A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Penitone (xi cent.); Penintona (xii cent.); Penyton Meysi, Penitune Meysi (xiii cent.); Penyngton Meysy (xiv cent.); Pennyngton Mewsey (xvii cent.).
The total area of the parish of Penton Mewsey is
1,059 acres, of which 822 acres are arable, 175 acres
permanent grass and 46 acres woods and plantations. (fn. 1)
The soil is light, the subsoil chalk, and there are
several chalk-pits. (fn. 2) The principal crops are wheat,
barley, oats and turnips. The height of the parish
above sea level averages about 250 ft., and rarely
reaches more than 300 ft. The following description
of the place is by the Rev. R. H. Clutterbuck, F.S.A.,
who was rector here from 1890 until his death in
1896, and made useful contributions to the history of
'Penton Mewsey is built along the bottom of a little tongueshaped valley running nearly north and south, the slopes of which are much sharper when facing to the west than to the east. This valley is stopped at its southern end by the line of hill which projects into the basin of the Anton, which is best known from the fair held on its crest at Weyhill. At the foot of this line of hills lies the course of the little stream, a tributary of the Anton, which though now generally dry at Penton makes itself conspicuous at the "Perills" at Charlton and joins the other branch of the river in the water-meadows at Enham Knights. A small pond, never dry, but to which cling traditions of occasional disagreeable behaviour, marks the spring, and as a general rule keeps to itself the representative character, as if it personified the stream which doubtless attracted the Saxon landholders to its banks.' (fn. 3)
Penton Lodge, the seat of the lord of the manor, Major Francis Richard Hugh Seymour Sutton, J.P., lies to the south-east of the village in a park of 70 acres. In the park is a tumulus, and there is another in the extreme south of the parish.
A road, known at various stages as Chalkcroft Lane, Harroway Lane and Short Lane, runs due north and south and forms the village street, crossing at right angles the road from Weyhill to Charlton, which skirts the south side of Penton Park, and meeting the high road from Andover to Devizes.
The following place-names in Penton Mewsey are mentioned in early documents: 'le Hangere' (xiv cent.) (fn. 4); 'Brokeslade,' 'le Hethhows,' 'Symone hostilers,' 'le Queenes tenement' (xv cent.) (fn. 5); 'Smaleherepathe,' 'Langelonde,' 'la Dene,' 'la Marliere.' (fn. 6)
The manor of PENTON MEWSEY, which before the Conquest had been held by Osmund as an alod of King Edward, was at the time of the Domesday Survey in the possession of Turald, who held of Roger de Montgomery Earl of Shrewsbury. (fn. 7) Like the estate in Houghton, afterwards known as Houghton Drayton, which in 1086 was held by the same Turald of the Earl of Shrewsbury, (fn. 8) Penton Mewsey subsequently formed parcel of the honour of Gloucester. Thus in the Testa de Nevill Robert de Meysey is entered as holding half a knight's fee there of that honour. (fn. 9) Again, after the death of Robert de Meysey his lands in Penton were at first taken into the hands of the king, (fn. 10) who was at that time custodian of the lands of Gilbert de Clare, late Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 11) but were in 1233 restored to his nephew and namesake Robert de Meysey, of whom he had held them. (fn. 12) The Assize Roll of 1280 confirms the evidence of the Testa de Nevill, (fn. 13) and at the death of Gilbert de Clare seventh Earl of Gloucester in 1295 Richard de Meysey held of him a fee in 'Peninton by Andever.' (fn. 14)
The overlordship continued with the Earls of Gloucester and Hertford and their descendants, the Earls of Stafford and the Dukes of Buckingham, until the latter part of the 15th century, when the right fell into abeyance. (fn. 15)
The fee was held by the Meyseys of the honour of Gloucester until the end of the 13th century, (fn. 16) when it passed to the baronial family of St. Maur, by reason, doubtless, of the marriage of Nicholas de St. Maur, who died in 1316, with Eve de Meysey, an heiress. (fn. 17) The manor was held of the heirs of this house at first as intermediate lords, and afterwards as overlords, as late as 1610. (fn. 18)
Subinfeudation appears to have taken place at an early date. The Robert who held Penton in 1167 (fn. 19) was perhaps a Meysey, and from the Close Roll of 1233 it appears that at that time Robert de Meysey was holding of his nephew and namesake. Who was his immediate successor is uncertain, but the estate appears split up among various owners shortly after this date.
