Peartree Green

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Peartree Green
The parish church on Peartree Green
Peartree Green is located in Southampton
Peartree Green
Peartree Green
Location within Southampton
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSO19
Dialling code023
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°54′14″N 1°22′37″W / 50.904°N 1.377°W / 50.904; -1.377Coordinates: 50°54′14″N 1°22′37″W / 50.904°N 1.377°W / 50.904; -1.377

Peartree Green is an open space on high ground on the east bank of the River Itchen in Southampton. A 16/17th century building, Peartree House, still stands, though is today concealed by private housing. The house and the green take their name from a pear tree that grew near the parish church.[1] Some of the original open space has been built on, but a large proportion remains as a recreational area. It contains a church and the remains of a boarding school. It overlooks the River Itchen to St Mary's Church in Southampton.


Peartree Green adjoins the districts of Woolston, Bitterne, Sholing and Merryoak within the city of Southampton. It overlooks the River Itchen to St Mary's Church in Southampton.[1]


Memorial stone at Peartree school
Memorial stone to Richard Parker in Peartree Green.

Francis Mylles, M.P. for Winchester from 1588 to 1593, built Peartree House in the late 16th century, using stone from Bitterne Manor which had previously been used by the Romans at their settlement at Clausentum. Captain Richard Smith, former governor of Calshot Castle lived at Peartree House from approximately 1617.[2]

A small church, now named Peartree Parish Church, was built as Jesus Chapel by Captain Richard Smith in 1618.[2][3] It was dedicated in 1620.[4] Although it was not part of Southampton at that time, Jesus Chapel served the parish of St Marys Extra which was used as an overflow for the parish of St Marys in Southampton. Construction of Jesus Chapel saved parishioners from a rough crossing over the Itchen to Southampton or a long journey to the neighbouring churches at Hound, Botley or South Stoneham.[2] The church website makes a claim to being the world's oldest Anglican church, stating that it was the first one to be built and consecrated after the English Reformation.[4] The church was neither the first to be built nor to be consecrated after the Reformation: between 1560 and 1830 most of the existing churches in England were converted and reconsecrated to Anglican worship, and several churches were built quite soon after the reformation, such as St George's Church, Esher, built in 1540,[5] and Old St Leonard's Church, Langho, which was built in 1557;[6][7] however, when consecrated in September 1620, the service, conducted by the Bishop of Winchester, formed the basis for future Church of England consecrations, so the church can lay claim to be the first to use the revised Church of England consecration service.[8]

Peartree House was built by 1617, then altered in the late eighteenth century.[9][3] It was once home to General Shrapnel inventor of the Shrapnel shell.[3]

A boarding school was built next to Jesus Chapel in 1857.[10]

By the late 19th Century, the area contained many impressive houses and villas which were home to Southampton's wealthy traders.[3]

Itchen Ferry village no longer exists, but it used to adjoin Peartree Green. The graveyard at Jesus Chapel contains a memorial to Richard Parker of the village, who died at sea following the wreck of the yacht Mignonette off South Africa in 1884.[11] Cast adrift without provisions, his companions killed and ate him in order to survive. It is one of the few recorded cases of human cannibalism in modern times.[12] The subsequent murder trial R v Dudley and Stephens changed English law by establishing the precedent that necessity is no defence to the charge of murder.

Peartree Green was incorporated into the borough of Southampton in 1920.[13] The area has subsequently experienced significant suburban development. The boarding school became an annex to Woolston School; it has since been converted into residential homes.

In 2018 the green was designated a local nature reserve.[14] In July the same year, two hectares of it were damaged by fire after becoming dry due to the heat wave.[15]


  1. ^ a b Southampton past and present. Fletcher & Son. 1840. p. 72.
  2. ^ a b c The Illustrated History of Southampton Suburbs. Jim Brown. 2004. ISBN 1-85983-405-1
  3. ^ a b c d Images of Southampton. Southampton City Council.1994. ISBN 1-873626-59-2
  4. ^ a b "Pear Tree Church - Southampton". Pear Tree Church.
  5. ^ "St George's Church, Esher".
  6. ^ "Church Building after the Reformation". victoriacountyhistory.
  7. ^ David Ross. "Old Langho Church". britainexpress.
  8. ^ William Page (1908). "Parishes: St Mary Extra". A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. pp. 297–299.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Peartree House (1092032)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  10. ^ Memorial Stone on the old school building
  11. ^ Maritime Memorials
  12. ^ Cannibalism and the common law. A.W. Brian Simpson. 1984
  13. ^ Southampton in the Twenties. Eric Wyeth Gadd
  14. ^ "Peartree Green gets special nature reserve status". Southern Daily Echo. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  15. ^ Yandell, Chris (17 July 2018). "Two hectares of Peartree Green in Southampton badly damaged in blaze". Daily Echo. Retrieved 17 July 2018.

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