Upham Village History
The chalk uplands around Upham once pastured the sheep flocks of Bronze and Iron-age man, whilst the flints were in plentiful supply for their stone age predecessors.
Springs which bubble from the eocene clay have always been an important feature of the downlands and the name ‘Upham’ suits the village as the suffix ‘ham’ can mean both ‘Village’ and ‘a meadow on, or near a stream’.
The Roman road from Portchester to Winchester passed through the village. At the time of the Domesday book it is believed that there was a church in Upham and there is a record of the Parish of Upham in 1236, with a rector for Upham and Durley being first mentioned in 1304. Parts of the church date from the 13th Century, although it was extensively remodelled in the 19th Century by fashionable architect G E Street (who designed The Old Bailey).
The medieval road from Winchester to Bishops Waltham, where William of Wykeham built his palace, also passed through Upham, and the name of Stephen’s Castle Down a mile to the North east is a reminder of the struggle between local supporters of Henry I and Maud on the one hand and king Stephen on the other .
In the civil war there were battles at Cheriton to the north and Bishops Waltham, and a troop of horses were stabled in the church, causing outrage to the then Parish clerk!
In 1833 a new toll road from Winchester to Bishops Waltham was built across Stroudwood Common and through what became Lower Upham.
Over the centuries therefore, the village has grown to serve not only the surrounding farms, but also many travellers. In addition to the current school and 2 pubs, there were at least three other shops and two other pubs in the village 100 years ago.
The village’s most famous resident was possibly the eighteenth century poet Edward Young (1681 – 1765), born in the rectory and author of ‘Night Thoughts’.
Upham in Old Pictures
“Upham in Old Pictures” by John Bosworth is a lovely, historical view of Upham through old photographs.
Although the book is now out of print, there are still plenty of copies available. They are priced at £5.00 each and all proceeds go to the Bishops Waltham Museum.
Copies of the book can be purchased from the Bishops Waltham Museum which is open from 12 – 4 on weekends and bank holidays during May to September (extended hours).
Alternatively contact the museum via email at Bishopswalthammuseum@gmail.com or telephone 01489 894654.