The manor of Briddlesford with the demaynes of the land of Anthony Rogers, gent, in the right of his wife, the remained to Thomas Lisley, gent, [her son], in occupation of John Rawlyne, upon which are sundry coppices and woods and other trees deposed abroad to the estimation of 30 acres, holden we know not, rented at 53s 4d.
Certain grounds with the tythe of the lands of the Queen late pertaining to a free chapel in Briddlesford [called St. Martins chapel] with the site [1/3 a.] lying between the garden, pond and barn of the manor [house] of Briddlesford on the south side and another small piece of meadow [1/2 a.] on the opposite side of the chapel, towards the west and a small piece of land, lying in the said meadow on the south side and abutting on the Great Wood towards the west. Another small piece [1 rood] and certain enclosed grounds [20 a.], also Personage Close [9 a.], all in occupation of John Rawlins, rented at 26s. 8d.
The manor of Briddlesford (Breilesforde) was held at the time of Doomsday by Nigel, of William, son of Azor, as of his manor at Yaverland. Part of Fitz Azor’s lands, including Yaverland, passed to the family of Haulls, usually known by the Latinized form of their surname as “de Aula”, but also by the French ford “de la Haule”. In about 1150 Warin de la Haule, the first in line and one of the founders of St. Nicholas Chapel in Carisbrooke Castle, restored to the Abbey of Quarr all the land of Shaldefleet (Saldefleut) which his brother, Robert, had confirmed to the Abbey when he became a monk there. This was the land, subsequently known as Shalfleet Wood and now Firestone Copse, which although on the east side of Wootton Creek anciently called Shaldefleet, was nevertheless in the parish of Arreton and no doubt originally part of the manor of Briddlesford1. In 1204 the manor of Briddlesford lapsed to the overlord, Thomas de Aula, lord of Yaverland, who was the son of Roger de Aula, and probably grandson of Warin de Aula,2 on account of the felony of William de Bridlesford, the tenant3 It then seems to have been granted by Thomas de Aula to the family of Parco, who took their name from Park Place, near Carisbrooke and gave it to Park Farm, Brading, another of their possessions.
In about 1224 Walter de Parco granted to Quarr “a portion of his demesne in the manor of Briddlesford, that is all the land lying between the road from Blackbridge [at Haven Street] to Newport and the dyke stretching from the east and extending through Tebbescroft, descending through Smitheswelle to Standen Lake until it reached the manor of Arreton and so returning to the said road and going up by the dyke which used to be the boundary between Briddlesford and the monks’ land [at Combley].”4 In other words a long strip of land on the south side of the manor of Briddlesford, lying between the road and the dyke, was added to the monks’ grange of Combley. Walter’s grant to Quarr was confirmed by his lord Thomas de Aula.5
In about 1240 Walter de Parco added to this, Tabbescroft and Smitheswelle at the western end of the road from Blackbridge, which were also added to Combley Grange and the road was diverted about the east and north sides of the two fields, so that they were literally cut off from Briddlesford6.
By the time of Tresta de Nevill, (1280), the Lord John de Lisle had acquired the manor of Briddlesford, which he held from William Russell, lord of Yaverland, in the right of his wife, the daughter and heiress of Thomas de Aula. In 1346 Elizabeth de Lisle held two parts of half a knight's fee in Briddlesford, which had been John de Lisle’s. In 1428 John de Lisle held a quarter of a knight's fee in Briddlesford. In 1431 Maurice Hore was said to hold 1/8 fee in Briddlesford but this evidently relates to the Hores Manor in Haven Street. Briddlesford and Wootton continued to be held together for centuries by the same Lisle family. They were among the lands which Sir John Lisle, who died in 1523, settled on his niece Mary Kingston and her husband and distant cousin Sir Thomas Lisle, and failing issue from them on Thomas’ brother Lancelot Lisle. Mary Lisle died without children in 1539, her husband in 1542, and his brother Lancelot Lisle, in 1543, having settled the manors of Wootton and Briddlesford upon Ann his wife for life, and then to their son Thomas Lisle. Ann married, as her second husband, Anthony Rogers, gent, who seems to have occupied his wife’s dower lands at Wootton and Briddlesford at least until 1571, since he was taxed on them in that year (Lay Subsidy).
