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Holy Ghost Cemetery & South View - a virtual visit, Part 1
25-inch to one mile Ordnance Survey Maps
As mentioned on the Landscape Digital Update webpage, the National Library of Scotland has digitised Ordnance Survey maps for personal study. The following five links will allow the changing landscape of the area, as shown by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Sheet XVIII.8, to be followed from 1870 to 1937. Each link will take you to an enlarged view of the area of interest and each will open in a new webpage to allow comparison of the maps. (You may need to allow pop-ups to see the new map pages.)
Debbie Reavell, Basingstoke Heritage Society, was to lead the group around the Cemetery, including the Holy Ghost Chapel with its remains dating from 1244. The graves are mainly C19 but of great interest for local historians. To the north of the cemetery, the suburb of South View was developed from the late C19 onwards; there is a mix of ages & styles with St Thomas' Home for the Friendless and Fallen a highlight. To prepare for the virtual visit an excellent account of the area has been written by Debbie Reavell.
Starting Point: The small open space /'park' area, across from the entrance to Vyne Meadow car park, would bring a visitor, via the path seen in photo 1, into the south-east corner of the cemetry. On entry to the cemetry the route passes through a line of large concrete anti-tank blocks, photo 2, which were built, during WWII, to protect the Railway Station. On entry, turn left and follow the path toward the footbridge before turning right on the path towards the Holy Ghost Chapel ruins. Photo 3 shows a view from the north-west with the Holy Ghost Chapel School in the foreground while the tower and nave of the Chapel can seen to the rear.
Detailed information on the ruins can be read in Debbie Reavell's account, see link above, pp. 5-8; there is also information in The Buildings of England - HAMPSHIRE: Winchester and the North pp. 160-161. One section of the Historic England Archive has 36 images related to churches in Basingstoke; this link goes to a page with 36 images; going from top-bottom & left-right, for the Holy Ghost ruins please see images 8 – 16. Each image can be chosen separately and can be enlarged though not all views fit neatly on screen when enlarged. Some sketches show drawings by George Engleheart, 1750-1829 (link to a Wikipedia entry). One of the two mortuary chapels can be seen in images 20 & 21.
The route around the cemetry then follows the path, made up in part of old grave stones, to the north west turning to the north towards the boundary wall. A short detour, to Chapel HIll, along the larger path will lead to the Cemetry Lodge which was the childhood home of John Arlott. Returning to the path, just before the north wall, is an area of Commonwealth War Graves; at its centre is buried World War I Victoria Cross holder, Photo 4 below, John Aidan Liddell (link to a Wikipedia entry). The citation for his medal can be viewed online. The list for all Commonwealth War Graves in South View can be consulted.
In her account, Debbie Reavell gives details, pp. 11-12, of some of the more prominent citizens of Basingstoke. These included Thomas Burberry, 1835-1926, and John Mares, Photo 5; the latter had been an apprentice of Thomas Burberry who founded his own rainwear and clothing business (New Street, 1894-1950s). A walk along one of the footpaths towards the east boundary with Vyne Road would give views of a wide range of graves and their memorials. The Non-Conformist Mortuary Chapel was sited on the north-south path.
Getting to Basingstoke: With the relaxation of the 'lockdown' rules it would be possible to have a self-guided walk around the area. If arriving by car, the nearest public car park is 'Vyne Meadow' - the post code is RG21 5NA - and parking will be £1 for the whole day on a Sunday. Alternatively, each of the roads to the north of the Holy Ghost Cemetery has some public parking with no parking restrictions on a Sunday, according to the signs. If travelling by train, then turn left on leaving the station and turn left again to take a subway under the railway lines; once through the tunnel turn left again and walk towards the Great Western PH (currently boarded up); across from the pub is an area of open space. N.B.: Particular care should be taken in the cemetery where the ground can be very uneven, particularly where rabbits have made their burrows.
Any questions about the Landscape Section?
Then email Mike Broderick Landscape Section Chairman