Swaythling & South Stoneham

Between Southampton and Eastleigh, and now a suburb of the former South Stoneham was once a village  and its tiny church of St Mary is almost hidden in the University accommodation campus. It was built in the 13th century and is under the Parish of South Stoneham.

As mentioned above the University has some of its accommodation here with huge barrack like buildings dominating the area, Woodmill is also on the edge of the parish at Mansbridge, with its water sports outlet and narrow winding road that causes a bottleneck for traffic crossing over the Itchen to Bitterne. The Fleming Arms is the public house here which is next to the notorious Swaythling Railway Arch.


The Church of St Mary at South Stoneham sits beside the Southampton University Campus


South Stoneham Church interior
(Photo kindly submitted by Gary Philbrick, Curate)


The Bridge over the River Itchen
photo kindly contributed by
Len Payne, Vancouver, Canada


The Itchen flowing under the old road bridge


The River Itchen at Mansbridge

The White Swan public house

In South Stoneham cemetery there is George Kemp who was the very first man to hear the first wireless signal sent across the sea. George was a rather plain sort of person who died in Southampton at the age of 75, but he was known by many of the famous, including Marchese Marconi. Kemp was born in Kent and he was the very first Englishman to help Marconi in demonstrating his system way back in 1896. He left the navy and became a laboratory assistant to Sir William Preece who was a Post Office engineer who also had a hand in establishing wireless and telegraphy, and it was Preece who named George Kemp to assist Marconi and in those first few days he assisted in hundreds of different experiments at the experimental station they had set up at the Needles and a tiny basement room in Bournemouth. It was between these two stations that the first transmission took place but Bournemouth was found to be unsuitable so they moved into the Haven Hotel in Sandbanks near Poole in 1898.

Swaythling today is a part of Portswood and is a very busy shopping area with a large population and a huge roundabout that links to the M27 now divides Swaythling from Eastleigh. Southampton International Airport and the Ford factory are on the outer edge of the parish.