Wickham Square is a fine example of 13th Century town planning. It is one of the largest village market squares surviving today in England. Eight hundred years later the houses round it still retain identically sized “burgage plots” – big enough to keep a pig, poultry and grow vegetables on. The 1726 map shows the Square and burgage plots which remain the same today. You can appreciate how long they were by walking the length of the Co-op shop on the north or Warwick Lane and Bay Tree Walk on the south of the Square.
Wickham Fair is held on May 20th (unless it falls on a Sunday) and has taken place every year since 1269. The “King’s Head” is named after Henry III who granted the original charter for the Fair. It used to be opened by a horse having the first drink at “Greens” (then the Star Inn) – “Star Corner” is still the name of that end of the Square.
The Star was originally a coaching inn whose earliest traced landlord was John MERSH. For many years, it was used as the headquarters of the ‘William of Wykeham’ Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd fellows. In the early 18th century, with the decline of the trade guilds, fraternal societies were esstablised to provide support for members during hard times. The ‘Odd Fellows’ was formed by craftsman from an assortment of trades – the ‘odd fellows’.The emblem of the society, I.O.O.F. M.U.’ can be seen high on the wall of the Star in this early 20th century photograph.
Around the 1900s, pub was used by trainer Professor Bill Natty to prepare Pompey boxing champion Fred Goldring for his principal fights. Fred is recorded as winning his first fight in 1897 by a knockout after 12 rounds. It was reported that he although only 10 stone (63.5 kg.), he won over 100 matches at all weights.
It was the tradition for a horse to be bought into the Star for a drink of beer to mark the opening of the Wickham Annual Fair, held on 20th May. A tradition which, sadly, has ceased.
The Square Cow
This building has accommodated many businesses including a butchers shop, an antiques shop and, more recently, the Wickham Bar & Bistro and Studio 6. It is an open half-timber framed structure with … more to be added
During renovations to the ground floor of the right hand side of the building in 1978, a wonderful … more to be added
The temperance movement began in the early 19th century as a social movement against the consumption of alcohol. By the mid-1800s, there was a general campaign to introduce a temperance halls and coffee taverns as replacements for public bars.
In response to this movement, Wickham villagers petitioned for a place where they could meet and socialise free from the presence of alcohol. The then squire, John Carpenter-Garnier, procured the land and commissioned this Victorian building. Opening in 1882 as ‘The Wickham Coffee House and Reading Room’, the establishment was managed by Francis BURDEN, a retired Royal Marine Colour Sergeant, where he remained for about thirteen years.
Before the opening, Mr. Carpenter Garnier entertained 22 of the workman who had been engaged in building the establishment, to tea at the Kings Head.
In the early 1900s,the ‘Refreshment Rooms’ were run by another ex-Royal Marine, Ernest SEIDENSTUCKER. The Reading Room was run by the Reverend E. Hungerford DUKE.
The Victorian building was constructed by Messrs. Knight & Son (see Knights Chambers). Note the elaborate late Victorian wall tiles and cast iron downpipes.
In the 1930s, Pages cycle shop and newsagents moved to these premises.