George Dewar (1707 – 1786) the son of John Dewar (Scottish nobility) was in 1817 the Post Master General of Edinburgh and Leith. He was a very successful self made slave owner and planter in Saint Kitts (better known as Saint Christopher) and in Dominica, both in the Leeward Islands. Later records show, that he lived in Kings Enham in the County of Southampton. His 1786 codicil indicates that he had recently bought Finkley Farm and owned other lands in the neighbourhood.
After a dispute with the French, the Leeward Islands became fully British in 1783. There is no explanation as to how the Dewar wealth was transferred to the UK. The value could have been enhanced by the change of island status.
One of George's sons, David, succeeded him. His elder son, John, was not trusted. David replaced and rebuilt Enham Place. In 1817, when she was seventeen, Jane Austen stayed at Enham Place possibly at the time of David’s ownership.
The original Dewer family separately formed the original
Thomas Hughes Earle (1834 - 1891) had acquired Enham Place sometime in the mid 1800’s and leased the property to various tenants both in 1859 and 1883. The population in 1900 was very small, around 100 to 150 people centred on Enham Place and the smaller houses (Littlecote and White House). There were a few live-in servants. There were also a few villagers living in thatched and tiled houses dotted along the Newbury Road.
In 1916, there was a ‘talking shop’ about possible treatment for the war injured. Things developed further following the death in 1917 of Isobella Earle, Thomas’s wife. In the summer of 1918, forty men were offered a place to recuperate at Enham Place by George Hughes Earle, Thomas’s son. He was an officer in the Hampshire Regiment. He clearly felt a moral responsibility to help.
In 1918, John Hodge visited Enham Place as part of a Government rehabilitation initiative and viewed it as suitable for the first ‘Village Centres Council’ village. In 1919, George, who had inherited the estate, sold 1026 acres to a consortium, including himself and three businessmen, with help from a loan of £30,000 from Ernest Cassel. The forerunner of the ‘Enham Trust’ was established. The operation was deemed capable of handling a headcount of 150 single men. Detailed architectural plans were prepared for a major surgical and treatment unit. It was officially opened in the October by Sir Laming Worthington MP. Minister for Pensions. Early Royal patronage was given by King George V by a financial gift towards housing.
A series of employment workshops were established and reined back, dependent on the needs at the time, to give work to ex-servicemen. The intention was to make the enterprise self sufficient. A new word entered the local vocabulary ‘settlers’. ‘Settlers’ were those men having completed their training period and opted to stay in Enham and who went into spare time business on their own account. This included a carrier cum market gardener, a carter and haulier (with 5 acres of land) and a partnership running a 30 acre dairy farm. Early photographs show pigs running around the walled garden.
By 1926, the population had risen to 450 (of which 200 were children) in 75 houses. Medical services were extended to all village residents. In 1927, Enham Place was restored and a plan drawn up to add further cottages. In 1930, Enham Place was demolished.
During the 1930s, basketry, carpentry, AA patrol boxes, poultry sheds etc, became part of the village activities along with housing framework and nurseries.
World War 2 led to massive immigration into Andover and neighbouring settlements. The people of Egypt provided £225.000 for the building of Alamein village. Plans were drawn up for proposed development, buildings and roads. In 1949, gas came to the village. In 1952, the village became known as Enham Alamein. In the same year, a Hampshire development plan (Ref H/CL5/PL170X/40) focused on the needs for a bypass on the western side of the village. There were objections despite the traffic levels and traffic growth statistics. The objectors won.
In 1953, Littlecote House was planned for demolition to be replaced by a 21 bed hostel and 10 new cottages.
During the 1950s, there was a 5 year plan for a fully equipped village settlement and 50 bed hostel with links to Weyhill hospital (for specialised treatment of TB sufferers). Donations of houses, such as the Police House and the two RAF houses, took place. In 1965, Littlecote House was closed. A new sheltered workshop was established for book binding work. Following a fire at the Landale Hall, renovation work was undertaken.
In 1966, provision for the admission of disabled woman took place. A name change to 'Enham Village Centre' was formally adopted. By the early 1970s, the Enham Trust owned 131 houses and flats and set about a modernisation program. In 1972, the last private roads were taken over by the local authority.
1973 saw the three day week and the onset of recession. By 1976, cabinet production had been cut due to a lack of orders. In 1977, greenhouses were introduced.
In 1980, with recession still bitin, a new sheltered workshop was set up handling electronic components. In 1981, a special needs school leaver project was established to give work experience for 1 to 2 years. The attendees could either transfer elsewhere or stay at Enham as appropriate. A longer term plan under the auspices of Hampshire County Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Enham staff and the residents association recommended 60 units of housing for owner-occupation to be built with the emphasis on first time buyers.
At the start of 2002, Enham Chase development started and 2007 saw the creation of the Enham Alamein Parish Council. In 2011, the population was stated as being 804. In 2017, the plan for a neuro-rehabiliation facility was delayed for financial reasons.
See the special video featuring Simon Weston (Falklands War Hero) on the early settlements of Enham and its history below: