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Charles Ley Court, Fawley Village
the man behind the name
Terri and Sveta [email protected]
[email protected]

I expect like many other residents,, Sveta and I have wondered who Charles Ley was. Naturally I asked the then Court Manager, Sue Harvey nee' Sutherland (1940-2013), who thought he was something to do with the Royal British Legion in Blackfield. Enquiring at the local club, I discovered and met his daughter Betty Locke, who allowed Sveta and I to peruse and copy the Charles Ley Memorabilia Collection. Copies are available for a donation to the British Legion Fawley, from Terri & Sveta @ 17. Our search has taken us to Portland, Weymouth. Bridport, Exeter, Bristol and Gloucester Record Office. What we hope to do, this year is to publish on the internet and self-print a small more detailed booklet of this ‘local hero’ of Fawley Parish.
On the 18th March 1902, Charles was born to Frank and Martha Ley in London, though records show they were domiciled in Bristol. Charles school certificate shows he attended the Hannah Moore School until 1916 and lived at 2 Churchill Place, Castle Street in the Bristol City Centre. Charles is recorded as working as a clerk and warehouseman before joining the Gloucester Regiment in 1919.
Charles served nine years with the colours, of which seven months were served in Germany, for which he received a General Service Medal. Charles left the colours at Portland with an exemplary certificate of character and started work in Weymouth for Cosen & Co on the 'SS Alexandra' and then later for the Great Western Railway, Marine Division.
In 1929 Charles moved to Bridport Workhouse as Labour Master and Porter and in 1931 moved to the Ashurst Workhouse where he met his future wife, a nurse at the workhouse, in 1934 Charles and his wife Ivy moved back to the Bristol Area.
Early in 1939, with the WW2 starting in Europe, Charles prudently loaded his family into his car and moved down to the Waterside, to avoid the foreseen Bristol Blitz. Betty Locke recalled a story from her mother. Driving through Marchwood, Charles saw a dilapidated, empty house just past the White Horse PH, he stopped and enquired of the neighbour's as to the owner. Charles found the owner and made an arrangement to live rent free, in return for refurbishing the property, until he found employment..
When the war started Charles was recalled to the colours to serve with the Fawley (Forest) Battalion, Home Guard at Hythe, where he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and was secretary to their social club and a member of the Fawley and Exbury Defence Committee.
The Court is named after Charles Ley, who joined Fawley British Legion in 1934 and has served as President, Chairman and secretary for many years and was a member of the benevolent committee. He was awarded a Gold Medal and a lifetime membership for services rendered. Charles was also an active member of the Blackfield & Langley Juniors Football Club and the Langley Lions Cycle Speedway team.
A 'local hero' who has been honored in many ways during his lifetime and remembered in the anniversary celebration by the residents of the Court on several occasions. Most notably on the 30th anniversary of the opening of Charles Ley Court, with a specially decorated cake. -click to start typing

           Charles Ley Court 
and the man behind the name

Click here to edit subtitle

              Introduction to the 2008 Internet Edition


The Indefinitive History


 Netley Common and Westwood Woodland Park



Below, was a faithful reproduction, of a draft of the summation of my history research, on behalf of the Hampshire Rangers at Netley. Over the coming months this History will be updated and added to. All updates and additions will be from information gleaned from Internet websites and should, have a hyperlink connection to the original web-site or page.

Originally, this was a work experience project, which I came across, back in 1994, when signing on at Woolston Job Centre. No wages, but all reasonable expenses would be refunded. I enquired and an appointment was made to visit the Rangers headquarters above the tea rooms of the Royal Victoria Country Park. This was an historic place to start. The Cedar Tea Rooms are in the grounds of the now demolished Netley Hospital, where Florence Nightingale undertook the nursing of the returning injured and ill military, casualty’s of the Crimean War. My visit was successful and I was appointed to the position for a six-month period. I was given a brochure of Westwood Woodland Park and arrangements were made for me to have an introductory visit. When I was shown around the Park, by a lady Countryside Ranger. My remit was to find out more detailed information regarding the three subjects in the brochure and any other discovery's would be a bonus. .

 I recall that as we finished the induction tour of Westwood, after being shown the demolished Hilton House, the medieval conduits and the remains of the artillery base. Mention was made of Netley Common being part of the Rangers remit. As we emerged on to Weston Parade Road. I noticed a cast metal drain grill with the words ‘Harland & Wolff’, embossed on the side. At the time, my memory recalled knowing the names but could not recall any connective details. It was to be my first historic discovery.After my visit, I returned to my house-boat 'HB Whimsical MacGoffley', on the River Itchen, moored north of the Itchen railway bridge. I recall making myself a coffee and having a smoke as I started my research. Reading the brochure and browsing through my Southampton A-Z and my Ordnance Survey Landrover map of the two areas. Switching on my Sinclair QL Computer Keyboard and Silver Reed Electronic Typewriter. I began to make notes.

 The brochure had paragraphs regarding medieval conduits associated with Netley Abbey, demolished Victorian Houses and a World War Two, Rocket Battery. These paragraphs would inspire me to apply myself to this part-time occupation. Which soon went to full time and into overtime as I began to delve into and discover the fascinating history of the two sites. My A-Z showed the course of a Roman Road on Netley Common. When I checked my OS Landranger map which confirmed the 'Roman Road course of' and showed Tumulus symbols. Should be Tumuli as there were four of them. My dictionary advised me they were ancient burial sites. So began an interest that has lasted, developed and expanded simply for my own interest, satisfaction and amusement.

After a month when I presented my finds, I presented them as part of a diary, a log of my activities, of what I had done, where I had been, the books I had examined etc. This log was a follow on from the 'Log of the HB Whimsicall MacGoffley'. The Rangers examined my work to date and approved of my progress. Then asked if it would be possible to create a final manuscript, in the form of a small book, as the summation of the project.

 After completion of the project during which I had walked the two areas may times. Travelled around adjacent areas followng up various discovery's. Spent many entranced hours at various libraries and viewed many books, newspapers, microfiche and manuscripts of the special historic collection in the Southampton Library Local Studies Section. My researches had included visits to the London and Winchester Records office and resulted in the production of a hundred page first draft manuscript, with a 100 photographs, drawings and diagrams. This was considered too large and could I, would I reduce it. Of course I could and did.

 The finished manuscript, was suitable for use as a master for photocopying. I made two master copies. One for the Rangers and the second one for myself. I also had nearly a dozen drafts, as I constructed various layouts, arrangements and additions. Later when discussing my endeavours and my hopes to continue my research, with the Archaeological and Historic Buildings Record Office in Winchester, who had been a great help with advice, information and direction of search. I offered my copy to them, which was accepted. In due course I received an acknowledgement and thanks.

