Knowle, Hampshire

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The northern part of Knowle Avenue, Knowle - - 458215.jpg
Knowle is located in Hampshire
Location within Hampshire
Population1,511 — 2011 census: larger output areas[1]
OS grid referenceSU559095
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFAREHAM
Postcode districtPO17 5xx
Dialling code01329
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°52′59″N 1°12′18″W / 50.883°N 1.205°W / 50.883; -1.205Coordinates: 50°52′59″N 1°12′18″W / 50.883°N 1.205°W / 50.883; -1.205

Knowle is a village with mainly 21st century shops and businesses in the City of Winchester district of Hampshire, England that sits high on the left bank of the Meon between the Southampton and Portsmouth conurbations. It is in the south of the civil parish of Wickham in which it ranks in population about 25% behind Wickham. Its nearest town is Fareham, adjoining an inlet of Portsmouth Harbour approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) south-east.


Knowle is built on land which, until 1849 was Knowle Farm. The farm and a little surrounding woodland which remains, mainly in the South Downs National Park, was between Fareham's small nascent exurb community of Funtley and another farm associated with Wickham.[2] The original timber framed farmhouse, dating from the 17th century was converted into two cottages in the 20th century and is now a Grade II listed building. It stands as part of the cluster of houses known as Farm Cottages, on Mayles Lane, north of the former hospital site.[3]

Knowle Hospital[edit]

A committee of nine JPs were appointed at the Easter Quarter Sessions in 1846 to superintend the erecting or providing of a lunatic asylum. They selected part of Knowle Farm as most suitable, namely 108 acres (44 ha).[4][5]

In December 1852, after two years building, Hampshire's first County Lunatic Asylum was completed on Knowle Hill in the north of the present village.[6] By 1856 it had taken its original capacity of 400 patients; growth ensued and by 1900 it housed over 1,000.[7] It was named 'Knowle Mental Hospital' from c.1923 to 1948, when it was renamed 'Knowle Hospital'; it closed in 1996.[8][9]

The hospital's successor is Ravenswood House, a medium-security mental health hospital 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.[10]

Birth of the village[edit]

From 2000 onward the former complex of buildings was redeveloped by a group of developers (Berkeley Homes (lead developer), Bovis Homes, Westbury Homes, Try Homes, Barry Jupe and A2Dominion)[11] adding to Knowle Village (village). This comprised 130 apartments (using the former hospital buildings) houses over 53 acres (210,000 m2). The principal northern (east-west) building, northern administration building, south block, superintendent's house, chapel and staff cottages were retained and converted to other uses, whilst the central north-south connecting structure and other periphery buildings were demolished.[12]

The redevelopment, coupled with the hamlet which pre-dates, created the first village in Hampshire in over a century, one without a church but with many other amenities.[13]

Demolished station[edit]

Knowle for many decades had Knowle Halt, a halt with platforms, on the Eastleigh to Fareham and Meon Valley lines.[14] The station closed on the 6 April 1964 with the platforms demolished shortly thereafter.[15]


The Chapel

Part of the old hospital was a red brick Chapel, with small belfry dressed in stone, built in 1875[16] to free up space in the main building.[17]

As part of the redevelopment of the complex, the Chapel was refurbished by Berkeley Homes, at a cost exceeding £400,000. They later transferred ownership of the building to Winchester City Council for £1, with an additional gift of £28,000 to provide some funding for future maintenance costs. The building, which is listed, was leased by the Knowle Communuity Buildings Association (KCBA) for community use.[18]


Business Park[edit]

Knowle Village Business Park was gradually built from 2003.[19]

Community Hall and cricket club[edit]

The KCBA vacated the former Chapel for a new build Community Hall adjacent to the cricket pitch, and the Chapel was sold in July 2012 for £220,000 by Clive Emson Auctioneers.[20]



Over 5,500 former patients of the asylum are buried in Knowle Cemetery. Before 1886 the location of any specific body was not recorded. Up to four patients could be buried per grave, never on the same day. The last burial at the site took place in 1971. A few remaining iron crosses, generally being the memorials, were removed in 2001 for secure storage pending a decision to relocate them.

War Memorial[edit]

In 1920 a war memorial was erected at Knowle Hospital to honor the 16 staff and estate residents who died during World War I. After World War II, two further names were added to the memorial. Following the closure of the hospital, the memorial was moved from the site due to the redevelopment. With a contribution from the War Memorials Trust, it was relocated to the churchyard of St. Nicholas in Wickham. By 2010, the memorial had been moved back to Knowle and now stands outside the former hospital chapel.[21]


  1. ^ Key statistics Knowle Built-up area and for
  2. ^ "Knowle Village (formerly known as Knowle Farm), Fareham Borough Council". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Nos 3 & 4 Farm Cottages 6.3.67 (formerly listed as Knowle Farm- house), Historic England". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ "94048 - Knowle Hospital, Fareham (Alt Ref No 48M94), Hampshire County Record Office". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Burt, Susan Margaret (2003). "Fit Objects for an Asylum" The Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum and its Patients, 1852-1899, University of Southampton, Faculty of Social Sciences Department of Sociology and Social Policy, PhD Thesis" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  6. ^ Hampshire County Asylum at Knowle was opened under then provisions of the 1845 Asylums Act.
  7. ^ Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum
  8. ^ Hospital Records Database - a Joint Project of the Wellcome Library & the National Archives.
  9. ^ "Mental hospitals in England". Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Open day at Knowle Village". Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Report of the County Planning Officer and the County Surveyor, Hampshire County Council Roads and Development Sub-Committee". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007.
  13. ^ "Hampshire's Newest Village Taking Shape by Duncan Eaton, Southern Daily Echo, 26 May 2008". Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  14. ^ Oppitz, L (1988). Hampshire railways remembered. Newbury: Countryside. ISBN 1-85306-020-8.
  15. ^ Stone, R.A (1983). The Meon Valley Railway. Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. ISBN 978-1-870754-36-1.
  16. ^ "Knowle Hospital Chapel - List Entry Summary, Historic England". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Knowle - History, County Asylums". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Report of the Director of Development Services, Winchester City Council" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007.
  19. ^ "Planning Committee Agenda - 14/00421/OUT, Winchester City Council" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Auction Results July 2012". Archived from the original on 21 December 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Grants Showcase - Knowle Hospital, War Memorials Trust". Retrieved 30 July 2016.