History in libraries

There are local studies sections in almost all libraries where you can consult reference books, illustrations, newspapers and journals related to your local area. The Hampshire County Collection, based in Winchester Library on Jewry Street houses some very old and interesting books and prints.

This theme explores some of these treasures. Continue to the next section.

Heywood Sumner's etchings of the Itchen Valley

Heywood Sumner, artist and antiquarian

George Heywood Maunoir Sumner was born in 1853 near Winchester. He was an artist, illustrator and antiquarian (he had a significant interest in local Hampshire archaeology, history and legends). He was an exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement and played an important role in the revival of the art of wood engraving in the latter decades of the 19th century. 'Woodcuts' are illustrations engraved or etched into blocks of wood in negative. The blocks are applied with ink and printed on paper. Prints are often referred to as engravings or etchings.

His volume of etchings (prints) of places along the Itchen Valley are accompanied by detailed descriptions of the history and stories about each place. Places included in the volume are Tichborne, Alresford, Avington, Winchester and its surroundings, Shawford, Brambridge, Bishopstoke, South Stoneham, and Southampton. It was published in 1881 and entitled: The Itchen Valley from Tichborne to Southampton: Twenty Two Etchings'. Heywood Sumner died in 1940. Some of the etchings and descriptions can be found in this theme. To find more search for "Heywood Sumner"

Tichborne and Avington


The description of Tichborne speaks about its church and Tichborne House. It also mentioned the 'Tichborne Dole', traditionally given to the poor on Lady Day (25th March). The etching shows the view of the church on the hillside.


In the description of Avington, Sumner includes information about the extent of the Church's lands along the Itchen at Avington. It also mentioned Avington House and a visit made to the village by King Charles II in the late 17th century. The view of the Itchen is towards Itchen Abbas.

Soke Bridge and Southampton

Soke Bridge, Winchester

The description accompanying the etching of Soke Bridge sketches a scene of the Itchen passing through the poorer parts of Winchester and the health of its citizens owing to its low-lying position. It also describes the ruins of Wolvesy Castle (in the inset of the description). The view of the bridge is from 'the Wiers'. The City Mill is in the background. Soke Bridge is today more commonly known as City Bridge.


Sumner has devoted more detailed descriptions of the history of Southampton in the volume. (Winchester too, has extended descriptions.) The first is a description of the Itchen at its mouth, emptying into Southampton Water. The view is from the west bank of the river looking south west towards the New Forest, and the docks on the right. The history of Southampton concentrates on the famous medieval legend of Sir Bevois and Ascupart. The accompanying etching is of one of Southampton's most well-known sights, the Bargate, part of the medieval city walls and containing images of the local heroes Bevois and Ascupart.


A potted biography of Heywood Sumner: http://www.speel.demon.co.uk/artists2/sumner.htm

Ingoldsby legend: Netley Abbey

Thomas Ingoldsby

Thomas Ingoldsby was the pseudonym for the Reverend Richard Harris Barham. Born in 1788, Ingoldsby became famous for his series of 'legends' written in the early 19th century. His work was mainly satire or parody (tongue-in-cheek writings). He was also a poet and essayist and published in Bentley's Miscellany, a Victorian literary magazine. The Ingoldsby Legends were also called Mirth and Marvels. This edition of the Netley Abbey legend was published posthumously in 1889 and is accompanyed by lithographic illustrations by Ernest M Jessop. Ingoldsby died in 1845.

To read this electronic version of Netley Abbey, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer. A transcript of the text will shortly be made available


A potted biography of Thomas Ingoldsby and some etexts of his other works can be found at: http://www.litgothic.com/Authors/ingoldsby.html

Last amendment date: 02/07/2015

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