Highfield church

26 October 2017

With our coffee and cakes finished we bade a last sad farewell to the Costa in Portswood and walked on towards Highfield. Like most of the city, outside the centre, this was once a rural area and the name, at least according to old maps, originated from a bastardisation of Hayfield. That there were fields is in no doubt and, as the road rises up towards the Common, they were undoubtedly high fields too so the name is quite apt. Today Highfield is home to the main University Campus, built on an old brickfield. This was not what we’d come to see though. Continue reading Highfield church

An ancient chapel, a blister and a long hard walk

7 February 2017

And so we limped away from the duckpond towards the place I’d really been heading for all along. Well, I limped anyway. The huge, spiny tree trunk in my boot gave me a sharp pain whenever I put my foot down and I was convinced there’d be a puddle of blood when I finally took the boot off. CJ still had no real idea what we were about to see but I did and the memory of the tranquil little church went a long way towards making up for the pain in my foot.  Continue reading An ancient chapel, a blister and a long hard walk

St Mary’s church Southampton, survival against the odds

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28 January 2016

There was a time when I passed St Mary’s Church in Southampton every day at least once but I’d never seen it with the doors open before so I’d never been inside. Today I had a couple of appointments in town and the plan was to have a wander along St Mary’s Street and take photos for a post about this interesting area of the city in between. When I saw the open door though, I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a look inside the mother church of Southampton. Continue reading St Mary’s church Southampton, survival against the odds

One door closes, another opens

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5 January 2016

With a feeling of disappointment, CJ and I turned to leave St Edward the Confessor church. We’d expected to see stones from Netley Abbey at the base of the tower but there were none. I’d hoped to find a longer footpath but I hadn’t. We were heading back to the path and the gates when I saw what I thought were gargoyles at the base of the arch of one of the doors. A closer look, showed there was no pipe for water to come out so technically they were chimeras or bosses, used to frighten evil spirits. They were quite badly weathered but I took a picture of the best one anyway. This was when I noticed the door was open. It felt like my lucky day after all.
Continue reading One door closes, another opens

Footpaths, stained glass and a thousand year old tree

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18 November 2015

This morning there was a break in the rain and a hint of sun between the dark clouds. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss so I grabbed the car keys and my walking boots. CJ who doesn’t like to miss an opportunity to get out, especially if it might mean conning me out of a coffee, tagged along for the ride. Over breakfast I’d worked out a route and even found a couple of likely parking places and somewhere to stop for that coffee. It all looked suspiciously like a plan. Continue reading Footpaths, stained glass and a thousand year old tree

St Bartholomews, beauty in simplicity

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16 August 2015

After several minutes of dithering, looking at Google Maps on my phone and wondering if there was something I was missing, I decided the only thing to do was to carry on along Brook Lane. Maybe I’d find a path that I couldn’t see from the map and, if not, I’d just have to walk back to Botley Village. Just the thought of it was disappointing, especially as I’d worked out a route home based on finding the church and I’d have to walk back the way I came if I couldn’t. So I turned the corner and carried on, looking to my left hopefully, thinking I might spot the church or a gate or something. There was nothing but trees. Continue reading St Bartholomews, beauty in simplicity

An invitation I couldn’t refuse

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19 April 2015

Some time ago I had a comment on my blog, followed up by an email, about an organised walk. It was from a man I’d never met, a local councillor, occasional contributer to the Southampton Heritage Page and, it turns out, reader of my blog. As you know, I mostly walk alone and I’m not a great fan of organised walks. This one was in an area I knew very well, or thought I did, but the words history and nature jumped off the page. It sounded like an invitation I couldn’t refuse and when I spotted a poster for the very same walk on my way back from Lakeside last week it seemed like an omen. Continue reading An invitation I couldn’t refuse

sales, sails and a spooky tale – first published 27 December 2012

Notice I let Commando go first
Notice I let Commando go first

Sometimes you walk past a place again and again without ever realising the secrets it’s hiding. The day after Boxing Day Commando and I walked down to see Commando Senior and he showed me one of his boyhood haunts. That was when I found out the little church on Peartree Green hid a grizzly secret. Continue reading sales, sails and a spooky tale – first published 27 December 2012

Botley, at last and a church to explore

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18 Jauary 2015

Botley began life as a Saxon village and the name means Botta’s leah, or a clearing in a forest belonging to a man named Botta. When the Romans built a road between Chichester and Clausentum, where my village now is, it passed Botley and a settlement grew up around the small Saxon one. Although I’ve visited it once or twice, mostly I’ve just driven through on the way to somewhere else and I’ve never really explored it properly. This turns out to be a terrible omission on my part because it has a lot to offer. Continue reading Botley, at last and a church to explore