Thomas Lisle, his stepson, had already died in 1562 at Kimpton in Hampshire and his wife and children do not seem to have moved back to the Isle of Wight when the manor house of Wootton was rebuilt until after that date.
John Rawlins was assessed of 9s. on the £18 goods under the tithing of Wootton in 1522 (Lay Subsidy) and under the parish of Arreton in 1547, 40s. on £30 goods. He died at Briddlesford in 1553 having left to Giles Kent the lands in Hardingshute which he bought from Mr. Henry Stower, with his lease of Hardingshute farm taken from Sir Thomas Lisle, but he left his lease of Briddlesford to his nephew John Rawlin of Quarr, parish of Binstead, and the residue of his goods between the two of them7. In about 1558 John Rawlin and Giles Kent sued John Hatton and Elizabeth, his wife, the widow of Hugh New of Barton Farm, Whippingham and overseer of the will of John Rawlins, senior, over John Rawlins' personal estate at Briddlesford8, and at about the same time John Rawlin of Briddlesford sued Giles Kent of Newchurch9 . In 1582 John Rawlins, aged 68, swore on oath that his late uncle John Rawlins had held Hardingshute Farm on lease from Sir Thomas Lisle and then from Mr. Dennys, his successor, for 29 years.10
John Rawlins married Alice Wrexham of Style House, Arreton, and held that tenement on lease in 1583 as well as Briddlesford Chapel and its lands11. He died in 1587 and Alice, his widow, contributed to the Lay Subsidy of 1589-91 with John Rawlins, his son, who also paid in 1594, 18s. 8d. on £7 goods.
Anthony Lisle of Wootton, esq., then leased the manor house of Briddlesford to his fifth and youngest brother Thomas Lisle who paid tax in 1598 under the parish of Arreton (Lay Subsidy). Thomas Lisle married Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of his neighbour William Colenett of Combley, and, according to his contemporary Sir John Oglander, “lived well and built that house [at Briddlesford]”. He died at Briddlesford in 1621 aged 70 and by his will, proved at Winchester in 1622, left his lease of Briddlesford Farm to his widow who died there in 1641.13
Thomas and Elizabeth Lisle left two daughters only.....Frances, wife of William Muschamps of Rowbarnes in Surrey, and Mary, wife of Bamfield Chafin of Folke in Dorset, gent., a royalist who was captured by Roundhead troops and died a prisoner at Exeter in July 1644. In 1650 the two sisters sold 21 acres of arable, 7 acres of pasture, and half a share of 10 acres of wood in Briddlesford, Arreton, Wootton, and Whippingham, with common of pasture on Wootton Heath, to their cousin John Lisle, esq., of Wootton, one of the Lords' Commissioners and the noted regicide.14
The next tenant of Briddlesford was James Way, eldest son of James Way, who took Newnham Farm near Binstead on lease in April 1653, but had previously farmed at Hardingshute and Nettleston. James Way jnr. settled at Briddlesford shortly after his marriage at Newport on 4 October 1655 to Ann, daughter of Thomas Jolliffe of Kingston, and granddaughter of William Jolliffe of Nettlecombe and Richard Brown of Berryl Farm near Whitwell. Her sister Jane Jolliffe married her husband’s younger brother, Edward Way of Trenchards Farm, Whippingham, soon afterwards. James and Ann Jolliffe lived at Briddlesford for almost forty years but in 1694 James took a lease of Sandyhills Farm in Ryde High Street, now called Old House, and died there in 1700, having left his library of books to his wife for life and then to his son, James.15 Ann, his widow, died in 1703.16
Their children, all born at Briddlesford and baptised at Arreton, were Ann, baptised in 1660, who married Benjamin Barkham of Ryde in 1681 and Elizabeth, baptised in 1665, who married William Ruffin of Birchmoor in the parish of Arreton, yeoman. James, the only son, also baptised in 1660, who was living at Whippingham in 1693 when he took Millhouse Farm, Ashey, near Ryde, and moved there. He was the ancestor of the well known Ways of Limerstone, West Court, Shorwell, Shalcombe and Dodpits.
