Bentworth

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This article is about the Hampshire village. For other uses, see Bentworth (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 51°09′23″N 1°03′02″W / 51.15643°N 1.05063°W / 51.15643; -1.05063

Bentworth
Bentworth spring blossom.JPG
Bentworth village centre in spring, the Star Inn in the distance and Ivalls Cottage on the right
Bentworth is located in Hampshire
Bentworth
Bentworth
 Bentworth shown within Hampshire
Population 466 (2001)
OS grid reference SU664401
    - London  44 mi (71 km) ENE 
Civil parish Bentworth
District East Hampshire
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Alton
Postcode district GU34
Dialling code 01420
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament East Hampshire
List of places
UK
England
Hampshire

Bentworth is a village and large civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England, about 3.6 miles (5.8 km) northwest of the town of Alton. It lies at the northern edge of the South Downs National Park, a region recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The parish covers a large area of 3,763 acres (15.23 km2), of which about seven percent is woodland. The Civil Parish of Bentworth contains several hamlets including Wivelrod near to which is one of the highest points in Hampshire at a Spot Height of 217 m (712 ft)above sea level. According to the 2001 census, Bentworth has a population of 466. In 2013, Bentworth won the Hampshire Village of the Year Award.

The village of Bentworth can be traced back to Saxon times, and Roman remains have been found in the area. After the Norman conquest in 1066, the manor of Bentworth was not named in the Domesday Survey of 1086 but it was listed as part of the Odiham Hundred. Bentworth served a role in the Second World War as children's home was built in the village for those who had been evacuated from London during the London Blitz. In recent years, Bentworth has grown, with the construction of several houses as well as the post-war development in Glebe Fields.

The parish contains several large houses including Bentworth Hall, Hall Place, Burkham House, Gaston Grange and Thedden Grange. The 500-acre (2.0 km2) Bentworth Hall Bentworth Hall estate was split up as a result of various sales from the 1950s. St Mary's Church (a Grade II listed building) lies at the centre of the village and has parts that date from the late 11th century.

The village has two public houses; the Star Inn and the Sun Inn (previously a third called the Moon Inn, but this was destroyed in 1952), a primary school, and its own cricket club. Bentworth formerly shared a railway station with the adjacent village of Lasham, the Bentworth and Lasham railway station on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway until the railway's closure in 1932. The nearest railway station is now 3.6 miles (5.8 km) east of the village, at Alton.

Village name[edit]

The village name has been spelt in different ways, including: Bentewurda or Bintewurda (used in the 12th century) and Bynteworth (used in approximately the 15th century).[1] The original meaning of the name Bent-worth may have been a place of cultivated land, or a way through land such as woodland.[2]

History[edit]

Prehistoric and Roman times[edit]

Farmland near Childer Hill, Bentworth, showing the "rolling downland" typical of the area

The route between the Roman town of Silchester to the north of Basing, and the Roman settlement of Vindomis, just east of the modern town of Alton, passed through the Bentworth area (the road today being the A339).[3][4]

Prehistoric remains found in the parish of Bentworth include a Stone Age implement discovered in 1942 in a field near Childer Hill, east of the village centre on the way to Thedden. The implement is now featured in Newbury Museum.

A Bronze Age cremation urn was found in 1955 just north of Nancole Copse, about 4 km north of St Mary's church.[5] The urn is now in the Curtis Museum in Alton, together with a bronze Roman coin of Valentinian I that was found in a garden about 1 km south of St Mary's near Tinker's Lane.[5] Belgic pottery and animal bones were found in 1954 at Holt End between Bentworth and Medstead.[5] Pottery, bone objects, spindle-whorls (stone discs with a hole in the middle used in spinning thread) and fragments of Roman roofing tiles were found at Wivelrod House between Bentworth and the village of Beech.[5]

Medieval times[edit]

The Norman King Henry I, from the Chronicle of Matthew Paris

Bentworth was not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey that was ordered by the first Norman king, William the Conqueror. However, the Domesday entry for the Hundred of Odiham mentions that it had a number of outlying parishes including Bentworth.[6] Soon after Domesday, Bentworth became an independent manor in its own right. In the year 1111 it was given by King Henry I "Beauclerc", the youngest son of William the Conqueror, together with four other English manors, to the diocese of Rouen and Geoffrey, Count of Anjou.[7] When King John began losing his possessions in Normandy he took back the ownership of many manors, including Bentworth. He then ceded the manor of Bentworth in 1207–8 to the Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches.[8][9] However, the manor was returned to the Archbishops of Rouen, who successively held the manor until 1316, when Edward II appointed Peter de Galicien custodian of the manor.[10]

