History of Overton

From the Domesday Book to Carfest, Overton has made its mark on history

 
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A village with a history

Overton is a large village in north Hampshire, located west of the town of Basingstoke and east of Andover. It boasts the source of the River Test just 1 mile to its east and neighbours Steventon, the birthplace of Jane Austen.

There is evidence of habitation during the Stone and Bronze Ages, as well as Roman finds. The Domesday Book of 1086 records a church on the site where St Mary's Church stands today; a corn mill on the site of Town Mill in Kingsclere Road, as well as Othin's Mill which is thought to have been located in what is now called Silk Mill Lane, which was converted in the 1700s to a silk mill.

The White Hart public house in the centre of the village has been recorded as in existence since the 1440s and both The Red Lion and The Greyhound from at least the 18th century.

On the 5th November 1805 a frigate captain, taking news of the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar to London from Falmouth, stopped in Overton to change horses. This event is commemorated by a plaque on the north wall of the Community Centre, which also houses our library.

A workhouse on Dellands Lane, an infant school, on Red Lion Lane, and the original school building (the Community Centre) still remain today.

For a full history of the village, see the detailed timeline on Overton Pictures.com

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Paper making

Henry Portal founded Portals Paper Mill at Bere Mill, on the River Test between Overton and Whitchurch, in 1712, adding Laverstoke Mill to his enterprise seven years later which allowed him to win the contract to make banknote paper for the Bank of England in 1724.

In 1922, a new Overton Mill near Quidhampton was built and is still situatuated there today. During World War II, the Bank of England relocated a significant number of employees to the area and St Luke’s Hall, on Winchester Street, was built as thank you to the people of Overton for their hospitality.

Today, Overton Mill now produces high-security paper for over 150 national currencies.

The original Laverstoke Mill is now used by Bombay Sapphire for distilling their gin and offers visitor tours, cocktail masterclasses and an event space.

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Entertainment and Fun

Overton holds a quadrennial Sheep Fair in commemoration of farmers leading sheep through the village recorded as early as 1246. In recognition of the village’s heritage, a modern fair was reprised in 2000 and now takes place every four years with a different theme and a weekend of related events. The next Sheepfair will celebrate the ‘roaring twenties’ - taking place in July 2020.

Carfest South also takes place annually at Laverstoke Park Farm, an award-winning organic farm run by Jodie Schekter. Started in 2012, it is a family music and motoring festival. It was founded by the radio presenter, Chris Evans, and raises funds for Children in Need and other children’s charities, every August bank holiday weekend.


Image credit: Overton Pictures and the Overton History Society - visit to find out more about the history of Overton and the wonderful collection of images. Many thanks for letting us use your wonderful photographs.