About the location
Farnham 5 miles, Alton 6 miles
Bentley is the first village across the Surrey-Hampshire border, announcing Jane Austin country. As part of the Austin heritage, the first rector of Bentley was Henry Austen, Jane’s brother, who moved into the Rectory in 1824. Another curate, the Rev. Gilbert White of Selborne, was a regular visitor to Marelands, a Georgian house overlooking the river Wey, in the previous century.
Bentley-‘the green in the forest’- dates back to Roman and Saxon times.
The village, which is described by Warner in the 18th century as 'a delightful, pleasant and neat village,' with well planted gardens and hedges of white thorn, lies on the main road from Farnham to Alton, which is supposed to be an ancient Pilgrims' Way leading from Farnham through Bentley and Alton to Winchester. The forest of Alice Holt in the neighbouring parish of Binsted no doubt furnished cover for highwaymen and robbers, who fell upon merchant and pilgrim on their way to Winchester, to shrine or fair. The outlaw Sir Adam Gurdon is said to have frequented this road with his armed band, and to have devastated the surrounding country to the terror of peaceful travellers until his restoration to his estates by King Edward I
The village developed mostly along the ancient road from Winchester to London. Many of the older houses along the post road were smallholders’ farms dating back to the 13thcentury, which were ‘gentrified’ in Regency times. The village claims the oldest 'cruck' cottage in Hampshire (a cruck or crook frame is a curved timber, one of a pair, which supports the roof of a building, used particularly in England. This type of timber framing consists of long, generally naturally curved, timber members that lean inwards and form the ridge of the roof).
The village has a thriving pub and shop. The village was also home for 30 years to Sir Robert Baden- Powell, so it comes as no surprise that scouting thrives in the area.
The hop fields surrounding the village have now become vinyards, producing Jenkyn Place sparkling wine.
The village is situated approximately 4 miles from Alton and Farnham, the village has a bus service and has a mainline station, which commences at Alton and terminates at Waterloo.
For the active members of the parish there is an array of footpaths, Alice Holt forest nearby as well as Birdworld, and the butterfly meadow. The parish has a newly installed adventure playground for the younger children.