Archaeological field marks of Scrubbs Lane
There are many crop and soil marks all around Bishop's Sutton Parish. These shown here are undated but show two related enclosures and some linear marks.
Perhaps these marks had something to do with the fact that I think this field is called The Butts and was the old village Archery range.
Archaeological field marks of Scrubbs Lane - close up
Gore Shard Field, 1873
This is one of the oldest names in the Parish. Both elements derive from the Old English; the first 'Gore' comes from Gara a triangular shaped piece of ground (gara ultimately comes from gar a spear e.g. ground shaped like a spear head coming to a point). The point being where Scrubs and White Hill Lanes meet, the actual point being cut off with the building of the Vicarage in the late 19th century.
The second element 'Scard' comes from the Old English Sceard and means a gap as in a hedge. This would suggest that White Hill Lane and Scrubbs Lane were in use in Saxon times. The field is still called Goreshard and the word scard is still used today in the local dialect.
Gore Shard Field 1940
Gore Shard Field 2011
Dark Lane 1839 Tithe Map
Dark lane is the short lane of just over half a mile in length that runs west from Scrubbs lane through Scrubbs farm yard.
This section is metalled and then turns to a track that bends south west down to skirt Grove Copse and joins Appledown Lane just above Dark Copse which lies just inside Cheriton Parish.
Originally the east end of Dark Lane seems to have been a dead end being an access road from Scrubbs lane into the north side of what was Scrubbs beech wood and Scrubs Copse. The west end was at best a track from Appledown for access into Grove copse.
Dark Lane 1909
between 1850 and 1870’s Scrubs barn had been erected and between 1881-91 and a cottage had been added to form a small farm. it looks like the west end of Dark lane was added to give access out to Appledown Lane from Scubbs Farm.
The lane clearly takes its name from the Copse which simply means what it says a place thickly wooded with little light. It can also mean a dark menacing or evil place.
Dark Lane 2009
Looking west along Dark Lane towards Scrubbs farm from Scrubbs Lane
Salt/White Hill Field Names
Salt Hill: This is the ridge or hill that runs from Scrubs to White Hill lane. This might have been the earlier name for White Hill but because of the lack of early evidence it hard to say.
Salt is most likely to have had Saxon origins, and is unlikely to have had any connection to the obvious - more likely to have been a corruption of Salh which means Willow, so possibly Willow tree hill.
View to the south from the A31 Bypass showing Salt Hill
Scrubbs Farm Roman archaeology
It wasn’t until between 1840 and 1880 that the first buildings appeared along Dark lane (called Scrubbs Barns) and after 1880/1890 the dwelling was built and it became known as Scrubbs Farm.
At least 1,700 years before there seems to have been quite a lot going on in the area of Scrubbs. As of yet no evidence of habitation has been found, but even so there is evidence of a lot of Romano British activity nearby in the form of enclosures and field systems so it is likely there would have been habitation nearby.
In the field to the south of Scrubbs farm there is a large depression in the field some 25 metres by 20 metres. Excavations have revealed silting up to a depth of a metre and it is thought to be a dew pond. These ponds were man-made, almost always on high ground where there was no supply of natural surface water and was chiefly used to water livestock ( until a few years ago there was a dew pond a couple of fields to the north of Scrubbs).
At the edge of the pond is a large curb of packed flint indicating a hard standing on the edge of the dew pond. Leading away from the hardstanding is a 25 feet length of terrace, metalled with crushed flint and topped with chalk; which forms what is considered to be section of Roman lane.
Comp Field is situated in the west of the parish and abutts onto Whitehill lane to its' south and the Parish Boundary with New Alresford to its' west.
It is called Comp field in 1839, Cump 1745. This could have derived from the old English word Camp meaning an enclosed field. These names are thought in many cases to have Romano/British agricultural origins. No definite archaeological evidence has been found although before the building of the solar farm, aerial photos outlined numerous un-dated crop marks
Bowling Close 1839 Tithe Map
The name could have several derivations. There are many examples of the name - some suggest a dip in the ground like a bowl, or a place where bowls or cricket was played. As the field is on high ground, has no dip and certainly wouldn’t be suitable for playing Cricket or bowls this is unlikely.
2019 Satellite View showing the Railway Line cutting through Bowling close
According to the appropriately named John Field in his book “English field names a dictionary”, where he sites Bowling Close at Bishop's Sutton, it falls back on an Old English word 'boga' which means boundary. This is more likely as this field is on the boundary between New Alresford and Bishop's Sutton.
White Hill Dew Pond 1947
The Dew Pond was at the top of the track that leads up from Scrubs lane, just in what was called Salt Hill Field. Dew Ponds are usually found on higher ground away from the river valleys, and provided a water source for Cattle and sheep.
These man-made ponds were usually created in a natural depression or were dug out. A description of how the ponds were constructed follows taken from a Sussex farmers account of 1905: “The requisite hole having been excavated, the chalk was laid down layer by layer, while a team of oxen harnessed to a heavy broad-wheeled cart was drawn round and round the cup shaped hole to grind the chalk to powder. Water was then thrown over the latter as work progressed, and after nearly a day of this process, the resultant mass of puddled chalk, which had been reduced to the consistency of thick cream, was smoothed out with the back of a shovel from the centre, the surface being left at last as smooth and even as a sheet of glass. A few days later, in the absence of frost or heavy rain, the chalk had become as hard as cement, and would stand for years without letting water through."
White Hill Dew Pond 1947 (zoomed in view)
Despite the name, dew ponds were also known as mist or cloud ponds as their main source of water was rainfall. Not only did these ponds provide a vital water source but were an excellent wildlife habitat. Garry can remember Peewits nesting there amongst the little rushes that grew around the edges. It may have been filled in by the 1980’s if not before.
Mud Lane or Mortimers Track
Maps showing route from Western Court farm to Scrubs and Woodcote Bramdean
This is the footpath that leads from The B3047 just west of Western Court Farm to White Hill. It is clearly a connecting road from Western Court to White hill. This must have been in existence fairly early on as its date would coincide with the establishment of the Manor of Western Court, but it is not clear when that was although it was certainly separate from Sutton Manor by 1324. It would have made easier access for ground that might have been held nearer to Appledown - indeed it looks as though there was a track that continued straight across Whitehill Lane and over to Scrubs and joined with Dark Lane. By 1685 Western Court (sometimes called Westende) Court fell into the hands of John Venables of Woodcote in the parish of Bramdean. The lane would have made a more direct route for the Venables family to and from Western Court and Woodcote in Bramdean.
Mud Lane track from the B3047 towards White Hill Lane
The alternative name Mortimers track comes from when the Mortimer’s owned the land in the 1960’s