Some time after 1280 a new stone hall-house was built in Bentworth, possibly by the constable of Farnham castle, William de Aula.[11] It is a typical medieval hall-house and has been variously called Bentworth Hall (until 1832) and Bentworth Manor House. Today it is known as Hall Place. In 1330 Matilda de Aula was given permission to have a private chapel at Bentworth Hall, and the remains of this building can be seen today immediately to the southwest of Hall Place. In 1336 ownership of the manor of Bentworth passed to William Melton, Archbishop of York.[10] Upon his death in 1340 he left his possessions to his nephew William de Melton, son of his brother Henry.

In 1348, William de Melton obtained King Edward III's permission to give his manor to William Edendon, Bishop of Winchester. The ownership of the manor of Bentworth was then passed by marriage to the Windsor family, who had been constables of Windsor Castle. However, the Bentworth Hall estate was evidently returned to the Melton family, because it is mentioned among his possessions in a document dated 1362–3. It then passed to his son, Sir William de Melton.[10] Sir William's son, John de Melton, who inherited the house in 1399 and was recorded as owner of the manor of Bentworth in 1431.[10][12] He died in 1455, and was succeeded by his son (d. 1474), then his grandson John Melton.[13] The manor of Bentworth remained in possession of the Windsor family for at least one hundred and fifty years.[10]

Elizabethan to Georgian times[edit]

In 1590, Henry Windsor (1562–1605), the 5th Lord Windsor, sold the "sub-manor of Bentworth" to the Hunt family, who had been tenants since the beginning of that century.[10] Ownership passed in 1610 to Sir James Woolveridge of Odiham and in 1651 to Thomas Turgis, a wealthy London merchant.[10] His son, also Thomas, was described as one of the richest commoners in England and in 1705 he left the manor of Bentworth to his relative William Urry, of Sheat Manor, Isle of Wight.[10]

A map showing the parish of Bentworth in 1811

In 1777 the Urry descendants were his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, who married two Catholic brothers, Basil and William Fitzherbert of Swynnerton Hall, Staffordshire.[10] Their sister-in-law was Maria Fitzherbert, the secret wife of the Prince Regent, later King George IV.[14] In about 1800, Mary Fitzherbert (who had eleven children), became owner of Bentworth Manor and Manor Farm (now Hall Place).[10]

19th century to the Second World War[edit]

In 1832, the Bentworth Hall estate was sold at auction at Garraway’s Coffee House in London by the Fitzherbert family to Roger Staples Horman Fisher for about £6000. Almost immediately he started building the present Bentworth Hall.[15] The present Bentworth Hall is located about a mile south of the old hall at 51°8′52″N 1°3′0″W / 51.14778°N 1.05000°W / 51.14778; -1.05000, some 500 metres east of the Bentworth–Medstead road and the hamlet of Holt End at the end of an 800-metre private drive.

The original Bentworth Hall (now Hall Place) c. 1890, the remains of the chapel (c. 1330) on the right

In 1848 the Bentworth Hall estate was sold to Jeremiah Robert Ives, including the Old Manor House (now Hall Place) and the post-1832 Bentworth Hall.[16] The Ives family later included the author George Cecil Ives (see later) who lived for a time at Bentworth Hall with his widowed mother, Emma.[17]

Mr Hooker the Bentworth carrier, c. 1880

In 1852 the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) opened a railway station in Alton, connecting to London via Farnham and Woking.[18] In 1901 the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway opened with Bentworth and Lasham station to the north of Bentworth village.[19] In 1870–72, the Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales by John Marius Wilson described Bentworth as follows:

Bentworth is a village and parish in Alton district, Hants. The village stands 3½ miles WNW of Alton r. station, and had a post office under Alton. The parish comprises 3,688 acres. Real property, £4,091. Pop., 647. Houses, 123. George Withers, the poet; sold property in Bentworth at the outbreak of the civil war (1642), to raise a troop of horse. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £760, Patron, the Rev. Mr. Mathews. There is a dissenting Chapel.[20]
The north side of Bentworth village green in 1905, looking north. The Star Inn is off the picture to the right

In 1897, Emma Ives died and ownership of the Bentworth Hall estate passed to her son Colonel Gordon Maynard Gordon-Ives who had in 1890 built and lived in Gaston Grange. After his mother died he continued to live there, leasing Bentworth Hall to W. G. Nicholson, a Member of Parliament.

