In the October of 1853, the Rev. Robert F. Wilson having resigned the curacy of Ampfield, he was replaced by the Rev. John Frewen Moor, who on 12th January of the next year became perpetual curate and by and by vicar.
Improvements in the church advanced in his time. The stained glass of the east and west windows of the church were given by Sir William and Lady Heathcote, the south-east window is a memorial of Mr. Keble, the other south windows of Mr. Moor's three sons, one of whom was drowned while preparing for mission work in Newfoundland, and another died on his return from what was truly a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
On Mr. Keble's death, the Rev. James Gavin Young, brother to the much beloved curate, the Rev. Peter Young, was presented to the living of Hursley.
In 1871 the Rev. William Bigg Wither, after thirty-five years' diligent work in the parish, decided on accepting the rectory of Hardwicke in Buckinghamshire. Great improvements had taken place in his time, and he was greatly beloved by his flock, from whom, for nearly forty years, he had never been absent for a single Sunday, and during all that time had given them the privilege of daily matins and evensong.
As he never liked the acceptance of testimonials, it was resolved that, in memory of his long services, a new girls' school should be built, the old one having become quite insufficient, and with it a master's house with a tower to contain a village clock, which was given out of the savings of Mrs. Smith and her sister and brother Miss and Mr. Pink, a kind old thatcher, who will long be remembered.
In that year, 1869, Bishop Sumner resigned the see of Winchester, and for three years the diocese had the benefit of the great powers and eloquence of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, whose Confirmation addresses at each of the churches will be remembered for life by his candidates.
The Rev. Walter Francis Elgie became Mr. Young's curate at Otterbourne, and in 1875 the first vicar thereof, Sir William Heathcote having arranged the means of undoing Bishop Pontissara's injustice. This was rendered practicable by the liberality of Mrs. William Gibbs, who purchased the advowson of Otterbourne for a sum that Sir William applied to the endowment of Hursley, so as to compensate for the loss of the tithes of Otterbourne.
By this time a considerable industry had grown up at Allbrook with a saw mill and brick making, and the inhabitants, with a little assistance, erected a mission chapel and school. There the kind and excellent Rowland Jones Bateman, Esquire, of the Grange, gave hearty assistance as a teacher, and latterly as a licensed reader, being thus appointed by Bishop Edward Harold Browne, who succeeded to the See of Winchester on the sudden death of Bishop Wilberforce.
He came to reconsecrate Otterbourne Church, when an apse had been added to the choir, and several other alterations made, with the view of rendering it more suitable for devout worship than knowledge or means had made practicable when the church was built; and other alterations have since been made in the same direction.
The kindly and open-hearted Squire of Cranbury, Thomas Chamberlayne, Esq., died on October 1876, being succeeded by his son Tankerville Chamberlayne, Esq.; and Brambridge, after descending from the Smythes to a niece, the Honourable Mrs. Craven, whose son sold it, has since several times changed owners.
On the 25th February 1881, Otterbourne lost the first vicar, Mr. Elgie, and the Rev. Henry Walter Brock was presented to the vicarage, when many improvements were further carried on.
But change and decay mark every generation in turn, and there is little else to record. The joyous genial days at Hursley Park had passed away, and the days of agricultural depression had set in, causing much trouble and anxiety, with alterations met with simple bravery and cheerfulness, according with the character that could bear adversity as nobly as prosperity.
The Rev. Thomas Mozley, in the somewhat discursive reminiscences of his latter years, declares that long before, he had seen one of Mr. Keble's curates in tears at the possibility of the repeal of the Corn-Laws causing Sir William Heathcote to put down one of his equipages. None of the curates could recollect the occasion, and certainly they lived to see what might have been more deplored, for at the end of Sir William's life there were actually only two little ponies in his stables.
Though never a very strong man, he preserved all his powers and his kind interest and thorough attention to whatever was brought before him until the end came, as to "a shock of corn in full season," and he was taken to his rest on the 17th of August 1881, leaving to all who knew him the precious recollection of emphatically "a just man" serving God in his generation.
That simple walking funeral, devoid of all pomp or show, but attended by at least 130 friends, did indeed show the esteem in which he was held as the moving spring of all the best undertakings for many years in the county; and may Hursley never forget that she is, as it were, consecrated by having been the home of two such men as John Keble and William Heathcote.
Still there are changes to record: Julian Bargus Yonge, after long inactivity from broken health, sold the property at Otterbourne to Major Robert Scarlett, and removed to London, where he died a few days later, in October 1891.
In 1892 Mr. Brock was invited to return to his house in Guernsey to become rector of the parish of St. Pierre au Bois in succession to his father and grandfather, and the Rev. Henry Albany Bowles became vicar of Otterbourne.
Other changes had in the meantime taken place. The Hursley estate, including not only the Manor of Merdon but recent purchases, had become much encumbered from the inevitable consequences of agricultural depression, and after the provision for the family had been made, of whom there were ten survivors besides Lady Heathcote, it proved that the only way of clearing off the various liabilities was to sell.
Lady Heathcote gave up her right to a life residence at Hursley Park, and after 170 years of possession, during which the family had well merited general affection and esteem, they resigned themselves to the sale of the greater part of the property. The Park, the advowson of the living, and the greater part of the parish, were bought by Joseph Baxendale, Esq., in 1888.
The more distant portions were more gradually disposed of, and recently the ground of Cranbury Common and Hiltingbury has risen in value from brick-making industries, and the convenience of Chandler's (or Chaloner's) Ford Station, and a large and rising colony, on the confines of five parishes, Otterbourne, North Stoneham, Ampfield, Hursley, and Baddesley. A school chapel was raised, but soon proved insufficient, and there is now a church. The place has been formed into a separate parish, Otterbourne resigning the hamlet of Fryern Hill; Ampfield, part of Fryern Hill and numerous houses built among the plantations of Cuckoo Bushes and Cranbury Common; and Stoneham, many houses placed among the trees of the former Fleming property.
And another change took place, Mr. Frewen Moor, from increasing age and loss of eyesight, resigned the pastoral charge he had so carefully and affectionately fulfilled for forty-four years, and was succeeded by the Rev. Vere Awdry.
RECTORS AND VICARS OF HURSLEY.
John de Raleghe, Rector d. 1279 Paganus de Lyskeret, Rector 1280-1296 John de Sta. Fide, Vicar Hugo de Welewyck, Rector 1296-1348 Henry de Lyskeret, Vicar Roger de la Vere, Vicar William de Ffarlee, Vicar 1348-1363 William de Middleton, Vicar 1363-1392 John Cove, Vicar 1392-1412 Walter Cowper Vicar 1412. John Langshaw, Vicar before 1447-1454 William Emery, Vicar 1454 John Lovyer, Vicar 1482 William Capell, Vicar about 1529 John Hynton, Vicar deprived 1565 Richard Foxe, Vicar 1565 William Symmons, Vicar 1581-1616 John Cole, Vicar 1616-1638 John Hardy, Vicar 1638 ejected 1645
(Several Puritan Intruders.)
Robert Maunder, 1660-1673 Thomas Pretty, 1673-1684 Matthew Leadbeater, 1684-1707 Edward Griffiths, 1707-1726 Richard Newcome, 1726-1747 William White, 1747-1780 Samuel Gauntlett, 1780-1804 Gilbert Heathcote, 1804-1829 Gilbert Wall Heathcote, 1829-1835 John Keble, 1836-1866 James Gavin Young, 1866