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.woods and waste.
Gundleton 2011 boundary
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the nickname Tin Town) were erected along both Goscombe Lane and Bighton Lane - since the 1970’s they have slowly been replaced by modern bungalows and houses.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.
The old Boundary from Bighton towards Bishop's Sutton at Gundleton 2011
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.
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.
Shalloway Hill Satellite Image
1873 Map showing the 1839 field names Coldean
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.
2018 View from Bighton lane looking north towards Gundleton across the valley that was called Coldean
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.
Honey Lynch Fields
Every field in every parish has a name. Many go back into the mists of time, and Bishop's Sutton is no exception. One such name is Honey Lynch, situated between North side Farm and Sutton Beech Wood/Whites Wood. The name goes back to at least the 14th Century when Honey Lynch would have formed part of a common field and would have been divided into narrow strips of land - occupied by various parishioners, each having several strips dotted about the field; along with the Manor having its own strips. The Lynch part of the name probably comes from ridges (Lynchets) that were thrown up over the centuries by the ploughing of the strips. After the lords of the manors took the land for themselves by enclosure of the open fields, these ridges would have been ploughed out. The Honey aspect of the name may mean sticky as in clay, but in this case possibly sweet as in good land.
(Honey Lynch Fields )
As can be seen from the 1847 tithe map Honey Lynch had subsequently been divided into several fields: Further (furthest from the farm), Middle, Great and Little Honey Lynch. By 1909 it had been opened up again into a bigger field and since World War 2 a good part has been turned into a plantation as in the 2011 aerial photograph. The name also appears in the Bungalow name Honeylynches along Arch Hill, Bighton Lane (the former home of Mr Hillary who used to own the fields at North Side).
Wibbas Barrow. Aerial photo 1947 Looking south towards Bishop's Sutton
In the top north-west corner of the Parish where Bishop’s Sutton, Bighton and Old Alresford meet overlooking Alresford Pond the Nithe and Drayton farm, is the suspected site of a burial mound: probably a bronze age bowl barrow up to 4000 years old. It was identified in 1938 by a prominent archaeologist of the time and even he said it was mostly mutilated.
It was prominent enough in Saxon times to get its name Wibban Beorge (Wibbas Barrow) in 959 AD and is a landmark in the land boundaries of Bighton when King Eadwig gave Bighton to the New Minster at Winchester (later Hyde Abbey). It was not unheard of for early pagan Saxon Chieftains to re-use prominent ancient burial mounds for their own graves, So it may take its' name from a Saxon noble. To the east just over the fence in Bighton/Drayton, there is a larger barrow 34 metres in diameter, almost ploughed out that might also be Wibbas Barrow.
Sutton Wood, 1909 map, showing the individual woods and copse within the wood
Today's Sutton Wood is only a small part of what was once a heavily wooded area in the North East of the parish, some of which used to stand in what since the 1980’s has become Bighton. This registered Ancient woodland when sold earlier this year was some 52 acres. The woods are divided into separate areas: Sutton Beech Wood. Sutton Wood, Hazel Copse, Goscombs Copse and Whites Wood (plus the former Hoe Copse and Peaked Copse). The divisions between each part of the wood are still clearly visible as earthen banks, some with ditches, often lined with rows of ash and beech.
The woods would have been common ground in pre-Enclosure times and grazed by cattle, sheep etc,(as the woods were well managed with grassy herbage growth between the regularly thinned trees),and with pannage for the pigs usually from September to December. It also provided much used building materials, and as wood was used for most everything it was an important resource highly protected by the lords not only from poaching of game (an important food source) but from the taking of firewood, both of which were harshly dealt with. There is also evidence of chalk extraction in the form of many chalk pits doted around the woods.
Aerial view showing likely former extent of Sutton Wood
It is said that there was a tunnel found in the 1960’s (on the east side of the wood in Hazel Copse) that had been carved out of the chalk for what reason no one was sure but smuggling has been suggested. It was either subsequently filled in or caved in. The woods would have formerly covered a much larger area and extended extended out to incorporate Grants Copse and Bowers Grove and large parts of Ranscombe and Barnets Wood which seems to have originally been called Mutton Hanger; Barnet’s wood was still mostly wood until at least the 1920’s - since when it has been completely cleared . The satellite picture shows the likely extent of the wood although it is more than possible that it extended even further north as in the 13th Century the area was described as well-wooded and even further east to the Gullet Wood (another piece of Ancient woodland).
Sutton Wood today