Hampshire Treasures

Volume 6 ( East Hampshire)

Page 301 - Steep

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Steep is not mentioned in the Domesday Book as it was probably included in the entry for the Meons. After the Norman Conquest it was almost certainly part of the great episcopal manor of East Meon. Until 1916 the parish also included a strip of land ten miles away in Sussex at Ambersham links between the two places were strong until the mid-nineteenth century.

The Church of All Saints is of Norman origin with many items of interest.  They  include memorial windows to the poet Edward Thomas designed by Whistler; Kneelers designed by past vicar Douglas Snelgar and embroidered by parishioners; Organ screen by Edward Barnsley.

There are also the remains of a wall-painting and a ninth century Saxon cross-shaft. The principal occupations of the inhabitants of Steep were agricultural, but a prosperous cloth-making industry flourished in the early seventeenth century.

Steep has become famous both nationally and internationally as the home of the innovatory public school, Bedales. Founded by John Haden Badley at Lindfield, Sussex in 1893, Bedales moved to its present site at the turn of the century and the children of many famous people, including Princess Margaret, have been educated there. The poet, Edward Thomas, made his home in Steep: his children attended Bedales and his wife taught there for a while. Edward Thomas met an untimely death in 1917 at the Battle of Arras, and on top of Shoulder of Mutton, Hill overlooking the village, is a sarsen stone simply dedicated to his memory.

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