who said he had held a gate open for Oliver Cromwell, but this must
have meant the grandson, who died in 1705.
Sir Thomas died without issue in his fifty-sixth year on the 21st day
of February 1825.
CHAPTER VIII - OLD OTTERBOURNE
Thomas Dummer, Esquire, who in 1765 succeeded his father in the
possession of Cranbury, was a man to whom some evil genius whispered,
"Have a taste," for in 1770 he actually purchased the City Cross of
Winchester to set it up at Cranbury, but happily the inhabitants of
the city were more conservative than their corporation, and made such
a demonstration that the bargain was annulled, and the Cross left in
its proper place. He consoled himself with erecting a tall lath and
plaster obelisk in its stead, which was regarded with admiration by
the children of the parish for about sixty years, when weather
He also transported several fragments from Netley Abbey, which formed
part of his property at Weston near Southampton, and set them up in
his park as an object from the windows. There is an arch, the base
of a pillar, and a bit of gateway tower, but no one has been able to
discover the part whence they came, so that not much damage can have
been done. The rear of the gateway has been made into a keeper's
lodge, and is known to the village of Otterbourne as "the Castle."
He is also said to have had a kind of menagerie, and to have been
once in danger from either a bear or a leopard; the man at Hursley
who rescued him did not seem in his old age to be clear which it was,
though he considered himself to have a claim on the property.
It would not have been easy to substantiate it, for Mr. Dummer died
without heirs about 1790, leaving his property at Cranbury and Netley
first to his widow, and after her to the Chamberlayne family.
Mrs. Dummer lived many years after her husband, and married an
artist, then of some note, Sir Nathanael Dance, who assumed the name
of Holland, and in 1800 was created a baronet. He threw up painting
as a profession, but brought several good pictures to Cranbury. His
wife survived him till 1823-24, when William Chamberlayne, M.P. for
Southampton, came into the property, and from him, in 1829, it
descended to his nephew, Thomas Chamberlayne, Esquire.
Brambridge had a more eventful history. From the Welleses, it passed
to the Smythes, also Roman Catholics. Walter Smythe, the first of
these, was second son of Sir John Smythe of Acton Burnell in
Derbyshire. His daughter Mary Anne was married at nineteen to one of
the Welds of Lulworth Castle, who died within a year, and afterwards
to Thomas Fitzherbert, who left her a childless widow before she was
It was six years later that, after vehement passionate entreaties on
the part of George, Prince of Wales, and even a demonstration of
suicide, she was wrought upon to consent to a private marriage with
him, which took place on the 21st of December 1785, at her house in
Park Lane, the ceremony being performed by a clergyman of the Church
of England, in the presence of her uncle and one of her brothers.
So testifies Jesse in his Life of George III. Nevertheless there is
at Twyford a belief that the wedding took place at midnight in the
bare little Roman Catholic Chapel at Highbridge, and likewise in
Brambridge House, where the vicar officiated and was sworn to
secrecy. The register, it is said, was deposited at Coutts's Bank
under a lock with four keys. The connection with Twyford was kept up
while the lady lived, but no one remains who can affirm the facts.
Her first marriage, in early youth, was most probably, as described,
at Brambridge. Her very small wedding ring is also extant, but
neither ring nor ceremony can belong to her royal marriage. It would
be curious that the adjoining parish of Marwell likewise had to boast
(if that is a right word) of Henry VIII.'s marriage with Jane
Mrs. Fitzherbert certainly visited Brambridge, for an old gardener
named Newton, and Miss Frances Mary Bargus, who came to live at
Otterbourne in 1820, remembered her, and the latter noted her fine
arched brows. George IV.'s love for her was a very poor thing, but
she was the only woman he ever had any real affection for, and he
desired that her miniature should be buried with him.
She survived him for many years, and died in 1837 at eighty-one years
Her brother Walter was one of the English who visited Paris and was
made prisoner by Napoleon I. at the rupture of the peace of Amiens,
and detained till 1814. While he was a prisoner, his brother Charles
caused all the limes in the avenue at Brambridge to be pollarded, and
sold the tops for gun stocks. Nevertheless the trees are still
magnificent, making three aisles, all the branches inwards rising up
perpendicularly, those without sweeping gracefully down, and all
budding and fading simultaneously. The pity is that the modern house
should not have been built at one end or the other, so that they form
actually a passage that leads to nothing. Since his death, the
property has been sold, and has passed into strangers' hands. The
endowment of the chapel has been transferred to one at Eastleigh, and
the house to which it was attached belongs to a market garden.
