The first evidence for the formal hamlet of Bramshott is the record kept by Matthew, its first Rector in 1225, and of course the early 13th century church of St Marys. The Parish evolved from the medieval manors of Brembreste (Bramshott today), Lidessete (Ludshott), Ciltelelei (Chiltlee), the Royal Forest of Woolmer, and fragments of two other manors.
In fact the vilage and surrounding area has been continusouly occupied since pre-Roman times, and for many centuries was a bustling and industrious community founded upon iron smelting and forging activities, centred upon Bramshott and what is now Waggoners Wells.
The Old Mill House operated as a mill and toll station for 300 years until the mid 20th century, and every aspect of the village today still reflects the history and heritage of this ancient settlement.
12th Century Bramshott Manor is described in the Domesday Book as held by Edward of Salisbury from the King with 2 freemen, 13 tenants (of restricted freedom) and 2 mills. It is now recognised as the oldest continuously inhabited Manor House in the whole of England.
Ludshott Manor, lying to the north of Bramshott Manor, is recorded with 4 tenants and a mill. Chiltlee Manor lay to the south of Bramshott Manor and was recorded as being held by the King, William the Conqueror, with only 4 tenants and land for two ploughs, worth only 53 shillings. These four manors lay on the edge of the Royal Forest of Woolmer, with the origins of Liphook perhaps built as smallholdings to serve huntsmen.
Bramshott grew until the fourteenth century but its growth and population was checked by the spread of the Black Death. It seems some people escaped from the manors to Liphook to evade taxes of the Lord, and since the sixteenth century development of Bramshott has been intertwined with that of Liphook, especially with the arrival of the London to Portsmouth railway line.
The Ghosts of Bramshott
Jack Hallam, former picture editor of the British Sunday Times newspaper, who published The Ghost Tour: A Guidebook to Haunted Houses Within Easy Reach of London (1967), and The Ghost Who's Who (1977) also claimed that Bramshott is the most haunted village in England, with less than 300 living residents and 17 recorded ghosts. These include a long-dead cat, a black pig, a grey lady, a ghostly horseman, a milkmaid and the ghostly, invisible, yet clearly audible procession of a horse and carriage down darkened sunken lanes.
This popular notoriety has also persisted thanks to famous former recent local resident Boris Karloff, who lived in Bramshott until his death, and it is sometimes said that his ghost walks the lanes. It is certainly true that his widow was a very popular resident, and generously sponsored among other projects the patio slabs at the entrance to St Mary’s church.
Lark Rise to Candleford
Another local celebrity resident was Flora Thompson, author of Lark Rise to Candleford who came to Liphook in 1916 and stayed until 1928 at a house in London Road, which is now next door to the Midland Bank.
Her husband was the postmaster and their house served as the local post office. The couple later bought Woolmer Gate, situated at Griggs Green, a small hamlet on the outskirts of Liphook.
Could Lark Rise in fact be Bramshott, and Candleford represent the bustling 19th century settlement of Liphook...?