Poor, half-starved wretches of Binley!

William Cobbett, 1825

7th November 1825

We came through a village called Woodcote, and another called Binley. I never saw any inhabited places more recluse than these. Yet into these the all-searching eye of the taxing Thing reaches. Its Exciseman can tell it what is doing even in the little odd corner of Binley; for even there I saw, over the door of a place, not half so good as the place in which my fowls roost, “Licensed to deal in tea and tobacco.” Poor, half-starved wretches of Binley! The hand of taxation, the collection for the sinecures and pensions, must fix its nails even in them, who really appeared too miserable to be called by the name of people. Yet there was one whom the taxing Thing had licensed (good God! licensed!) to serve out cat-lap to these wretched creatures! And our impudent and ignorant newspaper scribes talk of the degraded state of the people of Spain! Impudent impostors! Can they show a group so wretched, so miserable, so truly enslaved as this, in all Spain? No: and those of them who are not sheer fools know it well. But there would have been misery equal to this in Spain if the Jews and Jobbers could have carried the Bond-scheme into effect. The people of Spain were, through the instrumentality of patriot loan-makers, within an inch of being made as “enlightened” as the poor, starving things of Binley.1

Yew Tree Cottage on left, The Hurdlers, formerly a Public House, on the right.
Binley, Hampshire cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Ian Folland –


In 1841 Wadwick & Gangbridge are included under Binley in the Census.


BINLEY, a tything, in the parish of Bourne, union of Whitchurch, hundred of Evingar, Kingsclere and N. divisions of the county of Southampton; containing 138 inhabitants.2


Binley, a tythg. in the par. of St. Mary Bourne, hund. of Upper Evingar, in the co. of Southampton, 6 miles to the N. of Andover.3


Binley Hamlet is in the north and is reached by the Wadwick Road and Red Lane. Near it is Warwick (Wadewick, 1636) with the farms of Upper and Lower Warwick.4

  1. Cobbett, William. Rural Rides (pp. 325-326). Kindle Edition. ↩︎
  2. ‘Bilton – Binton’, in A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1848), pp. 244-248. British History Online [accessed 22 November 2023]. ↩︎
  3. Virtur & Co. (1868). The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland for 1868. London. ↩︎
  4. ‘Parishes: St. Mary Bourne’, in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page (London, 1911), pp. 295-299. British History Online [accessed 15 November 2023]. ↩︎