St Mary Bourne Revisited


The Restoration

After the English civil war and the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a new renaissance began in England. Gone were the restrictions imposed by the puritans under the republic where a type of feudalism still existed, now a new era was beginning when the people got increased liberty, when the restrictions of the feudal times were broken down, and when industrious men began to acquire a freehold right to land which had for centuries been held by feudal tenure.

Documents held in the Hampshire records office in Winchester show many of the parish smallholders for the first time buying the freehold and owning their own land i.e. Richard Withers of Wadwick buys a house and plot in 1663 (14M76/E/T3) William Soper Buys an estate, Gangbridge farm in 1664 (14M76/E/T5) Richard Holdway buys a house and plot in Binley 1663 (3M61/1) and many more examples. The lands around the parish had before the war belonged to Robert Wallop, the Earl of Southampton, Wallop had supported parliament during the English civil war 1642-1651 but was sentenced to life in the tower of London and died there in 1667.His lands had been forfeited under an act of parliament the new Lords were Thomas Earl of Southampton Lord High Treasurer of England, Anthony Lord Ashley, Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the court of the exchequer, Sir James Budgeman and Sir Henry Vernon of Radnet Shropshire, Baronet. (Kevin Holdway)


The days of small farms was passing. It must occur to every person who travels through the county and is at any pains to make observation, that where the farms are large the tenantry live better, clothe better and are more comfortable in every respect than when they are small ....About half a century ago the farmer went on foot to market, now he rides properly accoutred in every point, formally he ate his food off his knee and it consisted of meal, vegetable or milk, now his table is covered, his knife and fork are laid down before him to dine on meat, his father lay on a straw bed without curtains, he sleeps on feathers with his curtains drawn around him.

We came through a village called Woodcote and another called Binley. I never saw any inhabited place more recluse than these. Yet into these the all searching eye of the taxing thing reaches. Its exciseman can tell it what is doing even in the little odd corner of Binley; for even there I saw, over the door of a place not half so good as the place in which my fowls roost "Licensed to deal in tea and tobacco "Poor half starved wretches of Binley". The hand of taxation, the collection for the sinecures and pensions, must fix its nails even in them, who really appeared too miserable to be called by the name of people. Yet there was one whom the taxing thing had licensed (Good God! licensed!) to serve out cat-lap to these wretched creatures!