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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The parish, (fn. 1) in a secluded position away from main thoroughfares, is on the eastern boundary of Wiltshire. (fn. 2) Until that part of Shalbourne which abuts on the west was transferred from Berkshire to Wiltshire in 1894, Ham, with its southern neighbour Buttermere, formed a peninsular jutting eastwards into Berkshire. (fn. 3) Hungerford (Berks.), the nearest town, is 6 km. north-east. Ham comprises 669 ha. (1,652 a.). (fn. 4) The northern half of the parish is rectangular. The village stands in its north-west corner centred upon a small green. A few dwellings lie along the north side of Spray Road which leads eastwards from the village. South of Ham a few houses stand on either side of the secondary road to Fosbury, in Tidcombe and Fosbury. The southern portion of Ham consists of a tail of land projecting south-westwards from the rectangle. The parish is 3 km. broad on a line north of the village to the area in the north-east corner called Spray. There a scatter of houses and cottages stands along the south side of Spray Road. From north to south over Ham hill the parish is also 3 km. long.
A belt of Upper Greensand extends from the northern boundary of Ham southwards for c. 1.5 km. (fn. 5) The broad terrace so formed lies around the 152 m. contour line and is locally called the vale of Ham. (fn. 6) In 1976, as in former times, it was covered by woodland in the north-east corner at Spray. (fn. 7) Beyond the vale successive strata of Lower, Middle, and Upper Chalk outcrop on the broad open scarp of the downs, the site of the former open fields and still mostly under arable cultivation in 1976. The chalk pit cut in the escarpment on the east side of the road to Fosbury may have been in use in the later 19th century. (fn. 8) On the crest of the downs, on Ham hill, a height of 256 m. is reached. The figure of a horse was cut out there by Charles Wright, owner of the Ham Spray estate from 1869 to 1879, but afterwards became overgrown. (fn. 9) There is a deposit of clay-with-flints in the south-east corner of the parish. South of Ham hill the Upper Chalk dips gently away across the tail of the parish, once occupied by old inclosures, to about 183 m. on the southern boundary.
Although the greensand vale was apparently not settled until Saxon times, (fn. 10) the uplands of Ham provide evidence of prehistoric and Roman activity. An ancient ridge way crosses the summit of the downs and forms that part of the parish boundary which runs from Ham hill eastwards to Inkpen (Berks.). Two primary cremations were found in a bowl-barrow near the eastern parish boundary north of that track. Another bowl-barrow on Ham hill may once have had a ditch. (fn. 11) The remains of a ditch running north-eastwards from Collingbourne Kingston are visible inside the south-western boundary. (fn. 12) Another ditch runs for a short distance on a north-south course on the west side of the road south of Ham hill. (fn. 13) Roman foundations were found near Inwood copse on the north-eastern parish boundary. (fn. 14) The East Wansdyke may have formed part of Ham's north-eastern boundary. (fn. 15)
In 1377 119 people were assessed for the poll tax. (fn. 16) The smallness of the population of Ham in the Middle Ages and later is indicated by the insignificant amounts the parish contributed to various taxations, and by the fact that it was sometimes combined for assessment with other small areas. In 1524 it was assessed with Henley, in Buttermere, part of Kinwardstone hundred, and in 1545 with Haxton in Fittleton. (fn. 17) The population, when first officially enumerated in 1801, was 188. (fn. 18) Numbers rose to 195 in 1811 but dropped to 171 in 1821. Thereafter a steady increase took the population to 255 in 1871. There were only 199 people in the parish in 1881, but 241 in 1891. The population declined gradually to 160 in 1921. It rose to 179 in 1931 but afterwards declined once more. (fn. 19) In 1971 149 people lived in the parish. (fn. 20)
Most lanes which ran through Ham in the later 18th century and in the earlier 19th century, if not still in use as roads, could be traced as footpaths or tracks in 1976. (fn. 21) The secondary road which runs from the Hungerford-Andover road at Shalbourne eastwards through the village towards Inkpen on a course parallel to the ridge way may also be of considerable age. Its course east of Ham at Spray, called Spray Road in 1877, lay between greensand embankments, and it was overhung by numerous mature trees including many beeches. Such steep wooded banks also enclose the lane which winds south from Ham village. That part of the lane south of Ham hill was called Ashley drove in 1877. The courses of Field and Pills lanes, so named in 1877, which led respectively west to Shalbourne and east to Ham Spray House, could still be seen south of the village as tracks in 1976. (fn. 22)
