Oliver’s Battery

The stone marking the boundary of the city of Winchester, part of the history of Oliver's Battery.
The stone marking the boundary between Oliver’s Battery and the city of Winchester.

History

The parish of Oliver’s Battery sits at the very edge of the city of Winchester. With its high situation and far-reaching views it has been a desirable location for many centuries. Its history dates back to the iron age; excavations on the site in the 1930s found fragments of pottery used by the original residents around 800BC. The Romans subsequently developed the site. They are believed to have built the earthworks which are still visible next to St. Mark’s church. The earthworks are also the site of the grave of a high-ranking Ango-Saxon man, believed to date from the 7th or 8th centuries.

In August 1930, local archaeologist W J Andrew was excavating at Oliver’s Battery, a few miles south-west of Winchester, to try to discover the origins of the earthworks. However, he encountered a totally unexpected find – the grave of a young Anglo-Saxon man who had been buried with a javelin, a short hunting sword or ‘seax’ and a beautiful bronze bowl. The bowl, decorated with spiral red enamel designs, and with suspension hooks and fittings in the form of aquatic birds, proclaims the Anglo-Saxon man’s high social status, perhaps even that of royalty.

Bowl Back to Its Roots

The “Winchester hanging bowl” has been displayed both in the British Museum and in the Winchester City Museum.

The name Oliver’s Battery comes from the area’s association with Oliver Cromwell. Local legend suggests that the Roundheads set up a battery of cannon here to attack the castle and the cathedral. Given the cannons’ range, it is more likely that “a few shots were fired into the city in order to intimidate the inhabitants, from the distant eminence that still preserves the name Oliver’s Battery” but the attacks on the castle were “thundered upon it, from a much nearer battery.” (The history and survey of the antiquities of Winchester).

Modern day

Retaining its links with the military, the modern community of Oliver’s Battery has its roots in the First World War when the army set up an extensive veterinary hospital there. The military huts were gradually replaced by permanent homes, with a large swathe of development occurring in the 1970s. The local shops were developed in the 1960s and the primary school was opened in 1973. The community became a parish in its own right in 1956.

Today, Oliver’s Battery is home to around 1400 people who enjoy living in a thriving community surrounded by wonderful countryside. The local shops include a post-office and convenience store, a family butcher, a hairdresser, a barber, a cycle shop and a pet shop.

For much more of Oliver’s Battery’s history and its development into the community we know today, do read David Farmer’s “A Brief History of Oliver’s Battery”.

Oliver’s Battery Parish Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at St Mark’s Church Hall, Oliver’s Battery Road South at 7.30pm. Contact the Clerk, Sara Sawyer ({This email is obscured. Your must have javascript enabled to see it}) for more information.

Badger Farm

Hampshire County Council record pertaining to the Lease of Compton Farm and Badger's Farm in the parishes of Compton, St Faith and Twyford in 1872.

Although Badger Farm is linked to Oliver’s Battery by the historical Clarendon Way, its own history is far shorter. As its name suggests, the area was farmland until the 1970s. Hampshire County Council’s records show that in 1872 the Dean of Winchester leased the farm to Robert Seager Lyne of Compton.

In 1978, the farm was developed under the Badger Farm Development brief produced by Winchester City Council. This laid down the standards for roads, open spaces and housing. A residents’ association was formed to coordinate residents’ views, especially to the city council. Various phases of development in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in a large, modern community. We all enjoy the open spaces and views over the Winchester’s rolling chalk downland.

In 1985, Badger Farm became a parish in its own right with a Parish Council of eight members. The Badger Farm Parish Council meets on the second Monday of each month (except August) in the Bushfield Room at Badger Farm Community Centre at 7.30pm. Contact the Clerk Christine Howe on 01425 656010 or on {This email is obscured. Your must have javascript enabled to see it} for more information.

As well as the Community Centre, Badger Farm has the benefit of a large Sainsbury’s store and a local GPs’ surgery. Our children also enjoy two large parks with plenty of space to play.

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