Medstead History

Medstead has a known history going back 3000 years [timeline]. The name has been spelt in many different ways including: Maedstede, Maydstede, Meadstead, Meadsted, Medestede, Medstead, Medsted, Medsteid, Medstyd, Meydsted, Meydstede, Midstead and Midsted.

There are competing theories for the origin of the name:-

'Mid-Stead' or half way place - in feudal days, the village was on a road from Farnham to Winchester, often travelled by the King and Bishop.
The other popularly held belief is that 'Maedstede' was Saxon for 'the place in the clearing'.

Following the baptism of the Saxon King Cynegils in 635 and the re-establishment of the Christian faith in Wessex, the King granted an area of land to the Church at Winchester. This became known as the 'Liberty of Alresford' and covered what we know now as the parishes of Old Alresford, New Alresford and Medstead. Places of worship were built in all three settlements and administered from Old Alresford. The Liberty of Alresford lasted until 1850 when each settlement became an independent parish with its own incumbent.

The first reference to Medstead Church which has been found is in the 'Doomsday Hantescrire' which mentions it in 1086. It appears likely that the Church was enlarged in 1160. Further repairs and extensions seem to have been carried out in 1561 and 1645. In 1833 alterations probably included the replacement of the then narrow Norman archway between the Nave and the Chancel, with the existing pointed archway. Between 1851 and 1861 a tower at the west end was demolished and the Nave lengthened from 28 to 45 feet, the old corner stone being exactly where the south door now stands. The Church was entirely re-roofed, new buttresses built, the stone work of the windows repaired and an entire new east window inserted. Tradition has it that the south door was added because the very low north door knocked off the top hats of the yeoman farmers as they entered the Church.

The oldest work now existing in the Church is the North Arcade of the Nave of about 1160, consisting of two bays with semi-circular arches of single order, chamfered on angles, square scallop capitals and round columns with moulded bases. Also of interest are the fourteenth century net tracery and trefoil lights on the north and south sides of the Chancel and a curious stone bracket - a corbal of three engaged shafts with foliage - more like fourteenth century French work than anything English. The bracket appears to be very ancient and was formerly an image bracket on the north side of the east window. This is now on the left of the south door as you go in.

There are three Church bells dated 1655, 1660 and 1705, the latter is the treble and bears the inscription 'Samuel Knight made mee 1705'. In about 1825 a cricket team from Medstead played West Meon away. A member of the team spotted a bell lying in a farmyard. It was agreed that if Medstead won, the bell was the prize. It was duly brought back and (after being used for some years to call labourers from the fields) is now one of the three.

The Church organ was installed in 1883. The Church gate was erected in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and the Church clock marks the coronation of King George V.

'A topographical dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland' (1833):-

Medstead, co. Southampton. P. T. Alton (47) 4 1/2 m. WSW. Pop. 394. A parish in the hundred of Fawley, Fawley division; living, a curacy subordinate to the rectory of Old Alresford and a peculiar in the diocese of Winchester, not in charge; church dedicated to St. Andrew; patronage with Old Alresford rectory.

'Antiquarian and topographical sketches of Hampshire' (1846):-

Medstead which lies six miles from the town of Alresford toward the north-east, on an elevated site far above the springs, suffers much in dry summers from the want of water, which is then brought from the distance of several miles for the supply of cattle and other domestic purposes. The church is a rude structure of Norman foundation, but garbled and patched and plastered over by modern repairs.

'The British Gazeteer' (1852):-

Medstead, Hants, a parish in the hundred of Fawley, union of Alton, Fawley division of the county 49 miles from London (coach road 51), 4 from Alton, 6 from Alresford. South Western Rail, through Guildford to Alton, thence 4 miles: from Derby, through London, etc., 181 miles. Money orders issued at Alton: London letters delivered 8 a.m.: post closes 6 1/2 p.m. In the church there are some old Norman pillars of beautiful workmanship, and in an excellent state of preservation.The living (St. Andrew) is a rectory, annexed to that of Old Alresford, in the diocese of Winchester: present net income, 580: patron, Bishop of Winchester: present incumbent, Earl of Guildford, 1797: contains 2,530 acres: 78 houses: population in 1841, 450: ass' prop' 2,402: poor rates in 1848, 314.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Medstead as:-

A village and a parish in Alton district, Hampshire. The village stands near the Winchester railway, 4 miles West South West of Alton and has a post office under Alton and a railway station. The parish comprises 2,811 acres. Real property: 2,854. Population: 497. Houses: 66. The property is subdivided. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester. Value, 580. Patron, the Bishop of Winchester. The church has some Norman portions and was repaired in 1858. There are an independent chapel and a national school.