The two parishes were near enough to the coast to be kept in anxiety
by the French schemes for landing. The tenant of the Winchester
College property at Otterbourne is said to have kept all her goods
packed up, and to have stirred the fire with a stick all through one
winter; and as late as between 1840-50, Mr. Bailey of Hursley still
had in his barn the seats that had been prepared to fit into the
waggons that were to carry the women into the downs in the event of a
The Rev. John Marsh, who in 1808 collected the memoranda of Hursley
and dedicated them to Sir William Heathcote, was curate of Hursley
and incumbent of Baddesley. The Vicar was the Rev. Gilbert
Heathcote, fifth son of Sir Thomas, second Baronet. He was
afterwards Archdeacon of Winchester and a Canon of Winchester. He
was a man of great musical talent, and some of his chants are still
in use. The only other fact recollected of him was, that being told
that he used hard words in his sermons, he asked a labourer if he
knew what was meant by Predestination, and was answered, "Yes, sir,
some'at about the innards of a pig." He generally resided there.
Mr. Marsh remained curate of Hursley and was presented to the living
of Baddesley. All this time Otterbourne had only one Sunday service,
alternately matins or evensong, and the church bell was rung as soon
as the clergyman could be espied riding down the lane. Old customs
so far survived that the congregation turned to the east in the
Creed, always stood up, if not sooner, when "Alleluia" occurred at
the end of the very peculiar anthems, and had never dropped the
response, "Thanks be to Thee, O Lord," at the end of the Gospel.
The Holy Communion was celebrated four times a year, 35. 7d. being
paid each time for the Elements, as is recorded in beautiful writing
in "the Church Raiting book," which began to be kept in 1776.
"Washan the surples" before Easter cost 4s.; a Communion cloth,
tenpence; and for washing and marking it, sixpence. A new bell cost
5 pounds: 5: 10, and its "carridge" from London 11s. 10d.
Whitewashing the church came to 1 pound: 1s., and work in the
gallery to 10s. 4d. Besides, there was a continual payment for
dozens of sprow heads, also for fox heads at threepence apiece, for a
badger's head, a "poul cat," marten cats, and hedgehogs. These last,
together with sparrows, continue to appear till 1832, when the Rev.
Robert Shuckburgh, in the vestry, protested against such use of the
church rate, and it was discontinued. Mr. Shuckburgh was the first
resident curate at Otterbourne, being appointed by the Archdeacon.
He was the first to have two services on Sunday, though still the
ante-Communion service was read from the desk, and he there pulled
off his much iron-moulded surplice from over his gown and ascended
the pulpit stair. The clerk limped along the aisle to the
partitioned space in the gallery to take part in the singing.
But changes were beginning. The direct coaching road between
Winchester and Southampton had been made, and many houses had
followed it. The road that crosses Colden Common and leads to
Portsmouth was also made about the same time, and was long called
Cobbett's road, from that remarkable self-taught peasant reformer,
William Cobbett, who took part in planning the direction.
Cobbett was a friend of Mr. Harley, a retired tradesman who bought
the cottage that had belonged to a widow, named Science Dear, and
enlarged it. Several American trees were planted in the ground by
Cobbett, of which only one survives, a hickory, together with some
straggling bushes of robinia, which Cobbett thought would make good
hedges, being very thorny, and throwing up suckers freely, but the
branches proved too brittle to be useful. About 1819 Mr. Harley sold
his house and the paddock adjoining to Mary Bargus, widow of the Rev.
Thomas Bargus, Vicar of Barkway in Hertfordshire, and she came to
live there with her daughter Frances Mary. In 1622, Miss Bargus
married William Crawley Yonge, youngest son of the Rev. Duke Yonge,
Vicar of Cornwood, Devon, of the old family of Yonges of Puslinch.
He then retired from the 52nd regiment, in which he had taken part in
the Pyrenean battles, and in those of Orthez and Toulouse, and had
his share in the decisive charge which completed the victory of
Waterloo. They had two children, Charlotte Mary, born August 11th,
1823, and Julian Bargus, born January 31st, 1830.
