Historic trail: Carters Lane
This route takes in St John The Apostle Church, the distinctive Marchwood CE Infant School and the site of the parsonage built for the first vicar of Marchwood, Thomas Martelli. All three projects were funded by Horatio Francis Kingsford Holloway, who bought the 500-acre Marchwood Lodge estate in 1834. The estate’s history includes use as a factory in WW2, a preparatory school and a pony trekking centre, until it was purchased by the Priory Hospital Group in 1987. Another point of interest is Birchlands Farm, which was owned by the Bishops of Winchester until at least the early 1900s and is still a working farm.
The Carters Lane route is a preview of one of five new self-guided walks we are developing along existing rights of way in and around the New Forest National Park. All landowners have and are being contacted. However, if you’re a landowner of one or more of these rights of way but have not heard from us yet, please get in touch.
NPA Archaeologist Gareth Owen talks us through the route and its rich history, revealed with the help of volunteers.
Walk west down Main Road from the centre of Marchwood, past St John The Apostle Church, which was built for £8,300 in 1843 and is now worth £500,000.
Go around the bend onto Hythe Road and turn right onto Twiggs Lane. On the left is the distinctive pyramid of Marchwood CE Infant School, which replaced the two original school rooms – one for boys and one for girls – built in 1854.
Cross the bypass at the pedestrian lights, where there is some limited car parking on an abandoned section of Twiggs Lane. The main trail goes down the lane for about 250 metres and turns left on the driveway towards Dunclagh. Dunclagh is on the site of the old parsonage, the residence built for the first vicar of Marchwood, Thomas Martelli, for £1,840 in 1843. A new vicarage was built nearer the church in the early 1960s.
All three of the projects above were funded by Horatio Francis Kingsford Holloway, who bought the 500-acre Marchwood Lodge Estate in 1834. The estate is marked on Greenwood’s 1826 map as Marchwood Lodge, though the Eling Tythe map in 1843 shows it as Kitt’s House. Originally a yeoman’s farmhouse, it was rebuilt in about 1816.
Horatio acquired the Georgian mansion, complete with stables, coach housing, pleasure gardens, walled kitchen garden, carriage drive and lodge. At a later date, a farm and lake were established, an icehouse built, and another 200 acres bought.
The story of the Martelli/Holloway family’s contribution to Marchwood is worth further research. So too is the decline of the elegant mansion after 1938. During WW2 it was a factory for components for motor torpedo boats, then a preparatory school and a pony trekking centre until it was purchased by the Priory Hospital Group in 1987. The last remaining seven acres of estate are not open to the public, but the northern loop of the path is through the adjoining woodland.
The Parsonage mentioned above is noted on OS maps from 1860s as being on Beacon Hill. J Norden’s map of 1595 shows a beacon in this area, though this is not verifiable. Milne’s map of 1791 names Beacon Hill clearly. The Marchwood Wikipedia entry reports that signals from here could reach both eastern and western ends of the Isle of Wight, but the link to the source of that statement is no longer valid. Visibility is now obscured by woodland.
Based on theories detailed by Ivan D Margary, the Roman road from Dibden to Lepe might run through the Marchwood Lodge grounds. An online diagram shows that road being close to Beacon Hill. Other authorities have alternative views.
Our trail goes south from the end of the drive past Dunclagh, via a hedged track and then through a copse, to the land farmed by the Dovey family at Birchlands. Documents at the Hampshire Record Office (HRO) indicate that the freeholders of Birchlands Farm, until at least the early 1900s, were the Bishops of Winchester.
Richard Parke is noted as an occupier of the farm in 1789. Census returns from 1851 record farmers with small holdings of 10 to 20 acres and just one of 95 acres. There were changes in the tenancies at each census until the Ghey family took over the major holding from 1881 to at least 1911. Birchlands Farm, with 205 acres and six cottages, was put up for sale in 1945.
This route is a preview of one of five new self-guided walks we are developing along existing rights of way in and around the New Forest National Park.
If you’d like to contribute memories or stories to this trail, get in touch with Gareth Owen on 01590 646652 or Gareth.Owen@newforestnpa.gov.uk.
The research for this route has been done as part of the Historic Routes and Past Pathways project, which is part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Our Past, Our Future scheme.
All landowners have and are being contacted. However, if you’re a landowner of one or more of these rights of way but have not heard from us yet, please get in touch.