Barton on Sea

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Barton on Sea
Cliffs at Barton on Sea - - 111854.jpg
Cliffs at Barton on Sea
Barton on Sea is located in Hampshire
Barton on Sea
Barton on Sea
Barton on Sea shown within Hampshire
Population5,454 (2011.ward)[1]
OS grid referenceSZ244937
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNew Milton
Postcode districtBH25 7
Dialling code01425
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°44′34″N 1°39′19″W / 50.7428°N 1.6552°W / 50.7428; -1.6552Coordinates: 50°44′34″N 1°39′19″W / 50.7428°N 1.6552°W / 50.7428; -1.6552

Barton on Sea (often hyphenated as Barton-on-Sea) is a coastal village situated in Hampshire, England. As a settlement, Barton has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, although the modern village was largely built in the 20th century. It is effectively a suburb of New Milton. Barton is notable for the many fossils to be found in the Barton geological beds in the cliffs, as well as for the significant sea defences built to defend the cliffs against coastal erosion.


The area of Barton has been populated since prehistoric times. A number of bronze age funerary urns were uncovered in Barton during the early 20th century, although most of them have been lost or destroyed.[2] While Barton is a common English place-name, the etymology of Barton-on-Sea is unique. It means Beorma's Farm, and appears twice in the Domesday Book, as Bermintune and as Burmintune.[3] Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, and friend of William the Conqueror, held both Barton manors in 1086.[4]

A manor is mentioned in 1559, when John Dowce died in possession of it.[5] William Juniper acquired it soon after, and at his death it was described as the capital farm called "Barmeton".[5] In 1654, Richard Stephens, lord of Winkton Manor, is said to have owned the "site of the manor" of Barton.[5] It remained in the Stephens family until 1733, when Richard Stephens sold it to Thomas Le Marchant of the Inner Temple.[5] In 1771 John Le Marchant of Guernsey conveyed "the scite of the manor of Barton, etc.," to Edward Dampier of Corfe Castle, in whose family it remained (the last holder having taken the name of Crossley) until 1903.[5] A distinctive row of Coast Guard Cottages is to be found in Barton Lane, Barton on Sea; these were built at the end of the nineteenth century by the Government of the day to house armed guards to try to stop the smuggling that was rife at the time. The Barton on Sea and Mudeford coastline was renowned for smuggling with many of the offshore seaways and routes to shore being named after well known local smuggling families.[6]

As late as the 1880s, Barton largely consisted of two farm estates, but in the 1890s, both farms were auctioned and the estates were broken up.[7] Subsequent land sales in the period 1904-1907 allowed the full development of the village as it appears today.[7] In 1897 the first golf course was built at Barton along the cliff top, although the modern golf course at the east end of Barton dates from 1922.[7]

World War I Obelisk with an Urdu inscription

In the First World War Barton was the site of a convalescent home for Indian service men,[4] and this is commemorated by an obelisk in the village which was erected in 1917.[8] In 1927, a maternity hospital known as the Grove Maternity Hospital was founded, and where many local people were born, until the hospital closed in 1988.[9] During World War II, the sea front at Barton was made a restricted area and metal defences including a pillbox were built, in the event of a German invasion.[10]

At the east end of Barton was Becton Farm, where the famous showjumper Marion Coakes lived.[11] Her horse, Stroller, is the only pony to have competed at the Olympic Games in Show Jumping, winning an Individual Silver Medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics.[12] The pony was buried at the farm. The farm was later bought by the Barton on Sea Golf Club, and Stroller now lies underneath the golf course with a plaque over the grave.[11]

The footballers Russell Perrett,[13] Jamie Redknapp,[14] and Neil Moss,[15] were all born in Barton on Sea. Famous residents of Barton have included the novelist Beatrice Harraden;[16] the cricketer Denys Hill;[17] and the conductor Harry Norris.[18] George Campbell Wheeler who served in the British Indian Army during World War I and was awarded the Victoria Cross also lived here.[19] The GCHQ whistleblower and intelligence agency officer, Jock Kane, lived in Barton in the 1980s, where he worked as a milkman and school bus driver.[20]

Barton on Sea is effectively a suburb of the inland town, New Milton and is a very popular retirement location. Approximately 36% of the population are retired.[21] The population of Barton in the 2001 census was 6,849.[22]


Paragliders at Barton cliffs
Sea defences at Barton on Sea
Becton Bunny

The coast at Barton on Sea is particularly well known for its geological content, being home to many fossils in the Barton geological beds. The Barton Beds may give their name to the Bartonian stage of the Eocene Epoch of geological time.[23]

The beach is separated by a 34-metre-high cliff, although there are connecting paths from the village. A cliff-top path runs between Barton and the village of Milford on Sea; the Solent Way stretches to Emsworth, on the West Sussex border. It is also well known for the fact that it was the first place in England to try out rock groynes.The cliffs are frequently used for paragliding.[24] At the eastern end of the village is the Barton-On-Sea Golf Club, which is notable for comprising three loops of nine holes.[25]

Barton on Sea has had for many years a problem with coastal erosion. In the past, the cliffs have eroded away at a rate of up to 1 metre a year, and several buildings have been lost.[26] In the early 1900s the grassy promenade at the top of the cliffs was 100 metres wide, today it is around 20 metres at its furthest points.[4] The erosion was encouraged by the sea-defences added to the west at Bournemouth, thus starving Barton of the sediment needed for protecting its cliffs. Some coastal protection measures at Barton were installed in the late 1930s but fell into disrepair during World War II.[27] In 1964 a series of timber groynes and a cliff drainage system was installed along 300m of the sea-front.[27] This was followed in 1965-8 by a timber revetment backed by large rocks; an extension to the drainage system; and some rock groynes.[27] Later improvements have consisted of replacing the timber groynes with rock groynes; and replacing the timber revetment with a rock structure of dark grey limestone boulders to protect the toe of the cliff.[28] Today's cliff slip problems are largely due to inland water seepage.[4] There have been recent experiments with vegetation defences (planting shrubs, plants and trees on the cliff face) to prevent rotational cliff slump, and therefore slowing the retreat of the cliff towards land which is in use.

To the west of Barton is Naish Farm, now a holiday park, but which was once a farm estate with a history dating back to the 14th century.[5] To the west of that is Chewton, notable for the chine called Chewton Bunny running down to the sea. To the east of Barton is Becton, once a farm with a history dating back to the Domesday book – the Saxon name means "Becca's farm" – now a golf course.[29] Another chine called Becton Bunny can be found here, but it has become much reduced by coastal erosion. To the east of that are the farmlands of Taddiford ("Toad ford").


  1. ^ "New Milton Ward population 2011". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  2. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 10
  3. ^ Barton-on-Sea History Archived 12 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b c d The History of Barton-on-Sea NewForest-Online, retrieved 30 November 2010
  5. ^ a b c d e f William Page (editor), 1912, A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, Victoria County History
  6. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, pages 28-29, 39
  7. ^ a b c A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 47
  8. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 57
  9. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 95
  10. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 79
  11. ^ a b A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 48
  12. ^ Show Jumping Nostalgia - retrieved 30 November 2010
  13. ^ SoccerBase: Russell Perrett, retrieved 30 November 2010
  14. ^ Liverpool FC, Past Players, Jamie Redknapp Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., retrieved 30 November 2010
  15. ^ Bournemouth Echo 1 June 2009, retrieved 30 November 2010
  16. ^ Joanne Shattock, 1993, The Oxford guide to British women writers, page 204
  17. ^ Cricket Archive: Denys Vivian Hill, retrieved 30 November 2010
  18. ^ D'Oyly Carte Who Was Who, retrieved 30 November 2010
  19. ^ Max Arthur, 2005, Symbol of Courage: The Men Behind the Medal, page 684. Pan Macmillan
  20. ^ "Obituary: Jock Kane". The Daily Telegraph. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  21. ^ Victoria Pybus, 2008, Where to Retire in Britain, page 146 Crimson Publishing
  22. ^ Population for the Barton Ward = 5,056. Population for east Barton = 1,793. Combined total = 6849
  23. ^, retrieved 4 January 2016
  24. ^ Wessex Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Club - retrieved 29 November 2010
  25. ^ Barton-on-Sea Golf Club Archived 24 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Archived 24 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine., retrieved 14 August 2011
  26. ^ Eric Bird, 2010, Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms, page 430. Springer
  27. ^ a b c Janet M. Hooke, 1998, Coastal defence and earth science conservation, page 251.
  28. ^ Ian West, 2010, Barton, Highcliffe and Christchurch Bay - History of and Future of Coast Erosion and Sea Defences - retrieved 29 November 2010
  29. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 13

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