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.
Extract from a book written in 1794
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
William Cobbett Rural Rides Nov.7th.-11th.1825.
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!