Welcome to Hampshire

Information on 'old' Hampshire and its relationship with New Hampshire

Welcome to Hampshire, England

We have gathered together a small collection of information on "old" Hampshire and its relationship with New Hampshire. Read on to find out more!


Map of Great Britain show the location of Hampshire

Hampshire is a traditional county in the south of England, with a recorded history dating back over 1,000 years to Anglo-Saxon times.

The name "Hampshire" is often abbreviated in written form to "Hants" and this sometimes gives rise to puzzlement. The abbreviated form Hants is derived from the Old English Hantum. This was later combined with Scir to form Hantumscir (meaning a district governed from a settlement which is now known as Southampton). The Anglo-Saxons named it Hamtunschire, and at the time of the Domesday Book (in 1086) the name was compressed to Hantescire, and this is how in modern English, Hampshire has evolved. There are many places in New Hampshire that share the same names as 'old Hampshire'.

The Hampshire Record Office collects and preserves archives relating to Hampshire and its people. These archives include the records of local government and of the Church of England in Hampshire and the records of countless individuals, families, businesses, societies, chapels and schools. Through Hampshire Record Office, Hampshire County Council helps to preserve this evidence of the past and make it available to all who wish to consult or study it.

Contact has been established between Hampshire Record Office, New Hampshire State Library, and New Hampshire Division of Records Management and Archives. Information, publications, and microform copies of certain catalogues and archives are being exchanged, as are the newsletters of the county and state family history societies. The Hampshire Record Office also holds a number of documents relating to America.

Business and Economic Development

Air Traffic Control

Hampshire is one of Europe's leading business locations. Situated on the south coast of England, it is just a short step away from Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and less than an hour's drive from London. Hampshire also has direct connections from the United States via Southampton International Airport, and it is one of the largest counties in England with a population of 1.6 million people in an area covering 376,926 hectares. Why not read our First for Business pages, provided by the Hampshire Economic Development Office? Another Economic Development initiative, Hampshire Fare represents and promotes producers of speciality food, drink and craft based in Hampshire.

Trade links between the old and New Hampshire have been highlighted and improved since the economic twinning (133kb file) of the two regions in 1997. Since then, three trade missions have taken place with companies from both sides making new commercial contacts. Both authorities have made a strong commitment to further developing the trading links and opportunities, with both regions having much in common economically.

Both old and New Hampshire are heavily defence-dependent and are having to help many of their engineering and manufacturing companies diversify into other areas of trade. As a result of the economic twinning, both the regions' Economic Development offices have established strong working relationships and can offer advice and contact information for companies wishing to explore the trading and export opportunities available.

Culture and the Arts

Petersfield Square in 1932 by Flora Twort

There is a thriving arts scene in Hampshire. People take part in all kinds of arts activities, attend performances of concerts, plays, dance and opera, and visit art galleries such as the unique Flora Twort Gallery in Petersfield. Artists and craftspeople live and work here and works of art are seen in buildings and public places throughout the county. Hampshire County Council plays its part in supporting all these activities, giving advice, support, and financial assistance to artists and arts organisations throughout the county.

Find out more about Arts, Culture and Architecture in Hampshire.

We are currently working together on two areas to increase mutual understanding of our cultures. Firstly, we have found a strong common interest in the artistic and economic importance of the Crafts. Both of us have major initiatives and events which bring craftmakers together. Secondly, in the area of Theatre, we are trying to create opportunities for exchange visits for companies, as well as formalising a 'twinning' between the Music Hall Theatre in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the Kings Theatre in Portsmouth 'old Hampshire'.

Tourism & Facilities for Visitors

The village of Bramshaw in the New Forest

Hampshire has a remarkable and unique blend of coast and countryside offering many fascinating places to visit, villages with thatched cottages and lively towns. The county has a unique defence heritage of historic ships, castles, forts and military museums and the historic cities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester have a wealth of interesting places to visit. For example, the 1,000 year-old Winchester Cathedral and the legendary round table of King Arthur in the Great Hall.

Tourism is one of Hampshire's and New Hampshire's principal generators of wealth and has been identified in the Accord (133kb file) as one of the key areas of co-operation between our two regions. This means working with our New Hampshire colleagues to promote old Hampshire in New Hampshire and encourage residents from both regions to come to visit their counterparts. Already some success has been achieved. Several groups of New Hampshire people visited Hampshire in 1998 as part of a longer tour of southern England whilst, the other way, school groups went to New Hampshire for skiing in 1999, with many more planned for 2000.

Find out more about the facilities available to visitors to Hampshire in Discover Hampshire.

Claims to Fame


A tour around Hampshire also provides literary interest. Jane Austen spent most of her life in Hampshire and is buried in Winchester Cathedral. Hampshire was also the source of inspiration for many other literary figures - Keats, Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Titanic departed from the White Star Line's dock in Southampton, Hampshire, and that marked the beginning of a fateful voyage into maritime and world history. The momentous and much-celebrated maiden voyage which began at noon on 10 April 1912, ended so tragically less than five days later, at a recorded time of 2.20am on 15 April 1912.

King Alfred's bronze statue is located in Winchester, the ancient Capital of England. It was his extraordinary combination of skills as soldier, statesman and scholar that earned him the title of King Alfred "the Great", an honour bestowed on no other king of England since.

The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, the HRH Duke of Edinburgh, spent part of their honeymoon at Broadlands, near Romsey, in 1947. In July 1981, their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales spent their first night of married life there too.

Hampshire County Council

The Hampshire County Council coat of armsThe Seal of the State of New Hampshire

The County Council consists of 74 councillors, who together represent the whole county. These councillors decide the budgets and policies for the vital local services which are provided by Hampshire County Council. Elections are held every four years, giving Hampshire residents an opportunity to influence County Council policies.