The Victoria History of Hampshire: Mapledurwell
Mapledurwell is the first parish history to be published by the New Victoria History of Hampshire group. Since publication of the first VCH account of the parish in 1911, ideas about what constitutes a good parish history have been transformed. Our new history includes much more about the village itself and about its economy and society, highlighting the lives of ordinary people as well as tracing those who owned the parish’s land and property. It discusses Quakers and Congregationalists as well as the congregation of the established church, and looks minutely at the history of elementary education, revealing the appalling sanitary conditions suffered by pupils at the local school.
Despite its proximity to the urban centre of Basingstoke, Mapledurwell is typical of many Hampshire downland parishes in which the present-day landscape reflects an earlier open-field system. Its village, recorded in Domesday Book, is rural and picturesque with many attractive timber-framed cottages, the oldest of which is 15th century. Much of it was owned for a long period by Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Winchester College also had properties in the parish. This book explores, through a close reading of the archival records, how Mapledurwell developed from an agricultural community, which also produced textiles and later malt, into a modern commuter village with only one working farm, and establishes a model for the histories of other rural parishes in Hampshire.