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Hursley is a village and civil parish in Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 with a population of around 800 http://www3.hants.gov.uk/environment-statistics/population.htm in 2005. It is located roughly mid-way between Romsey
Romsey is a small market town in the county of Hampshire, England.It is 8 miles northwest of Southampton and 11 miles southwest of Winchester, neighbouring the village of North Baddesley...

 and Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

 on the A3090. Besides the village the parish includes the hamlets of Standon and Pitt.

12th to 17th century

The earliest references to Hursley date from the late 12th century; Bishop of Winchester
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England diocese of Winchester, with his cathedra at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.The bishop is one of five Church of England bishops to be among the Lords Spiritual regardless of their length of service. His diocese is one of the oldest and...

 Henry de Blois built a manor house called Merdon Castle, within the parish, in 1138 http://www.envf.port.ac.uk/hantsgaz/hantsgaz/s0004404.htm. Hursley continued in the ownership of the Bishop of Winchester until 1552 when it was surrendered to king Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...


The buildings had become ruinous by the 16th century, when Edward Vl granted the manor and park at Hursley to Sir Philip Hoby
Philip Hoby
Sir Philip Hoby was a 16th century English Ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire and Flanders....

. Some remains, notably of a gatehouse, still stand, much overgrown, and are listed as a building at risk.http://risk.english-heritage.org.uk/2009.aspx?id=95

During the reign of Queen Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 the manor was briefly restored to the church but given back to the Hoby family by Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...


The Hoby family sold the manor and castle to Thomas Clerke in 1600. The lodge and park at Hursley were leased separately at this time, but the two estates were brought together again in 1630.

The Cromwells - 1643 to 1718

The estate passed into the Cromwell family in 1643 when Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

's son Richard married Dorothy Major, daughter of the owner, Richard Major.

Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
At the same time, the officers of the New Model Army became increasingly wary about the government's commitment to the military cause. The fact that Richard Cromwell lacked military credentials grated with men who had fought on the battlefields of the English Civil War to secure their nation's...

 lived with his wife in Hursley from 1649 until 1658 when he was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Realm following the death of his father. This made Hursley briefly the country seat of the ruler of England. It was not to last however as Richard's grip on power was weak, he was forced from office within months and by 1660 concerns for his safety forced Richard Cromwell to flee the country with Dorothy. They travelled first to France and then to other parts of Europe where Richard lived under an assumed name. Richard's son Oliver Cromwell II(??-1705) took over the Hursley estate, and the tenants claimed their ancient rights and customs (including pastureage and felling trees) in a lengthy legal battle.

Richard returned to Hursley after Oliver died in 1705 and lived on as lord of the manor
Lord of the Manor
The Lordship of a Manor is recognised today in England and Wales as a form of property and one of three elements of a manor that may exist separately or be combined and may be held in moieties...

 until he died in 1712 whereupon he was buried in the chancel of All Saints' Church, Hursley http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon48a.html. Richard's daughters sold Hursley estate to Sir William Heathcote, baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

 for £35,100 in 1718.

The Heathcotes - 1718 to 1888

William Heathcote
Sir William Heathcote, 1st Baronet
Sir William Heathcote, 1st Baronet was a British merchant and politician.Heathcote was a successful merchant who purchased the Hursley estate in 1718. Between the years of 1721 and 1724 William built a red brick, Queen Anne style mansion now known as Hursley House on the site of a hunting lodge...

 was a successful merchant who moved to Hursley in order to take up the role of a country gentleman.
Between the years of 1721 and 1724 William built a red brick, Queen Anne style
Queen Anne Style architecture
The Queen Anne Style in Britain means either the English Baroque architectural style roughly of the reign of Queen Anne , or a revived form that was popular in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century...

 mansion now known as Hursley House
Hursley House
Hursley House is an 18th century Queen Anne style mansion in Hursley in the English county of Hampshire.It was built by William Heathcote between 1721 and 1724, during the reign of George I...

 on the site of the original hunting lodge (Hursley House is now owned by IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 as part of IBM Hursley Laboratories)

William died in 1751 and the estate passed to his son, Sir Thomas Heathcote. About this time Hursley's original Medieval Parish Church was rebuilt in a Georgian style.

Sir Thomas was married twice and had eight children.

When he died he was succeeded by the second Sir William. William's son, also called Sir Thomas Heathcote, was a patron of the arts and modernised Hursley House, but was blamed by later Heathcotes for property blunders that eventually cost the family the estate.

