The Middle Bridge Causeway

The Causeway is the private road beside the River Test joining Middlebridge to Sadlers Mill.  It is also a public footpath which provides for one of Romsey’s favourite walks, forming part of a convenient circular route from central Romsey.

 

   This walk includes Middlebridge Street and after Sadlers Mill, passes the Memorial Park and then onto The Abbey.  Thus it incorporates many attractive places in the old town.

 

    Before the flow of water through Romsey was altered, salmon would leap up the mill race on their journey up the Test to their spawning grounds.  Sadly for the many people who flocked to see them each autumn, they now take a different route and this popular attraction is no more.

 

    Although Sadlers Mill is relatively close to Romsey Abbey, the area to the west of the river never belonged to the nuns of the Abbey.  The causeway and the mill belonged to Spursholt estate at the top of Green Hill throughout the middle ages and beyond. 

 

    The first Lord Palmerston (great-grandfather of the Prime Minister) bought Spursholt estate in 1745 which remained in the Broadlands estate for over 250 years, and some of it is still part of Broadlands.

 

    However the Causeway, Sadlers Mill and the adjacent houses are now owned separately.

 

    In the early 20th century, the miller was a Mr Burt.  There are postcards showing a spit of land in the river south from the mill which was removed.  There was a street light near the mill, lit as were all Romsey’s other street lamps by gas. 

 

    Mr Burt complained that on cold nights the gas pressure fell and the lamp would go out.

 

     For a number of years, Miss Fanny Buckell lived in the Cottage beside the mill.  She ran a dame school of six pupils, three of which subsequently became mayor of Romsey.  She was a keen water colourist and a number of her paintings have survived

The Town Hall Basement, 1 Market Place, Romsey, Hants. SO51 8YZ 

Romsey Local History Society
is part of the LTVAS Group
 (The Lower Test Valley Archaeological Study Group).
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December 2014 

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