 Over the following years, I discovered and worked as a volunteer for the Chessel Bay Local Nature Reserve and the Sholing Wildlife Centre. I continued to research local history and produced another manuscript:- Walking the River Itchen. This was an interesting research project. The first circular walk was from my houseboat across the Cobden Bridge, south along the east bank of the Itchen to Northam Bridge then back along the west bank to my houseboat. The second was across Cobden Bridge to head north along the east bank to Woodmill and return along the west bank. The third walk, much further crossed the Itchen Bridge. Unfortunately, with the sinking of HB ‘Whimsical MacGoffley’ all was lost, except what I can recall.

 Now as I start create a new Internet Local History. Inspired by my first discovery on the 27th September 2008. This was a Internet reference to the original unpublished manuscript lodged with the Winchester Archaeological and Historic Buildings Record Office. Confirming that my manuscript was useful and being used, as a confirmation of the original 1975 entry, shown below, is a copy of one page, regarding the Tumuli on Netley Common.

 Archaeology and Historic Buildings Search

Site Number: 25963

Site Name: Bowl barrow on Netley Common

Parish: Hound

Grid Reference: SU 47 11

Site Record Type: Monument

Additional Information held: Yes

Site Summary: The most prominent Bronze Barrow of a group of four.

Description. Bowl Barrow

1) The most prominent barrow of a group of 4. A bowl barrow (1932).

2) Tree covered bowl barrow, 1.5m in diameter and 1.2m high, no visible ditch (1955).

3) Prominent barrow surveyed and a contour plan produced. Retains a reasonable smooth shape, despite tree covering. 1m high. 2 slots have been cut into the barrow which probably represents efforts of treasure hunters (1975).

Bibliographic reference. Description.

From work carried out on the history of Netley Common.

Author Rawlings TW. 1994, An introduction to the Indefinitive History of Netley Common and Westwood Woodland Park Reference p.9 & 11

From a search of the Winchester, Hamshire Archaeology and Historic Building Record 

 My 1994 draft of the unpublished MSS will act as the foundation on which I will build my new local history. As I now reside in Volgograd Russia and this will be published to the Internet. I think a link to the local government HantsWeb site of Westwood Woodland Park with be a good place to start.

 The second page of my original manuscript, was a preface taken and paraphrased and added to [bracketed in green] from John Duthy’s, Sketches of Hampshire, chosen for its prodigious self effacement.

                  Front Page and John Duthy's Preface














“who asserted his moral rights”

4th July 1994


Revised 4th August 1994


Eight thousand one hundred and seventy-seven words





The following sheets are submitted to the public under considerable disadvantages. It of the [un]known and [un]respectable author, under whose name they appear, to have ascertained, by this first essay, the quantum of encouragement which a work of this kind would obtain; and if this proves adequate to the expense, to have proceeded with a similar review of the [Chessel Bay Local Nature Reserve on the River Itchen and extending it to the whole of the tidal reach of the River Itchen. The Sholing Wildlife Centre and Sholing Valley. Together with The River Test, the Testwood Nature Reserve and to include the Test Way. Perhaps extending it to include Southampton Water, the New Forest, Hampshire the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Perhaps eventually to embrace the entire known Universe].

 However, circumstances of domestic affliction, and a rapidly declining lifespan and state of health [coupled with an urgent need and considerable pressure from Woolston Job Centre, to seek gainful employment], interfered with his plan before the initial volume was completed. Much as it is regretted, that a mind of such unusual vigour, and attainments of so varied and [inconsequential] a character, should have been thus unpropitious arrested in their bearing upon an object equally interesting to the curious [and the downright nosey] and invaluable to society at large.

 But the labour of the author will not have been thrown away or in vain. Many, in the days of his mental and physical activity, have had opportunities of appreciating the accuracy of his general [and esoteric] information, the [obscurity of his] judgement, the simplicity and refinement of his taste and [the paucity of his] conversation. These and they are not few, will doubtless welcome with cordiality a tardy though perhaps imperfect monument of his talents. To them the following pages may possibly suggest

 “Invenies animi pinora multa mei.”

 With reference to a more extended circulation, it has been deemed advisable to render this first piece co-extensive with its original design. Accordingly; after much avoidable loss of time, the publishers have availed themselves of the researches and talents of a gentle[sic]man fully qualified for the task entrusted to him; and the reader will decide how far the proportion of the work for which he is responsible agrees with the commencement.

 Further apology will, it is hoped, be allowed for omissions in the Appendix. Some documents referred to by the author have not, after persevering search [and relocating to Russia], been obtained; the publisher respectfully assures his friends that some extraordinary obstacles have arisen to frustrate his best endeavours to fill up the outline traced for him.

 How far I may able to prosecute the projected extension of the work, the reception of this volume will shew.

 Winchester, 1893,


 After John Duthy

 [with acknowledgement and apologies for the liberties in green,

Technoterri Rawlings, Volgograd, Russia 4th November 2008]

Taken without permission from Sketches of Hampshire by John Duthy  (Jacob and Johnson, 1839)




                                Introductory Outline

At the time of writing I had not discovered the Westwood spring, and suspected the stream draws its water from several sources in the area. Though I did find another puzzle - the remains of a post-war small holding? One of many puzzles that was to elude my research.

‘The Westwood stream’, according to Lawrence Burgess’s, Streams and Watercourses of Southampton,  is the ‘completely unculverted Tickleford Gully, nearly 2.5 miles long, from Dumbletons Copse where it rises, to its confluence with Southampton Water just eat of Weston. The city boundary runs along its east bank.’. (Occasional Paper 3, The Friends of Old Southampton, revised edition 1982.

‘Dumbleton’s Copse,’ wrote C Fred Fox, ‘with its noble row of pine trees aligned on the track way, was sold a few years ago for building purposes and is now entirely denuded of timber, and the desolation which has fallen on this delectable spot can in a measure be judged by the sketch made during the process of felling, and here reproduced.’. (PHFC 1932-4 XII).

 Regretfully as I only have a draft copy there are no photographs. At this point in the manuscript it says:-

Plate 2. Tumulus, Bursledon (Netley Common) 1930.

(from a sketch by Mr Bernard Gotch, note the boundary stone.)

Since 1930, the desolate remains of the ‘noble row of pine trees’, have flourished and the last remaining tumulus is now in a recently cleared grove with the surrounding pines reaching up to nobility’! Since before 1982, part of the stream has been culverted and the pictured boundary stone was almost lost to posterity.