In 1905 a telegraph office was operated by W. Payne in what was later the Bentworth village shop in Church Street, opposite the playing field to the north of St Mary's school.[9][21]

Colonel Gordon-Ives died 8 September 1907 and the Bentworth Hall estate passed to his son, Cecil Maynard Gordon-Ives, a Captain in the Scots Guards in the 1914-18 war, who occupied it until his death on 23 July 1923 (see the section on "Memorials" for a photo of the Gordon-Ives family plaque inside Bentworth Church on the north wall).[22]

The Bentworth Hall Estate (which at the time comprised 479 acres) was then offered for sale by John Wood & Co in 1924 and again by them in 26 June 1930, when an A. Willis purchased it.[9] Shortly after Willis' purchase, Major John Arthur Pryor lived at Bentworth Hall until the estate was taken over by the military during the Second World War.[23]

Second World War[edit]

The villages of Bentworth and Lasham both played roles in the Second World War.

In late 1940, a children's home was built in Drury Lane in Bentworth for those who had been evacuated from London during the London Blitz.[24]

As the war progressed there was a need for more airfields in the South of England, and Lasham Airfield was built north of Bentworth in 1942. The airfield was built on high ground between the adjacent village of Lasham and a historic avenue of trees ("The Avenue") that had been planted in 1809 by the Jervoise family (who own the Herriard Estate today) to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of King George III.[25] Until 1942 the Basingstoke-Alton road passed through Lasham village but its route north of Lasham was needed for the airfield and the road was diverted to the West towards Bentworth, today being the A339.

Payne's Telegraph Office c. 1905, later the Bentworth Village shop opposite the School playing field

In June 1942, it is reported that a bomb fell in the field north of St Mary's church.

Later in 1942, Thedden Grange was used as a prisoner of war camp until 1944, and was known as 'Fisher's Camp'.[26]

As with many country houses, Bentworth Hall was requisitioned for war use and a number of organisations were based there. In 1941 it was used by the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organization (MNBDO) and later it was an out-station of the Royal Navy's Haslar Hospital in Portsmouth, the bedrooms being used as wards.[27] Later it was occupied by officers from the airfield at Lasham (probably as an Officers Mess), one commander keeping an aircraft in a field towards Medstead and using it as transport to Lasham Airfield. Before the invasion of Normandy (D-Day), Nissen Huts were built in the woods to the south west of Bentworth Hall and troops were accommodated there before being taken south to embark for the invasion.[28]

Post-war[edit]

After the war, there was a need for more houses and the council estates of Glebe Fields and Glebe Close were built in early 1946. The name "Glebe" is because the land was originally owned by the church.[29]

Two Berens bears at the entrance to the Bentworth Hall drive, between the two lodge houses

In 1947, the Bentworth Hall estate was bought by Major Herbert Cecil Benyon Berens, who was a director of Hambros bank in London from 1968.[30] In 1950, Major Berens built two new lodge houses at the junction of the drive to Bentworth Hall with the main road through the village towards Medstead. The Berens Family crest included a bear, and when Major Berens acquired the Bentworth Hall estate, carvings of bears were put up in various places. Two can be seen at the entrance to the Bentworth Hall drive, between the two lodge houses.

In 1951, the Moon Inn on Drury Lane was destroyed by a fire along with the children's home.[31] Later, parts of the Bentworth Hall estate were sold to local farms, and some clearing of trees and hedges produced larger fields that were easier to crop.

Major Berens died at Bentworth Hall on 27 October 1981 and after this the remaining estate was put up for sale.[32] It was first offered as a single property and then as several, Bentworth Hall and its outbuildings being divided into a number of separate dwelling units, which is the arrangement today.

