The hamlet of Tufton is located 2 miles south-west of Whitchurch, on the left bank of the River Test. The river also forms the north west boundary of the parish.
The population is approximately 23, based on HCC small area population forecasts.
The name 'Tufton' probably originates from the old English word 'Tuccantun' or 'Tuccington', meaning 'Tucca’s' farm. It was also known as Tochiton in the 11th century and Tokinton in the 13th century.
The manor of Tufton was linked to and followed the descent of the manor of Wherwell until 1698. It was then sold, by Edmond Boulter, to Alice Wallop who was the widow of John Wallop of Hurstbourne Priors, and mother of the first Earl of Portsmouth. Included in this deal was the annual rent of £7.17s. 6d. for Tufton Farm.
Agriculture was the main source of employment and still plays a major role in defining the character and appearance of the hamlet. The River Test was a source of food and water and became a natural boundary along which the settlement developed.
St Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Church is Grade 1 listed, being of outstanding national importance.
It is a prominent landmark and is of Saxon and Norman origins, with 13th and 18th century additions.
It is constructed of rendered and limewashed stone rubble walls and consists of an aisleless nave and chancel, with a small wooden bell turret and brick porch. It has a wide nave and is visually distinctive, thanks to the plaster walls and large rectangular windows.
There is no mention of a church in the Domesday Book, although White's directory of 1878 provides a curious description of the church:
"The nave was burnt down at the beginning of the present century and rebuilt in the boldest style; the chancel is a good specimen of Early English, but the east window is gone, its place being supplied with a poor round-headed one."
On the north wall of the nave between the two Norman windows is a large St Christopher holding a staff, and Christ as a child. They are contained within a rectangular frame decorated with vine trails. The colours mainly consist of dark reds and gold and it is dated by Pevsner to the early 15th century.
The porch is built of deep red bricks (including burnt ends), and flint panels at the sides which include a gravestone (†1816) in the east wall. Unusually it is entered through a domestic wooden framed glass door.
The 19th century furnishings include the pews and the renewed cauldron font which is in the Norman style with tapering bowl and rope frieze near the bottom. The church has a nice chamber organ but, surprisingly, there is no pulpit. The bell tower contains two bells by Thomas Mears, dating to 1836.
Other Listed Buildings
The other four listed buildings are Grade 2 and are all centred around the Church and reflect the historic development of the settlement.
Manor Cottage is a good example of a one and a half-storey building and is of timber framed construction with brick infill. The large thatched roof is a picturesque feature, with the hip end framed by the overhanging trees in the lane.
The barn and cart shed at Manor Farm date from the 18th and 19th centuries and are of timber framed construction. The other listed building lies to the west of this complex and was formerly an 18th century granary. It is constructed of black tarred weatherboarding with a thatched roof and is raised from the ground by staddle stones.
It is the proximity of these buildings and their location at key points in the streetscape that creates the special historic interest of Tufton as a Conservation Area.
Tufton was first designated as a Conservation Area in 1981, in recognition of the special architectural and historic interest of the area.
The embankment and viaduct of the redundant Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway forms the western boundary of the Conservation Area. Constructed in the 19th century to carry what was the Southampton to Didcot line, it is part of the industrial heritage of the area and is something of a local landmark.
The embankment of the A34 road passes close to the eastern boundary of the conservation area.
The Tufton Conservation Area document and maps can be viewed on the Basingstoke and Deane website
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