fee in Quidhampton without Overton of William de Syfrewast, who in his turn held of the Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 108) Roger was succeeded by his son Richard, who died in 1275, leaving two sons under age, Richard and John, whose marriage was granted by Edward I to Geoffrey de Picheford. (fn. 109) Most of Richard's property, including the manor of Clewer, passed to the elder son Richard, (fn. 110) but Quidhampton seems to have been assigned to John, who in the beginning of the 14th century engaged in a dispute with the Abbot of Waverley about the right of the abbey to 50 acres of land and 100 acres of pasture in Quidhampton. (fn. 111) This dispute was finally concluded in the abbot's favour in 1312. (fn. 112) John de Syfrewast was returned as holding the vill of Quidhampton in 1316, (fn. 113) and remained seised of it until about 1340, when it was taken into the king's hands by the sheriff (fn. 114) for certain felonies and misdeeds committed by him and his sons Roger and William in Buckinghamshire in 1334. (fn. 115) He died soon afterwards, and was succeeded by his son Roger who was holding half a fee in Quidhampton in 1346. (fn. 116) From Roger the manor passed to his son Godfrey de Syfrewast, who in 1377 sold it to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 117) From this date the manor followed the same descent as Deane (q.v. supra) until 1584, in which year Richard Fiennes and Constance his wife sold it to Michael Renneger, Archdeacon of Winchester, (fn. 118) who died seised of a capital messuage, 44 acres of pasture, 12 acres of meadow, 160 acres of land and a pasture called Poultons in Overton, Quidhampton and Polhampton in 1609, leaving a son and heir Michael. (fn. 119) Michael soon afterwards made over all his right in the premises to Thomas Elye, who died seised of one-third of the manor of Quidhampton, and the reversion of the other twothirds after the death of Margery Renneger widow of Michael Renneger, Archdeacon of Winchester, in 1615, leaving a son and heir John, (fn. 120) who died in 1630 and was buried at Overton. (fn. 121) The further history of the manor is somewhat uncertain. George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye, afterwards Lord Rivers, dealt with the manor by recovery in 1743 and 1773 respectively. (fn. 122) It next passed to Henry Ellis St. John, son of a cousin of Sir Henry Paulet St. John, (fn. 123) who sold it in 1813 to John Portal. (fn. 124) On the death of John Portal in 1848 it passed with Laverstoke to his son Melville Portal, and from this date it has followed the same descent as Laverstoke (q.v.), the present owner being Sir William Wyndham Portal, bart.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were two mills in the manor of Quidhampton. (fn. 125) One of them apparently soon fell into ruin, but in the 14th-century obedientiary rolls of St. Swithun's there is frequent mention of the other, the tithes of which were confirmed to the almoner of St. Swithun's by John Syfrewast. (fn. 126) The site of this one is probably marked by the present Quidhampton Mill.
At an early date there was also another holding in QUIDHAMPTON sometimes called a manor. In 1281 Martin Senche granted a life-interest in the manor of Quidhampton and two messuages, 126½ acres of meadow and 7 acres of wood in Polhampton and Ashe to Robert de Ynmore and Joan his wife, (fn. 127) and cen years later recovered his seisin of common of pasture in Quidhampton belonging to his free tenement in that vill from Walter de Derneford and Joan his wife, William Cotenays, Walter Garlik and Roger de Sidemanton. (fn. 128) It seems likely that this tenement was subsequently purchased by the Syfrewasts and then followed the same descent as the manor of Quidhampton, for in 1346 Roger Syfrewast was returned as holding half a knight's fee in Quidhampton which had belonged to Walter de Derneford, (fn. 129) and it is probable either that Martin Senche had originally acquired the property from Walter de Derneford or that it subsequently passed to Walter from Martin.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel 39 ft. 5 in. by 15 ft., north vestry, nave 56 ft. by 15 ft. 9 in., north aisle 8 ft. 8 in. and south aisle 8 ft. 7 in. wide, south porch and west tower, internal measurements.
About 1180 the church had a nave of three bays with narrow aisles and a chancel; it is probable that the building consisted originally of an aisleless nave and chancel. The chancel was entirely rebuilt and enlarged about 1250, being made equal in width to the nave; the aisles were perhaps widened at the same time, and again rebuilt in the 14th century, being lengthened eastward. Late in the 15 th century a west tower was built outside the west end of the church, probably to the west of an earlier tower, which was then destroyed and the nave arcades and aisles carried westward to join the new tower. The chancel also was lengthened eastward, perhaps at this time; the eastern quoins are, however, of 13th-century masonry, and being numbered are clearly re-used work.
