A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 11, Downton Hundred; Elstub and Everleigh Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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Unlike its north and south neighbours, Fittleton does not lie across the Avon, but occupies the land east of the river only. (fn. 1) The opposite western side is the territory of Netheravon parish. Fittleton has, therefore, only a half share of the valley's alluvial soils and gravel. (fn. 2) The area of meadow land is consequently relatively small, although drainage of the marshy ground beside the river has remedied that to some extent. The area of chalk downland is, on the other hand, very large, for from the valley the parish stretches roughly in the shape of a pear up on to Salisbury Plain for over 6 km. In its widest east part it extends for more than 4 km. over the bare downland country where the light loamy soil covering the chalk is thickly strewn with flints.
The climb from the valley to the plain is fairly gentle except in the south-west corner of the parish where the slope forms an almost sheer cliff of chalk. In the north-west corner a steep sided coomb, made by a now dry tributary of the Avon, cuts into the plain and marks the beginning of the boundary between Fittleton and the appropriately named Coombe, a tithing of Enford. On the plain the land is undulating, reaching 171 m. on Weather hill and 187 m. on the slopes of Sidbury hill, in North Tidworth, and dipping gently in the shallow valleys made by the now dry Nine Mile river and its tributaries.
The parish, which measures 1,300 ha. (3,213 a.), is divided lengthways almost exactly in halves into the tithings of Fittleton in the north and Haxton in the south. The two settlements, which adjoin and make a single village, lie in a curve of the river where the terrace of valley gravel widens to provide a site above flood level. The activity of prehistoric man on the upland part of the parish is abundantly attested. Haxton down has a group of bowl-barrows and a long barrow is situated on the west side of Weather hill. (fn. 3) Several stretches of bank and ditch, perhaps connected with near-by Sidbury camp in North Tidworth, run through the parish and one makes part of the boundary between Fittleton and Collingbourne Kingston. (fn. 4) A Romano-British settlement a little south of Beach's Barn was excavated in 1894. (fn. 5)
Fittleton is roughly 20 km. north of Salisbury, and the same distance south of Marlborough, and south-east of Devizes. Salisbury and Devizes were the main market centres in the 19th century. (fn. 6) The village is bypassed by the present north-south main road running down the west bank of the Avon. Roads forking from Haxton bridge, however, give easy access to it. Until c. 1847 the Avon was crossed at Haxton by a ford and a footbridge. An iron suspension bridge was then provided which was replaced in 1907 by the present brick bridge. (fn. 7) The road along the east side of the river was turnpiked from Amesbury as far as Fittleton in 1762. (fn. 8) The ancient MarlboroughSalisbury road, never turnpiked south of Everleigh, ran through the eastern part of the parish. Tracks leading towards it from the village were closed after the Army established its training areas on the plain. A road running east to Everleigh was, however, constructed partly by the Army and remained open for public use in 1976. (fn. 9)
Of the two tithings, Haxton, closer to the crossing of the Avon, was the larger and more prosperous in the Middle Ages. Fittleton was closely connected with Coombe in Enford from the 13 th century to the 17th. (fn. 10) In 1334 the two were taxed together at 26s. 8d. Haxton, at the time part of the liberty of Everleigh, was taxed at 90s. (fn. 11) In 1377 Fittleton and Coombe together had 60 poll-tax payers, and Haxton 68. (fn. 12) Haxton was sometimes detached from Fittleton for taxation purposes even when the two shared a common lordship and after the liberty of Everleigh had become merged in the hundred of Elstub. In 1545 it was assessed with the parish of Ham at 4 18s. Fittleton alone was then rated at 46s. 8d. (fn. 13) In 1576 the two together paid 6 10s. (fn. 14)
Only twice in the 19th century did the Census enumerators return separate population figures for the two tithings. (fn. 15) In 1811 the population of Haxton was 139 and that of Fittleton 110. In 1841 Haxton had 161 people and Fittleton 175, but the larger number at Fittleton may be accounted for by the 15 people living in tents, perhaps casual agricultural workers. In 1871 the population of the parish was 394. It then declined until in 1911 it was 308. After the establishment of an airfield in 1913, the population rose and was 480 in 1921. It thereafter dropped and was 265 in 1971. (fn. 16)
The airfield was made in 1913 for No. 3 Squadron of the recently formed Royal Flying Corps. (fn. 17) It lies along the boundary between Fittleton and Figheldean with buildings in both parishes. Until the site was ready service personnel were housed in the former cavalry school at Netheravon, and perhaps for that reason the airfield has always been called Netheravon airfield. For a short while in 1914 it was used for training as an annexe of the Central Flying School at Upavon, but for most of the First World War it was an operational base. After the war it was again used for training and became No. 1 Flying Training School. In 1939 it was renamed No. 1 Service Flying Training School and became a centre for glider training. Between 1950 and 1952 the station was placed on a care and maintenance basis and certain specialist sections of the police force, including that concerned with dog handling, were trained there. In 1952 it became the depot for the R.A.F. police wing. In 1963 it was transferred to the War Department, and in 1976 was the headquarters of the Army Flying Corps. (fn. 18)
The villages of Haxton and Fittleton lie along a loop road branching from the AmesburyUpavon road and along short extensions towards Haxton bridge and Figheldean. Within the loop lie the parks belonging to Fittleton Manor, in 1976 rough fields with some fine trees, but partly built over with council housing. The northern end of the loop road, or village street, may be the road called the 'Weende' in the 14th century, alongside which the lord of the manor had a grange with residential quarters. (fn. 19) The church, rectory-house, and manor-house stand close together at the northern end of the street. Lining the street are several houses and cottages of 17th- or 18th-century date. Some are thatched and the varied use of brick, flint, and chalk block, often in combination and in horizontal bands or chequer patterns, is a feature in the village. Here and there stand walls with exposed timber frames infilled with brick. Some of the houses bear dates, among them no. 341 Haxton which has the dates 1671 and 1691, and no. 322 Lower Street, Haxton, 1774. The house almost opposite Fittleton Manor, called in 1976 the Green Vine, was formerly the Green Dragon inn. (fn. 20) With its chequered flint work, thatched roof, and brick and chalk walls it is a typical example of the building style of the village. Some walls of plastered cob survive along the street.
