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


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/


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

One response to this post.

  1. Hello, interesting article on old Alresford. I spent many a time staying with my grandmother who was housekeeper to a Lady Haddow, I am not sure if this was my nickname for her or if it was real because I cannot find it anywhere when researching. However I remember a huge Victorian kitchen garden, cutting flower areas, and lawns, plus splendid rose gardens, and I remember playing amongst the water cress beds. Leaving the by the big courtyard where trades delivered I could go left to the small village green or turn right up a slight hill and used to love gazing at the small chapel/mausoleum to the Virgin Mary sat in what looked like a meadow on the side of the road. Would you have any recollection what the house was called, its address, is it still there? Any history. I seem to think also a relative or friend of my grandfather lived in a tiny house to the left of the green, a small row of cottages that we visited for tea sometimes. This would have been around 1951-56. Would be lovely to hear from you if you know anything.


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