ODIHAM (All Saints), a market-town and parish, in the union of Hartley-Wintney, hundred of Odiham, Odiham and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 26 miles (N. E.) from Winchester, 37 (N. E.) from Southampton, and 40 (W. S. W.) from London; containing, with the tythings of Murrell, North Warnborough, and Hillside with Stapely, 2817 inhabitants. This place was formerly a free borough belonging to the bishops of Winchester. The castle, which stood about a mile north-west of the town, was built prior to the time of King John, in whose reign it became celebrated for its resistance to the army of Louis, Dauphin of France, though garrisoned only by three officers and ten private soldiers. That monarch was here a few days before the signing of Magna Charta, attended by a retinue of not more than seven knights. In the 27th of Edward I., the town, park, and hundred were granted to the queen, as part of her dower. In the reign of Edward III., David Bruce, King of Scotland, who had been made prisoner at the battle of Neville's Cross, was confined in the fortress for eleven years. The town is pleasantly situated on the side of a chalk hill, and the neighbouring chalk-pits supply the adjacent country with manure, which is conveyed by the Basingstoke canal, about a mile north-east of the town. The London and South-Western railway passes through the parish, and has a station about two miles and a half distant. A book-club has been established many years. Races were formerly held. The market is on Tuesday; and fairs take place on the Saturday preceding Mid-Lent Sunday, and on July 31st, for horses and cattle. The county magistrates hold a meeting every fortnight; and constables are annually chosen at the court leet of the manor, held at Easter. Odiham was summoned to send members to parliament in the reigns of Edward I. and Edward II., but never made any return.
The parish comprises 7119a. 29p., of which about 4585 acres are arable, 737 meadow, 484 pasture, 318 woodland, and 730 common. The living is a vicarage, with that of Grewell annexed, valued in the king's books at £23. 11. 5½.; net income, £537, with a glebe-house; patron, the Chancellor of the Cathedral of Salisbury. The church is a large ancient building of brick, coated with stucco; and has lately received an addition of sittings. There are places of worship for the Connexion of the late Countess of Huntingdon, and Independents. A free school was founded in 1694, by Robert May, and endowed with £600 for its general support, and £200 for apprenticing the children; the funds were subsequently augmented by a small rent-charge. Near the church is an almshouse, endowed by Sir Edward More, in 1623, with property now producing about £80 per annum, for eight widowers and widows; and there are apartments for two more persons, with stipends from other benefactions. Vestiges of the keep of the ancient castle are yet visible: the remains of a royal residence have been converted into a farmhouse, still called Palace Gate. William Lilly, the astrologer, was born here about 1468; as was the late venerable and learned Dr. Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1756.