History of Landford

A comprehensive history of the origins of Landford as a settlement, the large estates and landowners, the families that lived here and the more recent development of the area can be obtained by clicking here.

At Earldoms there is an Iron Age camp in woodland and an excavation in 1929 found 18 burial urns of the late Iron Age in a small circular mound. There were settlements in other parishes and the indication is that there was prehistoric activity in the parish even if there was little permanent settlement.

There are signs of Roman settlements in nearby parishes and it is likely that they and their successors used Landford for iron working. Pottery was made at nearby Fritham. The Saxons conquered this part of Wiltshire in the early 6th century but when settlement occurred in unknown. By the 10th and 11th centuries there was a small community here and a mill on the river Blackwater.

The Domesday Book of 1086 provides an idea of the size of the settlement. There was enough arable land to maintain two ploughs, a mill and six bordars. This indicates a fairly small community with a population of between 20 and 30. The pasture is one league (more than a mile) by half a league while the woodland is four by four furlongs. The large area of woodland that was regarded as Royal Forest is not included. The estate was held by Otho, and as his father held it before the Norman Conquest it is likely that he was a Saxon, probably employed as King’s forester. A church is believed to have been here in the 11th century and it seems likely that the main house would have been nearby, as Landford Manor is today. With only six other households it is likely that settlement has always been scattered throughout the parish and there may not have been nucleated settlement around the church.

In 1377 there were 48 poll tax payers (people aged over 14 years) compared with 55 in Cowesfield and 36 in Hamptworth. It is difficult to estimate population from the poll tax as there were evasions of payment and the number of children of 14 and under is unknown but the comparison would indicate that the whole parish of Landford was smaller than the settlement of Cowesfield in Whiteparish. It is quite probable that there were less than 20 families in Landford at this time.

With rights of common in the forest for the farmers and smallholders there would have been a problem with straying animals and a pound for these was established. The name Pound Hill indicates where this was in later centuries and it could well have been here from medieval times. In 1540 the manor passed to the Dauntsey family and their descendants. Sir John Dauntsey rebuilt Landford Manor House in c.1600.

Landford Manor

From 1577 the tenants had surrendered rights of common pasture in the forest in one of the early steps by the landowner to begin enclosure of the forest. This started in 1610 when the parish can be considered to no longer be part of the royal forest.

The Andrews and Dury map of Wiltshire in 1773 shows a very scattered settlement in the parish. There is no settlement on Landford Common and very little on North Common. Landford Mill is still working on the river Blackwater and by 1776 Landford Lodge, formerly called Breach House, was rebuilt for Sir William Heathcote of Hursley (Hampshire) who had the greater part of the earlier house taken down.

The chief crops now were wheat, barley and turnips and livestock was also kept in a mixed farming economy. The area in the south of the parish was still unenclosed and remained so until 1861.

During the 18th century the cottage industry of lace making spread into the parish from Downton. This provided an extra income for families when wives and daughters made lace at home. The industry continued through the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Two roads that meet in the parish were turnpiked in the 18th century and this must have increased the traffic between Salisbury and Southampton through this quiet corner of Wiltshire. Without an inn it is unlikely that any of the commercial coaches stopped, except as a special favour.

Landford Common was enclosed in 1861, with most of the land allocated to Lady Nelson (640 out of 740 acres) but with one acre allowed for a stone and gravel pit and four acres for exercise and recreation for the villagers. Land to the south of the track, now New Road, was sold at £15 an acre for people to build on from the 1870s. From then onwards houses were built around the two roads across the common giving a V shape of ribbon development on Broomhill (part of Lyndhurst Road) and New Road.

Administrative changes in the area meant that Plaitford was transferred from Wiltshire to Hampshire in 1895 but in 1896 Landford received the Earldoms from Whiteparish. Although the population had fallen to 231 in 1891, from a high point of 278 in 1861, it rose to 358 in 1901. This is an indication of the new houses, and later bungalows that continued to be built in the parish during the first half of the 20th century. The modern pattern of settlement on Landford Common (Broomhill and New Road), Landford Wood and Northlands (North Common) was now established. A new bakery was built in 1912 and, in addition there was a grocer, village shop, a shoe shop offering repairs, a builder, a plumber, a wheelwright and undertaker, a blacksmith and garage, a confectioner, market gardens, and an agricultural machinist. During the First World War the carrier’s wagon was replaced by a local bus service to Salisbury while by 1921 the Wilts and Dorset Omnibus Co. were operating services locally.

In the 1920s this was still chiefly an agricultural parish and in 1927 the chief crops were still wheat, barley and turnips. The village pound still remained although little used.

In more recent times from 1950 onwards, there was a considerable increase in the building of new dwellings. In 1951 council houses were built at Brookside, near to the school, and Northlands House (now The Cedars Nursing Home) was converted to flats. Also in 1951 the neglected village recreation ground was restored, let to the Landford and Hamptworth Sports Club, who undertook to manage it, and it re-opened on 19 May with sports, a fete, and a tea. It was also used by Landford School for games and sports, and equipment was installed in the children’s play area.

After WW2 increasing prosperity, increased ownership of the motorcar, freedom to travel, and an increase in population led to a demand for more housing. Within Landford this led to a surge in building activity, including infill along Lyndhurst Road and New Road and the new developments off Forest Road. A new housing estate, Beech Grange, was developed in the 1970’s.

The appearance of part of the village was profoundly changed in 1975 when the A36, Salisbury to Southampton trunk road, was completely rebuilt from Partridge Hill on the Hampshire borders to the Earldoms. Many fine trees were lost as a result of this, though some were replaced, and the Church of St. Andrews now looks down upon constant streams of vehicles passing along the A36. In 1989 the first known licensed premises came to the village when the Landford Poacher opened its doors.

The increase in housing has led to a considerable increase in the population and demand on local services. The 2001 Census returned a total population of 1142 consisting of 555 males and 587 females occupying 450 households. The average age was 44.39 years, with 111 people aged 75 or over. For a graph of population growth since 1800, click on Landford Population.


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