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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets

Hampshire lies in southern England on the English Channel. In 1974 the Bournemouth area was incorporated into Dorset and the Isle of Wight became a separate county.

Towns include the county seat of Winchester and the two major ports of Portsmouth and Southampton.

The county was once known as Southampton.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes
Anglo-Saxon Kings
Once part of the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The Isle of Wight was home to the smaller kingdom of the Wihtware.

King Edgar died in Winchester in 975 and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset.

King Edgar

Elfrida, Queen and third wife to King Edgar died near Wherwell Abbey in 1002. She had been Queen from their wedding in 964 until Edgar's death in 975. She founded the Benedictine nunnery in 986 and spent the rest of her life there. This may have been as a penance for her suspected role in the murder of her step-son Edward the Martyr who had been murdered at Corfe Castle in 978 after which Elfrida's son Ethelred had become king. Elfrida was buried at the Abbey.

Emma of Normandy was buried among the Saxon kings at Winchester Cathedral in 1052. She holds a unique place in the history of the monarchy in that she married two Kings of England. She became Queen and second wife to Ethelred II in 1002 and after he died in 1016 became Queen and second wife to King Canute from 1017 until his death in 1035.

The city of Winchester was during the rule of the Saxons the capital of Wessex. Many Saxon kings were crowned there and later buried in the city.

Monarchs buried at Winchester

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Enclosing the western end of the South Downs which stretch across into Sussex to the east, the East Hampshire AONB was designated in 1961. The AONB protected extensive woodland, river valleys and chalk downland as well as the heathland found on the border to Sussex and Surrey. This AONB was incorporated into the new South Downs National Park which was created in 2009. See National Parks.

Five areas - covering about half of the Isle of Wight and also 50% of its coastline - were included in the AONB which was designated in 1963. The area includes a wide variety of landscapes and the famous landmark of the Needles.

Designated an AONB in 1964, Chichester Harbour is one of the few coastal areas which remains undeveloped in Southern England. The AONB which reaches into Hampshire, is still relatively wild despite its heavy boating use, the large areas of tidal flats and wetland provide a haven for wildlife and migrating birds.

Lying between the New Forest and the West Solent the South Hampshire Coast was designated an AONB in 1967. The AONB was de-designated in 2005 as most of its area now lies within the newly created New Forest National Park. See National Parks.

Spread over four counties the North Wessex Downs AONB was designated in 1972 with its south-eastern portion lying in Hampshire. The third largest AONB takes in the Marlborough, Berkshire and North Hampshire Downs and reaches from the Chilterns in the east to the White Horse Vale in the west.

Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs was designated an AONB in 1981 and spreads across four counties with the majority of its southern portion lying in Dorset. The mainly chalk landscape includes the wooded Vale of Wardour which separates Cranborne Chase in the south from the Wiltshire Downs in the north. The area was once heavily forested and home to several royal hunting forests of which remnants still remain.

Hubert Parry was born as Charles Hubert Hastings Parry in Bournemouth in 1848. In 1916 he composed his most famous work "Jerusalem", an anthem based on a poem by William Blake.

Hubert Parry

Famous People

Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell, succeeded his father as Lord Protector on his death in 1658. But the son's rule was short and he was forced to abdicate less than a year later. After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 he went into exile living in France and Switzerland before returning to England in later life. He lived under an assumed name until his death in 1712 when he was buried at All Saints church in Hursley, the village where he and his wife had had an estate.

Richard Cromwell

Napoleon III, the former French Emperor and nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was buried in the purpose-built St Michael's Abbey in 1873. He had been living in exile in England since 1871.

The double-agent Anthony Blunt was born in Bournemouth (then in Hampshire) in 1907. While studying at Cambridge University he joined the Communist Party together with three friends and fellow students: Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby. The four - who became known as the Cambridge Spies - would later divulge many secrets to the Soviet Union and become one of the most notorious and damaging spy rings to operate in Britain during the Cold War. It was not until 1979 that Blunt was finally exposed as "The Fourth Man" in the spy ring.

Anthony Blunt
Cambridge Spies
Cold War

Born in 1820 in Florence, Italy, the nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale spent her childhood at Embley Park and was buried in 1910 nearby at East Wellow.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Historic Events

Landings and Departures
The Pilgrim Fathers set sail in the Mayflower from Southampton in 1620 before bad weather forced them to return to Plymouth.

