Hampshire Treasures

Volume 1 ( Winchester City District)

Page 281 - Tichbourne

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The manor of Tichborne is first identified in a grant of land to Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester, by King Edward the Elder in 909. In 938 Athelston gave certain lands at Tichborne to the monks of St. Peter and St. Paul at Winchester, and in 964 King Edgar granted Tichborne to Winchester Cathedral. There is no entry for Tichborne in the Domesday Book as it was probably included with Twyford. The Tichborne family has held the manor from the twelfth century onwards, and Tichborne House is the present manor house from which the Tichborne Dole is distributed annually on Lady Day (25th March). The ceremony originated in 1150 when Lady Tichborne lay dying and Sir Roger consented to provide a charity from as much land as his wife could walk round holding a lighted torch. Lady Mabel rose from her death-bed and managed to crawl around an area of land (still known as The Crawls) before the torch blew out. Before she died she prophesied that the House of Tichborne would fall if the charity were discontinued.

Centuries later, the annual distribution of bread to the poor was allowed to lapse, and Lady Mabel's prophesy came close to being fulfilled as the last male Tichborne had a family of seven daughters. The situation was remedied and the charity continued again.

During the nineteenth century an heir to the Tichborne family was lost at sea on his way to Australia, and some years later an Australian man arrived in England claiming to be the missing heir. There was a trial in the High Court to establish the identity of the claimant, who was found to be an imposter. Victorian controversy raged over the case, and the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "Trial by Jury" is said to be based on the famous Tichborne Case.

Please use "Next page" to see Hampshire Treasures entries for Tichbourne.

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