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Ashlett Creek

Conservation Area

Ashlett Creek This attractive hamlet of historic buildings dominated by the imposing 19th century tide mill is a small and intact example of an old Waterside settlement. It is a reminder of what small settlements along Southampton Water coast must have looked like last century. Ashlett is sandwiched between the power station and the refinery but still manages to retain this sense of history - quite literally a backwater. Of the handful of buildings in this hamlet, three are listed as being of special architectural or historic interest. Recently an environmental improvement project has restored its landscape character.

The name 'Ashlett' may be derived from the Viking custom of planting an ash stave in the ground where their ships first landed and 'flete' from a creek or stretch of salt water. The hard provided a good spot for launching small boats and in days when road transport was difficult this was a good place for landing and loading supplies, grain and salt to and from Southampton and other towns. Salt production was important here from Saxon times until the 19th century when corn milling became Ashlett's principal industry. Flat bottomed sailing barges working the tides handled by perhaps only two men and a boy could negotiate the creek with relative ease; the last one came in 1932. The Hollies, now a private house, was at one time the coastguard house. Today the creek is a haven for small sailing craft.

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Key features in the conservation area are:

  • The tide mill (Grade II) built of red brick in English bond is the last in a series of mills here. Research suggests that there were two mills side by side. Eva de Clinton, the widow of a Norman knight bequeathed "Cadland Mill" to the Abbots and Canons of St Mary, Titchfield in 1241. Records show that rates were paid for a tide mill in the 17th century. TB on the date stone probably refers to Thomas Barney of Beaulieu who owned the mill at the beginning of the 19th century.
  • The Jolly Sailor public house was originally a beer house in the days when anyone who paid the poor rate and the two pound excise fee could sell beer. The Martin family were landlords for several generations.
  • Ashlett House (Grade II) is an unspoilt example of an early 19th century farmhouse built of yellow Beaulieu brick in Flemish bond under an overhanging hipped slate roof. Contemporary timber and brick farm buildings remain to the west side of a small yard.
  • The Ashlett Creek Environmental Improvement Project involved a number of organisations working in partnership. They were responsible for a series of measures designed to restore the traditional setting of the historic tide mill and the green. It is hoped that any future changes will build upon the improvements already made and will preserve this unique environment.
  • Victoria Quay was built in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee and to provide a more efficient way of loading and unloading the barges which came into Ashlett Creek.

These are some of the things that make Ashlett Creek special - they need to be looked after:

  • History
    Property and field boundaries
  • Buildings
    The 19th century tide mill
    Red brick and 19th century slate are the main materials
  • Landscape/Townscape
    The mill pond: an important reminder of the technology of the tide mill
    The Green: an attractive open space recently restored
    The saltings south of the creek
    Victoria Quay
  • Setting
    View from Southampton Water up the creek
    The view down the lane towards the creek
Updated: 1 May 2015
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