10 things you didn’t know about Sutton Scotney

Sutton Scotney Illustration: Lucy Atkinson

Sutton Scotney Illustration: Lucy Atkinson - Credit: Archant

The former home of British movie mogul J Arthur Rank now boasts a much-loved children’s hospice


By the side of the River Dever, just north of Winchester lies the village of Sutton Scotney. It made its money in watercress but is now better known as the home of the children’s and young person’s hospices, Naomi House and Jacksplace. Sutton Scotney was well-known for having the UK’s only thatched fire station which has since (and perhaps more practically!) been converted to bed and breakfast accommodation.



The Coach and Horses in Oxford Road, which dates back to 1762, offers fine food and ales, plus a bed for the night. There is an impressive sandwich lunch menu as well as nacho stacks with beef chilli or a combo platter. For a sumptuous afternoon tea, check out Norton Park Hotel and Spa. And keep an eye out for the Community Café in the Victoria Hall in Wonston Close, which opens regularly for coffee, tea and cake.


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Created just 20 years after the Battle of Hastings, Sutton Manor has been owned by Colonel Courage of the famous brewing family and J Arthur Rank of flour milling and later filming fame. Rank welcomed visitors including Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner. It was later acquired by financier Alex Herbage, whose sculpture park featured works by Henry Moore. After he was charged with fraud in America his former home was sold. It is now a luxury care home.



In the Coach and Horses is a plaque commemorating the ‘Swing Riots’. These disturbances were named after the fictitious Captain Swing, who would send threatening letters to magistrates, Poor Law officials, and wealthy farmers demanding cuts in tithe payments, wage rises and the destruction of threshing equipment. The plaque commemorates a petition sent to King William IV in 1830, signed by 177 people from Sutton Scotney and the surrounding villages.



Like almost every other Hampshire village, Sutton Scotney has a war memorial. But few have such a memorable design. The war memorial comprises a tall, lantern cross standing in a walled area with incorporated seating. It was erected in November 1921 where it formed the starting point for a remembrance procession. The fallen from Sutton Scotney, South Wonston and Wonston are commemorated and it bears the message ‘Lest ye forget’.



J Arthur Rank moved to the Sutton Manor estate in 1939. A committed Methodist, the movie mogul preached at the local Sunday School and got into film-making as a way to spread the gospel. His company grew to control around half the cinemas in England. Thanks to Lord Rank villagers got to see all the best movies because he arranged for them to be shown at Victoria Hall. He is remembered for shaking hands with filmgoers at the screenings.



These names are familiar to almost everyone who lives in Hampshire and for good reason – the amazing work they do, caring for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. The land for the hospice was donated by the generous-spirited care-home owner, Mary Cornelius-Reid, after whose daughter, Naomi, the centre was named. The charity’s celebrity patron is Alastair Stewart.



The Victoria Hall has established itself as a hub for all manner of meetings, and activities; from the pop-up café to the Royal British Legion Women’s Section, to an art group and yoga. Then there are groups for Pilates as well as Knit and Natter. Those preferring the great outdoors can play tennis and football at the village’s clubs, thanks to the Gratton Trust which maintains facilities donated to the village by… you’ve guessed it – Lord Arthur Rank!



The Watercress Way is the name of what its Friends are hoping will become an important new 26-mile circular trail in Hampshire, incorporating the disused railway line which runs through Sutton Scotney. Thanks to volunteers from this village and surrounding ones, there is an ambitious programme of walks, talks, ecology management and fundraisers and many parts of the route are open already.



On October 7 1940 the villagers of Sutton Scotney had a fast and very immediate reminder of the dangers of the Battle of Britain which was taking place on a daily basis across its skies. A Spitfire flown by Pilot Officer Hall from Dorset’s 152 Squadron, one of the sections defending southern England, including the Portland Naval Base, made a sudden forced landing in fields near the village.


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