More recently, Bentworth won the Hampshire Village of the Year in 2013.[33] Contributing factors to this included Bentworth's two pubs, dedicated First World War cemetery, Bentworth Blues Festival, various bus stops and "outstanding examples" of wildlife.[34]

Geography and climate[edit]

Map showing location in relation to major towns in southern England

Bentworth village and parish lies on high downland about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of the town of Alton and about 8 miles south of Basingstoke, just west of the A339 road. By road, Bentworth lies 9.4 miles south of Basingstoke, 16.7 miles northeast of Winchester and 32 miles north of Portsmouth.[35] The parish covers an area of 3,763 acres (15.23 km2), of which about 280 acres (1.1 km2) are woodland.[10] The elevation of the ground at Bentworth church is 574 feet (175 m) and the highest point in the parish is 2.5 km to the south at Wivelrod is 712 feet (217 m), making it one of the highest points in Hampshire.[36][37] The soil is clay and loam, the subsoil chalk; the chief crops are wheat, oats, and turnips.[10]

The lower ground to the south-east of Bentworth and to the south of the nearby villages of Lasham and Shalden drains towards the River Wey which rises to the surface on the west side of Alton.[38] Down the road to Medstead near Hall Place (the pre-1832 Bentworth Manor or Hall) is the village duckpond and the cottages opposite have a date of 1733. Such names as Colliers Wood and Nancole Copse in the parish point to the early operations of the charcoal burners, the colliers of the Middle Ages.[10] Other woods in the area include Gaston Wood, Childer Hill Copse, Miller's Wood, Thedden Copse, Well Copse, Binster Hill Wood, North Wood, Binney Copse, Wadgett's Copse, Bylander's Copse, Redens Copse, Nancole Copse, Weasel Wood, Widgell Copse, South Lease Copse, Stubbins Copse and Mayhew's Wood.[35] The names of Windmill Field and Mill Piece indicate the site of one or more ancient mills.[10]

Wheat and oil-seed rape fields beside the footpath near Powells Farm

Because Bentworth lies on higher ground, its temperatures are therefore lower than in the valleys and on the coast. Due to the proximity to the sea, in winds with a southerly component, humidity is higher and cloud bases are lower than further inland. In summer when cumulus (convection) cloud is present, in the late afternoon the sea breeze occasionally reaches the area with a consequent change of wind to south and an increase in humidity. The annual average (mean) temperature is approximately 19 °C (66.2 °F) and shows the usual seasonal and diurnal variation. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) and 2 °C (35.6 °F). June and July are the warmest months with average daily maxima around 25.5 °C (77.9 °F).[39]

Administration[edit]

Left: The Hundred of Odiham is highlighted in white. Right: Boundaries of the Civil Parish of Bentworth in 2012

The Civil Parish of Bentworth (Bentworth CP) has an area of 3,763 acres (1,523 ha). The Civil Parish, starting to the north and working clockwise, extends from north of Burkham House, then runs south east along the A339, turns south to Thedden Grange and the hamlet of Wivelrod, then west to north of Medstead and north again to Ashley Farm and back to the Burkham area. Historically, Bentworth's parish was considerably larger than it is today, with nearby settlements like Bradley, Beech, Moundsmere, Medstead and Lower Wield incorporated under the parish of Bentworth. Even though the parish of Bentworth has lost a lot of land over the years, the parish gained a further 95 acres (38 ha) in 1991 along with and regained Home Farm from the parish of Bradley.[40]

Bentworth was the largest parish within the Hundred of Odiham, after Odiham itself. At the time of the Domesday Survey the area of the later Hundred of Odiham were included in two separate hundreds, Odiham and Hefedele (also known as Edefele and Efedele). The former comprised Lasham and Shalden and half a hide which had been taken from the nearby village of Preston Candover,[41] and the latter included Odiham, Winchfield, Elvetham, Dogmersfield, and a former parish named Berchelei.[42] For the manors of Bentworth, Greywell, Hartley Wintney, Liss, Sherfield-upon-Loddon, and Weston Patrick, there are no entries in the Survey, but they were all probably included in the large manor of Odiham.[43]

Villages and hamlets[edit]

Within the Bentworth parish are several hamlets, the largest of which is Burkham to the north of the village. Other hamlets include Wivelrod to the southeast, Holt End to the south, Thedden to the east, Ashley to the west and Tickley to the north.

Ashley[edit]

Ashley (51°9′25″N 1°4′28″W / 51.15694°N 1.07444°W / 51.15694; -1.07444) is a small hamlet and farm at the western corner of the Civil Parish of Bentworth, towards the village of Lower Wield. Before border changes in 1994, Ashley was in the Civil Parish of Wield and part of the Winchester City Council area.[44] It is now in the area of the East Hampshire District Council (EHDC).

Burkham[edit]

Rural scenery near Burkham

Burkham (also written as Brocham (14th century); Barkham (16th century); Berkham and Burcum (18th century) (51°10′44″N 1°4′15″W / 51.17889°N 1.07083°W / 51.17889; -1.07083) is a hamlet on the north side of the parish of Bentworth about 3 kilometres northwest of Bentworth church. It was first mentioned as part of the Manor of Bentworth in documents of the Archbishop of Rouen around 1115, in which it is described as a 'berewite' (an outlying estate) of Bentworth Manor.

