The Ancient Parish of Milford

The extent of the Ancient Parish of Milford
Courtesy of C.J.Sanders

From before the Norman Conquest, ancient parishes existed for ecclesiastical functions, and Vills (townships) and Manors dealt with the secular government matters.

The Ancient Parish was essentially a collection of ancient rights which had become associated with a specific area, often one over which a clergyman had jurisdiction. The Hundred Years War saw a decline in the status of feudal system for civil government but the parish, as an ecclesiastical unit, remained.

Following the break with Rome 1533-1537, the dissolution of the monasteries led to the ancient parish being left with the duty of relieving its own poor, starting in Elizabeth I’s reign with the first Poor Relief Act (1597) and gradually the ancient parish began performing both ecclesiastical and civil roles.

As the population of the ancient parish grew the geographical extent of the parish decreased. Milton was separated from Milford in 1791, Pennington in 1839 and Hordle in 1861.



Hampshire Record Series, Volume XVIII, The Christchurch Priory Cartulary, Edited by Katharine A. Hanna. Published by Hampshire County Council, Winchester 2007.

The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. 3rd Edition, Edited by Cecil R. Humphrey-Smith, Phillimore, West Sussex, 2003.


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