A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Ovington, covering 1,288 acres of the country which stretches southwards from the valley of the Itchen to become part of the ridge of down land which stretches south and east of Winchester, is long and narrow, being about four miles in length and barely a mile in breadth at its widest part. Approaching the village from Itchen Stoke a pathway along the river bank between two branches of the Itchen leads to a ford over the widest part of the river, from which the first houses of the village of Ovington, lying on the slope rising to the south from the valley, can be seen. The uphill road leads past the Bush Inn, a small unobtrusive house lying to the west near the river, on past the smithy, two or three modern houses and several low-thatched cottages, one of which serves as the post office, to the church of St. Peter, which stands to the east of the road. Near by the church is a group of tiled half-timbered cottages, on one of which is a tablet g.f.h. 1847. The rectory is almost opposite, south of Ovington Park Farm. South of the church low white gates lead up a short drive to Ovington House, the seat of Mrs. Hewson, lady of the manor, which stands in the midst of finely-wooded country, beyond which Ovington Park stretches away to its boundary, the main road which leads from Winchester through Chilcomb and Tichborne to New Alresford. Beyond the main road the south of the parish is one long sweep of down land, rising to a height of over 500 ft. above the sea level near Longwood Warren. Ovington Down Farm and Ovington Down Cottages lying along Rodfield Lane, which is a continuation of the village street across the down land, are the only traces of human existence in the midst of this lonely country.
The soil of the parish is clay, the subsoil chalk, and since this is so and since most of the country is down land there are only 561 acres of arable land and 13 acres of woodland as compared with 328½ acres of permanent grass. Ordinary crops—wheat, oats, barley, and roots—are produced. The common lands were inclosed in 1811–12. (fn. 1)
There are two entries in Domesday with reference to the manor of OVINGTON (fn. 2); in the first it was held by the bishop (fn. 3); in the second it is said to be in the possession of the abbey of St. Mary at Winchester, for whom the bishop evidently held it. It had previously been held by Archbishop Stigand. Formerly Ovington had been assessed at one and a half hides; in 1086 the whole of the revenue was appropriated to the support of the nuns. (fn. 4)
Between 1086 and 1316 the nuns were constantly in pecuniary difficulties (fn. 5); it is probable that in order to raise money they sold the manor to St. Swithun's before 1284, as in that year John bishop of Winchester gave up all his right in the manor to the prior and convent of St. Swithun. (fn. 6) The manor evidently remained in the possession of St. Swithun's until the Dissolution; (fn. 7) and in 1542 Ovington Manor lately belonging to St. Swithun's was granted to the dean and chapter of Winchester; (fn. 8) it was in the possession of the cathedral church of Winchester in 1682; (fn. 9) and in 1701 the dean and chapter of Winchester were still lords of the manor. (fn. 10)
In 1855 and 1859 the manorial rights were the subject of a dispute between the bishop of Winchester and the Baroness van Zandt of Ovington Park, who had inherited the estate from her father, Mr. James Standerwick. Between 1859 and 1866 this estate passed to Captain G. F. Hewson, whose widow, Mrs. Hewson, is the present owner.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was half a mill in Ovington worth 7s.; (fn. 11) there is no mill in the parish at the present day.
The church of ST. PETER, entirely rebuilt in 1865–6, consists of a chancel with north vestry, north and south transepts, a nave with south-west tower, the ground stage of which serves as an entrance porch. In the porch is preserved an ancient holy-water stone. The font is of Purbeck marble, with a bowl ornamented with shallow arcades, after a late twelfth-century fashion, but there is nothing else in the church with any pretensions to antiquity.
The first book of the registers contains all entries from 1591 to 1738, and the second baptisms and burials 1738–85, and marriages to 1754. The third has marriages 1755–1812, and the fourth baptisms and burials 1786–1813.
There is no mention of a church in OVINGTON at the time of the Domesday Survey. One, however, existed before 1284, as in that year the king gave up to John bishop of Winchester and his successors all his right in the advowson of the church of Ovington. (fn. 12) In 1291 Ovington church was valued at £5, (fn. 13) and by 1535 the value had risen to £12. (fn. 14)
The bishop of Winchester was patron of Ovington until about the year 1870, (fn. 15) when the advowson passed into the hands of the bishop of Lichfield, (fn. 16) and remained in his gift for some fifteen years. From 1890 to the present day the Lord Chancellor has presented to the living. (fn. 17)
There were formerly in this parish about two acres of land considered to belong to the church which became intermixed with private property, and could not be identified. In 1820 Sir Thomas Richard Dyer, bart. (who by marriage had come into possession of the property in question), entered into an agreement with the parishioners to pay 40s. a year to the churchwardens to be applied towards the repairs of the church.