Tag Archives: Split Tone

Another direction…

Blessed with good weather, the east, in the form of Bedhampton, beckoned. The village, its population, resources and value are recorded in the Domesday Book.  Completed in 1086, it also records the existence of a church. The present day church of St Thomas has architectural detail (the chancel arch) dating back to around 1140.

For all that, it  is the yew tree in the churchyard that fascinates most. No concrete proof of its age, but as an ancient yew, it is several centuries old. It is thought to be over 600 years old, and if so would have potentially borne witness to the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history; The Black Death, which reached Europe in the late 1340s, lingering on for centuries, particularly in cities. Outbreaks included the Great Plague of London (1665-66).

St Thomas Churchyard, Bedhampton… [Image © John Callaway 2020]

A little further on, a footpath running parallel to the railway line takes you  under Mill Lane, the name of the road a reminder of an earlier time.The description in the Hampshire Advertiser (19 December 1846) is less than succinct…

“The most remarkable of all the railway works between Chichester and Portsmouth is a bridge over the line, erected at a cost of £6,000, for the sole accommodation of Messrs. H. and J. Snook, of Bedhampton Mill, the extent and importance of whose business may be in some measure inferred from their having made choice of this mode of access to its principal seat, rather than accept offers, really munificent, made by the Company for a level crossing.

The bridge consists of seventeen arches, and is all the more noticeable and costly for the obliquity of its angle with the railway. We understand that the gentlemen for whose use it is made secured this compliance with their views and wishes by an agreement, made while the Bill was in Parliament, which they would otherwise have opposed”. 

Mill Lane Railway Bridge… [Image © John Callaway 2020]

And finally, after walking alongside Portsmouth Water land, emerging alongside Hermitage stream, fed by spring water from the South Downs. The Bedhampton and Havant spring complex in Hampshire is evidently one of the best examples of chalk karst springs in the UK. There’s more information here for the geologically inclined, but the short version is that this is how Portsmouth gets its water…

Hermitage Stream… [Image © John Callaway 2020]

As a certain Mr Stewart once sang…