Medstead Brass Band (c 1905)
Medstead Brass Band

The Band's activities were suspended for the first world war and then resumed. Band members are thought to include Dick Licence and Mr. Poole the drummer. Maurice Wells recalls they were very popular and remembers listening to them playing on the Village Green. The Band was under the auspices of the Medstead Friendly Society.

The Kercher family have an original Post Card version of this photo, and have been able to identify three members of the band. In the back row at the far left is Ken Kercher's grandfather Harry King. He was a builder who some years later, built and lived in Furzedown (now called The Junipers), South Town Road. Some older properties in Medstead may still have the name of his firm, H T King and Sons, on their drain covers!

Also in the back row is Dick Licence. He later ran the village Post Office and petrol pumps which were located on the opposite side of Jubilee Cottage from the Handy Stores, where the drive to the three houses at the rear is now situated.

Third from the right in the front row is one of the brothers Jefferey, either Arthur Jefferey, who had a yard in Row Downs Road later taken over by Lonmer Builders, or Kim Jefferey, who lived in Wentways on the comer of High Street and South Town Road.

In a Post Card dating from 2 or 3 years later of the Wield and Medstead cricket teams and their supporters lined up outside The Yew Tree Inn at Wield. Some of the same faces appear, including the main with the big drum who seems to be wearing the same cap!

John King has provided these additional details:-
Harry King (back row first from the left) was the son of Thomas King, who came to the village as the blacksmith, and eventually opened the ironmongery, now 'Medstead Hardware', over the High Street from his forge. Thomas King was my paternal grandfather, my father Edward, being a child of Thomas King's second marriage, and therefore Harry King's half-brother. Back row, second from the left is Harry Alick Licence (sometimes Alick Harry Licence), known to many as 'Dick'. He was my maternal grandfather. Thomas King brought up Harry 'Dick' Licence with his first family. Harry Licence is in the household of Thomas King in the 1891 census although his name is misrepresented as 'Ticence' (almost certainly a clerical transcription error). Harry Licence acquired the nickname 'Dick' probably to avoid confusion in the family with Harry King. The nickname itself was derived from the fact that Thomas King's two sons, Thomas and Harry, and my Grandfather Harry Licence, were collectively known as 'Tom, Dick, and Harry'.

The St Andrew's Parish Church website has a detailed account of the village history and Church history.

Here are the Medstead census returns for 1841, 1851, 1881 and 1891.

Historical treasures in Medstead: page 1, page 2, page 3.

Local map of 1575 showing 'Maydstede'.

Local map of 1607 showing 'Meydstede'.

Local map of 1842.

Budd, Chandler families (Medstead) ancestry, 1571-1786.

Cammar, Chandler, Holland, Inwood, Kemp, Oakley, Wake, Westbrook families (Medstead) ancestry, 1520-1879.

Chandler, Fuller, Gardiner, Hankin, Holland, Inwood, Oakley, Wake, Westbrook families (Medstead) ancestry, 1545-1847.

Fosbery / Fosbury family (Medstead) ancestry, 1666-1803.

Passingham family (Medstead) ancestry, 1540-1717.

Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday, 1870-1966.

The Medstead War Memorial lists twenty people who perished in the first world war and a further ten in the second world war:

1914-1919: J. Andrews, R. Budd, H. R. Butt, A. Doe, L.R. Eyden, H. Eyden, H.Gardner, F. Gotelee, W.A. Harfield, H.F. Hole, F. Holland, E. Hooker, P.F. Musgrave, C.W.S. Paine, A.E. Purchase, H. Purchase, M.R. Smith, W. Talmage, F.W. Wake, W. Williams.

1939-1945: W.J. Appleton (QRR), R.L. Bradford (RAF), A.E.F. Giles (RAF), I.A.H. Gliddon (RAF), A.J. Markham (SWB), F.R. Stokes (RAC), W.W. White (RN), J.E. Woolston (RA).

