Wanting to know more about this name I see everyday on the A3 roundabout, Gilbert White, has also brought me an unexpected treat. By visiting Gilbert White’s House (more in another post), it has lead me to Selborne, a delightful & obviously prosperous Hampshire village in the South Downs. Most of the nearby villages (forgive me for saying so) are “blink and you will miss them” – consisting of a row of country cottages on a main road with maybe a church hidden behind them. Selborne, however, seems to have more going for it. It lies in the lea of Selborne Hill and according to local lore, there have been traces of people living here in the Middle Stone Age. I can believe it. It feels ancient but also thriving too.
Without focussing too much on the history of the place, I have to say Selborne is one of the prettiest and most friendly of all the little Hampshire villages I have visited recently. Its most recent claim to fame obviously is Mr White’s house but there is a great history to be found here dating predominantly from Saxon times.
It also features everything that I have come to expect of a country village – thatched cottages with wonky mediaeval walls, glorious country gardens full of flowers, an ancient church (St Mary’s) and a couple of great little pubs (we lunched at The Queen’s – delicious, efficient and dog friendly!). There are many little signs telling the history of Selborne and one which I found interesting is that the village’s “lord” is Magdalen College Oxford. Magdalen College became Lords of the Manor when Bishop Waynflete handed over possession of the Prior & convent of Selborne to the college in 1459. Nice little tale.
For any history buffs by the by, (like me), purchase The Story of Selborne by Arthur Stowell from The Gilbert White house’s fab little gift shop. Well worth a visit. See also this link to British History Online detailing the history of Selborne – http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=4191
Other notable things to visit:
Selborne Pottery – hand thrown and decorated stoneware pottery – http://www.selbornepottery.co.uk/
Gilbert White’s House & The Oates Museum – (see other post) – http://www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/
The Selborne Gallery – the only art gallery (I believe) in Britain to be devoted entirely to the work of mouth and foot painting artists – http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/venue_view.php?uid=2188
Contributor: Sue Lowry