Notable People

Below are some of the notable people with connections to Hampshire (listed by earliest birth date to latest):

Alfred the Great (849 – 899)

Alfred was the fifth son of Aethelwulf, king of the West Saxons. Alfred successfully defended his kingdom (Wessex) against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by the time of his death he had become the dominant ruler in England. He died on October 26, 899 AD and was first buried at the Old Minster in his capital city of Winchester.

King Canute (Cnut) (c.985 or 995 – 1035)

Also known as ‘Cnut the Great’, he was king of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden. He won the throne of England in 1016. Canute’s famous shoreline action of ‘ordering back the waves’ is said to have happened in Southampton. Canute Road in Southampton is named after him, as well as the large floating crane in Southampton Docks.  A sign on Canute Road reads, “Near this spot AD 1028 Canute reproved his courtiers”.

William Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys (1470 – 1540)

William was a Tudor diplomat, Lord Chamberlain and a favourite of King Henry VIII. His home was The Vyne, near Basingstoke – now a National Trust property. The king visited William at The Vyne three times, once with his queen Anne Boleyn. His elevation to the peerage as Baron Sandys of The Vyne happened in April 1523, and in 1526 was sworn in as Lord Chamberlain of the Household.

William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester (c.1483 / 1485 – 1572)

William was Lord High Treasurer, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and a statesman. He built Basing House near Basingstoke in 1535. At the time it was the largest private house in the country with around 360 rooms. Basing House is open to the public and today it is a collection of banks and ditches, cellars and broken walls, with only the occasional surviving structure, such as the majestic Great Barn. he dies at the house and his tomb is on the south side of the chancel of Basing church.

Queen Mary I (1516 – 1558) (Mary Tudor)

Daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She was known as ‘Bloody Mary’ for the executions ordered in pursuit of returning the country to catholicism after the English Reformation. She married Philip of Spain in 1554 at Winchester Cathedral. Special seats had been prepared for the couple to sit on and Mary’s chair can be seen in the cathedral’s museum.

Gilbert White (1720 – 1793)

18th century naturalist and ornithologist. White is best known for his The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). He lived at The Wakes in Selborne and the house and gardens are open to the public.

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758 – 1805)

On 14 September 1805, Lord Nelson took his final steps on land in Portsmouth as he prepared for his last voyage aboard HMS Victory. His flagship HMS Victory can be seen in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and The Nelson Monument stands on Portsdown Hill about 2 miles north of Portsmouth Harbour. Nelson was shot dead by a snipers bullet on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. The battle was Britain’s greatest naval victory, defeating Napoleon and the French and Spanish fleets. He is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Emma, Lady Hamilton (1765 – 1815)

Model and actress best known for being the mistress of Lord Nelson. In 1801 – 1802, she lived with Nelson and her husband Sir William Hamilton, at Fir Hill, a striking Georgian property on the route between Portsmouth and London. Fir Hill was built in 1765.

The Duke of Wellington (1769 – 1852)

The first Duke of Wellington was Arthur Wellesley. He was given the title on 11 May 1814 after he returned home a hero after Napoleon’s abdication. During his military career, he never lost a battle – and he fought around 60 of them. The family seat (since 1817) is Stratfield Saye House near Basingstoke. He is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

Jane Austen was  an English novelist who wrote romantic fiction, based in country houses. She lived in Southampton between 1806 and 1809. The house in which she lived no longer exists. To mark the 200th anniversary of the year Jane took up residence in Southampton, a Jane Austen Trail was launched in July 2006. In the last 8 years of her life she lived in a cottage in Chawton, now the Jane Austen’s House Museum. During her time at Chawton, she published four novels: Sense and Sensibility ( 1811), Pride and Prejudice, (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). She died in Winchester on 18 July 1817, at the age of 41 and is buried in the north aisle of the nave of Winchester Cathedral.

Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812 – 1870)

Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. Works include The Pickwick Papers, The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield and Bleak House. A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written. He was born in Portsmouth but is buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey, London.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 – 1859)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in April 1806 in Portsea, Portsmouth. He became a world famous mechanical and civil engineer. He built the Great Western Railway, the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship and many notable tunnels and bridges. He revolutionised modern engineering.

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 – 1863)

Author famous for Vanity Fair. He was educated in Southampton. In later life he stayed at The Dolphin Hotel in Southampton’s High Street where he wrote part of the novel Pendennis.

Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910)

Celebrated social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. Born in Italy, she moved to England in 1821 and was brought up in the family’s homes at Embley, Hampshire and Lea Hurst, Derbyshire. She died in her sleep, aged 90, and is buried in the graveyard at St Margaret’s Church in East Wellow, near Embley Park.

Empress Eugénie 1826 – 1920

Empress Eugenie was the last empress of the French from her marriage to Emperor Napoleon. Following the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870, her husband Napoleon III, Empress Eugénie and their son the Prince Imperial were exiled from France. Her husband and son died in the UK. She founded St Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough in 1881 as a mausoleum for her husband and son. She is also now buried there.

John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896)

Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet was a painter and illustrator who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. When Millais died in 1896, the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) chaired a memorial committee which commissioned a statue of him which was installed at the front of the National Gallery of British Art (now Tate Britain) in the garden on the east side in 1905.

Harry ‘Brusher’ Mills (1840 – 1905)

Harry was a hermit who lived in the New Forest and made his living as a snake-catcher. He would carry the snakes dangling from a stick over his shoulder.Harry became a local celebrity and an attraction for visitors to the New Forest. He regularly attended cricket matches at Balmer Lawn, Brockenhurst, and was paid to sweep the pitch between innings, hence his nickname. He died in an outbuilding of the Railway Inn, Brockenhurst – a pub where he had been a regular. In tribute, the pub was renamed The Snakecatcher. A marble headstone, paid for by locals, was erected over his grave in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Brockenhurst.

Frederic Maurice Halford (1844 – 1914)

F. M. Halford is regarded as s”The Father of Modern Dry Fly Fishing”. He practiced the dry fly technique on Hampshire chalk streams. The trout fishing hut Oakley or Halford’s hut at Mottisfont on the Test is where he studied and made notes for his revolutionary book Floating Flies and How to Dress Them. The Mottisfont Estate is now owned by the National Trust.

Captain Edward John Smith (1850 – 1912)

Captain of the RMS Titanic, he died when the ship sunk on its maiden voyage. He lived at ‘Woodhead’ on Winn Road in Highfield, Southampton. The site of the house is now occupied by a block of flats.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930)

Writer and physician, most noted for creating the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.He was a founder member of the Hampshire Society for Psychical Research.Conan Doyle was first buried on 11 July 1930 in Windlesham rose garden but later reinterred together with his wife in Minstead churchyard in the New Forest.

Sir Arthur Henry Rostron, KBE, RD, RNR (1869 – 1940)

Rostron was made famous for being Captain of the Cunard Line and master of the liner RMS Carpathia when it rescued the survivors of RMS Titanic in 1912 following the iceberg disaster. He was also Captain of the Southampton Master Mariner’s Club and wrote an autobiography called Home from the Sea. He died of pneumonia and is buried at West End Church, Southampton.

Augustus Edwin John OM, RA, (1878 – 1961)

John was one of the most celebrated British artists of the early twentieth century and regarded as a brilliant draughtsman and etcher. By the 1920s he was Britain’s leading portrait painter and Thomas Hardy and George Bernard Shaw were known to have sat for him. He was well known for his bohemian lifestyle. He died of heart failure at his home at Fryern Court in Fordingbridge.

Roy Chadwick (1893 – 1947)

Designer of the Avro Lancaster bomber used for night attacks on Germany in World War II. He worked for A.V. Roe aircraft builders at Hamble, a few miles from Southampton.

Reginald Joseph Mitchell (1895 – 1937)

R J Mitchell came to Southampton in 1917 to work for Supermarine, located at Woolston on the banks of the River Itchen. R J Mitchell designed 24 aircraft including the Vickers- Supermarine Spitfire, a fighter plane forever associated with the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. The Spitfire first flew, from what is now Southampton Airport, on 5 March 1936. Seventy years later, that first flight was re-enacted at the Airport on 5 March 2006 and five Spitfires then flew in formation up Southampton Water watched by huge crowds of people. At Solent Sky aviation museum in Southampton ( a Mk 24 Spitfire is exhibited, the last version of the fighter plane.

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900 – 1979)

Admiral of the Fleet. Uncle of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. He oversaw the defeat of the Japanese offensive towards India during World War Two. Romsey is home to Broadlands, the Moutbatten estate which has gardens designed by Capability Brown. In 1979, Mountbatten, his grandson Nicholas, and two others were killed by the IRA, which had placed a bomb in his fishing boat, Shadow V.

Wilbert Vere Awdry, OBE 1(911 – 1997)

Better known as Reverend W. Awdry, he was an Anglican cleric, railway enthusiast, and children’s author – creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, the main character in The Railway Series. He was born at Ampfield vicarage near Romsey on 15 June 1911. In 1917, the family moved to Box, moving again within Box twice more. The third house was “Journey’s End” which remained the family home until August 1928. Journey’s End was only 200 yards (180 m) from the western end of Box Tunnel where the Great Western Railway climbs at a gradient of 1 in 100 for two miles. He was educated at Dauntsey’s School, West Lavington from 1924–1929.

James Callaghan (1912 – 2005)

British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980. He was born at 38 Funtington Road, Copnor, Portsmouth and attended Portsmouth Northern Secondary School (now Mayfield School). He was often known as Jim.

Alfred George Fripp (1914 – 2013)

He was known as “Alfie” and “Bill” was a Royal Air Force squadron leader who was a flight sergeant during the Second World War.He was shot down by the Luftwaffe in 1939 and held in twelve different prisoner of war camps, including Stalag Luft III (the “Great Escape”). As the last of the “39ers” (those taken prisoner in the first year of the war), he was the oldest surviving and longest serving British POW. He was born in Alverstoke.

Jack Foreman Mantle VC (1917 – 1940)

Recipient of the Victoria Cross (awarded posthumously) for actions in or over England. The VC is the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Jack Mantle’s home was in Southampton. He died at Portland in Dorset of wounds received during a German attack on ships in harbour there, including HMS Foylebank on which he was serving. He is buried at Portland Naval Cemetery where his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone bears the engraving of the Victoria Cross. He is commemorated in Southampton by Jack’s Corner, a children’s play area at the Sports Centre.

Wing Commander Eric James Brindley Nicolson VC (1917 – 1945)

He was the only Battle of Britain fighter pilot to have won a Victoria Cross. James Brindley Nicolson attacked a German aircraft over Southampton in August 1940. He maintained the attack despite a severe fire in his cockpit. He finally parachuted to the ground with life-threatening injuries. Sholing Junior School have installed a plaque dedicated to him.

Murray Walker, OBE (1923 – 2021)

Born Graeme Murray Walker, Murray was the voice of F1 for decades, retiring in 2001. Most of his career was spent working for the BBC, although he also worked for ITV. He was appointed an OBE in 1996 for his services to broadcasting and motor racing. Famous for his “Murrayisms” which included “There’s nothing wrong with the car except it’s on fire”, “It would have been Senna’s third win in a row if he’d won the two before” and “I imagine the conditions in those cars are totally unimaginable.” He lived in Sandleheath near Fordingbridge.

Donald Malcolm Campbell CBE (1921 – 1967)

British speed record breaker who broke eight absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964). In January 1967, he was killed in his water-speed record jet hydroplane Bluebird K7. His Bluebird CN7 is on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu – it achieved the world land speed record on Lake Eyre in Australia on July 17, 1964. The vehicle set the FIA world record for the flying mile at 403.10 mph (648.73 km/h).

Alfred Hawthorne “Benny” Hill (1924 – 1992)

Comedian and actor best known for The Benny Hill Show. Born in Southampton he lived there in the family home. He was educated at Taunton’s School and before becoming a television entertainer worked as a milkman in Eastleigh. He is buried in Southampton at Hollybrook Cemetery.

Peter Sellers, CBE (1925 – 1980)

Born Richard Henry Sellers at 96 Castle Road, Southsea, he was an actor, comedian and singer. He was well known for being Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther series of films.

Anthony Benjamin (1931–2002)

Painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in Boarhunt. In 1965 he started teaching at Winchester College of Art.

Sir Quentin Saxby Blake, CBE (1932)

Blake is an illustrator, cartoonist and children’s writer, best known for illustrating books written by Roald Dahl. He was the UK’s first Children’s Laureate (1999-2001). He did National Service (1951 – 1953) at the Royal Army Educational Corps based at Aldershot where he taught English to enlisted boys.

Richard Dawson (1932 – 2012)

Born Colin Lionel Emm, he was an English-American actor, comedian, game show host and panelist in the United States, born in Gosport.

Sammy Miller, MBE (1933)

Sammy Miller is a motorcycling legend, 11 times British Champion, winner of over 1400 events and still winning competitions more than 50 years after his first victory. The Sammy Miller Museum in Hampshire houses one of the finest collections of fully restored motorcycles in the world, including factory racers and exotic prototypes.

David Elsworth (1939)

Race horse trainer David trained the legendary Desert Orchid,  Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, Barnbrook Again and Persian Punch.  His horses have gone on to win many prestigious races including The Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Champion Stakes, the Coronation Cup, the Goodwood Cup, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. He spent 25 years at Whitsbury Stud.

Dame Esther Rantzen, DBE (1940)

Journalist and television presenter best known for presenting the BBC TV series That’s Life! for 21 years. She is founder of the child protection charity ChildLine, which she set up in 1986, and The Silver Line, designed to combat loneliness, which she set up in 2012. Rantzen was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1991 for services to broadcasting, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2006 Birthday Honours for services to children, and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to children and older people through ChildLine and The Silver Line. She has an honorary doctorate from the Southampton Institute. Rantzen lives in 17th century cottage in the New Forest.

Reg Presley (1941-2013)

Reg Presley was born Reginald Maurice Ball in Andover, on 12th June 1941. He was lead singer of The Troggs, the 60’s pop group famous for hits such as Wild Thing. He died from lung cancer on 4th February 2013.

Michael Rex Giles (1942)

Giles is an English drummer, best known as a co-founder of King Crimson in 1969. He also co-founded Giles, Giles & Fripp with his brother, Peter, and Robert Fripp. He was born in Waterlooville.

John Nettles (1943)

Actor and author best known for his roles in Midsomer Murders and Bergerac. He studied history and philosophy at the University of Southampton.

Peter A. Giles (1944)

Giles is a bass player and vocalist.With his brother Michael Giles and Robert Fripp, he formed Giles, Giles and Fripp. He was born in Havant.

Brian Eno (1948)

Musician, composer, record producer, singer, writer and visual artist. Founder of Roxy Music and synthesiser player (1971 – 1973). Brian studied at Winchester School of Art and graduated in 1969.

Ian McEwan CBE FRSA FRSL (1948)

Novelist and screenwriter. Author of Amsterdam, Atonement and On Chesil Beach. He was born in Aldershot.

Alan Titchmarsh (1949)

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh

Gardener, presenter and novelist. He was made a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of the County of Hampshire in 2001. Barleywood, his former home on the outskirts of Alton, was the most famous garden in the country from 1996 to 2002 when, every Friday night, it was the chief location for the BBC’s flagship gardening show Gardeners’ World.

Mark Knopfler (1949)

Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler bought his home at near Beaulieu in the New Forest the late 1990s.

John Illsley (1949)

Dire Straits bassist John llsley lives in Hampshire. He owns the ‘East End Arms’ pub in the hamlet of East End between Lymington and Beaulieu.

Jody Scheckter (1950)

Born in South Africa, Jody had a career as a sucessful F1 driver. He was the 1979 Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. From 1972 – 1980 he drove for McLaren, Tyrrell, Wolf and Ferrari, achieveing 10 race wins and 33 podiums. He is now an organic farmer and owner Laverstoke Park Farm, near Overton.

Tiff Needell (1951)

Timothy Needell was born in Havant. He is a racing driver, motoring journalist and television presenter. He is best known for being a co-presenter on the BBC’s Top Gear programme and then as a co-presenter of Fifth Gear. Interview with Tiff Needell.

Adrian Newey (1958)

Formula 1 engineer. chief technical officer of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. With ten Constructors’ Championships he has won more than any other designer and is the only designer to have won constructor’s titles with three different Formula One teams. He studied Aeronautics at the University of Southampton.

Colin Firth (1960)

Academy Award winning actor. Films include The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Mamma Mia! and Love Actually. He is also well known for the role of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In 2011, Firth received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Firth was born in the village of Grayshott, Hampshire and attended the Montgomery of Alamein Secondary School (now Kings’ School) in Winchester. He also Barton attended Peveril Sixth Form College in Eastleigh. He was awarded an honorary degree on 19 October 2007, from the University of Winchester.

Nicholas Lyndhurst (1961)

Actor known for playing Rodney Trotter in Only Fools and Horses and Gary Sparrow in Goodnight Sweetheart. He was born in Emsworth.

