Do you know where the name of the region you live in comes from?

Jack Wilson looks at the origins of Southampton district names.

The name of this estate comes from the Banestre family who owned property there since at least the 14th century.

It was a medieval estate south of Common and west of the avenue, stretching from present-day Cavendish Grove in the east to Hill Lane in the west and south to Colwell Spring.

In 1790, the estate was acquired by William Fitzhugh who replaced the original house with a larger residence and had two small lakes dug in the park.

The new house was called Banister Lodge and the estate was called Banister’s Park.

Ramp lodge

A picturesque corner of the estate known as Dell was later used for the grounds of the Southampton Football Club.

In 1858 the estate was purchased by Edward Hulse and in 1867 the house was rented to the Reverend George Ellaby to serve as a boys’ school.

In 1927, it was sold to Charles Knott who demolished it and opened a speedway and a greyhound stadium on the site. The stadium was demolished in the 1960s and Charles Knott Gardens now occupies the site.



In medieval times, Hill was little more than a collection of dwellings scattered along the lower part of Hill Lane.

The center of the village was Hill Farm on the west side of Hill Lane, opposite the west end of present-day Milton Road and on the same site as a later dairy farm of the same name.

From 1748 Hill was generally referred to with Sidford as “the village of Hill and Sidford”.

2. Hill Farm

Hill Farm Dairy

Sidford was probably linked to the traditional ford of Rolles Creek here, by the road west from Southampton before the construction of the Achard Bridge.

There used to be a Sidford Street here – the Nelson Gate office building now sits on the site.

Traditionally, the western boundary of Southampton ran along Hill Lane.

The polygon

The 1760s Polygon scheme was designed by Isaac Mallortie and John Carnac who commissioned the architect Jacob Lerou.

The plan called for a polygonal complex consisting of meeting rooms, a hotel and 12 large houses.

Lack of money brought the project to a halt in 1773 with only three of the buildings completed, one being the hotel.

9. Hotel Polygon early

Earlier Polygon Hotel

This was rebuilt in the 1870s with the original building largely incorporated into the interior which was again largely preserved when the hotel was rebuilt in the 1930s.

At the turn of the 20th century, many famous visitors stayed here – it was especially popular with stars performing at the neighboring Empire – now Mayflower – Theater.

The hotel was demolished in 1999 and replaced with apartments. Two commemorative monuments are on the perimeter wall facing the parks.

The larger area gradually filled with large, good quality houses in the 19th century and from the early years of the 20th century more modest housing was developed.


St Dionysius takes its name from the priory of St Dionysius, itself named after St Dionysius, a 3rd century martyr and Christian saint.

According to legend, after his execution, Dionysius carried his head for several kilometers to his burial place, Saint-Denis in Paris.

The priory was founded by Henry I in 1124, and after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536, fell into disrepair, and its lands became the property of Sir Francis Dawtrey, owner of what is now Tudor House.

13. ST D remains

Residence in St Denys

In the 18th century the land belonged to the Earl of Peterborough and for some time there was a farm on the site. There are still some vestiges.

A wall can be found in the garden of a house in Priory Road, covered in ivy, an arch has been dismantled and rebuilt in the garden of Tudor House in Southampton and St Denys Church in Dundee Road has a stone coffin and a 13th / 14th century terracotta tiles decoration panel.

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Jack Wilson is a tour guide with

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