CHAPTER IX - CHURCH BUILDING
A new era began in both Hursley and Otterbourne with the accession of
Sir William Heathcote, the fifth baronet, and with the marriage of
Sir William was born on the 17th of May 1801, the son of the Rev.
William Heathcote, Rector of Worting, Hants, and Prebendary of the
Cathedral of Winchester, second son of Sir William, third baronet.
His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Lovelace Bigg Wither of
Manydown Park in the same county. She was early left a widow, and
she bred up her only son with the most anxious care. She lived
chiefly at Winchester, and it may be interesting to note that her son
remembered being at a Twelfth-day party where Jane Austen drew the
character of Mrs. Candour, and assumed the part with great spirit.
He was sent first to the private school of considerable reputation at
Ramsbury in Wiltshire, kept by the Rev. Edward Meyrick, and, after
four years there, became a commoner at Winchester College, where it
is said that he and Dr. William Sewell were the only boys who jointly
retarded the breaking out of the rebellion against Dr. Gabell, which
took place after their departure. However, in April 1818 he left
Winchester, and became a commoner of Oriel College, Oxford, where his
tutor was the Rev. John Keble, only eight years older than himself,
and not yet known to fame, but with an influence that all who came in
contact with him could not fail to feel.
In 1821 Mr. Heathcote gained a First-class in his B.A. examination,
and was elected Fellow of All Souls in November 1822. He began to
read at the Temple, but in April 1825 he came into the property of
his uncle, and in the November of the same year he married the Hon.
Caroline Frances Perceval, the youngest daughter of Charles George
Lord Arden. Both he and his wife were deeply religious persons, with
a strong sense of the duties of their station. Education and
influence had done their best work on a character of great rectitude
and uprightness, even tending to severity, such as softened with
advancing years. Remarkably handsome, and with a high-bred tone of
manners, he was almost an ideal country gentleman, with, however,
something of stiffness and shyness in early youth, which wore off in
later years. In 1826 he became member for the county on the Tory
As a landlord, he is remembered as excellent. His mother took up her
abode at Southend House in Hursley parish, and under the auspices of
the Heathcote family, and of the Misses Marsh, daughters of the
former curate, Sunday and weekday schools were set on foot, the
latter under Mrs. Ranger and her daughter, whose rule continued
almost to the days of national education. One of his first
proceedings was to offer the living of Hursley to the Rev. John
Keble, who had spent a short time there as curate in 1826. It was
actually accepted, when the death of a sister made his presence
necessary to his aged father at Fairford in Gloucestershire; and for
two years, during which the publication of the Christian Year took
place, he remained in charge of a small parish adjacent to his home.
About 1824 Mrs. Yonge began to keep the first Sunday school at
Otterbourne in a hired room, teaching the children, all girls,
chiefly herself, and reading part of the Church Service to them at
the times when it was not held at church. The only week-day school
was on the hill, kept by a picturesque old dame, whose powers
amounted to hindering the children from getting into mischief, but
who - with the instinct Mrs. Charles describes - never forgave the
advances that disturbed her monopoly.
In 1826, as Mrs. Yonge was looking at the empty space of a roadway
that had led into the paddock before it became a lawn, she said, "How
I should like to build a school here!"
"Well," said her mother, Mrs. Bargus, "you shall have what I can
Mrs. Yonge contrived the room built of cement, with two tiny ones
behind for kitchen and bedroom for the mistress, and a brick floor;
and the first mistress, Mrs. Creswick, was a former servant of
She was a gentle woman, with dark eyes and a lame leg, so that she
could not walk to church with the children, who sat on low benches
along the nave, under no discipline but the long stick Master Oxford,
the clerk, brandished over them. Nor could she keep the boys in any
order, and the big ones actually kicked a hole nearly through the
cement wall behind them. At last, under the sanction of the Rev.
Gilbert Wall Heathcote, who had succeeded his father as Vicar of
Hursley, a rough cast room was erected in the churchyard, where
Master Oxford kept school, with more upright goodness than learning;
and Mr. Shuckburgh, the curate, and Mr. Yonge had a Sunday school
The riots at the time of the Reform Bill did not greatly affect the
two parishes, though a few villagers joined the bands who went about
asking for money at the larger houses. George, Sir William's second
son, told me that he remembered being locked into the strong room on
some alarm, but whether it came actually to the point of an attack is
a question. It was also said that one man at Otterbourne hid himself
in a bog, that the rioters might not call upon him; and one other
man, James Collins, went about his work as usual, and heard nothing
of any rising.
