City of Southampton Society
Registered Charity No 1006256 England and Wales
caring for our city's heritage and its green open spaces
Webmaster John Avery
                                      Titanic departing from Southampton April 1912          John Melody Town Crier          
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Queen Mary entering KG DOCKOur outdoor visit to Minstead Church in 2011 image Will TempleWarrior who after service on the front in WWI became a Southampton Police Horse. Image by kind permission Bitterne Local History SocietySouthampton CenotaphJohn Melody Town Crier at Tudor Revels 2012 image Arthur Jeffery
          Image Will Temple


The 2018 Court Leet was held on 2nd October

 A Lord Mayor for Southampton. Southampton is a great city. It has an illustrious past, rich in history, commerce and learning. It has associations with all parts of the globe; starting with the Romans settling here and now with cruise ships and research ships, its links are worldwide. This city is worthy of recognition. 2022 marks 800 years of the mayoralty. I put it to the jury that we look to the future by raising the status of our principal citizen to that of; LORD MAYOR

The Chapel of Our Lady of Grace On behalf of theCity ofSouthamptonSociety, I present theCityCouncil forfailing to acknowledgeOur Lady ofGrace Chapel as a site of Heritage status. Throughout Inland Homes’ negotiations to build apartment blocks on the site, they only made verbal comments to honour the Chapel, and now they merely plan some Public Art items, items over which City Council officers have no control. The Chapel is a heritage site of substance and the City Council should act to record and publicise this important site.
A New Transport Interchange Now that Toys-R-Us have ceased trading, CoSS urges Southampton City Council to develop this redundant plot as a transport interchange. The land is perfectly situated between the train station and the National Express bus station. It would also enable the programming of travel services to be properly integrated. CoSS urges Southampton City Council to develop this redundant plot as a transport interchange

The 2016 Court Leet was held on Tuesday 4th October 2016


4 October 2016

Sheriff of Southampton Councillor Les HarrisThe Sheriff, Councillor Les Harris, presided in the City's Council Chamber in the Civic Centre.  Of the sixteen presentments, one was rejected by the Jurors and two were withdrawn.

Sholing Junior School.  The school already has a plaque commemorating Capt James Nicholson VC, who crashed his Hurricane fighter in Millbrook.  The children felt that as a role model for the city a memorial to him should be erected in a public area in the city.  Accepted.

Colin Richards was not in court and did not present “Access to the Common”.

Martin Brisland. (See Southampton Group) requested that the “American Wall” in Western Esplanade be preserved and the carved signatures by US troops made in 1944 be protected.  Accepted.

4  Presentment withdrawn.

Ann MacGillivray asked that Southampton Court Leet approach the House of Lords to plea hereditary rights for women in the clans of Scotland.  She is the granddaughter of the 13th Laird of MacGillivray.  Rejected.

Adrian Ford demanded action to stop waste bins being dangerous obstacles in Southampton streets.  Accepted.

Adrian Ford requested that the City Council investigate the increasing occurrence of fly-tipping in the city; a serious health hazard.  Accepted.

Lyn Bradshaw asked that in the interest of cycling safety, potholes in roads be dealt with in the same manner as potholes on pavements e.g. 2 cms deep: reportable, and 4 cms deep: considered as urgent.  The criterion of golf ball deep on roads may be realistic for car/lorry tyres, but not for cyclists.  Accepted.

Lyn Bradshaw.  The speed limit on The Avenue (A33) of 40 mph is dangerous for cyclists.  The third lane can frequently be a racing track!  A road passing through the Common should encourage drivers to respect their environment and travel at only 30 mph. Perhaps a cycle lane could be introduced?  Accepted.

10  Jean Velecky requested that the ditches on Southampton Common be cleared more frequently to avoid silting up/choking, thus enabling orchids to grow once more.  The wild spread of oak saplings all over the Common must be tackled at once.  Accepted.

11  Arthur Jeffery complained that City Planning Policy is not being adhered to.  Developers too often are proceeding unchecked.  The City is being developer led, and it's wrong!  Accepted.

12  Mr Trowbridge complained that, following his presentment last year, disabled people are not given guidance at the foot of the steps leading to the main entrance of the Civic Centre.  Accepted.

13  Mr Trowbridge suggested that City care homes should adopt the same “green sticker” label of  Food Hygiene Standards used by retailers.  Accepted.

14  Lindsi Blumel informed the Court that the Buller Road gyratory junction was one of the worst locations in the city for bad air quality.  An opportunity now exists for a remedy following the recent fire at the fireworks store.  The site, once cleared, should contain a number of trees to alleviate the problem.  Furthermore, all 3 pelican crossings should simultaneously be green for cyclists and pedestrians to aid safety during the rush hours.  Accepted.

