A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.
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Broad Chalke parish, 2,819 ha. (6,966 a.), forms a rectangle approximately 4 km. by 7 km., bisected by the river Ebble which flows eastwards across it. (fn. 1) Broad Chalke village lies 10 km. WSW. of Salisbury at the centre of the parish; in the wider part of the valley east of the village are the hamlets of Stoke Farthing and Knighton, and in the narrower part west of it are the hamlets or farmsteads of East Gurston, West Gurston, Mount Sorrel, and Little London. The lands of Broad Chalke township, c. 3,700 a., extended north and south from the village; those of Stoke Farthing in the north-east corner of the parish and of Knighton in the south-east corner each measured c. 1,000 a., and those of East Gurston and West Gurston in the north-west corner c. 450 a. and c. 500 a. respectively. (fn. 2) The parish was divided into three or four tithings; (fn. 3) within it, in the Middle Ages, were perhaps four churches or chapels. (fn. 4) In many aspects of its history Broad Chalke resembled its neighbour Bishopstone, a similarly large rectangular parish lying across the Ebble valley and containing several riverside settlements. (fn. 5)
In the 10th century an estate called Chalke which was granted to Wilton abbey included most of what became Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke parishes and other land further west in the Ebble valley. (fn. 6) Stoke Farthing was not part of the estate, (fn. 7) but may have been within the large parish of Chalke. A church at Broad Chalke, possibly standing in 1066, (fn. 8) may have served all of Chalke, but churches were afterwards built on other parts of the abbey's estate; the building of one at Bower Chalke c. 1300 (fn. 9) may have been the last step in reducing Broad Chalke parish to its present size. As the largest village in the Chalke estate, Broad Chalke was called Great Chalke in the 13th century. (fn. 10)
The parish's northern boundary follows the watershed of the Ebble and Nadder. In the south the parish extends beyond the Ebble valley to the Wiltshire—Dorset boundary, there marked by the Roman road from Old Salisbury to Dorchester (Dors.) and by Grim's ditch. The straight eastern boundary was defined in a charter of 997 or earlier, (fn. 11) and the southern boundary had been defined by the late 11th century. (fn. 12) When the lands of Stoke Farthing were defined, in the late 11th century or earlier, they may not have reached as far north as the watershed. (fn. 13) The parish's western boundary with Bower Chalke is marked by a tributary of the Ebble for a short distance.
Nearly all the parish is chalk downland, covered in the north-east corner and near the south-west corner by clay-with-flints. Across the centre the Ebble has deposited a narrow strip of alluvium; east of its confluence with the boundary stream which flows north-eastwards from Bower Chalke the wider valley is lined with gravel. The northern and southern downs are cut by deep dry valleys including Hut Bottom in the north and Church Bottom in the south. Near the northern boundary the downs reach heights above 183 m. The highest hills in the south are Knowle Hill, at 197 m. the highest in the parish, and Knighton Hill. South of them the land slopes more gently to below 107 m. The lowest point in the parish, on the Ebble, is below 76 m. (fn. 14) Arable land in the parish lay on the gravel and on the lower slopes of the downs. North and south of it the downs for many centuries provided pasture land for sheep, except for the southernmost downs which were wooded. In the 19th and 20th centuries water meadows beside the Ebble and its tributary were replaced by watercress beds. (fn. 15)
Evidence of early human activity in the parish includes barrows on the northern downs, on Knowle Hill, on Knighton Hill, and near the western edge of Vernditch Chase, (fn. 16) ditches which cross the northern boundary, and Grim's ditch. (fn. 17) South of the track called Ox Drove, near the western boundary, is the site of a settlement, probably of the early Iron Age. Another settlement, of similar date, was on the south-eastern side of Knighton Hill; (fn. 18) the associated field system covered 20 ha. (fn. 19) A Romano-British enclosure of 1.2 ha. on part of the field system was perhaps that later called 'Wudu burh'. (fn. 20) Field systems, covering 40.5 ha. and 20 ha. respectively, have also been identified on Stoke Down and Hydon Hill. (fn. 21) Ditches excavated 300 m. north-west of Broad Chalke church suggest that the village's site may have been settled in Roman times, and a PaganSaxon cemetery was found in the field called Bury Orchard, a little south of the church. (fn. 22) The Roman road from Old Salisbury to Dorchester crosses the parish's south-eastern corner. It has been suggested that the road was lightly used in the Roman period and fell into disuse soon afterwards. (fn. 23)
Apart from the Roman road, the principal routes through the parish have run approximately east and west. Two ridge ways, one on the watershed of the Ebble and Nadder, and Ox Drove, across the southern downs, were in use in the 11th century and perhaps earlier. (fn. 24) Ox Drove, leading westwards to Shaftesbury (Dors.), was probably well used in the late 18th century and the 19th; (fn. 25) in the late 20th it was a farm track. The northern ridge way was turnpiked in 1762 as part of the road from Salisbury to Shaftesbury; it was superseded by a new SalisburyShaftesbury road north of the parish turnpiked in 1788, (fn. 26) but was passable in 1984. After 1788 the principal road in the parish was that which linked the villages of the Ebble valley. The main route was north of the river: south of it a parallel road linked Stoke Farthing and Knighton hamlets, respectively north and south of the river, with the southern part of Broad Chalke village and rejoined the main road in the neighbouring parish of Fifield Bavant. Lanes connecting the two roads were carried across the Ebble by bridges, including Causeway bridge, in Broad Chalke village, and Long bridge east of it. The southern road was a footpath west of the parish boundary in the late 20th century. Of several roads which in the late 18th century led north and south from the Ebble to the ridge ways, (fn. 27) only two became metalled public roads. One links Broad Chalke village with Bower Chalke along the tributary valley, the other links the village with Martin (now Hants) across Knowle Hill. Part of the network of tracks which crossed the woodland south of Ox Drove in the 1770s (fn. 28) survived in the late 20th century.
The parish lay within the disputed outer bounds of Cranborne Chase. The forest law was more consistently enforced and chase rights were more frequently exercised in the southern part of the parish than in the northern, where claims by the lord of the chase may have been allowed to lapse in the later Middle Ages. (fn. 29) In 1250 the abbess of Wilton alleged that in her Vernditch Wood the lord of the chase prevented her from taking reasonable estovers and her men from taking customary housebote and haybote. (fn. 30) The wood was said in 1275 to have been converted recently to a forest by the lord of the chase, (fn. 31) and in 1279 it was recommended that forest law be enforced there no longer. The exercise of chase rights, however, continued; the name Vernditch was given to a walk of the chase, much of which lay within the parish, and presentments were made to chase courts from the walk and from Broad Chalke in the 15th and 16th centuries. (fn. 32) The lord of Chalke manor, which included lands in Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke, (fn. 33) owed grain rents to the forester and underforesters of the chase in the late 16th century and the early 17th. (fn. 34) Conflict over chase rights within the parish ended in 1620, when Vernditch walk, then the best stocked in the chase, was sold to William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, the lord of Chalke manor. There were said to be between 1,000 and 1,200 fallow deer in the walk c. 1650; (fn. 35) by the 1670s the number had fallen to 500. (fn. 36) A lodge was built near the southern parish boundary for the woodward of Chalke manor in or before 1672. It was then agreed between the lord of the manor and the lord of the chase that the lodge should be used by keepers of the chase, who would also act as woodwards and, presumably, preserve the remaining deer. (fn. 37) Vernditch Lodge, probably on the site of the lodge of 1672, was demolished in the late 19th century. (fn. 38)
In the Middle Ages the parish was by far the most populous in Chalke hundred. In 1377 there were 379 poll-tax payers. (fn. 39) In 1334, when the parish was assessed for taxation at £10 10s. 8d., (fn. 40) and in the 16th century it was also the wealthiest. (fn. 41) In 1801 the population numbered 625. By 1851 it had risen to 821. Numbers fell, with some fluctuations, in the late 19th century and the early 20th. (fn. 42) The population numbered 556 in 1961, (fn. 43) 569 in 1981. (fn. 44)
Broad Chalke tithing, which included Broad Chalke village and the settlements at East Gurston, West Gurston, Mount Sorrel, and Little London, was the largest, most populous, and wealthiest in the parish. In 1334 its assessment for tax, £4 6s. 8d., was the second highest in Chalke hundred (fn. 45) and it remained one of the most prosperous tithings of the hundred in the 16th century. (fn. 46) In 1377 it had 222 poll-tax payers, the largest number in a tithing of the hundred. (fn. 47) The population was 634 in 1841. (fn. 48)
The settlements which became Broad Chalke village were established on the gravel north and south of the river. The northern settlement, beside a short tributary of the Ebble, perhaps survived from the Roman period; the southern site, used as a cemetery in Pagan Saxon times, (fn. 49) was that of the church and the principal farmsteads. In 1975 both parts of the village, and East and West Gurston, Mount Sorrel, and Little London, were designated a conservation area. (fn. 50)
In the southern settlement the church was a focus. King's Old Rectory, a house apparently of medieval origin, (fn. 51) lies to the west, Manor Farm, a stone house mainly of the 18th century perhaps on the site of an earlier demesne farmstead of Chalke manor, to the south-east, and until the 19th century a mill lay to the north. (fn. 52) From the church, settlement spread west along South Street, part of the southern road to Fifield Bavant. By the late 18th century building had extended along the north side of the street to its junction with the Bower Chalke road, and along the east side of a lane which led north-east from that junction across the river. There were houses south of the street east of its junction, 350 m. west of the church, with a lane known in the 18th century as Whiteway Hollow; west of that junction steep banks south of the street left little room for building. (fn. 53) Cottages beside the street include some of 17th century origin. Some are timber-framed, others were built of stone or flint, and many were altered and extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. A farmhouse south of the street was replaced by Reddish House c. 1700. (fn. 54) Infilling in South Street in the 19th century included houses, some large and most of brick and flint, a chapel near Reddish House, and a school south of the church. A vicarage house and several other houses were built in the late 19th century beside the lanes which formed a rectangle south of the church; more houses were built in the early 20th century. The lane linking the southern road beside the Ebble to that over Knowle Hill was called Bury Hill Lane. Brick and flint cottages built northwest of the road connecting the lane and Long bridge in the 19th century were called collectively New Town; north-east of them council houses were built in the mid 20th century. Also in the 20th century cottages in South Street were demolished and, near the western end, replaced by houses and bungalows. Late 20th-century building included small workshops on the site of Butler's Farm north of the junction of South Street and Whiteway Hollow, and a large house between King's Old Rectory and the church. Beside the road leading to Knighton are estate cottages of the late 19th century and bungalows and council houses of the mid 20th.
