Archive for April, 2016

Old Alresford – an Edwardian view

From another website  there is an interesting review of the significant houses in Old Alresford, and their history, as published by the Victoria County History, London, 1908.

Old Alresford in 1908

“About two miles south-east of Old Alresford, in the parish of Bishop’s Sutton, the River Alre ‘beginnith of a great Numbre of fair Sylver Springes’, which ‘resorting to a Botom make a great brode Lak, communely caullid Alsford Pond’. This pond, the reservoir from which the Itchen is for the most part supplied, was formed by Bishop Godfrey de Lucy towards the end of the twelfth century in order to render the River Itchen navigable from Alresford to Winchester as well as from Winchester to Southampton (This is now questioned – Ed).

Old Alresford House

Entering the parish from New Alresford, immediately north of the pond, Old Alresford Park stretches to the east, in the north-west of which stands Old Alresford House, best known to fame from its connection with Admiral George Brydges Lord Rodney (1719–92), who considerably enlarged and improved the original house during his residence. It is a large white brick mansion finely situated with its grounds gradually sloping down to the lake. Colonel Richard Norton, ‘idle Dick Norton’, the farmer of the manor of Old Alresford, resided at Old Alresford House during the Commonwealth, and Oliver Cromwell paid several visits to him there.

In the most westerly corner of the park, seeming almost to be within its boundaries, is the church of St. Mary surrounded by a churchyard. A large eighteenth-century house of red brick, north of the church, was till recently the rectory. It has lately been sold, and is now known as Old Alresford Place. The present rectory is a white building standing east of Old Alresford Place and opposite Upton House.

Church of St Mary

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The church of OUR LADY St Mary was entirely rebuilt in 1753, a west tower was added in 1769, and in 1862 the eighteenth-century work, except as regards the tower, was Gothicized, and a south transept, north organ chamber, and vestry added. As a result the building is of very little architectural interest, though the tower is a good specimen of its kind, of red brick with round-headed western doorway and belfry windows, and finished with a parapet carrying stone ball finials at the angles.

DSCN2209smallThe only thing of note in the church is the monument of Mrs. Jane Rodney on the north wall of the nave, dated 1757, a fine piece of eighteenth-century work in white marble, with figure sculpture. Her husband afterwards became the famous admiral, Lord Rodney, and in the church are monuments to the second and third lords.

There are six bells, by Wells of Aldbourne, dated 1769 and 1770, a tablet on the west face of the tower recording their casting, as well as the building of the nave and tower.

Old Alresford Village

The main block of houses (in the village), is some yards higher up the road (from the Church). Here are the smithy, the village green—an irregularly-shaped plot of grass, the post office, an iron foundry, and the national school, built in 1846 by the Onslow family. There is also a group of almshouses, built to house three destitute couples in 1852 by the Misses Onslow in memory of their mother. Some yards still further north is an industrial home (Primitive Methodist), which was in existence by the middle of the nineteenth century.

Farms in the Parish

Manor Farm lies west of the village, and still further west, near the Itchen Stoke border line, is Fob Down Farm. About a quarter of a mile east of the village, reached by Kiln Lane, which cuts across the fields east and west, is Upton Hamlet, consisting of a few scattered farm buildings, and including Upton Farm and Upton House. The latter was occupied by a younger branch of the Onslow family during the early nineteenth century, but is now occupied by Mr. J. F. Christie, JP.” ENDS.

The Mother’s Union

Obviously as the above was published in 1908, it pre-dates the growth and importance of the Mother’s Union, the organisation founded by Mary Sumner! Mary was the wife of George Sumner, the vicar at St Mary’s in Old Alresford. For more info on this topic, please see the September 2015 story – https://alresfordmemories.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/the-mothers-union-and-old-alresford/

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The Mary Sumner Chapel and window in Old Alresford Church was dedicated on 9th August 2015

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The Alresford Literary Festival

In their Golden Anniversary Year, 2016, the Alresford Historical & Literary Society is hosting the Alresford Literary Festival. This is to take place on Saturday 4th June, at Perins School, in the School Hall. (Postcode SO24 9BS).

The event is being supported by Hampshire County Council, New Alresford Town Council, and Winchester City Council. Tickets are being sold for places to listen to the various eminent speakers who will make presentations throughout the day: delegate costs are £10 per speaker session or just £25 for the whole day. Please contact Vic Prior on 01962 733380 or vic.sue1@btinternet.com. The Society website is www.alresfordhistandlit.co.uk

Festival Flyer Draft 6L

The Speaker Programme

Doors open 10.30am

  1. Robert Hardy: In conversation about his career with John Miller: starts 11.00am

  2. John Julius Norwich: He will give an illustrated talk about his new book ‘Sicily’  starting at 2.00pm.

  3. Edna O’Brian:  In conversation with  John Miller, will talk about her latest novel   ‘The Little Red Chairs’. This starts at 4.00pm.

  4. John Miller & Dolores Willis will then present am amusing presentation entitled ‘Great Eccentrics’. This commences at 6.00pm.

Hot and cold food will be available, plus a full bar. On-site parking is available at Perin’s school, or in the town car parks.