South View Cemetery

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HCC Site ID: 1202 Parish: Basingstoke
Designations: Grade II * Buildings and setting; Conservation area Area: 7.7 acres
Access: Public Access Ownership: Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

Location and Site

South View Cemetery is located east of Chapel Hill to the north of the centre of Basingstoke. The existence of a market in Basingstoke was recorded in the Domesday Book – a rare entry for Hampshire, and the first grant of a fair was in 1449, held near the Chapel of the Holy Ghost. The burial ground on Chapel Hill dates from the period of an Interdict – in 1208, when King John and all of England was excommunicated by the Pope, and burials could not take place in consecrated ground. As an alternative, a temporary unconsecrated burial ground, known as the Liten, was used on the open ground of a hill to the north of the town. The excommunication was lifted after Magna Carta was signed in 1215, the cemetery consecrated, and a chapel – dedicated to the Holy Ghost – was built. The tomb of William de Brayboeuf, Lord of the manor of Eastrop who died in 1294 is the oldest monument in the Holy Ghost chapel at South View Cemetery.

The 13th Century building was greatly enlarged in 1524 by Lord Sandys of The Vyne, when he added the Chapel of the Holy Trinity to the south side of the chancel as a burial place for his family. The east wall had nine large, elegantly designed windows., and in 1592 these windows were glazed in preparation for a visit by queen Elizabeth I. After its destruction during the Civil War the remnants of the Tudor glass were stored at Mottisfont Abbey where they were later discovered, and in 1840 used to reinstate the east window in St Michael’s Church, much of which was lost in 1940, during the bombing of the town. Only a relatively small section of the western end of the original chapel survives.

From the time of Queen Mary, at least, the chaplain of the Holy Ghost Chapel was also the teacher of the boys of Basingstoke. Gilbert White, author of the Natural History of Selborne, was educated here, as were the two poets, Joseph and Thomas Warton, whose father was vicar of Basingstoke (see Glebe Gardens 1201) from 1725 to 1745.

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There are 5 listed buildings within the area, 3 of which are grade II*,and two structures that are designated as both listed buildings and scheduled monuments. – the west wall of the 13th century chapel of the Holy Ghost and the tower and arched windows of the early 16th century chapel of the Holy Trinity. Their importance in terms of the development of Basingstoke town as well as South View is significant, and the picturesque quality of the mature setting of the cemetery creates a strong sense of place and a high quality environment.

The cemetery lodge, entrance gateway and screen walls are also Grade II listed buildings, and form a strong visual and physical element at the south-western boundary of the conservation area. The lodge, dates from 1856 and was designed by Boulton and Woodman of Reading who also provided the 2 mortuary chapels. The lodge was the birthplace of John Arlott, well known cricket broadcaster, commentator, and poet, whose father was cemetery manager in the early 20th century.

The steeply sloping south facing site and its network of footpaths, historic headstones, and mature trees creates fitting setting for the historic ruins of the Holy Ghost Chapel, and provided a small haven of peace in the dense urban fabric of the town. Recently a timber fence has been erected between the allotments and the cemetery creating enclosure at the top of the site but restricting views to the south from Burgess Road and the allottments.

The Church of the Holy Ghost to the north of the cemetery, with its attached presbytery and earlier church hall on the corner of Burgess Road and Sherborne Road is also listed as Grade II. This is a landmark building of high built quality which has an imposing street presence. Until its development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the area was agricultural land, comprising two principal fields known as North field, which had become known as Norden field by the mid 1700’s, and Chapel field, or Holy Ghost field.

The cemetery lies within the Proposed South View Conservation Area in recognition of its special architectural and historic interest. The site contains mature trees of ‘Townscape significance’ forming the boundary of Chapel Hill. The cemetery trail (see map in appendix II) produced by the Friends of the South View Cemetery identifies the location of the vaults and monuments of the prominent families of Basingstoke. The oldest monument is that of Sir William Brayboef; and the development of Basingstoke as a business centre is mirrored in the tombs and vaults of prominent local families who made their mark beyond the town, such as the Burberry family, whose now internationally important business started in Westminster Street. Locally important, the Burgess family were responsible for the development of the South View area at the beginning of the 20th century. The Quaker plot is an indication of the significant Quaker community in Basingstoke and its environs. The picturesque quality of the mature setting of the cemetery creates a strong sense of place and a high quality environment.

Summary

The importance of South View Cemetery is its connection with Lord Sandys of The Vyne. Gilbert White the naturalist and Joseph and Thomas Warton poets and many other of Hampshire’s sons who were educated here. The burial ground bears witness to the many prominent families that were important in the development of Basingstoke as an important market town, and the cemetery is likely to be of significant archaeological interest given the long period over which it served the town.

The cemetery has a high landscape and environmental quality with a large number of mature specimen trees which are glimpsed from the wider area. The quality of this environment compliments and reflects the built quality of the church buildings and the lodge, and provides an attractive setting for the ruins. High brick boundary walls along Chapel Hill with mature trees behind, creates a strong physical barrier and sense of enclosure.

Significance:

Elements within the cemetery are important historical markers in the development of this town, and the picturesque quality of the mature green spaces of the cemetery creates a strong sense of place and a high quality environment in the urban setting.

Landscape Planning Status:

The proposed South View Conservation Area has three character areas: a). the open space comprising of the cemetery of the Holy Ghost with allotments in the south, b). the compact development in Phoenix Park Terrace and Soper Grove to the east, and c). the principle residential area running from Burgess Road northwards to Darlington Road.
Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: June 2010
Further details can be found at the Basingstoke Heritage society’s website www.bas-herit-soc.org.
For information on conservation work in the cemetery, please follow the link to the South View Conservation Group page.
Information from Basingstoke & Deane’s website March 2013


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