Chandler's Ford History

"If my memory serves me correctly ......." Welcome to our Chandler's Ford Local History Blog. Our aim is to collect and record memories of Chandler's Ford, in Hampshire, and make them available to all. We shall also share old reports, maps and photographs where there is no copyright problem. Do help us by adding your photos and memories. Even if you can't quite remember what happened, write your version of events and encourage others to add theirs. Look forward to hearing from you. Chris

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Farms, nurseries etc

We should be able to post information on farms in Chandler's Ford soon. In the meantime this is Dereck's plan of the farms during the 19th century.


Ford Farm Residents:
Archibald Fortune died 1909 aged 59
Mary Ellen Fortune died 1947 aged 92
Elizabeth Louise Fortune died 1952 aged 74
Archer Robert Urry Fortune died 1966 aged 76
Agnes Fanny Fortune died 1968 aged 78
Beatrice Janet Fortune dies in 1971 aged 86
Victoria Gertrude Olivia Fortune died aged 1973 aged 85
Captain Archibald Albert John Fortune died 1973 aged 82

Catharine Augusta Fortune (died1959 aged 79) and Marguerity Helena Fortune (died 1961 aged 77) lived at 115 Hursley Road.

(Source: Eastleigh BC Cemeteries Database)


Blogger Chris said...

