The Historyof Nursling & Rownhams
Nursling dates back to well before the occupation of Britain by the Romans. A prehistoric earth embanked settlement, known as the Walls, once occupied a site overlooking the River Test in an area of Nursling now known as Weston. Later a Roman settlement was built nearby accessed via a Roman road approaching from Winchester via Chandlers Ford. The route of this road ran through what is now part of Rownhams and is thought to have provided access to an ancient river crossing that now leads from Nursling Mill across the River Test and River Blackwater through the area now known as Testwood Lakes and on into the New Forest.
Around 700 A.D. a young man from Devon trained as a monk. His name was Winfrid and he later came to Nursling to become a member of the monastic order at the minster church that was thought to have existed in the Nursling area. After the death of the order's Abbot in 716 A.D., Winfrid travelled to Germany to become a missionary there. He subsequently became venerated by many of the European Christian churches and became known as St. Boniface. The monastary site at Nursling subsequently closed and an extensive library of books known to have been housed there, also disappeared around this time.
According to the Domesday Book, Nursling was always part of the lands used by the prior and monks of St Swithen's Monastery (Winchester). After the conquest it was held by the Bishop of Winchester, although the priory continued to use the land to help fund their religious community. In 1086 there were possibly 200 to 300 people living in the area and they would worship at St Boniface's Church situated near to the River Test.
Later two Manors were created, Nursling Prior and Nursling Beaufo. The lands around Nursling Church appear to have been under the control and use of the monks from St Swithen's Monastery (Winchester). All the lands were nominally held by the Bishop of Winchester both before and after the Conquest. However in 1300 Edward I confirmed that the land belonged to the monks and thus it went to Henry VIII on disolution and then to John Mill (predesessor of the Barker Mill Estate).