Winchester: The soke

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'Winchester: The soke', in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, ed. William Page( London, 1912), British History Online [accessed 21 July 2024].

'Winchester: The soke', in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Edited by William Page( London, 1912), British History Online, accessed July 21, 2024,

"Winchester: The soke". A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Ed. William Page(London, 1912), , British History Online. Web. 21 July 2024.


In the old eastern suburb of the city, the ancient liberty of the Soke, is Cheesehill Street, running north and south, east of the main arm of the Itchen, (fn. 1) which formed the military fosse of the eastern wall of the city. Cheesehill Street takes its name from being the site of the chesil or gravel bank on which the boats laden with timber and stone, &c., coming up the Itchen from Southampton were grounded. The church of St. Peter Cheesehill, on the west side of the street, is at its north end, at the bottom of the hill as the ground runs uphill to the south. Nearly opposite is an old house of early 16th-century date which has been considerably rebuilt, although the front remains fairly complete. It is of half-timber construction and is in two gables with a projecting upper story. The timber framing is rather heavy and widely spaced, and in the gables, which have cusped barge-boards, partly restored, takes the form of king-post trusses. The window frames are all later insertions and the ground floor is now used as a shop. As Cheesehill Street, here a few yards east of Water Lane, joins Bridge Street (a continuation of the High Street, so called after it crosses the Soke Bridge), the latter curves uphill, sending off one branch to the north, St. John's Street, past St. John's Church to the site of the old Bub's Cross and itself a few yards higher merges into Morn Hill (Magdalen Hill) Road, which runs west and north of St. Giles's Hill. Bub's Cross, which was standing in 1750, (fn. 2) but pulled down before Dr. Milner wrote in 1798, (fn. 3) was in existence at least as early as the 16th century. (fn. 4) West of Bub's Cross, Redhouse Lane leads down to Water Lane, on the east side of which is a group of old cottages facing south, which were built in 1789 in place of the original Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen on Morn Hill. (fn. 5) Beggar Lane, so called, it is said, from having been the gathering-place of beggars who waited there until the city gates should be opened, runs north from the site of Bub's Cross.


  • 1. A small branch of this arm of the river, which just above Simmond's Mill curves off to the west to meet the main river again just below the mill, was originally known as the Lady's Lake and frequently occurs in later leases as such.
  • 2. Godson's map of 1750.
  • 3. Milner, op. cit. ii, 209.
  • 4. Winton Corp. Doc. printed in Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. vi, App. 604. In this document it is given as Hubb's Cross, bearing out a suggestion made by the Rev. A. G. Joyce that the cross was originally St. Hubert's Cross, marking the way to the hunting ground further up the hill.
  • 5. See under 'Charities.' See also under Chilcomb, Farley Hundred.