Ham's site, enfolded in the downs and approached from east and south by sunken lanes often overhung by trees, emphasizes its seclusion and rural character. The centre of the village clusters round a triangular green formed from a small greensand outcrop formerly surmounted by trees. North of the green stands Ham Cross and to the north-west Dove's, formerly the Laurels, houses respectively of 17th and 18th-century date. Huddling close to the roadside to the west and south-east of it are several large cottages with thatched roofs: they are mostly timber-framed with brick infilling and of 17th- and 18th-century date. The Crown and Anchor inn, so named in the 19th century and apparently of that date, is said to have been formed from two cottages. Another inn, the Cross Keys, stood inside the northern parish boundary beside the lane leading from the green to Shalbourne in the 19th century. (fn. 23) Its site was marked in 1976 by a modern house. At the green's south-west corner, south of the school, a formerly semicircular lane, Church Road, branches south-westwards down a slight incline. (fn. 24) At its western end the church stands on a rise in the ground, and beyond it the Manor is screened by a well established yew hedge. The lane formerly rejoined the Ham-Fosbury road west of the drive to East Court but ceased at the Manor in 1976. (fn. 25)
Scattered settlement south of the village on either side of the Ham-Fosbury road includes a few cottages of similar type and date to those at the green, and some dwellings of 20th-century construction. Beyond them Manor Farm, originally a cottage of 17th-century date and converted to a farm-house in the 19th century, stands on the west side of the road. The few council houses south of Manor Farm date from the mid 20th century. On the opposite side of the road Copyhold Farm formerly lay east of a short drive. New Buildings, the only dwelling in the tail of the parish and of later-19th-century date, stands in a high and exposed position on open downland. The house was occupied as two cottages in 1976, as it was in the earlier 20th century. (fn. 26)
East of the green, beyond the two former rectoryhouses, a few more substantial houses, concealed behind high embankments, and beyond them to the east some council houses, were built on the north side of Spray Road in the earlier 20th century. Further east, on the south side of the road, Acorn and Breach Cottages are of similar date. Ham Spray House stands south-east of them at the end of a long drive from Spray Road. Wan's Dyke End, which stands east of Ham Spray House in Captain's copse, is approached from Spray Road by a double drive. It is a large house built in 18th-century style by G. E. Huth in the 1920s. (fn. 27)
Manors and other Estates.
In 931 Athelstan granted his thegn Wulfgar 9 cassati at Ham. (fn. 28) Soon after Wulfgar devised the estate to his wife Aeffe for life with remainder to the Old Minster, Winchester. (fn. 29) By 1086 its profits had been assigned by the bishop to support the monks there. (fn. 30) The estate was confirmed to the convent by the bishop in 1284. (fn. 31) In 1300 the prior and convent were granted free warren in their demesne lands at Ham. (fn. 32) They retained the manor of HAM, the profits of which were assigned to the conventual chamberlain from at least the early 14th century, until the Dissolution. (fn. 33)
In 1541 the Crown granted the manor to the new cathedral chapter of Winchester, which remained owner until the 19th century. (fn. 34) The chapter forfeited the estate in 1649 when the parliamentary trustees granted the farm-house and demesne of c. 304 a. to Henry and Thomas Hunt of Ham, and the remainder of the land and the manorial rights to Hugh Whistler of Faccombe (Hants) and another, (fn. 35) but it was restored. Until 1828 the estate contained some land in Buttermere. At that date the Buttermere land was exchanged with the owner of East Court farm, whose land it abutted, for land in Ham. (fn. 36) In 1839 the manorial estate comprised a leasehold demesne farm of 384 a., a copyhold of 51 a. (later called Copyhold farm), and a holding of 482 a. formed from numerous small copyholds in the east part of the parish. (fn. 37) The larger copyhold farm was enfranchised in favour of the tenant in 1847. (fn. 38) Its later descent is described below.