One consequence of the riotous state of the country was the raising
of troops of volunteer yeomanry cavalry. Charles Shaw Lefevre, Esq.
(afterwards Speaker and Lord Eversley), was colonel, Sir William was
major and captain of such a troop, Mr. Yonge a captain; but at one of
the drills in Hursley Park a serious accident befell Sir William.
His horse threw back its head, and gave him a violent blow on the
forehead, which produced concussion of the brain. He was long in
recovering, and a slight deafness in one ear always remained.
In 1835 a far greater trouble fell on him in the death of the gentle
Lady Heathcote, leaving him three sons and a daughter. In the midst
of his grief, he was able to bring his old friend and tutor nearer to
him. Mr. Keble at the funeral gave him the poem, as yet unpublished,
I thought to meet no more,
which had been written after the funeral of his own sister, Mary Anne
Keble. The elder Mr. Keble died in the course of the same year, and
Mr. Gilbert Wall Heathcote, resigning the living to become a fellow
of Winchester, it was again given to the Rev. John Keble. Mr.
Heathcote had brought to Otterbourne a young Fellow of New College, a
deacon just twenty-three, the Reverend William Bigg Wither, who came
for six weeks and remained thirty-five years. He found only twelve
Communicants in the parish, and left seventy!
Mr. Keble was already known and revered as the author of the
Christian Year, and was Professor of Poetry at Oxford, when he came
to Hursley; having married, on the 10th of October 1835, Charlotte
Clarke, the most perfect of helpmeets to pastor or to poet, save only
in the frailness of her health.
He had two years previously preached at Oxford the assize sermon on
National Apostasy, which Newman marks as the beginning of the
awakening of the country to church doctrine and practice. He and his
brother were known as contributors to the Tracts for the Times, which
were rousing the clergy in the same direction, but which were so much
misunderstood, and excited so much obloquy, that Mr. Norris of
Hackney, himself a staunch old-fashioned churchman, who had held up
the light in evil times, said to his young friend, the Rev. Robert
Francis Wilson, a first-class Oriel man, to whom the curacy of
Hursley had been offered, "Now remember if you become Keble's curate,
you will lose all chance of preferment for life."
Mr. Wilson, though a man of much talent, was willing to accept the
probability, which proved a correct augury.
The new state of things was soon felt. Daily Services and monthly
Eucharists, began; and the school teaching and cottage visiting were
full of new life. Otterbourne had, even before Mr. Keble's coming,
begun to feel the need of a new church. The population was 700,
greatly overflowing the old church, so that the children really had
to be excluded when the men were there. It was also at an
inconvenient distance from the main body of the inhabitants, who
chiefly lived along the high road. Moreover, the South Western
Railway was being made, and passed so near, that to those whose ears
were unaccustomed to the sound of trains, it seemed as if the noise
would be a serious interruption to the service.
Mr. Yonge had begun to take measures for improving and enlarging the
old church, but was recommended to wait for the appointment of the
new incumbent. Mr. Keble threw himself heartily into the scheme, and
it was decided that it would be far better to change the site of the
church at once. The venerable Dr. Routh, who was then President of
St. Mary Magdalen College, and used yearly to come on progress to the
old manor house, the Moat House, to hold his court, took great
interest in the project, and the college gave an excellent site on
the western slope of the hill, with the common crossed by the high
road in front, and backed by the woods of Cranbury Park. Also a
subscription of large amount was given. Sir William Heathcote as
patron, as well as Mr. Keble, contributed largely, and Mr. Bigg
Wither gave up his horse, and presented 25 pounds out of each payment
he received as Fellow of New College. Other friends also gave, and,
first and last, about 3000 pounds was raised.
Church building was much more difficult in those days than in these.
Ecclesiastical architecture had scarcely begun to revive, and experts
were few, if any indeed deserved the title. An architect at
Winchester, Mr. Owen Carter, was employed, but almost all the ideas,
and many of the drawings of the details came from Mr. Yonge, who
started with merely the power of military drawing (acquired before he
was sixteen years old) and a great admiration for York Cathedral.
