Parishes: Martin

Pages 592-594

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

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In this section


Mertone (x cent.); Meretun (xii cent.); Mertoun (xiii cent.); Martin (xiv cent.).

Martin is a large parish formerly in the hundred of South Damerham (co. Wilts.), but transferred to Hampshire in 1895. (fn. 1) Together with the lately constituted parish of Toyd's Farm and Allenford (fn. 2) (647 acres) it covers an area of 5,213 acres, of which 3,095¼ acres are arable land, 1,719¾ acres permanent grass and only 132½ acres woodland. (fn. 3)

The village street runs north-west and south-east, connecting the high roads to Wimborne Minster and Blandford. In the village, which is on low ground in the south-east of the parish, the ancient market cross stands near Sweetapples Farm. In East Martin, a hamlet east of the village, is Bustard Manor Farm, which belonged in 1835 to Mr. Phelps. (fn. 4) It was purchased about 1889 by Mr. Bentinck from a Mr. Topp, and was sold in 1901 to the Cistercian Fathers of our Lady of Paradise. The Allen River rises near Bustard Farm and flows south through the hamlet of Tidpit.

From the villages of Martin and East Martin, which are about 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, the land rises to the south to a height of 400 ft., even 500 ft. on Tidpit Common Down, where traces of Bokerly Ditch are visible. The other common is Martin Down, in the west of the parish. Excavations of the tumuli on Martin Down were made in 1893–6 by Lieut.-Gen. Pitt Rivers. (fn. 5)

The soil is chalk and gravel and the subsoil chalk. Martin Wood and part of Blagdon Hill Wood are in the south of the parish.


Land at MARTIN formed part of the grant by King Edmund to Athelfleda, (fn. 6) but by the time of the Domesday Survey it was included in the manor of South Damerham (q.v.), with which it has from that time descended. (fn. 7) It is only three times mentioned as a separate manor; once in 1266, when Henry III granted to the Abbots of Glastonbury a weekly Wednesday market in their manor of Martin, and a fair on the eve, day and morrow of the Apostles Peter and Paul, (fn. 8) again in 1332, when Edward III granted a market on Fridays, (fn. 9) and in 1483, when part of the Abbot of Glastonbury's manor of East Martin was granted to the king for the enlargement of his park of Blagdon (co. Dors.). (fn. 10)

The manor of WEST MARTIN probably originated in 1 hide of land in the manor of South Damerham granted by Henry de Solers Abbot of Glastonbury to William son of Elias before 1189. (fn. 11) William subsequently acquired another half-virgate, and the whole estate passed to Peter Elias of Martin. (fn. 12) William de Martin inherited the estate and settled it in 1300–1 as a messuage and a carucate of land upon himself and his wife Isabel. (fn. 13) The estate, to which 2 hides held of Glastonbury in 1189 were annexed before 1400 (fn. 14) by Robert Petevyn, (fn. 15) afterwards passed to the Romseys of Little Damerham, (fn. 16) and from that date followed the descent of Little Damerham (fn. 17) (q.v.).

The 5 hides in the Abbot of Glastonbury's manor of South Damerham (fn. 18) held by Serlo de Burci in 1086 were probably identical with the manor of TIDPIT (Tudeputte, Todeputte, xiii cent.; Tudputte, xvi cent.) which in the middle of the 13th century was held of Glastonbury by Nicholas son of Martin, to whom the whole of Serlo's barony in Somerset had descended. (fn. 19) In 1255 Ralph de Baskerville, who held Tidpit of Nicholas son of Martin, for the service of half a knight's fee, gave it with the consent of Nicholas to the abbey of Glastonbury, (fn. 20) and in 1275 the abbot was holding Tidpit for half a knight's fee of Nicholas son of Martin. (fn. 21) The manor was subsequently held by the abbot in demesne, (fn. 22) and was apparently merged in that of South Damerham (fn. 23) (q.v.).