Farming in the late 19th Century
Extracts from An Old Woman’s Outlook in a Hampshire Village (1892) by Charlotte Yonge, otterbourne.
Pant, pant! Cough, cough! That noise tells of ploughing. There is an engine at each end of the adjoining field, and a little plough travelling up and down between them in the furrow, apparently of its own accord. Happily there are some farms still left which afford the pleasant sight of the sleek horses plodding before their ploughs, all the better if there be a dappled gray to show out on the rich brown earth of a sloping field.
The threshing machine, with its engine and lengthy apparatus, makes its rounds among the farms, and its whirr is the familiar sound. The hostility to it as the enemy of the poor man's labour, which greeted it sixty years since, is an absolute matter of history. The machine-breaking did not affect these parts to any great extent, as well as I remember, but the Reform Bill riots made themselves felt. We were from home at the time, and only heard of bands of men being stirred up to go from house to house demanding food and arms, though they did not here do any actual mischief. It was said that here only two men avoided joining them, and of these, one went about his work as usual, the other hid himself in a wood. There was, however, much rick-burning in the northern division of the county.
There was an assize afterwards, where there were many condemnations. Years after, the brother of one of the victims spoke with remarkable acquiescence in his fate: "Never could be quiet, sir. Best thing to do with such chaps as that to string 'em up".
But it all was brought home to us, for our nurse was sister to two of the condemned. They were respectable men of some education, and their sentence was commuted to transportation for life-real transportation to Botany Bay, whence they used to write at intervals letters in wonderfully minute penmanship.
Machines have destroyed much of the picturesqueness of farming, but in many respects they have improved the condition of the labourer, and especially of his wife. Yet perhaps the intelligence—not in books, but in common things—of the villager has not advanced so much as might have been expected.
Every one used to stay and do home work. Now the enterprising ones go away, leaving their less adventurous brother to follow the plough, so that the shrewd and thoughtful men who were devoted to the home agriculture, their master's right hand, and full of racy sayings, have become few and far between. Still, there is more cultivation.
The swish of the scythe in the dewy morning is seldom to be heard in these days. It has given place to the squeak and cough of the engine, and the long rows of women in sunbonnets to the claws of the monster haymaker. Haycocks we still have; but the pictures of children tumbling in delight in the hay are, except on lawns on gala days, a pleasing delusion. Farmers and farming men consider children as their natural enemies.
Harvest is not quite the parish feast it used to be. The whole families used to turn out together, to reap and bind, and it was considered lucky 'if the child, just promoted to reaping cut herself with the sickle. Even if the top of a finger was cut off, it was speedily joined on with a quid of tobacco, after the remarkable practice of surgery which prevailed before the days of Union doctors.
Those were trifles. On worked and feasted the family in its own portions till the last sheaf beautiful thing-was loaded, and the gladsome shout proclaimed it. Then, still inure delightful, the women and children turned out to lease (as they call gleaning), and might be seen plodding home loaded with thin little sheaves artistically tied up with plaited straws, and great bags of ears that had fallen without their stems. Piles of corn were heaped before the houses, but, alas! few housewives either glean or bake now. They depend entirely on the baker's cart.
The joy of harvest has not passed away, and there is less wildness, less temptation therewith, but much picturesqueness is gone. The reaping machine has taken the place of the family, and leaves rows to be gathered and bound up into sheaves, and built up in the rain-repelling arrangements, which happily have never been improved upon.
Gleaning is not what it was, mowing and raking leave fewer ears, and it is chiefly the holiday of the elder women for old sake's sake, rather than the actual gain; and, indeed, some farmers do not permit it at all. Pigs finish off the remnants, guarded by a boy, to the regret of the schoolmaster, who, if he be past his fourth standard, will probably never get him back again, even when he is out of work.
Old-fashioned farmers still give their harvest supper; but the new generation, without mutual hereditary interests between them and the labourers, disregard it. A general harvest feast for the entire parish has been tried; but to make it a success, there should be a thorough element of geniality and enjoyment in the entertainers. If they only do the thing as a duty, it will fall flat, and the, company will look with regret to the ruder pleasures, unrestrained by the gentry. Even the steadiest do not like the evening to end too soon, and dancing and fireworks have their use in keeping up the occupations, especially when the squire's or clergyman's family possess members to whom it is all a personal delight.
The harvest feast in church is another thing. It is a modern invention, but is thoroughly enjoyed by the people, if they are encouraged to make their offerings in kind for the sick in hospitals. Very queer things come, and difficult to dispose of—enormous pumpkins, great pieces of honeycomb, apples enough to make the church smell like an apple-chambers onions which have to be relegated to the porch, and big purple and white turnips, or long-tailed red carrots to be judgmatically disposed of.
Loaves of home-made bread are sometimes brought, reminiscences of the time when some of the good old house-mothers used to present their clergyman with a loaf out of their 'leasing corn' as their tithe.
Swine, after being herded in the stubble, have another lively time of excursions under the oak trees. Pigs in styes have to be fed sparingly on acorns, though, when turned out, they eat of it in combination with other delicacies of the season, and do themselves no harm. We hear of ancient Britons eating acorns, and it appears that England did not forget the pleasing diet, for, when a crêche was first commenced in the nearest town, the poor babies proved to be fed on a mixture of which crushed acorns were a portion, and the mothers complained that the good milk there administered spoilt their taste for their home food. In the New Forest there is a period called Pannage time, when the cottagers have a right, for six weeks, to turn out their swine to enjoy the harvest under the trees.
'Hampshire hogs' thus sometimes have begun upon hogs' food. I do not know whether the Hampshire man is more devoted to his pig than the natives of other counties, but it certainly fills an important place in the family possessions. Scarcely a house is without a tidy pigstye, the resort of the ruminating master, pipe in mouth, in Sunday leisure.
So the pig is the family pet and pride until the day when the parish executioner comes. If early, the tender-hearted little girls of the cottage hide their ears under the blankets; if late, their mother hurries them off to school, out of hearing of the prolonged dying wails of their favourite, while the boys either hurry up, or else linger about, with all the horrid curiosity that used to attend executions, to behold the last struggles, which, happily, under an experienced hand, are brief. Then follows the further process of singeing off the bristles over a straw fire; after which piggy is hung up by the heels, fair and white, and the family are regaled upon fry, etc., at dinner.
Here in Hampshire the further destination of the bacon pig, after being cut up into joints and salted, is to be smoked in a chimney adapted for the purpose, but only from a wood fire, and we found it impossible to induce cottagers to abstain from coal. The smoking is done specially at the village shop, and in fact both the preparing of bacon and the curing of hams by special private recipes are among the good arts that importation has overpowered. Pork shows itself by its name to be less an insular institution than bacon, whose name is said to be not even Anglo-Saxon, but British; and, though we here respect the pork well-roasted and furrowed with crackle, and the fair delicate salt pork leg, we hold that bacon is no bacon unless smoked.
It is not by any means still the only flesh food of the labourer, who used to have his Sunday piece, of which wife and family partook as far as was judged expedient, but chiefly ate the potatoes, that 'if not the rose, had been near the rose.' Now there is more use of tinned meats, and carts from butchers come round and carry on a small traffic, giving more variety, as well as other carts of cheap fish, around which I see an unfailing assembly of women. I have seen little children, boys especially, at a school-dinner cry at the unwonted spectacle of a slice of meat; but this is not the case now. At a mothers' meeting, when I have read aloud 'Ways and Means in a Devonshire Parish,' there have been remarks on home economies which proved that the hearers did not live on bread and potatoes alone; though I confess that the audience did not include those hopeless managers who consume whatever the husband allows them in the first days of the week, and at the end let their children run about begging of their neighbours scraps, which the kind-hearted women are always ready to afford.

