Ringwood is an historic market town in Hampshire, located on the River Avon, on the edge of the New Forest. The pretty town has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages. Today it remains a good place to shop and also has a nice range of restaurants and pubs. There is a Waitrose, Sainsbury as well as boutique and charity shops. The Ringwood Brewery are located here and there are also several industrial estates.
Following the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, the Duke of Monmouth was questioned by Lord Lumley and held in Ringwood prior to his trial. It was at Monmouth House, Ringwood where he wrote a begging letter to James II. It did no good. “Hanging Judge Jefferies” convicted him and he was executed in the Tower of London. Judge Jefferies also sentenced Lady Alice Lisle of Moyles Court to death after she was convicted of harbouring fugitives of the Monmouth Rebellion.
Perhaps Ringwood’s most well known export is beer. The Ringwood Brewery was started by the “godfather of micro-brewing” Peter Austin in 1978 after encouragement from Monty Python’s Terry Jones. Today they produce 40000 barrels of award winning crafted ale and are a major sponsor of all the large New Forest events. They also offer brewery tours.
Ringwood was formerly the boundary of the forest in this part; and in times of still more remote antiquity, was a place of great note. I know not whether in Saxon times, it did not claim the honours of regal residence. At present it is a cheerful town, seated in a flat country, on the banks of the Avon, which spreads, near it, into a large piece of water, full of little islands and frequented by swans.
~ William Gilpin, 1794