Chris Packham (1961)

Naturalist Chris Packham was born in Southampton and educated at Bitterne Park Secondary School, Taunton’s College and the University of Southampton.  He is well known for presenting The really Wild Show, Springwatch and Inside Out, amongst other programmes. He lives in the New Forest and is President of The Hawk Conservancy Trust.

Rosemary Hardy (1962)

The most successful ever female exhibitor at Chelsea Flower Show, Rosemary Hardy was awarded her 21st gold medal in 2016. When not at flower shows, Rosemary can be found at Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in Whitchurch.

Charlie Dimmock (1966)

Gardening expert and TV presenter Charlie Dimmock is a former pupil of Wellow Primary School and The Mountbatten School in Romsey. she is famous for her appearances on the BBC TV show Ground Force.

Roger Black MBE (1966)

Athlete. He won individual silver medals in the 400 metres sprint at both the Olympic Games and World Championships, two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4×400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships. He was born in Gosport and attended Alverstoke Church of England Primary School and Portsmouth Grammar School, where he was Head Boy in 1983/84.

Philippa Forrester (1968)

TV and radio presenter, producer and author educated at Westgate School and Peter Symonds College in Winchester

Martin Freeman (1971)

Martin Freeman is an actor, known for portraying Tim Canterbury in the original sitcom mockumentary The Office, Dr. John Watson in crime drama Sherlock, Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit film trilogy, and Lester Nygaard in the comedy-crime drama TV series Fargo. He was born in Aldershot.

Major Timothy (Tim) Peake (1972)

British Army Air Corps officer, European Space Agency astronaut[3] and a former International Space Station (ISS) crew member. He become the first British person to fly into space without a private contract. Peake got a BSc (Hons) in Flight Dynamics and Evaluation from the University of Portsmouth.

Amanda Lamb (1972)

TV presenter and former model, born in Portsmouth and brought up in Havant.

Ben Fogle (1973)

Author, adventurer and broadcaster. He rose to fame on the BBC reality show Castaway in 2000, which saw him marooned for a year with 35 others on the Scottish island of Taransay. Fogle studied for a degree in Latin American studies at the University of Portsmouth and he’s been awarded an honorary doctorate by the university or services to sport and adventure. During his three years in Portsmouth he joined the University Royal Naval Unit and became a Midshipman aboard HMS Blazer.

Shappi Khorsandi (1973)

Comedian and author.She studies drama at the University of Winchester. Khorsandi became president of the British Humanist Association in January 2016.

Denise (Dee) Caffari MBE (1973)

Dee is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world a total of three times. She is patron of Gosport and Fareham’s independent lifeboat service. Dee moved to Hampshire in 1999 and lives in Titchfield.

Scott Mills (1974)

Radio DJ with his own show, The Scott Mills Show on BBC Radio 1. He began his DJ career on Power FM in Hampshire at 16. Born in Eastleigh, Mills grew up in and around Southampton,[36] attending Shakespeare Infant School and Crestwood College Secondary School in Eastleigh.

Iain Bryden Percy OBE (1976)

Southampton born Percy is a British sailor and Olympic champion. He won a gold medal in the Finn class in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and a gold medal in the Star class at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (with Andrew Simpson).Percy won silver in the star class in the 2012 Summer Olympics (gain with Simpson). He was awarded the OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Ben Ainslie, CBE (1977)

Born Charles Benedict Ainslie, Ben Ainslie  is a professional English sailor. In 2012 he became the first person to win sailing medals in five different Olympic Games, the third person to win five Olympic medals in the sport and the second to win four gold medals making him the most successful sailor in Olympic history. Ainslie attended Peter Symonds College in Winchester and he now lives in Lymington where he is a member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

Craig David (1981)

Craig David is a singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer known for featuring on the single, “Re-Rewind” by Artful Dodger. His debut studio album, Born to Do It, was released in 2000. He was born in Southampton.

Peter Waterfield (1981)

Diver. Olympic silver medallist 2004, Commonwealth gold.He lives in Southampton.

Lauren Cohan (1982)

Actress and model. Best known for her role as Maggie Greene on hit TV show The Walking Dead. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in drama and English Literature.

Danielle King MBE (1990)

Dani King is an English track cyclist. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal and set a new world record for the team pursuit alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to cycling. She studied at Hamble Community Sports College and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College.