Roger Petevyn gave 4 acres in the field called TOYD (Twyde or Twohide) to Michael Abbot of Glastonbury (1235–52), (fn. 24) and this was evidently held by the abbot as part of his manor of South Damerham, the descent of which it has followed.


The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel, nave, north chapel, south transept, west tower and south porch. (fn. 25) The earliest church of which there are traces belonged to the first half of the 12th century and parts of the walls of its aisleless nave still stand. Its chancel seems to have been rebuilt and made equal in width to the nave about the middle of the 13th century, and at the same period a west tower was added. The chancel was lengthened eastward early in the 14th century, and the south transept, which was the Lady chapel, dates from c. 1340. The south porch was probably first built in this century.

In the 15th century the north transept was added and the present transept arches inserted, the nave walls being heightened at the same time. In the first part of the 16th century the north transept was enlarged to form the present chapel with the insertion of an arcade of two bays, a new chancel arch being built to the east of the line of its predecessor, with a buttress to support it on the south.

The tower seems to have given trouble from early times, buttresses being added to it in the 14th century, a great part of it rebuilt with a new upper story in the 15th, and late in the 18th century the spire and parapet were added. In modern times the church has been patched and restored but not structurally altered. The quoins of the eastern angles of the chancel are in unusually large stones, but probably are not earlier than the 14th century, and have been reset in modern times.

The east window of the chancel is of early 14th-century date, but its tracery is modern. On the north of the chancel is an original window, c. 1310, of two trefoiled lights with a trefoil over and a scroll label, and on the south are two similar windows with a contemporary priest's doorway between them. West of the north window is a 16th-century fourcentred arch of two moulded orders, opening to the north chapel. The responds have three engaged shafts with badly-fitting plain belled capitals. To the east of the arch is the opening of a squint from the north chapel. The chancel arch, a 16th-century insertion, is of two chamfered orders with semioctagonal responds and crude moulded capitals. At the south-east of the chancel is a piscina with a trefoiled head.

The nave opens at the north-east to the chapel by an arch of the same detail as that in the chancel. West of this is the low two-centred 15th-century arch of the north transept. The nave wall west of the transept is in part of 12th-century date and contains two two-light windows, c. 1500, with modern tracery, and between them the original north doorway, now blocked and partly destroyed, but retaining its square jambs, while its original plain tympanum is set above them in the wall. The head of an original window is also here reset, upside down. At the south-east of the nave is a modern two-light window and above it is part of the hollow chamfered jamb and head of a window of uncertain date. The blocked jambs of the 13th-century south door of the chancel, now within the lines of the nave on account of the 16th-century removal of the chancel arch, are to be seen on the outside of the wall. Between them is set a thick slab of Purbeck marble with figure sculpture, perhaps of 13th-century date, on its upper face, but nearly buried in the walling. Opposite the north transept arch is an exactly similar window opening to the south transept, but not central with it, and evidently inserted for the sake of symmetry, like the transept arches at Sopley Church.

The south door of the nave is much repaired, but perhaps of 14th-century date like the porch. In its jambs some 12th-century stones from the former south door are re-used. Between it and the transept is a late window of two rather crude trefoiled lights with a cambered wooden lintel. The tower arch of two chamfered orders is of late 13th-century date. The inner order has half-round shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Above it, but considerably below the present roof, are the lines of the weather moulding of a former steep-pitched roof.

The three-light east window of the north chapel is 16th-century work, with a four-centred head. On the north wall is a large five-light window of like character set in a recess 4 ft. deep and 12 ft. 10 in. wide, opening to the chapel by an arch of the same date and detail as those towards the chancel and nave. It was probably designed to hold a tomb, but is at present empty. West of this is a small door with a four-centred head, also of 16th-century date, and there is a somewhat earlier window of three lights with rather clumsy tracery in the north wall of the old transept, the junction of which with the later chapel wall is clearly shown by the change in masonry, the later work being banded with regular courses of wrought stone. In the west wall of the transept is a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights and above it a 16th-century window of two uncusped lights.

