Hamstead Marshall is a village and civil parish in the English county of Berkshire. Although the village name is spelt Hamstead Marshall, the alternative Hampstead Marshall was quite commonly used in the past, and remains the official name of the civil parish. It has a population of 276.
Location and amenities
Situated in the unitary authority of West Berkshire, south-west of Newbury, on the Berkshire-Hampshire border, the parish covers rather less than 1,850 acres (7.5 km2), having lost territory in a boundary change of 1991. The village contains scattered settlements such as Ash Tree Corner, Chapel Corner, Holtwood and Irish Hill. There is a 12th-century church (St Mary's), a village hall, a public house called the White Hart, a Dogs Trust canine rescue kennels and the Organic Research Centre at Elm Farm.
William Marshall who became Earl of Pembroke, was a loyal knight to three kings: Henry II, Richard I, and King John, and this is when the Marshall suffix was added to the village. The manor continued to be owned and used by kings and queens throughout the centuries, until it was sold in 1613.
The village was from 1620 until the 1980s the seat of the Earls of Craven. William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608-1697) built a mansion there, originally intended as a residence for Charles I's sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, although she died before construction began. It burnt down in 1718. The Cravens later expanded a hunting lodge to live in instead, and this still stands, privately occupied, in the centre of Hamstead Park. Until the mid-twentieth century the Craven family owned most of the village, but successive sell-offs by the estate have made owner-occupancy predominant.
The village landscape comprises farmland, woodland and parkland. No A or B roads pass through, although it does lie on a bus route. The river Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal pass through the northern edge of the village, and the river Enborne marks the southern boundary. About half the property pre-dates 1900, and quite a few are listed buildings.
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