The Domesday extract reads as follows:
THE KING holds CONTONE. Earl Harold held it, and it paid geld for 10 hides. There is land for 10 ploughs. In demesne are 2 ploughs, and 2 slaves; and 28 villans and 2 bordars with 8 ploughs. There is a mill rendering 12s 6d, and 20 acres of meadow, and 8 acres of pasture and 15 acres of woodland. This manor renders 12l by weight.
The parish’s economic history is richly documented, particularly for the medieval period. The lands of each moiety were dispersed and intermixed throughout the whole of the parish, and each had a separate farmhouse, both on the manorial site adjacent to the present Compton House. Land use in the village neatly reflected the geology. The north of the parish, on the banks of the river Nadder, were cultivated as water meadows and withy beds. The strip of Gault clay south of these was given over to woodland and part of the park, with a deer park in existence from at least the early 14th century. The bulk of the parish stands on greensand, used for mixed arable and pasture. The two large common fields lay to the east and south of the village, above which rises a small strip of chalk downland at the very south of the parish.
Compton Chamberlayne records through the reigns of the monarchs.
Compton Chamberlayne comprised of a large amount of arable land, 10 hides of land worked by 10 ploughteams. Besides this, there were 20 acres of meadow and 8 acres of pasture. In 1066 Compton Chamberlayne, a significant estate of 10 hides, was held by Earl Harold, and it was still held by the Crown in 1086. The manor had one mill in 1086, valued at 12s. 6d. in Domesday Book
The manor was held of the king in the 12th century by Warin of Lisores (Calvedos), sheriff of Wiltshire in 1130, who was probably the son of Geoffrey of Lisores. The manor passed via Warin’s daughter Rose to her grandson, Robert Chamberlain.
In 1203, King John granted the overlordship of the manor to William Brewer (d. 1226) as a knight’s fee. Robert Chamberlain, who in 1208 demised one moiety of the manor to Hugh of Haversham. The Haversham moiety was held by Hugh of Haversham (Bucks.) in 1208 by his son Nicholas (d. 1249).
In the early 13th century the work required of tenants on both estates was light, and had been largely replaced by money rents. Nicholas of Haversham’s tenants were paying 1d. or 2d. each to avoid the services due from them.
The Chamberlain moiety was held in 1234 by Geoffrey Chamberlain, who still held it in 1243 he may have been the son of Sir Hugh Chamberlain.70 One Philippe, daughter of Alexander of Ewyas and widow of one Robert Chamberlain,71 conveyed part of her inheritance in Teffont Evias 1257–72, witnessed by one Sir Geoffrey Chamberlain, perhaps the same Geoffrey that held the moiety in 1243, and possibly the father of Philippe’s husband. The Chamberlain moiety was held by Robert Chamberlain in 1269. In 1236, Nicholas of Haversham successfully asserted his rights over the mill. It was valued at 26s. 8d. at the time of his death in 1249 but only at 6s. 8d. in 1274. The Haversham Moiety passes on to Hugh of Haversham’s son Nicholas in 1234 by son Nicholas (d. 1274) in 1249 then by his daughter Matilda. By 1249, the Haversham portion had become attached to the manor of Grimstead, perhaps because of the marriage of Geoffrey of Lisores’s daughter into the Grimstead family. It was held by John of Grimstead in 1249, Sir John in 1274.
In 1274, the Haversham moiety comprised of 250 acres of arable, divided into two carucates. in 1306, James de la Plaunche held 100 acres of arable. 1306 – Overlordship held by Andrew Grimstead. By 1303, overlordship of the Chamberlain portion of the manor had passed to Sir John Ferlington, when he granted it to the Crown to which it still belonged in 1613. The Haversham moiety had demesne pasture for 24 beasts and 100 sheep in 1274, but only a small number of pigs. James de la Plank had pasture for 16 oxen and six cows in 1306. The mill was described as a water mill worth 13s. 4d. in 1306 and 1325.
John Olney was granted free warren on his demesne lands in 1300,and this probably confirmed a right to parkland enjoyed by previous lords of the manor. There has been a park in Compton Chamberlayne, possibly since 1274 and most probably since 1328.
William de la Plank held 10acres of pasture in 1335. Thomas Grimstead’s widow Joan held in dower 20 acres of pasture, and common of pasture for 100 sheep, presumably representing one third of the Grimstead moiety. There were water meadows to the north of the village. James de la Plank held 7acres in 1306. On the Plaunche estate in 1306, tenants paid sums ranging from 28s. 10d. to 65s. instead of the services they owed, which included reaping three half-days, mowing hay three half-days, weeding an acre of the lord’s corn, and working 35 days during the harvest period.