Let us start our ramble around the few remaining acres of Netley Common. A map of 1802. Shows its lost extent from Bitterne in the west to the Hamble River in the east. From Botley Moors in the north almost down to Southampton Water.

 Plate 3. Map of Southampton and District 1802 No. 14.

Our journey through time and alongside the stream will continue after a short walk to the Weston Greenway. There we will find the Westwood stream, flowing out of a culvert under the Botley Road. The path is gravelled and fenced and leads to a boardwalk, which follows the stream closely, bridging the low areas liable to flooding, and continues down to another culvert under the Portsmouth Road.

Following faithfully, the watercourse way, and the Westwood stream down to and through the Gully to Tickleford Pond North, we find it disappears under the railway embankment, turning this part of the ramble into a cul-de-sac. This is compensated for, by the gentle tranquillity that is the ambience of an ancient woodland, with the possible remains of the upper reaches of the mediaeval conduits of Netley Abbey as a bonus.

After retracing our steps to Grove Road and walked to the Keepers Crossing New Footbridge, we can enter the grounds of Tickleford Pond Wood.

Crossing the Newtown/Woolston Road, we enter Westwood Woodland Park. In the care of the Countryside Rangers of Hampshire County Council since 1987, their influence is well evidenced and extends beyond their original domain.

The Westwood stream has still someway to go through Westwood. Then one more recently rebuilt culvert under Weston Parade Road and emerging the stream sinuously meanders down the foreshore to its ‘confluence with Southampton Water’.

 Plate 4. The Westwood Stream and Southampton Water.


                      Physiography and Geology

Netley Common covers about 40 acres of woodland, flower rich grasslands and a small heath. Westwood some 200 acres of peaceful woodland and rolling grasslands. Approximately 3 miles long oriented east to west, from Netley Hill to Weston Shore with Tickleford Pond Wood and the Weston Greenway in between. The Westwood stream rises on the common and wends its way, quite tranquilly, down through these areas to Southampton Water.

These areas in the care of the Countryside Rangers are tidy and well maintained. Apart from the two areas on either side of the railway embankment, both signposted Tickleford Pond Wood. They were both victims of urban blight and suffering from the studied neglect of Leigh Environmental care and the adjacent occupiers, who appear to imagine they are infill sites.

The highest natural point is about 76 metres above sea level on the high grounds of Netley Common at Kane’s Hill. A BM (Bench Mark) 72.48 metres, was marked by a redundant Ordnance Survey concrete trig point, no longer in evidence.

Perhaps the OS scheme to find friends for obsolete trig points, impelled someone to take it and give it a good home.

The geological foundation of the area is the Bracklesham Beds. This formation is well known for its great variability, ranging from pale yellow sands to dark mottled clays often with a distinctive greenish hue. This coloration is due to the presence of the mineral glauconitic (an alumino-silicate of iron and potassium), which usually indicates that the rocks were formed in a marine environment. The changes in lithology are often rapid, not only in a vertical sense (bed upon bed), but also laterally (within beds). These rocks form part of the Tertiary deposits of the Hampshire Basin, a sequence of sediments formed in alternating marine and freshwater environments. The are 45-50 million years old and rest in natural sequence on Bagshot sands, London Clay and Reading Beds which are deposited in turn unconformable on an eroded surface of chalk,

Much younger superficial deposits, often referred to as “drift”, occur irregularly over this area. In the Hampshire Basin the oldest of these deposits, some of the higher level gravels, may be of Pliocene age (3-4 million years old). Others, mainly reworked higher level gravels, occupy the lower ground and valleys, and are of Pleistocene in age (up to 1.85 million years old). Westwood has been worked for foundry castings, clays for brick making and gravels as hardcore and ballast. From City of Southampton’s Society’s, ‘Southampton Common’.

The water quality sampling statistics an analysis provided by CJ Payne, National Rivers Authority Southern Region showed on the 27th April 1994 at 12.16.23hours, that the Westwood stream is not contaminated and shows normal concentrations of ions for water originating from Bracklesham Beds.

It is a salutary meditation, when walking across Netley Common, to remember that even at its highest point was several hundreds of feet underwater at various time in our prehistory.

Plate 5. Pre-Diluvian Map


                                     Netley Common

                                          Plate 6. Map of Netley Common

Come along dear Reader, as we begin our ramble and survey of Netley Common. We will meet up at the starting point, at Kanes Hill access point, opposite Netley Firs Close. As there is limited parking, please park considerately.

Ahead, the lane leads to Keepers Cottage. On our right, the Hound Boundary Stone is in front of Pinewood Lodge. The gate on our left leads to the Common, as we enter, we are about 76 metres above sea level.

 THE HOUND STONE is inscribed ’Hound AD 1895’ on the front, south face, with ’Botley 1930’ on the rear and ‘Edge End’ on the side. Mrs Brooks, the Hedge End Town Clerk, said 1894 was when Hedge End became a Parish Council. 1930was when the parish boundary stones were set in the ancient tradition of ‘the beating of the bounds’.

 PINEWOOD LODGE was built about 1926, by a Mr Parker who made it his home until1965. Now the home of Dr Bradberry GP and amateur historian, who kindly invited the write into his home and shared his research and large scale mps of the area. Dr Bradberry also related a very interesting story of how he came to save the Hound Boundary Stone from the depredation of workmen, a few years ago. Apparently they had dug it up and wee going to take it away. Thankfully, due to the good doctors intervention it was saved and re-sited in front of Pinewood Lodge and will be there to celebrate its centenary next year.

 Entering into woodland through the gateway, we take the gravelled path to the left. Though the woodland on the north and eastern side of the common is dominated by the ‘noble Scots Pine and delicate Silver Birch, these are gradually being replaced by Oaks, Rowan, Hazel and Holly. This mixture of trees and the wide variety of plants, provide an excellent haven for a variety of animals, birds, butterflies and insects.

A short way along the path, there is an electric bearer pole and a 6’ concrete marker for an underground gas or oil pipe. The path then circles round to the recently cleared ‘Tumulus Glade’ We have been less fortunate with the Tumuli, our Bronze Age Barrows. Originally four, three ‘were lost’ in the realignment of a boundary ditch and the building of a nearby villa (Pinewood Lodge?), the remaining debris forms the nearby banks. ‘The remaining barrow is about 1 metre high, with a reasonable smooth shape. Sadly, slightly damaged by vandals, presumably, would be treasure hunters.

Referring to the 1930 sketch by Bernard Gotch, one can see how the ‘desolate remains’ have flourished over the last sixty years, to re-create a ‘delectable spot’ with a few ‘noble pines’.


