The town centre
Hedge End shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Hedge End|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Hedge End Town Council|
Hedge End is a town and civil parish located in Hampshire in England. It is situated to the east of the City of Southampton, adjoining the districts of West End and Botley. Hedge End lies within the Borough of Eastleigh and is part of the Southampton Urban Area.
The earliest history of the area now known as Hedge End is lost in the Dark Ages. There are few records. The Belgae tribe inhabited this area prior to the Roman conquest. The Roman Road that ran from Clausentum (Southampton) to Portus Adurni (Portchester Castle) and Noviomagus Reginorum (Chichester) is known to pass through the area. There is also a record that dates the crossing of the River Itchen at Mansbridge and the crossing of the River Hamble at Botley to AD932. The road that linked those two river crossings would have followed the approximate route of the modern Grange Road. There is therefore evidence of travellers passing through the Hedge End area prior to the Norman Conquest. From Mansbridge, it is only 4 miles (6.4 km) to the port of Southampton and 12 miles (19 km) to Winchester. At that time, Winchester was the capital of England. Formerly, it was the capital of Wessex. The route through the Hedge End area towards the town of Portchester would therefore have been an important one. Kings of England owned land here originally known as King's Forest, now King's Copse, which was used for hunting.
Farming at the Manor of Shamblehurst is mentioned in a record dating to 1219 Although this area is within the boundary of modern Hedge End, the original Hamlet of Hedge End first established itself on Botley Common. This land was granted to the men of Botley as common pasture in 1250. That area is towards the bottom of the hill that rises up to Netley Common and is rich with natural streams and springs. Prior to the Erection of Cottages Act 1588, an Englishman could build his house on common land if he could raise the roof over his head and have a fire in the hearth between sunrise and sunset and claim the dwelling as his home. That procedure and the presence of a reliable water supply would have allowed a few dwellings to become established on Botley Common from 1250 onwards.
In 1267, Royal charters allowed Botley to hold an annual fair and a weekly market. It became a market town, with people from the neighbouring Manors buying and selling goods there. The inhabitants of Botley Common would have found the proximity of that market and the mills at Botley and Bursledon to be conveniently situated.
The origin of the name Hedge End is not known for certain, but it was clearly in use by the beginning of the 18th century. There is an explicit reference to Hedge End in a Court Baron held at Botley Manor on 19 May 1735, concerning the tenancy of a cottage and garden at Hedge End. There is further reference to dating to 1764 concerning a £10 fine for taking in part of the common at Hedge End. Hedge End is also marked on a 1759 map of Southampton.
The Enclosure Acts ended the system of open farming on common land. Such land was required to be fenced in and title-deeded. This allowed a number of farms to establish themselves in the Hedge End area during the late 18th and 19th centuries.
Growing into a village
Northam road was opened in 1799, with a Tollgate at Hedge End. In 1839, another new road was built to provide access to the Floating Bridge at Woolston. This new road cut through the centre of Botley Common, opening the way for further development. In modern Hedge End this is St. Johns Road.
An Enclosure Act of 1863–1865 formally divided Botley Common into plots. Some plots were used for development, 2 acres (8,100 m2) were for Allotments and 3 acres (12,000 m2) were assigned to the Lord of the Manor, William Warner to be used for a Recreation Ground.
A sub-Post Office was established on 2 August 1894. Hedge End was constituted a civil Parish at its inaugural meeting on 14 December 1894. In 1895, the Parish took over responsibility for the recreation ground. The Recreation ground between St Johns Road and Bursledon road is all that remains of Botley Common.
In the late 19th Century, Hedge End, like many neighbouring villages in the area, was a strawberry growing area. Its produce was despatched to London and Scotland by train service from Botley station.
St. John's Room was built in 1907, which was the Church Hall until the Underhill Centre (Named after the Reverend Mervyn Spenser Underhill, Vicar of St Johns Church 1961-1994) was opened in 2002. St. John's Room now serves as a day nursery for small children.
In 1943 and 1944, during the buildup to D-Day and the invasion of Europe, Hedge End was on the outermost edge of a huge marshalling site set up in Hampshire by the military, known as Area C Hedge End was actually part of sub-area Z within Area C with the nearest camp, camp C3, located at Netley Common. St Johns Road and Upper Northam Road are shown on a military map dated 1 May 1944 as being operational routes for the flow of military vehicles around the area. Upper Northam Road is also recorded on that map as being used as a vehicle park.
Becoming a town
Development of another new road, the M27 motorway enabled Hedge End to expand further in the final two decades of the 20th century, although as a Southampton suburb, rapid development had commenced in the two decades before the arrival of the motorway.
Hedge End is situated near Junctions 7 and 8 of the M27 motorway. With good access to the new infrastructure, there was rapid expansion of the village with office parks, out-of-town superstores and new residential areas.
The most recent major development in Hedge End has been that of Grange Park, situated to the North and East of the village centre. It has continued to grow extensively for several years, and now includes an extensive public park at Dowd's Farm. In the early 1990s the village gained Hedge End railway station, a stop on the Eastleigh-Portsmouth line. In 1992 the Parish Council renamed itself as a Town Council.
On 22 May 2011 Marwell Wildlife was called in by Hampshire Constabulary to advise how to tranquilise a white tiger lurking in grass in the village. The tiger turned out to be a life-size cuddly toy.
The population grew rapidly from an estimated 1,000 in the 1950s to around 17,978 in 2001.
