Churt: a Medieval Landscape
Philip Brooks

Cover of Churt, a medieval landscape

How our medieval ancestors lived

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Front cover: Photograph of the author next to an old hedge in Churt; background map of part of Churt in 1870

Paperback - 118 pages, includes maps of the area
First published 2000 by P. M. Heather
This edition published by John Owen Smith; ISBN: 1-873855-52-4; March 2006

Associated titles: Churt, an Oasis through Time - Churt Remembered - Further Reflections on Churt by Olivia Cotton; Churt: A Time of Change by Gillian Devine; Walks around Headley - Headley's Past in Pictures by John Owen Smith; Grayshott by JH Smith


Back Cover . Contents . List of Illustrations . Preface . Index . About the Author . Further information


Back Cover

Philip Brooks mastered the intricacies of medieval Latin to translate the contents of the Winchester Pipe Rolls, and in this book he opens our eyes to the rich source of information found in the medieval and Tudor records.
Having had first-hand experience of using traditional farming techniques he is particularly well-informed on agricultural matters.
This knowledge has given him a remarkable insight into the world of ox plough teams, hand-sown crops and a community whose very survival was dependent on the produce of the land.

Essential reading for local historians and anyone with an interest in how our ancestors really lived.


Contents

List of Illustrations
About the Author
Preface
Churt
The Landscape
   Maps, Documents and Fieldwork
   Woods and Water
   Streams, Ponds and Wells
   Banks and Ditches
   Erosion Banks
   Hedges
   Hedge Laying
   Hedges in 1994
   Spontaneous Hedges
   Double Hedges
   Gated Roads
   Hedgerow Trees
   Woodland & Coppices
   Regeneration of the Land
   Removal of Hedges
The Medieval Farming Year
   The Demesne of Farnham Manor in 1223
   Ploughing
   Harrowing
   Seed Corn
   The Seed Bed
   Hazards
   Harvest
Farming in Churt
   Weeds
   The Cropping
   Inventories
The Manor of the Bishop
High Churt
   1348–1500
   Enclosure of Fields
Lanes, Farms and Places
Manorial Fines
Abbreviations & Glossary
Appendix
   Lay Subsidy of 1332 for Churt
   Petition for grant of a copyhold
   The Trade of the Shearman or Cropper
   Houses in Churt recorded by DBRG
   Other Books relating to the history of Churt
Index


List of Illustrations

1: The Manor of Farnham showing the location of Churt
1a: Extract from a Pipe Roll of 1252–1253
2: Streams in the Churt area
3: John de Hale's bank near Frensham Great Pond
4: Erosion Banks and Double Hedges
5: An erosion bank on the west boundary of Outmoor
6: Double hedge at Big Oak, Hale House Lane
7: Ash poles from coppicing, junct. Greencross Lane/Hale House Lane
8: Map showing location of photos at Figs 7 & 9
9: The author standing beneath a hazel hedge at Greencross Lane
10: Hedges at Green Cross
11: Changes to field boundaries at Woodyers
12: Farnham Manor Demesne Fields
13: Churt divided into 'West Churt' and 'High Churt'
14: Planned divisions of High Churt
15: Phases of bondland development in High Churt
16: Boundary with Elstead at Hide farm
17: West Churt
Map showing key to Lanes, Farms and Places
18: Stream Cottage
19: Wolmer Cottage and Boundaries
20: Stock, Marchants and Hide farms
21: Stock Farm in 1720 and 1839
22: Green Cross - houses and fields
23: Roads at Butts farm in 1839


Preface

An alternative title for this book could be 'The Surrey Peasant' from which most people who have an interest in local history will realise my titles owe a compliment to the works of W G Hoskins. Hoskins, above all others, saw the countryside not merely as a full-scale map: he found banks and hedges interesting because he thought of the people who made them as much as why they were made. It was this sense of seeing the land from the inside which he was able to convey in his writing that brought it nearer to the reader. It did the same for me when I read 'The Midland Peasant'. Before that, collecting flints, living alongside a Roman camp and a holy well had been fascinating, but were disconnected fragments of history. Indirectly Hoskins showed me the way forward as did Robo in his book 'Medieval Farnham'. The 'Midland Peasant' is based on the village of Wigston, some four miles south of Leicester. It was in those Wigston fields that I spent the first 15 years of my life; fields then rich with cowslips on the damp land by the willows, willows as old as the Domesday book; fields below the footpath to Knighton Church where we children hunted quaking grass on the way home and ate the seedheads, whilst towards the Washbrook, corncrakes croaked on summer days. That was our England. This echo of W G Hoskins' work is intended as a tribute to one who would have done so much better with this story of Churt.

