|The Old Church of St Nicholas,
Excerpts (enclosed in quotation marks) and information from records, local memories of residents and MILLBROOK MEMORIALS By AGK Leonard.
From “Hill, The Polygon, and Freemantle” Local Studies Group Southampton 1985 Publication Book V pages 55 –62
[Please remember that this was 1985. The area now has been completely redeveloped and is part of a road, docks and part of the old graveyard is under Star Services Texaco Garage. - Vicki Turner]
“Proposed to be cleared and redeveloped as the site for thirty new houses, Old Millbrook churchyard is today a melancholy and uninviting place but its two neglected and overgrown acres (west of the corner of Regents Park Road and Millbrook Road) contain some significant memorials – many of them now sadly vandalised.”
“Still intact in its corner is the best known of them…………etc…………
Others mentioned in the text:
pink marble column with inscription “JOHN CHARLES MURRAY, an officer of the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s service, who died on board the ss Candia at Suez 12 Jan 1863 aged 23………etc…….”
“GEORGE, the beloved son of THOMAS AND ANN PAISELEY, accidentally killed on board the RMSS Elbe 19Sept 1887 aged 19years…..”
“HERBERT BAIL KIRBY, corporal, Royal Engineers, born Jan 16 1875; accidentally killed in Jamaica Feb 11 1898………….etc”
“WILLIAM OLIVER SWANSTON Major General in Indian Army died June 4 1908 aged 82”
Others mentioned in the text =
WILLIAM SONGHURST (and his wife SARAH) Jan 1835
BENJAMIN RANSOM died 1875 aged 83
JOHN MARTIN and his wife,TRYPHENA both died 1893
HASLOCK and SOFFE families share a family grave; one of them is christened PHILADELPHIA
REV HN BURROWES DIED July 12 1859 aged 49
MATTHEW and WILLIAM ABBOTT both died 1690
“The old church tower of St Nicholas probably dated from the 15th Century but the rest of the church as it existed until it was demolished in 1939 was the result of rebuilding and enlargement in 1827.”
“Standing near the shore the old church suffered from dampness………………….to the extent that in 1799 the Vicar REV MR HARVEST complained of gardens being under water……………………………….etc”
“Preserved in the City Records Office are the St Nicholas church rates assessments for the years 1808-34……………………………..listing property owners of Millbrook, and Hill and Sidford [now just Hill Lane area- VT]………..118 names in the former, 82 in the latter……………….etc.”
On Sept 4 1823 it was resolved that the church was insecure and inadequate and after much confused discussion it was decided to enlarge. Those at the meetings were
REV WJG PHILLIPS, REV I E N MOLESWORTH (curate) SIR GEORGE HEWITT (of Freemantle House) WILLIAM FITZHUGH, CAPTAIN BLIGH (from Blighmont House) SAMUEL JELLICOE, the parish overseer, and churchwardens JOHN ROSS AND JOHN BRIDGER, the latter from Tanyard House (now no longer, but remembered in the name of Tanners Brook at Millbrook). John was a master tanner. Others involved in raising cash and security, or later in 1828 on a petition to the Vicar to preach more services were:
SIR CHARLES MILL
ARTHUR ATHERLEY (of the Atherley School family)
HENRY DUMBLETON (who later moved and is still remembered in Thornhill, Southampton)
ADMIRAL CHARLES TINLING
Those who worked on the enlargement were
GEORGE DRAPER architect
JOHN QUICK Southampton builder
ALEXANDER FLETCHER AND YOUNG who ran Mill Place Foundry in Foundry Lane, Freemantle and who supplied the guttering etc.
“In addition to rebuilding the church, Millbrook financed the building of a National school in 1827. Sunday Schools followed in 1846 and elementary schools at Redbridge and Wimpson were opened under church auspice in 1859”
Ecclestiacally, Shirley and Freemantle were separated from Millbrook in 1836 and 1831 respectively. Prior to that the whole area was one big parish.These boundary and parish changes help to confuse modern day researchers and genealogists and this separation was no different. Modern day (2002) Paynes Road, Freemantle, at one time belonged in both parishes – one side of the road in Millbrook, the other in Freemantle!!
In the 1860’s there was again lots of discussion about the size of St Nicholas,Millbrook compared to the ever expanding population. There was also lots of discussion regarding the provision of a church in Freemantle itself for the basic reason that the parish of Freemantle did not, in fact, have a permanent church ( until 1866.) after the old Freemantle estate was broken up by the PAYNE family and the new criss-cross of roads and houses were built.
At St Nicholas, Millbrook, it was decided to build a new church elsewhere. LADY BARKER MILL gave a site, and MRS VAUDREY who inherited Lady Mill’s estate and became Lady of the Manor laid the foundation stone for Holy Trinity Church, Millbrook in 1872. It was built by NEWMAN and SON from Winchester from designs by R WOODYER from Guildford. The church was consecrated on Whit Tuesday 1874 and the old church of St Nicholas became a Chapel of Ease.
An Act of Parliament in 1939 absolved to demolish the church and the Southern Daily Echo published a picture of the work in progress. As stated at the beginning of this piece, the whole area was redeveloped to make way for the new dual carriageway Millbrook Road, Dock development, and houses in the 1980’s.
(Kindly contributed by Vicki Turner, Southampton)