This tower has been pulled down and rebuilt from the foundations in 1908. A 16th-century east window of the chancel was replaced by one of poor design in 1850, and those of the aisles were renewed, and in 1897 the east window of the chancel was again altered and the side windows of the aisles repaired.
The east window has three lights with tracery of late 14th-century character; the former east window (displaced in the 19th century) was of three plain lights with four-centred heads; it is shown in an old sketch hanging in the vestry. The north-west window dates from about 1250 and has two trefoiled lights with soffit cusps and over them a quatrefoil, it is now unglazed and looks into the organ chamber and vestry.
The north-east and south-east windows are of the same character but shorter; only their inner jambs are old, and they must have been moved eastward at the lengthening of the chancel: a window of two plain four-centred lights was formerly at the south-east. In the last restoration the old return stones of the former east end are said to have been found below the north-east window. On the edge of the window ledge is carved a black-letter inscription: ' Hic jacet do' Will[el]ms savage quondā rector istius ecclesie cuius a[nim]ae p[ro]picietur deus amen.' The south-west window is apparently early 14-th-century work repaired and to the east of it is a priest's doorway with a pointed head showing little trace of age. To the west of the window is exposed a short length of rebated jamb stone; this from its position appears to be the remains of a low side window blocked when the aisle was lengthened eastwards.
The organ stands under a modern arch on the north of the chancel; the organ chamber being divided up to form a vestry is lighted by windows to the north and east. It has two west doorways, one from the north aisle and one from the churchyard.
The chancel arch is of modern stonework; it has chamfered jambs and an arch of two orders, the inner springing from corbels. The nave arcades are of four bays a side, the first three of late 12th-century date and the fourth a late 15th-century addition. The former have round columns and half-round responds with double-roll bases on square sub-bases and scalloped capitals; the abaci are grooved and hollow-chamfered; the capitals of the east responds are modern, others are partly restored; the arches are of a single chamfered order with a hollow-chamfered label, except that at the south-east which has been rebuilt and heightened, probably when a rood-loft with a stair on the south was set up. It has two chamfered orders stilted at the springing. The 12th-century work is of very late character, all tooling being vertical, and the section of the label being very advanced; it is little if at all earlier than 1200. The west bays of the arcades have jambs of two chamfered orders with moulded bases and capitals and two-centred arches of two hollow-chamfered orders.
The north aisle has an east window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil of 13th-century style over the vestry door; the first three of the four north windows are modern outside but have old stonework inside; each is of two ogee trefoiled lights with half quatrefoils over, in a square head; the fourth window has old jambs only, the rest being modern; between the third and fourth windows is a late 15th-century blocked doorway with a four-centred head. The west window is modern with some re-used 13th-century masonry.
The east and three south windows of the south aisle are all modern; the former has two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil above in a two-centred head; the latter have two ogee trefoiled lights and semiquatrefoils above on square heads; the south entrance (to the west of the third window) has a modern doorway of 12th-century style. The wooden door is an ancient one in two leaves with old ironwork, probably of 15th-century workmanship. The aisle has been lengthened westward in 1908 to form a baptistery, and several bits of 12 th, 13 th, and 14th-century detail have been here fixed against the walls.
The new tower is of stone, a great deal of old detail of 13th and 15th-century dates being re-used. It is designed to carry a shingled spire. The former tower had a stone base and lower story, but the upper part was boarded and it had a timber spire. The south porch is of stone with a small window on either side and a pointed south archway, all of modern date.
The chancel roof is a very interesting piece of 13th-century woodwork, contemporary with its walls: it has two simple tie-beams with a boss of characteristic foliage in the middle of the soffit and a hollow-moulded plate stopped at the east ends with foliage. The rafters are trussed with collars and arched braces, and pairs of struts from the braces to the collars. The early work must have been copied at the lengthening of the chancel, and in the plates there is some evidence of this.
The nave roof also has old trussed rafters and tiebeams, but these are probably not older than the date of its west bay: the aisles have lean-to roofs which are modern.
The altar table, font and other furniture are modern, but part of what may have been a 12th-century font, with interlacing work on the bowl, is now in the baptistery. There are no old monuments in the church.