                                   Bronze Age Barrows

Nowhere is ritual more strongly evident in the lives of the Bronze Age farming communities than in the treatment of the dead and their burial arrangements.

In Wessex and central southern England, a particularly rich series of graves characterized elite burials from the 16th century BC. Considered to form a distinct Wessex culture they have assumed a prominent place in the prehistory of Britain (TDPB). Four are marked on Lt. Col. Mudge Towes 1810, map of South Hampshire. The Ordnance Survey and Sites and Monuments Record cards, give conflicting and inaccurate information. The barrows on Netley Common have never been excavated and do not appear to be particularly large or important. Though a flint hammer stone, possibly a bone crusher was found nearby.

 Plate 9. Pinewood Lodge

Plate 10. Tumulus Glade

The path continues on the far side of the barrow and leads to a boardwalk, that at the time of writing was under construction.

 Plate 11. The Boardwalk under construction August 1994

Reaching higher ground the path continues its winding journey with wood on our right and scrub invaded heat on our left. Further along the path on our left we find the first evidence of military occupation of World War II, in the form of concrete bases and foundations.

Plate 12. World War II remains

The Military and Netley Common 47-493 AD?

Netley Common probably has military connections going back before the Roman Army built their road, known as Route 421, across the common to Clausentum (Southampton). Nothing is obviously visible on the common, though possibly part of the route is visible as a vertical bank in a garden near Heathlands Close, Hedge End.

 “From Southampton or Clausentum, roads existed which led east to Porchester and west to Old Sarum. The road to Porchester appears to have branched off from the road to Winchester, with which it was connected via a ford at Mansbridge, which appears at that time to have marked the limit of the flow of the tides. This road also appears to have crossed the River Hamble at Botley, another tidal limit, and to have joined the Winchester and Porchester Road. Many Roman remains have been found along its course. (p. 263, TW Shore, Dec 1892, The Antiquary pp263-268. The Roman Roads of Hampshire.

In 1971, the Roman road on Netley Common was, prior to being cut at almost a right angle by a pipe trench, investigated by members of the South Hampshire Archaeological Rescue group. The profile showed the mettalling at this point to consist of tightly packed pebbles and flints in a grey sandy matrix and was 12ft (3.7 metres) in width.

Two shallow depressions on the surface of the mettalling may have been traffic ruts and a small depression on the south side of the road, suggests a gully. Also in 1971an excavation regarding this road on Freemantle Common, Bitterne is commemorated with a plaque. Other records exist showing the road just south of the Elephant and Castle Inn, Sholing. South of Kathleen Road traces of a causeway across a valley and a trace of the road across Dumbletons Copse as well as Netley Common along the line published by the Ordnance Survey. In 1972 the road was cut at Botley and Curdridge after SHARG investigated.

 “ Roman road (Route 421) Chichester to Bitterne. Ref: Rescue Archaeology in Hants, Vol. 2, 1974 p. 99 et seq.”

Plate 13. Possible Roman Road at Heathlands Close.

Plate 14. Roman Route 421 (SHARG 1974)



The Military and Netley Common 1794-1800

The OS Southampton and District Map, published 1802, No. 14, records a ‘camp ground - 1794 and 1800’ on Netley Common.

Plate 3. 1802 Southampton and District Map. No. 14

In 1794 the army of the Earl of Moira, Francis Rawdon, embarked from Southampton, after being camped on Netley Common. Dr JS Davies, A History of Southampton, Hampshire Books 1989, p505.

In 1796, in April when the price of bread was high, the Mayor (General D’Auvergne) ordered an assize be made, which fixed the price of bread at 1s.5p (about 14p) the gallon loaf. Several Bakers refused to abide by this, whereupon a mob smashed their windows, burnt two of them in effigy and pulled down part of the house of one William Graves who was regarded as the chief offender. The magistrate after reading the Rio Act, sent to the camp on Netley Common for soldier and the mob dispersed. (page 10 History of Southampton 1700-1914).

In 1800 a body of troops were n camp on Netley Common, and soon after embarked for Egypt, forming part of the gallant army which greatly distinguished itself.

There is recorded a duel fought near the camp between Lieutenant Smith and Ensign O’Brie, of the 9th Regiment. Smith the challenger died on the spot; a verdict of manslaughter being brought by a Southampton jury against O’Brie, who had been apprehended at Winchester and brought back to this town. Smith was buried at Pear Tree Green. His stone lies in an enclosure on the northern side, with two others, near the Rosomon monument.


          The Military and Netley Common 1939-1945

There are dozens of visible remains of C3, the designation of the Army camp on Netley Common. One of three camps shown on the Top Secret General Map 1944, Codename ‘OVERLORD’. Overlord was of course the build up to D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy.

The visible remains are the large concrete foundation bases tat were the semi-permanent, pre-fabricated guard room, administration block, cookhouse, showers and latrines. The tented camp was used by the Americans. The Canadians and the ATS were in Dumbletons copse. In the last days before D-Day ‘ they were everywhere, many living in their vehicles.’

 Plate 15. A woodland camp

 Plate 16. Top Secret General Map 1944. Codename Overlord.


              The Southampton Boundary Stones 1988

Plate 17. A Heritage Policy Commemorative Boundary Stone.

  Jonathan Drake, Heritage Policy manager for Southampton City Council told the writer that the twelve stones were carved in their own workshops. At a cost of £20,000 and sited at significant points along the city boundary. It was suggested that the S and H stood for Southampton and Hampshire. I found another possible explanation and prefer to believe the intertwined letters are indicative of South and Hampton and of a time when Hampton had a north and south. In support of my belief the Southampton Court Leet book of 1566, reads :-

                                                      “ the marke ys [S] to be sette Upon

The nere buttocke or legge behind,

and the h [H] to be sette as this

    Marke in the margente (margin) is.”

One of the significant points was near the Court Leet mound, on Southampton Common. The writer was unable to locate this stone. There are three boundary markers found in our area of research, all sited along the east bank of the Westwood stream. The second one south of Portsmouth Road in Tickleford Gully and the third is south of Weston Parade Road.

Two others were discovered during my research. One adjacent to the Cross House, a shelter for passengers, near the old Itchen Ferry. The second is on the old bridge between Southampton and Totton.

 Still following the fence path we arrive at a juncture, where the path to the left leads to the school and Tunstall Road. Ahead the path goes across a small valley to Ellis Road. To the left of the valley path is a candidate for the source of Westwood stream, an acid flush.

