Mudeford shown within Dorset
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||01202 or 01425|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Mudeford // was originally a small fishing village in the borough of Christchurch, Dorset southern England, lying at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour. The River Mude (which starts from Poors Common in Bransgore, Hampshire) and Bure Brook (which starts from Nea Meadows in Highcliffe, Dorset) flow into the harbour there. In recent times the boundaries of Mudeford have expanded and include modern housing. Approximately 4000 people now live in the area giving a population density of roughly 24 persons per hectare.
Mudeford includes two woodland areas (known as Mudeford Woods and Peregrine Woods), a recreation ground on the north side of Stanpit (used to play cricket since the 19th century, probably as far back as the 1860s) and All Saints Church (built in 1869 as a gift by Mortimer Ricardo, who lived at Bure Homage House).
The village is home to both Mudeford Infants School and Mudeford Junior School.
Mudeford Quay was constructed in the late 1940s. Prior to this, The Haven, as it was then known was surrounded by sloping beaches. The Run then was much wider than it is now and the area was subject to terrible erosion. So much so that Christchurch Council purchased the whole area in 1945. Five years later the area had been raised and reinforced with steel piles and concrete.
Today the quay which consists of The Haven Inn public house, a number of ex-fishermans' cottages and a large car park is still used by local fishing boats as well as being a base for many water sports. A RNLI inshore lifeboat station is located on the quay.
In 1809, a troopship carrying 100 soldiers returning from the Peninsular War, sank in Christchurch Bay. The whole complement was saved by fishermen from the village. A specially built lifeboat was stationed at Mudeford from 1802, privately owned and manned by the local fisherman. It was subsumed by the RNLI in 1962 and in June 1963 a new inflatable boat was delivered. Between 1963 and 1995, the Mudeford Lifeboat was launched 766 times and rescued 308 people.
The Mudeford ferry operates between the Quay and Mudeford Sandbank on Hengistbury Head. The ferry was until the 1960s operated by rowing boats with payment being at the discretion of the passenger. Mudeford Quay is at the entrance to the Harbour known as "The Run". The area was historically much involved in smuggling and the site in 1784 of The Battle of Mudeford. George III is recorded as having visited Mudeford in 1801 and using a bathing machine.
Historically part of Christchurch, Mudeford Spit was sold to Bournemouth Borough Council in 1935. It is the larger of the two features, the other being the Haven, that almost encloses Christchurch Harbour, leaving the water within to exit through a narrow channel known as The Run. Formed by sand and shingle brought around Hengistbury Head by longshore drift and pushed towards the shore by waves from the east, the spit is the most mobile of Dorset's geographical features. Prior to the construction of the long groyne at Hengistbury Head in 1938, it tended to grow steadily in a north-easterly direction and on occasion stretched as far Steamer Point and Highcliffe Castle; most notably in 1880. It has been breached a number of times naturally; 1883, 1911, 1924, 1935 and once deliberately in the 17th century when an attempt was made to construct another entrance to the harbour. After the last breaching in 1935, the end of the spit broke off and drifted towards the beach at Friars Cliff where it formed a lagoon. The groyne built in 1938 to protect Hengistbury Head from erosion had an adverse effect on the spit as it prevented movement of material around it. The spit began to erode due to wave action from the east and many attempts have been made since to stabilise the situation. Small seawalls were constructed on the spit in the 1960s and a large number of rubble groynes were put down during the 1980s.
The Beach huts, located on Mudeford Spit, can be reached on foot or land train from the Hengistbury Head side of the harbour, or by the Ferry from Mudeford Quay. Also on the spit is the "Black House", a local landmark. Although it features in a number of local smuggling legends, it was only built in 1848 for the manager of the Hengistbury Head Mining Company, and therefore these tales are unlikely to be true.
Sandhills was the holiday home of Sir George Rose, Member of Parliament and close friend and advisor to the prime minister William Pitt. It was built on the beach at Mudeford and Sir George's other great friend, King George III stayed there on a number of occasions, helping to promote Christchurch as a tourist destination. Sandhills, Mudeford was also home to George Rose's two sons: Sir George Henry Rose, politician and diplomat, and William Rose, poet. Field Marshal Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn, GCB, GCSI, son of George Henry Rose also spent time living at the family home. Sandhills is now a holiday park owned by Park Holidays UK with static caravans in the grounds but the house still remains although it has been converted to flats. In the 1940s and 1950s Sandhills was used as a school annexed to Mudeford School.