So many people have had a part in making this story of medieval Churt that it would be invidious to name one and miss another. Therefore, I thank all those people of Churt who have shared their memories with me and who have allowed me to roam their fields and invade their homes.

I owe an immense debt to the staff, now largely dispersed, of the old Hampshire Record Office (HRO) for so many happy hours reading the Pipe Rolls. In particular Miss Cash whose encouragement meant so much on first visits there; and also Mr Roger Davy for his patience with my first floundering efforts with medieval Latin.

Audrey Graham's contribution has been vital. After two other attempts had failed, she produced for me 'The Bishop's Tenants', a record of medieval peasant inheritance and land holding in the manor of Farnham. It is the core from which this story has evolved. Part of the preliminary text for this story was put on computer by Carolyn Clarke, an old friend from Pipe Roll days; thereafter the work was continued by Pat Heather as it was easier for us to meet for regular discussions. The presentation and maps are her work and she has also made a valuable contribution in using her own work on Farnham to probe my ideas and to suggest alternative constructions. It would be true to say that without me this story would never have been started, and without Pat it would never have been finished.

Lastly, on a personal note, I must record my debt to the late Col. Rose of Old Kiln and the Rose family, but for them I should never have come to Churt; and lastly, above all, my debt to Mary, my wife.

Philip Brooks
Oakhurst, Churt
November 1996.


Index

A287, 61, 80
acre, customary & statute, 40, 61, 111
Avalon, 77
Barford, 17, 34, 61, 92, 109
Barford Court, 92
Barford Stream, 19, 21, 90, 91
Bargate stone, 16, 19, 50, 57, 58, 81, 88
Beefolds, 20, 90
Beydens, 108
Beydenshatch, 84
Big Oak, 23, 25, 28, 33, 82, 83
Black Death, 14, 22, 28, 33, 48, 52, 62, 63, 74, 77, 84, 86
Brook House, 86
Browns Farm, 80, 82, 106
Butts Farm, 18, 80, 81, 82, 106
Caedwalla, King of the South Saxons, 53, 70
Cedars, The, 67
Cobbett, William, 35
contents, 5
Coppice Cottage, 91
Cowleg, 83
Crabtree Lane, 82, 85
Cresswell Lane, 67
Creswell, 98
Crosswater, 87
Crosswater Barn, 87
Crosswater Farm, 88
Crosswater Mill, 87
Crossways, 81, 82
Crudescat, 60, 71, 97
Devil's Jumps Inn, 67
Devil's Punchbowl, 28, 72, 99
Dutton's Hill Common, 88
Dutton's Hollow, 89
Dye House, The, 71, 97
Elstead, 53, 57, 59, 60, 67, 71, 72, 85, 97, 99, 102
Farnham, 13, 22, 49, 91
Farnham Castle, 14, 38, 47
Farnham Manor, 10, 17, 31, 37, 45, 53, 58, 62, 71, 96
Farnham Museum, 72, 89, 96
Fernhill, 84
Frensham, 13, 16, 32, 49, 56, 71, 80, 83, 88, 91
Frensham Beale, 17, 28, 43, 47, 60, 71
Frensham Common, 33, 87
Frensham Pond, 14, 18, 21, 80, 90, 91, 92
Fullbrook, 71, 98
fullers earth, 77, 84
Furlong, The, 22, 34, 82, 84, 108
Green Cross, 30, 77, 78, 79
Green Farm, 74, 103
Green Lane, 16, 18, 20, 28, 55, 58, 70, 71, 72, 74, 76, 80, 85
Green Tye, 79, 83, 85
Greencroft, 18, 20, 34, 74, 77, 79, 80, 82, 89, 104
Greencross, 20, 52, 74, 79, 82, 105, 106
Greencross Farm, 79, 83
Greencross Lane, 19, 23, 26, 27, 29, 79, 82, 83
Greenhouse, 76, 103
Hale House, 18, 73, 82, 89
Hale House Lane, 18, 23, 25, 26, 55, 74, 79, 82, 83, 84, 85, 89
Hale Meads, 87
Hatch Farm, 74, 80, 93, 109
Headley, 48, 77, 79, 91
Headley inventories, 50
Headley, 1552 survey, 34, 51, 85, 92
Hide Farm, 17, 20, 51, 59, 66, 70, 71, 73, 99
Hide Lane, 33, 57
Hide, John de, 46
Hidland, 17, 79, 106
High Churt, 18, 26, 55-66, 84, 91
High Reeds, 76
Holelonde, 63, 99, 102
Hollands, 70
Hooks, 90, 107
illustrations, list of, 7
Ivy Cottage, 91
Jumps Road, 16, 67, 82, 84, 85, 87, 90
Kennel Farm, 83
Kitts, 93, 109
Lower Common, 16, 18, 57, 62
Lower Loompits, 71
Marchants Farm, 57, 59, 73, 74, 101
Maryners Lane, 70, 71, 83
Mayhew's Farm, 76
Meadows, The, 19, 82
Medieval Farnham, Robo, 11
mill, corn, 77, 92
mill, fulling, 71, 73, 77, 92, 114
mill, paper, 92
mills, at Barford, 92, 109
Minfordd, 27, 83
Moorside, 85, 108
Nether Lane, 82
Old Barn Lane, 19, 29, 76, 84
Old Forge, 34, 89, 92
Old Kiln, 9, 20, 22, 27, 71, 82, 86, 87, 88
Old Kiln Lane, 88
Old Post Office, 20, 90
Old Potters, 71
Outmoor, 14, 18, 23, 61, 77, 83, 89, 107
Outmoor Green, 85
Parkhurst, 82
Patifold, 60, 72, 98
Pipe Rolls, 9, 13, 17, 22, 31, 38, 43, 45, 53, 57, 60, 62, 96, 112
Pipers, 89
Pitch Cottage, 70
Pitch Place, 71
Pitfold, 53, 71, 77, 91
Plaster Hill, 51
plough headlands, 57, 60, 61, 62, 112
Podmore (Pudmore), 23, 76, 82, 88, 89
Pride of the Valley, 67
Queen's College, Oxford, 82
Quinnettes, 81
Redhearne, 20, 89
Ridgeway Farm, 59, 60, 72, 73, 98
ridgeways, 72
Road Farm, 93, 109
Roseberry House, 93, 109
Shant Lane, 82
Shant, The, 81
Shottermill, 13, 53
Silverbeck, 90
Simmonstone (Symondstone), 21, 91, 92
Squirrels, 23, 83
Standford, Headley, 73
Star Hill, 91
Star Inn, 91
Stock Farm, 33, 74, 75, 76, 102
Stream Cottage, 70
Tapeners, 77
Three Oaks, 85, 86
Thursley Road, 16, 70
Tilford Road, 55, 74, 84, 103
Toft, The, 29, 34, 77, 79
Truxford, 71, 76, 101
Upper Common, 16, 18, 57, 62
Upper Ridgeway, 73, 99
Varnolds, 84, 108
Warreners, 76, 104
Warreners Mead, 85, 87
Well More, 70
West Churt, 16, 55, 62, 64, 80, 89
Wey Cottage, 60, 71
Wheeler Papers, 34, 73, 77, 92
White Croft, 86
Whitmore (Whitmoor) Vale, 20, 87, 91, 92, 93, 109
Widhanger, 76, 84, 104
Wishanger, 79, 84, 91
Wolmer Cottage, 70
Woodhanger, 76, 84
Woodyers, 34, 89, 92
Wulfrede's beam, 93


