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Bishops Waltham, Hampshire

Historical Description

Bishops-Waltham, a small town and a parish in Hants. The town stands at the source of the river Hamble, and has a station on the L. & S.W.R., 81 miles from London, 3¼NNE of Botley, and 9½ SE of Winchester. It figured at Domesday as a considerable village, was mentioned by Leland as a "praty tounlet," and is now a neatly-built market-town. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.), a bank, a church, a chapel, and the ruins of an episcopal palace. A reading-room with library was established in 1873. The church is ancient and large, built of brick, stone, and flint; the chancel possibly erected by William of Wykeham; the rest is chiefly in Perpendicular English, of the 17th century. It was restored in 1868, and an organ was added in 1873. The palace was originally built by Bishop Henry de Blois, brother of King Stephen; underwent much alteration by subsequent bishops, particularly by William of Wykeham, who died in it; was a parallelogram of two courts, with square towers at the angles; and suffered demolition in the Civil War. Henry II. held a great council in it in 1182; Richard Coeur de Lion was grandly entertained in it after his coronation at Winchester; and Bishop Poynet made it over to the Marquis of Winchester in the time of Edward VI. The chief parts of it now standing are a ruined tower of early date and the front of the great hall, 65 feet long, possibly the work of Wykeham. A large pond lies in front of it, receiving brooks from the neighbourhood, and discharging the Hamble river. A park of 1000 acres lay around it devoted to the chase, but is now under cultivation. Waltham Chase lay to the SE, well stocked, with deer till the beginning of the 17th century; infested then by a notorious gang of deer-stealers known as the Waltham Blacks; and now a rough common of about 2000 acres. The manor belonged to the Bishops of Winchester from the earliest times, and though alienated by Bishop Poynet along with the palace, came back to them at the Restoration. Fairs are now extinct. The Royal Albert Infirmary stands on a neighbouring hill, was founded in 1864, and has over the entrance a fine terracotta statue of the late Prince Consort. The parish includes the tithings of Ashton, Curdridge, and West Hoe, and the hamlets of Dean and Dundridge. Acreage, 7429; population of the civil parish, 2842; of the ecclesiastical, 2176. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester; value, £900. Patron, the Bishop of Winchester. The perpetual curacy of Curdridge is a separate charge. There are Congregational and Methodist chapels and numerous charities.

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 parishBishop's Waltham St. Peter 
HundredBishops Waltham 
Poor Law unionDroxford 

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

Church Records

The Parish register dates from the year 1612, and is currently preserved at the Hampshire Archives.


Church of England

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter is an ancient edifice of stone and flint, in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave and north and south aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with a round turret and containing a clock and 6 bells, completely renovated in 1901 at a cost of £328 as a memorial to Her late Majesty Queen Victoria: Dr. Ward, one of the translators of the Bible in the reign of James I. is buried in the chancel; he was tutor to Bishop Andrews, and rector of Bishop's Waltham: in 1849 the west end of the nave was completely rebuilt, at a cost of £284; in 1868 the church was restored at a cost of £1,304, and in 1897 a more complete restoration was carried out at a cost of £2,600: the churchyard gates were erected in 1911 by Mrs. Archer-Shepherd, in memory of her husband, the late Rev. T. M. Archer-Shepherd, who was at one time curate of Bishop's Waltham: there are sittings for 700 persons, those in the nave being free.


Congregational Chapel, Lower Lane

The Congregational chapel in Lower lane, erected in 1849, will seat 350.


Primitive Methodist chapel, Basingwell Street

The Primitive Methodist chapel in Basingwell street, erected in 1910, will seat about 400.

Primitive Methodist chapel, Waltham Chase

The Primitive Methodist chapel at Waltham Chase in this parish, built in 1869, will seat 100.

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 Bishops Waltham 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 Bishops Waltham 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


Visitations Heraldic

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

RegionSouth East
Postal districtSO32
Post TownSouthampton