Titchfield is a village in southern Hampshire, by the River Meon. The village has a history stretching back to the 6th century. During the medieval period, the village operated a small port and market. Near to the village are the ruins of Titchfield Abbey, a place with strong associations with Shakespeare, through his patron, the Earl of Southampton.
The first people mentioned as inhabiting the area were a Jutish tribe, the Meonwara The tribe were part of the Jutes originating from Denmark who founded the village during the 6th century. The story regarding the village name may not be true. However it is said that the a large field near the settlement belonged to a man with the name Ticca. With the passing of time Ticca's fields became the village of Titchfield.
St Peter’s Church, Titchfield, was established in about 680 making it one of the oldest used churches in England. Though only a few parts of the original structure survive, the church contains a mixture of building styles, since it was expanded and redeveloped to include additional space.
The Domesday Book in 1086 mentions "Ticefelle": with a mill, a market and farms. It was a successful community, though tiny by today’s standards with a population of 160. The Doomesday book entry for Titchfield states "The King holds TICEFELLE. It is a berewick, and belongs to MENESTOCHES. King Edward held it. There are 2 hides; but they have not paid geld. (There) is land for 15 ploughs. In (the) demesne (there are) but 2 oxen (animalia), and (there are) 16 villeins and 13 borders with 9 ploughs. There are 4 serfs, and a mill worth 20 shillings. The market and toll (are worth) 40 shillings."
A further variation in the spelling may be seen in a Mediaeval legal record, where it is appears as "Thechefeld".
Titchfield has long been a centre for business; with the village once having a small port. There were also tanneries (some of the buildings still exist), a market, a fair, brewers, craftsmen, traders and other business people. It is recorded that Henry V before Agincourt and Charles I before his imprisonment at Carisbrooke rested in the town.
In 1970, with the market hall in a derelict state, it was bought by the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. The entire hall was dismantled and moved to Singleton where it now stands proudly restored in the centre of a new (old) village.
Premonstratensian canons founded Titchfield Abbey in 1222. Henry VIII dissolved the abbey in the 16th century, giving the property to a favoured politician, Thomas Wriothesley who turned it into "Place House" and took the title Earl of Southampton. Wriothesley's heirs, including the Duke of Portland and the Duke of Beaufort lived at Place House until 1742 at which point the estate was sold the Delmé family. They lived there for another forty years until, in 1781, a decision was made to abandon the mansion.
Much of the buildings were deliberately demolished to create a romantic ruin. When this happened local people took stone from the abbey for their homes; evidence can be seen in walls and foundations of older houses in Titchfield village. Much, though, is inside the buildings; in The Bugle Hotel in Titchfield, for example, one can see a big fireplace that was salvaged from the ruins. The remains of Tichfield Abbey and Place House are now administered by the English Heritage.