The northern part of Broad Chalke village grew up at the crossing of the main road linking the Ebble valley villages and a road leading from Causeway bridge across the downs to Compton Chamberlayne. A part of the main road west of the crossing was remade on higher ground before 1773 (fn. 55) and later called High Lane. It was linked with the part east of the old crossing by the road to Compton Chamberlayne: that link and the east part were later called North Street. North of Chalkpyt Farm the road to Compton Chamberlayne was used mainly as a farm track in the late 20th century. The old line of the road west of the crossing, Bow Lane, where settlement was densest in 1773, (fn. 56) remains visible. Although there is archaeological evidence of medieval occupation of the site, (fn. 57) the oldest surviving buildings in the northern part of the village are small 17th century cottages, some of which are perhaps timberframed and others are built of cob or rubble. Many cottages were altered or rebuilt, usually in brick, in the 18th or 19th centuries. A new chapel in North Street replaced an older building in the mid 19th century, (fn. 58) and in the late 19th century houses were built on the south side of High Lane and Chalkpyt House and Chalkpyt Farm were built beside the Compton Chamberlayne road. Buildings in Bow Lane had been demolished by 1886. (fn. 59) In the 20th century bungalows were built beside High Lane; council houses and bungalows were built south of Bow Lane in the 1960s.
Two alehouses licensed in 1756 may both have been in Broad Chalke tithing; one continued to be licensed until 1761 or later. (fn. 60) The Queen's Head was built beside North Street in the early 19th century and was open under that name in 1855 (fn. 61) and 1984. The Malt House, east of Reddish House, was open c. 1905 (fn. 62) and in 1939. (fn. 63)
The name Gurston, earlier Gerardston, is derived from that of Girard who in 1086 held lands in Chalke, probably those that were later East Gurston farm. (fn. 64) The hamlets or farmsteads of West Gurston and East Gurston may have grown up beside a road running, like Bow Lane, along the valley near the river. By the mid 17th century that road had been diverted south-west to cross the Ebble c. 600 m. east of the western parish boundary and the main road remade north of the principal houses. Then, as perhaps earlier, there was no more than a single farmstead at West Gurston. (fn. 65) The farmhouse there, Gurston House, has a main east—west range, formerly of one storey and perhaps of medieval origin. The western cross wing, of two storeys with attics, was probably built in the late 16th century or the early 17th. An upper floor was added to the main range in the late 17th century. The eastern end of that range was rebuilt in the 19th century and the house extended northwards in the 20th. North of the main road farm buildings were erected in the late 19th century (fn. 66) and a new farmhouse in the 20th. The farmsteads and cottages of East Gurston stood in the mid 17th century beside the lower road, east and west of a lane connecting it and the higher road with South Street. (fn. 67) Some 18th- and 19th-century cottages survive west of the lane; east of it, Knapp House is a late 18th-century brick and stone house enlarged in the 19th century. Bungalows and houses were built between the higher and lower roads in the 20th century.
Mount Sorrel, also known until the late 18th century as Mousehill or Mousehole, (fn. 68) was then as in the 20th century a farmstead and a group of cottages beside the Bower Chalke road a little south of its junction with South Street. (fn. 69) East of the road is a thatched house of cruck construction. The Plough, a cottage of the 18th or early 19th century west of the road, was open as a public house in 1875 and 1880. (fn. 70) A settlement, called New Town in the mid 17th century, when it consisted of six families some of whom lived in Fifield Bavant parish, (fn. 71) was probably that later known as Little London. In the late 18th century and the early 19th the hamlet included several cottages beside the Ebble near the western parish boundary. (fn. 72) Those south of the road were demolished in the mid 19th century. (fn. 73) In 1984 three cottages of the 18th or 19th century and a new house stood north of the road. Knowle Farm, built at the eastern end of Bower Chalke village in the late 19th century, lies within Broad Chalke parish. A building beside Ox Drove on the site of Hut Farm was described as an inoculation house in 1773. (fn. 74) There was a farmstead on the site from c. 1807 or earlier. (fn. 75) In the mid 19th century avenues of beeches, characteristic of the Wilton estate, were planted beside the Martin road between its junction with Ox Drove and Broad Chalke village. (fn. 76)
In the mid 17th century one of the courses on which Salisbury races were run extended from the downs north of Broad Chalke village to the wood called the Hare Warren in Wilton. (fn. 77) A brass band flourished in the village before the First World War. (fn. 78)
Knighton tithing, in which there was more settlement than in the modern Knighton hamlet, was assessed for taxation in 1334 at 60s.; (fn. 79) in 1377 there were 83 poll-tax payers. (fn. 80) Both figures were only slightly below the average for Chalke hundred. Buildings including a chapel (fn. 81) may then have stood between the sites of Knighton Manor and Knighton Mill. In the late 18th century there were only the house, the mill, and three cottages east of them. (fn. 82) The mill was apparently rebuilt in the 19th century. Farmsteads had been built on Knighton Hill by c. 1807 and at the northern corner of Knighton Wood by 1886. (fn. 83) In 1841 the population of the tithing was 63. (fn. 84)
Stoke Farthing takes its suffix from the Verdun family, lords of Stoke manor in the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 85) Similar to Knighton in size and prosperity in the Middle Ages, Stoke Farthing tithing was assessed for taxation at 64s. in 1334 (fn. 86) and had 74 poll-tax payers in 1377. (fn. 87) In the late 18th century there were 15–20 houses beside the village street, which was the eastern end of the southern road near the Ebble. Two lanes ran north from the street to the main road; in the 20th century the western lane was only a path. A farmstead stood beside the eastern lane in 1773. (fn. 88) In 1841 the tithing's population was c. 85. (fn. 89) Cottages east of the eastern lane and north of the street were demolished between 1811 and 1842, (fn. 90) as were others west of the lane on both sides of the street between 1842 and 1886. (fn. 91) The farmstead was demolished in the mid 19th century, when two new farmsteads, Stoke Verdon and Stoke, were built beside the main road east and west of its site. Both the new sets of farm buildings were of brick and flint and were typical of buildings of that date on the earl of Pembroke's estate. The farmhouses, perhaps also of brick and flint but later rendered, each had a similar square plan; Stoke Verdon Farm had north and south wings, Stoke Farm east and west wings. In 1984 buildings around Stoke Verdon farmyard were converted to dwellings.
Stone and flint cottages of the 17th and 18th centuries and a 20th-century bungalow stood beside the street in 1984. Avenues, like those in Broad Chalke tithing, were planted in the mid 19th century beside the main road and roads running north over the downs. (fn. 92)
Manors and other Estates.
