whitchurch's status over the years

Traces of a settlement in the vicinty of the current town have been dated back to the Iron Age with signs of early Roman occupation.

The Manor of Whitchurch was first mentioned in a charter of 909AD, when King Edward the Elder confirmed the land to the monks of Winchester. In the Doomsday Survey of 1086.

William the Conquerorís Census the Bishop of Winchester is listed as holding Witcerce; three mills are mentioned with the town being worth about £35.

In 1132 a large parcel of land in Witcerce was gifted by Henry de Blois to the Hospital of St Cross. 

In 1241 Winchester Priory obtained a Royal grant for a weekly market. The Prior of St Swithun, John De Cauz, issued a charter for a borough in Whitchurch around 1248, with the same status and privileges as Portsmouth. This borough charter was confirmed in 1284 and again in 1285, and Whitchurch was governed by a Court Leet which met each October. Whitchurch later passed back to the Prior and Convent who held it until 1541, when it transferred to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, with whom it then remained.

In 1586 Whitchurch returned two members to Parliament.

In 1696 William III granted two fairs to Whitchurch and by the 18th Century four fairs were being held.

Administrative changes over the years has meant that Whitchurch has been an Ancient District as part of the Ancient County of Hampshire when it had the status of a Borough and administered several parishes (including the Parish of Whitchurch). Over the years it took on such roles as that of Sanitary District and Poor Law Union/Registration District as local government took on responsibilities for health and (limited) social security during the mid 19th century. In 1894 it became a Rural District encompassing 8 parishes. Local government changes in 1932 joined it with Kingsclere and took in parts of Basingstoke and Andover Rural Districts to become Whitchurch and Kingsclere Rural District, which comprised 15 parishes.

The major reorganisation of 1974 saw the introduction of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the reduction of status of Whitchurch to that of a Parish. The Town has retained its ancient seal (at the top of this page) and its council is still the Whitchurch Town Council with a Mayor and ceremonial robes.

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