The Doomsday Survey of 1086 contains records of land known as “Candel”, “In Candele” or Candelle” some of which are thought to refer to areas that eventually came together to form the Manor of Caundle Haddon, subsequently Stourton Caundle.
The first records relating to the founding of the Manor of Stourton Caundle date from 1202, with a purchase of land by Sir Henry de Haddon, a member of a Northamptonshire family and originally from Normandy. He and his descendants then consolidated their holding with further acquisitions. The land ownership passed in 1461 to the Stourton family from whom the present name derives. The manor was sold by the Stourtons to the Hoare family in 1727. The manor was finally broken up with the dispersal sales of 1911 and 1918.
The hub of the Manor was the castle situated in a field called “Court Barton” on the northern side of the Caundle Brook, at the rear of Manor Farm, probably built by Lord John the third of the Haddon lords, at the end of the 13th century. On the opposite side of the brook was a small chapel, a mill, a fishpond, and a pigeon loft. There are no longer any traces of the castle, which fell into ruin at the end of the 16th century.
The small chapel still stands among the farm buildings on the southern side of the brook. There is said to be a small burial ground to the south of this chapel, one skeleton having been brought to the surface by floodwaters.
The most notorious resident of the castle was Charles, Lord Stourton who, on the 12th of January 1557, invited to the castle a man by the name of Hartgill accompanied by his son. Lord Charles had a long running disagreement with Hartgill, though they were at this time apparently reconciled. Lord Charles arranged for them to be knocked down with clubs by his servants who then cut their throats and buried them in the cellar in order to prevent their discovery. When these cruel murders came to light he was indicted and interned in the Tower of London. After his conviction for the murders he was taken from the Tower to Salisbury Market Square where he was hanged along with four of his servants.
After the demise of the castle a tithe barn was constructed on the northern boundary of the site, using stone from the ruined castle. Most of the public footpaths and bridle-ways radiate from here. As recently as 1821 regular Manorial Court Sessions were being held in the tithe barn at Court Barton.
The site and watercourse of the mill, an important asset in the days of the Haddon Lords, may still be discerned. When last in use it had an iron water wheel donated as scrap iron to the war effort in the 1914. The tithe barn, probably 17th or 18th century was still in use until 1963 when it was destroyed by fire.
The construction of several farmhouses during the early part of the 18th century suggests that it must have been around this period that the amalgamation of the tenanted smallholdings, and the enclosure of the remaining mediaeval open fields, to form the larger farms was taking place.
There were two licensed premises at this time, the Catherine Wheel, later re-named the Trooper. In the early 19th century, it was used as a signing-on point for soldiers heading for the Napoleonic Wars.
A second pub was near the cross roads at Jubilee Oak which became an Ale House in the 19th century.
Many of the existing cottages in the village are from the early part of the 19th century. The foundations, at least, of some of these cottages may be much older for the 1709 estate map shows many buildings in the village on sites close to their present locations.
Apart from a Post Office and a General Stores the village had its own Baker, Dairyman, Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Boot-makers, Cordwainers, Plasterers, Basket makers, Publicans and a Saw-yard but the general decline in the fortunes of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century gradually eroded the situation. The increasing population could not be found employment in the village and the trend of migration towards urban areas set in.
By the 1970’s support for village organisations and leisure activities decreased considerably. The closure of the primary school and the loss of a resident vicar hastened the decline. The village shop finally closed in the 1990’s.
In recent years, particularly since the millennium, this trend has reversed and, despite the village’s initial impression of outward calm and tranquillity, bubbling beneath the surface there exists a vibrant local community participating in a wide spectrum of social and leisure activities.