Harlei, Herlei (xi cent.); Hertle, Hertligh Vaspal
(xiii cent.); Hurtleghe, Hertle Waspayl (xiv cent.).
Hartley Wespall is a parish and small village on the
River Loddon situated 6 miles north-east from
Basingstoke. The altitude of the parish ranges from
about 180 ft. above the Ordnance datum by the River
Loddon in the west to above 290 ft. above the ordnance datum in the extreme east. The village is grouped
round St. Mary's Church in the centre of the parish
on ground about 250 ft. above the ordnance datum,
and is separated from the river by a large stretch of
common land called Hartley Wood Common. Hartley House, in the extreme north of the parish, was
formerly the rectory house, and is now the residence
of Mr. Richard Durnford, C.B. It was considerably
enlarged by his grandfather, the Rev. John Keate, D.D.,
who, on his resignation of the head-mastership of
Eton in 1834, retired to Hartley Wespall, the living
of which he had obtained in exchange for the rectory
of Nether Stowey in 1824 (fn. 1) In 1840 Dr. Keate
acquired the house and adjoining land as his freehold,
and erected the present rectory house in the glebefield called Sandpits. (fn. 2) He died at Hartley Wespall
on 5 March 1852, and was succeeded by his only
son, the Rev. John Charles Keate, who was also rector
of Hartley Wespall till his death in 1894.
On 22 December 1879 a detached part of Stratfield Turgis was transferred to Hartley Wespall, (fn. 3) and
by the Divided Parishes Act, 1882, part of the latter
parish was added to the former. At the present time
the area is 1,399 acres, of which 404 acres are arable
land and 432½ acres permanent grass. The many
detached copses in this parish together cover an area
of 107½ acres. (fn. 4) The soil is various, while the subsoil
is clay. The chief crops grown are wheat, oats, and
Among place-names mentioned in early documents
are the following:—Cockeleslond (fn. 5) (xiii cent.);
Morenses (fn. 6) (xv cent.); Clarkes Land, (fn. 7) Easton Lands (fn. 8)
(xvi cent.); Dorcrofte, Church Doune, The Marsh,
Marsh Grove, Broomehille, Wild Furlong, Oldbury,
Great and Little Gorrell and Gorrell Grove (fn. 9) (xvii cent.).
At the time of the Domesday Survey
there were two holdings in HARTLEY
WESPALL—one of 1½ hides held by
Aubrey the Chamberlain, who had succeeded Alvric
in its possession, (fn. 10) and the other of 1 hide held by
Alvric, who had purchased it from William Earl of
Hereford for two marks of gold. (fn. 11) The history of
the latter estate cannot be traced further with any certainty, but the former passed into the possession of the
Waspail family, most probably with the manor of
Smallbrook in Warminster (co. Wilts.), (fn. 12) which was
also owned by Aubrey the Chamberlain in 1086. (fn. 13) An
undated 12th-century charter whereby the Prior of
Merton granted 44 acres of land and 1 acre of
meadow in the parish of Hartley to Geoffrey Fitz
Walter makes mention of the wood of Osbert Waspail, (fn. 14) and an entry on an assize roll of 1249 records
that Geoffrey Waspail had failed to make suit at the
hundred court of Holdshot, (fn. 15) but beyond this, with the
documentary evidence at present available, there is
nothing to connect the Waspails with the manor
from this date until the middle of the 14th century. (fn. 16)
At the beginning of the 14th century John de
Drokensford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was holding
the manor (fn. 17) —most probably on lease from the Waspails. In 1318 a commission of oyer and terminer
was granted to Sir John Foxley and others to try John
Turgis and others accused by the bishop of breaking
his close at Hartley, fishing his stews, and carrying
away his fish and other goods. (fn. 18) Described as lord
of Hartley, the bishop presented a rector during the
episcopacy of John Stratford (1323–33), (fn. 19) but at his
death in 1330 he was not
seised of the manor, (fn. 20) which
had most probably by this time
reverted to the Waspails. In
1346 John Waspail was stated
to be holding half a fee in Hartley Wespall formerly belonging
to John de Drokensford. (fn. 21) He
died seised of the manor of
Hartley Wespall in 1362, leaving a son and heir William, (fn. 22)
on whose death (c. 1405) (fn. 23) it
passed to his son and heir John,
who dealt with it by fine in
1409. (fn. 24) As lord of Hartley Wespall John manumitted a bondman in 1413, (fn. 25) but before 1428 he
had been succeeded by a second John, who in that
year was returned as holding half a fee in Hartley
Wespall lately belonging to John Waspail. (fn. 26) In
1445, in return for a payment of 100 marks, John
granted the reversion of the manor, after the death of
himself and his wife Joan, to Hugh Pakenham, son
of his wife by her first husband, John Pakenham. (fn. 27) He
died seised of the manor in 1448, (fn. 28) and lies buried in
Hartley Wespall Church. On the death of his widow
three years later, (fn. 29) Hartley Wespall passed, in accordance with the settlement, to Hugh, who as lord of
the manor presented to the church during the episcopacy of William Waynflete (1447–86). (fn. 30) He had
sold the manor before 1461, for in that year, as
'Hugh Pakenham esquire, late of the soke of Winchester alias late of Hartley Wespall,' he obtained a
general pardon for all offences, (fn. 31) but the name of the
purchaser is unknown. However, within the next
twenty years it had passed into the possession of
Sir Thomas St. Leger, who in
1481 obtained licence from
the king to grant the manor
and advowson of Hartley Wespall to the Dean and Canons of
St.George'sChapel,Windsor. (fn. 32)
At the same time the dean and
canons obtained permission to
grant a yearly rent of £23 1s. 8d.
