The field abutted onto the west side of Bishop's Sutton Manor farmyard (Church farm). In 1839 it was a small area of pasture measuring three acres two rods and nine perches in area.
Plat is a variation of plot e.g a plot of land.
Hog refers to sheep - a shortened form of Hogget (a yearling sheep between one and two years old). Hampshire was famous for its sheep and Alresford Sheep Fair was a fine example of the popularity (hence the term Hampshire Hog, which comes from hogget and not a pig)
Hog Plat as it sits today
Hop Gardens, Tithe Map 1939
In 1839 this referred to the field that was to the north of the then Upper Mill pond (note the little island of land in the middle) now the watercress bed next to North court. Subsequently also called Hop Gardens, where hops were grown chiefly used in the brewing of beer
Hop Gardens 1947 Aerial photo
Looking north, Blenheims Cottage in foreground, North Court top right. And Hop gardens above the cress bed.
Osiers and Witheys, OS map 1880
There were two Small patches of ground either side of Arle House between Mill Lane and Western court farm.
The bigger patch called Osiers measured one rod and thirty one Perches in area and The Osiers just thirteen perches. Described in 1839 as Osiers Withey.
Osiers are a type of Willow tree (usually Salix Viminalis) which were grown on watery ground and coppiced every couple years. The harvested stems were called Withys and were used chiefly for basket making and for thatching.
Example of Osier bed (not in Bishop's Sutton
Volunteer Rifle Range 1870 map
The War scare of 1859 brought a sudden realisation to the country that its' defences were inadequate and public opinion was so aroused that the government agreed to the reinstatement of the Volunteer Corps, disbanded previously in 1814.
A meeting was held on 21 July 1859 in an attempt to set up a Volunteer Rifle Company. It met in Alresford and was Chaired by Lord Ashburton along with around seventy of the most influential people of the district. The Chairman said that the country was not in a proper state of defence and that the middle classes had ceased to take sufficient part in the defence of the country and had left it entirely to the lower classes; he continued that it might take some months to make a soldier of a man taken from the plough, though the middle class man was quick and alert and would soon be trained. Hon J H Dutton said in so many words that the French would take any chance to attack Britain as “The French to a man hated England”. The Rev George Sumner was of the opinion that if the French saw we were prepared they would not attack. Most of those present in the meeting signed up, Lord Ashburton giving £50.
They became known as The 16th. Hampshire Rifle Volunteer Corps of Alresford. Volunteers were required to drill at least eight times every four months. It would cost £3 and 15 shillings for dress and accoutrements, with the government providing the rifle. Each Volunteer would also pay £1 towards ammunition storage of guns and a bugler. Their uniform consisted of a light grey tunic with green facings, light grey trousers with a green stripe down each outer seam and light grey forage cap (kepi) with green piping. Several Bishop's Sutton parishioners enrolled, mainly farmers and other tradespersons and within two weeks the numbers were over 30. Meetings were held in the White Hart in West Street in Alresford that later was called the Volunteer Arms.
The Rifle range was across the field Bishops Sutton side of the Railway Bridge on the B3047 by the Footpath sign. They also had another range at Bighton and both were used for training but also fund-raising shooting competitions where the prizes ranged from £5 to a cigar. By 1880 the volunteers were consolidated into the 1st Hampshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, Alresford becoming C company.
Connecting Route from Western Court Farm to Drayton in Bighton and the old Royal Road Winchester to London.
Before the 1750’s and the establishment of the Turnpike (and then after, for those wanting to avoid the Turnpike Tariffs), it would have been essential to get on to the Old Royal Road either by going back into New Alresford, down Broad street and joining it at the Old Alresford end of the Wier (then on to Drayton, Bighton, Alton, etc). This was only possible after around 1200 and the construction of the Wier and formation of Alresford Pond. Prior to this, the most likely route to Winchester was over Whitehill, Tichborne down, Spring Gardens out by Ladycroft up to where the Alresford roundabout is now, and then either along East Lane Ovington to Easton (known in Saxon times as the Herepath or Military/Army road); or over the hill along what is now the A31 dual carriageway if that route even existed then.
Going the other way then along the present A31 to Alton which had the steep incline to what is now Four Marks, at the time was just a minor trackway. Therefore a short cut would have been ideal - probably Bighton Lane would have been used. There is some evidence of Mill Lane continuing up over the Hill and coming out at Drayton and likewise a connecting route from Western Court to Drayton, both joining in with the present farm track above the railway line (perhaps seen in the level crossing over the Railway line) and another used to be just above Western Court. Not only did it give access to the London road but with Bighton, Drayton (which like Western Court was a separate manor) and pre 1200 Alresford (Old Alresford).