The remainder of the chapter's Ham estate became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1861. Six years later they regranted to the chapter as a permanent endowment 612 a., west of the HamFosbury road, which included Ham Manor and its grounds, and Manor and Copyhold farms. (fn. 39) In 1914 the estate was sold by the Commissioners to S. W. Farmer (d. 1926), who already owned Dove's and East Court farms. (fn. 40) By 1928 S. R. Brown had acquired Farmer's Ham estate of 1,350 a. and in that year he offered it for sale in the following lots: Ham Manor and its grounds of 44 a., Manor farm (324 a.), Dove's (also called the Laurels) farm (267 a.), East Court (also called Canning's) farm (236 a.), and New Buildings farm (241 a.). (fn. 41) East Court farm was then bought by G. E. Huth, and in 1930 New Buildings farm was the property of A. D. and Catherine M. Hart. (fn. 42) Dove's farm was owned by F. Hill in 1939. (fn. 43) S. R. Brown apparently retained Ham Manor and Manor farm and was still lord in 1959. (fn. 44) In 1976 house and farm were in separate ownership.
By the later 16th century the Hunt family had established themselves as demesne farmers at Ham. John Hunt(d. 1590) devised his lease of the demesne to his wife Christian. On her death shortly afterwards the lease seems to have passed to one of the Hunts of Ashampstead (Berks.). (fn. 45) The Hunts remained lessees into the 18th century. (fn. 46) In 1780 John Hunt Watts (d. 1813) was farmer. (fn. 47) Another John Hunt Watts was lessee until his death in 1829 when Manor farm passed to his brother Francis R. Watts (d. 1867). (fn. 48) Henry D. Woodman was lessee in the later 19th century. (fn. 49)
Ham Manor originally comprised a timberframed east-west range built in the 16th century, of the same length as the present south front. That house was enlarged in the later 17th century by the conversion of either end to a cross-wing. The south front has a central clock turret of uncertain date housing a 17th-century mechanism. Additions, mostly of brick, were made to the north in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 50) The inside of the house was rearranged, and a new staircase introduced, c. 1800. Much 17th-century panelling was then reset in the entrance hall and on the first floor. An early-18th-century pigeon-house stands south-east of the house. North-west of the house are the remnants of a garden enclosed by formally arranged box and yew hedges of considerable age. A rectangular ornamental mound, possibly of 17th-century origin, stands in the west part of the garden.
In 1086 an estate of 2 hides, previously granted by a bishop of Winchester, was held of the bishop by William Scudet. (fn. 51) It is probably to be identified with that known from the 17th century as the manor of HAM or EAST COURT. (fn. 52) The overlordship of what was apparently that estate was held by William Marshal, earl of Pembroke (d. 1219), and descended like the manor of Hampstead Marshall (Berks.). (fn. 53) It is last mentioned in 1362 when it was held by Isabel, daughter of Edward III. (fn. 54)
What was probably William Scudet's land was held by John of Ham in 1249. In that year John granted 2 hides in Ham to Adam of Portland and his wife Isabel. Adam and Isabel in return conveyed a life interest in the capital messuage and half the estate to him for 10s. yearly. (fn. 55) In 1287 William of Ham held what seems to be the same property, which then included land at Spray and at Moordown in Buttermere. In that year he granted a life estate therein to Isabel of Ham. (fn. 56) Walter of Ham apparently held the estate in the early 14th century and before 1317 granted it to Richard Polhampton and his wife Margaret. (fn. 57) After Richard's death in 1317 the lands passed to his widow. (fn. 58) In 1320 Margaret seems to have reconveyed the entire estate to Walter of Ham. Walter retained about a third, but regranted two-thirds and the reversion of two small estates of 16 a. and 40 a. to Margaret (d. 1331) for life with remainder to her son Richard. (fn. 59)
