Hampshire Treasures

Volume 1 ( Winchester City District)

Page 27 - Boarhunt

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An early charter lists Boarhunt amongst other lands belonging to the Minster at Winchester, and the Domesday Book mentions a plot of land in the Parish of "Borehunte" in the possession of the monks of Winchester Cathedral. Also listed in the Domesday Book is the Saxon church dedicated to St. Nicholas, which retains its original dimensions in spite of Victorian restoration work carried out in 1853. The flint walls are 2'6" thick and many of the architectural features are typical of the Saxon period. The bellcote was added in the nineteenth century and many of the interior furnishings, including a three-decker pulpit and a boxed squire's pew, date from last century. A massive old yew tree stands in the churchyard.

At the Norman Conquest land at Boarhunt was granted to Hugh de Port, one of King William's trusted followers whose descendants were successive sheriffs of Hampshure. In 1635 the Boarhunt estate was conveyed to William of Wykeham but fell into the hands of Thomas Wriothesley at the Dissolution.

The isolated position of the church and the widely scattered dwellings in the parish indicate that a once-thriving community which included three mills and two salterns (mentioned in the Domesday Book) has diminished over the centuries and may be classed as a deserted Mediaeval settlement. In earlier days the adjacent Forest of Bere, locally known as Portchester Forest, would have supported various industries, and traces of a Roman road have been identified in the parish.

In the early nineteenth century a monument to Nelson was built on the heights of Portsdown Hill, and Fort Nelson was built into the hillside as one of Palmerston's forts. In 1873 a school for the village children at North Boarhunt was built to accomodate about fifty pupils.

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