About the Author

Philip Brooks was born in Leicester in 1910 and first developed an interest in agriculture when his father, a well-known scientist, bought Holywell Farm, not far from the city. As a result, Philip went to agricultural college, but could not find permanent work because, at the time, farming was severely affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Consequently, he first worked in South Africa and later in Argentina where he was involved in clearing forest and managing orange plantations. He returned to Britain towards the middle of the Second World War and joined the RAF, remaining in the forces until virtually the end of the war.

After a brief return to Argentina, he came back to Britain and after working in several other places, came to Churt in 1950, taking a job as farm manager for Col. Rose at Old Kiln Farm. His interest in documentary history started as a result of examining deeds while purchasing parcels of land in Churt to expand Col. Rose's landholding. This led him to become involved on several archaeological excavations and on his retirement in 1974, having moved next door to the bungalow, he devoted himself to the study of the history of Churt. In this, as in nearly everything else, he was helped greatly by his wife Mary, whom he had originally met at college and who sadly died in 1999.

Initially, this interest led him to help with the work of the Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey) in recording the remarkable numbers of surviving Tudor buildings in the surrounding area. However, increasingly his attention was drawn to the documents preserved in the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester and in particular to the Winchester Pipe Rolls - the great medieval account rolls of the bishops of Winchester.

Philip mastered the intricacies of medieval Latin and over a number of years produced a series of articles on life in the medieval Hundred of Farnham. He became well known to a wide audience for the scope of his research and he opened the eyes of many people to the rich source of information to be found in the medieval and Tudor records. He is particularly authoritative on agricultural matters, as almost uniquely he has first-hand experience of clearing forest and of the use of traditional farming techniques. This knowledge has given Philip a remarkable insight into the world described by the medieval bishopric accounts - a world of ox plough teams, hand sown crops and a community whose very survival was entirely dependent on the produce of the land.

Philip Brooks died in June 2000.


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