The Titchfield Canal is a two-mile watercourse between the village of Titchfield, Hampshire, and the coast at Titchfield Haven adjacent to the modern nature reserve. Lying above and roughly parallel to the nearby River Meon it is plainly artificial, but its origins and purpose have been warmly debated.
It should not be confused with the "New River", a leat from the north eastern corner of Wickham along the western side of the Meon valley, being supplied by various springs before almost joining the river north of Fontley mill. It reappears and its course has been restored near Bridge Lane, Originally, it followed a hillside course to the millpond supplying Titchfied Hammer. Originally designed to irrigate the water meadows in Funtley, it was taken over by the occupants of the forge which resulted in litigation between the forge operators and local farmers.
That the "canal" has been used as a feeder channel for a water meadow system is beyond question. The telltale surface patterns of water meadows can still be made out in places from the path along the Canal, and are even clearer from Google Earth images. Further, the remains of a couple of the sluices through which water was admitted from the Canal to the water meadows can still be seen, and 19th century 1:2500 maps show a dozen more but it was never used as a channel for ships to dock at Titchfield for which there is no evidence whatsoever. A very few ships landed goods at Titchfield Haven. On 24 June 1611 the parish register notes that "the same day Titchfield Haven was shutt out by one Richard Talbotts industrie under gods permisione at the costs of the right honourable the Earle of Southampton". It has been inferred from this that a dike was built across the Meon Estuary, preventing sailing vessels from entering the river and cutting off Titchfield from seaborne trade. There is certainly a dike across the Estuary now, but what in detail was done in 1611 is not known. It has been further inferred that to get around this inferred problem a substitute navigation channel in the form of the New River was built at the same time. No contemporaneous archival evidence has yet come to light to support this hypothesis; what little documentation there is suggests a land reclamation project, for which a total closure of the estuary would not necessarily be required.
There is evidence of further large works being carried out in the Meon Estuary in the 1670s. In a Chancery case starting in 1739 elderly residents testified that boats still sailed up to Titchfield in their lifetimes and only ceased to do so when the heirs of the Earl built a barrier across the river. Although they are imprecise as to date their evidence does bracket the 1670s for the final closure. Also, presentments in the Titchfield Manorial Court in October 1676 report that the Lord of the Manor by cutting the New River "hath taken away and doth detain" parts of the copyholds of two tenants, John Cooper and John Landy, implying that at that time the construction of the New River was recent.
What archival evidence has so far come to light, together with the visible evidence on the ground, tends towards the agricultural explanation rather than the navigational one, but a final answer depends on the discovery of further evidence. In the meantime the book referenced below contains a number of papers by different writers discussing the various theories, and numerous source references.
The River Witham is a river almost entirely in the county of Lincolnshire in the east of England. It rises south of Grantham close to South Witham at, passes through the centre of Grantham, passes Lincoln at and at Boston, , flows into The Haven, a tidal arm of The Wash, near RSPB Frampton Marsh. The name "Witham" seems to be extremely old and of unknown origin. Archaeological and documentary evidence shows the importance of the Witham as a navigable river from the Iron Age onwards. From Roman times it was navigable to Lincoln, from where the Fossdyke was constructed to link it to the River Trent. The mouth of the river moved in 1014 following severe flooding, and Boston became important as a port.
The River Hamble is located in south Hampshire, England. It rises near Bishop's Waltham and flows for 10.1 km (6.3 mi) through Botley, Bursledon, and Lower Swanwick before entering Southampton Water between Hamble Common and Warsash.
Wickham is a large village in the civil parish of Wickham and Knowle, in the Winchester district, in the county of Hampshire, England. It is about 3 miles north of Fareham. In 2021 it had a population of 2173. At the 2001 census, it the parish a population of 4,816, falling to 4,299 at the 2011 Census.
Fareham is a market town at the north-west tip of Portsmouth Harbour, between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton in south east Hampshire, England. It gives its name to the Borough of Fareham. It was historically an important manufacturer of bricks, used to build the Royal Albert Hall, and grower of strawberries and other seasonal fruits.
The River Itchen in Hampshire, England, rises to the south of New Alresford and flows 26 miles (42 km) to meet Southampton Water below the Itchen Bridge. The Itchen Navigation was constructed in the late 17th and early 18th centuries to enable barges to reach Winchester from Southampton Docks, but ceased to operate in the mid-19th century and is largely abandoned today.
Hill Head is a residential area and village on the coast of the Solent. It is located south of Stubbington, west of Lee-on-the-Solent and south east of Titchfield, in the borough of Fareham, Hampshire. Hill Head is in the Gosport parliamentary constituency. The MP is Caroline Dinenage of the Conservative party since 2010. Hill Head has a sandy beach with sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and fishing being the most popular pastimes upon its shores. It is the place to be. There is also a small harbour, located where the River Meon enters the Solent. It is next to Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve.
