Emails about Medieval Village

Renewed discussions in 2013 


From: Carol Stevens  

To: Ralph Bennett  

Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:21 PM  

Subject: Re: re Evans 

Ralph, many thanks for your speedy response, I am delighted. 

Another question which you may be able to help with. TADS have embarked on what may be the long road to try to discover the location of the Medieval village of Tadley. We have already undertaken a number of practical exercises and have quite substantial written evidence to support its existence. Location will be much harder of course. Do you have any suggestions or evidence, practical or documented, which may help us? Regards Carol 


From: Ralph Bennett  

To: Carol Stevens  

Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 10:44 AM  

Subject: re Evans 

Dear Carol, you will be delighted to learn that my filing system worked first time and produced all the Information you wanted. Below is the entry in the register, now in the County archive at Winchester, and attached is a screen print from my own churchyard plan. When you visit St Peter’s church, just follow the path down to the big yew tree and you will find the grave a little way south, next to the Woodland boundary. 

Emma Evans, died 16th June 1911, age 89, from Fairlawn, Tadley William Harry Brereton Evans, died 13th August 1913, age 30, from Fairlawn, Tadley Dora Margaret Evans, died 20th April 1915, age 64, from Fairlawn, Tadley 

Yours sincerely, Ralph Bennett 




Subject:  Re: re Evans Hello  

From: “Ralph Bennett” <ralph@ben2nett  

To: “Carol Stevens” <  

Sent: 15 March 2013 15:34  

Hello again, Carol,  

When I wrote out the first draft of the message below. I remembered our discussion nearly twenty years ago on the subject of the medieval village and decided to send you a copy of my notes made at the time. To my dismay, I was unable to find either my original notes or the film slides that went with them, and I had to delete my opening remarks How did Sellars and Yateman put it? History is not what you thought, It is what you can remember!” So here is a summary of my argument as it occurs to me. 

In 909AD, well before the Norman conquest, “The Wood at Tadele” belonged to the Bishop of Winchester. Since local men made a habit of cutting down trees and poaching game from the “Bishops wood”, I assume without evidence that the Bishop must have installed a resident balliñ to protect his property, and this is the origin of Tadley Place. I also assume that Church Road marks the line of the prehistoric trackway from Wootton to Wasing. The line of the Roman Portway that runs through Sretes Farm and Tadley Place passes along the ridge past St Peter’s chapel as it then was. The line of spings that follow the ridge includes one on the slope some fifty yards below the church which supplied the first Cottage with fresh water all year round. These are fixed points in the landscape. After the conquest Benedictine monks from the abbey at Cerisy le Foret set up a new Priory at Pamber endowed by Hugh of Basing.

A comparison of the stonework suggests they also rebuilt the chapel of St Peter with local materials of flint and lime mortar, using imported limestone ashlar blocks from Normandy. At this time assume the status of St Peter’s changed from a private chapel of ease to a carish church and a bural ground for Christian burials was added but without the sale of burial plots to private persons. When Henry the fifth dissolved the Priory as an alien community at the time of the battle of Agincourt stone arches and Windows from the domestic buildings were used to repair St Peter’s chapel. After the battle ine Prory Farm was sold off by the Crown into private hands and became the Wyeford Estate. Tadley Place and Bishopswood remained with the Church.

So where at this time was the centre of the village? There wasn’t one. The nuclear village arises from the feudal system. The landowner builds a manor house and a milli and a church, and the workers’ cottages then cluster round the centre. Tadley was never like that The mixed population of Tadley lived separate lives, spread out all over the parish Woodworkers lived in the forest; pig farmers lived on the edge of the forest, agricultural workers lived in the fields, the itinerant gypsies came and went at will.

The Bishop in Winchester had enough trouble keeping track of his own clergy not to bother with the unbaptised peasantry whose names were not even recorded. Even the rector of Silchester was arrested for poaching deer on the bishop’s land. His name was Peter Cooper, but I am sure that has to be a coincidence!

Two Tadley place names give clues to former occupation Windmill Field, located on the ridge near Tadley Place, speaks of wheat fields yielding tithes to the bem which is still standing. Honey Mill Lane may refer to a water mill using a mill pond on the Churon Brook, upstream of the (new) A340. This is where the centre of population was, and is, in Tadley. Queen Elizabeth the first in her old age attended an investiture at Basing House where Edmund Ludlow of Hill Deverill in Wiltshire was knighted. Sir Edmund settled Tadley Park on his son Henry Ludlow, who proceeded to anticipate his coming marriage to De la Moore’s daughter Lettice, by remodelling Tadley Place in Elizabethan style. The job was done on the cheap, leaving the small manor house in position as the central range, and hurriedly putting up north and south wings to make the fashionable E-shaped palace. The whole scheme was over ambitious, and the north wing was later pulled down, leaving the present lop-sided arrangement the demolished wing might be found by an archaeological dig in the present courtyard.

Tradition alleges that Henry pulled down twelve workers cottages to improve the view from his first-floor window. I presume that these cottages fronted the trackway that continues Church Road towards Ramsdel. and might be found by an archaeological dig in that area. Tradition is reinforced by Henry Lancaster’s history of the period 1604-1629 This is a sample: “Much of his life is a tale of violence, lawsuits and family quarrels King and two of his sisters were dragged into Tadley church at dawn, the noise of one beating they received was muffled by the ringing church bells… When he inherited Tadley he agreed to maintain a curate for the parish at £8 a year. In 1617 the curate sued Ludlow not only for £96 which remained unpaid but also for sundry sums which Ludlow and his wife had borrowed from him and refused to repay.

