Old Basing Hampshire

The parents of James William Barnard - Harry Thomas Barnard and Annie Gregory - were married at Old Basing - probably in St. Mary's church. Annie had been born in Hurstbourne Tarrant, in 1856. Harry was a painter and Annie was a dressmaker.

Basing can trace its history back with certainty to Saxon times. The parish takes its name from the Basingas, the Saxon tribe and followers of a man called Basa - who first settled in the area (hence the name of the parish magazine - Basinga). Alfred (before he was king) was defeated here in the Saxon v Dane Battle of Basing in AD 871. Lychpit is reputed to be the burial ground of those killed in that battle. As the settlement grew, so did the demand for land so some inhabitants moved a little to the west and Basingstoke (stoke being stockade or suburb) was born. It's worth remembering that Basingstoke, the great metropolis dominating central north Hampshire, has its origins in Basing.

In 1086 Basing was one of Hugh de Port's fifty-five lordships in Hampshire. It remained in the same family, and in the late twelfth century Adam de Port married Mabel St. John and their descendants took the name St. John. In 1347 Edmund St. John died and his heirs were his two sisters. In 1361 Isabel became sole heir. Her son Sir Thomas de Poynings succeeded to the manor in 1393. On his death in 1493 the barony of St. John fell into abeyance and his heirs were Constance, his granddaughter and wife of John Paulet; Alice, his sister and John Bonville, his nephew. A partition of the inheritance was made and Basing went to Constance and John Paulet. The Paulets continued to hold Basing, and in 1551 the barony of St. John was revived and John Paulet was created Marquess of Winchester. Another St. John is famous for his defense of Basing House. It eventually fell to Cromwell on 15th October 1645 and was destroyed. Although sequestered during the Commonwealth the lands were returned at the Restoration to the Paulets.

Basing continued to be owned by the Paulets, now Dukes of Bolton, until the death of Harry, the sixth Duke, in 1794 when it was inherited by his elder brother's illegitimate daughter. She married Thomas Orde, who took the name of Powlett in addition to Orde and was created Lord Bolton in 1797.
Basing is perhaps best known for Basing House, a fortified Tudor residence within the earthworks of an earlier Norman ringwork and bailey castle, which was besieged by Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War. In November 1643 the house was attacked by Sir William Waller, the famous Roundhead General, but the Royalist garrison repulsed the Parliamentarians who withdrew to Farnham. Basing House was later besieged for 24 weeks in 1644, and amongst the residents was the eminent engraver Wenceslaus Hollar, who drew a sketch of the building and its fortifications. The long siege was finally relieved just as matters were getting desperate: Colonel Sir Henry Gage made a surprise march from Oxford and scattered the Roundhead troops. The family motto of the Marquisses of Winchester is Aymez Loyaute (Love Loyalty) which was manifested admirably at that period. Basing House was finally taken by storm in October 1645 and demolished soon afterwards.


Basing House - from Pevsner's The buildings of England: Hampshire Edition

Basing Castle was a motte-and-bailey castle originally, built probably by Hugh de Port around the time of William the Conqueror. Most easily recognisable now of the buildings is the gatehouse to the old house, on its north side. It had four round towers, the outer ones being detached. The great hall lay south-west of it and north of the medieval masonry. West of the north end of the hall is the hexagonal kitchen. On the west side of the bailey was its gatehouse, also with four towers, and outside this to the west the garden. Along its west wall is an octagonal summer house and an octagonal dovecote.
“An outer gatehouse is in the village street, east of Grange Farm, with a stone arch and arms above. The houses opposite have early brickwork, perhaps re-used. Basing House was besieged in 1645, finally stormed by Cromwell, and destroyed. Among the prisoners taken was Inigo Jones. We know nothing of building activity during his time or in his style, but in the nearby museum are large mid or later C17 capitals.”

The earthwork banks of the castle built by the Normans still dominate the ruins of wells and walls, cellars and towers. The wealth and power of the Paulet family, their loyalty to the crown and their nearness to London brought disaster to Basing in the Civil War. After long and stirring sieges, and bombardments by great armies, the House fell to Oliver Cromwell in person.

Hampshire's most exciting historic ruin was once the country's largest private house, the palace of the powerful courtier William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester. A rich servant of the Tudor sovereigns, his new buildings covered about 10 acres and formed the last of a succession of castles.

The ruins of the old and new houses, the riverside walk and the spectacular barn all help to make an attraction of beauty and charm. The recently re-created 17th century garden enhances this beauty and brings life back again to the long deserted ruins. The village outside the Tudor garden walls is also pleasant to wander around before returning to the car park.