When travelling down the M3 towards Southampton there is a turning just outside of Winchester to Marwell Park and Twyford. Before the motorway was built the story was completely different as access to the village was by way of the notorious Hockley Traffic lights on the A33 Winchester bypass, all well and good during the winter but this was a well known bottleneck in summertime. The road through the village is winding and in some parts it is quite narrow especially through the village itself with its sharp bends and sudden traffic lights.

The name Twyford means a double ford which is shown by the River Itchen which according to the Domesday book there were four mills here.

Twyford in the 7th century was a part of the Hundred Hides of Chilcomb that was granted to the church at Winchester. And in 964AD King Edgar granted land in the parish to Winchester Cathedral, the manor then was held by the bishop from the king when the Domesday Survey was being conducted. Twyford belonged to the See of Winchester up until the mid 16th century, and then the manor was surrendered to the crown in 1551. Edward VI gave the parish to his uncle Sir Henry Seymour who held the Manor of Marwell in Owslebury Parish at this time, and the Manor of Twyford, together with land at Owslebury was then bought by the Mildmay family in 1857.

Dr Jonathon Shipley who was the Bishop of St Asaph occupied Twyford House in the 18th century and in 1771 Benjamin Franklin the American statesman, writer and editor who helped to draw up the Declaration of Independence, is thought to have written his autobiography here while visiting the doctor. Twyford School is the famous boy's preparatory school and it was there that Alexander Pope was taught at the age of eight at a house later called Seagers Buildings (demolished 1963).

The Itchen flows through the parish and this has helped in the economy of the manor and the village of Twyford. The four mills listed in the Domesday Book and the fees from the corn mills were a vital source of income for the bishopric of Winchester,

The village was also famous for its trout fishing and tolls were paid at locks and bridges as goods were taken by barge up and down the Itchen Navigation. In 1855 Twyford Common was enclosed and one of the main industries in the village was brick making.

St Mary the Virgin, Twyford

At the end of an avenue of Limes (called locally The Avenue) is Brambridge House and opposite is a popular garden centre, the road here is narrow and crosses the Itchen twice before going past the old cemetery and into Otterbourne. It was in the older house that a Mrs. Fitzherbert spent her years after schooling in Paris, and it is said that it was here in 1785 that she eventually married the Prince of Wales who later was to be crowned King George IV.

High Street 1900, the "Sarsen" stone can be seen in the bottom right hand corner   The Post Office, 1892 which used to stand in the High Street

The marriage caused quite a controversy especially as the Prince was under age when royal weddings became valid.It was ten years later that the prince married Princess Caroline but Mrs. Fitzherbert stayed on at the house for a while but at a dinner party one night she was deprived of her rank and this was the end of this strange marriage.

Queen Street around the beginning of the 20th century

A local tale has it that when William Davies got lost in fog on his way home one night he head the sound of the church bells just in time to stop himself falling into a chalk pit. He was so grateful that in 1754 when he died he bequeathed one pound for every year to the bell ringers if then rang them twice on 7th October and even today this request is still carried on and at the same time the Ringer's Dinner is held where the will is read out. Another local meal is the Clem Supper which was held at the Bugle Inn on St Clements's Day, 26th November, this was a toast to the blacksmiths as St Clement is their patron saint, after the toast a firing of an an anvil with gunpowder takes place.

Twyford School can lay claim to being the oldest Prep School in the country.
There has been a school for boys in Twyford since the middle of the seventeenth century and it moved to the present site in 1809, based in the elegant Queen Anne house that we see today.

Throughout the nineteenth century, buildings appropriate for small boarding schools of the time were added. These included a large schoolroom built in the 1820s - still in use, as a theatre, today - and a charming mid-Victorian chapel.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century, a major programme of building and sports' field development was undertaken and the School was expanded to provide a first class, well balanced education for boys and girls aged from three to thirteen years - with opportunities for both boys and girls to board from the age of eight.

Famous Old Pupils include Alexander Pope, Hubert Parry and Douglas Hurd.


The black and white photos are from some old postcards of Twyford and Shawford
(kindly contributed by Rob Williams a descendant of Clara Heath)

Clara Louisa Heath (1855-1916). Clara lived with her father William Henry Heath at 102 Queen St Twyford. He was a master cabinetmaker, amateur photographer & artist of some repute. A couple of his paintings are still on the walls of St Mary's Church at Twyford.
Clara apparently started out taking photos as a hobby but soon turned the hobby into a business where she sold postcards of local sites and people.
Queen Street   The main road through the village
Shawford   The Post Office

The High Street

The church is dedicated to St Mary and can be seen for miles around with its 140 spire overlooking the valley of the Itchen. The main houses in the village are include The Old Rectory, and Mildmay House, and Twyford School.




The interior of St Mary's church
Queen Street today
The Main road through the village
School Road