The south transept is lit by two windows of mid14th-century date. That to the east is of three trefoiled lights with tracery in quatrefoils and trefoils under a square head, and that to the south is of three trefoiled lights with flowing tracery over. At the south-east is a trefoiled piscina of two moulded orders. In the jambs of the east window are remains of contemporary painting with inscriptions proving this to have been the Lady chapel. In the north jamb is part of the Salutation [Ave gr] acia plena, and in the south jamb a small kneeling figure holding a scroll with 'O beata Dei Mat: M [iserere mei].'

The tower is of three stages with an octagonal stone spire with a rather large moulded finial. The parapet is of the same workmanship as the spire, with plain pyramidal pinnacles at the angles, and on the string at the base of the parapet is the date 1787. The belfry windows are of 15th-century date, of two trefoiled lights with tracery over in two-centred heads; this stage of the tower appears to be entirely of this period, and the south-west corner of the lower stages, and the buttresses at the north, north-east, south-east, and south-west, are all 15th-century work, and show how much the tower must have needed repair at the time. The only original 13th-century buttress seems to be that on the south face, while the pair at the north-west and that on the west face seem to be 14th-century additions. There are two west windows in the ground stage, one a square-headed loop, probably original, and the other inserted in the 15th century, with tracery in two trefoiled lights.

The south porch is probably about the same date as the south doorway and has a two-centred outer arch of two chamfered orders; several pieces of waste Purbeck marble are built into its walls, as at Christchurch.

The font is of late 18th-century date. The chancel roof is steep pitched, of 16th-century date, with moulded battens, and was originally intended to be ceiled with plaster, but the ceiling has been removed. The nave roof is of similar date and design, but retains its plaster and has four cambered tie-beams. The chapel roof is like that of the nave, but without tie-beams, and the south transept roof is also of 16th-century date, of pointed barrel form, with moulded plates and ridge, and a tie-beam with a strutted king-post.

In the south transept, which is used as a vestry, is a good early 17th-century table. Some old panels carved in relief with shields bearing the sacred monogram and set in crocketed finialled canopies are worked into the pulpit.

On the diagonal angle buttresses of the south transept, facing south-east and south-west, are incised sundials, the unusual position being notable. In the churchyard to the south of the church is a fine yew tree.

The tower contains three bells.

The plate consists of an Elizabethan silver chalice, undated, and a paten of 1743, given in 1744 by Mrs. Martha Reade.

There are six books of registers. The first contains all entries from 1590 to 1652; the second all entries from 1653 to 1715; the third all entries from 1716 to 1738; the fourth all entries from 1739 to 1796; the fifth baptisms and burials from 1796 to 1812; the sixth marriages from 1754 to 1812.


Martin chapelry was annexed to the church of South Damerham (fn. 26) until 1844, when it was formed into a district chapelry including the tithings of East and West Martin and Tidpit. (fn. 27) It was constituted a vicarage in 1866, (fn. 28) and the living is now in the gift of the vicar of Damerham.

The advowson of the free chapel of Tidpit (fn. 29) was granted in 1255 with the manor by Ralph de Baskerville to the Abbot of Glastonbury, (fn. 30) and after the Dissolution the chapel was granted in 1549–50 to John Barwicke and Robert Freke. (fn. 31) In 1557–8 Richard Audley or Tuchet and his wife Elizabeth sold it to John Webb, (fn. 32) who died seised in 1571, leaving it to his son William. (fn. 33) The chapel has long been destroyed.

According to Aubrey (1659–70) there was a small chapel in the Earl of Shaftesbury's house at Martin paved with tiles bearing the coat and quarterings of Horsey. (fn. 34) The house now occupied by Mr. William Street is traditionally the Earl of Shaftesbury's house at Martin, but the chapel no longer exists. (fn. 35)

The house of Dorothy Harris at Martin was licensed in 1672 for Presbyterian worship. (fn. 36) A Primitive Methodist chapel at Townesend in Martin was registered for marriages in 1873, (fn. 37) and there are now Congregational and Primitive Methodist chapels in the parish.


