Bramley is an historical village in North Hampshire, close to the Berkshire Border, 5 miles north of Basingstoke and 10 miles south of Reading. It is comprised of three previously separate communities; Bramley, Bramley Green and Bramley Corner, all of which straddle The Street and Sherfield Road between the A33 and the A340.
The village is separated from the neighbouring villages of Sherfield-on-Loddon, Sherbourne-St-John, Chineham, and Silchester by farm land.
The southern fringe of the village is marked by the MoD owned Bramley Camp.
Church Farm and Green Farm are working farms, whose business is mostly arable, but with small scale sheep and dairy cattle (and beef).
Around Bramley there are a significant number of livery stables for recreational riding.
Bow Brook, a tributary of the River Loddon, runs through the village, and there are ponds on the Street near the old British Legion Centre, as well as several balancing ponds including one at Lane End, which are now homes for wildlife.
The area is mostly fairly flat, with little variation in height above sea-level.
Bramley is on the Roman road from Silchester to Chichester and is known to have been inhabited from pre-Roman times. Towards Sherfield there is an area known as Bullsdown Camp. This was a ten acre space surrounded by a series of defensive ditches and mounds, where the people would come with their animals to escape from attack. Even the Romans found it hard to capture such camps. With the nearby Roman settlement at Silchester, there are the remains of a Romano British villa.
In Saxon times the Bramley area was not so much a village as a collection of farming homesteads based at Latchmere Green, the area around the church, Stocks Green and Bramley Green. There was a church on the present site in Saxon times and the Manor of Bramley is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066 the Manor of Bramley, along with fifty others in Hampshire, was given to the De Port family who governed their lands from their principal manor at nearby Old Basing. The other great landowners who appeared in the 1350s were the Brocas family, so all the land was held by the Manor of Bramley and Beaurepaire Park. The inhabitants were their tenants.
Poor roads ensured that Bramley remained a rather insignificant agricultural backwater for centuries, although there are several 16th Century buildings remaining, so there must have been some settlement here by then.
In the Nineteenth Century there were changes in the ownership of the two estates: the Duke of Wellington was presented with the Stratfieldsaye Estate (of which the Manor of Bramley was then a part) and later, in the 1870’s the Welch Thornton family purchased the Beaurepaire Estate and began to repair and in some cases enlarge the houses they owned – it is they who are responsible for the distinctive ‘Bramley windows’. Their final act was to build the Six Bells in 1897 (now the Bramley Inn), by Bramley Station which was opened in 1895 after a campaign by “Footsore of Bramley”.
The Welch Thornton family sold Beaurpaire in 1922 when the estate was broken up and the various properties sold at auction. Bramley Camp was opened in 1917 as a prisoner of war camp and ammunition depot. Even after the war it continued as a depot and employed a lot of labour, leading to ribbon building along Silchester Road, The Street and Sherfield Road. At its peak during the World War II the Camp employed over 6,000 people. It was closed in 1978 and was used by the Americans for a while. Bramley had a population of around 900 in 1900, but since the 1960’s Bramley has grown beyond a village and is now classified as an urban area. Many estates are now established on the land once belonging to Bramley Camp.
The famous physicist Lisa Meitner is buried in St. James’ church yard.
Some of the best known facilities in the village have been bequested to the village by generous past residents - the Clift brothers were local farmers who entrusted both Clift Meadow and the Village Hall to the community, and Cross House was built as a result of a legacy from Ella Tubb.
The population of the village is now over 4,000.
St James’ Church dating originally from 1160 on Saxon foundations is a Grade I listed building. It features many historical alterations and additions dating up to the 20th Century.
There are a substantial number of Grade 2 Listed buildings, which date from different periods of the village’s history.
There has been a considerable amount of housing construction over the past 12 or so years, including developments such as Farriers Close, The Smithy, Campbell Road, and now the German Road development – all to the east of the level crossing. To the west, Tudor Close is a notable development.
Bramley Camp was opened in 1917 and has been used as a prisoner of war camp, an ammunitions depot, and a training site. It is still actively used, mainly by 21 SAS (Reserves), the Berkshire Army Cadet Force, and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Army Cadet Force.