Copse Cutting in the late 19th Century
Extract from An Old Woman’s Outlook in a Hampshire Village (1892) by Charlotte Yonge.
What is that sound of chopping in the wood above? There is a clearance going on! The underwood is all being levelled with the ground. Is the wood to be sacrificed? Oh no, it is only the periodical copse cutting. In these southern counties the copses are regularly cut, some once in five years, some once in seven, some in nine. Old labourers can, or used to be able to, tell the exact time for each copse in the parish. Men, expert in the work, hire a copse from its owner, and employ others. See them at work up there. A sort of hut, or shanty, is erected with sticks, and roofed over with chips, which shine out white. Here the tools are sheltered, the men eat, and sometimes have a fire close by. The underwood is cut down, and, as it lies prone, a rapid selection is made. Some is tied up in faggots for burning, the slenderer branching stems are laid aside for pea-sticks. Others are selected for being woven into the wattled hurdles here in use for sheepfolds; but the more important are cut into even lengths to be made into hoops. See, a huge sharp knife is fastened between two posts set upright in the ground. The stick is applied to it at the butt end, drawn along, and, presto, is split in two, the white interior contrasting with the bark. Another dexterous movement bends the cleft piece into a hoop, the smooth white part within, the round bark outside. Then, as the hoops are finished, they are built up, one upon another, into a kind of tower-shaped pile, quite symmetrical, and varied outside by the brown hazel stem, the gray ash, and dark birch, but all white and smooth within. The chips lie around in white piles, and altogether these 'hoopshaving' establishments are a very pleasant feature in the spring. The hoops will travel far and wide to encircle barrels. In old times they used to go to the West Indies to surround the sugar-casks; but now they seem chiefly used for English beer.
It is the chief work of February, unless an unusually dry time sets in, enabling men and horses to 'get upon the land' to plough it.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The urbanization of Chandler’s Ford in the last 100 years or so has led to the loss of much of the natural habitat of its wildlife species.

Among the birds which could be seen and/or heard in the village in the 1940s/1950s (including summer residents) were:

Barn Owl; Blackbird; Blackcap; Blue Tit; Bullfinch; Chaffinch; Chiffchaff; Coal Tit; Cuckoo; Dabchick; Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow); Goldcrest; Goldfinch; Greater Spotted Woodpecker; Great Tit; Greenfinch; Green Woodpecker; Hawfinch; Heron; House Martin; House Sparrow; Jackdaw; Jay; Kestrel; Kingfisher; Lapwing (Peewit); Linnet; Long-tailed Tit; Magpie; Mallard; Mistle Thrush; Moorhen; Nightingale; Nuthatch; Partridge; Pheasant; Pied Wagtail; Red-backed Shrike; Robin; Rook; Skylark; Song Thrush; Sparrow Hawk; Spotted Flycatcher; Starling; Swallow; Tree Creeper; Tree Sparrow; Turtle Dove; Willow Warbler; Whitethroat; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Yellowhammer.

Fish in Monks Brook and its tributary streams included:

Brown Trout; Bullhead (Miller’s Thumb); Eel; Lamprey; Minnow; Stone Loach (Catfish); Roach; Stickleback.

There were probably other birds and fish. Which members of these species can be found now in Chandler’s Ford?

11:40 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Many thanks for this information.

The website contains the complete text of Charlotte Yonge's "An Old Woman's Outlook in a Hampshire Village", which gives details of the wildlife in this area in 1892.

It would be great if we could build up a picture of the wildlife here over time.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following account of changing wildlife, from around 1900 to 1969, is by Captain A. A. J. Fortune, from Chandler’s Ford 1859 – 1969: An Account of the Growth of Chandler’s Ford, Now the largest residential area in the Borough of Eastleigh.

(We have established that Captain Fortune wrote his book to share his memories of Chandler’s Ford. However we have been unable to track down anyone from whom to seek permission to publish it on the internet. If there is a relative out there do let us know if you object on his behalf and we will take this off the blog.)

