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Farms & Estates

The Civil War completed the inroads which had been started a century before into the Church’s property holdings; Winchester Diocese was stripped by Parliament of its estates in East Meon. In 1645, the Bill for the sale of Episcopal Lands led to Court Farm and South Farm being sold to Cromwell supporters Nathanial Hallowes and Richard Dannald and in 1649, the manors were bought outright by Francis Allen MP, a contentious and very rich goldsmith-financier who had made the financial arrangements for the execution of Charles I.

Sir William Lewis of Bordean, Keeper of the Park.

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the bishops were reinstated as lords of East Meon manors, but Charles donated much of the land to his supporters. Although Sir William Lewis (fig 80) had raised troops for Parliament, was member for Petersfield during the Long Parliament and in 1642 was appointed governor of Portsmouth; however, he fell victim of Pride’s Purge in 1648. In 1661 he was elected again, this time for Lymington, to the Cavalier Parliament and was granted lands and titles in East Meon. He was granted the lease of ‘Heydon(Hyden) Wood … wood and underwood, soil and woodground’, and also the office of ‘Keepership of the Park and Land …and of the deers in the gamepark for the timebeing, and the boarbag’.

 

Charles II granted the largest East Meon estate to the man who had been responsible for financing his Restoration, Sir Stephen Fox. A letter patent written in the King’s name in 1661 granted both Court (Church) Farm and South Farm to Stephen ffox ‘forfaithful service to Charles II … farms, messuages and lands … and to his sons for the rest of his natural life’.