Whitsbury shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||New Forest East|
Whitsbury is a village and civil parish in Hampshire, England, close to Fordingbridge. Whitsbury is part of the group of villages on the edge of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The village of Whitsbury consists of a straggling village street with timbered and thatched houses. The parish was originally in Wiltshire, but was transferred to Hampshire in 1895. There are several tumuli on Whitsbury Down and an Iron Age hillfort, known as Whitsbury Castle, overlooks the village. The land rises generally from south to north, reaching a height of 120 metres at Whitsbury Castle. Whitsbury Wood and Whitsbury Common are to the east and south of the village. The Church of Saint Leonard, built in the 14th century, was altered and restored in the late 19th century.
The only inn in the village is the Cartwheel Inn. There used to be a shop, a small post office, and a village school, located just to the south of Major's Farm, the school was demolished during the 1950s and no sign of it now remains. The main employment is based upon the very successful equine and agricultural industry, comprising 4 major yards of racing stables, stud and dairy. Consequently, the people-intense nature of these businesses has allowed Whitsbury to retain a charm that has been lost in many other villages and communities.
Whitsbury is not listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 – it has occasionally been identified with the Witeberge listed in the Wiltshire folios, but Witeberge is usually identified with Woodborough. The name Whitsbury, recorded as Wiccheberia in the 12th century, may mean "fort of the wych elm." The fort ("burh") is presumably the hillfort.
Whitsbury was said in 1274–5 to have belonged to the Kings of England until the time of Henry I, who then granted it to Reading Abbey. Another slightly later source states that Henry I had given the manor to Godfrey de Vilur, and it was he who transferred it to the abbey. The manor certainly belonged to the abbey in the time of Henry I, who confirmed to it the church and land in Whitsbury which had belonged to Ingram the monk, and later kings added similar confirmations. In 1222 the Abbot of Reading obtained a grant of twenty oaks in the New Forest for mending his houses at Whitsbury.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the site of the manor was leased in 1540 for twenty-one years to Anthony Cotes, the tenant of the abbot, and five years later the manor itself was granted to Richard Morrison. He died in 1556, leaving a son and heir Charles, who was succeeded in 1599 by his son Sir Charles Morrison, 1st Baronet, created a baronet in 1611. The latter sold the manor in 1623 to Sir John Cooper, 1st Baronet of Rockbourne, and from that date it descended with Rockbourne.
The hillfort of Whitsbury Castle (also known as Castle Ditches and Whitsbury Camp) covers sixteen acres. It has two large ramparts with outer ditches and an additional counter scarp bank on northern half. Some parts of the earthworks were destroyed to make way for a post-medieval manor house.
- "2001 Census Neighbourhood Statistics - Civil Parishes in the New Forest". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Victoria County History of Hampshire: Whitsbury
- Hampshire Treasures Volume 5 (New Forest) Page 315
- Whitsbury Village Plan - Securing Our Future, page 3, retrieved 12 October 2011
- Whitsbury Village Plan - Securing Our Future, page 4, retrieved 12 October 2011
- William Hill, thegoodgamblingguide.co.uk, retrieved 12 October 2011
- Paul Henderson Racing, retrieved 12 October 2011
- Domesday Map - Woodborough
- H. C. Darby, R. Welldon Finn, (2009), The Domesday Geography of South-West England, page 6. Cambridge University Press
- Whitsbury, Old Hampshire Gazetteer
- Hampshire Treasures Volume 5 (New Forest) Page 317
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