James Way was succeeded at Briddlesford Farm by his younger brother, Arthur, who died there in 1713.17.
Briddlesford Farm was leased in about 1725 to Simon Peach of Newchurch who had married Frances, daughter of John Lane of Princelett Farm, Newchurch. She died in April 1729 and in the following month her father made his will, leaving his farm of Princelett, late Ramsomes, to his eldest son, John Peach, with remainder to his brothers Robert and Simon.18 Simon Peach was still at Briddlesford in 1758 when he leased a cottage at Sandown from Sir William Oglander,19 but died in 176420. He was succeeded at Bridlesford by his second son Robert Peach who took a new lease from James Burton of West Wodhay, Wiltshire, whose father Simon Burton, Dr. of Physic, had purchased the whole manor of Briddlesford including the tenaments at Wootton Bridge and Woodhouse Farm, from Edward Lisle in 1742.21
The Burtons in 1743 also enclosed part of Wootton Common, otherwise Briddlesford Common, compensating those who had pasture rights on the common by giving them small plots of land.
James Burton of West Woodhay, Wiltshire in January 1775 sold Briddlesford Farm (284 a.) with the lands belonging to the dissolved chapel of St. Martin in Briddlesford, anciently held with the said farm, and Briddlesford Coppice (128 a.) to Joseph Tarver jnr. of Romsey, Hampshire, gent, and William Hearn of Heasley Farm, Arreton, yeoman.22 and six years later Robert Peach died at Newchurch.
In 1791 William Hearn sold his half share in the manor of Briddlesford to the said Joseph Tarver jnr. of Romsey who then took up residence at Briddlesford Farm where his father, Joseph Tarver snr. died on 9 April 1798, aged 66 (tombstone at Arreton). In 1800 Joseph Tarver of Briddlesford and Ann, his wife, conveyed the manor or farm of Briddlesford to William Young of Moor Court, Romsey23, apparently as trustee only. In 1811, with Mary Street of Little Span Farm, Newchurch, he sold Nodewell Farm (31 a,) at Middleton, Freshwater to Edward Rushworth24. He died at Briddlesford in September 1833 aged 63, having already sold the farm to Robert S. Holford.
In 1843 Robert Staynor Holford of Westonburt, Gloucestershire esq. leased Briddlesford Farm, late in occupation of Ann Tarver, to Joseph Barton of Carisbrooke, malster, for 16 years. [But the dwelling house, coach house, hackney stable, garden, Great Steans Meadow, New Piece, the lands part of Briddlesford Common north of the road, Briddlesford Great Wood, Fleets Coppice, Sparkhills Rew, Upper and Lower Sheepwash Rew, Sheepwash Rew and coppice, Moor Coppice, Dunnage Coppice, Pecked Butt Rew, Six Acre Rew, Long Ground Rew and Burrage Coppice were all excluded from the lease. The manor house and gardens were occupied by Mrs. Ann Tarver until her death in 1853]25 James White of Barton took over the tenancy of the farm at Michaelmas 1847. His farming diaries are kept in the IOWRO. Newport.
Ann Tarver, widow, died at Briddlesford on 28 April 1853 aged 85 years, without children. An auction catalogue of the sale of her household and farming goods with her four wheel phaeton, light car, etc., by Mr. Francis Pittis on 30 May 1853 was kept by her neighbour James White who also recorded her death in his diary. White moved to Cradmore Farm between 1855 and 1859.
