The borough of Basingstoke and Deane has a rich archaeological heritage. Early settlement dates back to the Neolithic period and finds from the Bronze Age, Stone Age and Iron Age have been discovered throughout the borough.

Roman occupation is in evidence with pottery and coins being found at a number of sites, including North Waltham where several Roman villas have been located. Calleva Atrebatum, now Silchester, remains a rich source of material for archaeologists. Abandoned by the Romans, it is one of the best-preserved walled towns in the country.

The Celts, Danes and the Saxons also settled in the area, with the latter giving their name to Basingstoke.

Love Local History? Discover Basingstoke’s historic heart and take a walk down memory lane on the town centre heritage trail with Love Basingstoke.

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A brief history

The documented history of the town begins with the Domesday Book, when the market was already in evidence and milling played a key role; a legacy which is retained in the place names Kingsmill and Houndsmill. Throughout the medieval period the woollen trade flourished, beginning a tradition of fabric production which has been reinforced by silk and Burberry gabardine.

By the 1700s the town had become an important staging post on the turnpike road from London to Andover. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the development of the canal and the railway brought more trade to the town. By the late Victorian period manufacturing was in evidence with the expansion of the Thornycroft company in the town. The 1960s witnessed significant change for the borough, with new building projects and massive population growth from London. Modern Basingstoke and Deane continues to evolve.

The borough has a wealth of interesting buildings and you can find more information on these by following the links on the left.

The borough’s villages and towns are home to an array of buildings and interesting features, and each has a fascinating history of its own. The beautifully restored twentieth century garden by Gertrude Jekyll can be found at The Manor House in Upton Grey, and the recently restored Wind Engine is located in Crux Easton. There are over 1800 listed buildings and 40 conservation areas, along with a number of Village Design Statements, which celebrate the unique qualities of each place. Find out more by visiting our webpage on Village Design Statements.

Town Trail

Follow the Basingstoke Town Trail and discover more about the town's history, from Domesday to the modern day.

This is a self-guided walk of the town centre, starting at 800-year old Market Place, the Historic Heart of Basingstoke. The full walk lasts approximately 90 minutes, although this can be followed in smaller sections.

Further information on the town trail, including a map is available below. Alternatively, paper copies of the walk are available from the Willis Museum and the council offices.

Points of interest and a trail has also been developed on the free TrailTale app, available for Apple and Android smartphones. Simply pick your starting point, choose your walk and away you go. More information about the TrailTale app can be found by visiting the TrailTale website.

PDF document Heritage Trail Map(PDF) [588 kb]

PDF document Town Trail(PDF) [2 Mb]

Discover more about Basingstoke’s history and heritage from Love Basingstoke.

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days celebrates England's fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year in September for four days, buildings of every age, style and function open their doors, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples. It is a once a year chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture.

Free of charge and on your doorstep, Heritage Open Days are events for everyone. Find out more about Heritage Open Days by visiting the Heritage Open Days website.

Funding for heritage-related projects

You might be able to get some funding for heritage-related projects, as there are some grant schemes which fund these types of projects.

The National Lottery Community Fund offers grants of £300 to £10,000 in England, £500 to £10,000 in Scotland and Northern Ireland and £500 to £5,000 in Wales. If you are a local group and you need a small grant then The National Lottery Community Fund may be able to help you.

The Heritage Lottery fund offers a range of grant programmes, awarding grants from £3,000. For further information on their grant programmes, visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Friday
    8.30am to 4.30pm