History of Gotten Manor
Gotten seems to have been inhabited for a least a thousand years, originating probably as an early Jutish settlement with the name of Godyngton.
By 1066 it was held by two brothers called Bruning , as recorded in the Domesday Book. Under the Normans it passed to William, son of Stur and is described with the name of Gadetune as comprising one hide (about 120 acres), worked by two brothers (smallholders) and valued at 20 shillings (Domesday).
No local record is available until 1250 when Adam de Godeton received the grant of “a dwelling with half a acre of ground”. Other grants and rents followed notably in 1275 “half a pound of cumin seed as annual rent”. By the 14th century, “the intermediate tenants of Gotten from the Lords of Whitefield were the Family of Goditon”. (Victoria County History).
In about 1305 came the first official description of Gotten Manor, in an inquest report on the death of William de Goditon and the succession of his son Robert.
It describes “the tenement being extended as a Hall, a Grange, an Oxstall, with half an acre of Garden, a Dovecot, 30 acres of Arable, 20 acres of Pasture and one Free Tenant rendering 12 pence per annum”.(Inqu.p.m. 33Edw.I, No.39)
In 1313 the holder of Gotten was a Walter de Goditon who became involved in a notorious shipwreck in Chale. The ‘Ship of the Blessed Mary’ carrying cargo of white wine from Aquitaine to England, was driven ashore by a gale and the owners claimed that most of the 174 casks of white wine were removed from the beaches by local men. As these owners came from Gascony, which then belonged to England, King Edward II was obliges to arraign the accused men, chief of whom was Walter!
After a long trial, culminating at Westminster, he was fined so heavily that all his goods had to be distrained, “except the horses and oxen of his ploughs” and half of his lands and tenements leases out until the fine of 287 and a half marks had been paid in full. Many stories have been woven around this case but the only documented evidence is a local record of 1323 that Walter gave to the Church “an acre of land with Buildings on St Catherine’s Down”. On this site was built the famous ‘St Catherine’s Oratory’ with the tower which served as a lighthouse for centuries and still stands today.
Three Wills with Inventories dates 1558, 1600 and 1638 give a detailed picture of Gotten house, room by room with their contents. The tenants at this time were the Newnham family.
The 1558 house
“a Hall with furniture, carpets, cushions, two bows and a sheaf of arrows”.
In the ‘Loft Chamber’ were bedsteads, feather beds and furniture including an old cradle. The ‘Parlour’ had an “inner Chamber” containing more bedsteads and bedding. In the ‘Buttery’ were “a dozen pewter vessels, two candlesticks of brass, two salt-cellars and a leather tankard, etc”. There was a “Launder House” and a “Bake House” and the Servants Chambers contained 2four bedsteads and an old flock bed”. The total value of these possessions, less a debt of £30 was £74.3.5d.
The Will of 1600
This has a larger Inventory detailing a larger house with more rooms and contents. These include a “Maid’s Chamber”, a “Guest Chamber”, “Brewhouse, Milkhouse, Cheese Loft and Wool House”.
Among the contents of the Hall are listed “an English Bible, Latymer’s Sermons and a Statute Book of the 39th year of Queen Elizabeth”.
The total value was £799.14.2d.
The 1638 house
This contained a “New Parlour” as well as the “Old Parlour”, a “Staircase with a chest of pewter and candlesticks at the top”, a “Closet” and “New Chamber”, a “Larder” two “Cocklofts” a Bacon Loft, a Wheat Loft and Old Wellhouse”
This last inventory suggests that it was William Newnham ( died in 1638) who built the present house – which largely remains the same today.
In the 18th century the two houses were joined together by a single story building and later the old entrance to the 13th century house and the yard pump were roofed in.
At the end of the 15th century Gotten was divided into two halves until acquired in 1809 by a local landowner – called Hoy.
He was to leave a lasting impression in the form of the Hoy Monument on top of the down above Gotten. Michael Hoy was a merchant who traded with Russia and retired to the Isle of Wight.
In 1814 he erected, on a high plinth, a tall stone monolith, bearing the following inscription:
“In commemoration of the visit of His Majesty Alexander I, Emperor of all the Russias, to Great Britain in 1814. In remembrance of many happy years residence in his dominions. This pillar was erected by Michael Hoy”
Thirty years later the Hoy estates had passed to W.H.Dawes, an army officer, who presumably had seen service in the Crimea, for he obviously took exception to the above dedication and mounted a plaque on the other side of the momument bearing the message:
“This tablet was erected by William Henry Dawes. Late lieutenant of H.M. 22nd Regiment, in honour of those brave men of the Allied Armies who fell on the Alma at Inkerman and at the Siege of Sevastopol. AD 1857.”
W.H.Dawes was a significant owner of Gotten and may well have lived in the house from 1849. He carried out extensive repairs and left his name and the date 1854 on a beam. It may well have been him who changed the front of the house from mullion windows to gables and French windows, around the 1850s.
In 1880 Gotten was held by Henry Stark Morris, who apparently left it to be shared by several members of his family, from whom it was bought on mortgage by Mr and Mrs Charles Dabell, with Alfred Russell as their tenant, in 1905.
By 1912 Gotten had been taken over by Ernest Morris, who bought out the Dabells and paid off the last of the mortgage in 1922. He was the last owner-occupier of the Manor to farm all of the land himself.
He sold Gotten in 1937 to Capt.Crawford Flitch, barrister and author of London, who lived in the house but let the farm to Mr. H. Downer and Mr.F. Hollis (Senr.) Capt. Flitch died in 1946 and Gotten was lived in by Madame Champcommunal until her death in 1976. The farm land was let to Mr. F. Hollis (Junr.) who then bought it in 1976. The house was then bought by Mr and Mrs R.J. Streets. In July 1987 we moved from London to Gotten Manor and have been here ever since.