Starting at All Saints Church and walking towards and through the Square there are many notable buildings, which provide an insight into Botley’s and local families past.
All Saints Church
James Warner, Lord of the manor of Botley provided the land for this new church to be built in the 1830s. The building was consecrated in August 1836, with seven hundred people attending the ceremony. There are a number of very interesting features within the church, one being the clock in the tower which came from William Cobbett’s home, Botley House, before it was demolished. The font is thought to be of great antiquity as it was apparently dug up near Fairthorne Manor in about 1740.
In the churchyard is the War Memorial which is a tribute to the thirty three men of the parish of Botley killed serving their country during the First World War.
Portland Villa, as it was first known, was built circa 1866. At this time there was an island in the gravelled drive, which horse-drawn vehicles could use to turn around. The identity of the original owners is unknown but in 1903 a Captain George Barrington Price lived here and was still recorded as being resident four years later.
It has been the home of two of Botley's well known families - Mrs Pern, wife of the first Dr Pern, lived here in the late 1920s, and, from the 1930s, Alfred Maffey and his family of six daughters and two sons, were resident for over forty years.
The core of the building comprises two Elizabethan cottages and there is evidence in the dining room and staircase that it was built in the reign of Queen Anne. The house was substantially modified in the Georgian period when the front was added.
The house is largely associated with the Guillaume family who lived here from 1782 to 1936. The Guillaumes were coal and timber merchants and owned a large part of Botley Quay. In the 1850s, William Edward Guillaume manufactured hoops from locally grown saplings.
Another Botley House, built in 1790 was situated on the west bank of the River Hamble opposite Botley Mills and was the home of William Cobbett from 1805 to 1812. It was demolished in the mid nineteenth century but some of the out buildings still remain. These can be seen from on the left hand side of Church Lane and also from behind the property called Cobbett’s Cottage.
The building next to the Market Hall, currently an Italian restaurant, can be dated back to 1780 from an original certificate which has pride of place in the delightful upper bar area. The document is from the reign of King George stating the property was known as 'Rainsbourne' and the various changes of ownership have been listed as barrel making, butchers and slaughterhouse during the 1800's. In 1860 the house became the property of William Bailey, the first of three generations of the family to live here. William was a builder and became the first superintendent of the Market Hall, a position also held by his son, Frederick and grandson, Arthur. The family served the village for nearly 100 years as builders, undertakers and ironmakers.
Since the 1960s, the property has been successively, an antique shop, a French and Italian restaurant.
The Market Hall
A Royal Warrant was granted in 1226 to John de Bottelie, Lord of the Manor, to hold a weekly market and annual fair. Little is known of the success of this venture but there was mention of it in the records of 1609. However it certainly was not in existence in the 18th Century. James Warner of Steeple Court, later Lord of the Manor, was instrumental in re-establishing a corn market in 1830 and became its first market bailiff. He saw the need for an administrative centre for the market, and in 1835, he purchased the house and the garden next to the Dolphin Hotel for this purpose. In 1848 the Market house was built there, costing £700, which was funded by himself and by the people who frequented the market. It was the venue for farmer’s club dinners where one of the delicacies served was Botley Plum Pudding. Click here for a recipe.
The clock tower was added in 1898 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
The use of the Hall declined in the early 1900s but today the village uses the Market Hall, for a wide range of activities and meetings.
The Catherine Wheel
The Catherine Wheel was probably the first public house in Botley. Like other inns in the village it was a coaching inn, as the arched entrance at the side testifies. It is first mentioned in records of 1545 and was listed in the early nineteenth century trade directories as one of five public houses trading in the square. .
It was bought by the Church of England Temperance Society in 1882, with major contributions from Mrs Lee, the Rector's wife, and Henry Jenkyns of Botley Hill House, and was rebuilt and enlarged to become a temperance hotel and coffee house.
During the Second World War the accommodation was used for troops and evacuees.
The grocery and sweet shop, which it had become under the supervision of Bert Earwicker, continued to prosper under the new owners, Mr and Mrs Taylor
In 1980 it was bought by Mr Peter Fagg and was converted to a bakery and remained very popular until it closed in 2003.
Some of the stones used in the building are claimed to have been brought to Botley by river barges, which used them as ballast!
Mill Hill Cottages
This is one of the earliest surviving properties in Botley Square, and is believed to be of 16th or 17th century origins.
The blackened internal roof timbers and smoke gablet at the western gable end of the house indicate that the building was originally built with no ceiling to the hall.
In the 18th Century, the building was used as an inn, as were many other properties in Botley at that time. It was known as "The Gate Hangs High" and reputedly a sign of a miniature five-barred gate hung outside with the words:
"This gate hangs high and hinders none, Refresh and pay and travel on".
It is likely that milling has taken place in Botley for well over a thousand years. It is thought that Botley had a pre-Roman settlement and the Domesday Book mentions a previous Saxon owner of the Mills, however, 1086 is the earliest documentation showing this site to have been used for this purpose.
There were probably two waterwheels which each drove a pair of stones, hence it has always been referred to as Botley Mills and not Mill. Two notable owners in such a long history have been the Mortimer family, and Thomas Wriothesly (who became Earl of Southampton in the 16th century). Eventually the Manor and the Mills passed to the Dukes of Portland, who leased it for 250 years to various tenant millers.
In the 1830s the company traded in coal as a sideline to grain, where boats were able to reach the mills from the river Hamble during favourable tides. During the 19th century handmade paper was manufactured at the mills, but this was very small scale and had ceased by 1848.
In 1928, the mills were sold to the Appleby family. Today milling is undertaken elsewhere and the Mill Building is currently being restored and will feature a museum.
In Cobbett’s day, this house was called ‘Botley Hill’. It was rented by Cobbett along with 106 acres of farmland on his release from Newgate prison in 1812. He lived there until 1817.
Richard Chevenix Trench, the first Curate of Curdridge Chapel of Ease lived here in 1835. He was to become the Archbishop of Dublin.
There was probably a hard or quay at Botley in the medieval period and it was a significant river port during the 18th and 19th centuries. Records in the early 19th century show that there were substantial timber yards and wharves here as well as a bark store and a shed where mast hoops were steamed and bent. At these wharves, timber and underwood were loaded onto small vessels for the journey down river and coming from the opposite direction, coal and building materials were unloaded, including stones used in the building of All Saint’s Church in the High Street.
Today it is a beautiful and tranquil corner of Botley and one of the few public access points to the river.
Steeple Court Manor
Situated on Church lane approx 1/4 mile from Botley Square. The original Manor of Botley was given to John de Bottelie by William the Conqueror. The house as it stands today dates from Elizabethan times, although it may be as old as 15th Century. William Cobbett often visited Steeple Court to meet his good friend James Warner, who was Lord of the Manor. The House passed to Squire Jenkyns whose wife was an Austen-Leigh and was related to the author Jane Austen.
St. Bartholomew’s Church
Up until 1836, this 13th century Norman Church was the main church for the villagers of Botley. But with the village growing and moving north, the church was no longer large enough and a letter of complaint was sent highlighting the inconvenience that the fields and stiles caused for women and the elderly.
Originally called All Saints, it was rededicated to St Bartholomew when the new church of All Saints was built in the western part of the village. At the end of the 18th century, the structure of the Old Church was damaged by a tree fall and instead of rebuilding, the damaged part was removed and a new end wall constructed.