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had issue, three sons and three daughters, viz.: John senior, John junior, and Edward; and Anne, Mary, and Elizabeth. The eldest son John, senior, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Swayne of Gunville, Dorset, by whom he left no surviving issue; and on his decease in 1660, he was succeeded at Stockton by his brother Edward. It does not appear what became of John, junior. John senior presented the 2 silver flagons to the church. Edward Topp died in 1665, and left issue by his wife Frances, 4 children. John his heir, married Catherine, daughter of Sir Edward Berkley, Knight; of Alexander the second son, nothing is known. Elizabeth the eldest daughter, married Richard Swaine of Gunville, and Eleanor the second daughter, was the wife of Thomas Lambert of Boyton.

John Topp and Catherine Berkley (who married secondly Thomas Bennett of Pytt House, and survived him) had issue, four children, of whom John the eldest son and two daughters, died infants. Edward Topp, the second son, inherited Stockton, and married Christiana, daughter and co-heir of George Gray of Nether Stowey, Somerset. They had issue, five children, viz.: John Topp, Barrister-at-law, who died without issue in 1745; Edward, the second son, died s.p. in 1710; and Alexander, the third son, died also without issue, 1738. The two daughters of John and Christiana Topp thus became co-heirs of Stockton. Susan the eldest, married Robert Everard of Nether Stowey, Somerset. Christiana, the youngest daughter, married Richard Lansdown of Woodborough near Bath, and died without issue. Robert Everard, and Susan Topp had an only child, Susan, who was married to Robert Everard Balsh of St. Audries in Somersetshire, who sold the manor of Stockton to Henry Biggs, Esq. The pedigree of the Topp family is printed in Sir R. C. Hoare's "Heytesbury," p. 242.

The exact date of Stockton house cannot be ascertained. There was a stone on the premises a few years ago, with this inscription, "God save this House, built by John Topp, March ......' Unfortunately the date is broken off. Sir Richard Hoare mentions. a stone in the house on which is a part of the date, "16.." The concluding figures defaced. This refers perhaps to the stone before


mentioned, which may have been taken out of the old porch when the drawing-room windows were lowered. The house stands in a small paddock well sheltered by trees, of which some ancient walnut trees and elms are some of the "old hereditary trees" of the Topps. The younger trees and shrubs near the house, were planted by Harry Biggs, Esq. (owner when this paper was written. Ed.) When he succeeded his father in 1800, the house and grounds were much in the same state as they were left by the Topps. The house stood within a walled inclosure. To the west was an entrance then a court; the gateway opposite the porch having handsome stone piers, on each of which was a lion holding a shield, bearing the arms of Topp impaling Gray. A paved walk led from the gate to the porch. To the south was the bowling green, to the east was the garden. Within the wall was a raised terrace, extending along the whole length of the south side of the inclosure, and along the west side from the south wall to the gateway. The ascent to the terrace was by stone steps, and it had a parapet on which were placed busts of the twelve Cæsars, and handsome vases. Several of the vases are still preserved, and two of the busts are on a bridge in the garden at Bathampton house, and the remainder are at Pytt house. Under the terrace on the west side, was the cellar, with a handsome entrance at the north end, over which was a figure of Bacchus astride on a cask, with a glass in his hand, and a garland of grapes and leaves on his head. The mutilated trunk of this image, and other remains of the stone work of the terraces were in existence a few years ago. The exact situation of the terraces may be traced on the grass in hot weather, and a group of beeches on a mound marks the south-east corner of the inclosure, which extended westward to a point opposite the gateway of the stable yard. These ornamental appendages to the house were in good condition forty years ago, when they were removed to make room for a carriage approach and other conveniences necessary for comfort in modern times. A part of the materials. of the terraces were used, I believe, in building the new stables. It is supposed that the embellishment of the court and terraces, was the work of Edward Topp, who died in 1740, as his arms were

placed on the piers of the gateway, and the ornaments were of much more recent date than the house.