The estate so acquired by Margaret was held in 1362 by Geoffrey Polhampton and his wife Christine. (fn. 60) Although its descent is thereafter obscure, it evidently remained in the Polhampton family until the later 17th century. John Polhampton (will proved 1619) devised his farm at Ham to his son John. (fn. 61) In 1668 another John Polhampton, perhaps the younger John's son, his wife Anne, and William and Adam Polhampton, conveyed the property to Ferdinand Gunter. (fn. 62) He may perhaps have been an assignee of Thomas Gunter, to whom the estate was mortgaged in 1666, and who seems to have been in possession by 1672. (fn. 63) Through Thomas's eldest daughter, Margaret, who married Thomas Brotherton, the estate passed to the Brotherton family. (fn. 64) William Browne Brotherton was owner from at least 1780 to the early 1820s. (fn. 65) In 1822 Thomas W. B. Brotherton was owner. (fn. 66) East Court Manor farm, or East Court farm, as it was called from the 19th century, was in the possession of Thomas Cowderoy in 1825 and he retained it until at least 1831. (fn. 67) In 1828 he added more land in Buttermere, formerly held by copy of Ham manor, to the farm by exchange. (fn. 68) The Revd. John Bushnell was owner of the farm, 279 a., in 1839. (fn. 69) By 1843 John Canning had acquired it. (fn. 70) It was as the property of H. D. Woodman, however, that it was sold to S. W. Farmer in 1908. (fn. 71) After 1914 it became part of the Ham manor estate. (fn. 72)
East Court, as the farm-house from which the estate was worked until the earlier 20th century was called in 1976, stands at the south-eastern corner of Ham village. (fn. 73) It comprises two 17th-century ranges which form an L-shaped plan. The earlier eastern wing is timber-framed. The later wing, which extends the south front, was apparently refronted in the 18th century. The entire house was considerably altered in the 19th century and was extended and refitted c. 1965.
The estate known variously as Ham Spray farm, Spray farm, or the Spray (fn. 74) originated in a copyhold farm built up in the north-east of the parish in the early 19th century, (fn. 75) and in 1847, when it comprised 482 a., enfranchised by Winchester chapter for its tenant William Woodman (d. 1862). Woodman was apparently succeeded there by H. D. Woodman (d. 1915). (fn. 76) Charles Wright bought the property in 1869. Ten years later his Ham Spray estate was offered for sale and apparently repurchased by H. D. Woodman. (fn. 77) In the earlier 20th century Ham Spray House, from which the estate was worked in the 19th century, and the farm were in separate ownership. (fn. 78) In 1976 the farm was owned by Mr. Gerald Boord.
Ham Spray House was bought in 1924 by Ralph Partridge (d. 1960) and the critic and biographer Lytton Strachey (d. 1932). (fn. 79) The original house of c. 1830 was a two-storeyed villa with a principal five-bay south front facing the downs. (fn. 80) It was considerably enlarged to the north and east in the later 19th century. During Lytton Strachey's occupation much of the interior was redecorated by his friends, particularly Dora Carrington, the painter (Mrs. Ralph Partridge, d. 1932), and Boris Anrep, the mosaicist. Nothing of their work remained in 1976. Guy Elwes, who bought the house in 1961, added a westerly bay to the north-west drawing-room and replanned and redecorated the interior.
The farm called Dove's in the 19th century occupied some 77 a. in the north-west corner of the parish and may have originated in the estate held by John Clarke in the later 13th century or the early 14th. (fn. 81) Another John Clarke was a freeholder in 1525, and Richard Clarke held what was presumably the same land in 1578. (fn. 82) It is possibly to be identified with the estate held by Daniel Dove in 1672. (fn. 83) F. R. Watts (d. 1867) was owner in the earlier 19th century and worked the estate from Dove's Farmhouse, in 1976 called Ham Cross. (fn. 84) The farm was afterwards acquired by H. D. Woodman who sold in 1908 to S. W. Farmer. (fn. 85) After 1914 it became part of the Ham manor estate. (fn. 86)
Ham Cross, which stands north of the green, is probably of 17th-century origin. The house is partly timber-framed and originally comprised a main east-west range of three or four rooms with a short rear wing. An upstairs room retains 17th-century panelling. There are also several dividing walls of heavy framed oak panelling. During the 18th century the walls of the west end of the main range were rebuilt in flint with brick dressings. The east end of that range was completely rebuilt in the earlier 20th century, possibly after a fire.