At the north end of the hamlet is the Georgian building of Burkham House.[45] This was first recorded in a document dated 1784 in which there was a reference to a "Manor or Mansion House of Burkham", owned by Thomas Coulthard (1756–1811). Burkham House was acquired in 1882 by Arthur Frederick Jeffreys, later Member of Parliament for Basingstoke.[10] Ownership was retained by the Jefferys family until 1965 when the estate was put up for sale.

The Home Farm area consists of 339 acres (137 ha) of farmland, copse and uncultivated land. Part of this area between Burkham and Bentworth was bought by the Woodland Trust and opened to the public in 1991.[46] The Trust planted new trees between Wigdell Copse and Nancole Copse, and the area is well used by walkers and explorers.

Holt End and New Copse[edit]

Holt End (51°8′30″N 1°3′50″W / 51.14167°N 1.06389°W / 51.14167; -1.06389) is an area of Bentworth to the south towards Medstead. The word Holt means "a small grove of trees, copse, or wood",[47] and Holt End thus means the end of a wood. Further down the road to Medstead is "New Copse" (named after the wood between here and Medstead).[48] Here, a road called Jennie Green Lane branches off the main Bentworth-Medstead road and runs east towards the east end of Medstead and Beech.

Thedden[edit]

Thedden Grange

Thedden (51°8′48″N 1°1′26″W / 51.14667°N 1.02389°W / 51.14667; -1.02389) is part of the parish of Bentworth between the villages of Bentworth and Beech. Thedden Grange is about 2.5 kilometres southeast of Bentworth church and is a country house that in the past was part of the Bentworth Manor estate. During World War II Thedden Grange was used as a prisoner of war camp and was known as Fisher's Camp. Thedden Grange is just inside the civil parish of Beech but the rest of the hamlet of Thedden is within the civil parish of Bentworth.[49]

Wivelrod[edit]

Wivelrod (51°8′28″N 1°2′9″W / 51.14111°N 1.03583°W / 51.14111; -1.03583) is a hamlet in the south-east corner of the parish of Bentworth. It is the highest settlement in Hampshire. Wivelrod was mentioned in documents dating 1259 and there are tumuli and burial mounds around Wivelrod Hill, near the present-day Alton Abbey.[50] In the 18th century Wivelrod was part of the Bentworth Hall estate and a part was sold in 1832 when the estate was bought by Roger Staples Horman Fisher.[51] A spot height of 217 m (712 ft) is 600m South of Wivelrod on the Beech-Medstead road and is one of the highest points in Hampshire.

Notable landmarks[edit]

St Mary's Church and war memorial[edit]

St Mary's Church, from the north-east
Church interior

The Church of St Mary is at the centre of the village immediately east of the school at 51°9′29″N 1°3′0″W / 51.15806°N 1.05000°W / 51.15806; -1.05000. It is located about 150 metres north east of the Star Inn and the small roundabout on the main road through the village between the A339 and Medstead. There is evidence to suggest that a Saxon church was located here and was rebuilt.[10] The present church has a chancel (the space around the altar for the clergy and choir) that is 27 feet (8.2 m) by 17 feet 4 inches (5.28 m), with a north vestry 48 feet 7 inches (14.81 m) by 17 feet (5.2 m).[10] The nave roof and chancel arch probably date from the late 1100s and the chancel itself was built in about 1260 together with the lower part of the tower.[10][53] However, in 1608 the church suffered a "fire happening by lightening from heaven" and some of the earlier structure was damaged.[15]

The present church has flint walls with stone dressings and stepped buttresses, a plinth, and corbelled tracer lights in the nave.[10] The west tower was rebuilt in 1890 and has diagonal buttresses with an elaborate arrangement of steps (some with gabled ornamentation), and at the top is a timber turret, surmounted by a broach spire.[10] A small mural monument at the south-east of the chancel is to Nicholas Holdip, "pastor of the parish" 1606, and his wife Alicia (Gilbert).[10] In the north aisle wall is another mural tablet to "Robert Hunt of Hall Place in this Parish", 1671, with the arms, Azure a bend between two water bougets or with three leopards' heads gules on the bend.[10] The crest is a talbot sitting chained to a halberd. There are four bells; the treble and second by Joseph Carter, 1601, the third by Henry Knight, 1615, and the tenor by Joseph Carter, 1607.[10] The church became a Grade: II* listed building on 31 July 1963.[53]