The estate called Chalke granted by King Edwy to the nuns of Wilton in 955 included most of what became Broad Chalke parish. (fn. 93) Wilton abbey held lands in the parish as part of CHALKE manor (fn. 94) and was overlord of all other estates there in the later Middle Ages. (fn. 95) The Chalke manor lands in Broad Chalke descended with those in Bower Chalke to Reginald Herbert, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, (fn. 96) who sold them in and after 1919. R. W. Williamson bought Knowle farm, 550 a., in 1919 and Lodge farm, c. 340 a., then or soon afterwards. (fn. 97) In 1939 the farms belonged to his son Claude, who sold Knowle farm c. 1948 to Gillings & Partners. In 1967 the farm was bought from them by Mr. D. Mann, the owner in 1984. (fn. 98) Claude Williamson held another 260 a., also formerly part of Lord Pembroke's estate, which he sold with Lodge farm to J. HoughtonBrown as Hut and Lodge farm c. 1940. In 1947 Hut and Lodge farm was bought from Houghton-Brown by Messrs. Lucas and Roe; members of the Roe family sold the farm in 1977 to the Greater Manchester Council Superannuation Fund, the owner in 1984. (fn. 99) Manor farm, 500 a., was sold in 1919 to George Sidford (fn. 100) (fl. 1939). (fn. 101) As a farm of 350 a. it passed, presumably by sale, to D. Hicks, and was owned in 1984 by his relict Mrs. B. N. Hicks. (fn. 102) West Vernditch farm, 140 a., sold in 1919, and Vernditch Wood, c. 150 a., which had also been part of Lord Pembroke's estate in 1919, (fn. 103) were owned by K. J. Butler in 1929. (fn. 104) Part of Butler's holding was included in Vernditch Chase, 300 a. of woodland bought in 1937 from A. A. L. Palmer by the Forestry Commission, which owned it in 1984. (fn. 105) The remainder may have been part of the land sold by Claude Williamson to J. Houghton-Brown c. 1940. Chalkpyt farm, c. 1,000 a., was sold in 1924 by Reginald, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, to T. K. Jeans (fn. 106) (d. 1962) and belonged in 1984 to his son Lt.-Col. J. G. Jeans and grandson Mr. A. T. Jeans. (fn. 107)
Broad Chalke church may have been appropriated by Wilton abbey before 1258, when it was in the charge of a vicar, (fn. 108) and in 1298 the RECTORY estate was part of the endowment of Chalke prebend in the conventual church. (fn. 109) The estate presumably comprised then, as it did later, tithes and the Rectory manor. In 1448 the abbey conveyed the presentation to the prebend to Henry VI, who in the same year granted a licence to appropriate Broad Chalke church to King's College, Cambridge. (fn. 110) The appropriation took place in 1449. (fn. 111) An allotment of lands replaced the tithes from 1,138 a. before 1842, when the remaining tithes, valued at £763, were commuted. (fn. 112) In 1861 the rent charge owed from the demesne of Chalke manor in Broad Chalke was replaced by 75 a. (fn. 113) In 1921 the college sold its lands, 447 a. mostly in Broad Chalke tithing, to T. K. Jeans; from 1924 they were part of Chalkpyt farm. (fn. 114) The principal house on the estate may have stood north or north-east of that known in 1984 as King's Old Rectory. It was probably demolished in or before the early 17th century, when King's Old Rectory was extended and improved. That building was perhaps originally a kitchen and storerooms. In the later Middle Ages a gatehouse of two storeys stood west of it; the upper room has been removed but large and small gates survive. In the early 17th century two large rooms were added on the north of the house. Further improvements were made c. 1700, including the panelling of the principal ground floor room and of another on the first floor.
Lands in Chalke held by John Gawen in 1412 (fn. 115) may have been those in Broad Chalke which in the 16th century formed MOUNT SORREL manor, held c. 1553 by Thomas Gawen (fn. 116) (d. c. 1558). (fn. 117) Thomas was succeeded in turn by his son William (d. 1559) and William's son Thomas (fn. 118) (d. 1604), whose relict Catherine (fl. 1628) retained the manor for life. (fn. 119) In the 1590s two thirds of the manor were confiscated because of Thomas's recusancy; (fn. 120) part of Mount Sorrel may have been confiscated from Catherine and her son Thomas Gawen, owner of the manor in 1632, as part of Norrington manor in Alvediston was. Thomas was succeeded in 1656 by his son William (fn. 121) (fl. 1678). (fn. 122) In the 18th century the manor may have passed with Reddish's farm in the Cray family to Jeremiah Cray (d. 1786). (fn. 123) It belonged in 1786 to a Mrs. Randall, who in 1787 was succeeded as owner by George Randall (fl. 1828). (fn. 124) Randall may have sold the manor to Thomas King, whose brother Henry is said to have inherited it and to have settled it on his daughter and William Woodcock, her husband. (fn. 125) Woodcock owned it in 1829 (fn. 126) and 1842. (fn. 127) Mount Sorrel farm, 100 a., was sold by the executors of William Taunton in 1903, (fn. 128) probably to F. Witt, who in 1909 sold it to Wiltshire county council. (fn. 129) In 1984 the council sold 31 a. to Mr. and Mrs. I. V. Andrews, but retained the remaining land. (fn. 130)
John Littlecote sold lands in Broad Chalke to Sir Richard Elyot (d. 1522), a justice of common pleas. (fn. 131) Part of the estate may have passed to Elyot's son Sir Thomas (d. 1546), the diplomatist and author; (fn. 132) more probably the whole was comprised in lands in Broad Chalke devised by Sir Richard to provide an obit in Salisbury cathedral. (fn. 133) Lands which were part of that endowment passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and were granted in 1560 to William Reddish, who held them in 1567. (fn. 134) Others were found to have been concealed from the Crown at the Dissolution and were granted in 1560 to Sir George Howard. (fn. 135) No more is known of Howard's holding. Reddish held Littlecote's farm, later known as REDDISH'S, in 1590. (fn. 136) The farm probably passed in that year to Christopher Reddish, who held it in 1599. (fn. 137) Edward Reddish (fl. 1628) (fn. 138) was succeeded in turn by his sons William (f1. 1662) and James, who sold the farm to Jeremiah Cray in 1696. Cray (d. 1710) was succeeded in turn by his brother Alexander (d. 1715), Alexander's son John (d. 1725), John's son Jeremiah (d. 1731), and that Jeremiah's son Jeremiah (d. 1786), whose estate passed to his relict Sarah (d. 1797). Reddish's farm passed to Sarah and Jeremiah's daughter Sarah (d. 1803), wife of Sir Alexander Grant, Bt. (fn. 139) It was sold by trustees of the younger Sarah's children to George Young in 1806. (fn. 140) A George Young held Reddish's in 1830, 1842, (fn. 141) and 1880. (fn. 142) In 1910 it was owned by Edgar Young, (fn. 143) and in 1929 by G. E. Young. (fn. 144) In or soon after 1929 the farm, c. 300 a. south of the river, was bought by R. W. Williamson. It passed with Knowle farm to Mr. D. Mann. (fn. 145) Reddish House, built c. 1700, (fn. 146) was then a small house with an ornate north front of four bays with a central doorway and a pediment supported by two Corinthian pilasters. The walls are of brick, the dressings on the main front of ashlar; the cornice and pediment were probably originally of wood. (fn. 147) A low eastern service wing was extended c. 1800 when a new parlour was added to its southern side and the main stair was rebuilt to serve the different levels of the principal and subsidiary rooms. About that time several windows were renewed; the woodwork of the cornice and pediment may then have been replaced by stone. The photographer and designer Sir Cecil Beaton (d. 1980), who bought Reddish House in 1947, added rooms on its eastern side, extended the parlour southwards, and introduced many new fittings. (fn. 148) Among those who visited Beaton at the house was the actress Greta Garbo. (fn. 149)
Robert Maskerel and others held 1 knight's fee in Chalke of Wilton abbey in 1242–3. (fn. 150) There is no later evidence of it; if it was in Broad Chalke, it may have been merged with Maskerel's lands in East Gurston. (fn. 151) Land and a mill in 'Chelch' given to the Templars in 1200 by Ralph Makerel and not later recorded is likely to have been in the Isle of Wight, (fn. 152) perhaps at Chale, rather than in Chalke, notwithstanding the similarity of the donor's name to that of the lords of East Gurston.