In 1066 the capital manor was assessed for geld on 10 hides and virgate and was worth 6. In 1086 there was land enough for 7 ploughs. The 5 demesne hides, to which 1 serf was attached, maintained 3 of those ploughs and were worth 9. Elsewhere on the estate there were 9 villeins and 10 coscez with 3 ploughs. There were 8 a. of meadow, pasture 3 furlongs long and 1 furlong broad, and woodland 6 furlongs long and 3 furlongs broad. The 2 hides William Scudet held of the capital manor, the later East Court farm, were worth 3 in 1086. (fn. 87) Of that estate, and of the other small freehold farm, Dove's, which emerged by the early 14th century, (fn. 88) little is known until the 19th century.
The manor was worth 16 in 1210, of which 4 represented the assessed rents. (fn. 89) It was taxed at 13 14s. 8d. in 1291. (fn. 90) At least from the 14th century to the 17th the manorial revenues included a payment of 3 yearly from the lord of Buttermere. (fn. 91) In the early 14th century, and until the Dissolution, the profits of Ham manor belonged to the conventual chamberlain of St. Swithun's. (fn. 92) In the earlier 15th century he received 19 yearly from Ham, and 23 in the later 15th century and the earlier 16th. (fn. 93) With the chamberlain's Hampshire manors of Chilbolton and West Meon the manor formed part of an economic unit in which interchange of workers, stock, and produce was usual. Chilbolton tenants were apparently required to work in the woods at Ham, while certain Ham tenants were bound to drive stock to Chilbolton. Wool and cheeses were apparently sent direct to St. Swithun's. (fn. 94) The usual sheep-and-corn husbandry prevailed. (fn. 95) In addition Ham's abundant woodland yielded a considerable nut harvest. (fn. 96)
From at least the 16th century to the earlier 17th the manorial demesne, which lay mostly south of the manor-house and west of the Ham-Fosbury road, was let for 21-year terms at 7 6s. 8d. yearly. Edmund Polhampton was farmer in 1502 and Thomas Faller from at least 1545 to 1572. (fn. 97) The Hunts and their successors the Wattses were farmers from the later 16th century to the mid 19th. (fn. 98) In 1649 the farm comprised 302 a., of which 13 a. were inclosed meadow, 52 a. pasture, and 212 a. arable worth 3s. an acre. (fn. 99) In 1779, of the farm's overall area of 400 a., 120 a. were open field arable, 101 a. inclosed arable under the hill, and 54 a. inclosed arable on the hill. (fn. 100) At parliamentary inclosure in 1828 the demesne farmer was allotted 384 a. for his land, both in the open fields and old inclosures. (fn. 101)
In the early 14th century there were 7 virgaters, 12-virgaters, 9 tenants with 10 cottage holdings, and 7 tenants who held messuages. Several tenants also held small plots of 'forripelond'. The virgaters each held 30 a. for which they owed rents of 5s. yearly and corn-rents. Besides the usual agricultural duties they gathered nuts and apples. The virgaters each held 15 a. and owed half the virgaters' duties. They each had to provide two men to reap at autumn boon-work, and from them were chosen the woodward and hayward. The cottagers held 10 a. each for 2s. yearly. Their duties included threshing and reaping and their wives were bound to wash the sheep. From them were drawn the ploughman, shepherd, and swineherd. Those who held messuages mostly held 5 a. each for 1s. yearly and the duties of driving animals to Chilbolton and of hoeing and reaping. (fn. 102) In 1649 there were 25 copyholders within the manor: 1 held 2 yardlands, 2 held 1 yardland, and 8 held 1 yardland. Four holdings were apparently at Henley, in Buttermere, adjoining the south-east side of the parish. The total copyhold land of the manor was estimated to be 474 a., of which 14 a. were meadow and the rest, of which 5 a. were inclosed, arable. Of the 93 a. then said to be at Henley 79 a. were inclosed. (fn. 103) About 1687 24 copyholders held 541 a. within Ham manor. Only one copyhold, of c. 30 a., was then expressly described as at Henley. (fn. 104) That land was exchanged at inclosure in 1828 for land in Ham belonging to East Court farm. (fn. 105) The accumulation of copyhold estates in the hands of a few tenants seems to have taken place during the 18th century. In 1828 the most substantial of the six copyholders, who held 748 a. mostly in the east part of the parish, was John Hunt Watts, the demesne farmer, who had acquired fourteen copyhold estates totalling 681 a. (fn. 106) In 1839 the copyhold farm later known as Ham Spray was reckoned at 482 a. and tenanted by F. R. Watts. (fn. 107)