In September 1847 James White listed the fields at Briddlesford as: Ten Acres [12a. 1r. 12p], North Heath [7a. 3r. 4p.], West Heath [5a. 3r. 20p.], East Heath [6a. 1r. 38p.], Six Acres [5a. 1r. 7p.], Long Ground [10a. 3r. 23p.], Vicarage [4a. 3r. 26p.], Dunnage [5a. 1r. 16p.], Peaked Butt [4a. 2r. 17p.], Little Stains [4a. 3r. 4p.], Stains [5a. 2r. 0p.], Upper Sheepwash [7a. 1r. 23p.], part of lawn or old orchard [2a. 3r. 30p.], Little Bull Stakes [5a. 0r. 12p.], Great Bull Stakes [4a. 2r. 22p.], Kennel Mead [2a. 3r. 17p.], part of the lawn [16a. 2r. 22p.], Wood Mead [4a. 2r. 17p.], Fleets Row [7a. 2r. 38p.], and[8a. 3r. 27p.], Lower Sheepwash [8a. 2r. 3p.], Little Sheepwash [4a. 1r. 21p.], Sparkhills [4a. 2r. 17p.], with their state of cultivation. The list is particularly useful because Briddlesford Farm was tithe free and so its fields were not recorded in the Arreton tithe map and schedule.
In 1862 Robert Holford sold Great Briddlesford Farm, with the lordship of Briddlesford and Wootton, to Henry William Nunn of Broadlands, near Newport, lace manufacturer, who left his manor of Briddlesford by will, dated 16 May 1868, proved 31 March 1876, to trustees for the use of his daughter, Mary Nunn Harvey, [who married Captain Thomas Harvey]. Mary Nunn Harvey’s name appears in 1892 on the deed of gift for the new portion of St Edmund's churchyard in which she formally surrendered any rights she might have on the land. In the same year she donated land at Wootton Common for provision of a burial ground. Mrs. Harvey died on 11 October 1897, aged 62, having left her estate to her nephew Col. Stevenson Robert Clarke26, the grandson of her aunt Mary Elizabeth Nunn, wife of Robert Clarke. He subsequently took the name of Stevenson Clarke and was the owner of both Wootton and Briddlesford in 1911.27
The Briddlesford estate was sold in 1972 to Mr Dirk Kalis of Brockenhurst.28 It had been in the Clarke family for over 100 years.
In January 2005 Great Briddlesford Farmhouse was placed on the market. The detached house stands in about 13 acres including pasture, woodland and pond.
- Acre or a. equals 4840 square yards. Or 0.405 hectare
- Rood or r. equals 4 roods to acre
- Pole or perch or p. equals 5 ½ yards or (square perch) 30 ¼ sq. yards or 25.29 sq. meters
1. Charters of Quarr Abbey, No. 83 and note
2. Whitehead History of the Undercliff of the Isle of Wight, 1911,pp.180-1
3. Worsley Mss.
4. PRO E329/223
5. PRO E315/33/40
6. PRO E315/46/5, Fleming map
7. PCC Will 1553, 37 Scott or 7 Tashe
8. PRO C3 80/102
9. PRO C.78 17/13 Chancery decree rolls
10. IWCRO OG/13/9, 31/27
11. Royal Survey 1583, Univ. Lib. Camb. KKV5 No.2047
12. Hants. RO 1622 A43/1-2
13. Will at Winchester 1641
14. FF. Hants. East 1650
15. Win. Wills Archd.
16. Inventory 27 September 1703, Win. Dioc. Records Box D/2/A-3
17. Will at Hants RO 1713 B.68/1-2
19. OG 33/12
20. Hants. RO 1764, Admon
21. Eldridge Abstract of title
22. Eldridge Abstract of title, FF Hants. Hil. 1778
23. ibid. FF Hants. East 1800
24. Ward 1371
25. 1851 census
27. V.C.H. Hants. Vol. 5, and History of the Clarke family of Bordhill
28. Schedule of Documents from Moore and Blatch of Lymington