An estate of 3 hides, separated from Wilton abbey's Chalke estate after 1066, was held of the abbey by Girard in 1086. (fn. 153) In 1166 Gerard of Chalke held an estate later called EAST GURSTON, presumably the same, from the abbey as 1 knight's fee. (fn. 154) He was succeeded by his son Walter. (fn. 155) Part of Walter's estate may have passed to Maud Maskerel (fl. 1227), (fn. 156) said to be his daughter; it was held in 1242–3 by Robert Maskerel, perhaps her son, (fn. 157) who remained mesne lord of the land until 1276. (fn. 158) Lands held of Robert were among property bought by John Manningford, whose estate in Gurston included c. 75 a. and 1 yardland in 1256. Then or soon afterwards John conveyed his estate to St. Nicholas's hospital in Salisbury. (fn. 159) The hospital also received grants of land in Gurston and elsewhere in the parish from Henry Foster, who gave a meadow in 1256, (fn. 160) from Martin of Gurston, who gave 2 a. and pasture for 10 sheep, from Martin's son Henry, who between 1256 and 1272 gave 2 carucates and 1 yardland, (fn. 161) from Walkelin de Rosey, who also gave 2 carucates and 1 yardland, (fn. 162) and from Philip Oak, who in 1289 gave 1 yardland. (fn. 163) Robert Maskerel granted his rights over some of those lands to the hospital in 1276. (fn. 164) St. Nicholas's was refounded in 1610 and its possessions, including East Gurston, later Knapp, farm, were confirmed. (fn. 165) The hospital sold the farm, c. 230 a., in 1964 to Hitchings Bros. (Gurston) Ltd., the owners in 1984. (fn. 166)
WEST GURSTON manor may be identified with that part of Wilton abbey's Chalke estate held in 1242–3 as ⅓ knight's fee by Henry de Champfleur and Godfrey Scudamore (fn. 167) (fl. 1262). (fn. 168) The estate was held in 1292 by Peter Spilleman of Godfrey's son Peter (fn. 169) (d. by 1293), (fn. 170) and afterwards passed with Trow manor in Alvediston in the Bavant family and to Dartford priory (Kent). (fn. 171) It passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and was granted in 1544 to George Ludlow. (fn. 172) The estate probably belonged to William Grove in 1608; (fn. 173) a William Grove held it in 1646 (fn. 174) and sold it in 1667 to Sir James Thynne as Gurston, later West Gurston, manor. (fn. 175) Sir James (d. 1670) was succeeded in turn by his nephews Thomas Thynne (d. 1682) and Thomas Thynne (cr. Viscount Weymouth in 1682, d. 1714). West Gurston passed with the viscountcy (fn. 176) and later with the marquessate of Bath to John Thynne, marquess of Bath, (fn. 177) who held the manor in 1842. (fn. 178) A Mrs. Whitefold owned West Gurston, c. 500 a., in 1910, (fn. 179) and may have sold it to A. R. Hitchings, the owner in 1929. (fn. 180) It has remained in the Hitchings family and in 1984 was owned by Hitchings Bros. (Gurston) Ltd. (fn. 181)
Walter of Chalke gave lands in Gurston to Breamore priory (Hants) in the late 12th century. (fn. 182) In 1536, after the priory's dissolution, its estate of lands and tithes in Gurston was granted to Henry Courtenay, marquess of Exeter. (fn. 183) The estate reverted to the Crown on his attainder in 1539, (fn. 184) and in 1553 was sold to John Cox and Henry Bodenham. (fn. 185) With Ebbesborne Wake manor it passed in the Bodenham family until 1735 and was thereafter part of the estate of the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery. (fn. 186)
In 1292 Ralph of Enford granted lands in Gurston to John of Bedford and his wife Margery. (fn. 187) The lands were probably those which, with others in Knighton, were settled on John Alwyne (fl. 1322) and his wife Alice for life in 1304, with reversion to Robert Alwyne and his wife Agnes. (fn. 188) Roger Alwyne and his wife Agnes held lands in the parish in 1415 and 1418. (fn. 189) Their estate perhaps passed to John Poole (fl. 1439), (fn. 190) and in turn to John's son Richard (d. 1518) and Richard's son Leonard (d. 1538). (fn. 191) An estate mainly derived from Roger Alwyne's was held by Leonard's heirs c. 1553, (fn. 192) in 1567 by his son Sir Giles (fn. 193) (d. 1588), (fn. 194) and in 1590 by Sir Giles's heirs. (fn. 195) Part of it may have been sold to William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, in 1556–7; (fn. 196) land formerly Leonard Poole's was part of the Pembroke estate in 1612, (fn. 197) and the remainder of the Poole family's holding had been absorbed into that estate by the 1630s. (fn. 198)
In 1281 the order of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem claimed that a tenant in Gurston owed services to the order's Ansty preceptory rather than to St. Nicholas's hospital in Salisbury. Although the claim was unsuccessful, (fn. 199) the order held land in Broad Chalke parish, for which 1s. rent was received, at the Dissolution. (fn. 200) The endowments of the order when it was restored in England in 1558 included that land, (fn. 201) but no later reference to it has been found.
In 1227 the gift of 1 yardland in Gurston by Cecily daughter of William Sewale to Maiden Bradley priory was confirmed. (fn. 202) No later record of the holding has been found.
Lands apparently held by servants of Wilton abbey and called 'cnihtaland' in the late 11th century (fn. 203) may have comprised all or part of KNIGHTON manor, which was held of the abbey in 1200 by Godfrey de St. Martin. (fn. 204) Godfrey was succeeded by his brother Jordan (fn. 205) whose wife or relict Joan de Neville and son William de St. Martin both had estates called Knighton in 1242–3. (fn. 206) After Joan's death in 1263 William presumably inherited her land in Knighton. (fn. 207) He may have died in 1290–1, (fn. 208) and by 1294 had been succeeded by his son Reynold (fn. 209) (d. 1315). The manor passed in turn to Reynold's son Laurence (fn. 210) (d. 1318), Laurence's son Laurence (fn. 211) (d. 1385), and the younger Laurence's grandnephew Thomas Calstone, (fn. 212) who conveyed it in or before 1402 to John Lovel, Lord Lovel (d. 1408), (fn. 213) and his wife Maud. In 1412 Maud's feoffees granted the manor to Thomas for his life, with remainder to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Darell. (fn. 214) Elizabeth survived Thomas (d. in or before 1419) and William (d. between 1439 and 1453) and was succeeded in 1464 by her son Sir George Darell (d. 1474). Knighton passed to Sir George's son Sir Edward (fn. 215) (d. 1530), and was held as jointure by Sir Edward's relict Alice (fn. 216) (fl. 1545). (fn. 217) In 1547 Sir Edward's grandson and heir Sir Edward Darell sold the manor to Sir William Herbert (fn. 218) (cr. earl of Pembroke in 1551). It passed with Chalke manor to Reginald Herbert, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, (fn. 219) who in 1919 sold Knighton farm, 930 a., to A. G. Troup (fn. 220) (d. 1931). (fn. 221) The farm was bought in 1931 by T. C. Neville and H. H. Scott, who sold it in 1953 to Mr. R. Lamb, the owner in 1984. (fn. 222)
Knighton Manor has a main east-west range and an eastern cross wing, apparently retaining a medieval plan. The unusually great width of the main range may be evidence that it dates from before 1400. The south wall may, however, have been moved when additions were made to the west end of the house, and the earliest surviving features, notably a 16th-century doorway and several 16th- and early 17th-century windows, are in the north wall. The cross wing, originally the service wing, was much altered in the 19th century, probably when new service rooms were added at its northern end.
Some or all the lands in Knighton which, with others in Gurston, were settled on John Alwyne and his wife Alice for life in 1304, (fn. 223) were in 1314 the subject of a licence for John to endow a chantry in Knighton chapel. (fn. 224) The chantry was not established until 1322 when another licence was granted, perhaps allowing John to give more land. (fn. 225) The endowment may have been used to provide chantry priests until the mid 15th century. (fn. 226) A toft, perhaps given to re-endow the chantry, escheated to Sir Edward Darell or one of his predecessors as lord of Knighton manor in or before 1513. (fn. 227)
The lands which later formed STOKE FARTHING manor were apparently not part of the Chalke estate in the late 11th century (fn. 228) but had become so by 1225. (fn. 229) The manor was afterwards granted by Wilton abbey in fee farm to Rose de Verdun who held it in 1242–3. (fn. 230) It passed, probably in 1247, to her son John de Verdun (d. 1274) and later to John's son Theobald (Lord Verdun from 1295, d. 1309). (fn. 231) Theobald conveyed the manor to his son Theobald, (fn. 232) later Lord Verdun (d. 1316), (fn. 233) whose relict Elizabeth retained it until her death in 1360. (fn. 234) The reversion of the manor passed to the younger Theobald's grandson Thomas Furnivalle, Lord Furnivalle (d. 1339). (fn. 235) In 1360 Stoke Farthing passed to Thomas's son Thomas, Lord Furnivalle, whose brother William, Lord Furnivalle, succeeded him in 1365. After William's death in 1383 (fn. 236) the manor was held by his relict Thomasine (d. 1432). (fn. 237) The reversion passed to their granddaughter Maud de Neville (d. c. 1423) and the manor to her husband John Talbot, Lord Talbot (cr. earl of Shrewsbury in 1442). After his death in 1453 (fn. 238) the manor passed in turn to his son John, earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1460), and John's son John, earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1473), to whose relict Catherine (d. 1476) it was assigned as dower. (fn. 239) The third John's son George, earl of Shrewsbury, was of age in 1489; (fn. 240) the keeper of the manor from 1475 was Queen Elizabeth (fn. 241) and from 1478 William Hastings, Lord Hastings (fn. 242) (d. 1483), whose relict Catherine was the keeper in 1485. (fn. 243) From George, earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1538), the manor passed in the direct male line with the earldom to Francis (d. 1560), George (d. 1590), and Gilbert, (fn. 244) who sold it in 1608 to William, earl of Pembroke. (fn. 245) Thereafter it passed with Chalke manor to Reginald, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, (fn. 246) who in 1946 sold most of the land as Stoke farm, 1,050 a., to Guy Larnach-Nevill, marquess of Abergavenny (fn. 247) (d. 1954); (fn. 248) Lord Abergavenny's executors sold it in 1956 to trustees of Henry Pelham-Clinton, duke of Newcastle (d. 1928). (fn. 249) The remaining land was sold as Stoke Farthing or Stoke Verdon farm, 270 a., in 1947, (fn. 250) perhaps also to Lord Abergavenny. It was also bought by the duke of Newcastle's trustees in 1956. In 1984 both farms belonged to Newcastle Estates. (fn. 251)
A portion of tithes in Broad Chalke parish was held by the rector of Newton, presumably South Newton, in 1291 (fn. 252) and was later part of the endowment of South Newton prebend in Wilton conventual church. The prebendal estate passed with Chalke manor to the earls of Pembroke and in the mid 16th century included corn, hay, and wool tithes from the demesne of Stoke Farthing manor. (fn. 253) A rent charge which had apparently replaced payment of those tithes in kind was merged with the land in 1842. (fn. 254)
In Broad Chalke tithing each of the three townships, Broad Chalke, East Gurston, and West Gurston, had its own open fields and common pastures; both Knighton and Stoke Farthing also had their own.
