Village History


·      Early History

The village is recorded in Domesday Book and the name has been recorded in various forms including Cheldreton, Cheldrington and Choldrington. The estate of Cholderton manor was held in 1086 by William of Eu. Other estates in Cholderton originated in small estates held in 1066 by Alwin, Ulvric, Sewi and Ulward and in 1086 Ernulf of Hesdin owned all of them. Some of the estates owned by Ernulf and his successors apparently merged to form Lower Farm. Eventually in 1893 it was sold to Henry Stephens and incorporated into the Cholderton Estate.


Other esates held by Ernulf of Hesdin were possibly the origin of the Cholderton House estate. The land was held by Mottisfont Abbey at the time of the Dissolution.

In 1086 the four estates at Cholderton had land for 5.5 plough teams and there wre 36 square furlongs of pasture, but neither meadow nor woodland.

Cholderton's assessment for taxation in 1332-4 showed it as relatively prosperous and in 1377 there were 46 poll tax payers. Tax assessments of the 16th and earlier 17th centuries indicate moderate prosperity.

The early village may originally have focused on the church and earthworks in the field to the north of the church have the appearance of house platforms of a medieval village.


·      Cholderton Church

The Saxon Church

The saxon Church

Old and New Churches

St Nicholas lane 1897

St Nicholas lane 1997

St Nicholas church 1998



The original church was given by the prior and monks of St Neot's, Huntingdonshire about 1175. Patronage of the living remained with the Priory until it passed into secular hands in 1449. In 1693 it passed to Oriel College, Oxford.

The present church of St Nicholas was built between 1841 and 1850 at the instigation of the then Rector, the Rev'd Thomas Mozeley, a fellow of Oriel College, who arrived in Cholderton as Rector in 1836. The new church was consecrated in 1850.

It cost over £6000 out of which Mozeley had to find over £5000 himself through he and his wife writing articles and publishing books. No financial support at all was forthcoming from the local community.

The struggle to finance and complete the church caused Mozeley to resign, to be replaced in 1847 by Revd James Frazer, who later became Bishop of Manchester. Mozeley continued to pay for the completion of the church up to its consecration. It took another ten years for Frazer to contribute and install the stained glass windows some of which commemorate members of his family.



The old church, built in the 12th century measured 40 feet 2 inches.

The exterior of St Nicholas strongly reflects the architectural style of a college chapel in that it is tall, unaisled and without a break to mark any internal divisions. On entering the impression is reinforced by the stone screen separating the building into chapel and ante-chapel at the level of the first bay.

Sited alongside the previous 12th Century church the new building is twice as long and twice as high and was built to fit a medieval hammerbeam roof which Mozeley had acquired from Suffolk. The roof was originally from an Augustinian monastery used later by a Guild of Cloth Workers who carved their Sign of Shears on some of the roof braces.

The floor tiles specially made by Minton were considered so exceptional that the entire design was shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The tile with the royal coat of arms in the ante-chapel is as used in the House of Lords in London.

The pew ends, all different, represent the Fruits of the Earth and were carved by craftsmen from Suffolk. A special L shaped front pew on the left was designed to enable Mr Paxton of Cholderton House to sit with his back to the wall as he was averse to having people sitting immediately behind him.

The organ was given in 1905 by Mr and Mrs Stephens of the Cholderton Estate together with the then Rector, Revd Brisco Owen.

The font is of Caen stone with an oak cover. The Norman font from the old church is on the left hand side as you enter the ante-chapel.

The stone screen forming the vestibule at the west end is adorned on both sides with the armorial bearings and initials of those associated with the building of the new church.



·      Later History

Cholderton House was built in 1690 of flint with red brick dressings as a two storeyed house with attics. Various additions and alterations were made during the 19th and 20th centuries.


St Nicholas Lane 1897 AD

St Nicholas Lane 1897 AD

·      Cholderton Estate



History - estate history



The Cholderton Estate was assembled in the late 19th century by Henry Charles Stephens as a series of acquisitions designed to create a holding big enough to become a model of Victorian progressive farming. Over a period beginning in 1889 a number of smaller estates and farms were purchased.

At its largest, the Estate covered more than 5,000 acres (2,000ha), and Henry Charles Stephens set about making it as efficient as possible. Meticulous documentation of every acre was a key part of this process, and the majority of these documents survive in the Wiltshire Record Office at Trowbridge. These reveal that a rotation system was a critical ingredient in the striving for high productivity. Stephens was a chemist, and he applied the same careful, scientific approach to farming as he did to his other interests.

It is from this period that the ‘look’ of the present-day Estate largely derives. Stephens laid out woodlands of various types, including a small arboretum, and he either refurbished or had built nearly all of the buildings on the Estate. A good deal of this Victorian landscape character survives, and it is one of the reasons why the Estate was designated a Countryside Heritage Site by Hampshire County Council in 1985, and listed on the Hampshire Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
Local materials including brick, flint, cob and some timbering were used for most of the Victorian building work.

Photographs of these buildings and groups of buildings when new show them to be handsome, robust and an integral part of the landscape. Cholderton Lodge and Home Farm are both Grade II listed buildings, together with several others.

·       The Village School

In the Parish Notes published by the rector Edwin Barrow in 1889, records for 1851:
"Opening of new School. Number of children entered, 16. Salaray of Mistress, £26, to rise to £30 per annum."

The land for the school was donated by Frances Elizabeth Dowager Countess Nelson. The materials of the old church were used to build the school. The total cost of building and furnishing the school was £680 7s. 10d. Numbers rose to 35 in 1853 including children from other parishes and in 1858 two teachers taught 40 children. Attendance at the school between 1871 and 1888 ranged between 23 and 34 each year.

The school was enlarged in the earlier 20th century. Average attendance was 53 in 1906-7, 34 in 1932, 46 in 1938 and only 18 when the school closed in 1978.

Earlier schools are also recorded. A school for poor children was held in the earlier 18th century by the curate and provision was made in the will of Anthony Cracherode for a teacher and books for 12 poor children. His school existed from 1753 and in 1818 a poorly qualified woman taught 6-8 children at it. Another school had c. 15 pupils in 1808 and is presumably the school with 16 pupils in 1818. In 1833 the charity school had had 28 pupils and was the only one in the parish.