‘Was this the village that inspired the cult of Sherlock Holmes?’

January 11, 2017

FAMOUS GRAVE: This is where Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous author of fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes, and his wife are buried. The pipe is a reference to his famous creation.


LIVING HISTORY: The interior of All Saints Church boasts a triple-decker pulpit and different galleries that reflected the social hierarchy of the village.

HOUSE CHURCH: The exterior of All Saints Church looks like a converted church for residential use but you only know it is an active community when entering the porch.


DUAL PURPOSE: The village shop in Minstead – which was closed here on New Year’s Eve and I’m standing outside – serves as a café too in the summer. Picture by Joe Goodlad.


COUNTRY PUB: The Trusty Servant at Minstead overlooks the village green with its stocks and memorial. The pub is a magnet for tourists, walkers and locals alike, serving locally sourced food and beer. Picture courtesy of the Trusty Servant.



A VIBRANT community that is right in the heart of the New Forest reflects the character of this new National Park.

Minstead is a small community two miles north of Lyndhurst and boasts a café, a pub called the Trusty Servant, a shop and various other village infra-structure and a peculiar-looking church.

The parish is an area of woodland, acid grassland, scrub and valley bog and this supports a variety of wildlife.

The village does boast ancient history including an iron age fort at Malwood covering 1.8 hectares and there are Bronze Age barrows in the parish too.

I took the opportunity to meet up with family on New Year’s Eve and filled my boots at the Trusty Servant pub. Its roots go back to the 1800s and there is a picture on the wall that shows a picture of it in 1903 and also a portrait on its favourite son, Arthur Conan Doyle, the man behind Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

The author, whilst researching for his book, The White Company, discovered the New Forest and he bought a rural retreat called Bignall Wood, to complement his and his wife’s main home in Crowborough.

Conan Doyle practiced medicine and wrote short stories at his desk whilst waiting for his patients to arrive.

Boasting three roaring log fires that gave a warming feel whilst visiting in the middle of winter, is food and drink is unashamedly local and diners can enjoy a three-course meal of a starter, main meal and a dessert.

The Norman All Saints Church looks like a house from the outside and its interior shows a 17th Century triple-decker pulpit and one of the very few examples of this unusual feature.

The pulpit has three decks, with the lowest one previously being used by the clerk with the higher two being used for those reading the Scriptures and the Vicar giving his Sermon.

The church also has two galleries and it is said they were used by the church minstrels to play their instruments and the second was possibly for the poor and the children of the charity school. There are also two private pews that were reserved for the occupants of Castle Malwood and Minstead Lodge.

  • PLEASE remember when visiting the New Forest, remember it is a recently designated National Park, so any rubbish you acquire, take it with you. There is an ongoing issue with litter being dropped on roadside verges in the village and surrounding area.
  • The village can be accessed from the West by turning off the A31 for the A337 to Lymington, and there is a turning on the right off there towards Minstead.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rebeccare January 12, 2017 at 7:54 am

Nice comment, Matt.


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