KINGSWOOD & SOUNDWELL Local History Site
LOCAL MANORS AND HOUSES
Some of the houses that surrounded the forest, dates of construction and the families associated with them:
Barrs Court - Barre, Newton - 1340, demolished 1740 and replaced with a farm. Now just ruins
Hanham Hall - Jones, Parry, Whittuck - 1655
Hanham Court - Creswicke
Hill House, Staple Hill - Page, Cossham
Cleve Hill House - Player, Bragge, Cave - 1627, rebuilt 1730, demolished 1930
Siston Court - Denys, Trotman, Strange - 1557, rebuilt 1922
Oldbury Court - Kemys, Winstone, Graeme, Vassall - Rebuilt 1485, demolished 1949
Warmley House - Champion - 1750
Dower House, Stoke Park - Berkeley, Somerset - 1553, rebuilt 1760
Rodway Hill House - Blount, Seymour - 1350, current building 1520
Cleve Hill House, before and after rebuilding in 1730 Demolished in in 1930.
Rodway Hill House
Hill House, Staple Hill
There are local legends that important buildings in the area were linked by underground tunnels. This report from the Western Daily Press dated 14 March 1933 is interesting.
OLDEN-TIME SUBWAY FOUND UNDER ROAD
Gloucestershire County Council workmen repairing the main road between Staple Hill and Mangotsfield, yesterday discovered a subterranean passage which is believed to have been part of a network of subways linking up the many old hunting lodges in the district which were used hundreds of years ago by royal huntsmen who stalked the stag and deer in what was known as "Kingswood Forest".
The tunnel was discovered when the men were searching for an explanation to a small subsidence almost in the centre of the road, and their excavations disclosed a passage about 15 yards long, four feet four inches in width, and about six feet high.
The roof of the tunnel was only about one foot below the surface of the road, and at another point, where a Gothic doorway indicates an entrance from what is now Page Park, the top of the archway was only a few inches below the roadway.
In view of this, and the fact that heavy motor-buses, as well as other traffic, are continually passing along the road, it is remarkable that the road has not collapsed at the point where the subway passes underneath.
Mr Betram Horne, the divisional surveyor of the Gloucestershire County Council, is supervising the operations, and in conversation with a 'Press and Mirror' reporter yesterday, he expressed surprise at the ability of the tunnel to withstand the heavy traffic along the road.
The tunnel appears to come from the direction of Hill House, the fine old Georgian mansion which overlooks Page Park and once the residence of the late Handel Cossham, and later of the late Alderman page, and another entrance is known to exist in the grounds of Messrs Palmer Bros.' nurseries, about 300 yards away.
Interviewed by our reporter, Mr Harvey Punter, who lives at Hill House, expressed the view that the passage was part of an exensive system of subways which linked up the various lodges in the old "Kingswood Forest".
"I believe Hill House used to be directly connected by subterranean passages with King John's Lodge, which is over a mile away and stands near Cossham Hospital, but we have never been able to find any actual records to confirm that view", he said.
It was a coincidence that both Hill House and King John's Lodge are now used as kindergarten schools.
The passage has now been filled in , and when a water main at the point is re-directed in a less dangerous place, the road will be made up and any danger of subsidence removed,
END OF ARTICLE
(Reproduced courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive)