Abbots Ann is a parish which includes a village of the same name, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Andover, Hampshire, England.
The village name "Ann" was derived from the Celtic river name ‘Anne’ meaning "Ash Tree Stream" (now known as the Pillhill Brook). The first settlements in the area can be traced back to 50BC when the Atrebates cleared the forests and cultivated the land. During Roman rule the village prospered, and at the end of Dunkirt Lane a large Roman Villa was built.
First mentioned as Anna when reportedly granted to the New Minster of Winchester by King Edward the Elder (son of Alfred the Great), it was later recorded in the Domesday Book as an area containing 8 hides and 3 mills. The long, narrow and roughly rectangular boundary is characteristic of West Hampshire chalk land parishes. Defined in Saxon times, or possibly earlier, this shape ensured that Abbots Ann had its share of river, downland and richer waterside meadows. Before the Norman invasion the land was granted to the Abbey of Hyde and became known as Ann Abbatis (the ‘Estate on the River Anne belonging to the Abbot’). Little Ann was granted to the Abbey of Wherwell. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s the estates passed back into secular hands.
In 1806, Robert Tasker settled in Abbots Ann and later took over the blacksmith’s business. Tasker and his brother developed the first iron plough, which become so popular that they set up the Waterloo Ironworks in Anna Valley (another village in the parish) to cope with the demand. In 1831, Robert Tasker built the school on its present site in the village, and leased it to the Revd. Samuel Best, the Rector of Abbots Ann. Built 39 years before education became compulsory, the school was one of the first in England to take children of all denominations.
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Abbots Ann from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 (included to show a different side to the history of the parish):