Archive for the ‘Buildings’ Category

Alresford lamb seen shopping in Minneapolis….

Yet another of the Alresford Crafts animal owners has written to keep in touch, as their white lamb has been passed on to the next generation, and is in use in Minneapolis: as the photo shows he is still fit and well, at the ripe old age of 37, and enjoying life in the USA, despite the snow!


The photo is of Giovanni Howell, taken in January 2017 while out shopping in a supermarket in Minneapolis, in Minnesota. The lamb is in a mini-trolley, or a ‘kiddies shopping kart’, a clever (or cunning) idea the supermarkets there use to encourage the younger shoppers, particularly in the chocolate biscuit aisle it seems! (Giovanni seems to have resisted the biscuits and chosen some healthy vegetables instead).

The Alresford Crafts lamb was bought in 1980 for his father, Eric Howell, when he came on a visit to Alresford with his parents: at that time their home was in Basingstoke. The lamb was possibly purchased from Pastimes in West Street (or at the Old Bakehouse in Broad Street). Gay Revi, Eric’s mother, tells that the family used to enjoy a visit to Alresford, for lunch at the Globe, which was a favourite destination.

The good news is that Giovanni seems to be a discerning shopper: the kiddies kart is pictured below still using the lamb to protect the final shopping selections in the checkout lane by the till, and there are no chocolate biscuits in sight!


The photo below from back in 1986 shows the Pastimes shop in West Street.


Alresford Christmas 2016

The Christmas trees on the shops in Alresford, organised by the Alresford Pigs, have always made the town look really special – but with the growth in the numbers of businesses and residents who subscribe to this scheme, the whole town has stepped up a gear. The trees have spread down the Dean, up Pound Hill, and up Jacklyn’s Lane, as well as to some of the out-lying parts of the town.

For 2016, several businesses, notably those in West Street, added a lot more in the way of decoration, internally and externally: and it was good to see that these seemed free of any real vandalism in the evenings.

It would be unfair not to mention that the window decorations inside the shops were also particularly attractive this year, notably in Caracoli and the Oxfam shop, and the Swan Hotel entrance was beautifully framed.

A large selection of photos for 2016, and for previous years, are shown on the FlickR album on, which is also accessible via Some of my favourites from 2016 are shown below.

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Old Alresford School in the 1960s

Mike Whitley, 50 years ago, was a student teacher at King Alfred’s College, Winchester. As a part of this course, in Autumn 1963, he spent one day a week at Old Alresford Primary School: then in 1965 he did a full-time teaching practice there, for half a term. Recently he was asked to do a presentation at Winchester University about student life at the College back then, so he dug out old photos and memories, and has been kind enough to share those relevant with us. Some of these photos can also be seen, perhaps in greater detail, on the photo memory website,

The two colour slides below show the old school building, taken from across the road, and some of the children in the school yard, at the lunch break playtime. The cars are those of the teachers.

Old Alresford CE Primary School, Hampshire

Old Alresford CE Primary School, Hampshire

Teaching practice

The photo below was on a December afternoon in 1963, and shows the afternoon PE football game, refereed by the class teacher, Mr Adams, in the field below the Southdowns National Children’s Home, which was almost next door. At this time, 45 of the pupils at the school were from Southdowns, a large proportion of the school total of 103 children. The others came from Old Alresford, and on the school bus from Wield. Mike was attached to Mr Adams’ class in 1963 (Class 3, the lower juniors, aged 7 and 8): while the boys played football, the girls had needlework indoors!

Old Alresford CE Primary School, Hampshire

In the spring term of 1965, Mike did a 4-week teaching practice period, working in the head-teacher Mr Lavis’s Class 4, which contained 24 upper juniors aged 9-11 – so this included some of his previous students. The Class 4 weekly timetables in 1965 are shown below, which Mike comments are rather formal compared to current practice!

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The school and its procedures

The old school building dated from 1846, but three further classrooms were added in stages after WW2, the most recent completed in 1963. The permanent teaching staff numbered 4, with the rector coming in to take the RE class. A peripatetic teacher, which in 1963 was Mrs Lavis, came in on Thursdays, so that he could concentrate on his administrative duties that day: she also acted as the school music teacher. Classes 3 and 4 were described above, Classes 1 and 2 were the infant classes, which also included a few of the younger 7 year olds.