Memorials[edit]

Ives plaque inside the church on the north wall

In Elizabethan times, the poet and writer George Wither (1588–1667) was born in Bentworth and baptised in St. Mary's church.[5]

In Victorian times, the author George Cecil Ives lived at the post-1832 Bentworth Hall with his mother Emma Gordon-Ives. A memorial to the Ives family is in the churchyard close to the school and has a stone slab for George Ives that reads "George Cecil Ives MA, Author, 1867–1950, Late of Bentworth Hall." The stone slab for his mother reads "The Honourable Emma, wife of J.R. Ives, Daughter of Viscount Maynard Lord Lieutenant of Essex, died March 14th 1896 aged 84." There is also a plaque for members of the Ives family inside the church on the north wall.

The Hankin family tomb with the church in the background

The Hankin Family Tomb in the churchyard, was Grade II listed in 2005.[54] It was made in 1816 of Portland stone and is a "rectangular chest tomb on a moulded base, with a two-part cover consisting of a low hipped top slab and lower moulded cornice."[54] The panels at the sides contain various inscriptions including the one on the south panel which reads: "Sacred to the memory of John Hankin who departed this life January 12th 1816, aged 55 years", and the one on the north side which reads: "Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth, widow of John Hankin, who departed this life September 13th 1831, aged 67 years."[54]

War Memorial[edit]
St Mary's Church war memorial, with poppy wreath
St Mary's Church, looking east. The war memorial can be seen between the church and the gate

The War Memorial in Churchyard of St Mary's Church, made of Doulting limestone, was erected by Messrs. Noon and Company of Guildford in 1920 to commemorate the local men who had lost their lives in World War I.[55] The decision to build a memorial at the church was decided during a parish meeting on 7 February 1920 and it was formally dedicated on 28 November 1920 by the Reverend A.G. Bather and unveiled by Major General Jeffreys of Burkham, officer in command of the London District.[55] The war memorial has a four step base, with a "tapering octagonal shaft on a small square plinth block" placed upon it and a Latin cross at the top of the shaft.[55]

The dedication inscription on the top west facing step of the base reads: "Sacred to the men of Bentworth who fell in the Great War 1914–1918 leaving to us who pass where they passed an undying example of faithfulness and willing service."[55] There are also four names inscribed on the top step panel facing south including the name of Lieutenant Colonel Neville Elliot-Cooper of the Royal Fusiliers (whose father lived in Bentworth) and several names on other steps.[55] On the third step facing west, is the inscription: "1939–1945. And in second dedication to the memory of those others who passing later also fell leaving no less glorious name."[55] The memorial was Grade II listed on 8 December 2005.[55]

Bentworth Manor and Hall[edit]

Hall Place, formerly Bentworth Hall or Manor, is a Grade II* listed medieval hall-house, located south of the road to Medstead just south-west of Tinker's Lane. It was built in the early 14th century with additions in the 17th and 19th centuries.[56]

Hall Place in 2012 with the remains of the 14th-century chapel on the right
The south side of Bentworth Hall in about 1905

The hall is believed to have been constructed by either the constable of Farnham Castle, William de Aula, or 'John of Bynteworth'.[11][56] The de Aula family, however, are documented as being the first owners, followed by the de Melton family.[11]

The hall has thick flint walls, gabled cross wings,[57] with a Gothic stone arch and 20th century boarded door and two-storey porch.[56] The west wing of the house has a stone-framed upper window and large attached tapered stack.[56] The east wing has sashes dated to the early 19th century.[56] The old fireplace remains in the north, facing room with it roll moulding and steeply pitched head.[11] A chapel in the grounds was part of the house complex and was added soon after building in 1330 under the request of Matilda de Aula.[11] The later history of Bentworth Hall or Manor and its estate cannot be detached from the main history of the manor and parish of Bentworth, and is documented in a section above.

In 1832, the Bentworth Hall estate was sold to Roger Staples Horman Fisher. Almost immediately he started building the present Bentworth Hall.[15] The post-1832 Bentworth Hall is located about a kilometre south of the old hall at, some 500 metres (550 yd) east of the Bentworth-Medstead road and the hamlet of Holt End at the end of an 800-metre private drive, and is now split into five private dwellings, the house itself into three and the old stable block into two.