In the 16th century pasture was situated at Spray. (fn. 108) Then, and in the 17th century, tenants of the manor who held land at Henley had pasture rights on Ashley common, which probably lay at the extreme south end of the parish. (fn. 109) A common at Ham was inclosed in the mid 17th century. (fn. 110) The open fields of the parish extended from the southern outskirts of the village to the scarp of the downs. They were called East, West, Up, Little, and Pills fields in the later 17th century and in the earlier 19th Great, Little, and Pidget fields, and the Down. (fn. 111) By 1828 some 975 a. in the parish, which represented all the land in Ham except open field arable, had already been inclosed. When the open fields, 639 a., were inclosed, however, that land was re-allotted. Besides the allotments already mentioned, Thomas Cowderoy received 320 a. for East Court farm and F. R. Watts 77 a. for Dove's farm. (fn. 112)
Ham, abundantly wooded in the 11th century, in the 13 th century was considered to lie within Savernake forest. (fn. 113) In the early 14th century tenants at Henley held Henley wood at will of the lord of Ham. (fn. 114) There were 22 a. of coppices on the demesne in 1649. The 423 trees, mostly oaks, were worth 10s. 6d. each, and the 800 saplings 2s. each. The total value of the demesne timber was then 209. The tenants were allowed timber from Ashley common to repair their houses. (fn. 115) Ham coppices, 19 a., which comprised Thorney Down and Gibbs coppices and a coppice on the hill, and represented most of the demesne woods, were leased separately in 1779 and in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 116) In 1839 Ham contained 113 a. of woodland. The demesne farm's woodland, 60 a., lay in the south-west part of the parish and in the north-east part at Spray. The largest coppices were Spray Way, 24 a., Grubbed Mead, 9 a., and Inlands, 7 a. The Ham Spray estate then contained 34 a. including South Close coppice, 18 a., and Pidget and Gibbs coppices. (fn. 117) The area around Spray still bore a fairly thick cover of deciduous trees in 1976.
By 1867 H. D. Woodman had leased 499 a. of the manorial estate from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and he worked it from Manor Farm. (fn. 118) He seems to have secured a lease of Ham manor and the 113 a. surrounding it some time afterwards. (fn. 119) S. W. Farmer (d. 1926), of the firm of Frank Stratton & Co., became tenant of much of Woodman's Ham Spray land and in 1909 farmed some 700 a. in the north and east parts of the parish as both owner and tenant. (fn. 120) It was probably he who varied the arable farming prevalent in the parish by the introduction of dairy herds. (fn. 121)
In 1976 mixed farming prevailed at Ham. There were then four farms in the parish: Manor, Dove's, Ham Spray, and East Court. Of those, Ham Spray and East Court were worked together by Mr. Gerald Boord in conjunction with land elsewhere in Wiltshire and Berkshire.
Records of courts of Ham manor survive from the 14th century to the 19th century. (fn. 122) Ham apparently owed suit at Kinwardstone hundred court until the 14th century at least. (fn. 123) During that time the business of the Ham courts was entirely manorial. In the 15th century, however, the prior of St. Swithun's, who by then seems to have detached Ham from Kinwardstone and to have included it in his own hundred of Elstub, over which he claimed extensive franchisal jurisdiction, (fn. 124) held view of frankpledge within Ham manor. The Ham courts, generally held once or twice yearly, were thenceforth called successively views of frankpledge, views of frankpledge and courts, and views of frankpledge, courts leet, and courts. At them a tithingman made presentments and another tithingman was elected for the following year. The manorial aspect of the court's affairs was mostly limited to copyhold business and the regulation of agricultural matters.