Regular troops and the TA also use the camp, along with RAF Odiham for helicopter manoeuvres. Bramley residents will be familiar with the distinctive sound of the Chinooks passing over.
Due to civilian housing close-by, there are time limits for specific activities such as live firing. The camp has also been used to film scenes for television programmes.
Because the 900 acre site is not open to the public and in many ways is undisturbed, it is a valuable haven for wildlife, being home to badgers, deer and pheasant to name a few.
Over the last 30 years a number of events have become important traditions of the village. The longest standing of these is the Annual Bramley Show, originally a horticultural show, but now with various craft classes.
The Church Summer Fair has been running for a number of years, and is growing in support.
The Bramley Football Club Car Boot Sale every other week in the summer months is well known in the local area.
Bramley school has a strong and active Parent Teacher Association which, for many years, has run a popular Summer Fete, and in the Autumn has hosted a fireworks display attended by many villagers.
Two more recent events added to the village’s calendar are the bi-annual St. Georges Day Fete organised by the Clift Meadow Trust, and the bi-annual Music Festival. There is usually a Carol Singing event outside the village bakery.
Local amenities include the shop with a small sub-post office, an estate agent, the village bakery and car mechanics, along with the village pub.
There are some developments of light industrial units at Campbell Close, and Stocks Farm, and a little out of the village centre on Cufaude Lane.
There is a substantial electricity sub-station at Bramley Frith, recently up-graded with two new super-transformers.
Many clubs and organisations exist in the village and generally use either the village hall, or the Pavillions at Clift Meadow. The village directory found on this website provides contact details and some further information, but here are a few of the leisure facilities:
There are play facilities at Farriers Close, St. Marks Close, Yew Tree Close, and two new play areas on the German Road development. There are some swings and a multi-use play area at Clift Meadow.
Clift Meadow also has tennis courts and a Cricket pitch.
There is a Football pitch and there are several green areas including Forge Field at Farriers Close, Longbridge Road, the field in Moat Close.
We also have a lot of areas suitable for dog walkers including Bramley Green, some areas around Bullsdown Farm and some footpaths for pleasant walks around Bramley including the heritage trail Silchester Roman Walk 8-9 miles.
We have some Allotments
Mobile Library visits Bramley weekly.
Doctors Surgery: built in 1992
Pub with garden adjacent to Clift Meadow and Turmerics, an Indian restaurant
Little Apples Playgroup
Bramley CofE Primary School
Shop with small sub-Post Office offering many services, but not full services
Church Hall (Cross House)
Clift Meadow Pavilion
The Street/Sherfield Road runs through the village, connecting with the A33 Reading to Basingstoke road at the eastern end, and the A340 Tadley to Basingstoke road at the west. Both the M4 and M3 motorways are within 10 miles.
Bus service Routes run hourly between approximately 7am and 6pm Monday to Saturday to and from Basingstoke, although the village has recently lost a service which used to run to Basingstoke Hospital.
The railway station in the middle of the main built area of the village is on the link line accessing Basingstoke main-line station to the south, and Reading main-line station to the north. First Great Western runs a half hourly service in peak times, and hourly during off peak periods. The level crossing by the station is the busiest in Hampshire.
There is one car park at Jibbs Meadow.
The National Cycle route 23 runs through the village.
Mobile phone reception is patchy, with reception being efficient for only a few providers. Broadband is available to most households and there is a campaign for faster broadband as the speeds in Bramley are not good - around 2.5mg is among the best so there is plenty of room for improvement.
Bramley and Bramley Green Conservation Area:
There are at least two books on Bramley written by Rev. Toogood, and there is a Church magazine delivered on request. The Parish Council publishes a newsletter no less than twice a year which is delivered to every household in the village.
Bramley is a civil parish with an elected Parish Council. The village falls within the area of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council, and the three councils are responsible for different aspects of local government. At Borough level, Bramley is presently represented (with the Sherfield Ward) by Councillors Ranil Jayawardena and Chris Tomblin. At County level, Bramley is part of the Calleva and Kingsclere Division and is represented by Councillor Keith Chapman.