Manors and other Estates.
Vitel, thought to be a well-to-do thegn, held Fittleton in 1066. (fn. 21) Robert son of Gerald held it in 1086 and was succeeded by his nephew William de Roumare (created earl of Lincoln c. 1141). (fn. 22) William founded the cell, later priory, of Neufmarche (Seine Maritime), and it may have been he who endowed it with an estate in Fittleton. (fn. 23) William's grandson William de Roumare, earl of Lincoln, died without issue c. 1198 and FITTLETON was granted by the king to Hubert de Burgh (created earl of Kent in 1226, d. 1243), who held it in 1242 as of his honor of Camel (Som.). (fn. 24) Hubert's son John surrendered the honor with the lands attached to it to Edward I who granted the overlordship of Fittleton to his own son Edmund(d. 1330), created earl of Kent in 1321. (fn. 25) The overlordship passed with the earldom of Kent to John, earl of Kent (d. 1352), and was held by his widow Elizabeth until her death in 1411. (fn. 26) Thereupon the overlordship was divided between Joan, sister of John, earl of Kent (d. 1352), and Thomas Montagu, earl of Salisbury (d. 1428), husband of Eleanor, a grand-niece of that John. (fn. 27) No further reference to the divided overlordship has been found, and thereafter Fittleton was held in chief.
In 1086 Fittleton was held of Robert son of Gerald by Rainer. (fn. 28) There were apparently three estates held of the de Burghs, one by Baldwin de Ver, another by Simon of Coombe, and the third by the prior of Neufmarch. (fn. 29) After Hubert de Burgh's death Baldwin's land was granted by Henry III to Adam Cok to be held in chief at fee farm. (fn. 30) Adam granted it c. 1252 to Robert Pipard, husband of his daughter and heir Agnes. (fn. 31) By 1255 Robert had died and by 1275 Agnes had married Henry of Candover. (fn. 32) She died in 1275 without issue and her land in Fittleton was granted by the king to Henry of Candover for life. (fn. 33) Henry was dead in 1279 when the king granted the estate to Richard of Coombe at fee farm for a rent of 12. (fn. 34) The estate was reckoned to be a third of the manor. The rent had been reduced to 10 by 1467 and is last mentioned in 1484. (fn. 35)
Richard of Coombe already held land in Fittleton in 1275, perhaps that held by Simon of Coombe of Hubert de Burgh in 1242. (fn. 36) The Richard of Coombe who died c. 1293, besides the land of Henry of Candover later sometimes called the manor of King's Fee, held the estate in Fittleton, reckoned at two-thirds of the manor, which the prior of Neufmarche held of the honor of Camel in 1275. (fn. 37) A fee farm rent of 8 was due to the prior. It was still due in 141516, (fn. 38) but in the following year was transferred to the priory of Sheen (Surr.), which was founded in 1414 and endowed with the temporalities of Neufmarch. (fn. 39)
Richard of Coombe was succeeded in both estates by his son Simon who died c. 1300 and was followed by a posthumous son Richard. (fn. 40) Richard died c. 1329 and the two estates were delivered to his widow Maud for their son Richard, then a minor. (fn. 41) In 1352 Richard, then Sir Richard of Coombe (d. 1361), enfeoffed Robert of Ramsbury, his mother's second husband, with the estate held in chief. (fn. 42) Some years later he granted the rest of the manor to William Holbeach, citizen of London. (fn. 43) Robert of Ramsbury died in 1362 and his son John relinquished King's Fee to Holbeach and his wife Maud. (fn. 44)
Holbeach died in 1367 and the combined estate passed like the manor of Coombe in Enford to his widow Maud. (fn. 45) By 1384 Maud had sold it to Robert Dyneley and his wife Margaret. (fn. 46) Robert died in 1395 having settled Fittleton on Margaret. (fn. 47) Margaret married secondly Sir Percival Sowdan, who was probably dead by 1421, (fn. 48) and in 1427 she and her son Robert Dyneley sold the manor to William Darell. (fn. 49)
Fittleton then passed like Coombe in Enford in the Darell family to Sir Edward Darell (d. 1549) and then to his son William (d. 1589) who sold the manor in two parts. (fn. 50) He sold the part once known as King's Fee in 1558 to George Fettiplace. Fettiplace's grandson John, of Coln St. Aldwyn (Glos.), sold it in 1650 to William Adlam who sold it in 1665 to William Beach. (fn. 51) It passed to Beach's grandson Thomas Beach (d. 1753).