There are six bells, one added in 1908. Of the others the second is inscribed 'God be our guyd R. B. 1609'; the treble has the same inscription and date, but the latter has been reversed and reads '1909'; the third is by Henry Knight, 1663, the fourth by R. and W. Cor of Aldbourne, 1710, and the fifth by Henry Knight, 1692.
The plate consists of a silver chalice and paten of 1676; a silver flagon of 1762 inscribed 'The gift of the Rev. Richard White M.A. to this parish 1762,' and a silver alms plate given by Susannah Spier in 1764.
The registers begin in 1621, the earliest being entered upon loose sheets of vellum mounted on paper and now carefully bound; they contain baptisms from that date to 1680, marriages 1628 to 1675, and burials 1669 to 1677; but having been long unbound there are naturally several gaps from lost sheets. The second bound volume has baptisms from 1678 to 1765, marriages 1680 to 1748, and burials 1685 to 1791; the third has marriages from 1754 to 1812, and the fourth baptisms and burials 1766 to 1802.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were two churches in Overton, (fn. 130) representing respectively the parish church of Overton and the dependent chapel of Tadley. The living from an early date was a sinecure, the Bishop of Winchester presenting the rector, and the rector in his turn presenting a vicar to serve the cure. (fn. 131) Owing to this circumstance there was a dispute about the advowson in 1657 between Thomas Andrew, the purchaser of the manor under the ordinances for the sale of the bishops' lands, and the Lord Protector. (fn. 132) Thomas Andrew, asserting that the rector of Overton had the cure of souls and that the vicar merely assisted him in the exercise of his spiritual functions, based his claim to the advowson on the Act of Parliament passed 20 April 1649, which enacted that the respective purchasers of the manors and lordships of the archbishops and bishops, their heirs and assigns, should be and were thereby made, constituted and adjudged lawful patrons of the respective advowsons and benefices with cure within any of the manors and lordships by them purchased and which should thereafter be purchased. Thus on the death of the rector Michael Parkhurst he presented Thomas Kentish to the rectory, who in his turn presented his brother James Kentish to the vicarage. (fn. 133) The depositions of witnesses were taken at Overton on 8 April 1659 to decide whether the rectory was with or without cure, and from their evidence it is clearly apparent that it was without cure. (fn. 134) Thus one of the witnesses, referring to the time when there was a vicar of Overton ' whom they called Sir Roger who by reason of age and insufficiency could not preach,' stated that the rector even then did not serve the cure, and the other witnesses who deposed that the former rector Michael Parkhurst and his predecessor Lawrence Jackson sometimes preached, yet nevertheless gave it as their opinion that they did so of their own free will, ' in a conscientious way as receiving benefit from the place. (fn. 135) The rectory continued to be a sinecure until 1896, in which year the Rev. George Covey Stenning was appointed the first rector, and was regularly inducted as rector and vicar.
The rector has in his possession three leases of the glebe and tithes made on lives dated respectively 17 March 1800, 10 January 1815 and 1 February 1838, which are interesting inasmuch as they all contain the proviso that the lessee should entertain for not more than two nights, and on not more than eight occasions in the year, the rector with his man and horses when he should come to take duty on Sunday.
A curious case of sanctuary is recorded in William of Wykeham's register in connexion with the church of Overton. (fn. 136) On a Sunday evening about Michaelmas 1390 a stranger John Bentley was in the church at evensong, and was asked by someone if he was a thief or a robber. He replied that he was neither, but had had the misfortune to kill a man, and went out into the churchyard. While talking with a certain Robert Dingle who was standing by the open south gate, a shoemaker of Overton, Geoffrey by name, suddenly pushed him from behind out of the churchyard into the highway. Bentley struggled to re-enter, but the villagers dragged him away, put him in the stocks, and afterwards took him to Winchester Gaol. The case was reported to the bishop, who issued a commission to his official, in conjunction with the Prior of St. Swithun's and the Abbot of Hyde, to punish the offenders and compel them to replace Bentley in sanctuary. At the same time the bishop petitioned the king for Bentley's discharge from gaol. (fn. 137) The outcome of the case is not to be gathered from the register.
Among distinguished rectors of Overton were Hugh Oldham, afterwards Bishop of Exeter, the founder of Manchester Grammar School, the divine and scholar John Claymond, Nicholas Claggett, afterwards Bishop of Exeter, and Dr. Richard Russell, the grandfather of Mary Russell Mitford. Robert Lowth, afterwards Bishop of London, and John Hoadley the youngest son of Benjamin Hoadley, Bishop of Winchester, were instituted vicars of Overton in 1735 and 1746 respectively.