15  Liz Baton continued the theme of clean air and cycling.  She requested that cycle routes should have the same priority and status as pedestrian routes.  That cycle routes should genuinely link up across the city and not suddenly stop with no explanation/signage.  The priority for the city centre should always be people, not cars.  Accepted.

16  Simon Hill.  Mr Hill read a three page presentment about the management of Southampton Common.  He highlighted that the Management Plan for this important public open space had not been updated since 1992 and that 80% of the Common was now thick woodland.  He sought the Court's support in requesting a new policy for the Common so that citizens can once more enjoy more of its 324 acres.  Accepted.



Tuesday 6 October 2015

The Sheriff, Councillor Cathie McEwing, presided at 11.00 am in the Council Chamber.Sheriff of Southampton Councillor Cathie McEwing

Fifteen Presentments were made, all accepted by the Jurors, although one involved a 6 to 5 vote in favour (No.15).

Mr Galton presented the need for a pedestrian crossing in St James Road, near the Methodist Church.

2 Graham Linecar requested that a MUGA (Multiple Use Games Area) be provided in the Central Park now that so many students live around these parks.  A suitable site needs identifying.  The Sheriff offered a suggestion, namely the old tennis courts in East Park.

3 Veronica Tippets asked if Charles Dibden’s spinet (piano) could be brought out of store and displayed somewhere suitable.

Veronica Tippets requested a new plaque to Jeremy Gilley, a Southampton citizen who founded “International Peace Day” (21 September).  This year is the United Nations 70th anniversary.

Arthur Jeffery requested the City Council to actively seek, with the developer Inland Homes, a means to preserve the remains of Our Lady of Grace Chapel and the mediaeval grain store nearby.

Martin Brisland, a supporter of “Mayflower 400”, asked that a flowerbed be prepared near the Mayflower Memorial in time for the 2020 Anniversary Celebrations.  The flowers he envisaged are mayflower and speedwell (several sub-species).

Paula Lofthus and six colleagues from “Harefield Campaign” pleaded for an improved bus service to the Harefield Estate.  They have one per hour as opposed to Thornhill’s 14 per hour.

Mr Trowbridge requested improved signage in St James’ Close.

Marian Hubble asked that telephone calls to the Civic Centre Reception be handled again by a human being, not a computer generated voice.

10 Mr Trowbridge asked that a sign be erected at the foot of the main Civic Centre entrance steps informing wheelchair users of the alternative entrance avoiding the steps.

11 Marian Hubble stated that the city needs a bus station.  Vincent’s Walk is the wrong location for the bus interchange.  It’s too near the children’s play area and one has to dodge between moving buses to reach one’s choice of bus.  Bus information is not easily available.

12 Jean Velecky pleaded for paths and ditches on Southampton Common to be properly cleared.  Once there were orchids in those ditches – no longer because the ditches are choked with grass and brambles.

13 Mr Trowbridge asked that disabled people should have first choice of ground level accommodation in Council property.

14 Lindsi Blumel asked that the stretch of Burgess Road numbers 1-14 be available once more to cyclists, making it a shared path with pedestrians.  This would mean cyclists could avoid navigating two roundabouts.

15 Mr Trowbridge suggested that the temporary housing unit be amalgamated with the main unit to save money. 

Tuesday 30 September 2014

The Sheriff, Councillor Linda Norris, presided at 11.00 am in the Council Chamber.

Seventeen presentments were made, all but two were accepted by the Jurors.

