A33 cont'd

Pic F upper valley from Weston Lane .JPG
AA box on the A33

The Popham to Winchester Road


The place name Stratton comes from the Latin ‘via strata’ meaning a paved way and indicates that a settlement is on, or near, a Roman road. The villages of East and West Stratton are located east and west of the Roman road between Venta Belgarum (Winchester) and Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester).


By the middle of the 18th century the old Roman road from Winchester to Silchester, passing through the Parish, was little more than a track, its stone robbed out over the centuries for other purposes. The route was often impassable and dangerous to travel on for fear of robbers.


In 1756 a Draft Agreement was drawn up between the local gentry for the construction of a road, using local labour, from Popham to Winchester. In 1759 Parliament passed the necessary Turnpike Act enabling the road to be built and a ‘toll’ to be levied for using the road. Goods wagons and passenger coaches travelled the road in relative safety changing horses at the Wheatsheaf Inn and Lunways (formerly the New Inn).


In 1836, five passenger coaches were operating on the route, the Independent, Eclipse, Quicksilver, Alpha and Telegraph. The coaches were operated by large London firms running coaches to destinations throughout the country. The coaches carried four passengers inside, up to eleven outside and charged 5d per mile. The fare from London to Southampton was about £4.


The arrival of the railways in 1840 heralded the end of the toll road as, almost overnight, passenger and goods traffic transferred to the faster cheaper transport. The toll road struggled on for a few years catering for those who feared rail travel and by providing a local service. The Turnpike Trust was finally wound up in 1845 and Mr Chapman, who ran the ‘Independent’ with 115 coaches, became Chairman of the London & South West Railway.


The old toll road saw a revival in the 20th century with the invention of motorised transport and was reborn again as the A33. During the Second World War, older residents recall seeing the road full of military vehicles carrying troops and equipment to ports on the south coast in preparation for the D Day landings.


By the 1960s the old A33 was creaking under the weight of ever-increasing road transport, and in an effort to ease the situation, sections of the A33 were dualled, including two sections in Micheldever Parish, one at the site of the former Lunways Inn and a section extending from Middle Lodge to London Lodge on the western boundary of Stratton Park. At Lunways the old A33 is the east carriageway and a new carriageway was built west of the old road. At the section between Middle lodge and London Lodge the old A33 is the west carriageway and a new carriageway was built east of the old road.


Despite major alterations to the old Turnpike over the last 260 years, relics of the old road still remain in the form of four Grade II listed stone milestones within Micheldever Parish. The milestones are carved with inscriptions detailing the Miles From Hyde Park Corner and Miles To Winton, the old name for Winchester. Milestones played an important role in the operation of the Turnpike since the carriage of passengers and goods was charged by the mile. The carriage of mail was also charged by the mile until the flat rate for postage was introduced in 1840.


With the demise of Turnpike Trusts in the middle of the 19th century the responsibility for maintaining the roads fell to the local authorities and many fixed cast iron plates to the old milestones detailing the miles to major settlements. The 1983 Historic England Grade II listing for the four milestones in Micheldever Parish record that each stone had a cast iron plate detailing the miles to London and Winchester.


In February 2021 I set out to locate and record the current condition of the four milestones within the Parish located on the A33, and sadly all four cast iron plates are now missing from the milestones. Even more surprising was that one of the milestones was no longer visible and is no longer recorded on the current Ordnance Survey map. The author found the milestone lying on its side, virtually buried and completely concealed by vegetation.


Micheldever Parish Council have been notified of the current condition of this milestone and they have in turn requested Hampshire County Council Highways to reinstate the stone in its correct orientation.


The four milestones are recorded in Roman numerals on the Thomas Milne 1791 map below indicating the distance in miles from London. At Lunways, LVIII is recorded indicating 58 miles from London. The milestones were first listed by Historic England in 1983 and a description of their condition at that time, together with a location map, can be found on the Historic England website. Photos of each milestone are included in the picture gallery below.


 To view the listings - CLICK HERE


By the last quarter of the 20th century road transport had overtaken rail transport and road transport on the A33 had exceeded the road's capacity. In the mid 1980s construction began on the section of the M3 motorway between Popham and Winchester, dissecting the Parish through Micheldever Wood, and running parallel with, and to the east of, the A33. The route passes along the western side of Stratton Park cutting off Winchester, Middle and London Lodges from the park.


Archaeological excavations carried out before construction of the M3, revealed bronze age, iron age and Roman habitation along the route including a 2km section of Roman road on the western edge of Stratton Park. The 18th century Turnpike, A33, M3 and remains of the Roman road in Stratton Park mark 2000 years of road construction in the Parish.

Pat Craze 2011

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A33

Lunways Inn a visit from the Hunt - c1920

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A33

AA box with an employee saluting a member

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A33

Main Road (A33) looking north with the turning to West Stratton on the left. C 1920 Note the telegraph poles carrying multiple telephone and telegraph lines.

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A33

Lunways Inn a visit from the Hunt - c1920

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