The school AV equipment comprised a radio, a record player, and a film projector. As can be seen from the timetables, the BBC played a major part in the daily schedule for Class 4 at least! The students were divided into three “Houses”, or teams, named Raleigh, Drake and Nelson – interesting they had a naval flavour! Pupils won or lost house points for good or poor work or conduct. Each week a trophy went to the highest scoring house, and there was also a sports trophy. The school had no communal hall or dining hall, the children ate their school meals in a couple of the classrooms: also some of them went home for lunch. The meals were delivered from a central kitchen serving all the smaller schools, brought out in insulated metal containers.

In those days, free school milk was distributed every morning, in 1/3 pint bottles: Mike can remember the procedures with milk monitors collecting the crates and distributing the bottles, even with straws. He says this ended in 1971, so soon very few will remember the practice. One of the older classrooms in Old Alresford had a blackboard and easel, but most of the classrooms were equipped with roller blackboards – a modern, more efficient invention for presenting info to the kids.

Mike Whitley particularly commented on the effect of the large percentage of the children being from Southdowns, in that the school was very successful in gaining the confidence of all the children, and maintained a very happy and family atmosphere. The panoramic photo below, created by Mike from pictures taken on 5 December 1965, shows Southdowns on the left looking down on the school, just above the end of the pile of sticks: it is taken from the top of the field to the West of the road.


Transport from Winchester

The group of around 5 student teachers sent to New Alresford travelled by a special coach from King Alfred’s College, and were dropped off near the Bell Hotel, before going on to schools towards Alton. From here Mike and a colleague walked down Mill Hill, and across the watercress beds to Old Alresford, and the others went to the Dean school, and maybe also to Perin’s. If they were kept late at Old Alresford school, they would miss the coach pick-up and have to take the train back to Winchester, though occasionally they saved the fares by hitching a lift (Mike comments that even as students they were dressed respectably, invariably wearing college scarves and carrying a rolled umbrella and briefcase, so the car drivers seemed happy to stop!). In February 1965 Mike took this photo of those cress beds from the footpath, made into a panorama.


Other Old Alresford views

Two other pictures were supplied by Mike from the 1960s, one of the cottages at the north end of Old Alresford, from the top of the field again, and one of a dilapidated thatched barn – which he cannot locate, but it may have been along the road through Old Alresford, or along the path up to Mill Hill. Can anyone identify it?

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(C) All the photos used above are the copyright of Mike Whitley. The photo below has been supplied by, showing the school and the Basingstoke Road at around the same time.Old Alresford 046.jpg

Lawrence Wright and his Drawings

Lawrence Wright (1906-1983) was an ‘architectural perspective artist’, who lived in Alresford in his latter years. He was elected as an Associate Member of RIBA in 1930, and they record him living at 27 West Street in the 1960s. Detailed drawings of the houses and shops of West Street and on the East side of Broad Street were drawn and signed by him, in 1965. A lot of the originals of these are held in the Alresford Museum, plus some coloured prints taken from these drawings are on display in the Community Centre, in the downstairs main hall.


A coloured print of Broad St/East St, as on display in the Community Centre

Lawrence also wrote several text books describing the historical development of various architectural or domestic accessories. These included “Warm and Snug: The history of the bed” in 1962, “Home Fires Burning: The History of Domestic Heating and Cooking” in 1964, which included fireplaces. The description of Lawrence as Author of ‘Warm and Snug‘ was:

Born in Bristol in 1906, he is a well-known architectural painter. He has designed many exhibitions, and it was from one of these, a history of the bath, under the title ‘Clean and Decent’, that his first book evolved. Its reception encouraged him to write ‘Warm and Snug’.

