Jack Wilson looks into the origins of Southampton district names.

Banister Park

The name of this area derives from the Banestre family who held property here from at least the 14th century.

It was a medieval estate lying south of the Common and west of the Avenue, stretching from modern day Cavendish Grove in the east to Hill Lane in the west and southward as far as Colwell Spring.

In 1790 the estate was acquired by William Fitzhugh who replaced the original house with a larger residence and had two small lakes excavated in the grounds.

The new house was referred to as Banister Lodge and the estate as Banister's Park.

5. Banisters Lodge

Banisters Lodge

A picturesque corner of the estate known as the Dell was later used for Southampton Football Club’s ground.

In 1858 the estate was bought by Edward Hulse and in 1867 the house was leased to the Reverend George Ellaby for use as a boys’ school.

In 1927 it was sold to Charles Knott who demolished it and opened a speedway and greyhound stadium on the site. The stadium was demolished in the 1960s and Charles Knott Gardens now occupies the site.



In the medieval period, Hill was little more than a scattered collection of dwellings along the lower part of Hill Lane.

The centre of the village was Hill Farm on the west side of Hill Lane, opposite the west end of modern Milton Road and on the same site as a later dairy farm of the same name.

From 1748 Hill was usually referred to together with Sidford as “The Village of Hill and Sidford”.

2. Hill farm Dairy

Hill Farm Dairy

Sidford probably related to the traditional ford of the Rolles Brook at this point, by the westward road out of Southampton prior to the construction of Achard’s Bridge.

There used to be a Sidford Street here - the Nelson Gate office block now stands on the site.

Traditionally Southampton's western boundary passed along Hill Lane.

The Polygon

The Polygon scheme of the 1760s was conceived by Isaac Mallortie and John Carnac who commissioned the architect Jacob Lerou.

The plan was for a polygonal ensemble consisting of Assembly Rooms, a Hotel and 12 large houses.

Lack of money caused the scheme to be aborted by 1773 with only three of the buildings completed, one being the hotel.

9. Polygon Hotel early

Earlier Polygon Hotel

This was rebuilt in the 1870s with the original building largely incorporated within it which was once again largely retained when the hotel was rebuilt in the 1930s.

In the early 20th century many famous visitors stayed here - it was particularly popular with the stars performing at the nearby Empire – now Mayflower – Theatre.

The hotel was demolished in 1999 and replaced by flats. Two memorials can be found on the surrounding wall facing the parks.

The wider area gradually filled with large, good-quality houses in the 19th century and from the early years of the 20th century, more modest housing was developed.

St Denys

St Denys is named after St Denys Priory, itself named after St Dionysius, a 3rd-century Christian martyr and saint.

According to legend, after his execution Dionysius carried his head several miles to his place of burial, Saint-Denis in Paris.

The Priory was founded by Henry I in 1124, and after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536, fell into decay, and its land came into the ownership of Sir Francis Dawtrey, owner of what now is Tudor House.

13. ST D remains

Remains at St Denys

In the 18th century the land belonged to the Earl of Peterborough, and for some time there was a farm on the site. A couple of remnants remain.

A wall can be found in the garden of a house in Priory Road, covered in ivy, an arch was taken down and rebuilt in the garden of Tudor House in Southampton and St Denys Church in Dundee Road has a stone coffin and a panel of decorative 13th/14th Century floor tiles from the Priory.

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Jack Wilson is a tour guide with SeeSouthampton.co.uk .