Upham Village History

The chalk uplands around Upham once pastured the sheep flocks of Bronze- and Iron-age man, whilst the flints were in plentiful supply for their stone age predecessors. Springs which bubble from the eocene clay have always been an important feature of the downlands and the name ‘Upham’ suits the village as the suffix ‘ham’ can mean both ‘Village’ and ‘a meadow on, or near a stream’.

The Roman road from Portchester to Winchester passed through the village. At the time of the Domesday book it is believed that there was a church in Upham and there is a record of the Parish of Upham in 1236, with a rector for Upham and Durley being first mentioned in 1304. Parts of the church date from the 13th Century, although it was extensively remodelled in the 19th Century by fashionable architect G E Street (who designed The Old Bailey).

The medieval road from Winchester to Bishops Waltham, where William of Wykeham built his palace, also passed through Upham, and the name of Stephen’s Castle Down a mile to the North east is a reminder of the struggle between local supporters of Henry I and Maud on the one hand and king Stephen on the other . In the civil war there were battles at Cheriton to the north and Bishops Waltham, and a troop of horse was stabled in the church, causing outrage to the then Parish clerk! . In 1833 a new toll road from Winchester to Bishops Waltham was built across Stroudwood Common and through what became Lower Upham. Over the centuries therefore, the village has grown to serve not only the surrounding farms, but also many travellers. In addition to the current shop and 3 pubs, there were at least three other shops and two other pubs in the village 100 years ago.

The village’s most famous resident was possibly the eighteenth century poet Edward Young (1681 – 1765), born in the rectory rector and author of ‘Night Thoughts’.

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