What’s on offer in the village of Titchfield
PUBLISHED: 10:46 25 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:49 25 January 2016
Claire Pitcher heads to the village of Titchfield to get to know its vibrant community
Making the headlines
Titchfield has most recently been in the news following reports that the Abbey is suffering from structural problems and is in desperate need of restoration.
In February 2013, the village narrowly escaped asteroid DA14. The size of an Olympic sized swimming pool, it passed over at a distance of 17,200 miles.
A physicist by training, Kevin Groves ran an electronics company in Titchfield from 1965 for 30 years, before retiring and taking up his major hobby, history, full time. He says: “The history of Titchfield is so incredible in its complexity, with the oldest Church on the South coast, the Premonstratensian Titchfield Abbey, Henry V and Agincourt in 1415, the marriage of Henry VI in Titchfield Abbey in 1445, eight Monarchs visiting Titchfield over the years, and the Earls of Southampton with the association of the 3rd Earl with Shakespeare.
“I live in the Old Grammar School, built in 1447, where Shakespeare might have been the schoolmaster. The History Society, of which I am a Vice President, was founded in the late 1970s, and has published a number of books about the history of Titchfield. We have monthly meetings where talks are given about local history, which are very popular – and we have a membership of approximately 100.
“Titchfield is a favourite place for those retired to live, and has four restaurants/public houses which provide excellent food and comfortable surroundings, with their buildings all being associated with the village’s past. Entertainment is provided by excellent theatrical companies, which include plays by Shakespeare, every year, in the Great Barn, which dates from 1409, and is the largest in the South of England. There are plans for the Church to be a Heritage Centre, and archaeological surveys are being planned for many areas, especially the Late Iron Age/Romano British site. Titchfield.”
Nick Girdler presents the 9am to 1pm programme on Sunday on BBC Radio Solent. He’s also been the chairman of the Village Trust for the last three years.
“The Trust was set up in 1968,” explains Nick. “We’re a group of likeminded residents who are keen to promote high standards of planning and architecture in the village and its immediate surroundings.” Nick describes Titchfield as “almost perfect”. “It’s situated equidistant from the two major cities in southern England, has instant access to the countryside and the coast is just a short walk away. It has all the amenities one needs within walking distance and the people who live in the village are very friendly and all support one another.
The Trust have been instrumental in supporting the creation of a brand new country park on the edge of the village which will help maintain the “strategic gap that keeps Titchfield a village”.
“We’re looking forward to getting involved in its development,” he says.
Did you know?
Titchfield Abbey has strong associations with Shakespeare. The 3rd Earl of Southampton, who lived at Palace House (converted from Titchfield Abbey), was his patron, and it’s believed it was here that some of his plays may have been performed for the first time. It’s also rumoured the Bard was a local schoolmaster.
The Bugle Hotel in Titchfield has the Abbey’s salvaged original fireplace. St Peter’s Church was established around 680, which makes it one of the oldest churches in England.
In 1887, the first ever date was set for the Titchfield Carnival, which is still organised today by the Titchfield Bonfire Boys in October. Titchfield is also well-known for being home to a vineyard, which was planted in 1991. It now produces bottles of red, white and sparkling wines.
Grabbing a bite
If you are simply after a cup of coffee and slice of delicious homemade cake then pop in to Memory Lane in The Square. They also sell light bites for lunch. The Wheatsheaf pub also popular with the locals. They have a lovely restaurant area to enjoy something from the a la carte menu, or take a pew in the bar for some good pub grub.
There are lots of lovely independent shops in the village, including Hallmark Jewellers on South Street, with a gallery and coffee shop attached. Antique hunters will enjoy perusing Gaylord Antiques at The Old School, West Street. They also specialise in furniture restoration. There’s also a brilliant butchers, Hadlow, on South Street, a village greengrocer in The Square and not forgetting Garsons garden centre on Fontley Road as you leave the M27.