Wild Life of Chandlers Ford
In the early 1890's there were quite a number of trout in Monks Brook and a tributary of the brook in King's Meadow. The latter area used to be in those early days beautifully kept water meadows, with hatches for flooding the meadows. When the hatches were put down and the land flooded, trout from the stream used to swim over the land. At the lifting of the hatches a great number of the trout got stranded in the little low pools and were collected and became very useful for the kitchen. As a boy I did quite a bit of fishing in Monks Brook. With the first heavy autumn rains the salmon from the Lord Swaythling's salmon ponds came up the brook to spawn. They were quite easy to see. Walking along the river bank one would notice where the shingles of the river bed had been scraped out making a hollow of about a foot or more long. There was usually a salmon sitting in the hollow spawning, of course they were then out of season. The salmon eventually went back down stream about six weeks afterwards. I have only seen one Otter in the brook, this must have been quite thirty years or more ago.
In the early part of the century at the start of His Majesty King Edward VII's reign, he used to attend shooting parties arranged by the late Mr. Tankerville Chamberlyne, M.P., of Cranbury Park. The shoot was usually held in the Knightwood area. A small field which was called the bird field had a very large oak tree in it, under which His Majesty used to stand, the birds were driven by the keepers and other helpers in that direction to be shot by him. This tree is not far from the footpath that goes through Ford Farm and Knightwood, through the bird field to Baddesley Road at Castle Farm. This Oak Tree has since been called the King Edward the Seventh Oak.
A little deer came into the farm one day in 1894, while my brothers and sisters were at play. It went into one of the stables so my brother shut the door. He then went and told my father who was in the house. However, he said you must go and let it out, it may be being hunted by hounds. As soon as my brother opened the door it came out and jumped a five bar gate at the bottom of the yard, over another five bar gate just opposite the now Vernon and Tear shop. There were no houses or shops there at this date - 1894. It crossed the rough Hursley Road, jumped the hedge into a little four acre field and was away through Kings Meadow into the woods.
From 1885 when this was a part of Sir W. Heathcote, Baronet, Hursley Park Estate, there were quite a number of deer in the park and each tenant on the estate received a fair sized joint of venison each year.
I have been asked on many occasions with regard to the particular places in the area why certain names were given. Why Velmore Farm was given its name. In my opinion it is quite feasible owing to its location. Coming from Southampton down Hut Hill and looking over to the wood is a very long Vale or Valley. Now as this was part of the New Forest, the land was more or less moorland in the early ages but in the later years it began to be cultivated and a farmhouse was erected and it was called Velmore Farm. The same on the other side of the Southampton Road, we have Common Barn Farm, through forest land being reclaimed. Sions Hill Farm most probably received its name in the early days of the protestant and catholic revolution 'Sion' being a biblical quotation and most probably services were held in the woods in secrecy, in Sions Copse.
From the late 1890 's to the early 1920 's Chandlers Ford with its beautifully wooded area was quite a wild life sanctuary for both birds and animals. There were rabbits by the hundred until Myxamatosis was introduced. During the Second War there were still a fair number which had become immune to that disease. There were also hares, foxes, badgers (otters very rare) stoats and weasels and birds of every kind around this area. A rough list is included of the various kinds, but as the years .have passed quite a number have become almost extinct. At one time there were large flocks of plovers in this area as many as two to three hundred. A great many of them used to nest on the stoney arable land and it was possible when horse hoeing root crops to move the nests of eggs over about three or four drills placing the eggs exactly as they were. If the eggs were lying anyhow the bird would not be sitting but if they were with pointed ends in the centre she would be sitting to hatch them out. The little chicks start to run quite early. Now if the weather is very hot and dry or if food is short, and there is not cover about, the parents will carry them over to the meadow land. I had the pleasure on one occasion of watching this procedure. The parents picked up one or two of the little chicks, carried them over the railway line and put them down in a meadow. On their return for the others a sparrow hawk dived down and swooped away with a little chick. The two parents fought the hawk by dive bombing as he flew away in the direction of Eastleigh, I watched them as far as the eye could see.
Over the last three years I have only seen one pair of Plovers in this area compared to hundreds, years ago. Whether it is population or vermin I don't know but I think it is chiefly cats; they are a menace to wild life.
Another interesting item I would like to mention, was that I wanted to know what young baby moles were like, and it took me quite a number of years before I found out. They usually breed about March to May. The nest is usually in a very large mole hill. I tried opening these mounds very carefully but I found nothing in four but the fifth was just a nest. No luck that year so I tried again the following year with success. After carefully uncovering the earth I suddenly came on a nest which began to move so I raked away a little of the dried grass and there were five little white baby moles only about one inch long; so I put.the dried grass back gently and put the earth on top.
Birds seen in and around Chandlers Ford.
Water birds
Red shank*, mallard, moorhen*, kingfisher, reed bunting, willow warbler, pied wagtail*, herring gull, black headed gull, marsh tit
*very rare now

Night birds
Tawny owl, little owl, wood owl, night jar, nightingales, bats!

