Page images
PDF
EPUB

hood. By a Katharine Lovell, certain lands at Wicklescote were given to the Nuns of Lacock Abbey, and at the Dissolution of Monasteries those particular lands were bought by Mr. Goddard, then of Upham.

The five properties, all called Swindon in Domesday, are afterwards variously called Haute, High, or Over-Swindon, NetherSwindon, Even-Swindon, and West Swindon. They passed into different hands; and among other owners were, in Edward 1., Philip Avenel holding under the Abbess of Wilton, Robert de Pontl'arge, holding under the Crown, the Bassets, the Despensers, the Abbey of Malmesbury, the Monastery of Ivychurch, near Sarum; and at a later period, the families of Everard, Alworth, and Vilett, the last-named being now represented by Mrs. Rolleston. Some of the lands that belonged to Monasteries were purchased in 1541 by Sir Thomas Bridges, ancestor of the Dukes of Chandos, and some at Even-Swindon by the Wenman family. With more access to documents, and an acquaintance with localities, a thing essential to accuracy in these matters, all this might be developed ; but for the present we can only dwell upon the descent of the principal manor and lordship of Swindon.

The Bishop of Bayeux, already mentioned as holding, by the gift of the Conqueror, one of the larger estates, was Odo, halfbrother to King William : created Earl of Kent. The best description of him, is from his own seal, an extremely rare and very curious one.

On one side he appears as an Earl mounted on his war-horse, at full speed, clad in armour, and holding a sword in his right hand. This is one moiety of him. On the reverse is the other: a Bishop, in full pontificalibus, bestowing the benediction. He was one of the prime instigators to the invasion, and performed the part of a military chaplain : celebrated mass before the whole army the night before the battle of Hastings, and sang their requiems after it. Historians speak of him as a cruel, luxurious, overbearing man: and as the principal agent employed by William in dividing the prey—the lands of the defeated English. In this department he washed them all so clean, that he obtained the name of “The Conqueror's Sponge.” This Earl Bishop did not forget himself. His possessions were immense elsewhere : in Wiltshire he had only the small matter of the Manors of Swindon, Tidworth, Ditohampton, and Wadhill. The Conqueror had an odd habit of throwing away his sponges when they had served their purpose long enough : and so on a suitable pretext, he threw Bishop Odo, not exactly away, but into prison, and deprived him of all his estates.

The next time that the lordship is mentioned is not until the reign of Henry III., when, among others, it was again bestowed by the Crown upon a French nobleman, who also again happened to be the King's half-brother, William de Valence, created in England Earl of Pembroke, of Goderich Castle. He was one of the foreign leeches who sucked the blood of this country, and whose continued importation roused to resistance the native Barons of that reign. He had a son, Aylmer de Valence, who succeeded him, and died in 1323. Upon his death, without children, it was held by his widow, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, foundress of a College at Cambridge, at first called the College of Mary de Valence, but now Pembroke Hall. At her death, Swindon passed to her late husband's niece, Elizabeth Comyn, who brought it in marriage to Richard, second Baron Talbot, of Goderich Castle; and in 1473 it belonged to his descendant, John, Earl of Shrewsbury. About, I believe, the year 1560, it was purchased by Thomas Goddard, Esq., of Upham, ancestor of the present owner. This was just 300 years ago; but there is a family deed which mentions Goddard of High Swindon in 1404.

The Rectory and Advowson belonged at a remote period to the Augustine Priory of Saint Mary, of Southwick, near Winchester. In the year 1323 that Priory obtained licence to impropriate it; i.e., to apply the great tithes to their own use, converting the resident officiating Minister into a Vicar; but the endowment does not seem to have been settled (unless there is some error in the dates) until 1359. At the Dissolution of Southwick Priory, the Rectory and certain woods "Super Rectoriam,” were purchased by Mr. Stephens, then of Burderop, whose family, in 1602, sold it, and the Advowson, to Nicholas Vilett and his heirs, now represented

VOL. VII.-NO. XX.

M

by Mrs. Rolleston; but the nomination to this Vicarage in some way passed to the Crown.

The Monks of Wallingford used to have a small pension from the tithes. In the list of Vicars, are three peculiar names: Milo King, Aristotle Webbe, and Narcissus Marsh.

Swindon was the birth-place of Mr. Robert Sadler, who died in 1839, a person of whom the late Mr. Britton has preserved some particulars in his Autobiography.

CHISELDON.

An Anglo-Saxon document mentions the boundaries of the parish of Chiseldon ; and among the marks by which they are described are a stone kist or grave at Holcomb, and Blackman's barrow. Two things are to observed from this:-1st. That the village must be a very ancient one when its boundaries in Anglo-Saxon days are defined by the burial-places of an older people; and next, that such older people did very often bury their dead upon the borders of their several districts, of which there are many instances.