In the 16th century there were six open fields in Broad Chalke township; (fn. 255) in the 18th century three lay north of the river and three south of it. (fn. 256) There was both several and common pasture on the north and south downs in 1567. (fn. 257) Then, as in the 17th century and later, arable in the fields north of the river may have carried grazing rights only on the northern pastures and that in the southern fields rights only on the southern pastures. (fn. 258)
The demesne of Chalke manor was all in Broad Chalke parish, and nearly all in Broad Chalke township. (fn. 259) The nature of tenants' services recorded in the mid 16th century, but probably commuted before then, suggests that the medieval demesne was at some time in hand and dependent upon those services for the practice of sheep-and-corn husbandry. (fn. 260) Of 55 tenants of the manor who held lands in Broad Chalke township in 1225, the wealthiest, who had 184 sheep, other stock, and movables valued at £6, may have been tenant of the demesne. (fn. 261) In the late 13th century, however, the demesne was not leased. (fn. 262) Between them in 1225 the tenants had c. 1,000 sheep, 38 oxen, and 42 cows. Most had fewer than 30 sheep each, but three had flocks of between 50 and 70. (fn. 263)
In the 1530s and in 1567 the demesne was leased in two parts. One portion included c. 670 a. of arable, of which c. 120 a. were several, 30 a. in meadow and pasture closes near the river, and 200 a. of several pasture on the northern downs. The other comprised pasture south of the river, including 200 a. of several pasture and feeding rights on 1,000 a. of down, and a rabbit warren in woods called Vernditch and Rough Gore. (fn. 264) From 1590 the demesne was leased as one farm, (fn. 265) from c. 1640 until after 1680 to members of the Aubrey family, including the antiquarian John Aubrey. (fn. 266) The downland pasture was reported by Aubrey to be the most valuable part of the farm; he claimed that the arable produced little more than the corn rent paid to the lord. (fn. 267)
In the mid 15th century the demesne of Rectory manor included grazing for 300 or more sheep on the southern pastures. (fn. 268) In the mid 16th century, when it included 128 a. of arable, the farmer of the demesne had pasture for 250 sheep south of the river and for 100 north of it. (fn. 269) The demesne farm, Rectory farm, also included 20 a. of woodland in 1691. (fn. 270) The whole manor was leased in 1567 to Robert Penruddock (fn. 271) (d. 1582), who was succeeded as lessee in turn by his nephew John Penruddock (d. 1600), John's son Thomas (knighted in 1603, d. 1637), Sir Thomas's son Sir George (d. 1664), and Sir George's son Sir George (d. 1681). (fn. 272) Sir Thomas Penruddock was lessee in 1691. (fn. 273) Lands in Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke parishes were held by 22 customary tenants of the manor in 1462. (fn. 274) In 1575 lands in Broad Chalke township were held by nine copyholders. (fn. 275) In 1648 six copyholders held a total of 149 a. of arable there; one holding included 86 a. of arable. (fn. 276)
In 1567 Mount Sorrel manor included 165 a. of arable with pasture rights for 455 sheep, of which 100 a. and pasture rights for 250 sheep were leased as one holding, perhaps the demesne. Four smaller holdings may have been copyholds. The lord of Chalke manor claimed the services of ploughmen and a blacksmith from those holding the manor's lands. (fn. 277) The estate later called Reddish's then comprised 107 a. in the open fields with rights for 250 sheep. (fn. 278) Later in the 16th century it was leased. (fn. 279)
From the early 17th century meadows beside the Ebble were floated. (fn. 280) Chalke manor courts were much concerned with the regulation of watercourses and meadows in the 18th century. (fn. 281) Between the mid 17th century and the late 18th downland pasture was converted to arable, sometimes by burnbaking. In the 1770s there were said to be too few sheep to manure the increased area of arable. (fn. 282)
In 1762 the demesne of Chalke manor was divided into Chalke and Knowle farms, the lands and pastures of which lay respectively north and south of the Ebble. (fn. 283) In 1772 the lessee of Knowle farm held 182 a. in the open fields, 16 a. of several arable, and pasture rights on 900 a. of down. (fn. 284) Probably by 1789 and certainly by 1792 both farms had been inclosed. Chalke, 520 a., lay north of Broad Chalke village and east of East Gurston's land and was worked from Manor Farm. Knowle, 590 a., lay south-west of the village and may have been worked then as later from a farmstead at the eastern end of Bower Chalke village. Holdings of 285 a. and 130 a., formerly customary lands of Chalke manor but in 1789 leasehold, may then also have been compact inclosed farms. Other farms included Rectory, 124 a. with pasture for 232 sheep, Reddish's, 98 a., and Mount Sorrel, 93 a. Some 300 a. in smaller holdings were part of Chalke manor and mainly copyhold. Those with lands in open fields north of the river shared pasture on 185 a. of northern downland. Those with holdings in the southern fields shared 420 a. of southern downland. Those with any openfield land had rights in Cow down, 279 a., north of Vernditch Wood. (fn. 285)
In an inclosure award of 1792, made under an Act of 1785, allotments were made of c. 2,000 a. in Broad Chalke township. The leaseholds of Chalke manor became or were confirmed as compact farms between Chalke farm and Stoke Farthing's lands. The downland became several but land was laid out as two new open fields north-east and south of Broad Chalke village. The fields measured 186 a. and 194 a. respectively and were mainly for the copy holders of Chalke manor. (fn. 286) Those fields had been inclosed by 1842. (fn. 287) The necessary exchanges had perhaps been made under an Act of 1814, although no formal award under that Act was made until 1861. (fn. 288)
In 1842 Manor, formerly Chalke, farm comprised 479 a., Knowle farm, 702 a., and North Street farm, formed by the merger of leasehold lands east of Manor farm, 506 a. Vernditch Lodge farm, 383 a., was a compact downland farm in the south-east corner of the township. The lands of Rectory farm, 300 a., Reddish's, 318 a., Mount Sorrel, 111 a., and a farm of 350 a. derived from copyholds of Chalke manor were scattered south and east of the village. All but Reddish's were occupied by tenants. (fn. 289) In the mid 19th century more downland was ploughed but some was found to be unproductive. (fn. 290)
In the late 19th and the 20th century most lands in Broad Chalke township were absorbed into farms of 500 a. or more. North Street farm and the 350–a. farm were merged as Chalkpyt farm and worked from a farmstead built north of Chalkpyt House between 1861 and 1886. (fn. 291) The lands of Rectory farm were added in 1921. In 1984 Chalkpyt was a mixed farm of 1,260 a., including lands north and south of the river. (fn. 292) Knowle farm, an arable, sheep, and dairy farm of 557 a. in 1919, (fn. 293) was soon afterwards merged with Reddish's, 300 a. In the 1920s and 1930s the farms were worked with lands which later became Hut and Lodge farm and with others in Bower Chalke. Dairying ceased in 1967, after which Knowle, c. 1,100 a. including 850 a. in Broad Chalke parish, became a sheep and arable farm. In 1980 a vineyard was planted on 7 a. near Knowle Farm; 120 a. of downland, south of the farmstead, was designated as of special scientific interest in or before 1984. (fn. 294) In the late 19th century and the early 20th the lands of Manor and Lodge farms were worked together. (fn. 295) A farmstead, called Lodge Farm, was built on the southern downland before 1886. (fn. 296) In 1919 Manor farm, 500 a., was half arable and half pasture; sheep and dairy cattle were kept. (fn. 297) It comprised 250 a. in 1929, (fn. 298) and in 1984 was a mixed farm of 350 a. (fn. 299) In 1919 Lodge farm was worked with lands called West Vernditch farm as part of a holding of 730 a., including approximately equal areas of arable, pasture, and woodland. (fn. 300) Lodge was a dairy farm in the 1920s, and in the 1930s sheep and beef cattle were reared; during those decades the lands were worked with those of Knowle farm. After 1940 Lodge farm became part of Hut and Lodge farm. Downland south of Ox Drove belonging to the farm was ploughed during the 1940s. In 1984 the farm, 584 a., was chiefly arable; some beef cattle were kept. (fn. 301) From 1909 the lands of Mount Sorrel farm were let as smallholdings. (fn. 302) From the 1940s until 1984 they were let as two holdings, of 75 a. and 31 a. (fn. 303).
