R Goode in his Lost Villages of Dorset refers to Stock Gaylard as a Saxon village, the remains of which may subsequently have been covered when Stock House was built.
Hutchins says that in 1086 the village belonged to William of Eu and had a population of 11 people. Its probable remains are to be seen to the east of the garden. After this the population appears to have declined until, in 1332 the lay subsidy roll shows Rogero le Waleys as the main tax payer with four others earning sufficient to be taxed. However a license to empark deer was granted in 1268 and it is understood that there has been a herd here ever since though no positive records to support this have yet been found.
Hutchins goes on to say that in 1585 a John Petbyn sold the property to Barnabus Lewys of Stoke Trister who came to live in his new property. Since that time this part of the estate has never been sold, and has remained in the hands of the same family, though from time to time the surname of the owner has changed.
There are apparently few records held locally of the earlier history of the property as they have been dispersed, however the Dorset Hearth Tax assessments of 1662-64 records Stoke Galliard Hamlett as having 19 hearths and that Mr Benjamin Lewys lived in the parish.
The whole estate at that time appears to have been only about 200 acres comprising the Deer Park, Church Park and a number of other fields near the house with Stock Farm near where The Old Rectory is today.
The last of the Lewys’, Charles, left his share to his brother-in-law, John Farr, as did his sister Mrs Braithwaite.
John Farr died in 1773 leaving the estate to his daughter Theophila who married John Berkley Burland, son of Sir John Burland of Steyning who was Chief Baron of the Exchequer. During the time of Theophila and John Burland the house was extended and altered to present a grander welcome.
After they died (1802 and 1804), without issue, the estate descended upon Henry Farr Yeatman, who married the heiress Sarah Woolcott. They bought some of the surrounding farms and created a larger estate, much of which survives to this day.
Henry Farr Yeatman was a great sportsman, keeping his own pack of harriers and planting many fox covers and woodlands on the estate. As a writer, he wrote on a number of topics like the Corn Laws and the Poor Law Report as well as a lengthy poem called Brent Knoll.
He was best known in is capacity as a magistrate to the Assizes in Dorchester on which he sat for many years. After he died in 1861, his wife Sarah lived in the house with her younger son Marwood, who inherited everything except the house and land at Stock Gaylard. (His elder brother being a debtor had fled to France).
Thus, when Sarah died the estate went to Harry Farr Yeatman of the RN (her grandson) and it was in need of much improvement. Unfortunately, Harry Farr Yeatman of the RN died within the year and his wife Charlotte continued the redevelopment but got into such debt doing so, that the estate was rescued from the creditors by her brother-in-law the Bishop of Worcester.
The development during the early 1880’s, coincided with a downturn in agricultural fortunes so it would have been difficult to raise the estate income.
As far as can be ascertained, the following repairs and improvements were undertaken during that period:
Re-fencing of the deer park with iron railings
Complete rebuild to the Church
Addition of bathroom facilities and stairwell in the inner courtyard
It would be appropriate here to say that around this time many of the old records were destroyed. It is thought that many of them went with the furniture and other house contents to Holwell Manor with Marwood Yeatman JP (younger son of Sarah).
When Marwood died his widow moved to Ireland, much of the records are believed to have been burnt in the garden of Holwell Manor with the rubbish she did not require.
Huyshe Yeatman–Biggs Bishop of Worcester retained the estate, though not living there, until his second son Lewys Legge Yeatman inherited it on the Bishop’s death in 1921. The Bishop had the Lodge build at the entrance in 1901 and planted the avenue of oaks that lead out into the Church Park. There is considerable archive material on the life of Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs who during his time was Bishop suffragen of Southwark and bishop of Coventry and later Worcester. It is hoped that this will eventually be properly researched and archived.
Lewys Yeatman managed to keep the estate together through the difficult period between the wars and even managed to purchase small parcels of land to consolidate the wider estate. After the Second World War when many larger estates were being dismantled, the Stock Estate survived, this I believe is largely due to its compact nature and the ability to “batten down the hatches”. Thus when Lt. Col.John Yeatman took on the estate in the late sixties the policy of low cost, low maintenance continued. Whilst this inevitably resulted in the loss of some land and old buildings it also meant that the estate was preserved from some of the worst ravages of agricultural expansion in the 70’s and 80’s. This is largely why the relatively unspoilt landscape survives today.
The following is an exert from:-
Hutchins History of Dorset. 1st Edition 1773
STOKE – GAYLARD
Or Coylard, vulgo stock.
A small village situated three miles N. from Pulham, which derives its principal name from the Saxon word Stoches a stock, or log, (which implies plenty of wood, or that this spot was a forest, or the remains of one, in the Saxon age), and its additional one from the Coylards, its ancient lords, a family of which we have little account besides their bare name, of which its present additional name seems to be a corruption.
In Domesday Book Stoches was held by Hugh, of William de Ow : it consisted of three carucates, worth 50s. This land Toul held in mortgage T.R.E. of the land of Scireburne.
There are eight places or parcels of land surveyed in Domesday Book the same of Stoches& or Stoke, some of which cannot be ascertained; but the relation this bore to Sherborne, and its being placed next one of the Candeles seems seems to distinguish it.
E.I. Ingelramus le Waleys held at his death a tenement in Stoke, or Stokely-bard, or as some Ms. The manor of atoke-Kerbard, in chief of John Matravers, by service of half a knight’s fee; and there is a capital messuage , 80 acres of land, &c. one free tenant, and one cottager. He also held the manor of Langeton: John his son and heir. He was also lord of Langton-Walleys in Purbeck, where see more of him and his descendants : but this vill seems to have been the place of his principal residence. 9 E. II. John le Walshe had licence to sell off two carucates of land in Stoke Coylard, and the manor of Langeton.
i R.II. Roger Walish held at his death 49E. III the manor of Stoke-Coylard by knights service, of John Arundel, kt. As of his manor of Litchet-Matravers; the manor of Langton, in Purbeck, and the manor of E. Chickerel; Joan daughter of John le Walish, son of the said Roger, his next heir, aet.2. 14 R.II. John, son and heir of Roger Walshe, held at his death 49 E.III. the manor and advowson of Stoke-Coylard, as before: the manor of Langton, and two salinae in Middlebere, and the manor of E. Chickerel; Joan his daughter and next heir, aet.15 . Hence it passed, as the Sarun registers say, to John Filiol of Woodlands, in right of his wife Margaret daughter and heir of Roger Walishe; and hence to the Fontleroys, of Marsh. A subsidy roll t. H.III . gives this account of this parish, "Sir Nicholas "Brown, parson, his parsonage value 53s per ann.
“Perton Fauntleroy, lord in lands, 10 l. Lord Stour- “ton in ditto, 7 l.; lord Arundel in ditto, 45s.; “and the abbot of Abbotsbury in ditto 60s."
In process of time it came to the Lewyses, of which family fee more in Blackmanston, in the parshe of Steeple, in Purbek, vol.I.p.203.
The pedigree of Lewys, of Stoke-Gaylard.
Arms, Erm. On a sess Az. 3 boars heads couped, A.
In a subsidy roll 1661, Benjamin Lewys, gent. And Mrs Elizabeth Stockman are mentioned in this vill. Afer this, William Lewys esq. married Mary daughter of Charles Brune, of Plumber , esq. and had issue, Charles, William, Jane, Anne and Dennis. Charles died without issue 1739; William was rector of Rowner , c. Hants , and died without issue. Jane married …Brathwaite, rector or Holwell, but had no issue. Dennis died unmarried. Anne married John Farr, or Sturminster Newton, exq. Bu whom he had John Farr, esq the present possessor of this estate.