Track to South Charford Farm
|New Forest West|
South Charford is a hamlet and ancient parish in western Hampshire, on the banks of the River Avon, across from the village of Breamore. It is close to the Wiltshire border. It was once a village, but there is no village today - just a few farm buildings.
The Avon here meanders through a broad floodplain cut through with many rills. To the east rises a steep, wooded slope, which is the edge of the New Forest, on the top of which is the hamlet of North Charford.
North and South Charford are usually identified with the "Cerdic's ford" which appears twice in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:
- The year 508 entry tells that following a battle to the east "the land as far as Cerdic's ford was named Natanleaga"
- The year 519 we are told that "Cerdic and Cynric succeeded to the kingdom [of the West Saxons]; and in the same year they fought against the Britons at a place called Cerdic's ford".
This is a strategic position on the Avon, and if a battle really did take place here then it is possible that the boundary of Hampshire was first established here. No archaeology has yet proven a fight here though.
Mediæval and modern
In the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, South Charford (Cerdeford) was a fairly large settlement of around 24 households. The manor was held of Hugh de Port by William de Chernet, and it remained in the Chernet family for over 200 years. In 1293 Iseult de Chernet was dealing with the manor, which passed by inheritance or purchase to Oliver de la Zouche. Sometime before 1428 it was evidently sold it to Sir John Popham, who served in France under Henry V and the Duke of Bedford. It then came into the possession of the Bulkeley family and followed the descent of Burgate in Fordingbridge until 1600, when John Bulkeley conveyed it to Hugh Grove. Sir William Dodington was holding it in 1624. His son Herbert died childless in 1633, and his father, who survived, held the manor until his death in 1638, when it passed to his younger son John. South Charford passed by sale or settlement to Fulke Greville, 5th Baron Brooke, and remained in his family until 1747–8, when Francis Greville, 8th Baron Brooke sold his Hampshire estates. South Charford passed to Henry Archer and then followed the descent of North Charford.
A chapel is said to have been built by Sir John Popham with the consent of the Prior of Breamore, and was dedicated in 1404. The chapel was in ruins by the mid 18th-century when Thomas Archer made use of the material for enlarging and rebuilding of the church of Hale. The site is in a field near South Charford Farm, and is now occupied by a large yew tree.
South Charford is an ancient parish, although for a period in the early 19th century it was reckoned as a tithing of the parish of North Charford. The population of South Charford in 1870 was 70 people living in 13 houses. The civil parish of South Charford was abolished in 1932, and South Charford is now part of the civil parish of Breamore.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about South Charford)
- Often identified with Netley Marsh, 17 miles to the east
- Charford, Old Hampshire Gazetteer
- Domesday Map - South Charford. Note that two entries for South Charford (Phillimore reference 23,1 and 23,53) appear to be close duplicates of each other. The ownership of another piece of land (Phillimore reference: 23,3) was disputed territory.
- Victoria County History, North Charford with South Charford
- Hampshire Treasures Volume 5 (New Forest) Page 36
- John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, A Vision of Britain through Time, retrieved, 11 October 2011
- Relationships / unit history of South Charford, A Vision of Britain through Time, retrieved, 11 October 2011