 Plate 18. The Acid Flush

 An acid flush, is a seepage of water to the surface staining the area brown with water that is acidic with an iridescent sheen indicative of oil and keeping the ground damp throughout the year. Here the yellow Bog Asphodel can be seen amongst Cotton grass and Bog Myrtle. The carnivorous Sundew grows here. This small red leafed plant catches insects with its sticky leaves and slowly digest them. An adaptation to the poor soil to gain vital nutrients.

Early large scale maps of this area show water collecting there, flowing down across the valley floor, where it sinks back into the ground. Visiting the site, the stream was discovered trickling out of the gateway, down the road to a road gully in Ellis Road. The Course of the Roman Road is in the vicinity.

The path to our right and our route, will lead us through the woods to Keepers Lodge, the next place of interest.



Keepers Lodge, Kanes Hill, West End.

 Plate 19. Keepers Lodge, West End

 For my research into Keepers Lodge West End. I had been given a name and telephone number and advised that the owners were away until next year. I had a pleasant surprise when my first call was answered. Debbie Nisbit answered the phone and my questions. How old was the Lodge? Debbie thought it was 300 years old. Who was the Herbert Mollant-Rodgerson recorded in the 1937 Kelly’s Directory. My Grandfather came the reply. Debbie’s mother, Mrs Ackland was Herbert Mollant-Rodgerson’s daughter. Debbie thought the original Lodge was 300 years old and was extended by her grandfather during the last war. Debbie kindly gave me the telephone number of her Uncle. Peter C Mollant-Rodgerson, who was a great help in answering my further questions.


  Originally a single-storey, four roomed thatched cottage, part of the old Chamberlayne estate. Purchased in 1936 by Mr Herbert Mollant-Rodgerson. During the war it was extended up to two storey’s and out to accommodate, Herbert’s new family arrivals. Peter told the writer that he was born at the Lodge -3rd September 1936. Ten years of age in 1944 at the build up to Overlord, Peter very kindly shared his memories of that time. Remembering the camps, the Americans, Canadians and ATS.

 From Keepers Lodge our path now cuts across the more open area of the Common in the general direction of Kanes Hill [Romany] Caravan Site. The site which is private property, has a rear access to the common, allowing the Romany Gypsy’s to graze horses an goats. Our direction will cross the course of the Roman Road.

 Plate 20. View towards Caravan Site

 The pig-sty puzzle referred to earlier are two more concrete foundation bases. The bases are adjacent to two nice open grassed area. A pleasant glade after the harshness of the open heathland. The puzzle is - that one of the bases has the remains of a ’pigsty’. Provoking the question. Was the sty purpose built or was the base of an old, long demolished military building adapted to a new purpose. During the research period I was unable to find any references to farming on the Common.

 Plate 21. The Pig-sty puzzle

 A detailed examination of this area showed evidence of extensive use, tarmac patches, heaps of brick rubble, dips, remains of fences and clumps of Narcissi. An electric cable is overhead, with carrier posts east and west of the pig-sty.

We leave the puzzle and make our way to the pedestrian gated access at the corner of Kanes Hill and the Botley Road cul-de-sac. We turn right and make our way into the cul-de-sac which is the entrance into Kanes Hill Caravan Site. Our way continues down the pathway, with Bursledon Common on our left and a landscaped area on our right.


Kanes Hill Caravan Site

Plate 22. Kanes Hill Caravan Site Entrance

 In 1977 an area of 3.17 acres of Netley Common was appropriated by Hampshire Social Services to form the site for the Kanes Hill Romany Caravan Site. It was noted (RCKH 1991) that the shape of the area appropriated does not precisely coincide with the mapped area.

It was very fortunate that on my first photographic field trip, the person I accosted regarding the caravan site. Was Denzil Bone, Warden of the site, for information and permission to photograph.

Denzil had a story to tell, well, actually several story’s, about the site and how it came about that he is the warden. Five years earlier, Denzil was working in a factory in Yorkshire, dreaming about owning a horse drawn caravan. Never able to afford one, never the less, his interest had grown, taking in collecting postcards and memorabilia and building an extensive collection. This collection is acknowledged in the book, Yorkshire Gypsies and Caravans. Denzil also wrote to a local paper in defence of some gypsy families who had suffered harassment when holding a traditional horse trading fayre in a nearby village. These Romanies, had a charter going back to Richard II. Unfortunately, his altruism deflected some of this anger back on his family. Five years ago, Denzil’s sister saw an advert for a warden of a Gypsy site in Hampshire and in a humorous gesture sent it to him. Without ay strong feelings of hope, Denzil wrote out an application for the post and enclosed a copy of the letter to the newspaper that had caused him problems. Denzil believes it was the letter that resulted in an expenses paid interview - and the job.

My Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition 1989 definition stated, ‘gipsy, gypsy … A member of a wandering race (by themselves called Romany), of Hindu origin, which first appeared in England in the 16th century, and was believed to have come from Egypt.’.

The Caravan Sites Act 1968 was passed to regulate the provision of ‘gypsy encampments’. Defining Gypsies as ‘persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their religion’. This definition is the only remaining one in law. The phrase ‘or a gypsy’ was expunged as to be non discriminatory.

As a result of the act Hampshire County Council identified some 120 families that ‘resorted’ to Hampshire as their home county. About half of them took ordinary council housing, but generally found houses claustrophobic. The council then decided to provide six sites with accommodation for twenty families. Kanes Hill site was the first, and provided in consultation with the families that identified with Netley Common. It was the only site provided after consultation, it is very nice and convenient.


Westwood Stream discovered

From the caravan site the path joins Botley Road Close, to Botley Road. In my search for the spring and watercourse I turned right and examined the landscaped area. From a signboard I discovered the Landscape Architect was L. Tataglia-Kershaw and a phone number. Despite repeated telephone calls, the only further information I was able to discover was her first name, the L stood for Linda!

 Plate 23. Hightown Signboard

 Across the road the recently built Barrow Down Gardens housing estate, commemorates the Bronze Age antiquity on the adjacent common, as does Tumulus Close, a side road almost opposite. Walking around and through the estate, I discovered Torque Close, Mosaic Close and Flint Close all part of a theme and then entered a small wooded area from Barrow Down Gardens. There I discovered a ditch with running water, along the south and east perimeter of Eastpoint Community Centre, disappearing into a rubbish filled soak way/culvert. This proved in time, as I continued to follow the running water, to be the Westwood Stream. Where it presumably crosses under Bursledon Road to reappear on the south side of Botley Road. A sign on a gate with a telephone number, regarding the estates management led to a Richard Kershaw and brief rummage through the maps and history, in the Countryside Rangers filing cabinets.


                            The Weston Greenway

Crossing the Bursledon Road into Botley Road, a walk of about half a mile will bring us to the start of Weston Greenway.

 Plate 24. Entrance to Weston Greenway

During an earlier visit to Weston Greenway. I had met Dave Reed who has made himself an unofficial warden. Undertaking the mending of gates, fences etcetera, and keeping the paths clear of rubbish and the faecal outpourings of the canine users of the walk. Dave told me that a few years earlier, users of the walk had to contend with a herd of inquisitive heifers and a breeding bull. As one section was unfenced to allow the animals to drink at the stream.

On the north side of Botley at No. 167, a bungalow adjacent to a recreation ground, for 20 years, 6 years wit her father and 14 years as owner. The stream, to her memory had always been culverted. A bank had been constructed to minimise flooding, which had happened from time to time. When the bungalow has flooded up to depths of 3 feet.

 Weston Greenway 

Weston Greenway forms the south-eastern edge of Southampton between Botley Road and Weston Shore and is 3Km (1.75 miles) long. At its southern end, the Greenway links up with the Itchen and Solent Ways. These walks run respectively along the Itchen River and along the east and west coats of the Solent and Southampton Water. At the northern end there are potential links to the Hound and Hedge End Parish walks.

For the majority of its length the Greenway comprises a well-wooded valley which is important in both ecological and visual terms, since the trees form a soft but definite edge to the City.

This green urban edge will be protected and enhanced. The City Council policies of protecting the urban edge and encouraging wild life, plus the steep-sided, often boggy nature of the valley, restrict recreational use to low key, quite informal use for the majority of its length.

For management purposes the Greenway is divided into six sections.

1. Land at Botley Road has gates, fencing, footpaths, bridges and boardwalks laid out connecting to and through,

2. Land adjacent to Lowry Gardens and the Birches.

3. Land adjacent to Stubbs Road.

 Across the Portsmouth Road

4. Land adjacent to Ashley Crescent.

5. Tickleford Pond Wood North.

 Beyond the railway embankment.

6. Tickleford Pond Wood South.

 Plates 25 and 26. The Weston Greenway

Plate 27. Entrance to Tickleford Pond Wood North

 The two areas of Tickleford Pond Wood - North and South are managed by Leigh Environmental and suffers through its division by the railway line and from the abuse of the neighbouring residential properties that back on to them, using them as a rubbish dump.

 Plate 28. Tickleford Pond Wood South


                                     Keepers Crossing

Having made our way back to the Grove, at the far end of which is the useable but vandalised Keepers Crossing New Footbridge. Built to replace he original Keepers Bottom Foot Crossing. It takes its name from a nearby Chamberlayne Estate, demolished keepers cottage, near the dip in the road that is Tickleford Gully. The home of ‘Old Mac’, the gamekeeper, who was, according to Reg Skinners, ’Reminisces’, responsible for keeping the Westwood Stream, ’clear at the Weston dip end, then called Keepers Bottom’. Perhaps ’Old Mac’, is the Mr Mack pictured in KA Fords history.

 Plate 29. Keepers Crossing Footbridge.

 Crossing the bridge will put us in Tenterton Avenue, turn left and go into Wentworth Gardens with signed access to Tickleford Pond Wood South. Skirting round the pond will take us behind a memorial to Ken Allen Welland, and bring us to the Newtown/Woolston Road. Crossing the road to the right hand, west bank of the Westwood Stream, we can enter Westwood Woodland Park.

                           Westwood Woodland Park


Plate 30. Newtown/Portsmouth Road Culvert

 As we enter the park we can look back and see the Westwood Stream emerging from the culvert. As we look forward we can see another 1988 Boundary Stone, reminding us of Southampton’s Heritage Policy.

Also to be seen in this area, and down through Westwood, are the remains of Mediaeval Conduits, Large ditches which fed water from the stream into the moats, fish ponds and rene-dortiers (toilets) of Netley Abbey.

Roman coins were found in Westwood circa 1820 and included many examples of Gallienus, and a few coins of Salonia, Valerius, Claudius II, Alrelius and Quintillus.

We continue down the western side of the stream, until the first bridge. Crossing to the other bank and crossing back over the third bridge to view the remains of a WWII, Coastal Defence Site. The remains of the 5th AA (Anti-Aircraft) Division, 35 AA Brigade, Royal Artillery Camp (letter 07.07.94 RAHT). The camp is evidenced by brick and concrete bases, bomb shelters and drains.

 Plate 33. Military remains in Westwood

 The camp housed the officers, men and women who manned the camp and adjacent Z Battery. We are reliably informed by Graham Keevil who lived in the nearby Hilton House from 1936-1942. Who as an employee of Vickers Supermarine at their local Woolston factory and a member of the 5th Itchen Home Guard. Received training at work until he was proficient in the use of a 3” UP Projector. After the qualifying test, Graham served at the Z Battery until the Vickers works were destroyed in a bombing raid.


           The Royal Artillery Camp and the Z Battery

During WWII, 1939, the Royal Artillery established a camp in Westwood and a Z Battery on the high ground to the north. Graham Keevil, who lived in the now demolished Hilton House and worked for Vickers Supermarine. Graham was also a member of the local Home Guard. Graham and other members of the staff of Vickers, underwent training, probably on an original Mark 1 projector installed at the Vickers Supermarine Works, Woolston. On completion of his training, he, together with a work colleague helped man the Z Battery near his home in Westwood. (source Graham Keevil).

In March 1941, Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) guns were being relocated from industrial centres, to ports, due to the shortage of HAA guns.

Even the new AA rocket weapon, that was cheap and quick to produce was slow to materialise. Known as ’UP’s’ (un-rotating projectiles), to protect there secrecy, the new weapons showed great promise and although the 8,400 projectors allocated to the AA Command were arriving on schedule, a shortage of the associated rockets prevented there widespread use.

 Plate 34. ‘UP’ Projector

 Eventually the rockets arrived and the and the UP’s went into action in a most spectacular fashion.

Plate 35. A ‘Z’ Battery in action.

 The twin rocket projector were laid out in groups of 64, in what is known as a Z Battery.

As the year progressed there were significant improvements within AA-Command, where women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), now played a more important role. Their gun-site duties, vital, but mainly of the less onerous type, driving, communications, radar and plotting. Undoubtedly, by late 1941 the AA defences, backed by increasing numbers of rocket-firing, ‘Z’ Batteries, were more than a mere deterrent to German airmen.

In order to relieve the AA gunners for active duty, part time members were trained in AA duties and in 1942 were to take over completely the operation of many gun-sites and rocket batteries

The UP rockets had been developed before the war, the 3-inch solid fuelled rocket approximating the 3.7-inch AA shell Whilst requiring fewer less skilled men for their operation, the weapon was highly inaccurate. Never the less, the batteries ‘scattergun style’ was an impressive sight for both friend and foe.

. The launchers fired salvoes of 128 rockets at a time. Accelerating to 1000 mph in 1.5 seconds, before exploding simultaneously in a single stupendous roar.

The noise has been described as an awesome experience, ‘rather like an express train passing through the living room, before crashing in the back garden’.

 Newspaper Notes

On April 25th-26th 1942, in what was clearly a navigational error a number of aircraft, strayed from Bath over Bristol and encountered a dazzling display of searchlights, barrage balloons and a daunting mass of ’Z’ rocket projectiles and very heavy AA gun-fire.

During another night attack on London March 3rd 1943. The worst civilian disaster occurred at Bethnal Green Underground station. When the unfamiliar noise of a salvo of rockets being fired from a Z Battery created a stampede which resulted in the deaths of 173 people. Most of the victims were suffocated in a frightful pile up at the bottom of the stairs. Another 60 people were seriously injured.

Southampton’s defences were boosted by the installation of a ’Z’ rocket battery on the high ground of Weston Shore, next to Westwood, whilst the camp and accommodation for the troop and home guard was inside the wood.

An unsuccessful attack on Southampton was recorded on March 7, for not a single bomb fell on the City.


                                Netley Abbey Village

But for our mutual pleasure, let us together take the road to our right and make our way up Abbey Hill towards Netley Abbey Village.

A little way up the hill, on our right is the old West Lodge to Netley Castle. Built in the !800’s the castle was turned into a private residence. Now it is a nursing home.

 Plate 42. The West Lodge

 The entry in the Victorian County History volume 3, p477, records a section entitled ‘FORT - In 1545 a small fort was built by Sir William Paulet within the grounds of Netley Abbey at the request of Henry VIII, for the protection of the coast and the approach to Southampton. Certain manors and lands were granted to him for the upkeep of the fort and its garrison, which consisted of a captain, two soldiers, a porter and six gunners. This garrison was still being maintained in 1627, …’

 Then and now

Plate 44. Netley Abbey Fort -1545


Plate 45. Netley Abbey - now luxury apartments



Netley Fort, Castle and Nursing Home 

KA Fords History of Netley Abbey states. Since about 1660 the fort has had a peaceful history as a country house Mr. G. Hunt was at the Castle in the 1850’s and had built the Abbey Hotel. Colonel Chrichton purchased it in 1881 and lived there until his death in 1922. I 1938 the Castle became a convalescent home, which it is today(1994). A descriptive booklet advertising the sale of the Castle in 1881 is very comprehensive and makes interesting reading.

In 1946 it was turned into a nursing home by Middlesex County Council. Today it is luxury apartments


Plate 46. The Castle Sales Brochure.


Continuing up Abbey Hill, we come to Marine Villas on our left. Originally named Seaview 1 and 2, the discerning eye can see a tall pair of Victorian semi-detached houses as the original structure. The building was modernised a few years ago and extended to the rear to crate a block of flats. A gateway to Westwood is adjacent.


Plate 47. Marine Villas.


Originally built about 1883-4, at about the same time the De Saulez or De Saulex were in residence at the Lake House. For some as yet unknown reason the name De Saulez is inscribed on the right front elevation edge, nine bricks up, on the fabric of the original No 2 Seaview.

Mr Reg Skinner in his Reminisces, considered that No 2 was haunted, as his grandmother had died there in childbirth and his mothers sister, Aunt Beatrice had tripped over her long nightdress, fell down the stairs and broke her neck.

During the last war, Graham Keevil’s friend David Levy, a local fireman had lived at No.2.


Lake House

 Originally known as the Netley Abbey Hotel and boarding house. Our earliest reference is a steel engraving by Phillip Brannon about 1850. Local directories show the proprietors as:- 1853. James Harris

1859. Geo[rge] Richards

1867. John Strongitharm


Plate 48. Netley Abbey Hotel.


The 1880 directory names a Rev. T Saulez at the Lake House and a local paper reports that a Rev. T. De Saulex purchased land and built the Iron Church. In 1883 the directory shows Mrs. Grace Maria Saulez at Lake House.

In 1895 Lt-Col William Pennington is in residence, about 1902, he is promoted to full Colonel. In 1915 the record changes to the Misses Pennington with the suggestion that the house is divided with a Lt-Col Stephen James Barry RAMC at No. 2. The reclaimed Victorian lake was originally in the grounds of the hotel and may have been fenced off in the building of Seaview.


Plate 49. Lake House.


Continuing up Abbey Hill, we pass the gateway into the overgrown Lake House, opposite the Weston Sailing Club and a Westwood car-park.


Plate 50. Abbey House.

We now pass now pass a row of widely differing houses until we reach the historic Abbey House. Historic in that Royalty been entertained and stayed there. In the gounds there is a WWII bomb shelter, visible to the passers-by. The entrance is around the corner in the West Wing, a cul-de-sac leading to Fountains Park, with fine views of the rear of Netley Abbey ruins and a footpath into Westwood.


Plate 51 Fountains Park Gateway


A little further down the hill we pass the front entrance to the Netley Abbey ruins, with the caretakers gatehouse, opposite the entrance to Netley Castle.

Victoria Road , is ahead, and takes one to the village proper and continues into the Royal Victoria Country Park, the home of the Westwood Countryside Rangers.

We will take a short cut through the Lynch Gate, rebuilt in 1929, and into the grounds of St Edwards Church built in 1886 and its modern church hall to Grange Road.


Plate 52. The Lynch Gate.


Plate 53. St Edwards Church



Grange Farm

Continuing along Grange Road will take us to the site of the old Grange Farm, the farm to the Abbey, about half a mile distance.

Grange Farm is now a modern family restaurant pub. Tina Dean who works there, gave me the details. Tina also told me that the boss and meine host is a Mr Shaw. In the grounds is a rebuilt and restored barn and that some of the original farmhouse can be seen, incorporated into a modern family house behind Grange Farm


Plate 54. Grange Farm Restaurant


Just past the Grange is a signposted footpath indicating a signed circular walk of 2 miles, just follow the arrows. We are reminded that this is a conservation area, and we are asked not to pick the flowers or start fires. Every year dozens of fires cause untold damage to the habitat and wild life.

The footpath takes us around the back of Grange Farm, where one can view the remains of the original farmhouse incorporated into a rebuilt modern house. The path continues across the Grange Farm fields, with Mount McKenzie, inappropriately named after the site architect, on our right and the old farm pond on our left. All this area was a mineral extraction and infill site. This is evidenced by the stone filled cages of the methane vents and padlocked test equipment posts.


