History of Hartley Wespall


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At the time of the Domesday Survey there were two holdings in Hartley Wespall; one held by Aubrey the Chamberlain and the other by Alvic. The former passed to the Wespail family. At the beginning of the fourteenth century John de Drokensford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was holding the manor - probably a lease from the Wespails. By 1481 it had passed to Sir Thomas St. Leger who obtained licence from the king to grant the manor to the Dean and Canons of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Apart from the Commonwealth period it remained in the possession of the Dean and Canons until1876 when it was sold to the second Duke of Wellington.

The village had as its rector from 1824 John Keate, who was previously head master of Eton. He died in 1852. His Curate from 1818 to 1827, William Grant Broughton, was consecrated Bishop of Australia in 1836. http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A010146b.htm

The old moated manor house called Hartley Court was destroyed in 1789. Hartley Mill, still standing, possibly occupies the same site as a corn mill mentioned in the Domesday Book. At Floods Farm a granary on staddle stones still performs its ancient function of keeping its contents dry and safe from rats, and two old pumps are to be found elsewhere in the village.

The church of St. Mary at Hartley Wespall dates from the fourteenth century but was restored in 1868-69. The timber-work of the church is mostly concealed by the flint walling, but the huge cusped beams have been left exposed in the exterior west wall. The timbers form an enormous lozenge shape with an upright post in the centre, and the visual impact of this unique feature is quite breathtaking. The roof-timbers visible in the gable-end are smaller in scale but still very impressive. Further information on attractions to discover in the area and other interesting villages to visit is available.  For information on public services for Hartley Wespall please take a look at the Hook local pages. 

History courtesy of Hantsweb


A more complete history of the village can be found on the Britsh History Online website at
Subpages (2): Time Line Village Church
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