All Saints Church, East Harnham
View across the water meadows from Harnham's lower part
Harnham shown within Wiltshire
|OS grid reference|
|District||Salisbury City Council (Civil Parish)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Harnham has had some form of human habitation in the area since the Iron Age, a settlement is marked in ordnance survey map underneath several modern houses in Harnwood Road/Old Blandford Road, a straight Roman Road.[n 1]
Dark and Middle Ages
The road and traffic backlog in the city was improved in 1244 by the building of Ayleswade bridge leading traffic also in from the south through Harnham, thus traffic was diverted from the older route westward through Wilton.
Post Industrial Revolution
- East Harnham, a tything, in the parish of Britford, union of Alderbury, hundred of Cawden and Cadworth, Salisbury and Amesbury, and south divisions of Wilts., 1½ mile (S. E. by S.) from the city of Salisbury; containing 411 inhabitants.
- West Harnham (St George) a parish, in the union of Alderbury, hundred of Cawden and Cadworth, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 1½ mile (S. W. by W.) from Salisbury; containing 256 inhabitants. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Coombe-Bisset; the tithes were partly commuted for land and money payments under an Inclosure Act in 1783; and the remainder have been commuted for a rentcharge of £50.
Harnham consists of two wards: West and East Harnham, which currently have a combined population of around 7,300 West Harnham, formerly a countrified civil parish adjacent to New Salisbury was absorbed into the administration of one civil parish of Salisbury following the lead of East Harnham in 1903 itself joining the city of Salisbury in 1927 at the same time as parts of Laverstock, Stratford and Bemerton.
Harnham lies to the south of Salisbury and is linked to the city by road via the Ayleswade Bridge in East Harnham, originally constructed across the River Avon in 1244, and by foot via the Town Path across the "historic and important landscape" of the Harnham Water Meadows in West Harnham. The meadows lie between two branches of the River Nadder and extend into the outskirts of the city itself. They are part of an extensive irrigation system of floated water meadows, dating from the mid-seventeenth century. Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (see East Harnham Meadows) they are still used for grazing and were voted the Best View in Britain by Country Life magazine in 2002. The meadows were made famous in John Constable's painting ‘Salisbury Cathedral - A View from the Water Meadow’. The meadows are managed by the Harnham Water Meadows Trust  and owned by the Trust jointly with the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral.
Harnham is the suburb of the city with the largest areas of housing valued at more than £400,000.
In the 13th century Salisbury sited its new Cathedral on the flat fertile plain encircled by the River Avon and protected by Harnham Hill; a chalk escarpment which rises steeply to the south. Harnham Slope comprises an area of woodland on the northern slope of Harnham Hill, including the West Harnham Chalk Pit a 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. Harnham Slope, its upper slope, is now managed as a public amenity space which, from its highest point, gives fine views across Harnham to the city including Salisbury Cathedral's highest current spire in the United Kingdom.
- St George's in West Harnham, dating from Norman times
- Church of All Saints in East Harnham, a mid-19th century listed building.
A Methodist church was built in West Harnham in the 1950s to cope with the growing demand among the local population, serving all of the south of Salisbury.
St George's Church
As mentioned, this church is Norman. It is certain that the church was built or re-built by 1115, the date when King Henry I signed a charter granting certain churches to Salisbury Cathedral, including the church at Harnham. The chancel was lengthened in the "E.E. style" (i.e. during the 13th century), and probably in the early 14th century the Trinity Chapel on the south side was built.
St Georges had some remodelling c1300 and 1300-30 is the indicated date of the south chapel; its tower mostly early 19th century, probably on the site of an earlier tower. William Butterfield led its dramatic restoration (1873-4). He was responsible in the 1850s for the great church of All Saints, Margaret Street, London which broke new ground in its use of brick and of extensive polychromy detailing. Butterfield had an astonishing fertility of invention and his work is often strikingly original, for example, in its intriguing geometry and bold colour. Apart from All Saints, his best-known work is probably Keble College, Oxford.
Harnham contains, particularly in Harnham Road/Lower Street on the lower northern half of Harnham, several listed buildings.
Mill House/Old Mill - now The Old Mill Hotel
This highest, Grade I listed building is described in general overview only. Old Mill Hotel: dating from the 12th century this Grade I listed building still has some details around its doors and windows dating back to 1250. The building was converted in the 16th century from ecclesiastical use to Wiltshire's first paper mill when the River Nadder was diverted to flow under it. The mill race can still be seen via a viewing window in the hotel restaurant. Its location is the lower part of West Harnham near to the main Salisbury Footbridge.
Rose and Crown Terrace
Rose and Crown Terrace is the largest of the listed buildings in East Harnham; nos 53-61 are covered and all but one has a thatched roof the other a gable end slate roof with additional matching bay to extend a little further; the style is formal early 19th century regency architecture. 
- Puddleducks pre-school (2-4)
- Harnham Infant School (4-7)
- Harnham Junior School (7-11)
Culture and Community
Accommodation is available at a number of local hotels and bed & breakfasts making the area popular for both UK and overseas visitors alike. Apart from the Old Mill, other local hostelries include The Rose and Crown (hotel) and The Grey Fisher.
Harnham social club is adjacent to the football pitch below Harnham Slope and there are community halls close to both parish churches.
Notes and References
- A road which just one mile further south forms a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Roman Road by Knighton
- Scheduled Ancient Monument: Iron Age Settlement Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1003728)". National Heritage List for England.
- Map of Hundreds of Wiltshire
- Elizabeth Crittal (editor) (1962). harnham "New Salisbury: Introduction". A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Harlow - Harraton". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- UK 2001 Census
- St George's Church, Grade II* listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1242798)". National Heritage List for England.
- DEFRA News Release 319/03
- Harnham Water Meadows Trust newsletters & website
- Mouseprice.com heatmap
- Church of All Saints, Grade II listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1242276)". National Heritage List for England.
- Old Mill Hotel, Grade I listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1272956)". National Heritage List for England.
- Rose and Crown Terrace, Grade II listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1023678)". National Heritage List for England.