A country market town with a difference
on’t be fooled by its peaceful, gentle exterior – the market town of Alton has a murky and wild past.
There were Danish invaders in 1001, civil war battles in 1643, outbreaks of plague in 1685 and (perhaps most shocking of all) the grizzly murder of sweet Fanny Adams in 1867. The unfortunate eight-year-old was killed by a solicitor’s clerk and you can still see her grave in Alton churchyard - if you’re curious).
The best way to get a handle on Alton’s colourful past is to take a guided walk, which starts from the railway station. That way, you know you won’t miss out on all those details – like the scars in St Lawrence church from that Civil War skirmish.
However, Alton’s history isn’t all bad. The iconic novelist, Jane Austen, lived just down the road in Chawton, where she wrote some of her most famous books including Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion – as well as revising a certain book called Pride and Prejudice.
How about taking a trip over there for a nose round her former home. There’s a scenic walk that’ll take you there from Alton High Street…