Darell sold the other part of the manor in 1588 to William Stubbs. (fn. 52) From Stubbs it passed in 1599 to Thomas Jeay (d. 1623) who was rector of Fittleton. (fn. 53) Thomas was followed by his son, Sir Thomas. (fn. 54) From Sir Thomas the land passed to Mary, daughter of his brother Benjamin. (fn. 55) Mary married Henry Edes (d. 1703), a canon of Chichester. (fn. 56) They were followed by Henry's sister Mary, wife of John Briggs, and John and Mary conveyed the estate in 1721 to George Parker. (fn. 57) By 1734 it had passed to Thomas Francis and his wife Mary who in that year conveyed it to Thomas Beach. (fn. 58)
From Thomas Beach Fittleton passed to his son William (d. 1790) and then like Cormayles manor in Netheravon to Sir Michael Edward Hicks Beach, Bt. (later Earl St. Aldwyn, d. 1916). (fn. 59) Sir Michael sold it to the War Department in 1898. (fn. 60)
The manor-house was repurchased by Michael Hugh Hicks Beach, son of Sir Michael (d. 1916), in 1901. Hicks Beach, by then Viscount Quenington, was killed in battle, shortly before the death of his father, leaving an infant son and heir. The manor-house then had a succession of tenants until 1946 when Lady Victoria (d. 1963) and Lady Susan Hicks Beach (d. 1965) went to live in it. (fn. 61) After the death of the last the house was bought by Colonel R. S. D. Maunsell, the owner in 1977.
The western side of the manor-house, in 1977 largely incorporated in the service wing, is an L-shaped building which may date from the early 17th century. A new block was built on the east side later in the same century, and the court formed between the two blocks was built over in 1902 after the house was acquired by M. H. Hicks Beach. The later-17th-century block has a principal elevation of five bays in banded and panelled brick with mullioned and transomed windows and a coved cornice. The interior is notable for the quality of the fittings, which include a late-17th-century oak staircase with twisted balusters, and for several panelled rooms of various dates.
In 1294 Robert Mackrell granted the remainder of a small estate in Fittleton and Coombe, then held by Thomas Mackrell and his wife, to Nicholas of Warwick and his wife Joan. (fn. 62) Soon afterwards Peter the Chamberlain enlarged the holding of Nicholas and Joan in Fittleton with a grant of more land. (fn. 63) In 1324 William, son of Nicholas, conveyed an estate, probably the same, to John of Hastings, Lord Hastings (d. 1325). (fn. 64) John's son Laurence (d. 1348) was created earl of Pembroke in 1339. (fn. 65) He granted the land to Richard Field for life. (fn. 66) On Richard's death in 1361 it reverted to Laurence's widow Agnes (d. 1368), and from her it passed to her son John Hastings, earl of Pembroke (d. 1375). (fn. 67) On the death in 1389 of John's son John, earl of Pembroke, his lands and earldom were taken into the king's hands. (fn. 68) The Fittleton estate was at the time held of Robert Dyneley, lord of the manor of Fittleton. Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (later duke of Somerset, d. 1552), held a small estate, perhaps the same one, in Fittleton in 1536. (fn. 69) How he acquired it is not known. The estate amounted to fewer than 50 a., but seems to have had some special significance, for payments were made by Seymour for the upkeep of a house and farm there. (fn. 70) In 1536 it was leased to William Devenish, his wife Isabel, and Thomas their son for their lives. (fn. 71) A quit-rent was paid for the estate to Sir Edward Darell, lord of Fittleton manor. (fn. 72) Seymour's son, the earl of Hertford (d. 1621), was a free tenant of the manor at the end of the 16th century and was receiving a rent from his land there at his death. (fn. 73) The later descent of the estate has not been traced.
Besides the estates which became united under the Coombes, later called the manor of Fittleton, an estate was held in 1330 by Peter of Fosbury of the same overlord, Edmund, earl of Kent. (fn. 74) Peter was dead in 1373 (fn. 75) and it has not been possible to trace his successors in the land. It was last mentioned in 1411 when the overlordship of Fittleton was divided between the heirs of John, earl of Kent (d. 1352), and that of Peter's land was allotted to Thomas, earl of Salisbury (d. 1428), and his wife Eleanor. (fn. 76)
Haxton is not mentioned in Domesday Book, but like Everleigh it was in 11723 in the hands of Robert, earl of Leicester (d. 1190). (fn. 77) With the rest of the Beaumont family's lands HAXTON formed part of the honor of Leicester in the 12th century, (fn. 78) and with the honor passed to Edmund, fourth son of Henry III, created earl of Lancaster in 1267. (fn. 79) It descended with the earldom, later dukedom, of Lancaster, and with the duchy of Lancaster was attached to the Crown on the accession of Henry IV. (fn. 80) The duchy's overlordship of Haxton is last heard of in 1461. (fn. 81)
In 1297 there were two estates in Haxton held of the honor of Leicester. (fn. 82) One was held by Amaury de St. Amand (d. 1285) and was merged with his land in Netheravon. (fn. 83) The other was held by John Fleming who granted it in 1303 to Stephen of Brigmerston. (fn. 84) Stephen acquired more land in Haxton from John le Lymbernere in 1310. (fn. 85) George Brigmerston, Stephen's son and heir, granted two-thirds of the manor in 1317 to Philip de la Beche for life with the reversion of the other third after the death of Stephen's widow. (fn. 86) Soon afterwards Philip's lands were forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 87) The Brigmerstons' interest in the manor then seems to have been lost, although in 1400 it was thought necessary for John Herriard, great-grandson of Stephen, to renounce all right to two-thirds of it. (fn. 88) By 1331 the lands had been restored to Philip de la Beche, who in that year settled them on himself for life with successive remainders to his heirs and to those of his brother John. (fn. 89) By 1338 Philip had been succeeded by his son Nicholas. (fn. 90) Nicholas died without issue in 1345, (fn. 91) and Haxton passed like the manor of Beaumys in Swallowfield (Berks.) to his brother Edmund de la Beche (d. 1364), archdeacon of Berkshire, for life, with reversion to Nicholas's heirs. (fn. 92) In 1364 the heirs were Andrew Sackville and Edmund Danvers, sons respectively of Joan and Alice who were daughters of John (d. 1328) the elder brother of Nicholas and Edmund, and John Duyn, grandson of Isabel FitzEllis who was a daughter of the elder John de la Beche. (fn. 93)
The descent of Haxton for about the following 30 years is obscure, but it seems that the thirds which passed to Andrew Sackville and Edmund Danvers were amalgamated, (fn. 94) and by 1394 had been acquired by Robert Dyneley and Margaret his wife, already lords of Fittleton. (fn. 95) The third which passed to John Duyn has not been traced, but it may have gone to Sir William Hankeford (d. 1423), lord of the manor of Netheravon with Haxton. (fn. 96) Margaret, after the death of Robert in 1395, married Sir Percival Sowdan and after his death she and her son Robert Dyneley exchanged Haxton in 1429 with William Darell and his wife Elizabeth for land elsewhere. (fn. 97)
Haxton then passed like Fittleton in the Darell family and in 1548 was held by Sir Edward Darell (d. 1549). (fn. 98) It was sold by William Darell (d. 1589) to Robert Reeve (d. 1609) who in 1585 settled it on his son Robert, then about to marry Alice Kettleby. (fn. 99) Robert died in 1626 and under the terms of a settlement was succeeded at Haxton by James Clark, then aged eight, son of his daughter Kettleby and her husband Thomas Clark. (fn. 100) James was followed by his brother Henry who died holding Haxton in 1712. (fn. 101) During the ownership of the two Clarks Haxton farm was much enlarged by various grants, including one in 1689 of Hart's living, described as a third of Haxton farm. (fn. 102) It may be that Hart's living represents the third which passed to John Duyn in 1364 and has not been certainly traced thereafter.
Haxton passed from Henry Clark to his cousin Mary Gladman who married Abraham Gapper. The Gappers were followed by their younger son Robert and he by his son William (d. 1811) who in 1803 sold it to John Perkins. By his will dated 1819 Perkins devised Haxton to his son John. The younger John died in 1846, unmarried and intestate, and the farm was bought from his four sisters by Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt. (d. 1854). (fn. 103) It was sold with Fittleton by Sir Michael's son in 1898 to the War Department. (fn. 104)
The main range of Haxton Manor was probably built in the later 17th century. It has a principal east front of five bays with walls of red brick with bands and panels of black brick. The north gable is decorated with a chequer of chalk block and flint. To the south there is an 18th-century addition of two bays and there are later additions on the south and west. A porch was added in the early 19th century and the interior was extensively refitted at various dates in that century, perhaps after the farm was acquired by the Hicks Beach family in 1846.
The endowments of the free chapel of Haxton, consisting largely of tithes from certain lands of Haxton farm, passed to the Crown at the Dissolution. (fn. 105) In 1606 that estate, sometimes called the PORTIONARY, was granted to Thomas Emmerson. (fn. 106) From Emmerson it was bought by Thomas Jeay (d. 1623), lord of Fittleton manor. (fn. 107) By his will Thomas devised the Portionary to one of his younger sons, Benjamin, from whom it passed, like Fittleton manor, to his daughter Mary. (fn. 108) The Portionary then followed the same descent as that manor. The tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of 64 16s. in 1840. (fn. 109)
Fittleton, rated at 10 hides, had land for 12 ploughs in 1086. The demesne measured 5 hides and 1 virgate, and on it were 3 ploughs and 6 serfs. Apart from the demesne there were 6 villeins and 12 bordars with 3 ploughs. The area of meadow, 3 a., was small for an estate of 10 hides. The pasture measured 1 league by league. In 1066 and 1086 the estate was worth 12. (fn. 110)
Areas of common pasture on two downs are mentioned in 1278. (fn. 111) From 1279 until c. 1360 the two estates in Fittleton were treated as separate units. (fn. 112) In 1329 that known as King's Fee was estimated to have 161 a. of arable, a meadow, and pasture on Bull down for 300 sheep. There were four customary tenants who held 2 virgates for a money rent and performed no labour service. There were also three cottars paying rent. The estate was valued at c. 10. The estate held of the prior of Neufmarch had at the same date 322 a. of arable, 2 a. of meadow, and pasture on 'Lyntedown' for 600 sheep. There were free tenants and four customary tenants paying rent and performing no labour service. There were also eight rent-paying cottars. On that estate, but apparently not then on the other, there was a capital messuage with a garden and a dovecot. At 23 it was the more highly valued of the two estates. (fn. 113) Later extents credit the King's Fee estate with 300 a. of arable, 2 a. of meadow, and 600 a. of pasture. A house is also mentioned. (fn. 114)
When Fittleton, with Haxton, and Coombe in Enford, passed to the Dyneleys in the late 14th century the distinction between the two estates in Fittleton disappeared and they were leased together as a single demesne farm. (fn. 115) Sheep farming predominated, as is to be expected in a parish with such a large proportion of downland. In 1307 a theft of 200 sheep from a single farm occurred. (fn. 116) In 1329 there was pasture on the two estates for a demesne flock of at least 900 sheep. (fn. 117) Deaths among the flock c. 1340 were said to have caused much hardship and the inability to pay tithe ortax. (fn. 118) In 13867 agistment was paid to the lord of the manor for 780 sheep in the fold of 'Northendeworth', and for 164 in the fold of Fittleton. The demesne flock numbered over 670 sheep. In the same year oats were bought to provide gruel for the farm servants, possibly a purchase made necessary by a dearth of homegrown crops. (fn. 119)
In 1550 there were three freeholders and eleven customary tenants of Fittleton manor. (fn. 120) The small freehold estate of Edward Seymour, later the Protector Somerset, (fn. 121) included 34 a. of arable, distributed in small parcels among nine fields, and pasture in common for 70 sheep. There was also pasture for six beasts. (fn. 122) The estate was administered with Seymour's other Wiltshire estates by his steward, and a bailiff was employed at Fittleton. Among the farm servants in 1536 were two carters, a shepherd, a smith, and a housekeeper. (fn. 123)
Early in the 18th century downland was being converted to arable, thereby reducing the number of sheep stints. (fn. 124) Field names occurring in the 17th and 18th centuries include Summer, Mileball, Warborough, Greenway, and Blissmore fields. (fn. 125) Detailed regulations for the husbandry of the common fields, and for rights of way to the downs and fields from the village, were made in the manor courts of the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 126) In 1735 the lord of the manor, Thomas Beach (d. 1753), was presented for driving his sheep along the wrong route. (fn. 127) By 1777 Fittleton, then all in the hands of William Beach (d. 1790), had been organized as two farms. Home farm, based in the village, had 726 a. Down farm, with buildings later known as Beach's Barn, had 702 a. (fn. 128) The total area of the manor, including 47 a. of glebe, was 1,477 a. (fn. 129) Fittleton was inclosed in 1796 when two allotments, totalling 678 a., were made to the lord of the manor, and one of 32 a. was made to the rector. (fn. 130)
In 1839 of the land within Fittleton tithing 832 a. were arable and 552 a. downland. There were 10 a. of wood and only 51 a. of meadow. (fn. 131) In 1846 Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt. (d. 1854), added Haxton farm, measuring some 970 a., to his estate and the three farms were thenceforth farmed under the Hicks Beach family by tenant farmers. Home farm and Beach's Barn farm were held by the same tenant. Many improvements were undertaken, including the building of new barns in the village and on the downs. Part of the down towards Sidbury hill was ploughed. Large flocks of Hampshire Downs were kept. An allotment system was introduced for the benefit of the poor. (fn. 132) After it was sold to the War Department in 1898 (fn. 133) the land of the parish was farmed subject to certain restrictions.
Nothing is known of agriculture in Haxton until 1384 when for the first time it shared a common lordship with Fittleton. (fn. 134) Under Robert Dyneley (d. 1395) the demesne farm was leased, to a different tenant from that of Fittleton, for c. 11. (fn. 135) Certain land of Haxton farm lying in the common fields was subject to special tithe arrangements. (fn. 136) In the early 18th century there were some 57 a. of such land, lying in fairly large blocks bounded by linches. The rest of the arable land of the farm lay dispersed in smaller strips in the furlongs into which the fields were divided. (fn. 137) About 1800 the farm measured 908 a., including 492 a. on Great down and 64 a. on Little down. The tenantry down lay along the southern parish boundary. Besides the farmhouse, five houses or cottages and a blacksmith's shop went with the estate. (fn. 138) Haxton was inclosed in 1839 when John Perkins (d. 1846), lord of the manor, received an allotment of 224 a. (fn. 139) In that year 645 a. were arable, 992 a. downland, and 36 a. meadow. (fn. 140) Like Fittleton Haxton had but little meadow land.
In 1976 the land of the former Home farm in Fittleton was farmed by Mr. R. L. Spencer with his farm in Figheldean. Most of the Fittleton land was licensed only for grazing because of the requirements of the Army. (fn. 141) In the north-east part of the parish the land of the former Down farm or Beach's Barn farm was worked by Mr. W. E. Cave, of Lower House farm in Everleigh. Its use was likewise restricted. Haxton farm, farmed by Mr. J. Lamont, had some land across the river in Netheravon. Some of the lower ground could be used freely for pasture, but the higher land was farmed subject to military needs.
There was a mill paying 22s. 6d. in Fittleton in 1086. (fn. 142) A mill on the estate held of the prior of Neufmarch is mentioned in 1329. (fn. 143) In 1386, after the two estates in Fittleton had been merged, there was a mill on each. One was leased for 4, the other for 15s. (fn. 144) The two mills continue to be mentioned until 1417. (fn. 145)
By 1352 there was a fishery in the mill-pond of the King's Fee estate. (fn. 146) It occurs in records concerning that estate throughout the 14th century. (fn. 147) In 141617 it was leased. (fn. 148) Fish for sport were bred in tanks in the river at Haxton in 1976. (fn. 149)
In 1275 the earl of Lancaster claimed gallows and the assize of bread and of ale in Haxton as part of the honor of Leicester. (fn. 150) No record of a separate court for Haxton has been found and, when it shared a common lordship with Fittleton, Haxton's affairs were presumably dealt with in the courts of Fittleton. In the 16th century the court was sometimes called the court for Fittleton and Haxton. (fn. 151)
Henry of Candover (d. by 1279), to whom the king granted the estate in Fittleton later called King's Fee, held a court for his free tenants and exercised certain franchisal jurisdiction. (fn. 152) Margaret, relict of Robert Dyneley (d. 1395), and her husband Sir Percival Sowdan held combined views of frankpledge and manor courts for Fittleton and for Coombe in Enford. (fn. 153) After Fittleton had passed to the Darells in the earlier 15th century, the prior of St. Swithun's, Winchester, lord of Elstub hundred, accused W'illiam Darell of usurping his right to hold the view for Fittleton and Coombe. (fn. 154) The lords of the manor continued, however, to hold the view. (fn. 155)
