| ST JOHN'S CHURCH
We have to begin with Domesday Book compiled in 1086, and a rough translation reads;
Radulphus holds Bedeslei. Cheping held it from King Edward. Then and now it answers for 2 hides. Land for 4 ploughs. There are four villagers and 7 smallholders with 2 ploughs and 7 serfs. Church and wood for 10 swine; and for grazing 10 shillings. T.R.E. value 10 pounds, later 100 shillings; now 60 shillings
A hide was about 120 acres and used for tax assessment and a plough implies ploughteams of 8 oxen each. T.R.E. means 'In the time of King Edward'.
Ralph de Mortimer, was the founder of the great medieval house of Mortimer, Earls of March, whose especial strength was on the Welsh Border. The overlordship rights lapsed at the close of the 14th century. Long before this, the Manor had been alienated to the Knights Hospitallers, who were certainly settled at Baddesley by 1167, although no trace of a grant by the Mortimers to the Hospital can be found. At first Baddesley was a cell of the preceptory at Godsfield, near Alresford, where the chapel and chaplain's rooms remain in good condition; but before 1365, probably as a result of the economic changes brought about by the Black Death, in 1348, North Baddesley had become the headquarters of the Knights Hospitallers in Hampshire.
The Knights Hospitallers
Their headquarters in England were at Clerkenwell, just outside the City of London, where the revived Order of St. John has its headquarters now. After the Christians were driven from the Holy land, they made their headquarters at Rhodes; driven from there, they went to Malta, which was their possession till the Order was suppressed by Napoleon in 1799 and it is said that there are documents relating to Baddesley in the Royal Library at Malta.
The Knights Hospitallers remained at Baddesley till the Dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII, when they suffered with other religious orders; and it is pertinent to ask what kind of a house they had at Baddesley. We can expect nothing elaborate such as Beaulieu or Netley in this County. Few preceptories in England have been excavated; and we do not know if there was a set plan as there was, for example, of a Cistercian house. We may assume it was a small settlement and the brothers were mainly occupied in farming and possibly training recruits for overseas. Quite early there is a mention of a 'capella'; which, if it continued, destroys the assumption that the Parish Church was the Church of the Hospitallers. Even at Godsfield, a smaller place, there is a chapel, as has been pointed out above, built, from the style, about 1360, after the move to Baddesley.
The site is clear, as appears from John Marsh in his Memoranda of the Parishes of Hursley and North Baddesley (1808). There was a gate house opposite the church, existing at the end of the 16th century; some 50 or 60 yards to the south lay the preceptory or commandery, in the present kitchen court of the Manor House. Here there are foundations just under the surface; but anything above ground is Tudor or later. Stories which appear in most guide books that the kitchen still exists are not true.
We can expect the buildings to have been like the church, of flint with ashlar dressing; and possibly the greater blocks of stone used as the base of the late 17th century tower of the church and the contemporary stable buildings of the Manor house came from the ruins. King Edward I, towards the end of his reign, on February 15th, 1305, spent the night here; but we know nothing beyond the record in his itinerary.
Baddesley after the Dissolution
There was a rhyme about him still current in the 17th century:
This nun was a cousin of Sir T. Seymour; a
court of enquiry into the marriage was appointed in June 1541,
but apparently the marriage was recognised.
Fleming, the Solicitor-General. He only retained it for four years, buying North Stoneham, which his descendants only sold in the 1940's
He left his mark on the church as we shall see later. He sold it to John More; and the Mores and their descendants, the Dunches were here for over 130 years. The Dunches were strong Parliamentarians, connected by ties of marriage and friendship with Richard Major of Hursley, the father-in-law of Richard Cromwell. Passing by heiresses through the families of Keck and Chute of the Vyne, the manor was sold to Thomas Dummer of Cranbury, in 1767, for £5,500. He died in 1771 and left the estate, subject to his widow's interests - she married finally Sir Nathaniel Dance, subsequently Dance-Holland, the painter - to Mr William Chamberlayne of Coley Park, Reading, Solicito to the Treasury and Secretary Mint, who built the more modern part of the Manor House at North Baddesley. Lady Dance-Holland died in 1811 and the estates then came to the Chamberlayne family, who still hold them.