New residential areas are still under development. The Hedge End population has continued to grow, and now exceeds 20,000, with new houses having been built at the former Dodd's Farm site adjacent to Grange Park, next to Kings Copse and Cranbourne Park.
The nearby village of Botley was better established than Hedge End, but when the M27 was built, living close to the new motorway became more desirable. For this reason Botley has not grown as much as Hedge End, and is projected to shrink between 2001 and 2012[clarification needed]
In 2005 an oil company sought permission to search for oil reserves. These have not been exploited, due to their proximity to the residential area. The company is still, as of February 2010, seeking ways to access the oil.
Catering for the growth in population, new community facilities have been provided, including a library and a golf centre. A children's paddling pool has been built on the recreation ground that was once part of Botley Common.
A community theatre/cinema called the Berry Theatre has been built at Wildern School with support from Eastleigh Borough Council. A new professional theatre on the site, funded by the Borough and Town Councils, with seating up to 300 members of the local community, was completed in 2011. The Berry Theatre has gained a strong reputation in its opening months for drama, comedy, music, dance and film.
Hedge End Carnival
The Hedge End Carnival is one of the oldest carnivals still in existence in this part of Hampshire. The first Carnival was held in 1921, and raised money to pay for the services of a nurse, as there were no medical facilities in Hedge End at that time. Records do not exist to show whether or not a Carnival took place every year and it is thought that during the Second World War, the Carnival did not take place. The Carnival takes place the first Saturday in July, and the week leading up to Carnival Day sees a variety of events and entertainment organised by the Hedge End Carnival Committee, including a quiz night, dog show, whist drive, Bingo, heritage walks, and children's sports day. Other events throughout the year include a Senior Citizens' lunch in October, open to all pensioners in Hedge End; a Fireworks Fiesta and Fun Fair in November; and quiz nights. On Carnival Day, the Carnival Queen is crowned by a local dignitary, and leads the Carnival procession, accompanied by the Carnival Court consisting of princes and princesses, as well as the Senior Carnival Queen, through the streets of Hedge End. All profits raised by the Carnival and associated events are donated to local voluntary and charity organisations. According to the Constitution of the Hedge End Carnival Committee, all money raised must be used to benefit the people of Hedge End.
The town is served by Wildern Secondary School which currently has around 1800 pupils. The Wildern site, on Wildern Lane near the town centre, houses a high-tech media facility known as the "d.@rt Centre" (d.@rt representing "Digital Art"). It also has a recently renovated sports centre which serves the local community with a large sports hall, indoor heated swimming pool, toddlers' swimming pool, gym facilities and a professional dance studio. The school also has a £250,000 Multi Use Games Area (MUGA), an all-weather surface similar to Astroturf.
Shamblehurst Primary School is adjacent to the Wildern site. Freegrounds Infant and Junior School's occupy a shared site on the other side of the town centre. King Copse Primary School is also in Hedge End, located near the Cranbourne Park area. Kings Copse Primary School recently underwent a complete rebuild and opened in September 2008 as a state-of-the-art school. It boasts many modern facilities and provides a stunning learning environment for its pupils.
An additional primary school, Wellstead, opened at Dowd's Farm in Grange Park in April 2008 built nearly 20 years after Berrywood Primary School, which was the first primary built in the Grange Park area.
The town has its own non-profit radio station — Skyline on 102.5FM — which exists to promote and support community organisations and events. Broadcasts reach people in Hedge End, nearby Botley, West End and beyond. Founded by David Gates, Skyline was initially funded by grants and now relies on advertising from local businesses. This aims to cover the necessary running costs, i.e. radio licensing, utility bills and performing-rights fees for the music played on air. Skyline produces a wide variety of programmes — rock, country, pop, local bands, easy listening — and regularly features interviews from local community groups from the arts, environment and altruistic societies. All of the people involved in the station are unpaid volunteers. As of 10 February 2007, Skyline streams live on the internet.
In 2008 following a number of unsuccessful takeover attempts, presenter Mike Green bought the station which continues to broadcast its original blend of music.
The award-winning Performing Arts Company rehearses Sunday and Monday nights in the HEYCA (Hedge End Youth and Community) centre, formerly St. Johns School,. opposite the former Fountain pub. Recent shows include Fame, Buddy, Footloose and Guys & Dolls, all of which have been met with popular support and positive reviews from the local media. The group has been active for nearly twenty years and started producing shows at Wildern School. Following a long period performing at the Eastpoint Centre in Thornhill, the company progressed to The Point in Eastleigh, before moving to The Berry Theatre which is situated on the Wildern School site in Hedge End. In November 2012, the company returns to The Berry for the pantomime 'Alice in Pantoland'.
- The Changing Face of Hedge End. Joyce B Blyth
- Ordnance Survey
- King Athelstans's Charter, AD932
- A tale of two villages. Bill Lyon. 1992. ISBN 0-86146-085-3
- London Gazette, 29 February 1876
- Southampton and D-Day. Ingrid Peckham. 1994. ISBN 1-872649-04-1
- Hampshire and D-Day. Martin Doughty. ISBN 1-85741-047-5
- Local Heritage initiative website
- Southampton. An Illustrated History. Adrian Rance. 1986. ISBN 0-903852-95-0
- Gabbatt, Adam (22 May 2011). "White Tiger Toy Scare Causes Hampshire Police Alert". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Hampshire County Environment Department's 2005 based Small Area Population Forecasts http://www.hants.gov.uk/factsandfigures/eastleighpop2005-12.html
- Skyline Community Radio 102.5 MHz FM