Medstead War Memorial

Additional information on the men named can be found at this War Memorial, Medstead page.

Elizabeth Hubbard died in Medstead on January 24th, 1914. She was ninety three years old, and lived in Paice Lane with her daughter Mary Ann Loosen and her family. In 1901 they were living in Ealing, so presumably moved to Medstead between 1901 and 1914. Mary Ann by profession was a school teacher and there is an entry for Mrs. Loosen (Mary Ann) in Warren's Winchester Directory for 1918. Mary Ann's husband William Loosen was German, it is believed that he and his two sons were interned during the 1914 - 1918 war. Their two daughters Annette and Hilda were both married in Medstead.

The Ellis Island (New York) passenger arrival records for 1892 - 1924 list 5 residents from Medstead:-

Sydny L. Browning, born: 1883, arrived: 13 June 1915, age on arrival: 32.
William B. Little, arrived: 11 May 1914.
David C.Brown, born: 1868, arrived: 11 May 1914, age on arrival: 46.
Charlie Andrews, born: 1892, arrived: 14 February 1913, age on arrival: 21.
William R. Burton, born: 1901, arrived: 14 November 1918, age on arrival: 17.

The Hampshire Record Office has the following documents:

Parish registers, 1560 - 1995.
Service registers, 1925 - 1998.
Confirmation register, 1914 - 1962.
Benefice papers, 1865 - 1980.
Churchwardens' bills, 1818 - 1833.
Church accounts, 1867 - 1933.
Churchwardens' papers, 1887 - 1986.
Vestry minute books, 1874 - 1922.
Parochial Church Council minute books, 1930 - 1982.
PCC accounts, ledgers and cash books, 1936 - 1981.
Minutes of annual parish meetings, 1935 - 1975.
Bastardy papers, 1817 - 1832.
Removal orders, 1818 - 1835.
Village hall papers, 1889 - 1930.
Village hall committee minutes, 1891 - 1930.
Medstead Church of England School records, including managers' minute books, 1903 - 1950.
Log books, 1863-1928 and papers relating to school house, 1928 - 1982.
Plan of church, 19th century; parish magazines, 1947 - 1958.
Printed history of village and church, 1966.
Medstead and Bentworth District Nursing Association minutes, 1897 - 1947.
Medstead Women's Institute minutes, record books, accounts and misc papers, 1918 - 1999.
Medstead tithes (rent charge books), 1902 - 1935.
Chapelry of Old Alresford ancient parish until 1850 when separate ecclesiastical parish formed.
Boundary altered 1973 when Four Marks ecclesiastical parish created.
Benefices of Medstead and Wield united 1940 (parishes remained distinct).
Graveyard closed 1883.

'A History of the County of Hampshire' includes an an overview of 'Medsted' village as it was in 1908.

Medstead Royal Observer Corps (ROC) underground bunker, 1863-1968.

Marguerite Colbeck (Tel: 01420-562165) is compiling a short history of Medstead (particularly the 20th century) and will be grateful for any input. Peter Buckland is researching the history of Medstead and would also be grateful for any input.

Jeffery family history:

William Henry Jeffery born 13 07 1876 Medstead, married Mary Hickey, born 1877 Tipperary, Ireland.
Charles Jeffery born 03 02 1843 Medstead, died July 1880, married Elizabeth Cannons, born 1845 Bighton, Hampshire.
Robert Jeffery born 1815 Medstead, died Sept 1885, married Louisa Maria Parfit 1816 Blackwater, Hampshire, died 01 09 1892.
Joseph Jeffery born 1778 Medstead, died 20 07 1855, married Sarah Rampton, born 1781 Froyle, Hampshire, died 1854.
James Jeffery born 1739 Micheldever, Hampshire, died 1830, married Mary Budd born 1737 Medstead, died 1813.
James Jeffery born 1710 Medstead, married Mary Brazier 1710 Medstead.

The 1881 census for the 'Alton Union Workhouse' includes 3 inmates born in 'Medsted':

Eliza Budd, unmarried, age 67, occupation domestic servant, disability 'lunatic'.
Mary Hewett, widow, age 86, occupation labourer.
Henry Jeffere, unmaried, age 26, occupation pauper, disability 'idiot'.

If you have any additional information or requests for information on the village history or families who used to live in the village, please Contact Us.