Hampshire Life - - Inside - IL­LUS­TRA­TION: Lucy Atkin­son

Dis­cover 10 things you didn’t know

With its con­nec­tions to Shake­se­peare

and roy­alty, the vil­lage is full of sur­prises says FAITH ECKERSALL


The Abbey ru­ins are not all they seem, many of the build­ings were de­lib­er­ately de­mol­ished to cre­ate the ef­fect of a ruin. En­ter­pris­ing vil­lagers then pinched the stone for their own homes – you can still find this stone in the walls and foun­da­tions of older Titch­field prop­er­ties, and the fire­place in the Bu­gle Ho­tel is said to have come from this time.


The ro­man­tic ru­ins of Titch­field Abbey, founded in 1222, are the great­est lo­cal land­mark. The ed­i­fice was gifted to Thomas Wrio­thes­ley by Henry VIII – he even shows up as a char­ac­ter in Hi­lary Man­tel’s Wolf Hall - and it was re-named Palace House while Thomas took the ti­tle Earl of Southampton. His grand­son be­come a pa­tron of Shake­speare who was said to have vis­ited his home.


The Wine Gar­den, which is also a cof­fee shop at Hall­mark jew­ellers in South Street, makes their own Vil­lage Gem loose-leaf tea. Try with their gluten-free cakes, or go for lunch to sam­ple their ex­cel­lent se­lec­tion of wines! Daisy B’s at 31 The Square is an­other good tea shop to try, or the Haven Tea Rooms over­looks the har­bour on one side and the na­ture re­serve on the other.


Very lit­tle is cer­tain in life but one of them is that in Titch­field, at least, you’ll never go short of a good pint. The vil­lage is burst­ing with pubs ga­lore. Try the Wheat­sheaf in East Street, a gas­tro restau­rant and real ale bar, or Titch­field

Mill, in Mill Lane over the A27 has a good ve­gan menu. Fur­ther up from there, op­po­site the Abbey ruin, is the Fish­er­man’s Rest, and The Queen’s Head in the High Street is a good place to catch up with a new beer – they change them in ro­ta­tion ev­ery three to four months.


Titch­field has long been a cen­tre for busi­ness, and once had a small port. There were also tan­ner­ies - some of the build­ings still ex­ist - a mar­ket, a fair, brew­ers, crafts­men and traders. The vil­lage’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants were un­der­stood to be a Jutish tribe hail­ing from Den­mark and called the Meon­wara, pos­si­bly named after the River Meon which am­bles past the vil­lage and which has played such a vi­tal part in its suc­cess and pros­per­ity.


Titch­field has his­tor­i­cally been a stop off for roy­alty! Henry V stayed in the town be­fore de­part­ing for Agin­court, and the doomed Charles I rested there be­fore be­ing moved to his im­pris­on­ment on the Isle of Wight.


Titch­field’s au­tumn car­ni­val was once the largest car­ni­val in Hamp­shire. Fa­mous for its cer­e­mo­nial burn­ing of an ef­figy of the Earl of Southampton for al­legedly al­low­ing the port to silt up, the car­ni­val has ceased for the while due to the high cost of in­sur­ance. Let’s hope the tra­di­tion is res­ur­rected again soon.


A lit­tle bit of Titch­field lives in leafy Sus­sex! The vil­lage’s his­toric Mar­ket Hall – built in 1612 – can still be seen. But you’ll have to go to the Weald and Down­land Mu­seum at Sin­gle­ton to view it, be­cause the ed­i­fice was res­cued and re­built by them in 1968.


Titch­field is a vil­lage of tra­di­tions - in ad­di­tion to their fa­mous car­ni­val res­i­dents light up the streets ev­ery year with up to 100 Christ­mas trees, at­tached with brack­ets to the fronts of their houses.


Given its Shake­spear­ian con­nec­tions, it’s not sur­pris­ing that his plays are per­formed at an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion, The Bard in the

Barn, at the vil­lage’s own Fes­ti­val The­atre on Mill Lane. It puts on a year-round pro­gramme of plays and per­for­mances, with Drac­ula sched­uled for next month, and Peter Pan in De­cem­ber.

What­ever the rea­son, Fleet’s nu­mer­ous cof­fee shops and cafés of­fer plenty of choice, whether it’s a catch up with friends, a busi­ness meet­ing or to cel­e­brate a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. As well as morn­ing cof­fee and af­ter­noon teas, many cafés also of­fer a bite to eat at lunchtime. And if you are look­ing for some­thing more sub­stan­tial, there are sev­eral pubs and restau­rants of­fer­ing a light lunch or more ex­ten­sive menus.

Want to eat out and fancy Ital­ian food?

Fleet has highly rec­om­mended in­de­pen­dents in­clud­ing La Casa, El Castello and Par­adiso as well as larger Prezzo and Pizza Ex­press.

How about Asian Food?

Fleet also has a great rep­u­ta­tion for the qual­ity and va­ri­ety of its Asian restau­rants from In­dian and Nepalase to Chi­nese and Thai there is plenty of choice right here in Fleet.


The Fleet Curry Fes­ti­val takes place from 9th – 15th Oc­to­ber. Join us in cel­e­brat­ing the fan­tas­tic in­ter­na­tional tastes and flavours that our lo­cal restau­rants and pubs have on of­fer dur­ing Na­tional Curry Week.

Here are the events and of­fers al­ready planned:

The Oat­sheaf: Try their ve­gan curry op­tion

The Prince Arthur: Curry Club in­clud­ing ve­gan op­tion

Hart House: Look out for their Curry Week spe­cial

Chut­neys: 15% off col­lec­tion only in Chut­ney’s dur­ing Fleet Curry week.* Gurkha Square: 25% dis­count on food.

Chef’s spe­cial on Fri­day and Satur­day.*

From cafés to cur­ries, Fleet in North Hamp­shire is well known for its in­de­pen­dent cafés and restau­rants with a wide range of places to eat out. If you want a quick drink, ca­sual din­ing or a take­away you’ll find it all here in Fleet

Loaf have a spe­cial­ity bread each day which is made and baked fresh each night.

Fans of Gees will be de­lighted to know that this burger, fries and shakes restau­rant has re­cently re­opened.

Hart House’s dishes are cooked from qual­ity fresh in­gre­di­ents hand­crafted by their skilled chefs.

The Fleet Curry Fes­ti­val takes place from 9th – 15th Oc­to­ber

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