There was a church in Polhampton in 1086, (fn. 138) but it no longer existed in the 13th century. (fn. 139) William de Horwode, however, lord of the manor of Polhampton, about 1340 built a chapel in East Polhampton in honour of the Virgin Mary to take its place, and in 1343 obtained licence from the king to alienate 3 virgates of land and pasture for 6 mares, 6 cows, 6 swine and 1 50 sheep in East Polhampton to the perpetual vicar of the church of St. Mary Overton, to find a chaplain to celebrate divine service there twice daily. (fn. 140) All trace of this chapel is now lost. There was also from a very early date a chapel at Quidhampton, the cost of which was defrayed by the almoner of St. Swithun's out of the tithes coming from Quidhampton. From the obedientiary rolls of St. Swithun's we learn that the chaplain in the 14th century received sometimes £1 10s. 4d. a year, and at other times £1 4s. only. (fn. 141) The clerk received 3s. or 4s. a year, (fn. 142) while the expense of wax ranged from 1s. 1d. to 2s. 4d. a year. (fn. 143) The chapel books were bound at a cost of 5s. and a bell bought for 3d. in 1319, (fn. 144) 3s. 4d. was spent on the chancel in 1438, (fn. 145) while the total sum spent in repairing the chapel in 1515 was £6 16s. 4d. (fn. 146) By the 17th century it was desecrated, as appears from the following extract from a Parliamentary Survey: ' The aforesaid chappell of Quidhampton is altogether ruined, and noe minister hath officiated therein for many years past.' (fn. 147) It is now part of the farm buildings on the Manor Farm. Its east wall has gone, but the other three walls remain, built of flints set in herring-bone fashion, and having no wrought stonework at the angles, doorway or windows. It was doubtless plastered over within and without. The original doorway, now blocked, is in the south wall, a plain roundarched opening with a label of flints, and just to the east are the jambs of a little window, which was probably round-headed at first, but now ends square. In the north wall are traces of a similar window, and on the outer face of the west wall. The simplicity of the detail suggests though it does not prove an early date, but the chapel may belong to the end of the 11th century. After years of neglect ic is now cared for and kept structurally sound. The tithes and glebe of Quidhampton on the dissolution of the abbey were granted to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. (fn. 148) They were leased on lives from very ancient times, and the last lease is now fallen in.
St. Mary's Hall, erected in 1901 by the rector, is used for parish purposes and will hold 160 persons.
In 1662 Cornelius Dowse by will left 10s. a year for the repair of the church. The rent-charge has been redeemed by the transfer to the official trustees of £16 13s. 4d. consols producing 8s. 4d. a year.
In 1811 Thomas Streatwells, by will proved in the P.C.C., left £100, the interest to be distributed among forty poor families resident in Overton and Southington in bread on the first Sunday in January.
In 1817 Mrs. Mary Streatwells, widow of the said Thomas Streatwells, by her will proved in the P.C.C., left £100 upon the like trusts for other forty poor families in the same places. The trust funds now consist of. £195 8s. 7d. consols, producing yearly £4 17s. 8d., which is distributed in bread to about 110 people.
In 1848 John Jago by deed gave £600 consols, the dividends to be applied in the distribution of clothing to twenty poor men and twenty poor women in alternate years. The dividends, amounting to £15 a year, are duly applied.
The same donor gave £400 consols towards the endowment of the National School.
In 1869 George Lamb by deed gave £120 consols or prizes at the National School.
'Corrie's Trust,' founded by will of Mrs. Martha Corrie, proved 1877, consists of £188 14s. 7d. consols, the dividends, amounting to £4 14s. 4d., being applicable under scheme of 23 November 1877 for repairs of school and school-house.
In 1904 Charles Farmer by will, proved at London on 28 April, bequeathed his residuary estate to the minister and churchwardens of Overton to be disposed of by them for the benefit of aged widows and widowers of the parish. The net residue, amounting to, £362 1s. 4d., was invested in the purchase of £411 7s. 7d. Guaranteed 2¾ per cent. (Irish Land) Stock, producing yearly £11 6s. 2d., which, under the provisions of a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 12 June 1906, is applicable in the payment of a pension to an aged poor widow or widower of the parish.
The several sums of stocks are held by the official trustees.