Jack Wilson Takes another look at areas of Southampton and how they got their names.

Bitterne Manor

Bitterne Manor is the site of the Roman settlement of Clausentum.

Archaeological evidence also shows later Saxon activity and it’s thought that the name Bitterne is derived from Old English “byht” - meaning bend in the River, and “aern” - meaning house.

The “Manor” part of the name comes from The Manor House, which existed from Norman times. It was built from the stones of Roman Clausentum, and used originally for centuries by the Bishop of Winchester.

READ MORE: From Redbridge to Bitterne – how did your area get its name >>>

The Bishop sold the Manor to a Mr.Simpson in 1802, and in 1804 the farmhouse was demolished and a new Manor House constructed.

Area names part 8.

It was purchased by Sir Steuert MacNaghten around 1863. Following his death, most of the land was sold to the Southampton Corporation for residential development but the MacNaghten family retained the Manor House.

The House was severely damaged by bombing raids during the Second World War, the family abandoned it, and it was sold to architect Herbert Collins in 1951, who converted it into flats.


Hollybrook’s name derives from the stream flowing through the district. This is “an holan broc” (the hollow brook) mentioned in the North Stoneham Land Charter of 922. The stream filled a series of ancient mill-ponds near the junction of Winchester Road and Romsey Road, where it joins Tanner’s Brook.

Hollybrook House was built in 1836 near Malwood Avenue, for Nathaniel Newman Jefferys, on land that had been part of Shirley Common. He enlarged the estate with piecemeal acquisitions, until it was a sizeable 200 acres.

He died in 1873, after which the house was occupied by Alfred Seymour, after whom Seymour Road is named.

READ MORE: How parts of Southampton got their name >>>

In 1912, the house became a home for pauper boys, and parcels of land were periodically sold off for housing development.

Area names part 8.

The home was closed in 1945 and the house itself was demolished in 1950. The gateway and part of the carriage drive still survive beside Seymour Road.

Hollybrook Cemetery dates back to 1913, and contains more than 53,000 graves.


Blechynden was an extremely small district, covering the east part of what is now Southampton Central Railway Station, and the steep slope west of the railway tunnel.

On the west it was restricted to the east bank of Rolles Brook, since Sidford, also now vanished, occupied the west bank. A Sidford Inn in Shirley Road is now named the Pig ‘n Whistle.

The name may be derived from “Blecca’s tribe’s wooded valley”.

READ MORE: Do you know how the area you live in got its name? >>>

Before the coming of the railway, there were plans to build rows of upmarket houses facing the water. The name of Blechynden Terrace dates from this time, but the coming of the railway prevented the completion of the project.

The original Blechynden Station, built around 1847, stood further east than the present Central Station, stretching nearly to the entrance of the tunnel. Its name was changed to Southampton West in 1858, and then to Southampton Central in 1935.

Southampton West Railway Station Early 1900s

Blechynden Gardens is an area destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War.

In 2018 a steel arch was placed over the main path through the Gardens to act as a memorial to the Southampton Blitz.

A screen shows the Southampton shoreline prior to land reclamation in the area.


Crabniton was a district north of Chapel and east of the railway line, at the end of Bevois Street.

Niton normally signifies a shore, while the prefix no doubt refers to the local catch, crab.

The name was used on maps of the 1871 Ordnance Survey plan of Southampton.

Part of Crabniton, on Marine Parade, opposite the current Phoenix and Britannia Wharves, was known as Godfrey’s Town.

Mr Godfrey was a landowner, whose estate in 1800 covered the area from what is now Northam Road, down as far as Marsh Lane.

Area names part 8.

A small village grew up, bounded by Longcroft Street, Marine Parade, Godfrey Street and Godfrey’s Passage. Godfrey’s Town all but disappeared when the Gas Company expanded its works at the turn of the 20th century.

The map above shows Godfrey’s Town in its latter days of 1897.

SeeSouthampton logo.

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