St Mary Bourne Revisited



While researching my family history I discovered that several of my ancestors had originated from St. Mary Bourne, an area of north east Hampshire I was unfamiliar with even though I had spent my childhood only 15 or so miles away. This discovery led to me visiting this one of the most beautiful villages in England and subsequently carrying out further research at the Hampshire records office in Winchester, where they hold the parish records and many documents, wills, land registers, books etc. and without whose help I could not have compiled this Information. My original intention was to publish in book form, but I have decided to publish the information on-line so anybody can access it freely from around the world. I have spent over two years on this project. I do not pretend this work to be my interpretation of the village history, to that extent it has been written by Dr. Stevens and Kathleen Innes, but see it more as a social history, a glimpse into the distant past of ordinary village people, from a bygone age. Dr. Stevens whose book, the major part of this work is drawn from started writing in the early 1860's. I have copies of his notes from that time. He was the resident doctor for St. Mary Bourne for many years and must have been acquainted with most of the villagers in the Bourne valley from whom he draws a wealth of information, from conversations he had with patients and friends, of stories, facts and myths. He also had access to the parish registers from which he copied many interesting entries from the early 1600's.

Another source of useful information comes from Kathleen Innes who wrote "Life in a Hampshire Village: notes from past and present" in the early 1940's.Her father was Dr. Royds, formally of Reading, who was a friend of Dr. Stevens and the Doctor in St. Mary Bourne from 1895 to 1914. She has added notes about Dr. Stevens and added further interesting stories. Bringing the book up to date (from the latter 19th.century till the 1940's).The following work is not a complete dictation of the Doctors or Kathleen Innes’s works but represents about 20% of the doctors book and about 30% of Kathleen Innes’s book. I have added my own findings and followed up some of their stories

Finally a publication by the Reverend R. S. Arrowsmith who wrote the "Short Historical Sketch of the Parish of Hurstbourne Tarrant" sometime before 1914. In it he has copied several extracts from the parish registers and lists the vicars from the 1500's until 1907 when he took on the position, with comments about them, this is a complete copy.

All of the above mentioned books have been out of print for many years. They can be found as reference books in the Hampshire Records Office and in the library at Newbury.

It should be remembered that the extracts I have taken from Dr. Stevens book were written between about 1860 and first published in 1888 over 120 years ago. I hope this work to be of interest to the good people of St. Mary Bourne and the surrounding district and to historians and genealogists worldwide. I hope you enjoy reading it as I have enjoyed researching it.(Kevin Holdway)


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