Accounts of the overseers of the poor run from 1683 to 1797. Sums disbursed during that time rose from about 5 in 1683, to 45 in 1751, to 106 in the year ending 1794. (fn. 125) Ham was included in the Hungerford (Berks.) poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 126) Until 1883, when they were sold, there were two parish cottages in Ham. (fn. 127)
The bishop of Winchester confirmed the right of St. Swithun's Priory to present rectors to Ham church in 1172. (fn. 128) The priory, however, ceded its right to the bishop in 1284. (fn. 129) Thereafter the bishops of Winchester presented until the 19th century, except in 1319 when the king presented because the see was vacant, and in 1393 when, for an unknown reason, Robert Kymberle presented. (fn. 130) In 1869 the advowson was transferred to the bishop of Oxford, who presented rectors until 1933 when the rectory was united with that of Buttermere. (fn. 131) The bishop was then entitled to present alternately to the united benefice of Ham with Buttermere with Windsor chapter, patron of Buttermere. (fn. 132) The bishop of Oxford's turn was transferred to the bishop of Salisbury in 1953. (fn. 133) In 1956 Shalbourne vicarage was added to create the united benefice of Shalbourne and Ham. The bishop was to have the first turn of presentation and Windsor chapter, as patron of both Buttermere and Shalbourne, the second and third turns. (fn. 134)
The rectory was assessed for taxation at 6 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 135) It was valued at 13 in 1535. (fn. 136) The living was let, generally for 20 yearly, in the later 16th century. (fn. 137) It was worth 70 yearly in 1650. (fn. 138) From 1829 to 1831 the yearly average net value was 457. (fn. 139)
The tithes of Ham apparently formed the sole rectorial endowment until the later 14th century. In 1363, however, Geoffrey Polhampton, owner of the estate later called East Court manor, and his wife Christine endowed the rector with 20 a. and some meadow land at Ham. Although expressly granted to support a chaplain to say mass daily in the church, (fn. 140) the land was afterwards regarded as glebe. It is to be identified as the glebe estate of a little over 20 a., which lay scattered in East, West, Up, Little, and Pills fields, described in the later 17th century. (fn. 141) By 1705 the rector no longer had land in Little field but had acquired 5 a. in the 'new' inclosure. (fn. 142) When the open fields were inclosed in 1828 the rector received an allotment of 20 a. north and south of the then Rectory. (fn. 143) In 1839 he was allotted a rent-charge of 435 to replace his tithes. (fn. 144)
In 1341 the rector had a house and garden. (fn. 145) The rectory-house mentioned in the later 17th century may have been that which in 1828 stood east of the village on the north side of Spray Road. (fn. 146) The central range and eastern cross-wing survive from the 17th-century house and originally had timber-framed walls which by the earlier 19th century had either been rebuilt in brick or encased with brick and mathematical tiling. In 1864 Charles S. Burder, rector from 1864 to c. 1900, replaced the west end of the house by a tall brick cross-wing built to designs by Waring & Blake of London. (fn. 147) The central range was later extended northwards by a block similar in design to that of the west end. That Rectory was apparently sold as a private dwelling, in 1976 called the Old Rectory, and replaced by a modern house east of it some time after 1933. (fn. 148) That, in 1976 called Field House, was in turn sold after 1956 when Ham with Buttermere was united with Shalbourne, where the incumbents of the united benefice have since lived. (fn. 149)
Many rectors, at least from the 16th century, probably did not live at Ham. Erasmus Webb, rector 15821614, held other preferments including a canonry of Windsor, and employed a curate at Ham. (fn. 150) His successor Nicholas Darell (d. 1629), rector 161418, was also a canon of Winchester. (fn. 151) Robert Newlin, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was rector from 1643 until his death in 1688. (fn. 152) From 1660 he was also sinecure rector of Wroughton. (fn. 153) Ham rectory was sequestered in 1646 and Henry Newlin, reported a zealous preacher, intruded. (fn. 154) Richard Willowes and John Wilmer may also have served Ham before Robert Newlin's restoration in 1660. (fn. 155) At least during the second part of Newlin's incumbency curates performed his duties at Ham. (fn. 156) Curates, who apparently often lived outside the parish, assisted the rectors in the later 18th century and the earlier 19th century. (fn. 157) From 1829 to 1831 the assistant curate received 60 yearly. (fn. 158) In 1783 an assistant curate held morning and afternoon services at Ham each Sunday and celebrated Holy Communion four times yearly. The previous Easter about ten people had communicated. (fn. 159) On Census Sunday in 1851 129 people attended morning and 137 afternoon service. (fn. 160) Services were still held twice on Sundays in 1864. (fn. 161)
