Meonstoke


Meonstoke is located in Hampshire, in the heart of the Meon Valley, about ten miles south-east of Winchester and about twelve miles north of Portsmouth.  Linters were living in or around Meonstoke from at least the early 16th Century (1500s) right through until the early 19th Century (1800s). 

St Andrew’s Church, Meonstoke (circa 1982)

There are several 18th Century Linter gravestones in the churchyard which are still legible to varying degrees, including that of Peter Linter who died in 1739 (link to picture of Peter Linter’s grave).


Some Chapters in the History of Meonstoke and Soberton by F. B. Collins and J. C. Hurst, published 1978 by Winton Publications Limited

This book is now out of print but can occasionaly be obtained from second-hand booksellers.  It includes the following references to the Linter family:

Page 47:
(George) Gold (curate of Meonstoke) was a widower when he died.  He left his elder daughter’s son 10 and made his younger unmarried daughter residuary legatee.  Out of his small store, he left 40 shillings to the poor of the parish to be distributed to twenty persons by his friends, Thomas Linter and William Lane, the overseers of his will (dated 1647).  The inventory shows that he was not illiterate: he had 5 worth of books in his “studdy” with a table, desk and bookshelves, though he was not a graduate, which may account for his lack of promotion.  He had two cows and a pig in the yard, six sheep (on the common) and a yearling foal in the stable.  From this it appears that he was not farming the glebe in either Meonstoke or Soberton; it was let by the Rector to tenants.  Compared with the sums left by yeomen in the mid-seventeenth century, Gold was a poor man;   Thomas Collins left 103 in 1633, Thomas Linter left 329 in 1650.  A generation later, a yeoman’s house was much more amply furnished.  Matthew Searle’s inventory in 1675 shows how the well-to-do farmer lived.  He left 334 and men such as the Linters and Searles were the aristocracy of a village in which there was no resident gentry.

Page 51:
The second John Nicoll (Rector of Meonstoke 1755-1759) was only at Meonstoke for four years and there is nothing which can be accredited to him - not even the Church tenor bell which was inscribed with the name “the Rev. Jno. Nicoll, D.D. Rector:  Matthew Searle and Peter Linter, Churchwardens”; but this must refer to the father (John Nicoll, Rector of Meonstoke 1728-1755), for the son did not achieve a Doctorate. 

Page 63:
Marriage among Meonstoke families did not always result in settlement in the village (of Meonstoke); there is a lack of evidence in the Baptismal Register.  The custom of Borough English, or the inheritance of the youngest son (or daughter) instead of the eldest son often drove the elder sons further afield to make a living.  This custom is not, in spite of frequent misstatements, of Jutish origin: it is found on manors in Sussex and Suffolk, and at Taunton and Nottingham, far from any possibility of Jutish influence.  But at Meonstoke it tended to make the population more mobile.  There are, however, a number of families who have been there for two centuries, for example:-
Linter  1600-1825  (earliest and latest Linter entries in the Parish Registers)

Page 85:
The Hearth Tax in 1673 records forty-nine families in the village, thirty-five of them exempt from tax and fourteeen liable for every fireplace or stove in the house.  These fourteen owned property worth 20 shillings a year, or more, and were not otherwise exempt by poverty, the receipt of alms or relief.  In Meonstoke only three names are given; the rector, Robert Matthew, with nine hearths, Honor Collins with three, and Daniel Collins with four.  There were some strange omissions.  Matthew Searle and Peter Linter both had wills proved while the tax was in force and both were men of means.  The list of householders who should pay was made by the Tithingman who was allowed to enter the house to count the hearths.  This was furiously resented and made the office even more unpopular than it had been.  The tax was short-lived and too often evaded; it is not a reliable source of information and it was abandoned in 1689.
The lists of tenants of 1680 provided a much more complete record, although there are several copies and none exactly alike.  Perhaps the oldest is the bundle of long strips of coarse paper, which might well be contemporary, in Winchester College’s archives.  This gives the size of each man’s holding in the fields.  The object of this was to provide a basis to calculate the size of each copyholder’s allotment in the coming Enclosure.  The ‘Down Book’, which includes another copy, gives a list of forty names headed; “A note of the sum of acres wich (sic) each tenant breaks for on Meonstoke Sheep Down as it was delivered at the Court in 1680”.  The first name is that of Widow Linter (Peter’s widow) with 135 acres and ends with Richard Canner, one of only four tenants with only two acres apiece.      

Page 130:
1724.  Peter Linter -Tythingman for his mother’s house.

nb: I have summarised some of the extracts above.

 

 

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