Gundimore is a house near Avon Beach built in 1796 for the poet William Rose. Visitors to the house included fellow poets Coleridge and Southey. Sir Walter Scott stayed there while writing his epic poem Marmion. The building is of the most unusual design, said to have been built in the shape of a Turkish tent, complete with gilt Arabic inscriptions to remind the original owner of his travels in the east. It consisted of a centre section and 2 wings. The centre section has 5 windows with a large curved centre bay with a shallow pitched, conical roof. At the south west corner of this bay is a round, 2 storey turret, shaped like a squat house with the upper storey almost completely glazed. The north eastern wing is now Scott's Cottage. Rose is believed to have designed at least part of the house himself.
Other historic buildings still in existence
- Mudeford House (later Avonmouth Hotel and Christchurch Harbour Hotel) Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/39 Grid Reference: SZ1807892118
- Waterford Lodge (later Waterford Lodge Hotel)
- Elmhurst which was built in 1870 (renamed The Anchorage in 1889). It was changed from a holiday home for the wealthy to a teacher convalescence home in 1929 and is still today used for that purpose. It was however requisitioned during World War II for the war effort. Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/234 Grid Reference: SZ1863592089.
- Sandford Hotel (later The Moorings). The hotel doubled up as the Mudeford post office in Victorian times. Sandford Hotel opened in 1835. Grade 2* Listed. DoE Reference: 3/40. Grid Reference: SZ1828692064.
- An early Victorian pillar box is still in use close to The Moorings. It dates back to 1856. Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/226 Grid Reference: SZ1830892068.
- The Nelson Tavern
Bure Homage House
On the outskirts of the original Mudeford village, close to the course of Bure Brook, was an imposing mansion called Bure Homage House with a large associated estate which included Friars Cliff. It was built at the start of the 19th century, replacing Bure Farmhouse, by Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay. In 1837, it was sold to Sophie Dawes, a renowned smuggler who became a French Baroness. During World War II, it was used as an officers mess by the 405th Fighter Group who operated at RAF Christchurch. After the war it was used for a while by the Signals Research and Development Establishment. It was demolished in 1957. It was situated in the area which is now called Bure Homage Gardens, and accessed via the lodge which is still to be seen opposite the Waterford Hotel. It was associated with the nearby Highcliffe Castle which was built later between 1831 and 1835. The land is now occupied by residential housing.
Christchurch Airfield, which had an important role in World War II as RAF Christchurch, covered the fringes of Mudeford, but was mainly in the neighbouring district of Somerford. Since the airfield complex was demolished in 1966, it was largely replaced with residential housing and the boundary of Mudeford has expanded to include it.
- Sir George Rose (1744–1818), Member of Parliament and close friend and advisor to the prime minister William Pitt, built a home, 'Sandhills', at Mudeford. His other great friend, King George III stayed there on a number of occasions, helping to promote Christchurch as a tourist destination.
- Sandhills, Mudeford was also home to George Rose's two sons: Sir George Henry Rose (1771–1855), politician and diplomat, and William Rose (1775–1843), poet.
- Field Marshal Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn, GCB, GCSI, (1801–1885) son of George Henry Rose also spent time living at the family home.
Stanpit village is a historic area along the southern boundary of current day Mudeford. The Stanpit road connects from the end of the original Mudeford road through to Purewell Cross. Along part of the south west side of Stanpit road is Stanpit Marsh.
Somerford is a historical district of Christchurch that borders with Mudeford and is intersected by the Somerford Road (B3059). Somerford was named after a ford over the River Mude which was only passable in summertime - its approximate site is that of the current day Somerford Roundabout.
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- Christchurch Historic Urban Character Area 18 Somerford Housing Estates & Former Airfield
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- Mudeford-Quay.com - An information website for locals and visitors to Mudeford
- Our Forgotten Regency Resort
- Smuggling around Mudeford
- MUDEFORD QUAY CONSERVATION AREA APPRAISAL & MANAGEMENT PLAN ADOPTED MAY 2008
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