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   The History of Grateley

Part two:The Medieval Period 1066-1485 


The Mauduit Family (Coat of arms: d'argentadeus barres de Goulz)
This period saw the great influence of the Normans on building, language, law and social structure. Anglo Saxon was still spoken in the country but there was an increasing influence of French language in business and law with Latin predominating in the Church. This was all to change slowly after the break between Normandy and England and decimation by the Black Death, the first record of the disease in England being in Weymouth in Dorset from which it entered the rest of the land.

The Mauduit (meaning evil taught) family, who were of Norman origin, are believed to have held Grateley Manor for many years during the 12th and 13th Centuries. Grateley manor being one of the seven ‘fair lordships' in Hampshire under his control. The family, holding the Lordship of Warminster in Wiltshire, are, almost certainly, the same Mauduit as that born in 1038 at St Martin -Du-Bose in Normandy, referred to by Richard Hoare in ‘History of Modern Wiltshire Vol 3. (Westbury and Warminster)'. In the same reference it states that he was at the Battle of Hastings and in other conflicts. He married in Porchester Castle in 1067/68. There were then a series of Williams of the same family born in Hanslope Bucks in 1070, 1094, 1126 and 1186 the latter three being Barons and Lords of Hanslope. The family also became Earls of Warwick and had great influence at court.

The Church of St Leonards
It was probably during time of the Mauduit family that the final version of the Church of St. Leonard was built: the nave in the 12th century and chancel in the 13th C. There is some evidence that three previous church buildings were on the same site. Part of the work in the tower is Saxon and the three courses of bricks are said to be Roman (ref: Historical Plan of the church).

The wooden tower was extensively damaged in 1781,1795 and 1818 by gale force winds and not replaced after the last damage. The porch dates from 1738 but was extensively restored in 1850 when the church was restored, at a cost of £376, but still retaining the original Norman doorway into the nave and the sundial, dated 1748 with the inscription: ‘Life is a walking shadow', over the entrance.

The first clock was installed in 1785 and was a gift of the ubiquitous Rev. William Benson Earle (He of the charity ‘Earle's Dole') it was replaced in 1858, on the sale of one of the bells, and repaired again in 2000.

The bell that was sold for the clock was cracked and it is known that John Wallis, of Salisbury, cast the two remaining bells in 1573. The inscriptions on the bells are: ‘1573. God be praised' and ‘God be our guide'.

The stained glass windows are of interest as they are constructed from 13C glass originally brought from Poitevin by Pierre des Roches in the reign of Henry III for Salisbury Cathedral.

As a result of the depredations of James Wyatt in 1786 the glass was discarded from the cathedral, recovered and utilised in Grateley Parish Church. The border fragments and the Saint Stephen's panel were recovered by the Rev Earle in 1787 and given to the church. Later (1861) the panel depicting the Resurrection was sent by an unknown person to Mr Fiander, a Churchwarden and, incidentally, a carpenter (see 1851 census). The colours and style lead one to believe that it is also from Salisbury Cathedral.

St Leonard is the patron saint of prisoners with chapels all over Europe but particularly noticeable in Bavaria and Austria where St. Leonard is the patron saint of cattle as well as prisoners. Many of the small chapels to St Leonard in Austria/Bavaria have chains around them. It is possible that the church at Grateley was dedicated to St Leonard at this time for prayers for relatives or friends captured on the Crusades as many of the aristocracy were made prisoner for ransom.

It is interesting to note that there never was a resident minister until the Rev.Henry Hazard was appointed curate-in-charge by Bishop Wilberforce in 1871.


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