« PreviousContinue »
document," printed in Sir R. C. Hoare's work, is of considerable length, partly in Latin and partly in English, and is addressed to all ‘the sons of our Holy Mother the Church.” Provision is made that one copy of it should be kept in the Registry at Salisbury, and another in the church chest at Charlton. The latter copy, like too many similar documents entrusted to the tender mercies of the churchwardens of the eighteenth century, is now missing. After leaving Charlton we soon reach NETHER or LoweR DonHEAD, or, as it is commonly termed, Donhead St. Andrew. This parish, together with that of Upper, or Over, Donhead (Donhead St. Mary), probably originally constituted but one manor; at all events, they were so held when the lordship became vested in the Lords Arundel, of Wardour. I cannot help thinking that Donhead must be the place alluded to under the name of “Duningland’ in a charter of Ethelbert of Wessex (A.D. 860), by which he grants an estate there to his ‘beloved and venerable minister Osmund’ (dilecto et venerabili ministro Osmundo). It is included among the deeds in the Shaftesbury chartulary,” and though it recites only the gift to Osmund, is headed as given ‘ Deo et Ecclesiæ.’ The Saxon in which the boundaries are given is miserably corrupt; indeed the manuscript itself is a transcript of as late a date as possibly the reign of Henry W. The mention however among the land-limits, of Sumledh evidently ‘Semley,’ and Hrycgledh probably ‘Ridge Leigh,’ coupled with the fact that the river ‘Noddre' (Nodder) is also named as bounding a part of it, sufficiently identify the land in question as being in the neighbourhood. At all events the way in which the former part of the word is spelt in all old documents, * Dún or “ Düne,’ leaves no doubt of its derivation from the AngloSaxon ‘Dún,” a down, or hill, as we speak of ‘the Downs,’ the “South Downs,’ &c. It is the same word which enters into the composition of Dun-worth and Down-ton.” * Hundred of Dunworth, p. 57. * Kemble's Cod. Diplom, No. 283. * The author of the “Hundred of Dunworth,” in “Hoare's Modern Wilts” suggests that the river ‘Noddre’ may also have been called the ‘Don’; and that, as several springs which supply that river rise in Wincombe, a manor within Donhead St. Mary, this circumstance may have suggested the name DonThere are several charters in which the gifts of land, &c., at Dunheved to the Abbey of Shaftesbury are recited. First in order comes a document, which, from its heading, ‘Testamentum Regis AElfredi,’—purports to be the will of King Alfred, in which 40 hides at Dunhecede and Cumtune are granted to her. All that is meant by the expression may be that it is a copy or recital of the ‘deed of gift” by Alfred of those estates to the abbey, because the estate is not mentioned in the document known as King Alfred's will, and in the Testa de Nevill it is stated that the manor of Dunheved was the gift of King Edgar. Moreover, the ‘80 mansae’ bestowed on the abbess, in 956, by King Edwy,” are said to have comprised, amongst other lands, some at Dunheved, and Estone (now Easton Basset), in the parish of Donhead St. Andrew. At all events, in the beginning of the 12th century, King Henry I., by a separate charter.” granted, or perhaps I should say, confirmed to the Abbess the manor of Dunheved, to which he added the profits of the Hundred of Dunworth, for ‘the clothing of the nuns’ (ad vestimenta monialium,) with the view of securing their prayers “for the health of his soul, and that of his wife Matilda.” In 1205, King John confirmed these grants by his predecessors of lands in Ferne, and Essegrove (Ashgrove), and of mills and land in Dunheved and Lodewell (Ludwell).
head, that is, the source of the Don. There does not seem to be any foundation for the hypothesis on which this opinion is based.
The Manor-house in which, in olden times, the Lady’s Seneschal or Steward, would hold his court, is still sufficiently indicated by its name Berry-Court. This is a house built on rising ground, situated at the point where the two parishes meet, one half being in Donhead St. Mary, and the other in Donhead St. Andrew. The notices concerning Donhead in the chartulary are very brief and consist merely of the names of some four free-tenants, and the account of the annual quit-rent which they paid to the Abbess. Five hides, representing an acreage, including every thing, of some 600 acres, are described as ‘Tain-land,’—land, that is, held by free tenants, or by inheritance, and not subject to the services due from the customary, or other tenants of the abbey.
* Testa de Nevill, p. 155b. . * Kemble's Cod. Diplom., No. 447. * Harl, MS., 61, fol. 23. Printed in the New Monastion, II., 482.
