Brondene (xi cent.); Brundon, Brandun, and Brendon (xii cent.); Branden and Bromdene (xiii cent.).
Bramdean is a small parish, with an area of 1,237 acres, situated nine miles east from Winchester. The village, in the south-west of the parish, lies along the main road from Petersfield to Winchester, at an average height of 270 ft. above sea-level, the fall of the ground being westward, and close to the west boundary of the parish is the source of the little stream which runs through Cheriton and Tichborne to join the Alre below Alresford, a short distance above its junction with the Itchen.
Bramdean Common in the north-east of the parish rises to 450 ft., and the view from the wooded ridge which forms its northern boundary is very striking. The open common slopes down, backed by woods on the south and east, and crossed by two roads, one running south-east towards West Meon, the other south-west to join the Winchester road in the middle of Bramdean village. At the south-west of the common is a group of thatched and timbered cottages, and beyond them the view opens out over the lower ground on which the village stands to the downs which form the western boundary of the Meon valley, Beacon Hill, five miles away, standing out against the skyline.
The well-timbered park and grounds of Woodcote House, now occupied by Sir Francis Seymour Haden, are in the south-west angle of the parish, north of the Winchester road, and a short distance east of the village. The thatched and ivy-covered Manor Farm stands at the west of the village on the south side of the road, and beyond it is the Fox Inn with its large bay windows. On the higher ground to the south is a picturesque group of houses, to which a road strikes off at right angles.
The rectory stands in the middle of the village, on the south of the road, at the point of junction with the road from Bramdean Common, and is in part of considerable antiquity, with some good early seventeenth-century panelling and beams. Further to the west is the church, standing half hidden by trees on the hillside to the south, and approached by a steep lane, at foot of which is a brick bridge over a dry water-course which runs all along the south side of the village street.
To the east of the church is College Farm, an eighteenth-century red brick house of good style, with several well-designed chimney-pieces. The rectory meadow, planted with several fine trees, rises towards the church from the main road, and opposite to it on the north is Bramdean House. This house formed part of the property entailed by the Rev. Egerton Arden Bagot on his sister Honora, the wife of the Rev. the Hon. Augustus George Legge, about the middle of last century, and is at present the property of the Misses Legge, the heirs of the Rev. Augustus George Legge.
The gravel valley in which the village lies was apparently in former times the bed of a river. At irregular intervals a spring bubbles up from what is called ‘a pocket’ in the chalk in Woodcote Park by the roadside, flows through the village and across the meadows to Hinton Ampner, and finally joins the Itchen at Cheriton. For years perhaps the brick arch of the church path and the channel by the roadside might be considered a needless
precaution, but as recently as the winter of 1903–4, after a very heavy rainfall during the summer and autumn, there was a swiftly-flowing stream covering the village street and flooding floors and cellars.
Bramdean Lodge, the residence of Mr. Charles A. Linzee, lies to the northwest of the road from Bramdean Common, close to the schools. On the common is a small iron chapel of ease erected in 1883. Much of the land in Bramdean is a flinty loam on a subsoil of chalk well adapted for the growth of barley. Along the valley in which the village is situated the upper soil rests on a subsoil of gravel.
The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, and turnips. The parish contains 714¾ acres of arable land, 305½ acres of permanent grass, and 168 acres of woods and plantations.
(fn. 1) Among place-names in Bramdean found in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are the following:—’Torte Acre, La Breche, Vineshawede, Sendrie londe, Setacres, Setesgrovesforlonge, Grithethhorne, La Wogelonde, Hankeneweie, Eustrecumbe, and Schepehusezorne.’
(fn. 2) A wood called ‘Imbele’ and a messuage and land called ‘Jenettes lond’ occur in inquisitions taken in the fifteenth century.