Petersfield, Hampshire

Petersfield, Hampshire

infobox UK place
country = England

static_image_caption= Petersfield Mile Plaque
latitude= 51.00377
longitude= -0.93453
official_name= Petersfield
population = 13,303 (2001) [cite web |url= |title=Parish Headcounts, Area: Petersfield CP|year=2001 |accessdate=2008-03-12 |work=Neighbourhood Statistics |publisher=Office for National Statistics ]
civil_parish= Petersfield
shire_district= East Hampshire
shire_county = Hampshire
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= East Hampshire
post_town= PETERSFIELD
postcode_district = GU31, GU32
postcode_area= GU
dial_code= 01730
os_grid_reference= SU748232

Petersfield is a market town and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 17 miles (27km) north of Portsmouth, on the A3 road.

Petersfield has it's own railway station, on the Portsmouth Direct Line.

The town is situated on the northern slopes of the South Downs. It is unique in that it is wholly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, soon to be part of the proposed South Downs National Park. [ cite web |url= |publisher=Natural England |title=National Park awaiting confirmation - the South Downs|accessdate=2008-03-12]

The town was founded during the 12th century by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, later chartered by his widow, Hawise de Beaumont, and confirmed by charter in 1198 from "John, Count of Mortain" (later to be King John).

The town grew in prosperity due to its position on frequently travelled routes, local sheep farming, and cottage level manufacturing industry of leather and cloth. The town had markets for sheep, horse and cattle trading and 3 annual fairs.

The town is on the crossroads of well used north-south (today the A3 road) and east-west routes (today the A272 road) and it grew as a coach stop on the Portsmouth to London route.

The town station is on the mainline rail link between Portsmouth and London, via Guildford.

Petersfield is twinned with Barentin in France, and Warendorf in Germany.

The artist Flora Twort, the musician Sir William Henry Harris, the agriculturalist John Worlidge, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Algernon Willis, the footballer George Best, "The Day of the Triffids" author John Wyndham, author and naval historian Geoffrey Bennett, Royal physician Thomas Horder, 1st Baron Horder, actor Alec Guinness and the Hambledon cricketer John Small all lived in Petersfield at some point. Small was a Petersfield cobbler in the late eighteenth-century, whose shop sign read:

Here lives John Small
Makes bat and ball
Pitch a wicket, play at cricket
With any man in England.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to contribute to the creation of the [ Petersfield Town Design Statement] which will help improve future development in the town, and assist in improving town facilities for all age groups. This will be completed in 2009.

Over August Bank Holiday the town throws a party known as the [ Petersfield Festivities] , which this year will also feature the London Olympics handover celebration.

On October 6th every year is The Taro Fair, the reminder of cattle fairs which were held annually until the 1950's (now a fun fair). ["Tarw" was the Welsh language shout by the herders for "Bull" and is where the word "Taro" was derived] .

Farmers Markets are still held on the 1st Sunday every month in the town square.



Petersfield boasts several museums, including the Flora Twort Gallery, based in her old studio, and the Petersfield Museum, which is concerned with the history of the town and is situated in the town's old Courthouse. Exhibitions are sometimes also held at The Festival Hall, St. Peter's Church, and The Physic Garden.

Petersfield was once home to the world's first Teddy Bear Museum, which opened in 1984. Sadly it closed at the end of 2006, and is now a residential address.


Petersfield's market square holds regular markets throughout the week, and there are also monthly Farmers' markets. On top of this, stallholders and farmers from Petersfield's French twin town Barentin visit Petersfield and hold a "French market", selling items they sell on a typical French market.

The town's market square has a statue of King William III (of Orange) by Henry Cheere. The king is carved sitting astride his horse, and the statue is raised up on an engraved plinth. This is the only statue of William in a town square in the United Kingdom outside Northern Ireland and, as such, attracts bands of marching Orangemen in mid-July, anxious to commemorate William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne.