From the mid 16th century to the mid 18th there is a substantial collection of court records. (fn. 156) Sometimes the courts are described as courts leet and baron, but more often as merely courts baron. (fn. 157) Business was confined to agrarian regulation, in which sphere the courts were very active in the earlier 18th century. (fn. 158) Under the Beaches the court was called a private court baron. (fn. 159)
Fittleton church was mentioned in 1291. (fn. 162) In 1953 the rectory was united with Netheravon vicarage. In 1973 Enford was added, and the benefice of Netheravon with Fittleton and Enford was created. (fn. 163)
The advowson of Fittleton followed closely, but not exactly, the descent of the manor. The first patron named was Simon of Coombe (d. c. 1300) who presented in 1297. (fn. 164) Richard of Casterton, the husband of Simon's relict Alice, presented James of Coombe in 1303, and in the same year Agnes of Coombe, possibly the relict of Richard of Coombe (d. c. 1293) and Simon's mother, and her husband, Adam of Poulshot, presented John of Coombe. John, however, was not instituted. (fn. 165) In 1307 Richard of Abingdon, guardian of Simon's son Richard (d. c. 1329), presented John Hambledon. Hambledon may likewise not have been instituted for 2 years later, still during the minority of Richard, the dean of Arches presented him again. (fn. 166) In 1315 Agnes of Coombe, Richard's grandmother, presented James of Coombe but once more no institution followed. (fn. 167) Richard himself presented in 1322. (fn. 168) The king exercised the patronage during the minority of Richard's son Richard (d. 1361). (fn. 169) The advowson thenceforth followed the descent of the manor until 1721 except on the following occasions. In 1383 four citizens of London, feoffees for the settlement of the manor on Maud Holbeach, presented. (fn. 170) In 1401 William Hornby, feoffee for a settlement on Margaret Dyneley, presented. (fn. 171) In 1540 the king exercised the patronage during the minority of Sir Edward Darell (d. 1549). (fn. 172) Mary (d. 1598), second wife of that Sir Edward, presented in 1554 when she was the wife of Philip Maunsell. (fn. 173) Sir Henry Fortescue, then Mary's husband, presented in 1569; and, although the manor and advowson were sold in 1588, Mary retained her right to the patronage which in 1594 she conceded to Robert Jackson, clerk. (fn. 174) William Stubbs, purchaser of manor and advowson in 1588, conveyed both c. 1599 to Thomas Jeay (d. 1623) who was then the incumbent. (fn. 175) By his will Thomas devised the next turn to his son William, who apparently presented himself. (fn. 176) In 1637 Sir Thomas Jeay, William's eldest brother, conveyed the manor and the advowson to Benjamin (d. by c. 1654), a younger brother. (fn. 177) No presentation was made by Benjamin, but a John Jeay, perhaps his brother, presented in 1662. (fn. 178) From the Jeays the advowson passed like the manor to John Briggs who sold it in 1721 to Magdalen College, Oxford. (fn. 179) The college transferred the patronage to the bishop of Salisbury in 1947. (fn. 180) In 1973 the bishop, also patron of Netheravon, was allotted the second and third of three turns to present to the united benefice. (fn. 181)
The church was valued at 10 in 1291. (fn. 182) In 1535 it was reckoned to be worth nearly 23 net. (fn. 183) During the Interregnum a value of 180 was given. (fn. 184) The average net income for the three years ending 1831 was 444. (fn. 185) The rector had all tithes in Fittleton and Haxton except those which had been appropriated to endow the free chapel of Haxton. (fn. 186) When the tithes were commuted in 1840 the rector was awarded a rent-charge of 461. (fn. 187) A virgate of glebe belonged to the church in 1291. (fn. 188) In 1629 the glebe measured c. 45 a. and the rector had common of pasture for 80 sheep, 5 rother beasts, and 4 horses. (fn. 189) At inclosure the rector was allotted 32 a. (fn. 190) In 1898 the greater part of the glebe was sold to the War Department and permission was given for the demolition of the tithe barn. (fn. 191) The rectory-house was largely rebuilt in 1742 by Robert Merchant (d. 1773), the first Fellow of Magdalen College to be rector. (fn. 192) His initials and those of his wife appear above the main doorway. The service wing at the back incorporates part of an earlier house with 17th-century outer walls of brick and flint. The new block, to the east, has a central staircase hall with one room to each side. The walls are of brick with a stone plinth and the east elevation has rusticated stone quions and stone pilasters defining the central bays. The house was extended southwards by two bays by Thomas Philips, another Fellow of Magdalen, rector from 1842 to 1854. (fn. 193) At about the same time there was some refitting within the rest of the house. After the benefice was united with that of Netheravon in 1953 the house became a private residence; it has been renamed Fittleton House.