proceeding therefrom to two
chaplains, who were to celebrate divine service daily in
the chantry founded by Sir
Thomas in the chapel. (fn. 33) From
this date the manor remained in the possession of
the dean and canons and their lessees until 1649,
in which year it was included in the general sale of
the dean and chapter lands, being sold for £1,077 5s.
to Robert Doyly of Lincoln's Inn and John Bristol
of Hartley Wespall. (fn. 34) However, it was restored to
the dean and canons at the Restoration, and remained
in their possession until 1876, (fn. 35) when it was sold to
Arthur Richard Wellesley, second Duke of Wellington. (fn. 35a) It now belongs to his nephew Arthur Charles
Wellesley, fourth Duke of Wellington.
Waspail. Argens two cheverons and a quarter gules.
Dean and Canons of St. George's, Windsor. Argent a cross gules.
The water-mill called Hartley Mill probably marks
the site of the mill which existed in 1086. (fn. 36) A
water-mill and a fishery are mentioned in the sale of
the manor in 1640, (fn. 37) and Lord Stawell, the farmer
of the manor, dealt by recovery with a free fishery in
Hartley Wespall (fn. 38) in 1707.
The property of the Prior and convent of Merton
extended into the parish, as is apparent from the
charter of Walter, Prior of Merton, granting 44 acres
of land and 1 acre of meadow in Hartley to Geoffrey
Fitz Walter, (fn. 39) and from a composition between the
prior and Alexander, parson of the church of Hartley,
dated Christmas 1193, whereby it was agreed that
the prior and convent should continue to pay to the
rector of Hartley such tithes as they had been accustomed to pay, viz. the third part of the full tithes
from some of their lands and no tithes at all from
the rest, but that the men whom they had in the
parish should pay tithes in full from their lands. If
at any future time, however, the prior and convent
acquired additional property in the parish they were
to pay the tithes in full, as were also the purchasers of
any of the abbey's property. (fn. 40) The lands of the
abbey in this parish naturally followed the same
descent as the manor of Holdshot in the parish of
Heckfield (q.v.) (fn. 41)
The church of ST. MARY THE
VIRGIN consists of a chancel 23 ft. 6 in.
by 18 ft. 8 in.; a nave 45 ft. 6 in. by
21 ft. 10 in.; a north porch and a north tower
8 ft. 10 in. by 7 ft. 9 in. Externally the building
is entirely modern, except the west end of the nave,
but its walls inclose the main timbers of the nave of
a half-timber church of c. 1330, a very remarkable and
The windows throughout are modern, with tracery
of 14th and 15th-century design, dating from 1868–9.
The chancel, which was rebuilt in memory of Dr.
Keate, has at the north-west an arched opening to the
tower, while on the south are a modern credence,
aumbry, and tomb recess of 14th-century design.
There is no chancel arch, but chancel and nave are
separated by a fine modern screen with open traceried
panels surmounted by a large cross, with medallions
at the ends of the arms carved with the symbols of
the four evangelists.
The nave is in three bays, with heavy story posts
between each bay having filleted half-round shafts on
the face, from the moulded capitals of which spring
arched braces to the underside of cambered tie-beams.
On the tie-beams are king-posts with struts, and the
rafters are very heavy and have arched braces beneath.
The tie-beam at the east of the nave is level and not
cambered, and has formed the head of a wooden screen
perhaps of much the same character as its modern
successor. The struts and principals over it are
cusped like those in the west wall of the nave. Both
doors of the nave are original, but only on the north
can the outer elevation be seen. It is a most interesting
piece of detail, the doorway having a two-centred arch,
with a label of the same section as that of the architrave of a rectangular frame in which it is set, and
with which it mitres at the springing. The spandrels
are filled in solid, the whole framing being extraordinarily massive.
The west wall is original, and is of half-timber
construction filled in with plaster. It has angle and
central posts with cusped diagonal struts and a cambered tie-beam, with king-post and cusped struts in
the gable. The effect is curious, the figures formed
by the lower struts being far too large in scale for
the building, and the whole cannot be said to be a
very successful piece of design. On the central post
is planted a shallow wooden pilaster offset in imitation
of a stone buttress.
The tower is quite modern and of two stages, the
lower being of stone, while the upper is of wood, and
is the upper part of a wooden belfry which stood outside the west end of the church, and was moved to its
present position in 1868. It is tile hung and finishes
with a wooden spire.
The pulpit contains a little 17th-century carving,
but the seating, fittings, &c., are all modern. There
is a record that the church was re-seated in 1759 from
the proceeds of Paice's Charity. The font is modern,
in 12th-century style, with an arcade of interlacing
arches, placed in the church by Dr. Keate in 1852.
On the north of the nave is a fine grey and white
marble monument to 'the Right Honourable Abigail
Lady Dowager of Ralph Lord Stawell,' who died in
1692. She was daughter and heiress of William Pitt,
and above are the arms of Pitt on a lozenge, while on
consoles beneath are the arms of Stawell: Gules a cross
lozengy argent, and the same impaling Pitt.
In the chancel, under the modern recess in the
north wall, is a raised tomb with a brass cross and
marginal inscription to Dr. Keate.
In the chancel floor is a brass inscribed, 'Johannes
Waspail quondam huius ecclesie patronus viam universe
carnis vicesimo die mensis Novembris anno domini
quadringentesimo quadragesimo octavo transiens, ac
Johanna relicta Johannis Pakenham vidua eius quae
obiit vicesimo die mensis maii mcccclij hic tumulantur,
quorum animabus propicietur Deus. Amen.'
The tower contains three bells. The treble and
second bear a plain cross, a shield of the three leopards
of England, and the mark of Robert Crowch a London
founder of c. 1440; the third was cast by Mears
and Stainbank in 1883.
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of
1706 inscribed 'Hartley Waspail in the county of
Southampton, 1690, ex dono John Chase,' a paten
of 1836, and a modern flagon and almsdish.
There are five books of registers. The first contains baptisms, burials, and marriages 1558–1677;
the second the same, 1678–1733, with gaps in
baptisms 1678–85 and 1713–23. This book was
found in an empty house in Pentonville in 1852.
The third contains baptisms and burials 1733–83,
with a gap in baptisms 1748–54, and marriages
1733–58. The fourth has marriages only 1755–1812, and the fifth, baptisms and burials 1784–1812.
There are churchwardens' accounts from 1751 and
a tithe account book from 1776.
The advowson of the church followed the descent of the manor,
being granted with it in 1481 to
the Dean and Canons of St. George's Chapel, Windsor,
who have retained it till the present day. (fn. 42)
In 1840 certain land belonging to the Dean and
Canons of Windsor—a field called Great Colemans,
purchased from the Duke of Wellington, and Broca
Pightle, purchased from Mr. Shaw-Lefevre, afterwards
Lord Eversley—were added to the glebe, which now
consists of 25 a. 24 p. (fn. 43) The school premises were erected
in 1848 upon the waste of the manor, and were until
1891 vested in the Rev. J. C. Keate. In that year
they were conveyed to the Dean and Canons of Windsor
as a national school for the parishes of Hartley
Wespall and Stratfield Turgis. A body of managers
was constituted by the deed, but this provision was
modified by an Order of the Board of Education made
under the Elementary Education Act of 1902. (fn. 44)
The Charity of William Paice
(will 1641) and Lady Abigail Stawell
is now endowed with £836 19s. 11d.
India 3 per cent, stock with the official trustees, representing the proceeds of the sale of a house and land in
Sherfield-upon-Loddon, formerly belonging to the
By an Order of the Charity Commissioners of
7 June 1895, made under the Local Government
Act 1894, the sum of £495 stock, part thereof,
was apportioned as the eleemosynary branch of the
charity, and £341 19s. 11d. stock as the ecclesiastical branch. In 1907 the sum of £61 19s. 9d.
stock was sold out for providing funds towards rebuilding the church wall, subject to replacement
within ten years.
The yearly dividends on the £495 India 3 per cent.
stock, amounting to £14 17s., are applied usually in
the distribution of money to poor parishioners.