His pièce de resistance was “Clean and Decent: The history of the bath and loo and of sundry habits, fashions & accessories of the toilet, principally in Great Britain, France & America”. My personal interest in such history was triggered when as a young man in an office on the Embankment in London, one of their facilities featured a classic blue and white china bowl, in a design more familiar on Victorian tureens and porcelain tableware, showing a country garden scene. His book was first published in 1960, but has been re-printed many times since then.

I have no knowledge of any buildings or houses where Lawrence was employed as the architect, but there are unsigned drawings in the Alresford Museum collection of his papers showing a design for the re-build of the house and shop at 5a Broad Street, on paper marked as from Nightingale, Page and Bennett, Chartered Surveyors, of Kingston-on-Thames. These are dated 1961: the shop next door at number 5 Broad Street at that time was quoted as Broad Street Fruiterers, and next door at #7, in Livingstone House, was A. Livingstone and Sons. The work obviously went ahead as it showed the shop layout as used until 2015 by the D.Gedye electrical business.


Whether he was involved with Roy Robins in the design and construction of 38, 40a and 40 West Street is not certain, but it appears that he lived opposite at number 27, in a small house on the South side of West Street: RIBA say that this was his address in 1965. This is now a listed building and private residence, situated on the corner of what is named “Lawrence Wright Passage”. Certainly, from there he could have looked out across the street at these very elegant buildings and roofs, captured in his 1965 drawing below.


The original Lawrence Wright drawing


The coloured print in the Community Centre

What immediately becomes apparent to anyone keen on historical data, is that the Lawrence Wright 1965 pictures give a great snapshot and record of the businesses present in the town centre in 1965. Plus they also show that there were far more residential buildings, than shops or business premises: although some were presumably used as Doctor’s Surgeries and for other professional services. Some, such as #40 above (now Jaga Designs), have a business sign which cannot be read from Lawrence Wright’s front of building views. There are too many drawings in the collection to reproduce them all here, but in time they will be made available on the Alresford Museum website,

West Street (North side)

The identifiable business premises are listed as:

  • 6 (Shown as a shop window with no markings).
  • 8 Eureka Fish Company
  • 10 Electrical supplier (there is an advert for Murphy radios in the window)
  • 12 The Bell Hotel
  • 14 Tobacconists plus Walls ice cream sales
  • 16 JS Stiles (later moving to become the Broad St. hardware and china shops)
  • 18 Lex Leathers
  • 20 Tobacconists (Note the ‘No Waiting’ sign, for vehicles, in the picture!)
  • 22 Reg Cutting , Antiques and Bric-a-Brac
  • 24 Ann Verity, Hair Stylist
  • 40a ‘Mollys’: apparently a Restaurant or Cafe
  • 42 Christian Bookshop
  • 56 Chemist (named as H.C.*****)
  • 58 Newsagent

For 2016 we have Susie Watson Designs, Alresford Haircare, the Naked Grape and the ex-Wedding Dress shop!

West Street (South side)

  • 1  (Unidentified shop front)
  • 7  Lloyds Bank
  • 11 The Swan Hotel
  • 13 Cycle, Motorcycle and Pram services
  • 17 Post Office
  • 19-21 House’s Stores (Players cigarettes, Ariel washing powder)
  • 23 The White House Florist, Fruiterer & Greengrocer
  • 39 Southern Electricity Service
  • 43 Co-operative Food Hall (now two modern shop buildings)
  • 47 Hankins Ltd: Garage and Petrol Pumps (now the Co-op)
  • 49 Dedman’s Grocers, Tobacconist & Newsagent

These shops look different in 2016 – Moda Rosa and Hetre!

Broad Street (East side)

  • (1 East Street) Lawrence Stationer & Tobacconist
  • 2  Horse & Groom pub
  • 4  Cubitt & West House and Land Agent
  • 6  Hobby Horse – Antiques & Bric-a-Brac
  • 12 Joseph Atkins
  • 14 Kelsall Food Markets (now Tesco)
  • 20 County Library
  • 28 Westminster Bank
  • 30 Chas Eddolls Ltd: Drapery, Clothing, Footwear & Carpets
  • 32 Tylers Wine Stores (now Pizza Express)
  • 36 Broadway Motors (John Allen) (now three modern private residences)
  • 38 (Unidentified shopfront)

What did Joseph Atkins do? Apparently he lived at 13 Edward Terrace. Next door we have the Chinese Take-Away and the Toy Shop occupies the Cubitt & West premises!