Stockton house is rather a plain specimen of the Elizabethan style, the only part ornamented being the entrance porch in the west front. Attached to the north-west angle of the house is a range of buildings, containing some of the servants' offices. There is a tradition in the village that a part of this wing was at one time used as a Chapel, and this may have been the case during the great Rebellion, when some of the ejected Clergy were sheltered at Stockton by the Topps. The exterior of this venerable mansion has suffered little, either from time or the improver, and, excepting the new porch and entrance on the south side, and the lowering of some of the windows, it remains in its original state. Fortunately also the house required little alteration in the interior, to adapt it to modern habits, and the only rooms modernized, are the hall, dining-room, and study. The dining-room is on the left of the hall, and is a large handsome apartment, though unfortunately fitted up in a modern style. This room was originally the great hall. Above the dining-room, and of the same size, with the first floor of the porch added to it, is the drawing-room in its original state, untouched by the rude hand of the improver. It is a fine specimen of internal decoration in the Elizabethan style, and is in perfect preservation, excepting that the ceiling rather sinks. There is a plate of this beautiful room in Sir Richard Hoare's "History of Wilts," and the east side of it is given in Mr. Shaw's interesting work "Details of Elizabethan Architecture." Most of the principal bedrooms retain their old wainscots, chimney-pieces and ceilings; but the wainscots have all been painted. The chimneypiece and ceiling in the bedroom over the study, are particularly handsome. In the panel over the fire-place, is a curious carving of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, in the fiery furnace. This room (and the drawing-room) have been engraved in Richardson's "Interiors." The large bedroom over the kitchen has a curious ceiling ornamented with the arms of Queen Elizabeth and James I. There is nothing remarkable in the servants' offices, but the kitchen is large and retains much of its ancient character. The old furniture

was in the house when the estate was purchased by Henry Biggs, Esq., who sold it at the request of Major Hartley, (of Bucklebury, Berks) then residing here as tenant. Probably the carved oak chairs, bedsteads, &c., which have been found in some of the cottages in the neighbourhood, once formed part of the furniture of Stockton house. The old kitchen garden behind the house remains, surrounded on two sides by the original wall, but all traces of the ancient pleasure grounds have disappeared, excepting perhaps a very fine old cypress tree, which may have grown within the enclosed parterre. The family of Biggs, or Bygges, appears to have been settled in this neighbourhood before the reign of Edward VI., and to that period the pedigree is traced from authentic evidences. The Biggs's were seated at Stapleford, where they held lands and the presentation to the vicarage. "Johannes Byggs of Stapleford" presented in 1551, in 1554, and in 1571. The Biggs's were connected by marriage with the Snows of Berwick St. James, an old family there, and for many generations Lords of the Manor. The family of Biggs may be traced in this part of the county in the reign of Edw. III. In the None Roll in the Exchequer, made 15th of Edw. III., A.D. 1342, is an application to Bishop Ergham of Sarum, for an augmentation of the Vicarage of Tisbury, when Robert Bigge was one of the principal parishioners who made the application. The Ecclesiastical Survey, made the 26th of Hen. VIII., names John Biggs as Vicar of Tisbury, presented in 1502. John Biggs was Rector of Tisbury in 1532, when he presented Barker to the vicarage. Another John Byggs was presented to the rectory of Chilmark in 1508, and held it till the year 1544. Edmund Bigges was presented by the King in 1611, to the vicarages of Wilsford and Woodford near Stapleford; and Richard Biggs was Rector of Shrewton in 1663.

Stockton farm-house, an interesting old mansion, was built about the same period as Stockton house, by one of the family of the Poticarys, who were rich clothiers, and resided here for two or three generations. (The pedigree of Poticary is printed in Mr. E. Kite's "Wilts Brasses," p. 76.) The house of the Poticarys

To face page 202.

ry Biggs

Bur. at
leford 1700.

arr Yeatman, = Emma

Biggs, mar. at Stockton.

est son of Rev. farr Yeatman House, Dorset. he Commission ace for Dorset Somerset.

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