The church of St Lawrence
The church of St. Lawrence consists of a chancel 26ft 4in
by 14ft 8in with a vestry
on the north side, a nave 40 ft by17ft 9in with a north aisle 12ft 4in wide and
south aisle 12ft 8in wide. There is also a west tower lift square and a south
porch. All measurements are internal.
With the exception of the tower the whole of the church was rebuilt and the
aisle added in 1863 but the old work re-used shows that there was a 12th century
building which had a north aisle with an arcade of three bays. In the chancel
and south aisle are some 14th century windows, and the tower as it stands is
probably in part of the same period.
The east window of the chancel is of 15th century style and has three cinque
foiled lights with tracery under a two-centred arch with moulded label The
outside Jambs and the mullions are moulded. The inside splays of this and all
the rest of the windows are modern.
The north window of the chancel is apparently of 14th
century work and has two
tre foilled lights with a pierced quatre foil in the spandrel There is no label
To the west of this window is a modem doorway to the vestry. The rebate is on
the chancel side and the jambs and two- centred arch are chamfered.
|The church interior
|The monument to Sir
Thomas Hooke, bart., who died in 1677
|Pyramid shaped Monument
in the churchyard
||An old font
coat of arms
The vestry has an old east window of three small trefoiled
lights. There is also a modem doorway in the north wall.
The easternmost of the two south windows of the chancel
has two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over and is without an arch. It is of
early 14th century date. The other window in the same wall is similar to the one
in the north wall of the chancel, but the top foils are of an ogee shape and the
spandrel is not foiled.
The chancel arch is entirely modern, and has plain
hollow-chamfered jambs and a moulded two-centred arch, the inner order of which
rests on foliated corbels. The north arcade is of four bays, the first three
having circular columns with scalloped capitals and modern moulded bases. Both
responds of the arcade have capitals resting on broad conical corbels. The
western pier is square with stop-chamfered angles. The western 13th century bay
is much narrower than the rest and has a flat-chamfered respond. The arch to
this bay is pointed with slightly chamfered angles.
The other three arches are semicircular of one
square-chamfered order with hollow-chamfered labels on the nave side,
The modem south arcade is of three bays with circular marble columns having
moulded bases and foliated capitals and corbels. The drop arches are two-centred
and have chamfered orders.
All windows of the north aisle are modem, the first three in the north wall
each two trefoiled lights with a pierced quatrefoil over. The fourth window near
the west end is a single trefoil lancet.
The west window of the south aisle is modem and has three tre foiled lights with
tracery of 14th century design, moulded label and head stops. The eastern most
of the two south windows is ofi'4th century date and is similar to the north
window in the chancel The other window is a modem copy of it. The west window of
the aisle is similar to the corresponding one in the north aisle.
The south doorway is placed near the west end of the aisle and is of rebuilt and
partly restored 12th century work. The jambs are shafted and have moulded bases
and cushion capitals enriched with beads. The abaci above are clumsy modem
additions. The arch is semicircular of a single order with lines of zigzag and
outer line of hatched ornament.
The tower arch is modern and has two chamfered orders continuous with Jambs. In
the south wall of the tower is a small old trefoil light. The west doorway is
modern and has moulded jambs and a four-centred arch under a square head with
moulded label The spandrels are carved. Above this doorway is a modern window
with two cinque foiled lights and a quatrefoil spandrel under a two-centred head
with moulded label.
The walls of the whole building are freed with flint and stone and the roofs are
tiled. The quoins in the upper part of the tower and part of the north buttress
are old. The top is crowned with a cornice moulding and is roofed with a slated
pyramidal roof In each face except the east, near the top, is a modern window of
two cinque foiled lights. In the west face lower down is an old small trefoiled
Under the tower arch is a narrow strip of old tiles with various designs in
yellow on a red background, including a fleur de lys, a cross made of four
flours de lys, two lions rampant face to face, an eagle displayed and other
patterns. In the recess in the south wall of the chancel is a white marble
monument to SirThomas Hooke, bart., who died in 1677aged 36. His effigy of white marble is in
plate armour, resting on one arm, with one hand on his helmet The crest above
the inscription is a scallop between two wings. And the arms on the base of the
tomb are Hooke quartered with Guiles a bend indented ermine, for Hele, and
impaling Or a fesse dancetty azure with the sun or therein , which are the arms
of his wife Elizabeth daughter of Sir William Thompson.
Placed on the sill of the east window is a 14th century grave slab with a
floriated cross on the top. There are several good armorial slabs on the floor
of the chancel, including one to William in font son of William Dyer of Newham
in the county of Hertfordshire, esquire, and Ann his wife, daughter of Sir
Thomas Hooke. The date is hidden under the footpace of the alter. In a shield
are the arms of Quarterly 1 and 4 a chief indent 2 across paty, 3 a cross paty
in a boarder engrailed, all impaling the arms of Hooke. On the north side is a
slab to ]ohn Wither of Manydown esquire 1620 and his wife Joan 1639, daughter
of ]ohn Love of Basing. On the lower part of the same slab is an Inscription to
William Wither 1672, son and heir of the above John Wither, and his wife 1691,
daughter of Thomas Ceale.