In 1256 Roger de Leyston and Nichola his wife granted a virgate and 10 acres of land in Penton Mewsey to Henry de Harnhill and Joan his wife, (fn. 20) who may have been the Lady Joan of Harnhill whom Walter le Munck calles 'his lady' in an undated charter. (fn. 21) Three years later the same Roger and Nichola conveyed to Walter le Gras and Agnes the eighth part of a knight's fee in Penton Mewsey. To this transaction Robert de Meysey was a witness. (fn. 22) In 1274 Walter le Gras granted John Hundeshayward and Maud his wife a messuage and pasture land formerly held from Lady Maud de Seyntebeide. (fn. 23) The subsequent history of this estate has not been ascertained, nor is it clear who was Lady de Seyntebeide, though she may have been the wife of one of the Meyseys remarried. It seems probable, however, that this holding came into the possession of Robert de Harnhill, who was holding part of the vill in 1316. (fn. 24)
In 1278 Robert Durdant granted to Thomas le Rychet (le Riche) of Andover and Alice his wife the daughter of Robert certain lands and tenements with the advowson. (fn. 25) This was not the whole of the Durdants' holding in Penton Mewsey, for in 1293 Nicholas Durdant died seised of land there held of the fee of Robert de Meysey. (fn. 26) In 1316 a part of the vill was held by Alice, late the wife of Thomas le Riche, (fn. 27) and six years later Thomas le Riche granted his estate in Penton Mewsey to Henry de Harnhill tor life. (fn. 28) This must at some time have been made an absolute sale, for the Riches appear no more as holding land here and the Harnhills were evidently acquiring all the land held of the Meysey fee. (fn. 29) In 1323 Robert de Harnhill was returned as having died seised of a messuage, garden and curtilage in Penton Mewsey with the advowson, rents of assize and perquisites of court, (fn. 30) and twenty years later his son Henry de Harnhill by a fine with Geoffrey de Weston, parson of Harnhill, settled the manor and advowson on himself, with remainder to John de Wynton and Joan his wife, and the heirs of her body, with remainder in default to Sir John de Stonor and the heirs male of his body. (fn. 31) Sir John de Stonor was the son of Sir Richard de Stonor, who had married Margaret daughter and heir of Sir John de Harnhill. (fn. 32) Henry de Harnhill must have died very soon after making this settlement, for in 1346 John de Wynton was, with Richard Peverell, returned as holding Robert de Harnhill's half-fee. (fn. 33) Edmund de Stonor son of Sir John (fn. 34) was lord of the manor in 1373, (fn. 35) and his son John (fn. 36) died seised thereof in 1383, (fn. 37) being succeeded by his brother, Sir Ralph Stonor, who died seised in 1395. (fn. 38) Gilbert the son and heir of Sir Ralph apparently died young without issue and was succeeded by his brother Thomas, who enfeoffed Thomas Chaucer of Ewelme (co. Oxon.) and others of the manor, (fn. 39) and died in 1430. (fn. 40) This Thomas Chaucer, who held a quarter of a fee in Penton Mewsey in 1431, (fn. 41) in the following year with John Golafre, John Warefelde and Thomas Bardesley granted the manor to Alice widow of Thomas Stonor. (fn. 42) The Stonors appear to have made this the chief of their Hampshire manors, for in a grant of Shipton Bellinger, dated in 1504, the latter is said to be held of Thomas Stonor as of his manor of Penton Mewsey. (fn. 43) Sir William Stonor, grandson of Thomas, died seised of the manor in 1494. (fn. 44) His mother Joan died shortly afterwards. (fn. 45) The death, in his infancy and childless, of John Stonor, Sir William's son and heir, led to dissensions. The real heir was Anne Stonor, only daughter of Sir William and wife of Adrian Fortescue; but Thomas Stonor, brother of Sir William, claimed certain estates by virtue of an alleged settlement in tail male. In the statute by which the dispute was brought to a close (fn. 46) there is no mention of Penton Mewsey, but in an undated Chancery bill Sir Adrian Fortescue and his wife are found claiming evidences concerning the manor of Penton Mewsey and other premises which had been entrusted to Thomas Hobbes, warden of All Souls' College, by Sir William Stonor. (fn. 47) In 1536, however, all rights were quitclaimed to Sir Walter Stonor, son and heir of Thomas the disputant. (fn. 48) In 1559 Elizabeth widow of Sir Walter Stonor, together with Francis Stonor, heir of Sir Walter, sold the reversion of the manor and advowson of Penton Mewsey to Walter Loveden of Fyfield (co. Berks.), who died seised in 1580. (fn. 49) A year later his son, Walter Loveden, died so seised, leaving a