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Eastern aqueduct and the water catchment area of a western aqueduct, at Netley Abbey

A Scheduled Monument in Woolston, Southampton

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Latitude: 50.8878 / 50°53'16"N

Longitude: -1.3509 / 1°21'3"W

OS Eastings: 445755.381006

OS Northings: 110014.032753

OS Grid: SU457100

Mapcode National: GBR 884.7UV

Mapcode Global: FRA 861R.KK4

Entry Name: Eastern aqueduct and the water catchment area of a western aqueduct, at Netley Abbey

Scheduled Date: 10 December 1975

Last Amended: 3 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008704

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24325

County: Southampton

Electoral Ward/Division: Woolston

Built-Up Area: Southampton

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Hound St Edward the Confessor

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes the eastern and higher of
two aqueduct channels running southwards through Tickleford Gully and the
eastern edge of West Wood towards Netley Abbey, a Cistercian abbey founded in
1239. It also includes a possible water catchment area for the western
aqueduct channel, the channel itself being the subject of a separate
scheduling, in the area called Tickleford Pond. The eastern channel does not
now reach the abbey precincts because of modern disturbance by gravel
extraction and subsequent infill, but it is also possible that the aqueduct
system was never completed.
The channel, which is c.560m long overall, runs south westward along the
eastern side of Tickleford Gully from c.80m north of the Southampton to
Fareham railway line and into the eastern edge of West Wood; it is in three
sections, separated by the railway line and Newtown Road. The channel starts
in Tickleford Gully as a very shallow trench, gradually deepening as it
extends southwards. The channel and western bank of the northernmost section
are both up to 3m wide; the western bank is 0.6m high, while the eastern side
of the trench is cut to a maximum depth of 1.7m below the much higher ground
surface at that side. Between the railway and Newtown Road, the channel is up
to 7m wide and 1.2m to 2m deep, with banks up to 5m wide on both sides.
Further to the south the channel has narrower flanking banks, c.3m wide, but
here the trench reaches its maximum width, 11m, and is up to 3m deep. The
aqueduct is truncated at the south by an infilled gravel pit; the detached
southern section shown on the 1:10000 and 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps no
longer survives.
The course of the channel suggests that it was intended to carry water to a
series of fishponds which extend along the coombe north east of the abbey.
The channel bypasses the steep-sided and irregular hollow known as Tickleford
Pond. It has been suggested that this was the possible site of a water
catchment area or conduit head for the western aqueduct channel and that a dam
could have been located on the site of Newtown Road. The channel does not now
reach the hollow.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, fence- and sign-posts, although
the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597
to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both
religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious
communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks,
canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of
religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated
from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England.
These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to
tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide
variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a
result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout,
although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for
the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into
the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship,
learning and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some
orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were
established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest
of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish
churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 75
of these religious houses belonged to the Cistercian order founded by St
Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century. The Cistercians - or "white monks",
on account of their undyed habits - led a harsher life than earlier monastic
orders, believing in the virtue of a life of austerity, prayer and manual
labour. Seeking seclusion, they founded their houses in wild and remote areas
where they undertook major land improvement projects. Their communities were
often very large and included many lay brethren who acted as ploughmen,
dairymen, shepherds, carpenters and masons. The Cistercians' skills as farmers
eventually made the order one of the richest and most influential. They were
especially successful in the rural north of England where they concentrated on
sheep farming. The Cistercians made a major contribution to many facets of
medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving
archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

As an integral part of the surviving remains at Netley Abbey, the aqueducts
and possible water catchment area around Tickleford Pond constitute important
and unusual components, particularly as they survive well despite disturbance
by modern development. Aqueducts of this date are rarely known from
archaeological remains, and those at Netley, as part of a possibly unfinished
water distribution system, give an insight into the planning and establishment
of a Cistercian monastery, as well as the economy of its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England


Ordnance Survey , SU 40NE 2, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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