The Manor of Chiseldon was for a very long time the property of the Abbey of Hyde, near Winchester. Sir Thomas Bridges, of Keynsham, ancestor of the Chandos family, then purchased it. About 1600 it was bought by the Stephens family, of Burderop, and the lordship now belongs, I believe, to their successors in that place.

In the church there is a brass effigy to one Francis Rutland, who married into the family of Stephens and who died whilst be was attending Queen Elizabeth on one of her Progresses.

BURDEROP. The proper name is Bury-thorp. Thorp is one of the commonest Danish words for village, and is still one of the most frequent terminations of village names in those parts of England where the Danes chiefly established themselves. In Denmark to this day, Mr. Worsaae tells us in his book, they clip its name just in the same manner. North-thorp they call Norrop, Mill-thorp is Milldrop. Stain-i.e. Stone)thorp becomes Staindrop, which, by the

way, is the actual name of a parish in the county of Durham : and so forth. In Wiltshire we have other instances: Hilldrop near Ramsbury ought to be Hill-thorp; Eastrop and Westrop, near Highworth, are merely corruptions of East and West-thorp. Burderop also, like Chiseldon belonged to Hyde Abbey; and in the chartulary of that Monastery, in the British Museum, there is a great number of ancient documents relating to Chiseldon and its hamlets.

BADBURY. The adjoining Manor of Badbury was an estate that belonged to Glastonbury Abbey. The boundaries here also are described in a Saxon Charter, and one of the marks is called “The Ten Stones."

WANBOROUGH.

It was mentioned before that from the place called Nythe Bridge two Roman roads branched off, one to Newbury, the other to Marlborough. Within the fork so made stands Wanborough.

A portion of the parish belonged, at the Norman Survey, to the Bishop of Winchester, not for himself, but for the maintenance of a Monastery there; and that is all that Domesday Book says about Wem-bergh, for so it spells the name.

But from other sources it is quite certain that a very little after that period the principal lordship was the estate of the great House of Longespée, Earls of Sarum.' By three successive heiresses it passed—1st to the Barons Zouche; then to the old Barons Holand; and from them to the Barons Lovell, of Titchmarsh, in Northamptonshire. During the latter period it came into the hands of Francis Viscount Lovell, the celebrated favourite of Richard III. Wanborough afterwards belonged to the Darells of Littlecote.

In the reign of William Rufus and in the year 1091, long before

1 During the present visit of the Society to Wanborough it was ascertained that the two broken effigies now in the porch of the Church, which had hitherto been supposed to belong to the Longespée family and are so described in the Journal of the “Archæological Institute,” April 1851, really belonged to the family of Fitz William, a family living there about 1349—78. The letters “ Fitz william (et) sa femme” are still legible.

the present Cathedral of Salisbury was built, Old Sarum was the chief city, and within that large circular mound, large for a mound but small enough for a chief city, they were building a new Cathedral. Several Rectories were given towards its endowment, and among the rest the Rectory of Wanborough ; and besides the Rectory a hide and a half of land in the parish. I find by another ancient record in what is called the Red Book in Salisbury Registry, that in the year 1150 the then Bishop of Old Sarum granted some of his lands at Wanborough to one of his dependents of the name of Segur, on the curious but somewhat easy condition of providing wine for the Holy Sacrament in Old Sarum Cathedral at Easter.

By what means the See of Old Sarum came to lose the Rectory of Wanborough does not appear. But it was given to the Prior and Brethren of Nugent-le-Rotroi, in France, from whom, about the year 1191 it was transferred to the Monastery of Ambresbury. The Rectory of Wanborough continued to belong to Ambresbury Monastery till the Dissolution, when it was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, who are now patrons of the Vicarage.

Wanborough Church is peculiarly built, having two steeples ; one a spire at the East end of the nave, the other square at the West end. Wherever there is peculiarity there is always a popular tradition ready to explain it, and the popular explanation in the present case is as follows: That there were once upon a time, two ladies, sisters, who were piously minded to build one steeple; but as sisters, in all places, and at all times, are not like those happy geminæ of whom Ovid so pleasantly tells, that they had only one eye in common, so it happened here. Nothing in the world would be more likely to contribute to perfect coincidence of domestic opinions than that members of one family should take Ovid's hint, and endeavour to see all things through one and the same medium. But these two ancient sisters of Wanborough persisted in looking through a very contradictory medium, and the end of it was that as they could not agree whether the one steeple should be pointed or square, Wanborough Church came in for both. That is the

« PreviousContinue »