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Petersfield in the 17th C

Thomas Hanbury, the auditor, died about 1611. Five generations succeeded him but they do not appear to have played a very active part in public life.


Mayors and burgesses were chosen from respected local people and many served the town more than one term. Some included charitable bequests in their wills for the good of the poor in the town. One such was Thomas Antrobus of Heath House who, in 1622, left £100 in his will for the purpose of housing 'poor lone men and women'.

Paper Making

About 1618 Sir Thomas Neale of Warnford set up a paper mill in the Meon Valley at Warnford. This was at the beginning of paper making in Hampshire. The chalk streams provided power for the mills and clear, pure water for production purposes.

Leather Making

Several tanyards were to be found in Petersfield along the southern stream near the Forebridge. After the leather hides had been tanned, the curriers would dress or colour the leather. There was a currier's workshop in a shed to the rear of No. 1 The Square.

John Goodyer

John Goodyer, who had been working for Bishop Bilson of Winchester, came to Petersfield in 1625 as agent for the Bilson family of West Mapledurham House. In 1629 the family gave him the house in The Spain, which bears his name, and 20 acres of land south of The Jolly Sailor in The Causeway, for services to the Bilson family. In attending to the estate business, travelling on various journeys, he could enjoy his hobby of botany. He became a leading plantsman and corresponded with several noted botanists and gardeners, such as the two well-known gardeners, Elias Ashmole and John Tradescant. He identified several new species and is credited with the introduction of the Jerusalem artichoke as a vegetable.

Goodyer's interest in plants and study of the medicinal properties of the herbs led to him being known as a 'physick', and able to help friends and neighbours with their ailments.

During the Civil War, Goodyer was given a Protection Order to secure his horses and workers essential for a major farmer, by Lord Hopton, briefly the Royalist Commander in the area. This was found in the house during repairs in 1907. It did not mean that he was a Royalist, despite the plaque that was put on the house in the jingoistic period of 1917.

Weston Charity

Goodyer died in 1664 and in his will he left his extensive library of 239 printed treatises and many papers to Magdalen College, Oxford. His other bequest was the house and land he had been given by the Bilson family, to found a Trust to put forth the young of the Tything of Weston. The rents from the properties paid for children's apprenticeship fees, education, and, also paid for relief of the aged and sick of Weston.

The Petersfield area was fortunate to have a benefactor in John Goodyer, who was respected nationally for his botanical knowledge. John Worlidge, the grandson of Goodyer's sister, Rose Yalden, became an important writer on agriculture and horticulture. With two noted 17th century horticulturists, Petersfield was an obvious choice for the Hampshire Gardens Trust to set the Physic Garden, devoted to plants known in the 17th century.

John Worlidge

In 1669 Worlidge published his major work on agriculture - 'Systema Agriculturae' - which went into five editions over the next 50 years. This work gathered together many progressive ideas of farming and husbandry. He also invented a horse-drawn seed drill on four wheels, which dug a furrow, whilst dribbling seed into it from a hopper, and then covered the seed. John Worlidge died in 1693 and is included on the Worlidge family memorial, headed by his lawyer father, Stephen, in St. Peter's Church, in Petersfield.

Civil War

For the Civil War Parliamentary forces were stationed in Petersfield several times for periods of varying length. The Royalists, under Ralph Lord Hopton spent a few days in Petersfield on their way to capture Arundel Castle in December 1643.

Portsmouth Road

The development of Portsmouth dockyard, especially after 1660, brought many visitors to Petersfield. With inns to service a change of horses and provide a good meal, eminent personages were among the many travellers who stopped on their way between London and Portsmouth.

In his diary Samuel Pepys tells of the occasion when he came to Petersfield in 166 1: 'Up early and baited at Petersfield in the room which the King lay in lately at his being there'. That particular visit made by Charles II was in January 1661 when he accompanied his mother and sister to Portsmouth on their way to France. There were probably other visits by the King, as his mistress, Louise de Keroualle, had Baroness Petersfield added to her other titles. Pepys and his wife and friends apparently enjoyed their visit as he mentions:' Here very merry and played, us and our wives at bowles'. The only inn with a bowling green at that time was the White Hart, which was then situated in the High Street. The plague of 1666 caused 252 burials in Petersfield, compared with 28 in 1665 and 22 in 1667. In 1698 Tsar Peter the Great of Russia paused here on his way to inspect the dockyard at Portsmouth.