John Mill, Town Clerk of Southampton from 1509 and Recorder from 15141 Rich merchant in shipping and brewing became bailiff and receiver for Newnham, the manor of Arreton, the tithes of Arreton Church, the manors of Shalcombe, Luccombe and Hamstead with stipends amounting in all to £5 paying over his receipts to Sir Richard Paulet.2
As for the monastic buildings and the site of the abbey in general, this for the moment was left in the custody of John Mill. In March 1537 the situation of a custodian at Quarr was regularized by a formal lease to Mill, all the monastic buildings were reserved to the king.3
The first person to receive Quarr manors was Thomas Wriothesley, the most successful civil servant of his day to Cromwell. The manors of Combley, with the tithes of corn and hay in Combley, Luccombe, Heasley, Arreton and Rowborough, was granted to Wriothesley 17 February 1537.5 It had been valued by Richard Pollard, general surveyor of Crown lands, at 24 li. Annual value 6 while a fuller valor, under the signature of William Berners as auditor, provides the particulars for the grant.7
Following on this grant, as lord of the manor, Wriothesley held his first manorial court at Combley on 16 March 1537, receiving the homage of the farmer of the manor, John Mill, with five others holding land there.8 Later in the same year (6 November) by a further grant, Wriothesley received Heasley and Shofflet wood. For these grants he was to pay annually to the Crown 50s. for Combley and 70s. 4d. for Heasley; this was the ‘tenth’ or rent reserved on all grants of monastic lands until 1548.9
Wriothesley did not keep his Quarr property long. Just over a year after the grant of Combley, he bargained and sold the entire manor, with the tithes and the woods, to John Mill. The indenture, dated 13 May 1538 from Titchfield, recites the royal grant of 23 February 1537 and now adds Combley estate, the wood or grove of Shofflet. Wriothesley covenanted to deliver the whole estate at midsummer, while Mill agreed to pay the legal costs of the conveyance. At ‘the ensealin of the patentes’ Mill paid to Wriothesley 620 li., being the full payment.10
There was here a slight oversight. Shofflet wood lay on the western edge of the Lisle or de Insula estate, near what is now King’s Quay and Osborne. At the Dissolution it was in the hands of the abbot, and the herbage of this wood had been leased to Mill with the site of the abbey and the grange of Newnham. Mill appealed to the Court of Augmentations and on 27 July 1544 the members agreed to a valuation of 20s.11
Consideration now turns to the site of the abbey and its home-farm, the grange of Newnham, to be disposed off. This was still being farmed by John Mill, first custodian immediately after the Dissolution, and then, by formal lease, dated 13 March 1537. Both John and George Mill together made a request, signed 12 July 1544, to purchase the manor of Quarr, the granges of Newnham and Rowborough, with certain other lands. These is a note on the woods of the manor of Quarr: “Eastwood 25 acres, Newnham copse 3 acres, valued at 5li. 7s. Sum of acres xxviii whereof x acres of xxx and xl yeres growth reservyd to the fermors of the scyte .. therefore not valued: iii acres of viii yeres growth and xv acres residue sett with short shrubbyd polling okes of xxx and al yeres growth.” Besides this the “sprynge of the wood or ground” for 10 acres was reserved to the farmers, but the ‘harbage’ of 18 acres was let off for 2 li. A year.12 There is no evidence of wholesale felling; in any case the quality of the trees does not appear to have been very high. Thus, to Combley the Mill brothers could now add Quarr, Newnham and Rowborough. They must have also acquired Heasley, probably at the same time as Combley.
Sir Richard Mill, grandson of John Mill, the founder of the family fortunes, sold the Island property to the Lord Chief Justice Thomas Fleming. By sale dated 29 May 1609, the manors of Quarr, Combley, Newnham, Binstead and Heasley, 30 messuages, 8 cottages, 6 tofts and one mill, with the rectory, tithes and advowson of Arreton church, passed to an Island family.
S F Hockey Quarr Abbey and its lands 1132-1631 Leicester University Press, 1970
1. The Third Book of Remembrance of Southampton, 1514-1602, ed. A L Merson, Southampton, 1952
2. The Suppression of the Abbey. p.235
3. P.R.O. E315/209, f.44
4. P.R.O. SC6/Hen. 8/3328
5. L.P., xii1, 539, 45.
6. P.R.O. SP/1/113/119
7. P.R.O. SC12/14/49
8. L.P., xii1, 662
9. L.P., xii2, 1150, 7; J. Youings, “Devon Monastic Lands: Calendar of Particulars of Grants, 1536-58”, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, 1955, 3
10.H.R.O., Wriothesley deed 343
11.P.R.O., E318/766, 3