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Highclere (St. Michael)

HIGHCLERE (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Kingsclere, hundred of Evingar, Kingsclere and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 8½ miles (N. by W.) from Whitchurch; containing 468 inhabitants. This was anciently part of the bishopric of Winchester, and is recorded as such in Domesday book; the bishops had a palace here, in which they occasionally resided, until the bailiwick held by them was dismembered by Bishop Poynet, in the reign of Edward VI., and vested in the crown. Upon the site of the original edifice, which stood in a well-wooded and beautiful park, upwards of thirteen miles in circumference, is a fine mansion, erected by the Hon. Robert Herbert, and greatly enlarged by the Earl of Carnarvon, his descendant; the house occupies a site 587 feet above the sea, and the grounds inclose Sidown Hill, which has an elevation of 942 feet, and are embellished with an exten sive and picturesque lake. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 13. 9., and in the gift of the Earl: the tithes have been commuted for £305, and the glebe comprises 85 acres. The church was rebuilt in the time of Charles II., by Sir Robert Sawyer, attorney-general in that and the succeeding reign, who was buried here. On a plain about a mile from the village, are several barrows of considerable size, with three smaller ones; and some curious relics have been found in them. A mile and a half eastward from Beacon Hill, on an eminence called Ladle Hill, is a circular intrenchment inclosing an area of about eight acres; southward from this are three barrows; and at a short distance towards the north-north-east, on the declivity of the hill, is another small circular work, pitched entirely with flint stones. Dr. Jeremiah Miller, a learned antiquary, was born here in 1713; he died in the year 1784.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.