From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
George Street, Kingsclere.jpg
George Street
Kingsclere is located in Hampshire
 Kingsclere shown within Hampshire
Population 3,396 (Civil Parish, 2001)
OS grid reference SU527588
Civil parish Kingsclere
District Basingstoke and Deane
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWBURY
Postcode district RG20
Dialling code 01635
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament North West Hampshire
List of places

Coordinates: 51°19′34″N 1°14′39″W / 51.3260°N 1.2442°W / 51.3260; -1.2442

Kingsclere is a large village and civil parish in the county of Hampshire, England. Kingsclere is located near to Watership Down, the setting of Richard Adams' 1972 novel Watership Down.


Kingsclere is situated approximately equidistant (13 km /8 miles) from the towns of Basingstoke and Newbury on the A339 road.

Village Life[edit]

Kingsclere benefits from a long established friendly village culture[1] and many local organisations and volunteer groups.[2]

The village has a selection of local shops and businesses, healthcare services, a primary school[3] and varied outdoor facilities. It also has an extensive network of green lanes and paths, glades and the Kingsclere stream. Treasured areas known by the villagers, such as 'the rec.', 'the ducks' and 'shepherds steps' are usually overlooked by the casual visitor, but add greatly to village life.

There are three Christian churches, Kingsclere Methodist Church,[4] Saint Mary's Anglican Church,[5] and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

Local facilities include the village club, the Holding field and the Fieldgate Centre[6] which lies on the outskirts of the village and adjoins the rugby and football grounds. The centre was built in 1996 at a cost of £1.6 million

The parish council meets in the village club monthly, except for August and December.[7]

Kingsclere is a conservation area[8] and has a village plan.[9]


Filled in Norman, (c. 1130-1140), northern doorway of St. Mary's church. (Flint re-facing is c1848).[10]
Church of St. Mary, Kingsclere, from the west, (May, 2014).

Kingsclere can trace back its history to a place identified as belonging to King Alfred in his will between 872 and 888, the 'clere' possibly meaning 'bright' or 'clearing'.[11]
Local legend asserts that King John was troubled by a bedbug during a night in a Kingsclere inn, when prevented by fog from reaching his lodge on Cottington’s hill. He ordained that the church should erect and evermore maintain upon its tower a representation of the creature which disturbed his sleep.[11]


In 1218 the king ordered that the market which had been held in Kingsclere on Sundays should in the future be held on Saturdays.[12] Warner, writing in the 18th century, mentions a well-frequented market on Tuesdays, and fairs the first Tuesday in April and the first Tuesday after 10 October.[13] In 1848 the market was still held on Tuesdays, but had fallen very much into disuse, only a few farmers meeting at the Swan Inn with samples,[14] and it probably ceased altogether about 1850. The fairs continued (c. 1911) to be held—on Whit Tuesday for pleasure on Ashford Hill and the Tuesday after Old Michaelmas Day for hiring servants and pleasure in the market place.[15]


The former Falcon Inn, in Swan street, was one of the oldest in Hampshire, is especially interesting as being at one time in the possession of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, who in 1510 gave it to Winchester College upon trust for the maintenance and support of the scholars upon its foundation. The original 'Crowne' Inn is mentioned in the parish register in 1611, and the 'Golden Faucon' in 1628. The modern Crown Inn was built in 1853, and the Swan Inn dates back to well before 1848, and its sign proclaims it a 15th C. Rooming Inn.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

The nearby Watership Down is the setting for the 1972 novel of the same name by Richard Adams. Watership Down was also the site of the 1982 World Field Archery Championship put on by the Overton Black Arrows archery club from the nearby village of Overton.

Village organisations and activities[edit]

There are many activities[17] that take place within the village, such as dancing.[18]

Kingsclere and the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, 1706[edit]

Kingsclere holds a unique position in that no less than three members of the local Hampshire landowning family of Powlett/Paulet, (MPs mostly for Lymington, Winchester and Hampshire), that owned the Manor of Kingsclere between 1544 and 1794 (and beyond into the late nineteenth century), [19] brothers Lord William Powlett and Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton; and the latter's son Charles Powlett, 3rd Duke of Bolton, were nominated to negotiate on behalf of the Kingdom of England as commissioners for the Treaty of Union. Negotiations between the 31 English and 31 Scottish commissioners took place between 16 April and 22 July 1706 at the Cockpit in Westminster. Meanwhile, sometime neighbour Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke, who had married Margaret heiress of Sir Robert Sawyer of Highclere in 1684, was another of the 31 Commissioners. His grandson was created first Earl of Carnarvon.[20]


Eastern end of St. Mary's church, Kingsclere, Hampshire, October 2014. Showing a gutter marked with the Orde-Powlett crest.
John Porter, who trained horses just south of Kingsclere, 1867-1905.
  1. ^ Margaret Ingram's book 'Kingsclere - A place and its people (1987)'
  2. ^ Kingsclere local organisations and volunteer groups
  3. ^ Kingsclere primary school
  4. ^ "Kingsclere Methodist Church, Kennet and Test Valley Circuit". Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  5. ^ "Saint Mary's Anglican Church". Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  6. ^ Fieldgate Centre
  7. ^ "Kingsclere Parish Council". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  8. ^ Kingsclere conservation Area
  9. ^ Kingsclere village plan
  10. ^ VCH, Hampshire, 1911.
  11. ^ a b "Kingsclere Heritage Association". The Bedbug Recorder (Edition One). Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  12. ^ Close, 2 Henry III, m. 2
  13. ^ Warner's History of Hampshire, 1795
  14. ^ Post Office Directory of Hants (1848)
  15. ^ Victoria County History, A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4, William Page (editor), 1911.
  16. ^ Hants N. and Q., v, 103–4, and Ex inform, the Rev. A. T. Finch, via VCH, Hants, 1911, ibid
  17. ^ Kingsclere village diary
  18. ^ "Lynden School of Dance". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  19. ^ bought by Sir William Paulet, Lord St. John in 1544, and held until the death of Harry, 6th Duke of Bolton in 1794.
  20. ^ Treaty of Union#Commissioners

See also[edit]

August 2014
War Memorial, and The Crown pub, August 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kingsclere - A place and its people (1987)

External links[edit]

August 2014