  1. St Mary’s Primary School.  The school children pleaded for more refuse bins with lids in their area.  The litter is so bad they also asked for more frequent collections of rubbish.  Accepted.
  1. Portswood Primary School.  The children wish to improve their environment.  They hope to form a Gardening Club and request help in providing tools, and they need training in the art of horticulture.  Accepted.
  1. Jean Velecky (SCAPPS) regretted that the Southampton CCAP did not guarantee the future of Blechynden Terrace Public Open Space, north of the railway station.  This green space is appreciated by many students, travellers and local residents every day.  Accepted.
  1. Graham Linecar (SCAPPS).  A proportion of the income received when events take place on Southampton Common and Central Parks should be apportioned to repairing “wear and tear” in those parks and not lost in the “corporate pot”.  Accepted.
  1. Simon Hill challenged the City Council to reverse its decision in the CCAP (April 2014) by acknowledging the potential for public access to views of Southampton Water from the Eastern Docks, if and when ABP no longer require this land.  Accepted.
  1. Arthur Jeffery (CoSS) requested the pollarding of the two large plane trees that currently obscure the Mayflower Memorial.  He reminded the Court that the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers is only 6 years away.  Accepted.
  1. Jill Starks drew the Court’s attention to the plight of All Hallows Church at Midanbury.  Services ceased there in April this year, to the disappointment of many parishioners, and the community in Midanbury need the building as a community hall.  When built in 1960, £19,000 of the £21,000 cost to build was raised by local residents; only £2,000 came from the Winchester Diocese.  Mrs Starks asked for support.  Accepted.
  1. Marian Hubble (CoSS) regretted the poor condition of several Listed historic buildings in the Old Town.  The Red Lion Inn (built 1148) is in a bad state.  The former Royal Southampton Yacht Club building, which faces the Royal Pier, is equally in need of repair, with white paint peeling off the structure.  All CoSS members care about our city and she urged Jurors and Council members to see for themselves.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Trowbridge.  The economic “cut backs” should include “ring fenced “ topics.  Rejected.
  1. Mr Trowbridge.  The Court Leet needs to last more than one hour.  Rejected.  The Sheriff will decide the length of a session.
  1. Sarah Chorley (CoSS).  There are a totally insufficient number of public toilets in the city.  Shirley has none.  Woolston’s toilets are often out of use.  The city centre has none.  To rely on the big stores in West Quay is not acceptable.  As a result, late night street urinating is commonplace.  Urgent action is needed.  Accepted.
  1. The Rev Kane asked that his Christian Group be given permission to use the chapel in Hollybrook Cemetery on Sunday mornings for their services.  Accepted.
  1. Graham Linecar (SCAPPS).  The City Council should seek partners to support projects in the Parks, particularly in the Central Parks.  The Grade II* listing in the English Heritage Register should attract support from the commercial world.  Right now the Council needs more investment in East Park to finance the achievement of an axial vista between the park and Guildhall.Square.  The Parks Team needs the support of the City PR team in this endeavour.  Accepted.
  1. Simon Hill requested a 20 mph limit for the length of Highfield Road because of the high density of pedestrian use. Accepted.
  1. Arthur Jeffery (SCAPPS) appealed for immediate action by the City Council to repair the foreshore sea defences and the Solent Way footpath at Weston Point, Woolston, following last February’s storms.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Trowbridge.  Ground floor flats in St James’ Close, Shirley, should be allocated to disabled persons as and when these flats become available. Accepted.
  1. Mr Trowbridge.  Letting Officers should avoid using taxis when visiting housing estates.  Public transport is cheaper and will comply with the “cut backs” policy. Accepted.
Tuesday 1 October 2013

The Sheriff, Councillor Sue Blatchford presided.  There were fourteen presentments, three of which were not accepted by the Jurors.

1  St Monica’s Junior School, Sholing.  The children requested a pedestrian crossing at the road that divides the two school buildings.                                                        Accepted.

2    Simon Hill presented the problem of too much vegetation on the Common in areas which should be open grassland.  Not only blackberry bushes, but young oaks and sallow dominate what should be open glades between mature trees.  Control is needed.                                                                                                                                  Accepted.

3   Simon Hill asked that the whole of the Eastern (old) Docks be included in the City Centre Action Plan.  The City Council should have the ultimate control of the docks and not allow ABP to sell off to the highest bidders any change of use.                                Accepted.

4   Arthur Jeffery congratulated the City Council for the new children’s play area in Houndwell Park, but drew Jurors’ attention to the noise and fumes from the bus turn-round point at nearby Vincent’s Walk.                                                                    Accepted.

Arthur Jeffery proposed three future commemorations for the City to celebrate:

2015: the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt

2017: the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death

2020: the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers.


Marian Hubble requested parking permits be issued to voluntary organisations to enable them to meet in the city centre in the evening without paying the new evening parking charges.                                                                                                            Rejected.

7    Marian Hubble expressed a strong wish that a manned Tourist Information Centre be reinstated in Southampton city centre.  Tourists are totally frustrated.                Accepted.

8    Mr Trowbridge presented that all Council Officers should travel by public transport or bicycle to save money for the Council.                                                             Rejected.

9    Mr Trowbridge felt that the former health clinic at Oaklands House in Winchester Road could become an arts project centre.                                                                Accepted.

10  Mr Trowbridge hoped that modern technology would come to the Court Leet.  Proceedings should be filmed and be made available on a website.             Accepted.

11 Mr Hampton, a member of The Old Bowling Green Club, pleaded for help to save the Club from serious financial difficulties.  Currently they break even with 70 members, but visiting teams will incur the cost of the new evening parking charges.                     Accepted.

12  Mr Yardley expressed disappointment that access to deep water from public hards, especially at Centenary Quay, Woolston, is not possible. Rejected by Jurors on advice of the Clerk.

13. Graham Linecar praised Southampton’s Central Parks and noted that English Heritage had in August raised the status of these parks from Grade II to Grade II* Listed.  So far the City Council has not seen fit to celebrate this achievement and acknowledge this new status in the City Centre Action Plan.  Public events should be held to celebrate the award.                                                                                                                           Accepted.

