Wealthy Wickham

Wickham market and fair
In 1269, the Lord of the Manor, Roger de Scures, was granted a royal charter by Henry III to hold a market ‘every week on Thursday’ and an annual fair ‘for ever’. As a result of the success of the market and fair, Wickham moved from the east bank of the River Meon (where the Church still is today) to form a new settlement around the Square and Bridge Street.

The photo shows the fair just after the Second World War – can you see the flat-roofed air-raid
shelter still standing on the right side of the Square and the gypsy caravan on the left? The smoke shows many attractions were still steam powered.

The King’s Head
The present King’s Head was built in 1767, possibly to replace a previous inn next door. It originally had three floors but today it has only two – the third was destroyed by fire in 1928 and never replaced.
Wickham’s manor court met there right up to the 1930s, appointing the Town Crier and fining
villagers who let their geese or pigs stray!


The undulating roof line of the south east side of The Square has changed remarkably little over the years. Later Georgian brick fronts hide original timber framed buildings. In the centre of the photo, behind the horse and cart is the Volunteer Inn – celebrating Wickham’s 18th Century local militia formed in the Napoleonic War.   Look at the two buildings on the left of the lowest roof with an archway below.  Despite much alteration you can just see the remains of a jettied (projecting) first floor – one of only twenty or so Wealden houses in Hampshire. You can see another example at the bottom of Bridge Street – The Old Barracks.  

Havelock and Wentworth
Look at the two Georgian houses, now called Havelock and Wentworth. They were originally built in 1678 as one private house and later became the King’s Head Inn. In 1751, this inn was converted into the two houses you now see. Their grand facades contrast with the humbler Georgian fronts facing them on the opposite side of the Square and show Wickham’s growing importance during the 18th century.

The remains of an arch at the south end of Havelock shows the position of the old coach entrance to the rear yard of the original inn.

Havelock seems to have been the residence of choice for the widows of naval men! In 1841 it was the property of Mary SHIVERS, widow of Admiral Thomas Revell SHIVERS. Read his biography here.

By 1844 it was the home of Mary’s sister Anna Payne BIRCHALL, widow of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dorsett BIRCHALL.

Wentworth was once home to Harriet WAINRIGHT, widow of Captain John WAINWRIGHT, Lieutenant-Governor of the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth.

In the early 1900s, Evelyn Woodroffe HICKS was in residence. She raised the first scout troop in Wickham, being their scoutmaster. She was also an artist, member of the women’s International Art Club and, after moving to Somerset in 1921, the first woman Justice of Peace for that county.

This house was the subject of a children’s book ‘Days at Wickham’ by Anne Viccars Barber. This illustrated book describes, in the form of a girl’s diary, a partly fictionalised account of childhood in Wickham during the 1920s.

The Warwick family moved to the house in 1930. Mrs Warwick, who had been a schoolteacher at the time of her marriage, set up a private school for boys and girls in the house. As a billeting office during the Second World War, she took in many evacuees when no other accommodation could be found.

Knights Chambers
This building – now the Village Bakery and options – has a 20th century facade, behind which is a mid-19th century building. The building is named after the Knight family who ran a successful business from the premises over several generations. Originally the facade showed “T.R.Knight & Son”. Upon the death of Thomas Robert KNIGHT in 1918, the sign was modified to “A. Knight & Sons” by his son Albert Ernest KNIGHT, who continued the business with his sons. Kelly’s 1927 Trade Directory records: Knight A.E. & Sons, builders, decorators, plumbers, central heating & undertakers.

There is a builders’ mark on No. 6 Dairymoor with the initials ‘TR&JK’ and dated 1893. This refers to father and son, ‘Thomas Robert and James Knight’.

A Georgian make-over
Looking across the Square, the undulating roof line of the south-east side of the Square has changed remarkably little over the years. Later Georgian brick fronts hide original timber framed buildings. In the centre of the photo is the Volunteer pub – celebrating Wickham’s 18th century local militia, formed in the Napoleonic War.

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