His behaviour towards tenants and employees was also frowned upon In 1635 two of them sued him for £105 after he had pulled down their houses and refused to pay them wages.” The Ludlow title to their estates was not all that sound. “In 1601 Edmund conveyed both the manors of Tadley and Sherborne St John to his son Henry… In 1607 Ludlow and his father were allowed leave to defend themselves in Chancery against Queen’s College, Oxford, concerning the non-payment of rents.” Henry died without making a will, leaving a mountain of debts, and the estates then were broken up and sold of to the highest bidder.

My best wishes to the society in your quest for the medieval village. 



From: Carol Stevens 

 To: Ralph Bennett  

Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 10:46 AM  

Subject: Re: re Evans 

Good morning Ralph, We have found the original State Papers to support the demolition of 10-12 cottages, including the Church House. However, we are not clear what would be meant by the ” Church house” as there were such places which are historically recorded, many still stand, and seem to be more akin to a village/church hall. My feeling is that in this instance in Tadley it meant the actual church. I have looked in the Churchwarden’s accounts for the period but can find only 1 insignificant reference to Tadley. If you have any ideas on this I would be interested, or suggestions where to look. Would a demolition of the church in 1634 fit your ideas on the subject? I know you have looked at the ground level build material. 

Also, I cannot find anything on-line pertaining to Henry Lancaster and the period you note 1604-1629. The Henry (? Carrington) Lancaster I found wrote primarily French literature /History?  

Regards Carol   


From: Ralph Bennett  

To: Carol Stevens  

Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 8:54 AM 

 Subject: Re: re Evans 

Hello again Carol, Re the twelve cottages. “He turned them out into the roads”. I got it from Florence Davidson. She was a great collector of gossip. I don’t know where she got it. It’s only seven generations since the event. The sense of injustice would linger in folk memory and be passed from father to son. That’s good enough for me. The little grey cells are Agatha Christie’s original creation. They are from the same generation as Alison Utley’s “Little Grey Rabbit”. Odd how things connect. Kind regards, Ralph 



To: “Carol Stevens” <>  

Sent: 17 March 2013 17:41  

Subject: Re: re Evans 

From: “Ralph Bennett” <> 

Good Afternoon Carol, we seem to be swimming in deep waters. 

Yes, the description “church house” could apply to the “house of God”. This idea is new to me. Henry Ludlow was irreligious and vindictive enough to have done such a thing, especially in the local farm workers were in the habit of treating the building as their own private chapel when the curate was away. Remember that during the commonwealth lay people were accustomed to preaching in the church, and one “Trebor Semai” even wrote his sermon notes in the burials register. I believe that “pulling down” a building could refer to dragging the thatch off the roof and leaving wind and weather to do the rest.  

Following the collapse of the chancel arch at an unknown date, the height of the medieval walls (still surviving under the stucco) was drastically reduced and the chancel tie-beams inserted. Henry Ludlow was too mean to pay a curate at £8 a year. He would be unlikely to spend money on repairs to the building. Between his death C. 1640 and the building of the tower in 1685 the church had been not only repaired but completely remodelled. 2. My notes on Henry Lancaster are to be found on the web at… Henry Ludlow’s record as a member of parliament is remembered only for his farting loudly at the entry of a messenger, to the great merriment of the house. 

 Regards, Ralph. 



Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 1:28 PM 

 Subject: For Carol Stevens 

Hello, Carol 

With reference to our discussion on Saturday I can confirm that the Tadley rolls are at Hampshire Record Office. The specific year you had quoted (1634) will be either in the Presentments of 1632-34 (ref. 11M59/E1/153/6) or in 1634-35 (11M59/E1/154/4). The earliest court roll at the record office covering the Tadley tithing is dated 1505-06, then follows another for 1509-11. There is a gap until 1540-44, and then another large gap until the presentment rolls begin in 1597. These continue with a few shorter gaps up 1679. The Fine Books then begin in 1709, and these continue until 1922 (although that of 1813-37 is missing). I have all the records for Tadley extracted from the Fine Books of 1837 to 1870. 

If you give me a reminder of what you actually require from the 1634 roll then I would be pleased to extra all the data concerning that event for you when I am at Winchester sometime during the next few months (as I shall no doubt be taking out all the info from the same roll at the same time to add to my own record 

Incidentally, the Manor of Wyford or Withyford came mainly within the parish of Pamber, according to the 1870 OS map – although a portion extended over the boundary and into Tadley (which was quite common Thus, it was within the Hundred of Barton Stacey. My records indicate that there are documents regarding that manor among the Hicks Beach estate papers at Gloucester – but it is not known what they are, what they cover and how many because they were unsorted and not catalogued (This was the report I receive five years ago – and it may be different now). I hope to get to Gloucester at some point. 

Nevertheless, if your interest in Wyford is wholly to do with the Ludlows as lords of the manor then it is doubtful that you will find anything worthwhile in the court rolls and other manorial records for that manor because these records related solely to the tenants of the various holdings within the manor and their payments, obligations and customary dues. 

With my best wishes 

Ken Smallbone 

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