The moiety was held by Robert the son of Hugh Chamberlain in 1309. Robert Chamberlain sold the estate to Richard Grimstead in 1309 He may have been a distant relative; Geoffrey of Lisores’ sister, Maud, married a member of the Grimstead family Richard Grimstead was succeeded by his son Thomas Grimstead, who died 1328. In 1325 the overlordship was held by John Grimstead followed by an Adam and then another John. The heir of this last-named John was his cousin, Reynold Perrot (d. 1370), son of Adam Grimstead’s sister.
The Havesham Moiety Nicholas of Havesham’s daughter Matilda married firstly James de la Plaunche, by whom she had a son and a daughter, William and Joan. Following the death of James 1306,101 she married John of Olney 1308. A settlement was made by which the moiety was to pass to her son William de la Plaunche, with contingent remainders first to John, her son by John of Olney, and then to Joan de la Plaunche, who had married John of Pabenham.
However, John had sold the reversion of the manor of West Grimstead to John Bettesthorn (d. 1380), but this was disputed. The estates were seized into the King’s hands and granted by letters patent to Robert of Beverley, prompting Bettesthorn to petition Parliament. This possibly created a confused situation, and in 1381 the manor was described as being held of ‘the lord of Grimstead’,136 but it was restored to Bettesthorn, and Lady Elizabeth Clinton held her moiety of Compton Chamberlayne manor from his son Sir John (d. 1399). His heir, his daughter Elizabeth, married Sir John Berkeley, and Lady Clinton held her portion of the manor of him in 1423. Berkeley was succeeded by his son Sir Maurice and grandson Sir Maurice.139 Sir Maurice was succeeded by his daughter, the wife of Sir John Brereton, but overlordship of this portion of the manor seems instead to have been attached to the Hungerfords. It was held of Robert, Lord Hungerford in 1458, of the heirs of Robert Hungerford in 1467, of the heir of Sir Robert Hungerford in 1492, and of the heir of Robert Hungerford in 1526. By the 17th century, however, the tenure had become unclear.
In 1328, the manor house of the Chamberlain moiety was a substantial two-storey building, with a complex of associated outhouses which included a granary and a larder. There were also buildings for cattle, sheeps, pigs and a dovecote. William de la Plank 10acres in 1335, as had Thomas Grimstead in 1328. His sister Katherine held 5acres of meadow and his widow held 6acres in dower.
In 1328, 13 of Thomas Grimstead’s customary tenants paid 16s. 3d. to avoid their autumn works, whilst the cottars paid 9d. At the same time, customary tenants on the other moiety of the manor could pay 5s. each to avoid autumn work.
When John Grimstead’s infant son of Thomas died 1329, a partition was made between Thomas’ sisters, whereby Margaret, wife of Thomas de Baynton (Beynton), inherited two-thirds of the estate and Katherine (d. 1333), wife of Ralph de Buckland, inherited the other third. Katherine’s portion was held after her death by her second husband, John de Avenel, for the duration of his life, and then passed to her daughter by her first marriage, Joan, wife of John de Mauduit (d. 1355). Margaret’s portion passed to her son Nicholas Baynton (d. 1412), who inherited Joan’s portion in 1369, and the whole moiety of the manor descended to his son, also Nicholas (d. 1422), and grandson, John (d. 1465), and great-grandson Robert (d. 1475).
William de la Plaunche inherited the moiety in 1329, from whom it passed to his son William in 1335,104 and then to his granddaughter Katherine (d. 1398), who held it with her husbands, first Sir Hugh Tyrell (d. 1381) and then Sir Bernard Brocas (d. 1395). Following Katherine’s death, the estate passed to her sister, Lady Elizabeth Clinton (d. 1423). During this time, the moiety was usually in the hands of trustees. She died without issue, and her heir was William Lucy, the descendant of Joan of Pabenham, but her estates were claimed under the terms of the settlement by Walter Strickland, whose wife Isabel was the heir of John of Olney. His claim was upheld, and Elizabeth’s trustees quitclaimed the estate to him in 1429.