In 1796 William Tawke, by his will, bequeathed £3,000, the interest to be applied in repair of his family burial-ground, the gallery and large window in the church, and the residue in the support of six old persons. The endowment fund now consists of £4,763 13s. 10d. consols producing £119 1s. 8d. per annum.

In 1888 Thomas Waters, by his will proved 27 January, left £275 consols, the dividends to be distributed on St. Thomas's Day among old people in money, fuel, food or clothing. The stock is held by the official trustees; the dividends amounting to £6 18s. a year are duly applied.

In 1900 Malachi Martin by his will proved 24 March left a legacy now represented by £881 2s. 4d. consols with the official trustees, the dividends, amounting to £22 0s. 6d. a year, to be applied for the benefit of the Union Chapel at Martin.


  • 1. Local Act 58 & 59 Vict. cap. 91; Loc. Govt. Bd. Provis. Orders Confirm. (no. 12) Act, 1895.
  • 2. Formerly extra-parochial.
  • 3. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 4. Hoare, Hist. of Wilts. South Damerham Hund. 12.
  • 5. See Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxx, 149.
  • 6. Birch, Cart. Sax. ii, 579.
  • 7. Harl. MS. 3961, fol. 147–87; Close, 1649, pt. xv, no. 6.
  • 8. Harl. Chart. 58, I. 22.
  • 9. Chart. R. 6 Edw. III, m. 26, no. 49.
  • 10. Cal. Pat. 1476–83, p. 336.
  • 11. Hoare, Hist. of Wilts. South Damerham Hund. 38.
  • 12. Ibid. 39.
  • 13. Feet of F. Wilts. Hil. 29 Edw. I.
  • 14. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. IV, no. 4.
  • 15. Hoare, op. cit. 39. This estate remained in the Petevyn family till about 1435–6.
  • 16. Ibid. 38 note f; Feet of F. Wilts. Mich. 5 Edw. III; ibid. Trin. 14 Hen. VI.
  • 17. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. IV, no. 4; 8 Hen. V, no. 89; 26 Hen. VI, no. 26.
  • 18. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i, 66 d.; iv, 16.
  • 19. V.C.H. Somers. i, 414. The fees held of the Abbot of Glastonbury in the reign of Henry I by William son of Walter, who would appear from the ancient records of Glastonbury to be a descendant of Serlo de Burci, had passed by 1166 to the son of Robert son of Martin (Hoare, op. cit. 38; Red Bk. of Exch. [Rolls Sen], 223).
  • 20. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 151; Hoare, op. cit. 38, 23.
  • 21. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 253.
  • 22. Subs. R. Wilts. 196, no. 87.
  • 23. Harl. MS. 3961, fol. 147–87.
  • 24. Hoare, Hist, of Wilts. South Damerham Hund. 28.
  • 25. Dimensions: chancel, 27 ft. 2 in. by 16 ft. 3 in.; nave, 53 ft. 10 in. by 17 ft. 7 in.; north chapel, 42 ft. 8 in. by 14 ft. 5 in.; south transept, 17 ft. 7 in. by 16 ft. 4 in.; west tower, 10 ft. 11 in. square.
  • 26. Cat. Papal Letters, i, 127. Inst. printed in Hoare, Hist. of Wilts. South Damerham Hund. 13–14.
  • 27. Lond. Gazette, 14 Sept. 1844, p. 3206.
  • 28. Ibid. 31 Aug. 1866, p. 4800.
  • 29. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 181; Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 168.
  • 30. Hoare, op. cit. 23.
  • 31. Pat. 3 Edw. VI, pt. xi.
  • 32. Feet of F. Wilts. Mich. 4 & 5 Phil, and Mary.
  • 33. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clix, 74.
  • 34. Wilts. Arch. Mag. x, 297.
  • 35. Ex inform. Rev. E. W. Michell, vicar of Martin.
  • 36. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, p. 679.
  • 37. Lond. Gaz. 24 Oct. 1873, P. 4700.