The Glebe

The Glebe (church field) lies across the A32 from where you are standing. There is still open space behind the houses.

This area was important long before the manor house and church were built. Early trackways from Southwick towards Titchfield and Droxford ran near here, as did Roman roads between Chichester, Winchester, Bitterne (Southampton) and Portchester, which crossed the River Meon in what is now the Millennium Water Meadows to your right on the other side of the railway.

Early inhabitants
Archaeological excavations have unearthed a few isolated flints from the New Stone Age and Bronze Age (4000—800 BC), under the remains of the later manor house and School Road, but there is little evidence of any prehistoric settlement here.

Excavations on the Glebe in 1999 indicated the presence of a round house and workshop from the Roman period, two or three open-flue pottery kilns, and iron slag from smelting. Together with several other sites of occupation and industry in the neighbourhood, this suggests a considerable Roman presence. Wickham may have been the Roman settlement called Clausentum, mentioned in Roman documents, though this is usually associated with Bitterne. But who knows….

Anglo-Saxon settlement
Occupation of Wickham probably continued after the Romans left and throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, but there is no archaeological evidence to support this. However, Wickham is mentioned in a charter of King Egbert in 826 AD, and then in a mid-10th century grant of land to Wulfric of Wickham by the Bishop of Winchester.

By the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Wickham was a typical village of about 120 inhabitants, with ploughed land, woodland and two mills.

St Wilfrid
Wilfrid was born in Northumbria, and studied in Lindisfarne, Canterbury, Gaul and Rome before becoming Abbot of Ripon and then Bishop of Northumbria.He was a controversial churchman, living ostentatiously and travelling with a large retinue. During a period of exile from Northumbria between 681 and 686 AD, Wilfrid converted the pagan Jutes and Saxons of the Meon Valley to Christianity and founded several churches.

There is no record of any association between Wickham and St Wilfrid, though he must have passed by frequently on his mission to the Meon Valley. A 28-mile route, the Meon Valley Pilgrimage Trail, links the churches of the Meon Valley from Titchfield to East Meon.

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