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Netley lies in the parish of Hound, the name of which derives from a plant called ‘Hoarhound’ which grew profusely in the area. An attractive small village, Netley edges Southampton Water and neighbours one of Hamble Valley’s most popular attractions, Royal Victoria Country Park.
Covering 200 acres, the park is divided into woodland, parkland and foreshore with views across the water. Discover the history of the site in the Heritage Centre and make your way to the top of the chapel tower with one of the expert Tower Guides.
The Royal Victoria Railway is situated within the park and is a steam railway offering rides for children throughout the school holidays.
The imposing ruins of the 13th century, Netley Abbey lies at the other end of the village and makes a perfect picnic spot.
Netley’s foreshore was once entirely wooded and was described by William Cobbett as ‘one of the prettiest scenes in the whole country’
Netley Abbey …
The buildings that now comprise Netley Abbey ruins were first known to the monks of the Cistercian order who lived in the Abbey for over three hundred years, commissioners of King Henry VIII, the first Marquis of Winchester. For over two thousand years the curious have visited Netley Abbey and today the ruins are in the care of English Heritage for everyone to enjoy. It’s also full of literary heritage and makes a great site for a picnic with the kids.
As expected, Netley Abbey has its legends, ghosts and of course a curse which is said to date from the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. One of the Abbey Monks, ‘Blind Peter’ became the guardian of Abbey’s treasure against Henry VIII. In an attempt to find the treasure, a gentleman named Mr Slown arrived at the Abbey and began to dig a hole.
Moments later he ran away screaming, and collapsed within minutes from a heart attack uttering his dying words, ‘For God’s sake, block it up’.
Another victim of ‘the curse of Netley Abbey’ was local builder Walter Taylor. In 1700, when Taylor was intent on removing stones from the site to use in a town house, he had a terrible nightmare. In the dream, he was visited by a monk who warned him of great mischief if he was to continue with his plans. He saw a large stone falling on him, which fractured his skull. Taylor discussed his dreams with Dr Isaac Watts who suggested that he should keep out of the way during the demolition. However, contrary to this advice, Taylor took part in the demolition and in the course of tearing down a board, he loosened a stone that fell and fractured his head. The wound was not considered mortal but, during the operation to remove the splinter, the surgeons instrument slipped, entered into Taylors brain and caused instant death.
For a copy of a leaflet about Netley Abbey contact 023 8000 1655.