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Fridays Cross, Ringwood - geograph.org.uk - 174248.jpg
Fridays Cross, Ringwood.
Grid reference: SU1505
Location: 50°51’0"N, 1°46’48"W
Population: 12,567
Post town: Ringwood
Postcode: BH24
Dialling code: 01425
Local Government
Council: New Forest
New Forest West

Ringwood is an historic market town in southwestern Hampshire, on the River Avon, close to the New Forest and north of Bournemouth. It has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, and has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages.

The town

Ringwood is a town on the east bank of the River Avon in Hampshire. It features a weekly market in the traditional market place. A cattle market ran until 1989 in the Furlong, which is now home to a Waitrose supermarket, coffee shops and fashion outlets. Ringwood was noted as the second most expensive market town in Britain in July 2008 with average property prices of over £380,000.[1]

The parish includes the hamlets of Poulner, Hangersley, Hightown, Crow, Kingston, and Bisterne.

At Ringwood is the Ringwood Brewery, which produces a variety of cask ales and runs five pubs in the local area, such as the Inn on the Furlong in Ringwood. Ringwood brewery also produces a variety of wines. It was recently taken over by Marston's Brewery, who plan to keep the brewery and all its brands, but lease out its tied public houses.

The swimming pool, sports hall and exterior scenes of the BBC television comedy series, The Brittas Empire, were filmed at Ringwood Health and Leisure Centre, at the time known as Ringwood Recreation Centre.

The notorious Christmas-themed park, called Lapland New Forest, was held near Ringwood in December 2008.[2]

Parish church

Church of St Peter and St Paul

The parish church is St Peter and St Paul. A church in Ringwood is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.[3] It was rebuilt in the 13th century and survived until 1853, when it was completely knocked down and rebuilt.[3]

The church contains a 15th-century monumental brass of John Prophete, Dean of Hereford and York.[3]


Market Place, Ringwood
Old bridge over the River Avon

Ringwood is recorded in a charter of 961, in which King Edgar gave 22 hides of land in Rimecuda to Abingdon Abbey.[4]

The name is also recorded in the 10th century as Runcwuda and Rimucwuda.[5] The second element Wuda means a 'wood', but the first element has been much debated. William Camden in 1607 gave a fanciful derivation, claiming that the original name was Regne-wood, the "Regni" (or Regnenses) being an ancient people of Britain.[6][7]

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Ringwood (Rincvede) had been appropriated by the Crown and all but six hides taken into the New Forest.[8] Prior to 1066 Ringwood had been held by Earl Tostig.[8]

During the 12th and early 13th centuries Ringwood, like other manors of which King John and King Henry III had the immediate overlordship, frequently changed hands.[3] Thus it was held by Roland de Dinan, a Breton lord, in 1167; Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Leicester before 1204; Theodoric the Teuton, a servant of King John, after 1204; William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, in 1217, and intermittently by the third and fourth Earls up to 1237; Simon de Steyland, the King's clerk, around 1237; John son of Geoffrey, described as "of the lands of the Bretons", from 1240; Nicholas of Ely, Bishop of Winchester, from about 1272; and then by three successive queens: Queen Eleanor, Queen Margaret, and Queen Isabella, from 1280 until 1331.[3]

In January 1331, Ringwood and other manors which Queen Isabella had previously surrendered were granted to William Montagu, 1st Earl of Salisbury, whose descendants with some intermission held it for more than two centuries, until the death of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury in 1541.[3] It was held by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset until his execution in 1552, and then briefly by John Gates who was executed in 1553.[3] Queen Mary granted the lands to Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, but by the middle of the 17th century the manor had passed to the Arundells of Wardour, and in 1728 was in the hands of Henry Arundell, 6th Baron Arundell of Wardour.[3] His grandson, the eighth Baron, sold it in 1794 to John Morant of Brockenhurst, and the Morant family held the manor throughout the 19th century.[3]

