Western aqueduct near Netley Abbey


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008703

Date first listed: 10-Dec-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Western aqueduct near Netley Abbey
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2018 at 17:41:08.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Eastleigh (District Authority)

Parish: Hound

National Grid Reference: SU 45560 09719


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 75 of these religious houses belonged to the Cistercian order founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century. The Cistercians - or "white monks", on account of their undyed habits - led a harsher life than earlier monastic orders, believing in the virtue of a life of austerity, prayer and manual labour. Seeking seclusion, they founded their houses in wild and remote areas where they undertook major land improvement projects. Their communities were often very large and included many lay brethren who acted as ploughmen, dairymen, shepherds, carpenters and masons. The Cistercians' skills as farmers eventually made the order one of the richest and most influential. They were especially successful in the rural north of England where they concentrated on sheep farming. The Cistercians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

As an integral part of the surviving remains at Netley Abbey, the aqueducts constitute an important and unusual component, particularly as they survive well despite disturbance by modern development. Aqueducts of this date are rarely known from archaeological remains, and the aqueducts and water catchment area at Netley, as part of a possibly unfinished water distribution system, give an insight into the planning and establishment of a Cistercian monastery, as well as the economy of its inhabitants.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the western of two aqueduct channels running southwards through the eastern part of West Wood towards Netley Abbey, a Cistercian abbey founded in 1239. The channel does not now reach the abbey precinct because of modern building and landscaping, but it is also possible that the aqueduct system was never completed. The direction of the channel suggests that the aqueduct would have provided water for the main abbey buildings. Immediately to the north east of these a series of ponds can still be seen. The channel, which is 680m long, starts c.100m south of Newtown Road; it initially runs south westwards but, after c.260m, turns southward approximately along a contour and continues for another 420m before terminating at a modern property boundary. Where undisturbed, the trench is up to 5.5m wide and 1.25m deep; one section, thought to have been reinstated after the infill of a former gravel pit to the east, is 6.5m wide and 2.25m deep. A bank up to 1m in height and 2.5m wide survives on the western side of the channel, but an eastern bank of similar size is only occasionally visible at the northern end of the feature. A dam or pond would have been needed to provide a continuous supply of water to the aqueduct. A dam could have been sited on the line of Newtown Road, immediately north of which is a steep-sided and irregular hollow known as Tickleford Pond the subject of a separate scheduling; however, the channel does not extend this far north, suggesting it was never completed. Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, fence- and sign-posts and the metalled access road to the infilled gravel pit south of Newtown Road, but the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24324

Legacy System: RSM


Thompson, R, (1990)

End of official listing