St Nicholas Church, Chilton Candover

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HCC Site ID: 1212 Parish: Chilton Candover
Designations: LB Grade II Area: c21 acres
Access: Historic site Ownership: Relic churchyard occasional memorial services, no longer in use for burials. Private

The village of Chilton Candover is one of three Candovers, situated on the B3046, five miles to the north of Alresford, and seven miles south of Basingstoke. The villages of Brown, Chilton and Preston Candover are half a mile apart, and lie within the broad chalk Candover Valley. The name Candover derives from ‘Caniodubri’, meaning ‘beautiful waters’, after the stream that runs along the valley floor. Chilton is thought to derive from the old English word ‘cild’, meaning ‘young retainer’. The old droving route – the Oxdrove – running through the villages to the south used to be a main thoroughfare for herds of cattle and flocks of sheep being driven from the west country to London and the south east.

At the time of the Domesday Survey the Manor of Chilton Candover was held by Richere de Audley (Later the Daundley family)for the Bishop of Winchester. The remains of St Nicholas Church set on the northern hillside date from around 1100. The first mention of the church of Chilton Candover was in 1291 when it was valued at £9 a year. In the 14th century the manor passed to the Bayntun family, and in 1562 was sold to John Fyssher, who was responsible for the depopulation of the village. Earthworks visible to the west of the church ruins are the only surviving remnants of this deserted village. By 1647, the manor was owned by Henry Worsley, whose ancestor Sir Robert was thought to have built the original Manor House in 1???????. Of this house there is little evidence except the avenue of mature yew trees to the south east of the churchyard, mentioned by Cobbett in 1822 and later by Lowe(1890) the axis of which is aligned with the assumed original location of the manor house just west of the church. A later avenue of lime trees planted in the 20th century completes the vista from the ‘manor site’ to the road.

The manor changed hands frequently during the 16th to 18th centuries, and in 1818, it was bought by Alexander Baring – later Lord Ashburton, in whose important Hampshire banking family it remained until the 1930s.

The crypt and font

The crypt and font

Sketch of old church on door of crypt

Sketch of old church on door of crypt




Of the remains of the church, only the flint boundary wall is now visible. The church, above ground, was largely demolished in 1876. The crypt was excavated in 1927 and the tomb of John of Candover and the font were discovered.

The entrance to the church yard, through a painted wooden gate, is flanked by a pair of Irish Yew trees (Taxus fastigiata), probably planted in the 20th century. A mature sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) grows within the graveyard just inside the wall. The land rises in tiers behind the church and a small broken plantation on one of the embanked slopes creates a vista on the axis of the yew avenue from the garden of Chilton Manor. This modern house, built just south of Dundridge Copse in 1937 by Colonel Savill, looks south across the valley and the medieval earthworks. The house is not aligned with the Yew avenue, although a feature of the garden is a pair of entrance pillars and gates located on the southern boundary of this property in alignment with the lime and yew avenues viewed through the plantation. Traces of an earlier terraced garden in the grounds of this house are clearly visible on aerial photographs.

In the late 20th century the yew avenue suffered severely in two devastating storms. Dating carried out on one of the uprooted trees indicated that it had been planted some time during the 1660s, which would accord with the fashion of planting avenues at that time. New trees were planted to replace those blown down and the avenue extended south – completing the entrance drive to Chilton Down, the residence of the landowners Mr & Mrs Marriott.

The Brown and Chilton Candover Conservation Area was designated in 1981 by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in recognition of the special architectural and historic interest of the villages. Chilton Candover contains few buildings but exemplifies the special landscape characteristics of topography within the Candovers landscape. This landscape is dominated by open arable land with large fields divided by well managed hedges with few trees or copses. Views south over the landscape from within the site are dramatic particularly looking south east along the yew avenue. The settlements within this broad chalk valley are accentuated by a high degree of tree cover and enclosure. At Chilton Candover the Countryside Heritage Site covers the unusually well preserved historic landscape, including earthworks of Medieval and later settlements; earthworks of late 17th century formal gardens; and the 11/12th century church crypt.

Summary

Chilton Candover is one of three villages in the Candover valley, the name deriving from ‘Caniodubri’,or ‘beautiful waters’. The Conservation Areas of Brown and Chilton Candover are located in the Candover Valley designated as an Area of Special Landscape Quality (ASLQ). The importance of these villages from medieval times centred on their proximity to the Ox Drove, and the beautiful fertile valley in which they developed. During the 1560s John Fyssher depopulated the village, and earthworks visible to the west of the church ruins are the only surviving remnants of this deserted village. Norden’s record in 1595 of the systematic destruction of a village community is unique in Hampshire’s history. (See Appendix I). The present owners are very proactive in the maintenance and enhancement of this historic landscape.

Significance:

The relationship between the medieval village, the original Manor House, and the church are clearly visible historical markers that define the modern landscape.

Landscape Planning Status:

Chilton Candover lies within the designated Conservation Area and all planning protections apply.

An Area of High Archaeological Potential (AHAP) includes the remains of St Nicholas Church and churchyard, and extends across the road to the east including the land between Manor farm and Dundridge Lane. Areas of Archaeological Potential (AAP) extend beyond the AHAP at each end of the village.

Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: June 2010

Click here to visit British Listed Buildings record for this location


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Chilton Candover Historic site Click for Disclaimer & copyright
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51.15861227092756, -1.1566858319565654

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