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HE Author of "The Christian Year" has often been spoken of
as the Vicar of Hursley, but it seems not to have been
generally known that he was Rector of Otterbourne, which is a large village on the high road between Winchester and Southampton, about three miles distant from Hursley, towards the south-east.
It is recorded that between the years 1296 and 1300, during the incumbency of Hugo de Welewyck, the great tithes of Hursley were
alienated by Johannes de Pontissera a, or Pontissara, otherwise called John de Pontoys or John Points, who was Bishop of Winchester from 1282 to 1304. He gave them to the college of St. Elizabeth, which he founded in Winchester " for the promotion of piety and literature amongst his clergy."
By this alienation (which was confirmed by Gulielmus de Edington, or Edyngton, the predecessor of the famous William of Wykeham, in the year 1362) the living of Hursley was reduced to a vicarage.
At the Reformation, the college of St. Elizabeth being dissolved, the great tithes of Hursley were annexed to the cathedral, and became the property of the Dean and Chapter, to whom they still belong, though held under a lease by Sir William Heathcote.
It is somewhat curious, that as a John and a William were spoilers of the church at Hursley in the fourteenth century, so in the nineteenth a John and a William were the great restorers.
In order to make compensation to the Incumbent of Hursley for the loss of his rectorial tithes, the above-named spoilers (it seems) committed a further, and even more serious alienation, by taking away from Otterbourne its tithes both rectorial and vicarial, and giving them to the Vicar of Hursley, intending by this means to make up to him for the loss of his own proper rectorial tithes.
Thus Otterbourne was reduced to a curacy dependent upon Hursley. So that to the present day the tithes of Otterbourne form the largest and most important part of the stipend of the Vicar of Hursley; and yet Otterbourne (if mentioned at all in connexion with the author of
· See Milner's “History of Winchester,” vol. i.
b Ibid., p. 220.