Introduction to the Parish of Bentley


          Welcome to Bentley, a small rural parish on the Surrey and Hampshire borders. 

Bentley is the first village across the Surrey-Hampshire border, announcing Jane Austen country.   As part of the Austen 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. We are a rural community with fine views across the fields to the Alice Holt forest, small enough to know and care for each other, but large enough to do useful things together. Our church on the Pilgrims’ Way plays an active part in village life, as does our thriving primary school. 

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. We claim the oldest cruck cottage in Hampshire, and a number of fine old country houses surrounded by rolling farmland. More recent housebuilding in the last few years has brought new blood and young families into the village.

 We have an annual fete and flower show, a much valued pub and shop, and two small industrial estates. Scouting thrives here: no great surprise as the village was home for 30 years to Robert Baden-Powell. The hop fields familiar to earlier generations have now become vineyards, producing Jenkyn Place sparkling wine, our “local brew”.

We have a beautiful church situated in the heart of the village and a busy Memorial hall, hosting everything from badminton to gardening clubs, salsa classes to the recently opened pre-school Dottie Tots.  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 and a newly formed youth club for the older children of the village.