Elizabeth’s trustees quitclaimed the estate to John of Olney in 1429. Following Isabel Strickland’s death in 1445, the moiety passed to her son Richard (d. 1458), still then a minor. He died without issue, and so the ‘Strickland moiety’ should have passed under the terms of the ancient settlement to William Lucy of Charlecote (Warks.) (d. 1466) but it seems instead to have passed to Robert Baynton, who thus reunited the manor.
Robert Baynton also held the other moiety from 1466, and thus reunited the manor. After his attainder in 1475 because of his Lancastrian sympathies, his lands were granted to John Chenye. John Cheyne was himself attainted in 1484 for his involvement in the Buckingham rebellion against Richard III, and his lands were granted to George Neville.
John Cheyne was himself attainted in 1484 for his involvement in the Buckingham rebellion against Richard III, and his lands were granted to George Neville.
John Cheyne’s attainder was reversed after the battle of Bosworth, however, and his estates were restored, passing to Anne, daughter of Edward Trussell. The attainder of Robert Beynton was then also reversed and the Baynton moiety of the manor was restored to his son John (d. 1526). John Baynton was succeeded by his son Sir Edward (d. 1544) and his grandson Andrew. The other moiety, however, seems to have reverted instead to the Lucys.
By 1492, the Strickland moiety was again separate from the other moiety and was held by Sir William Lucy, who died in that year. He was succeeded by his son Edmund (d. 1505), his grandson Sir Thomas (d. 1526) and his great-grandson William (d. 1551).
Andrew Baynton held two watermills in 1547. Andrew Baynton sold the reversion of his moiety of the manor 1546 to Sir Thomas Seymour (1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley from 1547).
Sir Thomas Seymour was executed for treason in 1549.
In 1557 Baynton sold the reversion to Sir George Penruddocke (d. 1582)
William’ Lucy’s son Thomas Lucy (later knighted, d. 1600) sold the other moiety of the manor 1557 to John Nicholas (d. 1596)
Compton House was built in the late 16th century next to the parish church, on the ancient manorial shared by the farmhouses of the two half-manors. In 1597, one of these farmhouses was considered suitable to serve as outhouses for the newly-built mansion, and this may account for medieval material incorporated into the fabric of the house. Stone buttress on the west side may point to a mediaeval origin. A 17th-century newel stair remains on the west side, lit by ovolo-moulded two and three-light mullioned windows. Another feature of this date, or perhaps slightly earlier, is a 4-centred arched blocked doorway set below the level of the north forecourt, which now backs onto a utility area.
John Nicholas (d. 1596) whose son Robert sold it in 1596 to Sir Edward Penruddocke (d. 1614) the son of Sir George who thus again reunited the manor. In 1557 Andrew Baynton sold the reversion to Sir George Penruddocke (d. 1582) and Baynton’s widow Isabella sold the estate in 1559 to Penruddocke in return for an annual rent of £25 11s 8d. Two watermills held by Edward Penruddocke in 1586.
A field book was produced in 1597 shortly after the Penruddockes acquired the whole manor, when the two moieties were still being treated as separate entities. From it emerges an exceptionally detailed outline of the parish, detailing each household and individual parcel of land, and revealing the organisation of the two half-manors. As the only significant landowners in the parish, the Penruddockes were able to inclose the village privately through a process of piecemeal incorporation over the following two centuries. They appear to have acquired the smaller freeholds during the 17th century, and they consolidated their estate by gradually taking in hand the customary tenancies during the 18th century. Penruddockes adopted measures to make the manor more profitable. The tenants’ rights were removed where they rested only on customary use: in 1597, the right to pasture their cattle in the quarry was dismissed, as was the right to take chalk from the chalk pits. The demesne farm at Compton was leased to Nicholas Lawes in 1597;188 by the later 17th century it comprised 220acres of arable, 28acres of meadow and 47acres of pasture.
In the field book of 1597 the abundant fish ponds adjacent to the newly-built Compton House were noted.
The Reunited (Penruddocke) Manor passed with Sir Edward Penruddocke’s death in 1614 to his son, Sir John (d. 1648 and his grandson John Penruddocke.
A mill was built 1635 north of the Compton House, at the southern end of the northern lake in Compton Park. There was only one water mill in the manor in 1669.
John Penruddocke was executed in 1655 following an abortive uprising against the Cromwellian Protectorate. See separate page for details.
John Penruddocke was succeeded by his sons George (d. 1664) and then Thomas Penruddocke.
Naishes farm originated in a lease held in 1698 by Richard Naish, and later by Walter Bignall, of 101acres of arable, 41acres of pasture and leaze for 200 sheep and 24 beasts.