In 1086 Girard had 2 ploughs on his 2–hide estate. (fn. 304) In the mid 13th century lands and pastures in East Gurston and West Gurston were distinguished, and apparently in both husbandry was communal. (fn. 305) A tenant of lands in East Gurston shared sheep pasture with tenants of West Gurston in the 16th century, (fn. 306) but in the mid 17th century the fields and downs of the two townships were entirely separate. Each had three fields. Those of West Gurston were West and East fields, lying either side of a road leading north to Fovant, and North field, north of those fields and straddling the road. Further north were Inner and Outer downs. (fn. 307)
The demesne of East Gurston manor was apparently in hand c. 1300. There were 16 tenants of the manor; one held by knight service, four were cottars. Between them they held c. 80 a.; the largest holding was of 24 a. (fn. 308) In the mid 16th century the whole manor was leased. (fn. 309) From 1588 the lease passed in the Penruddock family with that of Rectory manor. (fn. 310) Members of the family were lessees until after 1735. (fn. 311) In the mid 16th century, as presumably earlier, c. 60 a. of arable and pasture for 200 sheep in East Gurston were part of Rectory manor and copyhold. (fn. 312) Downland shared by those holding Rectory manor and East Gurston farm was inclosed in the 1580s. (fn. 313) In the mid 17th century 40 a. of arable with pasture rights for 30 sheep in East Gurston were part of the Poole family's estate, later absorbed into Chalke manor. (fn. 314)
In 1789 East Gurston farm, 229 a., included 92 a. of arable and 135 a. of pasture. Other farms in the township, including two of c. 100 a. each and another of 77 a., were approximately half arable and half pasture. (fn. 315) By then they may all have been inclosed, but their lands were subject to allotment in the inclosure award of 1792. Thereafter each extended in a narrow strip from the main road near the Ebble to the northern parish boundary. (fn. 316) From 1842 or earlier the middle strips, East Gurston farm and the 100–a. farm immediately east of it, were worked together. (fn. 317) The combined farm of 338 a. included 160 a. of downland and 165 a. of arable in 1884; 30 a. of arable were on the downs. (fn. 318) From the early 20th century the farm, called Knapp, was usually worked with West Gurston farm. (fn. 319) In the 1920s and 1930s most of the land was pasture; after 1940 over half was arable. In 1984 the two farms included 550 a. of arable and 200 a. of pasture, of which 100 a. were rough pasture on the downs. (fn. 320)
By 1842 the 77–a. farm, the easternmost strip in the township, had been absorbed into the neighbouring North Street, later Chalkpyt, farm. (fn. 321) The second 100–a. farm, the westernmost strip and a leasehold of Rectory manor, was said in 1860 to include productive lowland arable but poor downland arable; a new farmstead was needed. (fn. 322) The lands were probably worked with those of Chalkpyt farm in 1910 (fn. 323) and were absorbed into that farm after 1921. (fn. 324)
West Gurston manor was said to comprise 1 hide in 1292, (fn. 325) 2 carucates, including 200 a. of arable, in 1362. (fn. 326) Its lands, c. 180 a. of arable with pasture rights for 400 sheep, were held by a single tenant in the 1560s. (fn. 327) The only other holding in the township was a copyhold of Rectory manor, comprising 17 a. of arable with pasture rights for 100 sheep in 1575. (fn. 328)
Downland in the township was brought under the plough in the 18th century and the early 19th, some by burnbaking. West Gurston farm, 524 a., and the copyhold of Rectory manor, 48 a., were held by the same tenant in 1789, (fn. 329) and in 1792 formed a compact inclosed farm worked from Gurston House. (fn. 330) Between 1861 and 1886 a new farmstead was built 250 m. north of the main road beside the Ebble. (fn. 331) From the early 20th century the farm was usually worked with Knapp farm in East Gurston. (fn. 332)
Woodland 3 leagues long and 1 league broad, part of Wilton abbey's Chalke estate in 1086, (fn. 333) presumably included that which is known later to have covered much of Broad Chalke township south of Ox Drove. (fn. 334) A wood there belonging to Wilton abbey was called Vernditch in 1250; rights within it were disputed with lords of Cranborne Chase from the 13th century to the 17th. (fn. 335) Vernditch Wood measured 108 a. in 1567; in Rough Gore, 20 a., there were then hazel, hawthorn, and oak. (fn. 336) The woods were not usually leased in the 18th and 19th centuries, (fn. 337) and were managed with those in adjoining parishes as part of Chase Woods. (fn. 338) There were c. 250 a. of woodland in the township in 1789 and 1919. (fn. 339) In 1938 Vernditch Chase, 300 a., included hazel coppices, oak, ash, and beech. Experimental planting was undertaken by the Forestry Commission thereafter; beech, oak, ash, sycamore, and conifers were grown. (fn. 340) On Knowle farm also many trees were planted after 1967. (fn. 341)
Watercress beds had been constructed west of the lane leading south from Knapp Farm by 1886. More beds had been made east of the lane and east of the road from Mount Sorrel to Bower Chalke by 1899, and north of the church by 1923. (fn. 342) Only those west of the lane were still used for watercress in 1984. There were then 5 a. of beds; cress was sent to markets in London, Bristol, Birmingham, and Cardiff. (fn. 343) Beds east of the lane were used with others near Knowle Farm and with the tributary beside the Bower Chalke road as part of a trout farm. (fn. 344)
From the 1850s baskets were made at Broad Chalke. (fn. 345) In the early 20th century they were made from osiers grown in the parish and were used for packing watercress. (fn. 346) Production ceased in or soon after 1920. (fn. 347)
Knighton manor comprised 5 hides in 1200. (fn. 348) Between 1401 and 1404 the demesne was at farm; (fn. 349) in the 1420s most was occupied by the lord but small parcels were leased. (fn. 350) In 1409 the demesne farm included 300 a. of arable, 30 a. of wood, and several pasture for 600 sheep. (fn. 351) Flocks numbering between 400 and 500 were kept in the 1420s, and sheep and wool were sent to the Darells' manor of Littlecote in Ramsbury. (fn. 352) In 1409 works of mowing and reaping were owed by eight yardlanders; two ½-yardlanders and 13 cottagers owed lesser services. (fn. 353) By 1423 the services had been commuted. (fn. 354) Lands of Knighton chantry included 1 yardland and pasture for 51 sheep in 1322. (fn. 355) Four free tenants held of Knighton manor in 1409; the largest holding was of 2 yardlands. (fn. 356)
There were West, Middle, and East fields in Knighton in the mid 16th century, as perhaps earlier. Part of the open field was presumably on downland and part between the meadows beside the Ebble and the steep slope of Knighton Hill. The rest of the township, except Knighton Wood, was mostly downland pasture. There were 100 a. of several pasture in the south-east corner. The demesne was again leased but only c. 140 a. were ploughed; other arable was said to have been uncultivated for many years. There were seven copyholders, sharing 10 yardlands, c. 1550. They held 240 a. of arable between them. The largest holding was of 2½ yardlands. (fn. 357) By the early 17th century most copyhold land had apparently been absorbed by the demesne farm. The only other holding then in Knighton was of 2 yardlands. It comprised 50 a. of arable with pasture rights for 120 sheep, and was leased with Knighton farm. (fn. 358)
In the mid 18th century the lands of the township were worked as one farm. (fn. 359) In 1789 the farm, c. 1,000 a., included over 500 a. of arable and over 200 a. each of woodland and pasture. (fn. 360) Then, as for much of the 19th century and the early 20th, the farm was leased; from 1894 or earlier c. 100 a. of woodland were kept in hand. (fn. 361) Although a new farmstead had been built on Knighton Hill by c. 1807, (fn. 362) and another, at the northern corner of Knighton Wood, by 1886, the old farmstead beside Knighton Mill remained in use in the late 19th century. (fn. 363) In 1919 the farm included only 290 a. of arable, and over 500 a. of pasture. (fn. 364) It was chiefly a sheep farm in the 1920s. (fn. 365) Since 1920 it has been worked with neighbouring lands in Bishopstone. In 1984 Knighton farm was of 1,755 a.; a large flock was kept, some pedigree stock was bred, and there were 1,100 a. of arable on which wheat and barley were grown. (fn. 366)
Stoke Farthing manor included demesne estimated at 200 a. in 1274, (fn. 367) 100 a. in 1316. (fn. 368) Stock on the demesne in 1225 apparently included only 91 sheep, (fn. 369) although in the late 13th century and the 14th there was said to be demesne pasture for between 300 and 400. (fn. 370) In 1316 there were 10 a. of several pasture. (fn. 371) Sales of stock and grain each contributed almost half the income from the manor in the mid 14th century. (fn. 372) In 1225 there were 25 tenants of the manor who held between them stock including 35 cows, 11 oxen, and 435 sheep. (fn. 373) By 1316 the number of customary tenants had apparently fallen to 14 and services had been commuted. (fn. 374)
In the early 17th century, as probably earlier, the farmer and other tenants had lands in East and West fields, and presumably shared common pasture on the downs further north. Then, as in the 14th century, the lord or farmer had beside the Ebble meadow closes in which other tenants had pasture rights after the hay had been cut. In 1632, when the demesne farm was leased, it included c. 190 a. of arable and pasture rights for 500 or more sheep. (fn. 375) The farm had altered little by 1705. In the late 17th century and throughout the 18th members of the Good family were lessees. (fn. 376) In 1632 there were 16 copyholders sharing 9¼ yardlands, including 340 a. of arable and pasture rights for 800 sheep. (fn. 377) Most of that land was still copyhold in 1705, but 1½ yardland was then leasehold. (fn. 378)
In 1789 the demesne farm comprised 110 a. of arable and 182 a. of pasture and may by then have been inclosed. A leasehold farm of 132 a., presumably derived from copyholds, included 59 a. of inclosed arable. (fn. 379) At inclosure in 1792 the demesne farm, later Stoke Verdon farm, became or was confirmed as a compact holding of 292 a. in the eastern part of the township. West of it was an inclosed farm of 116 a. Tenants of smaller holdings were allotted lands in a new open field of 194 a. on the lower slopes of the downs west of the inclosed farms and pasture rights on 194 a. of sheep down and 111 a. of cow down, both north of the open field. (fn. 380)
