Parishes: Plaitford

Pages 542-543

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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Pleiteford (xi cent.); Playteford, Playdeford, Pleyford (xiii cent.); Playtfourth (xv cent.).

Plaitford, which formed part of Wiltshire until 1895, contains 5 acres of land covered with water and 1,323 acres of land, of which 382 acres are arable, 247¼ permanent grass and 136½ woodland. (fn. 1)

The River Blackwater flows through Plaitford from west to east, and the parish is generally low-lying, reaching nowhere a greater height than 140 ft.

The original village of Plaitford, with the church, rectory, manor farm and pound, lies to the north of the River Blackwater, but the chief part of the population is now collected near the Southampton and Salisbury high road, which crosses the parish from east to west more than half a mile south of the church. Plaitford Green is a small district in the north of the parish.

Plaitford Wood and Boulder Wood in the north form the chief part of the woodland. Plaitford Common, which occupies all the southern portion of the parish, consists chiefly of rough grass land, and contains little timber. The soil is sand, gravel and clay, and is favourable to the growth of timber. Part of Whiteparish was transferred to Plaitford in 1885. (fn. 2)


The manor of PLAITFORD was held of the king in chief for the service of keeping the park of Melchet. (fn. 3) At the time of the Domesday Survey it was held as 2 virgates of land by Edmund, and a virgate of this estate had been held before the Conquest by Algar. (fn. 4) Edmund was almost certainly the son of Aiulf, who held West Grimstead at the time of the Survey, and the Edmund son of Aiulf who held 'Bredford' at the same date, (fn. 5) for Plaitford afterwards became a member of the manor of West Grimstead. (fn. 6) The manor subsequently passed to the family called de Grimstead, who took their name from their chief manor of West Grimstead (co. Wilts.). Both manors probably passed to them by descent from Edmund son of Aiulif for in 1166 Richard de Grimstead stated that he held no knights of the ancient enfeoffment in the time of Henry I nor of the new enfeoffment after his death, but that he held his demesne for the service of one knight's fee of the king. (fn. 7) Richard de Grimstead paid aid for this fee from 1160 until 1171–2. (fn. 8) Walter de Grimstead, who held land in Wiltshire from 1186, was probably the successor of Richard. (fn. 9) He died about 1213 and his son Richard succeeded. (fn. 10) In 1231 Alice widow of Richard de Grimstead paid a fine for having the custody of Richard's heir, (fn. 11) and in 1233–4 she demised to Nicholas de Haversham for eight years all her dower in Grimstead for the meadows of Widimead, Alderbury and Exmead. (fn. 12) Richard's heir was apparently John de Grimstead, who held one fee in Grimstead (which probably included Plaitford) about 1240. (fn. 13) In 1274–5 John son of William de Grimstead was holding the manor of Plaitford. (fn. 14) He died about 1287–8 and was succeeded by a son Andrew, (fn. 15) who, dying in 1324–5, left a son and heir John. (fn. 16) The latter died in 1338, and the marriage of his widow, Eleanor, was granted in that year to Peter de Beauchamp. (fn. 17) His heir was Adam de Grimstead, his son by his first wife Agnes. (fn. 18) Adam died in 1346, (fn. 19) but the manor had been settled upon his wife Eleanor, (fn. 20) and she held it till her death in 1348. (fn. 21) She had married as a second husband John de Tuberville, but her heir was her son John de Grimstead, (fn. 22) who died in 1361, leaving as his heir Reginald Perot, son of Isabel, sister of Adam de Grimstead, John's father. (fn. 23) Reginald died in 1370, and was succeeded by his son Ralph, then an infant. (fn. 24) Dower consisting of several rooms in Plaitford, rents from various tenants and a third of the profits from the view of frankpledge were assigned to Beatrice widow of Reginald, (fn. 25) Ralph Perot in 1389 released all his claim in the manor to Sir John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 26) and at about the same time Robert Beverley, who had married Beatrice widow of Reginald Perot, (fn. 27) and to whom Edward III had granted the wardship of two-thirds of Reginald Perot's land, likewise released his claim to the earl. (fn. 28) These conveyances were probably made for the purposes of some settlement, for in 1406 Ralph Perot released all his claim to Sir John de Berkley and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 29) From that time the manor followed the same descent as that of Minstead (fn. 30) (q.v. infra) until 1679, when it was sold by Richard Compton to Sir Stephen Fox. (fn. 31) Sir Stephen accompanied Charles in his exile and had charge of all the expenses of the royal household. He was made paymaster of the army in 1661, and in 1679 became one of the lords commissioners of the treasury. He died in 1716, (fn. 32) and the manor passed to his son Stephen, who was created Earl of Ilchester in 1756. (fn. 33) The manor has since descended with the title of Earl of Ilchester. (fn. 34)

Fox. Ermine a cheveron azure with three foxes' heads razed or thereon and a quarter azure with a fleur de lis or.

It was said in 1619 that the steward of Sir Henry Compton's manor of Plaitford, when he held the manor courts, sometimes had sport with greyhounds in Melchet Park, with the allowance of the keeper, (fn. 35) that the commons of Plaitford ' bounded from Deadman's Fowrde to Jennys Path and thence to Blackhedge and to Thruxis Stroud,' and that the common of Rexestround and Deershale belonged to the manor of Plaitford. (fn. 36)

A mill existed at Plaitford at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 37) It is mentioned in 1338–9, (fn. 38) but no further reference to a mill has been found, and none exists in the parish at the present day.

