St. Leonards Church and its neighbouring pond is all that remains of the village of Hartley Mauditt. The church is thought to have been built by William de Mauditt between 1100 and 1125, but today it stands alone in this part of rural Hampshire, with no village to serve.
The Domesday book of 1086 states that William de Mauditt was granted the manor that once neighboured the church by William the Conqueror. At this time the village was made up of 13 households.
In 1603 the manor was owned by the Stuart family, and it was defended during the Civil War by Nicholas Stuart when it came under attack by Roundheads who came to destroy it after fighting in nearby Alton. After passing hands through the centuries in 1790 the 4th Baronet of Hartley Mauditt, Sir Simeon Henry Stuart sold the manor to Henry Bilson-Legge whose son pulled it down in 1798. The manor’s staircase founds its way to local Alton council offices and it is thought that the round tower on a nearby building was also originally part of the manor house.
The destruction of the manor house led to the decline and abandonment of most of the rest of the village, leaving just a few remaining cottages. Many of the villagers had worked in the manor and so left the area in search of work. Today there are no signs of the manor or any other buildings that used to surround the church, but it is reported that some cellars remain hidden below ground.
Last Updated on 23 May 2022 by Michael