Southampton was also the port from which the ill-fated Titanic set sail for America in 1912.

Titanic Historical Society

Important Events
Hambledon Cricket Club was the first in the sport to be formed and the club published the games first agreed rules in 1744. They played nearby at Broadhalfpenny Down.

Inventors and Scientists

The civil engineer and inventor Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth in 1806. Among his many achievements were the planning of the Thames Tunnel and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. He also designed the "Great Western", the first steamship built to cross the Atlantic Ocean and he was responsible for constructing all the bridges, tunnels and viaducts on the Great Western Railway.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel


House of Normandy
House of Normandy
William the Conqueror was crowned at Winchester Cathedral. He made the city dual capital with London and ruled from 1066-87.

William I

William the Conqueror's son and successor William II was killed by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest in 1100, thus suffering the same fate as his elder brother Richard who had died in a hunting accident in the same forest in 1081.

The eldest brother Robert, should have become king on William's death but he was on the Crusades and on his return found his youngest brother crowned as
Henry I. Henry had also been hunting in the forest on the same day that William was killed and so rumours spread that the death was no accident. Conflict between the brothers followed, only ending after Henry's victory at the Battle of Tinchebrai in Normandy in 1106.

Robert spent the rest of his life as his brother's prisoner. The Rufus Stone marks the spot in the forest where William fell.
He was buried in the county in Winchester Cathedral.

William II
Monarchs buried at Winchester

House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
Richard the Lionheart was recrowned at Winchester Cathedral in 1194 after returning to England from the crusades and his imprisonment in Duernstein in Austria. He ruled England from 1189-99.

Richard the Lionheart

Henry III was born in Winchester Castle in 1207. He became King in 1216 at the age of nine years and ruled until his death in 1272.

Henry III

House of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
Henry IV married his second wife Joan of Navarre at Winchester Cathedral in 1403.

Henry IV

In 1445 Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou at Titchfield Abbey.

Henry VI
Margaret of Anjou

House of Tudor
House of Tudor
In 1554 Mary I married King Philip II of Spain at Winchester Cathedral.

Mary I
Philip of Spain

House of Stuart
House of Stuart
After losing the English Civil War, Charles I was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight between 1647-48.

Charles I
Charles I

In 1662 Charles II married Catherine of Braganza at the Garrison Church in Portsmouth, the port where she had landed on arriving from Portugal.

Charles II
Charles II

House of Hanover
House of Hanover
Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in 1901, having ruled since 1837 and becoming the longest serving monarch. The last of the Hanoverian monarchs she was buried with her husband Prince Albert at Frogmore House in Windsor Home Park.

Queen Victoria

National Parks

Since 2005 the New Forest is recognized as a National Park, the ninth designated in England.

Nobel Prize Winners

Born in Fareham in 1838 the pacifist (William) Randall Cremer was the first Englishman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1903. He was a trade unionist and founded the Workmen's Peace Association.

Physiology or Medicine
The biochemist Rodney R. Porter died in Winchester in 1985. In 1972 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the American Gerald M. Edelman for their work on antibodies.

Places of Interest

Carisbrooke Castle

The only remains of Winchester Castle can be seen at Winchester Great Hall where the 14th Century replica of King Arthur's Round Table is on view.

Cathedrals and Abbeys

Titchfield Abbey

Winchester Cathedral

Monarchs buried at Winchester

Historic Buildings
Charles Dickens' birthplace, Landport

Jane Austen's home, Chawton

Stately Homes and Palaces
Broadlands was the Romsey home of Viscount Palmerston, twice Prime Minister in 1855-58 and 1859-65.

Viscount Palmerston

Osborne House

Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers
Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister from 1937-40, died at Highfield Park in Heckfield in 1940. His ashes are interred at Westminster Abbey. In the interests of peace Chamberlain followed a controversial policy of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler, signing the Munich Agreement in 1938 after the invasion of Czechoslovakia. When the policy failed he declared war on Germany a year later, but criticism of his leadership and early military defeats led him to stand down in 1940 in favour of Winston Churchill. Chamberlain died 6 months later.