The church of ALL SAINTS is built of rubble and brick with ashlar dressings, and comprises chancel with south vestry, nave with west gallery and north porch, and a west tower. (fn. 162) Both nave and chancel appear to be of 13th-century construction, and are lit by single lancet windows and a two-light east window. That window was given a new head in the 19th century. The tower was added in the 14th century. (fn. 163) Windows of nave and chancel were reported broken in 1553. (fn. 164) The tower was reroofed and perhaps heightened c. 1611. (fn. 165) The extensive restoration which began c. 1733 and continued intermittently throughout the 18th century obscured many of the church's earlier features. The south chancel wall and most of that of the nave were rebuilt in 1733. (fn. 166) Other 18th-century alterations and additions probably included the removal of the chancel arch, and the renewal of the chancel's roof and of the tower's casing. (fn. 167) A west gallery lit by dormer windows to north and south was inserted. The south nave wall was again repaired, and two windows in 12th-century style inserted, in 1849. (fn. 168) At the same time the vestry was added and the north porch renewed. The 17th-century pulpit was lowered in 1871. (fn. 169) Other fittings include a 17th-century altar table and 18th-century altar rails. The church was restored in 18967 and again in 1970. (fn. 170)
John Hunt (d. 1590) and his wife are depicted on a monumental brass. (fn. 171) Richard Gillingham, rector 16881719, (fn. 172) is commemorated by a cartouche ornamented with a shield of arms and heads of putti. The churchyard, the north side of which is shaded by yews of considerable age, contains, amongst others, 18th- and 19th-century monuments to members of the Hunt and Watts families.
In 1828 the churchwardens and overseers were allotted c. a. to the north-east of East Court when the open fields were inclosed. The 1 rent from Church Plot was used for church repairs. In 1905 it was paid to the church's expenses fund. (fn. 173) The charity was deemed lost in 1976. (fn. 174)
In 1553 the king's commissioners took 2 oz. of plate but left a chalice of 9 oz. That was probably replaced by the cup and paten-cover hall-marked 1576 which the parish retained in 1976. There were then also a paten of 1719 and a flagon hall-marked and inscribed 1868. (fn. 175)
In 1976 as in 1553 there was a ring of four bells: (i) founded in 1712 by William and Robert Cor; (ii), (iii), and (iv) founded in 1663 by William Purdue. The bell-frames were renewed in 1663. (fn. 176)
No registration of baptisms, burials, and marriages earlier than 1720 was extant in 1783. Baptisms and burials are recorded from 1720. Marriage registrations, which begin in 1722, appear to be lacking from 1744 to 1755. (fn. 177)
No evidence of dissent in the parish has been found.
In 1808 children were taught at a 'petty' school in the parish. (fn. 178) A private school may have existed at Ham ten years later. (fn. 179) Twenty children, paid for by their parents, were taught at a daily school in 1833. (fn. 180) In 1858 3040 children were taught by a mistress in a small schoolroom. (fn. 181) That school was chiefly supported by the rector. (fn. 182) On return day in 1871 24 boys and 37 girls, including a few from Buttermere, attended the school, which was by then connected with the National Society. (fn. 183) New school buildings, which incorporated a teacher's house, were provided in 1874 on the south-west side of the green. (fn. 184) In 1906 an average of 53 children had attended over the past year. (fn. 185) An average of just over 40 pupils attended until 1914 and thereafter numbers declined gradually to 25 in 1938. (fn. 186) Some 40 children from Ham and its neighbourhood were taught there in 1976 by two teachers. (fn. 187)
Charities for the Poor.
John Hunt (d. 1719) (fn. 188) bequeathed 20 in trust, the interest to be distributed yearly among the poor of Ham. Doles in money or kind were apparently paid by the Hunt family in the 18th century but no payment seems to have been made after c. 1820. The charity was deemed lost in 1834. (fn. 189)