The prior of Neufmarch had a portion of 13s. 4d. from the church. (fn. 194) Upon the suppression of the alien priories in the 15th century, that portion and a fee farm rent from an estate in Fittleton (fn. 195) were granted to Sheen Priory (Surr.) founded in 1414. (fn. 196) The portion is last heard of in 1535, 4 years before the dissolution of Sheen. (fn. 197) There is mention in 1291 of a pension, not then being paid, to Walter, clerk (clericus) of one of the lords de Montfort. (fn. 198)
A free chapel in Haxton was endowed with the tithes of all corn and of two-thirds of the wool and lambs from lands of Haxton farm called the portionary lands, and with a barn and a. (fn. 199) It was served by chaplains who were presented. (fn. 200) The advowson in the main followed the descent of Haxton manor. In 1323 and 1324 the king presented because of the forfeiture by Philip de la Beche. (fn. 201) In 1324 a presentation was also made by Richard of Coombe, lord of Fittleton manor. (fn. 202) Afterwards the advowson was restored to the Beches and in 1339 Nicholas de la Beche (d. 1345) was given licence to grant it to Sandleford Priory (Berks.) in exchange for land in that county. (fn. 203) There is no record of presentation by Sandleford, but the priory probably retained the advowson until 1378. (fn. 204) On the other hand, when Haxton manor was divided c. 1364 among the three heirs of Nicholas de la Beche (d. 1345) the advowson was apparently likewise divided. (fn. 205) By 1411 twothirds of it had been attached to the two-thirds of the manor which had passed to the Dyneleys, (fn. 206) and in 1411 and 1413 Sir Percival Sowdan, then the husband of Margaret Dyneley, presented. (fn. 207) Shortly afterwards Sir William Hankeford (d. 1423), lord of the manor of Netheravon with Haxton, claimed a right to present. His claim suggests that he had acquired the third of Haxton manor which cannot be traced after the division of c. 1364, and that a third of the advowson passed with it. Sir William was successful in extinguishing any right that the prior of Sandleford might still have had, (fn. 208) and his dispute with the Dyneleys was settled by an agreed stipulation that he should have every third turn. (fn. 209) Two-thirds of the advowson passed with Haxton manor to the Darells and Sir William Darell presented in 1434. (fn. 210) In 1487 Sir John Sapcotes (d. 1501) and his wife Elizabeth, relict of Fulk Bourchier, Lord FitzWarin (d. 1479), lord of Netheravon with Haxton, presented. (fn. 211) The next and last presentation was in 1497 by Sir Edward Darell (d. 1530), lord of Fittleton and Haxton manors. (fn. 212) The chapel appears to have fallen out of use at a very early date and no record of it serving any religious function survives. A house (domus) to which tithes valued at 40s. were attached, which was held by Robert de la Beche in 1341, may be a reference to all that then remained. (fn. 213) The so-called free chapel, then no more than a portion, was suppressed in 1548. Robert Eve, who may then have held Haxton farm, was lessee of the portion for which he paid 3 5s., to the lord of the manor although John Blyth, presented in 1497, was still said to be the incumbent. (fn. 214) Early in the 18th century the chapel's site was said to be in the Bury, a field south of the churchyard. (fn. 215)
Several patrons of Fittleton presented members of their own families to the living. There were at least two Coombes, two Dyneleys, and three Jeays. (fn. 216) The first incumbent to be named was in 1294 given royal protection to travel for a year. He was then also serving the church of Warlingham(Surr.). (fn. 217) In 1302 the rector was given leave to study in Oxford for two years on condition that he provided a substitute and made a payment of alms. (fn. 218) Leave of absence was given to John Hambledon in 1310 and 1311. He overstayed that leave, however, and in 1316 the rector of Everleigh was placed in charge of Fittleton. Hambledon, charged with immoral conduct, resigned. (fn. 219) William Bird, rector in 1511, and vicar of Bradford on Avon in 1535, was attainted in 1540 with Walter, Lord Hungerford (d. 1540), his friend and patron, on charges of treason. He was replaced in both places by Thomas Morley, suffragan bishop of Marlborough. (fn. 220) William Jeay, who followed his father as rector in 1623, was accused of royalist activities and scandalous conduct and was removed from the living in 1648. For a time the rectory was held by Matthew Hind and Jeay was imprisoned. When Jeay died, however, in 1659 the family's connexion with the church was restored when William's brother Stephen was presented. (fn. 221) After 1721 several Fellows of Magdalen College were rectors. In 1783 Stephen Jenner, vicepresident of the college and the brother of the discoverer of vaccination, held the benefice but employed a curate. (fn. 222) Another Fellow, John Parkinson, also held the benefices of Brocklesby and East Ravendale (both Lines.) and in 1837 was licensed to be absent from Fittleton. (fn. 223)
Two sermons were endowed. 'The Revd. Mr. Jay', by will of c. 1693, directed that part of a bequest of 80 should pay for an annual sermon. (fn. 224) In 1803 the preacher received 6s. 8d. (fn. 225) In 1962 he was paid half that amount. (fn. 226) From the rentcharge imposed on Haxton farm by Henry Clark (d. 1712), 10s. was allotted for an annual sermon on the anniversary of Clark's baptism (8 December). The beneficiaries of Clark's other charities were required to attend. (fn. 227) The payment continued after Haxton farm was bought by the War Department in 1898. (fn. 228)
In 1783 two Sunday services were held, and there were about 20 or 30 communicants in the parish. (fn. 229) On Census Sunday in 1851 41 attended morning service and 86 that in the afternoon. (fn. 230) No significant change had taken place by 1864 when the congregation was said to remain constant. (fn. 231) One service was held every Sunday in 1976 when the rector had two other churches to serve. (fn. 232)
The church of ALL SAINTS is built of flint and rubble, mostly rendered, with dressings of ashlar, and has a chancel, aisled nave with south porch, and west tower. The 12th-century bowl of the font (fn. 233) is not notably older than the earliest identifiable part of the structure, which is the 13th-century chancel arch. The early-14th-century tower arch may indicate the original length of the nave, and the slightly later arcades, which extend further west, may be part of a never completed enlargement. Also in the 14th century the chancel was refenestrated and probably enlarged. New windows were inserted in the aisles in the 15th century and the nave roof was renewed in the 16th century. Some repairs were undertaken in 1841 and a new three-light window was inserted in the north aisle. No architect was employed and the work was done by a Devizes builder. (fn. 234) A grant towards the expense was made by Magdalen College. In 1857 two windows from the college chapel were given to the rector, Thomas Pearse, (fn. 235) and inserted in the west wall of the tower. Pearse, a Fellow of Magdalen, paid for the restoration of the nave in 1878. In 1903, with grants from the college and Pearse's widow, the chancel and the tower were restored by C. E. Ponting. (fn. 236) A memorial on the south wall of the chancel to Anne Jeay (d. 1612), wife of Thomas and mother of eleven children, begins 'The joy of Jeaye is gone from world's woe To heavenly Joy and happie rest'.
