Bishopstoke was once a prestigious community described by Robert Mudie, writing in “Hampshire,” in 1838, as a place where the church and village is beautifully situated, the former close by the bank of the river, with which the barge-course forms an insoculation a little above… The village is straggling, one part of it lying along the road to Winchester and the other along the bank of the water course, or pond, of the Old Custom Mill. Several good houses are scattered about; the grounds are very-rich; the whole sheltered from every angry wind; and altogether it is difficult to find, or even imagine, a sweeter place.” Later in 1870, the sales catalogue for “The Mount Estate” described the property as a “freehold residential property in the healthy and esteemed Parish of Bishopstoke. Occupying, as its name denotes, an eminence on the eastern bank of the River Itchen… The neighbourhood contains so many family seats, that a Lady or Gentleman occupying this property may ensure Good Society.”
Those of us living in Bishopstoke today may, or may not, recognise these lyrical descriptions of our community. Whilst some villages have been able to retain their rural charm, our village has evolved to meet the demands of change, brought about by industrialisation and the demands of modern society.
The illustrations, records, archives and stories contained in these web pages about Bishopstoke, some of which relate to Bishopstoke’s days of grandeur, have been collected by members of Bishopstoke History Society who are grateful to many local families which have shared their records and stories with us, so we can share them with you.
Bishopstoke History Society was conceived in its present form in 2009. It must be acknowledged that our members Joan and Rod Simmonds and Stan Roberts were also early members of Eastleigh History Society and have been inspirational in researching our village history and keeping the history of Bishopstoke alive through talks and exhibitions, for more than thirty years. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
Allen Guille and Chris Humby formed an alliance through collecting pictures of old Bishopstoke on eBay and had the desire to share these pictures with the community. Stories were needed to provide background and we met with Rod and Joan who suggested that the group be extended to include Malcolm Dale (now sadly deceased) and Stan Roberts. The group has expanded to include Mary South, Bob Winkworth, Barry Kitchen and Lou Parker-Jones. We do not have a general membership, nor do we hold formal meetings. Our purpose is to research and gather information that can then be shared.
In the past, we have created a series of presentations about various aspects of Bishopstoke and the surrounding areas, and our talks have been held locally. From early beginnings in 2010, with borrowed equipment, we began holding three presentations a year, without a charge for attendance. Each presentation was held twice, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. To date we have created over twenty original topics. Presentations on each topic are highly illustrated and usually last between 60 and 90 minutes. The number of people attending these events, both afternoon and evening prior to 2020, was usually in the range of eighty to one hundred and, on occasion, well over this number with standing room only. Thanks to the generosity of our audience the donations we received covered the costs of hiring facilities and providing refreshments. Pre-covid, we appeared to have become the largest social group to regularly meet in our community. We have now been able to make a small surplus which will support web page charges for a few years.
In the current climate of Covid uncertainty we do not feel comfortable holding public presentations as we have in the past, and fear that the history we have gathered about our community may be lost or forgotten. This website will enable our collective endeavours to be shared.
We will make every effort to check that the information generously shared with us has permission to be published and is accurate. If, however, we have made an oversight, please contact us so that we can rectify any anomalies.
If you enjoy our website, please let us know.
I lived in Bishopstoke from 1956 until I married in 1972, then I moved to Basingstoke.
I was fascinated to see the before and after pictures brought back happy memories of my childhood. My father owned Renhams cycles along Fair Oak Road. I love seeing photos from Bishopstoke, so thank you and keep up the excellent work.
We moved into Fair Oak around 2009 and at the time we had no idea of the history surrounding Bishopstoke. We have taken great pleasure in exploring it. Thank you for this website. Can we change Allbrook Hill back to the ‘before’ picture please?