"SOPLEY, a parish in the hundred of Christchurch, Ringwood division of county Hants, 6 miles S. of Ringwood, its post town, and 2 N. of Christchurch. The village, which is considerable, is situated on the eastern bank of the river Avon. The parish includes the townships of Avon, -Ripley, and Shirley. A short distance from the village is a ford by which Sir Walter Tyrrel is said to have passed to Poole when making his escape after the -death of William Rufus in the New Forest. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Winchester, value £230. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, has a square tower surmounted by a spire and containing five bells. The interior contains of several monuments, some of which are of great antiquity. The parochial charities produce about £12 per annum. There are schools for both sexes. The Independents have a place of worship. "
[From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]