The village is the administrative capital of the New Forest, with the district council based in the village. The Court of Verderers sits in the Queens House in Lyndhurst. The church of St. Michael and All Angels is a major landmark. It was built in the 1860s, and contains a fresco by Lord Leighton and stained-glass windows by Charles Kempe, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and others. Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is buried here.

The name “Lyndhurst” is an Old English name, meaning ‘Wooded hill growing with lime-trees’. The name comprises the words lind (‘lime-tree’) and hyrst (‘wooded hill’). Lyndhurst is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Linhest.[2] It was part of the royal lands of the New Forest, with the exception of 1 virgate which was held by Herbert the Forester.[2] Herbert may have been the ancestor of the Lyndhurst family, beginning with Herbert Lyndhurst, who held the bailiwick and manor of Lyndhurst in the 12th and 13th centuries. The manor passed to the king in 1270, and together with the wardenship of the New Forest, which invariably accompanied the manor, it formed part of the dowry of four consecutive queens, Eleanor of Castile, Margaret of France, Isabella of France, and Philippa of Hainault. The manor was back in the hands of the king before 1362, and it was granted to various noble families over the course of the following century. Between 1467 and 1581 it was in the hands of the Earls of Arundel, after which it once again reverted to the Crown. The estate was once again passed to various noble families until 1667, when Charles II granted it to Charles Paulet, 1st Duke of Bolton. He was followed successively by his son and grandson, but by the mid-18th-century it was back in royal hands, being held successively by Prince William Henry (up to 1805) and Prince Frederick (until 1827). Subsequently, the manor was deemed “not important to be kept”, and the copyholds of the manor, which included estates in Minstead, Burley, Bartley and Poulner, either became enfranchised or passed to the Crown.

A royal park was attached to the manor of Lyndhurst from a very early date. It was unusual for being a King’s Park within a King’s Forest. In 1299 it covered an area of 500 acres, the profits from the honey gathered there amounting to 2 shillings per annum. It was actively worked during the 14th and 15th centuries when payments were made for the fencing and repairing of the palings. The “old Park” of Lyndhurst is where the Parkhill Hotel now stands, the new park being on the A337 Brockenhurst road.

The village is the administrative capital of the New Forest, with the district council based in the village. The Court of Verderers sits in the Queens House in Lyndhurst. The local headquarters of the Forestry Commission, the body that handles the maintenance of the softwood plantations, forest roads and paths, and controlling the spread of invasive plants, such as rhododendrons and gorse is based in Queen’s House in the Village.

The church of St. Michael and All Angels is a major landmark, being built of many different colours of brick, on one of the highest points in the village. Other major landmarks include Bolton’s Bench, a picturesque hill to the east of the village; and a row of much photographed thatched cottages on the road to the neighbouring hamlet of Emery Down. There is also a very fine, small Catholic Church of the Assumption and St Edward the Confessor, built by Sir Arthur Blomfield between 1894 and 1896 as a memorial to Marie-Louise Souberbielle.

Lyndhurst is also home to the New Forest Centre, formerly the New Forest Museum. Also situated towards the outskirts of the village is Foxlease, the headquarters and training and activity centre of Girlguiding UK since 1922. It has been the scene of several internationally important Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting events. The headquarters of the privately owned British chemicals company INEOS is located in the village.

The civil parish includes the hamlets of Bank and Emery Down. Lyndhurst is surrounded by varied “forest” from the heathland of Parkhill to the bog of Matley, and the open forest with its ancient oak and beech to the enclosures of softwoods.

The most important building in Lyndhurst is the Queen’s House, which has also in the past been called the King’s House, for the name changes according to the gender of the monarch. It is the principal building owned by the Crown in the New Forest, and contains the Verderers’ Hall, home of the ancient Verderers’ Court. The Queen’s House is also the local headquarters of the Forestry Commission.

A manor house probably existed in Lyndhurst by the 13th century. In the reign of Edward I an order was given for “twenty oaks to make laths for the use of the queen’s manor-house at Lyndhurst.” This house was probably superseded by the hunting lodge built at Lyndhurst in the 14th century, which received frequent royal visits, and for which there are many records relating to the repair and enlargement. In 1388 a hall was built within the lodge, known later as the Verderer’s Hall. Rebuilding took place in the reign of Henry VIII, and especially in the 17th century, during the reigns of Charles I and Charles II, and the current structure largely dates from this time. The building is a rambling two-storey structure in brick. The prisoners’ dock, tables and chairs of considerable age are preserved in the hall. Also to be found within is the so-called “Stirrup of Rufus,” which was used to measure dogs. Dogs which were too large to pass through the stirrup, were considered a danger to game.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels sits on a mound overlooking the village. It was built between 1858–70, and is the third such building on the site. The church was designed by William White. It is constructed with red brick with yellow trim. It has a tall brick-banded spire at the north-west end. The interior has yellow, white and red exposed brickwork, and a nave roof decorated with life-size supporting angels. The church contains a fresco by Frederick Leighton showing the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, with biblical characters said to be modelled on local people. The church also contains stained-glass windows designed by William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, and Charles Kempe.

Alice Liddell, also known as Alice Hargreaves, the inspiration for Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, lived in and around Lyndhurst after her marriage to Reginald Hargreaves, and is buried in the graveyard.

The village itself is the meeting point of the A35, running east to west from Southampton to Bournemouth and the A337 running north to south from the M27 to Lymington on the south coast. To deal with the large volume of traffic that is created by this link, a one-way system is used. This in effect turns the major roads of the village into a traffic circle. During the summer months, the traffic through the village increases hugely because of the tourists who visit the area. This can create queues into the village from all directions.

For many years it has been recognised that Lyndhurst needs a bypass. As far back as 1947 the Government’s Baker Report accepted the need for a bypass, and provision was made in the 1949 New Forest Act to construct roads through the forest with the consent of the Verderers. Public inquiries were held in 1975 and 1983, at both of which the various routes proposed by the county council were opposed by the Verderers as being detrimental to the environment. The Verderers stated that they would not oppose a less harmful route. The last serious attempt at a Lyndhurst Bypass Bill was rejected in July 1988. Lyndhurst Parish Council continues to press for a bypass, and currently proposes that road follows the route suggested in 1983 but with a 400 metre cut-and-cover tunnel.

Although Lyndhurst itself does not have a central railway station, it had traditionally been served by Lyndhurst Road station, three miles away, but which has been renamed Ashurst New Forest. It is also only four miles (6 km) from Brockenhurst – both stations are on the South Western Main Line to London and Weymouth. The New Forest Tour, an open-top bus tour run in the summer, starts and finishes in Lyndhurst.

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