It stands, as has been pointed out before, at the highest point of a long narrow ridge running due east and west, with a steep slope to the north. There is a never-failing spring in the field just below to the north. There is, of course, no evidence for a statement that it stands on the site of an ancient British temple but the eminent Victorian architect Sir Gilbert Scott was consulted to give advice on the proposed restoration of the church and in his report, published in the Hampshire Chronicle in 1879, he says 'It may always be assumed in default of proof to the contrary, that every medieval church stands on the site of a Saxon one; that almost every Saxon one occupies the site of a Romano-British temple; and that every church took the place of a heathen temple.' This opinion was again published by the Rev. P W N Gaisford Bourne, Vicar of North Baddesley 1901-08 in his book 'The Memorials of Old Hampshire'. All one can say is that it looks like an early site. The annual valuation of the benefice in 1291 in what is called Pope Nicholas's Valuation was five pounds and continued in that sum for over a century.
The church is dedicated in the name of St.John the Baptist; it consists of a nave and chancel of equal width, l5ft. 9in.; the nave is 33ft. 2in. in length, the chancel l9ft. l0in.; there is a small engaged tower, 5ft. l0in. by 5ft.2in.. The nave roof, though of the same width as that of the chancel, is slightly the higher of the two; its timbers are modern. There is a porch over the South door. The modern vestry is on the north side of the chancel. The chancel was rebuilt at some time in the 15th century, and the junctions with the older masonry can be clearly seen. The chancel walls are built with good-sized pieces of Bonchurch or some kindred stone, and have a chamfered plinth at the base, which is wanting in the nave.
he south door is of plain work, probably of the 15th century, of two continuous hollowed chamfered orders with a four-centred head. The porch may be contemporary with it, and has low stone walls on the east and west carrying a timber framework with uncupped ogee-headed openings. Its south gable is filled in with brickwork.
The Nave has no architectural details
earlier than the latter part of the 14th century, But the North
and South walls may well be older than that time. The West wall
of the nave and the West tower were built in 1674. The nave has
two windows on the north, the eastern of the two being a modern
copy of the other. This is of late 14th century date, and has a
square head with two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoiled over. In
the South wall are two windows, the eastern of which is a very
charming specimen of late 14th century work, of two cinquefoiled
lights with a six-foiled opening in the arched head, and an
external label with angels at the springing.
The Screen between chancel and nave is inscribed "T.F. 1602," for Sir Thomas Fleming, and is a very good piece of work of the date, panelled below, and with an open balustrade above carrying a carved and moulded top-rail. The head of the central doorway is framed in between the posts some two feet below the top rail and the space below is filled with small balusters. Local tradition has it that this screen came from North Stoneham, and Sir Thomas Fleming's initials would not be against the theory. The width of the nave and chancel at North Stoneham is 7in. less than at Baddesley, but there is some new work at the ends of the screen, and the width of the old work is almost exactly l5ft. 2in., which would fit the Stoneham position.
The Chancel has a 15th century East window of three cinquefoiled lights, and on the north and south single square-headed windows of the same date, each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over between pierced spandrels. To the east of the South window is a blocked four-centre Priest's doorway, and there are no sedilia or piscina. The tiled roof was repaired by the Trustees of the Chamberlayne Estate, as lay rectors, in 1950. The inner, wooden, roof is of wagon form with moulded ribs and shields at their intersections. In the chancel, is a Bible (2nd issue of the 1611 Authorised Version, 1620) which contains a very interesting "Genealogy of the line of our Saviour Jesus Christ observed from Adam to the Blessed Virgin Mary" compiled by John Speed, historian during the reign of Charles I. The Bible was given by Thomas Tomkyns, incumbent, who was blind and is buried under the aisle of the nave.
The side has three quatrefoiled panels with shields bearing the cross of the Hospitallers, and a fourth panel quatrefoiled with a capital T as in the North window of the Chancel, and between each pair of such panels a narrower panel with a small quatrefoil above a shield charged with three chapes on a bend. The tomb is clearly that of a Hospitaller, and of the first half of the 15th century, but the arms do not help to an identification of a person. It has been asserted that this is the grave of Galfridus de Tottehale (Rector of North Baddesley 1317-1367), and that he was Grand Prior of the Hospital. But the coat of arms is not Tottehale's, which was a fesse; and he was not Grand Prior.
The same coat of arms together with a number of "T" monograms (as below) in old glass is in the East window of the Chancel, the tinctures being gules with the bend or and the three chapes azure. The rest of the window is in memory of Emmeline Smith died October 2nd 1923 and depicts St. John the Baptist, The Virgin and Child and St. Swithun.
The South window also contains the coat of arms with fishes and a Chalice and Paten in old glass and the rest, placed there in 1926, is in memory of Catherine Drummond. The communion cup and cover of 1618, and a standing paten of 1716 inscribed 'For Ye Communion Table at Badsly 1716' were stolen in 1990 and have since been replaced.
Three registers are in existence, the first runs from 1682 to 1816, the marriages not being entered in this book after 1754. The second, 1816 to 1967 and the third, 1967 to date. The Churchwardens' accounts are complete from 1674, the building of the West tower being noted in the first year. The Public Record Office in London has the Hearth Tax Returns for North Baddesley, 1664-5; there were 24 dwelling houses. Water was run to the vestry and the churchyard in 1949, and electricity was brought to the church in 1950 at a cost of £325 with lighting for the church installed in 1951.
A bequest left in the will of Thomas Rogers, a lay reader licensed to the parish enabled the interior of the church to undergo a major restoration.
The chancel roof was stripped of grime and dark Victorian paint and redecorated in Medieval Style. The shields at the intersections of the ribs are decorated with the Arms of the Hospitallers and the families whose connections with the church are mentioned elsewhere in this book. In addition to this work the wooden floor was lifted and replaced on a waterproof membrane. The piped organ which had been installed in 1924 at a cost of £600, suffering from the ravages of woodworm, was replaced by a Makin electronic organ. The work was completed in 1987.
The large table tombs under the Irish yew to the west of the tower are those of Robert Thorner of Southampton and his wives. Thorner died in 1690; he tenanted the Manor House during the Dunch ownership. He was the founder of the well-known Thorner's Charity and Almshouses in Southampton.
One of the men, Charles Smith, a man of 29, discharged his piece at Snelgrove, who was only wounded and did not die. Smith was apprehended, and stood his trial at Winchester; he was condemned to death by Mr Justice Burroughs, and was hanged. It was a time when the game laws were very severe and Cobbett alludes to the 'judicial murder' several times; he may have written the inscription on the first stone which alludes to 'pursuit of what is called game.' But he could not know that Palmerston, whom he assails, had written to Burroughs asking for a reprieve. Colonel Evelyn Ashley, grandfather of the Late Countess Mountbatten, felt that Palmerston, as a landowner, had been unduly maligned by Cobbett; he therefore erected the other stone in 1906 giving the true facts of the case.
Donatives and Peculiars were abolished in the 19th century. The first record in the Diocesan Records of an induction to North Baddesley is in 1871. It was certainly before the Reformation a rectory; it has long been a vicarage, although two recent vicars frequently styled themselves rectors.
There seems little doubt that the Vicarage House was that known now as Glebe Cottage, which was sold by the incumbent in 1946. It is styled the Old Vicarage in the Enclosure Award of 1867. Although appearing from the road a late 18th century building, it is fact much older, a brick skin having been put round an earlier timber-framed building. It is not known who was the last vicar to live there; most of the 18th and early 19th century vicars were non-resident; early 20th century vicars lived in the Manor House. It was not until 1938 that a new vicarage was built on land given by the Patron, this was sold in 1980 and the Vicarage is now in Crescent Road, so as to be within, what is now, the main part of the Village. The Patronage has been in the hands of the Lord of the Manor since the Dissolution, and is now held by Mrs Chamberlayne-Macdonald.