The T-Junction and Town Hall

Other pictures of interest are an unfinished sketch of the Wessex Pharmacy, the view down East Street, and a pen and ink picture created from one of Wright’s drawings of the Barclays Bank building.




Postscript – His earlier Career

Something I read once made me think that Lawrence Wright had strong links with the RIBA, which was reinforced by the comments made on the back cover of ‘Warm and Snug’, quoted in the above story. On the RIBA website, I found that the picture used to illustrate the design for the Lisboa Casino in Macao, dated 1966, is attributed to him as the artist, which confirms the book cover comment that he was a (very skilled) architectural painter. In the Author’s introduction to ‘Clean and Decent‘, he explains that the book arose after he was invited by Molly Montgomery, who ran the Building Exhibition at Olympia in the late 1950s, to organise a ‘Feature’ display stand at the show, on the theme of The History of the Bathroom. The book inevitably followed: but was a side-line, writing books was just an offshoot from his main works.

Nevertheless, one sentence from his intro to ‘Warm and Snug‘, which explains why his history does not cover the most recent 50 years, is of relevance to all modern historians: “There is no future in writing the history of the present before it is past”.

RIBA advise that he had a further book published in 1983: ‘Perspective in perspective’, published in London by Routledge & Kegan Paul.

(c) Nick Denbow 2016


Shop changes of Alresford over 30 years

There’s a lot of data available on the businesses active in the town over the past years. I did a survey of them in 1986, so thought a 2016 survey, 30 years on, would be interesting. Remarkably, there are very few of the original 1986 businesses still trading! At least under their old public facing names.

Broad Street – East side…….  1986 vs 2016




West Street – North side…….  1986 vs 2016




West Street – South side…….  1986 vs 2016






Broad Street – West side…….  1986 vs 2016



The Alresford Museum holds further survey data for earlier years, such as 1947, and 1965 – the latter via the drawings made by Lawrence Wright, which will feature in a future article. Meanwhile the Lawrence Wright drawings are on display in the Community Centre. Notably the Sun Hill Schools conducted regular surveys recording the names of businesses in the town, dating back to at least 1971 (See the story on AlresfordMemories titled ‘Local history, as recorded by Sun Hill School’, and published on 28 January 2016). School history projects relating to the town are eligible for financial support from the Arthur Stowell Fund, associated with the Alresford Museum, and administered by the New Alresford Town Trust.

(c) Nick Denbow 2016




French graves in Alresford cemetery

At the time of the Napoleonic Wars with France, the naval battles, many in the West Indies, resulted in many French prisoner of war being brought back to England. Most of the lower ranking sailors and soldiers were incarcerated in the ships known as Prison Hulks, moored in Portsmouth harbour. Some of the sailors volunteered to serve on board British ships, rather than being left to rot in these prisons, according to many of the novels of the time.

But the higher ranking officers were allocated to one of the eleven parole towns around Hampshire, one of which was Alresford. The Hampshire History website tells us that they were billeted around the town at what was considered suitable housing. They were allowed certain freedoms but their movements were restricted. They could not venture more than a mile from the centre of town, nor could they go out after dark. Local residents were rewarded for informing upon the prisoners should they break their restrictive conditions. It was in the interests of the prisoners not to break their parole as the alternative was to be incarcerated on the prison hulks that lay in Portsmouth Harbour.


There are five marked graves in Alresford, opposite the West door of St John’s Church, under the cherry tree and against the wall of the Swan Hotel extension, where some of these soldiers who died in Alresford are buried: all the gravestones have black outlining at the edge, and have black print. In fact one grave is of the wife of a Captain in the Imperial Artillery Corps, who accompanied him on his assignment. The French army did not discourage women from accompanying their lovers and husbands into war. Some found their way onto the battlefield itself and were found wearing uniform jackets and trousers. The grave in Alresford is that of Marie Louise V Fournier, who died 11th April 1812, aged 44 years. She was the wife of Francois Bertet.



