Milford on Sea is a thriving coastal village, of approximately 5000 residents, located on the shores of The Solent in Hampshire. Milford on Sea enjoys a delightful beach, picturesque scenery, an excellent array of restaurants and a vibrant community atmosphere.
Milford on Sea is a village by itself surrounded by ‘Green Belt’. Equally distant are the towns of New Milton (which provides main-line train access to London Waterloo) and the sailing town of Lymington (access to Wightlink ferry to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight), both approximately 3 miles away. Bournemouth and Southampton are 15 and 20 miles away respectively. The New Forest National Park is located a few miles to the north of Milford on Sea, although it also encompasses Keyhaven, a small sailing hamlet, 1 mile east of Milford village centre.
Milford on Sea was an established settlement by the time of the Doomsday Book of 1086. At this time, the ‘Mill Ford’ comprised two separate estates, one held by Aelfric Small, and the other, being only unpopulated land, held by Wulfgar. At a later date, three separate manors were evolved from these estates and were eventually known by the names of Milford Montagu, Milford Barnes, and Milford Baddesley.
The village green is all that remains of the ancient common land but the manor, vicarage and mill buildings still exist, although none retain their original functions. Until early this century Milford on Sea was essentially an agricultural settlement centred on the village green and the High Street.
The oldest building in Milford is All Saints church which is 12th/13th century in date. The earliest parts of the structure are probably Norman (early 12th century) work from a preceding church. A south aisle was added around 1170. In the 13th century the church was more than trebled in size and brought to its present plan. This work, which occurred in stages, included the north facade and tower, the chancel, and north and south chapels.
A distinctive part of the local geography is the one mile long shingle bank, Hurst Spit, near Keyhaven. At the end of Hurst Spit is Hurst Castle, an artillery fort originally built on the orders of King Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544, and much enlarged in the 19th century. Hurst Point Lighthouse was built on the end of Hurst Spit in the 1860s. Originally it formed part of the King's Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, and defended the western entrance to the Solent waterway. The early castle had a central keep and three bastions, and in 1547 was equipped with 26 guns. It was expensive to operate due to its size, but it formed one of the most powerful forts along the coast. During the English Civil War of the 1640s, Hurst was held by Parliament and was used briefly to detain King Charles I before his execution in 1648. It continued in use during the 18th century but fell into disrepair, the spit being frequented by smugglers.