The cruciform plan was at once decided on (traced out at first with a
stick on Cranbury grand drive), but the slope of the ground hindered
it from being built duly east and west; the material is brick, so
burnt as to be glazed grey on one side. Hearing of a church
(Corstan, Wiltshire) with a bell-turret likely to suit the means and
the two bells, Mr. Yonge and Mr. Wither rode to see it, and it was
imitated in the design. The chancel was, as in most of the new
churches built at this time, only deep enough for the sanctuary, as
surpliced choirs had not been thought possible in villages, and so
many old chancels had been invaded by the laity that it was an object
to keep them out.
Mr. Yonge sought diligently for old patterns and for ancient carving
in oak, and in Wardour Street he succeeded in obtaining five panels,
representing the Blessed Virgin and the four Latin Fathers, which are
worked into the pulpit; also an exceedingly handsome piece of
carving, which was then adapted as altar-rail - evidently Flemish -
with scrolls containing corn and grapes, presided over by angels, and
with two groups of kneeling figures; on one side, apparently an
Emperor with his crown laid down, and the collar of the Golden Fleece
around his neck, followed by a group of male figures, one with a
beautiful face. On the other side kneels a lady, not an empress,
with a following of others bringing flowers. At the divisions stand
Religious of the four Orders, one a man. The idea is that it
probably represents either the coronation of Maximilian or the
abdication of Charles V. In either case there was no wife, but the
crown is not imperial, and that is in favour of Maximilian. On the
other hand the four monastic Orders are in favour of Charles V.'s
embracing the religious life.
For the stone-work, Mr. Yonge discovered that the material chiefly
used in the cathedral was Caen stone, though the importation had long
ceased. He entered into communication with the quarrymen there, sent
out a stone mason (Newman) from Winchester, and procured stone for
the windows, reredos, and font, thus opening a traffic that has gone
on ever since.
Mistakes were made from ignorance and lack of authoritative
precedent, before ecclesiology had become a study; but whatever could
be done by toil, intelligence, and self-devotion was done by Mr.
Yonge in those two years; and the sixty years that have since elapsed
have seen many rectifications of the various errors. Even as the
church stood when completed, it was regarded as an effort in the
right direction, and a good example to church builders. The first
stone was laid in Whitsun-week 1837 by Julian Bargus, Mr. Yonge's
five-year-old son. A school for the boys was built on a corner of
the ground intended as churchyard, and a larger room added to the
girls', the expense being partly defrayed by a bazaar held at
Winchester, and in part by Charlotte Yonge's first book, The Chateau
de Melville, which people were good enough to buy, though it only
consisted of French exercises and translations. The consecration
took place on the 30th of July 1838, and immediately after daily
matins were commenced. So that the Church of St. Matthew has never
in sixty years been devoid of the voice of praise, except during
casual absences. Most of the trees in the churchyard were planted by
Mr. Bigg Wither, especially the great Sequoia, and the holly hedge
around was grown by him from the berries of the first Christmas
decoration, which he sowed in a row under the wall of the boys'
school, and transplanted when large enough.
It was in 1839 that Mr. Keble published his Oxford Psalter, a work he
had been engaged on for years, paying strict and reverent attention
to the Hebrew original, and not thinking it right to interweave
expressions of his own as guidance to meaning. His belief was that
Holy Scripture is so many-sided, and so fathomless in signification,
that to dwell on one point more than another might be a wrong to the
full impression, and an irreverence in the translation. Thus, as a
poet, he sacrificed a good deal to the duty of being literal, but his
translation is a real assistance to students, and it is on the whole
often somewhat like to Sternhold's, whom he held in much respect for
his adherence to the originals.
Perhaps it may be mentioned here that the parishes of Hursley and
Otterbourne were in such good order under the management of Sir
William Heathcote and Mr. Yonge, that under the new Poor Law they
were permitted to form a small Union of four, afterwards five, and
now six parishes.
Ampfield was a hamlet lying on the western side of Hursley Park and
wood, a very beautiful wood in parts, of oak and beech trees, which
formed lovely vaulted arcades, one of which Mr. Keble used to call
Hursley Cathedral. The place was increasing in population, and
nearly two miles of woodland and park lay between it and the parish