Thomas Penruddocke dies in 1698 leaving his son also named Thomas to inherit.
In 1703 The Penruddockes invested £700 to improve the water meadows. By 1705 Stephen Naish held the old farm with 298 acres of arable, 31acres of meadow, 37acres of pasture and sheepright for 516 sheep. In the 18th century large areas of pasture were laid to arable crops.
In 1759, William Massey held 340acres of arable, 82acres of pasture and meadow, and a farmhouse known in 1770 as Nash’s Farm.
Thomas Penruddocke (the younger) dies in 1741.
Thomas Penruddocke’s (the younger) grandson Charles Penruddocke dies in 1769
Compton Park was greatly extended and laid out in an Arcadian style in the late 18th century, necessitating the destruction of part of the village, perhaps under Charles Penruddocke who rebuilt the house 1780. The house was rebuilt by Charles Penruddocke in the late 18th century; commemorated by a rainwater head on the south-west front dated 1780. Its elevations are largely of dressed limestone with sash windows and castellated parapets under Welsh slate roofs.
Charles Penruddocke’s son also named Charles dies in 1788. In 1795 Compton farm consisted of 542 acres of which 470 acres were arable, 32 acres pasture and 39 acres water meadow.
Home farm was leased in 1795 to Thomas King, who held Compton Farm at the same time, and consisted of 115acres of arable, 32acres of pasture and 6acres of meadow.
Charles’s great-grandson John Hungerford Penruddocke dies in 1841. When the latter died without issue, the estate descended to his great-nephew Charles (d. 1899) great grandson of Charles Penruddocke who died in 1769. In 1850, the parish’s agricultural land was divided between three farms, all of which were still owned by the Penruddockes and worked by tenant farmers. The parish was calculated to be 1,872acres in total, of which 273 acres remained in hand, almost entirely woodland and plantations. 1850, out of a total of 760 acres there were 491 acres of arable, 36 acres of pasture, 40 acres of water meadow, 16 acres of woodland and plantations, and the 144 acres of downs.
In 1850, Naishes farm comprised of 508 a., including 341acres of arable, 35 acres of water meadow, 16acres of pasture and 90acres of downs. In 1850, Home Farm it comprised 229 acres of which 106 acres was arable, 4 acres was water meadow and 93 acres was pasture.
In 1867, there were two shopkeepers, a carpenter, a shoemaker, and a blacksmith working in the Village. In 1869 £2,880 was spent to drain the land and build new cottages for the labourers. In 1895 there was a shopkeeper, a hurdle maker and a blacksmith, In 1886 the post office was situated on the Salisbury/Shaftesbury road (A30) to the east of Compton Farm.
Charles Penruddocke (nephew) dies in 1899 and is succeeded by his son another Charles Penruddocke.
By 1911 Compton farm was known as Manor farm, and comprised of 642 acres in total.
By 1915 the Post Office had moved to the general store near the burial ground. Now called Post Office Cottage. The neighbouring cottage, Orchard Cottage, was a branch of Southons of Salisbury between the wars. There was also a market gardener resident in the village in 1915.
Charles Penruddocke and younger brother Thomas Penruddocke are both killed in action on the same day in 1918.
In 1926 600acres and Manor Farm was sold to Col. JG Jeans of Broadchalke. In 1930 the estate totalled 1,330 acres of which 43acres lay in other parishes.
Charles Penruddocke dies in 1929. The estate is passed to his remaining son George William Penruddocke one of 3 brothers.
In 1930 Naishes farm was a 480 acre dairy, sheep and corn farm. It was leased to GT Aylward with 178acres of arable, 24acres of water meadow and 144acres of pasture.
By 1930 Compton Park measured 150 acres and the fishing rights in the river were worth £134 pa.
In 1930 George William Penruddocke sells the manor to George Cross.
George Cross sold Compton Park and House to Leonard Schuster c. 1956 from whom it was purchased by Derbe Berry Cross he continued to reside in the parish at the Dower House, until his death. The remainder of the estate was purchased from his executors by John Newman and his wife in 1974 who subsequently purchased the House and Park from Margaret Berry following the death of her husband. Following the purchase of Compton Chamberlayne estate by the Newmans the two remaining farms were taken back in hand and farmed directly by them. In 1974, there were c. 166acres of water meadows in hand.
A printing press, Compton Press, was run from the stables of Compton House for a time during the 1960s.