A Brief History of Rimpton

In 938 King Athelstan gave an estate comprising 5 mansae (large houses) at Rimpton to Aethared and in the 950s King Edred gave them to Brichtric Grim. From the 11th century the estate was held alternately by the crown and by the bishops of Winchester. In 1649 John Payne, one of the farmers of the manor, was described as lord but by 1661 it had been returned to the bishop. In 1822 the land was sold to Thomas Southwood and when he died in 1830 his estate was left to his servant Robert Mattock who later mortgaged it to his steward William Kinglake. After Kinglake’s death, the manor was bought by the Henry Genge Andrews, followed by his son George. The land was sold again in 1924-5.

Farming has been the chief activity in the parish, with a number of tenants working the land since before the Norman invasion. The various smallholdings were amalgamated over the years until there were four major farms in 1851. The Western Counties Creamery was begun in 1889 at Home Farm before moving to Marston Magna in the 1890s. In 1836 it was said that dowlas and sailcloth were manufactured in the parish and that there was some glove and candlewick making.

There has been a watermill in the village since the 11th century and a church since at least 1291. In 1818 there was a school with 45 pupils, but attendance had fallen to less than 16 when the school closed in 1951.

Rimpton is listed in the Domesday Book of 1069 as having 15 households, 8 villeins (small farms), 7 small holders and 2 serfs and, at that time, the population is estimated to be about 75 persons.

Census information from 1841 shows that the village had grown to 55 households and a population of 223, and these figures remained fairly constant throughout the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries.  Since then, the population of Rimpton has been fairly stable with numbers of around 235 residents living in 55 homes over the last 150 years. Although the village has expanded in the last 50 years to have112 homes by the 2011 census, the population still numbers around 211.

For those who would like to know more, there is an excellent article on the history of Rimpton at the British History Online website.