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Odiham, Hampshire

Historical Description

Odiham, a small town and a parish in Hants. The town stands on the side of a chalk hill, in a gently undulating country, among remains of an ancient wood or forest, 1 mile S of the Basingstoke Canal, 2½ miles from Hook and 3 from Winchfield stations on the L. & S.W.R., and 28 NE from Winchester. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Winchfield. Acreage of the civil parish, 7355; population, 2667; of the ecclesiastical, with the chapelry of Greywell, 2956. There is a parish council consisting of nine members. The town took its name, originally written Woodiham, from the ancient forest around it; dates from the Saxon times, had then a royal villa of the kings of Wessex, and a residence of theirs, some remains of which are at a farmhouse now called Palace Gate; became a place of considerable importance soon after the Norman Conquest, with a castle about a mile to the NW; was held from an early period in part or in whole by the bishops of Winchester. Odiham was summoned to send members to Parliament in the times of Edward I. and Edward II., but made no returns; is now a seat of petty sessions, and has a bank, a good inn, a church, a mission room, Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, a literary institute, assembly rooms, a grammar school, almshouses, and other charities. The church is a spacious structure, interesting internally (particularly the font, which is unique in England), but much patched with brick and stucco externally; includes Decorated and Later English portions; has been restored, and contains a curious pillar piscina, seven bells, and a beautifully carved pulpit of 1632 date. The grammar school was founded in 1694 by Robert May, and numbers among its pupils Bishop Huntingford of Hereford, and Bishop Burgess of Salisbury; in 1874 the endowment was increased and the school-houses rebuilt. More's Almshouses have £82 a year from endowment. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; fairs are held on the fourth Saturday in Lent and 31 July; and a good trade is carried on in timber. Bishop Burgess and the grammarian William Lilly, afterwards headmaster of St Paul's School, were natives.

The parish contains also the tithings of Hillside, Eye, Stapeley, Murrell, and North Warnborough. Odiham Castle stood at North Warnborough; sustained a siege of fifteen days in 1216 by Louis of France; passed afterwards to Simon de Montfort; was the retreat of his wife, the Countess of Gloucester, for some months during the contest between Henry III. and the barons; was given by Edward I. to his second wife, Margaret of France; formed, in the time of Henry VI., part of the dower of Margaret of Anjou; was for eleven years the prison of David, king of Scotland; was repeatedly visited during her progresses by Queen Elizabeth; was given by James I. to Lord Zouch; passed by sale to the Mildmays; and is now represented only by a keep. The living is a vicarage, united with the perpetual curacy of Grey-well, in the diocese of Winchester; net value, £300 with residence. Patron,, the Bishop of Winchester.

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 parishOdiham All Saints 
Poor Law unionHartley-Wintney 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Odiham 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 Odiham 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:

Visitations Heraldic

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

RegionSouth East
Postal districtRG29
Post TownHook