Around the Village - North East

Garry Allam, Bishop's Sutton Heritage

Field with two names Sweet Mead or Town Breach

Situated on the boundary between Bishop's Sutton and Ropley, north of Ropley station and south of Sutton Wood (Whites Wood). What was 4.5 acres of arable land was incorporated into a larger field in the 1950’s-60’s. The field had two names Sweet Mead or Town Breach.

The 'Town element was used to mean Village e.g. Township - this suggests it belonged to the Manor, The 'Breach' part is from the Saxon bræc which means to break open: in this case it would have been to break open new ground for the plough by clearing woodland.

The other name Sweet Mead: 'Mead' usually means meadow but in this case is the alcoholic beverage, and is a complimentary name suggesting good quality ground similar to the nearby Honey Lynch fields.

1872 Map showing field (

2011 Satellite showing where field was (Google Maps)


This was up until 1984 part of Bishop's Sutton but since then forms part of the Parish of Bighton. There were no dwellings along Bighton Lane or Goscombe Lane in 1896 but by 1909 a brick house named Fermain and belonging to Mark Appleton had been constructed along Goscombe Lane. After that from just after World War 1 many colonial-style iron-clad bungalows (giving the nickname Tin Town) were erected along both Goscombe Lane and Bighton Lane - since the 1970’s they have slowly been replaced by modern bungalows and houses. Only one of the original Iron bungalows still survives.

The name Gundleton takes its name from two fields that lie on the old Bishop's Sutton/Bighton Boundary either side of Bighton Lane, in 1839 called Little and Great Grundleton.

In 1733 there is mention of Gundleton Gate contained in a Bighton Glebe Terrier. This would have been on Bighton Lane where the road crosses the boundary between the two Grundleton fields. Earlier around 1550 there is mention Gundell Gate at the same location. On the Bighton side of the boundary in 1839 there was a field called Edneys Girdleton.

It looks like the 1839 spelling of Grundleton is a misspelling for Gundleton. The most obvious element in the name is dell (Gun)dell. (Gun)dle(ton), (Gir)dle(ton). 'Dell' is a Valley; the 'ton' element is a later addition and would usually mean farm or settlement but in this case is more likely to mean 'valley' or 'down' as in downland. The first element 'Gun' is farm more difficult. It has been suggested that it comes from the Scandinavian female name Gunild eg Gunilds farm, but it is more likely that an earlier form of the name is partly preserved in the Bighton field Girdleton , which suggests a girdle e.g. a boundary, so therefore it is likely to simply mean valley on the boundary. 

1839 Map Showing Gundleton area pre-development

Showing old Boundary from Bighton towards Bishop's Sutton at Gundleton 2011 (Google Maps)

Shalloway Hill Bighton Lane

This is the name of the field that lies to the west of Bighton lane just over the railway arch at the top of Arch Hill. (It was sometimes shortened to Shallow). It suggests that the hill was called Shallow hill or more likely it refers to a road (way) - probably the section of Bighton Lane that runs along its' eastern boundary. It may also be the footpath to Bighton that runs across the field direct to Bighton which is in contrast with the deeper Bighton lane at that point.

Google Maps

Coldean​ Valley

Coldean would have been the name of the Valley that runs from Sutton Wood in the east, westward across North Side lane by the farm, over Bighton Lane to Bighton bottom Farm, and on to Drayton in Bighton. 

The name Coldean like so many place and field names originated in Saxon times. The second element 'dean' comes from the old English 'denu' which means Valley. The first element could be anglo Saxon 'col' meaning coal (specifically charcoal), therefore charcoal valley. But more likely from 'Caeld', Saxon for cold so Cold Valley.

1873 Map showing the 1839 field names Coldean

2018 View from Bighton lane looking north towards Gundleton across the valley that was called Coldean