By the early 1830s most lands in the township had been divided between three farms. (fn. 381) Stoke Verdon was a farm of 315 a. in 1842; the others were of 386 a. and 312 a. (fn. 382) In the late 19th century the three farms became two, Stoke and Stoke Verdon, in the western and eastern halves of the township respectively. They were worked from new farmsteads beside the main road. (fn. 383) Stoke Verdon measured 632 a. in 1910. (fn. 384) From the 1890s until the 1920s two thirds of the farm were arable; 100 a. of arable were converted to pasture in 1927, and in 1930 dairying was introduced. The northern part of the farm, 460 a., was transferred to Stoke farm in 1930. (fn. 385) In 1981 another 88 a. were transferred to Stoke farm; the remainder was thereafter worked with nearby lands in Bishopstone. (fn. 386) Stoke farm measured 574 a. in 1910, (fn. 387) and 1,032 a. in 1939. (fn. 388) In the 1950s it was mainly a sheep farm; after 1967 dairy and beef cattle were introduced and the area of arable increased. (fn. 389)
There were five mills on Wilton abbey's Chalke estate in 1066, (fn. 390) one or more of which may have been in what became Broad Chalke parish. A mill in Broad Chalke or Bower Chalke is recorded in 1249. (fn. 391) In 1439 a miller from Broad Chalke was fined for overcharging. (fn. 392) His was perhaps the water mill at Broad Chalke which was part of Chalke manor in 1539 and later. (fn. 393) Its site was presumably that north of the church still occupied by a mill in 1842. (fn. 394) That mill was working in 1855 but was disused soon afterwards (fn. 395) and had been demolished by 1886. (fn. 396)
A mill in Knighton was part of Knighton manor in 1384. (fn. 397) References to a water mill there survive from many later dates. (fn. 398) In 1984 the mill, housed in a brick building of the 19th century, was electrically powered and used to pump water and, occasionally, to grind corn. (fn. 399)
A mill, presumably a water mill, in Stoke Farthing was recorded in 1439. (fn. 400)
Tithingmen from Gurston, Knighton, and Stoke, later Stoke Farthing, attended hundred courts in the 1280s; (fn. 401) a fourth tithing, Broad Chalke or Great Chalke, included lands of Chalke manor for which views were later held separately. (fn. 402) By 1334 Gurston had apparently been absorbed into Broad Chalke tithing. Then and in 1377 Broad Chalke, Knighton, and Stoke Farthing were assessed separately for taxation, (fn. 403) and in 1439 each was represented at the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 404) Broad Chalke tithing was itself divided into two tithings in the 16th century, and into three in the 18th. (fn. 405)
Courts and views of frankpledge for Chalke manor were held in spring and autumn in 1558–9 and 1567. Probably in the 1630s and certainly from 1690 a view was held annually in autumn and manorial business was transacted at a court held on the same day. Courts were also held at other times to transact additional tenurial business. From 1718 a manor court was held in spring and a view in autumn. No court or view is recorded after 1795. Two tithingmen from Broad Chalke were elected at the view. They represented tithings called East Chalke and West Chalke in the 16th century, North and South from 1727. In the 1780s a tithingman from Rectory manor also attended. At views a jury for the whole of Chalke manor presented breaches of the peace, tenements in need of repair, and strays. At courts the homage of the Broad Chalke part of the manor presented separately from that of the Bower Chalke part matters such as absence from the court and misuse of common pastures. (fn. 406)
From 1419 courts for Rectory manor were held, usually once and sometimes twice a year. The homage presented absentees from the court, necessary repairs, and breaches of manorial custom; questions of tenure were settled. The right to hold views of frankpledge was apparently acquired with the rectory estate by King's College, Cambridge, in 1449. A view was held in 1449 (fn. 407) but no record survives of any held between then and 1563. A court and a view were held on the same day twice a year between 1564 and 1571 and annually in the mid 17th century. In the 16th century a tithingman presented and business differed little from that of earlier courts; in the 17th the homage presented and only tenurial business was transacted. (fn. 408)
Courts of Knighton manor, held in spring and autumn, were recorded for some years between 1394 and 1460. The homage made presentments; business included admittances to customary holdings, settlement of disputes between tenants, and presentments of negligent manorial officers. In 1425 and 1429 tenants of Bower Chalke were reported to have caused damage to the lord's woods. (fn. 411) No court held after the manor became part of the earl of Pembroke's estate was recorded, and none may have been held after the early 17th century, when the lands of the tithing were held by a single tenant. (fn. 412)
Courts for Stoke Farthing manor may have been held twice a year in the early 14th century. (fn. 413) Manor courts held in spring or autumn were recorded for 1634, 1651, and 1676. Annual courts were held from 1690 until 1820. The homage presented absentees from the courts, orders were made for the perambulation of boundaries and the use of common pastures, and copyhold tenants were admitted. (fn. 414)
The parish spent £234 on poor relief in 1775–6. (fn. 415) Expenditure on the poor thereafter followed a pattern similar to that in other parishes in the hundred. It had risen to £900 by 1812–13, a rise less steep than in some neighbouring parishes, and had fallen to £595 by 1814–15; 51 adults received permanent and 35 occasional relief in 1812–13, 41 and 30 in 1814–15. (fn. 416) Thereafter the sums spent fluctuated; £1, 245 was spent in 1818, £580 in 1821, and £882 in 1831. (fn. 417) Average annual expenditure between 1833 and 1835 was £571. Broad Chalke parish became part of Wilton poor-law union in 1836 (fn. 418) and of Salisbury district in 1974. (fn. 419)
A church may have stood on Wilton abbey's Chalke estate in 1066; the 'men of the church' who then held part of the estate may, however, have been of the conventual church of Wilton itself. (fn. 420) In 1258 a vicar, perhaps serving both Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke, looked after a church for the rector of Chalke, (fn. 421) which may indicate that the church had already been appropriated to a prebend in the conventual church. It certainly had been by 1298 when a new ordination of the vicarage was proposed; (fn. 422) about that time Bower Chalke became in some respects a separate parish, but marks of its dependence on Broad Chalke remained until the 16th century. (fn. 423) Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke were each served by a vicar in 1307. (fn. 424) Vicars of Broad Chalke were also vicars of Bower Chalke from c. 1530 and of Alvediston from 1584 or earlier. From the early 17th century Bower Chalke and Alvediston churches were considered chapels of Broad Chalke. (fn. 425) Separation of the livings was proposed in 1650 (fn. 426) but did not, apparently, take place. Alvediston became a separate living in 1861 (fn. 427) as did Bower Chalke in 1880. (fn. 428) In 1952 the vicarages of Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke were united. (fn. 429) The two parishes were served by the Chalke Valley group ministry from 1972, (fn. 430) and in 1981 the united benefice became part of Chalke Valley West benefice. (fn. 431)
Prebendaries of Chalke presented a vicar of Chalke in 1298 and vicars of Broad Chalke from 1337 until 1436. (fn. 432) In 1448–9 the advowson passed with the prebendal estate to King's College, Cambridge. (fn. 433) The college presented in 1453 and at most later vacancies. (fn. 434) Leyson Geffrey or Gryffon presented in 1471 by a grant of a single turn, (fn. 435) and in 1786 the bishop of Salisbury presented by lapse. (fn. 436) King's College was patron of the united benefice of Broad Chalke and Bower Chalke from 1952, (fn. 437) and of Chalke Valley West benefice at the first of every three turns from 1981. (fn. 438)
In 1291 the vicar of Chalke's was one of several poor livings in Chalke deanery valued at £4 6s. 8d. each. (fn. 439) An increased endowment, proposed in 1298, (fn. 440) had been made by 1307. (fn. 441) In 1535 the income of the vicar of Broad Chalke, £17 14s., (fn. 442) was above the average for livings in the deanery. By 1671 the vicar had been assigned £16 a year from the rectory estate, (fn. 443) and between 1720 and 1728 the combined living of Broad Chalke, Bower Chalke, and Alvediston was augmented by Queen Anne's Bounty and other benefactors. (fn. 444) Between 1829 and 1831 the income from the living, approximately £336 yearly, (fn. 445) was close to the average for Wiltshire. The payment of £16 was assigned to the curate of Alvediston in 1861. (fn. 446)
In 1671 tithe corn from 40½ a. of Rectory manor and some wool, hay, and other small tithes were due to the vicar. Some demesne lands in East Gurston and West Gurston were exempt from hay and wool tithes, some in Knighton and all in Stoke Farthing were exempt from hay tithes, and no vicarial tithe was paid from the demesne of Chalke manor. (fn. 447) Tithes from Rectory manor and from former copyholds which had become part of Stoke Verdon farm had been commuted by 1842; in that year the remaining vicarial tithes were commuted and replaced by a rent charge of £147. (fn. 448)
In the 1720s the vicar was given 1½ yardland of Rectory manor, formerly copyhold, to hold for a small rent payable to the lessee of the manor. (fn. 449) That may have been the glebe land for which an allotment of 24 a. was made at inclosure in 1792. (fn. 450) Most of the glebe land was apparently sold between 1915 and 1923. (fn. 451) Lands in St. Mary Bourne (Hants), held by the vicar in 1763, (fn. 452) had perhaps been added to the endowment when the vicarage was augmented in 1720; (fn. 453) they were not mentioned after 1782. (fn. 454) There was a vicarage house in 1671. (fn. 455) In 1705 it was said to have five rooms and to be in good repair, (fn. 456) and c. 1830 it was fit for residence. (fn. 457) In 1860 it was demolished and a large new house of flint and brick built to a design by T. H. Wyatt. (fn. 458) That house was sold in or after 1952 (fn. 459) and a new one built in 1961. (fn. 460)
There was a church at East Gurston or West Gurston in 1237, when the king, in the right of Wilton abbey which was then vacant, presented Martin of St. Cross. (fn. 461) Whether he served the church as rector, vicar, or curate is not known. In 1310 the church was described as a chapel of Broad Chalke and apparently had no separate endowment. (fn. 462) In 1384 there was no service in the chapel because the prebendary of Chalke had not provided a chaplain. (fn. 463) No later record of the chapel has been found.
