Hampshire Treasures

Volume 6 ( East Hampshire)

Page 169 - Hawkley

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The modern parish of Hawkley has included the small parish of Empshott since 1932. Hawkley was not recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as the manor probably formed part of Newton Valence with which Hawkley was closely associated for centuries; lands belonging to Robert de Pont de l'Arche passed to William de Valence in 1252 and subsequently followed the descent of the manor of Newton Valence. An old cottage at Lower Green was originally mill house of Hawkley mill. The ancient mill belonged to the bishops of Winchester, was seized by Adam Gordon but given back by Edward I in 1280; it was later burnt down, rebuilt in 1774 and used as a cottage from 1882 onwards. The stream behind the house originally drove the overshot wheel of the mill.

A dramatic event occurred at Hawkley in 1774: Gilbert White described how a large part of "the great woody hanger at Hawkley was torn from its place and fell down, leaving a high freestone cliff naked and bare, and resembling the steep cliff of a chalk pit."

The tiny parish of Empshott was distinguished in a survey of 1428 as one of the Hampshire parishes in which there were fewer than ten inhabitants holding houses; in 1931 the population had risen to 171. The manor of Empshott belonged to Edward the Confessor but was leased to Bundi and Saxi; at the time of the Domesday Survey it was held by Geoffrey de Venuz, a marshall to William the Conqueror. The manor remained in the Venuz family during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries but by the reign of Edward II it had passed to Aymer de Valence. Grange Farm was originally the manor house, and the manor courts were always held there.

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