Edward VI's commissioners took 15 oz. of silver for the king and left a chalice of 9 oz. for the parish. The plate in 1976 included a silver gilt chalice with paten, hall-marked 1610, and a silver paten and flagon given in 1720 by Roger Kay (d. 1731), a parish benefactor and rector. (fn. 237) In 1553 there were three bells. In 1903 there were five. In that year a treble was added and (ii) and (iii) were recast. Bell (iii) was originally cast in 1679 by William Tosier of Salisbury, (iv) is dated 1603, (v) 1628, and (vi) 1660. (fn. 238) The registers begin in 1582 and are complete. (fn. 239)
A brick building in Figheldean, part of Netheravon Flying School, was converted into a Roman Catholic church c. 1934 and dedicated to St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. In 1976 it was no longer connected with the service establishment, but was used by the civilian population of the surrounding area, and was served by a priest living in Amesbury. (fn. 240)
There was no nonconformist in the parish in 1783. (fn. 241) In 1826 a room in the house of Roger Hitchcock in Haxton was registered for use by Particular Baptists. (fn. 242) There were said to be about 30 dissenters in the parish in 1864, (fn. 243) chiefly Baptists, but no nonconformist chapel has been built.
Three bequests for education in Fittleton were made in the earlier 18th century. Henry Clark (d. 1712) directed that from the annual rent of 12 charged by his will upon his farm at Haxton, 5 should be spent on teaching ten poor children to read and write. He also allotted 10s. of it to buy books. (fn. 244) Soon afterwards Elizabeth Buckenham, widow of the rector John Buckenham (d. 1689), bequeathed 50 to be invested and the interest used to teach a few children to read. Elizabeth's executors gave the money to 'Mr. Beach' in 1718, and annual payments were thenceforth made by the Beach family for teaching four or five girls. (fn. 245)
In 1722 the rector, Roger Kay, built a school in the village on land called Piper's Orchard. The building was to provide a house for a schoolmaster and a schoolroom for ten poor boys of the parish. The boys were to be members of the Church of England and were to stay at school until they were fourteen. They were to be chosen by Kay, and after his death by the two largest landowners in the parish and their heirs. The rector and churchwardens were to be governors. By his will, proved in 1731, Kay bequeathed 40 for the maintenance of the building. The main front of the school has five bays and is of brick with decorative panels and bands of knapped flint. It originally consisted of one large schoolroom, a parlour, back room, and three or four bedrooms. (fn. 246)
In 1819 there were fourteen children in the school which was said to have funds of about 80. The teacher was paid 7 a year. The poor of the parish were reputed to want more education for their children, provided that it did not interfere with their labour. (fn. 247) In 1833 the ten free places in the school were usually given to boys aged five or six who stayed at school for 3 or 4 years. The 5 10s. from the rent-charge on Haxton farm was paid regularly to the schoolmaster by the tenant of that farm. (fn. 248) In 1835 eighteen boys and eight girls had free places, and there were some fee paying children. The salaries of a master and mistress were raised by subscription. (fn. 249)
In 1843 a small schoolroom was added to the side of the original building at the expense of Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt. (d. 1854). (fn. 250) In 1859 there were about 50 pupils, some of whom were boarders. (fn. 251) The school was united with the National Society in 1870. (fn. 252) Two years later another schoolroom was added. (fn. 253)
In 1897 Sir Michael Hicks Beach (later Earl St. Aldwyn, d. 1916), representing his family who until then had held and administered the bequests of Elizabeth Buckenham and Roger Kay for the repair of the school, paid 50 and 40 respectively to the Charity Commissioners for investment. The interest on the two investments produced about 2 in 1901 and was used for the general expenses of the school. (fn. 254) The interest was the same in 1962. (fn. 255) The annual rent-charge of 5 was likewise used for the school's general expenses. (fn. 256) In 1906 the school had accommodation for 76 children and an average attendance of 43. (fn. 257)
In 1926 the school was reorganized as a junior school. Another classroom was added in 1934. (fn. 258) In 1964 Fittleton and Netheravon schools were amalgamated so that the older children of both villages attended Fittleton school, and the infants went to Netheravon. (fn. 259) In 1976 there were 80 children at Fittleton and a mobile classroom was in use. (fn. 260)
Charities for the Poor.
Besides endowing a sermon 'the Revd. Mr. Jeay', possibly Stephen Jeay, (fn. 261) is reputed to have given by his will dated 1693 about 80 for the poor of the parish. (fn. 262) The money was not invested and remained idle until 1803 when it was paid to Michael Hicks Beach (d. 1830). It was not invested then, but thenceforth the Hicks Beaches gave 4 annually to the poor. In 1897 Sir Michael Hicks Beach (later Earl St. Aldwyn, d. 1916) paid 80 to the Official Trustees for investment. In 1901 small sums of money were given to a number of poor persons. In 1962 Jeay's charity yielded about 1 15s. for distribution to the poor. (fn. 263)
Henry Clark (d. 1712) by his will charged his farm of Haxton with an annual rent of 12 for charitable purposes. Besides sums for education and a sermon (fn. 264) 2 was to be spent on the poor, and 4 put towards apprenticing a boy to a trade. (fn. 265) In 1833 and 1901 the 2 for the poor was distributed with the income from Jeay's bequest. The apprenticing fund was allowed to accumulate, and in 1829 and 1830 four boys were apprenticed with premiums of about 20 each. Premiums for apprenticeships were rare c. 1901, but when paid were usually for blacksmithing or bricklaying. By his will, proved in 1886, the rector, Thomas Pearse, bequeathed money in trust to help with the expenses of boys beginning work. By a Scheme of 1934 Pearse's and Clark's apprenticing charities were combined, and the interest allowed to accumulate so that in 1958 a grant of 30 was possible. In 1962 the two charities yielded roughly 4 each. (fn. 266)