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North Stoneham

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North StonehamNorth Stoneham's villageNorth Stoneham Park
North Stoneham CommonNorth Stoneham FarmBassettNorthendSwaythlingBurgess Street
See also Stoneham Estates: Gazatteer

The Fleming Estate's property at North Stoneham on the Stoneham Estates included the Manor of North Stoneham, the advowson of the Rectory, and nearly all of the land within the wider parish of North Stoneham, at Swaythling, Bassett, and North End.

There was no village called North Stoneham, but there was a hamlet, Middle Stoneham, near North Stoneham Church, as well as the hamlets of Bassett Green, Burgess Street, North End, and Swaythling.

North Stoneham Park, of some 1,000 acres, was the ancestral seat of the Willis Fleming family. Much of the parish was occupied by North Stoneham Common. North Stoneham Farm was the principal farm.

North Stoneham and South Stoneham are together sometimes called 'The Stonehams'.


Selected views

Middle Stoneham, the village of North Stoneham
Lane south of North Stoneham Church

Manor of North Stoneham[1]

The manor of North Stoneham was the principal part of the Stoneham Estate. The manor was purchased by Sir Thomas Fleming in 1599[2]. The advowson of the manor descended with the manor until 1991. The manorial lordship of North Stoneham was sold in 1991.

It has been suggested that North Stoneham is one of the few ancient manors in England where development can be traced in an uninterrupted line for almost 2,000 years[3].

The Manorial Courts

Records of the Court Baron survive for the period 1743-1782[4]. (Two court books for the manor for the period between 1675 and 1695 are presently missing, as are any books covering the period 1599-1675, 1695-1743, and post 1782.)

The Court Baron courts were assemblies of the manor's copyholders. Normally twelve copyholders were sworn as the Homage (jury), but with so little business to attend to on particular days, sometimes as few as two copyholders were sworn. Only eleven courts were held at North Stoneham between 1743-1782, although it was more usual for courts to be held twice yearly on many manorial estates. The scarcity of courts before 1767 can be explained partly because the Lord, William Fleming, was non-resident, and possibly unable to attend. His steward, Isaac Le Gay, probably acted as his proctor.

Isaac Le Gay held the courts up until 1770, followed afterwards by George Le Gay, and lastly William Daman. As these stewards had other estates to supervise, it would appear that North Stoneham courts were held only as and when a change of ownership of copyholds was outstanding. When a new Lord, or just a new Steward, came into an estate, a major court was held to confirm once again the tenants' rights, and to finalise all outstanding entrees after the death of tenants, as well as confirm the admittances of new tenants - who no doubt at North Stoneham had been farming the copyholds without an official document.

Compared with the court books of the Earls of Southampton who held the manor before 1599, there are no recorded misdemeanours from specific persons - apart from trespass, for which no penalties were enacted.

The Customs or the Rights of Copyholders in the manor are recorded several times, as or when a new steward or the Lord died. Much of these were connected to Common rights and their use of timber on their tenancies. (See, for instance, Court Baron of North Stoneham Manor, 17 Oct 1749.) When a tenant died, his best animal, goods, or its monetary value was paid to the Lord as a heriot - excepting widows (unless she was the copyholder and not her husband, although his was due as well even if he predeceased her).

The tenants' annual rents seem modest and appear to remain the same over generations. A surviving manorial Survey of 1732 can also be compared with these later courts. The Survey shows that often more than one person held parts of copyholds. For instance, Rose Pope, mother of Robert Pope, paid a rent of 11s 2d for 10 acres. After her death, a new copy was sought in 1736. In 1748, when Robert sought this copyhold for himself, the rent was only 8s 6d for 8 acres - two acres in Church Close now being exempt from the copyhold. The Weston family were present at North Stoneham before 1530, in the time of Hyde Abbey; by 1731 Toby Weston held a 30-acre copyhold jointly with Richard Channell. Toby Weston and his wife Judith died shortly afterwards. It would appear that after the death of Tovy (Toby?) Weston and the widow Alice Weston, another copyholder - recorded in the 1732 Survey - both copyholds came into Richard Channell's hand. Due to the scarcity of courts at this period, Richard Channell's son had to wait until 1748 to seek admittance by right, although Richard his father was still alive until 1751. Richard had been a widower since 1732, and perhaps was too elderly by 1748 to be capable of farming.[5] There are several other tenants that can be placed in their copyholds with some certainty in this period. One is Charles Vine, brewer, who is known to be the first tenant of what later became The Half Way public house. It is possible that a cottage near the present pub, the Cricketers Arms, known to have been an off licence fifty years ago, was Charles Vine's brewery. A Special Court Baron was held in 1775 to confirm Charles Vine's entry. The last court in this series was held on 12 November 1782, which recorded the death of John Channell - whereby his copyhold fell into the hands of the Lord. This appears to be the end of the Channells' connection to Channels Farm, although to this day it is still known as such.

No courts were held for twenty years after 1750, by which time there was a great backlog to deal with. John Fleming, the new Lord, entered in 1770, his legal authority dated 24 October 1770[6]. Charles Le Gay was the new Steward, agreeing to uphold Court Leets, Courts Baron and Views of Frankpledge in the following Manors on the Estate in Hampshire and also the Isle of Wight: North Stoneham, Romsey Infra, Romsey Extra, and on the Isle of Wight at Haseley, Combley, Quarr, Newnham, Binstead, Duxmore, and Racklands. The next court was held on the 17 January 1771. The Court Baron reveals that Dame Ann Pile had died without heirs, and that her lands reverted to the Lord, John Fleming.

Manorial documents

(A full list is available at the Manorial Documents Register.)


  1. The Victoria County History (1908) says of the manor: 'King Athelstan, in the year 932, at the Witenagemot at Amesbury, granted certain land in NORTH STONEHAM to the thegn Alfred, who in 941 gave the same land to the abbey of Hyde, Winchester. In Domesday North Stoneham is given as one of the possessions of St. Peter's Abbey of Hyde, 'to which it has always belonged.' Then, as in the time of King Edward, it was assessed at 8 hides, and there were considerable lands belonging to the manor. In 1329 the abbey of Hyde was granted free warren in its demesne lands in North Stoneham. The property of the abbot here had been increased three years before by a grant of one messuage and land from John de Chekenhull and Beatrice his wife, for the maintenance of a chaplain who every day should pray for the souls of the donors and their ancestors.At the dissolution of the monasteries North Stoneham manor, with many of the other possessions of Hyde Abbey, was granted to Thomas Wriothesley, earl of Southampton. He was succeeded on his death in 1550 by his son Henry, then a minor. Henry died in 1582 and left as his heir a son Henry, then only eight years of age. Shortly after attaining his majority he sold the North Stoneham estate to Thomas Fleming, whose descendants are the present owners.' British History Online
  2. Conveyance of the manor and advowson of North Stoneham to Thomas Fleming, 1599
  3. C K Currie, North Stoneham Park: its origin and development (1992)
  4. Court book for the manors of Romsey Extra, Romsey Infra, and North Stoneham, 1743-1782
  5. The Court Baron entry for 1748 shows that 10 acres of the Channell copyhold were in a close called Fawkfield, which is the former name of Stoneham Lane. The 1841 Tithe map indicates that Fork Field lay north of Channells Farm, so we can presume that Westons Farm was the forerunner of Channells Farm.
  6. Declaration by John Fleming, 24 Oct 1770
  7. Schedule of deeds, leases, and manorial records, received by Sir Francis Seymour Pile, 1750
  8. Schedule of deeds, leases, and manorial records, received by Sir Francis Seymour Pile, 1750
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