Place:Petersfield, Hampshire, England

TypeChapelry, Parish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates51.004°N 0.933°W
Located inHampshire, England
See alsoFinchdean Hundred, Hampshire, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Buriton, Hampshire, Englandecclesiastical parish in which it was a chapelry
East Hampshire District, Hampshire, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Petersfield is a market town and civil parish in the East Hampshire District of Hampshire. It is 17 miles (27 km) north of Portsmouth, via the A3 road. The town has its own railway station on the Portsmouth Direct Line, the mainline rail link connecting Portsmouth and London. Situated on the northern slopes of the South Downs, Petersfield lies wholly within the South Downs National Park.

The town is on the crossroads of well-used north–south (formerly the A3 road which now bypasses the town) and east–west routes (today the A272 road) and it grew as a coach stop on the Portsmouth to London route. The population in the 2011 UK census was almost 15,000.

The town was founded during the 12th century by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, later chartered by his widow, Hawise de Beaumont, and confirmed by charter in 1198 from "John, Count of Mortain" (later to be King John). In 1415 King Henry V granted the burgesses of Petersfield freedom from toll, stallage, picage, pannage, murage, and pontage throughout the realm of England. All charters are preserved in the archive files at Petersfield Town Council.

The town grew in prosperity due to its position on frequently travelled routes, local sheep farming, and cottage industries including leather and cloth. There were weekly markets in the town square for sheep, horse and cattle trading, and two annual fairs, in June (on the feast of St Peter and St Paul) and November (on the feast of St Andrew). An autumn fair which began in the early 19th century was held in October on The Heath, called "The Taro Fair".

Petersfield was originally a chapelry in the ancient parish of Buriton, but outgrew its mother parish during the 19th century. It was made an urban district in 1894. In 1932 it absorbed part of the neighbouring parish of Sheet which was abolished at that time.

Research Tips

  • Victoria County History of Hampshire, volume 3, chapter on Petersfield.
  • GENUKI has a list of archive holders in Hampshire including the Hampshire Record Office, various museums in Portsmouth and Southhampton, the Isle of Wight Record Office and Archives.
  • The Hampshire Online Parish Clerk project has a large collection of transcriptions from Parish Registers across Hampshire.
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 together with tables listing the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered, along with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The three-storey City Museum in Winchester covers the Iron Age and Roman periods, the Middle Ages, and the Victorian period.
  • Volumes in The Victoria County History Series are available for Hampshire through British History Online. There are three volumes and the county is covered by parishes within the old divisions of "hundreds".
A collection of maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrating the English county of Hampshire over the period 1832-1932 (the last two are expandible):
  • A group of maps of the post-1974 municipal districts or boroughs of Hampshire on Wikipedia Commons
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Petersfield, Hampshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.