This page is a re-write of what was formerly on the Bedhampton Parish website when I was webmaster (2003 - early 2016).
Bedhampton - a micro-history
Bedhampton, once a self-contained village, is now part of the ribbon of housing and industry that lines the south coast of England.
Bedhampton in the Middle Ages
Bedhampton has been here a long time! It figures in the Domesday Book, where its name was Betametone.
And it's from the Domesday book we can see that St Thomas, 900 years old, was not the first church here, but that there was a Saxon Church before it.
So let's go back a little further in time...
In 501 Saxons invaded Portsmouth, defeating the inhabitants and taking possession of all the surrounding countryside, including Bedhampton. During the next three hundred years the village must have developed, as records exist that in 837 the Manor of Bedhampton and its lands were granted to the Cathedral Church of Winchester by Egbert, King of Wessex.
During the reign of the Saxon King Alfred, Danish invasions commenced, pillaging the village and laying it waste. Further Danish invasions followed, until all England was conquered, and Canute (sometimes spelled Cnut) was proclaimed King. It was at nearby Bosham, story has it, that he showed he could not repel the sea. Shortly after his death in 1035, Bedhampton Manor was let to Alsi, who held it until the Normans took possession in 1066.
In 1086 William The Conqueror ordered a census of the whole land - the Domesday Book - and under the heading of “The land of St. Peter, Winchester”, Bedhampton has the distinction of a direct mention. The entry states
"Hugo de port ten. de abbatia BETAMETONE. Alsi tenuit de......"
"Hugh de Port holds Betametone of the Abbey. Alsi held it of the Abbot. In the time of king Edward, as now, it was assessed at 10 hides. There is land for 8 ploughs. In the desmesne is 1 plough and there are 12 villeins and 7 bordars with 7 ploughs. There are a church and 7 serfs and 2 mills for use of the Hall and 2 salt pans worth 37 shillings and 8 pence; and 3 acres of meadow. There is a woodland worth 30 swine. In the time of King Edward, as now, it was worth 12 pounds. When received it was worth 10 pounds”.
As time moved on Bedhampton's name changed from Betametone to Bethameton & Bethametona (one source dates this use from 1167 to 1242), and thence to Bedhamton and Bedhampton.
Maps of Bedhampton in the Tudor and Stuart Periods
I am indebted to the Dean of Portsmouth University for giving permission, back in early 2005, to use the following fascinating maps from their website...
Bedhamton - a map by Saxton - 1575 - in the reign of Elizabeth I
Christopher Saxton's map of Hampshire, 1575, engraved by Leonard Terwoort
Fareham is shown as FARAM, and Wymering as Wemering.
Widley is Widligh, and Hayling is Halyng. Portsdown Hill is Portes downe
Bedhampto - a map by Blaeu - 1645 - in the reign of Charles I
John Blaue's map of Hampshire, 1645
There are many subtle name changes - to Farham, to Haling and to Widleigh,
The Boarhunts are West and East Burant. Leigh Park is Lighe, and Paulsgrove is Polgrave.
Bedhampton - a map by Morden - 1695 - in the reign of William III
Morden's Map of 1695
Fareham now has its modern spelling, and Burrant gains another "r".
Farlington gains its modern spelling too...
For the last 900 years, St Thomas Bedhampton has stood, braced against the elements, on what was the old road to Portsmouth - now a peaceful backwater lane. If you're interested, come with me on a short photo tour of the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Bedhampton.
And if you want to know a little more recent local history, come and read the first ever Bedhampton Parish Magazine "Community"
Around the time that the Internet was first finding its feet, the name of Bedhampton cropped up a lot in association with Unidentified Flying Objects. Now relegated to my Museum of old pages, I couldn't resist writing my own Bedhampton UFO page...