In the past basket making was an important occupation in Hampton Bishop. There was also a forge and a wheelwright and a toll had to be paid at Lower House for cattle crossing from Ox Ford to Hampton Bishop. However, although the village remains largely agricultural, these old crafts are no longer practiced and many of the homes, both new and old, house families that are no longer connected with agriculture.
Nevertheless, the character of this ‘black and white’ village stays the same because Hampton Bishop is a conservation area with many listed buildings. Consequently, although new residences have been built the old black and white houses, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century, cannot be demolished and over the past few years they have been beautifully restored by their owners.
The principal building in the village is the church, which has been lovingly maintained by the villagers over the centuries. It was ﬁrst built in the early 12th century but was found to be too small and enlargements and additions were made in the late 12th and 14th century. The stained glass in the windows is of the 19th century and the roof structure is described as a simple braced collar roof. The six bells, five of which were cast in the 17th century, are still rung regularly by dedicated campanologists.
The story of Hampton Bishop through the ages has been a story of the battle against ﬂooding. Flooding occurs when the two rivers, the Wye and the Lugg, are carrying abnormal quantities of water and the Lugg, unable to flow into the Wye at Mordiford Bridge, backs up onto the ﬁelds at Hampton Bishop. Some of the older residents of the village can remember boating or skating over the ﬁelds when they were children.
In December 1960 there was a particularly memorable flood. The twelve foot embankment, known as the Stank, gave way under the pressure and millions of gallons of water swept over the village, inundating lanes, fields and the ground floors of many houses.
Troops of the 22nd SAS Regiment helped to evacuate marooned residents by boat and helicopter. It was a strange sight to see the boat gliding along the lanes with people standing in it clutching a treasured possession or household pet. The roar of the river could be clearly heard half a mile away. After the flood the Stank was repaired and raised 15 inches above the 1960 flood level in order to protect the village.
However, on a happier note the floods provide lush meadow grass for the cattle to graze and the beautiful rivers provide endless pleasure for walkers, canoeists and anglers. The river Wye is one of the best salmon rivers in England and the stretch running through Hampton Bishop purports to be the finest stretch for ﬁshing on the Wye.
Hampton Bishop has many footpaths and forms part of the Wye River Walk. The village public house, The Bunch of Carrots with its large car park, is conveniently situated beside the river Wye and provides an occasional venue for village functions.
There are twelve properties in Hampton Bishop that have ‘commons rights’ of grazing and mowing over three areas of the parish known as Hampton Meadow, Big and Little Million and Swan Bed. Their activities are recorded in a minute book which dates back to the year 1896 and at this time several of the commoners still exercise their rights.