By Tim Lambert
The little village of Boarhunt in Hampshire does not get its name from boars or hunting! It is a corruption of burh funta, which meant the funta, (stream) by the fort (burh). At the time of the Domesday Book Boarhunt was a little village although it did have 2 watermills on the River Wallington and a church. Boarhunt also had 2 salt pans where salt was made from seawater.
The Church of St Nicholas in Boarhunt dates from late Saxon times. It was probably built in the 11th century. (However, the church was refurbished in the 19th century as it had fallen into decay).
In the Middle Ages Boarhunt stood in the woodlands north of Portsdown Hill. It is believed that the population of Boarhunt was rather widely dispersed rather than being a group of huts clustered around a village center. In the Middle Ages Boarhunt was divided into 3 manors.
Through the centuries Boarhunt was just a small agricultural settlement where life changed little from one generation to the next. The villagers lived in simple huts and their lives were hard and comfortless.
In the Church of St Nicholas, a monument was carved in 1577 (probably by Theodore Bernardi). It contains the initials R. H. (Ralph Hensleigh), C. P. (Catherine Pound), and K. P. (Katherine Poole). All of who were members of prominent families. Under the initials are family coats of arms. The monument was restored in 1976.
Furthermore, Thomas Henslowe, who helped Charles II to escape from England is buried in Boarhunt church.
In the 1660s a tax was charged on hearths. The Boarhunt region was divided into two areas, East Burrant (Boarhunt) and West Burrant (Boarhunt). In West Boarhunt six people were exempted from paying the tax because they were poor. Many people in Boarhunt had only one hearth and they must have lived in primitive little huts. On the other hand the Lord of the Manor, Thomas Henslowe had 23 hearths in his home. Life must have been very comfortable for him.
In 1801 Boarhunt had a population of 133. Even by the standards of the time when settlements were much smaller than they are today it was a little village.
Nevertheless, by 1901 the population of Boarhunt had more than doubled to just over 300. The largest part of the parish is North Boarhunt which stands about 2 kilometers north of the church. In the early 19th century a monument to Nelson, which stands 150 feet high was erected near Boarhunt. A little school in North Boarhunt opened in 1873.
Today North Boarhunt is a quiet village. Boarhunt flower mill stopped grinding grain to flour in 1928 but in the 1980s it was converted to a business selling flowers. Boarhunt Garage opened in 1964. Today the population of Boarhunt is about 500.