The church of Donhead St. Andrew, or Lower Donhead, was restored a few years ago, and then several of the older features, which would have had some interest for archaeologists, were obliterated. We look in vain now, for what is described, in Hoare's Modern Wilts, as the result of a survey nearly thirty years ago, L “a large pointed arch opening from the chancel to the chantry on the north side of it, and a low arched recess under the chantry window, apparently over a monument or stone coffin.” The vestry now occupies the greater part of the site of the chantry chapel. Neither can we see the niche described as “over the porch and which probably contained the figure of St. Andrew.’ Two relics, however, are left. At the top of the tracery in the east window may still be seen a piece of old stained glass, containing the arms of the Abbey of St. Edward, viz.,-‘Azure, a cross fleury between four martlets Or,’ a shield evidently adopted with a slight alteration by the Abbey from Edward the Confessor, the original arms of the Abbey having been, according to Tanner, L'Argent, on a pale cotized sable, three roses of the first.’" The other relic of the olden times is to be seen at the north-western extremity of the church. One of the pillars has a shield on its capital rudely carved with emblems of the Passion, and beneath is a shaft terminating with a head of our blessed Lord.
Judging from the pillars and arches which divide the body of the church from the two side aisles, one would conjecture that portion of the work to be about the date of 1350. The capitals are foursided, and very similar to some that will be found in the other Donhead. Some small arches on either side, at the east end of the nave, are well contrived, and show some architectural taste and skill. Now, as a chantry in honour of the Blessed Virgin was founded here as early as 1327, according to the registry of Bishop Mortival, and as the Historian of the “Hundred of Dunworth says that in 1837 an exact similarity of style marked the building of the Church and Chantry Chapel—it will not be too hazardous a conjecture, perhaps, that the foundation of the chantry was taken as the opportunity for rebuilding the original church.
* A seal bearing this coat was engraved by Wertue some years ago for the Society of Antiquaries.
Of its tythings, ‘FERNE' is the only one, in Donhead St. Andrew, that has any interest for us. Like ‘Sedge-hill,’ and ‘Brem-hill,’—a corruption of Bremble (as it is spelt in maps of the 17th century), the modern form of the Anglo-Saxon “bremele’—and ‘Bramshaw,’ an abbreviation of ‘bremele-scaga, i.e. “bramble-wood,'—and very many others that might be mentioned, Ferne clearly derives its name from the natural production that most prevailed there. In a confirmation charter of King Henry I., Ferne is named as having been for at least a century previously among the possessions of the Abbess. In the time of Edward I., it was held by Walter de Ferne. The estate passed through various families to the Brockways (the name still exists in the neighbourhood), and by one of them it was sold in 1563, to William Grove, of Gray's Inn. The “Grove’ family, who still retain the estate, came originally from Chalfont St. Giles, in Bucks, and settled in Wilts about the time of Henry VI. The purchaser of Ferne was M.P. for Shaftesbury in the time of Philip and Mary. From his elder son, descend the “Groves’ of Ferne; from his younger, those of Zeals House. Several members of the family have represented Shaftesbury in Parliament; and, towards the close of the 17th century, Robert Grove, who had been Archdeacon of Middlesex, was consecrated Bishop of Chichester.
The Church of Donhead St. Mary, or Upper Donhead, is deserving of especial notice. Here you have abundant evidences of great antiquity, and you can form a very fair judgment of the probable date of the various portions of the building. The church consists of a chancel, nave, two side-aisles, a south porch, a western tower, and two chapels, one on either side of the chancel, with an entrance in each case from the aisle, of which, in fact, they form a continuation. Were it not that one well able to judge has pronounced the wall and arches at either side of the chancel-arch to be twelfth century work (c. A.D. 1150), I own I should have been rather sceptical on the subject, because such an opinion implies the existence of a previous church on the same site, differing both in size and groundplan from what we should have expected. Of the dates of the other portions of the structure there can be but little doubt; the piers on the south side of the nave would be about the date of A.D. 1220; those on the north side, some 30 or 40 years later, or about 1260. The tower, arch, and side chapels, together with the porch, would appear to have been added in the middle of the following century, or about A.D. 1350. The present tower and chancel, together with the aisles, were built probably about A.D. 1500, since which time there does not seem to have been any material alteration in the fabric. In the ancient font belonging to this church you have a relic of great interest. Certainly as early as the 12th, possibly the 11th century, it has been preserved without injury through all the successive changes that the structure of the church has undergone. It is made of stone, circular in form, and of rude workmanship;the exterior is decorated with simple ornaments, consisting of little more than a series of round pillars, with semicircular arches. Possibly some twenty-four generations, from father to son, may have been baptized in that same massive font. It seems to have been a custom to refuse interment in the churchyard to those who had not received Christian Baptism. The very first entry in the oldest remaining parish register is of the date of 1678, and records the burial of “a stranger in Chilvercombe Bottom.” This is a lonely hollow on the downs, which, even till as late a period as 1746, was used literally as a ‘field to bury strangers in.” One word may be said concerning the present Altar Table. The top is moveable, and underneath it is an arrangement like that of a “telescope table,’ by which it may be drawn out, and increased to nearly three times its apparent size. At the time of celebration of Holy Communion, the table was brought into the body of the church, standing east and west, and the communicants ranged themselves round it. No doubt it was constructed in compliance with the Ordinances of 1643, which, amongst other things, enjoined ‘that all Altars and Tables of stone should be taken down and demolished,