|When entering the town of Eastleigh from
the M27 and driving via Stoneham Lane into Chestnut Avenue the visitor
is suddenly met with a group of pretty thatched cottages which seem to
be well out of place here. This is the parish of North Stoneham which
stretches between Southampton and Eastleigh and has been around since
The Parish was in fact hand to a Thegn* by the name of Alfred by King Atheleston and when Alfred died his wife gave th parish to Hyde Abbey where it became known as Stonam Abbatis or Abbots Stoneham. The parish remained in the care of the abbey until the dissolution by Henry VIII and he exchanged it with Sir Thomas Wriothesley in 1545 as well as the manors of Pewsey and Charlton in Wiltshire.
When Henry died and Wriothesley became Earl of Southampton the family kept the manor for a further three generations when it was then sold to Sir Thomas Fleming who was one of the judges at the trial of Guy Fawkes in 1605.
The 18th century saw the Fleming's died out with the last of them being declared insane. It was then passed to Thomas Fleming's daughter Catherine who was a descendent and had married Sir Edward Georges and their daughter was married into the Willis family and she took the name of Willis-Fleming and this lordship still remains today.
The manor was sold off in 1952 and the church of St Nicholas stands beside the road alongside the manor house which was demolished in 1818 a new building had been erected further back by the lakes in a garden landscaped by Capability Browne.
In 1849 the family moved to Swaythling and then to Chilworth Manor. The Fred Woolley house was a nursing home built for a family descendant just before the outbreak of war in 1914 and then demolished in the 1970s for the M3/M27 motorway which has now linked London to Southampton and on to Bournemouth in the west and Portsmouth in the east. The last squire John Edward Arthur Willis-Fleming died in 1949.
The parish was never a proper village but a few hamlets that were built on the estate, Yew Tree farm was owned by a Mr Bound and was in what is now Chestnut Avenue a busy through road into Eastleigh, and when the railways came here the navvies caused a lot of damage to his farm and even burnt down a barn The farmhouse was eventually taken over and turned into The Cricketers public house when Mr Bound died and today is a popular venue for live music and food. The Post Office used to be among nearby bungalows and thatched cottages but as time marches on progress takes over and that too has gone.
*Thegn was a form of Knight
Some lovely old photographs 'Recollections of North Stoneham' by Harold G. Barstow a local resident makes some fine reading, copies of which can be obtained from this page
IMAGES OF NORTH STONEHAM