The other four prisoners whose graves can be seen are as follows:

  • Joseph Hypolite Riouffe, died 12th December 1810, aged 28 years. Serving as Marine in the Imperial and Royale.


  • Pierre Garnier, died 31st July 1810. Serving as a Lieutenant in the French Infantry 66th Regiment.


  • C Lavau, died 23rd December 1811, aged 29 years. An officer of commerce.


  • Jean de Thiulle, died 6th April 1812, aged 51 years. A Lieutenant in the Artillery.


The parish registers record further unmarked burials of other prisoners, not all of them Napoleonic soldiers:

  • 1794: St Aubin, a French prisoner on parole.
  • 1796:  July 11th,  Baptiste Guillaume Jousemme, aged 21 years, born in Castillones, a prisoner on parole.
  • 1803:  June 27th, Thomas Monclerc, 42 years, a French servant.
  • 1809:  December 12th, Jean Charbonier, a French prisoner.

A plaque positioned in front of the marked graves above explains the history of the prisoners.


It also points out the crucifix engraved in the wall above the West entrance to the Church, which is dated at around 1050.



The Tichborne Dole

March 25th is ‘Lady Day’, the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed VirginIt is also a day of festivities in Tichborne, Hampshire, when donations of flour, which have been blessed by the local parish priest, are handed out from the front of Tichborne House — and, a time when, once more, the villagers serve to abate the terror of an age-old curse!

This is the introduction from “FreakyFolkTales”, on, who are one of many re-tellers of the story. The origins are said to be from around 1180, when Lady Mabella was married to Sir Roger Tichborne: in the 12th Century, Lady Day was the official first day of the next year. Sir Roger was not known for his benevolence. Lady Mabella lay on her deathbed: she was concerned that after her death the poor of the Tichborne village would no longer receive her donations. So she suggested to Sir Roger that he would honour her bequest, that the poor and needy would receive a gallon of flour, annually in the future, after she had died. He was not so sure, so he took a burning firebrand from the fire, and said “The flour from all the land Lady Marbella can crawl round before this brand dies out will be the source of this bequest!”

The “Crawls”


The upper half of the “Crawls” field

The fields around Tichborne House are fairly undulating, and have changed a little. It is difficult to identify the exact area that was the subject of this bequest: but the fields in question are well known to Alresford residents for the annual Agricultural Show in September, when several are now used as huge carparks, quite apart from the showgrounds. Lady Mabella could not walk unaided, so instead of walking she had to crawl. In all, Mabella managed to crawl around a reported 23 acres, returning to the house before the firebrand died away. The field to the North of Tichborne House, beside the road to Alresford, is still referred to as “The Crawls” – this is used as the Alresford gate Car Park on the Show Day. It would seem logical that Lady Mabella would have started her route Eastwards from the house, up the current avenue to the Alresford road initially.

The Tichborne Family in the 1600s

The legend was handed down over the centuries, and was certainly reported and acted upon in the Seventeenth Century. The Tichborne family were staunch Catholics, and at the same time Royalists. There is a private (Catholic) chapel at Tichborne House: in the Church of St Andrew at Tichborne, the North aisle is virtually unique in that it is used as a Catholic chapel within an Anglican Church, and it was a mark of the favour endowed upon Sir Benjamin Tichborne (High Sheriff of Hampshire) around 1600, that this was allowed by King James, who visited Tichborne several times. Previously, in Elizabeth the First’s reign, Chidiock Tichborne had been executed for his part in the Babington plot against Elizabeth.

Little is known specifically about the Tichborne Dole event in 1644, when the Royalist army was bedded down in Alresford on 27 March, having come from Winchester and forestalled the advance of the Parliamentary cavalry from the East. But the Dole would probably have been distributed as usual, we assume, on 25 March. After a few days in Alresford, Lord Hopton and the Royalists fought William Waller at the battle of Cheriton in the fields South of Alresford, on 29 March. Sir Henry Tichborne was the owner of Tichborne House at this point, and fought with the Royalists at the battle of Cheriton, alongside two of his Uncles. Waller and the Parliamentarians won the battle and the Royalists retreated to Old Basing, and presumably to The Vyne, north of Basingstoke: in the battle the Cavalier Henry Sandys, grandson of William, Fourth Lord Sandys, of The Vyne estate, had been killed. As for Sir Henry, by tradition, he hid in “The Tichborne Oak” to escape capture by the Parliamentarians.