brother and heir, John Loveden, aged seventeen, (fn. 50) and very shortly afterwards the premises passed to Francis Culpepper of Hollingbourne (co. Kent), who died seised thereof in 1590, leaving a son and heir John. (fn. 51) From the inquest held after the death of John Culpepper, who died in 1607, it appears that he held the manor in chief as of the inheritance of Thomas Seymour, and a messuage and carucate of land, later belonging to William Peverell, as of the honour of Gloucester. There was also a yearly rent-charge of £30 reserved to Francis Stonor and his heirs for ever. (fn. 52) In 1654 Thomas Allen of Ewelme (co. Oxon.) petitioned against the sequestration of this rent for the recusancy of the late William Stonor, having purchased the same for £400 of Thomas Stonor his son. (fn. 53) Sir Thomas Culpepper son of John (fn. 54) died seised of the manor in 1639, leaving a son and heir John, aged five. (fn. 55) Data for the immediate subsequent history of the manor are lacking, but it eventually became the property of the Pollens of Andover, who rose to prominence in the neighbourhood towards the end of the 17th century. John Pollen presented to the living in 1678, (fn. 56) and one may presume he was also at that date lord of the manor. In 1721 Edward Pollen was vouched to a recovery, (fn. 57) but in the following year, with his son and heir John Pollen, he sold the manor and advowson to Sir Philip Meadows of Chute (co. Wilts.), (fn. 58) knight marshal of the household, who died in 1767 and was succeeded by his son Sydney Meadows, holder of the same office. (fn. 59) Sir Sydney Meadows died in 1792 and left all his real property to his eldest nephew Evelyn Meadows, (fn. 60) with whose heirs (fn. 61) it remained until about 1886, when it passed from Mr. William Henry Meadows to Major (then Captain) Francis Richard Hugh Seymour Sutton, the present lord of the manor.
Disconnected references to the Peverells as holding land here for at least two centuries are found, but the statements as to how they held it are contradictory. In 1316 John Peverell was one of the three holders of the vill, (fn. 62) and eight years later his wood of Penton Mewsey in the forest of Chute and Finkley, taken into the king's hand for trespass of vert and venison, was ordered to be replevied to him. (fn. 63) In 1346 Richard Peverell appears as sharing Penton Mewsey with John de Wynton. (fn. 64) The name occurs no more in the 'Feudal Aids' in connexion with this place, but in 1362 Sir Henry Peverell died seised of a messuage and a carucate of land there which he held of the king in chief by service of 8s. and two quarters of salt, (fn. 65) and in 1505 Thomas Peverell son and heir of William Peverell died seised of the same premises, held of the king as of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 66) He left an infant son and heir William, who apparently parted with the estate, for John Culpepper, who died lord of the manor in 1607, also possessed a carucate of land which had lately belonged to William Peverell, and was said to be held by knights' service of the king as of his honour of Gloucester. (fn. 67)
The church of HOLY TRINITY has a chancel 24 ft. 5 in. by 16 ft. 4 in., nave 39 ft. 5 in. by 19 ft. 10 in., north transept 17 ft. 3 in. wide by 13 ft. 6 in., and a south porch, all inside measurements.
The building dates from about 1340 to 1350, and the transept and south porch are modern additions. The south wall of the chancel is thinner than the rest, having been rebuilt. Before the restoration of the church in 1888 the present north window of the chancel was in the east wall; it was put back where it now is (probably its original position), and a new east window inserted, the wall being more or less rebuilt at the same time. The roofs of the church were damaged by fire in 1889 and renewed, some of the old timber being re-used.
The east window of the chancel has three cinquefoiled lights and a traceried head. The north window is of two cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights under a twocentred arch filled with elaborate flowing tracery, and that opposite to it in the south is similar but of less depth inside to suit the thinner wall. West of this window is set a doorway with a peculiar pointed angular head; it has a sunk chamfer with a roll on the inside face and soffit stopping on moulded bases above the floor; these bases appear to be capitals reversed; the whole doorway is evidently a make-up of earlier material. It is now blocked on the inside by an organ which fills up the south-west angle of the chancel.