14  Ashley Minto regretted the wide-spread bad behaviour of cyclists riding on pedestrian pavements throughout the city.  They ride too fast, often at night without lights.  They are at times abusive if called to tasks.                                                                          Accepted.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

The Sheriff, Councillor Ivan White, presided over this year’s Court.  There were 29 presentments of which 7 were rejected by the Jurors.

  1. Bitterne Park Junior School.   The children requested more exclusive access to parts of Riverside Park during school time.  Accepted.
  1. Bitterne Park Junior School.  The children were worried about car parking in Manor Farm Road.  They requested a pelican crossing outside the school.  Accepted.
  1. Claire Faughey condemned the location of the Tourist Information Office in the bowels of the Central Library and its short opening hours.  She suggested either the ex-Fountain’s Café site or the Wool House as alternatives.  Accepted.
  1. Dilys Garside requested that the maximum speed limit in all residential streets should be 20 mph.  Accepted.
  1. Graham Linecar condemned the activities of skateboard users and stunt bikers in the Guildhall Square.  Also the speed of buses and taxis in Above Bar Street adjacent to the Square.  Accepted.
  1. Veronica Tippets made a plea for “Community Matters” days.  She requested support for a “Health Matters Day” in the spring of 2013 and “Peace Matters Day” in September.  Accepted. 
  1. Cassius Marcus appealed for secure tenancy agreements to include relatives/second generation. Rejected.
  1. Claire Sivyod challenged the need for the Itchen Bridge to remain a toll bridge.  Accepted.
  1. Ricky Yardley acknowledged the 8 public slipways in the city, but requested that a public quay or pontoon be made available so that infirm and disabled people can step easily on and off moored boats.  Accepted.
  1. Arthur Jeffery presented the need for more protection of the Central Parks now that many more students are living in the new flats adjacent to those parks.  Accepted.
  1. Jean Velecky reminded the Court that she had made two previous presentments about the lack of a view of the Ornamental Lake from the Pointout path, but no action had taken place.  Accepted.
  1. Alan Trowbridge asked that Service Charges for the properties in St James Close be consistent for all residents whether they rent or own a property.  Rejected.
  1. Mr Chapman drew the Court’s attention to the danger to pedestrians at Sainsbury’s Bitterne car park.  Accepted.
  1. Mrs Chalke made the case for a review of the situation regarding the bandstand in Palmerston Park.  Use it more and raise it to accommodate a chair storeroom underneath.  Accepted.
  1. Alan Gibson & Louise Owen asked that the apple trees near Mansbridge on public open space be designated a Community Orchard.  Accepted.
  1. Lindsi Blumel objected to a multitude of barriers being sited on cycle paths, particularly in Cutbush Lane.  The council should use “nationally approved” barriers to cars and motorbikes.  Accepted.
  1. A Lady in a wheelchair asked that drop kerbs be sited at bus stops to help wheelchair users.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Chapman.  Skate boarding in Guildhall Square on the stone seats should be stopped.  Accepted.
  1. Alan Trowbridge requested a memorial plaque at Shirley Towers to commemorate the two fire fighters who died there.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Chapman brought a sample buddleia and said it was too invasive.  Rejected.
  1. Mr Trowbridge asked that presentments to the Court should be timed by the Sheriff.  Rejected.

22.  Mr Chapman asked that trams be re-introduced to Southampton.  Rejected.

  1. Mr Trowbridge requested car parking restrictions in St James Close.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Chapman.  In regard to bus finances, pensioners should make a contribution.  Rejected.
  1. Mr Trowbridge complained that door safety at Thruxton Court in Peartree Avenue was inadequate.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Chapman.  Where are the public lavatories, especially now that those at the Bargate have closed?  The council has a duty to provide these facilities.  Accepted.

27.  Mr Trowbridge.  Tudor House entry should be free.  Accepted.

  1. Mr Chapman.  Motorbikes should be allowed to use bus lanes.  He had presented this 2 years ago.  Accepted.
  1. Mr Trowbridge suggested that Marriage Certificates be presented before any housing tenancy agreement is accepted. Rejected.
In Southampton the Court Leet is now held on the first Tuesday after Michaelmas. Prior to the Court the "Beating of the Bounds" takes place. In the old days the Mayor, Sheriff, Bailiffs and Burgesses rode in full state on horseback. That duty performed they assembled at the Cutted Thorn or Cutthorn as it is now known, a flat-topped tree-encircled mound on the northern boundary of The Common where it abuts on to Burgess Road, on the east side of The Avenue. From twelve to twenty-four, or even more, Jurors were summoned to the Court which was presided over by the Town Clerk (now the Solicitor to the Council) as Steward of the Court and the Sheriff as Foreman of the Grand jury, the latter calling for and receiving presentments of matters requiring amendment in the Town.
Outdoor visit to Minstead Church image courtesy Will Temple Outdoor visit on a Guy Arab open top busTug tender Calshot in preservation