Neville Chamberlain
Famous people buried at Westminster Abbey

In war, whichever side may call itself the victor,
there are no winners, but all are losers.
(Speech at Kettering, 1938)

James Callaghan, Prime Minister from 1976-79, was born as Leonard James Callaghan in Portsmouth in 1912. Before becoming Prime Minister Callaghan had held all three of the principal offices of government; Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. The defeat of his Labour Party in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives heralded 18 years of Conservative rule until Labour won the 1997 election under Tony Blair.

James Callaghan

The current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, was born in Southampton in 1980. Elected to Parliament in 2015, Rishi Sunak was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020 and in 2022 (at the age of 42) became the 2nd youngest Prime Minister in history (after William Pitt, the Younger). Having lost to Liz Truss in the Conservative Party leadership election to replace Boris Johnson he became Britain's third Prime Minister of 2022 when Liz Truss was also forced to resign.

Royal Consorts and Heirs

House of Normandy
Richard, Duke of Bernay the second eldest son and heir to the throne of William the Conqueror was killed in a hunting accident in the New Forest in 1081. In 1100 the same fate in the same forest would befall his younger brother William who would become king on their father's death in 1087. Richard - like his brother nineteen years later - was buried in the county in Winchester Cathedral.

House of Tudor
Arthur, Prince of Wales was born in Winchester in 1486. He was the eldest son of Henry VII and therefore heir to the throne. He never became King as he died in 1502 and it was his younger brother who ascended the throne as Henry VIII on their father's death in 1509.

Writers and Poets

The author Izaak Walton died in Winchester in 1683. In 1653 his The Compleat Angler - a book on the delights of fishing - had been published. It became a classic and is the most reprinted work in English literature. He is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Izaak Walton

I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning.
The Compleat Angler (1653)

No man can lose what he never had.
The Compleat Angler (1653)

The poet Thomas Warton was born at Basingstoke in 1728. He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1785, succeeding William Whitehead. On his death in 1790 he was himself succeeded by Henry James Pye.

Thomas Warton
Poets laureate

Jane Austen was born at the rectory at Steventon in 1775 and lived there until her family moved to Bath in 1801. They returned to the area in 1809 when they moved to the village of Chawton, and it was there that she wrote or rewrote all her novels. In 1817, seriously ill, she moved to Winchester and died there the same year at 8 College Street near Winchester Cathedral where she is buried.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom

We met Dr Hall in such very deep mourning that either his mother, his wife, or himself must be dead.

(Letter, 1799)

Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.
Emma (1816)

The Victorian author Charles Dickens was born at Landport, now part of Portsmouth, in 1812.

Charles Dickens

Birthplace museum, Portsmouth

Here's the rule for bargains: "Do other men, for they would do you." That's the true business precept.
Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)

It was the best times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

The author of Frankenstein Mary Shelley was buried at Bournemouth (then in Hampshire) in 1851. Her parents, the writer Mary Wollstonecraft (who had died in 1797) and the philosopher William Godwin (who had died in 1836), are also buried there, as is the heart of her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, who had drowned in Italy in 1822.

Mary Shelley

Percy Shelley
Mary Wollstonecraft
William Godwin
Mary Wollstonecraft

Elizabeth Gaskell died at Holybourne in 1865. She is buried at Knutsford in Cheshire.

Elizabeth Gaskell
Gaskell Society

That kind of patriotism which consists in hating all other nations.
Sylvia's Lovers (1863)

Arthur Conan Doyle, the Scottish creator of Sherlock Homes, is buried at Minstead. On his death in 1930 he had been buried in the garden of Windlesham, his last home at Crowborough in Sussex. When Windlesham was sold in 1955 his remains and those of his second wife - who had been buried beside him in 1940 - were moved to the churchyard at Minstead. The Conan Doyle's owned the nearby Bignell Wood, the house which they used as a New Forest retreat.

Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate
Sherlock Homes Society

It is quite a three-pipe problem, and I beg you that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.
The Red-Headed League - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)

In 1973 the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien, died whilst visiting friends at Bournemouth (then in Hampshire). He is buried in Oxford.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien Society

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

County Links Genealogy in England

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Isle of Wight

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Isle of Wight
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Field Club & Archaeological Society
Staunton Park Genealogy Centre
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Old Hampshire