The chancel arch is plain and narrow, of two chamfered orders dying on the jambs, which have a single chamfer stopped out below. The transept opens to the nave by a wide modern arch of like detail, and is lighted by windows in its east and north walls, both of two lights under a traceried head. The old north doorway of the nave is now blocked; it has chamfered jambs and a two-centred arch outside, and a plain chamfered rear arch. The north-west window is a modern one of two lights with a quatrefoil over. The south-east window is original and has two trefoiled ogee-headed lights with a quatrefoil over in the two-centred head, a plain external label and two-centred rear arch. In its east jamb is a small trefoiled piscina recess with a stone shelf and a round drain on the level of the window-sill. The south doorway is also original, and has two continuous wave-moulded orders with a three-quarter hollow between them; the head is two-centred and has a plain label. The west window is of 14th-century detail but a good deal repaired; it has three cinquefoiled lights, the middle one ogeeheaded, with flowing tracery, and a two-centred arch with a plain label. Over the west wall is an original bell-cote with two pointed openings under gabled heads flanked by gabled buttresses, with additional buttresses on the north and south, a pretty and unusual design; in it are hung two modern bells. The south porch is a modern one of wood.
The walling is of faced flint with large ashlar quoins; the east wall of the chancel is of chequer work of flint and stone. All the facing is modern, except that of the north wall of the chancel. A chamfered stone plinth runs all round, except for a short distance on the west of the south porch, where a blocked opening can be traced, perhaps a doorway to a former gallery. There is a sundial on the southwest angle of the nave.
The roofs are gabled; they are plaster barrel vaulted below. In the chancel are two tie-beams visible and in the nave three trusses with old timbers; these have arched (two-centred) principals following the line of the ceiling and curved struts to the king posts, set parallel to the principals, above the cambered tie-beams.
The font is octagonal and contemporary with the church, and has a pair of trefoiled arches on each face, the upper and lower edge of the bowl being moulded; the stem has a hollow profile with a moulded necking, and the base is also moulded.
The altar rails have 18th-century twisted balusters, and at the west end of the nave is a 17th-century chest; the rest of the church furniture is modern.
In the south-east window of the nave are a few fragments of original glass, in red, gold and white diaper patterns on a dark background.
The plate consists of a silver chalice of 1713, given by Edward Grace in 1714, a silver paten of 1714, and a silver alms plate of 1828, given by Caroline Willis in 1835.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms, marriages and burials mixed from 1642 to 1677, and a few briefs for 1660 and later; the second also has mixed entries from 1673 to 1743; the third continues the baptisms and burials from 1744 to 1812 and the marriages to 1754; the fourth has the marriages from 1754 to 1812.
In the rectory is an old handbell inscribed, 'Sit nomen domini Benedictum, Ao 1555.'
Penton Mewsey Church is mentioned in Domesday Book. (fn. 68) In 1278 Robert Durdant granted the advowson to Thomas le Riche and Alice his wife, (fn. 69) and Thomas subsequently presented. (fn. 70) The advowson went with the manor until about 1734, (fn. 71) when Joshua Strother, clerk, presented, Sir Philip Meadows having presented in 1732. Joshua Strother was again presenting in 1736, Barbara Strother in 1762, Edward Fulham in 1790 and John Constable in 1832. (fn. 72) Shortly after this last date the advowson passed to the Rev. W. Dodson and was held in turn by the Rev. Christopher and the Rev. P. A. Dodson. Thence it passed about 1876 to the Rev. Thomas Hargreaves, and about 1881 to the Rev. Meyrick Onslow Alison. Both the last-named were also incumbents. Major Sutton, the present patron and lord of the manor, acquired the right about 1886.
The school was erected by subscription in 1876, for 80 children.
John Read's Charity for education and other purposes was founded by will in 1651. In 1905 the sum of £9 was received from the Carpenters' Company, London. By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 8 September 1903, made under the Board of Education Act 1899, two third parts of such net annual income were determined as the Educational Foundation of John Read. Payment of £6 a year is made to the school, 13s. 4d. to the rector for a sermon on 5 November, at which this part of the donor's will is to be read, and the balance to the poor of this parish and Weyhill.
In 1876 the Rev. Henry Powney by will left £150 for the benefit of the poor. A portion of the principal sum was expended on blankets for the poor and the remainder in enlarging the parish schools. The amount replaced is represented by £120 17s. 4d. consols with the official trustees, producing yearly £3 0s. 4d., which is applied in the distribution of coal.