10 things you didn’t know about Titchfield
PUBLISHED: 12:33 12 November 2018
With its connections to Shakesepeare and royalty, the village of Titchfield is full of surprises
It’s all a ruse
The Abbey ruins are not all they seem, many of the buildings were deliberately demolished to create the effect of a ruin. Enterprising villagers then pinched the stone for their own homes – you can still find this stone in the walls and foundations of older Titchfield properties, and the fireplace in the Bugle Hotel is said to have come from this time.
Very little is certain in life but one of them is that in Titchfield, at least, you’ll never go short of a good pint. The village is bursting with pubs galore. Try the Wheatsheaf in East Street, a gastro restaurant and real ale bar, or Titchfield Mill, in Mill Lane over the A27 has a good vegan menu. Further up from there, opposite the Abbey ruin, is the Fisherman’s Rest, and The Queen’s Head in the High Street is a good place to catch up with a new beer – they change them in rotation every three to four months.
The romantic ruins of Titchfield Abbey, founded in 1222, are the greatest local landmark. The edifice was gifted to Thomas Wriothesley by Henry VIII – he even shows up as a character in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall - and it was re-named Palace House while Thomas took the title Earl of Southampton. His grandson become a patron of Shakespeare who was said to have visited his home.
Head for business
Titchfield has long been a centre for business, and once had a small port. There were also tanneries - some of the buildings still exist - a market, a fair, brewers, craftsmen and traders. The village’s original inhabitants were understood to be a Jutish tribe hailing from Denmark and called the Meonwara, possibly named after the River Meon which ambles past the village and which has played such a vital part in its success and prosperity.
Time for tea
The Wine Garden, which is also a coffee shop at Hallmark jewellers in South Street, makes their own Village Gem loose-leaf tea. Try with their gluten-free cakes, or go for lunch to sample their excellent selection of wines! Daisy B’s at 31 The Square is another good tea shop to try, or the Haven Tea Rooms overlooks the harbour on one side and the nature reserve on the other.
Titchfield has historically been a stop off for royalty! Henry V stayed in the town before departing for Agincourt, and the doomed Charles I rested there before being moved to his imprisonment on the Isle of Wight.
Titchfield’s autumn carnival was once the largest carnival in Hampshire. Famous for its ceremonial burning of an effigy of the Earl of Southampton for allegedly allowing the port to silt up, the carnival has ceased for the while due to the high cost of insurance. Let’s hope the tradition is resurrected again soon.
A little bit of Titchfield lives in leafy Sussex! The village’s historic Market Hall – built in 1612 – can still be seen. But you’ll have to go to the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton to view it, because the edifice was rescued and rebuilt by them in 1968.
Titchfield is a village of traditions - in addition to their famous carnival residents light up the streets every year with up to 100 Christmas trees, attached with brackets to the fronts of their houses.
On the stage
Given its Shakespearian connections, it’s not surprising that his plays are performed at an annual celebration, The Bard in the Barn, at the village’s own Festival Theatre on Mill Lane.
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