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Andover, Hampshire

Historical Description

Andover, a municipal borough, market-town, and parish in Hants, on the river Anton, with two stations on the L. & S.W.R., 66¼ miles by rail from London. A canal, 22½ miles long, with a fall of 179 feet and 24 locks, formerly commenced at the town, and went down the line of the Anton river, past Stockbridge and Romsey, to Southampton Water at Redbridge. The Andover, Romsey, and Southampton railway was constructed principally by transmutation of that canal down to Redbridge, and was connected there with the Weymouth and Southampton railway. Andover is also a station on the M. & S.W. Junction railway, which runs to Marlborough, Swindon, and Cheltenham. The vale of the Anton is for the most part beautifully wooded, and presents a striking contrast to the bare downs which flank and overlook it. Bury Hill, about 1½ mile W of the town, commands a picturesque view of the vale, together with an extensive prospect toward the borders of Berks and Wilts; and is crested with a large, strong, ancient camp, which probably was first formed by the aboriginal British, and afterwards occupied by the Romans and the Saxons. The town stands on the Roman road from Salisbury to Silchester, and possibly occupies the site of a Roman station; and it took its name from a ford of the Anton, called Andovera by the Romans and Andofera by the Saxons. It is probably indicated by the letters A N D O, on some Celtic gold coins in the British Museum; and it was a royal manor, and the place of several witenagemots in the times of the Saxons. Ethelred concluded a peace here in 988 with the Norse king Olaf Tryggvason; and many a conflict must have taken place, at prior periods, among the neighbouring chalk hills.

The town is compactly built, and extends on either side about a third of a mile from the market-place. The town hall, with a corn market below, is a handsome stone edifice, with Grecian front, supported on arches; and was built in 1825, at a cost of £7000. The parish church is a spacious structure, in the Early English style, surmounted by a lofty tower, with crooked pinnacles; and was built in 1849, at a cost of £30,000, by the Rev. Dr. Goddard, headmaster of Winchester College, and afterwards vicar of Andover. The previous church was an edifice of the time of William the Conqueror, subsequently altered, and in various styles; and a very rich Late Norman doorway of it now forms one of the entrances to the churchyard. The church was long a cell to the abbey of St Florence in Anjou, and afterwards was given to the College of Winchester. The other noticeable buildings are four dissenting chapels, a free grammar school, two other schools, two sets of almshouses, a workhouse, and a fine cottage hospital built in 1876. The town has a large trade in agricultural produce; it shares much in the business of the great Weyhill fair, held in October, 3 miles to the NW; it carries on malting, and is much frequented during the sporting season by parties following the hounds over the extensive neighbouring downs. It has post, money order, and telegraph offices, two banking offices, and two chief inns; and it publishes two weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Fridays, cattle markets on Mondays, a sheep fair on 17 November, and a wool fair about the end of June. The town was incorporated under King John; it sent two representatives to parliament in the times of Edward I. and II., and from the 27th year of Elizabeth till 1867; but by the Reform Act of that year it was reduced to the right of sending only one; and again, by the Redistribution of Seats Act in 1885, its representation was merged in that of the county. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, who also act as the urban sanitary authority, and is the union town and a seat of petty sessions. It gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. Area of the borough, 8662 acres; population, 5852.

The parish contains also the hamlets of Charlton, Knights Enham, Enham-Kings, Little London, Smannel or Swanhill, Wildhern, Woodhouse, and part of Hatherden. Acreage, 9456; population, 6048. The living is a vicarage, conjoined with the curacy of Foxcott, in the diocese of Winchester; net value, £434. Patron, Winchester College. The vicarage of Hatherden is separate, while the rectory of Enham and vicarage of Smannell are held together separate from Aindover.

Andover Parliamentary Division, or West Hants, was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 51,225. The division includes the following parishes:- Andover-Abbott's Ann, Amport, Appleshaw, Barton Stacey, Bullington, Chilbolton, Foxcott, Fyfield, Goodworth Clatford, Grately, Hurstbourne Priors, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Kimpton, Knight's Enham, Leckford, Linkenholt, Longstock, Longparish, Monxton, Nether Wallop, Over Wallop, Penton Grafton or Weyhill, Penton Mewsey, Quarley, St Mary Bourne, Shipton, South Tidworth, Stockbridge, Tangley, Thruxton, Upper Clatford, Vernham's Dean, Wherwell; Kingsclere-Ashe, Ashmansworth, Baughurst, Burghclere, Coombe, Crux Easton, East Woodhay, Ewhurst, Faccombe, Freefolk Manor, Hannington, Highclere, Itchingswell, Kingsclere, Laverstoke, Litchfield, Newtown, Overton, Sidmonton, Steventon, Tadley, Tufton, Whitchurch, Woodcut, Woolverton; Winchester (except the parishes belonging to the Alresford Union)-Ashley, Avington, Bishopstoke, Chilcomb (part of), Compton, Crawley, Easton, East Stratton, Farley Chamberlayne, Headbourne Worthy, Hunton, Hursley, Itchen Abbas, King's Worthy, Lainston, Little Somborne, Littleton, Martyr Worthy, Mitcheldever, Morestead, Otterbourne, Owslebury, St Bartholomew Hyde (part of), St Faith (part of), St John (part of), St Peter Cheesehill (part of), Sparsholt, Stoke Charity, Twyford, Week (part of), Winnal (part of), Wonston; Bossington, Houghton, Kingsomborne, Upper Eldon, Broughton, Frenchmoor, East Tytherley, West Tytherley, East and West Buckholt, Crown Farm; Andover, municipal borough.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyHampshire 
Ecclesiastical parishAndover St. Mary 
Poor Law unionAndover 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1580.


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary, erected at a cost of nearly £30,000, at the expense of the late Rev. William Stanley Goddard D.D. formerly head master of Winchester College, is in the Early English style, and was erected on the site of an older building: the church consists of chancel, nave of five bays, aisles, transepts, south porch and a western tower, with crocketed pinnacles, containing a clock and 8 bells: in the aisles are the remains of two curious tombs removed from the old church, with seated and kneeling effigies and the date 1611: there are several stained windows, two being memorials of the Goddard and Gale families: there are 850 sittings. At the entrance to the churchyard is a Norman door-way which originally belonged to the old church.


Congregational Chapel, East Street

The Congregational chapel, in East street, erected in 1700, was re-seated and new class rooms added in 1879, and will seat about 600.


Baptist Chapel, High Street

The Baptist chapel, in High street, built in 1866, at a cost of about £1,100, is of stone and white brick, with stone porticoes and a circular stained window and will seat 400.


Primitive Methodist Chapel, East Street

The Primitive Methodist chapel, East street, will seat about 200.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Bridge Street

The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Bridge street, was erected in 1905, at a cost of £3,600, including the site, and has about 350 sittings.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Andover from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Hampshire (County Southampton) is available to browse.


Online maps of Andover are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Hampshire newspapers online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Little London (Andover)
Smannell or Swanhill

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Hampshire, 1530, 1575, & 1622-34 is available to view on the Heraldry page.

DistrictTest Valley
RegionSouth East
Postal districtSP10
Post TownAndover