There was a chapel at Knighton, presumably dependent on Broad Chalke church, in 1310. (fn. 464) Its site may have been east of Knighton Mill. (fn. 465) In 1314, when John Alwyne was licensed to endow a chantry in it, the chapel was dedicated to All Saints. (fn. 466) The chantry was established in 1322. Daily masses were to be said in the chapel during the founder's life and afterwards in the parish church. (fn. 467) Chaplains appointed to the chantry may have continued to serve the chapel after Alwyne's death. (fn. 468) In 1322 the advowson of the chantry was granted to the prebendary of Chalke and his successors. (fn. 469) Prebendaries usually presented the chaplains but in 1348 the bishop collated, for what reason is not known. The last recorded presentation of a chaplain was in 1441. (fn. 470) In 1553 a chalice weighing 5 oz. was left in the chapel and 1½ oz. of plate was confiscated. There were then two bells. (fn. 471) In 1567 the vicar of Broad Chalke was said to be required by an old agreement to say services in the chapel on Sundays, feast days, and some other days. (fn. 472) No later record of the chapel has been found.
In the late 17th century John Aubrey reported that there had formerly been a chapel dedicated to St. Luke at Stoke Farthing, which was attended once a year by foresters of the New Forest. (fn. 473) No other reference to the chapel has been found.
The masses endowed by John Alwyne were celebrated in Broad Chalke church probably from the mid 14th century until after 1441. (fn. 474) Guilds of St. Catherine and St. Thomas were recorded in 1384 (fn. 475) but not afterwards. In 1584 three parishioners were presented for not attending the parish church regularly; two of them claimed to have been licensed to attend other churches. (fn. 476) John Eedes, who had been ejected from his living in Kent, served as a curate in Broad Chalke in the late 1640s. (fn. 477) John Sloper, vicar from 1645 (fn. 478) and a signatory in 1648 of the Concurrent Testimony, (fn. 479) was praised for 'constant' preaching in Broad Chalke, Bower Chalke, and Alvediston in 1650. A proposal then made that those living in East Gurston, West Gurston, and Little London should become parishioners of Fifield Bavant was not implemented. (fn. 480) In the late 18th century and the early 19th vicars of Broad Chalke did not reside and a curate served all three churches. (fn. 481) One service was held at Broad Chalke each Sunday in 1783. Communion was celebrated at Easter, Whitsun, Michaelmas, and Christmas; there were usually 20 communicants. (fn. 482) On Census Sunday in 1851 there were morning, afternoon, and evening services. Approximately 200 people attended each service. (fn. 483) The biblical scholar Rowland Williams, vice-principal of St. David's College, Lampeter (Cardig., later Dyfed), was vicar from 1858 to 1870. As a result of his prosecution for heterodox views, expressed in Essays and Reviews published in 1860, he resigned from the college and was suspended from his living for a year in 1862. The sentence was reversed on appeal and he retired to Broad Chalke. He initiated or supported the building of a school and the foundation of a library and a co-operative society in the village, and provided hymn books, enlarged the choir, and introduced the chanting of psalms in the church. (fn. 484) In 1864 two services were held on Sundays and one on Friday evenings. The congregation at Sunday services was usually between 150 and 200. Communion, celebrated at the four major festivals and monthly, was usually received by 20 communicants. (fn. 485)
ALL SAINTS' church, so called in 1486, (fn. 486) is built of limestone ashlar and some rubble, and has a chancel with a north vestry, a central tower with transepts, and a nave with a south porch. Work on the church perhaps began c. 1258, when the keeper of Savernake forest was ordered to provide the vicar of Chalke with timber for the fabric of his church. (fn. 487) The oldest parts of the church, the chancel, the north transept, and part of the west wall, including the doorway, date from the late 13th century. The nave may then have been aisled and of an overall width as great as that of the modern nave. In the late 14th century the lower stages of the tower, the south transept, and the porch were built. That the aisles then remained is suggested by the surviving responds of arcades, which later acted as buttresses against the nave's west wall. By 1500, however, most of the nave had been rebuilt. Probably during that rebuilding, the arcades were removed and the north and south walls were strengthened to carry the roof across the nave's width, 34 ft. The upper stages of the tower were added in the late 15th century or the early 16th. In the mid 17th century extensive repairs were undertaken partly on the initiative of John Aubrey. (fn. 488) The church was restored in 1846–7 to designs of T. H. Wyatt. (fn. 489) The nave roof was then replaced by a copy, and medieval wall paintings of St. Christopher, on the north wall of the nave, and of the Taking Down from the Cross, over the west tower arch, were removed. (fn. 490) Some windows were replaced in the early 1920s, when there was further restoration, to designs of Michael Harding. (fn. 491)
In 1553 a chalice weighing 11 oz. was left in the parish church; 15 oz. of plate were confiscated. In 1827 the parish had a small silver chalice and cover. It was apparently replaced in the 1860s when three chalices, three patens, and a flagon were given. In 1891 the parish also held a silver-gilt paten of 1878. (fn. 492) In 1985 two each of the patens and the chalices, the flagon, and a ciborium of 1982 were held. (fn. 493)
There were four bells in the church in 1553, (fn. 494) presumably including a 14th-century bell which was among the six bells hanging there in 1985. (fn. 495) A fifth bell was added in 1616. (fn. 496) In 1659–60 two bells were recast and a sixth bell made at the recasting. Those three were recast in 1874 by Mears & Stainbank. They, a bell of 1704 by Clement Tosier, and one recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1874 hung in the church in 1985. (fn. 497)
Registers of baptisms begin in 1538, of burials in 1552, and of marriages in 1562. Those for the 17th and 18th centuries are incomplete. (fn. 498)
In 1655 inhabitants of Broad Chalke may have attended a meeting at which a Baptist church was established in south Wiltshire. (fn. 501) Members of the church were among four Broad Chalke dissenters in 1662 and nine in 1668. (fn. 502) In 1669 an Anabaptist conventicle in the parish was led by Henry Penn; it had no more than 10 members, said to be of 'very mean quality'. (fn. 503) Penn's house was licensed for meetings in 1672. (fn. 504) Baptist activity in the parish is not recorded after the 1670s.
A house in Broad Chalke may have been licensed for Independents' meetings in 1739. (fn. 507) Independent meetings are known to have been held in the parish from the 1770s. In or before 1801 a chapel was built in North Street, and in 1812 a minister was appointed to serve congregations in Broad Chalke, Bower Chalke, and Ebbesborne Wake. (fn. 508) On Census Sunday in 1851 afternoon and evening services in the chapel were attended by congregations of 90 and 197 respectively. (fn. 509) In 1864 the Bicentenary Memorial church was built to replace the chapel; a minister resident in Broad Chalke was then appointed. (fn. 510) The church was served from Wilton in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963 Sidney Pond gave £1,000 to augment the minister's salary, to pay for visiting preachers, and to be used for charitable purposes. (fn. 511)
A house was licensed for Methodists' meetings in 1783. A building licensed for meetings in 1836 (fn. 512) may have been used by Primitive Methodists for whom a chapel was built in South Street in 1843. Afternoon and evening services were held there on Sundays in 1851; some 75 people usually attended. (fn. 513) The chapel was closed c. 1965 and was demolished in 1970. (fn. 514)
A house at Stoke Farthing was licensed for meetings of Methodists in 1780 and probably again in 1783. In 1851 Primitive Methodists met in a house there. (fn. 515)
In 1818 there was no daily school in Broad Chalke. (fn. 516) A day school, begun in 1829 and attended by 42 girls in 1833, (fn. 517) probably became the National school taught by a mistress and attended by 94 children in 1846. (fn. 518) A cottage belonging to the vicar served as the schoolroom and teacher's house. (fn. 519) By 1858 average attendance had dropped to 50. (fn. 520) A new school and house were built in 1860. (fn. 521) In the late 19th century and the early 20th there were usually two teachers. Average attendance had risen to 103 by 1903; (fn. 522) in 1910 it was 97, and it remained between 85 and 100 until the 1930s. By 1936 it had fallen to 73. (fn. 523) In 1984 there were 23 children on roll. (fn. 524)
Charities for the Poor.
At inclosure in 1792 an allotment of 24 a. of rough down was made to provide fuel for the poor. When the lands became bare of furze they were exchanged for others. They were little used in the early 20th century (fn. 527) but were still held for the poor in 1963. (fn. 528) In the 1980s part of the land was let to local farmers. Income from rents was allowed to accumulate; one farmer paid no rent but allowed the use of 5 a. elsewhere in the parish as a playing field. (fn. 529)
By will proved 1859 C. B. Pryce gave £500, the income from which was to provide coal for the poor at Christmas. After litigation £262 was invested in 1862. In 1905 coal was bought for 108 parishioners. (fn. 530) Between 1951 and 1965 the income, approximately £6 a year, was spent on coal given to c. 20 parishioners each Christmas; (fn. 531) in the 1980s occasional cash payments were made. (fn. 532)