Anti-Catholic (and Jesuit) feeling grew strong in the latter parts of the 17th Century, and was probably stirred up to avoid a separate revolt from the poor, after the plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. This culminated in the fictitious Popish plot of 1678-81, where many Catholics, including Sir Henry Tichborne, were imprisoned, in his case till 1685.

The Flemish painting


Prior to this imprisonment, Sir Henry Tichborne, who was well travelled across Europe, commissioned a painting by the Flemish artist Giles Tilburg. This showed himself and his family generously distributing the dole to the poor, but mainly to the residents of Tichborne, in 1670. In these times the dole was distributed as loaves of bread. The picture shows the house as it was then, mainly a Tudor mansion, but the massive tower was older, and probably as old as the 13th century. This house survived until 1803, but more of that later.

The picture in the painting shows in the centre Sir Henry Tichborne, then 44 yrs old, leading his sister-in-law Miss Francis Arundel by the hand: behind them is Lady Mary (his wife). The gentleman in black is the family chaplain, the Rev Father Robert Hill, a Jesuit. Next to him stands the family nurse Constancia Atkins, and the two women behind her are Lady Tichborne’s maid (Mrs Chitty) and their housekeeper (Mrs Robinson). The little boy pointing to the basket of loaves is another Henry, the Baronet’s eldest son. The little girl carrying loaves in her apron is Mary Tichborne, who became a Benedictine Nun at Pontoise, near Paris. The house servants are mainly on the left, and the people on the right are the villagers, many of whom can be identified from the key that goes with the picture. The general poor are not shown as present….

The painting itself is the subject of a current study by Prof John Walter of the University of Essex, who gave a lecture early in 2016 to the Winchester Historical + Archaeological Society on the subject. The picture was possibly a political message, to counter the common distrust and promote a better image of the Catholic land-owning aristocracy. At this time the Catholics, after the persecution in England, had closed in on themselves, and there was a lot of intermarriage, eg between Tichborne and Arundel etc. He was the fourth Baron, so a good target for the gossiping London papers: but they never mentioned about the Dole. The painting was suggesting the Catholic landed classes were generous, and helped the poor, whereas other land-owners had given up such good works. Indeed the painting is the first real record of the existence of the Dole. However it is fair to say that other landowners, and even some Churches, had similar dole ceremonies for the poor throughout the 16th,17th and 18th Centuries.

There is no previous written record relating to the Dole legend or the annual distribution events known, even in the Winchester archives recorded over those years: nothing has been found. Within the family no early records survived, but this was possibly because many of Sir Henry’s own records were burned by his friends when he was imprisoned in the Tower, presumably to avoid them being used in evidence against him. Within the family, it is known that when Sir Henry was travelling in Europe, in a letter home to his son from Italy he told them the legend of Lady Mabella. Possibly this triggered the idea for the painting, and also made him resurrect the Dole more strongly, if it had lapsed – in the 1660s the Government introduced the Hearth tax to raise yet more money in taxation, but most people were very poor, and a third of Tichborne villagers were too poor to pay any tax. The later issue of a gallon of flour would keep an adult supplied with bread, the staple of the diet, for maybe four months.

Prof Walter also discussed the possibility that Giles Tilburg never actually visited Tichborne. The painting was similar to other Flemish paintings of events where alms were distributed to the Poor. The picture is also reminiscent of a Church service, in the open air, and this could also have been a hidden message.

The “Curse” of the Legend

Lady Mabella did not trust her husband, or his successors, to carry out his promise, so the legend records that she added a curse onto any of her successors who failed to distribute her charitable dole. The penalty quoted in 1180 was that the family would have a generation of seven sons born to the house followed by a generation of seven daughters, and the family name would die out. In addition the family house would fall down.

