Historical & Landscape Setting

Micheldever is situated in an entirely rural location that has been in continuous occupation as agricultural settlements since pre-historic times. Farms, forests and woodland continue to dominate the landscape, and account for more than 90% of the parish territory. There are the remains of a Roman villa in Micheldever Woods and of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Weston Farm, Weston Colley. Micheldever was a personal land holding of King Alfred the Great in 899. It is thought that William the Conqueror accepted the surrender of the city of Winchester while encamped at Micheldever in 1066, and the parish was subsequently recorded in the Domesday Book. It is stated in the "History of Micheldever" (by Rev. A B Milner, 1924) that the parish has the honour of having been the home of two Lord Chancellors of England - Hamulton, Chancellor to Edward I in 1285 and Wriothesley, Chancellor to Henry VIII in 1540.

Since medieval times the agricultural estate has had many owners. The Victoria County History of Hampshire records that Alfred the Great held Micheldever and granted it to the monks of Hyde Abbey on his death in 899. It subsequently passed through the hands of various influential families until Lord Northbrook sold most of the estate in the 1920's. At present the land is under the stewardship of four principal landowners. One owns the farmland to the south-west; another owns the farmland to the east. Forest Enterprise owns and manages most of the forest and woodland in the south, east and north; and an insurance company owns the farmland lying in the western and north-western segment around Micheldever, Micheldever Station, Weston Colley and West Stratton.

Micheldever village

Micheldever village has an impressive architectural heritage. It contains houses built in every century from the fifteenth to the twentieth. The older dwellings are mainly clustered within the Conservation Area at the core of the village around Church Street and Duke Street, and this area has a wealth of Grade II Listed buildings as well as many other buildings of great visual merit. St Mary's church was rebuilt during the reign of Henry VIII in about 1532, but with 13th century elements, and on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Further major structural changes were made to the chancel in 1880 (by Coulsen) and to the nave in 1908 (by Dance). The original two medieval hall houses at The Crease date from the 15th century - tree ring dating carried out in 1988 by Nottingham University indicated that Shillingbury Cottage dates to the latter part of the 15th century, between 1463 and 1496. The construction of the railway line and its embankment, in the middle of the 19th century, physically separated Weston Colley from Micheldever and removed what must have been a wonderful view from Micheldever down the Dever valley to Stoke Charity and Hunton. Arable farmland surrounds the village.

Micheldever Station

Micheldever Station did not exist as a settlement until the railway station was built in the 1840's. Before 1840 the only dwellings in the locality were at Warren Farm. Warren Farm House underwent major structural changes in 1775 with a new front elevation, but the farmhouse and two cottages are believed to date from the 17th century or earlier. The architecture of the housing at Micheldever Station is varied. The most notable buildings are the railway station and the original hotel, now known as "The Dove" public house. Sir William Tite designed the station building, and it is described in "Southern Main Line - Woking to Southampton" by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith as "unquestionably the most appealing architecture on the London-Southampton route". The yellow brick quoins are important architectural features, as is its all-round veranda. ‘The Old Stores’ and Victoria Cottages were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1896 for Lord Northbrook.. Arable farmland and woodland surround the village.

East Stratton

East Stratton is one of the finest examples in Hampshire of an "estate" village, and is also a Conservation Area. At the northern end of the village thatched cottages dating from the 17th and 18th centuries border Old School Lane that leads to the entrance to Stratton Park. Stratton Park itself is an important country estate and deer park that has been in the ownership of the Baring family for almost two centuries. In Stratton Lane there are five pairs of estate cottages and the Northbrook Arms public house, all of which were built in the 19th century when the landowner "moved" the village from his parkland. Church Farm and All Saints Church were also built at that time. Most of the old buildings in East Stratton are considered to be of special architectural or historic interest, the majority of them with a Grade II listing. The whole village is surrounded by parkland, arable farmland and woodland.

Weston Colley, West Stratton and Woodmancott

Weston Colley, West Stratton and Woodmancott are three smaller settlements containing no more than a couple of dozen dwellings in each. Each hamlet grew around the farm with which it is associated, presumably with the original housing being erected for the farming families and their workers. Virtually all the homes are now privately owned although the farms continue as working agricultural units. The Domesday Survey indicates there has been a mill on the site of Old Mill Cottage, in Weston Colley, since the 11th century. The existing building may be the oldest dwelling in the parish, dating from the 15th century or earlier. At West Stratton most housing is clustered in West Stratton Lane, but Park Hill Farm has now been developed and forms part of the settlement. In Woodmancott, which incorporates the small settlements at Bradley Farm and Innersdown, St James' church is at its heart, providing a focus for fundraising and community events. Arable farmland surrounds all three settlements, with woodland on the western and southern borders of Woodmancott. ‘Carousel Park’, a site which gained planning permission on the understanding that it would be used solely for occupation by travelling ‘show people is situated within the locality.

All settlements nestle in undulating Hampshire downland and throughout the locality there are outstanding long views incorporating mature trees, open ditches, banks and hedgerows, and extensive areas of woodland.