Cheriton and Tichborne–Tichbourne

We started this section at Alresford, which has lots of shops and public toilets at the train station. Sadly there wasn’t as much excitement at the station as last time!

We parked on Tichbourne Down, just where the path crosses the A31 and then makes it’s way across the golf course. I find it a bit nerve-wracking to walk across a golf course – equally afraid of stray golf balls and irrate golfers! But all the players we met here were very friendly!!

We found horse chestnuts as we walked through the woods at the top, but that was the only sign off Autumn all day – it was a beautiful warm sunny day. It could have been August, not October!

Crossing over the B3046 to Cheriton Mill, we got our first sighting of the River Itchen and the clear water which used to be used for growing watercress here. The other traditional occupation in this area was truffle hunting – sadly I don’t know how to find truffles, so we didn’t try that out.

We approached Cheriton from the back through some meadows and then took some time to wander round to explore the pretty village. Cheriton means ‘church village’ and the church of St Michael and All Angels dates from the medieval era. We took a look inside and as well as decorations for Harvest Festival the church had decorative stained glass windows. Jesus is depicted, but stangely he only gets a supporting role! The main characters depicted are four men who were killed in battle in World War 1 all nephews of Mrs Mary Augusta Phipps Egerton, who has them depicted as each of the knightly virtues of Duty, Loyalty, Honour and Courage.

We followed the track out of Cheriton and found a spot with a nice view for our lunch. As well as watching the cows and the farmer in his tractor we were able to watch a buzzard overhead which was getting mobbed by unhappy crows.

We crossed into the section called Lamborough Lane, we looked over to Cheriton Wood which was the site of the Battle of Cheriton. This battle on 29th MArch 1644 marked a major turning point in the English Civil War.  The Royalists supporters of King Charles I, lead by Hopton, were defeated and after limped back to Reading. If you’re keen you can walk the whole battle!

This was as far as we were going on the Wayfarer’s Walk so we headed back to Cheriton past the long barrow. It looked like a teletubby hill, but it is actually a neolithic tomb.

We walked past the Flower Pots pub, although it looked tempting and headed across the fields to Hill Houses. This wasn’t as easy as anticipated as the hedge had completely obscured the stile from the road! We followed a wide path up to Gander Down and took a right to walk down to Tichborne. This is part of King’s way. Slightly disappointingly this isn’t referring to a royal king, but rather Allan King, an ealry member of the Hampshire Area Rambling Association. The walk, which links the old Roman strongholds of Portchester and Winchester, was devised in his memory.

As we entered Tichborne, the Cellar Door shop of Raimes Vineyard was open, but we weren’t really in the market for expensive wine, so we carried on to see the rest of the pretty thatched village.

We took a little detour to look at St Andrews church, the earliest parts of which date from the mid-eleventh century. However, the thing that makes it unusual is that within the protestant church, the Tichborne Family have a Roman Catholic chapel. It is one of only three Catholic chapels surviving in a pre- Reformation church in England. All through the Reformation, the Tichborne family clung to their Roman Catholic faith. At this time any hint of Catholicism in parish churches was removed, however in 1621 King James I permitted Sir Benjamin Tichborne the privilege of retaining the Chantry chapel in recognition of his help in securing Hampshire at his accession in 1603.

The manor of Tichborne is first identified in a grant of land to Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester, by King Edward the Elder in 909. The Tichborne family has held the manor (which we could only glipse through the trees!) from the twelfth century onwards. There are a couple of things that the Tichborne estate are famous for. One is that he Tichborne Dole is distributed annually on Lady Day (25th March). This ceremony originated in 1150 when Lady Tichborne lay dying and her husband consented to provide a charity from as much land as his wife could walk round holding a lighted torch. Lady Mabel rose from her death-bed and managed to crawl around an area of land (apparently still known as The Crawls) before the torch blew out.

During the nineteenth century, Roger Tichborne, heir to the family’s title and fortunes, was presumed to have died in a shipwreck in 1854 at age 25. His mother clung to a belief that he might have survived, and after hearing rumours that he had made his way to Australia, she advertised extensively in Australian newspapers, offering a reward for information. In 1866, a butcher known as Thomas Castro came forward claiming to be Roger Tichborne. Although his manners and bearing were unrefined, he gathered support and travelled to England. He was instantly accepted by Lady Tichborne as her son, although other family members were dismissive and sought to expose him as an imposter. There was a trial in the High Court to establish the identity of the claimant, who was found to be an imposter. In 1874, a criminal court jury decided that he was not Roger Tichborne and declared him to be Arthur Orton son of a butcher from Wapping. Victorian controversy raged over the case, and the Gilbert and Sullivan opera “Trial by Jury” is said to be based on the famous Tichborne Case

There’s been a pub on the site of the Tichborne Arms since 1423, but sadly when we were there, it was closed following the death of the proprieter. Instead, we headed down the lane a bit futher and made our own tea with our jet boil at the edge of a field!

We then followed the Itchen Way back to the golf club, over the A31 and back to our cars.

This circuit was approximately 9 1/2 miles

Other sections of Wayfarers Walk