Over 100 years after the painting of the picture, the new Sir Henry then owning and living in the house in 1790 had seven sons: they were Henry, Benjamin, Edward, James, John, George and Roger. Apparently the Dole Day had become a very rowdy affair, attracting the dissolute and dishonest from far and wide. The people attending included gypsies, and a travelling fair. House accounts suggested that in 1791 there were 1700 loaves distributed: if the loaves ran out, the tradition was that the late-comers were given two pence each, and one year these payments amounted to £8 (ie they paid out cash to 1920 people). The local landowners and magistrates were not amused, and demanded that the Dole be stopped, which happened in 1794 or 1796, and ceased totally from 1800 through to the 1830s.

However, Prof John Walter comments that there is no actual record of any Magistrate’s order to stop the Dole. The Tichborne Vestry records report on the rising costs of ‘Poor Relief’, and there were two years of very poor harvests in the 1790s. Possibly the Dole was too popular because of the poor harvests, and too expensive for the landowner, Sir Henry. He was undoubtedly hard up, as reports from travellers record that the house looked to be in decay, and indeed in 1803 parts of it fell down.


A new smaller house was built to replace the old house. In 1821, the younger Sir Henry ascended to the Baronetcy, and had seven daughters. This meant that the Baronetcy, and house, should pass to the first nephew, who was known as Roger Tichborne. Of the six brothers of Henry, George died aged 13, and John died unmarried in 1806 in India. Benjamin died in 1810 in China, unmarried. Roger married, but died without children. Edward had one son, Henry, who died in 1835, aged 6: Edward, who had changed his name to Doughty, then re-instituted the ceremony of the Dole. However this was under new conditions, the dole would be given to restricted claimants, ie residents of the Parishes of Tichborne, Cheriton, and Lane End, and would be in the form of 1lb or 10 oz loaves. It was later amended to be in the form of flour, but the date for this change is unknown.

The remaining son, James, had married in 1827, and had one son, Roger Charles, born before the Dole was re-instated: he was lost at sea off South America in 1845. James had a second son, Alfred Joseph, who was born after the restoration of the Dole. Maybe because of this he survived, and inherited the ownership of the Estate and Baronetcy. He is the great-grandfather of the late Sir Anthony Doughty Tichborne, who was the fourteenth Baronet.

But wait, all was not easy. Enter someone claiming to be Roger Charles, in 1854, no longer lost at sea, but returning home as The Tichborne Claimant.

The Tichborne Claimant

Roger Charles had been lost at sea in 1854, but his mother, the Dowager Lady Tichborne, believed he was still alive, and placed adverts in newspapers offering a reward for the discovery of her missing son. Eventually in around 1866, news came from Australia that he had been found. img477The man who turned up was no longer the slim youthful Roger but an enormously fat man in middle age. Nevertheless the mother accepted this man as her ‘missing son’, who claimed the family fortune. He was backed by some villagers, notably Mr Helsby of Tichborne Villa. The residents of Tichborne did have some benefit, as while the Claimant was acting the role of Roger Charles he also distributed dole, in a separate ceremony to that at Tichborne House. The press had a field day, as the rest of the family gathered together to fight the claim: it was said that 40,000 extra copies were printed of London papers reporting these events.

A civil law suit eventually followed in 1871, which lasted 103 days, and cost the wider family around £90,000. The Tichborne Claimant lost the civil case, and was then subjected to a subsequent criminal trial for perjury in 1874. This criminal trial lasted 10 months, the longest in legal history. The Claimant was named as Arthur Orton, son of a Wapping butcher, who more recently had worked as a butcher in Wagga Wagga, Australia. He was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Bankruptcy looms!

The consequence was that the Tichborne Dole became a tourist attraction from 1874 on, making problems for the Estate and the village because of all the extra visitors. By the end of the Century the family are in the Bankruptcy Court, as a result of the civil case costs and disruption. But fortune smiles, and a wealthy relative in the Doughty family dies with no other heirs. To claim the estates they have to change their name to Doughty-Tichborne.

