Why move to...Titchfield
PUBLISHED: 10:06 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 February 2013
Once a port, the beautiful and quiet village of Titchfield is now three miles inland. Jill Belcher discovered a village that retains all its charm even though it is only just off busy major routes...
Hampshire Life, October 2007
Unless you make it your destination, you're unlikely to pass through Titchfield, which must be just the way the locals like it. This picturesque village is tucked away south of the busy M27 and A27, but it is far from sleepy and has a history of which it is justly proud.
Once a flourishing port, it was navigable from the sea until the early 17th century when a sea wall was built to reclaim marshland.
William Shakespeare, local legend says, premiered Romeo and Juliet at Titchfield Abbey, which was founded in the 13th century as a home for the White Canons. Thomas Wriothesley received the Abbey as a gift from Henry VIII and converted it into his stately home, christening it Place House. Queen Elizabeth I visited and King Charles slept his last night as a free man here. It's now a romantic ruin, cared for by English Heritage.
Strawberry fields forever
Titchfield's lovely St Peter's Church is one of the oldest churches in England, but time certainly hasn't stood still here, because it is a thriving and important centre of community life. Established in the late seventh century, much of that era remains in this beautiful building, which boasts a unique strawberry window, and there are still strawberry fields close by.
Every Friday morning there is a country market in the parish hall and the village has thriving local shops, including a post office and a family butcher with a high reputation.
The heart of the village is a conservation area, with beautifully-preserved streets of houses, many dating from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Titchfield is also the place where the country's second-oldest canal was built in 1611. A footpath leads along it from the village to the remains of a sea lock about two miles south at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve. Covering 369 acres of varied wetland habitats around the River Meon, the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with observation hides for the visitor as well as an excellent Visitor Centre.
Titchfield's Carnival is probably the reason why many know the village as it is the oldest carnival in Hampshire - it was started in 1880. It is not being held this year, but plans are already well under way for 2008.
Past and present
To celebrate the year 2000, Titchfield's history was brought to life in the Titchfield Millennium Tapestries, which involved more than 40 local people in a community effort resulting in six beautiful panels of three-dimensional stump work now on display in the parish rooms.
The Titchfield Village Trust is a registered charity and much concerned with everything which happens here and with retaining the features which make this such a desirable location, because this is not only a village with tremendous pride in its history, but also a place where people look forward and are meticulous about preserving its beautiful environment for future generations.
And although much of its outward appearance has stayed the same for centuries, it is a vibrant and flourishing community - just the sort of place anyone would love to make their home.
Out and about:
Property Prices: Land Registry figures for average house prices, January-March 2007: Average £224,330; detached £305,443; semi-detached £217,051; terraced £177,265; flats £131,701.
Ups: A beautiful village with everyday amenities on your doorstep.
Downs: Period homes in the centre of Titchfield are like gold dust - and snapped up very quickly.
Where are the best areas to buy?
Pamela Fenwick, director of Fenwicks Estate Agents, Fareham, says, "Anywhere in the High Street or adjacent roads is highly desirable because the houses are absolutely lovely and unique. Away from the centre, the modern estates are very smart." Fenwicks have a five-bedroom house in Titchfield's conservation area on the market for £475,000. Offers in excess of £800,000 are being asked by Dreweatt Neate of Newbury for a five-bedroom Grade II listed farmhouse in Iron Mill Lane, with stables and about 20 acres, including a double-bank stretch of the River Meon. Another home with five bedrooms and equestrian facilities, including menage and paddocks, in Fontley Road, is on the market with John D Wood & Co of Winchester with a guide price of £675,000, while a three-bedroom, semi-detached cottage-style home on the edge of the village is being marketed by Hampton Ivens of Park Gate at £250,000.
What's commuting like?
You're just minutes away from the M27, about halfway between Southampton and Portsmouth and with easy access to the M3. Fareham Station is less than two miles away, with trains to Southampton, Portsmouth and London.
Schools: Meoncross School in nearby Stubbington is a mixed independent for pupils from the age of two to 16 while Wykeham House School, less than three miles away in Fareham, is an independent for girls from two to 17. Titchfield Primary School is close by and Henry Cort Community College for 11-16-year-olds is a mile away.
Amenities: Go riding at Crofton Manor Equestrian Centre, play tennis and squash and get fit at Lee-on-the-Solent Tennis, Squash and Fitness Club, play golf at Cams Hall Estate
Shops/restaurants: Four local pubs give you a good choice if you want to pop out for a drink, lunch or an evening meal. There is a Co-op and a One Stop which has a post office, Hadlow's is an excellent local butcher, there's also fresh coffee and jewellery at Hallmark in South Street.
What to do at the weekend: Get involved in the very active community life, enjoy walking, visit nearby Titchfield Haven to visit Titchfield Abbey or get in the car and shop at Fareham, Portsmouth or Southampton.