The River Meon is a chalk stream in Hampshire in the south of England. It rises at East Meon then flows 34 km (21 mi) in a generally southerly direction to empty into the Solent at Hill Head near Stubbington. Above Wickham, the river runs through the South Downs National Park.
Titchfield is a village and former civil parish in the Fareham district, in southern Hampshire, England, by the River Meon. The village has a history stretching back to the 6th century. During the medieval period, the village operated a small port and market. Near to the village are the ruins of Titchfield Abbey, a place with strong associations with Shakespeare, through his patron, the Earl of Southampton.
The Louth Navigation was a canalisation of the River Lud. It ran for 11 miles (18 km) from Louth in Lincolnshire, England, to Tetney Haven, at the mouth of the Humber. It was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1763 and completed in 1770, under the supervision of the engineer John Grundy Jr. and then by James Hoggard. Eight locks were required to overcome the difference in altitude, six of which were constructed with sides consisting of four bays.
The Market Weighton Canal ran 9.5 miles (15.3 km) from the Humber Estuary to its terminus near Market Weighton. It gained its Act of Parliament in 1772 and opened in 1782. The 3.5 miles (5.6 km) closest to Market Weighton was abandoned in 1900 and the right of navigation through Weighton lock was lost in 1971. However, as of 2002 the lock was passable and the canal usable up to the junction with the River Foulness where silt has made it impassable. Also there is no right of navigation under the M62 motorway bridge to the north of Newport.
Catisfield is an area of Fareham, Hampshire, England. Originally a small village in its own right, it has now merged with the western edge of the town.
Funtley – from the Anglo-Saxon, "Funtaleg", "spring field (clearing)", is a hamlet or exurb north of Fareham, Hampshire, England. It forms a projection towards the South Downs National Park and is generally included within Fareham's population as it is within its built-up area. At present the village is unparished, as the creation of a parish council was rejected by Fareham Borough Council, despite having the support of the majority of residents.
Droxford is a village in Hampshire, England.
Titchfield Carnival is an annual event that has been held in Titchfield, Hampshire, England, every year since 1880 onwards, except during World War I and World War II and 2007. It is organised each year by the Titchfield Bonfire Boys Society, and features a parade through the village, a funfair, a variety of floats, fireworks, and a bonfire. The carnival is also famous for its beauty Queen competition that attracts young girls from all across the town.
The Meon Valley Railway was a cross-country railway in Hampshire, England, that ran for 22 miles between Alton and Fareham, closely following the course of the River Meon. At its northern (Alton) end, it joined with the Alton Line from London. It was conceived as an additional main line to the area around Gosport, and it was opened in 1903. It never fulfilled its planned potential, and remained a local line through sparsely populated agricultural areas, and it closed to passenger services in 1955; some local goods services continued until total closure in 1968.
The Itchen Navigation is a 10.4-mile (16.7 km) disused canal system in Hampshire, England, that provided an important trading route from Winchester to the sea at Southampton for about 150 years. Improvements to the River Itchen were authorised by Act of Parliament in 1665, but progress was slow, and the navigation was not declared complete until 1710. It was known as a navigation because it was essentially an improved river, with the main river channel being used for some sections, and cuts with locks used to bypass the difficult sections. Its waters are fed from the River Itchen. It provided an important method of moving goods, particularly agricultural produce and coal, between the two cities and the intervening villages.
Warnford is a village and civil parish in the City of Winchester district of Hampshire, England. The parish covers 1283 hectares. The village lies on the A32 in the upper valley of the River Meon between West Meon and Exton. The population in 2019 was estimated at 220. The village is rural in character, with most of the buildings along River Lane, Lippen Lane and Hayden Lane.
The River Foulness is a river in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Its name is derived from Old English fūle[n] ēa, meaning “dirty water”. Maintenance responsibilities for the river transferred from the Environment Agency to the Market Weighton Drainage Board on 1 October 2011. Market Weighton Drainage Board subsequently amalgamated with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board on 1 April 2012 to create the Ouse and Humber Drainage Board. The river discharges into the Humber Estuary via Market Weighton Canal. Water levels within the river, its tributaries and the canal are managed and controlled by the Environment Agency. The river lies in an area known as the Humberhead Levels.
Titchfield Haven is a 134.5-hectare (332-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest north-west of Gosport in Hampshire. Most of it is a local nature reserve and a national nature reserve. It is part of Solent and Southampton Water Ramsar site and Special Protection Area.