The manor of Wootton, later called Manydown, was held by the prior and convent of St. Swithun at the time of the Domesday Survey, and remained in their possession until the Dissolution. The long association of the manor with the Wither family began as early as 1402; in 1649 the Dean and Chapter of Winchester sold the manor to William Wither, whose family had long been resident at Manydown. After the Restoration of the Monarchy the dean and Chapter decided to reclaim their rights to the manor, for which the Withers got no compensation despite seeking the intercession of King Charles II himself. Finally, in 1863 the Reverend Lovelace Bigg-Wither decided to purchase the reversion of the manor, but later sold it to the Bates family in 1873.
The extensive woods at Wootton were renowned in the late Middle Ages, and on more than one occasion in the fourteenth century members of the royal family held hunting parties there. Timber from the woods was used by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, when reconstructing the cathedral knave in the 1390s. In 1459 three huge oaks were sent to form the roof of what is now the upper floor of the Deanery in the Cathedral Close.
The Church of St. Lawrence was built in 1864, incorporating many original features of the earlier mediaeval building. The north arcade dates from the twelfth century and the tower and some of the windows are early fourteenth century. Charles Butler, philologist and author of "The Feminine Monarchie", was vicar of St Laurence's Church for 48 years until his death in 1647.
Further information on attractions to discover in the area and other interesting villages to visit is available. For information on public services for Wootton St Lawrence please take a look at the Basingstoke local pages.