Place:Botley, Hampshire, England

Alt namesBoteliesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 122
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates50.917°N 1.267°W
Located inHampshire, England
See alsoMainsbridge Hundred, Hampshire, Englandancient county division in which it was located
South Stoneham Rural, Hampshire, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1932
Winchester Rural, Hampshire, Englandrural district in which it was located 1932-1974
Eastleigh 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

Botley is an historic village and civil parish in the Eastleigh District of Hampshire with an estimated 2011 parish population of 5,100. Between 1806 and 1820 it was the home of the famous journalist and radical politician William Cobbett, who described the village as the most delightful in the world. There is a memorial stone to William Cobbett in the village square.


When the Romans built a road from Noviomagus Reginorum (Chichester) to Clausentum (Southampton), it crossed the River Hamble at a natural crossing point located to the south of present-day Botley. The crossing later became the site of Botley's first settlement, which existed at least as far back as the 10th century. Known in Saxon times as "Bottaleah" ("Botta" was probably a person, while "Leah" was the Saxon word for a woodland clearing). Some time prior to the Norman conquest of 1066, a gradual rise in sea level meant that travellers found the river easier to ford further north of the original Roman crossing, this new crossing place provided a new focal point for the village, which in 1086 was listed in the Domesday book as "Botelie". The village included two mills and had a population of less than 100.

In 1267 John of Botley, Lord of the Manor, obtained a royal charter from Henry III for holding an annual fair and weekly market in the town. The village did not, however, grow significantly and in 1665 the village still had a population of only 350.

During the eighteenth century, Botley functioned as a small inland port with barges transporting coal, grain, timber and flour along the river. The first bridge over the tidal part of the river was built in 1797 and by the time of the 1801 census 614 people were residing in the village. A corn market was opened in 1829 and a cattle market in 1836, while Botley Market Hall – today a Grade II listed building – was built in 1848. A new parish church dedicated to All Saints was built nearer the village centre in 1836. The National School opened in 1855 and the Recreation Ground was purchased in 1888.

In the mid-nineteenth century the climate made south Hampshire ideal for growing strawberries and Botley became the centre for a thriving trade in this branch of horticulture. In 1841 Botley railway station was opened by the London and Southampton Railway Company. It became a major loading point for the seasonal strawberry traffic, as Botley formed the start of what is now known as the Strawberry Trail.

Research Tips

  • Victoria County History of Hampshire, volume 3, chapter on Botley.
  • 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 Botley, 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.