William Heathcote, nephew to Thomas, became the fifth baronet in 1825. He extended Hursley House and also created Home Farm on the site of the old Merdon Castle.

William was married twice, first to Caroline who bore him three sons and a daughter but died in 1835, and second to Selina in 1841 by whom he had another eight children.

In 1888 Selina Heathcote sold the estate for £150,000 to Joseph Baxendale, the owner of Pickfords
Pickfords is a moving company based in the United Kingdom, part of the Moving Services Group UK Ltd.The business is believed to have been founded in the 17th century, making it one of the UK's oldest functioning companies. The earliest record is of a William Pickford, a carrier who worked south of...

, after her husband's death.

Other notable residents

The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 theologian and poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 John Keble
John Keble
John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, and gave his name to Keble College, Oxford.-Early life:...

 was appointed Vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 of Hursley in 1835, rebuilt the church in 1848, and remained there until his death in 1866. Keble was Professor of Poetry
Oxford Professor of Poetry
The chair of Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford is an unusual academic appointment, now held for a term of five years, and chosen through an election open to all members of Convocation, namely, all graduates and current academics of the university; in 2010, on-line voting was allowed....

 at Oxford University from 1831 to 1841, and was the originator and subsequently one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

. Keble College, Oxford
Keble College, Oxford
Keble College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its main buildings are on Parks Road, opposite the University Museum and the University Parks. The college is bordered to the north by Keble Road, to the south by Museum Road, and to the west by Blackhall...

 was founded in his memory. Keble is buried at All Saint's Church, Hursley.

There is a memorial in the church to Dennis George Wyldbore Hewitt
Dennis George Wyldbore Hewitt
Dennis George Wyldbore Hewitt VC was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 (1897 - 1917), recipient of the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


Present day

International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 has a site at Hursley, centred around Hursley House
Hursley House
Hursley House is an 18th century Queen Anne style mansion in Hursley in the English county of Hampshire.It was built by William Heathcote between 1721 and 1724, during the reign of George I...

, employing over 1500 people. It is nowadays primarily a software development
Software development
Software development is the development of a software product...

A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories...

, specializing in transaction and message processing (CICS
Customer Information Control System is a transaction server that runs primarily on IBM mainframe systems under z/OS and z/VSE.CICS is a transaction manager designed for rapid, high-volume online processing. This processing is mostly interactive , but background transactions are possible...

, MQ), Information Management
IBM Information Management Software
Information Management Software is one of the brands within IBM's Software Group division. The major Information Management products include:* DB2 — relational database management system...

, Java
Java (programming language)
Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities...

, and decimal arithmetic. Storage adapters and storage virtualisation products (SVC
IBM SAN Volume Controller
In computer data storage, the IBM SAN Volume Controller is a block storage virtualization appliance that belongs to the IBM System Storage product family. SVC implements an indirection, or "virtualization", layer in a Fibre Channel storage area network .- Architecture :SVC is always deployed as a...

) are also developed on this site. In the past it was the development laboratory for several IBM 360 models and the first digital colour display, the IBM 3279 terminal. Hursley is crossed by the Monarch's Way
Monarch's Way
The Monarch's Way is a long-distance footpath in England that approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester.Most of the footpath is waymarked...

 long distance footpath.


Hursley village is situated on the chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 at the northern edge of the Palaeogene deposits of the Hampshire Basin
Hampshire Basin
The Hampshire Basin is a geological basin of Paleogene age in southern England, underlying parts of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, and Sussex...

; the chalk is largely overlain by head and 'clay with flints', insoluble material concentrated out of dissolved chalk. A number of dry valley
Dry valley
A dry valley is a valley found in either karst or chalk terrain that no longer has a surface flow of water.There are many examples of the latter along the North and South Downs in southern England...

s converge from the north. Immediately to the south of the village lies a belt of Palaeocene sandy clays of the Lambeth Group
Lambeth Group
The Lambeth Group is a stratigraphic group, a set of geological rock strata in the London and Hampshire Basins of southern England. It comprises a complex of vertically and laterally varying gravels, sands, silts and clays deposited between 56-55 million years before present during the Ypresian age...

, sloping up to a ridge of Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 clays and sandstones of the London Clay
London Clay
The London Clay Formation is a marine geological formation of Ypresian age which crops out in the southeast of England. The London Clay is well known for the fossils it contains. The fossils from the Lower Eocene indicate a moderately warm climate, the flora being tropical or subtropical...

, Nursling and Whitecliff sands at Ladwell.

External links