Plate 55. View of Grange Fields and Mount McKenzie.


Plate 56. Methane Vent.


Crossing a mediaeval conduit and enter Bluebell Woods and view the fire damaged ancient oak, the oldest tree in the woods.


Plate 56. The oldest Tree in Bluebell Woods.


On the far side of the woods we come to the Mound, well worth the climb to the viewpoint. The Countryside Rangers have thoughtfully provided a bench, where one can si and view Southampton Water in comfort.


Plate 57. The view from the Viewpoint.


Plate 58. Cobbett’s View of Southampton Water.


‘There are innumerable vessels of various sizes upon the [Southampton] water; and to those that delight in water-scenes, this is certainly the prettiest place I ever saw in my life’. from Corbett’s Rural Rides.


Plate 59. Cobbett’s View of Netley Abbey.


‘… through a not less beautiful [West}wood, to find a little dell, surrounded by lofty woods, the venerable ruin of Netley Abbey,’ from Cobbett’s Rural Rides.


Plate 60. A page from William Cobbett’s ‘Rural Rides’


From the viewpoint our journey back continues, heading north, down the Mound from the viewpoint and through Bluebell Wood and back up to the high ground of Mount McKenzie. Before descending from Mt McKenzie, pause a few moments to appreciate the view across Woolston Road, the railway, embankment and bridge. Beyond Abbey Fruit Farm, the mineral extraction and infill site is the Weston Greenway, with Netley Common on the horizon.


Plate 61. The view north from Mount McKenzie.


Making our way down the slope to Keepers Bottom and another look at the mediaeval conduits and Tickleford Pond.


Plate 61. The Keepers Bottom Dip




Netley Abbey and the Mediaeval Conduits.

Netley Abbey was founded in 1239 by Henry III, for the Cistercians of Beaulieu. The Abbey builders also constructed huge dykes, technically known as conduits to convey the water into the fish ponds, moats and rene dortier, an early system for flushing the toilets. Remains of the conduits are to be seen in Westwood and maps show them originally north of the road and railway embankment. With ditches feeding Tuckford Pond, now known as Tickleford Pond, but let the Rev. Doctor Edmund Kell tell it in his own words. Taken from:- Edmund Kell, 1863, Collectanea Archaeolgic of the British Archaeological Association. Volume II, Part I pp 65-92. ‘Netley Abbey with an account of recent excavations and Discoveries. In the local study centre, Central Library, Southampton.

 “In the design of the abbey and services, the monks had adopted the most approved mode of raising fish at Netley by the use of three ponds; the first for spawning, the second for nursing, the third (for convenience nearest the abbey) for the main pond for immediate supply.

It should be noticed that excellent provisions were made for supplying these ponds with water by dykes from a reservoir of more than eight acres, nearly half a mile to the east, called Tuckford Pond (j). The dykes were cut from the south-east angle of this sheet of water, one dyke supplying the upper pond and the other dyke the middle pond, which crossed in its more winding course the moat from the south side of the upper pond. The lower pond opened into the drain which passed through the garderobe, buttery etc.

Tuckford Pond, though overgrown with withies, etc., is remembered by Mr William Miles, of Millers Pond, as a sheet of water forty years ago, when it burst its banks (nine or ten feet high), which were never afterwards repaired. This pond would serve also for a supply of fish for the monastery.

As further proof of the well considered engineering plans of the fraternity, there was a contrivance for supplying Tuckford Pond from - the adjacent high grounds of Netley Common, where water was collected in trenches - still extant - made tributary to a streamlet flowing into this pond.

The Netley Grange Pond also poured its surplus into the upper fish pond.


Plate 62. Enlarged General Plan by Phillip Brannon.


The abbey precincts were defended on the south by a moat twelve feet deep, and at its opening about thirty feet broad (a). The internal mound was nine feet. This moat, at its end, joined a moat cut on the side of Southampton Water, and which, with its inner mound, defended the west side of the abbey grounds. The south moat took a circular course till it reached the lower end of the upper fishpond, and on its opposite side pursued a northerly course and afterwards a westerly direction till it reached the high ground north of the church, where it terminated. The moat and mound which skirt the Southampton Water for half a mile, forming an excellent defence on the sea side, terminate at the south by a steep cliff, and on the north are continued to the streamlet from Tuckford, which flows into it.

Part of the south moat forms the carriage drive to Netley Castle. Netley Castle was probably the ancient abbey ’gatehouse’ or water-gate house (1).


Plate 63.


Plate 64. Map of Netley Abbey.

                             Scott-Paine and the PB9

Making our way out to Woolston Road, we turn right over the railway bridge, passing Abbey Fruit Farm mineral and infill site, no doubt in the dubious care of Leigh Environmental. This reminded me of an earlier snippet of information from the gatekeeper at this site, who mentioned a plane taking off from here when it was fields.

 My research uncovered this event.


Plate 63. Hubert Scott-Paine and the PB 9.


‘It was’, Scotty wrote, ‘a world’s record, never before has there been a (flying) machine designed and built in a week, before‘.

Arrangements were made to carry out the test flight of the PB 9 at Netley Common, near Southampton. At 4.00am the next morning, Tuesday 11th August 1914, Noel Pemberton Billing towed the wing cellule to Netley behind his Sheffield Simplex car. Scott-Paine followed in the works lorry, towing the fuselage and all the gear for the test flight. The aircraft was quickly assembled and the wing cellule slipped into position before being fixed by U-bolts round the bottom longerons.

Tommy Sopwith and his test pilot, Howard Pixton were to assist Scott-Paine with the trials and Mahl was given the task of taking the machine into the air.

At the time it was estimated the PB 9 climbed at five hundred feet a minute and reached a speed of 75 mph.


Continuing our journey, before we reach the junction we will have passed the site of an alleged Maggot Farm on our left. At the crossroads turn left into Grange Road. Half way along this road we will pass a re-cycling centre. A Bofors Anti-Aircraft gun site was here during the last war. Crossing the Portsmouth Road into Shop Lane which will lead us to Botley Road near the traffic lights, straight on but remember to look both ways. Up the footpath past Kanes Hill Caravan site and turn left at West End Road, a quarter of a mile to Pinewood Lodge, the Hound Boundary Stone and the start of our journey.


Then and Now.


Plate 64. The Bofors Gun Site.


Plate 65. The Re-cycling Centre



.Draft v.1 of the Internet Indefinitive History completed Sunday 16th November 2008. Draft v.1 of the Internet Indefinitive History uploaded to web-site 19th November 2008


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