Alton Historian Jane Hurst Comments on Ubsdell Book

I am extremely grateful to Alton Local Historian Jane Hurst, a volunteer at The Curtis Museum for the following comments on my Volume 2 which deals with Southampton and North Hampshire.  Amongst other publications Jane has written the walking guides, “Jane Austen and Alton” and “Jane Austen and Chawton. The Curtis Museum can be found on Alton High Street, GU34 1BA,   Tel. 01420 82802

Edward Austen adopted!
Edward Austen was made the heir of the Knights. A person could not be adopted until the 1920s – only something achieved by an Act of Parliament. Edward’s father would never have agreed to his adoption even if it had been a possibility as then one ceases to be a part of one’s birth family.
‘the turnpike road from London via Alton, West Meon Hut, to Fareham and Gosport’.
1. There was no turnpike road between London and Alton.
The turnpike to Alton from the north-east was between Basingstone near Bagshott, Farnham, Alton, Chawton, Ropley, New Alresford, to Winchester.
2. The junction outside Jane Austen’s House was the start of the Gosport and Chawton Pond Turnpike. The Act of Parliament for the latter was 5 years after that for the former. The original route was later altered in the area north of the West Meon Hut.

‘Wyards was a large farmhouse belonging to a shopkeeper in Alton.’ Wyards had been bought by Winchester College in the late 1400s and they were not allowed to sell any property until well after Jane’s death. The property was leased from the College by Richard Marshall who was not a shopkeeper. He was a very wealthy ‘grocer’. At that time, a grocer had to have considerable resources in order to buy large quantities of spices, sugar, etc in order to sell it on to shop keepers in smaller, more affordable, amounts.
When Richard died, his obit in the Hampshire Chronicle said that the corpse was followed by 2500 persons. ‘Since his decease not a shop in the town has been but partially opened and on the day of the funeral totally closed after 12 o’clock. Benevolence of this good man knew no bounds where ever misery and poverty were to be found there Mr.Richard Marshall allieviating their wants and comforting their families.’

I will attach an article on Hartley Mauditt which I hope to publish soon.

The buildings on King John’s Hill were erected towards the end of the reign of Edward III – probably in the 1370s – hence any C14th pottery.
Any C13th items come from the period when the hill marked the boundary of a private park and the forest.

There is a published article by a member of the Church Monument Society which shows that this figure can never have been Philippa.

I am told by our Tree Warden that the trees in the churchyard of Alton St. Lawrence are Wellingtonias.

‘In 1817 Sir Francis Austen, who at that time was living at his brother Edward’s Chawton House …’
‘A donkey carriage had been set up for my grandmother’s accomadation –
but I think she seldom used it, and Aunt Jane found it a help to herself in getting to Alton – where, for a time, Capt., Austen had a house, after removing from his brother’s place at Chawton.’ p13, ‘My Aunt Jane Austen, a Memoir’ by Caroline Austen.

Francis (who was Capt Austen at this time) and his family leased a property in Alton known as Baverstocks from very early 1817 or late 1816. Here are my notes for Baverstocks’:-
1817 – Jan.21, Francis William Austen signs the Vestry descision to raise another Parish Rate. (29M84/PW1) One could not sign the Vestry decision unless one was a parishioner.
1817 – Feb.26, Francis William Austen signs the Vestry descision to raise another Parish Rate. (29M84/PW1)
1817 – Mar.14, Francis William Austen esq. house RV £30. (Poor Rate)
1817 – April 7, Francis William Austen did not sign the Vestry decision to raise another Parish Rate. (29M84/PW1)
1817 – May 19, baptism of Elizabeth, daughter of Francis William and Mary Austen, Captain, RN, at Alton. Born April 15, 1817.
1818 – J.H.Baverstock Esq house F.W.Austen    12/-. (Land Tax)
1818 – July 7, daughter, Catherine Ann, born at Chawton. Baptised on August 2.
It looks as if the Austens had a lease on this property, from J.H.Baverstock, but had now moved to Chawton.

‘Boles is assumed to have died on the steps of the pulpit’
William Curtis, in his History of Alton, says that ‘according to a family tradition, the Colonel was shot in the pulpit, but according to Mercurius Aulicus he was knocked on the head with the butt end of a musket.’ Curtis also repeats from an account of the time the Colonel ‘was killed in the place [ie the church].’ Hence the nearest two accounts of the time do not mention the pulpit – only a family tale which sounds more glamerous than the MA one. None of them mention the steps of the pulpit – which was a triple decker at the time, I think.

‘Hartley Maudit’ – Hartley Mauditt? as on p.115
Thedden Grange was and still is in Alton. Part of Thedden Farm is in Bentworth.




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