Introduction: I lived in Longparish between 1957 and 75, and am now only a few miles from it. It remains an unspoilt Hampshire village, stretching, as the name suggests, along a meandering country road... making it a long parish by nature as well as name. The River Test, in whose valley it is situated, and the thatch cottages that line it's roads, make this one of the prettiest villages I know, where the deer still wander, despite the nearness of the A303 dual carriageway! During my childhood, I 'fished' for newts and minnows in its river, and the streams that rush away from it; and now I can return with my youngest child, who can find the wildlife just as easily as I once did in the clean, well-kept waters. Birdwatchers will discover a wealth of song and small birds, attracted by the water, the woodlands, and the open fields. There are some beautiful picnic spots and walks to be found here... but please remember that, even if you are on common land, this is an area where farm animals roam, so please be careful to keep dogs on leads, close gates, and obviously, take litter home! Situation: The main road running through Longparish is the B3048, and the village lies about 4 miles to the East of Andover, its main town and shopping centre, and a slightly less distance to the South West of the smaller, country town of Whitchurch. As already mentioned, the busy A303 runs within half a mile of Southerly end of the village, between Andover and Basingstoke. Amenities: The Church (denomination, Church of England) of St. Nicholas dates back to between 1100 and 1200, the tower having been added during the 16th Century. Adjacent to the church, and with strong and very positive links to it, is the primary school (C. of E. Aided). The small school is (90 maximum on role), as schools traditionally were, very much the heartbeat of the community, and the village fete is held there in August. Within the school grounds the vi
llage playgroup meet; in their own building, but with strong links to the school. Strong links exist between the schools and churches of Longparish, Barton Stacey and St. Mary Bourne. The centrally situated shop is larger than many village stores, and well stocked. It includes post office, off-licence and video hire. There are two public houses, both serving good food, in the village, and two more very close to it. A bus service runs through the central road, between Andover and Whitchurch/Overton/Basingstoke. The nearest railway stations are in Whitchurch and Andover – from which London is only an hour or so away. Recreation: The village has had a keen cricket team for many years...with the first memorable match being played in 1878! The team played in the finals of the Whitbread Village Cricket Championship on the hallowed ground of Lords in 1980, but lost to the North Welsh village of Marchwiel. However, in 1987, they returned home with the championship cup. There is also trout fishing to be found on the River Test, mainly privately owned and let. For the children, the Cricket Field remains a favourite meeting place, although there is a small, but well maintained play area for small children close to it. More informally, the village offers beautiful walks and rides through farmed, but unspoilt, countryside. Of Special Interest: The forest that forms part of Longparish is Harewood Forest, and within it, a monument known as Deadman’s Plack can be found. In the year AD 963, King Edgar, called the Peaceable, sent for the Earl Athelwold to meet him in the forest to hunt, but instead he lie in wait and slew him. He did have reason - good or otherwise – Athelwold had betrayed Edgar by marrying his intended bride, Elfrida, daughter of the Earl of Devonshire. Closer to the heart of the village, just outside the church, is a set of stocks from times long past, and on the side of the main road, there can
be found an old (but still maintained and useable) grindstone for sharpening tools. Ash Burn Rest comprises a seat and wishing well, and this too is set on the side of the main road. The well has been there since 1868, having been restored twice. On the river, there are two mill houses, and the back road at the Hurstborne Tarrant end of the village offers views of one of these. Origin: Towards the end of the 10th Century the area was known as Middletune, with the manor house being Middletune Manor (Middleton, as it is now), which was in the ownership of the Benedictine nunnery at Wherwell. This nunnery was founded by Elfrida in AD 986, by which time she was the widow of King Edgar. The name ‘Longparish’ first appears in the middle of the 16th Century, at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. At this time it consisted of East Aston, Forton, Longparish, Middleton, and the main of Harewood Forest. Conclusion: This village is a friendly community, despite being so spread out, and it holds on to traditional values. Development is limited, and in keeping with older properties. It has useful links with surrounding villages, and is easily accessible by road, rail, and bus. Test Valley Borough Council, within whose area the village falls, quote a population figure of 696 for 2001, and an area of 5331 acres.