East Seaxnatune (x cent.); Essentune (xi cent.);
Exton (xii cent).
The parish of Exton covers a long sweep of high
ground of about 3,567 acres, of which 1,208¼ are
arable land, 460½ permanent grass, 591 woodland,
and 6 water. (fn. 1) Part of Corhampton, including Preshaw Park, the high ground north and west of Exton
village, was transferred to Exton parish in March,
1894, (fn. 2) and from this part of the parish fine
views can be obtained of the low-lying parishes to the
north, Beauworth, Kilmeston, Hinton Ampner, Cheriton, and Tichborne. The south and centre of the
parish through which the River Meon flows is lower
country, and is the most fertile part of the parish,
where the bulk of the arable land lies, while the River
Meon affords good trout fishing.
The village itself is in the extreme south of the
parish, immediately north of Corhampton. The three
villages of Exton, Corhampton, and Meonstoke lie so
near together as almost to form one village. Exton is
approached most easily by a road which branches west
from the main road from West Meon to Droxford,
and runs for some way parallel with the river, beyond
which to the south of the village is a wide stretch of
low-lying marsh land. A large grey stone house,
formerly the manor-house, but now used only as a
farm, stands at the entrance to the village on the
north side of the road. A few yards beyond is the
small stone church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and
opposite on the south of the road are some quaint
thatched cottages in strange contrast with the little
red-brick schoolhouse which stands near the church.
Beyond the school, on slightly higher ground, is the
rectory, a handsome house in fine grounds, near which
are The Grove and Exton Cottage. Further south,
on the road which connects Exton with the main
Corhampton road, is another small group of houses,
including the little general shop and the Shoe Inn,
and close by, on the right bank of the river, is the
old mill-house which has now fallen into picturesque
decay. The soil of the parish is chalk and clay,
subsoil gravel, chalk, and stone. The chief crops are
wheat, oats, and barley.
The first mention of EXTON is apparently in 940, when a grant was made
by King Edmund to his thegn Ethelgeard
of 12 mansae at 'East Seaxnatune' or Exton, on
the River Meon. (fn. 3) Between 940 and 1086 Exton
must have passed into the hands of the priory of
St. Swithun, for which it was held by the bishop of
Winchester as it had been in the time of King
Edward. Formerly it had been assessed at 12 hides,
but in 1086 at 8 hides only. Its value, it is said, had
fallen from £16 in the time of King Edward to £12;
and though by 1086 the value had only risen to £20
the land was subject to a tax of £30, which was a
burden heavier than it could bear. For twenty years
Lening had held 2 hides of this land and a mill
worth 2s. (fn. 4)
Exton was confirmed to the priory of St. Swithun
at Winchester in 1205, and again in 1285, and remained to the prior and convent until the dissolution of
the monasteries. (fn. 5) In 1291 Exton was numbered among
the St. Swithun temporalities, and was assessed at
£20 13s. 10d. (fn. 6) After the Dissolution the manor
was granted in 1542 to the dean and chapter of
Winchester, (fn. 7) to whom it was confirmed by James I
in 1605. (fn. 8)
At the sale of the dean and chapter's lands in 1649
the manor of Exton was bought by William Collyns
and Neville Larymore for
£1,518 16s. 8d., (fn. 9) but at the
Restoration it was recovered
by the church, and in 1682 it
was still a possession of the
cathedral church of Winchester. The present lord of the
manor is Col. William Woods
of Warnford Park (in Bishop's
Waltham), who succeeded his
father, Mr. Henry Woods, in
Woods of Warnford. Argent a cheveron nebuly gules with drops argent between three martlets sable.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there were two
mills in Exton worth 20s. (fn. 10)
After the Dissolution there is an entry on the
ministers' accounts for the farm of one water-mill
worth £5, (fn. 11) and at the sale of the dean and
chapter's lands in 1649 a water-grist mill was sold
to William Collyns and Neville Larymore. (fn. 12) There
is a ruined mill in the parish at the present day.
A grant of free warren in their demesne lands of
Exton was granted to the prior and convent of
St. Swithun in 1301, (fn. 13) and in 1649 a free fishing
in 'the river of Exton' passed with the manor to
William Collyns and Neville Larymore. (fn. 14)
The church of ST. PETER and ST.
PAUL is a small building with chancel
22 ft. by 18 ft. 10 in., north vestry, and
organ chamber, nave 56 ft. 8 in. by 21 ft. 5 in., south
porch, and wooden bell-turret over the west end of the
nave. It has undergone very thorough repair, and its
details are for the most part modern. The chancel,
which dates from c. 1230, has a marked southward
deviation from the axis of the nave, and the latter may
contain work of an earlier date, though no architectural features remain to prove it.
In the east wall of the chancel are two large
lancets with a quatrefoil over, in the north wall a
single lancet with a wide internal splay, and in the
south wall two similar lancets. All have external
reveals, but only in the north window is any old stonework preserved. A heavy moulded string runs round
the interior of the chancel below the window sills,
and at the south-east is a double trefoiled piscina recess
with a modern oak shelf. The masonry of the
chancel arch is partly modern and partly retooled.
The nave has four windows on each side, the eastern
window on the north being a thirteenth-century
lancet with old stonework, while the next to it and
the western window on this side are similar lancets in
modern masonry. The remaining window of three
cinquefoiled lights is of the fifteenth-century style, and
retains a little masonry of that date. On the south
side the eastern window is of two lights in fifteenth-century style, while the other three are single lancets;
none have any old stonework. Between the second
and third windows on this side is the south doorway,
with a plain round arch of uncertain date, under a
modern porch, which follows the lines of the probably
thirteenth-century porch at Warnford.
The west end of the nave appears to be entirely
modern, and the west window is a single lancet.
The roofs and other woodwork are likewise modern,
together with the bell-turret, which can only be
reached by means of a long ladder from within the
church. The west end of the nave is screened off to
form a vestry, and near the south door is the modern
octagonal font of thirteenth-century style.
On the south wall of the chancel is the marble
monument of Dr. John Young, dean of Winchester,
who died in 1642, the date being given in a chronogram—
VenI VenI MI IesV IVDeX VenI CIto.
There are two bells, the treble bearing only 'fecit 1829,'
the founder's name being left out, while the other is
an interesting mediaeval bell, bearing a reversed inscription in black letters—
+ Ricardus + Ricardus Puinter + Neuport. The
third word is doubtful.
The plate consists of a silver cup of 1648 and a
paten, and a plated paten and flagon.
The first book of the registers contains all entries
from 1579 to 1720; the second, baptisms and burials
1720–80, and marriages to 1754; the third and
fourth are the printed marriage registers 1755–99
and 1800–11; and the fifth the baptisms and burials
In 1086 there was a church at
Exton which, together with the
manor, was in the hands of the
bishop of Winchester. (fn. 15) In 1284 the king gave up
all claim in the advowson of this church to the
bishop. (fn. 16) In 1291 the church owed a pension of
8 marks to the hospital of St. Cross at Winchester, (fn. 17)
but this pension appears to have lapsed before 1535.
The bishop of Winchester is still patron of the church.
This parish is entitled to benefit
from the schools in Corhampton.