Crow family
Carrion crow, rook, magpie, jay

Game birds
Pheasants, partridge, wood cock, corncrake*

Birds in the Garden
Blue Tit, Robin, Bull Finch, Yellow Hammer* Great Tit, Linnet, Chaffinch, Long Tail Tit, Blackbird, Green Finch, House Sparrow, Song Thrush, Goldfinch *, Hedge Sparrow, Mistle Thrush, Golden Crested Wren, Starling, Wren, Spotted Fly Catcher (unusual), Garden Warbler, Swift, Sand Martin, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel, Swallow.
Willow Bunting
Gt. Spotted Woodpecker
Red Wing
Wood Pigeon Black Cap Turtle Dove
Wood Birds

Unusual Birds
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Lap Wing* Green Woodpecker, Dunnock Hedge Sparrow, Nut Hatch, Chiff Chaff, Common White Throat Cuckoo, Plover or Peewitt*.

Chandlers Ford in the early 19th century was a bird sanctuary. Nearly every kind of bird mentioned on this page could be seen in this area, but as the years have gone by, many have left this part owing to the decrease in woodlands and expansion of population, birds are becoming very scarce, such as Redshank, Yellow Hammer, Plover, Wood Cock, Corncrake, There are very few cuckoos, Nightingales, Moorhens, Wild Ducks, Herons and many others.
Another interesting occurrence that I watched very many years ago at the Corn sowing time in March was a ring of rooks about five yards across with one rook in the middle. There was a tremendous amount of cawing going on and it seemed to be a sort of trial on a bird who had defaulted in some way. We do know that rooks do post sentinels whilst they are feeding on young corn just struck into growth, in the spring or autumn. Whether they were trying this bird for leaving his post, however, suddenly they all attacked this bird and killed it.

Here is another interesting story of wild life in the year 1933. A wild mother duck brought a brood of young ducklings from the Kings Meadow area up the Church path across the Hursley Road and down the farm road at the church and turned in into the back garden entrance, then went into a shed. I came out of the house and saw her going in and was quite surprised as we had no ducks at that time. However, I went and looked into the shed and she started flapping her wings and hissing at me. There were two doors in the shed and I shut this side door and went around to the other one and opened it. She came out with the ducklings, about eight of them. I steered her through to a gate into the meadow along the cow road to the cattle arch, under the railway into Monks Brook. The most amusing things about this was whether she was the same mother duck and had survived two years. She brought another brood of ducklings rather larger the same way into the shed in 1935. It was quite a coincidence.
I have been asked if another interesting event was correct that quite a number of people from the village used to go along Ramally footpath as far as the Railway Bridge to watch young fox cubs playing outside their lair in the evening. They were most fascinating to watch, the lair was a very large rabbit burrow in the sandy bank on the east side of the railway line, at the west end of the now cemetery field.
This is a true story relating to a hedge sparrow which made its nest and laid four eggs in a low gooseberry bush in the kitchen garden in the year 1960. However, one day I noted that three were hedge sparrow eggs and one larger one, which was a cuckoo's. I watched this nest every day until they all hatched out, three hedge sparrows and one cuckoo. The following morning I went to see if things were alright but found only the little cuckoo in the nest, suddenly I noticed three little sparrows still alive on the ground under the gooseberry bush.
I picked them up and put them back in the nest. The little cuckoo seemed rather disturbed at this. Eventually he separated one little sparrow and started to get it on his back, although his back was as flat as an aircraft carrier. Having got the little sparrow there he turned round with its head towards the centre of the nest then started moving backwards climbing up the side of the nest with its legs and its beak pressed tight into the side until it reached the top of the nest then it gave an upward jerk and overboard went the little sparrow. It repeated the same procedure until it had them all out and then it sat in the middle of the nest quite satisfied. However, I replaced the little sparrows in the nest again and it again repeated the same procedure as before, therefore it was useless returning them to the nest again. The two parent hedge sparrows were continually carrying food until it grew quite a large bird. Suddenly one morning a cat followed me into the garden, spotted the cuckoo in the nest and before I had time to drive her out she sprang on the cuckoo and was gone. A very sad ending.

11:18 PM  

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