Alton is a thriving country market town with a population of around 17,000 and a fascinating history. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is famous for its association with Jane Austen. It is the largest town in East Hampshire.
Beech is a rural village two miles from Alton. It is mostly woodland and farmland with just over 200 houses and 600 residents. It is placed in a valley with Alton Abbey at the top and the Alton to Basingstoke road at the bottom.
Binsted is on the banks of the River Wey about 3 miles south of Bentley and four miles away from Alton. A famous former resident is Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (known as ‘Monty’) who lived at Isington Mill from 1947 until his death in 1976.
The view of Buriton’s large village pond is a classically beautiful rural Hampshire scene. You will find it around three miles south of Petersfield surrounded by steep wooded downland hillsides. In times gone by it was a hive of rural industry with lime works, hop picking and sheep farming.
Chawton is most famous for its association with Jane Austen who came to live here in 1809, leaving for Winchester only shortly before her death in 1817. Jane here revised or re-wrote her six great novels, working with the family about her and with the busy life of the village just outside the window.
Clanfield began as a small farming village centred around the Church of St James (built originally in 1305 and rebuilt in 1875). You can find it 12 miles north of Portsmouth and six miles south of Petersfield.
The village lies in the valley four miles south of Alton on the A32 and is surrounded by woodlands. Most of the cottages were originally built to house workers on the Rotherfield Park Estate. Rotherfield Park itself is a large mansion standing on high ground in large parklands.
Farringdon is a small village about three miles south of Alton opn the A32 Alton to Fareham Road. The village is in two parts – Lower and Upper Farringdon. The village’s All Saints Church is of 12th and 13th century origin, and Gilbert White was curate here between 1761 and 1785.
Four Marks is a small parish 220 metres above sea level, which makes it, along with the neighbouring village of Medstead, the highest settlement in East Hampshire. It was created in 1932 from parts of the six parishes of Medstead, Ropley, Chawton, East Tisted, Newton Vallence and Farringdon.
Froxfield is high in the hangers of East Hampshire. It has a history stretching back to the Romans, who have left traces of an encampment in the south of the Parish. It is said that the fragments of an earthwork running across the parish formed part of the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Wessex and Sussex.
Froyle – or more accurately ‘Upper Froyle’ and ‘Lower Froyle’ – is some three miles northeast of Alton just off the A31. The name is thought to be an old English word meaning ‘Frea’s Hill’. It recently won the ‘Best Small Village’ in the Hampshire Calor Village of the Year 2008.
Grayshott is surrounded by beautiful unspoilt countryside with beauty spots Waggoners Wells, Ludshott Common and the Devil’s Punchbowl all within easy walking distance.
It is a village of about 2,500 people with a thriving social and business life.
Greatham (which is pronounced “Grettam”) is a small village just off the A3 about 6 miles north of Petersfield. At the north end of the village is Longmoor Camp, where remains of the Longmoor Military Railway can be seen.
Hawkley is a rural village off the beaten track, frequently used by ramblers as an assembly point to explore the nearby Hangers, sunken lanes and woodlands. The heart of the village is the Church, the Green and the Village Hall.
Headley is a village about eight miles south-east of Alton, between Bordon and Grayshott, and bordering Surrey. The name means ‘clearing in the heath’ and it is surrounded by heaths and downs. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Hallege’.
Holybourne is on the eastern edge of Alton. It is referred to as ‘Haliborne’ in the Domesday Book and the name may come from the Old English ‘Haligburna’ which means ‘sacred stream’ after the fresh water spring in the churchyard.
Horndean is a lively community close to Portsmouth with around 12,600 people. It was established in the 16th century, but it was the development of Portsmouth Dockyard, which by 1711 employed over 2000 men, that influenced the growth of Horndean.
Lasham (used to be pronounced ‘Lass-ham’ but now ‘Lash-am’ has taken over) is best known for it’s airfield, which was built during the war. There is a road between Herriard and Lasham which was built by Italian prisoners of war. The airfield today is a well known gliding centre.
Lindford only became a distinct Parish with its own Parish Council in 1982, but it is an old settlement with a long history. From 1929 to 1982 it was part of Whitehill, and for centuries before that it was part of Headley. A map of Lindford, dated 1896, indicates where the older buildings in the village are located.
Liphook is in the extreme east of Hampshire, bordering both Surrey and West Sussex. Extensive areas in and around the Parish are in the ownership of the National Trust. It became the village it is today thanks to being a coaching stop between London and Portsmouth during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1086, at the time of the Domesday Survey, the manor of Liss probably formed part of the original endowment of the abbey of St. Mary at Winchester. The manor was later known as Liss Abbess, and the Abbess and nuns of Winchester kept the land until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.
The earliest record of Lovedean was about 1594. Prior to this the area was part of the estate of the Earl of Shrewsbury and was handed down to various descendants. The name “Lovedean” arrived in 1594 when Isabel Norton married Thomas Loveden.
Medstead along with Four Marks is one of the highest villages in Hampshire at 700 feet above sea level. The village is about 5 miles west of Alton and has a population of approximately 2000. It is a very rural community, with a relatively high number of horse owners and yards.
This small village lies between East Tisted and Selborne. It is recorded in the Domesday Book as Newentone, while the place derives its name from Aylmerde Valence, who was given it as a grant of land. The brother of the famous naturalist Gilbert White lived in Newton Valence.
Oakhanger is a small rural village north of Bordon. It has a Village Hall, a public house (the Red Lion) and a church (St Mary Magdalene). It is on the edge of Shortheath Common, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Conservation Area.
Petersfield is an ancient market town originally built as a Norman ‘new town’ at the end of the 11th Century at the crossroads of the A3 running north to south and A272 running east to west. Petersfield Heath close to the town centre contains 21 Bronze Age Barrows.
Ropley is about eight miles south west of Alton and is famous for supplying the honey for Wiliam the Conqueror’s mead, and for being very involved in smuggling in the 18th century. The first Church at St Peter’s was built in the 11th century.
The village takes its name from a castle the remains of which are on the east of the village. It was still standing in the 12thcentury as Henry II is known to have spent several days there ‘for hunting and amusement’, but is thought to have been abandoned by the 15th century
Selborne is most famous for being the home of the 18th Century literary naturalist Gilbert White (1720-1793). He is credited with being the first ever ecologist or environmentalist, and his book ‘The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne’, hasn’t been out of print in over 200 years.
Shalden is a small village around three miles from Alton. At the time of the Domesday Survey it was held by William Maudit, and had strong connections with Hartley Maudit. The village orginally had a Saxon church but this has now been replaced.
Steep is a small village on the outskirts of Petersfield. It has a long history although it was not mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village is also famous for being the home of the poet, Edward Thomas, who met an untimely death in 1917 at the Battle of Arras.
Stroud Parish is young and dates only from 1995. This separation from Petersfield recognised the individual identity of the village, emphasised by the open spaces and the by-pass which separate the village from the town into which it was previously incorporated. It is a community of nearly 170 households.
Whitehill and Bordon is currently the second largest township in East Hampshire (after Alton). It is set in important areas of heathland and woodland, which are both rich in wildlife. There are nine SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) as well as Bronze Age and Roman sites.
East Worldham and West Worldham lie about two and a half miles south east of Alton. East Worldham church goes back to the twelfth century. Inside there is an effigy of Phillipa, wife of Geoffrey Chaucer, whose son Thomas was Lord of the Manor.
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