With Hampshire being a principal hop growing county and a major brewery situated in Basingstoke since 1751, that of John May & Co, it comes as no surprise that at the time of the 1911 census, and a population of only 11,540 people, there was a total of fifty-three pubs in the Basingstoke area.

Many of these have now gone but some remain, regardless of the many changes that have taken place over the years. The Rising Sun on Chapel Hill is one of these. The pub dates to 1822 when it was built by Thomas and Charles May on the boundary of their land, and in 1835 the first recorded landlord was Henry Blake. The 1851 census also listed a turnpike house next to the pub.

From 1856 the pub was a base for post-mortem inquests which were held in the bar and on 10th June of that year a case was heard of the death of George Pitter after falling under the wheels of a loaded wood cart whilst travelling into town.

Another case, in 1885, was that of John Saunders of Tadley, who died when his horse and trap overturned at Sherborne St John after mounting the bank. Mr. Saunders had a wife and family of five. He was taken to The Cottage Hospital (which was on the corner of Hackwood Road and Southern Road) but never recovered.

Other cases included that of Frank Goddard who, in 1890 aged 25, fell under a traction engine whilst it was moving. He received leg injury and died later from blood poisoning.

A cricket field at the rear of the Rising Sun in 1898, extended to the boundary of the John May brewery in Brook Street (formerly Frog Lane). This was prior to the coming of the railway which divided the land. The field was used regularly by teams of the area followed by a pint and a meal in the pub. On one occasion a team of Examiners from Waterloo Station visited for their annual outing. A cricket match took place followed by a ‘substantial’ supper and the evening ended with ‘singing and recitations’.

Competition to the Rising Sun existed in the guise of The Half Moon pub, first recorded in 1850, which was just two doors away in Chapel Hill, until, in 1909, the warden of The St Thomas’s Home for Friendless and Fallen Women in Darlington Road (now the Barchester St Thomas’ Nursing Home), alerted the magistrates that four public houses within a small area of the North of the town was too many. These being the Soldiers Return at Oakridge, The Station Hotel, which was directly in front of the station and on the corner of Junction Road, the Half Moon, and the Rising Sun. The magistrates agreed with him and decided not to renew the license for the Half Moon.

In 1903 the value of the pub was placed at £28. From 2006 until 2014 the pub was renamed the Wayside Inn and a refurbishment took place. Over the years twenty-seven named landlords are recorded, with others who are unknown. Following several changes of ownership, the Rising Sun is now owned by Enterprise Inns.