In 1108, it was recorded that the tenants of the "manor of Ringwood and Harbridge" had common rights in the New Forest, among the knights and esquires, for their farm beasts and plough beasts between "Teg att Brokelisford" and "Ostaven" and in the vill of Beaulieu for all their livestock except goats and geese: for this they paid the King an annual agistment.[3] A valuation of the manor made at the end of the 13th century records the tenants services included mowing the lord's meadow, haymaking on eight acres in "Muchelmershe," carting the hay and making a rick; they were to repair the mills and the houses within the court.[3]

A mill in Ringwood is mentioned in the Domesday Book and later there were two.[3] In March 1226 Henry III granted a weekly market in Ringwood on Wednesdays to Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke and Gervaise his wife to hold until the King should come of age.[3] In 1337 the Earl of Salisbury, as lord of Ringwood Manor, was granted a yearly fair on the feast-day of Saint Andrew (30 November).[3] There was also another fair held on the feast of Saint Peter (29 June) in the 16th century.[3]

After the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was arrested near Horton, Dorset. Monmouth is believed to have hid in a ditch under an ash tree disguised as a shepherd, but was betrayed by a local woman who, according to legend, later killed herself in remorse. Monmouth was then taken to the house now named Monmouth House in West Street (between the Market Place and the Fish Inn). It was there that he wrote a letter to James II begging forgiveness. It was not granted, and he was brought to trial in the Tower of London by the infamous "Hanging Judge Jefferies".

Also after the Battle of Sedgemoor, an elderly local lady, Alice Lisle, gave refuge to two wanted men who were escaping the battle. When her home, Moyles Court, (now a private school; Moyles Court School) was raided, the men were found and Alice was arrested. She was sentenced by the same Judge Jefferies to be burned at the stake; she received a late reprieve, and the sentence was reduced to beheading. She is buried at St Mary's Church, Ellingham, one mile from her Moyles Court home. Her tomb can be found to the right of the church entrance; it is easily spotted as the lid has been left unfinished with rough edges. There is now a pub called the Alice Lisle near Moyles Court.

The Town Hall was erected by John Morant in 1868.[3] The town was famous in the 19th century for its "Ringwood" woollen gloves, and there was also a large linen collar and cuff factory here.[3]

Big Society

Several Scout and Girl Guide groups in Ringwood cater to school-age children.

There are also many other clubs for children, including sporting clubs at the health and leisure centre. There is a skate park in Carver's Field and many play parks for younger children. The ERRFC Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby and Football Club also operates in the area providing sporting opportunities for males and females.

Millstream Model Centre & Raceway is the UK's largest slotcar racing centre.

Sport and leisure

  • Football: Ringwood Town FC, which plays at Long Lane.
  • Speedway has been staged at nearby Matchams Park. The team, known as the Ringwood Turfs, featured in the Southern Area League in the mid-1950s.
  • Rugby: Ellingham and Ringwood RFC.


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Ringwood)


  1. Britten, Nick (18 July 2008). "Market towns 'most likely to beat housing slump'". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2435829/Market-towns-most-likely-to-beat-housing-slump.html. 
  2. "Controversial 'Lapland New Forest' Christmas attraction closes". Telegraph (London). 4 December 2008. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3549767/Controversial-Lapland-New-Forest-Christmas-attraction-closes.html. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Victoria County History of Hampshire: Ringwood
  4. However on B.1066, a charter which Birch identifies with Ringwood. County History of Hampshire (VCH). Hampshire, points out that this charter professes to record a grant of the lands concerned to Abingdon Abbey, but that there is no other record of the abbey holding lands at Ringwood. In the Rolls Series Rimecuda is identified with Ruscombe, Berkshire, but the survey renders it quite impossible. Whether the grant be genuine or not, the survey attached to it is almost certainly that of the bounds of the lands of Ringwood as they were in early times. The survey mentions the Avon, Linford and Fulford, and, possibly, Sandford, all of them names connected with Ringwood. - The Archaeological Journal, (1930), Volume 84, page 192
  5. Ringwood, Old Hampshire Gazetteer
  6. William Camden's Britannia (1607) in Latin and English – The Philological Museum Library of Humanistic Texts
  7. Edmund Gibson's Edition 2, 1722 University of Adelaide Online Books
  8. 8.0 8.1 Domesday Map – Ringwood