Roofline outlines of the town's medieval past

The distinctive mark of Emsworth's Planta­genet-era (c.1220) burgage plots are the shops fronting immediately onto the street with integral, covered side alleyways which allowed goods to be transported in and out of back courtyards. Most are today visible as front doors, but some survive — as at Citrus Flowers and Heidi's bakery on 'the Square' (sometimes referred to as St Peter's Square, but officially it's the High Street) and Amaya at the top of Queen Street.

Another vestige is in the gable-end pitched roofs that are only one burgage plot wide, re­sembling what would have been the originals at lower levels. The most visible is the side building of the Rowans Hospice shop in South Street. Another peeps above the Geor­gian facade of The Crown Hotel to the (viewer's) right of the building.

The planned town's layout can be seen on maps, one of which is shown below, viewable on the website.

The High Street runs from No.1 (Starr's butchers) round the market square (the market established in the 1239 charter) to the library at 23 High Street, with most properties retaining the standard 13ft frontage and integral side alleyway/door. The Pantry Weigh (7 High Street) to Treagust butcher's (17 High Street) stretch has 13 iden­tifiable plots, several of them (such as the NatWest bank) double-fronted.

Central Emsworth Map

The High Street resumes on the other side of the Square (Heidi's being No.37), where clearly demarcated frontages and still-func­tioning covered alleys were shown in the Sep­tember Shorelines.

Continuing round the corner, the street in­cludes the complete frontages from Tower Street including Sue Foster Fabrics and end­ing with the combined Envisage and Old Pharmacy building (Nos.55 and 57).

The north side beginning at the Co-op (No.2) features an almost complete facade, from the hairdresser's (No.4) to another hair­dresser's (No.48). The burgage plot dimen­sions can be clearly seen on the corner of Spring Gardens at Grate Fyres and the ad­joining side bar of The Ship, which was until recently a shop. The former Hutchins, spread across two plots, amalgamated their alley­ways running out the back, but are now sep­arate shops once again.

South Street begins with Gascoigne Pees being No.1 (Wraight's the undertaker, for­merly No.25 High Street, is now without a number on the Square).

At No.25 the former Oddbins, about to be­come Woosters, is an intricate timber-framed building — with several beams recycled from earlier constructions. The 'fishermen's cot­tages' opposite are also ancient.

West Street, beginning with The Town Brewery (No.2), with several old cottages ad­jacent, is rebuilt on the north side. Incredibly, this was the South Coast's main road until the 1970s, with traffic lights regulating a one-way flow. North Street then starts with Lloyds Pharmacy as No.2, the Emsworth Surgery being No.6.

The top of Queen Street from Keyprint (No.2) retains burgage plot widths and alley­way doors, as at Amaya (No.6) and in 18th century the buildings, as at Tiffin's (No.10). A dozen are listed buildings, to be described in a forthcoming review.

Bob Smyth September 2015
Published in "Shorelines"


More History

Listed Buildngs
Roofline outlines of Ennsworth's
medieval past

The Emsworth Oyster Fishery
Fishermans Walk

The History of Emsworth's  Public Houses

The Church of St Thomas ą Becket,  Warblington
Crossing to Hayling Island - Wadeway & Bridges
Lumley Mill
Then & Now

Some Miscellaneous Local History
An Emsworth Time Line
Emsworth, Historical References
and Sources

Emsworth Maritime & Historical Trust
(External Link)##

Emsworth a King John Era Town

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