Funtley shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Funtley – from the Anglo-Saxon, "Funtaleg", meaning "Springs", formerly Fontley – is a village in the north of the borough of Fareham, Hampshire, England. The village originally grew from the development of a clay quarry, the clay used to make chimney pots and bricks—the famous Fareham Red. The bricks were widely used, most famously in the construction of the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Sometimes still known as 'Fontley' by locals, the village is no longer a discrete settlement owing to the post-World War II expansion of Fareham, and is now a suburb separated from the main conurbation by the M27 motorway. The brickworks long closed, the clay quarry is now a fishing lake, and only the village pub, The Miners Arms, survives as a testament to the former industry.
Fontley Iron Mills
Fontley House in Iron Mill Lane was the residence of Samuel Jellicoe from about 1784 until his death in 1812. He was the partner of Henry Cort of Fontley Iron Mills, next door to the house. Cort was the inventor of the rolling mill and the puddling furnace, important for the production of iron during the Napoleonic Wars. Some of Cort's inventions were tried out at these mills.
Cort's innovation was a new process for "fining" iron. This became essential once blast furnaces were used to extract iron from its ore. The "pig" iron produced was too impure for forging (though it could be cast): fining removed the impurities. The previous method of fining used a finery hearth fuelled with charcoal. By Cort's time wood for making charcoal had long become too scarce to enable the iron industry to expand: already many blast furnaces were using coke instead of charcoal. What Cort did was to burn coal in the furnace and "puddle" his impure iron, i.e. stir it with a long rod in the hot gas of the flames. The purified iron came out as spongy mass, and had to be consolidated (shingling. Another of Cort's innovations was to use grooved rolls in a rolling mill rather than a hammer to draw the iron out into a bar. This enabled the iron to be rolled into bars with a variety of cross-sections (square, circular, etc.). These two brilliant innovations were the most important ones for the iron industry in the Industrial Revolution.
The Miners' Arms
The Miners Arms is so called because the first landlord, George Feast, was the contractor for the railway tunnel. He imported a gang of Welsh miners to dig it and one of the miners had the privilege of naming it. When the railway came it cut Funtley in half and the narrow humpback bridge is another Feast construction. The pub was soon to become the hub of the village and was originally both a pub and a bottle shop for first the miners and then the local brickmakers. It was run by at least another three or four generations of the Feasts throughout the height of the brickmaking industry. After the decline of the industry many locals moved to Portsmouth in search of work.
History of "The Miners' Arms"
Henry Feast began selling beer in Funtley in 1839. He was in court, held in the "Red Lion", Fareham, charged with keeping a disorderly beer house on 18 December 1839 - he was convicted and paid a fine and costs totalling 40 shillings. He brought the property that became "The Miners' Arms" from Robert James, a merchant of Fareham, by mortgage for £100 plus interest on 5 March 1840. The first time the name "The Miners' Arms" appears is on the 1841 Census return, and Feast is described as a labourer, probably working on the construction of the railway during the day, leaving the beer house and shop to be run by his wife and children. The Register of Licensees for beer shops and public houses starts in 1872 (previous records do not survive), and it shows Feast as the owner and licensee in 1872 and 1873. He died 28 September 1874 aged 76. On 3 October 1873 he had conveyed everything to his eldest son George, who is recorded as the owner and licensee from 28 September 1874. George remained the owner and licensee until 29 February 1892 when he sold the pub to Henry William Saunders, on a mortgage. James Feast, son of George, became the licensee after the sale, and he remained the licensee until 1913, when George Robert James Oakes became the licensee on 8 December 1913.
After Saunders died, his wife Annie Elizabeth Saunders is described as the owner and mortgagee on the license until 8 February 1905 when it shows his two sons Herbert Henry and Richard John Saunders as owners - presumably the mortgage had been settled. In 1921 the wall separating the bar and refreshment room was taken down to give the licensee supervision over both places. Herbert Henry and Richard John, whose brewery was known as the Wallington Brewery, had to sell everything on 31 March 1944, the reason for the sale being described in "Fareham Past and Present" a publication by the Local History Group. The buyer, Charles Hamilton and Co. Ltd, had "The Miners' Arms" for 26 years, until it was sold to Bass Charrington on 1 July 1970. It came into the possession of George Gale and Co. Ltd in July 1991, but is now (2014) owned by Fullers Brewery. "The Miners' Arms" is probably named for the men who dug clay at the open-cast pit.
The Anglican Little Church of St Francis is the daughter church of St Peter & St Paul, Fareham, in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Listed as a small stuccoed T-shaped church with traceried windows, hoods and bargeboards, it was probably designed by the Irish architect Jacob Owen (1778- 1870). Simplicity is the dominant feature of the building, which was built as a school for the village children in 1836, and was a Mission Church named Trinity Fontley Church. The painted window above the altar, depicting the Nativity and the Ascension of Christ, is reputed to have been made or designed by John Ruskin; it was originally in the Church of Duntisbourne Abbots, near Cirencester.
In 1852, Hampshire's first County Lunatic Asylum was built on Knowle Hill just north of the village. By 1856 the asylum had expanded to take 400 patients; growth continued throughout the century and by 1900 it held over 1,000. It was named 'Knowle Mental Hospital' from c.1923 to 1948, when it was renamed 'Knowle Hospital'; it closed in 1996.
The hospital is survived by Ravenswood House, a medium-security building which opened in 1985 to care for those afflicted by serious mental illnesses or personality disorders. It can accommodate 77 patients and is complemented by the Southfield Low Security Hospital in the New Forest. Ravenswood is the base of the Wessex Forensic Psychiatric Service. 
- R. A. Mott (ed. P. Singer), Henry Cort: the great finer: creator of puddled iron (Metals Society, London 1983); Malcolm Low, Funtley Iron Mill - Henry Cort - copies available in reference sections of publication can be viewed in the Fareham Library and Westbury Museum, both at Fareham, Hampshire.
- based on information collected from Westbury Manor Museum, Fareham and at Hampshire Record Office, Winchester.
- Malcolm Low with Julie Graham, The stained glass window of The Little Church of St. Francis, Funtley, Hampshire: private publication: copies in reference sections of Fareham Library and the Westbury Museum, Fareham, Hampshire.
- Malcolm Low, The History of the Little Church of St. Francis, Funtley, Hampshire: private publication: copies in reference sections of Fareham Library and the Westbury Museum, Fareham, Hampshire.
- Hampshire County Asylum at Knowle was opened under then provisions of the 1845 Asylums Act.
- Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum
- Hospital Records Database - a Joint Project of the Wellcome Library & the National Archives.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Funtley.|
- , follow links for articles of local interest in Fareham by Malcolm Low