A court roll of the manor for 1385–6 and a rent roll of 1528–9 are preserved at the Public Record Office. (fn. 39)


The church of ST. PETER lies in a hollow close to the Wiltshire border. The building has a continuous chancel and nave 59½ ft. long and 16 ft. 2 in. wide, a south vestry, west gallery, north porch and west bell turret of wood.

The walls of the church are probably of early 13th century date and the vestry appears to have been a small chapel, and now contains the only original window in the church, a small lancet with external chamfer and internal rebate. The walls externally are of flint with ironstone quoins and later patching. Internally there is modern plaster.

The chancel has three grouped lancets on the east wall. The north wall has two single lancets and one double, the south wall the same number, and the west two lancets and a sexfoil.

The north and south doorways have plain pointed heads with a continuous chamfer; the south doorway is now blocked. The south vestry appears to have opened to the church by an arch, now blocked and plastered, and no detail is visible; it has a modern east window, an original lancet on the south and a blocked window on the west. It contains a plain wood chest. A trefoiled piscina and single roundheaded sedile are plastered. The font is a modern restoration from part of a 13th-century font with four spurs on the angles.

The bell is small and modern.

The plate consists of a plated chalice, paten and flagon.

The earliest register comprises the fragments of another book bound up with a printed edition, and contains mixed entries between 1710 and 1778; the printed section contains baptisms and burials 1781 to 1812. There is a printed marriage and banns book, 1764 to 1810.


Plaitford was a chapelry annexed to the church of West Grimstead (fn. 40) until 1866, when it was declared a rectory (fn. 41) in the gift of the Earl of Ilchester. The advowson seems to have passed with the manor until 1361, when it was sold with the manor of West Grimstead by John de Grimstead to John de Bettesthorn, (fn. 42) who died in 1399, when it passed to his daughter Elizabeth wife of Sir John de Berkley. (fn. 43) Sir John acquired the manor in 1406, and the descent of the advowson from that time is identical with that of the manor. (fn. 44)

There are no endowed charities in this parish.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Census of England and Wales (1891), ii, 175.
  • 3. Hund. R. (Rcc. Com.), 11, 242; Chan. Inq. p.m. 44 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 52.
  • 4. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i, 74a.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Chan. Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. II, no. 49.
  • 7. Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Sen), 244.
  • 8. Ibid. 45, 57; Pipe R. 7 Hen. 21 (Pipe R. Soc), 10; 14 Hen. II, 160.
  • 9. Rot. de Oblat. et Fin. (Rec. Com.), 132; Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Sen), 65, 73, 89, 115, 120, 152, 482.
  • 10. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 136.
  • 11. Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 218.
  • 12. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 8761, 9680.
  • 13. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 143.
  • 14. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 242.
  • 15. Cal. Inq. p.m. Edw. I, 416.
  • 16. Chan. Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. II, no. 49.
  • 17. Cal. Pat. 1338–40, pp. 40, 102.
  • 18. Inq. p.m. 12 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 37.
  • 19. Ibid. 20 Edw. III, no. 19.
  • 20. Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 127.
  • 21. Ibid. 435.
  • 22. Ibid.; Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 35.
  • 23. Cal. Close, 36 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 78. Before his death John de Grimstead granted the reversion of the manor of West Grimstead after the death of Eleanor the wife of William de Walkington (and widow of his grandfather, John de Grimstead) to John de Bettesthorn (Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 35 Edw. III). The manor of Plaitford was apparently not included in the sale, although the same year John de Bettesthorn was pardoned for acquiring lands in Plaitford, &c. (Abbrev. Rot. Orig. ii, 268), but the fact that it wa3 a member of West Grimstead seems to have led to some confusion. Thus John de Bettesthorn, who died in 1399, was stated to be seised of the hamlet of Plaitford and the chapel of Plaitford (Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 6). Again, in. 1402 Sir John de Berkley, who had married his daughter and heir Elizabeth, claimed lands and tenements in Plaitford apparently as appurtenant to his manor of West Grimstead (Feud. Aids, v, 229). Sir John de Berkley did not really acquire the manor of Plaitford until 1406.
  • 24. Ibid. 44 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 52.
  • 25. Close, 44 Edw. III, m. 6; Chan. Inq. p.m. 44 Edw. III, add. noe. no. 63.
  • 26. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A. 4831, 4819.
  • 27. Tropenell Chart. (Wilts. Arch. Soc), i, 279.
  • 28. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A. 3241.
  • 29. Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 7 Hen. IV.
  • 30. Chan. Inq. p.m. 6 Hen. VI, no. 50; 38 & 39 Hen. VI, no. 57; Cal. Pat. 1476–85, p. 514; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, 478; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xliii, 71; xlviii, 158; lxxii, 105.
  • 31. Feet of F. Wilts. Trin. 31 Chas. II.
  • 32. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 33. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.
  • 34. Recov. R. D. Enr. Trin. 12 Geo. I, m. 16; Recov. R. Hil. 19 Geo. III, rot. 338.
  • 35. Exch. Dep. East. 17 Jas. I, no. 21.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i, 74a.
  • 38. Chan. Inq. p.m. 12 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 37.
  • 39. Ct. R. (P.R.O.), portf. 209, no. 47; Rentals and Surv. portf. 18, no. 62.
  • 40. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 168; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xix, 202; Sir T. Phillipps, Inst. of Clerks for Wilts.; Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 6; Feet of F. Wilts. Trin. 15 Chas. II.
  • 41. Lond. Gaz. 3 Apr. 1866, p. 2215.
  • 42. Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 35 Edw. III.
  • 43. Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 6.
  • 44. Ibid. 6 Hen. VI, no. 50; 38 & 39 Hen. VI, no. 57; Feet of F. Wilts. Trin. 15 Chas. II.