The town is named after the Anglican parish church, St Peter's, a Norman church in the town centre, The Square. Other churches include: The Methodist church - Station Road; The Catholic church, St Laurence's - Station Road; The United Reformed Church - College Street; The Evangelical fellowship which meets at the Herne Farm Leisure Centre on the eponymous estate; The Religious Society of Friends - Voluntary Centre, the High Street; The Salvation Army - Swan Street; Petersfield Christian Fellowship meet at the Methodist Church.

In the Catherine Tate Show episode featuring the drunk bride, the camera zooms out from an invitation referring to St Mark's Chapel, Petersfield: a completely fictional institution.


In the High Street is the Physic Garden, which is a recreation of a 17th century herb garden. It is open to the public nearly every day of the year.


Petersfield's Festival Hall shows many plays and concerts during the year.

[ Petersfield Youth Theatre] was formed in 1990 and performs annually at the Festival Hall as well as delivering projects throughout the year.

Pubs and bars

Petersfield offers a good range of public houses and bars to suit all tastes, 14 pubs in all, from historic coach stops to trendy modern bars and coffee houses.

Petersfield also had one nightclub, "Vertigo". This building was once used as the Savoy cinema many years ago. As of 28/5/07, Vertigo nightclub was closed for good and sold to a developer to make way for a restaurant/bar with 14 flats above.

The King's Arms is the local youth club for the young people of the town as it is situated near the town centre


Petersfield has a wealth of clubs and teams for most sports. Several players have gone on to lead successful professional sporting careers, such as footballer Maik Taylor and the rugby player Tim Rodber.

There are various sports venues, such as the "Taro Centre", a leisure centre containing swimming pools, [ squash courts] , a gymnasium and other facilities. The town also has tennis courts (both public and members only), an open air pool, and many playing fields and local golf courses.


* Association Football - Petersfield Town F.C.

* Cricket - Petersfield Cricket Club and Colts SectionPetersfield Colts [ Petersfield Cricket Club] have improved dramatically over the recent few years. An Under 15's and Under 17's were both created by Freddie Patten, while the U 9's U 11's and U 13's were boosted by Richard Evans and his daughter, Nikki. Tom Beltcher captains the U 17's, Tim Patten the U 15's, Christie Salmon the U 13's and Rory Newman the U 11's

* Hockey - [ Petersfield Hockey Club]
* Rugby - Petersfield R.F.C
* Swimming -
* Running
* Squash - [ Petersfield Squash Club]
* Tennis - [ Steep Lawn Tennis Club]
* Archery - [ Bowmen of Petersfield]


The East Hampshire District Council offices are in Petersfield.

Petersfield is part of the parliamentary constituency of East Hampshire. Its Member of Parliament is Michael Mates, a member of the Conservative Party, though he is standing down at the next general election.

The County Councillors are Samantha Payne and Michael Cartwright.

EHDC has supported the formation of the South Downs National Park, which includes Petersfield.


Petersfield is twinned with Barentin, Franceflagicon|France and Warendorf, Germanyflagicon|Germany. [ [ Petersfield twinning info] ]


The wall plaque on the "old" London Road in Petersfield.

Petersfield is located on the mainline rail link (the Portsmouth Direct Line) between Portsmouth and London. It is served by Petersfield railway station.

The main road (the A3) link between Portsmouth and London used to go through Petersfield, before the bypass was built round the north side of the town. Another major road, the A272, runs through Petersfield on its route between Winchester, Hampshire's County Town, and Heathfield, East Sussex.


tate schools

The local state secondary school is The Petersfield School, usually referred to as 'TPS'. Primary schools in the area include Petersfield Infant School, Sheet Primary School and Herne Junior School. There are also a number of schools in the surrounding areas of Petersfield, which feed into the Petersfield secondary schools. These schools include Langrish Primary school, East Meon Primary School, West Meon Primary School, Steep Primary School and Buriton Primary School.

Public schools

The town and the surrounding villages are home to several renowned independent schools. Public school Churcher's College is located in Petersfield, and counts Tim Rodber and Tiny Rowland amongst its alumni. Ditcham Park School is situated just outside the town, and Bedales School is located in the neighbouring village of Steep. Former Bedales pupils include the Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis, actress Minnie Driver and pop singer Lily Allen.

Formerly, Morton House School was located in the town centre. In 1993 it was purchased by Churcher's College to become the Churcher's College Junior School, however, the school's success meant it soon outgrew these premises and has since relocated to Liphook.

Local media

Petersfield has two weekly newspapers, Petersfield Post and Petersfield Herald. There is a popular monthly community magazine, Life in Petersfield. Delta FM is the local radio station and has been transmitting to Petersfield since 2003 after many years of campaigning.

Commerce, business, industry

Main employment is in shops and offices in the town centre and farms in nearby villages, while there are many commuters to London and Portsmouth. Light industry tends to be concentrated in the Bedford Road estate on the west side of Petersfield, which is still expanding each year. Whitman Laboratories (part of Estee' Lauder) is based near town. In 2007, the Norwegian owned oil-supply giant Aibel Ltd added an engineering office in addition to their UK head office in Petersfield.


Petersfield is situated in the valley of the Western Rother, on the Lower Greensand at the northern edge of the South Downs. The town lies at the western end of the Greensand Ridge, a sandstone ridge running through Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.

The town is surrounded on all sides by farmed countryside, with the South Downs south of the town, the Hampshire Downs to the west, and forested hills (Durford Wood) to the north east.

Close to the town and situated on the South Downs is Queen Elizabeth Country Park, which incorporates Butser Hill (the highest point on the downs), and has a wide variety of scenery from chalk hills to pine forest. The Hangers Way footpath runs from the country park, through Petersfield and on to Alton.

On the south east side of the town is Petersfield Heath, 95 acres of heathland including woodland, grassland, a pond, and a picnic and recreation area suitable for children. [cite web | url= |title=Looking after the Heath|publisher=Friends of Petersfield Heath|accessdate=2008-03-12] . Petersfield Heath is registered as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (a SINC). It also contains 21 Bronze Age barrows which together provide the site with Scheduled Ancient Monument status.

Heathland is very rare throughout Europe and the Petersfield Heath is a typical heathland mosaic of many micro habitats. Across the site are sandy heath and acid heath areas, grassland and scrub which gives the area many diverse zones for insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals.

As a prime location for habitation the heath (and Petersfield area in general) has always been occupied with frequent finds of flint axe and tool remnants from the Mesolithic period (up to 10,000 years ago). The burial mounds may be up to 4,000 years old, their distribution is mainly to the east and south east of the heath. These are considered to be one of the most important lowland barrow groups in this country. The barrows indicate that the area of the Heath was occupied by people who may have come to regard this area as sacred to their religion. As yet no trace has been confirmed for the dwellings of these people as the structures would have been wooden. [ [ Archaeology of Petersfield & Surrounds] ]

Petersfield Heath is one end and starting point of "The Serpent Trail", a 65 mile walk though heath and downland of Hampshire and West Sussex to Haslemere. [cite web | url= |title=Serpent trail|publisher=West Sussex County Council|date=2006-08-14|accessdate=2008-03-12]

The northern area of grassland on Petersfield Heath.

The eastern edge of the cricket green on Petersfield Heath.

Weather and climate

There are an average of 200 days of sunshine each year in Petersfield.

The temperature range is similar to most of southern England.

The wind direction is prevailing south westerly although local variations are frequent due to the hills.

Being situated in a dip, with the South Downs to the south and The Hangers to the north, the weather in Petersfield can be quite different from the weather across the South Downs on the coast. In particular, there tends to be more fog than on the south (coastal) side of the South Downs hills.


External links

* [ Life in Petersfield]
* [ East Hampshire District Council]
* [ myPetersfield]
* [ Friends of Petersfield Heath]
* [ Petersfield Tomorrow]
* [ Petersfield Youth Theatre]
* [ Petersfield Area Churches Together]
* [ The Petersfield Forum]

Old pictures

* [ Old picture of a busy street in a Hampshire Town]
* [ A view of the South Downs in Hampshire]
* [ Old Street Scene in a Hampshire Town / Village]
* [ Large street in a Hampshire Town]

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