In the centre is another inscription to Athetha Bethell daughter of the above
William and Joan Wither 1708.
On top of the slab are the arms, Quarterly 1 and 4 a chevron between thee
crescents, 2 and 3 a lion with two heads, impaling Barry and in chief three
lions heads razed. In the centre of the slab is a shield charged with the same
arms as in the first half of the above. In the centre Is an escutcheon
Quarterly1 and 4 two spearheads and a boar's head in chief, 2. and 3, two bars
with three lion's heads razed in chief On the south wall of the south aisle is a
monument with a Latin inscription to Susan wife of William Wither, who died in
1653. There are three shields of arms, the first having Wither, the second has a
fesse between three crescents, and the third shield has Wither impaling the arms
of the second shield.
There are several other wall and floor monuments to the
Wither and other families of the 17th and 18th centuries in different parts of
On the westernmost pier of the north arcade is a replica of the. brass to be
found in Monk Sherborne and in other neighbouring churches setting forth the
bequests of one Thomas Sympsom dated 1674.
The wall bracket
On the south wall of the chancel is an iron bracket on
which are place a helmet, a pair of spurs, a pair of gauntlets and a dagger. On
the bracket are the initials of Sir Thomas Hooke and the date 1677.
The tower contains five bells the treble being by Waner, 1864. The second is
"This bell was made 1625"; the third, "Our hope Is in the Lord 1625";
''Praise ye the Lord 1625"; and the tenor, "Let your hope be in the
Lord 1625". All the last four are evidently by the same man but there is no
name or mark.
The plate consists of a silver-gilt chalice and paten cover of 1624 inscribed ''The
guift of John Wither gent to the parish church of Laurence Wootton 1625" and
bearing the arms of the Wither of Manydown; a silver paten of 1723, the gift of
Elizabeth Wither of Manydown; a silver flagon of 1688, a silver alms dish
inscribed as the paten and baptismal bowl of 1743.
The first book of the registers contains all entries from 1560, the baptisms and
burials running to 1785 and the marriages to 1753. The book Is very complete and
is beautiful written. The second book contains burials fro 1563, marriages from
1564 baptisms from 1657, all running to 1706, On the first page is a note as
"Memorandum that ye births Marriages and Burials enteredhere were done to
signify ye taxes quarterly paid to King William for every one born married and
buried. This distinguished ye burials Burials marriages and Burials written in
ye register where there is not account of ye quarterly entry of births ect"
The third book contains baptisms and burials from 1770 to 1812, and a fifth book
brings the marriages up to 1812.
The first book of churchwardens accounts contain entries between 1558 and 1675,
and there are books containing subsequent entries.
There was a church at Wootton St. Lawrence as early as 940, if the 4 hides of
land at Wootton granted by King Edmund to Eric in that year were in the parish.
There is no mention, however, of any church here in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The Advowson belonged to the Bishop of Winchester until the end of the 13th
century, for though in 1243 Pope Innocent IV included the church in his
confirmation of the liberties of St. Swithun. Aylmer Bishop elect of Winchester
was acknowledged as the true patron about 1256, and it was not until 1299that
the bishop, John of Pontoise, gave up to the Prior and Convent the patronage of
the church of Wootton and all other rights there.
The priory of St. Swithun continued in possession until the Dissolution when the
rectory and advowson of the vicarage were granted with the manor to the Dean and
Chapter of Winchester.
The living of Wootton St. Lawrence was said to be a vicarage in 1238, when the
king presented to it by reason of voidance of the bishopric of Winchester, but
this seems to have been a mistake, for it was certainly a rectory during the
second half of the 13th century, and a vicarage was not. ordained until 1299.
At this time a dispute arose between the rector, Ralf de San ford, and the
Sherbome monks who laid claim to the tithes from certain lands in Wootton St.
Lawrence in respect of the gift by Henry de Port As the bishopric was then
vacant the case went before the archbishop's court and after due hearing it was
decided probably about 1282 that the rector should receive in peace the tithes
from certain lands in question, while the remainder should be paid to Sherbome
Priory. The rector however, was evidently allowed to receive his share of the
peace for in 1283 ]ohn of Pontoise, then bishop of Winchester learned upon
trustworthy report that "certain satellites" and followers of the Ancient
Enemy having no fear of Cod be fore their eyes had molested disquieted and
disturbed the rector so that he could not take his tithes, It was perhaps on
this account that the bishop decided in 1199 that these tithes should be paid to
the priory of St. Swithun.
In 1674 Thomas Sympson by will gave to the poor of six parishes, including this
parish, the sum of £15 yearly.