In 1911 the Doughty land in Lincolnshire is sold. In 1920 the Doughty Estate covering large parts of London is split into four lots and sold – this comprised maybe 500 houses and several large Hotels in Central London. The West Tisted estate is also sold. With this enormous wealth the family are the paparazzi celebrities of the era, they spend money on a yacht in the Med, rent a villa in the South of France, buy a share in a gambling club etc. Relations are particularly good with the Daily Mirror.

In the 1920s the magazine Autocar organized a run down to Tichborne, and in the 1930s cycling clubs made it their objective. In 1940 there was the largest attendance ever for the Dole ceremony: the Dole had continued all through WW1. In WW2, the Government decided that the Dole typified what the US thought of as ancient English tradition, and reflected the image of the “countryside” of “Lovable England”. So it had to be continued for the morale of the troops and to win US public opinion over, and bring US Forces onto our side to help. The Canadian Black Watch were billeted in the house at the time, and as far as is known they helped the Dole continue.

After the war there was bread rationing, and in 1947, the MAFF said “No” to the dole distribution! Through his contacts with the Daily Mirror Sir Anthony appealed for unwanted bread ration coupons to be sent in, which were supplied in large numbers, and the distribution went ahead.


In 1965 Sir Anthony died, and with three daughters – shown in the photo – the Baronetcy ceased, and the name did die out. The remaining family still owned about 1000 acres.

The Dole from the 1970s on

copy Brian Champion Studios

The Dole crowd in modern times, by Brian Champion

The dole continued and was distributed to the parishioners of Tichborne and Cheriton throughout the 1970s. This was at the time when many new houses were being built around Alresford, in Sun Hill and along Tichborne Down, before the Alresford bypass was built. Presumably in the planning stages for the bypass and road system, the Parish boundaries were reconsidered. Prior to the 1970s, the Tichborne Parish extended to include parts of the village of Itchen Stoke, and also the road known as Tichborne Down. This meant that the houses on Tichborne Down, including the new houses built on Bennet’s Farm were all part of Tichborne Parish. Clive and Jacky Earthy in Corfe Close, and Joan and Roy Wimbleton, in Carisbrooke Close, and their families, all qualified, as they were among the first new residents here. While they were able to attend the Dole distributions in the 1972-74 period. Mary Kier, now a Cheriton resident, lived in Itchen Stoke at that time, and therefore qualified: I am grateful to Mary for a view of the sheet distributed in those earlier times explaining the Blessing of the Flour and the ‘official’ family version of the Dole legend about Lady Mabella.

Sometime after the early 1970s the boundaries changed. Surprisingly, these changes did not follow the exact route of the bypass, so to many it may come as a surprise that the houses to the South of Spring Way in Alresford are still in Tichborne Parish. I assume that this means that the new residents in the houses in Bakewell Gardens in 2016 all qualified for the Tichborne Dole, and obviously they are expected to bake their flour well!

In 1985-6, as reported in the story about George Watson on AlresfordMemories, the painting of the Tichborne Dole of 1670 was cleaned and spruced up to be sent to Washington as a part of the English Country Treasure House Exhibition, in the US National Gallery of Art.

Dole 3The 2016 Dole

In 2016 the Dole ceremony took place on 25 March, which was also Good Friday. So it seemed the local priest doing the Blessing had a very busy day, and rushed off. Presumably it was the current owners of Tichborne House, Anthony Louden and his family, who distributed the Dole from the big wooden trough, with most of the work done very efficiently by their three children. The names of those eligible were read out from an official register, to summon them to come up with their plastic bags, or other containers, but there were others available for those who forgot. Only a few of the reserve sacks of flour had to be added to the trough, as the attendance was not as high as maybe was expected, on a Bank Holiday day. When all official residents had collected their flour, the remainder in the trough was distributed to anyone present who wished to take a memento home. A photo story of these proceedings is given in the associated FlickR web album, on the website



A History of Tichborne by E Roberts and E Crockford

Tichborne, A Village History, by G Timmins

Prof John Walter, University of Essex

The Tichborne Dole explanation sheet, from the 1950s

Wikipedia and other websites.