The Censuses since 1841 give us glimpses of how the size and nature of Dummer’s
population has changed over the last 150 years. The numbers of those living in the Parish has remained fairly stable at around 400. However, two
major changes are noticeable: the number of people living in each dwelling and the nature of the work undertaken
by the residents. In 1851 occupations included the inevitable farm labourers and shepherds as well as carpenters and hurdle makers.
In the 1861 census we find George Terry, Stephen’s brother, living at Dummer Grange
while Stephen himself is still alive at age 86, farming 450 acres with 12 men and with a large family in Dummer House to support including a wet
nurse for one of his grandchildren.
By 1901 the population had reduced to 380 and several new occupations had appeared
including railway plate layer, several “carters” and a traction engine driver living near Kennel Farm.
By 1911 there is still a population in Dummer with Kempshott of around 380 living in
just 92 dwellings compared with the present day population of Dummer without Kempshott being approximately 400 living in 177 dwellings. Finally
by 1911 several names that are still known in the village start to appear such as Kimber, Neller, Gardner and Page.
Innovations in agriculture would have had one of the greatest impacts on life in Dummer,
changing the landscape and occupations of those who were moved from enclosed land or replaced with machinery.
Dummer’s proximity to Basingstoke may have lessened the impact of this, as many residents could find alternative work in the nearby
Another very significant change to a small Hampshire village was the enclosure of the
countryside. Many people who had been living, grazing animals or even growing crops on common land were evicted. Strips that were held by
different individuals next to each other in rows were abandoned in favour of large fields growing one crop or for pasture, and there were often
changes in ownership of the land.
Something that does separate Dummer from the other local villages is its connections to
royalty. It is unlikely that this had much impact on the ordinary people of the village, being of greater concern to the prestigious families of
the area, such as the Terrys. However, Stephen Terry does relate one interesting fact about the Prince Regent’s impact on the villagers: “The
Prince himself... lived hard and drank deep. He was already ungainly and crippled with gout. Nanny Stephens, of Dummer, a stout, strong woman,
was deputed to be his nurse and even helped him out of the bath like a baby, while his lazy valet did nothing but brush his clothes and look
Stirling, A. M. W. (ed.), Diaries of Dummer, Unicorn Press (1934), p. 79.
Dummer today represents well the co-existence of drastic change and rigid continuity.
Although farmland still surrounds the area, it is more of a place to retreat or retire to, a commuter area with links to Basingstoke, Reading