A brief history

n 1189 Godfrey de Lucy was consecrated Bishop of Winchester and it is he who is said to have devised a grand plan for improving the trade both of Winchester and Alresford by the construction of a “navigation” on the river Alre and Itchen.

It is suggested that in order to complete this project he constructed the Great Weir between Old and New Alresford, which is still in use today, to dam the springs between Alresford, Bighton and Bishops Sutton that meet at this point. However, it is more likely that the pond was constructed as a fish pond to supply the Bishops palace in Bishops Sutton and provide a head of water to allow mills to operate downstream. The pond was provided with sluices probably for this purpose.

The pond once covered a far greater area than it does today extending all of the way to Bishop’s Sutton to the east. The sluices, called the “shettles”recently restored, can be seen down the path to the right of The Globe on the Lake or from the pub garden. It is said that this was a landing place for the Bishop of Winchester on his travels to and from his palace at Bishop’s Sutton.

Also look for the plaque, in Soke Gardens, honouring Captain Robert Cogswell who saved the town from a potential disaster during the Second World War.

On the 26 September 1943 the B17 Flying Fortress “Lady Luck”, carrying a full bomb load, got into difficulties over Alresford. Captain Cogswell ordered his nine crewmen to bail out remaining on board the aircraft himself in an attempt to steer the bomber away from the town. The plane crashed just east of Old Alresford Pond Captain Cogswell having jumped to safety, although injured in the bail-out, shortly before it crashed.

The plaque in Soke Gardens honours Captain Cogswell of the 303 Bomb Group, US 8th Air Force and his conduct in saving Alresford from a potential disaster.

Soke Gardens can be found down the lane to the right of the Globe on the Lake pub at the bottom of Broad Street.

Lady Luck Crew