Gaston Grange[edit]

Gaston Grange (51°8′50″N 1°4′15″W / 51.14722°N 1.07083°W / 51.14722; -1.07083) is west of the Bentworth-Medstead road towards Upper Wield, south of Gaston Wood. This area was part of the Bentworth Hall estate and is now privately owned. In the late 19th century, Emma Gordon-Ives owned Bentworth Hall and in 1890[58] her son Colonel Gordon Maynard Gordon-Ives built Gaston Grange 1500 metres to the east of Bentworth Hall. In 1914, his son Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gordon lived in Gaston Grange. He served in the First World War and was also a politician dealing with Northern Ireland matters, dying in July 1923.[59] After his death, in July 1924 the Bentworth Hall Estate was offered for sale by Messrs John D Wood & Co, 6 Mount St., W1. and at this time consisted of 479 acres. The house once had a grand ballroom which was removed in the 1920s.[58] The white painted house has masonry walls, a timber pitched roof with what is likely Welsh blue grey slate, and a wooden staircase made by the Devon-based firm Dart & Francis.[58] Gaston Grange has been extensively renovated in recent times.[58]

Mulberry House[edit]

Mulberry House, Bentworth, the old Rectory

Mulberry House (51°9′27″N 1°2′51″W / 51.15750°N 1.04750°W / 51.15750; -1.04750) is a late Georgian building, dated to 1818, and was the former Rectory, next to the churchyard on the southeast side.[60] The house has stucco walls, with painted brickwork and slate roof.[60] It is a square two-storey building, with a symmetrical front consisting of 3 windows, a doric columned porch, half-glazed doors and a low-pitched hipped roof, with a raised lead flat in the centre.[60] It became a Grade II listed building on 31 July 1985.[60] The present Rectory is a more modern house on the other side of the main road through the village, opposite Mulberry House.

Other houses[edit]

Ivalls Cottage in about 1900, taken from the Star Inn looking towards Medstead
Holt Cottage, built in 1503

Ivalls Cottage (51°9′22″N 1°3′6″W / 51.15611°N 1.05167°W / 51.15611; -1.05167) is located opposite the post box near the village green and next to Tinker's Lane. A Grade II listed building since 31 May 1985, the cottage was originally built during the 16th century, with late 18th-century and early 19th-century additions and 20th-century extensions at the sides.[61] The cottage is built from red brick and flint in Flemish bond, with cambered openings on the ground floor with a part-thatched, part-tiled roof.[61] The roof is hipped at the west end, with lower eaves at the rear intercepted by eyebrow dormers.[61] Ivalls Farm House (51°9′22″N 1°3′0″W / 51.15611°N 1.05000°W / 51.15611; -1.05000) is on the south side of the road to Medstead near the Star Inn. It is a timber framed and cruck-built (A-frame) tiled roof building with a lobby entrance, previously a farmhouse, originally built around 1600.[62] The south end dates to the 18th century.[62] The tiled roof, with 4 small gabled dormers, half-hipped at the north west angle, was restored in the late 20th century.[62] It became a Grade II listed building on 31 July 1963.[62]

Holt Cottage (51°8′50″N 1°3′31″W / 51.14722°N 1.05861°W / 51.14722; -1.05861) is a small thatched cottage on the road to Medstead and was built in 1503. A Grade II listed building since 31 May 1985, much of the current building dates to the 17th and early 19th centuries.[63] The roof is half-hipped at the south end and hipped at the north, with painted brickwork in monk bond.[63]

Public houses[edit]

Left:The Sun Inn on the east side of the village. Right:The centre of Bentworth showing the post box, the village notice board and the Star Inn

Near the centre of the village are two public houses: the Star Inn[64] (51°9′24″N 1°3′3″W / 51.15667°N 1.05083°W / 51.15667; -1.05083) opposite the village green, and the Sun Inn on the east side of the village on the road to Alton ("Sun Hill")[1](51°9′27″N 1°2′38″W / 51.15750°N 1.04389°W / 51.15750; -1.04389).[9][65] The Star Inn was built by Giles Willis in 1841 and is just south of the church close to the road to Medstead. It is the venue for the annual Bentworth Blues Festival, held every August.[66] The Sun Inn was first licensed in 1838, the building previously being part of the Bentworth Manor estate.

There was also a third pub in the village called the Moon Inn (or the Half Moon) [15] just north of the church on Drury Lane, first licensed in 1841, the value being listed as £19.[67] The Moon Inn was destroyed in a fire in 1951 along with the children's home that housed children who were evacuated frm London during the Second World War. No fatalities were recorded as a result of the fire.[31]

Demographics[edit]

At the 2001 UK census, Bentworth had a total population of 466. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. The average household size was 2.50.[68] Of those aged 16–74 in Bentworth, 33.6% had no academic qualifications or one GCSE, lower than the figures for all of East Hampshire (37.1%) and England (45.5%).[69][70] According to the census, 29.9% were economically inactive and of the economically active people 1.3% were unemployed.[69] Of Bentworth's 466 residents, 18.5% were under the age of 16 and 14.2% were aged 65 and over; the mean age was 42.05. 78.8% of residents described their health as "good".[71]

The Domesday Book entry for the Hundred of Odiham surmised that the hundred in 1066 was very large with 248 households and recorded 138 villagers. 60 smallholders and 50 slaves.[6] Tax was assessed to be very large at 78.5 exemption units.[6] 56 ploughlands, 16.5 lord's plough teams and 41 men's plough teams were recorded.[6] The Lord of the hundred in 1066 was Earl Harold.[6] In 1789 the population of Bentworth was 425.[72] Bentworth had reached its population peak in 1951, with 614 people living in the village.

Population growth in the Parish of Bentworth since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1951 1961 2001
Population 425 406 548 592 609 610 558 604 571 586 522 570 614 596 466
 % change  – −4.5 +35.0 +8.0 +2.9 +0.2 −8.5 +8.2 −5.5 +2.6 −10.9 +9.2 +7.7 −2.9 −21.8
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time, and statistics.gov.uk

Education and activities[edit]

St Mary's School, Bentworth, with the church spire behind

St Mary's Bentworth Primary School is immediately west of the church together with a school hall and playing field that are also used for events such as the annual summer village fete. The school was originally built in 1848 with a single classroom.[73] In 2012, the school had 101 pupils, with pupils not only from Bentworth but also from surrounding villages.[74] St Mary's school has a refurbished library, IT and interactive whiteboard facilities, and recently an adventure playground was installed in the school grounds and the pond and wildlife area redeveloped for educational purposes.[73]

The school hall is used for other village activities such as the Bentworth Garden Club,[75] performances by the Bentworth Mummers (the local amateur theatrical group), other meetings, and as the local polling station during elections. In November 2010, the Bentworth Mummers put on a performance of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.[76] Bentworth Cricket Club is just south of the village. The village has five tennis courts, one just to the south of the church and school, one just further to the southeast along the main village street, another at Hall Farm, and two more either side of the Sun Inn along Well Lane approaching the village.[35]

Transport[edit]

The nearest railway station is 3.6 miles (5.8 km) east of the village, at Alton. Between 1901 and 1932 the Bentworth and Lasham railway station was available to passenger traffic on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway. It was located just north of the present A339 Alton-Basingstoke road between Bentworth and Lasham and was designed by John Wallis Titt.[77] The station opened on 1 June 1901 and closed during the First World War on 1 January 1917 because it was a minor line and difficult to keep running at the peak of the war.[78] It was reopened on 18 August 1924, until 1932 when the station was closed to passengers, being used for goods until its final closure in June 1936.[78] The problem was that it was a small rail link between Alton and Basingstoke, both having better rail connections. Alton was on the line from London Waterloo to Winchester, and Basingstoke is on the main line from Waterloo to Salisbury.[79]

In the 1960s, the connection between Alton and Winchester was broken because of railway closures and the construction of the M3 motorway east of Winchester.[80] Today, the rail line continues west of Alton to Alresford as the "Watercress Line" or Mid Hants Railway, running historic steam engines.[81] The level crossing on Lasham Hill north of the station appeared in the 1929 film The Wrecker and the line was also used in the 1937 film Oh, Mr Porter!.[82] The small station waiting room was demolished in 2003.

Notable people[edit]

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the poet and satirist George Wither (1588–1667) was born in Bentworth.[83] He was baptised in the church of St Mary and later, supporting Oliver Cromwell's cause during the English Civil War, sold land in the parish to raise a troop of horses for the Roundhead (anti-Royalist) cause.[1][84] The Wither family lived in Bentworth until the 17th century.

In his earlier life, George Cecil Ives (1867–1950), an author, criminologist and gay rights campaigner, lived at the post-1832 Bentworth Hall with his mother, Emma Gordon-Ives. The Ives family are buried in Bentworth churchyard.[17]


References[edit]

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External links[edit]